This is a day in my life.
And, just for fun, I plan on bloggging the entirety of it (with BONUS pictures!). I'm not sure how exciting it will be but, since most of it will be spent traveling, "stuff" is bound to happen.
So, if your voyeuristic tendencies are such that you might enjoy spending the day with me in Chicago, by all means read on in this extended entry (click the link below the photo)...
12:10am - I was supposed to fly to Chicago yesterday evening, but something came up so I changed the flight to this morning. The small town where I live has two choices for air travel... fly out of the neighboring city of Wenatchee's Pangborn Field (30 minutes away), or drive to Seattle and fly out from there (2-1/2 hours away). With gas prices what they are, the cost is pretty much the same. When you include security checks and such, timing is pretty much the same as well. With both cost and timing being equal, I usually just go with whatever option I feel like at the time. Since I don't feel like driving to Seattle, I went ahead and booked my ticket out of Wenatchee. Now I'm off to bed.
4:30am - Having gotten my four hours of required sleep, I catch up on my email and read some fresh blog entries. Since my PowerBook is wireless, I don't even have to get out of bed. Kazza is considering skydiving, which makes me smile.
5:15am - I still have all the suitcases from last week's vacation piled in the middle of the living room, and clean clothes are scarce. After a quick shower, I cram a fresh pair of khakis and a wrinkle-resistant dress shirt in my backpack, add a baggie of personal effects, and I'm ready to go.
6:00am - But first I watch an episode of Desperate Housewives off of my TiVo. Don't judge me too harshly: Teri Hatcher is sweet.
6:50am - My car has frosted over, and I can't find my scraper. Using a credit card, I clear a spot on the windshield so I don't crash into anybody on the way to the airport. The sunrise as I enter Wenatchee is beautiful, but I'm afraid it didn't capture very well on my little camera...
7:30am - I am way ahead of schedule, so I stop for breakfast at McDonalds. I don't eat here often because the food is absolutely terrible for your health, but I'm hungry, and a McGriddle sounds good. $3.96 later, breakfast is served:
8:00am - I arrive at Pangborn Field. The airport code for Weantchee is EAT which is supposed to be an abbreviation for "Eastern Washington Area Transport," or something like that. Most people say it stands for "EAT Washington Apples," which may also be true. In any event it's a little nothing of an airport with one airline (Horizon), one gate (#2, oddly enough), and one destination (SeaTac: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). Overnight parking is $3.00, which is really reasonable since you pay $20 or more at big airports.
INTERESTING FACT - As small as it is, Pangborn Field does have a rather interesting claim-to-fame: it is the landing site for the world's first non-stop trans-Pacific flight. Back in 1931, Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon Jr. flew 4,558 miles in 41 hours & 13 minutes from Sabishiro, Japan to Wenatchee, Washington. In order to conserve fuel and gain speed, they had to lighten the aircraft (named Miss Veedol after a motor oil sponsorship) by tossing everything they could find out the window. This included the landing gear. So, once they reached what would one day become Pangborn Field, they had to crash-land the aircraft.
NOT-SO INTERESTING FACT - From November through March, Pangborn Field cancels quite a few flights because of weather (mostly fog, but sometimes snow and ice). This means that usually I add a day to my itinerary when flying from Wenatchee during this time, because in December and January, your odds of getting out are slim. This is why I was originally flying out yesterday, and am "living dangerously" this morning. Fortunately, the weather seems perfect.
8:10am - I enter the airport to find a bunch of people standing around and no agents at the check-in counter. Since I'm already "checked-in," I pay my $3 parking and turn to leave. Then it occurs to me to ask: "Uhhh... have any of you pressed the call button so somebody will come out and help you?" The answer: "What button?" My reply: "The button under this big sign here on top of the counter that says "PRESS BUTTON FOR SERVICE!" Naturally, nobody has. I press the button, and the counter is instantly staffed by two smiling Horizon agents. The first guy in line is immediately pissed off and goes on a tirade because he's stupidly been standing there for 20 minutes. I can't take photos in the airport or the TSA will shoot me, but this is really no exaggeration...
8:30am - Airport security here is tighter than most major airports but, since the plane only holds 37 people maximum, it never takes very long to clear... I am the first one to the checkpoint and am through minutes later. Boarding time is 10 minutes from now. We will be late. Boarding your aircraft is always late here.
9:00am - We board the aircraft. Told you we'd be late...
9:20am - The weather is mostly cloudy, so I don't have any terrific photos like last time. But I can definitely see snow when there's a break from time to time...
10:00am - I make my way to Gate D7 for my flight to The Windy City where we will be boarding in 30 minutes. I try to find a place to sit, but there are morons everywhere taking up multiple seats. One guy is occupying three with all of his crap. People are remarkably self-centered and rude these days. Eventually I sit next to a woman who rolls her eyes and huffs as she moves her suitcase, makeup case, duffle bag, and gigantic purse out of my way (limit 2 items to carry on, but obviously the rules don't apply to her). Bitch. I'd hope that her plane crashes, but she's probably on my flight.
10:40am - The plane configuration has changed since I booked my tickets. My window seat has somehow become a middle seat. Lovely. But at least we're on our way. To make things a bit more tolerable, I spend the $10 to rent an "Alaska Air DigeMovie Set" so I can have something to distract me for the next 3 hours. Most of the movies I've seen already, but I do get to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (a disorganized mess that ravages a pretty good book) and then skim through Aliens vs. Predator (a complete turd of a movie that takes an excellent concept and utterly screws it up in a way I never thought possible - Paul W.S. Anderson is a talentless hack)...
5:00pm - And here I am in Chicago! I've decided to take the Airport Express shuttle into the city ($23) to save money from taking a taxi ($36 - $42). Unfortunately, I am at "Stop #3" and shuttle bus after shuttle bus goes flying by, having already filled up from Stop #1 and Stop #2. Incredibly stupid. A half-hour later, I finally get a seat.
6:00pm - Traffic from O'Hare was a total bitch for reasons unknown, but my stop at the Hard Rock Hotel is the first one, so a little luck finally shines on me. I've blogged about the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago before, which is a seriously cool hotel here. This time I am on the "Prince" floor...
6:15pm - I immediately head up Michigan Avenue and turn left on Ohio so I can see how bad the line is to get into Giordano's. Not surprisingly, the line is out the door and half-way down the block. This is what happens when you have the best pizza in all of Chicago at the dinner hour on a Saturday night (you can read about a previous sublime Giordano's experience here).
6:25pm - Heartbroken, I walk up a half-dozen blocks and eat at the delectable Johnny Rockets instead (which has the benefit of being located across the street from a liposuction and breast enhancement clinic)...
7:00pm - With time to kill, I decide to do something I've never done on any previous trip to Chicago: ride up to the Hancock Tower Observation Deck and overview the city at night. Pretty cool. That's the famous Sears Tower off to the right there...
7:30pm - Next I head back down Michigan Avenue's "Magnificent Mile" so I can pop by the Apple Store and see the new iPod Photo. It's even more amazing than I had hoped, and the idea of being able to carry around all of my photos as well as all my music in a small box the size of a deck of playing cards is really, really tempting. Unfortunately, I don't have $600 to spare after my recent Caribbean Cruise, so it's out of the question. Still fun to look though. Of the three flagship Apple Stores in New York, L.A., and Chicago, I think this is my favorite...
8:15pm - Since there are no decent movie theaters where I live, any time I make it to a big city I make a point of seeing a film. The Cineplex Odeon is back across from Giordano's, so I wander back to get a ticket to Team America: World Police or perhaps The Incredibles. Unfortunately, the only thing playing I want to see is The Incredibles, but all showings are sold out until 11:30! Since I have to get up at 5:00am, I reluctantly decided to pass.
8:30pm - Back "home" at the Hard Rock Hotel, I check my email and finish up this blog entry. After a run through my blog list, I'll try to get some sleep to prepare for work tomorrow...
10:30pm - Good night! Thanks for tagging along with me today (hope you're still awake after all that!).
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awww, nice to know I started your day with a smile 😉
why on earth did they fly all that way inland? couldn’t they have landed in seattle?
I have no idea why Pangborn and Herndon didn’t land on the coast. It didn’t make much sense to me either. The only thing I could think of is that they wanted to fly as far as they possibly could on that tank of gas?
awww – i heart chicago ;o) i’ll be there 35 days from today and i CAN NOT WAIT. i have, however, never been to the hardrock-café there. might have to do that this year. but first thing on the list after kissing the man is the “christkindlmarket”. have you been there? it really is kinda like in nuernberg/germany. definetely worth a stop. although i have to say it lost a lot of it’s atmosphere since i was there for the first time in ’97. but sill, i can’t wait. hope you have/had a good time.
I’m the guy with the crap DVD player who recently wrote you about your experience…I DID send it to Mr. P…In McAllen, TX…bubble wrap and all. I’m waiting for his response which should come any day…as I left the mailing/copier center, I realized that this “statement” cost me 24-bucks for shipping and handling…I really hope it will make a big impression when they get it…
Enjoyed reading about your day in Chicago. Sorry you didn’t get into “The Incredibles”. Are you planning on seeing “Polar Express”? I saw a sneak preview with my wife last night and we both found it amazing and very enjoyable.
I was so distracted after reading about your wireless Powerbook, that I didn’t pay as much attention to the rest of your trip, until it came to the Apple store! BTW, why didn’t you just use your Powerbook to watch a DVD? That’s what I do.
Mmmmm Chi is one of my favorite cities.
Jay: Thanks! Usually my little Cannon Powershot does NOT take good nighttime photos, but I set it on the rail and used the timer to get this shot and it turned out pretty good I think!
Kim: Oooh… 35 days? Dress warmly! 🙂 I’ve not been to “christkindlmarket” before, so I’ll have to add that to my list.
Randy: Hope you have better luck with your Panasonic lemon than I did! I want to see Polar Express, but probably will have to wait until it comes out on DVD, sadly.
Shannon: Usually I use my PowerBook to watch DVD movies, but since my frequent flier miles are on Northwest I couldn’t upgrade, and I ended up flying Alaska in a middle coach seat… there wasn’t enough room for my laptop!
Jessie: Me too! I think everybody should try to see Chicago at least once in their life (but preferably not during the winter, when the biting cold and high winds make it a bit uncomfortable).
Thanks for the trip, you know how much I enjoy traveling with you from my computer desk.
Yeah Chicago, cool town love it.
(i live in Chicago if you couldnt tell)
I know that this is a ridiculously old entry, but now that I am in Chicago, I had to read it…and tell you to come back here so we can have a drink and finally meet. Or coffee…as my old moniker suggests.
-Hot Coffee Girl