Three-day weekends are the best, as for me; it’s an open invitation to travel. Because I was going to cash in some frequent flyer miles, I booked this trip well in advance. I immediately thought of going to Europe, but didn’t want to deal with the late summer crowds. I thought of the Caribbean. I thought of Miami. But two things were for certain: it had to be someplace cool, and it had to offer a ride on some decent aircraft. Long story short, I ended up choosing to go to Maui on a pair of UA 777’s.
Here’s the full itinerary:
09/02/00 United Shuttle 737-300 San Diego to San Francisco
09/02/00 United 777-200 San Francisco to Maui
09/04/00 United 777-200 Maui to San Francisco
09/04/00 United Shuttle 737-300 San Francisco to San Diego
This trip sort of sneaked up on me, as I didn’t think much about it until a couple weeks before departure. Slowly the day came, and I was very much looking forward to going. I was a little nervous, for at the time, UA was in the midst of pilot contract negotiations – which meant loads of cancelled flights.
So with my fingers crossed, I headed out SAN very early on the morning of September 2nd. I arrived shortly before 5am for my 6:30am shuttle flight up to SFO. Check in was closed, but I found that the self-service check in Kiosks were on and ready. With no bags to check, I got my boarding passes and headed up to the gate to wait.
Boarding was on time, and I had an isle seat (with an open seat next to me) toward the front of the plane. How I always manage to score good seats on UA is beyond me. But hey..I wasn’t complaining. Anyway, the flight up to SFO was uneventful, and upon arrival I found myself walking around the UA terminals looking for good photo opportunities. I managed to snag a few, though it was still quite dark out – which caused me to blur a few nice shots via the required slow shutter speed. Oh well.
The 777 to OGG boarded on time, and we were quickly off. It was a beautiful take-off over the hills surrounding SFO, and a rather uneventful flight all the way out to Maui. The approach was nice, though I was surprised how arid the interior of the Island was. Still, it was still a stunning sight, and I was a very happy boy once I got off the plane. I was rather hungry at this point, so I found a restaurant to grab a quick bite, and then spent about an hour just walking around the airport taking pictures.
Soon very bored with this (and anxious to get to the beach), I found a shuttle to take me to my hotel in Lahaina (the Marriott Maui Resort). It was a lengthy drive out, but the scenery was nice along the water’s edge. All along the way, I kept thinking how desolate the place was. Definitely not like Oahu, but still absolutely gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous, the weather was perfect.
Immediately after checking in, I went down to the beach to get a little sun on my pale-white body. It didn’t take long before I went back to the hotel to get some sun block! My first impression of the place was how…boring it was. The reason why I liked Oahu was the fact that there was LOTS of activity. In Maui, things are much more laid back.
Still, not disappointed, I knew I was going to have a relaxing weekend. I walked around the immediate area that evening and eventually found a place to grab a quick (and very expensive) bite. After that, it was up to my hotel room to watch the sun set over the south Pacific. A beautiful way to end the day…
The morning came, and after some room service, I was out at the beach. I even got in the water for a while, which was absolutely incredible. Anyway, it didn’t take long until the sun was starting to get really harsh, so I went and found some shade. I pondered the thought of heading into Lahiana, but there wasn’t anything there I really wanted to see. So…I just kicked it on the beach all afternoon even though the sky was mostly overcast. It was a very lazy day.
Thinking of it now, I should have done a little aviation photography or something. Oh well. It was still nice to just sit there and do absolutely nothing. Anyway, dinnertime came around, and I went back to the same little shopping center to grab a quick (and yet again very expensive) bite to eat. Back at the hotel to watch the sun go down, watch a little football, and go to bed. I slept with the patio door open all night, and I’m here to tell you…the sound of the ocean is one of the most soothing sounds there is.
The morning of departure came too soon, and I made one last walk out to the beach before I checked out of the hotel. Hawaii is such a beautiful place, and it’s always hard to leave. Anyway, such is life, and I quickly found myself at the airport ready to catch that 777 back to the mainland.
All was uneventful until I got to SFO, only to learn that my connecting flight to SAN was horribly delayed. But there was another (earlier) flight that everybody and his brother was trying to get on. Deciding it was worth trying, I got on the standby list. To my surprise, I made it! So I thought all was well…I was happy as I got off the plane in San Diego. Home, at last. Then, upon arrival to my car, I find a flat tire. SIGH.
But it was a good trip. I have to admit that I was a little bored Sunday afternoon, and I should have done something. Oh well. It was still loads of fun, and I am very happy I went. But I think Oahu is more my style…