Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Travel Day

Travel days are always filled with the unexpected. However, I am grateful because a delay is BETTER than a cancellation!!

The first part of the journey was totally uneventful. The NEXUS card is so handy and well worth the money. I got out of the UBER at the airport. Within eight minutes, I was through security and customs, including having to take my laptop out of the bag twice, once so they could thoroughly swab it and the inside of my carry-on suitcase and the second to go through the X-ray machine. 

Apparently, on the international side, they have yet to get the same equipment as the domestic side, where you do NOT have to take your laptop out. 

I bought a sandwich as I knew there wouldn't be time for a sit-down lunch along the way. It happened to be gluten-free bread, and OH MY -- to all those with gluten intolerances, I feel for you. I'm not a bread eater normally, but this was, well, let's say that I've had better bread in my life. But I was hungry when I ate it, and I didn't care. 

My seatmate happened to be a colleague, so we got to chat on the way to Washington, DC. Then, a quick change of terminals and we were at the next gate and met up with another colleague. We got on board that flight and taxied out to the runway. And then we sat. And we sat some more. Then the pilot announced that there was a maintenance issue with the plane - something to do with water pressure and a value? Someone forgot to reset something when they did the maintenance, and the only way to fix it was to go back to the gate. 

We taxied back to the gate and had to wait for the gate crew to bring us in. Can you imagine waiting for someone to help you park your vehicle? That's what pilots do! It must be frustrating knowing that they just have to turn in, but they can't see anything from up there! 

Then we waited for the maintenance people to arrive. It couldn't be fixed from outside the plane, so they had to come in. HEY -- I'm OK with that because, at any minute, I was expecting an announcement that they were going to have to find us a new plane. 

And so, two hours late, we were finally in the air. As I said -- late is better than canceled. Because of my status, my seat was upgraded on the second flight. NOT to business class, as I joked with the staff, but they gave me an exit row with LOADS of legroom, and I still got the window seat. Thank you to United for doing that! 

We are getting ready to land in Jacksonville. Oh my -- the coastline of Florida in this area is very "fluid." There are lots of - well, it looks like rivers and streams, but those are created by reeds/grasses growing in the water. It's a strange-looking thing. 

Flying into Jacksonville, Florida

Then we arrived in Jacksonville, and we were supposed to meet some others for the ride to the hotel, but they were probably long gone by then. So, the four of us grabbed the shuttle that we had reserved, and we were off. It's a 37-minute drive to the resort in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Don't envy us, as the weather here is just slightly warmer than back home, and it's cloudy and not really exciting weather. 

OK -- so if I want steps, they gave me the perfect room. This is the view from my room. Guess where the elevators are? In the very far corner! However, that's not entirely true -- there is an elevator very close to me, but I'm going to need steps, so I'll take the elevator. Now I'm on the seventh floor, I could take the stairs to add to the fun. Wait until you see the view from my window! You're going to laugh. No time to get a good picture -- hopefully today. 

The inside view from my hotel room

And this is the view from the lobby. We are at a PGA golf resort - the Marriott Sawgrass. But the golf course is closed at the moment, so I don't see why we can't walk on the golf club path, although there was a sign saying we could not. But I might ask. 

The view from the lobby

I ran into many people that I knew -- OH -- did I  mention that I'm at the SVP Convention to launch the new Husqvarna Viking EPIC 3. I'm so excited!!!!

I got to see some people I haven't seen in four years since the EPIC 2 was launched. And then we went out for a very nice dinner. I behaved myself and had a great salad with grilled chicken. I am NOT a steak eater -- so if ever you want to offer me steak or prime rib -- I'll pass!

Once we arrived back at the hotel, it was dark, but I was still missing a couple of KM, so I announced that I was going for a walk. Claire needed a few more steps (Yeah -- a walking buddy), so we were off. The grounds are lit but very sparingly along the paths. We explored around the resort until we had enough steps. 

The big question was, would we find an alligator or two around here? Not sure, but something went squawk in the night. OH MY -- it was a heron. As we returned along the pathways, I spotted this reflection in the water. It was amazing. In this picture, you can see the heron. I hope we get to see them better today. 

The heron's reflection

However, the sun rises at 7:30, and we are at breakfast at 8 and then in a meeting all day. OK -- so training. And I doubt we will finish until the sun sets. So it'll be walking in the dark again. I'm OK with that. I really am. 

I am grateful to be here, I'm grateful that we get to play on these amazing sewing and embroidery machines, and I'm grateful for being part of a great organization. 

There does seem to be a theme with this hotel. The lack of lighting. Oh boy -- the lighting in the room is so poor, I don't think I could read a book with the light on the bed. OH -- the light on one side is burnt out. But the desk lamp is pitiful. 

And I could NOT get the WI-FI connected, so I'm using my phone. I'll deal with that later, as we are off for a walk in a bit. We have to get steps in BEFORE the day starts. Thank goodness they don't have these meetings start early! And 8:30 start is late for me, but that gives me time to do my personal stuff. I'm OK with that. 

I MUST get a geocache while I'm here, and there are a few within walking distance, so hopefully, I can snag some time tonight to make that happen. There are NO Adventure Labs close by, and we are a fair distance from the ocean, so I'm not sure that a walk there is going to happen. 

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!


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