Gardena, CA and Union Gap, WA

Tonight I is a stay in the room night, they happen at least one night a week. Wine and cheese, rugby or a good book. This night finds me in Gardena, CA. It is about half way between LAX and Disneyland, yet it reminds me of Union Gap, a suburb of Yakima, better known as Yak-Vegas, WA.

My night of reclusion requires shopping for wine and food, the best I could do here is Wal-Mart a store I work hard to avoid at all costs. This Wal-Mart has white wine for $1.97, scary. I bought a Mondavi for $8.57, some sliced cheese and crackers.

Staying at a Comfort Inn, scary looking from the outside but actually the room is pretty decent, large, clean and new. $30 more than the room I had near Disney, yet that one seemed to have a lot of friendly ladies near, some that got into cars in the parking lot, so possibly the room was “subsidized.”

The joys of traveling on a budget are that at times you end up in some interesting places, now a person can fight that or see it as part of the fabric of life this world offers. We travel through this world with blinders on for the most part so we miss the big picture.  And I must agree with Rick Steves’ that when we get away from the 4 Star travel we see the real world and meet the real people. This world is full of common folks, and they are worth getting to know. It is the people that makes travel what I love, all the people.

Great meal at home

Went to PCC to get the makin’s of a great meal. They have free range, grass fed beef. That along with grilled tomatoes from our garden, Swiss Chard that I baked into think crisp wafers, and roasted Brussel sprouts from our garden made it great.

Then for dinner we had flat breads, mine had kalamata olives and anchovies, with mozzarella cheese balls that melted perfectly.

Souix Falls, nice evening

Made it to Souix Falls and had a great abbreviated seminar day one. Went to Old Chicago last night and hung out. Had the $2.99 happy hour pizza, what a surprise, not a frozen-pop-in kind of thing but made to order – anchovies and kalamata olives, it was great! They even had Belgian beer in proper glasses, interesting people to talk to made it a good evening.

Stayed at SpringHill Suites and am so impressed. One of the more comfortable rooms I have had in a long time. A bit higher price than some I stay in, $101, yet have to say it was worth it.

Denver? How did I get here?

This beautiful sunrise is my view of DIA – Denver International Airport, this morning. I am in a Ramada near, well as near as you can be, the airport. My room is graciously paid for by United Airlines, yes they still do that for mechanical delays in some situations. That small bump on the horizon is the airport.

My mantra when travel gets crazy is still “Let it be Hot! Getting upset just makes it worse, makes the customer service folks less likely to help, and does not do any good anyway. If there is something wrong with the plane I don’t want to be on it, so it is best that they find it before we are in the air.

I will take advantage of the further hospitality of United to have a French Brunch at Pour La France in the airport, then off to Souix Falls. The seminar will take a bit of tweaking, but Skillpath has called the hotel, connected with the attendees so all will be well. I will arrive with a fresh illustration of the challenges of Managing Multiple Locations, some times travel takes adjusting.

Morning tea and corn syrup

It is sunny here in Rapid City, SD, and thankfully yesterdays wind is gone, even the locals complained about the wind. I am sitting by the window of the Ramada Inn, conveniently arranged so that if you open the blinds you have no privacy, a frequent cost over function feature of the budget hotels I live in. People walk by looking straight ahead as is proper, only children look in.

I have my cup of tea with corn syrup in it, – well actually it is “non-dairy creamer.” The first ingredient is corn syrup and there is nothing in there that looks like it was ever near a dairy, the only connection to cream is that it is white. In Australia they are more honest, the simply call it “whitener.”

Interestingly the Lay’s potato chips I had last night had far less corn connection than I thought. Corn oil, and a corn sweetener was about it, why shoot they are almost health food!

Omnivore’s Dilemma – read it soon

  Reading The Ominvore’s Dilemma, Tricia referd it and it is one of better books I have read in a long time. Michael Pollan explores where what we eat comes from, so far I have learned that most of what we eat is connected with corn in some way or another, I had no idea how much. I even thought that “citric acid” on the ingredient statement menat it had something to do with oranges, nope it comes from corn.

And “Corn fed beef” is not natural, cows cannot digest corn naturally, but corn is cheap and fast so we give them drugs to be able to digest it as it gets them fatter and bigger faster. Pretty much the closest we can come to a factory that makes beef.

Worth the read, yet I do think the book will leave me in a dillema, but at the same time it reinforces my commitments to eat local, true organic (technically organic just means it did not come from petroleum).

Airport Security and Alsaka Boardroom

SeaTac Airport Security is stretching my firm resolve to never complain about travel. Things do get slower and slower as time goes on. My wish is that the power of inovation and capitalism will find a way to speed things up, not continually slow them down. But a cup of tea in the Alaska Boardroom helps make it all right.

If you fly more than once a month the airline lounges are a great investment, quiet, food, wifi, etc. Well worth the money. Alaska mambership allows use of the Delta rooms when you are flying Delta, so that adds a huge benefit to the package.

I have been a member for so long that I know a lot of the folks that work here, kind of nice to walk in and be recognized.

315 Tapas Bar in Idaho

This place is great, simply called “315”, check out their web page Sat on the deck, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the only thing missing was my best travel buddy. That is the downside of traveling alone, some of the best places, but no one to share them with.

Oh and all this with a happy hour!!!!!

Wednesday in Portland

Today is day two of a Managing People seminar. Will be good to get home, thankful that this was just a two day trip. Been gone too much recently.

Staying at a Comfort Suites – Portland Airport, these are one of my favorites. $71 and it is a mini-suite

Choice Hotels are my main chain thses days, for the most part a good value. The Econo group can be a bit cheap at times but I have stayed at them often when the  budget demanded it with no real problems. What I like as well with hotels in this price range is the extras – free parking, free breakfast, free wi-fi. If you stay at a $200 Hilton you will pay for all three, which is nuts and one of my major peeves in the hotel industry.