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2nd May - LA

Our last day in the USA, we have had a great time and renewed friendships with Amy and Steve and Maria and Charlie.

Today we had a slow enough start, chatting and watching TV. Charlie is a retired LAPD Officer and his war stories sure beat mine.

We were taken to Lucille's for lunch, great eating place. Then Rayls did her last visit to JoAnn, she had money left on a voucher she had been given.

Back to Maria and Charlies for final chatting and packing before we left for the airport just a few minutes before 7pm. I dropped Rayls off with all the luggage at the terminal and then returned the beast to the car rental place and then took the shuttle bus back to the airport. Check in was easy and security took 20 mins and we were at Gate 156 with plenty of time to spare.

Plane took off pretty much on time and it was an uneventful flight to Melbourne. Immigration etc in Melbourne is much easier now than it was last year. E Passport, more room, I was wondering how we would have time to get from International to Domestic but with the new system we had an hour to spare.

Flight from Melbourne to Perth was a breeze. We're home.

1st May - Los Angeles

Today was a day for us Tombstone Tourists. I have long wanted to visit the resting places of my favourite comedians, the Three Stooges.

We started out visiting Jerome Holowitz who is better known as Curly at the Home of Peace Cemetery, Curl died in 1952, then to Silver Lake to do a walk we use to do with our friend Scott McKenzie before he died in 2014.

Then onto Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale where we visited stooge Larry Fine. Whilst there we took the opportunity to visit the sites of Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart and Elizabeth Taylor. These sites all took some finding and Jimmy Stewart is on a hill that took a bit out of us.

Then to Hillside Memorial Park and the third stooge for the day, Moses Horowitz of Moe. Both Larry and Moe died in 1975. Whilst at Hillside we visited Michael Landon, he was in Bonanza and Little House of the Prairie. Then David Janssen who played Richard Kimble in the 60's TV show The Fugitive, Al Jolson who was  Singer, actor and comedian. Lastly we visited Vic Morrow who starred in the 60's TV show Combat!.

This all took about 6 hours and we headed back to Carson for a very nice dinner made by Maria.

After dinner, Rayls started re packing. Tomorrow night we fly home.

30th April - Phoenix to LA

Like yesterday, wow - what a day!

Instead of spending the night in LA we were stranded in Phoenix. Just our carry on bag, so no change of clothes. SouthWest assured us the bags would be on our new flight in the morning, 7:15am. Kind of a relief as getting those bags to the hotel for 8 hours or so and then dragging them back would be a pain. Not being able to put on fresh clothes was a small (smelly) price to pay!

We were both up before the 4:20am alarm and down stairs waiting for the shuttle bus a few minutes before 5am. Five minute drive to the airport, no check in required as we already had the boarding passes, through security and at the gate well over an hour early.

Flight left on time and it's just 55 minutes to John Wayne Airport in Orange County (just a few K's from Disneyland). I chose Orange County as much quieter than LAX. Off to Baggage Collection and the long wait! Not that many people waiting for bags and it soon became obvious our bags weren't coming. Off to the baggage claim area where the lady who served us was so incompetent, and asked such dumb questions, I had to walk out and leave it to Rayls to sort out.

I was pretty mad as my new underwear and shirts were in those bags. Of course Rayls had a few things of importance as well, like 4 weeks collection of fabric. They said they would call when they had news so off we went with the carry on bag on trolley I paid $5 for, depressed and looking for the Car Rental.

Things started to look up when we met Omar at Alamo. He made the mistake of asking us how we were so we gave him both barrels. He took pity on us and our Kia Rio (or similar) was upgraded to a black Dodge Charger. So after 4 weeks of driving puny Nissans and Hyundai Ascent I an now in a muscle car, I can actually see a bonnet in front of me and as for boot space, wow - so much room for our carry on bag!!!

Off we went to a Walmart for some clothes and then to a Denny's for some food. Yesterday had just been peanuts on the plane (and not much of them) with a late night, take my life in my hands, servo run in Phoenix. Poor choice of Denny's, poor service and slow food but we ate.

Then took the muscle car out onto I5 and put it through its paces on the drive to Maria and Charlie's place in Carson. Just before we arrived we got a message from Maria advising SouthWest had called, our bags had been located and would be delivered some time between 2 and 6pm. Rayls was so relieved that my underwear was safe.

Always nice to meet up with Maria and Charlie who are the parents of Scott's fiancé Shannon, so they are family. They are very good hosts and interesting people to chat with. Like with Amy and Steve in Cedar City, I feel comfortable here.

I type this at 3:20am and It it good that we have the full LA experience with a helicopter overhead and police sirens not too far away.

We chatted through the afternoon and at 5pm the bags arrived. Much relief.

We all had dinner at a lovely restaurants not far away. Squires I think it was called. We talked about cricket and the Royal family, Obamacare and other interesting stuff.

There was another bonus to the day, I checked our seat allocation on Tuesdays flight to Melbourne and I managed to get us better seats on the upper level of the A380. That's good. I also got a message asking if I could come back to work a day early, sigh!

By 9pm Rayls and I were unable to stay awake so off to our comfortable room and 6 hours sleep before my usual early wake up and the opportunity to write this.

29th April - Paducah to Phoenix

What a day! We left Paducah at 8am and drove 345 K's to Memphis. Had a stop for breakfast in Union City.

Arrived in Memphis around 12:30pm, refuelled the car and returned it to the rental facility.

Had a long wait for our plane which came in from Chicago 15 minutes early.

Then the problems started, the only flights I could get to LA were via Dallas (no plane change) and Phoenix. There was bad weather at Dallas so although we boarded on time we didn't back up till an hour late and the got delayed at the end of the runway waiting for other planes. Memphis airport doesn't seem that busy other than for FedEx planes coming and going every few minutes.

After we finally took off and to avoid the thunderstorms at Dallas we took the scenic route via Houston and Austin. Kind of like flying from
Melbourne to Sydney by flying over Brisbane.

We landed in Dallas just two minutes short of 2 hours late and then had to change planes which we originally weren't suppose to do.

The same crew on both flights and they are doing their best but not sure they know what is going on with later flights.

As I write this we are just south of Lubbock in a Texas and we are scheduled to land in Phoenix 30 minutes after our LA flight takes off.

Much later now.... our connecting flight to LA took off without us so we spent the night in Phoenix with our flight to LA now 7:15am tomorrow morning. SouthWest provided us both a travel voucher but we had to arrange our own hotel. They are not required to assist as the delay was weather related and not their fault. I see people died in tornados near Dallas yesterday so I guess they did the right thing. I have seen enough Air Crash Investigations to know that Dallas weather with its thunderstorms, wind shear and tornados needs to be treated with the utmost respect.

We got a hotel near the airport that provided a shuttle bus and crashed. Actually I did walk to a nearby shop for food. Didn't seem to be the best part of Phoenix but I survived. Our luggage stayed at the airport so no change of clothes.