Browsing Tag: travel


    Orbitz and Northwest Airlines are Driving Me Crazy

    June 25, 2008

    I have a friend getting married later this summer (Hi Phil), and finding a flight back east has become the biggest pain in the arse I can imagine. I’m trying to fly into either Philadelphia or Baltimore, and I almost always start on Orbitz because it lists lots of different airlines. (Kayak does the same thing, but Kayak mainly lists Orbitz fares when I search….)

    So I check every day, usually a couple times a day, and have zero luck — prices are too high, or there’s a 10-hour layover in the Great Midwest, or this: crap price information.

    I keep finding Northwest Airlines’ flights that are generally acceptable, like this one from earlier today:

    Orbitz screenshot 1

    Sure, I’ll leave at 6:00 am so I can get in early and relax. Price isn’t great, but Phil is only getting married once so let’s do it! Let’s hit that SELECT button and make that reservation!

    I do that, and then I get this:

    Orbitz screenshot 2

    Ack!! That $619 flight has suddenly become a $1,400 flight. And worst of all, this has been going on forever. You’d think I’d learn my lesson and just skip the NWA listings, but they’re always the best combination of price and schedule … so I keep clicking … and I keep screaming at the computer.

    I don’t know if NWA is to blame for this: Orbitz? NWA? The Others? The Dharma Initiative? Halliburton? Hillary Clinton? All I know is that I’m tired of it. Air travel is bad enough; making the reservation is supposed to be the easy part.


    6 States, 9 Trips, 15 Weeks

    June 7, 2008

    I’m not one of those “I hate to travel” people, but my schedule so far in 2008 has me leaning in that direction more than ever. I’ve done more travel in the past four months than in any year of my life so far.

    Where I’ve Been So Far This Year

    Toyota SnowmobileIt started with what was supposed to be a 2-day trip to Seattle in late January, but turned into a 3-day trip because the worst storm of the year shut down the Tri-Cities Airport. The photo at right is what my car looked like when I finally made it home. After that, the travel schedule went like this:

    February 25-29: Santa Clara, CA
    March 9-10: Portland, OR
    March 10-12: Seattle
    March 16-20: New York
    March 28-31: Martinez, CA
    April 20-22: Houston
    April 22-24: Long Beach, CA
    April 30-May 2: Seattle (I canceled this one, needed a rest.)
    May 6-13: Philadelphia (and New York)
    May 20-21: Portland, OR
    June 2-5: Seattle

    I get tired just looking at that list! But, if all goes well, the only traveling I’ll be doing between now and August is a quick drive to Portland later this month for a friend’s wedding. I can handle that. With air travel being as expensive as it is these days, and being such a complete hassle, I’m going to aim to stay home as much as possible. There’s a wedding in August I hope to go to, and a conference in September I’m already committed to. Other than that, I’ll be quite happy right where I am.


    Random Thursday Night Thought

    June 6, 2008

    I wonder… When traveling, why does the return trip always seem faster than the ‘leaving’ trip?

    Case in point:

    On Monday, I drove to Seattle. Trip time: 3 hours, 15 minutes.

    Today, I came home from Seattle. Trip time: 4 hours.

    Despite the evidence, today’s drive absolutely sailed by. Monday’s drive seemed like it took forever.

    Why is that?


    Vacation Photos Galore

    May 26, 2008

    One of the great things about Web 2.0 is that it’s now kinda cool to sit down and share vacation photos with friends — not like back in the old days when you’d sit in the living room and go through slide-by-slide while Grandma or somebody tries to explain every little detail in the photo. Save me from that torture!

    Now, you can cruise through pix and see what you want, leave comments on the photos you want to, mark some as favorites, etc. Or you could ignore them altogether and make me sad. 🙁

    I think this might be my favorite shot from the Philly/NYC trip earlier this month:

    Cradle of Liberty

    That’s a somewhat artsy-fartsy shot of Independence Hall. Turned out well, and a little messing with the exposure makes it more interesting (to me). If you’re curious to see more, the full set of 39 photos is on Flickr now.

    You can see my son at Yankee Stadium, and some good action shots from the game we saw. Or maybe the room where the Declaration of Independence was debated in Philly, plus the very moving Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier with its eternal flame. We also took the kids to see my grade school and the all-boys high school I attended — kinda like the school in Dead Poet’s Society, but ours wasn’t a boarding school.


    Google Maps Tells Me to Kill Myself and Tourists

    May 14, 2008

    Part of the family vacation last week involved taking the kids down into Philadelphia to see the historic sites — Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, National Constitution Center, etc. It was a great, great day and a good time was had by all. Perhaps more about that stuff later, but the point of this post is to share the … interesting … directions we got from Google Maps and the “Street View” tool.

    The trip began in Bristol, PA, where my parents live. I could easily get down to the historic district, but wasn’t sure on some of the last couple turns to find the right parking lot. Here’s how Google helped:

    Google Maps 1

    On exiting I-95, we’re apparently supposed to drive through this concrete wall on the way to Independence Hall, causing certain death for the McGee 4. Oddly enough, I don’t even recall seeing this concrete wall at this location. Later, there’s this:

    Google Maps 2

    As we get closer to Independence Hall, we’re supposed to turn right and take out a group of tourists, including one in a wheelchair. Nice!

    I’m sure there’ll be more funny Street View directions as Google expands this feature in more and more cities…..

    Tri-Cities, WA

    Finally Home

    January 28, 2008

    Outdoor Fridge

    Originally uploaded by Matt McGee

    I like Seattle. I like visiting Seattle. I just don’t like getting stuck in Seattle and spending an extra day in Seattle when I should be home.

    After the Big Ice and Snow Storm of 2008 shut down Tri-Cities Airport on Sunday, I finally made it home today, just 26 hours later than normal.

    This photo is my water bottle sitting in the snow on top of my car at the airport parking lot. I had about 8 inches of snow and a 1/2-inch sheet of ice covering my car when I reached the parking lot.

    Three other car-in-snow-and-ice photos:

    Toyota Snowmobile
    Inside the Igloo
    Digging Out

    It took me about an hour overall to get the car dug out, but that included about 10-15 minutes helping an older lady nearby who was in the same predicament as me.

    So good to be home….