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Hawaii/Meat Grinder/Gasconade County days

My apologies for not posting this after the shifts. I got caught up in packing/preparing for my trip to Hawaii. I type this sitting on layover in the majestic Phoenix airport with a view of several USAirways Airbus 319s, “downtown” Phoenix, and Chase Field – home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Anywho, I’m pumped to be getting away from Columbia for a few days. I haven’t left the state of Missouri since January, so this trip is a much-needed break from America’s Heartland. Let me explain how my trip has gone so far:

Woke up at 1:30am. Left for MCI (Kansas City) at about 2. Arrived there 4:30am. Upon parking and waiting for the shuttle bus, I encountered some of the dumbest travelers I’ve ever seen. They had been standing waiting for the shuttle bus for “half an hour” and had no idea the shuttle didn’t run between midnight and 5am unless it was called for on the little hotline phone inside the bus shelter. Then, when the bus showed up and we boarded, they proceeded to have an extremely asinine conversation in a far too energetic manner for 4:30am. Basically, all rules of travel etiquette appeared to not exist in their minds – loud conversation, getting in people’s way, and displaying an overall cluelessness in an extremely easy airport to navigate.

The flight was uneventful until the descent into Phoenix, when I got to see the amazing topography surrounding Phoenix. I was shocked at all those little pimply mountains coming up from the ground with houses surrounding them. And, the basic notion of Phoenix being in a massive valley with huge mountains around it just seems bizarre having been in the Midwest for what feels like forever. I’m also weirded out by all the West Coast people in here. They call this place “America’s Friendliest Airport”…which is a little creepy but hey, whatever. As long as I arrive in Hawaii in one piece…

Anyway, Monday’s shift saw me come in with a couple of tough ideas. I had hoped to work on a story I saw in the Jefferson City News-Tribune about low water levels in Taos. But, everyone I called either knew nothing about what I was talking about, or didn’t

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