A few weeks ago, while sitting in my car between presentations checking e-mail, I saw a promotional flash sale that seemed too good to be true.   I quickly phoned Susan to double check my calendar.  Am I doing anything 10/22 – 10/24?”   With her confirmation that the dates were indeed open for me, I quickly jumped on the offer and purchased a roundtrip ticket on Frontier Airlines for $1 each way—with taxes I paid $30 for a roundtrip ticket from TRENTON to MINNEAPOLIS.

Why Minneapolis?  Well, it happens to be nestled between two states still missing from my “States LIST”—WI and ND.  A 48-hour adventure to the Upper Midwest will complete the list and hopefully yield some interesting photos for my AMERICA calendar.

For this trip, I borrowed some equipment from CANON and I’m eager to see what 50 megapixels looks on a 5Ds body on a few new zooms an EF 16-35mm f/4L IS and an EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS.

I’m also flying out a small regional airport for the first time.  TTN is about 45 minutes from my home with an easy drive through bucolic Somerset and Mercer counties with no hassle reasonable parking ($8/day) and a short walk to the terminal.

The airport WiFi was very weak in the main terminal and even worse after security.  The page loads were so slow it wasn’t worth the wait…reminiscent of the early days of AOL dial-up.

Frontier is a budget airline where everything has a price, including carry-on bags and even the ability to select your own seat.  I love a bargain and made it a mission to see how cheaply I could fly.  I checked-in online and fearlessly passed all the offers accepting the no cost option of whatever seat was available

Prior to the trip I also decided to buy a new smaller hard case for my cameras.  Frontier does allow one personal item such as a briefcase.  I found a small case that was within the(14x18x8) limit not considered a carry-on.  The cost of the case was $29 on eBay cheaper than $30 carry-on fee would have been at the gate.

Within this case I successfully packed 2 cameras with 3 lenses, 13” MacBook Pro, i Pad mini, GPS, assorted power chargers and accessories.  The hardware was buffered with some underwear, socks and a toothbrush.  On my body I layered a  polo-shirt, denim shirt, pullover sweatshirt and a coat; even though it was a balmy 76 in NJ, I expect it would be chilly in MN.

The Frontier airport staff seemed young, hip and friendly.  There were no lines for security and TSA procedures were the same as larger airports including arms-up x-ray, and pat down of my bulky sweatshirt. 

The transition between the incoming plane’s arrival and passenger deplaning to our boarding seemed very quick.  No jetway at TTN so we lined-up and walked outside and up portable ramps near the plane.  It only took a few minutes until we were soon ready for takeoff.  The flight crew was equally cool and quirky as orange-haired “Crystal Dawn” gave the safety announcements.  The A319 was about 60% full and as soon as the cabin door closed, we were allowed to spread out and find better seats.  Of course, food and drink was for sale, but I brought a bag of nuts and Craisins to graze on while I wrote this blog.

My flight landed at 7:38 CDST, I rented a Camry from Hertz,  and drove a few miles to stay for at the Hampton Inn St. Paul-Woodbury using  Hilton Honors points.   Tomorrow AM I’ll cross the St. Croix river into Hudson, WISCONSIN (#49) and shoot some waterfalls at Willow State Park.   Photos coming soon!

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