Friday, December 12, 2008

12/10/2008 - Over the Pacific

I am writing this just after takeoff on Air Pacific from LAX. I have been silently debating about whether the hardware that connects my headrest to the chair is in any way similar to the type of hardware that keeps the wings on. This is pertinent and highly important in my mind in that, soon after hitting 30,000 feet, the entire headrest came loose and fell behind me. I guess headrest technology has advanced, as I have not had this happen on other airlines.

Air Pacific uses a more "mature" fleet.


Fiji, for the 3 minutes I got to see it outside. I think you can see a visible hernia on the guys in the background moving my oversize boxes.

I feel somewhat privileged to be here at all. Or at least here with my ski equipment, bike, bike trailer, and fly fishing supplies. I was told that there would be a $250 additional baggage fee for Air Pacific (totally reasonable, I am bringing three oversize boxes with me). Given the complicated situation with two airlines and the aforementioned baggage, a second person was called on to help figure things out. He decided that they needed to charge an additional fee through US Airways as well to get the bags to LA - an additional $750. Given that I could have actually purchased a Hyundai, strapped my boxes on top, driven to LA, and then paid hooligans to burn the car (perhaps in the driveway of the US Airways executive that came up with the oversize baggage fees) for less than that, I was visibly shaken. I now "get" why people who are susceptible to heart attacks often actually have them during sudden stress. It's quite a rush to suddenly have your ticket price to New Zealand doubled on a casual comment.

Luckily, good sense (and a third person) prevailed, and all was well. No $750 additional fee. Suddenly, security did not seem quite as gruff, LAX didn't look quite as dirty when I got there, and my overall sense of worry evaporated. I am sitting next to a very nice couple (Jason and Aurossa), both software engineers, who will be traveling the south island via camper van. Fun stuff.

Food is best described and "microwaved", but the cabin crew is very nice. We get two meals (dinner and breakfast) on the 13-hour flight. Watched Dodgeball on the computer. Transferred over in Fiji, another trip through security, and back on for 3 more hours.

Coming into Auckland was much, much easier than I imagined. Everyone, from the customs agents to the people who let me leave my cardboard boxes along a wall, were fantastic and several came over to ask about the bike and the trip. The only way to explain it is. . . New Zealand.

IMGP0756.JPGHere is everything I brought. Ridiculous.

Made it to the I-Site past customs, and Skyped the parents. I am alive. Just about to jump on the bike for a quick 5-mile ride to the campground. Hope the GPS works as planned. . .

IMGP0757.JPGSkyping. It really works well!


  1. Glad you made it with all your gear. We're looking forward to following your adventures!

  2. OK what gives? Your dad has a classy photo of himself obviously lounging in his barco lounger skyping someone while your mom’s picture was obviously stolen from glamour shots.
    As I sit at work, moderately unhappy with life, I become more jealous of your trip by the minute. I am going to send you all my pictures of Antarctica next year in a lame attempt to return the favor.
    Just so you know, Alex told me a story of the giant he meet the other day and Grandpa’s house and the airport. He said someday he hopes that he can go biking too. It sounded like gaga bad a ca ba but I know that is what he said. I told him to keep dreaming, his dad doesn’t do anything “physical”.

  3. Ryan,
    Good luck on your travels. Justin emailed your blog to Greg who then forwarded it to me. Since Greg is challenged in his ability to communicate with old friends I figured I should send you a note! I will join Justin in my jealousy of your trip, a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a husband with a dental practice isn't conducive to travels such as yours.
    Gwen Williams

  4. hi ryan-bishop gang here! your awesome mom shared your blog with us and we are very excited for you and to read all of your entries.

  5. Ok, you have been there for at least 2 days now and we don't have another blog post, what's the deal? I am expecting you to post while riding. You must not have learned to multitask while driving from the one they call David.

  6. Usually, when a loved one leaves, we feel such an empty vacuum. However, after staggering with heaps of leftover Ryan laundry, fainting at the grocery bills and tearing up at the accumulation of a dust-filled vacuum, Ryan lingers on.
    That aside, where is Ryan?
    A. Still SKYPING in the Auckland airport
    B. Under indictment in Fiji fighting Pacific Airways over the Headrest Incident
    C. In the parental's guestroom


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