The Plan

Note: This is the first of a series of posts covering Dore’s and my trip to New Zealand.  We’re super excited to be here, and hope to share some of our adventures with anyone that cares to read. 🙂  If you want to be notified of new posts, I suggest using the RSS feed (see the link to the right) and an RSS reader like Google Reader.

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The plan was to go to work, spend most of the day working, and leave comfortably early for the airport to catch our flight. It didn’t quite work out that way. Around midmorning I got a call from United. Your flight is delayed by thirty minutes. Okay, fine. I can deal with that. It would be nice to have a reason, but whatever. We already had some extra time in San Fransisco because of an earlier scheduling conflict that had us booked on an earlier flight.

Then I got another call. The flight is delayed by 45 minutes now. Hmm… this is getting a bit close, but we can still make it. I went back to work, starting to get a bit worried.

A little later I get the call. The flight is delayed for an hour and a half. Crap. Now we’re never going to make the connection. I called United.

Our options were these: take a flight to San Jose and figure out how to make the 44 miles to the San Fransisco airport, or drive down and fly from LAX. The San Jose route was possibly safer, but Dore and I already had a long layover in LA on our return trip. If we drove down we’d be able to pick up our car on the return trip and skip the layover on the way back. Sure, we’ll have to drive two hours after a long plane flight, but whatever, right?

So that’s how, at one o’clock, we found ourselves dashing out of the house, yelling instructions and reminders back and forth, desperately hoping that we had managed to remember everything.

“Did you get the Mochi to the cat hotel?”

“Did you pack the camera?”

“What about lunch?”

We ran out, threw the bags in the car, and were on our way.

The drive looked like it would be good, but we knew that we were cutting it close. “Let’s see… the flight leaves at four, so we need to be at the airport by three, latest. How long does that give us?”

“We’ve got to be at the car park by three, or we’re in real trouble.”

We hit the traffic about thirty miles out. As the car ground to a halt, we watched helplessly as the GPS ticked down the minutes, updating our estimated arrival time in painfully accurate steps. Two thirty dropped to two forty. Two fifty. Two fifty-five.

Finally we pulled off of the freeway, raced around a few surface streets in L.A., and made it to the parking lot. Dore started unloading bags from the car as I ran inside and got the paperwork started. A few clipped answers later I tossed the key across the counter and ran out to grab my bags. We raced to the shuttle (which, luckily was waiting at the entrance) and crossed our fingers that we had made it in time.

We arrived at the airport at 3:05 pm, exactly one hour before our plane was to depart. Now we were on familiar ground, and there was no force in the world that could stop — or speed up — our progress. We dropped off the bags, got through security, and went as quickly as possible to our gate.

We made it with six minutes to spare. A high-five was definitely in order.

The flight to San Fransisco was, I’m happy to report, fast and uneventful. Did you know you can make it between the cities in only 45 minutes? Damn, technology is great sometimes.

On the ground in San Fransisco, Dore and I took a few minutes to leisurely stroll through the terminal, reconnoitering our meal options. We weren’t particularly hungry, but it’s always best to eat something before a flight. You never know what you’ll get once you’re in the air. We finally settled on the Gordon Biersch cafe, where we both got clam chowder (it was San Fransisco, after all) and a well-needed drink. We took a minute to make a quick video outlining our adventures and called our credit card companies to let them know we were on the road.

After dinner, we strolled over to the international terminal, which, as it turns out, is where they hide all the nice stores. Seriously, all of the boutique labels were there — Gucci, Chanel, Coach, Swarovski, the whole gang. It reminded me a lot of the surprising, and somewhat disconcerting, high-end mall they have in the Heathrow airport. Although I didn’t see any $5000 jars of caviar here.

Appetites sated, we headed down to our gate, where we only had to wait a few relaxing minutes before heading down the jetbridge and out onto the plane. New Zealand, here we come.

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