Our “Find Yours” Travel Experience

Crook-family-plus-1I think Expedia’s “Find Yours” promotional campaign is brilliant. Instead of limiting itself to the stereotypical travel promotion themes of beautiful/relaxing travel destinations/experiences it goes deeper into the purposes, emotions and meaning behind travel.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a travel news and commentary compilation post (I’ll post the next one shortly). Besides the time sink of the year-end holidays my family’s time and attention at the end of 2012 were dedicated to the wedding of our oldest son Dan and his sweetheart Kim McFarland. Here are some details of our “Find Yours” experience.

On December 19th 2012 my wife Bren and I, together with son Greg and daughters Kaitlin and Hannah left behind the gray sleeting skies of Seattle and boarded an Alaska Airlines flight to sunny southern California.

Ever the conscientious air passenger, I made sure to review the Alaska flight safety card. I was very impressed with the quality of the illustrations. They’ll help me make sure that if an emergency occurs I remember to get just the right amount of air as I exit the plane onto the emergency evacuation slide—wheeee….!

AlaskaSafetyCardExitSlide

I also reviewed the life vest procedure for small children. All my kids are pretty big now, but I might have needed to help someone else with theirs. Having reviewed the flight safety information, I was able to enjoy the rest of the flight with equanimity.

AlaskaSafetyCardChildVest

Once on the ground, we picked up our Toyota Camry rental car from Budget and drove northeast out of Los Angeles to Redlands California where the wedding was to be held. The traffic was surprisingly good and we soon arrived at our destination, the Ayres Hotel Redlands. I can highly recommend the Ayres Hotel. Ayres is a small chain in southern California that features mid-market properties that embody affordable luxury and exceptional service. As with other brands in the segment, Ayres offers a complimentary breakfast, but Ayres’ breakfast is a cut above the others. In addition to decent quality breakfast fare you might find, at say, a Hyatt Place, Ayres has a toque-wearing chef on site each morning to cook omelets to order, all for free. Even more remarkable, the hotel hosts a free happy hour in the late afternoon with wine, cheese, beer, fruit juices and cookies. Being non-imbibers, we appreciated the latter two offerings.

Ayres Hotel

Katie was impressed with the hotel courtyard’s fireplace and miniature fountain.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

The wedding was held at the Redlands temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints the next day. As with all Mormon temple marriage ceremonies, it was simple and unostentatious, with the bride and groom dedicating themselves to one another for all eternity.

Redlands Temple

Dan+Kim

The highlight of the reception that evening was a large chocolate fountain. Kim’s father is a general contractor. He did such a great job on a kitchen for a client who does chocolate fountains that she offered to do fountains for his daughters’ weddings. As you can see, the fountain generated much happiness.

Chocolate Fountain!

The day after the wedding we had several hours to kill before our flight back to Seattle. We were schedule to fly out of Long Beach so we decided to spend some time at the beach before heading out. We found that the beach sand there has an abundance of mica, a rarely occurring phenomenon that gives the beach the appearance of being covered with gold dust.

Golden Long Beach

Our flight out ended up being cancelled due to mechanical problems. Alaska called me on my cellphone at the beach and booked us on a later flight which actually ended up in Seattle close to our original arrival time. In the meantime, we had a couple hours longer to enjoy the temperate weather and beaches of southern California. In sum, we “Found Ours” in a wonderful travel wedding experience.

Hannah on the beach

Walking Long Beach

2 thoughts on “Our “Find Yours” Travel Experience

  1. Sounds like a great trip! I’m excited for Dan…and excited that you were able to be there with him! Were Bro and Sis Carmen able to make it out for the wedding?
    Hope everyone is well. It’s crazy we live so close, we’ll have to catch up for dinner if I ever make it over to the depressing side of the state 🙂

    • Thanks Mark. We had a great time and as a parent, I felt a sense of completion to see my oldest begin his own family.

      Unfortunately the Carman’s health is such that they don’t travel anymore. Bren’s sister Corie and all her kids made it though. Dan and Kim came to our house for Christmas week and Marie Carman came out and joined us.

      Drop by if you make it out our way.

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