Posts Tagged ‘cold car’

 

Greetings From California

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

I’m writing from 30 some odd thousand feet. I have no idea where we are, sitting in the aisle seat with the window shades to my left pulled down.

Stef saw what I wrote and pulled up the shade. We’re over mountains – probably the Rockies… possibly the Bullwinkles¹.

Our exit from Connecticut was uneventful. Well, nearly uneventful. Over the past few days a low, throaty whir has been coming from somewhere in the rear of the Explorer. I drove it to Steve at the Exxon station. What an ear! Twenty seconds of driving to hear, “Wheel bearing. Left rear wheel. It could last another 50,000 miles.” But, would it last to Bradley Airport and back? “Yes.”

We headed to the airport… heading to the long term lot where we’ve parked for better than 15 years. AAA gives discount coupons, and it’s a really good deal.

When we got there a man with a walkie talkie was standing out front and the entrance was blocked. Full! We’d never seen that before. We went to their self park lot in the back. This would mean a cold car, covered in snow if it snows, on pickup. Life goes on.

I think we’re really close to the quarter ton goal with baggage. We checked 6, rolled 2 as carry ons and had a few random shoulder bags. The driver of the van to the terminal felt it necessary to ask how long we were staying.

I tipped him anyway.

Though the parking lot was full, the Southwest portion on the terminal was empty. Three people were behind the counter and we were the only ones needing help. I had printed pour boarding passes just after midnight, getting us “A” passes which got us on the plane in the first wave. Helaine handed them to the agent and got our baggage tags. Then it was time for me to drag, roll and push them to the TSA agents.

Even with a large load like this it no longer makes sense to use a skycap. There are too many steps, and the bags are yours to push far too soon for his help to be worthwhile.

We moved on to security screening. As we got there a sweet, white haired woman was having her sneakers removed by a rubber gloved officer. I’m not law enforcement savvy, but she didn’t seem like much of a threat to me.

My camera bag got the twice over and, of course, Helaine got the thrice over. I’m not sure what she’s done to upset the powers that be, but she is nearly always singled out for additional scrutiny.

While Helaine’s inspection continued, I noticed a Connecticut State Trooper on a Segway. I think it’s a good idea… but then I saw another trooper on a bike. Even in the terminal, I suspect the bike is faster… and the trooper gets more fit.

The flight from Hartford to Las Vegas was 5:50. That is too long to be in an airplane without entertainment. It was, by far, the noisiest flight I’ve ever been on. Not the plane – the passengers. I guess that’s part and parcel of going to Vegas. You get in that party mood as early as possible.

Our layover in Las Vegas was around an hour. Helaine and Steffie went to Burger King and brought a Whopper back for me. There is free Internet access at McCarren Airport, but my battery was down to a few minutes, so I checked my mail, sent some cryptic responses and ate my burger.

Las Vegas to Burbank is a much easier trip – about an hour gate to gate.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is like a throwback to an older time. That’s not to say it’s quaint and pretty, because it isn’t. It’s an airport that’s bursting at the seams. It’s also the first time in years that I deplaned using air stairs! Southwest unloaded the passengers through both the front and rear stairs of the 737.

We chose Burbank because we had heard it was much smaller and easier to get around in than LAX. That was absolutely true. The baggage claim is in a covered, though open air area. Thank heavens the heavy winter rains are over! Aren’t they?

Because we’re bringing enough baggage to stay permanently, should we choose, we rented an SUV. We got a white Chevy Trail Blazer from Alamo. Nice deal. Nice car. It feels bigger and heavier than our Explorer.

The drive to our hotel was uneventful… and now as Helaine and Stef unpack, I’m typing this. I guess I’d better stop and help. More tomorrow from Southern California.

Meanwhile, a little look off our west facing balcony. I believe that’s Santa Monica in the distance.

¹ – Sorry. Unavoidable.