Finally, after sniff-checking my way across and around the darkened ramp, I find a parking spot and shut down. Kimberly arrives a few minutes later and, as we head off toward an only-slightly-delayed dinner, I take quick stock of the last few hours. I lost my race against time and the dark, and I'd probably rate my struggles with Mather as something of a tie. But as Kimberly eases back into the holiday rush hour traffic, I think about all my road companions back in Livermore, who are probably still somewhere west of Stockton. Even with all that didn't go my way, I'm still hours ahead of where I'd be if I didn't have a "get-out-of-traffic-free" card called an airplane.