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San Diego June 3, 1988 - Final day begins in New Zealand, ends in U.S.

By Bob Van Leer

  (SAN DIEGO, CA, June 3, 1988) - Today was a long, long day that began in Christchurch, New Zealand, and ended in San Diego in the U.S.A. Actually, it was two days but on the return trip we gained back the day we lost going over, so we had two June 3rds.

  The day began with a visit to the Christchurch newspaper, The Press. In production methods the New Zealand papers are behind Australia, which is behind the U.S. It is largely a union problem, not that the managers don't know what is happening in production equipment. The Press plans this year to convert its reporters from using typewriters to using computer terminals, something almost universal in the U.S. At the Curry County Reporter we made this change nearly 10 years ago.

  After leaving the newspaper office we looked over downtown and then caught a bus back to our hotel near the airport. This was the start of the long journey home. From there we went to the airport to catch our plane.

  To go home, we first had to go further away, back to Sydney, 1200 miles and two time zones further from the U.S. This flight takes about three hours. In Sydney we caught another plane. All we have traveled on here are Boeing 747s, in different configurations. The one back to the U.S. is about two-thirds passengers and the balance freight. The sun was setting as we left Christchurch.

  In Sydney we were in transit with a minimum of paperwork entering and leaving the country. On the return trip we had a stop in Hawaii. The Sydney-Honolulu flight is nine hours. In Honolulu we had to disembark while the plane was serviced but we were in a transit lounge where we could not even step outside. Our party was not to go through customs until Los Angeles so we were not officially in the U.S. yet.

  The flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles was about five hours. By now we didn't know what time or day it was except what the plane captain announced. We had managed to get some sleep on the flight from Sydney to Honolulu and awoke to breakfast on the plane. On these long flights it is a good idea to carry toilet articles with you in hand baggage. The world looks a whole lot better after I shave and brush my teeth.

  We arrived in Los Angeles on time at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, an hour and a half before we left Sydney because of the date change. Then we took the 40-minute flight to San Diego where we rested up for a day after the flight and also visited daughter Sally Shuey and husband, Dave.

  The elapsed time, including airport layovers, from Christchurch to San Diego was about 26 hours.

  The whole trip has gone right on schedule; no hang-ups anywhere. It's a remarkable transportation system that allowed us to go halfway around the world and back and arrive in San Diego within five minutes of our scheduled time.

  Our mileage for the whole trip after returning to Gold Beach will be more than 20,000 miles. We have traveled on nine different airplanes so far and have two more to go, which will make a total of eleven. These ranged in size from Boeing 747s, seating over 400, to a Cessna, seating 8. In addition to the eleven planes we have ridden on seven boats, ranging in size from a 450 passenger ship to a skiff seating 10, one train, one helicopter, one gondola tram, and buses, trams, taxis and private cars of which no count was kept. The trip has been extremely interesting and quite educational. We now know that Canberra, the capital of Australia, is pronounced with the accent on the Can, and hokey-pokey is awfully good ice cream.

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