The week of work travel is over…

Well, the work-related travel I mentioned in my last post is over. Now I’m nearing the end of the break before I leave for Las Vegas on vacation; I’m actually looking forward to that trip, as I could use a bit of time away from work, and playing some poker sounds like good fun. Also, it’ll be nice to actually stay in a hotel room and not need to be rushing in or out of it for once…

My business trips actually started with a trip out to Alvarado last Thursday. Instead of flying out, I decided to drive out. I entrusted the task of navigating me there to my new GPS Navigator (a TomTom ONE 130S), and it turned out that trust was a bit unfounded. Apparently maps of Mansfield and Alvarado are not up to date on the TomTom, and so it took me the LONG way around… and neither the TomTom, Google Maps, or MapQuest could find the actual company location. (It turned out it was because it was on a private road.) I managed to find it, though, and worked until about 5 PM. From there, I went to my hotel, checked in, checked my mail, and then left for a Pappadeaux north of Dallas where I was meeting my friend Ginny for dinner. The meal was delicious, and it was good to catch up with Ginny for a couple of hours. Though, I WAS nearly killed on the way home; as I was driving down I-20, in the right lane, as I was passing an exit some idiot in the lane to my left decided he wanted to exit RIGHT THERE AND THEN, and swerved right in front of me to exit. The only way I avoided hitting him was by swerving out of the way exiting as well. Seriously… exiting a highway is not so vital that you need to kill someone. Just go to the next exit and loop back!

The next day, I worked at the facility for a few hours, and then headed back to Houston, with a stop in Corsicana to have some dinner (and buy Dad a fruitcake from Collins Street Bakery). The rest of the afternoon was spent driving home in rain almost the entire way…

On Sunday, I flew out to Midland/Odessa. While I wasn’t due to be at the facility in Odessa until Monday morning, the company’s travel agent had me there extra early. I ended up watching movies on Netflix to pass the time and having dinner over at Logan’s Roadhouse. I got to the facility nice and early Monday morning… to find I was the only one there. A quick call to the other Odessa facility resulted in someone coming out to open the facility up, and I proceeded to do the necessary audits and software installs. Around 3:30 PM, I left to go get a late lunch/early dinner at Logan’s (as Texas Roadhouse wasn’t open yet), and then headed to the airport. My flight to DFW left an hour late, which made me worried that I would miss my flight to Little Rock. Fortunately, when I landed in DFW and rushed to the next gate, I found out my flight was delayed a half-hour. I finally boarded it, got to Little Rock, got my rental car, and made my way to Conway. I got to my hotel at 11:30 PM, checked my mail, and went straight to bed.

I got to the Conway facility at 8 AM, and proceeded to get everything done that needed to get done. Fortunately I had plenty of time to work with, and only two machines that needed working on. At around lunchtime, the shop hand, branch manager, and I went over to Mazzio’s for lunch. I was first introduced to Mazzio’s when visiting Misty once, and I wish they had one here in Houston. After I got everything done, I made my way back to Little Rock, and flew back to Dallas, where I had supper in TGI Friday’s. Then I boarded my flight to Pittsburgh. The weird thing was that this was the third flight in a row with the same flight crew. I think my greeting to the stewardess on boarding was, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this…”

I got into Pittsburgh around 11 PM local time, and made my way to Indiana, PA… a two hour drive. My rented car was a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder; I had been interested in the Eclipses once, and this drive only made me glad that I hadn’t bought one. The thing had no cargo room to speak of, and I could barely see out the back. Driving the Pittsburgh freeways was a bit of a nightmare, too, when navigating by GPS navigator and weaving in and out of traffic. I made it to my hotel in Indiana at around 1:30 AM… and when I got into my room, all I did was set the alarm and go to bed.

I slept in an extra hour, and got to the facility at 8:30 AM or so. After spending a couple of hours evaluating and inventorying the facility, plus doing software work, I made my way back to Pittsburgh. I must say that the drive was especially beautiful now that I could actually see something other than total blackness all around me. I made it to Pittsburgh well before my flight, so I ended up killing time by having dinner at TGI Friday’s and doing some work using the airport wifi. It was about 8:30 PM by the time I got to my driveway at home.

So, now, I’m preparing for another trip. We’ll be staying at the Rio this time around, as opposed to Bally’s (where we normally stay). My dad and I went to the Rio a year and a half ago to see Penn & Teller, and were so impressed by it we decided to stay there this time. We’ll see how the trip goes this time around. Up-to-date details will likely be posted on my Twitter feed.

Ah, well. Here’s hoping I have a relaxing week. :-)