The trip, pt II

Saturday the 23rd was the big party. It was held at the DuPont Country club, which is quite a nice venue (no surprise there when old money is involved!) My Grandmother was not nearly as stressed this year- for my parents anniversary last year she worked herself up so much she didn’t really enjoy the party. This year I think she had a good time. Happy number 88! We were seated with a variety of interesting folk, including some neighbors of my parents who are avid film buffs. Some time I would like to see the basement-coversion home theater that they have.

Sunday morning we hopped the Amtrak to NYC. A quick transfer onto the Long Island RR got us out to Valley Stream and Judith. Plus Marshall (AKA Mars Hallifax, AKA Serial killer). Plus the kids. Tam had never met Marshall before, and the kids were new for both of us. Holly made it down later that afternoon, and we managed to convince her (and eventually even Judith!) to try out the slack-line Marshall had set up. Much fun! Being blind does not slow the kids down, and Bradon plays a mean game of Wii boxing.

After an overnight in a local hotel, we said goodbye to Holly, and hopped the train south. It was a day of Mucho public transport. Long Island RR to Penn Station where we rushed to the NJ Transit (3 minute window!) to catch the train to Trenton. There we had a 45 minute wait (enough for lunch) then caught SEPTA down to center city Philly. We stopped off for shopping in Chinatown and the Reading Terminal market, then got back on the train to Rose Valley to spend the evening with the Clarks’. Plus of course a quick stop by the comic shop to restock on Girl Genius, BRPD, and a variety of graphic novels. Much to our (and his!) surprise we ran into Trent who was working at the shop. It’s fun to meet someone unexpectedly after 11 years! Nice gobsmacked look, too. 🙂

Tuesday morning we took the train back down to WIlmington, though the train we were on only made it as far as Marcus Hook, so my parents had to drive an extra 10 minutes to pick us up. We decided to stay and extra day at my parents place. This allowed us more time with them and my Grandmother, plus time with my Uncle, plus a dinner at the classic Itallian resaurant of Wilmington- Mrs Rabinos.

Thursday morning we picked up our rental car (a nice white Chevy Cobalt), and started the drive. Trying to go around the middle of town at rush hour, I ended up putting us on a nice scenic route along the Brandwine river. I don’t know if I had ever been on the road before, and I grew up in Wilmington. It was a lovely drive. One great thing about the car was the radio. XM. Best. thing. ever. Well, for long car trips at least. Once you find a station you like, you don’t have to worry about losing it as you drive along.  We took the scenic back roads across Maryland and into West Viginia. Thoughts and observations of that ride in the next post.

The trip

So, we are back, safe and sound, from our US trip. Over the next few days we hope to put up a series of posts detailing the many adventures we had (including a few unexpected adventures after we returned home).

The start- Wednesday August 20th.

It was a long, long Wednesday. We had a 6:40AM international flight from Wellington. Which meant being there 2 hours early. Which meant getting up at 3:30. Ugh. We then flew to… Sydney- yes, kinda going backwards there- for a 5 hours layover. As we don’t have NZ passports yet and had not arranged visas we were not allowed out of the airport. We went over to Customs and asked if we could just get out for a few hours to get some non-airport food. Now, to their great credit, they seriously considered letting us out, but we only had 3 hours until the next check-in. That is not much time to escape an airport and eat. I am pretty sure if we had been looking at an 8-hour layover they would have probably let us through. I do respect officials who are willing to be flexible and helpful!

After that was the long-haul to SanFran. The United 747 flet rather old and dingy. No in-seat entertainment, there were only ceiling-mounted flickering CRT televisions to watch- if you paid for the headsets. Thankfully we managed some sleep. I must give credit to all the various federal employees in SanFran, they were uniformly polite, friendly, and efficient. We got through all he border procedures without difficulty, and made our way to the US Air terminal for the final leg. Once again, a full flight (every plane the whole trip was packed). This was also our first exerience at “now you buy your food and drink.” Thankfully we managed to get soem snack-boxes before they ran out, and they contained enough nutrients to prevent any unfortunate cannibalism incidents. We made it to Philly, met my parents, and got driven to their place for much-needed sleep.

Time of transit- 32 hours. Uggh. Long trip. And due to the magic of the international date line that was all on Wednesday.

Thursday the 21st and Friday the 22nd-

A bit of rest, recovery, and shopping. The Delaware weather was very un-August-like, we were getting lovely cool non-humid weather. Walks were taken along rivers and in local parks. We went to BJs Price Club for some shopping (and we regret not bringing the camera, properly explaining the horror of a 20L tub of pork rinds to really requires photo evidence). These relaxing days really helped us get over the jet-lag quickly, and prepare for the main event on Friday- my grandmothers 88th birthday!