Tuesday, 13 January 2015

DAY 33 - (Phase 2) Movin' Over To The West Coast

Hi y'all, and welcome to the Day 33 Blog coming to you from Los Angeles, California or as we refer to it; 'just down the road from Sal's place'.

This morning we woke up very early at around 0530h, packed the car and headed off for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The drive to the airport was pretty uneventful, except for the bit where I managed to turn the wrong way down a street on the wrong side of the median strip, completely frightening the entire family; but, apart from that, no dramas.

The car is packed...literally!

We arrived at the airport Rental Car facility to hand back our car and the guy there was amazed at the number of miles we had clocked up on the odometer. Right to the very end, that car didn't miss a beat. Checking into the airport was also pretty smooth, although there was some confusion as to which terminal at Dallas-Fort Worth we needed to be at. Our original paperwork from our Qantas booking said Terminal D, but the electronic Flight Board said Terminal A. The confusion was also compounded by the fact that our Qantas paperwork, didn't actually state the American Airlines flight number. In the end we went with Terminal A, and thankfully were correct.

Our flight was with American Airlines on an Airbus A321S (Flight Number AA2419) and took around three hours. The flight was pretty uneventful, except that my in-flight entertainment system wasn't working. We were all pretty tired after the early wake up, so the lack of a functioning IFE, din't really phase me. The next three shots are of the aircraft on which we travelled.

Our aircraft, an Airbus A321S

DFW-LAX on AA2419
Action stations on Flight AA2419
Arrival into LAX was pretty seamless, with the exception of a hire car issue. We were issued an Infinity FX-50 which whilst incredibly awesome, could never have fit both us or our gear. I did think about ditching the family, or the gear, but decided against. So I settled on a Chrysler Town and Country van which was easily large enough for us.

I can't believe I actually rejected this car

Our second Rental, a Chrysler Town and Country
As we had arrived too early to check into our hotel, we decided to have lunch then head to the California Science Centre to tick off another of my bucket-list items; a real-live, went-into-space, Space Shuttle. Being Australian, the fact that it was OV-105 Space Shuttle Endeavour (named after CAPT James Cook's ship) made it even more poignant. Whilst at the California Science Centre, we checked out many of the other attractions contained within. Given that this is our third time to Los Angeles, I can't believe we haven't visited this treasure earlier. Firstly, here's some shots of some of the other aeronautical things at the museum:

A McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

The Northrop F-20 Tigershark was an impressive aircraft that couldn't attract any buyers. From all of my readings, it was a very impressive aircraft in terms of cost and performance. It was based on the Northrop F-5.

Northrop F-20 Tigershark

Northrop F-20 Tigershark alongside a Northrop F-5

McDonnel Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

One of the more fun activities to do involved riding a bicycle on a high-wire...yes, you heard correctly. Both Maureen and Kyle, each had a go.

Kyle should join the Circus

Maureen up to high-jinx on the high-wire
But, the main event was OV-105 Space Shuttle Endeavour.

These are the actual tyres from Space Shuttle Endeavour on its last mission

One of the Space Shuttle Main Engines

Close up of one of the Space Shuttle's tiles up-close

There were a number of other exhibits including actual space capsules from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule as displayed was used to carry Ham the Chimp into orbit. The capsule from Gemini 11 and the Capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz mission are also on display.

Mercury-Redstone 2's capsule

Gemini 11' capsule

The Apollo-Soyuz capsule

A Lockheed A-12 Blackbird (two-seater)

An ex-United Airlines DC-8

We then headed to the hotel before heading out to Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Amoeba Music is the largest independent record store in the world. Needless to say, Schuyler spent up big.

Well that's it for Day 33...Whew!

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