Travel update 2009

Decided to update the map again, so far my total is 64341 miles. I have done 9,755 miles so far this year. I see a lot more coming up next year. This year also took me to 3 new states and 4 new airports.


The difference of 300 miles

This weekend I went to the southern part of West Virginia ( 37°38’15.41″N / 81°56’16.29″W , Mingo County) for a memorial for a Co-worker/Friend who passed away on October 21, 2009 from lung cancer (he was a non-smoker and only 33 years old.) This was the first time I had been to the southern part of the state (furthest south before that was Charleston). It was hard to tell that they had major flooding there back in May ( youtube video of floods). It is more of a shock to see how people live down there compared to where I live. Some of the most shocking is the sheer number of mobile homes (aka trailers) and the bridges that go over little creeks to their home. Those bridges look rather unstable to me. The other interesting sight was that in one small town I drove through there was a church that actually had a 6 foot tall fence around it with a fenched gate for the entrance to the parking lot. I always thought church’s were supposed to be an “open” place, but this present it as some what of a private church. Interestingly the house right next to it was completely fenched in as well. So I can only guess that it was a high crime area? Another site I saw, and didn’t get to take a picture of it, was a house that looked like it had caught on fire, but they hadn’t demolished it yet. It was leaning so far to the left it almost looked like it was going to fall on the house next to it.

The other weird thing is that the mountains are so steep in that area, that there is no cell coverage and it made my XM Radio cut out. And if you ever out for an adventure in driving, drive the stretch of road east on US-52 from where WV-44 meets US52. There is a reason they call it Horsepen mountain.
Probably about the closet video to represent some of what I saw is Jesco White Dancing Outlaw on youtube.

Finally just one to take a moment to mention that my Friend served his country for 11 years in the Navy. I had only known him for a year through work. He was a great person and will be missed, but never forgotten by any of his co-workers or family.

Travel update

Was going back through some old posts, and noticed the last time I updated my travel map was in 2006. Hard to believe that since that time, I have done more air travel in 2 years, than I had done in the 6 coming up to it.. As of now, I have 54,586 miles done by air travel. 2008 accounted for 16,487 of that. Was just 4000 short of the fake goal I wanted of 20,000 for the year, but hey, it was for the most part a good year for travel. here is looking to the future.


Are airline’s really making the money from selling services?

In the past month I have been across the country a couple of times to California. And have noticed some changes (I have not flown in the US for over a year, outside the US more than in the US.)

First off let me start with US Airways. They charge for EVERYTHING now. Check a bag, $15. Check 2 bags $40, check 3 bags $140. So naturally everyone tries to back as much as they can in to their carryon bags now. Which leaves less and less room in the overhead bins. So now assume that every one on a Airbus A320 checks one bag that will give them $318 more than they had before. Now doesn’t seem like that big of a deal on money wise, the probably burn up that much in fuel just taxing to the runway and the inital take off (approximatly 2 barrels of Jet A fuel). The one that gets me is that they started charging $2 for softdrinks and water on their flights. This is supposed to be one of their money generating ideas too for getting money for fuel. How cool is that, if every one on the plane did buy a single drink they would only make $162. Likely again to be burned off of the taxi from the runway. The funny thing about this is that now that they have started charging for beverages, they are probably using more fuel now than they did before.. Some people may ask why, but it is simple. If you are like me, once they started doing this I started taking a couple of 24oz bottles of water/soda on the flight with me. (You can’t go for 6 hours with out a drink..) So now if everyone is like me and does the same (some don’t but if they all did) you would now have an extra 468.4 pounds of weight on the plane. That is in addition to the soda/beverages they already pack (approx 234 pounds, 2 x 12oz cans per person estimate) that no one is going to buy.

It seems to me that it would be cheaper for them not to allow people to bring drinks on board and give the free drinks, than it would be for them to allow people to bring stuff on board and stock stuff that no one is going to use.

Now I see today that United is going to start doubling its fee for a second checked bag from $25 to $50 starting tomorrow for flights after November 1. This is only going to encourage people to try and stuff more and more in to their first checked bag. What is even more crazy is that you could conceivably pay more for your luggage to travel than you are paying for your self. Especially if you have a family. There was a family of four in front of me the other day with at least 8 suitcases (2 per person) that they were checking. On USAir that would be $160 just for your luggage to travel. If it was United, it would be $260.

I guess gone are the days of the “free” ammentities of air travel, free checked bags, free drinks, free food, free snacks.. At least for the airlines I have to fly.

What could have been the best…

Last week could have been the best week for me yet this year. But like everything else that has happened this year, it was probably one of the worst. First off I was overseas for the last week. It was a trip I had been looking forward to for a while and it finally came. But the problem started last Saturday night. I started getting that feeling that I was getting a sinus infection. True enough Sunday morning, it had come. Off to the doctor since I was to leave at noon. Went there and got some medication and went back home and waited for my ride to the airport. They showed up and I tossed up in the air whether I should even go or not. But I decided to go since usually these infections are gone in a couple of days, well before my meetings were to start. This turns out to be a pretty bad decision on my part, one that I won’t make again. After almost 14 hours of travel, by the time I got to the destination, I was getting extremely hot and dizzy. By the time we got to the hotel, I was feeling like a freight train had ran over me.

I went and got a shower and then fell on the bed and slept for about 8 hours or so. I got up and ordered some room service and only ate one slice of the kids mini pizza I ordered. I then felt even worse both physically and mentally. (and monetarily since the meal I ordered was almost $40.00). I then went back to bed and fell a sleep again.

The next morning my traveling companions came to see me and I was even worse now. They went to our local office and talked to the people there and had the medical people call me. After talking to a nurse for a while she asked that I come to the office so they could have a look at me. I made the 5 minute walk in the 35degree temp, and by the time I got there my body temp was already up to 101.5 degrees. (So I wonder what it was before I left the hotel.) They did the normal exams and thought that I may have caught the flu on the way over. Their only suggestion was to get plenty of rest and liquids.

Needless to say I spent nearly the whole week laid up in bed with a high temp trying to keep it down. I ate next to nothing the whole week because I just couldn’t do it so I lost about 8 to 10 pounds. Once Thursday came around I started feeling better by the night. Friday morning I was feeling pretty good and once again it was time to get on a plane back to the US. Everything seemed to be going good until we started the decent in to our first stop. This is where everything to a turn for the worse again. My ears never popped, no matter what I did, I could not get them to pop (in fact it is two days later now and my left ear has still not popped). Got my bags and transfered them through customs and immigration and got them rerouted to a different airport than the original one they were supposed to do. Off to the gate for the next flight.

The final flight home was delayed for almost 2 hours because of apparently maintenance problems on the SAAB 340 we were to take and the fact that United ground workers lost their contract and a bunch of them walked off the job. We were finally on our way a little after 11PM and the ride was for the most part smooth (it was my first time on a small turbo prop plane), until we were about 30 miles away from my home airport. That is when I just wished the plane would land. We were being thrown around like dust on the ground. My temp and blood pressure and heart rate just skyrocketed and my ears were still killing me. Once we finally landed I was so glad to be back in my home town and on the ground. I had a friend pick me up at the airport since my car was at my house. Finally got home around 15 after midnight. So I had been up for almost 28 hours straight by now. I never realized how much I appreciate the Sleep Number bed I have until I fell on it that night. I slept so good till I broke out in a high temp fever again.

It seems like everything has started all over again. Almost like groundhog day. So now I am going to go back to the doctors tomorrow to see what else they can do to try and fix me up. I was so upset that I made such a long trip and got sick. I hope there will be another trip there soon and I won’t be sick to go on it.