wine by the color

Friday, December 16, 2005

I made my final trip of the year when I flew to and from Palm Beach a few weeks ago. To pay homage to this happy occasion, I put together a summary of my life on the road in 2005. With the exception of the total number of air miles I accumulated this year (because some of those were a combination of business and personal travel), this only encompasses business travel, which is why ‘strangest injury’ is not the broken nose I suffered in Hawaii. Otherwise, that would be the runaway winner.

So, to wrap up the year…

Air Miles Traveled:

States Visited (17):
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah

Best (Nice) Meal:
The Yard House in Palm Springs, Calif. – outstanding food and no less than 150 beers on tap. Went with my friend Anthony, a Denver-based writer. Sat at the bar and had the orange peel chicken, along with some Belgian beer and red wine.

Honorable mention: Morton’s Steakhouse (Las Vegas); Bardenay (Boise, Idaho), Atlantic Seafood Company (Atlanta)

Best (Unexciting) meal:
The seven or eight times I ate at Noodles & Company while in Denver for two weeks. Yes, I ate the same thing every time – buttered noodles and parmesan. We’ve GOT to get one of these in Jersey.

Strangest injury:
One July day at a tournament in Ohio, I put on my shoes and socks and noted, without much fanfare, that I had 10 toenails. I then walked almost two full rounds (30 holes) on a ridiculously hilly golf course. When I returned to the hotel that night and removed my shoes and socks, I had nine toenails.

Somewhere along the way, I mashed my foot into my shoe so badly that I lost a toenail. Good times.

Worst flight:
Boise to Salt Lake City to Newark in March. I flew to Boise on a Wednesday and had what I thought was a cold by the time I arrived. I then sat in an arena all day Thursday, watching four NCAA basketball games. I was so sick by the end of the day that I needed to visit the medical center Friday morning instead of attending the meeting that brought me to town (basketball games aside, of course). Due to fly home that afternoon so I could be home for my birthday, I had the following exchange with a physician after he diagnosed my sinus infection:

Him: "When are you supposed to fly home?"

Me: "In about five hours."

Him: "Is that really necessary? You probably shouldn't be flying right now."

Me: (offer explanation of birthday, etc.)

Him: "Well, I'm not going to prohibit you from flying, but you should know that it is going to be painful. Particularly when the plane descends."

Me: "Ah, I'm pretty tough. But thanks for the warning."

That dirty rat bastard was right. It was awful. And I got to do it twice, as I had to make a connection in SLC. My ears didn’t pop for three days.

Most interesting outing:
The July evening I spent in Minneapolis visiting a childhood friend. My friend’s had a rough year, going through a divorce, with young twins. I told him I’d take him out to lift his spirits. There were a lot of spirits lifted, all right. The next morning, I had a matchbook in my purse from a place called Rick’s Cabaret. And by cabaret, they didn’t mean lounge singers.

Longest day:
June 15. The day after walking 36 holes at a complete circus of an event at a golf course outside Pittsburgh, I got up at 3:30 a.m. to catch a flight back to Newark. I was in the office by 8:30 a.m., worked for four hours, drove home, repacked, and was back at the airport by 3 p.m. to fly to Denver.

Most notable seatmate:
En route to Savannah from EWR, former NBA all-star Jayson Williams (who has since his playing days become more famous for more infamous reasons).

Most surreal moment:
This happened on my last trip. I was seated two tables from Donald Trump at a swanky reception at Mar-A-Lago, which is lovely and surprisingly understated given his usual style (see: Taj Majal, Atlantic City).

I marched up to him and introduced myself because I had to get a closer look at the hair. I needed to assess whether it really looks that way in person.

It does. In fact, it’s even better. It’s magical, in a horrifying sort of way.

And yes, I continue to kick myself for forgetting to bring my camera to the event. Bad, bad job by me.

Most surreal moment 2:
The flight I took from Newark to Cleveland with members of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). The highlight: when the entire crew cut in line at the airport to head to the front of the check-in counter and a 90-year-old man started screaming at them. The lowlight: a frightening Ric Flair giving me a “hey baby, how you doing” leer.

Most surreal moment 3:
Having my photograph appear in the NY Times, steps behind a golf wunderkind and an Ohio state trooper.

Favorite place:
The Oregon coast. Just lovely.

Least-favorite place:

Houston Intercontinental Airport. Perhaps the most hateful location in the country.

Most impressive driving feat:
I consider this to be one of my stronger areas of skill, so there are a lot of candidates. Let’s go with the late-night trip I made from the Atlanta Airport to Chattanooga, Tenn., in August, when I traveled 122 miles in 93 minutes. And that included a stop for dinner.

Honorable mention goes to the tap dance I gave in Reedsport, Ore., a month ago to get out of a speeding ticket I most definitely deserved.

State with the least regard for speed limits:
Georgia, hands down. You can be going 90 mph on Route 95 and people will be blowing by you.

And so ends the 2005 travel season. I can promise that 2006 will have its share of adventures, since I have two events in Oregon, one in Washington, another in Arizona, one in speed-happy Georgia and another in Rhode Island, which requires driving the entirety of Connecticut, one of the most loathsome states in the nation when it comes to vehicular maneuvering.


  • At 12/16/2005 2:22 PM, Blogger Maggie said…

    Wow. I just got jetlag reading this.

    Your toenail thing? My nightmare. My stomach was turned. TURNED!

    I've never experienced sinus pain while flying, but one year we flew out to Thunder Bay to visit Jeremy's mom. I had a few really bad pimples...those big honking ones that are kind of hard inside. Anyway, the pressure inside the cabin for the duration of the trip was so lousy that my zits felt like they were expanding and my face was in pain the whole time. Worse still was landing; the pain was so bad I was quietly crying in my seat. From pimples! Crazy.

  • At 12/17/2005 3:49 AM, Blogger SJPSandman said…

    Jayson Williams didn't get into, oh, say, a limo, upon arriving at your destination, did he?

  • At 12/17/2005 11:56 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Yeah, the toenail thing was bad. That was not my best day.

    As if it's not bad enough that you're dealing with pimples, then they're going to mess with you while flying? That's awful.

    And Sandman, I kept a close eye on JW after we departed the flight. He absolutely disappeared into the night.

  • At 12/18/2005 1:04 PM, Blogger freakgirl said…

    Did the toenail come back? I'm morbidly fascinated.

    I had no idea you got to go to Mar-A-Lago. So jealous! And yes, you really must ensure your camera is with you at all times.

  • At 12/19/2005 12:40 PM, Blogger Megan said…

    Which toe was it? If it's your pinkie, ain't no thang. If it's your big toe, oh my god, OW.

    You've had quite the year. I might have to "borrow" the idea, if you don't mind...

  • At 12/19/2005 2:49 PM, Blogger Maggie said…

    STOP TALKING ABOUT THE TOE. I can't handle this!

  • At 12/22/2005 3:38 PM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    The toenail in question, which was the one next to the pinkie toe, did grow back. It took a while. If I were the sort of person who cared what others thought of my feet, I wouldn't have worn sandals for a time. I am not.

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