The Traveling Steve's

Pre-Vacation Work travels to Newark and Houston

Had a busy last couple of week with work travel.  After spending Mother’s Day weekend in Virginia visiting my family, I flew from Roanoke to New Jersey for the work week.As Roanoke is a small airport, I flew from Roanoke to Washington Dulles on a United Express jet to connect to Newark.  Here is the small Canadian regional jet shown in Roanoke, with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.

Once in Dulles, I had a longer layover than expected due to Air Traffic control (ATC) delays going into Newark.  Unfortunately this added ATC delay of a couple hours, placed us in the middle of an evening storm brewing, when we were finally able to board the plane.  As we were taxiing out for takeoff in Dulles, a huge storm blew thru the area closing the airport for a while.  We, along with the 15 planes ahead of us had to park where we were, and wait out the storm. I must say it was quite frightening as the winds were heavy, as well as the rain and lightning.  I don’t like flying in storms, and even on the ground you could feel the plane being nudged a bit by the heavy winds.  Here are a few photos from the same parked position both before and during the storm.

Once the storm finally let up (about 45 minutes later), we still had nearly an hour’s wait to take off.  By then it was nearly dark, as we watched the big jumbo sets preparing to take off to their international destinations.

Once we were airborne, we were treated to a beautiful and colorful view of the skies and sunset out the window of my seat 3A.

As it was night-time when we finally got to Newark, I wasn’t able to get a good daytime shot of New York City, so had to settle for a night photo as we were preparing to land in Newark, with Manhattan in the blurry distance.

Once at Newark I gathered my luggage and took the Sky Train to the rental car area.  My company recently switched car rental agencies, so we now use Avis once again after a few year’s using National.  While Avis is very good, I was so used to going to National and picking out my own car from the Elite row, and now they assign you a vehicle, with your name listed on the marque board.  After  walking (with my foot still in the boot) for what seemed like 2 football fields, I saw my reserved car was actually a huge van!   I’m not really fussy what car I get, but I definitely didn’t want a huge van for the week driving around Newark!  So I have to walk the whole way back to the Avis office, and get a HUGE Chevy Tahoe.  I didn’t  realize it was that big, but I didn’t want to walk back and exchange it, as my feet were sore.  I’ve been wearing this boot since I had inflammation in my ankle a month ago.  While it helps me with my walking, it’s a bit cumbersome, and I have to take the boot off when I get in the car.

I stayed at the Homewood Suites in Cranford, NJ, which is a short drive from Newark Airport.  I didn’t ask for it, but I guess as a Lifetime Hilton Diamond member, I got upgraded to a ‘premium’ one-bedroom suite which included complimentary daily snacks and non-alcoholic beverages!  Gee, just what my diet needs, assorted chips, cookies, crackers, granola bars, M&M’s, sodas and juices!  No, I didn’t munch out of the snacks, except I did have some the last night of my visit.

I had a quick work week in NJ, followed by relaxing weekend at home; i.e. resting my sort foot, before heading out again this week for work. 

This week I was in Houston on business from Monday thru Thursday.  This was a quick trip too, and I stayed at the Hyatt Place North Houston on this trip.  The staff was super friendly here, and the layout of the room was different that most Hyatt Place’s,  perhaps because I had a top floor, corner room.  I liked the layout better, and I had a nice sunset view post storm one evening. I wore my boot again the whole week, and am more or less getting used to it.  It really does help relieve the pressure on my ankle, but it’s still a pain taking it off every time I’m driving and then putting it back on when getting out of the car.

I stuck to my diet all week, even when going out with co-workers the last night I was there.  While I did have one beer, I had the Ahi Tuna salad, instead of their yummy looking barbecue and burgers like everyone else had.

My flight from Houston (IAH)  back to Orlando left at 6:30pm, and I was on a United nonstop Boeing 737.  After checking in at United in terminal C, I took the airport shuttle train over to the new American Airlines Lounge in Terminal A.  Along the way, I passed the on-airport Marriott Hotel, which looks similar to the one in Tampa with the rooftop circular structure.

The American Airlines lounge, while not huge, was configured nicely, and with power outlets at each seat, made it conducive for work or at least charging your devices.  I then headed back to Terminal C via the shuttle, stopping to take a couple photos of a space exhibit in the terminal along the way.  

While I still have no status with United, I was able to do a paid upgrade for the outbound and return flight which was much more comfortable for my foot, and the dinner meal going how was actually quite nice; a mixed green salad with salmon on the side.

I got in late at night, but could see the roofer had delivered the shingles to my house, laying them carefully on the roof.  I’ve been trying to get my roof replaced since last September’s Hurricane Irma, due to the backlog and rains.  Oviedo Roofing is finally getting around to start the re-roof project, although now there is another week delay as they wait on a vendor to remove the solar panels from my pool.  I really had hoped to have this done before the rainy season, and it was supposed to happen back in April.  I just hope the shingles and materials don’t fall or blow off in a heavy storm, especially as we are heading out tonight for holiday.  Here’s a daytime view today of the shingles on the roof.  

Tonight, DOS and I are off to Mendoza for a long Memorial Day weekend for some more winery visits and a splurge on our diets for some nice dinners.

Now let’s just hope the shingles stay up on the roof while we’re away, especially with Tropical Storm Alberto brewing in the gulf!  

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