previous blog. At 31 years old I finally had my first opportunity to fly a couple of weeks ago.
My job took me to Annapolis, Maryland where my alma mater was playing the US Naval Academy for our second football game of the season. (Have I ever mentioned that I love my job?) Simply put it was too far to drive. I could have done it. I've driven from Savannah, GA to San Antonio and that was a HAUL. With time being a little more sensitive for this assignment flying was really the only option.
The journey started at the Savannah/Hilton head International Airport at about 6:15 on a Friday morning. It's interesting to note that I misread my itinerary thinking that boarding began at 6:30. Well, the flight left at 6:30. I made it to the gate, huffing and puffing at which point the nice lady proclaimed, "Mr. Grovenstein?" ""Yes ma'am," I replied. "You better hurry up! They 'bout to close the door!" There I was, Atlanta bound with a whole 10 minutes to spare :)
I was actually sweating a little as we taxied out to the runway. Being the gearhead that I am, I actually enjoyed the freak acceleration. What surprised me most was how rough the runway was. I always had in my mind that it was always kept up and smooth as glass. Not so! The ascent was an interesting feeling. It felt at one point that my seat was coming out from under me. I assume this was the point at which we stopped climbing and leveled out. Same feeling on the initial descent into Atlanta. This leg of the flight was kind of lonely. Everyone was quiet and the plane was only about half-full.
We came up to the gate at Atlanta and I immediately began preparing for the nightmare of finding the gate for my connecting flight to Baltimore. I've been told of gates being changed around at the last minute and I was trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I may have to boogie to a whole other area of the massive Hartsfield Airport. Lucky me.......it was the same gate at which I had just arrived. Same plane actually. Deep breath out.
My flight to Baltimore was much more lively. More folks talking and a nearly full plane. I had the opportunity to sit next to a gentleman from Tennessee who had just won the Republican nomination for one of the Congressional seats there. The ensuing hour and 15 minute conversation would make a great entry for the blogs I used to write. I've sworn off political writings though. I'll just say this....He was a very congenial guy, but I don't really feel any better about the future of our country than I did when I left Savannah that morning ;)
Seeing the Chesapeake Bay as we flew into Baltimore was a real treat. Same rough runway as we landed. It was at that point that I realized that was probably the norm. From there it was down to a bus and off to Enterprise to pick up the rental car.
At this point my experience in Baltimore, and more specifically Annapolis, began. What a treat! My next blog will be a recap of that. It was an amazing weekend.
I was up at 4:30 Sunday morning headed back to the airport to catch my flight home. Had to return the rental car first though. I was kind of confused about the procedure for returning after hours. After I circled the facility a few times I pulled off and waited for another car to come through. Ah ha! It was another Enterprise customer. I did a Talladega-esque draft and followed him right where I needed to me. Then it was back on the shuttle to the airport. At this point I learned not to talk to bus drivers at 5 in the morning. the guy transporting us could care less about life. Total douchebag. Ah well. Maybe my greeting gave him reason not to kick a puppy later in the day.
The TSA screenings were not nearly the hassle that I had envisioned at either location. Maybe that was because I was flying so early. Taking my shoes off was a little odd, but hey, I guess I have no one to blame for that other than Richard Reid. I slept quite a bit on the way home. I was spent from the weekend. Maybe the high altitude and recycled air had a little to do with it too. I was able to converse with some fellow fans on the way home as well. Thats always cool.
Overall it was a really enjoyable experience. It's hard to believe that I've never flown, but I've never really had the need or desire. I have always worked locally or regionally. I'm a known cheapo so the prospect of getting mileage reimbursement always outweighed the convenience of flying to farther locations. As for vacations we've never really been anywhere far off. I do admit that I owe that to my wife though ;)
So there you have it! Jethro's first trip on the big metal bird. It wasn't really "backing 'er down," but an interesting experience nonetheless.
Ya'll take it easy.