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Day 8 - Friday, 28 September 2001

My alarm went off at 6:00am to give us time to pack, eat, check out, and get on the road by 8:00. We hit the road five minutes early. That gave us plenty of time to fill the gas tank, return the car and get to the terminal.

At 8:30, we were in line to have our bags inspected by the agriculture department. We had no fruits or plants with us, so we were quickly through. Then we joined the long queue for passenger check-in. Thirty minutes later, our bags were checked and we had our boarding passes. We headed toward the security checkpoint.

The line for security stretched about a hundred feet along the sidewalk. There it ran into the passenger check-in line for another airline, so it snaked back another twenty feet. We were glad we had plenty of time before our 10:40 flight. It took us another half hour to get to the x-ray machine and metal detector. I wondered if the security would be any tighter than what we had seen a week before in San Francisco. It was, but only a little.

As we approached the checkpoint a woman was checking for boarding passes. She asked if I had a laptop. When I told her I did, she directed me to take it to a side table. There, the guard took a quick look at it and told me to put it on the x-ray conveyor separate from my briefcase. I still did not have to turn on the computer or demonstrate the cell phone, Palm Pilot, or GPS.

Chris was preoccupied with watching me and forgot she was wearing her purse as a backpack. She started to walk through the arch with it, but a guard stopped her. When she went back through without it, the guard put her through the extra step of sweeping Chris with a hand-held metal detector.

We arrived at our gate at 9:35am, still with plenty of time before the plane left. I found a wall outlet, plugged in my laptop and started on the previous day's journal. At 10:00, the gate agent announced pre-boarding. The first leg of our flight was to Honolulu and had open seating. In order to get good seats, we got in line as pre-boarding started. We finally walked through the jetway at 10:20 and made our way back through the DC-10.

There were two seats open on the exit row, and Chris suggested we sit there. I agreed, since it would give me about six feet of leg room. The flight attendant looked us over and decided we looked fit enough to help in an emergency. She handed us the safety placards and asked us to look them over. Chris remembered her sore back and decided she should sit elsewhere. She found an empty seat in the row in front of the exit.

I was glad to have room to stretch my legs during the long wait for departure and the short flight to Honolulu. When we had landed on Oahu, we had to take our carry-on bags and leave the plane. We had a forty-minute wait in the gate area, then we boarded again. Next stop: San Francisco.

The flight from Honolulu was long, and there were lots of noisy babies and children. I put in my ear plugs and tuned out the noise as much as I could. Once again, we were lucky enough to have an open seat next to Chris, so we spread out. We both read all the way back to the mainland. The plane landed on time, we retrieved our bags just as our friend Heath showed up. Mini was driving around the pickup loop because security would not let her stop and wait. We took our bags and stood at the curb where Mini could see us when she drove around.

On the drive back to San Jose, we talked about our trip. It was funny that every time we mentioned something we had done, Mini would say "Yes. I read about that." Fortunately, Heath had not read all of our journals, so we told him about our travels instead. We arrived home around 10:30pm, our Hawaiian vacation over.

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