Thursday, September 2, 2021

Have Bag, Will Travel*


So today is a "get ready to travel" day. I'll be off to the local grocery emporium to buy the wee things one needs for travel, hoping to not make this mistake again, then I will pack my suitcase.

I kind of believe in traveling light, but let's just say I don't really practice that. I believe in having more than I will possibly need because, you know, just in case. I really try not to go overboard, though I often find myself wondering "What the Hell did I pack this for?"

Hats, gotta have a spare, usually two. Why? Well, if one gets too sweaty/dirty/smelly, then I can change hats. Do I? No, not really. Haven't had a hat get that bad in a very long time...

Underwear, enough to last the duration of the trip. Which, I'm here to tell you, was tough for the previous trip to Sandy Eggo. Now that trip was three weeks (19 days to be exact) in duration and, I'm here to tell you, I don't own that much underwear. So the need to do laundry at some point was understood and somewhat planned for.

Now I say "somewhat" because we (my counterpart and I) were told that there was a handy-dandy laundromat not far from our hotel. We were told this by a former Little Rhodian who had since moved to Sandy Eggo and had lived there for somewhat less than two years. How she had heard of that laundromat I don't know. But my counterpart, being a young and brilliant engineer, decided to check it out via the facility of the "online review," rather than take the word of a relative neophyte to the world of Sandy Eggo. (Said person also being kind of a well known "know it all," if'n you catch my drift.)

Turns out that the reviews were generally bad. Apparently if you want your clothing to smell like urine, well then, that was the place to go. Seems that the place isn't exactly well-staffed and the local homeless community will saunter in, strip down, and throw their clothes in whichever washers are running. At least that's the story we heard.

So we opted to let the hotel do our laundry. Here's my recommendation on that, if you have to pay for that service yourself, don't. Just bring clothes you don't care about and when they get dirty, throw them away and buy new ones. It's far cheaper than having a hotel in Southern California do it for you. Seriously.

Mind you, they did a fine job, but it cost my employer something like a sawbuck short of two C-notes. Seriously.

Outer clothing, probably five "outfits," hey, I'm the kind of guy who will wear the same jeans for an entire week, or longer if The Missus Herself doesn't check up on me. T-shirts, I can usually get a couple of days from those, except probably in Sandy Eggo in the summer. Been there, learned that. Oh, one of the "outfits" will be what I wear on the plane, out and back. Hey, I'm a pretty clean person, I don't sweat much and I usually smell pretty damned good. (Hey, I believe in showering once or twice a day, I hate feeling "icky.")

Shoes, three pair. One for the plane and for "off duty", two for work, which get rotated every other day. To keep the smell down, dontcha know.

Anyhoo, packing...

I bring a bag I have to check (it sucks that you have to pay for that, though on Southwest Airlines you don't, for business, the company pays, yay me), then I have a carry-on (think backpack) and sometimes a "personal item." For you ladies that's a purse, for me, that's my laptop bag. The backpack and the laptop can both fit under the seat in front of me, but not at the same time. So last time the backpack went into the overhead and the laptop case under the seat. (The laptop being a company asset I wanted it under my direct personal control at all times.)

After having given it a lot of thought, this time I shall forego the laptop bag. After all, my laptop will easily fit into my backpack and the backpack didn't have all that much stuff in it anyway, could have easily handled the laptop as well as the other stuff.

Why not both bags? Well, it's a pain in the posterior to carry two bags through the aeroporto. DAMHIK. Which brings me to another foible of mine. Flights out of T.F. Green (our local aeroporto) tend not to go direct to where I want to go, unless it's the DC area. So a flight out to Sandy Eggo will require at least one stop along the way. I don't really mind, I like to get out and stretch my legs rather than fly directly across the continent, also, I hate, repeat hate, driving to Boston to get that direct flight.

Driving to Boston is a pain in the ass, no two ways about it. Long term parking at Logan Aeroporto is also a pain in the ass. Returning from a long flight then having to drive from Boston to my domicile is also a pain in the ass, approaching a pain in the ass of Biblical proportions.

Also, to be perfectly frank, driving in Boston is a total pain in the ass. Been there, done that, effing hate it. Not to put too fine a point on it... I'll do it, but I would rather not.

Anyhoo, one carry on bag suits me just fine.

Which brings me to another pet peeve/foible/things-I-can't-stand kind of thing...

People with those little roll around suitcases (rather than have one big suitcase, the old OBS, which they have to check) that they pack all of their earthly belongings in and then take onboard the aircraft to stow in the overhead bins. Why? Well then, don't have to pay for those, do ya?

No, ya don't. However, a lot of people who have those are nearly completely incapable of actually lifting the gorram thing into the overhead bin in anything under five minutes. Which, when you're trying to board a hundred plus people on the aircraft, adds significantly to the amount of time it takes to board the damned thing.

Sometimes it's fun to watch someone who appears to be fairly well-off (gotta be, otherwise how can they afford to fly?) but apparently has no concept of spatial relationships trying to cram that damned roll around bag into the overhead bin. Or worse, someone who is physically incapable of lifting the gorram thing by themselves and who is waiting for someone to help them.

Now that latter bit I don't mind too much, hey, some folks can't lift heavy things. (So check the gorram bag next time, 'kay?) I get that, I have helped folks get the damned bag into the overhead, especially older folks and cute females (don't judge). But some people, argh! If you can't lift the bag it's because you've got too much shit in it, right? Practice at home, "Ooh, can't lift this, better unpack some stuff." But no, somehow they think that when they board the aircraft they can find some hidden reserve of strength to get it into the bin. Or struggle mightily until someone (usually a flight attendant) helps them.

Enough said about that.

So yeah, travel, it's only ten days this time so there probably won't be a need to do laundry while I'm out there. So packing should be a breeze.

No doubt, I'll forget something.

* With apologies to Paladin.


  1. Under the guise of "Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it" one does have to be careful packing. Good thing you have a shorter stint this trip Sarge. Time to put the blue face paint on Travel Warrior!...........:)

  2. Hmm. I wondered if there is an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone to start a pick up and delivery laundry business that caters to the business traveler like you.
    A few seconds of research later and I once again find my good ideas are a day late.

    It might be worth checking out.

    1. Let me clarify.... I meant check out the laundry services in the area you will be staying, not check out starting a business. Sigh.

    2. John #1 - That's been done, it's urine-scented or hotel or spend more time looking. As the company will pay for it, not really a bother.

  3. Didja make sure that clothing you had cleaned by the hotel was appropriately soiled to make it worth the $$$ your employer paid???

    1. Let's just say that it was pretty hot out on that pier, the kilometer to the brow and the kilometer back to the parking lot generated lots of sweat. They got their money's worth.

  4. As someone who used to be on a plane several times a week, I was constantly amazed by the things people tried to "carry on" and stow overhead, from overstuffed bags that in no way would fit into the space available to all sorts of weird objects. Then there were the folks that would remove a bag from the overhead compartment, put their bag in and then not be able to fit the original back in - and just go sit down with the other bag in the seat or aisle! Almost witnessed a couple of fights over that sort of behavior.
    You could always spot those people that didn't travel much by their behavior on boarding.
    For longer trips where I knew I'd need to launder clothes, I tried to stay in the nicer mid range hotels by Marriott and Hilton that had laundry facilities for guests to use.
    Safe travels, Sarge...

    1. Yup, it's important to know how to get freshly laundered attire!

  5. Sarge, as a now regular once a month traveler, there is simply nothing more aggravating than the oversize bag in the overhead compartment. Those compartments are all the same for the larger planes; it is not as if they vary significantly in size. Yet so many seem to act surprised when they do not fit - again. Were I a man with a sense of humor, I would suggest the carrier physically demonstrate they can lift the bag over their head before boarding - "You must be this strong to board this plane with a roller bag" or some such.

    Honest to Goodness, I am surprised the airlines have not simply banned them all from the flights. One under your seat carry-on each.

    Laundry...Yup, that is a problem. I have been known to make do with washing and drying underwear, undershirts, and socks in the bathroom in extremis (fortunately, going to see my parents has resulted in always have access to a washer and drier, so I can pack light and still stay clean).

    Best luck for travel over the Labor Day weekend (ugh)!

    1. I'm sure that the travel this weekend will be a freaking nightmare. But hey, no crowds at the pier.

  6. Overhead bins. If your seat assignment is at the rear of the plane, you will find the overhead bins already full with the flight crew bags, just saying.

    1. Nope. There's a couple of designated bins for the crew. If the one over your seat has their crap in it, they'll move it. DAMHIK

  7. I went to a hotel laundry once around 2100 and there were clothes in the washer, no clue how long they'd been done, but they were fresh. So I plugged them into the dryer, dropped some coin in and started them up. Then, mine went in the washer. And I sat on the washer with my limerick book to pass the time. About 10 minutes later a swarthy gentleman walks in and sees me sitting on the washer. That led to a neat conversation about the UAE and how it's run, and being on a buying trip from an extremely wealthy country, and "really, you paid to dry my clothes?" The return on the 75¢ investment was good.

    Life can be an adventure or a stopped up toilet based on attitude. His was good, and so was mine. We talked for better than an hour...

    1. It's never a mistake to start out nice, if the other party wants to play that way, life can be pretty smooth.

      It's only the dedicated assholes who spoil things.

    2. I met a Masshole a while back. That team was so much fun: Masshole, Kali dude, and the third coast Texican. We had more fun than should be allowed. I will never forget that week. We clicked, probably because we were so different. Each of us had expertise and attitude meshed effortlessly. Our first 2 hours together set the tone for the rest of the week. Halcyon days, to be sure.

  8. I highly suggest you pack one decent shirt and a set of underwear into your backpack, because, since you dared to talk about luggage, sure as God made little green apples, your main bag will be diverted elsewhere, probably Iceland or Turkey, whilst you and your backpack go to Sandy Eggo, or, well, vice versa.

    As to laundry, add in a small bottle of dish soap (like Dawn) and you can wash your smalls in the sink and air dry them. Just in case. And having mostly clean smalls on the way back is a nice thing.

    Or, well, maybe Tuna will let you use his laundry system.

    I've always travelled, yes, even in a car, with an emergency set of smalls. And a small bottle of dish soap. Which makes an excellent shampoo/body soap/laundry soap/car soap/baggage soap (in case someone else's stuff leaks)/ and, of course, you can wash any dishes you may actually need.

    That, a spare razor, extra tooth brush and a small tube of tooth paste packed away from the normal toiletry bag are ways to ensure your luggage will arrive safe and sound along with you and your backpack.

    As to the trip, Via con Dios, mi Amigo! (That's something I used to say to the staunchly anti-Christian witchy-twitchy druidy folk in the SCA when leaving an event. Because saying "Go with God" really peeved them off, but "Via con Dios" was okay. Seriously. I did that all the time. "Vade cum deo" sounded too 'Latin-ish' so I couldn't get away with it, nor "Pax vobis" or, of course, "Deus Vult" or "Gott mitt uns." But it was okay for them to say "Goddess bless" or some other witchy-twitchy druidy blah-blah. Gee, whodathunk I used to be an arsehole back in the day?)

    1. Beans, well thought out. That dish soap idea is excellent. I love hobnobbing with the upper-crust. I learn so much.

      19 years and 50 weeks ago, whenever I traveled, I carried enough spares, parts and hardware for me to hike to central Texas from Durango, CO. The promise was, no matter what, I am coming home. I'm of the opinion that it may be a good idea to start thinking that way again...

    2. Beans - Don't jinx me.

      Also, I'll be in Sandy Eggo where I know at least three of the locals. No need for me to prevail on the kindness of strangers.

    3. STxAR - Surely we haven't devolved into that level of insanity? (Yet...)

    4. If you wait until you need it, you won't have it. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Train more in peace so you bleed less in war. It's never the wrong time. The hell of it is, I was in decent shape back then. Now, I'm fighting thru pneumonia recovery and if I feel good and do a lot, the next few days the lungs can't support the strengthened muscles. Waterboarding practice I guess...

    5. I may have missed you saying it before now, STxAR, but pneumonia? Dang, amigo, hope you get much better real soon - I'm trying to get over a three week bug, not covid, could be RSV, and it sucks badly enough - I can only imagine pneumonia must really wear you out...

    6. Can vouch for "RSV sucks."

      Take care of yourself STxAR!

    7. If the room has a ceiling fan, then the addition of a small clip, or a piece of string turns the blades into a whirling underwear drier.
      We know travel with a pair of tiny suction cups and some excess to needs shoelaces.
      If a balcony is present, then you have a nuclear fusion clothing dryer ready to hand.
      Note: If windy, make sure the damp clothing is well secured lest you be the reason that underclothing falls magically from the sky. (Yes, really.)

      Millions of years ago in boot camp at Great Lakes I learned how to hand wash clothing, including skivvies. The barracks had a laundry area made for the purpose and a drying room where you hung wrung out clothes up using the clothes stops from your ditty bag.

      Safe travels and if things happen, then safe travails.

  9. Have Bag, Will Travel.
    Wire OAFS, Rhode Island

    1. (Don McCollor)..A couple little more tips (of which you probably are aware). "Mission Critical" stuff goes on or with you and is not out of your sight. Any possible leaky stuff (shampoo, toothpaste, liquid soap, etc.) is in a sealed Ziplock bag. Have a plastic garbage bag to store the odiferous worn underwear, socks, and etc. in the room and on the return flight...

    2. And just like that, a certain TV show theme song is playing in my head. :)

  10. (Don McCollor)...Humbled again. BTW my first flight long ago was to Pittsburg PA. Friend drove me to the GFND airport. His friend grinned and started to put a TKO (Tokyo) tag checking in my brand new suitcase. Got on the plane green as grass. Showed the attended my ticket. A seat in first class all the way. Company paid for one in the rear.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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