So where were we??? Off on another wonderful adventure in the land downunder... or taking
that final step off the abyss into oblivion?... Time well tell. Since I've planned to write a
"Dragster Diary" of this trip, we may as well start now and see where it leads:
NOON: Let's see now... the plane leaves at 7:30, check-in time is 5:30, the
taxi will be here at 4:00, and what's still left to do before then? Find some suitcases, buy
some new jeans, pick up a bunch of braided hose and fittings, etc. No worries, there's lots of
3:00 PM: An hour to go and now it's time to get down to business. Shower, shave,
get dressed. Forgotten anything? Like packing 100 lbs. of auto parts, including two pairs of
front tires into two suitcases.
4:00 PM: Success. Both suitcases packed and under the load limit. Carry-on and
camera bag ready. Taxi waiting at the front door. Oh, oh... the tires!!! No room left in the
suitcases (not to mention that the tires are too big to fit in them anyway). Bad news....
4:15 PM: Success! I remembered the old cardboard suitcase purchased in a similar
panic at the Melbourne airport on my first trip back from Australia in '97. The tires fit...
just barely... and the latch closes.... barely. No worries; a few wraps of duct tape and we're
4:30 PM: We're on the way to the airport, with only one stop scheduled at
Mopac Auto Supply for some Aeroquip hose and fittings.
The parts are ready and waiting, the credit card works (good omen for this trip) and we're back
on the road to the airport.
5:30 PM: Ten minutes in the queue and $150 later (for the extra suitcase full
of tires), we're checked in and ready for an hour of chain-smoking outside before boarding. Then
it's on with the nicotine patch until Hawaii, at least.
8:00 PM: The booze cart comes rolling down the aisle and I discover that the
Russians seated in front of me know at least one word of English. Rum! "And what would
you like what that, mates?" Rum! And on and on it went. Within half an hour their voices
had risen enough to nearly drown out the crying babies in front of and behind me. Only five more
hours to Honolulu....
1:00 AM: The lights of downtown Honolulu are glowing through the portholes and
we're coming down to the end of the first leg of the journey. A ninety minute break for refueling
and then we'll start the next leg to Sydney (9.5 hours). Bad news. No smoking in the terminal.
Good news. You can step outside to the parking lot for a puff. And I finally (on my seventh stop
in Honolulu) see a small bit of Hawaii... a few palm trees and hundreds of parked cars. Six smokes
later and we're back on the big bird and airborne once more.
It's now well into Sunday morning and that signals the end of today's report. Go to
What's Old for the next installment of the "Dragster Diary."