No, not that Redmond. I'm in beautiful Redmond, Oregon with the scent of pine in the air, mountains on the horizon, and some great fishing just a short ride away. But yeah, I was planning to be in Redmond, WA. I suppose this is divine justice for making my latest catch-phrase, "unless something goes horribly wrong."
So the people in my office are pretty great, but someone waited until last-minute to book the flight to the most important event of the year -- the ASPInsiders DevLab at Microsoft HQ. I volunteered to fly out of Buffalo (hey I like the two-hour drive), and that's where the adventure began. Note to self: always read the itinerary twice if you don't book it yourself.
I left three hours before the flight, and was promptly stuck in traffic -- still inside Toronto -- for an hour. They picked a great day to close the second largest highway leading out of the city. Luckily the car still has a time-lapse gear, and I was able to speed through customs, into long-term parking, and to the gate with five minutes to spare.
Buffalo to Chicago. We circle for an hour due to thunderstorms. We land. All flights are delayed, the domino effect will help me make the connection. I stand in line for an hour with the other passengers who haven't been assigned seats to Portland, while the gate packs a plane heading to Seattle. Ah, the irony.
Two hours late we board for Portland. We sit on the runway for another hour to add fuel and wait for a clear runway. The flight is otherwise fine. I have five chapters to edit for tomorrow, and Batman Begins is on the small screen.
We land in Portland. The airport is deserted. The pilot tells me I'll be able to find a rep at the baggage claim. Sure enough, I'll have to take a morning flight and stay at La Quinta tonight. There's a free shuttle. Rather than retrieve and then have to check my bags in the morning I take the free overnight kit and hop on a shuttle. My return flight on Wednesday is upgraded to first class for the trouble. I set wake-up call for a four-hour sleep.
The flight is brief -- just a half hour! I note that you can't see the coastline from this side of the plane, but the mountains and rivers look fantastic. We land. I retrieve my bag from the conveyor belt. I walk outside and step into a taxi. I ask for Microsoft Campus, Building 20. The kind lady cabbie turns and says, "I'm not sure how to tell you this."
I'm in the wrong state. Over MSN Messenger I've been getting a lot of "wow, I didn't even know there was a Redmond, Oregon." So I get on the phone back to the office, and twenty minutes later new flights are booked to Seattle, and then back from Seattle to Buffalo. Will the airline still feel bad about the missed connection from Portland and upgrade that return to first class? I'm not holding my breath. Plus the air's just too damned good here in Redmond.
There's the announcement to head through security. With any luck, in a half hour I'll be off to Seattle, and as we glide in I'll see the coastline where it ought to be. From the airport I will take the usual green and white taxi up to Redmond, Washington. If not, well, at some point you have to say, "screw it, at least it's a story." Wish me luck.
Read more: Notes on the adventure courtesy of James Shaw.