After the unusual experience of being woken up at 5am, we made it to Heathrow along with all our luggage, thanks to Will’s Dad’s Taxi ™. Things took a minor turn for the worst as Will strode into the terminal building and managed to lose boarding cards and passport within about thirty seconds – the lovely Aer Lingus hostess sorted us out, we dumped our panniers at the oversize luggage desk and we were on our way to Dublin for the first leg of the flight. Things were going fine until we had to argue our way through US customs before boarding the Dublin – LA leg of the flight – not having return flights booked meant that the Customs Nazis immediately assumed we had either terrorist or refugee inclinations (we may well have looked like the latter after the 5am wake-up call) and Matt had to explain our trip in intricate detail whilst apologising for not doing the journey on Harley-Davidsons. Ten and three quarter hours later, we were turfed off the plane in LA – straight into a gorgeous 30degree heat :-). We were treated to another display of american “customer care” by possibly the most arrogant and uninterested immigration official ever…comments such as “What do you want?” when presented with our passports for immigration really help the american image of co-operation and helpfulness…! We were anticipating a long wait for our mangled panniers to riccochet down the baggage reclaim tunnel but were pleasantly suprised when they appeared, pretty much intact and unopened, within about 5 minutes of the flight landing…bubblewrap seemed to do the trick! Picking up the bikes proved remarkably simple – a taxi ride to the freight terminal and then to the customs depot, where we waited an hour for the “efficient” US beauracracy to grind into action and give us a single rubber stamp for the paperwork, and we were standing in the freight depot in front of a large plywood crate containing our perfectly packed bikes – fantastic! The floor show we provided whilst dismantling the crate entertained the staff for a good two hours – eventually the bikes were out, assembled and we turned hesitantly out onto the freeway to find hotel for the night, somewhat dazed by the fact that we’d arrived in one piece!