Why do I always (ALWAYS) have problems when I travel to the States? This time our luggage didn’t arrive. Admittedly the problem was at the Melbourne end – one of our bags was put through without a baggage tag. (Training could be an issue Mr Branson!) Also when I say my bag is green that means it is green, not red with a ribbon and a padlock, green!). Not such a problem you would think, but we landed on Thursday – today is Wednesday, if all the stars align we will have our bag by Friday. Contents of the bag – all the chargers to all electrical devices, meds, toiletries, clothes – the list goes on – for both Howie & I. Basically we landed in L.A. with a ski jacket and a hoodie each. Nothing else. And as much as shopping for clothes that insurance will be paying for should be fun – that much money being spent in the first week stuffs the budget for the entire trip. Anyway after multiple phone calls with lost baggage people in LAX (who could also use training in the vital skill of listening – and no my bag is not red, green – people – green!) and delaying the start of the trip waiting on the random colored bag to arrive, we left for Route 66, without the bag.
23 March – Our home for the next 2 weeks is a 25ft long, 13ft high, 8ft wide RV. We were picked up from the hotel in a stretch limo and driven to the hire company for a training video (or nap time – I slept through the whole thing – I have no need to know how to empty the loo). And then after extensive unpacking – throwing the coats in the cupboard – we were away.
First stop was Venice Beach and a walk around the canal system there. I think we spent more time trying to find a carpark that we could fit in than we did walking. Also a shop at the WholeFoods Market. We have Costco – WholeFoods Market is next on my wish list. Drove out to Malibu which is where our first night was booked. Met a couple who were returning their RV the next day. They very kindly gave us some of there left over supplies, which just happened to be the stuff we forgot to buy. I would have like to have had a walk around Santa Monica Pier, but $40 for parking was just too much, maybe next time. Santa Monica Pier is where Route 66 begins.
Received a call from LAX baggage while we were in Malibu, bag arrived, they will UPS it. It will be sent Monday, I told them we would come back and pick it up from the airport, Monday was a lot of days away and I need things from the bag. They were fine with that. They called back 30 minutes later. Sorry, bag didn’t make it on the plane. Which plane? The one in Melbourne. So the bag? Not so much there? No. Ok – keep me informed.
24 March – A challenging drive through LA, saw the Hollywood sign in the distance, and drove down Rodeo for a bit before we got out into the country. OMG the rattles in this thing – unbelievable. The roads as much as they are big and wide, are awful until you get well out of LA. Headed to Barstow for our first Route66 stop, there is a museum that Howard wanted to visit, and a ghost town, Calico, that I wanted to see. We did the ghost town first as it opened earliest, we managed to sneak in before any one was on the gates. Yes it was a ghost town, now that it has been restored it’s more like a tourist village, not what I was expecting. Nice and you get the idea of what it would have been like, but not deserted or ghostly. Went back to Barstow, more shopping, and then to the museum to buy a book. The museum is housed in the railway station. Amazing station. While Howie was waiting for it to open, I booked our accommodation for the next couple of nights. As it turns out the museum didn’t open as scheduled at 11:00 so we left. New rule, no stopping at crap that doesn’t open at 9:00am. As it was we didn’t leave Barstow for Williams till after lunch. And that was the last time I had phone or Internet connection until we got to Flagstaff. During the drive we saw so many goods trains, so long. We worked it out we saw one every 5 minutes. So much moves by train.
Spoke to LAX baggage, when we got to Barstow – yes bag definitely here. Will ship it to the camp site at the Grand Canyon. Yay. We will be either in the desert or at the Grand Canyon – there is no phone reception.
25 March – Monumental drive to Williams in 60 mile winds, we were buffeted all over the road. Drove through the Mojave Desert for ages on the original road. Dropped on the Interstate and skipped a couple of towns as it was getting late and I was getting very tired. Got to Williams in the dark. It would have been great to go for a walk that night, lots of neon signs, but just too tired. Williams received 2 foot of snow in 2 hours the week before, Glad of the ski jackets, it was freezing, snow everywhere. Had a wander, and a look a the famous train that goes to the Grand Canyon (I have no idea either) and then headed off to the Grand Canyon ourselves. Woke up the next morning to -1degree in the van.
Spoke to LAX baggage – sorry about that, the bag she no on the plane. Seriously – this is the bag that you told me, assured me, was about to go to UPS to be shipped? This is the bag we are talking about? Yes ma’am it is. So my bag then, where is it do you think? Coming in tomorrow on a flight from Sydney. We will call with the details. Again – desert/canyon – no reception. Ok then, speak to you again tomorrow.
26/27 March – Spent two great days in the Grand Canyon, wandered around the rim, saw the sunset. Saw the train that came from Williams, go back to Williams. It amazes me that in the airport at LAX we were not allowed to use the stairs, and only a certain number of people were allowed on the escalator at one time, for OH&S reasons, yet you can sit on the rim of the Grand Canyon, dangling your feet over the edge, risking certain death if you fell, and no one bats an eyelid.
So I spoke to LAX baggage this morning. Apparently my bag has not only arrived, it has cleared customs. What would I like them to do with it? Mmmm – how about you read your notes? It was meant to be shipped to the Grand Canyon, and failing that to the airport at Flagstaff, I can pick it up from there on the way through. Oops sorry – can’t deliver to the airport, company policy. Apparently they are worried the bag will get lost there!! I kid you not. We will call you back in 30 minutes to get the information. Hello – desert/canyon/notes – try listening for a change. I will call you (again) when I have details of future accommodation.
27 March – head out of the Grand Canyon national park today, towards Flagstaff. Really great town, historical area was lovely, only spent a couple of hours there. Spent this afternoon and the Meteor Crater outside of Winslow. Listened to my phone go mad with missed calls and text messages as we finally hit civilization again. Spent the afternoon returning calls, blogging, and laundry.
No photos – will add them when the laptop chooses to work, or the power supplies turn up.