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.
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!”
What joy!! When do you get a chance like that inside a secured airport? It was my beyond-lucky day.
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.
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!
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?
And this is how it looked after I’d sipped half of it down. Still cool!
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!!