Thursday, July 17, 2008

First look at the Duke-USC-Tennessee trip

(Updated with game times 9/3/08; check the FBC Travel page for activities.) The longest trip of the season for fans (and possibly the hardest for the team) is the pre-Christmas excursion:
  • Tuesday 12/16, 7:30pm at Duke
  • Friday 12/19 at University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia, SC
  • Sunday 12/21, 7pm at Tennessee in Knoxville
None of the game times have been set as of this date, so it would not be safe to book air travel as yet. But we've started looking at the logistics. The times of the Duke and Tennessee games are known and we can start booking. The first question—and it has no easy answer—is whether to fly between the three cities or drive. Here's a Google map of the route. It's a total of 500 miles, mostly freeway. There is plenty of time (2 days to get from Durham to Columbia, 1 full day for Columbia to Knoxville), and what else are you gonna do with it? On the other hand, it's winter and might be snowing. Next question: how to get to Duke in time for the game. Presumably a Tuesday game will be at 7pm or later; but The game is at 7:30 but there are no, zero, nonstop flights from SFO/SJC/OAK to RDU. If you take the earliest flight on 12/16 you will get into RDU between 4 and 6pm local time, and that assumes your connection in DEN, DFW, or JFK went smoothly. To be sure of being in time for the game without losing a workday you need to fly a red-eye. Employing the very useful flight search engine we find you can fly JetBlue from SJC (9pm) to RDU (11am) for $275, or OAK (9pm) to RDU (10am) for $195. Those are the only 1-stops; there is a plethora of 2-stop flights (yuckkk) from all three local airports. Question number 3: how do you get out of Knoxville on a Sunday afternoon? At this point we suppose the game will be at 1pm, but that is not settled. If it were to be on national TV (and since it is a rematch of last year's national finalists, it might well be) the time could be 10, 12, 3, or anything else, all depending on what hole ESPN needs to fill in its east-coast sunday schedule. But for now, assume 1pm. Game over 3-ish. Suppose you had gotten rid of the rental car earlier in the day and cabbed (or walked) to Thompson-Boling arena. Allow 120 minutes to get from the door of the arena to TYS and onto a plane. Bad news: that ain't gonna happen! The game is at 7pm (surely for television) and the last flights out of TYS to anywhere leave at 4:50pm. Continental to SFO via Cleveland departs at 4:50; United to SFO via ORD and DEN pushes back at 4:30. What-ho; another hotel night in Knoxville... Do you suppose we could get seats on the team charter??? Please feel free to append comments to this post! How do you feel about driving that route in winter? Do you have any good ideas on getting out of Knoxville on a Sunday? Click the comment button and speak up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Internet Travel Advice podcast

The Cnet podcast The Real Deal covers travel web sites this week (of 7/16/08). In this 40-minute discussion of websites for travel planning, the hosts discuss useful-sounding travel sites that I'd never heard of, such as TripIt (which organizes all your confirmation emails into a single itinerary) or SeatGuru (tells you which seats to use or avoid on specific planes), and many others. Listen to The Real Deal show #119, "Travel Resources" and check the show notes for links.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hawaii Tournament update

We are finally in touch with the UH staff and getting info on the Thanksgiving tournament. We are keeping our travel page updated with the latest info; check it often. We are told that the lineup of participating teams may have some changes coming soon. We are sure now that no games will be played on Thursday 11/27. Otherwise, the game schedule is not set (but in prior years, the championship game has always been 5:30pm Sunday). The UH will host a Thanksgiving dinner for all the teams at the Marriott on Thursday, and boosters will be welcome. Time and cost to be announced later, but start thinking now if you want to travel on the Thursday in time to get to the Marriot by (presumably) suppertime.