Tom Waits recently announced that he would be touring PEHDTSCKJMBA (Phoenix, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, St. Louis, Columbus, Knoxville, Jacksonville, Mobile, Birmingham, and Atlanta), a route which coincides with the constellation Hydra ("Look to the night sky for guidance," Tom said in a YouTube press conference announcing the Glitter and Doom tour). Tom's tours are so few and far between, that we always like to take the opportunity to see a show when we can. Since we do not live in PEHDTSCKJMBA, we would have to travel to see a show. Any excuse to travel is a good one! We didn't have the vacation time to take even one day off, so that made our options rather limited. We needed a Saturday night show, so we chose Saturday, June 28 in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio Theatre.

Due to strict anti-scalping measures and extremely high demand, tickets were not easy to come by. Columbus sold out in a couple of minutes, and though we got through immediately online, we got a pair of tickets for the back of the balcony. Craig was able to upgrade tickets via a charity auction, and gave me third row orchestra for my birthday. We hoped we would be able to find some people in Ohio who could use our extra pair of tickets. We posted on the Raindogs list and told people how to get in touch with us.

Our friends Gary and Vicki got great seats to this show, and they have relatives in Columbus. Vicki's brother Joe and his wife Jan graciously invited us to spend Saturday night at their house. This was greatly appreciated. The Tom Waits show coincided with ComFest, a huge annual festival in Columbus, and it was difficult to get a hotel room downtown. Gary and Vicki had some extra vacation time, so they decided to drive to Ohio, while we flew so that we could make it there and back within the weekend.

Friday 6/27/08 - Arrival in Akron

We left work at 3:30 pm, got some last minute things together at home, and left the house shortly after 4:30. It was our first time flying Air Tran, which is located at Terminal C at Logan. We checked ourselves in at a self-service kiosk, and then schlepped our way down many long corridors to gate 38B. It was part of two gates which were isolated from the rest of Air Tran. There were people packed in and there wasn't enough seating. The staff referred to the tiny terminal as "Air Tran Junior". People disembarked from a plane and couldn't tell which way to go. The signs were confusing, and it turned out that the door they were in fact supposed to use was an emergency exit marked with a warning not to open it or it would set off an alarm. Everyone went the wrong way and it seemed like Candid Camera. After reaching a dead end, they would all turn around and walk back, and the security guard would disarm the emergency exit so that they could leave. It is the most ridiculously designed airport space we had seen (and we've seen some poorly designed airports). All of the real restaurants were outside security, so we bought a couple of bland sandwiches from a snack kiosk.

Our 6:59 flight was delayed until 7:22. We boarded the flight and it didn't take off until 8:00. Once again we are amazed by the people on the flight. It seemed like none of them had ever flown before. One guy kept opening the overhead bin and left it open twice. Each time the flight attendant shut it, she seemed to do it a little more forcefully, with a slight slam, to try to send a message to the guy who kept it leaving it open. The message was never received.

Flights to Akron were a lot cheaper than flights to Columbus, so we had decided to fly into Akron, find a hotel, and then drive to Columbus in the morning. We landed in Akron at 9:30, and went to the Hertz counter. We got a maroon Mazda that smelled terribly of smoke. We drove a whole 1/4 mile from the airport to the Hilton Garden Inn. It was a very pleasant hotel with lots of convenient amenities. They had a flight board with the arrivals and departures hanging right above the reservation desk, and a 24 hour pantry to the right of it. You could buy frozen meals, drinks, beer, ice cream, etc. from the pantry, and then use the in-room microwave to heat the frozen food. We dropped our things in room 89, and then headed back to the lobby for drinks. There were nice comfortable couches and a gas fireplace. Craig drank a Killian's and I had a white zinfandel. We people-watched in the lobby (folks were arriving for a wedding) and then headed up to the room at 11:30. In addition to the microwave, the room had a funky ergonomic chair and a "Garden Sleep System (TM)."
Craig enjoying a beer at the Hilton Garden Inn, Akron Airport

Craig enjoying a beer at the Hilton Garden Inn, Akron Airport

Steph enjoying a glass of wine at the Hilton Garden Inn, Akron Airport

Steph enjoying a glass of wine at the Hilton Garden Inn, Akron Airport

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