Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Day One - Lift-off

Part One

I am writing this as we zoom across the Pacific Ocean en route to LAX, currently 3189 km from Sydney (YSSY) at 957kph ground speed and nine and a half hours until we reach LAX. Maureen and I woke up early and decided to leave earlier than planned to counter any potential problems. We left home at around 0535h, rather than the planned departure of 0600h. The drive from Canberra to Sydney was all smooth sailing with a stop at Exeter (McDonalds) for Breakfast and filling up the hire car with fuel at Canterbury in Sydney (close to the Airport). Check-in was quire smooth at Sydney International Airport (YSSY), as was clearing Customs. We had a minor issue with payment for the hire car as the booking appeared to be billed to my work Diners Club Card, so we obviously had to correct that. I had hoped to update this blog in the Qantas Club Lounge, but we got too busy checking out the duty free shops and eating (and drinking). Nonetheless, I managed to capture some shots of passing traffic from the Qantas Club lounge including VH-OEB with the Formula One scheme and the Qantas Freighter as well as some other aircraft shots.

Our Aircraft:

Firstly, it turns out that our aircraft is actually VH-OJL  (pictured above) rather than VH-OJS as I was lead to believe. This is not a good thing as the aircraft is a) painted in the old Qantas scheme, and b) not fitted with the new A380-like interior. In fact, I believe that this aircraft is actually scheduled for retirement in the near future. Oh well, cest-la-vie. The flight has been pretty uneventful so far with a small bit of turbulence owing to the weather as we lifted off out of YSSY. I am pleased that Joshua managed not to get sick, though I was impressed that he actually assembled the Air Sick bags ‘at-the-ready’. The seating is as follows:

Me – 66E

Joshua – 66F (Aisle)

Maureen – 66H (Aisle)

Kyle – 66J

Schuyler – 66K (Window)

Here we are (except for me):

The only real hiccup in this flight (so far) was that the Flight Steward forgetting my wine order with lunch (Margaret River Chardonnay), but he truly redeemed himself by supplying me with the missing bottle and three others. For the record, I am now feeling quite relaxed. Dinner was nice, I chose the Chicken seared with Lemon, Oregano and Honey Sauce served with a selection of Roasted Vegetables.  Other selections included; Salad of Tuna Nicoise with Lemon Dressing and Four Cheese Ravioli in a Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce. All were served with a Carrot and Cherry Tomato Salad and Fig and Honey Rice Pudding. I watched a movie ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ which was actually quite good. Schuyler took some nice shots out of the window which were great. After three small bottles of wine, I am now ready for some sleep.

Here’s Schuyler’s pics:

Arriving in LA:

Part Two

We experienced some more significant turbulence through the night as we passed well below the Hawaiian Islands. Throughout the flight I managed around four hours of ‘shut-eye’, not sleep, shut-eye. Breakfast comprised Bacon and Zucchini Frittata served with Beans. We arrived at LAX on schedule at around 0930h local (about 0130h Canberra time). Passport/Visa control, Baggage collection and Customs were all a breeze.

Welcome to LA:

However, we seemed to wait an eternity for the Hertz Bus to take us to our car. As for the car, talk about swish, here she is:
As previously mentioned, our first port of call after car collection was Best Buy at El Segundo to pick up our GPS. We then headed towards San Diego stopping first for lunch at In-N-Out  Burger and then to visit the Lyon Air Museum adjacent John Wayne Airport. We had prearranged to meet with a friend, Ted who kindly provided a personalised and very informative tour of the Museum. Of all the Aviation Museums I have ever visited, this has got to be the cleanest…ever. Even better is the fact that all of the exhibits either fly or drive, so they are all working examples. For the record, Ted was a fantastic tour guide and we are most grateful for his generous giving of his time. It’s Docents like Ted that keep these beautiful aircraft accessible to us, the public. I recommend Lyon Air Museum to anyone, whether interested in aviation or not.  Hats off to you Ted.
Here’s some pics.

Following our great tour of Lyon, we headed down the San Diego Freeway passing a $5 toll along the way. The drive was pretty uneventful, though I must admit, my eyelids were beginning to feel heavy as it’s been a long couple of days. Dinner tonight was at Carls Junior and we have now settled into our Hotel, the Ramada at Kearney-Mesa, which happens to be the same place we stayed at last time we were here.

Current distance from home = 12 322km (straight line)

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