Saturday, September 08, 2007


8 September 2007 13:30 EDT

Viva! Sitting at Gate A17, RDU, waiting for Delta flight 6007 to CVG (Cincinnati), and from there to Las Vegas. I can't believe how fast I got through security. Saturday afternoon in September may be a great time to fly. . . other than it being on my weekend.

I'm headed to the Infor Worldwide User Conference. I went to its equivalent last year when it was the Datastream 7i Worldwide User Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. That was pretty fun. Am I excited to be going to Las Vegas? Sure. I've never been there, and even though I don't gamble, there's a lot of stuff to see and to photograph. I've brought my larger camera with me. . . my Sony DSC-H2, because I'm kind of using this "small" trip as a warm-up for my "big" trip to Korea 27 days from now. I need to decide if I'm buying a DSLR before Korea, and this trip will help with that. I'm also trying different packing strategies in the attempt to be as efficient, yet as prepared as I can be for that trip. I'm carrying-on all my luggage today, as per usual, but I'm still uncommitted to what I'm doing for Korea. I might have some better ideas by Wednesday night when I get back.

Joining me from GSK/Johnson Controls RTP are Cynthia, who also was in SC last year, and Bill, who wasn't. There may be coworkers from PA too, but I don't know about that yet.

Just saw Cynthia, and met Bill for the first time, so we're probably all in the right place.

What would I like to accomplish in Las Vegas? Well, there's the conference, of course. That's all day Monday-Tuesday, plus half a day tomorrow and Wednesday. we have nothing scheduled for Monday night, but last year we (the GSK contingent, et al) were invited to a private dinner on our free night, so I suspect that may happen again. Exclusive of the conference, I'd like to take a lot of pictures, get to In-N-Out at least once, and go to the top of the Stratosphere and ride the rides and take some pictures from up there.

Right now it looks like we have this evening (after 7 or so) free, and most of the day tomorrow. I'm sure finding some adventures shouldn't be too difficult.

All the Delta flights that have boarded around here have not been crowded. I'm hopeful for the same. The weather is great

14:11 On board. Embraer 145, three seats across. Didn't have to gate check anything. Hoping the next plane is bigger though. Ten minutes 'til departure and no seatmate yet.* Just had my watch batteries replaced, so all my geeky azimuth and cabin altitude observations should work. One hour flight time, 26,000 ft (7925 m) cruising altitude. Weather in CVG: scattered clouds, light rain, 78 degrees F.

Just saw in Sky magazine that Delta has a direct flight between Atlanta and Dakar, Senegal. That may be advantageous for Jennifer, who is hoping to go to Senegal next summer. It sure was convenient to fly direct pretty much anywhere when we lived in Georgia, 25 minutes from ATL. From RDU, you're very often going to connect.

Now for the flight details. Take-off runway: the one next to Terminal C, heading in the direction from I-40 towards Andy's old house (Runway 5L). Wheels up 14:41. Maximum cabin altitude 1990 m (6528 ft). Wheels down 15:52, landing to the South on the leftmost runway (18L). Flight time 1 hr 10 min. Gate C26.

* At the last minute, a fleshy flyer took the seat next to me. My left leg is now all sweaty, having been encroached upon for all that time. That was not enjoyable.

16:24 Walked to the bus, rode to B Terminal, and walked right onto Flight 733 at Gate B21. This is a 757 with six seats across. It's more comfortable already. No seatmate yet. Alleged departure at 16:35. Late arrival just took the middle seat next to Bill. Cynthia (one row up in 41F) and I are still unencumbered. Door closed. Whew!

Flight is 16:15 EDT to 17:38 PDT. Flight time: 3h 46m. According to the map in Sky magazine, I'll be flying over the following states, respectively:
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Colorado
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Nevada
Here we go. Wheels up: 16:52, runway ? facing south.

The chick next to me has a piercing in the back of her right wrist. . . and probably elsewhere. That's different. I forgot the charger for my iPaq Pocket PC. I stopped by the office on the way to RDU, but I couldn't get in to get it. I think my access hours are still M-F 7-6 or so, based on how they were originally setup when I started at GSK three years ago as a temp. Need to get that fixed. Now I'm forced to be parsimonious with my iPaq usage so the battery won't be dead when I really need it. That's a shame because I have a lot of music on it. I can always use my laptop as an iPod. Talk about overkill.

I have my Sharper Image noise-canceling headphones on. Man, I love these thing. You don't realize how well they're working until you take them off. These are definitely going to Korea with me. That's a 13-hour flight, and I have no idea how much, if any of it, is night time. They'll pay for themselves.

Not sure if there's a movie on this flight. I guess I should read. Not sure about food either. I wish I had eaten lunch. I'll be famished by the time we get to Vegas, around 9pm biological stomach-growling time. I'm betting Las Vegas is a good town to be hungry in.

17:13E/14:13P Cabin altitude 2290m
19:32E/16:32P Cabin altitude 2695m

The movie was "Oceans 13" and that's cool because I hadn't seen it.

Looking out the window about an hour ago, all I saw were square farm fields with huge irrigation circles. Fifteen minutes ago it was mountains. Just now, it's clouds. I think we have about an hour left. The second snack service is starting. I need to look at the flight route map to try to figure out where we are. I'm guessing somewher over western Colorado/eastern Utah. Mountains, roads, lakes, and houses. . . all in shades of brown. . . as far as the eye can see. I see a dam and its lake, and a green valley where the water flows out. Pretty cool. Some of the mountains just look like sand. You can't even see any scrub on them.

The pilot did something really cool; he made a few big S-turns over the Grand Canyon. With the light (about 6:20 pm local) as it was, it was awesome! I could completely see the national park at the South Rim, and I easily identified the campground where we stayed in both 2003 and 1980. What an awesome surpirse, especially since the route maps don't' show a course that's southerly enough to overfly the canyon. Too bad my camera's in the overhead bin. Next time I'll keep it with me.

17:23 PDT. Cabin altitude 1420 m.

Landed! 17:45. Flight time 3h 52m.

Once Bill and Cynthia collected their luggage, we caught a cab to the Venetian for $9 each. It would've been $6 for the shuttle, but Bill seemed determined. It took forever to get checked in at the hotel. I went to my room in the Venetian tower, room 14-104. Holy Cow! This is the nicest hotel room I've ever had. There are three flat-panel TVs, a desk, table, coffee table, and huge bathroom. Didn't have much time before I had to head down to the Crand Canal Shops to meet the others.

Are we Outside?

I went down and checked out the canal with gondolas, the shops, restaurants, etc., but I never found the others. After half an hour, I gave up and ate at the panini place. It wasn't right, but it was good.

I headed to The Strip with camera in hand. I could only stand about 40 minutes of that before I made my way back to relax. I did manage to get a few good shots in the process.

Southbound Night Strip
Standing near the Flamingo, looking southbound.

Northbound Night Strip
Same place, but facing northward.

The Flamingo itself.

Faux Tour Eiffel
And a shot of the tiny Tour Eiffel.


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