Day 1 - Leaving Los Angeles

Sunday, August 19, 2001
Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Elevation: 300 feet
Number of oxygen whiffers Larry had to abandon at check-in: 5

I went to Long's drug store and picked up two hot water bottles, one for me and one for Helene.
Ken and I and the kids had breakfast with the Fischmanns at More Than Waffles. Suzi gave me some tzedakah to take with me to ensure a safe return.

Bill called from Hawaii to wish me a Bon Voyage.

Larry, Helene and I took a limo to LAX together. We ran into Peter and his wife Laura at the curbside and, just as we were entering the KLM terminal, Andy and his wife Mariel arrived. At the check-in counter, Larry, Helene and I ended up having to eliminate/repack a large portion of our gear because it was either considered weaponry or combustible. Helene spent a lot of time looking for her pepper spray, but didn't find it till we were on the mountain. We're still wondering why Helene packed pepper spray.

Everyone carried on the plane his or her most important, difficult-to-replace gear in case the checked luggage was delayed. It was interesting to see what people chose to carry on. I chose my gargantuan pharmacy bag. Helene chose her variety of sunscreens and topical ointments. Larry chose all his electronic gear and batteries.

It took us so long to check in that Fred thought something happened to us. We still hadn't arrived at the gate after the initial boarding announcement. As we were walking to the gate I heard, "Would passenger "Gross" please come to gate 29?" I jogged to the gate wondering if Larry heard the page, and I saw Fred and he was very relieved to hear that I had seen all of the others. Karen Feenberg came to see us off at LAX. She brought her North Face 700 weight down jacket to loan to Helene. Most of us took Ambien to help us get to sleep on the fully booked plane and to get us on European time. Fred took Ativan. I suspect he took a little more than he needed.