Over Spring Break this year, our family traveled to Hawaii to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary – and yes, we took the boys, too! Last year, my sister-in-law and her husband had traveled to Kauai using some of our timeshare exchange points, but had not been able to do all that they had wanted. So we all decided we would go together this year! But instead of going straight to Kauai this time (like they did last year), we extended the trip a few more days and stopped in Honolulu first to see a couple of things.
Because of the timing of when each family bought airline tickets, we took different routes to get to Honolulu. Our family decided to fly out of San Francisco non-stop to Honolulu. That meant driving over the mountains (Lake Tahoe) to get to San Francisco for our flight. Just as fate would have it, our vacation trip became a family adventure from the get-go due to a sudden winter storm dumping 6 inches of snow on the mountain passes the night before our flight. This is typical of Reno spring-time weather – we get spring-like weather for late February and most of March, but when April comes, we get one last winter storm to remind us that Mother Nature is still in charge!
We had a morning flight on April 1st – about 11 AM. We already had planned to drive to Pittsburg, CA and take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit – train/subway) from there to the airport, and we had planned on leaving plenty early from Reno to get there. Now with the impending winter storm coming in and hearing that the highway passes over the mountains were starting chain controls, we realized that we needed to leave Monday afternoon/evening and get over the pass that night. If we waited until morning like originally planned, the delays caused by slower traffic driving in the snow and cars stopping to put on and take off chains could potentially cause us to miss our flight. So we made a snap decision to pack up the car and head out, figuring we would find a place to stay in Pittsburg that night and make the morning trip to the airport stress-free. Luckily, we had spent Monday doing all of our packing for the trip and we were all ready to go anyway, so when I got home from getting my pre-vacation haircut and picking up Chinese food for dinner, we ate quickly and loaded up the car – the Mazda Tribute with 4-wheel-drive. (For those not familiar with snow conditions, most of the time when they have chain controls in this area, those with 4WD are exempt from needing chains. It has to be really bad snow conditions to require 4WD vehicles to use chains, too.)
It was the right decision leaving Monday night. We took our time getting to Pittsburg, got there around 9:30, and found a room at the Hilton Garden Inn for a reasonable price. Now we could really relax. We were out of the winter weather and could focus on catching our plane the next morning to wonderful Hawaii!
In the next several posts, I’ll share our photos and stories from our Hawaii trip.