Updated May 1, 2009.

May 6, 2009

Oh, for the love of Pete!!! Why would Starbucks do this??? Now I have to worry about how many of these stores are going to close within a years time, before I can get back to London.

May 1, 2009

Reached the airport about 4:50, quickly decided to pay the extra $6 for the economy lot (as opposed to the long-term one), and promptly jumped to the back seat upon finding a parking space and slept as best I could.

5:37 woke up needing to kiwi, and because the lot was well lit and I had not big cup anyway, I decided to just go ahead and check in for my flight and clear security. That worked fine, because the gate was quite (only one other person, sleeping), and I tucked myself behind a counter and covered up with the sheet I had brought. It was 6:04, and I hoped to get an hour of sleep. Didn't quite manage that, but every little bit helped.

A sea of mountaintops on the approach to Prince George.

With a couple of hours to kill touched down in Prince George a bit early--bah. I would rather have had that extra time the night before in Seattle, so I could have gotten more sleep. Since I needed to drink the coffee I bought before boarding my return flight, I didn't think I'd be able to sleep that much.

April 30, 2009

AARRGHH!!! On the heels of spending a couple of thousand dollars on a mini implosion tour thanks to Starbucks' relatively late announcement of which U.S. stores would be closing, I was bushwacked again, in a more tramatic fashion this time.

I rolled into work around 9:30, checked my e-mail, and soon discovered this article reporting the impending closure of a Starbucks in Prince George. I quickly clicked on the link, fervently hoping that the store would not be the one, of five, that I had not visited. But of course it was, and it would be closing the very next day!!! My heart started racing. If the store closed before I visited, I would lose another piece of my soul. I quickly called and confirmed, and then I had to start making fast plans.

GODDAMN IT, STARBUCKS!!! They didn't make this decision yesterday. They've known, and how hard would it have been to publish the list for Canada like for the U.S. Had I known a week earlier, I could have flown from Vancouver while I was there instead of having to travel from Wisconsin and spend buttloads more money. Jeez Louise, with the airfare, car rental, and time off work, that single store was going to cost me almost a couple of thousand dollars!!!

I quickly went to Travelocity and looked up flights. I expected Milwaukee to Prince George to be expensive, but it was worse than that--there were no flights for that day, returning the next. Even flights from Seattle or Portland, where I could get to from Milwaukee by that evening, were over $600. My best option was going to be separate flights, to Seattle and then a drive up to Vancouver to take Air Canada to Prince George.

Given that, I figured I might as well make my trip more cost effective by getting sone Scrabble in at a big tournament in Portland. I quickly called up the director, and because there was another player wanting entry, he agreed to let the both of us in to keep the field even. I went back to the computer and booked a flight to Seattle, flight to Prince George, and two rental cars. And then I had to scramble to complete some work tasks as quickly as possibly before leaving for the airport.

Left work at 1:00 and rushed home to pack, and when I arrived I realized to my dismay that my thermal underwear and thick pajamas, which I would need for sleeping in the car, were still wet. The washer had malfunctioned the night before and failed to complete the spin cycle. A large load of clothes were left wet, and I had to wring out each item before putting it in the dryer, so I only did what was essential for that night. I didn't think I'd need the pajamas so soon!

I showered and packed as quick as I could, and by 1:30 the pajamas and undies were still not dry, but I couldn't wait any longer and had to pull them out and hang them up in the car for the drive to the airport. Didn't want to risk lunch--just stopped for oatmeal from Starbucks. A good decision, as was my decision to pay $4 per day extra for the daily lot instead of the economy lot, because when I went to the kiosk to check in I was informed that my flight had been cancelled and I'd been rebooked for the next morning!!! NO!!! I quickly told the agent that I had an emergency situation and explained I needed to be in Seattle, Portland, or Vancouver that night to catch a flight to Prince George. She quickly rebooked me on the next flight out to Chicago (for my connection to Seattle) and said it was leaving in 15 minutes. I rushed to security and stood in line with sweat dripping down my face and worrying if I'd make it.

I needn't have worried--the flight continued to be pushed back, and when we eventually departed it was well past 4:12, the departure time for the flight that had been cancelled. In Chicago, that flight was also delayed, though thankfully not as much. It was already past 9:00 PM when I reached the Alamo counter, and while I waited I called Thompson's POV. Dang. Kitchen closed. No soul food for me. That was the least of my worries though--it was so late that I was no longer sure I'd reach even Bellingham in time to see Wolverine at midnight. Food was mandatory, so I couldn't get on the freeway immediately. I had to drive up International Ave, where I spotted China Pavilion and ordered my usual. And then promptly proceeded to spill the soup on my pants. The manager replaced my soup without charge, and I managed to avoid spilling any more despite the winding nature of I-5 through Seattle, but I had greater worries. I was feeling incredibly fatigued, and I suddenly realized something I'd been overlooking all day--the time change! I was feeling so tired because my body thought it was midnight, and it was ridiculous to think I was going to stay awake for a two-hour movie with my body thinking it was 4:00 AM. Actually, I'm convinced with a DoubleShot I could do it, but the problem is that would make it hard for me to sleep afterwards, and on the plane, and I would need every second of sleep if I was going to do well at the Scrabble tournament I was rushing to after Prince George.

Feeling dizzy, and not helped by the Chevy Aveo's poor handling, I nevertheless bypassed the first rest area I saw and counted down the miles to the next one. I wanted to push farther or even cross the border, but it was almost 70 miles away and I decided to preserve my life and pull over.

A few hours later I continued on and had to fight serious sleep inertia for at least 10 miles before I started to feel like I could relax. As I mentioned before, sleep was critical, so of course this was the border crossing where I got a lot of questions and had the rental car searched.

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