Honeymoon Day 1:
Hello all from lovely Palm Springs, California!
Yesterday was our travel day, and a very busy one at that! Alan and I started the morning in Vancouver, having Christmas with his family. We woke, had breakfast and opened presents with his Sister and Brother-in Law. Then we packed and shuffled off to his parents' house to say goodbye. Alan took his mom on a quick trip to find an open grocery store for a veggie tray, and then we were off - back to Seattle for a 3 hour break to wash and repack our suitcases.
We caught the 5:54 bus to Seatac from Renton (a mere 10-minute drive) and found ourselves checked in with plenty of time to spare. So we went to the Alaskan Amber restaurant for a pre-flight-pre-honeymoon drink. There we booted up our new laptop (thanks Dad and Mom) to try out the airport's free Wifi. Alan looked through the photos that we'd developed from the disposable cameras we had at the wedding. Many turned out very well!
When it came time to board, we made our way to the terminal, but no boarding was happening. I hunkered down for a wait, and Alan went off to find mints. A few minutes later the PA system came on calling for "The Wilkies" - the whole plane was boarded and waiting for us to take off. I called Alan, and we boarded sheepishly. Flying on Christmas is definitely the way to go. The airport was nearly empty. There were few lines anywhere. The only downside was a rather surly flight attendant who was clearly unhappy to be working Christmas. I finished my book and amused myself by color coding my next two months in my new Brighton dayplanner (Thanks Alan!). Alan read, too.
The flight landed right on time and our checked bag was on the carousel before we got there. A shuttle drove us to the boonies to our rental car dealer. We picked up a very loud Electric Blue Ford Focus (easy to find in a lot), and after a few wrong turns trying to find the right highway from a location several miles from our mapquest directions starting point, we had an easy drive from Los Angeles to the desert.
At 2:30am we finally rolled into the housing complex. Well, we found the front gate. There two very sleepy guards checked our identities and asked if we needed directions to the house. We did. "Paco" handed us a slip of paper with the following: 8L, 1R, 1L. We drove for ages in the dark past identical houses. We counted 8 lefts - but were unsure whether we should count every left arrow in the road, or only legitimate stop signs - and did the left turn into the clubhouse count? We turned into the 8th left. We wound through a neighborhood full of Avenidas - but none of them were ours. The perpendicular streets were all Calles. After exhausting that culdesac, we decided we must have miscounted, and went one section back. Another identical culdesac. Nary an Avenida anything in sight - all Calles and something else that means street starting with a "C" as well. We went across the street - and found the right numbers, but the wrong Avenida. Finally we gave up and drove all the way back to the gatehouse. There was "Paco" and a new guard, "Rusty." We told them the safe combination we'd been given was not helping us at all, and could we please see a map with some street names on it. They didn't have a portable one, but allowed us into their booth to show us the site map on the wall. Sure enough, we were one complex off, and had I gone the "just one more" we would have lucked into the right house.
At 3:15 we finally navigated our way to the house, wandered around the endless rooms for a few minutes commenting on how beautiful it was, picked a bedroom, and fell asleep. A successful, if exhausting, first day.