GP Airlift 2013 - Getting to Fargo

Hey, look! It’s my semi-annual blog article… OK, I jest a little, and hopefully today am starting back with regular blogs.

I’m in lovely Fargo as I write this, having arrived mid afternoon, the day before the Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2013 kicks off.  Unlike last year, I didn’t partake in any of the pre-conference classes offered.  Although there were several that appealed to me, it was hard enough to take this time off to come, so I didn’t take the extra day. This year I decided to fly out of Buffalo, NY, instead of Toronto, my usual default airport.  Even though I moved almost twice as far away from Buffalo as I was a few weeks ago, it was a no brainer for several reasons.

  • It’s a lot cheaper, it was 2/3rds the price to fly from Buffalo than it was Toronto.
  • Dealing with customs in the car at the border is far more enjoyable than in line with the rest of the herd in Toronto, even with Nexus to bypass the worst of it.
  • And last, I have a relative who lives near Buffalo that I don’t see too often, so this is a great chance to visit while I’m nearby.

The best part about not flying from Toronto is the extra time you take to drive to Buffalo (and that’s even up for debate, rush-hour traffic being what it is in the GTA), you more than make up for it in savings in everything from parking to checking in to getting through security.  I left home at 6:00am EST this morning, and was at the border crossing at 7:30am.  There was actually a traffic jam on I-90 in Buffalo between the border and the airport, and even with that, I was parked, through security and at my gate at 8:15am.  Seriously.  If I tried to do the same out of Toronto Pearson, it would take probably similar time to drive there (even though it’s a shorter distance) and double the time to get from parking somewhere to the gate.

I didn’t run into anyone I knew in my travels here but the first person I ran into once I got to the airport to wait for a shuttle was also Canadian…Chi Cheong Ho from Joe Software in Edmonton, Alberta.  Cool.  (PS if you are a Canadian VAR or customer, and haven’t heard of Joe Software, check them out. Great products, and great people to deal with!).

The second person I met, I didn’t get her name, was from Houston Texas.  We three were waiting outside the airport waiting for the hotel shuttle and were chatting.  The funny part of the story is “Houston”, (she gets that as her nickname for now!), was freezing, coming from 100 degree Fahrenheit weather to here.  The canucks were quite comfortable with the temps!  :)

That’s it for now. Soon I’m off to register and do a campus tour at Microsoft, something I missed last year.  This year I hope to write a short blog each day or as time permits while I’m here, and then resume regular blogging after I return home!  I look forward to meeting some new folks again and running into what feels like old friends each time I come here!

Stay tuned on twitter to the hashtag #GPAirlift13 for Jon Rivers among many others who will be tweeting the whole week I’m sure.

PS. I don’t know if everyone else experiences this too, but every year it’s the same thing. People ask me where I’m going on my week “off” and I tell them I’m going to Fargo, ND.  There’s always a small pause, a little smirk, and then a chuckle, as in “Seriously?”.  It seems Fargo doesn’t get the respect of those who haven’t been here! :)

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