Drum Corps International
Flip-flops and more travel hassles: A Madison camp report

Flip-flops and more travel hassles: A Madison camp report

by Drum Corps International

I think I'm cursed when it comes to traveling. It's a conclusion I've came to after the last couple of years of having tragic incidents while traveling to and from camps. From wrecking my car heading home from Rockford, to blowing tires going to Orlando, to having my luggage lost in Madison, I guess the only safe way for me to travel anymore, is to walk. My luck was tested this past weekend on my trip to Madison. I decided to fly into Milwaukee, Wis., instead, and take a bus to Madison to save some cash. Everything was going fine until I went to retrieve my luggage. There was plenty of time between my landing and the departure of my bus to Madison, I had a good 35minutes to be on the curb. Thirty minutes pass and my luggage still hasn't come down the conveyor belt, and neither had anyone else's luggage from my flight. After throwing a little fit and a tad bit of yelling, I spotted my bright red suitcase down on another conveyor belt labeled with the wrong flight. (Eric's travel tip #1: Travel with a suitcase that sticks out, such as a bright color). With my luggage in hand, I booked it to the bus stop outside of the airport. The bus left immediately after I stepped on the bus and headed for Madison. Good thing I ran. I finally made it into Madison in the late afternoon and was picked up by some other members of the front ensemble. I eventually found my way to camp a little afterwards and had the pleasure of unloading the equipment truck in what felt like 10-degree weather. I was actually dressed for the occasion this time – well, about 95 percent of my body was. Flip-flops really aren't the best idea when it's that cold outside -- I literally couldn't feel my toes by the time we were done unloading the truck. Camp went on like usual. I saw a bunch of new faces and a bunch of old faces from the first camp. We did the whole pit thing like usual -- I played till my hands went numb (I think the weather had part in that). We played through some show music, worked through a bunch of warmups, and a good amount of stretching and running on Sunday morning. Then each night, we packed into a car with seven other people to travel to our hotel for the night where some of us were staying. Sunday afternoon was great -- we finally got to do a little ensembling with the brass and battery in the gym. The first ensemble of the year is always one of my favorites, it's one of the things I miss most during the off-season. There's not really much else to say about camp, because then again, it's just December. Truck loading went rather quickly this month since a lot more people were able to stay and lend a hand. Afterward I ended up going with a couple other members to one of the local alumni's house to spend the night, since we all had early flights the next morning. We got to see a little more of Madison, share stories from past summers, and watch the 2003 DVDs. The second part of my weekend journey began at 8 a.m. Monday morning. I arrived at the bus station to find out that my bus left at 7 a.m. and not 8 a.m. (Eric's travel tip #2: Always double check your departure times well in advance). Two and a half hours later I managed to get on the next bus. I knew I wasn't going to make my flight home, so I called up the airline to reschedule my flight. After dealing with an agent for 30 minutes, I was managed to get overcharged $225 and ended up with a flight that was scheduled to leave Milwaukee at 4 p.m. instead of noon (Eric's travel tip #3: make sure to check all your options before dishing out hundreds of dollars). Once I finally arrived at the airport to check in, I found out that I could have gotten on a flight scheduled for 1:15 p.m. instead for only a small fee of $25. After 30 minutes at the ticket counter, my money was refunded, and my flight was switched to the earlier flight. Maybe next camp, I'll take a train. Eric Fox's last camp report