I arrived at the airport at about 6:10. The line was very small to check-in, though the hassle factor of traveling remains high. Was in line at x-ray, and then afterward sat next to at the gate, an IBMer traveling to Oakland to attend a design session with a customer. I asked if she worked for IBM because I saw her getting her ThinkPad out (as did I) to send through the x-ray machine. Does anyone who doesn't work for IBM own a ThinkPad. Sadly, I think very few.
I did everything but strip to make it through x-ray without setting it off, including sending my shoes through, and taking off my watch, even though it never sets the alarm off. I just didn't feel like being hassled. Unfortunately, I forgot about the housekey Robert took off his chain and gave me. Grrrrrrrrr! Oh well, at least the guy who "patted me down," was hot. Hunky, black hair, and killer goatee. He said, "If this goes off anywhere on your body, I'm going to pat gently, and use the back of my hand when appropriate." I was thinking, "Use the entire palm, honey, and rub to your heart's delight." What a pig I am sometime. Okay, most time. Me and the IBMer shared the electrical outlet for our laptops at the gate.
In Dallas while waiting for my connection to Vail, I checked in with Robert (but got voicemail on both phones), ate my sandwhich and chips, and called Jeanie-baby. It was good to catch up, but she sounds old, and I had the funniest feeling that she wasn't going to make it through this year. She thanked me for informing her about Rob's dad, and for the Christmas goodies. She wished me a good ski vacation, and ordered me to return without any broken bones.
I chatted a little with the lady sitting next to me at the gate waiting for the Vail flight. She was originally from Boston living, now, in Chapel Hill. I told her I was orginally from Fall River living, now, in Raleigh. She was flying to Vail to present at a conference. She's a P.A. She mentioned that her boss "was up there this week." I said, "Oh, is he gay?" She didn't skip a beat, and said, "No, why?" I said, "Because it's gay ski week up there this week." We both chuckled. I said, "When he gets back, ask him if he (wink wink nudge nudge) met anyone nice." She laughed, and said, "Or maybe, is there something you want to tell me, Bill?" I hope I didn't out him.
I must be living right. Shortly after this conversation, they announced an "oversold situation," offering a $300 voucher to leave at 2:00 instead of noon, be rerouted through Denver, and arriving in Vail at 6:15PM. I was the first person to volunteer. As the departure time neared, not enough volunteers had come forward, and they raised the ante to $400. While she was processing my rebooking and voucher, I said, "Actually, I'm going to Aspen, not Vail. Would it be possible to catch a flight from Denver to Aspen instead of Vail, and have my bags sent to the Aspen airport?"
"Sure; why not?" she said. "We'll have your bags delivered directly to your hotel."
Life is good. I used a $300 voucher for this trip, got it "replenished" with a $400 voucher, and flew right into Aspen avoiding the hour-and-a-half drive by van from Vail up to Aspen. (Actually, let me get back to you on that life being good once my bags (which contain my skis and boots) arrive in Aspen this evening!) :-)
Upon arrival in Denver, I checked to see if there was an earlier flight to Aspen than the one I had been booked on. There was one leaving 30 minutes earlier. I was the first in line at the gate, and first on the standby list. I made it on. I arrived in Aspen and took a taxi to the Hotel Durant, $16.45. Next time if it's before 4:45, consider taking a taxi to Buttermilk, which is very close, and then take the free Aspen bus over to the bus station.
When I entered the lobby and gave my name, "Amanda" said, "Oh, Mr. Martin; your bags just arrived." Yippee! She registered me, and showed me to my room. I ran to the lift ticket office, and purchased my 3-day lift ticket. The ticket was $204, averaging out to $68 a day. I'm not sure if the Friday and Saturday days are actually more, or what. I applied my $40 credit from last year. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at a shop and bought 11 postcards and a refrigerator magnet. I also stopped in The Chart restaurant to take a peek at their menu, and decided to return between 5:30 and 6:00 for their "early bird specials."
Back at the hotel, I sat in the lobby by the fireplace, and filled out postcards. A group of older folks, probably in their mid-to-late 60s, were there having apres-ski snacks of cheese cubes, crackers, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, and wine. "Bill" introduced himself, and the others to me. I finished about half the cards, and then left to have dinner.
I overate at dinner, and afterwards walked to what last year was The Aspen Lodge, but this year is the Skye Lodge. It's the host hotel for Gay Ski Week. There were very few people in the bar/lounge area, and seemed to be as many straight people there as gay people. I sat for a while on the hearth of the huge fireplace, and planned my first run tomorrow.
Back at my hotel, I sat by the fireplace again for a little while and finished my post cards. I also looked through a book they'd put together, which was a collection of many restaurant menus. I found some at which I can make some good choices over the next few days. Let's hope I do. I asked Amanda to print out the schedule for the G&L Film Festival for me. We talked a little about short films, including one her gay cousin worked on, which wasn't very good. It's called "Quintessentials."
I caught up my journal for the day with the TV playing in the background. The Bachelorette was on. I watched her lop off six of the 10 hunks. Well, maybe eight of them were hunks. :-) The clock by my bed says 9:22. The clock on my laptop says 11:26. Good night.