An Internet search and a phone call finds an expediting service which, for $400+ will get him a fresh passport by 3pm tomorrow ... in LA. That won't work. I find the number for the State Department and listen to the appropriate message, which states they'll be happy to get him a "fast" passport, just use this automated service to make an appointment, first available one is ... May 25. This, alas, isn't going to work either. What to do, what to do.
I have the address for the closest regional office, in San Francisco, but can't find any kind of number where I might talk to a human. Everything says we'll need an appointment to even get in the building, and no kind of assurance that once we're there there will be anything we can do.
We decide to throw caution to the wind, scramble to the car and embark on the 3 1/2 hour drive to the big city. We get to the State Department and indeed the sign says you need an appointment to get into the building. Oh well, we go anyway and get in! The woman behind the desk tells us we have about 20 minutes to get his application in and do we have the photos? No! So we go running through the city streets trying to fund Walgreen's for the pics. Seriously, at this point it feels like we're on the Amazing Race! I've always thought we would do well on that show, and we do well with this task and are back at the passport office with a couple minutes to spare. The woman tells us they don't issue same day passports, but she will help us out. I don't know if she decided to do this because we just drove 200 miles to get there, because we were friendly and polite (I think this behavior is underrated and really, really helps), he was travelling in less than 48 hours or maybe it was just our lucky day, but she processed the application, told us to come back in an hour and a half and, sure enough, success!!!
Thank you very much, San Francisco Regional Passport Office!!
Now we are drivin back home, hours and hours spent but objective achieved!! Moral of the story, check your passport well in advance of international travel and, failing that, live within driving distance of one of these regional centers (there's not many of them).
Tom's feeling very relieved!!