Nicole our house/dog sitter arrived on Sunday afternoon and will be looking after Hunter - and the house - till we get back.
Packing went OK, Rayls did 95% of it and as usual did a great job. Usual last minute stuff you wonder about when you have had 200+ days to get yourself organised.
My work colleague and friend Freddry arrived around 8:15pm to drive us to the airport. Ryan was working and Scott is already in the USA.
Last farewell to Hunter and off we went - Freddry had backed into the driveway so again I was not given the best part of the trip - backing out of the driveway. Thanks Freddry for your chauffeur service and best wishes for your trip.
We were 2 hours early for the flight. I had separate tickets Perth to Sydney and then Sydney to LA. This was done to save $700 on having the one ticket. The benefit of one ticket is that we are checked through all the way, big plus as our bags leave us in Perth and we don't see them again till LA. However to save $700 I bought 2 tickets and the plan was to get our bags in Sydney and then catch a taxi to the international terminal and check in again. Bit of a pain but worth $700.
As we checked in at Perth I asked about the possibility of checking us through to LA and in true good old Aussie efficiency the young lady at the Virgin Blue counter said 'no worries'. So we are checked through, as are our bags, to LA and we didn't have to pay the extra. Big bonus.
First time we have taken Virgin Blue. Boarded at 22:31 and took off at 23:06. OK flight, pretty boring - no service on Virgin bit the flight was smooth enough. Landed in Sydney at 6:22 (Perth 3:22) so a 4 hour and 16 minute flight.
No problems transferring from domestic to international and we had Hungry Jacks for brekkie. Our V Australia flight departs at 11:45 so well over 4 hours to kill.
Across the Pacific
Boarding our V Australia flight went fine and the 777 plane was quite roomy as planes go. We were right up the front of economy which made for a nice change. Entertainment was good, food was good and service was OK. Just tough sitting in a plane for 13 hours. It was certainly the smoothest flight across the Pacific we have had.
Landed around 7:20am LA time on Monday. Thought I had lost my wallet but it was found in my pocket where it always is. In the line for immigration Rayls realised she didn't have her her passport. Big Problem! We asked a supervisor type dude what we should do and after discussion with others we were sat down whilst others went looking. After a few minutes Rayls got paged and told to go to Carousel 5 and meet the V Australia rep. How do you to go to Carousel 5 to collect the passport when you have passport control between you and the carousel and no passport to get past the control area. We asked the supervisor dude and he just took us through passport control which didn't seem right to me and we met up with the V Australia rep. After an hour more of 'stuffing around' we got the passport and went though passport control OK. Overall no delay because our bags still hadn't arrived on the carousel. By the way the supervisor dude who walked us past passport control got into big trouble. Basically he had allowed 2 people to pass passport control without being properly processes. A big deal here.
Caught the shuttle bus and got our car - a Dodge Avenger - could have had a VW Bug but too small. We had hoped that son Scott might meet us at the airport but he is not well with a cold. He sent a text to that effect but alas my phone won't connect to a network and so we didn't get the message and wondered what had happened to him.
Renting the car went smooth enough with the usual attempts to upgrade you.
The car is pretty good and we headed off to find the hotel, way early around 9:30am.