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...