California Dreaming 2005
Friday 20th May
Motorcycling is something you get infected with and as yet I have found no cure. I have been riding since I was 16 in fact just 8 hours after my Birthday officially started, on a cold and frosty November morning. I didn't realise it, as I misjudged the slight bend and mounted the kerb just a 1/4 mile from the start of my two-wheeled journey through life how important motorcycling would become to me. Ever since I have needed a fix, to feed my cravings, and decided that this time it had to be on another continent. The USA was in my sights. Helen, on the other hand, has a passion for birds and unlike me would spend hours just watching them whilst I would be a 'Twitcher' and clocking up as many birds as I could, just like my motorcycling, the more miles I do the more I like it.
Flyride USA advertised in the BMW Club Journal so I checked out the website, read an article or two and then put my money were my mouth was and booked the 'California Dreaming' tour at the end of May, beginning of June 2005. Why a 'Tour'?
Helen and I have been all over Europe, from the Artic Circle to Italy and Spain, over the last 35 years, with either club friends or just on our own, and have found that a travel guide saves so much time researching and gives an insight, which books can't offer, and it's a long way to the USA to pop back if you missed something.
Whilst whistling the Mama and Papa's famous tune I booked the flights to Redmond, Oregon, the nearest place to Bend our starting point. I didn't know it, but the first part of our journey was beginning to go wrong. Heathrow for the night was good, but London to Frankfurt was not, with only a half hour break, between take off again, the dominoes were starting to topple and our luggage would start a journey all of its own. We raced across the Frankfurt terminal building, with typical German efficiency, under the guidance of 2 Airport staff and, with minutes to spare dropped into our seats, next stop Portland USA. For the 2nd time in this journey they seated us at the back of the plane, and as both planes disembarked, we were last through the door, and its not what you really wanted for a quick changeover.
The US Emigration queue found us almost last and our names being called for the next flight, or so we thought? No it was to tell us that our luggage was on holiday somewhere else, but it would arrive at our destination tomorrow. The final flight of the trip was to Redmond Oregon by a small prop jet and perhaps the most interesting part of the journey. No it wasn't the snow covered Cascade Mountains but the form filling and explaining we had to do over our lost suitcases and having never been this situation before it did feel quite strange, refugee came to mind! We had nothing but the clothes we stood up in and a credit card in our pocket. Sympathetic staff gave us a couple of toiletry bags with soap and toothbrush etc., before we took the Flyride USA complimentary taxi to Bend and the Phoenix Inn Suites. Booking-in at reception couldn't have been easier with nothing to carry from taxi to room, but the staff sympathised with our situation. Would our suitcases arrive tomorrow Saturday?