Friday, April 27, 2012

April has zipped by...

To my many readers (or are there any left?), I apologize.  I have truly been on the road, and I have failed to blog about it for a month.  I should be flogged.

Let me give you a brief run down of where I have been recently.

This week:
Monday    I visited the TransAlta Power Plant in Centralia, WA.  They have equipment from BRUKS Rockwood and I was there to see about a disquieting noise it was making.  The plant was completely down, and has been since January due to the abundance of water in the Columbia River (see the Big Questions Cafe blog about this from a month ago), and the low price of natural gas.  Coal power is not currently cost effective in this climate, it seems. Anyway, I was able to offer some good service during their visit and all now seems to be OK.

Wednesday    I flew to Houston, TX, to the IAH airport (George Bush), which is on the north side of town.  I then rented a car and drove to Galveston.  I stayed in the Holiday Inn on the Seawall, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  Ordinarily this is no big shakes, but a steady wind was blowing at 20-30 MPH, and there were dozens of ships lying off the harbor, waiting their turn to get into port.  Very pretty sight.  The temp was 86 when I landed, and didn't get below 72 the whole time I visited.  BTW, Hobby Airport is way closer to Galveston that IAH, but I couldn't get good tickets to HOU without going through Atlanta, or some other inconvenient place.  The irony is that I had to drive right by HOU on my way to Galveston.  IAH is about 30 miles north of HOU, and about 70 miles from Galveston.

Thursday     I visited one of these ports, who want to buy a ship loader to export fertilizer and soda ash.  My meeting time was 1:00, so I worked in my room until about 11:00, then checked out and drove around old downtown Galveston, and presented myself at the port at 12:45.  Then I sat and waited in the small room by the door until the company president and the GM were done with their other meeting and were ready to let me in, which happened at about 2:25.  When I did get in we had a good meeting, and I think they are interested in an offer from us for their project.  I had to depart by 4:00 to catch my plane, and I made it fine because there were no traffic problems at that time of day.  So, I spend 48 hours of travel time for a 1:30 meeting.  I hate to put the costs into an equation in this case, the cost per hour would be too terrible to think about.  I got in to SEA at about 11:30 pm PDT, and was in my bed at 12:40 am.  Long day.

OK, so today I'm home.  Sunday Judy and Marilyn depart for a conference in California.  Monday I head to Portland area for a conference.  We all get back on Wednesday, and Thursday Judy and I head to Washington DC for a wedding next weekend.  Wow, what a lot of air time.

I'll try and be a bit better at keeping you all up to date with where I am and where I am going.  I've been a bit lax.  - Des