Monday, October 21, 2013

California Trip, 2013, Day 1 (Wednesday)

I'm finally getting to post about our California trip.  I tried to post on facebook to keep our friends and family updated, but I wanted to get the details down before I forget.  
We left our house on Wednesday, Oct 9th before the crack of dawn.  Our flight left Reagan National at 9am, which meant we needed to be there at the airport around 7-7:30am  So we headed left our house about 5:45am headed northbound on I-95 North toward DC, where there were more than the normal hoards of vehicles on the road because carpool plans were thwarted due to government shutdown.  We parked our van in Economy parking (which is ironic, as it was not very economical at $15/day)
We watched the morning arrive from our terminal.  The kids were up much earlier than normal, so I brought breakfast along.  And snacks.  And lunch.  It was a 5hr flight, and no meal service (unless you paid $10 each for a cheese and fruit plate).   The kids enjoyed the free drinks, though I did not enjoy taking them to the airplane bathrooms.  

Aside from a Walmart bag of snacks and lunches, I managed to get all our supplies and clothing for 7 days into the above carry-on luggage. American Airlines charges $50/bag for checked baggage.  I guess the ludicrous price was more of a challenge to me to get it all into checked baggage. I packed all inter-changeable clothing, only sandals (no socks), and each wore one light coat/sweater on the plane.   

This was David's first flight.  He loved it 

See, there's a smile! 

I dressed the kids all in orange shirts for visibility in the airport.  It's much easier to keep track of them that way when they are dressed alike.  The older kids really enjoyed playing games on the kindle fire and an old phone of mine.  They did very well on the plane with a rotation of electronics and books.  Michael read the new Percy Jackson book that just came out.  Many angry birds were thrown.  Seats were rotated often.  No one threw up.  Yay!   
I brought along 3 library books, one of them over 500 pages. For some reason, I thought I might get a little reading done.  I guess I forgot that I have 3 small kids.  

Knowing that he would be gone for a week, Jon stayed up all night long getting things done for work.  He slept the majority of the plane ride to California.  David & Bear joined him for a small portion of the flight.  

We got to LAX airport about 11:30am (PDT), which was about 2:30pm for us, and we caught a shuttle to the Hertz rental car lot to get our van.  Our van (which was a great bargain with "name your price" on Priceline) was a brand new 2014 Chrysler Town and Country van. Basically the newer, nicer, many-featured version of the van we have.   I am content, I am content, I am content. :-)  Stow and Go is quite nice, however.  
We realized that Hertz charged $12/day PER CAR SEAT to rent their car seats, and they would not loan us a van unless we rented their car seats.  So we rented them long enough to go to Walmart and buy new ones.  Kate's booster was about $14, and David's seat about $40.  Much less than the $182 they wanted to charge us to rent them for the week.  Anyone need a backless booster and a 5-point toddler seat?  We now have extras. 
At Wal-mart, we got some snacks, some toiletries (that were more than 3oz, the carry-on limit), and car seats. 

The hotwire hotel bargain happened to be a Crowne Plaza.  Nice hotel, but we prefer something that has a fridge and microwave.  And a free breakfast.   This had neither.  We stayed 2 nights in LA, and we used our fair share of ice from the ice machine to keep our milk, yogurt, and cheese cool.  

Jon had a list of places he wanted to eat on the west coast.  They were all pretty much burger joints and Mexican food.  We visited an In-N-Out burger, which we all though was okay (except Michael.  He LOVED IT!)  We decided we would rather stick with Five Guys.   

By the time we got the rental car, checked-in to our hotel, went to Wal-mart, returned the rental car seats, went to dinner, and did a little exploring of LA, we were all ready for bed.  The time change had us in bed early, and we were all wiped out.  

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