It was not a travel experience without event.
The Qantas Melbourne to L.A. flight departure time was twenty minutes earlier than our WebJet documentation. All American Airlines flight numbers for the day were changed at the last minute so our bags in Melbourne got checked through to Dallas on the wrong flight.
We used our flyer points to secure exit seats but unfortunately on the Airbus A380 the toilet door faces our seats – a constant stream of passengers in need and, when the cabin lights were dimmed, the toilet ones weren’t. Ever tried to sleep just outside a lighthouse?
At LAX Jenny and I encountered long lines and very thorough US Customs officials. Finally we re-checked our bags to the right flight. Along the way we lost our travelling companion Sandra, found our domestic terminal, got priority access through security, arrived at our departure lounge (hot and bothered) as our plane was boarding. No sign of Sandra – she must be on already. But turns out she wasn’t.
Arrived in Dallas – shuttle bus to car rental. Sorted out the car. About 30 minutes later Richard found us (he was traveling separately) as we had planned. And not long after Sandra arrives – luckily there was an identical and direct flight an hour later that she could catch!
The fab four are together.
So we accustomed ourselves to the vehicle, got the GPS working and headed to the nearest T-mobile store where we needed to equip ourselves with some voice and data local phone options. After 90 minutes in the store 1.5 of us had what we wanted (Sandra hit the jackpot).
At this stage it was 17.30 local time Friday. Ok, let’s set the GPS to Shreveport Louisiana and see where it takes us? Answer: right through the heart of Dallas at peak hour traffic time. We persisted, although the yours-truly driver was not in peak condition at this point. We agreed to stop at the nearest affordable hotel chain and rest for the night, giving up on our original idea to stay in Shreveport for night one.
As luck would have it, we stumbled upon Terrell Texas (pronounced Tear-ill) – a welcoming Holiday Inn with a Mexican restaurant and shopping outlet adjacent.
The restaurant, Carmona’s Tex-Mex and Cantina, was fabulous – smiling staff, tasty and plentiful food, as well as a $6.50 marguerita each – ideal for the weary travellers. In bed at 20.00 local time.
It’s 3am now and I’m going to try to get some more sleep.
Tomorrow we make for Shreveport.
PS We watched “This Ain’t No Mouse Music” on the international flight, a joyous story of Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records and his relationships with some of the artists he has recorded over fifty years – some archival footage is priceless.