NOTE: This entry I originally wrote and neglected to post a couple months ago. Since I had written a substantial entry, I couldn't just leave it unpublished – so here it is available as a completely random post.
Round 1: Destination Thief River Falls, Minnesota
I travelled to Thief River Falls, MN recently via a selection of transport modes. I’m here on business, but that’s irrelevant to Transit Sleuth readers, but there are some other points that are relevant.
First I left the house via automobile, for the prime reason no buses run early enough to deposit me somewhere to ride the MAX Red Line to the airport. Jo rode with me to return with the car to its parking spot where it shall sit for another dozen or more days. We left at 4:35am heading east on Powell, turned onto I-205 north. After a few minutes we exited the Interstate at Glisan to park at the Park & Ride at Gateway Transit Center.
After a few minutes, the next MAX Red Line arrived exactly on time, Jo and I boarded, and off we went toward the airport. After the short 10 or so minute ride we detrained and headed into the concourse. I picked up my flight tickets and we headed off for some grub in the main commercial area of the concourse.
We bid farewell for the trip and I struck into security with the blank stair of a downtrodden and beaten dog. Every American should walk into the security lines of the TSA this way, because really, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE for allowing this $8 Billion a year travesty. It isn’t security, it’s a “customer service organization”! I’ve seen it on TSA memos so it MUST be true! Anyway – I’m sure you can tell I am NOT a fan of the TSA. It’s a waste of billions, and does NOTHING more than the security did that existed before that didn’t cost a single taxpayer penny.
After I made it through the deluge of security idiocy and dehumanization I went and camped out at the terminal the plane would depart from. After a while we started boarding in preparation for departure. I got onto the plane in my normal way, with precision and stowed my carry on luggage. I immediately sat down and attempted to stay out of the way. Of course, everyone else isn’t like me and could give a crap whether they slam EVERY bag they have into me. So I sat there in my aisle seat attempting to not get smacked in the face. In the end I was hit 6 times; 2 to the side of the head, 3 slammed into my arm as I blocked their clumsiness, 1 by a babies foot and the bag the individual carried as she turned to apologize, and 1 more time by some drudge of an idiot just plundering through and hitting everyone on their trip to the back of the plane.
Still in one piece, boarding completed, and off we went.
…or well, so that was the plan. We pulled away from the terminal air-way and sat for 20 minutes because some luggage guy left some of the cargo netting hanging out of a bay area. After waiting 19 minutes for someone to come back and fix it, someone appeared and stowed the cargo net in the cargo bay. Now we finally, after this show of blundering, we where off.
The flight was ok, fortunately it was a big plane. The 757-200 lumbered through the air with a Cadillac’s ride; smooth yet clumsy. We started our approach after the few hours of transit, and landed at Minneapolis about 25-30 minutes late! Weeehooo! Late planes rock!
I deplaned and met up with my coworker Gary, which we then snagged a Quiznos in one of the airport restaurants. After that short bite we went and waited for the arrival of our next plane, which would take us to Grand Forks, North Dakota.
We made the flight and headed to Grand Forks. After the short flight we arrived, amazingly about 10 minutes early. So overall, we arrived at this point early. Gary got our car which he would drive to our final destination of Thief River Falls, Minnesota. We piled into the Toyota Camry and smoothly rolled along the highway clearing mileage at around 65 mph. We arrived, found our place of residence for the rest of the week and grabbed some food.
Round 2: Destination Portland, Oregon
We departed Thief River Falls and travelled to Grand Forks to board the 8:10am departure to Minneapolis. We arrived, Gary turned in the rental car, and we boarded the plane. A quick flight, and as we landed I jarred awake. I had fallen asleep for the entire flight and I wasn’t complaining.
After some quick flight research, my gate was F13 for the Minneapolis to Portland leg of the trip. But before I continue the travelling narrative I really have to add some props for Portland.
There are people, and they seem to be a small number but have grown loud lately, that incessantly complain about Portland. Most of these people don’t seem to do a real apples to apples comparison of Portland to other cities nor take the current issues here in Portland in context of other cities. Among all those complaints though, Portland has some awesome amenities compared to… well I’d say about every single city in the United States.
Where do I start? I arrived in Minneapolis, and after two days of zero amenities I was glad to be back in civilization. The first thing I did was get a cup of coffee, from Caribou Coffee. I don’t want to complain, it was a good cup of coffee, but it by no means is a really good cup of coffee like one expects in Portland. As I sat with my cappuccino pondering this wire-less the Minneapolis Airport has I was guessing on 5-10 bucks for the day. Portland’s of course is free. I got connected and sure enough, one hour is a bloody freaking $4.95! So much for being business friendly. I’m all for charging, but they ought to just put a surcharge on the airport fees or something. It’s just too much mess to be required to dump out $4.95 AFTER I’ve already gone through a dozen different charges and other mess in an airport.
Anyway, a good flight home. A short ride on the Red Line MAX back into downtown Portland and into the Office. From there I did a few hours of catch up and then jumped back on the bus for the trip home. After a short #9 run across the Ross Island Bridge I arrived home. Overall a good trip, a rare trip, but one for the books.
One major thing, I'm very happy to be back in ole’ PDX.