Thursday 24th July – UK to Chicago

Not much to write about on Thursday. British Airways upgraded me (again!) from World Traveler Plus to Club World, so I arrived very early at Heathrow and took advantage of the free food and drink at the British Airways lounge. I assume this piece of art outside the BA lounge is supposed to represent something deep and meaningful…. to me its just a horse with a lampshade on its head. Yes, Yes, uncultured swine that I am…. bite me! :) I would love to know what it really means… unless its boring or long winded….

20140724-bahorseDue to the Club World upgrade, I got one of those first class “seat that turns into a bed” things, so I managed to get some sleep on the aircraft, and the flight staff left me alone (instead of hassling “do you want a meal?” or “a drink sir?” every 10 minutes).

This was the first time I have flown into Chicago and been able to see out the window. Looking out over the city, I was amazed just how much green there was visible from above. I always imagined Chicago to be much more concrete and buildings.

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Once we had landed at Chicago ORD, I was expecting the usual hour or more wait at border security, but they have installed some new “scan it yourself” kiosks for ESTA and visitors from no-visa-required countries. They haven’t been installed very long…. you can tell because they had staff at every kiosk showing people how to use the machines. Meanwhile, I noticed that the normal line to walk up to the security staff and manually get the passport check and questions was only 8 people long… I was out and grabbing my baggage in 7 minutes. Then, both my bags arrived together in less than 2 minutes. BEST. ARRIVAL. EVAR!!

So, off to Alamo to grab the rental. With this probably being the last of the big road trips I do during the summer months (due to mini-me going to school in September, and so summer holidays will be a logistical nightmare in 2015), I decided to go big with the choice of vehicle. Full size SUV…. don’t judge! To be honest, I was expecting to be carrying some additional people and their luggage on the San Diego to Las Vegas leg of this trip, but they all wussed out and decided to fly this year :)

20140724-tahoeMost of you know I am not a great car nut in any way, but the noise this thing makes is just incredible. I will have to find out just how big the V8 engine is in this, because the growl it makes me smile every time I put my foot down. I will have to get the GoPro in video mode and drive past it so you can hear it. And talking of putting my foot down, I did manage to get it down to an instantaneous reading of 2mpg at one point :)

I headed out to top up on my bacon supplies at IHOP that have been running very low since my last US visit, then checked into the hotel in Warrenville. I chose that hotel because it was very close to the location used by the BurbSecWest group for their monthly meetups, which they very kindly shifted by a week to coincide with my arrival. It was nice to meet a few of the people I only knew from Twitter and Facebook, but despite drinking copious amounts of caffeine related drinks, my brain started shutting down because it thought it was 1am or something. The sleep on the aircraft obviously hadn’t done much to help with the shifting timezones, and I had to bail.

Time for sleep….

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