California Musings - Day 1 (July 4)

This is my attempt to relate our incredible family trip to California this summer. How many parts? I don't know. Just keep checking back for the adventure!

July 4th dawned beautifully and I up with it. I love that we can check in and print boarding passes from the computer, but I admit I am always a bit concerned. Especially since we were flying from Charlotte, NC which is 90 miles away. But, out the door we went at 8:30am with our two checked bags (one for the girls, one for the guys) and everyone having a rolling carry on and their "travel" bag (books, DS, iPods, etc.). We stopped two streets over from our house and picked up Grandma (my sweet mother-in-law went with us) and we were off. The drive to Charlotte went by relatively quickly, though I was sorry we couldn't afford to fly out of Greensboro. Oh well. Got to Charlotte just fine, parked in the long term parking ($4 a day), stuck the GPS in a carry on and into the terminal we went. The last time the two youngest had flown was five years ago, so they were a bit more hesitant about how to get through security and such - but they sailed right on by. The rest of us did okay too. The flight to Houston went smoothly, it was a "little" plane (one side had one seat, the other had two) and somehow I snagged a seat by myself (I was supposed to sit with Emma but her big brother Ivan wanted to sit with her so they could play cards) and I got to look out the window and read and such all that I wanted for 2 1/2 hours. Houston was a nice layover - though we were hoping the airport would be more "Texas" themed, and it was very humid inside. But, off we went to LAX from there, this time in a "big" plane (3 x 3). Everyone's long legs (that means Ivan 3, Ivan 4, and Sue) did okay with getting up and stretching from time to time.
The arrival into LAX was pretty uneventful, being a Sunday night AND a holiday - it felt like there was no one there. Went right out and caught the shuttle to Alamo where we promptly picked up a a HUGE Suburban (nicknamed the TANK), plugged in our GPS and set it for the hotel. We stayed in Calabasas at the Country Inn and Suites (I highly recommend) which turned out to be in a beautiful area in the foothills on the other side of Malibu. Checked in our two rooms (one for the guys, one for the girls) and headed out to find an In-N-Out Burger (had anticipated this for a while as Ivan had heard rave reviews throughout the years). After getting the address and a recommendation for "Animal Fries" from the front clerk, we plugged it in the GPS and headed out. It was only about ten minutes away off Ventura Boulevard and I must say, the food was delicious. Unfortunately Eli wasn't feeling well and he didn't eat - so we knew another trip to In-N-Out Burger was in our future. Went back to the hotel and everyone went to bed - Monday the real adventure would begin.

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