It started with Key West. That was the original plan, but when we went to book the timeshare, we discovered that Key West is a popular place. Not only was the timeshare completely booked for 2015, it was also completely booked for 2016.
We scrambled. We perused the list of other potential timeshare possibilities. There was one close to San Diego. We had discussed visiting San Diego on numerous occasions and so our California adventure was born.
We arrive at the Philadelphia airport at 3 am. Thanks to online check-in and carry- on bags only, we breeze straight to security. It’s so early the airport is practically vacant,
though it fills up more and more as we wait to board our plane. People around us sip coffee and munch on egg sandwiches and I wonder how they can eat this early in the morning.
Our first stop, a layover, is at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. It makes the movie lover in me smile and I have to hold back the impulse to reenact the airport scene from Home Alone.
The airport’s bathroom is the cleanest and nicest airport bathroom that I have encountered in my travels thus far. Unfortunately the bathroom is all that we have time for before we board our next flight.
My eyes are glued to the window. I am fascinated by the interesting geometric patterns made by the farmlands below. They seem almost unreal.
I planned on taking a lengthy nap, but I’m learning that I’m a terrible airplane sleeper. I startle awake once. It takes me a few seconds to figure out where I am, and why my face is awash in a puddle of drool.
Confusion sets in when we land in San Diego. What are these droplets of moisture clinging to the airplane window? Surely it’s not rain? Isn’t supposed to always be sunny in San Diego?
Despite the dreary weather outside, the airport is clean, bright and open.
Everyone at the airport is very friendly and helpful. With assistance, we finally find our way to the rental car shuttle.
Our timing is bad. A throng of people from a just disembarked Disney cruise crowd the rental car office, picking up their cars to presumably head out to Anaheim. The line seems endless.
There’s no point in both of us taking up space on the inside, so I stand outside while Shannon takes care of the car stuff. I’m happy that I wore jeans and closed shoes on the flight. I’m thankful for my easy to retrieve rain jacket. The people standing in line in their flip-flops, shorts, and tank tops look cold and grumpy. I imagine that they too believed it would be a perfectly sunny day.
We sit in the rental car. The rain tap—tap-taps on the windshield. Originally we planned on spending our first afternoon at Mission Beach, but the weather is not conducive to a beach day. We have been up since 1:30am and are groggier than we expected. For a moment we think maybe we should hang out in one of the museums in Balboa Park, but we admit defeat and make our way to our resort even though we can’t check in until 4pm.
Once in the Escondido area, we locate a Trader Joe’s. We get a parking spot right in front of the store, a feat that is almost impossible at home.
After purchasing some things for breakfast, we realize that no one remembered to pack the car adapter for the phone chargers, so we find the nearest Best Buy.
All of the Best Buy employees are very friendly. When they ask if we need help with anything I actually believe them. Not at all like at home where they usually mumble it and then you can tell that they hope your answer will be no.
When we walk out of Best Buy we discover clear skies. The sun has finally decided to make an appearance. We are hungry, but we don’t want to put a lot of effort into finding a place to eat. There is a Noodle & Company in the same shopping center as the Best Buy.
Shannon had some tummy issues when he woke up that morning so a big bowl of chicken noodle soup is just the thing he needs. I get the pad Thai.
The food is tasty and gives us some much needed energy as we ride along winding roads towards the Welk Resort.
It’s still too early to check- in, so we park at the lobby building, and then take a walk around the grounds to familiarize ourselves with the layout. We are impressed.
When we return to the lobby we find it chaotic and jam-packed.
Friday is the day when all of the timeshare guests check-in, or so says a balding man holding a tea cup dog. He sets the dog down for a moment and it wildly scampers about the lobby, knocking into guests legs.
Instead of standing in another endless line, we sit on the lobby sofas and play games on our phones; I exam the rack of tourist brochures. When there are only a few people left in line, we finally check-in. Everyone is very friendly. When asked if we would like to take a “tour” of the resort we politely decline. I was already tipped off during my research that the “tour” is actually a timeshare sales pitch.
We do all of the required ooooing and ahhhhing over how awesome our one bedroom suite is. Shannon goes right to sleep, but I’m afraid to mess up my adjustment to the time difference so I keep myself busy with unpacking. I read the first few chapters of the book I brought that is coincidentally about noodles. At 9pm, California time, I decide that I can go to bed without any ill side effects. Sleep comes quickly and I hope that I will wake up well rested, ready to tackle the adventures that await us on our first full day in San Diego, California.