Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sofie and Jamie's Excellent California Adventure (Part 1)

Flight Day ( from hell!)

Saturday started off in a fairly normal fashion. The guy who's installing the wood stove stopped by to take measurements and transport the other one over to Mary and Rebecca's. Of course this wasn't before he told me the inside of the old one needs many parts replaced(I always wondered why that internal wall was bowing inward!!)

After wood stove guy left, I rushed to finish packing and making sure all was well with the animals. Fresh litter, water and food. After a few hours of that, Annette and Angela came by to transport us to the airport. Big shout out to them for airport transportation. It was much appreciated!!

Finally we're at RDU awaiting our JetBlue flight to JFK where we were to (at a leisurely pace) transfer to another JetBlue flight to Oakland. Well, this is where the story *really* begins! Upon checking our bags, we were advised our flight was delayed out of RDU to JFK. The timing put us precariously close to departure time out of JFK to OAK. Egads. That was the last flight out of JFK, so we really needed to make that flight!!

Sofie and I proceeded to the airport bar for a drink a late lunch since we had time to kill. After a million dollar burger we meandered towards our gate only stopping to caress and drool over the latest Webkinz display strategically placed right in the walking path of every child!! Sofie asked, I said No, too close to Christmas and that's all that was said. The drooling and pawing over the ones she doesn't have didn't stop but I didn't have to hear about it!

We arrived at our gate, found our "comfortable" chairs...NOT. And proceeded to wait. I had to laugh every time Sofie complained about an out of hand, loud, whiny child and remind her that she was once that young, too. After a wait that seemed an eternity, we boarded our flight to JFK. (In hindsight, we had NO idea what an eternity felt like until we boarded the flight from JFK to OAK.) The flight from RDU went smoothly. We almost had to wait on 14 unaccompanied minors to deplane first...FOURTEEN!!!! Luckily the ground grew made the call of returning to get them once we had deplaned. Whew! I was still concerned we were going to miss our flight to Oakland. Once we landed, we dashed off the plane and luckily found our departing gate just across the aisle! Unfortunately we didn't get to spend any time exploring the fabulous new T5 JetBlue terminal at JFK. Maybe we'll see a bit on our way home.

The departing flight was delayed a little but we were settled in on the flight by 8p. The flight attendants said that shouldn't change our arrival time of 1030p by much. They couldn't have been more wrong. After sitting on the tarmac for an hour waiting to be de-iced we finally started our journey towards the West Coast. Normally it's a five hour flight time but we weren't that lucky that night. After take-off, the captain came on reporting strong(160-200mph) headwinds so we were going to fly a little north to miss those winds. Visualize a straight line from JFK to OAK, then think a little north. Does that area include CANADA? MINNESOTA? a DAKOTA?!?! I didn't think so. But there we were a little airplane on the screen crawling towards the west coast. That "little bit north" flying required a stop in Salt Lake City to refuel. Oh, joy!

I have to say, Sofie was a dream during all of this. When she got bored with watching Animal Planet on the TV in front of her face, she colored. After that she slept some. Only a few times did she ask if we were there yet. When I showed her the map, she decided for the duration of the flight she'd keep that on her screen so she wouldn't have to ask me every five minutes. Smart girl.

We arrived in Oakland at the very prompt hour of 130A! Only 3 hours late. Off to pick up baggage we go. We had a rental car that I'd pre-paid on, so transportation wasn't going to be an issue...or was it? The airport was relatively busy due to all the delayed flights. However, walking out to the transport area to the car rental lots might as well been a ghost town. (I swear I saw a tumbleweed roll by!) I called Hertz twice(and of course got two different answers) and tried Priceline but they were ringing busy. Sofie and I sat a little while longer, all alone, waiting on the bus for rental cars. Finally he showed up about 215a. He told us he had just dropped another family off at Hertz and hopefully they were still open. The rental lots are FAR away from the terminal!! Fortunately we got there and found one very nice gentlemen with his finger on the off light switch. He stayed, got us our car and off to Brenda's we went.

By this time I had been up 24 hours and I was exhausted. We got in our jammies, snuggled in B's very cozy bed and off to dreamland we went.

Day one-Oakland to Santa Cruz

We woke up STARVING. Realizing we had lived on that million dollar burger, pistachio's, water and whatever snack JetBlue provided for all of Saturday, we were hungry. Of course it was pouring down rain and I was going to be driving to Santa Cruz after that breakfast we were going to have. Lucky for us, Brenda left a 25% off coupon to Fenton's Creamery. When I lived here, I'd only had their ice cream but we decided to give it a try. So after showering and loading the car we headed to Piedmont Avenue for some breakfast. Upon arrival I was very surprised what I found...they have a PARKING LOT!!! We pulled right in, ran inside and had a yummy breakfast.

After breakfast we got back into our rental car to start our trip towards Santa Cruz. Not one to have bought into the whole GPS Navigation system, I was hesitant to use the one provided in the car. I would never have on for day to day living, but it's been a great asset for this trip and all the traveling to different locations we did. I plugged in Laurie and Maya's address and off we go. I did find myself arguing with the GPS lady and bucking the system a few times. Sofie was amused and enjoyed watching the map on the screen.

After an hour and a half or so, we arrived at their front door. We chilled out and just caught up most of the day. Alan showed up since he was leaving for Seattle that night...or so he thought. At some point Laurie, Maya and I went out for groceries while Alan and Sofie played indoor mini-golf. Later we cooked and ate dinner, said our goodbyes to Alan, then we lit the menorah. After that it was bedtime for us so we crawled into the bed Laurie graciously gave up for us to sleep in. What a good nights sleep we got. Enough to prepare us for our next days adventures!

(to be continued)

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