I slept almost the whole way and was feeling quite chipper as the plane landed at LAX. I thought I saw both of our bags on the carousel as we approached, but Kate's didn't come back around again. We waited until all the bags were gone, but it never appeared. The baggage agent said her computer showed Kate's bag as having been checked in again on the domestic side; also, there was a similar-looking bag left behind, so it was probably a "bag switch." The unclaimed bag belonged to someone named Holt, who had a tight connection to Denver, so it's plausible they might have grabbed the wrong bag and then rechecked it without ever noticing their mistake. But because Kate's bag had a tag routing it to Portland, we could expect it to rejoin us there. What happens to Holt's unclaimed bag? Not sure, but I bet it won't make the tight connection; Holt will curse the airline for the lost bag and never know it was their own damn stupid mistake.
This kerfuffle put us at the back of a long Customs line; also, we had to go through the Agriculture screening because I admitted to having food in my bag (including a bag of dried apricots that I wound up carrying all the way to Australia and back without ever opening it). It's a good thing we didn't have a tight connection ourselves.
In fact, we had an eight-hour layover. The music at LAX is like a parody of Muzak, including "Girl from Ipanema" by the 101 Strings (literally!). I was really noticing the American accents around me, they sound so harsh and uncultured (but, as Kate points out, easy to understand). We're also back in the land of ice in drinks, but at least the electrical outlets can be used without adapters.
I slept most of the way to Portland too. We found both our bags waiting patiently in the baggage claim area, huzzah. There was a huge pile of mail at home, of course, and I had to reboot the router to get online, but otherwise everything here is safe and sound.
According to Wolfram Alpha we traveled almost 21,000 miles in the last 28 days, for an average speed of 31 MPH. No wonder we're tired!