Arizona 2005 - Day 1 : Flying from London to Phoenix

Arrived at Heathrow airport at 9:30 to check in for BA0289 departing at 12:50 to Phoenix airport, as I'd already done online check in the night before I only had to drop my bags off and pick up my tickets , managed to do all this in less that 10 minutes .

On the plane as I'd paid extra to fly Premium economy I had loads of leg room and even better I had no one sitting next to me, so I was able to spread out over 2 seats and watch tv shows and films on my laptop, plugged into the seat power supply. So much better than the tiny little screens the airline provides.

The flight arrived on time in Phoenix at 16:50, I got through immigration with no problems and then waited for my bike and bag to come through, my normal bag came though fairly quickly , but then I waited and waited for my bike to appear until one hour later my bike finally appeared !!! Feeling very relieved that I had my bike I headed to the Budget rental desk.

I found out at desk that you have to catch a Bus from the Airport to where the rental cars are,the last time I visited Phoenix you picked up the car from the airport terminal building.

I collected a Ford Explorer SUV from the Budget office with just 2000 miles on the clock, and then set off to drive to the hotel. As I was navigating solo I managed to get very lost and ended up driving around down town Phoenix, until I got my self back on to the right Interstate.

I arrived at the hotel and checked in. The room I had was great it was a huge king suite, with separate bathroom, desk and leather chair, easy chair, large TV, fridge and microwave and free high speed internet. The room was very clean and everything looked brand new, so much better than any hotels I'd ever stayed in back in England.

I unpacked my bike and re-assembled it, then gave one of my mtbr contacts Steve a ring to arrange our ride the next day, as Steve is a Warden for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy he offered to show me a route not listed in any of the guide books. I then went for a swim in the outdoor pool under the clear starry night sky - which was brilliant such a contrast to the weather back at home, I had to the pool and hot tub to myself, as apparently it was too cold for the other guests even though the air temperature was 15c

I then had a very good nights sleep