Thursday, October 15, 2009

Travels to San Francisco

I was out of town again for another quick vacation for a better part of a week to go to San Francisco to watch the Presidents Cup golf tournament and play a couple rounds of golf with some of my old friends I grew up with. It was really awesome getting to watch players like Tiger, Phil, and Vijay tee off five feet in front of me. It's cool seeing the players in person, but it's tough to actually keep up with what's happening in the various matches. We watched the tournament on Thursday and Sunday and played golf on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately for my training, my running usually falls off a little while I was on vacation. I was able to run every other day and I put in some tougher workouts, but nothing can substitute for a quality week of high mileage. My best two runs were one where I did one run on a treadmill and knocked out 6.4 miles in 40 minutes. I did another hard workout where I did about 3.25 miles of 30/30 in 17:40. The weather for running was great out there. It was in the low 50's in the morning and I could really cruise fast in that weather without putting out too much effort.

Coming back on Monday was a nightmare. I had flown Southwest since you can check two bags without any fees and I needed to take my golf clubs with me on the trip. My friend and I took BART (the subway) to the airport and we arrived about an hour and 20 minutes before our flight. We get over to the Southwest counter area and the line stretches out farther than the eye can see. We walk and walk and keep walking and go around a couple of corners and finally find the back of the line. I don't think I'd ever seen such a long line in my life. Later I found out the problem was that the cloud ceiling was so low they had to shut down one of the runways and by mid-day all the flights were delayed by 2 hours. Since I was flying Southwest and had to make a connection I knew I wouldn't make my connection and they would have to reschedule my connecting flight. They had to do that with practically everybody which made the line inch along. After about 2 hours we finally got up to the ropes that snake back and forth by the ticket counter. There was a guy about 3 people in front of me who was the only person really making a scene and he tried to go up to the counter and get preferential treatment. I thought that they were about to actually help him just to make him shut up so my friend and I started yelling that he was cutting in line and they shouldn't check his bag. He kind of glared at us and then came back to his spot in line. He had a flight at 1:45 and was threatening that if he didn't make the flight he wasn't going to leave the counter. I was actually looking forward to this and hoping he would make a scene and the cops would have to come Taser him, or at least arrest him. It would have made my 2-1/2 hour wait in line a little more tolerable. Unfortunately for me he got up to the counter about 25 minutes before his flight, got his bag checked and ran off towards the security line without incident.

I finally made it to the counter just over 2-1/2 hours of standing in line and 35 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave. Since my connecting flight out of LA wasn't delayed, they put me on a later flight. I asked if my bags would actually make this flight since it was only 35 minutes away and they told me they should so I headed off to the gate. My friend was also scheduled to be on the same flight to LA and then he had a different connection back to Albuquerque, but it was going to be awfully tight to make the connection, but they left him scheduled on it. We made it to LA and my friend had about 10 minutes to make his connection so he ran off while I waited and waited. I had been scheduled on a flight that stopped in Phoenix and then continued on to Houston, but it had been delayed and wasn't scheduled to arrive until 12:40 am. There was a later non-stop flight to Houston from LA that wasn't as delayed and was supposed to arrive at midnight so I asked them to put me on that flight instead. It ended up being delayed a little longer and we landed in Houston about 12:20. When I got off the plane I saw my friend had texted me and said he made it back, and he got his suitcase, but his golf clubs didn't make it. Since he checked in just behind me I felt a little better that my bags made the flight out of SF. I got to the baggage carousel and waited and waited and went to the restroom and waited some more and finally the bags started coming. Maybe all the baggage handlers had gone home for the night so the pilots and flight crew had to unload the plane. A ton of bags come out, but not mine. They let up and then another surge of bags starts coming. And then no more come and I'm standing there with about 2 other people looking for bags. What a perfect ending to a crappy day. Fortunately the lost baggage people were there and took my info and told me they would call me the next day after they came in and would set up a delivery so I finally leave the airport at 1:00 am. Fortunately I made it home safely and my bags showed up Tuesday morning in Houston and they delivered them after work on Tuesday.

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