Travel letters: Missing the Eastern Sierra, especially this time of year

Autumn comes to Gaithersburg, Md.
(Cheryl Bender)

My usual whine about my part of the world (the Eastern Sierra) and my town — we don’t get no respect [“Splendor in Motion” by Mary Forgione, Oct. 5]. Cute little thumbnail map of the area and no sign of Independence or Big Pine on it. Independence is 16 miles north of Lone Pine, which is on the map, and 42 miles south of Bishop, which is also on the map.

We (Independence) are probably the most typical of the small Eastern Sierra towns. We are also the county seat of Inyo County, which is the second-largest county in California. We have a wonderful little cafe in the old Masonic building, which I think dates from 1902. Jenny’s Cafe has real, homemade food. We have a beautiful courthouse, a great museum (Eastern California Museum) and we too have fall colors.

Mammoth (Mono County) turns color earlier, and as nights get crisper, the colors come down the valley, but I have already seen pics on Facebook of fall colors in Independence. This is my favorite time of year in the Owens Valley, and even reading the article that leaves us out makes me homesick. Don’t forget to check out the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery; that’s where our first fall colors usually appear.

Sonia Robledo



Autumn splendor

My sister Cheryl Bender sent me this beautiful shot of the first burst of autumn (from her phone). Thought of it while reading Margo Pfeiff’s article on fall in Canada [“Zigzagging Along on the Sea to Sky,” Oct. 5]. (See photo above.)

Joanne Serin

Sherman Oaks

They call this customer service?


In reply to Andy Linsky’s letter about US Airways’ substandard planes (“Upgrades? Bah!” Oct. 5), I can only say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Wait until you have to deal with its customer service.

Customer service has always been a strong point with American Airlines, and it is one of the reasons I have been a loyal flier with them for so long. On our first US Airways flight, the airline lost our seats, and my wife and I had to sit in middle seats in separate rows at the back of a completely full plane.

US Airways’ customer service rep gave me one excuse after another, obviously trying to see if anything would stick. When I finally asked if she could tell me what part of this was my fault, she replied that the airline was not legally obligated to honor seat reservations. Then she said, “I am going to declare this case resolved” and hung up.

If American’s frequent fliers don’t start speaking up in public forums like The Times, all the top brass at the new merged airline are going to hear is that complaints are being “resolved.” Maybe that’s all they want to hear. If so, the future of the new American is indeed gloomy.


Hal Drake

Santa Barbara

Before booking ...


Regarding “Roots of Route Changes” by Catharine Hamm, Oct. 5: Anyone who has favorite routes might want to consider checking, which offers daily updates on airlines flying new routes, canceling routes, changing frequency on routes and changing equipment. You can search for specific airlines or cities, and sign up for an email subscription. It may seem like overkill to get a daily email with route changes, but they are all summarized at the top, so it’s pretty easy to skim and delete if nothing is of interest. It can be well worth it to know months in advance if an airline is adding, dropping or changing a route that matters to you.

Randall Gellens

San Diego