Thursday, December 25, 2008

Elko to Salt Lake – Tuesday 12-17-08

I had an 8:30 am flight out of Elko to Salt Lake. We’d had a little overnight snow in Elko. I pulled out the old Costco card again to scrape the ice off the car windows. Fortunately, it was pretty much just snow on the car windows, very little ice. The roads were OK. I took I-80 to the airport, bypassing town.

Elko Regional Airport is a nice little airport. The terminal is a relatively new building with lots of wood, exposed beams, and capped with a green metal roof, classic Western ski lodge style. I check in at the kiosk with only carry-on luggage, no human interaction. I observe those with checked-in luggage have to submit it to TSA where they do a physical inspection by opening the bags and rummaging about.

The flight to Salt Lake is delayed. Whatever weather disturbance came through Elko last night dumped snow on Salt Lake this morning, delaying the departure of our plane from Salt Lake. I read, wander the terminal, and make a few calls. Two hours later our plane shows up and we run through the usual security gauntlet. Here there is an x-ray machine, which for some reason doesn’t do double-duty with checked baggage.

The clouds were breaking and I walked across the tarmac to the plane with the other passengers. Elko was still freezing cold, the teens. I take my window seat on the right side of the Skywest Embraer EMB-120 twin turboprop. The window is dirty and the engine blocks any aerial photo potential. The women next to me bundles up and wraps her legs in a blanket as if we were going on a cold, breezy sleigh ride. It’s only about a 45 minute flight actual air time in a modern airplane that’s heated.

I try to pick out landmarks during the flight but it’s unfamiliar until we get near Salt Lake. The tall stack of Kennecott’s copper smelter at Magna comes into view. Soon we bank right along the eastern side of the Oquirrh Mountains then make a left U-turn heading north for a smooth landing on runway 34L.

I’m starving after the unplanned delay. Naturally, I find a Starbucks in the terminal and grab a vente nonfat latte and a nutritious chocolate muffin. I walked right to the Budget kiosk (Fast Break service) and get the keys to the car, a Dodge Caliber; such a manly name for a standard car. I go through my usual drill, mirrors seat, controls, and catch up on calls before bee-lining straight down the Bangerter Highway. Roads were clear, relatively, and my MP3 player was blasting.

The project in Utah is confidential and I can’t elaborate yet in any detail on it. Suffice to say it involves bricks. I met the Brick Guys in the afternoon and toured the Brick Place.

After the tour, I dropped off my sick laptop at a FedEx/Kinkos at Jordan Landing for shipment back to the office where the IT guys could work some magic. Conveniently a Bajio Mexican Grill was located right next door. I picked up a Burrito Clásico meal and headed north to the La Quinta Inn and Suites by Salt Lake City airport. This is where I usually stay when I’m in Salt Lake City. I checked in and made my nest. The place isn’t quite as new as it used to be. Maybe next time I’ll check out some of the newer hotels going up nearby.

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