Last week I spent 5 days in Orlando on a business trip. I didn't feel like it was very ethical to blog about the trip until I had completed my trip report. I finished and mailed it today.
I am glad my retirement is growing closer, because the glowing recommendations I made about the mainframe and other things are not going to score any points. The conference was good, but it did not make me want to extend my working career. This photo was taken at a break, I really thought those clouds looked like something, I just can't remember what it was.
My rent-a-car had both an easy pass and a sun pass to get through the Florida tolls. How cool is that! If you take the Magic Express Bus to the Disney properties you miss all the tolls. But if you drive anywhere at all, there is a toll about every mile and 1/2, some of them are exact change only. Traveling, I seldom have a lot of change, so a toll sign could send terror through me. Working for the government, I hardly ever get to stay at the conference hotel. This trip my hotel was about 15 minutes (in no traffic) away and 2 toll booths. It was so much fun to scoot around the traffic breeze through the easy pass booth. The charge on your bill is $1.50 a day. If I had payed the regular tolls it would have been at least $3 bucks a day, not to mention the times I went the wrong directions. I took the money I saved and got an ice cream on Wednesday afternoon.
Sunday-Wednesday, I concentrated on the conference and good thing, because it rained everyday. I was so glad I didn't have little children who had dreamed of having a great time at Disney world. I did play the license plate game. Do you every play it? It is a little hard to do by yourself on the road, but it is doable. A couple of weeks ago on a Friday afternoon at a traffic light in the middle of Duncanville I was surrounded by about 8 different states license plates. I couldn't believe it, after all I was in Duncanville.
The first challenge of the license plate game is being able to list all 50 states. Thank goodness for USA Today, where you can cheat and find that 1 missing state. The best place to play is walking through parking lots. If I ever get picked up for suspicious behavior, will you all step up and say she was just playing the license plate game? By Wednesday evening I had about 20 states.
Thursday morning, I transcribed my hand written notes to my lap top, so I wouldn't have to carry that paper with me. I had an afternoon flight and 3/4 of a tank of gas that I had paid for.
With the overcast weather, I decided to drive to Tampa to see the West Coast. (Several years ago, I went to the east coast from Orlando). I couldn't believe it when I passed a car with Alaska plates! Not long after I passed a truck with Maine plates! Since there is a lady a work who has recently returned from working in Hawaii and still has Hawaii plates, I have decide to extend the game through the summer.
(click on the photo and look at the electric lines in the distance on the right. This is one of the ways you know you are close to the 'magic worlds'.)
I wasn't exactly sure what I would see when I got to Tampa or how much time I would have. I knew how long it took me to get to Tampa and when I would have to start back. At the end of I4, there is a 7 mike bridge across a body of water. (About a mile before the bridge there was a sign that warned you to check your gas, long bridge ahead.) I decided it was Tampa Bay, I was crossing, on one side the bay, the other side the gulf. I had just enough time on the other side to find a restroom and a snack and head back.
I managed to find my way back to Orlando and the airport in plenty of time. I have flown in and out of Orlando several times, I have to say Thursday afternoon is a great time to leave Orlando from a security perspective. I was able to walk straight to the bins and start removing my shoes. Most of the times there are long lines that snake back and forth. But it rains often in the afternoon, which it did Thursday creating a delay on our departure. It is okay if you have a straight flight, but everyone that had connecting flights had some real problems.
I had a great book to read. My sister-in-law recommended it to me, EAT, PRAY and LOVE. I probably wouldn't have ever picked it up on my own. While we were in the air, I read the section on praying which told the story of the lady's stay in India at the temple of her Guru. At a critical point one of her friends takes her to the highest point in the temple and gives her a list of questions to answer through the night to bring her closer to God. I took a break from the printed page to look out the plane's window. Looking out at the fluffy white clouds, it took my breath away to realize I was at 30,000 feet- just about the highest a normal human can reach. There was no reason I couldn't answer those questions for myself. As my heroine reached for her God on the top on the temple, I was able to reach for mine amidst the clouds in the sky. It was pretty magical...
I was listening to my MP3 player, and the last song I heard before we had to turn off electronic material was one of my favorites, "I'm ready to fly." (official Richard Marx youtube)
At DFW on the bus ride to the remote parking lot, I was fascinated to realize I had used 4 of the major modes of transportation during that day, car, train (at the Orlando airport between terminals) and now bus. I tried to figure out if there was anyway I could get into a boat before the day was over, but I wasn't that clever. However, if you were staying at the Disney property, you could get up and take the boat between hotels or one of the attractions and achieve the feat of using 5 of the major modes of transportation in one day.
Fortunately, I arrived home to a house and pets intact. All in all not bad trip...