Tomorrow in the late afternoon, I will board an AirTran flight out of Washington National Airport. After changing planes and laying over in Milwaukee for two hours (which has to beat the hell out of Chicago O'Hare), I will head over the prairies and the mountains (in that order) to Seattle, Washington. Longtime readers of this venue may remember two earlier trips there, the first in December of 2002, the second in the summer of 2003. To those who are convinced it will rain every day of my visit, you should know that late July and early August is the best time to avoid the weather that made the city infamous, and the landscaping so incredibly green.
But the main reason for the trip is to visit my son Paul, who is interning at an up-and-coming game design studio. I will be staying with my Aunt Shirley, who lives just south of the University District, so I'll be relatively convenient to everything. Paul and I will go to an IMAX movie, shop at a thrift store, visit the Pike Street Market, that special tea shop uptown that I visited the last time I was there, dine at the Space Needle (no, haven't been up there yet), and return to Mount Rainier, for another five-mile hike in the wilderness.
This is my first time flying since January of 2005, during which time there have been a few changes. The restrictions on carry-on luggage are even tighter than before. I can't take my guitar with me this time, not even the traveling model, so I'm going to try and fit the ukulele in my carry-on bag (the smaller of the two). It's made by a French company, and the body is not as deep as most such instruments, which makes it ideal for packing, if it comes to that. My other bag will contain a laptop, so I can stay connected under any and all circumstances. Even with a US Government ID, which identifies me as having already passed a low-level security clearance, the idea of a guy being allowed to rifle through my luggage because it pays better guard duty at the mall, to the detriment of the Fourth Amendment, doesn't sit well.
But really, what could go wrong?
From Wednesday the 8th until my return (flying the "friendly" skies of United) on Tuesday the 14th, our regularly scheduled programming will be suspended. Certain features in this venue require more advanced preparation, and there will be little time for that. The main feature will be a daily journal, not only of my own comings and goings, but other stuff that occurs to me in the course of the trip. And if pictures of the journey are not to be found here, there's always Facebook or Tumblr.
And with that, stay tuned, and stay in touch.