Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012 - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Business Trip Part 1

The next few entries will deviate somewhat from the norm, being less about what we did and more what I did. This is a rare occasion where I traveled without Esther and the kids. 

Recently I've been fortunate enough to have my work assignments shuffled around and to be placed with a different project and customer. As a result, I was asked to travel with two other co-workers to visit and tour our customer's facility and operations in Erie, Pennsylvania. This was an awesome opportunity for me and I'm very grateful for the chance to re-visit the state and to connect with our business partners on their home turf.

And, yeah, they build trains. Trains. All day, every day. Like about 900 a year. Who wouldn't want to see that?

Also- flying. I love flying. I fly just often enough to know the routines of modern air travel, but not so frequently that I've become bored with it. I still spend most of my time in the air looking outside the window. I watch the runway speed by and the ground fall away and land with a crick in my neck from cloud gazing in-route. Little surprise that most the pictures I took today were of the flight.

We left Huntsville morning under cloudy skies aboard a 50-passenger Canadair CRJ900 which is more like a school bus with wings than an airliner. This would be the first of four such flights before our trip was over as we were connecting in Detroit for a jump to Erie.

Sky: Cloudy. Window: scratchy.

As you can see from the pictures, my window had seen better days. Time in the air was just under the duration of a Doctor Who episode. The strangest thing during this leg of the trip was hearing the co-pilot introduced by his first name only, "Adam".

We paused at Detroit Metro just long enough to grab a drink and a sandwich (nearly $10). DTW will always be known to me as "that airport with a mile of people movers and no free WiFi".

Behind Cathy and Bill on the people mover between gates.

Back aboard waiting to taxi.
The window in the second plane was much clearer. This was my second trip with a connection in Detroit and my second time to fly out and over Lake Erie. The lake does not disappoint. It's more like flying out over the Gulf of Mexico than over what we call lakes in Alabama. 

One thing that I wasn't able to get a picture of was the red-tailed hawk perched on a light beacon between the lanes of taxing planes, her feathers fluttering in the wind from the lake.

We also saw windmills as we approached Erie. Sadly we had already been asked to put away "all personal electronic devices" before flying in and over Presque Isle State Park. That was beautiful.

What followed was the boring details of picking up the rental car, checking into the hotel, trying out the WiFi, logging on to our company email and general settling in to our temporary homes. We met up with a fourth employee of our company and had diner at the Quaker Stake and Lube across the highway from the hotel. I had the boneless wings with "Super Charged" hot sauce (only 30,000 SHU!)

Wet naps are provided for your convenience.

More pictures (most from the window of the plane) can be found here.

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