MHT to MCO
The final tally on the bags (as measured by the Southwest ticket counter) was 68 pounds for the Pelican case, 48 pounds for the REI bag, and 67 pounds for the golf bag. They charged me $25 for the overweight Pelican case (which I expected). They also charged me $25 for the overweight golf bag. I just reviewed the Southwest baggage policies and, while they allow you three checked bags (instead of the traditional 2), they do demand that they all be under 50 pounds to avoid this surcharge. American Airlines policies allow 2 checked bags, but a golf bag can be up to 70 pounds without the surcharge. Always check with the airlines for the specifics before you pack. I didn't follow that advice this time, but as it turns out, I'm not sure knowing the rules ahead of time would have helped me make better packing decisions.
In retrospect, leaving the FT-817 kit behind seems like an obvious choice now that I've seen the final weight tallies. I didn't have an extra 8 pounds of weight budget to spend it, even spread across 3 bags!
From this point on, I start getting lighter. My carry-on bag has paperwork for all seven operators. I will shed all but one of those packets tonight at dinner. Looking ahead, I'll divide up some of the weight among other operators in Orlando going down, and leave some significant amount behind before my return. My goal is to be overweight only on the Pelican case when I come back.
I mentioned to friends these last few days that this trip has snuck up on me. They laughed out loud at this. I've spent most of the last 6 months preparing for this day by creating the web site, log processing tools, doing PR, organizing equipment, and planning logistics. It seemed to them absurd for me to claim "I didn't see this day coming." Well, as absurd as it sounds, I am a bit surprised, and not quite mentally prepared, to be sitting here waiting for that first flight. Perhaps it will register once I'm actually in the seat.
My colleagues have posted some things within our private email list about their desire to get my station on-the-air first, perhaps even within the first hour of our arrival at Gingerbread Hill. I don't know if that is a practical goal, but I sure appreciate the gesture. They are a good bunch of guys.
I meet Bob, my roommate for the night, in Orlando at 4:30. (I just dug out that mail message so I could find his flight number.) It will be the first time that I will have seen Bob face-to-face. In fact, except for Chris and Budd Drummond, I've not met any of these guys in person!
Just a few hours until Orlando and by this time tomorrow I'll be on my way to Montserrat!