Day One: Crossing The Pond

Well here we are on the day of departure for one of our former colonies, The United States of America, and Mother is panicking at leaving at 6:00 am - that's SIX AM, i.e in the morning! There is only one 6 o'clock and thats when you come back from work!

So, having sorted the house out for a two and a half week stay, bleach down the bog, turn the network off, empty the bins, it was time to load the car and set off for that hell hole of Great Britain - Heathrow airport.

It was not for nothing that Mother decided upon an early start. My Mother doesn't know a lot about travel around London - always chauffeured is Mother - but a wise head indeed! After swiftly transiting the M6, M5, M42, we got onto the M40 and were promptly stopped by a Road Traffic Accident - RTA to you emergency types - and were delayed half an hour. Now in the normal context of these things, half an hour is not too bad but with the extra security these days at airports, if you aren't there three hours before, you are doubtful if you can make the plane. As it was, after a refreshing cuppa at the service station, we managed to battle through the traffic at 45 mph to arrive at Terminal 4 and check-in desk at British Airways, formally Imperial Airways to those of you who know their history Mr Orton!

After biddiing farewell to the parents the long drag into passport control, security and the departure lounge begins.

I headed to the coffee bar and awaited a call from that nice BA rep saying the plane was ready to board. Whilst awaiting carriage to aforesaid, I was accosted by a US "Vet" who was returning from a reunion in Germany. Nice chap but typical American abroad. He had been to most of Europe in a week and couldn't tell me any details as the British weren't to be trusted! Must have been at Bunker Hill as well!

At last a call to get to the gate and then a bus ride to the plane, a 767. Where was the new 777 BA had promised? Hey??? A 767 recycled from Aeroflot at that as well!

I sat down and was quickly joined by Rosie - an English nurse working in Ann Arbor. Shouldn't that be spelt Anne Harbour? More of these amusing US spelling to come I suspected.

It transpired after a nine hour flight that you can know quite a bit about your fellow traveller. I suspect that Ann Arbor General works its staff like the prevebal slave in the Greek Galley! Working so many days for a day off! Have they never heard of the EU working time directive? Oh well, maybe Mr Blair can have a word!

The flight over was quite bumpy, or was it the 767's bent wings? Oh well, eventually we landed at MacNamara Airport and endured the ordeal of the modern traveller to America - US Immigration. After recounting my life story and pointing out that in fact I am working for the UK government , well in a roundabout way, They finally decided that I wasn't going to blow anything up, import anything illegal and didn't have any seeds or flowers or plants and I could come in! Dashed decent of them I thought! Such nice people too compared with UK immigration!

Then I was greeted by my host for the holiday - Nick! Hurrah! A familar face in the colonies! It was also good too to feel an 82 degrees of warm air and it wasn't raining! After stashing the contraband (Bovril) and loading the luggage, we set off for the Davies residence, up the Pontiac trail, However, things didn't go to plan and we ended up traversing the busiest road in Michigan, the dreaded I-75.

This was the moment that I decided that traffic in the UK is nothing compared to the mad buggers on the this road! They were 5 feet away and doing 75 mph! Argh! No wonder Nick was stressed! These people are mad, mad, mad! You can't drive like that! Have these people ever practised an emergency stop? ROSPA would shut the State down if they ever got over there and they would have speed bumps every 20 yards. Also, we went through the roughest part of Detriot and past the marker of 8-mile road, famous for the Eninem song. Stopping off at the Big Buck for a beer, we caught up on the gossip from England.

We reached the Davies abode in good time if a little like we had beamed off the Starship Enterprise!

The Davies house is conveniently located as a three bedroomed American style bungalow, set amongst the pine trees. There are to be found a natural abundance of wildlife (critters) including racoons, squirrels, and numerous birds such as Blue Jay's and Nuthatches.

Cindy came home from work around 5:30m and after greetings, we settled down to a hot bowl of Cindy's famous chilli and a relaxing evening before retiring for the night. After 36 hours of travelling, I was glad to get my head down!

To be Continued....

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