This is day one of our travels. Here is Gail’s report for January 1.
Well, we survived a very long and stressful day. And the great adventure has begun!
We had an early dinner on New Years Eve at Cracker Barrel and did some last minute packing and preparation. We watched the New Years Eve stuff on TV, including the incredible hotel fire in Dubai, followed by the spectacular fireworks at the Burj Kalifa. We were there in 2012, so it was especially interesting to us.
Dan laid down to sleep for a couple of hours, and I just dozed in my chair and set the alarm for 2:45. The dogs were totally confused. We were outside in the 28 degree cold when the taxi showed up, right on time at 3:20 am. Our neighbor, Ruth, actually made good on her promise and came out to wish us bon voyage.
There were 6 others on the shuttle with us, and we took off right at 4:00 am. We made a quick stop at Beaver Dam, Arizona, to pick up two more ladies and then we were off, arriving at the Vegas Airport right a 5:00 am Vegas time. We had chatted all the way there with two ladies from Canada who were excited to be going to Hawaii for the first time, and with a St. George business man and his wife who were headed for a month in Thailand and Singapore. It was a very convivial group for so early in the morning.
We had to wait 45 minutes before we could check our one bag (bags fly free with Southwest), four hours before our flight. Then for an incredibly easy trip through security. We were directed to the line for pre approved, or whatever you call it, where you don’t have to take off your shoes, or take out your quart bag of liquids or anything. We were done In about one minute. No waiting! And they didn’t even notice our bag of six months worth of drugs, which we were ready to explain to them. It was a total non event. Except, since Dan was wearing his back brace, just as a precaution, they did check it our pretty carefully.
He said when they were done, the guy just pointed to me, already done, and told him to ‘follow that lady’ and he said he told him, ‘I always do’. I had to laugh at that.
It was quite a long walk to our gate, but we finally made it and settled in to wait. Dan went and got coffee and muffins, and then later got us each a sub sandwich to take on the plane. We always enjoy people watching at airports, so didn’t really mind the wait.
The flight itself was amazingly easy too. We took off right on time, hit a little turbulence over the Texas and Gulf areas, and arrived a few minutes early, just about 5:00 Florida time. The plane was totally full, every seat taken, but we were in the A group, so we got aisle seats across which is our preferred seating. I like to sit way in the back, so that was fine. The flight attendants were great, urging us to take 2 or 3 snacks each, and joking with people. It is really amazing to me that you can get a plane load of 143 people and all their luggage from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale, in about 4 hours.
We got our checked bag, found a taxi and headed for our hotel, just as the sun was setting. The cab driver opened the windows so we could feel the breeze. It was great. The drive along the beach front to our hotel was totally crazy. Cab driver was really stressing. There were people everywhere. People were still celebrating New Years Eve, I think. We thought it was interesting, since we didn’t have to drive. It reminding us of other touristy places like Hawaii, or California beach towns.
Anyway, we were glad to finally arrive at the W Hotel. They were very nice and efficient, but obviously also very busy for this holiday weekend. We got to our room, on the 15th floor, with an ocean view, where we finally collapsed.
We called room service for a very expensive, but very good, dinner. I had a flatbread and Dan had an omelet. We watched football and dug out drugs and other necessities from our bags. And I think we will soon crash and get organized tomorrow. All in all, a good start with no hiccups, to our grand adventure!