The Longest Day

Aug 18, 2006

It wasn’t the invasion of Normandy, but it was definitely The Longest Day. In order to get to LA from Boston with free tickets, courtesy of finally cashing in a lot of those frequent flier miles that Money magazine keeps saying are nearly impossible to redeem, it requires that you make certain concessions, not the least of which is taking the 6:45am flight from Logan, and this a week after they once again increase their security checkpoints.

So it was up at 3am (we let the kids sleep in til 3:30), off to the airport, at the gate with time to spare, the plane was evenin obligingly 15 minutes late leaving. The plus side to leaving so early is that we got to LA at 10am, but at this point you’ve already been up for 10 hours, so it doesn’t really feel like 10am. The kids didn’t really sleep on the plane, but they managed to keep themselves entertained, aided by having both sides of the row of seats all to ourselves, so we could spread out a bit. For me, a 6 hour flight doesn’t really feel that long, after all those trips to China and Australia.

By the time we got the bags and the car it was after 11 and time for lunch. There’s mostly just fast food around the airport, my bright idea was to drive down the road to Santa Monica and eat there, so we did. There was plenty of traffic on I-405, Justin was getting pretty droopy in the car, but we managed to keep him awake until we got there. We walked around a few minutes and found a little sandwich place call Le Pain Quotidien, the kids both were so strung out and hungry they ate stuff they’d never eaten before and liked it. I got some open-faced curried chicken sandwich that was quite tasty. We steered the kids away from the $4 cookies and walked down the block to the shoreline and over to the Santa Monica Pier for a little while.

The Pier is not as big as you would think, it’s nearly 100 years old but is kept up well enough to look retro without being shabby. We had to ride the indoor carousel for a grand total of $3.00 for all of us, and Chloe stood in line for ice cream for 15 minutes, then we walked down to the beach so the kids could stick their feet in the water for a minute. By the time we got back to the car it was after 2pm and time to head for the hills.

Although the kids were getting loopy from lack of sleep, they were now past having the ability to actually settle down enough to nap. Plus there was a huge amount of LA traffic between us and Bakersfield, it took about an hour to go less than 20 miles. After that the roads opened up, we drove up I-5 up and over the mountains to 99 and on to Visalia and our hotel in Exeter. We had a quick dinner at an American/Thai restaurant in town that was run by a Thai family, checked into the hotel and the kids were asleep in about 10 minutes, having been awake for over 19 hours straight. Me, I’ve now hit 20 hours, and on four hours sleep, but hey, you have to adjust to the time difference sooner or later. If we’d been really efficient and not encountered any traffic we could’ve found ourselves a redwood before the day was over, but there’ll be plenty of opportunity for that tomorrow.

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