Well, I'm here! The first parts of the trip went remarkably smoothly, which was totally balanced out by the 2-hour $20 tour of Houston I got on the shuttle ride over to the hotel.
Really -- got to the terminal in Phoenix, and within 5 minutes I had checked my bag, hit the ATM machine (since I forgot to get cash earlier), passed through security, and bought lunch. I then spent about an hour and a half hanging around the airport totally bored.
The flight was brief (just over 2 hours) and uneventful. I did some work -- wrote a column! edited my thyca-for-kids book! worked on some sketches! I even attempted the crossword puzzle in the onboard magazine. Before I knew it, we were landing (literally -- I was completely surprised by the bump.)
It took a while for my bag to come down off the plane. Clearly, it's a first-in-last-out system, which is just so wrong. But I understand why it happens. Then I easily found my way to the counter where the shuttles are staffed, and got my ticket. It was about a 10 minute wait, and then we were off.
That's when the trouble started. Tonight was game 4 of the Houston-St. Louis series. When I got on the shuttle, it was the bottom of the 9th with no outs, but Houston held on by getting an out at the plate followed by a double play. By that time we were just leaving the airport. Of course our shuttle route takes us right by Minute Maid Park, and of course our shuttle driver is on auto-pilot and takes us there, even though we were just listening to the game, and we all knew it had just ended -- the traffic was murderous. Really. We managed to survive it somehow, and all the passengers were either friendly or quiet, which amounts to the same thing in that kind of a situation.
A big smooch to the one Houstonian who piped up and asked why the driver was going all the way over to the Galleria when MDA was right down the street? The driver had forgotten about me -- that one comment probably saved me another 45 minutes. Some people are really, really awesome like that -- the other passengers didn't mind being put 10 minutes out of their way to save me a much longer drive. And they all wished me well when I finally climbed out of the van. So yes, it was an unnecessarily long drive, but it could have been a lot, lot worse.
Now I'm here and finished scoping out my room and the first floor guest amenities (I'll do the second floor & the restaurants when I'm done here.) The hotel is very nice -- this is their computer I'm using, it's part of the deal. The room is lovely. The pool is small but I may go splash soon anyway, after I get something to eat.
So I hit a little bump in the travel stuff, but nothing major or really even too unpleasant. Here's hoping the rest of the trip goes well.