Ready.Set.Go! Machu Picchu. Getting to Cusco. Days #1.#2.#3.

“Hey, what are your thoughts of going to Machu Picchu next December?” “Dad! It’s only February, you’ve got to be kidding!” Both responded similarly. “I know, but it takes planning. A lot. All I need is yes, no and window of dates.”

Fast forward. Friday, December 19th Billy and I get to Atlanta from San Francisco. Meet-up is on Saturday. Jess from Baltimore. Lindsey from DC

girls on plane

Both in around 1PM. Billy and I the night before, midnight. 5:19PM flight to Lima. Overnight in Lima. Sunday to Cusco at 11AM. Arrive Cusco 12:30PM. Planning. Everyone has one bag. I checked three.

They say that Machuu Picchu is the place to forget everything and get lost in the magic and embrace the spirituality. Push yourself physically, mentally, intellectualy. Life changing. And then we start reading of all the things not to forget in preparation to getting to a place to forget. Odd. My stuff neatly compressed in a number of plastic bags, each labeled. Rain pants, gaiters, hat, short sleeved shirts, camera memory cards, meds over the counter, meds prescription , long sleeved shirts, base layer pants etc.

hiking bootsA greater number of bags, still not organized,

plastic bagsare labeled with items that start with “extra” or “for.” Rain pants –Lindsey; rain jacket-Jess; everyone- including (but not limited to) 25 granola bars, quick burst energy gummy bears, packets of instant electrolytes for everyne, throat lozenges, extra daypack, water bottles, obnoxious matching warm socks for sleeping, sleeping bag liners, playing cards, flashlights, guidebooks, bungie cords and carabiners. Even a portable home crafted menorah, candles and aluminum foil to catch dripping wax. Home baked zucchini bread sliced for quick grab and go. In a separate bag meant for ski’s are eight hand carved and oiled walking sticks made from branches of redwoods found along the way on the north California coast.  Billy packs his bag with extras for all from his logical and organized point of view and still has plenty of room in his bag.  Batteries, flashlights, individual bags of trail mix and prepares for Verizon out of country emergency contact while readying his mom while he is away and making sure freezer and mom miantenace is perfectly prepped.  We operate in balance.,

walking sticksMy master list compiled from required items, good ideas from multiple lists, blogs and recommendations. Ideas, don’t forgets and knowing my family. Final check in’s with each other.  “Dad, can you bring an extra pair of socks?” “Hi Dad, do you have my flight confirmation number?” “What time should Uber come?”

Prepping for rainy season was easy as we are in the middle of rainstorms in the Bay Area. Nice to know how all these tech type materials work and have real time learning lessons in differences between rain resistant, wick, waterproof, quick-dry and lightweight. A definite one-up over marketing.

My personality disorders come in handy in planning a trip very far out and making lists that have columns titled “need, suggested or ntw.” NTW is the not to worry column which basically means needed but will be provided by the trip leader (see second note on plastic bags above). Lists, check marks, spreadsheets, to-do’s, confirmation numbers, reservation dates et al. Fuel for a control freak.

The 90 minute delay text from Delta was concerning and comforting. Concerning because I could not see five feet outside the living room window and I got soaked going to the bank. Comforting because there was no need to “still be at the airport at original departure time” as our plane was not there. The extra time was one of those found periods of time that makes you wonder how the heck you would have been ready if it was not there. Not to mention shutting down work for almost two weeks.

Arrangements were seamless. Shocking. Arrival in Atlanta. Overnight in an airport hotel. Late night snack. Back to airport in AM and easy check-in. Even got a half hour at the gym since the wish-list of physical prep for this trek was barely filled.

Expected texts began Saturday morning. “At airport.” “Checked in.” “Checked bag all the way through to Lima?” “What time is the flight to Lima?” “Will text when I land.” “Where’s meet up point?” “Jess coming into A10 at 12:44. Lindsey coming into C55 at 12:52.” “Dad and Billy will meet you at E10.” “On train in wrong direction at airport.” “Hungry.”

By 1:30 PM we were all at E10. Smiling. More relaxed than all the days and weeks before. Enough chargers to fuel up the phones, different versions.  One of the marvelous things of parenting adult kids is that needs evolve differently as they grow up.  I remember soaking a Barbie doll in the bathtub and now I’m bringing rain gear for a rabbi and a kindergarten teacher for a hike in the Andes.

lima peru gateDay #1 basically continues into Day #2 or #3 depending when and who started where. We arrive in Lima. Slow process of passport checks. Slower process for two of the three bags at carousel #1. Short guy with a sign “Welcome, Gross Group (I’m used to it) was comforting. Billboards surround the airport made me think that Machu Picchu Tourism and Coca Cola sponsor the entire country. Overnight.

manhattan innThen to Cusco.

cocoa leaf teabag

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