Sunday, April 01, 2007

There and Back Again

Please, Tolkien, don't sue for that headline. I have heard clamoring for a new post, and since it's been two months, I'm waaaay overdue.

A couple of weeks ago I made a trip to the Lone Star State. It was a sports trip to cover the LSU Lady Tiger basketball team, but an easy trip wouldn't make the blog, of course.

Since this was an out of town trip, we were going in Mobile 30, the Deuce's satellite uplink truck. I like Mobile 30, but she had just spent a week in the shop for a major oil leak. We got her back the night before we were to leave, so there was no time for a shakedown. This would prove unfortunate.

I had hoped to leave early enough to avoid rush hour traffic in Houston, so I showed up at the station at 11 am, hoping to leave no later than noon. BD had to shoot Syl and the girls leaving, so we didn't leave until 1:30. That's when I realized that the air conditioner wasn't working. A nine hour trip, and we didn't have A/C, but the weather was cool, so it wouldn't be that bad. "If this is the only problem we have this trip, then I'll take it," I said to BD. Almost prophetic, don't you think? Read on.

We got to Houston at 6 pm...awesome. Forty-five minutes later we were on Hwy. 290 and the last third of our drive, which was rather uneventful. The Doubletree was a great hotel; we were a dozen paces from the fitness room, and a score from the pool. It was also sandwiched between a Pappacito's and a Pappadeaux's restaurants. We were definately eating well on this trip. While it wasn't across the street from the venue, it was only 10 minutes away on I-35, which ran right in front of the hotel.

Friday was our first day in the city, and we discovered that we were just in time for the SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. I haven't seen that many vehicles hauling trailers since Katrina. Everywhere we walked we saw bands unloading, heard them playing, or saw them packing up. Great if we were looking for bands, but instead we were looking for LSU fans. We didn't find any, so we headed to the Erwin Center. Around 4 pm the press conferences were about to begin, so I headed out to the truck to get it set up for our 6 pm sat shot. I fired up the generator, but as my questing finger reached the first switch, it died, never to run for the duration of the trip.

I knew I had a shore power cable in the back, so I wasn't too worried, I just needed to find an outlet, which was nearby, but no electrons were flowing. The question I got from keepers of the power was "Did you order power?" Hmmm, we have our own generator, so...not really. Finally somone showed up about 5:45 pm. The first window opened at 5:50. We didn't make that one.

Why? When I powered up the racks, they tripped the breaker. I was now participating in The Ken Mattingly Experience. It was just like Apollo 13, except no lives were on the line. Once I got my power-up sequence figured out, I thought I was good to go. But why wasn't the HPA powered up? It's because I only had one circuit powered. I thought the A/C was the only thing on the other circuit, but the HPA is on that one as well. Luckily I was able to borrow one from one of the other trucks there, and got the 6:15 shot up in time.

The rest of the trip was, thankfully, rather uneventful. I saw 'Tim and Eric' who have a show on Cartoon Network, but didn't want to interrupt their meal. The day after we got back, the generator tech showed up to work on it. He got it to start on the first try.

It later died and a faulty fuel pump was found to be the problem. So I wasn't crazy after all.

1 comment:

Widescreen said...

You write well enough, just not often enough! The story is not just about the content but how you paint a picture.

You did that with your WW2 vet story and how you described your home town.

Keep it up.