It’s Sunday and I am enroute to Taipei as I write this, aboard a Boeing 777 over the Pacific Ocean at 35,000 feet traveling at 560 mph, just south of Alaska. We’ll be landing in Japan in about 7 hours prior to heading to Taiwan. I usually don’t pull my laptop out of the bag during a flight, mostly out of consideration to the people who sit next to me, but on this flight, I have an empty seat next to me so I’m taking advantage of it, using it like my personal office ;-).
I was talking with a colleague at work who had taken another job last year and I’ve not seen much of him since, and I figured it was because he now has a job where he can work from home. But I also found out that his new job requires a lot of travel which means he’s gone from home a lot, much to his disappointment. He told me he’s boarded planes 30 times this year and I felt a little sorry for him, but then I realized that I’ve also gotten on planes this year nearly as often myself. I’m not talking about taking 30 trips, but rather the total number of connections made. This is my 4th trip to Taiwan this year and that usually includes 6 connections so that’s 24 connections for those trips alone and combined with trips to Oregon and California, it adds up to 28 connections. I’ll add 2 more when I’m in PA in a few weeks for Terri’s sister’s wedding. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve spent more nights away from home than I’ve been there because of travel. I should mention that 2 of those trips were for fun, namely the trip to Lake Tahoe and last week to Oshkosh, both of which I took in the LongEZ so they don’t count as boarding a plane ;-). This summer is turning out to be rather busy from a travel standpoint.
The Oshkosh trip went well with perfect weather traveling to and from the convention and, except for a torrential downpour one evening which resulted in a bent tent pole and some soggy conditions in the tent, it was pretty nice weather. Incidentally, the downpour that bent the tent pole on my tent caused my friend’s 4-person tent to blow away with his stuff in it and it damaged another friend’s plane. Fortunately, the damage was minor and easy to repair with a few hours work but the tent was a total loss. He managed to retrieve all of his stuff which was pretty wet but he was able to dry everything out the next day. It sure brought home the point of having good camping equipment and tying it all down properly. This was the second time in as many Oshkosh trips that he had to dry out his tent. Last year he forgot to extend his rain fly and his tent filled with water, about an inch or so. There were a lot of tents in need of repair after sustaining 60 mph winds that whipped through the airport.
I had to cut the Oshkosh trip short this year because of the Taiwan business trip which came up unexpectedly just a few days before I left for Oshkosh. I normally stay at Airventure for nearly a week, but this year I was only there for 3 days (not counting the travel days) but I still got to see a lot of interesting things, including the only public appearance of White Knight and Space Ship One as well as the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. I’ll try to post some Oshkosh photos I took when I get back from Taiwan. I also saw Sir Richard Branson and Paul Allen and was only about 30 feet away from them. It has always amazed me about access one gets to the famous people at Oshkosh.
I didn’t buy any big ticket items this year, even though there were a lot of temptations. I got a new LightSpeed 30 3G headset to replace my aging LightSpeed 20K headset I purchased at Oshkosh 7 years ago which has recently started to act up with intermittent connections. I got a good deal on a trade-in, getting back most of what I paid for it. LightSpeed Aviation is a great company. When I had a problem with my 20K headset a few years ago, well outside the warranty period, they fixed it no questions asked and threw in a set of new ear seals to boot.