Sunday, October 31, 2010

Travel & Recovery

Still catching my breath, but feeling rather better than I have since returning Wednesday a bit tired and cranky. Was right back at work Thursday/Friday, and came home w/ a weekend project I'll hopefully start later today.

The trip had started out with more than a bit of dread, and wasn't looking to be a fun trip to begin with, what with it being to attend the funeral of a childhood favorite relative that was the 82yo's pseudo-sister (long story, set in the '30's) .

Landing in Denver Friday afternoon, Mom & I grabbed the rental SUV (I'm not especially trustful of late October in the midwest) and headed for our hotel - in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Some hours later, we arrived, checked in, and Mom collapsed...while I went over and joined the kids of the deceased, the only branch of the family that'd be in the same geographic region as my brother and I growing up, and their spouses - and re-connected with family, and their spouses I'd never had the time or luxury of growing acquainted with.

Brunch the next morning, and the subsequent funeral went well aside from a few nervous moments when I thought the attendees might be about to get fricasseed in an electrical fire at the local Catholic parish. Turned out to be incense (and I was deeply grateful that I was able to figure that out BEFORE going further than quietly scoping out the locations of alternative exits), but otherwise was a very moving service with eulogies from the children and grandchildren.

Next morning, we all ate at a local restaurant and headed out - the kids to the second service and interment on the other side of the state, and Mom'n'I, after some chatter, to a small town in SE Colorado with some rather special folks in it. Spent a day or so down there before heading over to Colorado Springs, where I got to see a friend and meet his wife - and check out the largest private gun store in Colorado (and pick up a nice new-model Delica).

From there a straight run w/o stops to the rental car station at Denver International. Proud to say that, aside from rental car, not one thin dime was spent within the confines of the City of Denver.

A word to the wise. Flying into or through DIA isn't all that bad. Flying out is simply dreadful, especially if you are taking guns with.

Frontier Airlines isn't the fault of DIA, I don't think. But a cranky ticket agent over-focused on gouging travelers for every last dollar of baggage fees and harassing gun owners (It's been years since I had to take pistols out and demonstrate empty, clearing for an audience at a ticket counter - and I've NEVER had a ticket agent insist on taking my lawfully-secured ammunition weighing it to see if it violated some arbitary and extra-legal weight limit with an eye towards confiscating any excess). We'd not eaten or had coffee, figuring to accomplish this at DIA post-security...and this did not improve anyones mood.

Now, what I do blame DIA for is their absolute cluster-fuck of a TSA checkpoint. A single half-staffed checkpoint for the entire airport - all gates - at a major hub. Stacked in a line at least 250 deep, all hope of breakfast before flight was quickly dashed. With an hour and forty-five minutes shot on gratuitous sphincteritude and TSA design/staffing incompetence...getting the 82yo to the gate in a timely manner w/o a meltdown was now a challenge.

A not unconquerable challenge (obviously, since I'm back in Seattle and not driving a rental from Denver today), but then spending several hours on a sardine can of a jet with inadequate air conditioning...didn't precisely improve things.

Lessons learned? If I'm going to Colorado, it's going to be either by the Colorado Springs or the Amarillo airport (depending on destination). If I'm including Scottsbluff in the picture, I'm going to hit that fine cities airport.

When considered with the anti-gun stance of the City of Denver (my reason for avoiding any spending within city limits), DIA is on my "avoid if practically possible" list - throw in DIA's baggage debacles, and I'm thinking folks are well-advised to avoid this airport to the extent practical on a number of different grounds.

To finish up, dearth of posting was largely due to "en route/too tired" status and "got home/going to work/way too tired" status. Will try and get nose back to grindstone.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Glad the trip went well, all things considered... and yeah DIA sucks!