My Christmas Odyssey

Like many, I had a bit of a time getting to where I was going this holiday. However unlike most of them, my issues were pretty much of my own doing. The 32.5 hours between when I first left my house and when I finally arrived in Aspen provided some interesting (mis)adventures. And thanks to Twitter (with a little help from Flickr), I managed to capture most of it in what I like to call my Web 2.0 travelogue (comments in [ ] were added after the fact).


[December 22: I called a cab for a 5:45pm pick-up to catch a 7:05pm. I was planning to check 1 bag (+2 carry-ons), but I had checked-in online and United now offers online bag check at SFO. The cab was there on time, but I didn’t get downstairs until 6pm. Then I realized I forgot my laptop charger. Ok, now it’s 6:05pm and we’re just leaving the Marina. As long as we get there in 20 minutes, I should be fine.

We actually make it there by 6:25pm. But, I forgot that this is the Friday night before Christmas and the airport is pretty packed. While makes it sound like the online bag check is just a simple drop off, I spend 20 min in line before the agent tells me to just try to gate check the bag. I then end up arguing with a security guy for 5 min about whether or not I can bring 3 bags through security — guess who wins. It’s now 15 min before my flight is supposed to leave and they tell me I have no choice but to get in line to be rebooked.

Well, I know that means I’m not going anywhere until after Christmas. So, I furiously cram the contents of my backpack and the backpack, itself, into my other 2 bags. Get through security with 2 bulging bags, flight leaves in 5 min. Run to the monitors (keep in mind that one of these bags has my ski boots and all my ski clothes, so running is not easy) to see what gate my flight’s at. It’s delayed by 20 min, hallelujah! Get to the gate, and then the fun really starts…]

MeFlight cancelled. But, at least they’re rescheduling it for tomorrow morning. Higher powers willing, I’ll still be on the slopes tomorrow. 07:49 PM December 22, 2006 from mobile

[The details of what transpired in the 13 hours between these two Twitter updates are, and will remain, somewhat shrouded in mystery. What I do know is that after arriving home from SFO around 8:30pm, I repacked my bags (2 back to 3) and booked a cab to pick me up at 4:30am the next morning. Then, I figured I’d pop by the bar for a drink or two. Well, two drinks turned into more, and the next thing I know I wake up 3 hours after my flight was supposed to leave.]

MeOk, now I just straight up missed my flight… 09:01 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

RogerThat sux js 09:18 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeSo, I’m on my way to Oakland to try to catch a 10am to Salt Lake. And if I don’t make that (which I prob won’t), I’m driving 1200 miles. 09:31 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeOk, I’m driving. 1,200 miles = 12 hours, right? 10:04 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

RogerThats the spirit 10:19 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

[Here’s the route I took (had to use G Maps, because Y! Maps gives a different (some would say wrong) route.]

MeMile 0.1 – Oakland, CA; Mental state: hung-over and not fully grasping the reality of the situation. 10:40 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

PatrickRed bull+funyuns 11:19 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 40.3; GPS sez: arriving @ 5:45am; Mental State: GPS don’t know shit! 11:18 AM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 106 – Roseville, CA; GPS Sez: arriving @ 5:42am; Mental State: need Gatorade 12:13 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 182 – Truckee, CA; GPS Sez: arriving @ 5:19am; Mental State: Tahoe is far, but Aspen is farther. Still need Gatorade. 01:19 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 263 – Churchill County, NV; GPS Sez: arriving @ 4:58am; Mental State: Pissed that the Pontiac G6 cruise control doesn’t go over 105. 02:18 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 300 – Somewhere in NV; GPS Sez: arriving @ 4:45am; Mental State: 1/4 of the way there & sobering up. This doesn’t feel like such a good idea [anymore] 02:39 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 333 – 95 miles East of Battle Mountain (“Halfway to everywhere”); GPS Sez: arriving @ 3:47am; Mental State: Gatorade + Combos = bfast of champs 03:11 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

CodyBattle Mountain. Famous for a giant “BM” emblazoned on the side of the mountain. Awesome. 03:13 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

IanStrizzle, I think you’re onto something. Channeling Hunter S. via Twitter. 03:14 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 350 – Mill City, NV; GPS Sez: arriving @ 3:42am; Mental State: Can’t wait to see Battle Mtn now, thanks to Cody. 03:19 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

[Getting the Twitter updates from my friends definitely helped me make it through the unending bleakness of Northern Nevada’s high desert. Though, I was pret
ty disappointed to not see the “BM” when I passed Battle Mountain — Cody’s update really made me chuckle for a good 20 miles.]

Flickr: Somewhere in Nevada
Somewhere in Nevada
4:28 PM December 23, 2006

MeMile 474 – near Elko, NV; Busted by the fuzz 🙁 04:33 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

[Ticket for going 100mph in Nevada = $347 — I guess it’s for the best that cruise control wouldn’t let me go any faster. If I wasn’t already regretting the decision to drive, this definitely put me over the top. But, there was no turning back at this point…]

MeMile 541 – Beverly Hills, NV; Mental State: Forgot how dark it gets out here. Need caffeine. 05:31 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 573 – Somewhere in Eastern Nevada; Mental State: Worried. Fuel light came on 32 miles from next gas station and it’s 27 degrees out. 06:02 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

[What I didn’t mention was that I had passed a town with gas about 28 miles earlier and decided to keep going, even though the fuel gauge told me I only had enough gas to make it 4 miles past Wendover. Why would I do such a thing? Because I didn’t want to stop before I hit the 600 mile mark, duh!]

MeMile 603 – Wendover, UT; Mental State: So much to celebrate – 1/2 way there, made it to UT, didn’t run out of gas 😀 Beef jerky time! 06:43 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 730 – Salt Lake City, UT; Mental State: Wishing I had bought a car adapter for my iPod. Just heard Ferg-alicious for the 5th time. 08:16 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

[I believe the final count was Fergalicious” 6 times and “London Bridge once. Why not change the channel, you ask? Well, in most of these places, other than the one top 40 station, every other channel (and usually there were only 2-3 others) was either Xmas music or people talking about Jesus.]

MeMile 847 – just East of Price, UT; Mental State: Sick of fing Xmas songs! 10:17 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 899 – Green River, UT; Mental State: 3/4 of the way there and thinking I can do this. Stopped for more caffeine. 11:11 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

PatrickI’ve been to green river. Its a little scary there. 11:12 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeThere appear to be only 3 radio stations here, and right now they’re all playing songs about Jesus. 11:19 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 933 – near the UT/CO border; Mental State: Still amazed at how much space there is! Roads that go straight as far as you can see. 11:39 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

PatrickIts gods country js 11:40 PM December 23, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 964 – Westwater, UT; Mental State: Thinking about an awesome 2 day rafting trip that started here. 1 of my top 5 fave life experiences so far. 12:00AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 969.3 – UT/CO border; Mental State: “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” – wOOt! 12:04 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 1,004 – Grand Junction, CO; Mental State: Sad it’s dark out. This is where the really pretty part starts, and I can’t see it. Missed Hwy 6 too. 12:30 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 1,058 – Rifle, CO; Mental State: Stopped for a roadside “break”, and the snow, the cold, the sound of the river reminded me why I did this. 01:19 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 1,084 – Glenwood Springs, CO; Mental State: Running on fumes (me, not the car this time). But, only 40 miles to go. Sack up! 01:33 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

MeMile 1,117 – Snowmass, CO; Mental State: Might be too excited about skiing tomorrow to sleep tonight. 02:05 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

[Somehow, this update got delayed being posted on Twitter. So, I reordered it and used the time I sent it from my phone.]

Me1,123.8 miles, 15hr 37min (3.5hrs less than GPS said!), and one moving violation later, I’m here. Except for 1 small problem: I’m locked out. Lol! 02:23 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

MeManaged to get in the house and get some sleep. Woke up to 3+ in of fresh and still comin. Gettin on the gondola now. Ready to rip shit up! 10:20 AM December 24, 2006 from mobile

So, that’s it. I made it having only missed 1 day of skiing. That plus the cash costs of the rental car, gas, and, of course, the speeding ticket, seem a fair price to pay for my idiocy. But those who know me, know that it probably won’t keep me from doing something like this again (in fact, this reminds me of the time I went to North Carolina for a wedding and missed my flights going and coming back — spent more time in transit than at my destination).

Anyway, I’m glad to be here with my family (not to mention the nice snowy mountains). Here’s wishing everyone as happy, if less adventurous, holidays.

3 thoughts on “My Christmas Odyssey”

  1. I used to think I was the King of I-80, especially across Nevada. I did Nevada STANDING on a Greyhound bus once. I’ve driven it maybe 25-30 or so times.

    I also used to be supremely proud of having done the 2500 miles from Cincinnati to San Jose in 49 hours once and 54 hours another time.

    But now, I cede all crowns to you. You did it in the middle of the winter season, on the spur of the moment, straight through. Further, u AVERAGED 75mph (!) compared to my personal best 50mph (if you stop to sleep, u kill the avg. mph)

    Major Kudos, Mad Props, etc.

  2. This also passes my personal best.. Cheyenne to Sunnyvale in 22 hours: in a rental truck. (I was slow… I stopped to sleep for a half hour and had 2 kids to deal with)

    Well done!

  3. Dan & Linda, thanks for the props. But, I’m not sure that “King of I-80” is a title I really want to own 🙂 Despite what I say in the closing paragraph, I think I’m going to be a little more anal about making my flights in the future.

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