3 out of 4 … A Travel Recap

Note: This is as much for me as anyone.

So if you’ve been following the blog the last three weeks you know I have been on travel — some of it business and some personal. The personal stuff served as the bookends to three weeks of insanity. Three weeks ago I packed the whole family into the Pacifica and headed to Florida so my wife and our two children could spend time with the in-laws for a couple of weeks while I flew to San Fran to meet with Apple, then back to State College for a couple of days of work, and then to Chicago for a CIC Learning Technologies group meeting … that Chicago trip got me back to Florida for a week long vacation, joining my family. I have to say the week away was wonderful, but way too short.

The drive down was a bitch … we left on a Sunday and promptly got jacked up in the DC area due to a winter storm … three days later we were in Pine Island, FL … I got to spend an evening with the family before I left for Cupertino for the Apple trip. Getting there was easy and the meetings with Apple were good. That’s when the problems started. The return trip turned into a nightmare and a day and half later I was red-eyeing back to State College. Trust me, we made the most of the extra day in SF — if you are going to get stranded in a city, make it SF … I’m just saying, it is the right place to be. Coming back to State College from the west coast almost always pushes me into quasi-depression as I just feel at home in Northern California. This time was even harder … my family was in FL and I was racing to pack a week of work into a couple of days before Chicago. The Chicago trip was good and the company was excellent as always, but the return from there to FL was a mess — strike two for the airlines. While in Chicago I got nothing but mis-information from the airline monitors, employees, and websites … it was a mess. I did finally get out of Chicago and back into FL so all was good.

A week on Marco Island cures all sorts of things — and this trip was no different. The week blew past and the drive home arrived away too quickly. We left Saturday morning under beautiful sunny skies … it was way too perfect to leave. The drive up I 75 in FL was brutal … it typically takes us 6 hours to get out FL, but 10 hours in and we had to stop. The boy (6 months old) cried most of the way as we sat in traffic like I haven’t seen in years … made it even more painful. So a night in St. Augustine allowed us to regroup for the rest of the trip … a whole day and still close to an hour from Georgia. Day two started fine, but that ended in South Carolina where we sat in pile-up traffic for an hour. Long story short it took three full days to get back and when we got to PA it was grey and a mess. As I sit here typing it is snowing outside … depression is a terrible thing.

But, with all that said I did want to mention something that cracked me up while we sat in traffic in SC. The Pacifica has integrated GPS so I was trying to find alternate routes to beat the traffic. As I was doing that, my daughter was happily looking at the in-car DVD system watching whatever movie we dropped in there for that two hour stretch. Finally my wife had pulled out my MacBook and plugged in the Verizon USB broadband modem trying to frantically find any updated traffic information. That means 3 out of the 4 of us in the car had our eyes glued to either an entertainment or information screen. A far cry from when I was my daughter’s age rolling to FL in the back of my parent’s station wagon. The other thing that jumped out at both of us was just how bad all the access to information really is. With a device like the iPhone getting ready to hit these people better get their shit together, because when people need information there better be information waiting for them. Ubiquitous access doesn’t mean shit if there aren’t people providing ubiquitous data. I’m just saying … this whole trip has shown me a lot about how bad information systems are in this country — unless of course all you want to do is watch a DVD.

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