Friday September 4 – Sunday September 6th, 2009
Spent Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza on 44th and Washington, just outside of the Phoenix AP. Nice hotel. They gave us a ride to the airport and picked us up on Sunday. I was happy to not pay the airport parking fee.
Flight to Philadelphia was uneventful. Changed planes in Columbus Ohio, where there was no cell phone reception – very weird. Verizon should check that place out. Arrived, got to the rental car place, Avis, who were not helpful and tried multiple times to “up-sell” me into a bigger more expensive car. Their directions sucked to the point that we missed the hotel completely, went over the bridge, drove around the Eagles’ stadium, and then drove back and ended up at Pat’s Pizza in somewhere NJ, where the girl at the counter didn’t know how to get to the Philadelphia airport. We wanted pizza – East Coast Pizza to be exact – for dinner anyway. The side salads were expensive, and the pizza was okay. Found our hotel finally, and drank at the bar while regaling Chris the bartender about the SCA. He seemed interested. Talked to Chang while he was on his lay-over in North Carolina. Seems stupid for him to have flown from San Diego to NC and then to Philly, but I guess it worked. He found us later, and he and Sean went out to drink. I napped.
They came back and crashed at 3:45am. I rose at 9:30 and headed to somewhere north of Princeton NJ to meet up with my cousin Lisa. I only got lost once. Lisa took me to her townhouse where I got to meet the new dog – a cute soft plush toy about 50+ pounds at 8 months of golden retriever mixed with standard poodle – a Golden Doodle she called him (Dakota I think his name was). Her husband was out on the golf course, so I’ll have to meet him later. Had a lovely lunch and then drove west to Great Meadows, where I found the Panther Valley Inn (where Random and Regan got married) and had to call for directions. No one I spoke with seemed terribly excited. It was kinda odd.  Anyway, found the house – which is at the top of a hill amidst tall trees and fern-y undergrowth. The view from the deck was awesome. Sean and Chang caught up later. Random was out with his father at a fantasy football thingy and not due back until 7pm, which was good because it took us until about 6:30 to get everything situated.
The surprise worked and he was stunned by all the people (50+) and especially all of the western KE contingent who’d managed to make it out. Also saw Gaia and Jed. Gaia looked more fit than the last time I saw her, although she wasn’t moving around much. Jed seemed more depressed than usual. Kinda Eeyore-ish (sp?). Oh well, I think he had fun anyway. Good to see them both. Regan is a master party planner and everything went off very well. Definitely worth the quick trip.
Sunday morning found us in a tent outside. I dragged us back to Philly and on to the airport. Poor Sean was sick the whole time. I think it was a hang-over induced stomach flu, because he was sick through Monday (his birthday).
A good trip!

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