I am slowly slowly sorting my computer out.
Goodness me it is taking an age.
There is so much to copy and transfer and upload and organise. It took me over an hour just to find the font programme I use, which is now no longer compatible, to reinstall the new version, find all my font, decide which to use and install those. I do like my fonts though. Then there was the issue with the Silhouette, the printer and so it goes on.
And I am still without Office. I hope to have that installed by the end of the day.
All of this when what I actually want to do is just scrap.
Obviously I don't have new scrapping today but I do have scrapping news.
Do check out Dawn's store here
I am also not sure if - due to being away and the computer crash - I ever shared this page I made with Dawn's Artful Imagination ensemble
or this with her Precious Moments collection
the best thing to do is go visit her store - seriously!
Today I am thankful for
- sleeping for a couple of hours! I thought I wasn't jet lagged but I lay awake until 2 am and then was dead to the world when Nigel forced me awake at 8 knowing it was the right thing to try and re-set my body clock. I am guessing the hour nap at lunchtime was a bad thing!!! Ssssh don't tell him
- my new computer slowly starting to take shape
Now on to the trip and two days today as they were not really holiday days but 'get there' days. When we planned the trip we had originally planned to fly to San Francisco and then get a connecting flight to Seattle where the holiday would start. Good plan. Trouble was we couldn't get a guaranteed connection flight that day so would have had to stay overnight in San Fran and fly first thing int he morning thus not getting to Seattle until the Friday. The costs of the flights were cheapish at about £100 each but we would have to pay a lot in excess baggage as the luggage allowance was nothing like the allowance we would fly the Atlantic with. Then the real killer was the car hire. They were charging us a £400 surcharge on top of the hire costs of we wanted to pick a car up in Washington and leave it in California. So it was a no brainer. We decided to fly to San Fran, drive a few hours that first day, sleep, drive most of the way on Day 2 and thus see more of the country, save hundreds of pounds and start exploring straight away. Well that was the rationale. Consequently the first two days saw a lot of travel as a means to an end. We didn't expect to enjoy it as much as we did and our holiday really did start early.
So the rationale of the trip - see as much as possible of the West Coast of America prompted by Nigel's desire to see Boeing, mine to see Crater Lake and our bucket list must do of Hearst Castle and the Redwoods. The trip was built from those ideas and it grew. Oh my it grew. I have never done so much research for any holiday and in the end - some of it we just winged!!!
So, as they were just travel days and we didn't do anything other than travel really, two days in one today.
THURSDAY 8th September 2016
Starting mileage 35463
Day started 4.10
Ending mileage 35638
Day ended 9.40
Total miles 175 driving 6000 flying
Tim collected us just before 6 and apart from missing the turn to the M25 it was all good and we arrived Just after 8. We never even touched our cases! It is such a nice way to travel and it means we don't have so many trips but they are special...and thanks to our Virgin miles we earn with everything ... All is good. You have to love free stuff - well free-ish stuff.
Bought vodka and new aftershave and then enjoyed breakfast. Nigel enjoyed a full English whilst I prepared for the trip and had pancakes and scrambled egg .... With syrup of course.
Two champagnes and we were ready to go ...relaxed, chilled and ready for our biggest road trip ever.
We Boarded very quickly. It is so much nicer turning left ...8A and 9A .... And getting a champagne to smooth the take off. We were held a little at the gate and took off 30 minutes late but we knew they would make up the time.
It was a very smooth flight ... Perhaps what they say about the Dreamliner is true ... and we managed a little sleep. Nigel watched Jungle Book and last man on the moon and I watched Me before You and Joy. We were both surprised and pleased with the Dreamliner Windows ...no more pull down blinds as the lighting and opacity is centrally controlled.
All in all it was a very nice flight which seemed to go more quickly than we dreaded. The West Coast is such a long way with an 11 hour plus flight.
Food was good and although we took off late we landed early. The tail wind and pilot skill pay off every time.
I think it was the smoothest arrival we have ever done.
We did auto check through immigration and car hire and we were in the car in an hour. Amazing. All our luggage made it to the car too ... no missing rucksacks left behind this year. We were extra vigilant this trip. They didn't have a mid size SUV that we had booked so we ended up with a 7 seater van for no extra charge ( we later found out it was cheaper anyway) which made it even better.
It's massive but perfect for our luggage. It was a white Kia Sedona and it meant wouldn't have to worry about our luggage being visible which was good as we had to everything with us in the car for the next 11 days. The windows were blackout out at the back so no-one would know we carried everything wherever we went. It was the sort of vehicle that would have looked stupid in England - in America it was by no means the biggest car on the road. It did look like a brick though and I was too scared to drive it. Nigel said it was our tour bus.
It was a clear day - we were not expecting that in San Fran - and we had lovely views of downtown as we drove through
and onto the Bay Bridge - not so photogenic as its golden counterpart we would see later in the trip.
There was a major hold up from the Bay Bridge to Vallejo which took us almost two hours. Nigel coped really well bearing in mind it was 6.30 pm but in UK time it was 2.30 am he must have been shattered although we both felt the sleep,on the plain helped and we did genuinely feel like it was afternoon when we landed.
We stopped at Vacaville which was a really nice town and had a very quick Panda Express partly to re-fuel and partly as we had been longing for one since last August - and headed back out. Thankfully the traffic had gone and we saw a beautiful sunset behind the hills as we headed to Corning and our first night. I must have been tired as I forgot to take a photo of the room until the morning when we had slept in it. Most of our hotels on the trip were Best Westerns. We have always found them to be very reasonably priced ... not absolute budget and basic but nothing fancy. They all offered breakfast which was usually very good and they are always nice with spacious rooms and often really nice extra touches.
We arrived at 9.30 and repacked for the trip which meant everything back out,cases reorganised so only one ever had to go into hotels along with the electrical cabin bag and the toiletries cabin bag and in bed by 11... We didn't even feel shattered despite being up for more than 27 hours. Road trip here we come.
FRIDAY 9th September 2016
Starting mileage 35638
Day started 7.15
Ending mileage 36130
Day ended 7.40
Total miles 492 .... a big day and long
I managed 5 hours ...Nigel 6 but much better he sleeps as he is driving ...no way can I drive the huge van. It's a monster ... But it was transformed to an official tour vehicle .
We headed off in the sunrise on our way to what we hoped would be an amazing trip. And the sun was indeed shining.
First stop was at Shasta Dam, the second biggest dam in America and beautiful in the morning light. We went into the visitors centre which was beautiful ... So well thought out. It was huge and there was lots to read but we had lots to see so we didn't linger.
we walked around a little, enjoying the warmth and the views and a chance to stretch our legs
and we also captured a picture of our 'tour bus'. It was nice and shiny then. I wish we had taken a picture of it when we ended the trip. She was a little dirty with an impressive collection of dead bugs on the front!!!!
Went to another stop and took photos then went via Shasta Lake to Mount Shasta. We were going to go up Mount Shasta but the road was a little more than we could stomach and closed off. Just as well ... We would never have made it in the tour bus. Mount Shasta was the first of our many mountains of the trip.
We popped through some construction where they were doing pavement rehabilitation ... Got a love that phrase .... to get a drive through coke and then headed off to our first stop at Medford to buy trip supplies. We didn't know at that point that Medford was known as Methford due to the seedy nature of the town.Medford meant Oregon - a new state for us.
Medford provided plenty of opportunities, although it was very shabby to,begin with.
We had lunch at Panda Express ... Do you see a theme there? We do like their orange chicken and I like their chow mien.
WE saw a Michaels from there. Seriously ... I didn't search or anything (though I did already have a map to it as luck would have it) so it would have been rude not to call. The 12 x 12 albums were stupidly cheap and I bought three plus three packs of page protectors, plus 3 huge paper pads and 28 sheets of paper for $65 ... About £50
From there we went to Walmart to really set the road trip up. Snacks, Pepsi (I know we never drink Pepsi but they have take. Aspartame out so we have switched)water, air fresher ... We have to do,something about the smell in the car ... Stale smoke and air con. Not nice. We also bought windex to clean the windshield for, photos. And amazing bonus ... We got the nutter who stopped us in the aisle to tell us about McDonald's being a cult forcing us into canabalism by using embryos,in their food. Amazing ... It must be our built in nutter magnet again.
Back on the road and our first gas stop taught us it is state law in Oregon to have someone else do your gas. Handy.
We drove the I5 to Portland and the scenery was amazing... We climbed up to 4000 feet, down again, up again through endless glorious forests and small farming communities. Not a cloud in the sky, a steady 80 degrees and totally wonderful. Nigel was brilliant.Today was the day of the long drive and he must have been tired, but did so well. The scenery was wonderful with lush forests, swathes of farmland, beautiful barns - just beautiful to drive through.
The forests were endless - just amazing to see. Thick dense forests on all the mountainsides.
Dinner at Denny's was lush ... Really liked it ... We will be doing a Denny's again ... Huge choice, fast delivered and the sort of stuff we like.
Mount Hood was spectacular ... Just like bread and butter mountain. Nigel was sure it was... Turns out though it wasn't. But it sure did look like the Paramount logo ....it wasn't until after that I thought it might have been Mount Adams not Mount Hood.
We also saw an amazing huge pumpkin patch ... Massive field. I tried to snatch a photo but not great.
Portland was a city of bridges ... Quite amazing ... I was sad I didn't manage to capture them but it was dusk by then - and every other time we drove through Portland the sun was in the wrong direction or it was dark! Take it from me - bridges!
A fascinating day
We had decided to stop at Vancouver (That is Vancouver Washington not British Columbia) The reason for choosing Vancouver was not because it was a beautiful town - it wasn't - but because it was the right distance. Many of our stops were based purely on convenient places along some very long routes. It meant as we left Portland and we crossed one of the bridges we entered Washington.
We had driven right through Oregon and not even stayed there - but that would come later.
I had initially booked a more expensive hotel but in the end went more budget - lesson learned! La Quinta ... Beautiful lobby but pet friendly means dogs have been in every room . I was terrified of fleas ...mental note never ever to stay in a pet friendly hotel again ... Unless I ever have a pet I can travel with. To be honest it was nothing to do with the fact they were dogs - I would have felt the same about cats. I know my cats have never ever had fleas except for when we bought the Bengals home as kittens and they were riddled and treated immediately. The vet checks every time and no - nada - never a one. I never worry about my friends dogs or cats as I know they take care of them too - it was the thought of random people who may not be so vigilant using the hotel. I also worry about any infections. When we take the cats to the cattery we have to show they are vaccinated etc. I'd worry taking my pet in case they caught something from the previous occupant. I mean hotel rooms are not like cattery kennels - they can't be cleaned down between each occupant. Anyway - enough of that. This is meant to be a holiday blog. Suffice to stay I wont be staying in a pet friendly hotel again. The lobby was stunning however.
No light in the bathroom, that didn't help the experience ... It was fixed when I was asleep after we had waited a looooooong time.
Actually a good nights sleep... and no bites!