Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Trip West...

...went pretty well, all things considered. I woke up at about 0400 to start getting ready to go and Brendan actually got up after my first knock on his door at 0425. That was nice. We had a quick cup of coffee and Brendan had a quick bite to eat. Then we packed the car and almost headed to the airport. Thank you Brendan for asking me if I had everything. I had to go back inside and grab the shotgun case - jeesh! We were off in no time and got to the airport in little time since there was very little traffic on the road at that hour. The thing is though there still was traffic, not as i jam, but as in people already going to work either in the Big Apple or further east on Long Island.

Once at the airport it was a quick goodbye to Brendan and he was off back toward home, hopefully he could get a few winks before leaving again for school. I headed to the check in counter and man what a line! There were literally hundreds of people in the Delta terminal on one line or another. Luckily most people do self check in and do not require the services of a check in person as did I. Of course I need to let them know I fly armed and then sign the forms, wait to have my ID checked by the police, have the shotgun checked by TSA and so on. When the police officer arrived he checked my ID, then asked me to open the shotgun case, then told me I could absolutely, positively not have ammunition in with the shotgun. I explained the TSA and Delta regulations saying yes I could carry the ammo in the same hard sided case as the shotgun so long as the ammo was in either metal, plastic or fiber (cardboard) containers; I also offered to show him a copy of the regulations for both TSA and the airline that I had in my pocket. he refused to look at them and told me that this airport had special rules telling me I was dead wrong because when traveling through LaGuardia airport things were different. Funny how LEOS and people in general always feel that where they work is special with special rules that supersede the rules for the rest of us. He escorted me to TSA and he immediately told the guy at TSA that I had ammo then asked isn't that against the rules. The guy at TSA took a look and said 'Nope, that's okay because he packed it correctly'! TSA had me lock up the case and I was off with the cop to be walked through security. Luckily for me I had not said what was on my mind to the officer because I still had to have him escort me through security - lol. Actually he was pretty decent and courteous, just misinformed.

Once through security I met a NYPD officer with whom I used to work at JFK Airport when with Customs. That was a nice surprise. We chatted for a bit and went off to our gates. I had only a brief wait and was preboarded, always a nice touch. Then we were off to Atlanta for my connecting flight. Te trip to Atlanta was brief and pleasant. The wait once there was a bit longer tan the one I had had in NY but thankfully I did not have to go through security again. The flight from Atlanta itself was not so good. It was full, and I do mean full. It appeared as if every seat was taken. The seats, all three across, were pretty narrow and we were packed like sardines. It would have been ore bearable had the flight been a brief one like the initial leg to Atlanta, but this one wound up over 4 hours long. Getting on the ground was a relief, well that is until I got my luggage. When my shotgun case came out, i noticed the locks had been broken off of it. Two good locks gone, and then I had to fill out a claim with Delta. I now have 30 days to go to their repair shop to have it fixed or replaced. I imagine it will need to be replaced, but time will tell.

After that I hopped into a taxi and made my way to the hotel. my taxi driver - Miguel - was a great guy, and his driving was great too - nothing like a NY City cab driver. We got to the hotel pretty quickly and the fare was $42.00; he seemed happily surprised to get an $8 tip. I did not think it all that much since he helped me with my bags and all and was a good conversationalist (in English that I could understand). Oh well. Once in the hotel I was checked in quickly and courteously by Ruth the front desk clerk. Shortly after that I was in my room and somewhat disappointed. The room was nice, but had to have the worst layout of any hotel room in which I have ever been. The bedroom door only would open halfway because the dresser was crammed behind it. It opened into the bedroom, and I actually walked into the edge of it while dialing my cell phone. In the bathroom you had to close the door from the bedroom to be able to open the closet door, and you could not stand in front of the door when opening it because you would be backed up against the sink and there would not be enough clearance to get it open all the way.

Later on, I saw a room across from mine was open and unoccupied. The door was left ajar and held open with a chair because they were allowing the carpet to dry after being cleaned. I decided to take a peek. it was a much better layout. I called the front desk and the night clerk Chris helped me out. he told me that after 8 I could change to that room if I wanted. So at about 8:30, I called him and he brought the new card key to my room after changing my room number in the hotel system. I had already repacked my stuff and made the change in a couple of minutes. My new room is nicer and larger than the old, and overlooks the pool area. I like it.

This morning I had breakfast, cooked to order at the hotel. It was delicious and free. It is too bad the hotel only serve breakfast, it doe snot have a full service restaurant. restaurants might be a problem around our hotel; I was told they are all upscale and very expensive. So i guess I'll be driving a lot to find decent places to eat within a reasonable price range. I can live with that, at least I'll be eating.

As fr work, I went to the Tucson office yesterday. I got a car assigned to me. Its a 2002 with over 90 thousand miles on it, but it seems to work. It needed a jump start at first, but once going ran okay, the AC worked, the good time radio worked, and the brakes worked. If it doesn't rain while i am out here I may never know whether or not the windshield wipers work. I have got to go over to the office soon, so for now that is pretty much it.

I am still hopeful I'll be able to hook up with some local bloggers and shooting enthusiasts, and maybe some local herpers for some fun times.

All the best,
Glenn B