Philip writing:

I arrived safely and on time at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport where Rick was waiting to meet me and take this photo, paparazzi-style. He had driven the 327-mile, 5 hour journey from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, arriving in good time.

Phil-arrival-01

At 4.00am on the morning of my flight I had been woken by Rick who was phoning me, as planned, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at 11.00pm his time.

He said “I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon, about 3 o’clock.”

I said, “I’ll see you this afternoon, about 3 o’clock.”

And both of us were right about that, there being the 5-hour timezone difference between us, soon to be reduced, one hour at a time as I crossed the Atlantic, to nought.

A taxi was waiting outside my home at 6.00am to take me to the train station where I’d be catching the 6.35am train to Manchester Airport, due to arrive there at 7.35am.

This would give me a wait of over 3 hours before take-off at 10.35am, but I’d much rather have a long wait than leave it until the train would be packed with commuters and the lines at the airport desk would be much too long for comfort. As it was, I went to the Virgin Atlantic desk and was attended to immediately.

The flight was about as good as it gets, with only occasional mild turbulence to shake us about, and the food was quite okay. I was seated next to a woman who told me she was related to Elvis Presley, rather distantly, she said, but then so is everyone else in America, it seems. Joking apart, her mother’s side of the family was related to Elvis’ mother.

At length, and 9 hours is a length of time to remain seated and wondering whether there is enough fuel in the tanks, we landed with a thump and a roar, and before long I was one of hundreds of people waiting in lines for Border Control, and then there was Rick with his camera flashing. Phew!

We were staying in Atlanta overnight and so our first stop was a McDonalds Restaurant close to our hotel. Not having had much to drink during the journey I was gasping for a large coffee, so much so that the sight of the McDonalds’ golden arches sign was very much more than usually welcome.

MacDonalds-Atlanta

Later, we went to the same Ruby Tuesday restaurant where we’d dined on two of the three previous occasions when I’d flown into Atlanta, and we both had the same as we’d had before, their delicious Asiago (cheesed, peppercorned) Rib-eye steak with a glass of beer. I was feeling very much at home again.

asiago-02a

Both of us were tired from our long journeys so we retired early, looking forward to some good photography opportunities tomorrow.

Click here, or go to the Timeline at the top of this page, to see the following day’s story and photos.


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