Travelling all day.
It was hard work. Ella's mum (Jane) Myself and Will drove to the airport. Ella, Ella's Dad (David) and George went by tube. It's was always going to be difficult with the number of people and the bike box. In the back of my mind I can see the inevitable people carrier becoming our next car!
About 12 hours to LA. I don't know who was worse George or Will but lets just say they were very active. I ended up going with the tactic of putting them back in their seats and ignoring them continuously for about an hour until they gave up. I don't mind admitting I got that from Supernanny on channel 4.
I had some proper ear plugs made back when Will was very young and we were all getting zero sleep - I can't recommend them enough.
I remembered to put the compression tights on. Under trousers before you ask.
The connection in LA was very tight. For once when offered a porter and wheelchair for George we jumped at it. This meant we beat the lines (they don't say queue in the US). Normally 2hours for immigration and 2hours to clear customs.
The fligt to Kona was American Airlines and took 5 hours. This time after a little settling in George and Will slept. This was more easy jet style - pay for your food etc, Luckily I had a load of nuts and dried fruit that just tided us over.
Kona airport was a refreshing change - 8pm, really mild and an open air baggage reclaim!
The first stress was the bike box. They hadn't opened it coming into the US (I had cable tied it) but did open it for the LA - Kona leg. Two of the straps were also just hanging in the breeze. So it was a case of say a little prayer before opening it. It's like schrodenger's cat.
Then the car hire. Our receipt didn't have the hire company's name! We spent half an hour trying all maner of persuasion to get the shuttle bus drivers to help us out.
We finally discovered it was budget. My Dad lived in the states for about 10 years so all the memories came back. Mainly of sales tactics. To start with they thought our car we had booked would be too small and we really needed what can only be described as a multi-personnel tank. It started off at an extra $85 a day (no thank you) then with existing customer discount $25/day (can we have a look at them - well the one you want it on the very far side of the car park in the dark, and the other one is right out front. "i'll take a look anyway" - 5mins later "I think we'll be OK with the original one. "are you doing the ironman?" - we can give you a special ironman discount which takes it to $15/day (no thank you). Then there was the option of GPS, a multitude of insurances and car seats on offer. We went for the GPS and a car seat for Will ($65, i'd been told we could buy one from Walmart for less but by this time nerves were getting frayed!) So total extra to pay $200 - what?!!! GPS + Car seat + TAX (tax apparently wasn't included in the original bill. This was why it looked the cheapest on on't tin-ternet.
To my surprise not only did the cases fit in with more than enough room, the bike box went in the aisle!
We arrived at the accomodation which is lovely. Then off to find a 24hr supermarket at 1am! This was 30-40miles away back near the airport. Now for another shock - I had remembered groceries being cheap when visiting my Dad in North Carolina. I don't know if its the economy or that flying it out into the middle of the Pacific attracts a big extra cost but everything was expensive. What would cost £50 in ASDA at home cost $200 in Safeway here, and it wasn't the equivalent of waitrose.
I'll try and work out how to get photos loaded using this mini computer.