Well, it’s that time of the year again and it was with a buzzy heart I boarded the great plane west for the Americas! On the flight there were no dramas, on the ground at Chicago it was business as usual. The Customs folks read my declarations, checked my lithium batteries and all was well. Apart from my hand-baggage the main bulk of my gear was not searched. Nearby my position a Lebanese dude was having the full search done as multiple food packages were inspected. I think they were ok with him in the end though. As I passed through the airport into the main area with my bags I thought it was going well, until the weather turned… Great thunderous rain and clouds drenched mid-west America. Nearly all American Airlines flights were grounded and mine was no exception, 'cancelled' read the flight to Denver, as were nearly every other airline flight to the mid-west. After taking my turn to queue at the 'rebookings' telephone quad I got talking to a woman about what to do next. I ended being routed onto a Miami-Denver flight the following morning, there was nothing to do but wait it out and people-watch until sleep claimed me for a few hours. As I drifted into sleep I wondered how my little Cabin Shed from last year fared over the hostile-winter. I woke up at midnight and wandered around, in the main area lots of people had been given cots and blankets, but not the Ryder. They’d all be handed out already! As I was about to head back to the fringes an older woman saw my wanderings and let me share hers instead so it wasn’t all bad. We slept tail to tail on a four seat bench against the wall so it wasn’t exactly side by side action for those that wonder. In the morning she had gone and a New Jersey Jew-dude was sat nearby instead. As I roused myself from sleep and bundled up the blanket he was talking on his phone loudly about business back east and the delays, he mentioned about how some people had been stuck at the airport for a WEEK! I hoped I would not be there that long and headed over to my departure gate before it was too late. The good news was I was now booked onto a direct Denver flight. Apart from some frizzy-attitude from the growling check-in woman (she was a bit over-worked) all was well. The bad news soon became apparent on landing. I was fine with the lack of altitude sickness, but the delayed baggage had me a bit on-edge. No trace was showing up and it was a case of wait-and-see. I had no spare clothing nor my Ram Pump project gear and of course my scout unit. I headed to the base to the north hoping the White Baron and the other expensive gear was unmolested. Mountain Mike was there at city-base and we set up the usual tent for me to crash out in. Mike let me borrow a tent and some old sleeping bags for mattressing. My other Canadian sleeping bag was swiftly washed and dried. 0600hrs next morning I heard an apparition tapping on my tent. It was MM Mike. “Emergency sorta,” he said and I got dressed to see what the fuss was about. To my relief the baggage had arrived, but it had been dumped on the doorstep of Mike’s house without even the courtesy of a doorbell or knock at the door. No phone-call had been made either. Still nothing had been taken, although a TSA card inside my backpack said that ‘for the security of America’ my bag had been searched. That drama over with it was time to get prepared for the expedition. This time I have to scout out a niche in the PNW and do some work on my land in Wyoming! It’ll be a buzzy busy time but should be fruitful! First stop was mundane things like insurance and tags for the number plates. Then came the big project work – My Ram Pump! This would really get things going on the Hold, I could move water uphill with it! Then there's the build itself!