Anyone who travels out of state during the holidays knows there is a risk that the trip will be fraught with snags. Like our trip to Utah to visit family.
Normally I avoid traveling during the holidays like the plague. However, my sister-in-law and two darling nieces moved from Thousand Oaks, California to Saratoga Springs, Utah last summer. We’ve spent Thanksgiving with that family for years and years. How could we resist their invitation to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with them in their new home? So we, my husband, friend Circe and myself geared up for travel during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Once we got settled in Utah things were fine. Pleasant. Fun. But getting there and leaving was another story altogether. I ended up spending my 65th Birthday in a Motel 6 in Inglewood, California, eating El Pollo Loco chicken at 9 pm at night. That is not the way it was supposed to go down. Here’s a recap:
Getting To Utah From Los Angeles
Good: Got a decent price on airline tickets to Utah during the week of Thanksgiving.
Bad: Flying out of LAX, one of the busiest airports in the world
Good: Can take our Flyaway bus to LAX
Bad: Missed the bus we wanted to take at 4:00 pm and, instead, caught the 4:30 pm one
Bad: A senior lady took a small tumble by missing the clearly marked curb. Her husband toppled on top of her when trying to help. A nosy person in line harassed the seniors about reporting their fall. I just was waiting for the obnoxious lady to hand the seniors a business card indicating she was a lawyer. In any event, the senior couple conceded and proceeded to file a report, which held up the departure of the bus.
Bad An accident on the city street involving a motorcycle and a car stalled bus a while before it could get on the freeway.
Bad: The 405 Freeway was at a crawl
Ugly: We missed our 7:00 pm flight
Ugly: There were no seats on any flights later that night
Good: There were seats on a flight the next morning. We could not sit together. And it was not a non-stop like our original flight. Still, it was good we got something!
Good: I called up my Expedia app to look for a hotel nearby.
Bad: Not many hotels rooms available at a reasonable price close to LAX on the week of Thanksgiving.
Good: Motel 6 had rooms.
Good: Motel 6 had shuttle service from LAX to the hotel
Bad: Shuttle took 40 minutes to arrive
Good: My traveling companions were willing to go get food while I stayed behind. It was, after all, my Birthday.
Bad: My husband couldn’t sleep well due to the pillow being too fat.
Good: Uber whisked us to LAX the next morning with no problems.
Good: We arrived two hours early
Bad: For some reason, the complimentary baggage fee was not waived and ended up paying $30.00 for my shipped bag that should have been free.
Good: There was only ONE seat empty on the plane, and it was next to me. Consequently, my friend could sit next to me while my husband caught up on his sleep a few rows ahead
Good: We literally walked off one plane in San Francisco, went to the restroom, and walked on to the connecting flight to Utah.
Bad: At Utah, the car rental business was off-site
Good: There was a shuttle to the car rental place
Bad: It was 39 degrees out and we waited at least 30 minutes for the shuttle
Ugly: I started to have a meltdown
Ugly: The car rental place did NOT have a reservation for us because of our “no show” the day before.
Ugly: I could not hear worth S**t because Judge Judy was blasting over the TVs in the waiting room
Good: My husband and friend handled the situation. 90 minutes and another uber ride later, we secured a big SUV Dodge for just 25.00 a day.
Good: The hotel did not charge me for not giving them 24 hours notice on the room cancellation the day before
Good: The hotel was just a block from the brand new huge gym my sister-in-law is about to open, and the reason for her relocation.
During our Visit:
Good: We gasped at the jaw-dropping view of the snow-topped Utah moutans from my sister-in-law’s home in Saratoga Springs.
Good: We made the most of our limited sightseeing time while in Utah. I will be creating separate posts for those visits. They include the historic Lehi Roller Mills, Robert Redford’s Sundance Ski Resort, frozen waterfalls, and a phenomenal holiday light show.
Leaving Utah to return to Los Angeles
Good: Got to the airport three hours early!
Good: Enjoyed the best airport food I’ve ever had
Good: For some unknown reason, my seat was bumped up to one with more leg room. I gave that to Circe, since she is so tall.
Bad: The flight was pretty bumpy
Ugly: Sat in the LAX runway for about 30 minutes before exiting the plane
Bad: The Flyaway shuttle was just pulling away as we entered the baggage claim area.
Bad: It took way longer than 30 minutes for the next Flyaway bus to arrive. And when it did…
Ugly: It was too full for us!
Good: Another bus was coming five minutes later
Good: It did arrive and wasn’t overcrowded
Good: it is now 10:30 at night and there is little traffic on the 405 freeway
Ugly: As Circe pulled out of the Flyaway parking lot, she ran over a screw that flattened her tire
Good: She has AAA coverage
Good: We were able to laugh about this, hopefully, the last snafu on our adventurous trip.
Good: The AAA technician changed the tire with no complications
Ecstatic: Sitting in my tup of nice not soothing hot water at 1:00 in the morning – HOME AT LAST
Traveling during the Holidays
We survived. Will we do it again? Yes. Next Thanksgiving. HOWEVER, we will leave for our flight three, maybe even four hours early to make sure we get to LAX in time to not miss our plane.
What we do for family!