Friday, August 26, 2011

Wine Traveler’s Travel Vol. 6 (From the archives)

Wine Traveler’s Travel Vol. 6

            The weather is getting cooler as I head out early Monday morning for my next trip.  With my new bag packed I take the interstate to Sea-Tac airport.  I’m always amazed at the amount of traffic in the Seattle area; even at 4:30 in the morning the interstate is crowded.  Today’s flight is a welcome change as it is on TWA and First Class on a 757, I couldn’t be happier.  The lady that sat next to me was very social and we spoke quite a bit about our jobs and travel.  She shared with me, as I spoke of my disdain for the MD-80, that she too scheduled her flights to avoid them whenever possible.  She mentioned that she was not having the best of days; her suitcase zipper ripped on the way to the airport and when the porter was helping her by taping it together a lady behind her in line started complaining about holding up the line.  She said to the lady “I was just in this same line do I not deserve the service you hope to receive when it is your turn?” 
            This week I am returning to Wheeling, West Virginia to complete the training I started a while back, this week’s schedule is quite full and I’m not sure I will have a chance to visit my family.  So to those of you on my mailing list I apologize in advance but if I do get to visit, you will most likely read about it here.  Please feel free to forward these stories to anyone and if there are family members that would like to be added or removed from my mailing list please let me know. 
            Well I got off the plane in Pittsburgh and waited for my new bag to come it was about the fifth bag but the attached backpack was missing I waited till all the other bags were delivered and did not see my backpack piece.  I then went to the baggage counter and filled out the now familiar paperwork for a lost bag what will make this one difficult is that I did not separately tag the backpack since it was completely attached with a zipper.  Then I went to Hertz to get my car they did not have one ready, so they called for one and it was a white 626.  Now I avoid white cars because they always look like something a Grandfather would drive, but I remembered my 1982 626 and it was a sporty little two door car so I figured it would be OK.  Well up came this four-door 626 looking not at all sporty.  I went up to the counter and asked the lady if she had anything else, that it was just too Grandpa-ish.  She laughed and said sure and procured me a silver Chevy Monte Carlo, while this wasn’t very sporty looking it was better than the 626.  The ride was nice but my Chrysler Town and Country has a better turning radius. 
            I got into Wheeling at about 6:30 PM and checked into the same Hampton Inn as last time.  When I opened my bag to hang-up my clothes, I found the backpack inside my bag.  Relieved, I called the airline to apologize and stop them looking for my bag.  I went to check out the Restaurants near the Mall and chose one called Longhorn.  I ordered the Pork Chop dinner; this consisted of two thick, well-seasoned and juicy pork chops; seasoned fries; and brandied apples.  They also served a very good multi-grain bread with whipped butter.  Then back to the hotel to get some sleep for the next day at work.  Lunch on Tuesday was at the hospital lunchroom; it was a homemade Salisbury steak with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and macaroni and cheese, Vicki had the carved roast beef and mashed potatoes.  We worked till about 6:30 PM because the software was not performing as it should, class proceeded very slowly.  We tried to troubleshoot what was wrong but ended up getting Brent to come back on Wednesday.  Tuesday night Vicki and I went to the River City alehouse again, this time I had the barbecued pork wrap, Vicki had the grilled Chicken fajita wrap, we were given a choice of soup, fries or, salad.  We both chose the French Onion Soup and were well pleased with this traditionally prepared soup complete with bubbling cheese on top and served in a crock type bowl.  The wrap had shredded barbecue pork, coleslaw, and cheese wrapped in a pepper tortilla.  I have yet to eat anything at this alehouse that wasn’t well prepared.  I also had the Oatmeal Stout again that they brew in-house.  My brother would call it skank beer but I don’t like the pale tasteless commercial beers, for me the darker and heartier the better.
            Wednesday we worked with the nurses while Brent worked on the system to get it working right.  This site is working with a Beta version of our software and is very patient and understanding with the problems we were having.  Because the software misbehaving interrupted our training I offered to order out for Pizza; Dominoes did a good job as usual.  That night we ended up staying late again so we went to the alehouse again since it was close to the hospital.  This round I had the Grilled Portabello sandwich and French onion soup.  Vicki had a salad and onion soup. Brent had the Chicken wrap that I had on my last visit to Wheeling, again we were not disappointed.  By the way the sandwich soup and beer was under $10. 
Thursday, Brent only worked till noon then got called away to another site he will return here next week to reload all the software again.  This day for lunch the nurses suggested a diner nearby called Saseen’s.  I tried the hot sausage sandwich with “Teezers” and Vicki had the hot roast beef sandwich and mashed potatoes.  The sausage was patty style and very tasty the “Teezers” turned out to be like long tater tots with jalapeno cheddar cheese in the center.  Vicki’s sandwich was good but the potatoes were Instant.  Vicki left for home as she was only here to observe me training, I had to stay to complete some training on Friday.  My last night in Wheeling the nurses suggested I try the Wilson Lodge at Oglebay Park.  This was definitely high-class place; you know one with more silverware than you know what to do with.  I had a glass of house Chardonnay I was brought a basket with warm sourdough bread and butter.  The salad was wild greens with an obviously homemade Blue Cheese dressing.  My appetizer was a grilled portabello mushroom that had been marinated in balsamic vinegar; my entree was black pepper Fettuccini Alfredo.  All were prepared to perfection, the atmosphere was very elegant, the view was down a slope into a 400+ acre park which houses four golf courses, a zoo, and museum. 
Friday for lunch I accompanied two of the Information Services staff to a Lebanese bakery that they knew.  I had the broccoli cheese roll and French onion soup.  The soup was not as good as the one at the alehouse but was not bad either.  The bread used to make the roll was not like the Lebanese bread I am used to but was tasty; my real find here though, was some Zataar seasoning.  Zataar, also called Thyme seasoning, is used to make mannish which is pita bread with a light coating of olive oil then sprinkled with this Zataar and baked.  It is a favorite of ours, which we usually get shipped from Massachusetts.  Now we will be able to make it at home from store bought pita bread.  I didn’t get to finish early enough to visit any of my family this time so I waved from the air. 
I did find a real good deal on Beanie babies at the Pittsburgh airport they were $5.99 each or three for $14.99.  When the Beanie Baby craze started I thought I was safe having three boys, but Trevor was given one as a prize from a teacher and they found out it was a retired one and then they all had to have them.  So I try to watch for good deals on them.  I was relieved when they said they were stopping at the end of 1999, but then they started with the 2000 series.  Oh well they are relatively inexpensive and they could have worse hobbies.  They each have over 30 of these stuffed toys and display them proudly in their rooms.  I pick up the bears for Gail.
 I even have a few for myself; I have a Pink Flamingo in my cube at work. This started when I bought a picture of white herons at the Seattle Home Show my first few months in Seattle and hung it in my cube and a wax figure of flamingos from the zoo in Tampa to remind me of Florida.  Later I put up a set of prints of Pink Flamingos that just didn’t look as good in our house here as they did in Florida.  Then last year one of my coworkers bought me a set of plastic yard flamingos for my birthday as a gag, so I put them on top of the shelf in my cube so they could be seen from all over.  I told them that my wife wouldn’t let me put them anywhere at home.  So my cube has become the landmark people use to give directions on the first floor, such as “two cubes down from the flamingos.”  I also have some plants hanging from the ceiling, my beanie flamingo is on one of the hangers, and this does make me feel like I am back in Florida.  It’s especially cheerful in the winter when we go months without direct sunlight. 
The plans are that I will be in the office next week.  So I may skip a week in my stories unless something of interest happens.  It becomes a bit boring to hear about the hour and half commute to go twenty miles to work and back each day.

No comments:

Post a Comment