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Trip Report A CALIFORNIAN ODYSSEY 2010.....A live trip report from the Golden State

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My research for this trip had been painstaking. You cant leave too much too chance when taking a family of 4 on their first trip to the USA, especially as we were going for just over a month.

Where to go? What to see? How to get there? Where to stay? How to pay for it? All meticulously and tediously planned, re-worked, booked and confirmed. But still, one necessary question was left unanswered. What to pack?

When all the essential travel items for a family of 4 are squeezed into several large suitcases, how then do you transport this the required 550km’s from Mildura to Melbourne in a compact family hatchback? This was the final piece of the pre-trip puzzle that we faced only 15 minutes before our scheduled departure. With my travel spirits slightly jaded by the early morning rush to get away on time, I pushed, shoved, crammed and cursed until I managed to close the hatch without the rear window popping out and shattering into several million pieces on our garage floor . At this stage, I was hoping that I ticked the roof-rack option on the on-line hire car booking form.

Finally we departed Mildura for the 6 hour drive to Melbourne. We were overnight-ing with my in-laws before catching the morning Red-eye from Melbourne to LA via Brisbane. The drive was made more bearable with my newly downloaded collection of the complete cast recording of Glee. A delectable ensemble of soft-rock, classic standards and soaring show-tunes, all accompanied by my own dulcet tones.

I hate being late and with the panicked thoughts of sleeping in and missing the flight, I set several alarms. My phone for 2.45, my watch for 2.55 and the bedside alarm-clock in Kerry’s parents spare bedroom for 3.00am on Friday morning the 11th of June. Our flight left at 7am. That gave us until 3.45 to freshen up and wake the kids. The airport was about a 35minute drive, 10 minutes to get a trolley and pry all that luggage out of the car and we would have an almost perfect 2 and a half hours to check-in and complete the departure formalities before spending some leisurely time browsing through Duty-free. This was meticulously planned itinerary “fo-pare number one”. Our flight from Melbourne to Brisbane was purely a domestic “red-eye” and at 4.30am in the morning, it took all of 13 minutes to do all that needed to be done. Tullamarine is not the most vibrant place to kill 2 hours at that time of the day, but gracefully, our plane was on time and off we soared to meet up with our international connection. Our Californian Odyssey had commenced.

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