April 25, 2008 GMT
1. The Beginning

My trip started with an Application for a US Visa as my stay was going to be longer than 3 months. I also applied for an Electronic Australian Passport as it is supposed to make things easier

I followed the very detailed instructions on the US Visa web page, jumped through all the hoops and everything worked out, they finished up giving me a 5 year multiple entry visa. This will save me having to go through this expensive ($350) and time consuming (2 months) process again within the next 5 years.
The only hiccup was with my photograph, it was not exactly 5cm x 5cm. They have a list of Photographers that know the US visa requirements and one was conveniently located right outside the consulate in Perth, it only took a few minutes to get some new pictures taken.
And make sure your fingerprints are in good condition because they get taken about 43 times.
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Next job was to crate my bike. I used a Ducati ST3 crate, its made of steel and looks strong. A crate made of wood would have to be fumigated.
I got the crate from Causeway Ducati in Perth in exchange for a carton of Tooheys Extra Dry. It came complete with all the nuts and bolts and straps needed to secure the bike. Thank you Grant.
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Squeezing it all in, the 2 panniers just fit in front of the headlight.
crate1.JPG
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On the way to the Airport ($80 by Bike Lifters - 0412 917 959).
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On the scales at Dangerous Goods.
You are allowed to have a quarter tank of fuel and the Battery leads must be disconnected and taped up.
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Total weight was 260kg but it was cheaper to send it at the 300kg rate.
crate4.JPG
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The Crate was shrink wrapped in black plastic before shipping.
It left Perth on Thursday 24 Apr 08 and arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday 26 Apr 08
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EXPORTAIR did the job. Thank you Phil Drake.
Ph: 08 9477 1080
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Cost $2,331.
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I flew out on Friday at 0105 via Singapore and Tokyo to Los Angeles, arrived the same day at 1255 , 23 hours of misery, you guessed I don't like being cooped up in a tin box.
I amused myself by taking pictures of the flaps.
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Flaps over Singapore.
1FlapsSingapore.JPG
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More
2FlapsSingapore.JPG
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Air Brake over Japan, I think the pilot hit the wrong button.
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Japan in neat little squares.
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Rough Landing in Japan, Flaps, Airbrake, Bounce, Swerve, I think the pilot must have been watching the in-flight Fast and Furious movie.
5LandingJapan.JPG
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The N stands for NIPPON, there were hundreds of them.
6ANAJapan.JPG
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First view of the USA, that's the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco in the middle, its my out of focus camera not the smog that's making things blurry
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Enroute to LA
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LA from the air
9LA1.JPG
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Temple to the Automobile
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Downtown LA
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Another Temple to the Great 4 Wheels
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Posted by Chris Desmond at 09:10 PM GMT
April 26, 2008 GMT
2. Los Angeles

City of Angels
Though the city of Los Angeles, California is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States at almost 18 million souls, it is a relatively young city, not founded until the mid nineteenth century.
And there is more here........
Los Angeles History


Arrived totally stuffed at LA after 23 hours cramped up, huge airport with planes, cars and trucks going every which way all on a runway with round-a bouts.
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Took about an hour to get through Immigration, big queues.
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Got the crazy money mixed up, all the notes are the same size and colour, taxi driver must have thought Christmas had come early.
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Rang Qantas and they said my bike would be there tomorrow (Saturday), I was not expecting it until Monday and they were actually open Saturday and I could come and pick it up, even Customs were open on Saturday.
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The Qantas office/warehouse was only about a kilometer away so I walked using my invaluable GPS to guide me.
They processed my paperwork in 5 minutes ($30) and then drove me to Customs
and waited while Customs took their time stamping the documents. I had to fill in an EPA form promising not to add to the pollution (no charge).
Back to the Warehouse where they allowed me to unpack and reassemble my bike while everyone stopped by to chat and wish me luck even if it was in Spanish.
Thank you Qantas.
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What a relief I was mobile again, even if it was on the wrong side of the road and in the LA smog and lunatic drivers.
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No one sticks to the speed limit, what speed limit, is there a speed limit, this is a Drivers city, no speed cameras, Police are too busy trying to stop people from shooting each other.
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Some interesting stats here
LA Crime

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Santa Monica Beach South
13SantaMonicaSouth.JPG
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Santa Monica Beach Lifeguard (I think)
14SantaMonicaLifeguard.JPG
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This man is looking for buried corpses
15SantaMonicaOptimist.JPG
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Santa Monica Pier, The Tip
16SantaMonicaPier.JPG
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Santa Monica Pier Rides
17SantaMonicaPierRides.JPG
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Santa Monica Pier Sideways
18SantaMonicaPier.JPG
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Santa Monica Beach North
19SantaMonicaNorth.JPG
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Santa Monica Pier Looking Back from the Tip
20SantaMonicaPierRides.JPG
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Santa Monica Pony Rides
21SantaMonicaPierRides.JPG
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It is not a Stage Prop, it really does exist
22HollywoodSign.JPG
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The Metro has a $5 all day Bus and Train Pass, unbeatable value and you get free entertainment from all the crazies
1MetroLightRail.JPG
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Long Way Down
1Longwaydown.JPG
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The Train
1Train.JPG
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Special Earthquake Proof Tracks
2Traintracks.JPG
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Yes, his siren and lights were flashing, that's more like it
2Cops.JPG
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Not exactly sure what these guys were doing
3MexicanDance.JPG
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The Union Station
4UnionStation.JPG
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The Post Office
5PostOffice.JPG
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The oldest house in LA, about 3000 years old, I Think
6OldBuilding.JPG
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Broadway
10Broadway1.JPG
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Shooting an Episode of Criminal Minds down a Broadway Side street
11CriminalMinds.JPG
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Criminal Minds Again
12CriminalMinds.JPG
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Broadway Again
13Broadway2.JPG
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Hill Street - The Diamond street
14HillSt.JPG
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Brave men built these Towers
15Towers.JPG
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More Tall Buildings
16Towers.JPG
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Glass and steel
18gGlassSteel.JPG
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Stars, everywhere, even down the side streets
3Stars.JPG
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Stars Hands and Feet
5MoreStars.JPG
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Real Stars hands and feet
6RealStars.JPG
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Hollywood Mall
7Mall.JPG
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Hollywood Blvd
8Hollywood.JPG
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The Chinese Theatre (where all the hand and foot prints are recorded)
9ChineseTheatre.JPG
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Capitol Records
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Hollywood Subway
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Universal City
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Universal City Shuttle
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The Globe according to Universal
13Uglobe.JPG
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Universal City Walk, a bunch of shops
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The Entrance where you stand in a queue to buy a ticket, pickup a pamphlet at any Vistors centre for an $8 discount
15Uentrance.JPG
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Not sure what this is
16u.JPG
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The Simpsons
17simpsons.JPG
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Too scary for me
18horror.JPG
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Waterworld
18waterworld.JPG
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Lots of Cartoon Characters wandering around, the kids loved them and some adults?
19Cartoon.JPG
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Another one
20cartoon.JPG
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Hollywood Smog
21Hollywoodsmog.JPG
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Studio Tour Queue, 45 minutes and they have a Spanish Language Tour as well
22StudioTourQueue.JPG
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Stage 25, where they make movies
23Stage25.JPG
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Fake Town, there were lots of them, different themes
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The Back of a fake Town
25Theback.JPG
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Special effects
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Fake Boat, these guys can do anything
27Fakeboat.JPG
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Another Town
28fake.JPG
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Another
29faketown.JPG
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House in Stephen King Movie where the Writer gets his legs chopped off
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The Latest Mouthwash
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Shrek
32shrek.JPG
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Exploring LA's racetracks which become Car Parks during Rush Hour
LAfreeways.JPG
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In 3D
LAfreeways3D.JPG
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LA Bike Shop, as Large as LA itself
I bought some oil from here, time to hit the road.
1bikeshop.JPG


Posted by Chris Desmond at 11:59 PM GMT
 
 

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