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.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Voice Of The Traveler

I finally got that podcasting dream started. The Road Warrior Podcast is now live, and if the iTunes people let it pass through, you might even see it out on the iTunes Music store, too. How neat is that? Anyhow, I just got back from a quick trip to Orlando, with a detour into Salt Lake City. I did manage to make it back on Saturday morning, when I remembered that I had a few things to do in Los Angeles. I just made it back home in time to finish up the publication of my first podcast. Now I have to get ready for a quick trip to Dallas tomorrow, and Philadelphia the next day. These weekends seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Seems like old times... Later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Zoning Problems

In the last couple of weeks, I've traveled from Washington, DC to Honolulu, HI, to Erie, PA, back to San Diego, CA. If I calculated this correctly, twelve time zones were crossed in less than twelve days. One of my travel theories states that it takes one day to recover from each time zone traversed. Fortunately, I'm grounded for the next couple of weeks, so recovery should not be a problem. So until next week, at least, I'm out of the zone. That's kind of like being out of synch with the rest of the world. Sometimes, that's not necessarily a bad place to be. Later.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Pong Generation

I come from the Pong Generation, probably somewhere in that time frame where Generation X intersects with Generation Y. Well, since I brought it up, I'm playing the part of the square dot that goes back and forth between the two tennis paddle things in the game of Pong. Yes, I'm up to my old tricks again, going from coast to coast, and then off to Hawaii for a quick break before heading back to the east coast. I just picked up a quick trip to western Pennsylvania next week, as soon as I get back from Hawaii. I think I'm up for a quick game of Space Invaders. Later.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Still In The District

I had great plans for the day. I was going to go out on several customer visits, and maybe even get some sightseeing in during the evening. Unfortunately, I couldn't do either today. I've upgraded from Dayquil to Advil Cold Medicine, and I've got two other meds with me to pull me back into the land of the living before my flight back home tomorrow morning. I've got to get better before my next trip on Saturday morning, at least. I'm still doing conference calls. Ok, I'm calling from bed, but the people at the other end of the phone can't tell. Anyhow, I've got one more to go, and then I can go back to sleeping this off... Later.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

In The District

These field reports are starting to get a bit rare. I'm reporting from within the beltway. Yes, I'm actually staying in the District. You know, Washington, DC. That's right. I'm back to my old habits. I've probably overextended myself again, and am living on that miracle drug, Dayquil. I decided to try to get back in training again, and overdid it before I got on the plane. I always seem to have that bad habit of forgetting that I'm not eighteen any more. Anyhow, I'm here until Wednesday morning, and back for a couple of days at home before I leave again for Hawaii. I am one of many people in my group from San Diego at this conference in DC. It was strange that we all seemed to take different routes to get here, and we all seem to have different disaster stories of how we all got here. One person connected in Los Angeles, another in Atlanta, someone else in Chicago, yet another in Cincinnati, and someone went through Phoenix. Just about everyone experienced some sort of flight delay. I connected in Dallas without any flight delay, but getting out of the airport was an adventure. Let's just say it involves a minivan and step ladder... Anyhow, this is a long update, so I'd better get some rest. After all, I should probably sleep this cold away. Later.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sleepless In Seattle ... The Next Generation

I'm winding down from my vacation. As always, I decided that I needed to make the most out of my vacation time, so I did a double vacation for the week. I met up with Jon in Buffalo, which was great, though I was spending the weekend in Pittsburgh. I think I spent more time in the car driving than I did with Jon and his girlfriend. It was about nine hours in the car for the day.

The rest of my vacation was spent in the Pacific Northwest. My young friend James and I were scouting colleges in Oregon and Washington. We were staying in Redmond near his friends, so the day trip into central Oregon took a little more than five-and-a-half hours each way. That was a bit exhausting, but we really had a great time. I really didn't get too much sleep throughout the week. After all, I was on vacation, and why waste it sleeping the night away? I had a lot of stuff to do, and James had a lot of stuff going on with his friends, so we both had a great time. I think we both want to go back in the not too distant future.

It's back to work for me tomorrow. At least I've got another journey into Washington ahead. Only this time, it's Washington, DC, on Friday.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Those Pesky Delays

I spent the day in Philadelphia, and caught what I thought was a quick flight into Pittsburgh. Well, I guess I should have rethought my travels. It seems that the weather just was not cooperative today. First of all, traffic patterns were a little crazy in Philly today. For some reason, the town was trying to emulate Los Angeles. There was stop-and-go traffic on most of the freeways, apparently in the wrong direction, according to my colleague who was driving me around. Anyhow, I got to the airport in time, and managed to get to the gate without incident. However, we did manage to sit on the plane for many hours, in which it became obvious that it was likely much faster to drive over to Pittsburgh instead of being trapped in large metallic cylinder shaped like a big Tylenol capsule, or whatever the pill was in the movie Airplane. Ok, enough ranting for now. I've got a big day in Pittsburgh tomorrow, and then I'm taking the weekend off in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Then I'm off to Seattle for a quick vacation. Later.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Upgrade My Vacation

It's time to gear up for the summer travel season, and also time to plan for the onslaught of the leisure traveler. I decided to spend the traditional kickoff travel weekend at home. With the increased fuel prices, and decreased availability of flights and other transportation, it seems like this is one of the smarter decisions of the day. I did, however, spend some of this weekend planning my travel escapades for the next several weeks. Experiencing the world of the leisure traveler with all of the perks of the business traveler is really fun. I wouldn't want to do it any other way. Later.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Out Of Practice

I returned to the world of the road warrior this past week, and found that starting over really isn't all it's cracked up to be. I returned to the warm greetings of the TSA in San Diego, who decided that it was time for my regular flogging. I got the pat down treatment, and it was a tad too up-close and personal for my taste. I had forgotten the nature of my business, and planned the Minneapolis trip to get a two-week advance purchase fare. Unfortunately, I had a last-minute change that required me to stop for a meeting in Chicago. Then I forgot my MP3 player, which really wasn't something I used to use a lot. However, I really missed it on this trip. It was unseasonably cold in Minneapolis and Central Wisconsin for some reason, but despite that, I believe I had a successful trip. I probably should never have given this up... I think it's time to plan the next adventure.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

San Francisco Alternatives

I did a quick trip into San Francisco airport late last week. The trip into the car rental area has improved slightly, but it still takes an incredible amount of time to get your car and leave the area. But, in recent years, the alternative airports have decided to move the car rental facilities off-site as well. So, should I take a bus from SJC or OAK, or catch the train from SFO? The alternatives really aren't much better than the main airport, so I guess it's just up to the airfare and distance to your destination that would make all the difference. I'm headed back up to the area a couple of times within the next month, so maybe I'll try something different next time. Later.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Not Finished Yet...

It's not over yet. Even though I've been a bit inactive for the last couple of months, I'm returning to active road warrior duty for at least another couple of trips in the next couple of weeks. I've got to do a quick business trip to Detroit next week. The following week I need to be in Portland for the day. After that, I'll probably stay put for a little while, but then again, you never know what the future may bring. Later.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Launch Points

So I returned from Honolulu from an unplanned trip. For some reason, I decided to fly in and out of Los Angeles. That would be the appropriate thing to do a couple of years ago when I actually lived there. To quote a colleague of mine -- What was I thinking? It's amazing what a difference a couple of years can make. The two hour drive between San Diego and Los Angeles seems to take a little more out of me these days. I had also forgotten the parking situation from LAX, especially in rainy weather. Catching a bus to the remote parking areas in the pouring rain just doesn't get it for me anymore. What was I thinking? The lesson here is to utilize any one of the four airports that are closer to my house.

Come to think of it, I don't have anywhere to go after this trip. Maybe I need to start working on that. Later.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Total Systems Failure

I've discovered that my stamina is not what it used to be. Central Wisconsin is a nice place, but being there in the winter makes me realize how much I needed to get my head examined before agreeing to this trip. And then there was Delaware. Nice place, but there really wasn't much else there. I reached the point of total systems failure somewhere over Chicago, and after all the delays, I realized that maybe semi-retirement might be a good thing after all. I don't remember how I kept up with all of the trips, and how I managed to get up the next day ready to move on to the next city. Well, my next trip is a personal sojourn back home to Hawaii at the end of the week. Later.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Back In Business

It's been a really bad day at work today, but at least I'm getting back on the road once again. I've got some time in Wisconsin and Delaware next week, and then I've got family issues back in Hawaii the following week. So, I'm going to be busy on the road once again. It's about time.

Happy Birthday, James!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Retirement Is Overrated

I've been San Diego-bound for the last few weeks. I did manage to keep busy with other projects, and for some reason, I haven't missed the road too much. However, I'm not ready to give up on the travel adventures just yet. The adventures resume in early March. See you then. Later.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Turning Point

So this is what it's like to be a semi-retired road warrior. Strange as it may seem, I'm feeling a little empty without the misadventures on the road this month. I haven't had a travel-free month in nearly a decade. I seem to have way too much going on in San Diego this month. I guess this marks a definite turning point in my life as one of the ultimate road warriors. Between all of the volunteer projects, trade shows, and other administrative responsibilities at work, I don't see myself traveling until early March. How about that? Feet on the ground and assimilating back into a normal life... Didn't think I'd ever see the day.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Marathon, Part 2

The marathon has ended, and I have returned home to a month of travel-free bliss. So, I predict that I will become restless within the next two weeks. It may be hard to keep a good road warrior down, but with events of the next few weeks, I'm going to be tied to the area. There's yet another trade show coming into town, and I need to work on it every day for the next two weeks solid. After that, I'm thinking it might be time for one of those road trip diversions, but I'm guessing that I'll be a little too tired by the end of the show. Later.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Marathon Begins

I've started one of those crazy trips that even I can't believe. I'm reporting from the Boston area tonight. I spent the greater part of the day trying to get here. For the first leg of the journey, I've decided not to drive anywhere. For Boston and Houston, I'm catching taxis. Assuming the weather holds out, my journey continues tomorrow in Houston, assuming I don't get stuck in Atlanta for the evening. I'll be home for a few hours, assuming I don't get stuck in Dallas on the way. Then, it's off to Raleigh-Durham, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Milwaukee, in that order. A standard marathon is a little more than 26 miles. I'm logging a little more than 26,000 miles over the next 10 days. It may seem twisted, but even though I still have the vocal chord problem, I'm kind of enjoying the journey. I'm going to slow down a bit this year, at least on my travels. After all, I have a department to run, and a few other responsibilities these days. Later.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Back On Top

I'm going through my mail today, a duty which I usually attempt to avoid until I'm left without a clear passage to my desk. I'm finding my updated membership and status cards from the hotels and airlines, so it's time to do the annual card swapping exercise. I managed to renew most of my current elite-level status levels. I only managed to lose status on one airline, which was not a bad deal, considering I reduced my travel schedule by at least 30%. I don't see another reduction in travel happening again this year, though. Even though I've taken the helm of my department, I forsee one final year of active duty on the road. The adventure continues...


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Weather Or Not

It's January, right? That means it's supposed to be winter. I mean, in most parts of the country, you'd expect cold weather, right? Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I actually prefer the temperature just as it is. However, I just spent the week in Norfolk, VA, and when I last checked, normal temperatures at this time of year were supposed to be somewhere between 20 F and 30 F. During the week, it averaged 65 F on a cold day. It was colder in San Diego during the week, which was also strange. I never thought I'd have to go north for warmer weather, at least in this country. Later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Home On The Road

Having been a traveler for quite a while, you learn a lot about the need to pack accordingly for your trips, sometimes leaving behind those things which might not be necessary. Also, for those of you who travel like I do, you realize that sometimes, drawers and closets in hotel rooms just aren't worth it for those one-day trips when you arrive at 1am, and have to check out less than four or five hours later.

For the first time in quite a while, I have five whole days in the same hotel. It's not the best, but it's still a rare treat to be able to use the closet and drawer space for the first time in quite a while. I've also been to the local grocery store to get some beverages and snacks. What a concept! It's almost like making yourself at home on the road -- almost. Anyhow, I've got another couple more days here in Virginia, and then it's back home for a week. Later.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Step Backward

I'm reporting from Norfolk, VA, this evening. It took all day to get here, and it became apparent that technology really has moved forward. When you are missing a piece, it's really obvious. I actually set myself back a few years at the car rental counter. In my current job, I have had the fortune of being able to rent the GPS systems along with the car. This is the first time in a couple of months that the local rental car area did not offer it. In fact, even with the hundreds of cars here, there were absolutely no GPS systems available at all. So, for the first time in a couple of months, I got myself hopelessly lost on my way to the hotel, which is probably less than 5 miles away from the airport. This is very reminiscent of the old days when I got lost on a regular basis. So, I guess I'll have to admit that technology has improved many facets of the life of this road warrior. But it's just as important to be able to fall back on your instincts, and move forward despite these little steps backward. Later.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

See No Evil, Hear No Evil ...

The voice is still partially missing. I currently sound like one of those squeaky toys that your dog might play with. That's probably not the best image to project in front of high-powered executives that you're trying to convice to spend lots of money on goods and services. Unfortunately, the sales group wanted my presence in the area despite the squeaky toy syndrome. By the way, in case you're wondering, I'm reporting tonight from Monterey, CA. It was a quick trip with a quick connection in Los Angeles. True to form, my head exploded right on queue a little after we took off the first time from San Diego. I still have a few more hours to put the pieces back together. So, I decided to order some room service, and I'm trying to get some rest.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Preparing For The Journey Ahead

Another year begins. For the first time, I'm not feeling up to the challenge. In fact, for the first time, I have backed out of a trip to Northern California tomorrow. I'm still planning on being in Monterey on Friday morning for a quick sales call, and then it's a journey into Norfolk, Virginia for a week, followed by a quick stop in Dallas to do another brief talk.

The adventures don't always begin on the road. It seems that more often, the greatest part of the adventures begin at home. With every trip, there's always a degree of preparation that needs to be done beforehand, and there is always the inevitable aftermath of expense reports and other miscellaneous paperwork that has to be completed in a timely manner before the next trip begins, usually on the next day. Let's take today, for instance. I had to get myself to the dry cleaners to pick up my suits. As I travel quite frequently, I need to make sure that the suits that still fit are not all at the dry cleaners at the same time. During excessive travel periods, this can become a challenge. Then there is the work preparation that takes time away from the normal desk job. At the request of some of the field personnel, I spent the greater part of the day chasing after equipment, and shipping it to Monterey before I left the office. I never managed to get my normal work done.

I guess it's not as glamorous as getting cavity searches in the greater metropolitan airports, or slipping on an ice patch and tearing a huge hole in the back of your pants. Still, the preparation work is a necessary part of the road warrior game. After all these years, I still manage to cut a few corners here and there. When that happens, the real adventures begin...