We got up on Tuesday morning and prepared for the day like we would any other. The kids went off to school, my wife went to work, and I headed over to church for meetings before teaching a voice lesson at the college. But at lunch time we switched gears. The kids were pulled out of school, my wife and I cut out early, and we loaded our luggage into the car. The drive to the airport was short, and just like that we were on a plane to San Diego. Well, actually, not just like that. And we never actually ended up flying to San Diego. Here’s why.
The reason we were on our way to San Diego was so that I could attend the Dad 2.0 Summit, and so that the rest of the family could soak up some educational experiences in the sun. You may recall that I also attended the conference last year, when it was in Washington, D.C. But San Diego is further away. We needed to fly. And not only that, we needed to make a connection in D.C. with only 45 minutes to spare. It was going to be tight, getting from terminal A to terminal D in such a short amount of time, but we felt confident that it was possible. When our plane was delayed 20 minutes, we started to worry.
It was about this time that the airline informed us all that the flight had been overbooked by 10 people, and there were still 6 spots that needed volunteers to fly out the next day instead. Those volunteers would get a free flight to their destination, plus a $500 travel voucher. Each. Yeah, that would mean $2000 if we went home and flew out the next instead, plus a refund of our expensive plane tickets. And it didn’t look as though we were going to make our connection anyway. We considered this very hard. We considered it so long and hard that we missed our chance and other people volunteered. But the airline assured us that 25 minutes was plenty of time to make our connection. But then, that was when we thought we had a flight crew.
When we discovered that our flight crew was somehow in Newark and not Vermont it became clear that the plane was not leaving anytime soon, and that we, along with everyone else on our flight, were going to miss our connections. And it was too late to back out and get those travel vouchers. They asked us if we would prefer to be put up in a hotel in town, or wait until we got to D.C. to be put up in a hotel, since there were no more flights to San Diego that day. Well, we didn’t want to be put up in a hotel anywhere! We had a hotel! And we were going to make it there, dang it! And then, the idea.
There were no more flights going to San Diego, but there were plenty of flights going to Los Angeles. Once we hit LAX it was only (only) a two hour drive to San Diego. If we could somehow switch the rental car, pick it up at LAX, and then return it to San Diego, it just might work. And so, hopes and head held high, we took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and switched our connection from a 5 PM San Diego flight to a 7 PM Los Angeles flight. And by the time we actually got a flight crew on board, it looked as though we might miss that second one too.
We had envisioned arriving at Dulles with time for dinner and relaxing, but instead it became a mad dash across the airport, grabbing food on the way, and eating it in line to board the plane, which had already begun to load by the time we made it to the gate. But we made it to the gate. We made it. We landed at LAX at 10:30, which was really 1:30 AM in the time zones that our bodies cared about, and from there we went and stood in line to get a rental car.
By the time we checked into our hotel in San Diego it was 1:15 AM local time, or 4:15 AM Vermont time. We had been up for 22 hours, not counting a little bit of dozing on the plane and in the car, and we were tired. And just to be clear, I was not dozing in the car. I was driving the car. Don’t doze and drive, kids.
We may have been exhausted, but no one could say we hadn’t had an adventure. And we did make it to our destination, albeit 5 or 6 hours later than we had anticipated. And in very good news, this actually helped a lot with preventing jet lag. Was I worried that the kids would wake up at their usual time of 6 AM, which would be 3 AM California time? Ha! We we were barely even in bed by 3 AM California time! Everyone slept until almost 8 AM! Which, if you do the math, means that we did not get enough sleep. But we were not jet lagged! And we were ready to have more crazy adventures on the west coast. Although we are hoping to stick to the planned adventures from now on…