Getting To Virginia Beach …

7 09 2009

I have this buddy Linda … 🙂

Linda and I met at the World Class Racewalking Camp in Florida last November and she’s a hoot and a half. We’re both extremely high energy and if I could syphon off only a small bit of her zest for life, my world would be amazing for … forever. Anyway, Thing 1 (think Dr. Seuss) is Linda and I’m Thing 2 … it’s just something we were laughing about … so when Linda twisted my arm to come out to Virginia Beach for the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon I came along fairly willingly.

Travelling when in school has been rather interesting. When I’m by myself, I can easily do homework in the various hotel rooms I’ve been in, but it isn’t easy to carry along all the school related nonsense. This time, I was having to carry, literally, 35 pounds of books onto the plane because I had a concern with my luggage. It appears this was a founded concern.

I wanted to have everything packed early and get the house somewhat in order before Joan came to Bailey-sit. This just wasn’t happening. Like a lot of things, priorities got skewered sideways. Drama with some friends that splashed on me, stuff from work, class work and the like. Having Bailey attacked by some neighbor dogs just didn’t toss anything good into the mix! I barely got things thrown in a bag on Thursday night before I left! Due to the fact that I have a paper due the night I get back, I had to park out at the US Airport parking which is making this a bit more of an expensive trip!

Leaving Denver, something was a little off. I checked my luggage, figured out how much it’ll weigh when I put some of the books in the bag for the return trip and trundled off into the airport. The security lines were practically non-existent and I was able to just breeze through with my book-bag and race bag. I kind of marveled at how easy things were going and how easy I felt. I’d not been able to keep food down again because of a bad experience with a lot of MSG at a Chinese restaurant (with associated leftovers) so I was concerned if I had enough fuel floating around my body for the race. Since Linda was all over me saying she was just getting me through this race and we were to have fun, I was putting my “gotta race” attitude on the back burner … thankfully!

I realized that I’ve been travelling an extreme amount when I was associating trips with the various Southwest Air gates. This one for Orlando-Disney, that one for San Jose-Rock & Roll, over there for LAX-Huntington Beach races. The one I was at, however, was the one I flew out of for Huntington Beach that I *didn’t* want to do the race at. Not a good memory. The folks were OK, but some were real complainers. Complaining going to Orlando … that’s sad. I pulled out a book for one of my classes and dove in.

The flight was relatively uneventful. We left late because of transfer passengers and their luggage was being loaded as we were waiting. No problem. I thought about how luggage follows folks and that it was interesting that they were able to get it on our flight even though the connecting one was late.

Orlando blew me away. I usually fly in there in the winter. I stepped off the plane and was hit with heat and humidity that nearly caused me to get light headed and wander into the nearest wall! I’d not even gotten in to the airport yet! My goal for my 2.5 hour layover was to find something Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Linda and myself to wear. Knowing the airport as well as I do by now, I knew I needed the Universal Studio stores and the one on one side of the airport was slightly better than the other side. I found shirts, nightshirts and such, but nothing was really “useful”. What I mean is spending $20 on a cap or $35 on a shirt that would only be worn rarely was folly. I did, however, find a new machine that made dog tags with Thing 1 and Thing 2 blanks! My racewalking twin and I would have something fun that wouldn’t take up a lot of room!

Since the Clear Card folks going out of business, I wondered how I would get through the airport quickly. Fortunately airports like LAX (NOT my favorite airport) have a thing called “Expert Traveller” and it appears Orlando picked it up. Expert Travellers are those who don’t have kids and can get things out of the bags quickly … or are 1st class. I’m pretty quick and flew through only to wait on the other side.

My flight ended up 1/2 an hour late and moved gates 2x. It’s better than the folks who were waiting for over an hour. The heat was bothering me and I wondered what Virginia Beach was going to do to me. I’m not all that good in humidty or heat. I love my oceans, but just overheat. Now that I’m re-insured, I’ll try again to find out what is going on.

I was able to contact Linda who lives about 20 minutes from the Norfolk airport. It appeared she was the Airport Shuttle for a couple of us.

I met some great folks who are walking all the Rock and Roll races in the airport. I’m hoping they do get in contact as I only had my Team Challenge fundrasing card on me. We chatted all the way up to Virginia Beach swapping race stories. I was hoping we’d come in together, but when I write my race report, you’ll see that wasn’t to be.

Got in to Norfolk. Called Linda. Said goodbye and see ya soon to my new friends. Wandered off the plane.

Norfolk is a nice airport. It’s no where near as small as Linda made it out to being. I wandered down to the baggage claim and … waited. After a handful of minutes, the buzzer rang and the bags started being belched out off the conveyor belt. Approximately 20 bags for a full flight … hum. Norfolk … we have a problem. I’m not sure where the other folks from the flight were, but when I noticed the conveyor belt from the nether regions of the airport stopping, I went to check in with the Southwest baggage people.

Matt was a nice enough guy. He made a couple of calls and I said I’d go back out for a bit. Linda was on her way but I didn’t know how the circling worked for Norfolk. When the clam-shell conveyor stopped, I went back in to visit Matt. I kept my sense of humor because, in truth, what was I going to do? I’d kid Linda on Wednesday or Thursday that if I needed anything I’d borrow it from her. However, my Twin Buddy is 5’5″!

It appeared my luggage decided to remain in Orlando. Sigh. It never made the flight. Maybe it was because they moved us around so much. I’m not sure. Linda gave her address to Matt and I got a shaving kit out of the deal. I really needed to brush my teeth.

The adventure starts here … I’d NEVER had a bag “lost” like this. I’d had one-of-a-kind 2″ reel-to-reel music I was transporting lost and let loose in SFO at midnight, but I had my race clothes and, now, a toothbrush. I would have liked a change of underwear!

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