Archive for the ‘travel’ Category


2009 by the Numbers

Well, 2009 has come to an end.  With that, I’m publishing my third annual ‘by the Numbers’ (here is 2007 and 2008) post that chronicles my travels.  Most travel is for business but there were a couple personal trips that made the list.

So, in 2009 I…

  • Flew 7,482 miles (I’m happy to say I didn’t have many bad airport experiences this year!)
  • Traveled through 5 airports (RIC, IAD, PHL, ORD, AUA) – PHL is still a nightmare
  • Stayed 133 nights in hotels
  • Stayed 3 nights in a corporate apartment
  • Rented 1 car – Hertz still has a questionable selection
  • Drove 8,505 miles – DC and back…a lot
  • Visited 3 states (NC, IL, PA) other than VA. Oh, and one island – Aruba!!

It looks like my travel for at least the first half of 2010 will be on par with 2009.  We’ll see what the new year brings though!!

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2008 by the Numbers

Well, we’ve wrapped on another year and in keeping with what I started last year I’d like to do a rundown of all the travel I got to do – mostly work but some pleasure.

So, in 2008 I…

  • Flew 70,000 miles (let’s not discuss how many canceled/delayed flights)
  • Traveled through 10 airports (RIC, CLT, IAD, PHL, ORD, SEA, BDL, SFO, BOS, DFW)
  • Stayed 123 nights in hotels
  • Rented 38 cars (comment still holds true about Aveo – I like the Mazda 6)
  • Visited 8 states (WA, NC, MA, CT, CA, IL, TX, PA) other than VA
  • I also stayed in a corporate apartment for 15 nights of 2008

It looks like my travel for 2009 will be quite a bit less.  I’ve taken a project that will have me only a couple hours drive from home.

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TSA drops the ball…again

I travel every week and TSA never ceases to amaze me. Their security screening processes are so antiquated and inefficient. Their first blunder was allowing GAO investigators to successfully sneak bomb parts past security screener’s. By the way, I remember flying a day or two after this report broke and security screening was impossible.

While I don’t claim to know what’s going on at TSA, I’m pretty sure each employee writes their own handbook on screening and security procedures. Last year I traveled through 16 airports and maybe one or two of them had similar practices/requirements. Some don’t care about belts, others demand they be taken off or threaten ‘extra’ screening. I had one person tell me that he’d personally make sure I was in security for an extra 20 or 30 minutes if I didn’t take my phone holder off my belt (the phone was not in it) to walk through the scanner. Have I mentioned that TSA employees possess great people skills?

TSA’s second blunder has made it possible for unsuspecting citizens who use TSA’s web based tools to be victims of identity theft. Nicely done!

It turns out that it’s good to be friends with TSA employees because TSA has awarded a contract (without competition) to a web design firm that the awarding employee previously worked for and where he still maintains good friendships. What conflict of interest?!? According to a quote in a Washington Post article it sounds like TSA has awarded this company approximately $500,000 in business. I wonder how many of those projects also didn’t have any competition.

The contracts aren’t the issue, it’s the fact that the design firm built this ‘no fly’ list complaint tool but wasn’t securely transmitting the information from the web to the web servers. This security vulnerability exposes the personal information required by the tool (social security number, birth date, etc) to potential theft which could result in identity theft.

I guess the GAO got it wrong when they praised TSA for how it handled sensitive information.

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2007 By The Numbers

As many of you know I travel nearly 100% for my job – almost every Monday through Thursday. I got to thinking about how much I traveled in 2007 and thought I’d share some of my findings.

In 2007 I…

  • Flew 73,549 miles (not including any bonus miles of course)
  • Stayed in hotels 158 nights
  • Rented 42 rental cars (the Chevy Aveo is a dreadful car by the way)
  • Traveled through 16 airports
  • Road Amtrak once
  • Visited 8 different states (5 for work – not including VA obviously or those I just drove through) and St. Lucia (honeymoon)

2007 proved to be a pretty busy year and I’m sure 2008 will be just as hectic. I’ll try to keep tabs on my travel in 2008 and let everyone know how it turns out.

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What a week, take two

So I write this from the Bradley International Airport just outside of Hartford, CT at 6:15 AM and it’s been another great week of travel. For those of you that haven’t heard, the northeast got slammed by a disastrous snow storm and while the weather people were calling it for several days, no one thought it wise to prepare.

It starts snowing just before lunch and almost immediately I get an email from United that all their afternoon flights have been canceled. Honestly, it kind of shocked me a bit because their automated alert system has never worked for me in the past – but I guess at least I knew now. I jump through all kinds of hoops to get on the only US Air flight out (which was ultimately canceled) and get on my way to the airport.

I work about 20 miles away from the airport and it took me three hours to make the trip. They hadn’t done hardly any kind of plowing and oh, everyone else in Hartford was on the road trying to go home.

The drive wasn’t actually too bad. It gave me some time to sit back and think in a decently quiet environment and enjoy some music. At least until I hear a loud ‘boom’ with about seven miles to go and realize that my windshield wiper motor blew. Now, I don’t totally know what happened but I do know that my windshield wipers immediately stopped working and I had to drive the rest of the way with limited visibility and my hand out the window with an ice scraper as my very manual wiper. I probably should have called the rental car company but that would have taken at least two hours with all the weather.

One nice thing is that I was just confirmed on my flight and was upgraded to first class. I guess if I don’t get to go home on my regular day, at least I get to go home today in first class…hopefully!

Well I’m signing off to get some ‘real’ work done before catching my flight.

Update: Here are some photos that I took on my phone of the drive. Don’t worry, I was stuck in traffic when I took these. Click them to enlarge.

Parking lot before the adventure Stuck in traffic Stuck in traffic, again

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What a week!

Well, I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

I guess first of all, this week was destined to be a long week. I didn’t get home from Connecticut until Friday evening and had to turn around and leave less than 48 hours later for Texas (I had to go to one of the warehouses this week). I know one more night may not sound like much but taking that Sunday evening away from relaxing and turning it into travel really makes a difference. It probably didn’t help that once I landed in Dallas I had to drive two hours.

So I finally land in Richmond around 10:15 PM and head to my car. I get out of the airport and maybe 5 miles down the road I get a flat. Great! I guess it’s not a huge deal, but not something I wanted to deal with after a day of travel. I get the ‘inconvenience tire’ (more on this later) on and get back on the road.

Not more than 10 miles later I get the same rumbling sensation on the driver side of the car and get off the interstate. Luckily, I was able to get to a hotel parking lot. It turns out that my spare has now gone flat (not completely so it leads me to believe I hit a bump or something that deflated it). I call Jenn and she comes to pick me up – she’s great!
Cut to Friday…

I take Jenn to work so that I could have her car and deal with the flat tire debacle. I pull out of her office and end up getting stuck in traffic for an hour and forty-five minutes. It was unbelievable. I was obviously frustrated but since I have the ability to get my email and calendar information on my phone I sit there quietly and do some work. I’m still cranky but at least I’m being productive.

Well, needless to say, it was a very long 24 hours late last week but things are on their way to being cleared up. Car is at the tire shop now!

Until next time ladies and gentlemen.

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