Welcome to Redmond Airport, Mr. Robillard
I got a chance to hang out with a group of my favorite Microsoft customers today, the famed ASPInsiders. I had lunch and chatted with the likes of Paul Wilson, Omar Villareal, and Eli Robillard who are all in Redmond at the same time (!) for the ASPInsider's Summit. It took some effort to refrain from asking for everyone's autograph but I did so while humbly handing out gotdotnet t-shirts. I say humbly not because gotdotnet is unworthy but because most of these guys have more tech t-shirts than normal folks have socks. Anyway, Eli told me a story that was so funny I nearly choked on my dinner roll... literally.
Upon making his travel arrangements from Toronto, Ontario, where he lives, to Microsoft in Redmond, Eli was pleasantly surprised to learn that Redmond now has it's own airport. Finally! The first leg of his trip took him from Ontario to Portland, OR. I'll let Eli pick up the story from there...
"We land in Portland. The airport is deserted. The pilot tells me I'll be able to find a rep at the baggage claim. Sure enough, I'll have to take a morning flight and stay at La Quinta tonight. There's a free shuttle. Rather than retrieve and then have to check my bags in the morning I take the free overnight kit and hop on a shuttle. My return flight on Wednesday is upgraded to first class for the trouble. I set wake-up call for a four-hour sleep.
The flight is brief -- just a half hour! I note that you can't see the coastline from this side of the plane, but the mountains and rivers look fantastic. We land. I retrieve my bag from the conveyor belt. I walk outside and step into a taxi. I ask for Microsoft Campus, Building 20. The kind lady cabbie turns and says, "I'm not sure how to tell you this."
I'm in the wrong state."
While there is only one Oregon, there are two (or more) Washingtons and at least two Redmonds, for reasons only an historian can explain. Even more bewildering is the fact that Redmond, Oregon, which boasts a regional population of somewhere around 250,000 people, a small state college, and a quaint Main Street feel, has its own airport whereas Redmond, Washington, which has a regional population of 500,000+ people and is the home to the corporate headquarters of Microsoft, Nintendo of North America, and many other large employers, does NOT have an airport.
As if that's not confusing enough, the Redmond Airport webpage describes its location as "RDM is located 2 miles south east of downtown Redmond, 15 miles north of Bend." The other Redmond, in Washington State, is approximately 15 miles north and west of North Bend, WA.
I wonder how many other people have made Eli's mistake over the years. If you or someone you know has, I would *love* to hear your story and have a good laugh with you so please drop me a comment or an email.