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I'm i a Payphone waiting for Cheese or Sugar: 12 days, 8 Flights.

I'm i a Payphone waiting for Cheese or Sugar: 12 days, 8 Flights.

Old Sep 28, 18, 9:05 am
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The lounge is one of the best we have been in: light years better than the VS Clubhouse at EWR and in a different league to the BA lounge at JFK, whether that be the CW lounge or the Concorde Room.

Apparently it will hold 455 passengers, which is pretty close to 40 units of metal. There are power points up the ying yang and as many USB ports as you could possibly need. While we were there waiting for our connection to ORD I would guess that there were no more than 50 -60 people in the lounge: no small dogs, rodents or even any bugs.

Time though to vacate the sanctuary and head to the gate for the second flight of the day, the 738 taking us to ORD.

We came across the Pond in 3A and B but from now on every flight has us in the Shakespeare seat and it's companion: chocolate mouse time if you know the Shakespeare seat:-)

Whilst we didn't have the lie flat, the legroom was excellent, PDBs and those nuts again, but no meal on this one just a snack box.

It may have been dip of some persuasion, but for grown up adults....................gummy bears????? Haribo at least guys!

Wifey opened her box, let me re-phrase that: darling wife decided to check the contents of her snack box with a view to perhaps tasting some of the delights hidden within.

I shoved my snack box, sealed, into her carry on and kept it for my niece's 7 yr old son: even he wouldn't eat the contents!

One of the funniest things of the whole trip was trying to convince Mrs 737 that Lake Michigan is, indeed a lake: wifey is Romanian and the Black Sea is the closest large swathe of H2O to her, hence she genuinely would not believe me that it is a lake. I recall, as a child, my first trip to the US: we were over Superior, on our way from Goose Bay to Sacramento at FL450 and I couldn't see land. For a Brit, that is not just unusual, it's odder than the oddest thing in your pocket. From FL450 in the middle of the UK you can see the East and West coasts and depending on where you are the South Coast too. Even stranger for me was that once we reached feet dry over Minnesota there was land everywhere and pas de l'eau. 3 hours of nothing but land.

I do believe that the Skymap was confused as we were going in the other direction!

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Sep 28, 18 at 9:48 am
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Old Sep 28, 18, 9:18 am
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I just love the Skymap: on our last trip to NYC in March, oh how I wish I had more photographs of that doozy, I rediscovered Caribou, Maine.

Joy of Joys, probably the most remarkable night stop of my entire life: the highlight was watching the Radio Shack sign on the shop across from the hotel flickeriing.

I digress: flight 2 over and just on an hour to change to the 3rd and final leg of the day south to MCO.

Not enough time to hit the lounge so straight to the gate, via the walkway from the 60's Bond movie.

Every flight on our itinerary was full: not just FULL, but oversubscribed, The standby lists were running between 20 and 35 names and the smallest upgrade list we saw was 4. The other interesting aspect for us was the number of dead heading crew on each flight,pilots or cabin crew. People work a long way from home in the US airline business.

We live on this wee island, smaller than Florida, hence we drive or take a train: the country is about 100 miles across. In the US you probably have rivers wider than that. You have no option but to fly, and whilst we might moan about the trains you folks moan about airlines. My brother travels extensively with his job: he lives in Florida the main plant is in Wisconsin. I finally realised on this trip, where we had concentrated flying as passengers why status is so important. Little things like lounge access, upgrades, fleeing the madding crowd.

We were both pretty tired by now, so snoozing was the main plan, hence I only took one pic of the meal, Buffalo Mac and Cheese,

I'd had about enough of airline food by now so only really picked at it: considering I have spent an inordinate amount of time airborne eating airplane food, this was, for me a new and novel experience.

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Sep 30, 18 at 11:10 am
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Old Sep 29, 18, 9:21 am
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Finally arrived in Orlando, 19 hours after we set off. I know that the direct flight is 8:30 or 9 hours but we had reasons for our convoluted route.

Bags from reclaim PDQ and outside into the heat and humidity for Mrs 737 to have a smoke and me to gather my wit and find my bearing to work out where to go to pick up the rental.

Drag the bags across the road into the parking garage and head up the elevator to Avis.

I'm not any old Avis: I'm Preferred by Avis apparently. What this means is that unlike the other plebs I don't have to queue at the desk to fill in forms and be given the hard sell on excess insurance to collect the rental. I get to go to the big shiny glowing red board and simply find my name in lights and the parking bay.

Head over to bay G8 in search of the Buick to be surprised by a shiny white SUV: Mazda CX9. Result ! Being Preferred has it's benefits.

Keys are in the car, doors unlocked so I open the driver door to be greeted by "Hola Senor. Buenos Dias, que tal"

It's a Spanish Japanese car registered in Virginia, which is allegedly for lovers !

Now Mrs 737 is a talented lady: she speaks 5 languages, 6 if you count abuse, one of which is Spanish. Me, my second language is French: I can muster ordering food and beer in Spanish, German and Dutch and say "My friend will pay" in 14 other languages. Taking a Spanish Japanese rental for 4 days isn't part of the plan though.

Head back to the Avis office and the wee guy there comes to my aid like a knight in shining T shirt and shorts.

After 20 minutes of fiddling around with a Spanish menu ( always a good jolly jape to put your mate's phone into Cyrillic Russian if he leaves it open ) he finally was able to change everything to English.

First problem overcome we now search for the 12V power outlet to plug the satnav into. We come organised: brother bought me a US TomTom several years ago but even so he stills rides out on one of his 4 motorcycles to meet us and lead us home.

In the bad old days the power outlet was also the cigarette lighter: now that it is utterly non PC to smoke, the power outlet, conveniently fitted in the front of the dashboard, is now hidden away in some obscure location.

Avis man finds one in the back of the vehicle but the cable isn't long enough to reach that one. Then Mrs 737 notices that by her left leg in the passenger footwell is another outlet.

Powered up, hotel location programmed in the satnav, we set off for the 3 or 4 mile trip to our bed for the night at the Country Inn and Suites, just across the freeway from the airport.

You can see it's an eco friendly hotel: only half the sign was illuminated.

We stayed here again the night before our flight to MSP: ideal location close to the airport, comfy quiet room and great staff. Breakfast is available but we didn;t partake as we were up too early.

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Sep 30, 18 at 5:05 am
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Old Sep 30, 18, 5:21 am
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After a good night's well deserved sleep we were up and at 'em early; jetlag is a feature of international travel we are all well accustomed to. The single exception I know is the 0715 departure from NYC that gets in to LHR at 1945: couple of hours drive home, into bed, no jetlag.

Today's simple plan was to head west towards Tampa and end up in New Port Richey at my brother's place.

The sat nav took us on some obscure route to I4, winding through parts of Orlando I had never wound through before and finding road construction somewhat magically.

We slipped off the freeway on to US192 in search of some breakfast, knowing that we could double back or carry on to US27 and head south to rejoin I4.

I just love the roadsigns along 192: they have an air of unreality to them.

The only place I know that comes close is Ireland: once I had left Galway all my sat nav said was " There be dragons here"

There is a junction on the road, near Sligo, that cuts across country towards Enniskillen, saving about 40 miles on the journey. It comes to a T Junction at the shore of a circular lake.

There are 2 signs on the signpost: they point in opposite directions, but have the name of the same village on them.

Hunger took it's toll on us and we stopped at an iHop. Don 't judge me.

Other fast food chains are available as are alternative brands of hot sauce.

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Sep 30, 18 at 5:29 am
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Old Sep 30, 18, 7:37 am
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I like the Floridian roads: compared to the UK, alligators apart, they are less crowded and traffic flows freely. So the trip to NPR was painless.

Great thing, in my opinion, was that at the end of the feeder road from brother's place was a 3 lane State Road: that's 3 lanes in each direction. We have a single lane road and an arched railway bridge that was built when horses were pulling carts: when a truck or bus has to pass they need to pass through the centre of the arch, hence road gets blocked.

Moi: "I'm so looking forward to going to Florida: the seafood is fabulous"

I even speak in punctuation.

SiL heard this: why do people take things so literally. I do like seafood, just not every day, twice a day.

Our first sojourn to Floridian seafood was to Captain Jack's on the intra coastal.

The big plan though was to head south to Indian Rocks and spend a day relaxing in the sunshine.

We stopped at Crabby Bill's for lunch: other seafood restaurants are available.

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Sep 30, 18 at 7:54 am
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Old Sep 30, 18, 10:46 am
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We stayed in the Holiday Inn and Suites in Indian Rocks: it was a first for me.

Never stayed in a hotel with a mini golf course in the main vestibule.

Nice place though, great deck with a bar and restaurant, Jimmy Guana's, which serves.......................seafood.

Great thing about this place is the covered parking: no leaving your car in the sunshine. That and the doughnut shop next door, which was shut. My brother had waxed lyrical about how good the doughnuts were: Key Lime etc and got up at 7am to get to the shop before the hordes to find that it was shut: they were on vacation. Speaking of shut, many years ago on a drive to Italy - taking my Lancia home to visit relatives - I stopped in Basel for coffee. The entire city was deserted: when I enquired of the reason, it was a Saturday morning, a very kind lady told me that the entire country was shut as it was Founder's Day. Shut, I can empathise with.

They do a mean BM though, replete with 4 of your 5 a day.

Brother is a super Platinum, Gold ,Emerald and every other precious stone member and they gave us a 2 bedroomed suite with a view over the intra coastal.

After checking out on the Saturday we toddled up the coast to Clearwater to meet niece, partner and kiddies for a family lunch at the Island Grill. We have been there before but for Sunday Brunch and were expecting great things: oh how were the hopeful's dreams thwarted.

First up came the menus.

I kid you not: 6 menus for each of us, kids excepted as Amelia is only 11 months old and and a menu is in one of her food groups.

We settled on..................seafood. I didn't photograph the totally uninspiring offerings; their Brunch is light years better.

So trip to Florida, part one of the travels coming to an end we head to back to Orlando for our next 2 flights from MCO to ORD and MSP.

What did I say about Florida traffic?

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Oct 1, 18 at 1:36 am
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:18 am
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Hope you got more seafood. This one looks not too great or am I wrong?
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:35 am
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It was, at best mediocre: not a patch on how I remember Florida crab from 20 years ago.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 1:51 am
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Another night in the Country Suites and an early rise for the 0700 departure to ORD. Car dropped at Avis, painlessly and through security to wait. My recollection is that it was 737-700, packed to the gunwhales: there were people at the gate on standby, checking bags in to the hold, and the ubiquitous crewmembers deadheading.

The leg room was reducing.

I had pre-ordered breakfast on this sector: a cheese, egg and turkey flatbread sandwich.

It was horrid: dry and the contents were processed: the saving grace was that the scone was warm, fluffy and moist.

Our connection at ORD was around an hour. When we arrived and logged on to the wifi we found our flight was delayed.

The app also told us that our bags had been unloaded at ORD, so a good chance that they would make it to MSP.

Eventually our ride arrived.

The jet was put on an airbridge, but didn't quite fit.

So this little gangplank was added.

This flight was full as well: even had a deadheading pilot on the flightdeck jumpseat.

And the legroom reduced again.

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Oct 1, 18 at 2:06 am
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Old Oct 1, 18, 5:18 am
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Once we arrived in MSP the next part of the plan was to drive to Deer Park, Wisconsin, around an hour away, to visit with other friends we hadn't seen for a few years. Angel, maid of honour, picked us up at the airport and off we went.

I can highly recommend Decosse's Bar in Deer Park: during the Vikings vs Packers game beers were $10 for 5 and they had a shrimp boil going. Seafood again!

We were outside on the right watching the game: 4 seconds to go in Overtime, tied 29-29, and the Vikings get a field goal attempt from 32 yards directly in front of the posts. The kicker missed: even I could have put that over. He was fired the next day.

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Old Oct 1, 18, 6:42 am
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Great TR.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 7:02 am
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Very entertaining report, so far!
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Old Oct 1, 18, 9:41 am
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So far so good: well, apart from Angel turning up in Wisconsin in a Vikings shirt with ELLIS and the number 69 on the back. So far as I'm aware his number is 81: how non PC matron!

Anyhow, back to Angel's for some R and R before the concert. On the way back we stopped, on Big Dave's recommendation, at a BBQ place: I don't have a scooby where it was, somewhere in deepest, greenest Wisconsin.

It was good tucker but I have had better in California, but that's another story.

(Incidentally one of my best stories / experiences involves someone who was decorated by Putin: I saved his life, but did I get a medal - Utter Bar Steward ignored my part in his success, Putin that is. Wasn't even invited to the ceremony )

( Never ask for a glass when they give you a long neck beer with the excuse " But I'm British" )

Last edited by 737Av8tor; Oct 1, 18 at 9:59 am
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Old Oct 1, 18, 9:50 am
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Now, my iPhone screen got itself fritzed overnight: I didn't drop it, it lives in a protective case, but I awoke to find it shattered and unresponsive to touch.

Anyone who says "That sounds like my wife / partner / husband / boyfriend / girlfriend" can leave right now.

Didya get how PC I am?

Any how, the concert had to be photographed using my old but trusty Lumix. Mine is a TZ5, they are now producing the TZ100, but hey, I'm Scottish, it takes pics and videos and unless some rich geezer / geezeress wants to buy be a new one it's good enough.

So, y'all ready for some Maroon5? Need some Sugar ?

Here's a picture of Charlie ( Retriever ) and Mrs 737 to whet your appetite.

So what's the connection?

Well, with Maroon5 you get value for money: there are 7 of them. Bargain.

I will attempt to post some video tomorrow as well as stills, but if it doesn,t work, blame me, I'm a cretin.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 1:47 pm
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Enjoying the report. I think you'll find that the "scone" you enjoyed is commonly known as a "biscuit" on this side of the pond.
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