Departure - 25 March 2006
Our 2006 trip from Perth's Domestic Airport, departed on Qantas Flight 518 (Airbus 330) at 11:27pm on Saturday 25th March. After a 4 hour and 36 minute flight we arrived in Sydney at 6:03am.
Having a fair stopover, we caught the train from the Domestic terminal to Sydney's Circular Quay and strolled around the Quay and the Opera House. It was very early Sunday morning, very quiet and peaceful and we had the whole trip ahead of us. A very pleasant time.
With plenty of time to spare we returned to the International Terminal and eventually boarded our Qantas flight at 12:30pm with take off at 1:05pm. It was a long and bumpy flight and at one stage the pilot took the 747-400 from 35,000 feet to 38,000 to avoid turbulence. Gary sighted the island of Noumea along the way.
We passed Hawaii at just a few miles south of Honolulu and a few hours later, at 6:24am local time, we started our descent into LAX and eventually landed at 6:54am.
No problems entering the USA, we caught the shuttle bus to the Alamo Car Rental area where we rented out car, actually it is an SUV - Chev Trailblazer. Poor car was brand new but had been well used by the time we returned it 7 weeks later.
Although LAX is just a mile or so from the Pacific Ocean we still took time to drive to the coast and ensure our trip across the country really was cross country.
Then it was off to do some shopping for essentials and with car loaded we headed for Barstow, about 130 miles from LA. This was probably a mistake as we were both very tired and at one stage Gary changed lanes whilst he had a bit of snooze.
Barstow is between LA and Las Vegas. Quite small, not that scenic but there is something there that attracts us. When we arrived we checked in to our hotel, showered (now that was much needed) and headed to dinner. Dennys!!!!!
Gary was in his glory, he loves the food in the USA and don't even mention the refills. Then it was back to the hotel and some much needed rest. Day one and a bit over.
Day Two - Monday 27th March 2006
An early departure on the I40. We got to know the I40 pretty well over the next week or so. It starts at Barstow and crosses the country into South Carolina.
We stopped firstly in Needles, this is where Snoopy's brother Spike lives. We didn't see Spike but stopped for a while before heading on into Arizona.
We saw a sign indicating that London Bridge was not far off the track so we headed in that direction but the signage was poor and after wasting an hour we got back onto the I40 and headed on to Williams. Here we turned left and travelled the 60 miles to the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon surely is a marvel of nature. The colours and size are fantastic. The weather was cool with little wisps of snow and we enjoyed a stroll along the canyon edge.
After a couple of hours at the Canyon we headed back on the road to Williams but took the 180 detour to Flagstaff. This was Rayls first turn to drive and she had fun on a narrow windy road, roadworks, snow - it was fun.
Poor Rayls drove us into Flagstaff as dusk descended and eventually we changed drivers and Gary found the way to the Days Inn where we were to stay the night.
Dinner at Dennys again - ahhh ain't life grand.
A good day - still a bit jet lagged but we did around 400 miles, saw one of natures wonders and still had a lot more to see.