Padinago's trip to the USA and Canada in 2011

Day 1 - Arrival in Seattle, Washington

Today we leave again for the USA. We have been waiting for this moment for a whole year!!!!

Our driver is about 20 minutes too early when he picks us up at home but fortunately we are packed and ready to go! This year we are again accompanied by Sofie and Lucien and a bit later they also joined us in the bus on our way to the airport.

At the airport everything goes well except our Sofie has to undergo a search of her hand luggage.
Once we are at the gate and ready to start boarding, Nathalie is picked out for a thorough search of her hand luggage which is of course full of photo equipment and therefore she asks them to be very careful and they do so. Once on board PaNa are lucky as the third seat is empty so they have more space.

When we arrive in JFK (New York) we first have to pass immigration and then Customs. Then we need to pick up our luggage and check it in again. At the hand luggage check-point everybody needs to go through the "body scan"!

We walk to gate B23 where we eat something as we have time, at least that's what we thought... as there is hardly nobody there, Nathalie decides to check on the screens and suddenly she notices that we need to take a shuttle to another terminal. We grab our stuff and hurry to the shuttle station. There are some other people waiting, the rest is already gone. We inform how it works and almost immediately we have the last bus to the terminal. Luckily...

On the plane PaNa sit next to an Englishman who is visiting his son in Seattle. PaNa talked for hours with him and showed pictures of their previous trips. This helps killing time as it is again a long flight.

Once we arrived at SeaTac International Airport we get our luggage and look for the Alamo desk to pick up our rental car. As we are with 4 persons and will drive some thousand km we always book in Belgium the largest car they have so we have enough space for our luggage without blocking the view through our back window. Unfortunately, they again give us a Tahoe model which brings us back to the same problem as last year. De seats 6 and 7 do not go down completely so the trunk is too small. We decide to pay for an upgrade and get a "Suburban". This car is huge!!! Especially when you are used to drive with a Suzuki Swift... Patrick will have to get used to this car as he will be driving again most of the time during this holiday. In case of emergency Nathalie and Lucien can take over the wheel. They are also mentioned on the documents as optional drivers and also have an international driver's license which is necessary for Canada.

Nathalie's iPhone will serve again as GPS (Tom Tom North America) and a bit later we arrive at the hotel. We check in and ask for a parking place. As our car is quite high and has a roof rack we get the permission to use the Hilton's parking which is a bit further on. This parking goes up to the higher levels in a spiral shape and the turns are quite short so Patrick is starting to sweat already but he is doing very well.

LuSo go to bed and PaNa go to the reception to make the necessary arrangements for the parking. We go for a quick meal just outside the hotel and go to sleep. We are very tired after being awake for about 26 hours...

Daytrip approx. 22 km

@ Zaventem