Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eight airports, six airplanes...

300 highway miles, 200 off-road miles, in three days: sometimes, life is brutal.

The airline hub system, for all its convenience, leaves something to be desired - bad weather in Minneapolis suddenly means flight delays all over the country. My airline most resembling the Keystone Cops award? Delta: they changed a gate from here, to there, back to here, back to there.

Gate Agent: All I'm trying to find out is what flight’s at C32?

Whoever gate agents talk to: No. C32 is on G42.

Gate Agent: I'm not asking you who's on G42.

Whoever gate agents talk to: G42’s on C32.

Gate Agent: One gate at a time!

Whoever gate agents talk to: Well, don't change the gates around.

Gate Agent: I'm not changing nothing!

Whoever gate agents talk to: Take it easy, buddy.

Gate Agent: I'm only asking you, what flight’s on c56?

Whoever gate agents talk to: That's right.

Gate Agent: Ok.

Whoever gate agents talk to: All right.

On the other hand, I was driving along the shore of Lake Superior yesterday morning,

and spent my late afternoon here:

How many people are lucky enough to experience a juxtaposition like that in a single day?


Archaeopteryx said...

Great. Make me homesick for the desert already.

TenaciousK said...

Well, it was a balmy hundred degrees or so, but at least (unlike in the great lakes region) when you sweat, it evaporates.

Not everything went well yesterday, actually, but I'll probably write something about that later. I do have to say, however, that if this is mankind's zenith, it ain't bad - when I can be racing down the shore of Lake Superior to the Duluth airport in the morning, and driving along the shore of the Great Salt Lake a few hours later.

My pioneer ancestors would be dumbfounded (well, minus the really insanely religious ones - nothing seemed out of the realm of possibility to them, near as I can tell).

But I was probably a quarter of the way to the Fish Springs refuge (I've never actually been that far), so there is that. Only the most intrepid birders make it out there, I think. And a few die-hard prospectors, I imagine - there are a few of them about.

Archaeopteryx said...

I'd never heard of Fish Spring, so I googled it. It looks like a great place to bird, so I looked for directions, and found this. If you scroll down, you find directions to a spring with increasingly strident warnings about road conditions until you get to: "By the way, the only thing you will see is a spring about 10 feet across in the middle of a stinking mud hole - don't waste your time."

The UPS delivery directions actually include the phrase "Pony Express Route." And I thought I was out in the sticks.

TenaciousK said...

Well, the driving horror story you mention is in reference to a nearby hot spring, not the wildlife refuge. I've been fairly far down that road [it really is the pony express trail - various markers and historical sites on the way]. If you have a suitable vehicle, the roads we'd be on are really no challenge at all. Turns out I do have a suitable vehicle, and have been in much, much worse conditions - really, no worries. Also, though the area looks as desolate a place as there is, there are more people traveling around there than you'd anticipate. In fact, the county even keeps it plowed in the winter time (more or less).

I've been stuck twice - once when I did something really stupid in a moment of inattention, and another when I did something really stupid thinking I could get away with it (I very nearly did, actually). Both times, I was way off roads that are as well maintained and traveled as these.

Remember, those warnings are for birders - people who are usually far less adventurous than your basic outdoorsy types. Travel is really not a problem, even in the rain/mud and snow, so long as you have a good four-wheel-drive, good tires, and know pretty much what you're doing.

Archaeopteryx said...

See, I have the good 4wd with brand new tires, but that last thing....

hipparchia said...


i love travelogues. thanks you two.

Catnapping said...

Airports are great places to hang out. My favorites have been Philadelphia International They had a great USO there (not to mention a couple of great bars.), and the one in Minneapolis.

I think when it comes to people-watching (and listening), nothing beats an airport. People are their most interesting when they're stressed to the point of wringing someone's neck.

catnapping said...

ooooo. this latest avatar is definitely huggable.