Arriving in LA: Airlines and bike boxes.... - SF to SDO 2012 - Coast Route - CycleBlaze

April 13, 2012

Arriving in LA: Airlines and bike boxes....

The guy at the Immigration desk gave me a hard time when he asked how I was and I honestly replied a bit wrecked after 30 hrs of flying without any sleep. He then asked if I was forced to get on the plane and as it was voluntarily induced to stop whinging and get on with it... From there he went on to my funny accent and how the Australians must all tell me I've got a very strong American accent and how all the Americans will tell me I sound very British. And with a smile he then said "welcome back."

What the Australians would call a "cheeky bastard" - but it was a fun exchange and the guy has to do something to keep himself amused and stirring the arrivals would have endless potential for fun.

The guy at the Customs desk didn't ask a single question about illegal food, fur or feather. Never asked to look at any of my gear, never took a look at any of my bags. He asked about the bike in the box and we spent a pleasant 5 minutes discussing my planned trip down the coast and he waved me on.

I'm starting off this trip from Perth, Western Australia, where I live and work. I've just finished a work project and felt a real need to get out and do something crazy on a bike. In fact, it's one of the things I kept looking forward to from the start of the project - a treat at the end of the job to celebrate work well done.

Originally, I was going to cycle back to Esperance, Western Australia (the end point of my last bike ride) and then cut north to the Nullabor Road on a back track and from there across to Adelaide, South Australia. That was the plan... and still is a goal for a future bike ride. But, winter is approaching and I thought it better to cycle another part of the globe. I almost made the decision to do some touring in France (that too is still an option for one of my next runs), but Europe is a bit too wet and cold in April.

I was born and raised in California, so this should be familiar ground. I certainly know the geography well. But not having lived here since the 1970s, I now come back feeling more like a tourist than a native. It's certainly not the place I left in 1974.

Tonight I'm staying at one of the airport hotels and tomorrow morning it's off to the San Francisco Bay Area where I have family waiting. That will be nice. I'll spend a day putting my bike back together and seeing how it has managed the journey. Airline ground staff have certainly taken out their frustrations on the bike box, hope the old girl is okay inside. I brought along a roll of Gaffer Tape in anticipation and will patch up the box before it goes on the flight to SFO.

More to come...

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