Monday, March 19, 2012

The Joy of Travel

I sit in the once glamorous (think "Mad Men") departure terminal "D" of Dulles Airport.  I was mighty disappointed to find that those ridiculous trams that wheel people from terminal to terminal continue to serve United's row of gates, while much of the rest of the airport is served by those oh-so-efficient light rail cars.  You know, the ones that pull up and then pull away--rather than wait there for some pre-determined departure time.

I am on my way to sunny California, at least I think I am.  We are supposed to depart in 20 minutes, though we have yet to board as there are the ever-ominous "mechanical problems" being discussed on the PA.  I decamped here from the hermetically sealed splendor of the United Club, though without any warning of mechanical problems on my "equipment" (heads will roll!).  Had the staff had my traveling interests in mind, I would still be sitting there sipping cold water and eating trail mix like nobody's business.

Dulles Airport needs some work.  Some serious work.  I've covered the movement issues, but there is additionally the problem of really sub-standard eateries.  Really bad. I happened upon a satellite version of "Gordon Biersch" a chain I encountered in San Diego in the late 90's.  Hoping for the best, I ordered a clam chowder and a mushroom swiss burger, and though the soup did not disappoint, the burger was average at best.

I sit here painfully aware of my own rotundity, larger than I'd like to be and be-tracksuited so as to provide max fat-man comfort.  But as I look about at my fellow travelers, I am gratified (and horrified) to see that I am among the more svelte.  We are a large people.  For some reason, I figured that since I was on my way to sunny LA, I'd be surrounded by west-bound beautiful people, heading back from a trip to our quaint nation's capital to see the cherry blossoms and lobby for green energy.  Alas, I am mistaken.  My companions are the cream of the mid-Atlantic crop, with a sprinkling of what appear to be Maori tribesmen heading back to Tasmanian homes.

There is steady progress on the Metro spur to Dulles, a transportation upgrade the area has needed for some time.  Dulles Airport is some 27 miles OUTSIDE Washington DC, and the ride to and fro exposes one to the glories of I-66 and the Dulles Toll Roads--two thoroughfares that remind me how wonderful it is to live on the Eastern Shore.  Train/rail linking with Airports makes sense to me, and it is the kind of public works project that the gubmint ought to be more involved in (you know, facilitating interstate commerce and other such Constitutionally mentioned duties).

I know not what will happen if my flight is canceled.  I am on a pretty tight sked--so I may have to forgo the whole shebang and reschedule if I cannot get to LA tonight.  A shame if it happens, as I am looking forward to this trip.  Ah--there's the man--and a palpable sigh of disappointment in the terminal   Our departure "decision" time is now 7:30, a 90 minute delay.  Note the use of the term "decision" time--not departure time.  Hedging their bets, they are.  This could turn into a long night, a long night indeed.

Paul Thoreaux refers to air travel as "transfer"; rail travel being for him, the best way to go. 

UPDATE:  Flight canceled, trip in serious jeopardy....

UPDATE 2:  Mission scrubbed.


Tom de Plume. said...

A track suit? My God man, have you no sense of shame?

Doc Milnamo said...

Tracksuit? Like an English football lout?

"The Hammer" said...

The Irish call them "tracker-knackers".

The Conservative Wahoo said...

I thought only of you Tubby, when I typed the word "be-tracksuited". If it even is a word.

NavyAustin said...

Though it's not likely on your travel route, and not a hub city, Austin's airport features some great local eateries - the Salt Lick BBQ, Matt's El Rancho, Amy's Ice Cream. I appreciate that they didn't just turn the concessions over to AraServ and give us the usual fare.

(I always get the brisket and sausage platter, cole slaw, no bread no beans, at Salt Lick. Low carb heaven!)

"The Hammer" said...

NavyAustin, beans are a long string complex carbohydrate loaded with B vitamins/minerals, protein and fiber. Unless that BBQ joint loads them up with sugar you're not going to get the insulin rush like with a donut (glycemic load about 20-25). If we could have only one food, beans wouldn't be a bad choice.

So don't ignore the humble legume. It would probably be the healthiest thing on your plate.

(You Navy guys are so God-damned stupid).

Uncle Willie said...

Why - you won't print it!

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Print what?

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