Taking My Stand In Dixie

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by Noel Mugavin, Sep 4, 2018.

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  1. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    (AKA Redneck Wonderland)

    2 weeks until I take off, and really looking forward to this one, on my short sojourn to the mid-south of the USA.
    A little background, young fella I taught and coached, he also boarded with me for a year until he took off, made the transition from Australian Rules Footballer to American Football punter.Very talented sportsman, gained himself a scholarship to play at a NCAA bowl eligible college. The main reasoning for my trip is to visit the young fella and also spend a bit of time driving around the traps.
    The trip has been about 1 year in the planning, so changed my credit cards, changed my shopping loyalty from Coles to Woolworths, even took out some life insurance, all in the pursuit of increasing my chances of securing an upgrade to business on my flights. Then I booked a non-upgradeable fare. Silver lining, have lots of points, access to the lounge in Sydney, so get a shower after my red eye from Perth, also had a short trip to Adelaide due to the American Express credit card. But will still be a long time in cattle class from Sydney to Dallas.

    So a short preview of my trip.
    Will fly to here from Dallas, and spend a couple of nights.

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    Off to the college, and college town, watch the young fella play, then fortunate to spend 3 days in the football department racking up the PD hours

    grisham.jpg .

    Will get the opportunity to visit a couple more colleges

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    Will also get to a few other cities

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    louisville lip.jpg

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    And off the beaten track a little to see some well known sights

    nic cave.jpg

    jack daniel.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 3

  2. lakeman

    lakeman Intern

    Oct 5, 2006
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    Mmm , my curiosty is whetted !
     
  3. docjames

    docjames Senior Member

    Jul 10, 2007
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    Interesting photo preview.
     
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  4. Major

    Major Established Member

    Jan 21, 2011
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    Looking forward to the TR
     
  5. Straubs

    Straubs Member

    Aug 5, 2014
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    Wow, can't wait ...
     
  6. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    I'm a very black and white person with little imagination, for whatever reason, and a very rare occurrence, thought outside the box and have tried to be a bit cryptic with the photos of some of the places I'll be visiting. Trip report proper will return to my usual bland self.
    12 days out and have had a bit of a setback. Ripped the carpet up in my lounge room during the week and replaced with laminate. Carpet too hard to keep clean with the dog always losing hair; will completely replace all flooring in my house next year, so have gone cheap and nasty in the meantime. So after laying the boards, off course my back has flared up. Has improved over the last few days, only the sciatic nerve giving me grief at the moment, confident I'll be right by the 19th.
    Unfortunately my knee has gone out in sympathy, feeling a bit unstable, had surgery just under 3 years ago, not feeling as bad as it did then, but fingers crossed nothing serious. I am a bit of a walker when traveling, also hoping to show the college boys how to kick properly.

    The cause of all my problems

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    • Like Like x 6
  7. Briar1078

    Briar1078 Member

    Dec 7, 2013
    382
    123
    Country NSW
    Aww, but look at that face. Definitely worth the trouble. Hope this is temporary, a result of the hard work and not major damage, so you're back in form for the big trip. Looking forward to the TR.
     
  8. love_the_life

    love_the_life Established Member

    Dec 21, 2012
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    But she is gorgeous. Last time I seem to remember she caused a few problems too as she had injured her leg. Maybe she just doesn't want you to go on holidays without her. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Red eye to Sydney, a little delay as it arrived late in to Perth, then a longer delay as after most people were seated there was some movement and a family of about 6 all upped and grabbd their bags and off they went. Short time later message throug th plane about a bit of a delay as bags were being off loaded.
    Uneventful flight, few short naps, seem to be getting better at catching some sleep while flying.
    To the transit lounge, heard bloke in front of mentioning something about a cancellation, thought too myself 'bad luck mate, sucks to be you'
    I get to the agent 'QF7's been cancelled, it will go tomorrow'
    So after getting instructions etc, here I am in the Mecure hotel, will try to get a couple of hours kip then have a bit if a wander around Sydney.
    Lose abut half a day in the US, but all good can still get to do what I had planned to do.
     
  10. kermatu

    kermatu Established Member

    May 27, 2012
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    Her revenge for you abandoning her last time!

    Hope your trip got back on track??
     
  11. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Yep, all good. Couple of hiccups along the way, sitting in my AirBNB in Louisville atm, heading home Sunday
     
  12. ozmatt

    ozmatt Member

    Mar 8, 2015
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    I only just noticed your trip report! Looking forward to seeing some pics! I have popped over to a couple of LSU games in the past couple of years. Have had the most amazing time in and around Baton Rouge. They too have an aussie punter.
     
  13. kookaburra75

    kookaburra75 Member

    Mar 26, 2017
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    Glad to hear you got there. Although I'm still working out your photo collage. Most I get, but Nick Cave?
     
  14. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Been back just under 2 weeks and finally iinet have got around to sorting my slow internet out. So back on board and on with the report.

    Bit of a bleak day in Sydney as we came in to land

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    So given the news by Qantas that I wouldn't be leaving until 9.00am the next day, found myself with my hotel and transfer voucher waiting in the line for the shuttle to the Mecure. Didn't sound too promising about getting to the hotel quickly, lady complaining she had been waiting over an hour, jumped on the next shuttle that came and demanded that she be taken to where she wanted to go. They took her. Fortunately didn't take too long and room was ready at the hotel as well. Shower and a bit of a snooze.

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    At the airport the lady told me I would have to contact the Qantas call centre to sort my connecting flight from Dallas to Memphis,

    fed ex.jpg

    which I planned to do when I woke after my short nana nap.

    Little tangent here, the young fella i was going to see had no family in Perth so lived with his girlfriend and her family in Perth. As happens, they broke up and hence why he ended up at my house. Importance of this, ex-girlfriends family absolutely adore him, and ex-girlfriends mum, partner, 2 year old twin boys and both adults set of parents were in the US at the same time visiting the young bloke. They had spent 4 weeks previously in the old country of Italy before heading over to the states. Added to this, 18 year old sister of ex-girlfriend and her best friend were travelling to see him as well, and would be on the same flight as myself to the US. They were travelling later as couldn't take that much time from work or Uni, and also had netball finals. Coincidence that they were going to be on the same flight, but we knew this for a while. Both girls also ex-students and had graduated last year. They were coming in on a morning flight, so left a message with them re our flight being cancelled. Received a phone call when they landed and asked them information they had been given - same I had received, flight leaving 9.00am tomorrow, put up at same hotel and would see them in a short while.

    With the updated, same, information put a call in to the call centre about organising my Memphis transfer. Lady started by saying can't get you on a LA or San Francisco flight today as all full. Quickly stopped her and said that lady at airport had put me on tomorrow's 9.00am flight to Dallas. Couple of seconds, 'no flight going at 9.00am tomorrow'. Until now I had been quite at ease with what had been happening and that I would miss a bit of a day, but did get quite frustrated now with contradictory information. After a few minutes of me asking the call centre lady to be 100% sure no plane was going at 9.00 the next morning, allowed her to put me on the next day's QF7, and transfer to Memphis at 5.00pm. So a full day would be missed, and something I wanted to avoid, would be picking up a hire car and driving at night after a long flight with no sleep.

    A little while later the girls arrived at the hotel, asked them if their arrangements had changed, both said no, going at 9.00am tomorrow. Again frustration, relayed my dealings with the call centre. Daughter was on the phone to mum in the US, and long story short, after multiple phone calls and lots of frustration, had confirmed no 9.00am flight, we were all on tomorrow's QF 7, and 5.00pm to Memphis.

    Made use of a bit of the $100 hotel credit given by having lunch at the hotel restaurant, then we headed in to Sydney proper. Best friend had never been, so had a look at the bridge, Opera House, The Rocks, and a bit of a wander around the CBD, and fortunately the weather had turned it on. Probably says a bit about the character of the girls that they were willing to spend an afternoon wandering around with a daggy middle aged man.


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    Back to the hotel mid-late afternoon, another bit of a rest, would meet up and head out to dinner a little later on.

    Now the story takes another bit of a twist. Remember the ex-girlfriend? She now lives in Sydney

    IMG_0010__1540210407_106.68.237.136.jpg

    In that building on the left. Stones throw from the hotel. In her car and in to Newtown, couldn't find anywhere to park, so back to our starting point and walked over the road to the rowing club. Couldn't complain too much when having dinner with 3 lovely young ladies. After a while headed back, the girls went to ex-girlfriends apartment to watch the batchelor, did get an invite, but gave it a miss.

    Not looking forward to 15 hours in economy the next day
     
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  15. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Couple of other little things, used Uber for the first time from home to the airport. Kenyan driver of Indian descent, asked why the move to Australia, about 12 years ago, 'had enough after the 7th time i had a gun in my face' Fair enough. Interesting bloke, successful businessman in Kenya, never quite accepted due to his ethnicity, hasn't been back as still fearful of what may happen.

    Received a call from Qantas about 8.30pm while in Sydney asking if everything had been sorted re adjusted flights. Apologies from them about all the confusion re 9.00am flight etc, etc. Nice touch, but also reflected lack of communication within Qantas itself.

    While trying to get to sleep suddenly had the thought that my hire car might not still be available due to turning up 12 hours after my initial time. Went on to rental cars to try and change pick up time, wanted me to cancel and re-book, would've cost an extra $300. On the phone to Thrifty in the US, lot of confusion trying to spell my name, eventually confirmed they would hold my booking until midnight of the day I had booked.

    Of course had booked a non-refundable hotel booked for the night I lost in Memphis, but swings and roundabouts, had the hotel and credit for the day in Sydney.
     
  16. kermatu

    kermatu Established Member

    May 27, 2012
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    Would insurance cover you for the lost night in Memphis?
     
  17. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Excess with Covermore is more than the hotel cost, might have a go with credit card insurance
     
  18. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Up early next morning, buffet breakfast and then a bit of a walk around the Wolli Creek area trying out the new camera.

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    Had organised the shuttle for 9.00am when we returned from the city the previous afternoon, so met up with the girls at about 8.50. Shuttle was there, so luggage on and in we went. Confusion with the shuttle driver with us and a couple of other passengers re our vouchers, which none of us had as the hotel took them. Driver was frustrated as apparently Qantas was supposed to organise the shuttle rather than us, we all were in agreeance that Qantas had never passed that information on to us. Anyway, we got going and a short time later were in the terminal.
    Ex-girlfriend little sister led the way and soon enough had us ready to head into the check in line, right up until best friend quietly reminded her we were traveling on Qantas rather than Virgin.
    Off we went again up to Qantas. Qantas staff member insisted we go through the check in kiosks, told him it wouldn't work as were were transferring in the US. He insisted it would be fine. To make him happy the girls complied and guess what? didn't allow them to check in. Just gave the young bloke a 'thanks mate' and off we went to line up at the check in line. At which point Qantas lady told us to go away and pointed to another line about 20 metres away. Bit perplexed, but then saw they were taking the Qantas signs down and changing them to American.
    Back of the line for a few minutes and no movement, then a bit of a 'got to be kidding' from where we had just been. Fella from the shuttle was at the front of the line of where we first went to, when he was told to join the back of our line. He wasn't happy, so advised to go to the 1st class line, where another Qantas rep told him to leave. We were following this development with interest now, as we could see the frustration of this poor bloke rising. He stood his ground and gladly for him they checked him in without giving him any more of the run around.
    Our line hadn't moved at all, so best friend took off for a bit more of a look, came back and said follow me. For whatever reason, we had been told to line up behind an American Airlines traveling group who weren't going anywhere. Anyway, Qantas kiosks had just opened around the proximity of the area we were told to go to, girls had no issues checking in, bit more time for mine as check in agent had a few problems removing my bags from yesterday's flight that didn't actually go, and were on the belt next to him. Supervisor eventually worked it out, and was assured my bags would be there in Dallas. Still had my aisle seat, and a spare seat next to me at the time of check-in, and also my lounge pass still survived.
    Left the girls as I went to the lounge for a coffee and a bit of a snack

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    Moved to have a look at the Amex lounge. Not very big, grabbed a couple of waters for myself and the girls, and a photo of our plane getting towed in.

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    Back out, spent a bit of time with the girls, then back to the Qantas lounge for a last nibble.
    Something light

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    And didn't partake

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    Did have a little cup of gelato though.

    Soon enough time to go to the gate. Through both Perth and Sydney I had been pulled aside for the wand over me and in my back pack, and for boarding at this gate I was top of the list for the extra screening here. All pretty painless, girls thought it was great.
     
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  19. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    On board, full flight so no spare seat, menus and bottles of water handed out, took off about an hour late. Had pre-booked my meal, and thankful I did, parmesan coated chicken breast, probably nicest meal I've had on a plane, and all out of them when they got to the section I was in. Eton Mess was a pretty good dessert as well. Girls were a few rows in front of me and dropped sleeping pills, so they were out of it for about the next 10 hours. I read A Wink From the Universe for about the first 6 hours, book about the Western Bulldogs premiership season, few episodes of Family Guy, the movie Flying High, then listened to music for the last 5 hours. Caught about 20 minutes of sleep in there.
    Landed in an overcast and rainy Dallas, some talk that outgoing flights might not happen due to weather. Bit of a hiccup at the baggage carousel, someone had taken sister's bag, similar bag that was left on the carousel had onward tags so my thoughts were that no dramas, they would have dropped sister's bag at the transfer area. Ground staff were of the same thinking.
    Off we went, through security, and off to terminal A if I recall correctly.
    Little something to eat.

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    Group 8 boarding for us, sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes past scheduled departure time as waited in line for the weather to calm a bit. Eventually made it, family welcoming committee was there for the girls and thankfully so was little sister's bag.

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  20. Noel Mugavin

    Noel Mugavin Active Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    578
    978
    Bags came out, thankfully younger sister's bag was there, family group took off and I trudged over to the hire car building with plans to meet up on Beale Street in an hour or so.
    My original plan was to arrive in Memphis Thursday night, a sleep in an airport hotel, pick the car up Friday morning, bit of exploring then into Memphis mid-late afternoon, ribs at Charles Vergo's and then some bar hopping to listen to some music on Beale Street. Unfortunately thanks to Qantas, no exploring, no ribs, limited time on Beale St, and driving tired at night.
    Bit of paperwork then over to the choice of cars. Threw the bags into a Kia something or other, lady then came over said I couldn't have that one, for some reason I can't remember, not caring much by this stage went to throw the bags in the car next to it. Something in the boot, told the lady 'think someone's left a bag or something in here' 'No sir, it goes with the car' T'was the floor mats, brand new car, 4 miles on the odometer, plastic still covering seats and other parts inside, bar code still on the door.

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    My chariot (from the hotel parking garage next morning)

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    Into the car, quick moment to get my thoughts right 'loose left, tight right' and off I went. I knew where I had to go, had planned on google maps many, many times, and of course I took a wrong turn. Little bit of panic, hitting the wipers instead of the indicators, people wandering along a dark road, re-grouped enough to head back to the airport and start again.
    Much better 2nd time around, into Memphis proper and the Peabody Hotel. Bit of a walk from the hotel parking garage into the hotel, checked in and then for a shower. Went to get the keys to unlock my bags, couldn't find them anywhere. Back to the car I went, sure enough had left them on the front seat. Another trudge back to the hotel, and a lot of time wasted.

    The room

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    Really play on the duck theme

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    Hard sell on the rubber ducks
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    Cheap option, took a duck shaped soap from the bathroom

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