Finally packed and to the airport in San Francisco
November 1, 2016
This blog describes our last day on our road trip to the airport. My next one will share what I thought I knew about sleeping on a plane, and the truth.
I thought that packing everything a couple of weeks ago, then driving to California would make the day of leaving simple and stress free. While I felt less anxious on the days leading up to our departure, the day of our flight was another matter.
We had each packed a large, wheeled duffel bag. They are a great size for holding the clothes, shoes and extras we thought we wanted for 5 months of living…things like umbrellas, cards, extra camera supplies and a roll of toilet paper, which did in fact need on our first night in our hotel. The downside of these bags is that they are heavy due to the hardware of the handle and wheels. We were close for weight at home but had added and deleted a few things on our way. Without a scale, it was difficult to come with an exact measure for the airport weight.
We also had Pete’s golf clubs in their hard case. His shoulder and knee have been feeling much better and he found a golf course and driving range near to our location in Chiang Mai. He was looking forward to a winter of practice. He was also looking forward to a winter of playing his guitar while I was learning to better photo edit. We had checked on line, and the airline stated that both the golf clubs and the guitar would count as checked luggage. Since Air China allowed 2 free checked bags per person, that was a possibility, as long as we weren’t overweight on our other bags.
Guitar on a Plane
I also looked at stories online about how other musicians manage their guitars on flights. Sandwiched on a luggage cart is not really how you want it to travel. Most said that they took it as a carry on, kept the guitar in a soft case, then spoke nicely to someone on the plane about storing it in a coat closet or overhead bin. At the very least, it could be gate checked with the strollers and car seats. If that was possible, then we had space for the extra weight in another checked bag. If it wasn’t then we needed a carry on size bag for the things that might make our bags overweight.
Who would think so much energy could go into solving such a minor problem? In the end, we took along a carry-on size bag that was needed for the 3 kg we were over in our other bags. We checked it with the duffel bags and the golf clubs in the cargo and took our day packs and the guitar onto the plane. For both flights, the stewardesses were more than happy to find a safe place for the instrument to travel in the passenger part of the plane. The only preparation needed was to loosen the strings and Peter wrapped a yoga mat around it inside the bag for extra protection.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Once everything was loaded we began our final drive to the airport. Our flight was at 1:30 am but we wanted to spend a few hour in San Francisco first. Melissa took us on a quieter back road to the Bay area. We joined the 101 and turned west toward the Point Bonita lighthouse.
The first few viewpoints were packed with people late on this Saturday afternoon but it didn’t matter as the views from just above the lighthouse were spectacular. You could see back to the bridge and the city, the coastline south and west of the city, as well as the lighthouse. The light is functioning and it is still used by ships to find their way into the harbor through the fog.
The fog was rolling in along the horizon as we watched the sun begin to set into the clouds. We returned on another road back to the Golden Gate Bridge and drove over it. Knowing the engineering that went into its construction and the number of men who died building it , I am always in awe whenever I get close to it. We found Melissa’s top secret parking place and walked under the bridge for a few more photos of the area at twilight. The fog made the far side disappear at times. There were surfers in the waves that curl around the rocks and the bridge. It had cooled from 25 degrees in Stockton to 16 degrees in SFO, but the wind didn’t feel as cold as usual there. It was a perfect end to our road trip to the airport.