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Old 12-26-2011, 09:25 AM   #31
GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes
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If it’s still here tomorrow… I may ignore it again
 
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Chapter 1: Five Buses
(Day 1 - Monday)




Part 3: El Camino







Elwood: ”It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.”

Jake: ”Hit it.”




How do you make a twelve-ish hour bus ride seem to be entertaining? Hummmmm… let me think about that for a moment…





Well… short of adding in a cross-country chase and wrecking about seventy-five police cruisers…





I don’t know either, but that’s the task I set for myself.
If I were y’all I’d be skipping this update (and probably the entire TR for that matter), but I’ve got no choice. Like any good curse, I’m both eternal and reoccurring. So… out of a need to meet that standard, I have to put up an update for the next part of this journey.


The first phase of the mission can actually be summed up pretty easily: “It was dark”. We pulled onto north bound I-77 just three miles shy of the NC boarder at about 6am in the midst of rain, fog and oppressive blackness. Most of us were still three-quarters asleep, and the rest were tired form stuffing all the gear into the cargo bays, so the two hours it took to cross North Carolina were little more then a caffeine deprived blur. When the sun did finally make an appearance, it had little effect on our surroundings as the southern piedmont was still immersed in fog and mist.





We made the Virginia boarder by about 8am and stopped at the welcome center for our first stretch of the legs.




And an opportunity to solve any other problems that may have arisen now that everyone was more or less awake…





Once we’d collectively gotten a little bit of relief and clambered back onto the busses, we found that we had new drivers. The first group had made the drive from the garage in Spartanburg SC (nearly three hours to the west of our starting point) before picking us up and then made the drive up to Virginia. Legally, they weren’t exactly at the ragged edge of their daily driving limits, but there was no way they could make the entire drive up to Hackensack and this was the easiest spot on the map for the bus company to orchestrate the switch. With the administrative tasks cleared up, we headed back onto the interstate and started climbing.

It’s right about here on the map that the foothills come to an abrupt end. The next fifteen to twenty miles of highway travels more up then along and the road hugs the edge of the mountain sides. On a good day, there are some spectacular views of the farms and small towns in the valleys below (I’ve seen it many times while traveling up the WV to visit relatives), but the fog was still smothering the countryside and there was little to see this morning except the tops of the mountains rising up out of the mist.





That’s not a lake in that last picture. It’s the top of a fog bank that was probably a half-mile or more deep and engulfing the valley below it. Shortly after I snapped this picture, we reached the plateau around Wytheville and turned onto North I-81. We’d spend about half of the day on this stretch of asphalt basically traveling up the Shenandoah Valley.



Lacking any better entertainment, it was at this point where something Disney would make its first appearance in this non-Disney TR. This would be in the form of a movie. Now we were riding on the first of the two “parent” busses, but in truth they were “family” busses. A decent percentage of the passengers were younger siblings along for the adventure, so with age appropriateness in mind, the first film of the day was the Pixar adventure “The Incredibles”





Yah… that’s a bit blurry, but busses bounce around a good bit and that’s pretty much how it looked as I half watched, half listened and half stared out the window (that’s the new math at work there). Regardless of the calculations involved… this film did a fine job of making the ride up to Stanton Va. fairly painless. This spot on the map also provided us with another rest stop and our second chance to hop of the busses for a bit.





But unlike the first stop along the way… this one was just a might less hospitable…





I’m sure that once there done remodeling the facilities, it will be a very nice place to take a break, but for now at least, we had to make due with what was available.





Well… it certainly beat the trees and bushes, but still…

Anyway you could also tell that as a group we were starting to get a might punchy…




What do y’all think… would Dennis make a good hood-ornament or not? I like it myself. While were stopped, let me introduce your to Dave…






…the fellow in charge of Bus-4 and a fine driver. Anyone who can maneuver a tour bus through downtown Manhattan during the Thanksgiving holidays and not loose their sanity (or our lives) wins the right to the title. Dave earned the right.

Well, as the old punch-line goes: “Alright, everyone back on your heads!” It was time to get back on the highway. Low and behold, Disney made another appearance at this point. Well, Pixar did. The film for this part of the trip was “Up” (and if you can watch the first bit of this film and not shed a tear or six, you ain’t gots no feeling at’all). Entertaining as it was (and it was), it still only lasted a couple hours, so we spent a good bit of time looking out the windows.

As my son pointed out… this is what Virginia looks like:





That pretty much sums up the whole state (at least the large chunk of it that is traversed by I-81). You could have closed your eyes for a half hour and opened them back up again and the scenery would basically have been the same. In a word… “pastoral”. Nice enough, but like most other Interstates, there just was not too much visual stimulation to be had. After a bit we left VA and entered a twenty-mile stretch of W.Va. and then hit Maryland. We all rather liked Maryland; it wasn’t that the state was all that amazing; it was just that we got to stop for lunch.





Chick-Fil-A anyone? Well that’s where our bus came to rest. We split the five busses up across al the various fast food venues in the general vicinity of Hagerstown Maryland to make the stop as short as possible. Fast-food chains aren’t high up on the list of new experiences, but they do know how to quickly handle a busload of people. Forty-five minutes and a couple of chicken sandwiches later and we were back on the road. Five more miles up the road and we hit what for many of us was an almost earth shattering experience…

We crossed the Mason-Dixon line.



You scoff…

But for folks that were born and raised in “The South”… that’s almost like loosing a small part of your sole. We were strangers in a strange land now. It was almost as if we’d actually landed on Mars. I mean... well, here… just look for yourselves…





Hummmmmm… you know… now that I’m sitting here looking at that again…

It looks a whole lot like Virginia did (and that looked a whole lot like South Carolina). Ya’ know…. just maybe it wasn’t all that Earth shattering an event after all. But then again, I wouldn’t be much of a South’rn Story Teller, if’n I didn’t make-out that at least some otherwise minor detail was a matter of life and death…
now would I?

About an hour-ish into Pennsylvania and we crossed the Susquehanna River and entered the outskirts of the state capitol: Harrisburg.





No, no, no, no… not that river!

This one…




(that was actually a lot prettier then it looks… the mix of gloom, bus windows, motion and camera came together to make it less impressive that it might otherwise have been.)


It’s about this spot on the map that several things happened. None of them were particular noteworthy in and of themselves, but being board out of our skulls, any kind of change was welcome. Now as I was saying, several things changed, First we left the now mind numbingly familiar confines of I-81 and begin traveling via East I-78 bound for the Lehigh Valley (odd… the landscape didn’t really change much…





Save for the Hexes painted on the side of that barn, it looked a whole lot like the rest of the country we’d just traversed. The other couple of things that changes were the movie (which was now the still family friendly “National Treasure”), and the weather. The rain began coming down in earnest about here and we really wouldn’t see the sun again for the rest of the day. Truth be told… we wouldn’t see the sun again for nearly three days.

Long about the time that Nicolas Cage was finding the treasure hidden beneath the Trinity Church (a spot that we’d be getting a better look at in a few days… the church that is… not the treasure… dang…) as I was saying, it was along about this time that we crossed into New Jersey (but I did take a moment just before that to wave at Dave as we drove through the Easton / Nazareth area). We made our next stop of the day just inside Jersey…





(Nice eh…)

…and then picked up I-287 heading north toward a rendezvous with Interstate 80 (the sun was long gone by now and there really wasn’t much to see at this point except billboards and taillights).

After this last northward sojourn and a little bit of eastward progress on “eight-o”, we pulled off to partake of a bit of dinner. So… what exotic new type of cuisine would our collect of bleary-eyed Southern travelers encounter now that we were completely ensconced in that mythical foreign realm previously known to us only as “The North”?

Why fast food of course.

Surprised?

Yah… we weren’t either.

The five Cross Country Lines busses pulled into the Willowbrook Mall in scenic Wayne NJ (07470), and disgorged their human contents into this fine gourmet establishment’s well stocked food court.





Well… we’re just about done traveling. From here it’s only about another fifteen-ish minutes until we arrive at our base of operations for the rest of this expedition. So if y’all will excuse me for just a bit here… I’m going to go on in and grab me a bite to eat. Then we’ll get back to the story. For now, the only question is whether I’m in the mood for toasted white bread or hungry enough to down four fried chickens and a Coke…

I better think about that one for a moment or two.





Last edited by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes; 12-26-2011 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:35 AM   #32
afwdwfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
It's 106 miles to Chicago
I think the bus driver made a wrong turn!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
How do you make a twelve-ish hour bus ride seem to be entertaining? Hummmmm… let me think about that for a moment…
Movies... lots and lots of movies.

Oh, and pranks... especially when somebody falls asleep. Not that I'd know anything about it.

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Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
Well… short of adding in a cross-country chase and wrecking about seventy-five police cruisers…
Hmmm... That would be entertaining too.

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Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
But unlike the first stop along the way… this one was just a might less hospitable…
Wow, you pulled over to use a port a pot? Why not just go on the bus. I'm sure they had facilities.

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Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
Well… it certainly beat the trees and bushes, but still…
In what way?

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Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
What do y’all think… would Dennis make a good hood-ornament or not? I like it myself.
He's no Lotso.

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Then we’ll get back to the story. For now, the only question is whether I’m in the mood for toasted white bread or hungry enough to down four fried chickens and a Coke…
Is there really a choice to make here? Four might be a bit much, but I'd give it a shot.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:37 AM   #33
FreezinRafiki
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Hummm… I know your just being “Barry” here, but you’ve stumbled onto a point of frustration for us. We have a hard time getting people to even say the name of the school correctly, much less understand why it’s called what it’s called (and there is history involved so folks naturally tune out once you try to explain). I may have to add one of my dreaded Bonuses Features on this topic...

(My... but that little joke may now prove to be costly )
That's kind of what I was going for. You see, I'm what they call an "enabler".

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How do you make a twelve-ish hour bus ride seem to be entertaining?
Vent the tailpipe into the passenger cabin. That's really the only way.

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Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
Well… short of adding in a cross-country chase and wrecking about seventy-five police cruisers…
Or that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
It’s right about here on the map that the foothills come to an abrupt end. The next fifteen to twenty miles of highway travels more up then along and the road hugs the edge of the mountain sides. On a good day, there are some spectacular views of the farms and small towns in the valleys below (I’ve seen it many times while traveling up the WV to visit relatives)
Sounds like some very good scenery...
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, but the fog was still smothering the countryside and there was little to see this morning except the tops of the mountains rising up out of the mist.
...but you still got to see more of that that I have of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. Every time we drive from WI to FL, we hit that stretch in the dead of night.

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That’s not a lake in that last picture. It’s the top of a fog bank that was probably a half-mile or more deep and engulfing the valley below it.
Cool!

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Yah… that’s a bit blurry, but busses bounce around a good bit and that’s pretty much how it looked as I half watched, half listened and half stared out the window (that’s the new math at work there).
"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical." -Yogi Berra

You're in some fine company there, Rob.

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Well… it certainly beat the trees and bushes, but still…
Maybe for the womenfolk, but I'd just as soon use a bush.


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We crossed the Mason-Dixon line.
Welcome to Civilization!
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:37 PM   #34
GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes
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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
I think the bus driver made a wrong turn!
Could be, but these busses have a similar turbo drive as that found in Barry’s van, so we were able to correct for the error without too many folks realizing what had happened.

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Oh, and pranks... especially when somebody falls asleep. Not that I'd know anything about it.
I ain’t buyin’ it.
We need to hear some of the stories that go with that comment.
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Hmmm... That would be entertaining too.
Yes… yes it would (have been)

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Wow, you pulled over to use a port a pot? Why not just go on the bus. I'm sure they had facilities.
True, but… while each bus certainly had one onboard port-a-pot… it would have to be shared by 55 to 60 people per bus (and much more importantly) wouldn’t be emptied or cleaned out until after we got back home at the end of the week and the busses returned to their garage.

It was in our best interest, to not use them if at all possible.

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In what way?
From my perspective… it would have been the same. However, when viewed from the perspective of the 160 or so women and young girls...

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He's no Lotso.
Granted…
But I know the guy and I think he’s reading along with this as well, so I’ll have to say, that he can be just about as diabolical as Lotso (sorry about that Dennis, but I had to throw someone under The bus here).

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Is there really a choice to make here? Four might be a bit much, but I'd give it a shot.
It depends… I’m more like Jake when it comes to my choice of dinning offerings, so I’d probably be going with the chickens as well.




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That's kind of what I was going for. You see, I'm what they call an "enabler".
Yes you are… but do you really want me to go into a Bonus Feature on something as esoteric as colonial trade routes, river navigation and crossings, railroad development in northern SC and the history of the local Indian tribe?

It’d put the lot of ya’ into a trance that Prince Charming couldn’t break.

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Vent the tailpipe into the passenger cabin. That's really the only way.
Good point.


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Sounds like some very good scenery...


...but you still got to see more of that that I have of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. Every time we drive from WI to FL, we hit that stretch in the dead of night.
you need to go on your own Rust Belt Road Trip
(and for that matter… so do I)


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"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical." -Yogi Berra

You're in some fine company there, Rob.
Yogi and I are kindred spirits (I think it has something to do with the number 12)

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Maybe for the womenfolk, but I'd just as soon use a bush.
I do believe that you spotted the root of the problem right off there.


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Welcome to Civilization!
I suspect that most of the folks on these busses, would beg to differ…


Myself, I’m originally form a boarder state so I can just sit back and watch the rest of ya’ savage each other (it’s at least as good as reality TV)
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #35
GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes
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Chapter 1: Five Buses
(Day 1 - Monday)




Part 4: No Place Like Home










As Dorothy would finally figure out… there is no place like home. And our final destination for the day fit the category in so much as this was no place like any place that any of us would normally call home. Until now that is. For the next several days… this was home. Welcome to the Hilton - Hasbrouck Heights





Well… that’s how the folks in charge want you to see it anyway. Those images are from the official website, and show you exactly how the building, lobby and a standard room do appear. But we always saw it from the perspective of the back packing lot and the entrance to the “Terrace Level” facilities. Now don’t go readin’ in that I’m complaining about the place. No sir-re-bub… as hotels go, this was pretty nice and honestly the folks running the place did good by us. It’s just that given the size and nature of the group, we didn’t see much of the front door or main lobby (fine by me).



= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


New Digs




The busses pulled into the back lot at about eight thirty Monday evening and being one of the folks handling the gear I was one of the first off the coaches.






The kids and the tag-along family members were asked to cool their heels on the busses for just a few more moments while the crew busted open the cargo bays and got busy. The bags were put to the curb while the horns and gear got staged over to the breezeway. While this was going on, one of the managers came out to welcome us in and just happened to catch me first. He offered to show me where they were planning to have us store the gear, and being as that’s exactly what I was needing to know at that moment, I told him to: “Lead on McDuff”.

If I haven’t said this enough, let me repeat it again… our directors are amongst the best around. Martin Dickey, the head director, has been in the business for nearly thirty years teaching in Tennessee, and the Carolinas. He’s done a good bit of traveling with band kids and he’s gotten rather good at it. Having over the years taken high school kids as far as the Rose Parade in Pasadena and even to Hawaii to perform at the USS Arizona Memorial (man I’d liked to have been part of that last undertaking), he has learned how to plan ahead and take care of his kids and staff… very well. Case in point… He found and booked us into this hotel early enough to also be able to reserve a great deal of additional space for this little excursion. The first thing the evening manager showed me was one of the largest of the terrace floor conference rooms. He said that since these doors could be locked, this was where we could stow the gear. Compared to the storage facilities we have back at home… this was a virtual palace. Here’s how it looked after we got all the heavy gear in the door…





I was just floored by the space available… we could have brought every single bit of gear we owned lock, stock and barrel up from SC and still had room left over in here. If we packed it right. This alone was going to make the job of getting everything in, arranged and handled a sinch for the entire week.





Then to top it off… Te fell’a pointed out that we also had exclusive use of the next two attached conference rooms for “relaxing and recreation”, and the entire grand ballroom for meetings, meals and indoor rehearsals if necessary.

Recon mission completed… I got my rump back outside and let the rest of the crew know what was up and where everything could be stowed. It was also just about now that everyone else was jumping off of our humble chariots and hunting down their individual bits of baggage. They had orders to tote their stuff inside, line everything up long the walls in the hallways outside the grand ballroom and then grab a seat inside said ballroom. While this was going on, the members of the Pit-Crew finished loading and organizing our fine new storage cavern (as “room” was just completely inadequate as a description) and then we retreated on toward the ballroom ourselves. I found Tamara and Elaine toward the back just as the directors were starting to explain the ground rules for the week.





Basically… we’d be doing all our gatherings here in the ballroom and this would include breakfast each morning. Secondly, once someone was assigned to a room, no one really had any business being on any floor other then their own or down here in the basement. This being the case, none of us would be bothering any of the other guests. To make things easier to control, all of the girls were bunked on the seventh floor and the guys and “tag-alongs” were pretty much spread out on five and six. This arrangement also insured that it would be immediately obvious if anyone were in the wrong place.

Now that we all knew the law, it was time to get settled in. Starting with the girls, they called out names four at a time, handed out room keys, and sent each group on their way. The kids all had a chance to put together their own quartets up front, and anyone left over was grouped randomly after that. When the master list got down to the group that included Max, those four fellas ended up in room 634. Once the kids were all squared away, they started handing out room assignments for the adults and family groups. As it turns out, we ended up in room 630, just two doors down for Max. What this meant was that we could keep a bit of an eye on him, without having to be overtly watching over him. Truth be told… we really didn’t need to worry about it. The kids were so well behaved in general across the entire week that you’d have never known you were staying on a floor crowded with teenage boys. I’m told that it was a bit nosier up on seven… but only early on during the first night. The chaperones got all of that foolishness straightened out in short order and things settled into a proper routine pretty quickly.



= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


A Room With a View




As it turns out… room 630 also happened to be on the east side of the building. Why is this even a concern? Because it meant that we’d actually have a decent view of midtown Manhattan just across the Hudson (an added bonus the likes of which you’d be paying extra for were this WDW). But… having an opportunity to experience something does not guarantee that you will experience something. The weather was still miserable and mist and fog obscured everything. As for the first evening… we’d certainly have a fine view… it was just a fine view of busses spread across a wet parking lot.





I’m sure you noticed that there are a few more then five busses down there. For now, just remember that you saw ‘em there and I’ll tell you more about it a bit latter on.

Since there wasn’t much to be looking at or taking pictures of, we set about getting the room in order. Well… the girls got to that particular task. I had other business to attend to. Business, business. In order to be allowed to travel during the Thanksgiving holidays at all, I had to inform my employers way in advance. This I did, but that didn’t ensure that they would ultimately allow me to actually use that reserved vacation time. There are a number of processes that take place around this time of year which require my time and data processing skills to organize and deal with. Normally the function that was at issue in this instance is supposed to be dealt with by early October, but things got pushed back into November. On the Thursday before we were to leave I was informed that this chunk of data would be ready by Monday evening and that immediate turn around was an un-negotiable necessity (there was no way they could even consider waiting one more week).

“So… a failure to plan on your part translates into an emergency on my part!”

I was so ticked off that I actually said that… out loud… in a rather angry voice… to my immediate manager… while standing on the work floor around the rest of the folks I work with. Obviously… this is not something that you really want to be doing if you intend to remain employed in the US (did I remember to say that I was just a might ticked off at the time). As it turns out, my manager basically agreed, but this did not change the fact that “we”… meaning “I”… had a problem. The “solution” was that I had to agree to bring my antiquated work issue laptop along for the ride and check for these files of doom as soon as we arrived.





If they were available, then I had to get all the information handled, turned around and available by the next morning. This would end up being a major pain in the… well… shall we say: it was an inconvenience. Worse, it ended up being a waste of time as well. In their brilliance and obvious super-human perfection, the higher powers who were so concerned about the turn around time for this critical data, still couldn’t finalize said data (which was supposed to have been finalized back in September in the first place and still would not be ready until early December as it turned out).

OK… rant over, and I do apologize for going off like that, but it was a major part of my evening for the first few nights. There’s actually more to this story, but you’ve suffered enough, so let’s just say that once I was done wasting my time, it was also about time to call it a night. Oh, well… tomorrow’s another day…



Wait a minute… that’s the wrong movie!



Besides… it wont really be until tomorrow that we’d realize that we’re not in Kansas any more
(nor South Carolina neither).







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Old 01-02-2012, 11:46 PM   #36
cj9200
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It really stinks that your employer demands that you work on vacation. Especially when it is just a waste of time.

Great update. Bet valet was happy to see you guys pull up. I remember one of the "rules talk" during one of DD's trips was a warning to not put your socks in the microwave to dry them off. Seems the trip before, some of the boys did that and started a fire. Needless to say they were asked to change hotels the next time.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:14 AM   #37
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Having over the years taken high school kids as far as the Rose Parade in Pasadena and even to Hawaii to perform at the USS Arizona Memorial (man I’d liked to have been part of that last undertaking)
That would be quite the epic experience... either one of those, actually.

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Case in point… He found and booked us into this hotel early enough to also be able to reserve a great deal of additional space for this little excursion.
Wow, he plans for a band trip the way a Dis Dad plans for a Disney trip!

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The kids were so well behaved in general across the entire week that you’d have never known you were staying on a floor crowded with teenage boys.
That's great! Usually you'd be well aware who you were surrounded by in a similar circumstance.

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I’m told that it was a bit nosier up on seven…
Leave it to the girls...

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I’m sure you noticed that there are a few more then five busses down there. For now, just remember that you saw ‘em there and I’ll tell you more about it a bit latter on.
So what was it? I'm guessing you either boarded the wrong bus or loaded band equipment on the wrong bus.

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Business, business.


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In order to be allowed to travel during the Thanksgiving holidays at all, I had to inform my employers way in advance.
Understandable

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This I did, but that didn’t ensure that they would ultimately allow me to actually use that reserved vacation time.
Sadly, I understand.

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Normally the function that was at issue in this instance is supposed to be dealt with by early October, but things got pushed back into November. On the Thursday before we were to leave I was informed that this chunk of data would be ready by Monday evening and that immediate turn around was an un-negotiable necessity (there was no way they could even consider waiting one more week).
Great... as Dave says, it always runs downhill, doesn't it?

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“So… a failure to plan on your part translates into an emergency on my part!”
Well, as long as the powers that be get to enjoy their holiday, who cares, right?

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I was so ticked off that I actually said that… out loud… in a rather angry voice… to my immediate manager… while standing on the work floor around the rest of the folks I work with. Obviously… this is not something that you really want to be doing if you intend to remain employed in the US (did I remember to say that I was just a might ticked off at the time). As it turns out, my manager basically agreed, but this did not change the fact that “we”… meaning “I”… had a problem.
Well, I guess it is a small victory just to have him agree with your point. Doesn't seem to fix anything though. You didn't refer to the waste product of a bull at any point though and that would have probably been my reaction if I were in that situation, so I think you handled it very well.

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The “solution” was that I had to agree to bring my antiquated work issue laptop along for the ride and check for these files of doom as soon as we arrived.
Antiquated as in you had to use dial up?

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Worse, it ended up being a waste of time as well. In their brilliance and obvious super-human perfection, the higher powers who were so concerned about the turn around time for this critical data, still couldn’t finalize said data (which was supposed to have been finalized back in September in the first place and still would not be ready until early December as it turned out).
That would have set me off. If it needs to be done and I have to do it, I can deal with a deadline... but if somebody else doesn't want to follow through....

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OK… rant over, and I do apologize for going off like that, but it was a major part of my evening for the first few nights.
Eh, the rant was justified.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:39 AM   #38
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Catching up...

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How do you make a twelve-ish hour bus ride seem to be entertaining? Hummmmm… let me think about that for a moment…
Drive at Ludicrous Speed!

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Awesome picture! We drove through Shenandoah last year and really enjoyed the scenery there. Even though it was March and none of the trees had leaves yet.

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Lacking any better entertainment, it was at this point where something Disney would make its first appearance in this non-Disney TR. This would be in the form of a movie. Now we were riding on the first of the two “parent” busses, but in truth they were “family” busses. A decent percentage of the passengers were younger siblings along for the adventure, so with age appropriateness in mind, the first film of the day was the Pixar adventure “The Incredibles”
So nobody wanted to watch "Speed"?




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Yah… that’s a bit blurry, but busses bounce around a good bit and that’s pretty much how it looked as I half watched, half listened and half stared out the window (that’s the new math at work there).
I've driven through Virginia, and yeah...that's how it looks.

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Well… it certainly beat the trees and bushes, but still…
You sure about that?

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What do y’all think… would Dennis make a good hood-ornament or not? I like it myself. While were stopped, let me introduce your to Dave…
I thought he was trying to be a superhero. But he might want to turn around if he wants to stop the bus.

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The film for this part of the trip was “Up” (and if you can watch the first bit of this film and not shed a tear or six, you ain’t gots no feeling at’all).
I seem to watch that part in dusty rooms for some reason.

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We all rather liked Maryland; it wasn’t that the state was all that amazing; it was just that we got to stop for lunch.
And I could have taken you to an awesome Philly cheese steak place if you'd stopped in Delaware. Just sayin'.

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Chick-Fil-A anyone?
Although that's not a bad backup plan.

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We crossed the Mason-Dixon line.
Did you suddenly start craving Pepsi and decide buy a Prius?

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(that was actually a lot prettier then it looks… the mix of gloom, bus windows, motion and camera came together to make it less impressive that it might otherwise have been.)
I can vouch for the fact that the Susquehanna is indeed pretty scenic. Nice view at the I-95 crossing as well.

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as I was saying, it was along about this time that we crossed into New Jersey (but I did take a moment just before that to wave at Dave as we drove through the Easton / Nazareth area). We made our next stop of the day just inside Jersey…
Barry welcomed you to civilization, and then you left it so quickly...

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Having over the years taken high school kids as far as the Rose Parade in Pasadena
My wife and daughter are in California right now, having gone to the Rose Bowl Parade yesterday. It's interesting to see this in a "behind the scenes" context.

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I was just floored by the space available… we could have brought every single bit of gear we owned lock, stock and barrel up from SC and still had room left over in here. If we packed it right. This alone was going to make the job of getting everything in, arranged and handled a sinch for the entire week.
Wow! There's like, room to walk and everything!

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I’m told that it was a bit nosier up on seven… but only early on during the first night. The chaperones got all of that foolishness straightened out in short order and things settled into a proper routine pretty quickly.
I remember one band/chorus trip when we had a massive water-gun/water balloon battle raging in the hotel. The chaperones may have been involved.

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NY looks more orange than I expected.

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“So… a failure to plan on your part translates into an emergency on my part!”


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Worse, it ended up being a waste of time as well. In their brilliance and obvious super-human perfection, the higher powers who were so concerned about the turn around time for this critical data, still couldn’t finalize said data (which was supposed to have been finalized back in September in the first place and still would not be ready until early December as it turned out).
Oh man, I feel your pain. My job is the same way--I feel like we bust our butts doing tasks that end up being a complete waste of time, over and over again. Sorry you were put in that situation. I feel your pain.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:21 PM   #39
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Okay, I found you...and am now subscribed. Be back later to catch up.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:28 PM   #40
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Okay, I found you...and am now subscribed. Be back later to catch up.
Yes… yes you did…

But this one is just getting started (and it’s non-Disney) If you want a better idea of just how badly I can mangle a TR, then click on “Experiment-627” down there in my sig.

But… welcome to this TR as well
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:48 PM   #41
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Yes… yes you did…

But this one is just getting started (and it’s non-Disney) If you want a better idea of just how badly I can mangle a TR, then click on “Experiment-627” down there in my sig.

But… welcome to this TR as well
I'll go check that one out next. However, are there are any other females on your TR's? You guys scare me when you are all together.

And congatulations to the Band! Sounds like an exciting trip thus far.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:04 PM   #42
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I'll go check that one out next. However, are there are any other females on your TR's? You guys scare me when you are all together.
There are a few women on the Disney ones, but you are the first one here.
You can blaze a trail for the rest.

We’re really pretty harmless as a group and I wouldn’t consider any of my entries to be beyond “PG” in the ratings scale. I figured that very few of the ladies would ever find this one in particular because it's in the DDC forum and it’s not Disney, but I write ‘em for fun, so I don’t worry about it.

There are a few women following along on the “627” TR, but I have a theory there as well. My son is in his teens, so there are not a lot of (OK… there aren’t any) pictures of cute kids or infants, so most of the feminine persuasion don’t see much that interests them in my TRs.


Either that or I’m just a terrible writer.
(your choice)


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And congatulations to the Band! Sounds like an exciting trip thus far.
Thanks! It was an amazing experience
(and it toped off an even more amazing competition season).
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #43
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There are a few women on the Disney ones, but you are the first one here.
You can blaze a trail for the rest.

We’re really pretty harmless as a group and I wouldn’t consider any of my entries to be beyond “PG” in the ratings scale. I figured that very few of the ladies would ever find this one in particular because it's in the DDC forum and it’s not Disney, but I write ‘em for fun, so I don’t worry about it.

There are a few women following along on the “627” TR, but I have a theory there as well. My son is in his teens, so there are not a lot of (OK… there aren’t any) pictures of cute kids or infants, so most of the feminine persuasion don’t see much that interests them in my TRs.


Either that or I’m just a terrible writer.
(your choice)




Thanks! It was an amazing experience
(and it toped off an even more amazing competition season).
Hey, I like the idea that your son is 16. I had two boys who were once that age...they are now almost 26 (gulp) and 23. I remember the teen years, fondly (most of the time).
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:03 PM   #44
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Well… since I’ve gotten my responses out of order, It seems only fair that I go ahead and try to catch up with the rest of y’all.

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It really stinks that your employer demands that you work on vacation. Especially when it is just a waste of time.
Just par for the course (and that’s the sad part )

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Great update. Bet valet was happy to see you guys pull up. I remember one of the "rules talk" during one of DD's trips was a warning to not put your socks in the microwave to dry them off. Seems the trip before, some of the boys did that and started a fire. Needless to say they were asked to change hotels the next time.
Thanks!
I love the story about the sock rule.

OK… I’m issuing a general call for anyone following along that has a good school trip story to go ahead and share it here. If I get enough of em… I’ll even set up an index for all the different posts.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:08 PM   #45
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Wow, he plans for a band trip the way a Dis Dad plans for a Disney trip!
The man is very good at his job… Very… Good.

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That's great! Usually you'd be well aware who you were surrounded by in a similar circumstance.
Actually (and this will get mentioned once or twice I’m sure), one third of all grades in the music department are based on how well they handle them selves in public. If the best player is a jerk… he/she will fail the class.

(I‘ll tell y’all another story along this line a little later on).

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Leave it to the girls...
Figures don’t it? Chatty Kathys mostly… but like I said, they got it straightened out very quickly, and that was the end of it right there.

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So what was it? I'm guessing you either boarded the wrong bus or loaded band equipment on the wrong bus.
That would have been funny to say the least…
But it’s not all that amazing really… more of a minor detail to the story in general
Just wait for the next installment

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Sadly, I understand.
Sadly… I suspect most of us understand

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Great... as Dave says, it always runs downhill, doesn't it?


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Well, as long as the powers that be get to enjoy their holiday, who cares, right?
I believe I said something to that effect as well. I may also have said something like: “They see themselves as people and they see us as things… and yet they also seem to believe that they deserve our respect! Why!”

Did I mention that I was pretty hacked off?

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Well, I guess it is a small victory just to have him agree with your point. Doesn't seem to fix anything though. You didn't refer to the waste product of a bull at any point though and that would have probably been my reaction if I were in that situation, so I think you handled it very well.
I’ll take the small victory (which was really a matter of caving in, but unemployment at the age of 50 in the US could be potentially fatal).

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Antiquated as in you had to use dial up?
You have no idea just how close you are

The main problem was that I couldn’t get the first generation wifi card in it to work at all and the Hotel didn’t have any hard cable access, so I’d have been looking for a public library or something to try to get the work done had it arrived.


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That would have set me off. If it needs to be done and I have to do it, I can deal with a deadline... but if somebody else doesn't want to follow through....


And I surely couldn’t get away with it.

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Eh, the rant was justified.
Probably, but I’ll try to stick to the story from her on.
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