Murphy’s Law for frequent flyers

Phuket Air1. No flight ever leaves on time unless you are running late and need the delay to make the flight.

2. If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate within the terminal.

3. If you arrive very early for a flight, it inevitably will be delayed.

4. Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world.

5. If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper.

6. If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just look for the two largest passengers.

7. Only passengers seated in window seats ever have to get up to go to the lavatory.

8. The crying baby on board your flight is always seated next to you.

9. The best-looking woman on your flight is never seated next to you.

10. The less carry-on luggage space available on an aircraft, the more carry-on luggage passengers will bring aboard.



A pilot and airport security

Body scannerIn the pilots words…

My name is Michael Roberts, and I am a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., based in Houston (that is, I still am for the time being). This morning as I attempted to pass through the security line for my commute to work I was denied access to the secured area of the terminal building at Memphis International Airport.

I have passed through the same line roughly once per week for the past four and a half years without incident. Today, however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at this checkpoint were using one of the new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) systems that are currently being deployed at airports across the nation. These are the controversial devices featured by the media in recent months, albeit sparingly, which enable screeners to see beneath people’s clothing to an extremely graphic and intrusive level of detail (virtual strip searching). Travelers refusing this indignity may instead be physically frisked by a government security agent until the agent is satisfied to release them on their way in what is being touted as an “alternative option” to AIT.

Here is his version of the incident….

… and remember, He’s THE PILOT!  If he wanted to do harm to a plane full of passengers it wouldn’t be that hard.



Road Trip 2010 – Summary

Our nine day road trip is history. 

Jonco on Charlotte
Charlotte cruises along the highway in Louisiana headed home.

  • Trip time: 9 Days and 8 Nights
  • Total Mileage: 2,779 –  Average per day: 309 miles
  • Rain:  None
  • States we traveled in:  Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas
  • Hotels: Days Inn (OK), Country Inn (TX), Days Inn (TX) Commodore (TX), Key West Inn (MS), Comfort Inn (TN).  Nightly rates ranged from $59 to $79
  • Best places we ateCattlemen’s Steakhouse in Oklahoma City, Bubba’s Burger Shack in Houston, The Oasis in Austin, and The Commissary in Memphis..
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    Road Trip 2010 – On the road again

    The I’m Getting Too Old For This Tour continues.  We’re nearing the end of the tour as we’re heading home.  We left Bay St. Louis Mississippi this morning and ended the day in Memphis Tennessee.  Total mileage today 390. 

    Shdow rider

    When we got to Memphis we headed for The Commissary in Germantown (a suburb of Memphis) for the best BBQ ribs and chicken.  Absolutely delicious!  It took us a while to find the place, but the quest was worth it.


    Tomorrow we head out on the final leg of our journey –  the 300 miles from Memphis to St. Louis.


    Road Trip 2010 – WWII Museum to Bourbon Street

    The I Can Not Believe It Hasn’t Rained Yet Tour continues…

    German air raid bunkerThis morning started at 8 am for breakfast at the Waffle House.  Then we were off to New Orleans and the World War II Museum. It’s also known as the D-Day Museum.  I’m not a big history buff but I really like this museum.  I was here about 10 years ago and took a brief tour of it them.  It’s been expanded since then and will undergo another expansion in the next couple of years.

    They’ve added a really good movie in the theater across the street.  If you ever go here, make sure you see the movie too.

    After staying longer than we anticipated we headed to Bourbon Street and Pat O’Brien’s for a light lunch of alligator bites and chicken wings.  We had planned to go to Mandina’s, but the timing just didn’t work out.

    Pat obriens Beer house NO baby

    Bourbon street

    After our late lunch and some brief shopping we got caught in some rush hour traffic getting out of town.  We headed down highway 90 from Bay St. Louis through Biloxi, Gulfport and into Ocean Springs where we met Mike’s niece and her husband.  They led us to Aunt Jenny’s, a local favorite, where we dined on fried chicken, catfish and shrimp.  We also had some fried green tomatoes and fried pickles.  We then headed back to our hotel in Bay St. Louis –  arriving at 10:45.  Another long day!

    Tomorrow we’re off at 8 am heading for home.  We plan to stop at the Commissary in Memphis Tennessee for BBQ and spend the night there.


    Road Trip 2010 – From Galveston to Bay St. Louis

    The 12 Hours and Sore in the Saddle Tour continues…

    Sunrise galveston
    Dawn’s crack as seen at 7:15 this morning from our balcony in Galveston.

    We were up at the crack of dawn and on the road by 8 am.  We took the ferry from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula and then over through Beaumont, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Orleans and ended up in Bay St. Louis Mississippi a little after 8 pm.

    Place of Remembrance
    Statue galveston
    In memory of the victims lost at sea during the Galveston hurricane of September 8, 1900, Galveston artist David Moore created this sculpture to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the hurricane that claimed 90 children and 10 nuns at St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum in Galveston.

    Today was a long day on the road – 12 hours covering 421 miles, but the weather was pretty good.  It wasn’t too hot for most of the trip.  The sun was setting as we went through New Orleans.  Bay St. Louis is about an hour beyond New Orleans.

    Tomorrow we’re heading into New Orleans to visit the World War II Museum and Bourbon Street.  We’ll hopefully be out of there before rush hour.  We’re going to meet up with Mike’s niece for dinner tomorrow night.


    Road Trip 2010 – Dirty Laundry and the Space Center

    The Space Laundry Tour continues as we had a light day today. We slept in and then walked the beach this morning.  Then after breakfast we headed to the Washeteria (laundrymat) to do some laundry.  After doing laundry we headed to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, about  40 minute ride.

    Saturn 5 rocket

    ISS1 Cockpit

    2nd stage Main engines

    Memorial Grove

    All in all I wasn’t that impressed with the center, having been to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center there.  But we didn’t get there until about 1:30 and they closed at 5, so we didn’t get to see too much.  We took the tram tour and it was OK.  We did get to see Mission Control room where all of the Gemini and Apollo missions were controlled from.  We saw mockups of the Space Shuttle and parts of the International Space Station.

    After leaving the Space Center we headed for The Spot, an eating and drinking establishment near out hotel that was recommended by our friend Charlie.  Another excellent reference.  Excellent food, great view from the upper deck and good atmosphere.

    The spot

    Tomorrow we head out early towards New Orleans.  We’re hoping to get to Ocean Springs Mississippi which is about an hour beyond New Orleans.   We might not make it that far in one day.  Time will tell.  Off to bed for now.


    Road Trip 2010 – San Antonio to Galveston plus one burger

    The Best Burger in Texas Tour continues…

    Bubbas1The day started out in San Antonio.  After breakfast we got on the road about 9 am.  First destination:  Bubba’s Texas burger Shack in downtown Houston.  We arrived right at 1 pm.  The ‘Shack’ in the name of the place isn’t just a catchy phrase… Bubba’s is a shack, sitting in the shadows of a highway viaduct.  we ordered our food and sat outside to eat.

    I had the buffalo burger.  It was absolutely great.  As a matter of fact I can unequivocally say it was the best burger I’ve had in Texas.  The fact that it is the only burger I’ve had in Texas doesn’t diminish how good it was.  It was excellent.

    B&P reader and Trading Station contributor, Charlie joined us for lunch.

    Bubbas2 Bubbas3

    After about an hour and a half we left and headed for Galveston.  Galveston is on the Gulf of Mexico.  We found a hotel on the seawall road with rooms facing the gulf at a very reasonable price.  We’re going to spend two nights here.

    This is the view from our balcony.

    Galveston2 Galveston3
    Looking for a place to eat.          Relaxing at the pool after dinner.

    The view from a jetty looking back at the seawall and Galveston.

    Tomorrow we headed to the Johnson Space Center and then just kind of hang out in Galveston.


    From Waco to San Antonio… and an Oasis

    The I Can’t Believe It Didn’t Rain Yet Tour continues today with leaving Waco Texas after breakfast and heading down to Austin.  Oasis2We debated about taking the extra 30 minutes off course to visit the Oasis on Lake Travis.  But I convinced them to go.  I think they thought it was worth it.  The ride up there was pretty and hilly, with hills being something we haven’t seen much of so far on this trip.  They’re in the middle of a major expansion at the Oasis.  Building more shops and restaurants and lofts.  The view is spectacular.  We had lunch, but I was there about 8 or 9 years ago for a sunset dinner and it was spectacular.  Our food today was good and the service was good too.Oasis1 Click pics to enlarge.

    Alamo1After leaving Lake Travis we headed for San Antonio.  Scattered storms were predicted for this afternoon and evening, so I kept my eye out on the sky waiting.  I don’t like riding in the rain.  We were hoping we’d stay ahead of the rain, and I guess we did, because we didn’t hit it…. yet.

    Once we hit San Antonio we headed straight for the Alamo downtown.

    The River Walk is just a couple of blocks from the Alamo.  So we called around and got a reasonable rate at a downtown hotel, so we parked the bikes and headed out on foot to explore the River Walk.  The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río) is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath downtown San Antonio, Texas. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city’s urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.

    Riverwalk1 Riverwalk2 Riverwalk3

    After dinner and drinks we decided to walk back to our hotel and call it a night.  After getting lost and walking around in a complete 4 block circle we DID walk back to our hotel and call it a night.

    Tomorrow we’re off to Galveston.  We’re passing thru Houston and stopping at Bubba’s Burger Shack about 1:00–1:30 pm.  Charlie, are you gonna be there?


    Road Trip 2010 – The Tragedy Tour

    Following the Are We There Yet Tour, today’s episode is the Tragedy Tour. We visited two of our nations great tragedies.

    Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
    This morning we visited the Oklahoma National Memorial in downtown Oklahoma City where 168 people lost their lives on April 19, 1995 when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed.

    Reflecting pool

    Click to enlarge

    Okc1 Okc2 Okc3 Okc4 Okc6 Okc7

    The memorial features a reflecting pool, two gates of time, the Field of Chairs, the Survivor Tree, a Memorial Fence, a Children’s Area, Rescuer’s Orchard and a museum.  More information can be found here.

    The memorial is very well designed and presented.

    The Sixth Floor Museum
    We then moved on to Dallas and Dealy Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

    Dealy plaza1
    This is the old School Book Depository building overlooking Dealy Plaza where the young president was in a limousine at about the same location as the second car (above) when Lee Harvey Oswald fired from the sixth floor corner window killing President Kennedy.  Oswald had bought the gun for $12.78.

    Deak]ly2 Dealy plaza1 Dealy3 Dealy4 Dealy5 Dealy6 Dealy7

    The building now houses a museum  and it’s very moving to visit, especially if you remember the events of that day.  More information on the Sixth Floor Museum.

    I would have posted more pictures but I’m having trouble with my graphic software on my laptop.

    Tomorrow it’s off to Austin and then San Antonio.  We’re supposed to run into some rain tomorrow afternoon or evening.  Hopefully we’ll be done riding for the day.

    We miss you Mel and Janet.