/ travel

Leaving the US

The alarm went off at 6.30am, but we didn't leave till about 8 as we were packing up and having a browse on the internet. Thought the traffic would be bad (carmageddon) but it was surprisingly quiet the whole way. We stopped off for a McDonalds breakfast which was yummy and included pancakes with maple syrup. We were due to drop off the car to Alamo at 10am, but before that we had to get rid of all our camping gear as we couldn't fit any of it to bring back with us. This was a lot harder than we thought, as we drove around searching for a bin (we tried to find a charity shop but had no luck). We noticed a truck pulling off the road and pulled up next to a dumpster, so we drove around a bit until he was gone and did the same. Was quite funny how we were trying to do it secretly as we weren't sure whether it was legal or not. We continued to Alamo where we quickly and easily dropped the car off with no hassle.

From Road Trip USA
Was sad to say goodbye, and realised as we'd left on the shuttle bus that we'd left our large iced tea on the back of the trunk (see pic).

Arrived at LAX and headed to the Delta terminal, quick easy check in and straight through security (through the body scanner machines). It is currently being re-done so it wasn't a very nice place to wait as there wasn't really anything there. We found an escalator that went down to these tunnels that link the terminals. A nice Southern woman pulled up on a buggy and asked us if we wanted a lift, which we said yes to as we had no idea where we were going. She zoomed along and we were in a much nicer terminal. We went to a few shops and had some food here before heading back and finding some seats to have a read. After a while I decided to look at the time and noticed it was only 20 mins to departure! So we quickly went to the gate and they were shouting 'last call' and so we managed to make it - the last people on the plane oops.. The journey was fine to Detroit and before we knew it we were there. Got a bit lost as we weren't sure whether to pick up our bags (apparently not), and looked around the shops although most were closed. We sat right by the departure gate this time as we didn't wanna miss it. At about 30mins to departure people started to queue so we got up and then noticed on the screen it said Detroit - London Heathrow cancelled, and heard lots of people complaining.

From Road Trip USA
After about 10mins they announced it on the speakers that it was cancelled due to maintenance and they'd give us vouchers for food and a hotel, but there wasn't any space on the direct flight to Heathrow tomorrow. So we waited for ages to get to the front, and we were told we'd be put on flights tomorrow late afternoon to Chicago, then on to Heathrow arriving early morning on Monday. We also had to go back and get a refund on our duty free stuff.

The queue for the hotel shuttles were huuge. Chatted to a guy who had managed to get a direct flight tomorrow somehow who was staying at a different hotel. We were put in to the Metropolitan Hotel which was nice on the outside, but outdated once you get past the lobby. We were really hungry as we hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was around 11.30pm. We asked the guy at the desk how we could use our vouchers and luckily there was a takeaway nearby that accepted them. Tried to call up but was engaged, so had to go online and order it there. Didn't really know how to let them know we were using vouchers so wrote it anywhere we could, mistakenly put it in the part where you ask for special requests on your pizza... It arrived at 1am and paid with our $12 voucher and pennies for the tax. We then headed to bed, and was woken up at around 2.30am telling us our pizza had arrived even though we ate it an hour earlier.

In the morning we got the shuttle to the airport, and couldn't use the check-in kiosks so had to join the big queue of everyone who was in the same situation as us. Spoke to someone who had been put on a flight to Atlanta and then to Heathrow, seems we were all going different ways. Finally got to the desk where we stood for half an hour as they hadn't actually issued us tickets despite booking us on to the flights. The airport was nice, big and looked quite new. Got on this plane fine, although we didn't have seats together. Unfortunately it was a really small plane and Jon so happened to be sitting by the biggest man imaginable. He was actually sat in Jon's aisle seat with the armrest up, so Jon was stuck by the window with only half a seat... not pleasant. Luckily the flight was only just over an hour long. We only had an hour to connect and the lady at the Delta desk in Detroit said that it'd be fine as the British Airways desks are in the same terminal and we wouldn't have to go through security again. Well it turned out that after asking a policeman it was in a different terminal and we'd have to redo security. We had to speed walk through and onto the train and check-in all over again. The woman at check-in let us and another family in the same situation go to the front as there wasn't much time left. We managed to stop at duty free with just over 20mins till departure. This plane was a double decker -  the biggest one I've ever been on and had so much room. Watched some movies including No Strings Attached, and had chicken curry. It was an overnight flight but we couldn't sleep, and there was turbulence most of the way. Finally arrived in the UK at 7am where my Mum was waiting to pick us up and drive us back to Cardiff. Felt weird being back and driving on the other side of the road, and we could already feel the holiday blues kicking in.

So our holiday is now over and is going to take some time to sink in, as we have seen and done so much over the past 3 weeks. Will post a stats/favourites page up soon. We had such an amazing time and would definitely recommend a road trip to anyone! :)

S.