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LAX

Started: 2006-04-28 17:54:21

Submitted: 2006-04-29 23:54:28

Visibility: World-readable

I'm currently on Frontier flight 412, en route to Denver, somewhere over western Colorado. For some unspecified reason, the flight is thirty minutes late, which is why I'm still in the air instead of about ready to touch down.

I woke up entirely too early Wednesday morning (0500, to be precise), drove to my co-worker's house in Erie, and drove to DIA. Our flight left Denver at 0830. I sat in the very back of the plane on a window seat; I got to see the entire northern Front Range from my window from a perspective I've never seen before. I spotted Grays and Torreys Peaks, Loveland Pass, and Summit County. As we headed west, I saw Lake Powell, Glenn Canyon Dam, the Grand Canyon, and Lake Mead. The Inland Empire was cloudy (and the entire Los Angeles area remained overcast for the duration of my visit); once we broke through the clouds I saw Los Angeles in all of its quasi-glory. When we touched down, I quickly saw that LAX was a major international airport: I saw a light blue Korean Air 747 taxing as I waited to deplane.

Despite being in Los Angeles, we never actually managed to use an Interstate; our target was a few miles from LAX in El Segundo. We spent portions of three days on-site (half a day on Wednesday, a full day on Thursday, and another half day on Friday) and didn't manage to do very much; most of the time was fighting with other issues unrelated to what we were supposed to fix. It was very useful to meet the people I'll be communicating with so I can put faces to names I hear (and names I see in source files and documentation), but otherwise not entirely useful.

The major disadvantage of business travel is that I actually have to work when I get there. This made it difficult to do the quasi-exciting things I could do in Los Angeles, like Geocache and plane-spot. I did make it to the ocean around sundown Wednesday evening, but it was overcast so I didn't even get a decent sunset.

[It's now Saturday night; I'm wrapping up the changelog I started on the plane. Which is how I can talk about events that happened after we landed.]

Thursday night I incited some road rage in El Segundo. Traffic was heavy heading south on Sepulveda Boulevard (California State Route 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway) as we headed in search of supper. The light turned yellow, and I wasn't sure I could make it through the intersection before the light changed, or even if traffic in front of me would allow me to clear the intersection. I stopped, and the SUV behind me laid on his (or her; I didn't check) horn and mouthed what I took to be obscenities. The light stayed yellow for longer than I expected it to be, but it really didn't make sense for me to pass through the intersection. The light cycled, and when it turned green the driver flipped me off as he passed me on the right and sped ahead. I barely restrained laughter and figured I must be in Los Angeles.

Waiting for our flight back to Denver on Friday afternoon in Terminal 3, I had a great view of planes landing on runway 24R and taking off on 24L. I had the best view of about a third of the way down the runway; I had a great view of the precise moment of landing where the plane's rear wheels hit the pavement. I pulled out my D50 and snapped pictures, trying to look like an aviation-obsessed traveler instead of a terrorist. I apparently pulled it off; no one complained.

When we reached DIA, I discovered that I didn't actually remember exactly where I parked. I knew I was on the east side of the terminal in long-term walkable parking, and I vaguely recalled something to the effect of I3. That row turned out not to exist; it was a greenbelt in the middle of the parking lot. I wandered up and down the rows, searching desperately for a green Honda Civic, and finally found Yoda ... in O3. I felt rather silly, and set a flag to remember to carefully record my parking space the next time I fly.

For your viewing enjoyment, I downloaded the track log for my outbound and return flight. The outbound flight (Frontier 403) was a fairly straight shot; what the track doesn't show is that we took off from 17R; it starts a minute later, after we banked sharply to the west and overflew Westminster. The return flight (Frontier 412) took off from LAX's 24L and executed a 210° turn a few miles over the Pacific Ocean. We flew close enough to Las Vegas that the live map (channel thirteen) switched to the Las Vegas close-up. I was in a middle seat, but I spotted the Strip through the window.

Just in case anyone's curious, I'm happy to not live in Los Angeles.

Damn. A kid movie isn't the same when you are an adult.
- rppp01 in a /. post