Monday, March 02, 2009

Planes, Automobiles... But No Trains

(Unless you count the airport shuttles.)

For those who have somehow managed to miss the wacky weather, yesterday morning was not a good time to be connecting through Atlanta.

If I may state the obvious:
  • If you're working in an airport and somebody is connecting on a return international flight, it's not particularly helpful to ask them why they didn't make their travel plans around U.S. weather forecasts from the preceding few days.

  • If you're running an airline and have hundreds of passengers - literally hundreds - lined up for help, even if no flights are going out, it's beyond obnoxious not to have more than one person working the reservations counter. (And no, it doesn't make up for much when you finally bring somebody in to help out an hour or so later.)

  • If you're in a part of the country that rarely gets snow, yes, it's cool to stop your truck and take pictures of your small child making and throwing snowballs. But in a safe location - not on the side of the most treacherous, slippery, snow-covered exit ramp in your state.

  • If you are providing roadside assistance for car rentals, and your customer calls about replacing a car due to a potentially dangerous problem, you're correct to answer "yes" when the customer asks if they'll be expecting you at the nearest rental location so you can exchange the car - but you have to follow that up by ensuring that the people at that location actually will be expecting the customer.
  • If you're driving from Atlanta to Michigan, even if it's entirely necessary due to the weather, it's painful to have to drive around Tennessee.

  • Real life road trips are nowhere near as interesting as those in movies - they don't even come with a laugh track.

But even considering the 40+ hours of travel time on the return trip, it was still a great vacation.

When was the last time you took a winter trip (at least in this hemisphere) and sighed, "Thank goodness we're back in the north, out of the snowstorms and flurries, where the roads are clear and dry."


  1. Glad you two made it back safe and sound.

    It has been a weird storm. In DC historically snow fall/blizzards, etc come out of the NW and peter out when they get to the SE (coastal area). This storm did the exact opposite. Sixty miles north of DC in the foothills of the mountains, no snow. DC and south, 6 inches . . .

    As for the driving conditions. It's actually pretty common to have them get better (in the case of a rogue "southern" snow storm) as you go north. The south is good for a lot of things, but they don't stock a lot of salt and snow plows . . .


  2. It was not so odd that a southern snow storm got better as we went north, but that the north was completely clear of snow, ice, etc. (although quite cold). I don't think I saw so much as a snowflake once I got out of the storm front - not even a tiny patch of accumulation on the ground.

    To put it mildly, the storm was huge. You can get a sense of that of course from satellite images, but when you drive through state after state with nothing but solid gray cloudy skies, periodic showers and flurries, you get a different perspective.

  3. I won't gloat only because I don't want you to return the favor when we get hit with the next Big One.

    Glad you guys are OK.