Ree is back, actually.
Baltimore was not, in fact..originally in the itinerary, but it sure wound up there, ha !
From Flint to Detroit to catch a damn DC-9, which was interesting cause only in michigan do you have road construction that sends you to a detour, and then road construction that closes the damn detour route too !
I wound up having to drive like a lunatic to make the flight, and did so with six minutes to spare, and rode a very cramped POS of a plane to St. Paul (which makes little sense, given the destination..).
At that point, then I hadda catch a SAAB 340, which is, in my opinion, a very nice plane...but first I wanted a smoke, and the way the St Paul terminal is set up, you have to more or less RUN, a mile and a half in the OTHER direction to find a door to stand outside of so you can smoke....which right pissed me off, cause I don't mind, generally, nonsmokin areas sure - but goddamn it I despise being treated like a second class citizen !
What's next, hangin a placard around my neck cause I eat red meat ?
Screw it, next time I drive....I'd rather an 11 hour drive than dealing with that kinda thing...
Anyhow..smoke, go through security AGAIN, having "left the building" to smoke, which is always fun, cause of my metal leg and assorted internal replacement parts, the damn metal detector lights up like the 4th of july.
Get on the SAAB 340, headed for Eau Claire, WI - that's a damn nice aircraft, roomy, nice comfy seats, and flys low enough for you to see more than just cloud cover, I bet it's fun as hell to fly too...tis a twin engine, four-prop jobbie, not a jet.
Get work done out in WI, and return to St Paul on another SAAB 340....oh the irony, it was a killer day, beautiful, no clouds and visibility-infinate, and I happen to be flying over Wisconsin.....where there's not a damn thing TO see, bah.
And then catch a DC-10 (eek!) back to Detroit....an ugly, cramped, seemingly underpowered piece of crap...why do they make airplanes that are incapable of even taking off if all the seats are full ? does that make any sense ?
They were about to start askin folks to volunteer to get off, but then decided to just chuck 1200lbs of luggage over to another flight going the same way.
I knew we were in Detroit when we landed and we all felt the plane hit a goddamned pothole on the runway....A fact I vocally expressed to the extreme amusement of the other passengers.
I wasn't even gonna have time to go from Detroit to Flint neither...as a phone call had come in and was routed to Wisconsin for me, and it was a priority matter.
So off the plane and running around the terminal trying to find the roommate, who was late getting there and my flight landing 24min ahead of sched...oh joy - and the airlines paging system being broken.
I don't carry pager or cellphone, and times like these I wonder why...that is...till my roommates annoys me by interrupting a conversation..argh.
Convince another airline to page the roomie, and get outta there.
Point the nose of the car SE and just start rolling, right ?
Goddamn Oldsmobile to some random chinese hell.
The Alero has a really nasty manufacturers defect which causes the brake rotors to overheat and warp, which chews the damn things up, and the pads, and as they warp they brush the pads, ruining the whole works in short order - we are ditching this car under lemon law right now....but every day I sit behind that wheel it pisses me off at GM just a little more - would that Tomos or Puch built a car...the US Auto Industry would be on it's knees in no time.
What I had not considered was how that heat and vibration would affect the front tires...but boy I found out...every time the car lost traction and started to slide with the wheel bucking in my hands as I tried to keep the damn thing on the road.
(predictably, it rained mosta the way there.)
We made the pickup, extracting a friend from a bad situation, and immediately began our return (you can imagine how dog-tired I was by this time..)
Welll...one other thing to consider about the heat and vibration from those warped rotors...the vibration causes the tires to wear faster, and the heat weakened the inner sidewalls, and eventually....BLAM, thump, thump, thump, thump...a flat....and of COURSE out in bloody bumfuck.
And this being a GM product, of course - they saved weight and money by including a tire that looked like it came offa one of my mopeds as a "convenience spare"...convenient for WHO ? damn sure not me !
And while changing that, and realizing how the defect affected tire wear, I got the idea to look at the other front tires inner sidewall, right ?....great, and we only got one spare and the belt is sawing through on THAT side too, oh joy of joys, damn I hate GM.
Start her up, kick on the hazards and run her up to 45mph (you do NOT wanna do more than that with one of them pissant spares on there, I've seen em come apart on people...nasty, that.)
Traction control light comes on, and the damn system nearly causes us to slide in the wall as I jammed my thumb on the button to turn it OFF....that system sucks too, and apparently serves no purpose but to get you stuck....traction control on a 2-wheel drive is a waste, especially when it kicks power from the spinning wheel to the one gripping, to ensure they BOTH spin, and you get stuck worse.
Did I mention how much I hate GM ?
Then the "Low tire" light comes on...to the utter amusement of the passengers, given that it would have been, shall we say..more USEFUL before the damned tire exploded.
We limp it down exit 8, off the pike and into some little town that luckily happens to have a tire store that's open late, and wind up shelling out for two front tires, one of which we kept, to give to the lawyer who is making GM buy this pieceOshit back from us.
And so, last night we dragged in, and I finally got some sleep, yay.
Next time...I might just ride my friggin Targa....take yer airlines and yer automakers and shove em.