On The Road Again

November 5, 2010

This road trip was unique because I hadn’t slept in an actual bed since August 19th (if you’re scoring at home, that’s five weeks in a hammock, six weeks on a crappy futon, and two weeks on an awesome couch).

As I was looking out the bus window in Los Angeles, I was thinking “this is everything  exactly like my mental image of LA: jammed free ways, palm trees, 90 degree weather, smog, atmosphere, vibe… God I miss New York.”

And when someone casually mentioned places I knew existed but were always well outside my universe, I almost said things like “oh, what were you doing in Anaheim?” before I realized “wait, I live in California. That’s totally normal.”

Other than that, it’s been your typical road trip.

You know you travel for business a lot when you have to have a slot in your cell phone address book to store your current hotel room number.

I list it first in my phone (“A Hotel Room”), so when I accidentally pocket dial, I’m not annoying a friend with an A name. (Your welcome “Amy ___” and “Alario, ____” !).

The other signs I travel a lot:
— I can pick up a hotel remote and instantly operate it without having to look at the buttons (including rarely used keys, like “Sleep”).

— My frequent flyer and hotel rewards numbers are on one slip of paper in my wallet in front of my pictures.

— I have a travel copy of every toiletry, which is always packed.

— When I go to iron a dress shirt at home, I open my closet, don’t see an iron hanging on the wall and say “oh, right.”

— I have purchased only two bottles of hand lotion in the last nine years.

— The first thing I look at when entering a room is “do the thick curtains go all the way across the window, or do I just have some flimsy thing that blocks no light?”

— I bring my own coffee with me, since hotel coffee is garbage.

— I have a power strip in my laptop bag so I can charge my laptop and phone next to the hotel bed or at airport gates.

— I have used 37 different pillows in the last 11 years, yet purchased only two. Once a year on a bus trip, I trade them in like they are Craftsman tools.

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Road Trip/Move: Part II

August 24, 2010

My first experience with racial profiling! And it was New Mexico, not Arizona.  The border patrol cones off the interstate and you have to pull into one of two lanes, like a small toll lane before EZ-Pass. When you roll down your window, they ask if you’re a U.S. Citizen and glance inside the car to see if anyone’s hiding. I assume if you’re brown, they ask for proof of your citizenship and actually look in the car. But I got a 2.4 second white person stop.

I don’t care for Starbucks overpriced burnt tasting coffee, but I suppose it’s a necessary evil since two-thirds of top 250 metro areas are completely devoid of places that can make a decent pot of coffee. Seriously, there’s 11 Starbucks in all of New Mexico. I think most airports have more

I cannot comprehend how I-5 from LA to Northern California is only two lanes wide for hundreds of miles. There’s ample room in the median area to resolve this and add a lane in each direction. There’s thousands of people on the road. At the same time. And almost everyone thinks they should be in the left lane. It took the same amount of time to drive 300 miles up California as it did to drive 600 in barren Texas.

I should have gotten language CDs for my drive. By the time it took me to get to California, I could have mastered Spanish and French, which would help me get a job in pro baseball or hockey in the future.


Road Trip/Move: Part I

August 21, 2010

I’m moving to California this weekend. Left the Austin area this morning and spent all day on I-10.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to drive from Austin to El Paso on I-10, you can replicate most the experience at home. Go to your laundry room, turn on the dryer and unfold your ironing board. Throw two pairs of khakis on it, one along each edge. Take a bag of green spice drops and pour those over the khakis. Pull up a lawn chair at the end of the ironing board and there for about eight hours.

The daytime speed limit from Junction, Texas, to El Paso is 80 mph. They should just put “Just Get Out of Here” on the sign. Realistically, that “limit” probably only limited me by about six miles an hour. I’d probably go about 93. Then again, it’s not every day you get to drive 100 mph. Naturally, I had to try it. It was the only time I touched the pedal between Junction and Ft. Stockton after setting the cruise at 87.

In a related note, Google Maps’ estimated distance really needs to consider that every one goes 7 mph over the speed limit. It doesn’t take 3:09 from Junction to Ft. Stockton. Even at the speed limit they missed by 40 minutes. I guarantee you someone out there has done it in under two hours.

I tend to look down on small-town America because I can’t imagine why people live some places. Like Fort Stockton and its two-pump gas station that has no covering (figures I show up on one of the few days it rains).  Or in Lordsburg, New Mexico cable system has 47 channels according to TV Guide.

Come to think of it, I-10 might be the U.S. D.O.T.’s  greatest achievement. Building an interstate has to be tough when there labor has to commute from Austin or El Paso. I’m pretty sure the four towns in the middle were built so the labor could finish the thing, and of course, to put gas stations there so you could actually use I-10.


Planes and Prayer

June 11, 2010

After a half hour delay for “issues” unknown, my plane for DC took off. I offered up my customary prayer for a safe trip during the period which wireless devices aren’t allowed, and then as we took off, noticed that our right wing was a lot more, um, floppy than our left wing.

That’s not normal. The left wing was moving as we took off, but just a few inches and looked quite rigid. The right wing, by comparison, was flopping around about twice as much. I wasn’t too alarmed, but couldn’t help but think “hey, don’t we want that thing to be, you know, strong and not flapping around like an elderly woman’s jiggling arm flab?”

Good think I got that prayer in. Normally, I just silently and quickly ask that the plane has a safe trip because the student-athletes I am usually flying with have so much potential and long lives ahead of them. Then I follow that up with, “and if the plane does go down, please make sure my character is in the movie and someone attractive plays me.”

Hey, they mad We Are Marshall. If I’m on a team plane that crashes, there should be a movie!

Ever swear to God in a prayer? Not like “I swear to you that I’ll go to church more if you keep that wing from flopping like a European in the NBA” but like “Lord, flying into Huntington WV” (for example) “is terrifying the shit out of me…”

Well, I accidentally dropped an F-bomb. As in, “and if the plane does go down, I’m glad I’m with these (F people) and not student-athletes with potential.”

Oh well. I think I’m screwed. If you’re reading this, it means the plane landed safely and let me post this during my layover, or my crackberry survived and was found in the wreckage.