License Plates

A few weeks ago for spring break we drove up to Germany and visited relatives. It was a lot of fun. While we drove, I kept track of the different license plates we saw. I enjoy doing that with states when we do long drives in the U.S. So – I thought it might be fun for my non-Europe living friends to go over the list and see how many they know. To make it a little easier for my U.S. friends (we are geography challenged) I put an asterisk by the ones where the name used is different than the English name for the country. Here they are in no particular order:
If you want to check how many you got right, wikipedia has a nice list.

Modern Travel

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love living in the future. Last week I flew to Indianapolis for meetings on Thursday morning and was home before the kids got out of school on Friday afternoon. It was two – 1 hour hops each way. The last leg home was on a Boeing 757 and I had a seat just forward of the starboard wing and engine. I love the contrast of the engine so close and the ground so far away. So I dug out my phone ( radio off per FAA regs) and snapped a few shots. This is somewhere between Atlanta, GA and Orlando, FL. Nothing special but it looked very cool to me. Click on the little ones for the big ones.

This Last Week’s Travel

The last 10 or so days have been pretty busy. On Sunday the 27th I flew from Orlando to Mexico City. I went from there to Puebla and spent a few days helping to train staff on how to use some new software.

I flew back to Orlando that Wednesday. It was a good trip. Thursday morning I woke up sick as a dog – with a fever and all kinds of other undesirable symptoms. This wasn’t fun and more of an issue than normal because we were supposed to start driving to Iowa on Friday morning.

Fortunately when Friday morning came my fever had broken. I still was sick, but not so sick that I couldn’t ride in the van. So we left a little late, but we still made it half way and spent the night in Nashville. We hit some rain but nothing too bad. The hardest part was the same as it always is, getting through Atlanta. What a mess that is. And even when traffic isn’t too bad the people drive so stupidly that it is still jammed up.

Saturday morning we left Nashville and worked our way up through Kentucky and into Illinois. The effects of that big storm that hit Kentucky earlier this winter were still very evident. I’ve seen trees knocked over, split, etc. in the past but not over such a wide spread area. It was easy to see that it was really bad. Tennessee and Kentucky are still very beautiful.

Basically we had to almost drive the length of Illinois. We went north up to Peoria then hooked around to head west. It was raining pretty hard and that made life interesting but we were still making good time. Somewhere just after Peoria though, it started to snow. That’s when things got really interesting.

My kids were very excited. Having grown up in Arizona and Florida, they have never seen snow falling. They thought that was pretty great. Me, I haven’t driven in snow in about 15 years.

We started seeing cars that had slid off the road. We had to slow down, changing lanes became very difficult and it was getting worse. Right at the Mississippi river I stopped to gas up and have the kids go to the bathroom – because I knew once we got back on we wouldn’t want to stop.

Nothing like driving a couple hundred miles between 20 and 40 mph. We counted 35 vehicles that ended up stuck off the road. 2 were roll-overs. Another was a semi that was completely wrecked because the cab got pushed back around into the trailer.

My wife, who has never driven in those conditions in her life was pretty freaked out. I just kept on, steady, slow and both hands on the wheel. And I made sure to not make any changes in steering that were not very gradual.

It kept snowing hard until we were about 30 miles outside Des Moines. Then the roads were finally clear enough that we could drive the speed limit. That was a great relief.

We drive back to Florida end of this week. That storm was a little atypical so I’m guessing we should have better conditions for the ride home.

Schmap Used A Photo Of Mine

This is not that big a deal – but it is mildly cool to me. A photo that I put on flickr from my trip to Hungary has been used as part of a tourism guide for Budapest. The site is called Schmap and they didn’t pay me or anything. It looks like they go through flickr (and other sites I would guess) looking for photos they might use and then asking permission to do so. I think they update things pretty frequently – so I have no idea how long it will be up there, but it’s fun to look at. The photo I took is in the top right corner – credited to ronpeckjr. It has the Chain Bridge in the foreground and the parliament building in the background. I haven’t looked at my photos from that trip in a while, but seeing them again makes me want to go back.

Back From Vacation

We just got back into Orlando today. We spent the last week in the Tampa area – Treasure Island to be exact. It was a nice, relaxing time which was just what we needed.

We spent a lot of time at the beach and the pool, took in a Rays game, visited the Florida aquarium and played a few games of Trouble. The kids took in some Disney channel, enjoying the fact that they had cable where we stayed. Ingrid and I each got to read a fluff novel, and I got to work through most of a really great book on intellectual property. Sounds boring but it really wasn’t. I’ll have a review up over at GeekBook pretty soon.

We are very fortunate to get to take the time for something like this. I also think about how nice it is to be so well off that we can just go stay somewhere, take a week off work, etc. Not everybody has that kind of luxury. I’m really thankful.

Next week the is the last of summer vacation for the kids. Then it’s back to school, so hopefully this gave them some nice summer memories. The first third of their vacation was OSP – so I think this kind of balanced it out.

We didn’t have internet access – for a week. And I lived. How about that?