Friday, January 13, 2006

I Should Have Taken the Bus

That's right, I said a bus. I should have driven to Phoenix, it would have been a lot less hassle and almost as fast.

You see I don't fly very much and for good reason. With all the crap I'm responsible for I have to travel with quite a bit of stuff. Plus with my need to be connected to the Internet to conduct business I spend very little time in the condo hanging out and I don't get to sleep in. There will be more about condo life in future postings.

We will now take you back to your regularly scheduled whining which is already in progress ...

I'm in Phoenix right now resting the day before the Rock N' Roll Marathon. Yes I'm running it but that's not the point. The point is I could have made it here driving in about the same amount of time it took me to fly.

Let me explain.

I flew out of Denver International Airport (DIA) which is 2 1/2 hours away from my home in Florence. Now Denver is only 2 hours away but in their infinite wisdom the people in the know decided to put DIA nearly 24 miles (that's what MapQuest says) northwest of downtown. I've heard you can actually see people in Kansas waiving at the planes taking off from the control tower.

My plane took off at 11:20AM but because of all the new security in affect I had to be there by 10:00 to make sure I passed through security, etc in time to board my flight.

Getting to the airport is yet another issue. Fortunately I have a place to stay in Denver so I drove up the night before. But because I don't want to spend $50 to park my car while I'm gone for just 4 days I have to either get a ride into the airport or take the RTD airport bus. Well a ride is out of the question. "Mr. Stress" stays up until way into the night there is no way I'm going to get him out of bed at 7:30 to pick me up and drive me to the airport through rush hour traffic. There's also no way "The Bulldog" can do it either. During the day she is busy taking care of their grandchild.

So that left me with a 20 minute drive to Westminster so one of the club staff could take me over to the Park N' Ride to catch the bus to DIA. So I left at 8:00 got dropped off in time to catch the 9:15 bus to DIA (which cost $10) and made it to DIA by 10:00AM.

So just to review, if I would have stayed at home and left in my car spending the same amount of time I would have been able to drive 4 hours and I would have spent $40 on gas. That puts me in Sante Fe New Mexico, just 1 hour from the Albuquerque airport.

So now that I'm at the airport I have to find baggage check in. Usually not too hard except the airline my ticket was purchased for (America West) was bought out by or bought out US Air. Since I don't care to keep track of these thing IĆ¢€™m pretty sure I was the only one in the airport wandering around wondering why there were no ticket counters for America West.

So after I checked my bags I made through security by talking my shoes off. Because I forgot to take my laptop out of the case I got to watch them swab my computer case out with some cloth to detect bomb making material. Then it was off to the underground shuttle to my concourse and made it to my gate (which is ALWAYS the at the end of the concourse) just in time to walk on the plane as it was boarding. The flight was smooth and I actually touched down in time at 1:25 and was out of the plane in the terminal by 1:30.

That means I have now been traveling to Phoenix for 7 1/2 hours. If I were driving I would have almost been to Gallup New Mexico which is very close to the Arizona state line. I wouldn't have spent any more for gas yet. After all, I drive a Honda!

So my friend Craig picks me up at the airport at around 2:00. I'm staying with him and he lives about 30 minutes away in Chandler so I know at this point you're thinking "that means you'll be there by 2:30 which means you spent 8 1/2 hours getting to Phoenix". Well reader that may be true except Craig figured since he was out anyway he would take me out on some business he had to do. This involved driving all over Phoenix and I of course had to buy him dinner because I was starving as I had no time eat today. I had a cookie for breakfast and 6 miniature pretzels for lunch on the plane. We ended up getting to his house at 6:00PM.

So just to put it all in perspective ...

Flying cost me $80 for the one-way ticket and $25 for Craig's dinner (he's a cheap date) for a total of $105. I took me 11 hours to get to his house. If I would have drove, It would have taking me 12 hours to drive and cost me $60 in gas plus about $15 for food for a total of $75.

Flying is not as cheap or as fast as it seems.

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