So...we just got to California. The palm trees are swaying to the warm, gentle wind. The snow capped mountains in the background stood in pure beauty, while we stood at the baggage claim, looking for the bags that were't going to show up.
It had to be a joke, right? Like, we had to have been put on some hidden camera show or something. Or maybe, I wasn't completely wrong when I said my life was becoming that of a Nancy Drew mystery story. The only thing missing now was a thief who steals my carry-on bag, and a ghost dog or two.
We stood as the bags went round and round. One by one, people would grab their bags and walk away. The three of us were left standing there for close to twenty minutes, watching in horror as one by one, our bags didn't show up.
Let's face it, I was a wreck. I was exhausted, I was hungry from something other than mini Ritz crackers and pretzels. My stomach was still in knots from the bumpy ride over. We were in a strange place thousands of miles away from everything I knew, and to top it all off, we couldn't find our bags. I was about to have a mental breakdown in the middle of the airport.
But alas! All is not lost! For whatever reason, our bags were moved to a different place in the airport. They had gotten to California before we did, so they had been put away behind an office desk. I was thrilled.
We carried our newly discovered luggage bags outside of one building, onto a bus that took us to another building, where we got our rental car. Thank goodness there were no issues with that. (Well...wait until day three for that story.)
So we were now on the road towards my aunt and uncles house! Before nightfall, we will be with people we recognize. (And not just super villains who clean off tables)
Being from Michigan, I'm used to straight roads. Not many turns, not many hills. Just flat land. Well...California isn't exactly like that. See, those mountains I saw at the airport aren't just in the backdrop. So we had to drive up and down, twist and turn through these mountains. Once again, not too good on my already upset stomach.
After about an hour of driving, we decided to stop for dinner. Although my stomach didn't seem interested in food, I decided to give something a try. We went to this restaurant that, on the outside, reminded me of Outback Steakhouse. I though I would find something that would settle my stomach and make me happy. But when we walked in...the place was much more like a trucker's diner. I knew right away that I wouldn't find anything that would help my stomach.
We sat down, and noticed that at three tables surrounding us, there were three groups of people speaking three different languages. (Again, not something you would see everyday in small town Michigan.)
Mom and Grandma ordered their food, and I went without. It was a good thing too, because I ended up throwing up in the bathroom soon after we arrived. Thankfully, I felt a little better after that. (Sorry if this is TMI..)
After another thirty or so minutes on the road, we finally reached Yucca Valley CA. We checked in at our hotel, which was only a mile from my aunt and uncles' house. (We didn't stay with them the first few nights because they had other company in for the wedding, and that house was already too full.)
I took a shower at the hotel, which felt wonderful. I wanted to get in my pajamas, and go to sleep. Close my eyes, and forget about the longest day of my life. But no...it was only 6pm. (9pm what I was used to) And Aunt Janel was expecting to see us that night. So, we left the hotel, and drove the very short one mile drive to Aunt Janel and Uncle Mark's house. It was so nice to see them. (It had been four years)
We talked for about two hours, until I could barely keep my eyes open. We left a little after 8pm, and finally I got to get in my mickey mouse pajamas, and just slept. I don't care if my bed was nothing but a pull out couch. I was extremely happy to be able to fall asleep. And fall asleep I did.
That first day was definitely the longest of our trip. I'm happy to say the trip did get better for the most part, from then on.
If I learned anything from my first day out west, it's that,
1. Never assume everything is going to work out the way it's been planned.
2. Always have a plan B in case your first plan fails.
3. Nancy Drew is a very patient person if she deals with this sort of thing day after day after day.