I began my 2011 trip with CruiseGran by heading to Shreveport for a few days. I needed some Louisiana time!
Getting there is “half the fun” as they say, and YET ANOTHER snowstorm made traveling more fun than usual. Julie and Ed had planned a dinner party in my honor for that Friday, but Mother Nature did not cooperate.
Friday morning, things were fine in Atlanta, but not in Shreveport. Snow had been falling all night, making for a 2 inch accumulation. My European friends will be rolling on the floor laughing, but for an area that seldom sees snow, the equipment is not present to take care of clearing runways in a timely manner. (Indeed, here in Middle-Of-Nowhere, I watched with much mirth as a big yellow road grader was used “in a pinch” as a snowplow in January during one of our “massive” snowfalls...)
So my “leave at 10:30, arrive at noon” scheme failed miserably. Add to the fact that it was Super Bowl weekend, that the Dallas Ft. Worth airport (the game was played in Dallas), was closed as well, and you can imaging what the Atlanta airport was like.
The best I could do was manage a 5pm flight to Memphis, and get into Shreveport at 9pm. So much for dinner, but every trip has its one “oops”, and this was it.
So SATURDAY was party night. And a party it was.
My niece Ella had some fun with Lola.
Julie had some friends over....
Julie and her dear friend (and mine) Pam
My darling friend Kris came over
with two of her kids..Madeline (who is Alix’s age) and Jack (who had obviously chosen the Packers in the Superbowl. Outfitted, for the benefit of my European readers, in the traditional Packer fan “Cheesehead”)
The food and wine flowed, and we cried with laughter. (No, I am not showing photos....some are quite hilarious....but my brother Ed is pretending to be in the witness protection program and hates photos, and I didn’t get a chance to get a photo of the bra hanging from the chandelier. Seriously. Kris or Julie, if you have one, please send it on...)
Sunday was traditional Burger Night with Superbowl festivities. Drank lots of Pinot Noir and took NO photos......
My mom came to town on Monday, and Tuesday, our big adventure began bright and early. Uneventful plane hops from Shreveport to Dallas, Dallas to Los Angeles.
Outside the plane, it was beautiful and clear.
At LAX, our friends Ron and Teri Crane (she of Wonder-Travel Agent fame) picked us up and we went to Houstons for a nice visit during our layover. Dropping us off again, we hooked up with our cousins, Merrill (Bob) and Andi Parker and Susanne and Bill Sutton. This is the merry sextet that would explore New Zealand.
Our trip over on New Zealand Air was lovely. I honestly think the trip to New Zealand/Australia area is the easiest I’ve ever done...one leaves at 9pm, go to sleep after dinner, and wake up at “normal” wakeup time with only 2-3 hours to land in Auckland at 7am.
My first sight of New Zealand
Customs was a breeze, and before we knew it, we were headed to the Sky City Grand Hotel to begin exploring Auckland.