- Here we go
- No such thing as a free lunch
- Visas and change to itinerary
- Mainland USA and Hawaii
- Books you read/people you meet
- Where to from here
Here we go
We left home in Wildes Meadow NSW for the start of our Global Trip, arriving at Pens nephew Hamish at about 10am. Plenty of time for final lunch on Sydney Harbour. The property manager looking after our home during our time away was about to introduce the tenants to their new home rang about 10.15 to tell us we had left our new Apple ipad on the lounge room floor where it was being charged. Thank you Hamish for driving back 1.5 hrs to meet one of Suzies staff and bringing our ipad to us at our arranged lunch, (more on I.T. stuff later). Final lunch with, Celia who came down from Port Macquarie, Rosie, Sarah, Wen & Digby and Hamish was lovely and special for Pen & I. Thank you.
Thank you Suzie for allowing your staff to meet Hamish halfway down the Freeway. We love you!
No such thing as a free lunch
So, off we go the airport, said our goodbyes of the concourse and went inside the terminal to check in. 20 mins later we realise we are in the wrong queue! If it’s one thing Pen and I are becoming quite good at it is being able to retain a sense of humour when it comes to our own ineptitude, laugh one on us. We were flying Qantas as we initially thought which had been changed to Jet Star. I had fabulously used frequent Flyer points to whisk us all the way to Los Angeles via Hawaii. I should have known but as frequent flyer travellers you are not always treated as valued as you might like to think so, no meal, no drinks, no in flight entertainment. So we paid are way on “extras” and had laugh 2 on us. Surprises happen when least expected, Pen knew the copilot who was !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Ruz Hewlett with apologies to Ruz and Penny)y
Visas and change to itinerary
We have 5 years visas stamped in our passports but that didn’t mean we could have a jolly jaunt around the USA for 260 weeks, no sir! A B1, B2 visa tourist or business allowed 3 months at the discretion of USA Immigration (i can only imagine how our faces looked at that moment after enduring plastic food for 12 hrs to be told this, gob smacked? crestfallen?) . I think we were fortunate to have entered the States in Hawaii as the Immigrations supervisor instructed the “Gate” official (who was lovely by the way) to allow us 6 mths and then came back and allowed 12 mths.
By this stage they already knew that we had sent this fabulous vehicle to Long Beach and was waiting in a warehouse to be “bridled and giddy upped” to Arizona. So, 12 mths!! How fabulous. Which meant that we could rework our itinerary to much better effect, and we have. So, we now have the opportunity to spend more time in Alaska meaning their short summer. Which means we catch up on places in the US we are now passing by later in the year. After Alaska we’ll come back into Canada and see west and east coasts before crossing back into the Eastern US. The rest of the itinerary remains intact. (So far).
Hawaii and Mainland USA
We had our Honolulu room booked a night earlier so we could have access after a 5am arrival. Key would be in apartment post box and the code is!!!!! Code didn’t work! So we sat around for what seemed hrs waiting for access, (laugh or was that a sneer No 3). We were in Hawaii for just 5 days and needed to fix up our phones and data needs over the first couple of days that would take care of our phone and internet needs during our time in North America and Mexico, we didn’t expect it to be easy!!! (laugh No 4).
We hired a car for a couple of days and toured Honolulu and the Island of O’ahu. Our first foray into driving on the right and went without a hitch. The Banzai Pipeline Beach on the North Shore was a fizzer in as much that it was as calm as a mill pond! World famous for its massive surf we were there in the wrong season. But plenty of people wanting a look as we were. The stretch of beach is only about 200 mtrs in length but the degree of pitch of the beach into the Ocean was pretty awesome. A highlight for me was to join the Bell Ringers of Honolulu Cathedral for their Sunday afternoon service ring. An absolute joy for Pen & I was the surprise we had when we checked out the location of the Cathedral earlier in the afternoon only to walk into a choral perfomance being given by a touring University Chamber Choir from Pitea, Sweden. . Marvellous stuff: we bought a CD which we have been playing in the “Earwig”.
We flew to the largest of the Hawaiin Islands Hawaii for 3 days and were delighted that the “active” Kalalua volcano which hadn’t as much as given a cough for 8 years had 5 days previously started to erupt, “perfect timing”. The flaw in the earths crust that spews out lava is still in action and Hawaiis’ newest Island is being “built” as we speak, albeit beneath the Pacific Oceans surface.
The flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles went without drama as I think we had expected the worst anyway so, it was a bonus to find the plane half empty so we could stretch out somewhat on our 4 hr jouney across the rest of the Pacific Ocean.
We caught a taxi from LAX to Karen And Ken Reiters place in El Segundo a 10 minute ride for us but our Taxi driver was nearly in tears, he had waited in his taxi queue 2 hrs for this fair and it cost us $30 plus tip. Sorry!
A huge thank you to Karen, Ken and Hamish for letting us have the use of their apartment during our first weekend in the US of A. We met my daughter Jenny and her Husband Jeremy and her boys Zac & Reuben in downtown LA and visited the Tar Pits Dinosaur dig site. As coincidence would have it we also met them in Yosemite Nat Park. From Yosemite we went to Flagstaff Arizona to the Overland Expo (to gather first hand info on how many ways we could possibly die once we took on South America) via Monument Lakes (Ski Resort) where we sat having a coffee and free WI-FI a guy called Don put a meat pie in front of me. Apparently his wife saw the “EARWIG” parked and rang her expat husband who owns a ski shop and said there’s an aussie vehicle with NSW rego Plates. . He’s lived there for 30 yrs.
Death Valley is an awesome place and needs to be seen to be believed in its remoteness… We had our first emergency tyre change at Stovepipe; we were reinflating our tyres after going off road 4 wheel exploring in Marble Canyon, and a valve popped and totally deflated a rear tyre. A lovely bloke Joe, who was travelling in a fifth wheeler with his Honda Goldwing in the back helped us change the wheel. It took 2 hrs but we had overcome our “first” emergency with flying colours. We rang forward to a tyre place in Flagstaff and they were waiting to repair the wheel when we arrived (in the snow) at 6pm.
We had a fabulous experience at this tyre place, I can’t really mention it’s name, wouldn’t be fair. Boss man was an absolute delight and an ex Fijian Cop, but the reviews his business received on Yelp were to say the least catastrophic. After we left we couldn’t remember his name for a while but we call him and his boys “Benny and the Jets”. Released on community service?
It was on the way to Flagstaff AZ when we missed a fabulous photo opportunity in a one horse Arizona town where a sign read. “Death Valley Health Services”. Gorgeous.
After Flagstaff Expo and having decided to head for Alaska for the nothern summer we pushed on deciding to capture the famous ZION, MOAB and Monuments Valley National Parks on our way back South in about 8 months time. So for a few days we hit the road, travelling North through Utah’s arid South to it’s lush plains North of Salt Lake City. We felt we couldn’t leave Utah without a weekend in Yellowstone National Park (this weekend happenend to be the National Memorial Day ) so all Camp sites within the park were fully booked. Although we did fluke a site on our 2nd night in the park!
On our way again we had a flying visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Gallery in Cody Wyoming. It was terrific.
Ever since we picked up the “Earwig” in LA we have had terrible sleep interrupted nights on our mattress. There was just no support left so, it felt as though we were sleeping on concrete. We tried to fix it by buying a topper from “Walmart” but that didn’t work. So by the time we got to Missoula Montana we had just about had it, we were so sleep deprived we could hardly function by night time and when we collapsed into bed we still couldn’t have a proper nights sleep. We spent a kings fortune on a new mattress and half a day trying to find a transfer station to take our old (which wasn’t that old) mattress.
From Missoula we pushed north and headed for the Glacier National Park just south ofthe Canadian border. It was here we had some magnificent walks around glacial lakes, amid granite walls thousands of feet high… Millions of years went into this!
Camping there we met Melvin who was a guide in Alaska for 20 years, taking horse and fishing expeditions. He gave us invaluable inforamtion for our time in Alaska this summer. Great hot smoked trout, too! He caught on Lake Mary 60 cutaway trout fishing through an ice hole.
Crossed in to Canada and toured the north ofthe Glacier Park. Here we saw our first black bear ( sow and 2 cubs). Eating an elk!
From Just inside the Canadian border we travel north to Alaska for the summer.
Pen and I will readily admitted that we are not the sharpest knives in the drawer when it comes to IT. We had jettisoned all our Windows and PC knowledge for an iPad 2. From the outset our tablet has been repeatingly asking us for passwords to iCloud, iTunes, and the Apple store. For securiities sake, Our good and patient friend Ann, an IT guru set us up with with ‘stuff’ that woudl accomodate all our existing passwords under the one lock and key, controlled by one makjor password which would protect us from any cyber or alien attack from any galaxy anywhere, anytime! We duly went and lost/forgot destroyed or something this password. Can’t find it. All was not lost. We figured we could set another in parralel with the original so, we thougth of o apaassword that we would never forget. (Wewontforgetthisfucker) is the one we chose and the one we entered.
Please confirm password said PC. WE DID! Up popped a message. Password requires at least one capital, one number and needs to be at least eight digits long. so if any of you can remember where we placed the capitla and the number and the thingy above the number you are quite welcome to download from the Kindle store 50 shades of Gray Christians story with my compliments.
Books you read: People you meet
Over the last few months Pen and I have read lots of information on north, central and south America. WE arepretty convinced we could come out of this alive. The experts we met ant the Flagstaff Arizona Expo confirmed our thoughtsWe have also met a lot of people since the weekend who have travelled extensively through the countriew we would like to travel.
However we have also met gorgeous and quite ill informed people who believe our demise is iminent as soon as we cross the Mexican border.
The EARWIG attracts an enormous amount of attention and as a result we have met many people who want to follow this blog. I hope they have been patient! We really thank you all for your interest and your comments on the blog.
Where to from here?
WE are currently in the Canadian Rockies at Banff, and heading north to the northwest territories and Alaska. Two days ago we booked a return ferry trip to Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) at the end of July, on our way south with the destination of Vancouver.
Will bog again at end of Alaska leg. Dail updates onFacebook in the meantime when we have coverage. Please ‘friend’ us if you want ot be included.