I've been a regular business and personal traveller for about 15-years now, I've flown more than 3-million miles. That alone is depressing, say you average 450MPH while flying, that's the best part of a whole year of my life on a plane.
Don't get me wrong, i've been to some fantastic places, at fantastic times. Moscow when Gorbachov disappeared for the w/e; Cape Town when the Hard Rock was blown up, Berlin when the wall came down; East Berlin before the wall came down; a great honeymoon in Malta; Beijing twice; two ITU World Triathlon Championships(Canada, Mexico) and all the major capitals and most if not all the great parks, monuments and cities in the US; a memorable trip to Melbourne Australia, a forgettable one to Sydney: the list goes on and on.
My bike, the white 'dale from my last blog post, has been with me around the world twice and on most of the 120 or so flights I've taken with a bike, I did Wildflower, Escape from Alcatraz and many other major triathlons on it..
and that leads me to todays post. Its been a tough month at work and this weeks workshop in Raleigh didn't help. It didn't give me the team output I needed, and given I was leaving for the bike tour today, it meant I'd have to do the initial proposal myself.
I set the alarm and got up at 4am this morning after only getting in at around 10.30pm and a meeting with Cassidy.. After a quick breafast(Kashi go lean crunch) I started dumping thoughts into Word(shouldn't that have been words into thought?).
I stopped at 6.30am, finished packing, or rather threw my stuff in a case, loaded the case, my bike box, the large kit bag with tent, sleeping bag, air matress etc. and a sports bag with all the last minute things in the car and returned to the Words.
About 8.30 I got dressed, I still wasn't finished yet I'd really wanted to have left by now. oh well. back to words. I printed what I'd written and decided I didn't like it.
A hasty restructure and rewrite ensued. 9.15am and I was happy with the structure and at least covered the most important points. I pressed the send button and started shutting down. I grabbed my phone and wallet and did a quick last check everything was off and locked, jumped into car.
It was 9.20am. My flight leaves at 10.30am. No 2nd chances, the only connecting flight to San Francisco. In just under 10-mins I'm at the AA curbside check-in but there's a line. I quickly ask, and no they won't check the bike as I have to pay AA for it.
I grab a luggage cart($3) load up my stuff, lock the car and head inside(abuse #1 no parking or waiting in the unloading zone). Its now 9.35am.
I head directly for AA 1st class check-in credit card between teeth, make profuse apologies and pay for bke, no point in trying to freeload, i'm on a mileage(free) ticket and late. I grab my luggage receipts and run outside. The car is still there, my phone rings, its Sandy from the office. He wants to know what I want him to do while I'm away.
A few questions later and he confirms, he hasn't received the document. Stuck in the network? Didn't get sent and still on my laptop at home? I start driving, a few mins later and I'm heading back home on Ben White(290) (abuse #2 you should never leave the aiport once you've checked luggage).
Sandy and I talk while I drive. It's my lucky day, I get green lights all the way home and am back in 10-mins. I tear upstairs, switch on the laptop and wait while XP boots. once started I open Lotus Notes and yes there in my outgoing mail is the email and attachment. I wait to confirm its sent, tear back down the stairs, lock the door and jump back in the car.
It's now 10.08am, most people at this point would give up as a lost cause. I know though that with my two bags and bike loaded AA would wait until the last minute for me, especially as I'm a 2-million miler, before off loading my baggage. (abuse #3 if you are late with checked bags and don't make it, the plane almost always loses its take-off slot thus delaying all the other passengers and maybe causing them to miss connections that you are so worried about!)
I pull into the Hertz lot at 10.15am, yes I drove fast. grabbed my bag and sprinted the entire length of the airport to the AA security area. Then came abuse #4 and this one I'm least proud of, I lied. I went through the entire security line saying in my best British accent "excuse, do you mind if I go ahead? My flight leaves at 10.30 and I got lost on the way to the aiport". to a person, my fellow travellers stepped aside.
That was until I got three from the security checkpoint. If I had to pick one person who'd object, it would have been her, Ms Twinset and (possibly fake) perls and blackberry. she said she was also a 10.30 departure and there was no point in going ahead and she wasn't the person to ask, i'd have ask the TSA.
It was now 10.20, I explained that I wasn't going to push ahead without her approval as I didn't want to cause problems, she finally said it didn't matter as I was too late. Right on signal, AA called my name, final call gate 14. I asked the couple ahead, they said fine, I stripped watch, belt, bracelet, wallet put them in my bag, took my shoes off and threw everything on the belt and followed by Ms Twinset, went through.
It was now 10.27am, I grabbed my stuff and sprinted barefoot through the terminal from Gate 10 to Gate 14, they'd already shut the door, I profusely apologised, she open the door to the jetway, flashed the lights in some form of signal, I ran down onto the plane and I'd made it, they closed the door and we pushed back before I was seated.
I caught site of my bike in Dallas, at least I think I did. I can't wait for today to be over. I'm a nice guy really, I hate abusing the system.
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