First Day – Departure

Early this morning Linda and I got up. The Tickets were printed, also the electronic prompt you must have for flights to the UNITED STATES. According to Linda the flight should go at 13.30 - before 11AM didn`t need to be at the airport. From 8.30AM on we were sitting on packed bags, and at 10.30 Linda`s husband Dik brought us to the Airport.
At check-in there was the first issue: Check-in didn't work. And it had a good reason: the machine to Detroit had just lifted off. Instead of the departure time Linda had noticed the time of arrival in Detroit. Scheduled departure was 10.50. What next? We had to book a new flight with the next machine. It should be starting at 12.50; arrival-time in Detroit was at 16.30. Since it was just before noon, there was not much time for check-in and passport control. To fly to the United States, can be pretty annoying at least the checks and interviews by customs. When did I drive from Germany to the Netherlands, if I packed my suitcases myself, if I had left them after they had been completed, why did I want to fly to the UNITED STATES, etc.

We were glad when we sat in the machine and, finally it took off. At 15 o'clock we landed in Detroit. However, here the controls were even more extreme. All non-American passengers of the flight came to a barred hall of the Homeland-Security. Cameras and mobile phones (which are called "Cellular Phones" in the USA) were strictly forbidden. Then after endless waiting the questions went on. What one wants to do in the USA, whether one enters alone, which job one has, whether one wants to work in the USA. I made the mistake to say that I want to meet friends. There it went off only properly. Where did I first meet them, how long had I known them, where do they live, what is their profession where do they work etc.
Then after countless questions one more photo was taken by Linda and me, fingerprints were taken of both hands, and then it was done
We had our visa and might enter American ground. We took our suitcases and left the airport hall. We wanted to rent a car and had to drive 200 miles (about 320 kilometres) to Willard close to Cleveland the same day. There the Great Dane show to which Linda was invited as a judge should take place two days later. To rent a car in the USA is easy and uncomplicated, Linda had explained. And she seemed to be right, because everywhere at the exits of the airport there were terminals with direct free phone connections to car hires. Linda called with AVIS and found out that there was a car for us. We should take the exit to the middle parking level on the fourth floor; from there shuttle coaches would go directly to the car hire. Said, done. Meanwhile it was nearly 17.30 o'clock (European time was 6 hours later, so it was in the middle of the night at home). The AVIS Shuttle invited us together with two suitcases, two big handbags, jackets and hand luggage and drove to a gigantic Car-Rental park. Arrived there, we stood with our entire luggage in the Ohio-Summer-Heat and had to find out that, nevertheless, no more cars were free. What now? The AVIS people agreed to call with other car hire brands; finally they found a carat Enterprise. And how should we get there? There was only one way: Back again in the AVIS shuttle and then to the airport (to the, in the meantime, well known parking level 4). There we unloaded our luggage again and waited for the Enterprise shuttle. It was nearly 18.30 o'clock when we sat in our hired car (Hyundai Solano) and could drive all the way to Willard. After a 3-hour journey we arrived – and were landed "in the middle of nowhere". A few houses, a filling station – that was all. This could become cheerful … A pleasant surprise (one could not believe it after such a chaotic day) was our motel room: Two King Size beds, a kitchenette, a bathroom. What more did one want ? We were really tired when we fell (finally) in to bed.