Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stardate 61613.33 - On the Road Again

I am on a business trip this week, and not one to my office in Virginia. This time I'm in Montgomery, Alabama (state slogan, "Hotter than Hell in August!"). I flew from LGA to Birmingham, because a co-worker who has been here before (I never have) said that it was an easier airport to get into and out of. Here is my litany of complaints:

  1. Again, I got to learn the difference between "non-stop" and "direct" as my "direct" (but not "non-stop") flight from LGA to Birmingham landed in Atlanta for an hour before continuing onto Birmingham. Imagine my surprise!
  2. If you are going to let the computer land the plane, I'm not sure getting on the loudspeaker and announcing to the passengers that the computer is going to be landing the plane is a wise decision. The people around me seemed a little unnerved by it. Probably not the reaction you wanted.
  3. It is great that Delta airlines has this big marketing blitz on right now about how great they are making their planes, but those of us stuck on a MD-88 don't want to hear it. Yes, the plane was clean and the overhead compartments were new. But there was no audio system, no video system, and you don't even get the full can when you are served your soda.
  4. I'm not sure the "difficulty" allegedly experienced at the Montgomery airport is worth a 90+ minute drive from Birmingham to Montgomery on a very crowded I-65. Yes, the speed limit is 70, but I didn't achieve it for the first 15 minutes or so.
  5. Alabama is a lot more hilly than I expected. Especially between Birmingham and Montgomery. And I love driving in lots of traffic on hills when people do 80+ down the hill and 55 up the hill (in a 70 mph zone). It is called cruise control people - learn it, love it, live it.
  6. I got into the rental car and figured out how to get the outside temperature to display. It cycled between 101, 102, 103, and 104 during the drive to Montgomery where, as I arrived at 1830, it finally settled down to 99.
  7. Why do hotel air conditioners always seem to be set to "Antarctica"? The temperature was set to 60. Now, I know it is "Hotter than Hell in August" here, but 70 (29 whole degrees cooler than outside) would have been quite fine, thank you.
  8. If a co-worker picks the hotel, do some research first. If he tells you "It is an Extended Stay America" place, make sure he knows the difference between Extended Stay America and a loose collection of independent hotels known as "Extended Stay Hotels". Because I can tell you that the difference is new and well-appointed for one, and old, drab, and no shampoo for the other one. Guess which one I am in?
  9. If you haven't eaten anything but a bag of sun chips in 6 hours, don't gorge yourself on a Schlotzsky's sandwich and a cup of lemonade the size of a pitcher. You'll just feel gross.
  10. And Schlotzsky, don't give me a game piece with the promise that I could "Win $25,000 A Year for Life" and make me go to a web site to give you my address and crap and then tell me, "Unfortunately, due to the Official Rules, residents of New York are not eligible to participate in the Schlotzsky's Winning Combination Game." That's just rude.
So while not off to a disastrous start, this trip is off to a low-grade annoyance start. And I already miss Cheryl and Loren! But I will enjoy my few nights break from putting Loren down to sleep, who is pretty good most of the time but still fights sleep like mad.

On the plus side, I arrived with no paper maps or directions and just put the address of the hotel into TeleNav on my phone (w/ GPS) and it guided me directly to the hotel. That is one of the coolest things ever! I'll never grow tired of hearing, "...and your destination will be on your right."

Montgomery, Alabama

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CAPT_Sawyer said...

I just looked at the forecast. Here are the high temperatures for the time I'll be here:

Mon - 103
Tue - 106
Wed - 108
Thu - 105

At least it's "a wet heat".


Trailing Male said...

Hmm... that slogan just doesn't sound quite right. I thought it was something about sisters... or was it cousins... marriage... I forget.

As for the hotel temperature, your posting immediately reminded me of our trip to Caracas: we'd turn the temp up, the floors would get slick with humidity, the maids would crank it back down. We learned to love shivering in our room.

JamesF said...

What is "Wilipedia"? :-)

JamesF said...

Seriously, you're not going to fix the Wikipedia mispelling? Even after my hint?

CAPT_Sawyer said...


JamesF said...