Wake-up was at 4:30 am with departure from Casa de HolyCoast at 5:30 for the trip to LAX. We normally use John Wayne airport, but for this trip we elected LAX since it was the only way to go to Dulles nonstop on American Airlines (I had free tickets thanks to frequent flier miles). Traffic was still moving well at that early hour of the day so we ended up at the airport plenty early.
I tried to check-in using the self-serve kiosks, but was told by the computer that I had to see an agent. Apparently I'm on some sort of profile list which required a little extra scrutiny. They must have read my blog.
We did finally make it to the gate, and as we handed our boarding passes to the gate agent, Mrs. HolyCoast (who's also celebrating her birthday today) recognized the agent as someone she took a tap dancing class with back in 1975 at Long Beach State. That was odd enough, except that this same lady was the gate agent for Air California at John Wayne in 1987 and checked us in for our honeymoon trip to Lake Tahoe. She recognized Anne back then too, and in fact ordered free champagne for us on the flight. We don't drink, so we gave it to the pilots, which probably explains the stopover in Tucumcari.
The flight was uneventful, though long. Five hours in an airline coach seat is a bit much for someone 6'5" tall and more than a little bit wide.
We arrived at Dulles at 5:10 local time, gathered up our many belongings, picked up a Japanese minivan from Hertz which was designed for drivers a lot shorter than me, and headed toward Washington. We made a stop in Fairfax for dinner, and after leaving the restaurant we got about two miles away when HolyCoast daughter realized she left her purse at the restaurant. Of course, it has her ID among other valuables, and you can't go anywhere without ID these days, so we hustled back, got the purse, and continued into D.C.
The hotel is nice, but parking is a disaster. Thankfully, the manager agreed to move his car out and let me park there. We're not planning to drive much while we're here due to the poor parking facilities in this town, but I didn't expect that the hotel might not accomodate our car. I wouldn't have rented a car at all except that we'll be driving down to Williamsburg on Wednesday.
We finally made it to our rooms, and after the long day, have collapsed for the night. Tomorrow we start the Smithsonian adventures and plan to hit the American History and Natural History museums to start, and then we'll see what else we can fit in. It's going to be hot and humid, which us Californians are not used to. Given the amount of walking that we'll be doing, we'll hope everyone survives the day.