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Rubber to the road

-Had a long conversation with S this afternoon.

-Made a reservation for a hotel room at Versailles, based on the recommendations of some of the Arizona randonneurs. It was the last room available at the place. Time to start looking into airfare as well, and thinking about bike transport logistics. I am thinking about flying in to London to meet up with gfrancie somehow and get a taste of England, then experiencing the Chunnel to get to Paris (trains!). Commentary on international airlines appreciated.

-I am pretty sure I'm going to rent a car and drive up to Ames for a 200k the weekend of April 11th. It's about a 3-hour drive to Ames. I hate hate hate dealing with car rentals and driving, but I haven't been able to find any other randos in Lincoln yet - just one older guy who enjoys wearing Rapha gear who got a little dreamy-eyed about PBP. I was pretty up-front about everything that's involved in gearing up to do PBP, and he got pale at that point. I don't have enough time in Lincoln to cultivate long-distance riding buddies - the three women I've found so far are already veterans of long-distance gravel riding, faster than me, and not exactly randonneurs, but potentially good training buddies. But you know what? Strong, fast WOMEN. That's what. On top of the additional collection of cool women (and men) who showed up for a club ride on Saturday.

-There's a full brevet series hosted mostly out of Nebraska City, which is only 50 miles from here, but I haven't found any good transportation methods for getting there aside from renting a car. If it was only 30 miles, I'd consider riding out, but I can't miss too much work. So, Ames will be practice for the bigger brevets. Really, the mental preparation is going to be critical this go around.

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( 12 remarks — Remark )
thewronghands
Mar. 30th, 2015 03:20 pm (UTC)
Sadly, nearly every international airline I have been on is better than nearly every American airline. They do sometimes have hard-stop, no rebook time deadlines that may not be evident... I was appalled when Mayhem and I missed our flight to Iceland and we had to repurchase an in-two-days ticket to get there. (I try to leave more time at the airport. Mayhem is often kinda last minute. Wow that sucked. If it is at all within my power I am not going to permit that to happen again; that was a $2k-now-or-cancel-the-trip mistake.) So, yeah, be at the airport at least two hours before your flight, and really I'm happier with three, if you're flying Iceland Air. I don't know if this is normal for other international airlines... I'm usually more timely than that!

Who were you thinking of flying with? I can give you my experiences if it's someone I've flown with, but usually I end up going with whatever's cheapest on kayak.com.
rebeccmeister
Mar. 30th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, I remember that insane Iceland situation. The last time I flew out for PBP, I took Iceland Air on purpose, because S and I had wanted to check out Iceland a bit, and it also allowed us to trap his mom in the Reykjavik airport, instead of trying to meet up with her in the Amsterdam airport (she gets lost easily because she doesn't pay attention to where she is or where she's going). I liked Iceland Air quite a lot, but maybe I should just go with the kayak.com option...

I guess the one tricky piece is that I'll be checking a bicycle, which gets expensive, and handling by the airline is a factor.
thewronghands
Mar. 30th, 2015 05:06 pm (UTC)
Hm, yeah, the only time I've flown with a bicycle was Seattle to New Orleans, and Southwest just lets you count it as one of your two free bags. (Winning!) I'm probably going to do it this July -- Mayhem and I are going to Denver to do the Oyster race with randomdreams, and I'm debating bringing my own bike vs. renting one there. But I have no international bicycle flight data, sadly.
rebeccmeister
Mar. 30th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
Also, I can say, with certainty, for Pacific flights, that Quantas and All-Nippon Airways are both highly civilized. Friends tell me that the trans-Pacific flights run by US carriers aren't as good, either.
thewronghands
Mar. 30th, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC)
They aren't. I select against US carriers when flying internationally because of that. I concur about Qantas and All-Nippon. I've also had good experiences with Singapore Air, Korean Air, and there are probably more that I'm just not thinking of right now for the Pacific. Their regular seats are our business class, basically. Sigh.
gfrancie
Mar. 30th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC)
when will you be in Europe?
rebeccmeister
Mar. 30th, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
So, I will be in France from at least August 15-22...I could build England time onto that, either before or after.
gfrancie
Mar. 30th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
August is a fun time. The kids are on holidays then. We should find a way to meet up.
rebeccmeister
Mar. 30th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
Okay, sweet!

I haven't gotten as far as coming up with an agenda for the UK leg of the trip, so I am open to suggestions. Man, it would be great to see the kids - it has been years!
gfrancie
Apr. 1st, 2015 10:42 pm (UTC)
Cool. We are trying to decide when/where we want to go on holiday (staying domestic this year.) so we will coordinate things.
rebeccmeister
Apr. 2nd, 2015 12:48 am (UTC)
Hooray!

It seems to me that there is plenty to explore in your neck of the woods. :-)
gfrancie
Apr. 3rd, 2015 11:49 am (UTC)
Loads!
( 12 remarks — Remark )

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