Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fiction (testing4l) wrote,
Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fiction

Vacation post - Part 1: "Travelin' ain't easy, but it's necessary"

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Why on Earth would you leave *this* behind?!?"

(Meg in the foreground and Tera in the background, a PS3 game, Netflix envelope, and a collection of Calvin & Hobbes stacked next to them -- I swear this photo wasn't staged. That's really what my place is like.)

As it happens, I had a couple of weeks of furlough from work, so I figured I'd add another couple of weeks to that and make a proper adventure of my time out. There was certainly some inspiration from tsaven (His journey begins here, but it's flocked, so it's mostly for my own edification) who recently took off on a motorcycle ride around the US.

My aims were somewhat more modest. It wasn't tsaven's realization that he was getting any better suited for that journey or Steinbeck's quest for the soul of America. It was just me hoping to visit some friends and take a nice, long road trip.

So first off, I planned on going to Oxford, Mississippi. I have a friend out there who I've known for years and years and years. We'd never actually met in person. We were introduced by one of those happenstances where someone else is sitting at a computer with someone else's IM logged in. From that point onwards, we've spoken on a great deal of subjects. There had been several near misses -- plans that never really materialized. So I took it upon myself to go to a city in a region of the world that I've never been to with the expectation of a few good conversations at worst.

So I made the plan back on 7/23:
Ok -- slight change of plans. The plan is now for me to fly out to MS on 9/4 and fly back on 9/11 (hee!)

On 9/12, I hop in the car and go up to Portland/Seattle/Vancouver. At some point on 9/20 I make my return (though I might make it 9/21 -- depends on how work feels about that).

It's basically putting Seattle post-Mississippi rather than pre-Mississippi. I had some reason I wanted to do that. Anyway, this gives me a bit more flexibility and it means I'll have more weekend time in the Portland/Seattle/Vancouver realm for you working stiffs! 8D

Rebecca's much less squiggly in person

I guess the first sign that things weren't going to go well came on 8/6:
By the way..we need to talk about your travel plans..your flights come in and out on friday and saturday.. my double days...what I may have to do is take off that friday night at ajax and the saturday at oxford floral..then wait and take you to memphis the following friday after I get done at ajax...and you stay in a room for that night until your flight leaves at 1220 sat. I'm excited you're coming!!! Just wanted to make sure you knew it was going to be a bit of a riggamarole.

I had just bought the ticket at that point, so it was a little late to do anything about it. Also, a little odd given that I'd discussed my travel plans with her before that on the phone.

The day of the flight comes around (Friday). I dutifully set out to arrive at my plane an hour beforehand. Unfortunately, due to BART and construction on the bay bridge, I ended up being just a half hour early. I went up to the terminal to sign in and it wouldn't print me a ticket. I ended up talking to one of the attendants who informed me that they couldn't let me through if I was a half hour early.

After about 20 minutes of back and forth with her on things like "Soo....if it's a 1:00pm flight and I have to be a half hour early, then why don't you call it a 12:30pm flight?"

So, I call up Travelocity and we arranged with Delta for a same-day standby. It cost me $50, but c'est la vie. That was at 11:55pm, IIRC -- very late at night. I had to be there three hours ahead of time for them to confirm the standby, so that's what I did. I ended up at the lobby waiting for the flight when they announced that they cancelled it.

One problem with San Francisco: There are two ways in and out of San Francisco. You can drive in and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous traffic. There's also BART (subway) which stops running at midnight. I chose the latter. Since they announced the cancellation very close to midnight, I couldn't make it back to BART. I had to sleep in the SF airport and arrange for a refund & purchase of a new ticket from Delta...

Luckily, it wasn't much more, so I set about finding an electrical outlet, plugging in, and entertaining myself. Mostly this involved playing ATC which somehow went along very well with my slow progression towards greater and greater fatigue.

Morning came quicker than I expected. The flight out wasn't terribly memorable, save being directed by two separate people to call them before I got on the plane and landed. I spent a significant amount of it playing various games, writing code, and reading Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. 8)

At long last, I made it to Memphis. And the interesting bits.
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