Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back from my field trip

Back from Missouri after my three day experience. The weather wasn’t bad, it only rained for one of the days. I had not been in that part of the country before. It kind of looked like upstate New York, but a little flatter. There were lots of rolling low hills and trees and green and places for water to run, so I imagine that they get a lot of rain. Well, compared to Las Vegas everywhere gets a lot of rain. So far this year (since last January) we’ve had about 40mm of rain total here. But we have had a lot of sunny days.

We flew on Southwest Airlines both ways. Sitting in that cramped seat all I could think of was that we had moved up from the Greyhound bus era to less leg room and less services, but faster travel. Southwest still does not have assigned seating, but when you check in you get a number, and people are boarded in number order. I think that the best number segments are about in the middle, a little after all of the small kids are boarded, so that window seats are still available but you can pick not to sit right in front of a screaming kicking brat. Not that any of those little darlings on my flights were like that of course. But being confined, and suffering through the air pressure changes are two things that little kids are really unprepared for, so I can understand their discomfort.

Our flights were three hours long, which is less than the range that Southwest has chosen to serve food on. Instead of real food (which I haven’t seen on a plane in a long time) we were served ‘snack packs’

With 0.75 ounces of dried fruit and 0.81 ounces of thin crisps and a little cheese flavored snack, and an amount of peanuts too small to have a size printed on it. But for the peanuts, in order to protect people with peanut allergies, it does say ‘Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts’. Glad to know that. But as usual, we were for some reason all starved and just wolfed down the offerings.

This is what it looked like behind our hotel.

It was about 30 miles west of St. Louis, out in the country. They haven’t had freezing weather yet, so most of the trees still had leaves.

Next door to our hotel was a J. Bucks restaurant. On Sunday night we hit Ruby Tuesday and had burgers, but on Monday rather than drive to find a place we thought that we’d just walk next door, so J and I had ribs at JB. They were really good. I understand they have six or seven restaurants around the Midwest, and I would recommend them for a nice night out. Our meals were about $20 each, low for Vegas but I have no idea how it compares for out there.

J flew out on Tuesday afternoon, but I stayed to talk to the programmers about some problems we were having, and wandered over by myself that night. I had the cedar planked salmon.

Also a good choice. The desserts were mostly chocolate variations, I had one on Monday but passed the next night, too heavy after a big meal.

Back to the airport this morning, and the sun was shining once in a while between the high clouds. It all did seem rather flat, with none of the Vegas mountains off in the distance.

The local TV news did a short story on rocking chairs in the airport, and while walking around waiting for my flight I found some. No one was sitting in this area, and there were none of these over in the Southwest gates.

Oh, the security at StL: about the same as in Vegas. Shoes off, belt off, x-ray everything, and for what?

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