Tag Archives: travel

Thursday morning

Up at 6 AM. I noticed that the old TV, DVD player, microwave, and a few other items were removed from the trash pile overnight. None of them work right (and the microwave doesn’t work at all) but maybe whoever took them can fix them and get some use out of them. I forgot to mention yesterday that I also remove the DirecTV post that has been in my front yard these past 5 years. It’s strange not seeing it there now.

My arm wasn’t too bad when I woke up this morning, but it got cranky as soon as I lifted up my backpack.

Kelly and I took the train into work. I head to Boston tomorrow and Dad heads out here. Kelly is picking me up from the airport Saturday night. Dad and I have a Tigers/Orioles game on Sunday. I printed my plane ticket for tomorrow. I have a small amount of packing to do (I’m only staying one night) this evening. My flight it at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

Busy morning at work but I was pretty productive. I’ve got a meeting coming up in about 25 minutes and then my schedule is more or less clear for the rest of the day.

Hump day

Up at 4:20 AM. Since I had Kelly’s car (from the weekend), I drove into work this morning and got there right at 5 AM. I was still tired, but I started working right away, and except for an abbreviated lunch break, I worked straight through. I actually felt pretty good about what I managed to get done today. I managed to squeeze in a 25 minute nap at lunch and it really helped.

I left the office at 4 PM. It was $16 to park there fore the day, but it only took me about 10 minutes to get back to Kelly’s. Kelly got home around 4:40 and we took advantage of the pleasant evening to walk over to Whole Foods, where we did a little shopping and got salads for dinner.

We also booked our holiday travel. Yes, it’s 8 month before Christmas, but with crazy fuel prices, and unpredictable airfares, we decided to lock in our fare now. We’re heading down to Florida from December 20-27 and we have our tickets. Should be a lot of fun!

Not much reading today.

And yet even more food

We got to sleep in this morning, which was nice. Kelly’s friends picked us up around 10 AM and we drove to a quaint little place for brunch where I tried to wreak havoc on the strawberry pancakes and failed. It was really nice meeting Kelly’s friends and I had a good time at brunch. I also had a good time on the walk back to the hotel. Kelly and I decided to take the long walk back. We passed through sections of Santa Monica with which I was completely unfamiliar, until we got to the park above the beach, and then walked the length of the park and finally back to the hotel. It took us well over an hour, but we walked at a leisurely pace. The weather was perfect. I think that walk was the best time I had all week.

We packed up the remainder of our things at the hotel and then got a cab to the airport. There were no lines of any kind and we were through security before we knew it. We spent nearly 2 hours in the Red Carpet club, before heading next door to our gate to board the plane. We didn’t have seats together, but we made the best of it. The flight went by surprisingly fast, actually. I spent about 3 hours reading, getting through more than 100 pages of In Joy Still Felt. We finally touched down at Dulles shortly after midnight and headed back to Kelly’s.

Travel day

Today was a travel day. I was up at 3:45 AM, and the towncar to the airport picked me up at 4:30 AM. Of course, it was raining out, and the driver surprised me by doing 80 MPH on the beltway, even though the roads were wet, something which seemed dangerous given the road conditions.

I was at Dulles and through security by 5:40 AM. My flight was oversold and people were already lined up to get on the plane. I had upgraded my flight weeks ago, so I didn’t have to worry about any upgrade waiting lists. We boarded on time, departed on time, and I dozed off just after take off. I woke up 30 minutes later to find I still had about 5 hours and was instantly seized with deadly boredom. I’m really beginning to hate cross-country flights, even in first class (which isn’t nearly as good as international first class).

Eventually, after what seemed like 20 hours on the plane, we arrived in L.A. on time. I was off as quickly as I could, and headed for the taxis. No wait, one came right away. As we approached LAX in the plane, I noticed the 405 freeway was jammed going northbound. The taxi driver knew enough to avoid that and took Lincoln up to Santa Monica, which was congested, but not nearly as bad. Taxi fare was $41 with tip. I checked into my hotel and then walked across the street to the office.

I spent the rest of the day in meetings and saying hello to people I haven’t seen in a while. I went to lunch with Jason and Enrique, who took me to Hooters in Santa Monica. I stopped in at the credit union to deposit my state refund check. Say Joy, the branch manager there. It was nice to see her, and weird to think that it’s been 6 years since I saw her on an almost daily basis. After work, several of us went over to Chez Jays for a beer. Near 8 PM, I headed back to the hotel and without having eating dinner, I read for a few minutes and then decided to go to sleep.

My first Yankees game of the season

With how much it rained last night and this morning, I never would have believed that the Yanks and O’s would have played today–but they did. I left for the game just after 11 AM and hit torrential downpours on the way up to Baltimore. But then, as if a faucet was turned, the rain stopped and the game started on time. Andy Pettitte pitched a brilliant 4+ perfect innings, throwing as few as 6 pitches and averaging around 8 or so for the first four innings. The rain started up again in the 7th and it began to pour in the bottom of the 8th. I decided to leave at that point because (a) the Yankees were winning 4-0 and (b) I have to get up very early tomorrow to fly to L.A. for work, and I still had a lot to do. Then Yankees ended up winning 7-1.

I’m just about all set to go, except that I have to pack, but that won’t take long. The towncar to the airport picks me up at 4:30 AM. My flight to L.A. is at 6:40 AM, and if everything is on time, I’m hoping to be in our Santa Monica office by about 10 AM Pacific time.

Busy business trip

On Monday I head off to Santa Monica for a week, for work. I usually try and pack in as many lunches and dinners with friends and old coworkers as I can while I’m there. This time is no exception. I get into the office in Santa Monica around 10 AM on Monday (assuming everything is on time). Then the fun starts:

I have lunch with friends on Monday, followed by drinks with more friends Monday evening. Lunch with more friends on Tuesday followed by a working dinner Tuesday evening. Lunch with Cathy on Wednesday. Cathy is our department AA. The place would fall apart without her. Literally. Dinner with Jim and Janet Wednesday evening. As it happens, Thursday is still “open” for lunch. I don’t have particular plans that day. However, Thursday evening is a big group happy hour at El Cholo. (And later Thursday evening, Kelly gets into town.) Friday is lunch Beth, and Friday evening is dinner with Kelly and more of our friends. Saturday we’re having dinner with Mom and Dad. And there may be a brunch or two in there over the weekend before we head home Sunday afternoon.

At least I’ll get to spend a little time with each of the people that I no longer get to see very often, working on the east coast.

Heading up to New York

17 minutes before I get out of here and I’ve been itching to go for the last 45 minutes. I’m trying to wrap things up here and get out the door at 11:30. I’m heading over to Kelly’s where I’ll meet her just after noon. I’ve got to pack her a sandwich and then when she gets home, we’ll load up the car with her luggage and hit the road. It’s raining here today, and it looks like rain all the way up to NY. Despite that, and assuming we have an early jump on traffic (to say nothing of EZ-Pass), I am currently estimating getting to Newark Airport between 3:45 and 4 PM. I checked kruppenheimer‘s flight and she’s scheduled to arrive a few minutes late, sometime around 3:25, so hopefully she won’t have to wait too long.

From Newark, we continue our drive (in Friday rush-hour traffic at that point) to Stony Point where vickyandnorm live. We’ll be staying the night there, and then Kelly and I (and others if they like) are heading into the City first thing tomorrow morning. Doug and Rachel get in from Seattle late this afternoon and I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.

Home from Disney World

We are back from Disney World. After Thursday, our days and nights were so packed, there were no time for updates. But never fear. Back-dated updates will be forthcoming in the next 24 hours or so.

Disney World, Day 2

Today was Magic Kingdom day.  We were up at around 7:30 AM and met for breakfast just after 8 AM.  One of the cool things Norm did was get us a 50% discount on all hotel food, so our meals were cheap.  So we ate a cheap, but yummy breakfast and then headed out to where the shuttle buses were to pick up a bus to the Magic Kingdom.  After some brief line confusion (but others, not us) we hopped on a bus and made it to the Magic Kingdom just in time to catch the end of the opening ceremonies.

The first thing we did was head over to Space Mountain.  Kelly and Vicky shopped while Norm and I waited in line to ride.  It was fun, but I was spoiled after riding the Rockin’ Roller Coaster yesterday.  After the ride, we met up with the ladies and then headed to Buzz Lightyear, which is an interactive ride, and quite possibly one of Norm and Vicky’s favorites.  After that, it was on to the Haunted Mansion, one of Kelly’s favorite rides.  She could barely contain herself, walking over there.  There was really no line to speak of and we got right on the ride without a delay.  My favorite part of that ride is the singing statues.  Long time readers of this blog will recall that I suspected one of those statues followed me to an Orioles game back in the summer of 2006.

From the Haunted Mansion we made our way over to It’s A Small World.  I can’t remember the last time I’d been on that ride.  I spent most of the time taking pictures.  (Norm and Vicky were constantly talking about how they weren’t taking enough pictures, so I was trying to make up for it.

Kelly wanted to go on the Snow White ride, and while we waited in line for that, Norm and Vicky went looking for hats.  Specifically, they were looking for the hand-embroidered mouse-ear hats.  Alas, as they found out, they stopped hand-embroidering the hats a month ago.  Norm seemed particularly annoyed by this.

We stayed in Fantasyland for a while, riding the Winnie the Pooh ride, and then took in Mickey’s Philharmagic 3-D show, which was a good one.  I’d seen it once before last year.  While on that ride, I took what I thought was my funniest picture.  I attempted to take a picture of me being frightened by all of the scenery.  Norm, observing my attempt at a self-portrait, decided to interject himself into the pictures, with what I think is hilarious results 

Vicky needed some water after that ride, so we stopped briefly for some water and then used our Fast Passes for Peter Pan.  We were all getting pretty hungry and so we stopped to get some funnel cake after Peter Pan.  Kelly did a little bit of shopping.  I attempted to feed a friendly duck some funnel cake and got “yelled at” by a Disney employee.  (Norm says I got yelled at; I claim that he simply suggested that I didn’t feed the duck.)  After a quick bathroom break, we headed over to Pirates.

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Kelly’s favorite rides.  I don’t think the ride takes Fast Pass, but it wasn’t very crowded at all.  We managed to zip through the extremely long queue that they have set up for it in no time.  I snapped a few more photos while we waited in the line.  I have to say, however, that I liked Pirates better before they modified it to better match the Johnny Depp movies.  It’s still a fun ride, but it’s just not quite the same.  Also, the Magic Kingdom version of the ride is somewhat different than the Disneyland version and I like the latter better.  But it was still fun.

After Pirates, we made our way over toward Big Thunder Mountain to get some Fast Passes for later.  We wandered around the park for a while, at some lunch, and took pictures in front of the castle.  Then Vicky and Kelly decided to do some more shopping while Norm and I went on Big Thunder Mountain.  It started raining on the way over there.  Big Thunder Mountain was, for some reason, probably the longest line we waited in.  The standby line was 70 minutes and the Fast Pass line probably took 10-15 minutes.  It was a fun, relaxing, and fortunately, most of the rain had stopped by the time the ride was over.  We wandered back through crowds of people, half of whom were caught out in the rain and had shuffled into various shops looking for Disney ponchos.  We met up with Kelly and Vicky and headed back to Tomorrowland. 

We needed a break so we rode the People Mover, which was relaxing.  Then we went to the Carousel of Progress.  I’d been on it last year and I took the opportunity to nap.  And nap I did, through the whole thing.

Norm had been prodding us for silly one-liners for the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor show.  Kelly and I had no one-liners, but we went to the show anyway.  Actually, it was pretty funny and pretty impressive how they make the animated hosts and comedians interact with the audience.  At one point they ask you to text jokes to a number.  Norm texted one on behalf of Vicky and hers was the first joke read by the comedian.  “This one is from Vicky from New York,” he said.  The four of us were visibly pleased.

As the day wore on we rode the Jungle Cruise.  We also walked by an area near the castle where crowds had gathered to watch the Osmond’s (all of them, I think) being filmed for something.  There they were, just a few yards away from us.  The park closed at 7 PM today because of a special event this evening, so sometime around 5 PM we started making our way out of the park.  We went through several shops and I got some chocolate fudge in one of them.  Then we left the park and caught the bus back to the hotel.  Norm had made reservations at a restaurant that I’d been too once before and really enjoyed–a buffet.  We decided to rest for a few hours before heading off to dinner.

Rest we did.  Kelly and I fell asleep almost at once, and when I woke up an hour or so later, I felt sick–nauseous.  I lay in bed shivering, certain I was going to be ill.  We told Norm and Vicky that we’d have to skip out on dinner (I felt terribly guilty for that).  More than likely, I was just dehydrated.  I drank a lot of water and the shivers passed and before I knew it, I felt completely better.  Eventually, I ate a hot dog and some fries (Kelly had eaten a bit earlier) and we invited Norm and Vicky to come to our room to hang out when they got back from dinner.  Norm brought beer with him and he and I drank through the six-pack while sitting around talking.  Vicky went to bed and we continued talking until about 1:30 AM.  We decided to meet for breakfast at 8:15 tomorrow morning.  The plan is to spend the day at Epcot.  Sickness aside, today was a really fun-filled day.

Disney World, Day 1

As it turned out, all travel arrangements worked out perfectly yesterday. Kelly and I got to Dulles, were through security in two minutes, and made our way to the Red Carpet Club. We had a couple of drinks there before catching our 9:35 PM flight to Orlando. Our flight was on time and arrived 5 minutes early. We met vickyandnorm almost as soon as we got off the tram to the main terminal. Norm went to the rental car desk to get the car and we headed out. We ended up with a bright blue car, roomy, but it sure stands out. We spent last night at a time-share property, a condo that was really nice. Full kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining room, living room, balcony. Our bedroom had a whirlpool tub in the room. But were were only there for a few hours. We went to bed sometime after 1:30 AM and were up at 7:30 this morning. We had a quick breakfast, checked out, and then headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

The park opened at 9 AM and were there just a few minutes after it opened. The air was a little cool, but it warmed up quickly. We managed to pack in quite a bit. The first thing we did was the safari, which Kelly had never done before. Then we headed over to the Everest roller coaster ride, and Norm and I went on that while Kelly and Vicky waited. They actually saw us on the ride twice. It’s a pretty cool roller coaster. It goes backwards, there’s one good big drop, and some turns that probably reach 2-gees. We did more wandering and snacking and shopping. We caught a few shows. We had lunch. Eventually, we made our way back to Everest, and Norm and I rode it again, this time sitting in the front. Once again, the line was not long (we used Fast Pass). It was even more fun the second time around.

After that, we got some soft serve ice cream and headed for the park exit. Kelly lost her camera case, but it was a cheap one and no one was really upset by it. From the Animal Kingdom, we headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) park. I’d never been there before. We got a wheelchair for Vicky (who is 5 months pregnant with twins) and who had done a great job on her feet for the first 4-5 hours of the day. Once we had that, I ran over to Star Tours to get FastPass tickets and then met up with everyone else. Vicky and Kelly decided to shop, while Norm and I hit the two big rides: Tower of Terror and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. The Tower of Terror was fun, kind of like Free Fall, but more random and more dropping. I estimated about 1/2-1 second of true free-fall. But the Rockin’ Roller Coaster: Whoa!

The Rockin’ Roller Coaster is touted as the fastest, wildest ride of all of the Disney Parks and it lived up to it’s reputation. The ride “features” Aerosmith. When Norm and I got to the line, there was a 45 minute wait. We opted for the “singles” line and managed to get on the ride and get in the same car in 10 minutes. The ride itself was amazing, beginning with the initial 0-to-60 MPH boost in 2.8 seconds. There were loops and whirls and you name it–all in the dark like Space Mountain–only much faster. It was awesome! And best of all, they play Aerosmith while you zoom through the ride. strausmouse would love it!

After that we needed a rest and went to two shows. I slept through both. The first was only a few minutes long. The second was The Little Mermaid show. It was 17 minutes long and I slept soundly through the entire thing. By that time, it was dinner time. We had reservations at The Hollywood Brown Derby. The food there was excellent. We luxuriated through dinner, taking our time, talking, and really enjoying ourselves. Vicky and I had fillet mignon, Norm had duck and venison, and Kelly had salmon. It was terrific.

Finally, dinner was over and we made our way over to the “Hollywood Hills Amphitheater” for Fantasmic. This time, Vicky’s wheelchair managed to get us good seats. We arrived about 30 minutes early, but it was already packed and so the good seats helped. The show itself was great, although much-changed since I last saw it at Disneyland back in the 90s. Once the show was over, it was 9 PM and we made our way out of the park and to the Dolphin resort, where we checked in. Norm and Vicky’s room is right across the hall from ours, both facing east into the resort. Our rooms each have two balconies, very, very nice. The plan tomorrow is to hit the Magic Kingdom. It opens at 9 AM. We are meeting for breakfast just before 8 AM, so we should all sleep well tonight.

There were a number of amusing things that happened throughout the day, but I’m beat now. It was all I could do to write this all up before crashing. I’m getting in the shower and then heading off to bed. More tomorrow.

To L.A.

Another trip is on the calendar. I have to go to Santa Monica for work the week of April 21. So, I’m now booked on United to LAX early in the morning on April 21. I’ll be there until Sunday afternoon, April 27. Kelly may be coming out for the weekend, which would be really cool.

Beantown!

I made it to Beantown. The flight was uneventful, and a few minutes early. Somehow, though I’ve been to Boston many times before, this was the first time I ever flew into Logan. The water approach reminded me a little of the approach into Oakland.

Cabs are expensive. $20 from the airport to the Westin Waterfront, and it’s only 3 miles and change. About $7 was for the tunnel toll, but still…

No problem checking in early. I’ve got a nice room on the 16th floor of the Westin Waterfront with quite the view of downtown Boston right outside my window. (See the photo below.)

(The big gray thing at the bottom is the roof of the convention center.)

The first session I plan on attending today isn’t until 6 or 7 PM (I can’t recall offhand). I also need to check and see what time I get pick up my pass. For now, I’m going to find something to eat.