First Full Day In Portland.

It seems like the sun comes up a 5am here.  That’s a lot of hours of sunlight.
 
It was pretty easy to get out and going to my 8:15 am appointment.  However, 5 minutes away from the hotel…I forgot a copy of my resume as requested.  Ugh.
 
The traffic in Portland is pretty laid back for there being so many vehicles.  While there were always a lot of people around in traffic, there was never really traffic gridlock.  Everything just flowed smoothly.  That was unusual to me for what I’ve experienced elsewhere.
 
The place I interviewed this morning is the same type of place I interviewed at in Vegas.  However, their client is Qwest.  I know about what Qwest does.  Makes me feel like I could have a leg up.  I was invited back for a second interview tomorrow.  I don’t actually have to go to a Home Depot for this one, so I accepted the interview.
 
I headed back to the hotel after that.  I didn’t want to sit around there trying to find more people to contact, so I decided to go find a McDonald’s and get a bite, because practically all McDonald’s have free wi-if these days.  The one I found had free wi-if, but no power plugs.  Fail.
 
While I was finding this McDonald’s, I missed the turn in, so took the nearest street to find a place to turn around.  I ended up finding Marine Drive.  It’s a street that follows right along the river, which happens to take you right by the airport.  There was someone taking pictures right at the end of the runway.  At further places to pull off, there were people just parked there and chilling out.  I guess that’s where people go to get away during the day?  I finally find one of these pull-offs where I can turn around, and it has a “No Parking” sign.  Turns out all these pull-outs where people were parked had these signs, too.  No one was coming to do anything about it though.
 
I made some more calls and emails this afternoon, but to no response.  You’d think people would be more open if they are trying to fill open employment spots.

On To Portland.

Today I flew from Las Vegas to Portland.  It was cheaper about the same amount of money as driving, but it was a time saver.  I checked out of The Luxor just before 8am.  I knew I had to be at the airport by 8:30, but I also knew the airport was basically around the corner in a manner of speaking.
 
Here’s the funny thing.  The line at the ticket counter to check bags took me longer than the security line.  That was really interesting to me.
 
I got on the plane and picked a row to sit in.  As Tara can attest to, I picked the aisle as usual.  I need the leg and the shoulder room.  Here I am thinking that I will have the whole aisle to myself.  Then this kid that looked to be somewhere between 7 and 9 years old says “Here’s two seats Mommy”.  Great.  I let them both in.  The kid sits by the window.  At least his mom wasn’t a big person.  When she sits down, she proceeds to inform me of something very important.
 
“I just want to let you know that we usually have to go to the bathroom a lot.  If that’s a problem, we can move to a different seat.”
 
Ok, so was I going to be one of those people who was selfish?  I could have said yes I wanted them to move.  But I didn’t.  I’m thinking that at least the kid can crawl over me.  Because usually when a parent accompanied by their kid says “we” have to go to the bathroom a lot, it’s the kid they are referring to.
 
The one time the bathroom came in to play, it wasn’t the kid.  It was the mom.  Color me surprised!
 
Coming in for a landing at Portland I got an interesting visual effect.  I knew that the airport was right on the river.  Well, the path the plane took in provided a view of the land out the left side, but of nothing but water on the right side.  My brain first thought “is this plane equipped with pontoons?”
 
I was one of the first people off the plane.  It took me about 4 minutes to get from the gate to baggage claim.  It was another 3 minutes by the time luggage started coming out.  That’s a record!  Big props to the Southwest ground crew at PDX.  They deserve a raise!
 
So I obviously read up on Portland before going there so I could come across at least like I was informed.  The one thing I read that stood out was that Portland was the most “green” city in the country.  I could see the effects of that before I even left the airport.  I get to the lower level to go to the rental car counter, and there is a moving walkway that runs on a motion detector.  How wild is that?!?
 
I get on the shuttle to my rental car place, the driver’s name as posted on the front of the bus was “Wildman”.  I like him already.  He explained a back way to get to my hotel from the rental car office.
 
Here was a new one on me.  Thrifty said I had to fill up with gas within 10 miles or less from their office before returned AND I had to present a receipt for that gas when I got back.  Weird.  I had a brand new Taurus.  Awesome car.  Felt like luxury for just me.  But it would probably be a really good family car.
 
The Holiday Inn I’m staying at looks a little older, but appears to have some renovation work done recently.  I really like the check-in desk.  They have three separate smaller desks.  It’s an open set-up.  It makes things feel a little more personable.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a configuration like this in a hotel, and I absolutely love the concept.  I think more hotels need to be set up this way.
 
I spent the afternoon sending more emails and trying to make phone calls to set up my two days in Portland.  Did I actually get through to talk to someone though?  No.  Ugh.
 
When it got around dinner time, I decided to do something before getting dinner that I didn’t do in Las Vegas.  I went and drove to where I had my scheduled interview for tomorrow so I knew exactly how to get there.  There was a lot more potential for traffic issues this time, so I wasn’t going to take that chance.  It was 25 minutes.  I decided to budget 30-35 minutes for tomorrow morning since I had to make the drive again during rush hour.
 
Then where did I go get dinner?  Chipotle.

Las Vegas, Day 2

First thing out of the gate was the 2nd interview with the “marketing” firm in town that I talked to yesterday.  They actually had me show up at a Home Depot (their client) to experience the process the entry level people go through trying to get people to have someone come to their home to actually do measuring and consultation on improvements in their home.
 
It was sales.
 
I was uncomfortable with the whole process.
 
After I left, I tried going to a couple of the TV stations in town.  Two of them had positions for website people in their newsroom.  Since it had worked for me before, I tried cold calling.  The Fox station…the news director wasn’t even there.  Ugh.  Then I try the NBC station.  There, I was told by the receptionist that no one at all comes out from the back unless there is a previous appointment set up because of security reasons.  Honestly, the part of town it was in was a little shady.  So I guess I could understand.
 
I went back to the hotel and emailed that news director and even called and left her a voicemail.  No luck.  I made a few more calls this afternoon, but got nowhere with them.
 
Unsuccessful day.
 
One thing did cheer me up though.  Tara and I had watched “America’s Next Great Restaurant” on NBC.  Through the course of that show, we got hammered about Chipotle non-stop.  I thought I might find a Chipotle in Vegas.  I did.  Now I’m officially a big Chipotle fan.

Memorial Day Hunt

Memorial Day started out with me getting up quite early.  I’m in a time zone 2 hours back from home, so my getting up at 8:15 without an alarm clock actually meant I was getting up at 6:15.  I was supposed to be at a scheduled interview at 9am.  I knew I hadn’t found the place yet, so I wanted to make sure and leave with enough time to get there.  I just didn’t want to get there too early.
 
So once I left, I started to walk from my room to my car.  For those of you who have never been to Vegas, some of these places can be more than a half-mile to walk to your car depending on where your room is.  I had been to Vegas once before, but Tara and I never had a car while there (with exception of when we rented one to drive out to the Hoover Dam).  My room was in the east tower of The Luxor, which is the furthest away from their parking you can get.  It took about 12 minutes for me to get from my room on the 15th floor of that tower, down to the 1st floor, skirt along the edge of the pyramid, before cutting across the casino floor to get to the exit for parking.  Even once out that exit, you still had to cross this foot bridge through the pool area, across the street, and to the 2-floor parking garage.
 
It was right about the time I was going to cut across the casino floor that I realized that I had forgot a copy of my resume like I was asked to bring with me.  No time to go back and get it.  I get to my car and start to leave for the place.  Did I follow the directions on my phone’s Google map directions?  No.  I know sometimes they don’t always provide the best way.  Well, long story short, I should have followed them.  There was some non-logic to a few of the streets in Vegas.  I got lost.  Thank goodness I found my way eventually.  I arrived at the place for my interview right at 9am on the dot.
 
I was invited to come back for a 2nd round interview.  Ok, fine.  A job interview is a job interview.
 
I had an interview by phone with a similar “marketing firm” based out of Phoenix a little later in the morning.  Later in the afternoon, I was called asking to come in for a 2nd interview.  I had to decline.  I didn’t know when the earliest I could be in Phoenix was.  Plus, when did “marketing” become sales?  Hate to say it, but there is a delineation that these places ignore.
 
Being Memorial Day, I had some really tough luck trying to make calls this afternoon.  So that was the extent of Memorial Day job hunting.

Sunday Drive

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Here’s where I started out my Sunday morning.  I filled up with gasoline at the nearest gas station to the hotel.  This was the pump I used.  Very pieced together.  While I in the middle of filling up my gas tank, I noticed there was a nice, pristine gas station across the street.  Oh well.  Gas is gas, right?
 
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Of course, I see these blown over signs while I’m driving.  That ends up leading me to this sign below.
 
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Well….duuuuuuuhhhhh….
 
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Now of course, I’ve not been in the desert before, so I’ve not seen how the dirt could blow at the drop of a hat.  However, I’ve seen dirt storms that high before in West Texas.
 
 
 
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I did happen to see this old school hurse.
 
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And yes, I did stop for something besides gas.  I’ve only been across the continental divide by car in Colorado before.
 
 
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I did see these snow capped mountain peaks before getting up in the mountains at Flagstaff.
 
Once in Flagstaff, I did try to take a video of the wind.  However, you couldn’t hear everything.
 
 
 
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I ended up missing the turn off for the Hoover Dam.  I thought it might be faster going from the Arizona side over to the Nevada side than the other way around.  Since I missed that turn off though, I just took a picture of Lake Mead in my rear view mirror as I came up in to Boulder City.
 
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Of course, here is the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
 
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And then here’s the view from my room.  See the cars between the other tower and the pyramid?  It’s nearly a mile walk from my room to my car.

Albuquerque

I took off from Lubbock yesterday, initially meaning to head straight towards Albuquerque.  However, I came across news that family on Tara’s side would be getting together for a Memorial Day weekend BBQ.  I went ahead and redirected to Plainview to go spend some time with everyone.  It only added roughtly 20 minutes of driving time.
 
After I left, I cut across to Muleshoe, and then through Clovis.  It showed me that I haven’t been in New Mexico lately, with exception of I-40.  I wasn’t expecting to be going 65 mph.  The stretch from Fort Sumner to Santa Rosa was tough on me because I hadn’t slept well the night before, but I made it through.
 
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Once to Santa Rosa, I was on I-40 and saw that beautiful sign that said I could go 75 mph.  Texas will have those signs soon.
 
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I must admit, for about 30 seconds, I was thrown off by this sign.  That would be a great place to turn off to go to Camp Blue Haven, but that’s about it.  Not my destination.
 
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It’s a little hard to tell, but those are llamas.
 
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These aren’t llamas, they’re cows.  I was just surprised they were able to craze on scorched earth.
 
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It was a little freaky seeing this truck come along side the train from far off, but I knew what he was doing.
 
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These were the ONLY clouds in the sky at all for the day.  These clouds were just outside of Moriarty.
 
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I find it funny that Motel 76 was sandwiched between Motel 6 and Super 8.
 
Nothing else much to say about Albuquerque.  As soon as this is posted, I’m packing up and getting on my way.  I’m due in Las Vegas by the end of the day!