Let the Travels Begin

Last week I traveled to Chicago for work. As I type, I am in a Hampton Inn smack in the middle of downtown Milwaukee, also for a work trip. I ventured out on Sunday for this trip, which I don’t normally do, because I need to be back no later than Thursday in order to turn around on Friday and begin the big family trip to Panama! So this year is starting off with a lot of airportin’.

One of the things I decided to do this year is keep a better record of the things I do and observe on my travels, more as a way for me to train myself to observe things better. I bought a moleskin journal to use for nothing but this purpose. The other night while waiting for some delicious Tower Pizza to be made I sat at one of their tables with a glass of beer and wrote down the events of last week’s trip in retrospect. Tonight I transcribed it, mainly out of curiosity to get an idea for how many words fit on one page in this thing (approx. 230, give or take 10 – 15). I figured since I took the time to transcribe it, which I might not always do, I may as well put it here. You’ll quickly learn just how exciting this work travel thing can be!

1. Work Trip to Chicago (Midtronics) 01/10 – 01/13

01/10: Travel Day (Delta Airlines)

Early flight (6:00 AMish) Monday into O’Hare, then drove about 30 minutes south to Willowbrook. My room was at the Holiday Inn, one of those that was probably nice about 15 – 20 years ago. Lingering smell from when cigarettes were allowed, dingy carpeting in the hallways, etc. Still, the room wasn’t bad and at least the shower didn’t appear designed for Halflings.

It was sunny and maybe upper 30s when I arrived. By nighttime it started snowing, though, and was windy and nasty and cold. I had too much lunch at a Buffalo Wild Wings when I got there, but that didn’t stop me from ordering a pizza later to watch the NCAA Championship Game between Auburn and Oregon. The Ducks lost. I worked on a short story called “A Dog Named Buddy” with one eye on the game. Only ate about a third of the pizza. Stayed up too late too.

01/11: On Site at Midtronics, Day One

Made it to the customer site around 8:00. Recognized my contact from the user’s conference in Vegas last October. Nice enough guy. Place makes battery systems. Main building for office people is like a huge cubicle farm. I couldn’t work in this environment.

They ordered in lunch from that sandwich chain, Jimmy John’s. Pretty much sucked. I think one just opened up in Missoula, but I’m not sure. Won’t be going there, that’s for sure. Anyway, I hate when customers order in lunch because there is no break then from being ON. I planned to go to my hotel and work out since I didn’t in the morning, but couldn’t.

Was supposed to meet Dan O’Shea for dinner but weather snafus forced a rain check. I ended up going to this awesome market that I thought was a Whole Foods knock-off that turned out to be a Polish version of the same. All weird European labels, weird food in the deli, stuff like that. Also had stuff like Amy’s and other brands that I recognized from the Good Food Store, but it was still cool. Loaded up on a bunch of fruit so I wouldn’t eat total shit all week.

Then proceeded to go have breakfast for dinner from friggin’ Denny’s. Called Julia, crashed hard, no writing or movie watching.

01/12: On Site at Midtronics, Day Two

Customer was having network/server problems unrelated to my work, so it slowed our progress. Should have wrapped up by noon but was there until 5:00 PM. Had a meeting with a production bigshot. Crazy how out of touch so many of these guys are with what actually gets stuff out the door of their own place. It’s a lot like politics. The world is run by assholes.

Working lunch ordered in again – this time pizza. Tried to hold out but failed; intended to have my fruit for my lunch. Did, but also had a couple slices. I only mention this because my contact asked if we have pizza in Montana. I said of course we do, and we make actual slices instead of the stupid squares they cut it into in the Midwest. Then he asked if there is even an airport in Missoula. It blows me away that people ask some of these questions.

Did hit the gym in the AM, which was good, but not in the evening. Had BW3s again, worked on my story, then watched Double Dare. Zoe Bell. Yowza.

01/13: Travel Day (Delta Airlines)

Didn’t have early flight. Slept in, then drove to O’Hare. Hour delay because of weather in Minneapolis, but eventually made it. Lunch at Chili’s in Minneapolis airport for about the 1000th time. Read a bit. People watched. Then boarded to Missoula. Didn’t get 1st Class upgrade, those bastards. Got home an hour late, then truck acted like it didn’t want to start. That hasn’t happened before. Made it home, crashed.

Trip Reading Details:

Finished Dead Lift by Rachel Brady
Read Deliverance by James Dickey
Read most of The Anti-American Manifesto by Ted Rall

Wrote 1431 words

3 thoughts on “Let the Travels Begin”

  1. >This is a real commitment. When I've written up my travels, it seems to take an hour or more just to get the highlights of the day into words. But writing is a good discipline and a real aid to memory. If I don't write, it all just slips away down a black hole.

  2. >Nice recap. We've been traveling a lot too. I especially appreciate (and share) your observation that the world is run by assholes. With each new example that is set before me, I am still surprised. Slow learner, I guess. I don't know why you lie to those midwesterners, though. Why not tell them the truth? When you land in Missoula in a wide open barren field, at sunset no doubt, you climb out of a bush-wacker, whistle toward the sky and your faithful horse comes running to pick you up and carry you home. You smile and feed him an apple.

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