The trip started off with a bang â€“ we rushed out of work and made our flight (thank you Mindi). We found ourselves in Phoenix waiting for the flight that didnâ€™t want to come. Two hours late, we were off in the fanciest plane ever â€“ with a Phoenix Cardinals logo on the side. Frank thinks that the plane belonged to the team because the seats were WAY cushier than the previous flight and leather and comfy. I knew I was always meant to be a Cardinal â€“ I do love birds!
There was one crazy bird (if you will) that we encountered when getting onto the flight. This was clearly a first flight for this particular redneck dressed in a Michigan t-shirt (with the sleeves cut off of course), sport shorts, high-top sneakers, and a rolling Dale Earnhart Jr. suitcase. Classy. He explained to us that we could go before him because he was waiting to snag a left-over first class seat. If Iâ€™d only known that last on the plane gets their choice â€“ what a way to fly! Anyway, that wacko walked in about ten minutes later and meandered into coach with the rest of us.
We landed and rolled for quite some time. Apparently our gate was taken or something, but once we landed we rolled for a while and sat on the plane for about 45 minutes waiting to get out. My favorite part of this disorganization was the flight attendant making this announcement, â€œA child is running up and down the aisles. We are still in motion, and the seatbelt sign is still on. Will the owner of this child please strap it into a seat for safety.â€
That was when our Michigan friend put a cigarette into his mouth so that he could smoke it as soon as possible, and got on his cell phone. Telling whoever was on the phone that so-and-so didnâ€™t even know he wasnâ€™t in Michigan, and that he was in town to part-aaay so youâ€™d better get ready. Sometimes itâ€™s hard for me to keep laughter in and I snort a little.
Anyway, several hours late we arrived with too many bags at the rental car location (I know, we really know how to vacation). Oh, and just so that you know, everyone at Dollar rental in Los Angeles is hateful. We chose our car and were on our way when a loud angry beep accompanied by a flashing airbag light came on in the car. Perfect. We drove around the hood of LA long enough to find Dollar again, and chose another car. Unfortunately, there werenâ€™t any reasonable sized cars left, so after several failed attempts, we landed on a van. Not a mini van, but a van. This thing is freaking huge. At least if we pick up 15 or 20 friends here, they can ride back to LA with us. And yes, in case youâ€™re wondering, gas is free here in California so itâ€™s not a big dealâ€¦. Ugh.
SEVERAL hours later we landed in Three Rivers, CA at the base of the Sequoia National Park. Our drive up the â€œhillâ€ was similar to last time, but without that bastard stop light (thank God) and, oh ya, it was dark. Apparently the nighttime is when the animals come out though because on our way up the â€œhillâ€ we saw a fox, two cats (that frank swears are bobcats), and our first bear of the tripâ€¦ just walking down the road. He turned around to look at us but went on his way again. Bears are funny (and thatâ€™s the theme of the trip so get ready). As we left Mr. Bear, we kept on driving and realized that the sun was coming up, which was why he was awake â€“ it was breakfast time! Lucky us!
We checked in at 6:02am with a very surprised bearded intern-of-sorts, and headed to bed, realizing that weâ€™d forgotten toothbrushes (thank goodness for the bearded-front-desk-man) and frank forgot his wetsuit. I think 60-degree waters should be great for him sans-wetsuit. This triathlon is going to rock!
Thatâ€™s day number one folks â€“ weâ€™ll keep you posted!
Oh and btw, remember those pictures on Mâ€™resâ€™ sight that I told you about? When he shared those with her, he left the cord at their house sooooo, Iâ€™ll tell you all about the things weâ€™ve seen and done, but show you none of it â€“ sorry. Blame Frank.