Previous : Gearing Up

Was my initial thought, when I was rudely interrupted by my alarm at 515am.  For the last few months I have considered anything before 0800hrs early.  I know that is going to have to change when I get back.

So after saying goodbye to Maisy  (whom I am not sure will have any recollection of our conversation due to being still partly asleep) and my very understanding wife who I love dearly, it was out the door and off to Salisbury to catch the National Express bus to Heathrow.   I was rather apprehensive,  as I was unable to book my bike on the bus and had read that getting your bike on board depended very much on what side of the bed the driver got out of that morning.  Thankfully for me, it was the right side!!

After all that worrying,  the bus got me to Heathrow 10 mins early.  All I can say is that travelling with National Express was a real pleasure and that the staff were so helpful!

I am so glad I booked a return flight from the US last night as I doubt I would have been allowed to fly.  It was like being interrogated by the gestapo at the Delta checkin desk.  I was waiting for a guy to come out wearing a rubber glove.  8-/  The ESTA visa waiver program does state you need an onward flight booked.  As usual I, unfortunately,  failed to read the small print.

First flight is Heathrow to Minneapolis.


Image 1 – Taking off Heathrow

Everywhere seems to be warmer than the UK.  Temp at Minneapolis on arrival was 30c.  I really enjoy flying, but the turbulence coming into Minneapolis was on another level!  At one point it felt like the plane was free falling.  I don’t think I have ever grabbed both arm rests and closed my eyes on a flight before.


Image 2 – Landing in Minneapolis

I have a short lay up in Minneapolis, before a 3hr internal flight to Helena.  Plan was to have a dry day today, but the lure of a beer in a bar with the knowledge that you never sit at a bar alone long in the US before someone strikes up a conversation was too much of an attraction.  And as planned, it was not too long before I was discussing American foreign policy with a civilian pilot.

Arrived at the hotel at 2200hrs local time, which equates to 0500hrs UK.  So all in I’d been on the go for 24hrs zzzzzx

Next : Helena to Butte