Traveling rarely goes without a hitch. These hitches are particularly troublesome if one tries to do a lot of different things in a short period of time. I had travelled to Scotland to play golf in the country where golf was born, and then sight see with my wife and take advantage of the amazing scenery . One could do these things every day for a year and never get tired. Impatiently, I tried to do all these things in about a week – spending 5 days playing golf around Edinburgh and 3 days touring the area around Glencoe and the Isle of Skye. However my plan was immediately put in jeopardy. My decision to check in luggage was the first of many mistakes…
Sensor: Canon 6D
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
Title: The Lone Road to Storr
Now I avoid checking my bags at all costs when I fly. Something always seem to happen. But I figured since 1) I was already checking my golf bag, 2) it was a non-stop flight from SFO to LHR, a major route, 3) I checked in 2.5 hours before departure, and 4) I had 1K status for the first time this year, that my risk of lost luggage would be almost zero. So I checked in both of my bags. Mistake number one. That mistake would have been minimal if I had not made mistake number 2 – Also checking in some photography equipment as well.
The good news is that they did not delay or lose my golf bag – playing golf with unfamiliar equipment can ruin a game. But they did not deliver my other bag that had some essential photography gear. I had to rethink my whole strategy/purpose of traveling to western Scotland. I was even thinking of just purchasing new expensive equipment. I spent all of next the next day trying to find where my bag was. No one could tell me anything and the frustration was mounting, and one whole afternoon wasted buying clothes, shoes, and other items.
The bag eventually turned up, to my relief. I think checking in my tripod was the reason my bag was delayed. Those things probably look scary in an x-ray machine. So I will avoid doing that in the future. But the “excitement” didn’t stop there. I had rented a car for the week. Not a challenging at first glance, but this was the first time I was driving myself in right hand drive car. It was also a manual, which I had to get used to shifting with my left hand. Almost all the rental cars in Scotland are manual. Unless I was willing to splurge on a luxury car -which I was not- the car was going to be a stick. The roads in Scotland are much narrower than in the States, and many of them have curbs. My wife kept on telling me that I was always driving too close to the left and coming dangerously close to hitting the curbs. My left ear began to hurt at the end of the day.
Sensor: Canon 6D
Location: Glencoe, Scotland
Well the tire had a few scrapes, but nothing serious. We had made it all the way to Ft. William to the small hotel that we were staying at. As I was deciding which space was the easiest to park into, I got too close to a high curb and blew the tire. I cursed. Could my whole rest of my trip be ruined because of my driving incompetence? I quickly pondered “Could I drive 300 miles on a donut spare? I would need to keep it under 50 mph the whole time.” I unloaded, the jack from the trunk from the Volkswagen Golf. Now let me tell you, the may know how to build cars, but they know jack about building a jack. It literally broke apart because of a poor design that welds the crank handle to the jack. Priceless. Was I stuck here indefinitely?
Well thankfully the auto assistance program kicked in as well as I could have expected and was able to change into a spare. I the drove the car to the local tire shop and get everything done by 9:30 AM. It was a couple of hours later than I wanted to get out that morning, but much better than it could have been. Thank goodness, because I would not have been able to experience the gorgeous landscapes of Scotland. More images to come.