madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

Recap 05:50 PDT

Now I've slept. Body woke me up at 04:00 local time which is of course 07:00 body time. I told body shut up and went back to sleep. Not sure what the time stamp on this post will be because I don't usually re-set the clock on the laptop when I travel. For my personal journal I'd insert the local time myself, sort of like in the subject line here.

Actually, I notice there's a fair summary of a good portion of it over at popperaussie, though Popper of course didn't see things quite the same way. However, his description of the time waking up is rather accurate.

Flight to Charlotte NC from Tampa, no problems. On the original itinerary about one hour between touchdown and takeoff for the next flight. This also means about 30 minutes to de-plane and change gates. Charlotte's actually a fairly big airport if you didn't know, so this could be a challenge. Turns out not so much, next gate is in the same wing and not terribly far from the arrival gate. I've got time to purchase a bottle of water and a big sandwich to take aboard.

Now the plot thickens. Standing at the gate waiting for boarding to be announced, and the display for departure time to San Francisco (yes, that's correct, San Francisco even though my ultimate destination is Los Angeles) changes from 08:00 to 14:00. Six hours? Several passengers ask the gate agent, who announces there isn't any information yet and he's checking on it.

Shortly, the departure time changes back to 08:00... for Tampa. Gate agent announces over the PA that he is not sure why the departure time is changed for the San Francisco flight, it's now set for 11:00 and anyone with connections in San Francisco needs to see the Special Needs Desk. Special. It's close, though, is why he's saying this. Since my connection from San Francisco departs there about noon, I go see the Special Needs People. Because a delayed flight makes me special.

The desk agent is very helpful and apologetic that all the remaining open seats on the flights she finds are middle seats. (My profile lists aisle as preference, and yes I do enough flying to be registered with several airlines for frequent flyer profiles.) I assure her I am not at all concerned about this, because hey, it's a change in plans and there's co-operation going on here to do the best and hey, the guy ahead of me in the line was a royal ass to her. She gets me on a flight leaving in 45 minutes (so boarding is going to begin in 15 minutes). Good news, it's in the same terminal wing so not far to go. In fact, it's only two gates away. It's not going to San Francisco. It's going to Las Vegas. Oh Baby.

However, with 15 minutes to boarding, and my checked bag in the pipeline, I am not so much with the expectation that my bag will divert from the scheduled flight to this one. This is why I always travel with carry-on (along with I always travel with computer and camera gear). Popper and I make the new flight no worries. That middle seat, and on a full flight? Well, yes, but somehow the window seat passenger doesn't make the flight, so Popper and I slide over. Popper is ecstatic as he likes window seats. I enjoy my sandwich. Popper mooches food from surrounding passengers. (I bet he didn't mention that part.) I get some writing done and the flight attendant nods instead of offering me a headset to watch the movie because I'm listening to my iShuffle. The Shuffle runs out of juice about 2/3 through the flight. My Palm Tungsten PDA starts acting funky shortly after that, slow to display and with colour changes.

We arrive in Vegas 10 minutes early, burn that and another five waiting to get to the gate. Mostly this means we're on time. This isn't the same gate wing Herself and Ottarz and I arrived at last September, it's a rotunda at the end of the wing. Our departure gate is one gate away, so like really fifty feet or so. Popper and I find the facilities and do what guys need to do then go sit down to wait for the next flight to John Wayne. Popper does not believe me when I tell him this isn't planned, the airline changed things. He wants to run into town and hit a casino. I tell him to use the slots in the terminal. We people-watch for amusement and perhaps the most amusing was the fellow who rushed to make his flight carrying his tuxedo jacket, his dress shirt tails flapping and the front mis-buttoned.

What happens in Vegas...

We board no worries except this time the flight truly is full and I'm in that middle seat. Still no worries, after all I'm on the way. Except... it's the row right ahead of the wing emergency exit row. After a short half-hour flight land in Southern California, fairly close to the original scheduled arrival time. We go wait for the luggage even though I'm fairly certain, as mentioned, that the big bag is still out there traveling somewhere. Nor am I disapointed. Turn in the claim at Baggage Handling, catch the shuttle service to the hotel, check in. We're early (check-in time is 15:00 and we arrive at the hotel about 13:45) and my room is not ready BUT (one of the reasons I enroll in Premium Points Customer Programs) I am a Platinum Member with this franchise and the first available room will be ready in an hour.

I inform the desk to expect a bag delivery from U.S. Airways, check my carry bags with the bell captain keeping laptop and AC brick, and Popper and I go to the local Starbucks where I pointedly ignore the coffee, purchase some pastries, and do some more writing stealing Starbuck's wall juice for the laptop. Popper flirts with the counter clerk. (I bet he didn't mention that, either.)

An hour and ten minutes later, Popper and I are checking out the room (nice, with a mini-refrigerator, nice bathtub, very comfortable bed), unpacking what needs to be unpacked and hung up, and starting to work out the kinks. And there are kinks. Did I mention that middle seat on the short flight to John Wayne was the row in front of the emergency exit? Yes. Which means, those seats don't recline. Again, no complaints because hey, I'm on time and all. I do usually try to avoid those rows when booking planned itineraries. But it was only a half-hour flight.

Some time spent checking e-mail after sorting through the room, doing a bit of web surfing and unwinding, then a HOT shower. Dressed and downstairs and very un-adventurous for dinner, eat at the hotel. Not bad; not great. A wedge iceberg salad (HUGE... must of been half a head of lettuce, two wedges) with blue cheese crumbles, halved cherry tomatoes, and a house dressing vinegar and oil, good but I didn't finish the whole thing. I'd also ordered a 7" 'sunspot' pizza, really a pepperoni, sausage, mushroom and onion thin crust. Again it was OK, but the salad was better. I've no idea what Popper did for dinner; he'd already left the room and didn't get back until after I'd gone to sleep.

My view for my dining experience included the roofs of surrounding business' (mostly franchise restaurants but I really hadn't felt up to walking even that far) and the hotel pool.

Back up to the room after dinner, fill that tub with HOT water and soak out the last of the kinks, then into bed and asleep. I feel somewhat more human now, including room coffee while writing this. The Shuffle is charging though I don't think I'll use it until later in the week, the Palm Tungsten is still acting funky in display but the hot-synch preserved all data. The message light on the room phone is blinking, so I suspect my wayward bag may have arrived.

It will be time for breakfast in a bit. The cell and Palm are both fed (topping off the Palm battery didn't affect the Funk... hey, the thing is at least 3 years old, probably 5 which is ancient for such tech). Room coffee is OK. Will want more with breakfast. Must be over to the convention center no later than noon to go through registration, because at 14:00 there's some official business to attend. That is, if I don't change my mind and decide I'm not going to be a Delegate this year.
Tags: flights, food, hotel, ot-tarz, travel

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