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Two days for the price of one!

Los Angeles, United States

Days 35/36 26th/26th May 2009

The days/dates above are right by the way. Day 35 was our last day in New Zealand, and day 36, our first in America, but both days have the same date. It was interesting watching the GPS change from 179°E to 179°W as we crossed the International Date Line, but apart from the numbers changing, nothing else happened to tell us that we'd just lost a day.

Back to day 35. We had tried to plan our food so that we would be able to use up the last of it on our last day in New Zealand, and we did quite well apart from having rather a lot of fruit left over. The campsite in Manukau City was obviously very popular with departing travellers as the kitchen had a well stocked surplus food container, and an even better stocked surplus condiments container:

We hoped that we might be able to finish the fruit at the airport so decided to take that with us, and left a few bits for other travellers. With the motorhome's tanks filled and emptied as appropriate, we left our campsite and headed for Wilderness Motorhomes. However, we hadn't packed so found a suitably quiet car park to sort everything out.

Once all the nooks & crannies had been emptied and all our accumulated stuff forced into bags various, we found Wilderness Motorhomes very easily and were welcomed by a sign with our names on and by the delightful and friendly Hannah. There wasn't much to do in the way of formalities, but we had a relaxed and pleasant chat with Hannah over a coffee before she drove us to the airport.

We couldn't have been happier with our choice of motorhome and company. Everything was as near perfect as we could have wished and everyone we dealt with at Wilderness was very helpful.

We deliberately got to the airport early in the hope of getting a better choice of seats than those we'd been pre-allocated, which were awful - we weren't even sitting together and would each have been trapped in between two complete strangers.

The kind man on the Quantas check-in desk took pity on us though and tore up the boarding cards he'd printed and did some new ones. I thought I'd misheard when he said "upgrade" and "business class", but no, there were our boarding cards in row 4 clearly printed. As in most planes, the rows are numbered from the front, and that applies to a Boeing 747-400 as well, so there we were, in the very frontmost cabin (normally first class):

sitting underneath the pilot.

As comfortable a flight as we could have hoped for with as much champagne as we fancied:

and very nice food, not to mention the fully reclining seats. Bye bye Auckland:

The flight was rather bumpy at times, but that wasn't Quantas' fault.

Eventually, after a brief night with minimal sleep, we came down through the clouds to land in LA. First impressions were that it was a little bit different to NZ, the roads for instance are a bit bigger:

Then after a bit of a wait, on to San Francisco.

permalink written by  Saros on May 26, 2009 from Los Angeles, United States
from the travel blog: The Hairy Animal 2009 World Road Trip
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