Day 39: San Diego – Home
Knowing that the bike would fit in the bike box was a massive relief and just left the sizeable task of repacking my possessions for the flights – of which there were 4 – home. By the time I’d finished, the bins in the motel room were full of assorted receipts, leftover food and toiletries that had been spared the return journey. The motel offered airport transfers for $5, which was ideal, and as it was basically the handyman with a people carrier, there was no difficulty with taking my bike in the back.
Arriving at San Diego airport, I checked in for my United Airlines flights through to Vancouver. I was charged $150 for checking in a bike, a fee I was prepared for, and one that reminded me how lucky I was that British Airways generally waived the oversize baggage fees associated with carrying bikes. Luckily, I was able to carry on my two panniers as hand luggage at all four airports.
After a tasty pulled pork sandwich at the airport, I boarded the plane for the short hop back to San Francisco. On my first visit to San Francisco I passed through in an hour and a half, on this occasion I was there for 50 minutes, exiting the plane straight back to the gates and walking the short distance to the gate for the Vancouver flight.
Arriving in Vancouver, I made my way straight to the oversize baggage carousel where my bike had been located when I arrived in Canada 5 and a half weeks before, and was relieved to see that although it had clearly been through a security check, it looked fine. The bike making it to Vancouver was a massive relief, it arriving late in Edinburgh was much less of an issue!
Sitting on the return flight from Vancouver, I tried to remember the films I’d watched on the way out, what seemed like a very long time ago. I’d watched The Big Lebowski, but I was struggling to remember it. It was a 9 hour flight to Heathrow, so I had plenty time to watch another couple of films on the way home, opting for Fargo and Rogue One.
I arrived in Heathrow and had a few hours to spare before my final flight back to Edinburgh. I was delighted to find a Wagamamas in the departure lounge, not having had any Asian cuisine whilst in America, my Ginger Chicken Udon made a welcome change. My onward flight to Edinburgh was delayed by 15 minutes, hardly a great hardship, especially when the rest of the journey had gone seamlessly.
Finally, after 24 hours on the move, I arrived home, exhausted but delighted to have successfully completed my mission! And after days of sleep deprivation, I slept for 15 hours straight.