Lift Off! ORF, ATL, SFO!

Lift Off! ORF, ATL, SFO!

Gate five awaited our arrival. The anticipation was high and excited. The count down of Ryder’s fifth birthday adventure had been in the works for months. After less consideration than I expected, Ryder had foregone a birthday bash for his May 21st celebratory day in trade for a weekend to California to visit his stupendously talented uncle Alex.


The big silver buckle titled “LIFT” was secure without the instructions of the flight attendant. The pockets in front of us thoroughly searched, much like our adventure through security. Ryder was ready! Flying his orange toy airplane on the “ORF” pencil given to him upon arrival at the airport (an unexpected gift from a silver haired gentleman), Ryder was rapt with attention all the way to Atlanta for our connecting flight.



The flight taxied to the take off spot beautifully painted “5”, which we both concluded was in honor of Ryder’s 5th year of life. The airplane sped up and the rubber wheels smoothly left the runway as the nose of the plane began its chase for the sun.


Q: Ryder what did you think of your first flight?
A: I loved it! We went higher than the clouds!

Q: What did you see?
A: I saw houses, cars, clouds and trees. The clouds looked like white cotton candy.

Q: What did you eat on your first flight?
A: Soda and pretzels. Half a granola bar – it was tasty!

Landing in Atlanta, we had three hours to mill about, push through the crowds to get dinner, and meander back to our connecting gate to San Francisco! Six games of “Go Ape!”, two burgers, fries, two bathroom breaks, and 4 games of Uno later we were on our flight.



Ryder thought it an absolute thrill to be staying up “Likely beyond any time Rory or cousin Savannah ever has. ‘Cause if it is 12am when we get to Alex, it is 3am at home and that is SO PAST MY BED TIME!”


Right he was, it was well past bedtime. At 1:15am as the cabin lights of the flight had been turned down for passengers to snooze, Ryder was still amped on pre-flight excitement. The iPad well warmed, headphones starting to itch earlobes from long use, and eyelids threatening closure. We adventured to the bathroom:

R: “Did you know there’s bathrooms on this airplane!?”
Me: “I did. Would you like to try one?”
R: “YES! Amazing! Where does it all go?!”

Finding the flushing way too loud, he escaped the stall down the aisle with speed, his green light up sneakers illuminating the entire cabin and drawing the attention of all the passengers.

R: “Maybe a 20 minute nap?”
Me: “Great idea.”

An hour and a half later we were in San Francisco greeted by uncle Alex and quickly put to bed. Let the adventures begin!


Travel Tips and facts:

  • For travel within the U.S., children twelve and under do not need I.D. for security. A fact I found a little odd. They buddy up to the adult’s valid I.D.
  • Children 12 and under do not have to remove shoes for security check points. Mother’s however, a.k.a. pack mules, must remove all.
  • Booster seats (backless, with backs, forward facing, rear facing, etc.) and small strollers do not count as a carry on bag or item. They can be checked at the gate and handed back at the gate ramp. This alleviates concern for losing it in official checked baggage and allows for use (strollers) at connecting airports as needed. I asked that Ryder’s reappear at the last stop so I didn’t have to lug it through Atlanta. Ryder was concerned. We concluded it had dinner of spaghetti and water and would meet up with us as scheduled.
  • Most airline, at least AirTran anyways, puts lids/straws with the child’s beverage. A lovely surprise considering those little cups tend to greet laps.




12 Replies to “Lift Off! ORF, ATL, SFO!”

  1. Did we ever enjoy seeing these pictures and reading about you and Ryder’s flight.
    Fun times and memorable times – thanks so much once again for sharing these with Bob and I. Always enjoy them so much!

    1. Thanks for reading! I love knowing I am not talking to myself on this little Mini Mack site and that you and Bob are cheering our adventures.

  2. O the memories you’re making! What an absolutely delightful age to explore, when everything is fresh and new and ready to experience! Thanks for making these times happen for your children and thanks to Chris too for making the fun happen while he’s at home with the other two cuties.

    1. What a sweet comment! Always encouraged when a seasoned momma like yourself confirms we are on track. And AMEN to Chris watching the other two. What a gent! His momma must have raised him right! 😉

  3. Can’t wait to read more about the adventures! I hope you guys do everything you plan to do and more!

  4. You do a wonderful job telling stories 🙂 it’s like the reader is sitting right beside you on the adventure!
    Have great fun!

  5. What a wonderful beginning to a fantastic adventure! I am looking forward to the next chapter!
    Love you both!

  6. What a wonderful adventure! Your sense of wonder and gratitude for childhood make it all possible !