28 December, 2008

Family Fun - Day One

We had a red-eye flight direct to SLC leaving Friday night. The flight home has a layover in Seattle, but only one plane going down. Which was great because our flight was delayed by a couple hours because of bad weather in Chicago, but we didn't have to worry about missing our connecting flight. We sent email & texts to family that was supposed to meet us in the morning, then settled in to hang at the airport for a while.

The flight was uneventful and our bags were waiting on the carousel when we got there. I found a new vending machine - it supposedly serves hot pizza. This will eventually go into my (currently non-existent) Flickr album for strange vending machines. (I found some other interesting ones while we were in Florida last May - they're here & here.)

From there, we headed to the rental car company. We thought we were going to beat the family to breakfast, but that was before we stepped into the building. Let's just say that for *several* reasons, we won't EVER rent from this company again. (Complaining customers about blown tires and bad maintenance; rental cars that are delivered to the new rentee with apple cores & trash still inside; we were supposed to get an all-wheel drive vehicle & didn't; won't guarantee 4-wheel drive - whatever's there when you get there is what you get; our car is out of windsheild washer fluid; because of undisclosed extra charges, our "good deal" turns out to be as mush as we would have paid at one of the national rental companys like Dollar or Alamo... not to mention pretty piss-poor customer service all around.)

Anyhow, after what seemed like an eternity, we got the car and headed up Emigration Canyon to Ruth's Diner for breakfast before wandering around taking family photos. The canyon has lots of great scenery, and we even stopped at "This is the Place" historical site. (Heath, I found a barn star and took a picture for you!)

From there, we headed out to Liberty Park to take some more pictures, then split the group. Some went home to rest, and others of us decided to head to Gateway Mall - more pics and shopping, wahoo! I saw several areas that have outdoor fire pits so people can congregate and stay warm - very neat!

We enjoyed hot beverages and some shopping - I found some really comfortable jeans and Greg picked up a pedal stand so he can sit at his desk and exercise. We finally checked into the hotel around 6:30pm and headed out to dinner. The first restaurant we were going to try (a new Olive Garden in Lehi) told us the wait was 2-1/2 hours for a party of 10 - definitely too long to wait. We went to the one in Provo, thinking we might have to pick another joint but we got lucky - only 30 minutes and we were in! The food was great, the visiting was better.

We stopped at mom's house to visit for a while and then headed back to the hotel. It wasn't an early night, since I still had wrapping to do and we didn't get to bed until after midnight. On tap for tomorrow: family fun... breakfast, Rock Band, family cooking, gift exchange, more pictures (since we'll have *everyone* - Sheri was missing today), and general enjoyment.

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