24 In Travel Tips/ Women Now

Travel days always have their surprises

A random, lovely unplanned rendezvous with Caitlin outside Gate 55 at SFO


Do you get crazed in those hours before boarding a flight somewhere? As often as I’ve done it, there’s always that last minute frenzy before leaving the house and starting the journey to the airport.

The period of time between getting up on travel day, getting out of the house with luggage and/or carryon, making it to the Airporter on time, getting through the Marin and San Francisco traffic and then through security and to the gate can be quite an intense adventure. I do everything I possibly can to make this part of the trip stress free, but even with all the practice I’ve had both personally and professionally, things can still go wrong.

The hour at home before leaving for the Airporter bus

For me to get from Sonoma to the airport involves a few steps. Russ drives me from our home, about 35 minutes, to the Marin Airporter terminal at the Hamilton-Novato exit. From the time I board the bus, it’s another 90 minutes to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

For a window seat view into the good and not so good parts of air travel, I’ll use last month’s week long trip to Los Angeles as an example. Erin and I would be working our wardrobe magic with a client and her husband in the West Hollywood area of LA.

I started on the good foot. I woke up twenty minutes before I meant to. It was still dark outside and that suited me just fine. Extra time is always luxurious. What follows are the good and not so good parts of that simple hour or hour and a half before leaving the house.


Not so good: A moment of panic when I couldn’t find my Ziplock bag of chargers. That would be the phone charger, iPad charger, iPad keyboard charger, and Fitbit charger. What would life be without our chargers? Oh my!

A good thing: While looking for the bag of chargers, I decide to make a few more wardrobe edits. (“Atta girl, Brenda!”)

Good or not so good: I made the edits and then decided to put them back, just-in-case. Can you relate?

Not so good: A panic moment. Where’s my black cashmere cardigan? The one I brought to the movie theater last night? I always pack a warm layer. Oh well, maybe the Airporter bus and the airplane won’t be that cold.

Good thing: Before getting into the car I go back into the house one last time to look for the cardigan. It’s not in the cardigan department of my closet. What the heck? Where could it be? I grab the next best thing, a navy blue cardigan that’s not quite as warm but will be better than nothing.


Traveling the Airporter to SFO

Taking the Airporter to SFO


On the way to the airport

A good thing: I took into account that traffic could be bad from Sonoma to Marin where I catch the Airporter. There was none. Nice!

A not so good thing: I got on the Airporter and the bus driver had a radio station on, a talk radio station. Yuck! I wanted peace and quiet. I should have packed earplugs in my purse. Note to self for next time: Always have earplugs handy.

Not so good, but good: The Airporter bus is f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! I put my blue cardigan on over my t-shirt and it hides under my jacket. I’m so relieved!

A good thing: At the next stop in San Rafael, the bus driver turned off the radio. Nice!

A great thing: I used the 90 minute bus trip to the airport to delete 3500 photos from my phone. No kidding, 3500!

Not so good: Although I deleted 3.5K photos from my 10K collection, my eyes got sore and I had to quit by the time we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridget. At least I’d stop getting those warnings that my photo library was nearly full.

A REALLY GREAT THING: No one on the Airporter bus used their cell phones to make business calls. Woo hoo!

Not so good: I didn’t get the TSA approved boarding pass to go through security with more ease. I was padded down as four areas lit up on the screen. But there was nothing. C’est la vie.

A good thing: I was checking my phone to see if Erin was already through security when I got in on her texting conversation with my youngest daughter. Caitlin was traveling on Alaska Airlines like we were. She was coming in from Portland, Oregon where she’d been for four days. She texted her sister and said, “I’ll be exiting gate 55 if ya’ll want to make welcome home signs.” Erin texted back, “I have to go through security yo.” Caitlin replied, “We’re still on the runway, you’ve got time.” A few minutes pass and Erin texts back, “I probably 15 minutes away.” Caitlin says, “I’m peeing across from the burger joint.”

A totally cool thing: Guess who had gotten through security already and was close by? Mommyfoxy!! I pulled out my morning pages notebook and quickly wrote a welcome home sign on the inside cover. I was crouched down behind a pillar near the burger joint when I saw her come out of the bathroom and look at her phone. I said, “Psst, psst.” She turned around and I had the sign up. She giggled beamed. “Wait, I have to take a picture!”


Welcome home, Caitlin


What joy!! When do you get a chance like that inside a secured airport? It was my beyond-lucky day.


Flying to LAX

A short but cold flight from SFO to LAX


Bad but good: Even though it was a short flight, the plane was so cold that I used the scarf I’d attached to my handbag. So happy I packed it! Taking the chill off my neck is a such a comfort.


Bring a scarf on the plane

A scarf is essential on cold airplanes





LAX Airport

Yay, it’s LA!


A good thing: Before I go on trip I like to set some intentions. Finding a good coffee shop was one of them. I told Erin on the plane that I wanted to find a coffee shop close to where we’d be staying that was not Starbuck’s. I wanted something original, fun, creative, and a great place for people watching.

Once we got out of our Uber from LAX (over an hour through congested traffic), our host, Gordon, took us immediately to the neighborhood coffee shop down the hill. It’s called the Butcher, the Baker, the Cappuccino Maker Cafe. Check this out!


LA coffee shop

BBCM Cafe in LA


Super good: My eyes did the ordering. I spotted a coffee going to someone else’s table. I pointed it out to the waiter. I don’t know what it’s called. If you go, just ask for the decorated latte. Every one is different. This is how my order arrived to my table. C’est cool, right?


Latte art in LA

Isn’t this latte art cool?


And this is how it looked after I’d sipped half of it down. Still cool!


Beautiful latte art

Beautiful to the last drop


So there you have the ups and downs of travel day from my house to my client’s guest house in West Hollywood. In the end it was relatively painless. At the front end of the trip I got to see my beautiful daughter, quite by chance, and make her fantasy of a welcome home sign come true. At the end of my travel day I got to peer into that gorgeous latte while drinking in the vibe of LA. I love this neighborhood. In my 20s I got married a few blocks from this coffee shop and that’s where my son was born, too. I have to agree with Randy Newman’s song and say, “I love L.A.”

Even with the little (or big) rough patches, life can be so sweet. Oh boy, I just thought of another travel day story I want to tell you about. It involves an old crush from high school, quite unrequited, and what happened during a two hour delay when we were all grown up. Uff da!

What about you? Do you have airport adventures to share? You know I’m listening!!


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  • Reply
    August 20, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Cows in the road!
    That was today’s airport adventure while a friend was kindly driving me and my daughter from his house (to which we are generously invited every year) to the local airport.
    We had gotten a late start and were in a hurry to make the necessary check-in deadline when of course we encountered a number of cows in the road. They had escaped from their pasture and were having a wonderful time checking out the grazing possiblities on the road shoulders.
    That of course meant a trip up a long rutted and muddy road to the nearest farmyard to find and alert the cows’ owner in hopes of avoiding any horrific collisions between cows and unsuspecting motorists, and then a couple of minutes of brain wracking when the farmer asked us what kind of cows they were. (Jerseys, definitely.)
    We lost quite a few precious and stomach-churning minutes that way.
    Finally we arrived at the airport to check in only to learn that our flight had been delayed anyway. Turns out we had plenty of time to check in, but the flight delay meant a new set of problems for connecting with other flights.
    Ultimately we did make our connections and get to our destinations.
    In cases like this one can only laugh.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      This story has me in stitches. Cows in the road. Who could make that up???? Glad it all worked out, Liz!

  • Reply
    Bettye L Rainwater
    August 21, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Travel can be Such a Pain! Whenever possible, I drive, but…that’s not always an option. Even when NOTHING goes wrong there’s always the thinking that something COULD and you’ll miss your flight AND THEN WHAT?! Ugh. Or your suitcase is going to be overweight and you’re going to be down on your hands and knees at the ticket counter tugging things from your suitcase and trying to stuff them into your carry-on. Then seating. Are you going to be seated next to A TALKER?? Egads. The worst. And I LOVE travelling, but whatever means possible. But all the little (and big!) inconveniences try so hard to suck out all the joy.

    Glad you got to surprise your girl, that was fun!


    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Bettye, I think you’ve listed the main “hope nots” of every flight! I’ve seen the hands and knees trying to reconfigure things. Russ had to do that with camera equipment. The size of the bag was fine but the weight wasn’t and he had no idea about that rule. Hope the next journey is an easy one!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2018 at 4:55 am

    Ahh, finally getting away for an anniversary vacation in a sunny destination. Just us two in an adults only resort. Heaven. We are waiting at the gate to board and I get a tap on the shoulder. Surprise! Work friends of my husband heard we were going and wanted to try the resort. Really, what do you say. Paste on a smile and say ‘how nice’. Well, we did manage to eek out a few minutes of privacy here and there, and after all there was room service. We know if we want to travel by ourselves all we have to do is take a cruise as no one else excited by them. That is our next trip.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Oh Diane, that sounds like a sitcom scene or a nightmare! Geez Louise! Talk about having to be flexible!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Great earplugs

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Mighty plugs, here I come! Thank you, Penny!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    August 21, 2018 at 5:36 am

    I love how you look at both the good and bad. Because there are people that only look at the things that go wrong, yet really we are blessed that we can travel like this.
    I had to laugh that you had to delete photos. I was doing that constantly. In fact, we just got new phones and switched from an iphone to Android, because then we can add more memory if I get to that point again. Talk about learning though….everything is different.
    That coffee was artwork. Did you find out what they used to make it so colorful??

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      Oddly, Jodie, I never asked questions about “how” they did that art. I’ll be there again so next time I will ask! I sure loved reading your comment.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2018 at 6:25 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever taken a trip where everything goes as planned. All I can add say is no matter the craziness, please keep traveling to MN. I now appreciate it even more when I realized you have a 35 minute car ride with Russ & then another 90 minutes to SFO,

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Well, you may get your wish! I’m looking at coming back in October instead of January. Gee, I wonder why….It’ll be great to see you and Paul again!

  • Reply
    T J Starr
    August 21, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Wow, I always thought it was only me who found all this so trying. We just got home from a trip to New Zealand, and the line up to get through passenger security from the NZ Queenstown airport took 45 minutes. 45 minutes standing in line with other passengers breathing down our necks, children wiggling and crying (not ours we’re child free now). It’s a fairly small airport and they only have 2 x-ray scanners and there were 5 departures that afternoon. My husband gets freaked out by crowds, and gets awfully claustrophobic. So he was stressed before we even got in line. I slipped him 2 valium tabs once on board. Then we were herded like cattle again at our Brisbane arrivals to scan our passports. Lines for miles. A guy jumped in front of me to get between my husband and I as my husband stepped forward to the automatic passport scanner. Seriously? He was there again at the baggage carousel, waiting like the rest of us for his bags, so his line jumping did nothing to speed his journey except piss me off. Surely there has to be a better way for travel? Surely there has to be a simpler less stressful system that can still keep us safe? Airlines advertise wonderful adventures, but our airport authorities really need to lift their game worldwide.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      Gosh, I love the vision of wonderful adventures every step of the way. However, I think I’m going to have to learn more and more ways to calm myself down while flying as I’m going to have to adjust before anything else changes.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hi Brenda,
    I love this post!! I can totally relate to many of the things that you mentioned. How cool to welcome your daughter!! And that latte! I’m an Orange County gal so rarely get up to LA but there are many wonderful things to see and do there! Thanks for sharing. And have a great time!

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks, Darlene! Yes, LA could be endlessly fun if one had more time. Hopefully I’ll fit a few more things in next trip.

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    August 22, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Oh, goodness. You were just a few blocks east of me. Shoot. It took me a month to get it together for my two week trip! I have to blog about getting it all together. There’s more work in getting it together than in the trip! But I’ve never been so organized and chosen the right stuff. So I was thrilled.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      Glad you were thrilled! We’ll be back in LA the end of October. Hope we can connect just a few blocks east at that time, Sandra!!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    August 22, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Ohh I love travelling ! Especially the thrill of the airport ! Having said that, I too get stressed about missing the flight . My recent last trip to Sydney Australia, from the Melbourne airport was a bit crazy ! Firstly we had to drive one and a half hours in the early morning, from our place out in the country. there is always a risk on these roads of running into a kangaroo, Literally ! That averted, we arrived in plenty of time, but the queues were enormous to check in. that took 3/4 hour, then security is always long, as I have a pacemaker, and need to be frisked down. My darling little travel companion, Dominic, my son, was so patient and cute. he just wanted to be on the plane ! Anyway, all went well, ! But I can certainly understand what a trial it is for some. But nothing can dampen my spirits when I am off to see my sister
    . I am so pleased you ran into Your daughter! What a cute sign you made for her! Also , you looked gorgeous as usual . Sending love from Oz x

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      I can see Dominic at your side! He’s such a cutie and well, ever since you shared things he’s said, he holds a special place in my heart…as do you! Yes, it takes a lot to travel these days but it’s all worth it to see loved ones. Love from Sonoma!

  • Reply
    Lesley A
    August 23, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I want to hear the story about the HS heart throb and the two hour layover. Recently traveled to Sonoma with my daughter and love your part of the world.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      Ah, so fun to hear you were in Sonoma! That was quite the story. Maybe I’ll start on it soon!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I love your shoes/sandals and think they are same style as you also have in the natural colored leather? Can you share the brand or maker? I often want to look for something you are wearing on each of your blog posts. Inspiring!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      Yes, they are by Camper. I think I could have sold hundreds of pairs of those sandals this summer!

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