Mission 2016: Stockton Day 1 – Planes, Vans, and Bridges

Mission 2016 001

All packed up and everywhere to go!

Our mission trip is off to a good start! Much of our day was spent traveling, then waiting, traveling, then waiting, over and over again. I’m glad to say, Dear Reader, spirits are high and attitudes are out of this world as we begin our journey. Here’s the scoop:

Accompanied Minors and Lots of Baggage

Everyone met at the airport at around 9:30am, using the ease of the Group Check-In system with Delta. After checking in we got into the security line at 10:00am and took some friendly bets on when we’d get through. Turns out, most of us were through by 10:30am, so it was a breeze! The real delay came with the storm. Torrential rainshowers were delaying flights left and right for 10-30 minutes at a time, depending upon whether it was deemed safe to use the approach tunnel or not.

We ended up boarding on time but the lineup to take off was long. We made the cutoff by just a tiny bit, according to the captain, so we were lucky to be in the line at all. On the plane, most of us took in a movie or two, thanks to some free in-flight entertainment options, including Deadpool (edited for content, or so the screen told us!) Brooklyn, Mockingjay Part II, The Parent Trap, Allegiant, Blackish, and Joy. Personally, I took in Sicario and Hail, Caesar!, two completely different films.

All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

We landed on time, zigzagged our way through the airport to the baggage claim area, then took the tram to the car rental depot. Elliot was kind enough to heave the big ol’ 50 lbs. bag of healthy snacks we brought. After much, much waiting for the desk to secure the precise vehicles we’d reserved (and called to confirm), we went downstairs only to find we didn’t have the vehicles we’d reserved – even though they had them when we were upstairs moments before! Finally, they did come through and we exited with four 8-passenger Kia Sedonas with plenty of room for baggage storage in the backs. My Kia, which we named Cornelius, is brand-new, with 12 miles on it. Nice!

Because of the slight flight delay and the delay to pick up our rentals, we scrubbed our plans to see the Golden Gate Bridge right away and ended up at the hotel for a little R&R. After hitting up an exotic local restaurant near our hotel, Houlihans, we took a little more R&R at the hotel before heading out to drive over the bridge all lit up at night just after sunset.

San Francisco Sightseeing Bulbasaurs

The bridge view was wonderful, the routes were interesting, and there were many, many Pokémon captured from the backseat. Sam said there were many Bulbasaurs, especially, so if you’re still missing Bublasaur, Trainers, head to the Bay area. After we drove across the bridge and back, one van traveled to the Painted Ladies homes and the other took the scenic route around the perimeter of downtown, jamming out to Red Hot Chili Peppers while we took the very, very up and very, very down streets of San Francisco.

Tomorrow we plan to visit the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point, pick up our mattress pads, and make the drive out to Stockton, California. To best enjoy these photos, Dear Reader, click the thumbnail below for a larger version. Special thanks to Bethany, Marla, Jo, Kemi, Catie, and me (can I thank myself?) for the photos I’ll be posting throughout the week.

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-nm

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