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Published: February 27th 2008
Early Tuesday morning I was in the air well on my way to sunny Florida. The flight was laughable as the 757 aircraft was a former America West plane repainted to mesh with US Airways fleet. The guy sitting next to me and I were joking about the delay announced before we boarded due to a mechanical issue (despite the plane having been on the ground for 2 hourse before our flight). Once on board the overhead TVS (read: 15" crt monitors from 1985, some turning greenin the corners from magnetic interference and almost all displaying slightly different color tones and) began to run though the safety features of "our" aircraft........including the permitted use of personal electronics, such as a personal CD player. In a time when there are iPOD vending machines at the airport would it kill them to update the video, or revert to teh traditional speech given by one of the 5 flight attendants? Granted this crop of airborne waitresses had passed its prime a solid 10 years ago. I am accustommed to the ever-perky flight attendants that are pleasant and generally even have a sense of humor. Our flight staff averaged easily in the mid 40's with age, and the yeards had not been easy on any of them. There was not even a touch of humor or a smile as they came by to serve drinks, rather they stared at each group of 3 seats until someone ordered anything. The ray of light was when they announced our in flight movie would be Dan in Real Life. I had heard mixed reviews and when my options are burn down my portable DVD battery or gamble on their movie I took the gamble. The movie wasn't bad, but I don't see myself every buying teh DVD. Somnehow though we actually were watching a VHS copy. Everytime the pilot made an a nnouncement they would rewind the movie to our previous location and then adjust the tracking. As bad as this was, it was all kind of funny. It was a mockery of all things old-school airline, but somehow still happenning. 40 minutes before teh scheduled landing the pilot announces were are early and that they will secure teh cabin for our landing in 20 minutes. A minute later he comes back on and announces teh flight attendants need to take their seats due to turbulance and that we all need to make sure our seat backs are straight up, tray tables are locked closed and that trash s clear of the isle way. I am convinced that we somehow managed to take a set of stairs out fo the sky. As we decended toward teh runway the plane shook so bad that a couple overhead compartment doors popped open. I could feel myself lift against the seatbelt as the plane quickly dropped then leveled back out, all the way down from 30,000ft. After all of this it was no surprise that I waited at the baggage claim for 30 mintues.
I had arranged ground transportation on a corporate account we have locally and the driver was great. Friendly and knowledgeable of the area, he was they exact person that should be picking up visitors at the airport. When I arrive at our HUB location in Orlando I learn that the 3 vehicles I shipped teh week before from PHX have yet to arrive, but should be in the next morning. I had reserved a standard size rental RV for myself and arranged to stay in the preferred vendor camp area in the infield of Daytona International Speedway. I am quickly informed that my RV to stay in will be transferred out teh next day with the other units and that I should take the Funmover unit I had shipped out a couple days before the others. Fair enough, it has to get to teh track somehow. The downside is that it is a 30' vehicle with a garage area in the rear loaded with equipment for our display set-up at the track. Attached to the rear is a 25' enclosed trailer with 5 motorcycles and a couple smaller toys for the owners of our company.
As I get out on the highway a massive storm is rolling in and traffic is horrible. I stop for dinner to let traffic ease up and make it up to the racetrack at about 10pm. Naturally it is too late to get into the property where I have a reserved campsite so I google the local walmart and head over to it. After getting my rig backed in across some spaces and settling in to watch a movie on the laptop and send some email I get a knock at the door. Wallymart security informs me that in the city of daytona beach it is illegal to sleep in a car in a parking lot. My options are limited as my rig is massive and I now can;t stay at a walmart. I google and call most local motels (most have no overnight staff, no parking for a rig my size or want $150+ for the night), truck stops and any familiar sounding store. I end up contacting the local police department to explain the situation and ask where I can sleep for at least a couple hours. After an hour of waiting for an officer to call me back I call the police again and the lady that answers just repeats that its illegal to stay in my vehicle overnight in their city. It is now almost 1:30 in the morning and I am dead tired. I grab a cup of coffee and double back 20 miles to a city called DeLand that has a Walmart that is listed online as being RV friendly.
I roll into the parking lot just after 2am crawl into the overcab bunk and fall asleep in a matter of a couple minutes. I awoke this morning shiverring. Somehow, and despite it being nearly 80 degrees yesterday, it is going to be 50 today. I know the trip will get more entertaining soon, and I can't wait.....I will even settle for things just to stop sucking...........................................................Let's go sunshine!
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