Well, it was a long process, but we are in beautiful Hawaii safe, sound, and loving it! We’ll have more photos to share in the coming days once we’ve had a good night’s sleep, but for now the story of our first day of tour will have to suffice.
The day started at 4:20am (yes, you read that right) at WMA to load the bus and head to Newark Airport. Luckily everyone was excited for the trip and the adrenaline managed to keep us going. Our bus driver selected some great tunes for the road, and before we knew it, we were ready to check-in for the first leg of our flight.
Unfortunately, the ticket agents were a little less ready. The complex series of requirements for the state of Hawaii to allow you in the state during COVID added an extra layer of confusion and challenge to the already tedious process of getting a large group checked-in. The poor agents were struggling to figure out what exactly they were supposed to be checking and how. I’m pretty sure everyone got a slightly different version of the process, but eventually we managed to get everyone to the gate with time for a quick potty and snack stop (if you’re ever surprised at how much time we allow at the airport prior to a group flight, this is why).
The flight to Charlotte was fairly uneventful, and the recently remodeled airport made for a delightful layover. The Hawaii flight boarded and pulled away from the gate on-time and I settled in to finish the movie I started on the earlier flight when we heard the captain’s voice saying there was a mechanical issue and we were returning to the gate with very little information or guess on the timing. About an hour (and the rest of my movie) later, we were finally in the air, ready to finally start the 9 hour flight.
Upon arrival, we were each greeted with a beautiful floral lei (which was less appreciated by Dr. Jenkins’ allergies, but she was a trooper), gathered our luggage that was waiting for us, and loaded the bus to head to our hotel. We met our tour director, Gil, and headed off to a pizza party, complete with live guitar music. Once our tummies were full, we all started to crash FAST, and were excited to come back to the hotel and head to bed right away (a few rooms already had lights off before curfew bed checks!) We are all looking forward to a great sleep and an exciting day tomorrow.