4th April - later
The flight into LA landed on time and the new immigration procedures with the e passport were a breeze. Had to wait quite a while for the bags, that maybe because the previous formalities were so quick we got to carousel 9 earlier than normal. Customs went fine, maybe 2 minutes and out we went into the public area.
The Alamo shuttle bus arrived as we arrived and on went the bags and then our luggage! It takes about 10 minutes to get to the rental facility. This part of the trip is always interesting - they will do a lot to upgrade you at a very fair price which is three times as much as you could have upgraded yourself when you originally booked the car online. The lady made it very clear that our car would not have power windows, cruise control, radio connectivity, room for luggage and insurance. She said we were to only take a car from the 'economy' section and I was fine with that, I have done this before. Out we went to choose a car from the 'economy' area which doesn't exist. We chose a Nissan (pronounced 'Neesan' in the USA). Our car has power windows, cruise control, the iPhone music plays fine through Bluetooth, both bags fit comfortably in the boot (trunk) and it is adequately insured. Me thinks the lady lied in effort to get a commission.
Our plans are to drive to Yuma, around 450 K's from LA - why you ask??? Well we were out on the road a bit after 9am. We can't check into a hotel into at least 1pm and so as tired as we were we pushed on. Very heavy traffic on the 405, as always. There was a crash on the other side of the road, a small car had run up the back of another car and then run into from the rear by a third car - that car was very badly damaged and quite small, it is now an economy car!! Cars are ducking and diving across lanes and it is hard to settle as you again try to get use to the hustle and bustle and driving on the wrong side of the road.
After an hour or so we are out of LA traffic and onto I5 heading south towards San Diego, traffic has its moments but on the whole is pretty quick. In the outskirts of San Diego we stop at a Maccas for a much needed drink and to stretch our legs. Then it's onto I8 and the 250 K's to Yuma which is in Arizona on the border of California and Mexico. The drive went very well, light traffic, two lanes all the way and interesting scenery.
The road gets very close to the Mexican border, within a couple of hundred metres and in these spots you can see the infamous border wall. It was around this time that Rayls hit the wall and fell asleep in the car, luckily I was driving at the time.
We arrived in Yuma around 4pm - we are staying at the Oak Tree Inn for at least 2 nights to de jetlag and have a look around. We bombed out pretty quick, no dinner even. It is 1:42am as I write this but I am ready to nap some more.
Our flight from Perth to Sydney went well. We were ready to leave on time at 11:55pm Monday night but delayed because our flying time would get us to Sydney before the 6am curfew was lifted. Nothing to mention about the flight, no drunken yobbos, all good. Took off over Guildford. Sydney Airport is pretty boring. Caught the shuttle bus from domestic to international, through immigration and security and into a large area of duty free shops and expensive food places. Boarded AA72 at gate 9 on time and we took off on time. No Dallas trip this time!
Currently over the Pacific with very limited Internet.
Bit later, around 4pm Tuesday afternoon Perth time and the flight goes on and on and on. Service is good, food is good. Rayls slept a bit but has been sewing for a bit now. We are at 35,000 feet and just over 5 hours from LA. Getting close to Hawaii, looks like we will fly just south of them. Been a bit bumpy for a bit and I just felt the plane surge so we are going up a bit. Went up 500 feet, still bumpy.