Friday, July 22, 2011

RAGBRAI Day -1, Home to Omaha

Debra, Jim and I are at the Embassy Suites in Omaha.

Our room is so huge, you can barely see the T-Bone back there in the other room.

Travel out was good for me and Max. He's staying with his cousins in Chicago while we are riding. He was very excited by flying, he is a veteran air traveler. We had an awesome thunderstorm come in right as we were landing at Midway. Lighning and a wall of rain right next to the plane. The pilot was weaving around the downpours, and there was a lot of turbulence. The passengers gave the pilot a big ovation as soon as we were on the ground.

I had the same flight from Chicago to Omaha as Jim and Debra had as part of their trip from Baltimore to Omaha. We all got in together. Southwest lost Debra's bag with all her bike clothes, so she took a shuttle bus to the hotel with her bike in a box. We still don't know where her bag is. Southwest said it would be on a plane arriving two hours ago, but it did not arrive.

Jim and I put our bikes together at the airport and rode the 4 miles or so to the hotel. The security at the airport were complete jerks. After I had unpacked my bike in an out-of-the-way corner near the baggage claim they told me I had to put it together outside. (Temperature: mid 90s). Then when I did a short test ride to make sure the shifter cable was adjusted properly, they told me I am not allowed to ride on the road by the terminal.

"You can take your toy away from here and play somewhere else." <- direct quote from the security guard. There is no excuse for this attitude.

This is the seventh year I've put my bike together at Eppley Airfield. The first five were no problem, and I remember shooting the breeze with security while I was assembling the bike. The last two have been very bad. I think the security staff has a personal agenda against cyclists.

This excessively posh and silly Embassy Suites did have free tequila sunrises at happy hour. Then we went a couple blocks to our favorite Omaha brewpub.

If only Amtrak would have honored the reservation I made back in January, I wouldn't have had to deal with the jerks doing security at the airport. But Amtrak dropped checked baggage on the train from Chicago to Omaha a week ago due to the flooding (they can't get a train to the station at Omaha, and they are running a bus). So I had to fly. At least I didn't have to go through a porno scanner.

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