Friday, February 24, 2017

Mall Time

It's been a lot of fun having a couple of teenagers around the house these last several months.  As teenagers, I thought it would be good to give them some time at the mall.  Of course, I decided that a standard mall here in California would be good, but the Mall of America in Minnesota would be even better.  So, we did a quick weekend trip to the mall.  Since I spent a few winters in the area, I thought it I would be greeted with the standard blizzard conditions in February.  To my surprise, it was just as warm in Minneapolis as it was in Southern California.  After the entire day at the mall, I think we were all worn out. 


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Vacation Time

I became a temporary father to two teenagers for a year.  In order to start things off, I decided to take the boys on a quick vacation in Los Angeles.  Of course, we had to see the Hollywood Sign.  For some reason, that was one of the "must do" things on the list of most people from outside California.  The sign is deemed a cultural and iconic landmark by some, but it was initially designed as a marketing gimmick to sell real estate about 100 years ago.  My new sons were impressed by the sign, but thought it was still a bit smaller in person.  I guess that can be said about a lot of things in Hollywood...


Wednesday, August 03, 2016

North Carolina Revisited

After all this time, I'm back at it again.  The adventure continues as the lady sitting next to me on the plane must have been in a rush because she decided to walk over me instead of waiting for me to get up. She tripped and used my throat for leverage while attempting to keep from falling, not that I needed to breathe or anything.

Upon the return trip, the pilot needed to dive fast because we were experiencing "pressurization" problems.  This was probably not the best way to temporarily return to the world of the road warrior.  However, it was nice to get back in to the field for one last trip before I transform into a single soccer dad in a couple of weeks.


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Transitional Life

One of the things that really makes me feel like I have finally retired from the daily life of a road warrior is the fact that my airline club memberships have lapsed for the first time in almost twenty years.  I did do one trip to Colorado earlier this year, and I realized that I was completely over it.  Don't get me wrong.  It was a wonderful experience with all of the interesting and strange adventures throughout.  After reading through this blog and some of my other adventures, I realized that my life was pretty exciting at times. 

After a career spanning three decades, I no longer crave the road warrior challenge. It just happens that way sometimes.  I probably have a couple more adventures left in me since I still have to make a living.  However, I really do want to transition back to normal life, whatever that is...  We'll see how this goes.  Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Life On The Ground

There really is a temptation to stop and smell the roses.  Really.  No kidding.  I've been grounded for a while now, and I really have no intention of getting back onto the road full time.  Reality will eventually kick in, I'm sure.  Being grounded in San Diego does have some great advantages.  I've been able to spend more time having a life.  Who knew?  I actually do have a life that isn't 35,000 feet in the air. 

All good things must come to an end.  I guess it's time to book my next adventure.  I'm going to a reunion in North Carolina in a few weeks, and then I do have to get on the road for work for a few random days this summer. It's time to get those wings out of storage.


Sunday, February 16, 2014


As strange as it may seem, I have been on the ground for a couple of months.  I am still employed with even more work and reason to travel than ever.  It seems that working at my desk has been a quite appealing prospect for the last several weeks, and it gets harder and harder to want to get back in the saddle again.

In a strange turn of events, I was the only one who didn't have to travel for a company meeting earlier this month.  Thanks to the polar vortex this winter, most people were quite happy to have a meeting in Southern California.  Due to inclement weather, a lot of people had some interesting travel stories.  Sadly, I think I've experienced almost all of those stories sometime in my career.

I'm not sure what the future might bring, but I do believe that I'm not quite finished yet.  For now, I'll enjoy being on the ground with a lot of paperwork.  Happy travels to all!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

O Canada . . . Again

And so I returned from another exciting adventure to Western Canada.  Between the low visibility due to the blizzard-like conditions and the challenge of the day job, it was one of those experiences that I just don't want to repeat.  At temperatures averaging twenty below zero, it made me realize that I need to get back into semi-retirement.

I do have to admit that getting in to Canada was much easier than getting back in to the United States.  Of course, I really should not have attempted to do so on the day before Thanksgiving.  What was I thinking??  The interesting part of the experience in US Customs today is that our border patrol seems to favor anyone but US citizens.  The customs officers paraded a lot of the returning US citizens into different lines that took ten times longer than visitors from other countries.  I was first off my plane from Canada and the entire plane beat me through the customs lines.  My luggage was the last piece waiting on the carousel, and I almost missed my connecting flight.  Two hours in customs is a bit much, but I guess it was compounded by the holiday.

I have one more major trip this year, and then I can rest for a little while.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  May your travels be less complicated than mine...


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Canada Revisted

It is easy to forget that Canada is a country separate from the USA.  I recently got back from a quick trip north, and found that travel problems exist no matter where you go.  In this adventure, I found that we have really set travel backward in the last twelve years.  Bear in mind, during this entire trip, I was wearing a leg brace due to the injury that was chronicled in the last two posts.

In Canada, it seemed to be a lot easier to get around in the airports.  I noted that even though we did have metal detectors, there were no intrusive x-ray machines or other invasive technologies designed to make the traveler uncomfortable.  There was sufficient security, and it wasn't disruptive either.  The airports were designed to make it as painless for the traveler.  What a concept!  This is what travel used to be like twelve years ago.

Even though the airports were not the issue, I still had a few problems with this trip.  It was just before school started, and there were quite a few children on the plane.  One of them accidentally splashed me with some water on the airplane (at least I hope it was water).  Kids will be kids, I suppose.  It has also been a while since I had my last border crossing, so I forgot that different currency is used in Canada.  I had the hardest time finding places to eat that took my brand of credit card.

After an unexpected flight delay and missed connection, I got reroute to Seattle.  The airline wasn't able to get me back to the right airport, but at least I made it back to the general area of Southern California.  Close enough.  After all that, I eventually returned back home, and am awaiting the next adventure. Until then, I'll continue to limp along.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Limping Along

It's been over a month since my ankle injury in Texas.  I've hobbled along for brief day trips to San Francisco, Sacramento, and Minneapolis in the intervening weeks.  Before my heralded return to Canada (for a day), I am attempting to remember how to deal with the intricacies of the international aspect of travel.  Many years ago I used to travel frequently into Canada, and had many difficulties.  This time I'm fortunate enough to be traveling between a couple of smaller airports, so I think it shouldn't be too difficult.

Fortunately my travel schedule has become a lot more manageable.  The last round of constant travel over the past three years has made me realize that semi-retirement really wasn't a bad thing.  Anyway, it's time to get back to business.  It has been several years since my last opportunity to cross the border, and I am trying to remember where I left my passport and other documents while limping along.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Longest Week Of The Year

I returned to my old schedule, just for a week.  It all started on an overnight New York flight on Sunday.  Since flights have been so inconsistent lately, I had to stop in Washington DC for a "quick" connection, which turned out to be several hours.  Delays are pretty common these days.  However, if you're meeting a large group of people from all over the country and no one makes it on time, it may be time to look at our air travel system. 

In the middle of the week, I rerouted myself to a last minute job in Texas.  I had a 20 minute connection in Cleveland, so the airline decided to reroute me through Chicago. It took an extra 10 hours to get to my destination, since I missed the last connecting flight.  In the tradition of a true road warrior, I decided to reroute myself to the closest available airport with a flight and drive through the night.

This was one of the few times that I didn't pack too much extra stuff for an "emergency" add-on trip.  After all, it's been almost a year and over 200,000 miles since I had to add a few days to an existing trip. At least I didn't tear the seam of my pants like I did in Cleveland several years ago.  Also, I didn't give the airline a reason to lose my luggage, as I carried everything on the plane.  However, I still needed to get the WalMart suit, and get some other extra clothes and stuff.  I did still manage to twist my ankle and wind up in extreme amounts of pain on Saturday.  Some things never change...

I finally limped my way back home, and I'm still limping along.  That was one of the longest weeks I've had in a while.  Let's not do that again.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Work Life Balance - Three Unrelated Words

Every now and then, there are short periods of time when you have to remain office bound for one reason or another.  I'm in between assignments at work, but I know things are going to pick up in a week or two.  In the meantime, oddly enough, I have started to actually miss the airport after being grounded for more than a week.  However, when I'm on the road as usual, I really miss the time at home to get on with my personal life.  It's a really strange cyclical anomaly.

Many people have reminded me about work-life balance, and it is interesting to see the different perspectives. People older than I am will tend to lean toward the work aspect, while the younger group will tend to lean strongly on the life aspect.  The interesting thing to note is that I can't seem to find the balance portion with either.  In my current line of work, you just have to accept the busy periods, and take the opportunity to catch up with your personal life during the slow periods.

I'm off to Detroit to work on my other personal projects for the weekend.  It's not exactly work or life or balance, but at least I'm getting to see the airport again.  Wait!  Did I just say that? ...


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Travel Game

It's been well over 50,000 miles since my last post, and I finally have a few moments between all of my projects for a quick personal trip to New York. Since I resumed my life as a road warrior a few years ago, I have found that I seem to have a lot less personal time on my schedule.  Even though my assignment is nearing completion, I still needed to take a little time for family.

Travel is a really unusual game. It's supposed to be about getting from point "A" to point "B" with minimal disruptions to your life.  It's also about trying to get the lowest fare, most frequent flier miles, and best seating.  Just like standard business travel, it can be a no-win scenario, especially around a holiday.  In this case, I needed to be in upstate New York for a graduation on a Saturday morning.  The lowest fares were either overnight flights that would allow me to arrive in the morning on Saturday, but place me180 miles away from my destination.   I made the tactical error of getting in to JFK right before rush hour on Friday.  It took three hours just to get out of the city.  I managed to stop for dinner in New Jersey before continuing onward. 

So, a minor miscalculation while playing the travel game did cost me a bit of sanity throughout the weekend.  However, I wouldn't have it any other way.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winter Revisted

I never really understood the meaning of a winter wonderland.  Since I have lived for most of my life in warmer climates, it usually causes some trepidation every time I encounter snow and ice. This winter has been no exception.  I've been spending a lot of time in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan.  Needless to say, there has been a lot of snow so far.  It has been a few years since I have experienced freezing temperatures that actually hurt with just a few seconds of exposure.

While the fresh snow looks nice, it does have its challenges.  Rental car companies don't provide the shovels and ice picks that I needed in the last several trips.  The snow and ice were challenging in Duluth and Minneapolis, and I really needed that shovel in Chicago and Grand Rapids after experiencing the same snow storm twice in the same week.  The small brush and ice scraper that I had available was just not enough to dig myself out of the parking lot.

There are still several more weeks of winter, and I'm not quite finished with my travels into Minnesota for now.  I have yet to understand this concept of a winter wonderland.  However, I do wonder when this winter will end.

See ya.

Monday, January 07, 2013

It Begins Again

Another year, and another long adventure begins.  I log over 250,000 miles domestically every year, and log over 200 flight segments a year easily.  As I start to get a little more grey, I've noticed that my patience seems to be growing shorter for air travel.  Maybe I'm just getting tired or set in my ways.  After all these years of the increased security measures, it just seems really taxing to even walk through the scanners these days.  If this were fifteen years ago, I would consider the standard pat-down-after-a-scan treatment that I get at airport security to be a form of assault.  However, these days I have to dismiss it as the fact that the agents don't need to have a reason to touch me in places that would be classified as molestation by anyone else. 

Lately, in Minnesota and a couple of other California airports, I've noticed that the scan with pat-down seems to happen most of the time.  It's not like I'm unaware of the protocols with shoes, outer clothing, and other stuff.  I just think that after subjecting me to radiation from multiple scans every week, are the extreme pat downs that touch or get close to your private areas really necessary?  I've been feeling violated way too much in the past year from improper touches, but it's not like I have a choice, since I have to travel for work.  I recognize many of the TSA agents at the airports that I frequent regularly.  I'm there every week, sometimes multiple times.  Yet I still seem to get singled out more often than what I would consider normal.  I've been dismissing it as the fact that they probably recognize me from previous visits.  After all, I'm sure the TSA agents see thousands of faces every day, too. 

As I was saying, another year, and another long adventure begins. Time to roll...


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

As we begin a new year, I can't help but look back to the last couple of years on the road.  I was traveling as much as the old days, and I had the same number of whacky adventures as well.  For some reason, I just couldn't find the time to keep up the blog.  I can't say that I'll be too much better in the upcoming year, but I'll give it a try.

In the meantime, I have been home for a couple of weeks, and it has been great to rest up a bit before another year that will likely top 250,000 miles once again.  I've got a new home office thanks to one of my close friends, and I think that this will be an interesting year of changes.  It's a long road back, but the journey has to start somewhere.

The journey begins in California and continues to Wisconsin and beyond.  Time to get started...


Friday, December 07, 2012

Paper Umbrellas

Most people take real vacations and stay somewhere for a week at a time.  I'm the type of person that gets by on a couple of days in Hawaii to visit family and friends.  In this visit, I have scheduled a little time with everyone, but I often forget the time for myself.

What do I really want out a vacation?  I think it would be a nice relaxing tropical beverage with a paper umbrella.  Of course, it would be nice to be overlooking the beach, with a nice warm breeze, and no access to email or any other distraction. Although, it's hard to imagine life (or a vacation) without my technology.  Maybe I'll try that sometime. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Round

It's been a while since my last update.  I've been through quite a bit in the last few years, and I've traveled quite a bit as well.  It all started about two years ago, when I became a victim of corporate America, and found myself looking for a new career.  I returned to another round as a full-time road warrior.  Unfortunately, it seems that I seem to have less time to provide updates to my various blogs.  In searching for a new a new job, I realized that I just don't think I can leave the wonderful weather and sights of Southern California.  Since my skills are somewhat specialized, I decided that I needed to find some work on the road.

I was also catching up with my previous posts, and I noticed that a couple of years ago, I was wondering how I ever gave this up.  I think I realized why.  It seems that there is a linear relationship between age and difficulty when playing the road warrior game.  So I'm not fresh out of college any more. At least there a few advances in technology that make life on the road a bit easier. I had mentioned this past week that my GPS has failed, so I had to resort to my map reading skills.  I was then asked what "map reading" meant.  Ha! 

Anyhow, I have returned from semi-retirement for one more round. There are still quite a few more stories to tell.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Remote Office Blues

As in past years, I'm wiping the dust off my home office to make it a fully functional working office. At the moment, I can work from home occasionally, but it is not the most ideal circumstance due to the clutter. I decided that it is now time to clean up and turn the office into the command center that I require for my various work and volunteer activities. I'm starting with the paperwork tonight, and then I get back in touch with my inner geek, and rework the electronics in the office this weekend.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Can't Get Enough

In an unusual turn of events, I have returned to my old travel schedule for the last month. In an effort to maintain my status on one of the airlines, I decided to take a day off to visit a friend in Honolulu. However, I decided to take the trip via Newark. Yes, it is an interesting routing to go from California to New Jersey to get to Hawaii for a couple of days. However, it actually cost me a couple of hundred dollars less to go through New Jersey than it did to go on the regular routing through Los Angeles. After all these years, I am still baffled by airline fares.

I just got back from a quick business trip to Boston, and I think I now have enough to keep me as a top-tier traveler for one more year. This might actually be the last year I get to do this, unless I can find a travel job in the upcoming year. You never know. After all, I still wonder why I ever gave this up.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Back In Action

After all this time, it was great to get back into the field. While on a day vacation to San Francisco, I go rerouted to Dallas to a quick customer meeting. The following week, I had another customer meeting in Minneapolis, followed by a four hour drive to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a marketing event. It seems like old times, and it was during the last trip to South Dakota that I realized that it wasn't the travel or the airports or the hotels. It's all about your colleagues in the field, and the interaction, teamwork, and camaraderie that you experience during the different missions that you need to accomplish in the field. During dinner in South Dakota, I remarked that I had really missed working with some of my sales team on a regular basis.

I still have a few more places to go before this year is over, so I'm not quite finished just yet. For now, I have a week of desk duty ahead of me. I forgot about the late-night paperwork that follows the adventures on the road. The adventures continue, for a little while longer, at least. For now, I'm gearing up for a quick vacation to Hawaii in a couple of weeks. Travel safe.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Behind The Desk

I once held a position that required me to be a road warrior in a different city every day of the week. It was an interesting job. However, time did take its toll, and I did get a bit worn down after a decade or two. Every now and then, I do seem to think that I have been stuck behind a desk for a bit too long. For the last year or so, I have been permanently behind the desk, keeping everything together for all of the people who still decide to make a living by playing road warrior on a daily basis.

I do miss the camaraderie that you have with your colleagues on the road. I think I have a closer bond with the people that I have worked with in the field than those that I might have seen in the office setting. I have been asked if I would go back to doing a remote job. If the travel schedule were a bit less demanding than what I used to do, then I might consider it. However, if it's my old 300,000-mile per year domestic travel plan, I think I might be getting a bit too worn down to keep up with that level of travel.

No, I'm not leaving the desk just yet. However, I do think I'm going to get myself onto the playing field a bit more than I have this past year. I'm not quite ready to start getting out of practice just yet.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Wherever You Go

I once wore a button that had a cool quote -- I live in the past, the rent is cheaper. I like quotes from the past. Another one comes to mind lately -- No matter where you go, there you are. I think this one is from Buckaroo Banzai in the 1980's. I thought about traveling for the weekend, but ultimately decided against it.

I spent a few hours in Los Angeles at an diversity event for the company earlier in the week. I was thinking about going to San Francisco or Phoenix for the weekend. However, I decided to change my plans since one of my friends couldn't make it. So, I decided to stick around here in San Diego for the weekend. There's still a lot of stuff to do here at home. After all, wherever you go, there you are.

See ya.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Here We Go Again

I've been grounded for a bit too long. When you reach a certain point in your career, the temptation is always to get back onto the road to have a presence with your team. Up to this point, I have resisted the temptation, as my responsibilities remain in San Diego. However, there does come a point in time when you just can't stop thinking about life back on the road.

I've decided that it may be time to hit the road on a couple of long weekends. I haven't quite decided upon the destinations, but just like life, it's all about the journey. Since life is a journey, I guess I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride. I'm going to throw the dart at the map and see where I'll end up next weekend. Stay tuned...


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Getting Away From It All

Economic pressures have wreaked havoc with just about every aspect of my life. There have been really tough adjustments at work, and work has picked up at my various volunteer jobs because of external pressures. And so I returned to Hawaii for the third time this year. For the first time in quite a while, I'm spending an entire week on vacation. I'm stepping back to spend some time with friends and family.

For the first time in years, a couple of my friends made appearances in San Diego briefly this past weekend. We haven't been together at the same time in almost a decade. I'm spending some time with friends and classmates from the old days, and will be attending one more wedding. This time it's my cousin getting married.

This truly has been my big chance to get away from it all. My last few entries have highlighted the fact that I really needed a vacation. Even though I've said many times that it isn't a good strategy to do so, I do hope this vacation is enough to recharge my batteries.


Sunday, April 12, 2009


I spent a week in Chicago at a trade show. This was the first time this year that I had traveled for work, and it was a bittersweet experience. In the days before I had to leave for the show, the company had some layoffs, and my team was impacted. It was really hard to leave for a show when I should have been back at home trying to pick up the pieces.

Due to the economy, there weren't too many of my colleagues at the show, but I did get to see a few of my close friends there, so it was a welcome break. For the first time at one of these shows, I decided that I needed to break away from the rest of the group for some "alone" time. I just couldn't deal with being around people during this round, due to the events of the previous week.

I've returned home to deal with the aftermath. As soon as I got back, I was moved to a new building and new office. I'm taking a short time this weekend to rest before trying to bring order to the chaos on Monday.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Breaking Away

With the current state of the economy coupled with other tightening pressures at work, it actually is a relief to get away briefly. Last weekend, I decided to break away from work a few hours early to visit quite a few of my friends. Even though it was only an hour away, Disneyland was a great way to break away briefly. I was able to catch up with a couple of my friends in Anaheim, and then I spent the weekend in Los Angeles visiting several other friends.

I still have not had my first travel assignment at work, and with the current state of the economy, I expect the traveling to be quite restrictive moving forward. I'm still expecting a quick trip into Chicago next month, but we'll see if that actually comes to pass. Until then, I think I need to make sure that I have enough rest and recreation time. I think it might be time to schedule a few more reunions throughout the country.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lost In Paradise

After a couple of trips back to Hawaii in the last couple of months, I've been lost in a daze. Realizing that I am no longer built for the ravages of the overnight flight, I decided to continue to ignore my better judgment and take the flight anyway. There has always been a disconnect between my current physical location and my current mental state. It usually takes my brain a couple of days to catch up, just like my luggage in most cases. These last couple of trips were no exception. I think my brain is still lost in paradise somewhere, sipping that tropical beverage with the paper umbrella.

It's an odd thing to be semi-retired from the travel game. These last couple of trips reminded me that I am starting to lose some of my skills in the field. I accidentally brought a screwdriver (the tool, not the beverage) with me in my computer bag. I still managed to bring it back home with me. I would never have let that happen a few months ago.

Before trade show season starts again, I guess it is time to get back into practice. I've actually got to start packing my emergency backup suitcase again, since I had to use it for the last trip. Good thing the clothes still fit -- almost. I'm home for another month, and then it's time to get back onto the playing field again in April.


Friday, December 26, 2008

A Time To Heal

I took one final trip into Los Angeles for the year this past weekend. I've not been in the best of health for the last year despite my reappearance in various airports throughout the country, and throughout the world for that matter. For the rest of the year, I'm staying home for some very necessary rest. When rest time is over, I'm starting the year with a quick weekend vacation in Hawaii. It's good to have some time to heal before I have to resume my regularly scheduled role as a road warrior. Later.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Cycle Continues

The cycle continues, and I'm in that rare situation that requires my presence back on the playing field for a short time. Once again, the situation dictates a last-minute trip into Baltimore. I'm not functioning at full capacity these days, so a red-eye from coast-to-coast is not really sitting well with me at the moment. I'm still trying to get things together for the trip, because there is still business to be transacted. In addition to the day job portion of this, I'm still working through the weekend to get everything wrapped up at home. It's not unlike any other one of the good old emergency trips that I've done many times over. The cycle continues over and over again. This time, though, I've got to delegate my next trip out to someone else on the team. If this emergency business cycle continues, I definitely need to get my rest cycles in place as well.

So, I'm tentatively planning to cancel my trip into Raleigh-Durham next week. However, I'll still put it on hold in case yet another emergency decides to interrupt the normal travel cycle for my team. And so it continues . . .


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Flight Controller

So I spent some time this holiday weekend monitoring planes, trains, and automobiles. No, not the movie. I used those scheduling skills of mine to get one of my friends home for the holidays. Through Amtrak and the airlines, we did manage to pull this off without any significant issues. However, it is a lot different from the other side of the equation. I have found that it is a lot different to pull the strings when examining flights, alternative trains, buses, and other random forms of travel if you are not the one actually traveling. I did manage to bring him home, but now I have to get him back to school on the other side of the country in the morning. Time for me to continue monitoring.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Let It Snow, Just Not On Me...

There's something about this time of year that reminds me that I'm supposed to stop traveling during the winter months. I decided to get snowed on in Columbus, Ohio, this week. It did make me long for the nice heat wave we were experiencing in California while attempting to get through the highway into frozen remote parts of Ohio. I've got to remember to start checking the weather before I start on these trips. I must be getting forgetful these days. Anyhow, as the song says, let it snow. . . just not on me.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Road Most Traveled

Manhattan is such an interesting place. I managed to take the subway a few times, and I balanced it out by taking a few taxis to get myself back to my hotel that was just outside the city. After a long week of conferences and meetings, I took a cab to the car rental place at the airport, and rented a car to drive up to Albany for the evening. The concept of the GPS is interesting. I asked for the fastest route, and the computerized voice took me off I-87 in the Bronx, and sent me through New Jersey before reconnecting with I-87 once again in New York. That just made no sense to me, but I was in no mood to argue with the computer. That argument always got me into trouble in the past, so I just took the road most traveled -- it was quite crowded, even in New Jersey. Thanks to all of the abuse from some of the cab drivers, my luggage has finally given up on me, so I had to do some quick shopping and shipping.

And so I find myself in Albany for another day. I managed to have some Texas chili and Idaho fries for dinner. Not bad for a small restaurant in Albany, New York, right? I've also booked yet another work trip in a couple of weeks, so the adventures continue on the road most traveled. I need a nap.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Historical Events

Ok, the plan was great, but the execution fell short. As you recall, I was attempting to pack a few days before the trip. Well, fatigue caught up with me, and sleep won out. For the first time in many years, I actually missed my flight. It was a combination of way too many things -- fatigue, weather, lack of parking, traffic, and lack of stamina. I got to the airport a little late, thanks to an extra 45 minutes that I was stuck in traffic. On top of that, it took me an extra 3o minutes to find a parking space. I had three minutes to run the half-mile to the terminal from the parking area. I just couldn't make it this time.

It's a good thing that I still have some clout with an airline or two, and managed to get into the New York only an hour later than planned. Of course, I did resort to sprinting across terminals in Dallas just like the old days. I really have to give thanks to American Airlines this week. They actually connected my luggage correctly with a less than 20 minute transfer in Dallas. No luggage separation anxiety on this trip!

It was a historic week on many fronts. That election thing also happened this week too. I really don't get too deep into politics, but it was kind of nice being in the middle of Manhattan during this election day. For the last couple of days, I attended a leadership summit with some of the most powerful global leaders and corporations. It's been a great session, and it has made me think about sticking around for a bit longer. There will be plenty of time for retirement later. Life is a journey, and I'm going to enjoy the ride. Later.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Three Times In As Many Days

As strange as it may seem, I'm off to New York for the third time in less than a month. For a semi-retired, office-bound road warrior, that is a bit much. It's not the plane ride or time zone that will be the challenge this time. I think the greatest challenge will just be my presence in Manhattan during election week and the week of the New York Marathon. I'm not participating if you haven't already guessed. I think it's going to be a bit crazier than usual, and it will likely be similar to the last time I had some extended time in Manhattan. As I recall Garth Brooks was in town performing, and I kept getting stuck in the horrific traffic caused by his fan base.

I may be a bit early for this, but it's time to pack. I will admit to being a bit rusty at this, so I'm not going to do my "pack-for-five-minutes-before-you-rush-to-the-airport" show. This time, I'm going to at least try to get it right. Safe travels, everyone.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Exceeding Capacity

For the last few decades, I've consistently made a habit of exceeding my capabilities on the road. It has worked for me in the past, but maybe there is some wisdom in slowing down. I got back to New York a couple of times in the last few weeks. Both trips required hundreds of miles of driving.

It was quite disturbing for me to discover that I just couldn't successfully fight off the fatigue. Since my days in college and earlier, I've always pushed harder in order to keep going. This last time I just didn't make it. During my four-hour drive to visit a friend, I needed to pull off the road in Canada to rest in order to safely make it to my hotel. I guess I didn't have too much time to rest during the trip, but when I did have a moment, I took the opportunity for a nap instead of providing my normal updates from the road. On the way back, It took roughly twice the time, and there was no difference in traffic. No, I didn't get lost. The fatigue finally caught up, and I had to pull over multiple times or truly risk an accident.

Maybe I'm just getting old. Maybe I just shouldn't pack my schedule the way I used to. I guess I finally got knocked down by that invisible age barrier. I guess it's time to adjust my capacity settings. And now, it's time for that nap.


Sunday, October 12, 2008


It's kind of nice being unplugged from the office for a few days. Though in this day and age, it's really hard to be totally disconnected from the rigors of the working world. I spent yesterday driving around New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, in search of a cheeseburger. I did reach the target objective in New Haven, CT, and dragged along a friend. An experience like this is something that is best shared. You really have to experience the burger to fully understand. It's that good. I could go on and on about different restaurants across the country, but that's not the point of today's post.

As I was mentioning earlier, being unplugged from the office has been a great thing. The hotel and airline experience seems a bit weird without the rigors and pressures of the office beating you down. It did give me some insight into the fact that travel has really gotten to be a horrible experience if you don't have the status (or even if you do, in some cases.) Airlines have turned into freight services, and passengers are looked upon as cattle. I do think that FedEx and UPS have a chance to break into the market. My packages seem to get there intact most of the time. I'm sure they couldn't do any worse with actual people. Hey, it could happen.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

And I'm Off Again . . .

. . . but as I always say, insanity is no excuse. Yes, I'm getting myself back out on the road for a short vacation. I haven't been out and about much since my last vacation. This time, the destination is Albany, and the flight is a red-eye. Travel has gotten a bit complex in recent years, but I think the exhaustion factor also has something to do with it. I've really got to stop scheduling my time right up to the last minute before the flight. It's just not the sane thing to do. But, as I mentioned earlier, insanity is no excuse. Travel safe.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This entry was supposed to relay an interesting journey into the Deep South with many pearls of wisdom and the many roads less traveled. Instead, I remain in San Diego working on various projects, and planning for the road ahead. I was also supposed to see my friend Ruth in Las Vegas next week. Unfortunately, I'm still not able to work out the details of the trip, and probably won't be able to squeeze it into my schedule due to work meetings and other projects that seemed to pop into my calendar.

I've been anxiously awaiting an excuse to write about something in this column, but I've got to admit -- I've got nothing. It's pretty hard doing a continuing blog about being a road warrior when I can't seem to get myself on the road for any period of time this past month.

Things should be picking up soon. I'm scheduled to visit my friend James in New York in a couple of weeks. After that, it's time for Jon's third wedding this year. In between that, I've got a quick trip to Chicago, and perhaps a couple of other quick trips in November. No more excuses, I need to get back on the road!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later

It's seven years later, and it seems like a distant memory. I was a full-fledged road warrior back then, and the day was pivotal in our history. It's amazing what can happen in a brief seven years. Reflecting on some of the changes we've seen, I wonder how the travel industry has managed to survive the chaos. We've seen reactions to security that were somewhat over-the-top. A combination of security and economic pressures caused airlines to rise and fall.

Personally, I've given in to the ravages of time, and decided to go part-time with my road warrior adventures. The world of travel has gotten a bit more complex in the intervening years, so it's a good thing that I've decided to slow down a bit. The adventure still continues . . .


Monday, September 01, 2008

Sweet Home California

According to the counter on the blog, this is my 200th post in this column, so I'll start by wishing myself a Happy Anniversary. It's been almost seven years since I started blathering on about my travels on my various blogs and columns. I recall starting to write about my adventures after travel started to get complicated a bit after September, 2001.

Lately, I've been staying home at headquarters in California. It's easy to get a bit complacent and to forget the difficulties of the travel adventure when you spend a few too many weeks in the office. To rectify this, I'm getting myself back on the road once in a while. Later this month, I'm being sent on an adventure to the Deep South, specifically, Alabama. Nothing against Alabama, but I would have picked Honolulu first. Still, it beats the four walls of the office building for a few days. It's been a while since I've last visited the Deep South, and I'm sure I'll have more to tell after the trip when I get back.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Taking Control

I remember when August in Orlando was supposed to be hot and humid. I had forgotten the one rule of meetings -- never underestimate the power of air conditioning. It seems that at every meeting in extreme climates, people tend to over compensate. In our meeting rooms today with the full blast of the air conditioning, it rivaled a cold winter night. In one of my meetings this past winter in Canada, I noticed the over compensation factor also existed. Most indoor rooms were built too much like saunas.

There seems to be a control factor that people want to exert upon their environment. Why else could one freeze at the hottest time of the year in Orlando, and melt in the arctic climate of Canada in mid-winter? I'd buy a jacket before my next session, but they seem to be out of season in Orlando in August. Go figure.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Annual Flogging

It's time for yet another sales meeting. I remember several years ago when travel and sales meetings used to be fun and games. Even in the bad years, there was still an element of excitement. But then again, I was on the other side of things, learning and enjoying the ride. Since my first sales meeting all those years ago, a lot has changed. Most notably, when the economy gets a bit bad, travel options aren't always the greatest. There's always the added bonus of the company making sure that you need to travel on a Sunday at 5am from California in order to make it to mandatory meetings by 4pm at the other end of the country. It could be a lot worse though.

Destinations are always an interesting lot. This year, we're going to Florida in August. Yes, that's right -- Florida. I guess it's probably off season for business travelers in the area, so I'm sure we got a good deal on our meeting location. Still, when you're at a meeting to learn all sorts of things about your products or services, most people won't be able to concentrate with the temperature and distraction. I've got the added fun, as I'm now one of the instructors.

So, we find ourselves at our annual flogging, er, I mean, sales meeting. Everyone is so geographically dispersed in our large organization. A meeting of this nature is a great opportunity to see everyone that you normally can only see once in a while when you are playing the road warrior game. But, of course, what you always leave behind is a load of paperwork back in the home office that just doesn't go away.

I mentioned the flogging portion. Yes, it's always a challenge to have a bunch of sales people, who by nature do not like to be cooped up away from the challenge of the playing field, sequestered for a few days. Sometimes, in bad years, it's a management team that might be doing the flogging. In other years, it's the sales personnel that start the process. Though, I somehow always wind up as the one who is flogged. So, let the flogging begin!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Forget Retirement

I just got my wings back -- top tier status on one of the airlines for the next full year. Looking back upon the last year, I sense that I'm not quite done yet. I've had a couple of decades of stories to tell, and I think there are still a few more stories out there waiting to be told. Even though I was feeling a bit old and tired, I think I still need to continue a while longer as one of those "foot soldiers of the modern global economy," as eloquently stated by some article in an airline magazine that I had read a few years back. It's onward to Orlando in August for a sales meeting. It beats Phoenix, I guess. Not by much, though. Later.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Remnants of a Lost Era

I just received a package today. The package itself is a remnant of a lost era -- vacation. On one of my last days of my road trip, I sent all of my laundry and trinkets and other stuff that I bought to myself instead of hauling luggage back home. These days, the airlines are starting to charge for additional baggage. As a frequent traveler, I currently seem to be exempt from the rule.

This was the first time I tried the great experiment. For a two week trip, I selected two drop points for packages of replacement laundry, and used those same boxes to ship dirty laundry and vacation purchases back home. I must admit that it seemed to work out pretty well. You just have to have faith that your package will arrive on time, and in the appropriate location. Those regular insomniacs that read this blog will know that I have had many issues with LSA - luggage separation anxiety. This solution seemed to work out pretty well. It cost less than $20 to ship each box, which was less than the airlines are charging regular travelers. I might give this concept another try in the near future.

While it has only been a week, the vacation seems like it was in another era of history. I think I had mentioned once before that it wasn't easy to return to your normal life after a long absence. Three weeks really isn't that long, but it was enough time to make me realize that I could have used another month. I do need some more time to open a few more pages from the past. With all of the stuff that happened at work in the last couple of days, I begin to think that I should have stayed out at least another week.

The adventures continue as I tackle Norfolk and Los Angeles next week, in that order. Back to the daily grind at 35,000 feet... That's got to have restored some balance in the universe somewhere, right?


Monday, July 07, 2008

The Road Warrior Recovers . . .

I was looking back at the last time I took a vacation, and it seems that it was a little over two years ago. Coincidentally, the last real vacation that I took in 2006 also revolved around my best friends. I guess history does repeat itself, only this time I had a bit of an expanded version of the vacation.

First, my friend Jon got married halfway across the world in Shanghai. That was an event that I wasn't about to miss, so I got an extra few days off from work, even at the end of the fiscal year. Last vacation in 2006, I think Jon and I went in search of hot dogs at a shopping mall in Buffalo. Unquestionably, this vacation (well, it was a vacation for me, at least) was one of the best adventures that I've been on in quite a while. I got to play best man for the first time, and managed to look decent in a tuxedo. Who could ask for anything more, right? Shanghai was a great adventure, especially the taxi rides which reminded me of a cross between demolition derby and the Indy 500.

To top things off, my young friend James graduated from high school, and it was time to take him on a tour of the USA -- a day after I returned from Shanghai. We managed to tackle Dallas, Worcester, New Haven, Redmond, and Atlanta in less than ten days. We even returned to the same hotel in Redmond from two years ago. I knew we would return there someday. I think I even mentioned that in my post from 2006. It was a lot of fun, and I can still keep up with a teenager, which was surprising to even me. We both really, really, really needed a vacation. That was our tagline. I think it was just what we both needed before he goes off to college.

In both cases, it really wasn't the destination that mattered. What mattered most was the fact that I got to catch up with my friends. So, now it's time to return to the perils of the day job, and start planning the next set of travels. I have some time in Orlando next month, and perhaps a few more adventures before that. I also know that I'm not going to let another two years pass without scheduling some time with my friends. Again, I've been listening to too many movies lately, but I remember someone saying that if something is important, you need to make the time.


Friday, July 04, 2008

The Road Warrior Returns

While I was on vacation, I had an epiphany. Well, maybe not so much an epiphany as a self-realization that I'm at my best whenever I'm on the road. It took a conversation around two in the morning at a Denny's in the Seattle area for me to begin to realize this. A young friend of mine wanted to hear my life story during vacation. I was talking about various things which led me to the road warrior game. I had decided to give it up last year, and go into semi-retirement, and I had to stop and think if that was the right decision for me. I recounted the good times and the bad times on the road. If anyone has actually been reading any of this stuff, you'll know that I've had some strange adventures on the road, balanced with some of the less intelligent things that happened out there. To borrow from Dickens, I guess it has been the best of times and the worst of times.

In my absence, I apparently was promoted at work. I've also decided to get myself back on the road from time to time. A year-long absence made me realize that I was at my best when I was out there on the playing field. Though I'm not going to knock myself out by traveling every single week any more, I'm still going to be out there more often than as of late. It's been a really good vacation. I should take a couple of weeks off more often. Now, it's back to life at 35,000 feet.


Monday, June 30, 2008

Ultimate Road Warrior

I've been neglecting this blog for a bit, so I'll need to relate some of the adventures at a later time. Right now, I'm in the middle of an "ultimate road warrior" challenge. I've managed to keep up with a teenager for the last week, and we've had quite an adventure so far. Based upon past history, this is probably the last time we'll be able to do this type of trip to this extent. So, I'm enjoying the moment for now. I'm sleepless in Seattle at the moment, on the way to Dallas and Atlanta when day breaks again. Later.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The International Post

I'm reporting from Montreal. It's cold outside, and our friends at American Airlines decided to ground over 600 flights this week due to wiring issues on their fleet of MD-8o aircraft. I was among the thousands of travelers impacted by the shuffling of schedules. Having been a scheduling professional in my past, I do have a lot of empathy for the eight people that contacted me about flight changes. I'm sure that this goes way beyond their job descriptions.

This is the first time in years that I've ventured into Canada. I had to brush the dust off my passport for the next few months. When I go international, I go all the way. You see, I have the Montreal trip this week, and I'm booked in Edmonton next week. For the greater part of the decade, I've stuck with domestic travel. In the span of the next few months, I've got a few Canada trips and a quick trip to China. Well, I'd better get back to work.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Best Kind Of Magic

There truly is some sort of magic to this road warrior game. Sometimes you get the worst possible outcome -- well, maybe that happens most of the time. Throughout all of those visits to Arizona in the middle of August, all of the slippery ice patches, flat tires, condemned buildings, and other traveler nightmares, I always managed to get those complementary upgrades and other perks on those nights that I happened to stay at a hotel for less than four or five hours. Foolish as it seems, one begins to wonder if you ever get to the point when you get to experience a comfortable room, on-time flights, and successful meetings.

Travel can't always be perfect, but I did manage to get a very nice room upgrade for the next few days. That's kind of nice to have during a week-long meeting in Dallas. I did also manage to get here on time. Who knows? If the meeting actually turns out well, then there may be some sort of magic involved with this trip after all. Later.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Return

I have returned from my break from the world of travel. I was somewhat surprised about what you leave behind when you stop traveling. It's not about the miles, points, or anything like that. It's all about that special sixth sense that you start to lose when you are no longer out in the field regularly. When getting back on the road this month amongst the holiday travelers, I made a few rookie mistakes. First, never travel during the holiday season. If I had actually read my blog for the last six years or so, I would have remembered that. Next, if you are traveling, always anticipate delays. I'm still good at adjusting to just about any situation out there, but it did take some extra effort this time.

So begins the return from the ashes of retirement. I recall a while ago that one of the airline magazines highlighted strange business titles. One of the titles was called "Keeper of the Magic." I kind of like that one, especially for all of us who make a living somewhere out there. We're the ones that keep the wheels of business turning, and it's got to be some kind of magic that keeps us moving forward every day. Ok, so I admit it. Yes, I missed it a little...


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's A Long Way To The Top . . . Really!

I've been grounded for a while now, and I think it's time to let the next generation of travelers take over. Don't get me wrong -- I'm still going to be on the playing field from time to time. I've just decided that maybe it's time to give this desk job a chance. Retirement isn't necessarily a bad thing. Later.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Another Sleepless Night . . .

I'm getting ready for my first trip in seven weeks, and I almost forgot how to do these things again. It's not as easy as remembering how to ride a bike. Day trips are a little easier. This time, I'm gone for an extended period of time, and remembering how to pack is a bit of a challenge. The other part of the equation is the sleep deprivation. I honestly can't remember how I did this on a day-to-day, week-by-week basis. Maybe I'll catch up on some sleep in New Orleans. Yeah, right... Later.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Listen To The Show

My wrist is out of commission, so I'm going to cut this entry short. For more travel wit and wisdom for the month, try my podcast...


Monday, December 25, 2006

Home For The Holidays

There's no place like home for the holidays. Actually, with the mounds of papers and other junk around here, I can honestly say that there really is no other place like it. I'm finally catching up on what I've been attempting to do for the last few years -- all the paperwork. You see, in the last few years, I've spent so much time in the air that I've been ignoring all of the mail and other stuff that has been piling up throughout the years. There's now a visible path between my door and my desk, which hasn't existed since I moved in a few years back.

I did manage to make a couple of leisure trips this month, though. I made it over to New Haven, CT, for a burger. Then I thawed out in Honolulu for a couple of days for a retirement party for one of my friends. Travel is much lighter these days, but the problems still abound. I haven't had a problem-free flight in several months, even though I relented and threw away all of my over-sized tubes of toothpaste in favor of the travel versions. I'm staying home for the rest of the holiday season. Maybe my sensitivity has been heightened or my tolerance has just been shattered, but I just can't get back into another airport during holiday traveler season. If people are going to travel these days, perhaps a little preparation might be in order, you think?

It's been a nice break, but I'll be back on the playing field early next year starting the journey in Delaware. Until then, safe travels to all of you out there.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Surfing The Hubs

I've been absent from this column for a little too long, so I just wanted to mention that I haven't faded into the background -- at least not just yet. I spent some time in Huntington, WV, earlier this month. Due to aircraft maintenance issues, they had to call in some mechanical help from Charleston, which is over an hour away from the Tri-State Airport in Huntington. Needless to say, I missed my connection in Cincinnati, and I did have to double-connect in Atlanta, and again in Salt Lake City in order to get home. I've gotten to the point where I expect the delays, and I just plan an extra "lost" day due to the missed connections. It's a really good policy, because perfect flight schedules are as unattainable as that mirage of water in the desert. The days on the road are starting to lessen, but I'm not getting off the field completely. There are still a few more stories out there. Later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No Exaggeration Here

To skew the saying slightly, reports of my death are not far off... I started my latest journey in the Emergency Room, and I'll save the editorial about the state of our healthcare system for another column. Suffice it to say, it's really screwed up. I was not in the right state of mind to go on my latest adventure to Omaha, since I never got any sleep before my flight. The fact that the flight to Omaha from Chicago was canceled did not help matters. I rerouted myself to Kansas City, bought a Wal-Mart suit, and drove all night to Omaha. Then, in their infinite wisdom, the airline computer system cancelled all my subsequent flights, since the system thought I was still in Chicago. I wonder where my luggage was, and I wonder if it is getting the appropriate frequent flyer mileage. Anyhow, I think this adventure is worthy of my monthly column, so I guess I'll update that later this week.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later

I'm running out of philosophical wit to share about the day. It's been an interesting day. I've produced three podcasts and a couple of other blog updates for the day, and I seem to be running out of steam. I purposely put myself on a ground assignment for the day, and some extended volunteer duties for the evening. I don't usually interrupt my travels for anything, but in this case, I decided that it was time to sit back and enjoy some time on the ground. It's not out of fear or anything like that. For some reason, it just didn't seem appropriate to be out there on the playing field today. Maybe I'll get back out there . . . tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Daze Of Summer

I just spent the most fast-paced vacation, followed by a quick jump start onto the playing field. After some family gatherings last week, I spent some time catching up with some old friends from California to North Carolina and beyond. But, as all things come to an end, I had to get right back into the mix. After returning to San Diego last night, I had to hop on a flight to Tampa for a quick meeting tomorrow morning. After that, I'm off to Philadelphia and Chicago to round out the week. It's nice to know that some things in the universe are still consistent.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Road Warriors Unite!

After a couple of trips with the revised security, it's time to kick-start the good old blog again. Once again, the crazy and predictable reactions by our respective governments to various security threats have forced some changes to the way we conduct our lives throughout this and many other countries. Granted, a lot of these security measures are warranted. Although, I was very surprised to see a lot of the lines at the airport get a bit shorter in the last couple of weeks, and some of the airplanes with quite a few empty seats. I never thought I'd say this, but let's get back out there on the playing field. If we completely stop traveling or curtail our activities out there, the terrorists have won. The travel industry needs us now more than ever. So join me out there at 35,000 feet, complete with all the cavity searches and sobriety tests. I'm out of retirement, and back on the playing field for now. Later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blood Pressure Rising

Get out the hip boots, we're on Orange Alert once again. You know what that means, of course. Yep, that means that it's time for me to get back into grouchy complaint mode again. Just when you thought my blogs and podcasts would be safe and mellow...

For those of you that haven't read the news lately, we are on one of those extreme terror alerts again -- DefCon 2, or Orange Alert, or whatever they call it. This time, it all relates to the potential of explosive in liquid form, kind of like what they did in Die Hard With A Vengeance. Anyhow, we can't carry toothpaste, shaving cream, shampoo, or any other liquid or gel with us on airplanes any more. I was lucky enough to get back home last night, just in time before the rules went into effect. However, I've got some heavy duty travel coming up in the next several months. I think I'm in for a repeat of October 2001. Break out the aspirin -- I think we're in for an extended headache... Later.