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May 12, 2017
“You Would Think We Had Never Traveled Before”

Gail waits to board the Pacific Princess

The original plan was for our son Joss to drive us to the San Francisco airport. Despite being out late the night before, he said he would be up at 4:00 am.

But on Friday morning, May 12, Joss was having a bad morning and couldn’t get out of bed. Fortunately, Gail and our other son Cameron had worked out a back-up plan. Cameron could drive us to the airport and back, and still get to work on time.

Cameron asked Joss if he at least wanted to ride in the car to say goodbye, but Joss declined.

We finally got out of the house at 4:30 am, slightly behind schedule. We got to SFO by 5:15 – plenty of time before our 6:10 boarding and our 6:50 flight to Los Angeles. We said our goodbyes to Cameron and watched him drive off.

We had to check-in manually to see if Russell could get the “sea man’s” luggage waiver. It was while we were standing in line that Gail said those five fateful words.

“You have the passports, right?”

The stricken look on Russell’s face told Gail everything she needed to know. Earlier in the week, Gail had put the passports on the table to get their information for Princess Cruises. Earlier in the week, Russell had put them in his desk so they wouldn’t get misplaced. And he knew exactly where they were right now.

While Russell banged his head against the wall, Gail began thinking. It would take 45 minutes for Cameron to drive home to get our passports, and 45 minutes to drive back. Our flight would begin boarding in 50 minutes. We would need another plan.

Russell called his sister Joanne. No answer. (Joanne later told him that she “always” keeps her phone on. Except for Thursday night, when she turned it off.)

Gail called Joss. He would have to jump out of bed, find our passports, and drive up to the airport as fast as possible. He said he would do this.

(Fifteen minutes later, Russell asked Gail if she told Joss which airport to go to. In a panic, Gail called Joss. Fortunately, he knew he was going to SFO.)

Joss pulled up at 6:07 am with passports in hand, three minutes before we were due to board. (Joss had actually hurt his knee running around in the dark that morning. He would need to ice it after returning home.)

Gail and Russell raced to the security checkpoint. Russell was randomly selected for a full body scan. In our rush, Gail had forgotten to empty her metal water bottle before going through security. They made her empty it and go through the line again.

As Gail would later remark to Russell, “You would think we had never traveled before.”

Fortunately, the rest of our day went more smoothly. The flight departed 30 minutes late, but arrived at LAX on time. We were met by a driver from Princess Cruises, who took us to the port at San Pedro.

There was some confusion whether we were supposed to board the ship as passengers or crew; we were ultimately declared passengers.

By 12:30 pm, we were aboard the Pacific Princess. At 7:30 pm, we set sail.


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