Tuesday, January 1, 2008

DAY 1: Departure

November 30th was my last day working at Starr Hill Brewing Co. The month of December was spent on a combination of tying up all the necessary loose ends so that I could leave the country for more than 5 months, and building a new brewery in Roanoke, VA, which I will operate upon my return. I slept very little, and just barely managed to get the bare minimum done in Roanoke and get my things into storage before leaving the US. John Smith was instrumental in the entire process, as were my awesome girlfriend, Meg, and the Hall family in Roanoke. Also, I'll be updating the BBC website with pictures of our progress in Roanoke soon.

I arrived at Richmond International Airport on January 1st to begin the trip to Germany. I had an enormous suitcase and a small backpack. I knew that there was a chance that I would have difficulty checking the enormous suitcase (it was heavy), but I had put a second backpack inside of the suitcase in case I had to split up the weight and check 2 bags rather than just 1. (Personally, I think this is ridiculous since it is the same total weight either way.) I put the suitcase on the scale and it was 44 pounds too heavy! No problem, I had time to spare and the clerk was agreeable to me splitting up the weight. My argument that it was the same total weight didn’t get me anywhere. My first attempt was good, but not good enough. (Only 34 pounds in the backpack.) This was a problem as the bag was already bursting-at-the-seams-full. After what was probably an hour of reconfigurations I got the overweight bag down to 54 pounds (only 4 pounds too heavy) and the clerk let me check it anyway. I couldn’t tell if she was just being nice or didn’t want me to keep tying up the scale.

I get to the gate and find out that my flight from Richmond to Philadelphia is delayed. This is a problem as there is only one Philly to Munich flight per day and I would no longer be on it. They hastily re-routed me (Charlotte to Frankfort) minutes before the plane to Charlotte boarded. I listened as they called the baggage dept to reroute my bags as well. Apparently that wasn’t as successful as re-routing me.

Due to a combination of a metal plate under the seat in front of me, my now drastically expanded (to hold more weight) carry-on backpack (which would save me later on), and the fact that the entire plane had already boarded by the time my new flight arrived (so the overhead bins were all full), the trip was more uncomfortable than usual.

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