Tuesday, November 06, 2007

California 2007 (1)

Grass Valley 6 Nov 2007
Yesterday we rose at 5am to be ready for kind son in law Adrian to pick us up at 6.30. The M4 to Heathrow was slow due to fog and so was the airport. Have they not heard of radar?

Check-in for our flight was very frustrating. We go to the Lufthansa desk to be told we had to go to a machine first. The machine did nor recognise my details. I asked an employee who said that we should queue at the ticket desk as the plane had not yet left Frankfurt. We queued then heard over the tannoy we could use the machine now. It would not take my card for the air miles. So we queued again very, very slowly. Eventually she told us we did not have an electronic ticket. I said we did I had given her the printout. No, that was the itinerary and we should go to check in. I said that was where we started and I was not doing it again. She phoned United, out carriers. They gave her numbers and a very pleasant Bulgarian checked us it. Through security we found the indicator board said, 'Please wait' for the 9.50 to Frankfurt. We did, until about 10.50 when it told us to board. We left an hour and a half late. Can't these people fly on instruments?

So at Frankfurt we had 30 minutes to change terminals and board. We were about the last on board a packed jumbo. We left at 1 pm GMT for an 11 hour flight to San Francisco where the time is 8 hours behind GMT.

It was a good flight though all four movies were rubbish as far as I was concerned. Invisible IIRC was kids stuff. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix needed you to have seen the previous ones. Hairspray was a B rated musical and I cannot recall the last one. I read about the history of settling the west of the USA and looked outside.

We flew north of Iceland into night then west into light again to arrive in SF at 4.30 their time. I puzzled as to why one goes north to fly west and then realised it is to do with the curvature of the earth meaning this is the shortest route.

As when we flew to Vancouver, the wonder of the emptiness of the frozen Arctic wastes of Greenland and Canada makes one praise the glory of the creator and puts puny man in perspective.

United has the oldest cabin crew I have ever seen. They were efficient but no free booze and US ginger ale is anaemic. Starbucks coffee is OK though and the food was passable.

We got through the airport with gratitude that our four cases had made it too. Hertz had upgraded our Mazda car to one with the most inefficient sat nav I have had the misfortune to use. She is a woman of few words, takes a while to correct the route if you have erred and err we did as she is not as efficient as the sat navs I have experienced at home. but we only went wrong in two places thought he second was a protracted wandering round Auburn seeking where she was telling us to go for Grass Valley. But we made it. We got here just after 10 pm local time having spent about two and a half hours on a 125 mile journey out of SF and over the bay to here which is Gold Country, north west of Sacramento.

Denis and Julie gave us a warm welcome including a bottle of some Mexican hooch for me from Denis's last visit south of the border. We retired at 11 pm after being up for 26 hours with only brief naps on the plane. What a long day!
I is warm here 57 at 6 am and 70s expected today when we may do to Lake Tahoe with a daughter of the family and her husband.

It is warm here, 57 at 6 am and 760s expected today.

Unfortunately I left my camera's USB cable at work so no photos for a fortnight.

1 comment:

mimi said...

Welcome to the USA! Too bad Bert and I are 12 hours from you. Have a great time.