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Day 41 - 2nd June - Heading home

Today we start the long trip home.

We will check out of the hotel around noon and have lunch with Amy before heading to Vegas Airport around 4pm (that would be 7am Thursday Perth time). Amy is coming down from Cedar City and flying on to Boston tomorrow to se eher daughter Katie.

An hours flight to LA where we have just over 3 hours before we depart at 10:40pm on Qantas Flight 12 to Sydney.

Be home in Perth around noon on Friday.

Day 42 - 3rd June - Heading home

We left LA just after 10:30pm on Wednesday 2nd June and arrived in Sydney on Friday 4th June.

There was no 3rd June for us.

Day 43 - 4th June - Home!

I am sitting on our Sydney to Perth flight – we are around 45 minutes out of Sydney so probably 4 hours from Perth. Be nice when they eventually put internet access into aircraft, some airlines do – I know Southwest Airlines are not far off.

Our last day in Vegas was pretty quiet for the first part and then got hectic towards the end.

We checked out of the hotel at midday and headed for Henderson to meet up with Amy for lunch at Mimi’s Cafe. Amy flies to Boston tomorrow to see her daughter Katie.

At around 3pm Amy headed off to do some shopping whilst we headed to the airport. This turned out to be a very lucky move on our behalf.  There was a number of things that happened that were stressful at the time but probably worked out for the best.

We had decided that I would drop off Rayls at the Vegas terminal and she would then wait with the 4 bags whilst I returned the rental car. We had done this back in 2008 and it is probably the best of the options available. The other two options were to park the car in short term parking, check the bags in and then head back to the car, return it and catch the shuttle bus back to the terminal – a little long winded but these bags are heavy and not having to transfer them on the shuttle bus is an advantage. The third option was to just return the car and haul the 4 bags onto the shuttle bus. As I mentioned, we had decided to drop Rayls off with the bags, OK plan until I realised I had no clue which of the two terminals at Vegas I had to go to – I had to make last minute decisions and ended up heading for Long Term parking....bad. I managed to shift over a couple of lanes and ended up getting into short term parking. So we ended up going for the second option, parking the car, checking in and then returning the car.

At the Southwest check in counter I casually mentioned to the clerk that we were early and would be happy to take an earlier flight if possible. I mentioned also that we were transferring to a flight to Sydney. He punched some more buttons and dropped the bombshell that our flight was running late; we had just a bit less than 90 minutes in LA before check in closed on our Sydney flight.  After what seemed like a very long time he advised us that he could get us on the 5:25am, major bonus. So off our bags went and we walked back to the car park, retrieved the car and took it on the 10 minute drive back to the car rental facility. I am pleased to say that the fuel light had been on for the last 20 miles so we got the most of that extra $10 of fuel I had put into the car.

We did 2112 miles in the car in two weeks. From Phoenix to Palm Springs, through LA up to San Francisco, across to Sacramento and Lake Tahoe before the long drive to Cedar City and finally onto Las Vegas. It was in bad need of a clean......... and some fuel.

The Wal-Mart truck count ended up at 167 so Rayls was the winner of the count. It was very slow going in the last week or so. We did see an Alaska number plate on the last day but never really got into checking off the state plates that we had started in Phoenix.

No problems with the shuttle bus, we just had the two small hand cabin bags. We had an hour or so wait at Vegas airport and then had an uneventful flight to LA. Take off to landing was 41 minutes; I do bus runs longer than that!

I have to say that all our flights on Southwest were top notch. All 4 flights left on time and everything ran smoothly.

It was about a 500 metre walk from LAX Terminal 4 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. After getting our bags we loaded them onto a $4 trolley and made the walk, it just wasn’t worth doing the free shuttle bus, hauling bags on and off for the sake of a 500 metre walk.

15 minute wait for Qantas check in, we already had our seat allocation on the Sydney flight and managed to score a window seat on the flight to Perth. It was nice to see the end of the bags for another few hours.

Security took around 30 minutes, not too bad. Then too gate 123 and the first thing you notice at the gate is the Aussie accent. This is the first we have heard it for a few weeks, do we really sound that bad??? I guess we will get use to it again soon enough.

Boarding was a breeze, seats 80J and 80K. Flight left the gate on time but it was probably 20 minutes till we took off.

What can you say about a 14+ hour flight? You do what you can. The entertainment system offers hundreds of movies and TV shows, etc. I watched Invictus and Extreme Measures and some docos.

It was dark all the way across the Pacific, dark when we left LA at 10:30pm on Wednesday and dark when we landed at Sydney at 6:10am on Friday.

Our son Scott had warned us that the transfer process at Sydney was bad, ’10 times worse than bad’ he had told me. So we were prepared. Unloading passengers off and A380 takes time, probably 20 minutes before we get off the plane which takes up much of our 2 hour transfer period. Then I had to do duty free for Ryan and Scott, 10 more minutes. Then we have to collect those damn bags. 10 more minutes! We stack the bags onto a trolley (free) and then comes Immigration, We go to the right for Aussies and our first opportunity to check out our brand new, you beaut, electronic passports. No line, just submit the passport into a gizmo and stand in front of this camera – if it recognises you then you can go through and if it doesn’t then you have to go to the desk. I had to go to the desk, Rayls went straight through. I was quickly checked and cleared; I think it must be the beard. As we look around where to go next a customs lady asks to look at our entry cards. We tell her what food we have and she says go to the far door, which we do and out we go – all done. It took just 5 minutes for Immigration and Customs.

Before I forget, regular readers will remember the dude who sat next to Rayls on the first flight Perth to Sydney back in April. He was a first time flyer and petrified and Rayls talked to him and calmed him for the entire flight to Sydney. The Qantas head flight attendant was so impressed that she gave Rayls a $50 voucher for duty free flying on an international flight. On tonight’s flight from LA Rayls went through the brochure and bought herself a nice necklace. It was $60 so cost us just $10 – well done Rayls.

Back to Sydney Airport and now comes the tough bit, so Scott says, the dreaded transfer to our domestic flight Sydney to Perth. This was made more difficult by the fact that my free trolley had a jammed front brake and boy did I have to push hard. We did fine a second trolley and transferred to bags to that one but still hard going for me. After a 5 minute walk you get to an area which is closed in – no windows, extremely hot and you line up. Every so often they call people forward who are on flights scheduled to leave soon and after 20 minutes our flight was called and so we moved to outside line and were soon checked through to Perth and those bags are gone again. Thank goodness for that. We have 2 sons to help in Perth; so the bag issue is as good as resolved.  Sure hope each son brings his own car.

The shuttle bus across to the domestic terminal took 15 minutes and we were jammed in like sardines. No fun. Especially hard as everyone has just come off a long flight, is tired and smelly.

At the domestic terminal we stop for some Krispy Kreme do-nuts, never saw them iin the USA and then head for gate 10. 15 minutes later we board and just prior to backing out there is a delay as a passenger gets a call advising bad news and they and their luggage have to be ‘deplaned”!

There is many a free seat on this flight. Sadly it is not a good flight because of 5 passengers, probably early 20’s, in black T Shirts walking around, swearing and drinking far too much. Goodness knows why Qantas continues to feed them alcohol. I could say welcome back to Australia but these yobbos are American.

Soon after I started this long winded story a movie started – The Ghost Writer, which seemed to be as a good a movie as you get on a plane – just hard to stay awake and keep interested. Weird ending though, I might have missed something.

Now the flight map tells me we have just crossed the coast at Esperance and are just 41 minutes from arrival in Perth. No way to upload this as no internet access. The battery is getting low so I will save, turn off and stow the computer ready for a quick getaway. I will upload this as soon as I get home.

We are both looking forward to seeing our boys and Hunter.

Thanks for reading.


Now I am sitting in my lounge chair, we are home!

Ryan and Scott met us at the airport, two cars...... phew!

Our plane landed at 11:14am. It was around 27 hours from boarding that flight in Vegas until we landed in Perth.

Nice to see the boys and Hunter sure gave us a big greeting.

We spent a few hours going through the bags.

The boys have headed off, Hunter is looking for his dinner, yep we're home.


Comment by Mario |

Enjoyed reading your blog Gary. Welcome back home. Will see you at work in three or so weeks. (After our Bali trip.)

Comment by Mary Alice Hinshaw |

It sounds as if you all had a wonderful trip. My best to you both. I'm glad you are home safe and sound!
Mary Alice