Tell Pete Abrams I need a pair of emergency pants

April 5th, 2007 by Jeff | Dump Core

Greetings from Utah. I certainly hope your past few days have been better than mine, as I’ve had a rather crazy couple of days.

As previously alluded to, I’m currently in Provo, Utah, on the campus of Brigham Young University for the ID+SCORM conference. (In fact, at least part of this post was typed in during one particularly boring session using a combination of my LifeDrive and an infrared keyboard.) I’m not sure how many of you would be interested in adaptive learning models and computer-based instructional design, so I won’t bore you with any of those details. But let’s just say my trip here was a bit more… interesting.

I got up as normal on Wednesday morning, driving into Hinton with a couple traveling bags instead of my usual briefcase. My project manager and I hopped in her car and drove a couple hours to Roanoke, VA to catch our flight. Why Roanoke, when the airport in Charleston, WV would be probably closer? Because Travelocity said so, I suppose. We got to Roanoke without incident and in plenty of time to get through security and get to our gate. All the displays said our flight was on time, so we both settled in–she with her book and I with my Palm laden down with multimedia–for the wait until boarding.

It wasn’t long before we started hearing rumors from other passengers that our flight was being delayed. Sure enough, we boarded perhaps an hour late. This wasn’t much of a concern for us, as we had a long enough layover in Atlanta, GA to comfortably get to our next gate. It was a bit of a jog (for those unfamiliar with the layout of the Atlanta Hartsfield, it’s not atypical to land at the end of one concourse and have to hoof it to the end of another), but we got there right when our next flight was supposed to be boarding.

Emphasis on “supposed to be”.

Our second flight was also delayed. Unfortunately, we had another connection in Chicago, IL to catch, and we didn’t have nearly as much wiggle room at that layover for delays. (This was the first time I’ve ever had two layovers; I’ve always avoided multiple layovers in the past, but I didn’t book this trip.) My manager talked to the attendant at the counter and managed to get us on a direct flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, Utah. (Ironically, the attendant in Roanoke offered to put us on that flight before we left VA, but we turned it down.) That hurdle avoided, we settled in to a long cross-country flight, feeling that most or our problems were over.

This is the point where you say, “But they weren’t, were they?”

And this is the part where I reply, “You betcha.”

We landed in Salt Lake about two hours earlier than we originally planned. There was a third member of our party flying in from a different location on a different flight, so we had to stick around and wait for him. So we headed down to baggage claim to fetch our things, check in with the rental car place, and get those two tasks out of the way. We waited around the carousel for about an hour… and our luggage never came. We went ahead and checked out the rental car, then returned to the baggage desk to find out where our luggage went. The woman who helped me was much more informative than Cheryl’s attendant, who told her nothing. I managed to learn, however, that there must have been some confusion about our change in flights, and the bags neither made it on our new flight nor our original flight. She at least sounded sympathetic when she said, “Sir, we don’t know where you luggage is.”

We grabbed some rudimentary dinner and waited for Lee’s flight to land. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any better. Undoubtedly our entire trip was cursed, as his luggage was also “delayed,” even though he was on a direct flight from Pittsburgh, PA to Salt Lake. By this point, it was already 9PM Mountain time, which to us still felt like 11PM Eastern time. With an hour’s drive still ahead of us, we threw up our hands and gave up. We arrived in Provo after 10PM with plans to get up early and make a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up an emergency change of clothing. (Thus the title of this post.)

Fortunately, today was much better. While I may smell of “citrus aloe” and “orange ginger” instead of my usual more manly scents of Old Spice and Dial Antibacterial soap, I at least have a new polo shirt, pair of khakis, and several new pairs of dress socks. And during the afternoon break, Lee called the hotel and Cheryl’s and my luggage finally arrived and were waiting for us up in our rooms. (Lee’s bags, unfortunately, are still unaccounted for, although his were promised to arrive by 11AM.) Later in the evening, I hooked up with Howard Tayler, a local to these parts, and headed to his Thursday evening hangout, a local gaming store called the Dragon’s Keep. If I’m lucky, I might have a few interesting sketches or such to share once I get back home where I can access a scanner.

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