Thursday, June 22, 2006

Training adventures, part 1

I just got back from my first on-site training. The trip was so fun! I went to Spartanburg, SC and Maggie Valley, NC with my coworker, Taylor, and he had me cracking up the whole way. He drove, so I got to relax--and play navigator. We used my new Garmin, and there were a few, um, mishaps. It would take way to long to fully explain what happened, so suffice it to say that once, after we got off the freeway to get gas, we ended up seeing the same five-mile stretch of I-40 twice (a congested part, naturally), and then another time, in an attempt to find a place to eat lunch, we ended up seeing the same seven-mile stretch of I-85 twice. I do know that one of these incidents was absolutely due to user error (the driver not trusting the Garmin's accuracy) but the other time the directions were not clear (she said to "keep right" instead of "exit right"). It's a learning curve. I definitely feel like I made progress in terms of understanding the nuances. In fact, even today--after just one day of practice--there were no mishaps.

This was my first time in SC, so of course I had to photograph the state line sign:

And there was another curious roadside monument. It strikes me as odd, because I thought Georgia was the peach state.

We arrived in Spartanburg about 45 minutes early, which was good, because the training had been moved to a different location. It was only a block away, but if we had been running late that would have been super stressful. The training went pretty well, although there was some trouble with the computers. We were in a student computer lab, and the PCs were very restricted so our online application didn't run properly on them. But we managed to come up with a workaround and it all turned out okay. I did not lead this training, since it was my first on-site. I observed and helped out a few of the participants.

When we were finished, around 3 pm, we headed for Maggie Valley, NC. It is such a cute little town!

Definitely a touristy resort-like area, which is fine by me. We checked into our hotel (a Comfort Inn) and later went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant across the street. Decent food. We drove up the street a few miles, at my request, to see what one billboard touted as the "most photographed view." We found it, but the lookout tower was closed. It was still pretty, even from where we were standing.

We drove back to the hotel and Taylor went back to his room to do some work (he has a company-provided laptop) and I went to a little shopping area down the street. Most of the shops were closed, but a couple were open and I bought a few postcards and a souvenir magnet. I also met a Harley biker guy, complete with long gray goatee and full arm tattoos, whom I never would have started talking to had his lap not been occupied by an adorable chihuahua. He was telling me that "Tip" was tired from a long day of riding (he has his own box on the back of the bike!) and missed his girlfriend (who couldn't come along because she's only two pounds (!) and isn't such a fan of ride alongs). Then I went back to my room, changed into my comfy jammies, sat up in bed, and knitted. Meanwhile I was listening to Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes on my iPod. It was so nice to just be away from everything. I mean, I could do the same things on any night of the week at home, but for some reason I just don't. There are so many other distractions when I'm home: the computer, the TV, etc.

This morning we trained in Waynesville, about 15 minutes from Maggie Valley. Once again, the location had been changed and no one bothered to let us know. Thankfully, though, we were early again, too. The school we ended up at was a very dismal place, indeed. I would have been depressed to work there. But I must say, the computer lab looked like it belonged in a brand new school. It was a very nice setup. I did the bulk of the training this time, and it was a big class--45 people. I got to wear a lapel microphone! How cool is that? And, the local news came to film the goings on (must be a slow news day). Overall I think the session went really well, and Taylor said I did a great job. Yay!

We left around 10:30 am and got back to Raleigh around 3:00. I went inside the office to check my work email, and tied up a few loose ends for my trainings in Georgia next week. After experiencing only two on-sites, I already feel like the next ones will go even more smoothly. And I'm excited to travel to yet another new state!


  1. It's so nice to hear you sounding so enthusiastic about a business trip. And you're bang on about the peace being away from the distractions of home sometimes brings.

    Here's to your next trip.

  2. Glad to read your new post. I love reading about what is going on in NC. How happy are you to be out of Socal?