Thursday, September 19, 2013

California Dreamin' Day One

A Sweet Start

Waking up to already packed luggage was a great way to start our day and our trip. It gave me time to do the really important things… like feeding the fish, freshening up the Caterpillar Castle and making sure the little guys have enough milkweed to last through Friday when Becca comes to their rescue with fresh leaves. I’ve seen at least a half dozen or more eggs in the garden and knowing we were going on vacation, I realized I couldn’t protect them all, so I only brought two in the house. They will both become chrysalis by Sunday so all should be well… my small measure to save the world as we know it. Oh except for the tiny guy.

I discovered the third egg on a very small milkweed plant several days ago in the garden. When it hatched, the hungry little caterpillar, only an eighth of an inch long, was quickly eating his self out of a home. So I brought him in to the castle for a few days to bulk up before we left, with the intention of taking him back outside. In my haste to clean up the castle and give the two big fellas fresh leaves, the tiny guy got lost. I didn’t realize he was gone until 15 or so minutes after. Frantically, yes, you can now worry for my state of mind, I retraced my thoughts as to where he might be. The counter was clean of everything except the freshened castle. The only sure place he could be was in the garbage can. I carefully sifted through the contents… found him! Clinging to the leaf for dear life. My mind flashed back to Rebecca clinging to that tree we accidentally left her at the ball park when she was only four… yes, the thought still haunts me. Hopefully he won’t be scarred for life. The tiny guy, now doubled in size since he hatched a few days ago, will have to survive on his own in the garden. I placed him on the perfect milkweed outside. When we get home, he will be a beautiful Chrysalis, although it will be unlikely that I will be able to find him. Maybe I’ll see him as a butterfly floating through the blooms.

With all the important stuff taken care of, we loaded up the car and left for the Frontrunner station. This would be a new experience for me… my first ride on this train. Thankfully, Dad, knew the ropes… he rides it weekly to the Church Office Building. I must admit, I was a bit pessimistic about this, but I consented to the adventure as it saved us a grundle in airport parking fees. Actually it was quite fun, and such a metropolitan experience. The scenery was quite engaging, especially around the point of the mountain. I saw that area in a completely new light… beautifully picturesque farm lands complete with cows. The trip was not only enjoyable, but very efficient and quite painless. Many thanks to our excellent guide… take a bow, Dad.

We arrived at the airport as planned. This would be our maiden voyage on Jet Blue. From now on, this will be our “go to” airline. It’s the way air travel should be. Everything about the experience was top notch. The leather seats were comfortable and there was more than enough leg room. Each seat had a small TV screen at no additional cost to the traveler. No peanuts with Jet Blue… your choice of gourmet chips, Doritos, cookies… so many choices.

We had adjusted our minds to accept the fact that we had a four hour layover in Long Beach on our flight to San Francisco. It was the only choice we had at booking with our ridiculously low fare we found. When we arrived in Long Beach, we realized there was a flight to San Fran in an hour and it was our same plane. Jet Blue has a large blue (of course) sign labeled “ASK ME” that is highly visible as you walk off the plane. So we did. “What are the chances we can take that flight instead of waiting for four hours?” So glad we asked. Not only did we get on the flight, but since our luggage was already on that plane, it was the same one we flew in on, our luggage went with us. Yes! Thank you Jet Blue.

With four extra hours to play in the big city, Emilee chose to go to China Town. A good day to go, not too crowded, a delightful stroll down streets of shops that all looked very much the same… filled with pretty much the same cheap merchandise. It certainly brought new meaning the phrase… Made in China. But since this is most likely the closest I will ever get to the real deal, plus the fact that we had been sitting most of the day… it was all good. Emilee found a three buck t-shirt to add to her collection. Having had a terrific experience in New York’s China Town last Spring, she was quite disappointed with San Fran. There, she felt she had mastered the art of arguing price and was anxious to give it a go, but none of that seemed to be taking place here. It was most delightful to hear the many languages around us and I found myself trying to guess where they were from. Several times we watched as the Chinese clerk tried to explain the value of coins in these customer’s hand. It was a sweet exchange to see them patiently trying to communicate with people with limited language skills. I would go again just for that experience.

Today was a more than perfect start to our California adventure. What will Day Two hold for us?

Stay tuned!

Near the end of August we took a ten day trip to the greater San Francisco area with our youngest daughter, Emilee. This would be a celebration of sorts before she left for college when we arrived back home. I kept a daily journal to send to family members scattered across several states. I decided to post them all here for posterity... and for me!  You can read all ten days by accessing the side bar. We had a marvelous adventure.

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