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JM’s Long, Winding Road to Cali

And you think you had travel problems during the Memorial Day holiday weekend? Check out what JM Manion had to endure this time around for his annual Pittsburgh to Los Angeles journey (through Las Vegas) to photograph the NPC California and the IFBB California Pro Figure events.

“Our flight was first delayed out of Pittsburg because the plane that arrived was smaller than what was originally booked,” said Manion, “so 36 people had to be bumped. Once we got on board and were starting to take off, a guy ran towards the front of the plane, opened up the bathroom door and puked his guts all over the bathroom, bathroom door, cockpit door and the floor in front of the cockpit.

“We had to turn around and come back to the airport…paramedics came on board, but the guy refused treatment, saying he ate a bad sandwich earlier in the morning and just wanted to get on to Las Vegas so he could have some fun and gamble. Once the paramedics left, a US Airways rep came on board and told the guy he had to get off the flight because the captain and crew didn’t want him on…. it was their prerogative since he refused medical attention.

“He started to argue with the rep, saying he wasn’t going to get off the plane, that he wanted to get to ‘Vegas and have his fun. The rep then told him he had ruined the trip for 155 other passengers and that he either peacefully gets off or be removed by two Allegheny County Sheriffs waiting on the jet way. He finally left, but they had to bring on a cleaning crew, which took 30 minutes to clean up the mess he made.

“At this point it was 9 am (the flight was set to leave at 7), and once we got to ‘Vegas I missed my connection and was forced to go stand-by on one of the next three flights to L.A. Finally, I was on my way to the contest and figured the aggravation was over. I was wrong; when I picked up my rental car and started to head down Sepulveda Boulevard, the street was block off my police! I was re-routed to the 405 freeway, and got to sit in lovely, Friday afternoon traffic.

“When I finally got to the hotel, I find out they could not find my reservation! Thank goodness Jon Lindsay had just walked in, and he took care of the problem. Oh yeah…the only room they had left was a handicap room. At that point, I didn’t care, at least I was at the hotel and had a room…over five hours after I was supposed to land in L.A!”

Hey JM, I’ve been given handicap rooms several times during my trips over the years—ask Yogi Avidan how he helped me move my stuff out of there to a “regular” space at the Orleans Hotel three years ago. And, Yogi and Isaac “Hardbody” Hinds insist they had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, now I forgive you for passing out on the chair during Saturday’s prejudging. Can’t wait to run that shot in my next News and Views.

But, as always, your weekend ended on a delightful note with your customary beach shoot Sunday am with some of the hottest babes in the industry: Sonia Gonzales, Krissy Chin, Amy O’Neill, Catherine Holland, Mariza DeGuzman, Kristin Nunn, Ana Tigre and Elissa Schlichter.

The patrons at Redondo Beach thank you dearly.

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