Monday, April 21, 2008

My trip 1: Facts

This is the first in a series of 4 (or 5 or 6?) posts about my trip to California. This one is the travelogue. It's going to be a run down of when and where I was. Hopefully the other posts will be more interesting.

John and I left Roswell about 10 am. The temperature was about 55 degrees. It was a beautiful day. About an hour into our trip, the temperature dropped---to 32 degrees. It was April 17th, and we drove through blizzard like conditions. Snow was falling. Wind was blowing both directions. Visibility was low. And snow was accumulating. In April!! The snow continued for about the next 100 miles. By the time we neared Albuquerque, the snow had cleared up. (No sign of weather delays at the airport.)

We checked into our hotel around 2 and then went out to shop a bit. We visited Monte's (John's favorite cigar store) and Apple (another of John's favorite stores). We went to PF Chang's for dinner. (Yummy! Chow mein and brocolli beef!) Then I got to play. We went to the new Route 66 Indian casino. I couldn't find nickle video poker (my favorite) so I sat down at the quarter one. I figured I'd either win big or run of out money fast. (I had a $20 to play.) John put in $10. I ran out first. :( He got his back to $10 and cashed out and gave it to me. I found the nickles and played much longer. But still left with nothing to show. But I had fun. :)

After a quick stop at Target. (Well, the stop was quick, but it took a while to find it!) we headed back to the hotel.

Friday morning, we got up at 5:30 to allow time to eat and get to the hotel on time. Our "continental breakfast" consisted of Dunkin Donuts. We each grabbed one and took off. I got to the airport about 75 minutes before take off. The ticket line was short, but the security line looked long. So we said goodbye. The line actually only took about 15 minutes. I grabbed some (more substantial) breakfast while I waited.

My plane departed right on schedule. Another post will brag about ExpressJet. :) My flight landed at 9:30 local time. My sister (Linda) got there about 9:45. We shared an order of MiniBons while we waited for Brian (Brother #3) to arrive. After meeting Brian, we went to the car and drove around to the other terminal to pick up Becca and baby Hannah.

We all went to Linda's house to get ready for the BBQ that night. After lunch, Linda went back to the airport to get Karl (brother #2). Shawn (brother #2) was bringing Mom up (as well as his son, Nathanael and his girlfriend Shanna). When Mom arrived, we slipped out one at a time to greet her. She actually admitted to being surprised! Finally Carmen and 3 of her kids arrived (followed by her husband a bit later.) We had a BBQ and crashed about midnight.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast about 9 and then headed for the spa day. It was fun. We had the table full of munchies and we visited and laughed a lot. After a quick trip to the hotel for showers and makeup, we headed to the restaurant for dinner. There were 20 (plus a high chair) in our party. And it was a crowded restaurant! Shawn returned with brother #4 (Stephen) just as we ordered. After dinner, they brought out a cake with 70 lit candles. Next we headed to find a place for pictures. We found a semi-lighted place with steps near where we parked. We ignored the "Department of Corrections" logo behind us. We took a bunch of pictures: grandkids, everybody, siblings, sisters, brothers, and then some family shots. (I'll post some later.)

Before everyone disbursed, we showed Mom a slide show of the handprint quilt that wasn't finished yet. We also had pictures of each family group and some shots from the BBQ the night before.

We said goodbyes to Carmen's family, Shawn, and Stephen and headed to the hotel. We sat around a talked for a while before, once again, falling asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

Sunday morning the remaining party gathered for breakfast about 9. We stayed and visited for about an hour and then went to pack up the rooms. Linda brought me bags of clothes that she had already shrunk out of. Most won't fit me yet, but hopefully soon. We got everything packed and went to say more goodbyes: Mom, Nathanial and Shanna were headed home.

We headed to a brew pub for lunch. I left the party for a while to get some gifts for my kids. (And I found a tea towel for Linda that said, "It's been fun, but now I need to scream!") After a minor meltdown at lunch. (Let's just say the emotions of the weekend caught up with me.) We headed to the airport. I got there in plenty of time to check in and hang out for an hour.

The flight home was great. I took lots more pictures (about 500 between the two flights!) When I got to the airport, my kids ran into my arms. (Aww.....) After greeting everyone and gathering my luggage, we headed for dinner. Then home. We finally pulled in about 5 minutes to midnight.

Back to the real world....

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