Earlier this week as I was traveling to the Association Forum Holiday Showcase I wrote that locating national headquarters in Chicago makes sense because travel is more convenient than it is for many cities. I still think that’s true, but my experience over the next 24 hours made me glad that at least I didn’t have to spend the night with John Candy as a bunkmate.
Our plane departure from Rochester to Chicago was delayed until about 7:35 p.m., and then we had an excellent flight, 45 minutes at most. But when we got there we were in for a rude surprise: the pilot announced that all the gates were full, and we weren’t going to be able to disembark for about 35 minutes. About 45 minutes later, he came back on the intercom and said we still didn’t know when there would be an open gate. This was no Jet Blue situation; at least we knew that we didn’t have a flight ahead of us after the delay on the ground. But it did take about twice as long to get from the tarmac to the gate as it took to fly 300 miles from Rochester to Chicago.
I immediately headed for the train from the airport to the downtown Hyatt Regency. This was uneventful, but still took about an hour. I checked in to the hotel at about 11:15.
When I woke up at 6:15 to prepare for my presentation, I turned on the news and saw that an ice storm was headed our way. Must have had something to do with our gate problem the night before. And by 7:45 I had gotten the news that my flight back to Rochester had been canceled, so I was going to have to stay over another night.
Or would I? That’s where the automobiles part of this journey came in, as I rented a car right after my presentation for what turned out to be the seven-hour drive home. It was rainy in Chicago, but at the Wisconsin border it turned to slush, which meant that I was maxing at 45 mph for about an hour. But then I drove out of it, and made it back to Austin by about 6:15.
These were expensive tickets, as the Hertz pricing for a one-way rental was about six times the rate for a local rental. But I got to see my son Joe’s orchestra concert at 7, and my daughter Rebekah’s basketball game at 7:30. Well worth it. Here’s the combined 1:11 highlight reel:
And here’s the post I wrote highlighting some key steps association executives should take in exploring Facebook. All-in-all, it was a memorable day. I enjoyed the great give-and-take of discussion about Facebook and social networking, and still made it home to watch the Packer girls execute the give-and-go.