Inside, there were only four people in the line. I went around to the front of the line, and laid down my ski bag and my boot bag, so as not to have and twist and turn through the maze with those five feet or so long skis.
The lady who checked me in was real nice, and said, "Just for future reference, when you already have your boarding pass (I had checked in on the web last night), you can use the kiosks over there to check-in and check your bags, so you don't have to wait in line.
"Thanks. Actually, I knew that, but I don't really like using those things, there was no line, and besides, I wanted to be checked in by a beautiful woman this morning."
Her face lit up as she blushed a little, and then quickly retorted, "Oh, and so early in the morning, too."
When I got to the security gate, I was lucky enough to have one of those people in charge there who goes out of his way to let people know that he's "the boss" here. He looked at my laptop, my carry-on bag, and the little gift bag I was carrying, waved his hand across all three, and said, "You're going to have to consolidate that into two bags."
"I only have two bags," I said, and pointed to my laptop and my carry-on.
He pointed to my little gift bag. I said, "This? It's a gift bag."
"You have to consolidate it into two bags." I almost went off and said, "If, after I do this, I see anyone with a carry-on, and either a laptop or a purse, and they go into a shop and buy something, and carry that on the plane, I am going to go postal." I bit my tongue, and made lemonade. I fit what was in my gift bag into my carry-on suitcase, which I was surprised even fit, otherwise I'd've put it in there to begin with. I have to say after it was all said and done, it was better just having two things to manage instead of three. Lemonade.
Oh what was in the gift bag? My 12 bottles of Goldschlager. A gift to myself, as it were.
As I arrived at Gate 19 at about 5:15 (for my 6:23 flight), I scoped out the scene for a seat. I thought about ENG 519 (thanks a lot, Will) as I ran through my criteria for choosing where to sit. I would like to officially amend my criteria, and say that "sometimes, my number one consideration is a seat near a plug to use my laptop power cord." Such was the case today.
There was only one plug in the waiting area of this gate, and somebody was already bogarting it. I would think that in this day and age of electronics, they'd start to think about making more outlets available at the gates. I found an outlet between two doors along the wall opposite that gate, and sat on the floor there.
We boarded in a herd as the gate attendant said, "Since our flight to Chicago this morning is not at all full, we'll just forgo the boarding by groups. All passengers for all seats may board at this time."
Okay, so the flight is not at all full, and I made my reservation for this flight on January 10th. My profile says window seat. I get to seat 23B (I should have known with a "B" that it was not going to be a window seat), and not only that it's the only seat on the two-seat side with someone in the window seat. What's up with that?
Before takeoff, I moved to an empty row of three seats, four rows back. Right before they closed the doors, someone came in who had the aisle seat in the same row, leaving the middle seat empty.
We had to de-ice this morning. A man in a bucket high above a truck, shot a torrential gush of pink liquid, most of which eventually dripped off the wing onto the tarmac. That can't be good for the environment, can it? Oh well, it's good for my life, I suppose.
The flight from Raleigh-Durham to Chicago was 1 hour, 50 minutes.
The plane for the flight from Chicago to Reno was a 757, and once again, I had an aisle seat. Obviously, I must have booked it that way. However, this may be the trip that makes me an aisle person instead of a window. I kind of liked not having anyone to one side of me, at least, and the freedom to get up and out as I pleased.
As I went to sit in my aisle seat of row 28, the lady of the couple who was already in the row asked, "Would you mind switching seats with him," and pointed to the guy in the seat in front of mine. He was a totally hunky guy, and I resisted the urge to say, "For that beautiful man, sure."
"Sure, no problem," I said, just like society would prefer. As my main man Martin Luther King once (sorta) said, "I have a dream. A dream when one day I could make a comment like that and the guy would take it like the compliment it is, smile, and say, "Thanks," not unlike the ticket agent this morning when I complimented her. But I digress; bless my mess.
This flight introduced American's new "Buy on Board" food service. They offered food service but you had to pay for it:
Morning Snack Box - $3 (cash only): The morning snack box will be offered on most nontranscontinental flights that are three hours or longer and depart between 6 a.m. and 9:59 a.m. The box will contain a Kellogs(R) Nutri_Grain Muffin Bar, Ocean Spray(R) Craisins(R), New York Style(R) Brand(R) Mini Bagel CHips, rondele(R) cream-cheese spread, and Peerless(R) Starlight Mint.
Afternoon Snack Box - $3 (cash only): ALso offered on most nontranscontinental flights that are three hours or longer, the afternoon snack box will be offered between 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The afternoon version will contain a Pepperidge Farm(R) Distinctive Crackers, Sparrer's(R) gourmet beef salami slices, cheddar cheese, Delyse(R) Orchard Fruit Mix, and Oreo(R) cookies.
When I was able I got my laptop out, first finding the outlet for the "plane plug" I got (free) from Rob Shook several months ago. The deal having power on board. The movie offered was The Incredibles and incredulously (not!) I ignored it.
I worked on the revision of my genre paper for about an hour and a half. I really like how it's come together. I need to finish it up when I have access to my cited material, but it's only about 15 minutes work. Coolio.
The flight from Chicago to Reno was 3 hours 49 minutes. About three-fourths of the way through the flight, the couple sitting in the two seats to my left asked to be excused. I used the opportunity to use the restroom as well.
When we returned to our seats, we had a burst of conversation, as if since we hadn't talked the entire way, we'd better get it all out of the way now.
In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that it was Gay Ski Week in Tahoe this week. They had no idea, but were cool with it. In fact, the lady asked me how it was in the Triangle Area in terms of the gay community and acceptance. I said, "well, other than the fact that it's Jessie Helms country, and just last week or the week before, a student at UNC Chapel Hill got beat up to the point of blood and broken bones, from 6 guys calling him "gay epithets" while he walked home from a bar, it's just fine there."
We had somewhat of a "hard" landing -- the actual touchdown of the wheels happening with a hard thump. We had to wait almost 10 minutes near the gate as the plane using the gate before us still hadn't backed out.
Call me naive, but I was surprised to find slot machines in the airport -- and I mean right at the gate as soon as I exited the jetway. I didn't even really thinking about them being in a separate room there, perhaps, so I was extra surprised to see them right there. Perhaps the people playing dreamed of ripping up their boarding pass and ordering a private jet if they right there and then.
My skis came out right away, but it took a while for my big suitcase, and my ski boots, but all eventually arrived.
I had plenty of time, as my reservation on the South Tahoe Express was for noon, and it was only about 11:20. I walked over to that area, and they confirmed my reservation and "boarding pass." While waiting for the bus, I chatted a little with the couple who had sat next to me on the plane, and checked in with Robert.
I was tired on the bus ride from the Reno airport to South Lake Tahoe, and nodded off a few times. I woke up as we were going through a quaint little town, which I finally realized was Carson City by the signs.
It was about an hour and a half until we finally pulled into Lake Tahoe, and what a dramatic entrance. The bus came around this curve, and this most beautiful, serene, looking like it was covered with an ever-thin sheet of ice, and beautiful snow-covered mountains all around it lake came into view. So blue. So beautiful.
I got off the bus at the Harvey's Casino stop, where I waited for the free shuttle to Lakewood Village. There were about 15 "outdoorsey women" also waiting for the bus, and it turned out to be all of them and me on the bus. Being the "athletic women" that they were, at least half of them had skis and boots, and our collective baggage was enormous. In fact we sat on one side of the bus, and the entire other side was stacked from floor to ceiling with everyone's bags, skis, and boots.
The bus driver, who was a straight, older man, said to me, "You going up there with all of them?"
"Are there any men up there?" I asked. Everyone laughed.
Everyone was making comments about how much luggage there was in the van, and amazingly, we ended fitting in there to the person. The last girl took the only seat left next to me. I said to all of them, "It's a good thing I didn't bring my boyfriend." Everyone fell out. They were a fun group to ride with, even if they were girls.
I checked in to room 222, which was in the main building, which I liked, and in the same building as Jon, who was in room 107. I was absolutely amazed at the size of the room when I walked in. I unpacked everything, and then went to get a bite to eat. I ate at an authentic Mexian restaurant recommended by the guy at the front desk, and it was delicious. I got the "Super Burrito" (no beans), ate half of it, and took the other half home for tomorrow.
I did a grocery store run, where I bought some vegetables and dip among other things. Back at the room, I cup up the veggies for appetizers later on with cocktails. The full kitchen in the room is fully equipped, including with a potato peeler. I had a few cocktails while I did this, and waited for Jon B. to call once the slopes closed and he got back.
He called at about 4:40, and was headed out to the hot tub. I met him out there, where we said our hellos and joined the twelve other men already in the hot tub, which was built for eight. I was impressed that Jon knew all but about two of the guys' names, and introduced them to me. Evidently they've all been here since Sunday, too, and they all seem to have the "party pass," which I don't. They were all going to the party tonight, which started at 7, which surprised me. I thought they all started at 11. I decided not to go.
Back in the room, I turned the TV on while I finished up this journal entry for the day. OMG, on CMT, Inside Fame: Tim McGraw. I watched that most beautiful, sexiest man on the planet for an hour or so. I just can't stop looking at him, and wanting him. Get in line behind half of the women in the world, who undoubtedly are closer to the front of the line than I am.
I called it a night at about 8PM PST. It's 11PM to my body now, and it's been going since 4AM.