GAWA2011, Day One: Two-for-One
Wednesday and Thursday, June 1-2, 2011
I know what you’re thinking: how can Wednesday and Thursday both be one day? I understand, because mid-way through those two days, I asked myself the same thing.
Wednesday night after church, I popped round to Clearmont street, stowed my car in my parents’ driveway, and bumped my rolling suitcase down the block to the house of my travel buddy Alissa. My plan to sleep a few hours before our departure was foiled: instead we shot the breeze until 1:00am, when the time finally had come to truly begin our Great American West Adventure!TM
Except for the moment during which Alissa suspected that small rodents were using one of the tires of her Prius as a hamster wheel, our drive to West Palm Beach was uneventful. In West Palm, we picked up Alissa’s man friend Joe, who had kindly agreed to lose a night’s sleep and drive us the rest of the way to Ft. Lauderdale.
Upon arriving at the airport at 3:00am, we wandered about its echoing, empty vastness searching for someone who might be able to tell us where we were to check in (as we were supposedly flying United, and they don’t have their own counter in Ft. Lauderdale). This accomplished, we were forced to wait until 4:00am to check in; however, we made good use of the time at hand. Alissa dug her travel guides out of her cavernous backpack, and we spent a happy forty-five minutes visualizing (among other things): 1- What it would be like to run across an elephant seal on a deserted beach (we later did), 2 - Which of us will be likely to slip and fall while climbing the supposedly difficult trail to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park (to be continued!), and 3 – Why sandwich prices in California are so ridiculously high.
Our first flight of the morning—a short one to Charlotte, NC—proved by far the most entertaining. This is due largely to Alissa’s seat partner, a gentleman (I lose the term loosely) named (we think) “Ceno” who was very obviously high on something more than life. Among other various and sundry hijinks, he:
· Offered to keep Alissa warm using his own body (so awkward...)
· Was up and down out of his seat many times: very antsy.
· Made repeated smacking noises with his lips.
· Asked the stewards for many, many sugar and Equal packets.
· Carried on running dialogue with himself.
· Kept telling us his favorite parts of the flight (takeoff being the “biggie”)
I shall draw a veil over the four hour flight from Charlotte to San Diego, only observing that although it would have been in our best interest to sleep for those four hours, Alissa was the only one of the two of us who got any real sleep. By the time we landed, I was going on 30+ hours of no sleep. This had the surprising effect of producing in me a vast, mellow calmness that I have not experienced since having minor surgery in high school and being put on some very powerful anti-pain medications.
Upon securing our rental—a cherry-red VW bug—we passed some time in Old Town San Diego.
We then checked into the affordable (and chemically toxic) Travelodge on Hotel Circle near downtown SD.
Priority 1 – eating at In-n-Out. Priority 2 – showering and sleeping for several hours before meeting a friend of Alissa’s friend *Mitch for dinner.
Aforementioned friend very kindly picked us up in a sleek black Mustang and tooled us down to the waterfront, where he treated us to a delicious dinner. The noteworthy event at dinner was not so much that our waiter only had one hand, the other being a tiny nub at the end of his arm, but that Alissa did not even notice.
Upon finishing dinner, we zombie-walked back to our room and collapsed in our birth-defect-inducing room.
*Some names have been changed.