Vacation notes (1 of N)

As mentioned previously, K and I have been out on vacation for the past two weeks – no phone (okay, there was voicemail), no email, and really very little in the way of computers.  I did take some notes, because, unfortunately, my memory is exactly what it used to be: bad.

  • May 16: An inauspicious start to a vacation.  Neither K nor I were particularly in the mood for heading out of town.  We were seriously contemplating not going next year and possibly even forgoing the plane fare this year and bailing.  I had been putting in too many hours working on a project for work, and K was have some difficult times with her rehab.  That said, we dropped of the dogs and headed out to RDU.  Unfortunately, the Delta/Northwest merger meant that instead of taking RDU->MSP->BZN flights, we were taking RDU->ATL->MSP->BZN (yes, 3 flights) and upon checking in, it seemed that we were going to be delayed in getting to Atlanta :-(  Well, that worked out okay.  We got into ATL at 5:30 and our MSP flight left at 6:35.  Oh wait, no – it, too, was late and left at 8:00pm.  That meant that in spite of the assurances of several Delta and Northwest agents, we landed at MSP at 9:30 – the same time the BZN flight left.  Well, it turns out that we weren’t the only ones in that situation (‘and if you ever find yourself in that situation, there’s only one thing you can do: sing a few bars of “Alice’s Restaurant”‘).  Delta left 17 of us stranded in MSP, while their computers showed that they were only stranding 3.  Delta proposed routing many of us to Salt Lake City (SLC?) where we could catch a flight to BZN in the morning.  Of course, unless we were flying first class, we would have to eat the costs of staying in SLC.  One woman vociferously complained (though it later turned out that she had already been booked for a morning flight to SLC).  When we arrived at SLC, they had hotel and meal vouchers waiting for us (score!).  So a night at a very gracious Comfort Suites capped the day.  FWIW, on the IT front, the Delta/NW merger has been pathetic – at every point where a user interacts with their computers, they have a front-end which redirects you to the appropriate computer system: Delta or Northwest.  It’s no wonder they can’t figure out that they stranded 17 people, they can’t even make good sense of their different flight numbers!
  • May 17: Relatively uneventful.  We grabbed the shuttle to the airport.  SLC is apparently one of the few airports now invading your privacy by looking at your privates through millimeter radar.  They redirected our line through the system where they had you enter the scanner.  They proceeded to use the Twister spinners to dictate how you place your hands above your head while performing a pelvic thrust for the sensors, then getting annoyed when you didn’t understand the first time that you should pretend to be flashing teenage school girls in order to get the posture correct.  Once it was done, they had to fondle your pocket regions.  No, that’s not a euphemism.  The wavelength of the radar is apparently too short to penetrate the pockets on (men’s?) pants and they then have a pissy highschool educated TSA weenie with delusions of grandeur frisk your pockets.  FWIW, I’m equally pissed at myself that I went through the damn thing.  I should have insisted on a pat-down.  If someone is going to violate my person, I want to get a good look at ’em while they are doing it.  Having the person sit in an anonymous room getting their jollies just isn’t cool.  So, once we got through the faux-security checkpoint, we ran into the woman who complained in MSP (and got us free lodging)!  We made it to BZN – though our luggage didn’t, rented a RAV4 and went to our hotel.  The luggage showed up around 5pm.  Lucky for Delta, otherwise, they could have had it delivered to our final destination, Cooke City – 3 hours away.
  • May 18: bought supplies and headed into Yellowstone.  We didn’t see much on the drive in and we didn’t go out to the park in the evening: too tired.  The beds were great (pillowtop mattresses) and the kitchen was very nice.  I wasn’t too sure about having a TV in the room, but having a phone that we could use after hours was nice.
  • May 19: dsc_4817First real day in the Park.  We did get a late start in the morning, but the viewing was great.  We saw a wolf on the northern ridge above the Lamar valley.  People were saying that he was a part of the same group that killed several coyote pups in the valley the night before.  We saw a grizzly bear, a coyote, a bald eagle and a golden eagle (on a old kill).  That evening we went out again, we saw two grizzly and lots of bison with their young calves, also a very nice scenic view, complete with DRAMATIC LIGHTING.  (* all of the images in this series are original jpegs without the color correction, etc. that will be applied later)dsc_4826


  1. Bryn said,

    June 2, 2009 @ 8:42 am

    Welcome back! Glad you had a good time after all.

  2. etselec said,

    June 2, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

    Welcome home. 🙂 Did you get to see any of SLC? I went there about 20 years ago, was interesting. (The fact that I can blithely make statements like that is a little shocking.) Look forward to the rest of the tale!

  3. cec said,

    June 3, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

    Bryn – thanks!

    etselec – not much of SLC. In order: the airport, the comfort suites bus, the comfort suites, the mountains outside the comfort suites, the bus and the airport. It’s safe to say that SLC saw more of me than I did of it. Which is sort of a shame it seemed pretty. Oh, and I know what you mean about statements like, “20 years ago…,” I’ll do that every once and a while and then die just a little bit. I would swear that I’m still a 25 year old grad student. bah!

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