So we got up fairly leisurely Monday morning (Feb. 4), since showtime wasn't until 12:20. We ate the nutrigrain bars and the last sausage bisquick muffins for breakfast. Bob had found out about a guy, "Duke", who you can call, and he will take you and your stuff over to the terminal for tips. Bob called him, and he took everyone except Luke, Nathan, and I, along with all our stuff, over to the terminal. Win! The boys and I had a lovely walk, because the weather was gorgeous. It felt good to stretch our legs! Bob and I had actually walked over an hour earlier to make sure we were signed in and marked "present" for the roll call, so I definitely got my legs nice and stretched out that day!
Showtime came (and we were startled to find out our names were not marked present--weird, but they took care of it). There were 65 seats, and we easily made it onto the manifest. As Bob was checking our baggage, he heard some of the airmen talking about how the flight was going to be delayed. Uh-oh--that sounded familiar! Sure enough, a few minutes later came the official announcement--the crew was on crew rest, and the new showtime was 6:00 Tuesday morning. Seriously?!? At least we were already on the flight. Sigh.
So we called lodging to reserve another TLF for the night, and we rented a vehicle from the Enterprise on base. The only car they had was an 8 seater Suburban. Ummm . . . that didn't work too well. We squished all our stuff and all of us in (Bob and me in front, 4 in the middle seats, and 5 in the back--just slightly illegal, LOL, and there was much complaining, especially from the back row), and we drove off-base to another Enterprise that actually had a 15 passenger van. This took approximately forever, as they decided they needed to do a thorough cleaning of the vehicle before they could possibly rent it to us. Ummm . . . did you notice that we are a family with 9 kids? We don't need a white-glove clean vehicle! But finally they decided it was good enough for us, and we switched all our luggage and car seats over.
We wanted to visit the Jelly Belly Factory, since we had good memories of visiting that, the last time when we came out for my brother's wedding in April 2004. Caleb was 2 and had a big ear infection, and Jonathan was almost 1, so only Nathan and Luke remembered it, of the kids. But the last tour started at 4:00, and now it was close to 3:30, since getting the van took so long! Fortunately the factory is really close to Travis--only 10 minutes away or so, so we made it there at 3:40, in plenty of time for the last tour. Even plenty of time to stand in line and get lots of free samples! The kids could have stayed there forever!
We made a quick stop at a grocery store to buy some stuff for breakfast the next morning, and then it was off to bed, since we needed to be over at the terminal at 5:00 AM Tuesday morning. It was a lot easier to get over there with our own van! There was another roll call, we checked our bags again, and then we waited around until they called us to go through security. Drew was *very* tired and crabby, but I kept not wanting to put him down because I was sure they were going to call us. Finally I laid him down in the crib in the family area, and sure enough, about 15 minutes later they called us. Sigh. We got through security, but not without Micah pitching a huge tantrum because HE wanted to lift his (too heavy for him) backpack onto the scanning conveyor belt. Ahh, embarrassing. I am thankful that this was really his only big tantrum, and I am very thankful we didn't attempt this trip a few months ago, when he was in the depths of his worst "terrible twos", when every.single. thing. was tantrum worthy!
Finally, we got on the plane a little after 8:00. This aircraft was a C-5, which is a humongous cargo plane that is anciently old. We used to space-a on these back when I was in elementary school! There is a huge cargo hold, but the passengers sit in a little cabin above the cargo hold. You go up a really tall set of stairs to get to a little door, and when you're on the top of the steps, you can see over the airplane; that's how high up you are!
There are actual (really old) airline-type seats, although with no trays or anything, and the seats face the rear of the aircraft, so that is kind of weird. They did have these little foot rest things you could pull out, though. And the rows were a lot further apart than on commercial flights, so there was plenty of leg room! What there is not, however, is windows. So you are sort of in this dark cave-like cabin. Hey-it's free!
We did not think through the seating options. The 3 girls sat on one side of the aisle (and none of them could reach their backpacks, get their own earplugs in, open their snacks, etc), and Bob sat in front of them with Caleb and Jonathan (who needed no help at all). Nathan, Luke, and some other guy sat in front of me, and I sat in between Micah and Drew, both of whom were incredibly needy, and I had to be like an octopus, trying to keep in their earplugs! I did have the bright idea of cutting each earplug in half the long way, so the earplugs were skinnier. This helped a tiny bit, as far as getting them in, but whenever Drew was awake, he kept trying to brush them out, succeeding fairly regularly.
It was raining when we got off the airplane, but it was so warm! And tropical-looking! We were so excited to actually BE in Hawaii! After 3 days of travel, terminals, and TLFs, we were beginning to think we were never actually going to get there!