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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Great Salt Lake And Valley

Great Salt Lake And Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh my. Getting to our vacation in Utah proved to be no less an adventure than what we planned to see. As we were leaving from Richmond, Virginia, we elected to fly from Newport News as it saved us quite a bit of money (more to spend on the actual vacation…). Getting there wasn’t too bad and it gave my wife and her friend time to talk. Once there, a sequence of events transpired that was nearly tragic and comical.

It started with security that had a slow moving line, despite the shortness of it. There are six gates in concourse A, why does this have to be so hard? The line grew and it was slow. Next came the sterilizing body scan. As they made me take off my belt, my pants would not stay up high enough. I went to hold them, but all that did was have the TSA inform me that I need to put my hands over my head. This made my pants fall a bit (yes, I’ve lost a few pounds when I changed my workouts). After a few rounds of this, I pulled them up high enough and pushed my gut out to make them stay long enough for the scan. Ugh, now what?

That was the wrong question to ask, albeit only in my head. As I had had my camera backpack on, my back was sweaty. This made the scan register stupidly which lead to a pat down of the areas marked. Nothing was found that way, of course, but as the TSA does not train the agents to think, we danced anyway. Finally, redressed and through security.

After a bit of food and waiting, it was time for congregating around the gate and waiting to board like cattle. The biggest problem is that there wasn’t a plane. Oops. I guess we wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, it arrives 30 minutes late from Denver. Plane cleaned, we get to board. Plan full. Finally, off.

Our Denver arrival was only about 30 minutes late. No worries. Our scheduled layover was 3 hours. Find the next gate, ask about the exit row (it was full)  and get something to eat. Done, done and done. Congregate at A42 in Denver at the appropriate time. Oh wait. No plane. Hey, I’ve seen this play.

I check my boarding pass again. It says we are flying Frontier, not Delta. What’s with all the delays? I expect this from a heartless giant like Delta Airlines, not from a locally run regional. Plane finally arrives. Crews gets off. It is cleaned. New crew boards. We board. Well, sorta. Very slow to board and then someone says they forgot their laptop in the terminal. Ok, get it. She does. Pilot is still chatting with co-pilot. Nearly full plane. We are hot.

Someone finally figures out that customer comfort on an Air Bus 319 is a good thing and gets the air on. Pilot and co-pilot are still chatting. Time goes past 30 minutes since time to leave. We aren’t. What is going on?

Finally, an announcement that we are waiting on passengers from a flight from Atlanta. We wait more. Lady in window seat huffs and fidgets. Inside, I giggle. Outside, I am in discomfort. Very tired and seat will not recline. I’ve been awake since 5:30 am Eastern. It is nearly 10 mountain time. We still have to fly to Salt Lake, get bags, get shuttle to rental car, etc.

Finally, the last passenger is on-board. Seems he had to stop at McDonald’s on the way. Thanks buddy. I smile. I know karma will get him back. It did me. We fly.

Ok pilot, full throttle, we have time to make. Nah.

Arriving in Salt Lake started with one of the loudest and hardest landings of which I been a part. Nearly thought I was on Alitalia, except we didn’t bounce. Former Navy pilot I guess.

Now the very long wait for bags. Walk to shuttle area. Wait….wait…oh crap, midnight approaches and Fox Rental car closes then. I call. Get the recording. Another person shows up at the waiting area. She is on the phone. Turns out, she got the only human available to answer the phone. We wait and shuttle finally arrives. We drive…long way.

It is well past 12:30 am when we are out the rental area with the car. Now, the trip to the hotel. We find it without problem, though there is no stoner walking about in the drive way and security is following him. Welcome to the Red Lion Hotel. I check in and am informed our room does not have a closet. I don’t care at this point. We take everything up and I go to move the car. The elevator comes as expect, I push 1 and head to lobby. The car gets there and the doors will not open.

Really? Is this really happening? The time is pushing past 1 am Mountain time. This 3 am for me. I’ve been up nearing 22 hours. I push buttons. Nothing. I push more. Still nothing. Oh wait, I have the key and the envelope. A number. I call and get the front desk. I get disconnected before I can be understood. I call again. This time, good communication happens. In a few minutes I hear noises. Finally, the doors are open. How often does this happen??

Car is moved. I make my way back up to our room. I try to sleep. My mind is racing. I doze. At 5:30 eastern, my mind says “Wake up!” I hit snooze.

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Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000 (Photo credit: jaredpolin)

My typical camera bag is showing its age. It is a great backpack and I’ve taken many times on driving and flying trips. These days, however, there is the added need of taking a laptop. When going by car, this really isn’t much of a problem. I put my MacBook in another bag with books, power cords and other materials. Taking two bags on a plane though, that’s a problem.

I started looking at larger backpacks that could hold the 17″ laptop. Holy cow they are expensive. I settled on one from Sam’s Club. The Case Logic DSLR Travel Pack. Though it is inexpensive, I am already seeing problems in the design. For starters, it doesn’t seem to have much room and there are no straps for the chest and waist. Hiking is going to become a problem. I don’t need to worry too much about the tripod as it isn’t making the trip (all aluminum and too heavy).

I have an idea, I’ll pack my existing bag in my suitcase. I stuffed it full of underwear, etc, placed it in the suitcase. It fits! Well, sorta. There is some room leftover, though not enough. It will have to stay home and I’ll need to get used to the new bag.

The biggest problem here is that I really do need two bags. I need one large enough for traveling. Stuff all my gear, lenses, cleaners, filters, laptop, etc. Rugged so I can take it on the plane. Once where we are going, I need a smaller one for hiking around, whether town or wilderness, in which I take only what is needed for that trip. I have tried a few other bags, results are crap.

Are there any bags out there that fit this bill? Perhaps a bag in a bag? Let me know.

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emerald water, indeed

emerald water, indeed (Photo credit: rachel in wonderland)

The last time I traveled for the Legacy workshop in New Jersey, I used a plane to fly from Cincinnati to Newark, a train, two actually, to get from the airport to near the hotel and an automobile to get to the airport. My adventure made for a long day, though nothing experienced by John Candy in the titular movie. The time to travel has come again. The yearly vacation trek will start on Wednesday.

Most years, the travel involves taking the family to the beach at Emerald Isle, North Carolina. This year, a slightly different plan is afoot. On July 11, 2012, it we will our 20th wedding anniversary. Trying to celebrate such an event in the midst of starting a new business is trying. Where should we go? There were thoughts of Ireland or perhaps Germany. The state of Utah some how became a compromise. No, I don’t remember how.

We will still drive to the in-laws in Richmond, Virginia. The kids will go to Emerald Isle with them while we fly to Utah to some hiking around and way too much driving. My wife wants to see the whole state in one week. Salt Lake City to the Bryce Canyon area to Moab and back to Salt Lake for a tiring plan ride to Jackson, North Carolina.

Yes, I will most as I can while traveling. I will take many pictures and put some on my photostream in Flickr. Enjoy.

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Frozen circles of life and death to the portal...

Frozen circles of life and death to the portal of other lands (Photo credit: texym11)

Time. It goes by quickly. A few hours grow to become a few days. A few days expand to cover a week. Time. It waits for no one. It marches to its own speed. Never slowing. Never going backward. Always forward. Time.

Not long ago, a mentor helped me to realize I was on the wrong path. I was put on this Earth to do far more than program computers. I was put here for far more than building websites, taking pictures or writing blog posts. I was put here to make a positive change the lives of others. Doing so would in turn change my life. That process has become. Each day, I look for the moment, for the opportunity to change the life of someone else. It matters not if the change is small or large. The goal is to create a positive change.

Each day, new steps are seen. Each day, new steps are missed. Each day, new steps are taken. Each day, new steps are left untrod. The challenge is not only to see, but to act. See and Act! Together, never separate. First one must see. Then one must act.

A mission

When I was younger, I heard many sermons on changing people’s lives. Typically, these were given by missionaries looking to encourage young people into one form of ministry or another. None ever gave much appeal to me. I had friends that journeyed out, not understanding why I staid behind. “Here is where I belong,” I would tell them. Cowardice was their thought.

More than once, the opportunity for ministry came about. I tried here and there, never appealed for long. I knew that I marveled in watching others grow. I tried different ways to affect that, none stuck to me as a true sense of purpose. I kept an eye out.

About a year ago, a new opportunity arose. It masked itself as a business, thought it is far more. Education. Training. Mentorship. All of the items I had missed in various business ideas over the years. The cost was not cheap. The path was well laid. The leadership encouraging. The education second to none. I stepped out. Way out of my comfort zone. And went under.

Head above water

For months I was overwhelmed with tasks. I did them all with great joy and excitement. I placed ads. I did videos. I wrote. I bought. I listened. I set goals. I. I. I. Me. Me. Me.

My family missed me. My wife missed me. I become lost in my own excitement. My joy turned to sorrow. I was broke. No money. No leads. No sales. No nothing. All due to the wrong focus. My eyes were on myself. They were not on others.

More than once, mentors offered a rope to my hands. More than once I halfheartedly took the offer. I wasted their time. I wasted money. Then it happened. The shore, you idiot. It is over there. Swim or get eaten.

My head was finally above water. I swam toward the real goals. I saw again my I am here. I am here to change the lives of others. My purpose is to make you a better person. The addition for you may be small or it may propel you to heights never before seen. It does not matter. You need help and I need to help you. The path is there to be seen. Act now. It is time to wake up!

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It is the day before leaving on vacation. Final preparations have started: grass is being cut, laundry is being sorted, clothes are being packed. The organized chaos flows amongst the early excitement of traveling too long with other family members. The family trip to the beach is finally here.

What started as a family reunion on the wife’s father’s side has become a nearly yearly tradition. The travel to Emerald Isle, North Carolina was first undertaken from Marion, Ohio, but for the last 10 years, Cincinnati has been the place of origin. There is nothing like a 14 hour drive in a car to really bring a family together.

When backs were younger and the kids more likely to sleep, it was a one day affair with driver changes every few hours. Time has plague upon us its subtle cruelty and now the traveling is best split upon two days. This year it is my turn to get the vehicle ready and pick the wife up at work at the end of her slightly shortened day. The schedule is to stop about 4.5 hours at Charleston, West Virginia and stay the night. The second day is still a bit long, but nowhere near the tiring one day event. This year, however, there is something different.

This year, there is Geocaching!

Yes, there are several spots along the way, most notably at the rest areas, where Geocaches can be found. We have to stop anyway, so what is a few extra minutes looking for a Geocache? It helps stretch the legs and get the heart pumping a bit. The high amount of muggles will just add to the fun. Part of tomorrow’s ritual will be viewing the maps on the website and noting where things are. Saturday is the prime day to find them.

And what of our destination at Emerald Isle?

Yes, Geocaches are located there too. Now the bored father can not only look for photographic subjects, he can look for hidden gems amongst the foliage. It is going to be great!

PS – Some may wonder of the family members left behind. My parent’s have graciously offered to walk them at regular intervals, at least till the messes start. Be good Maggie Dog, Snuggles and Bayley. I’m sure the latter will be barking all day long.

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