Saturday, 15 October 2016

And back

Vancouver in the autumn is much the same as London, wet and windy although not cold. Our hotel was amazing. We were on the 16th floor in a two bedroom suite, kitchen, lounge and even had a washing machine and drier. The rooms all had floor to ceiling glass which took a bit of getting used to.

We stayed two nights and I made good use of the hotel bar meeting some interesting folk. The barman Craig had a history of running pubs in south London so we had a lot to talk about.

The 5 hour drive down to Penticton was through some beautiful countryside despite the torrential rain. Tomorrow I have two people coming to look at the van hoping one will buy it before we fly back on Tuesday. Archie has booked the Greyhound bus back to Golden and is excited about the skiing season before him.

So thats the end of the trip, many thousands of miles to California and back. One thing for sure, I will never camp in a tent again! Too much like hard work what with bears, rats and cougars sniffing about. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I do it again? NO!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Boeing baby

Leaving Oregon and into Washington state Archie & I booked a tour of the Boeing factory in Everett. We chose a Travelodge locally online and paid $100 for the night by credit card. When we got there the place was a dump, really poor bedding and dark dingy room so we decided to try some place else. The east indian manager refused to refund saying we had checked in and used the room so he considered that a stay. Mrs Thomas is on the case.

We found a Best Western nearer the factory and what a difference. The hotel room was beautiful, the manageress was fantastic making us so welcome. She gave us a free evening meal of chilli and stuff with beer or wine then sat and chatted for ages, she was a delight and even organised a packed supper for Archie in the room, but then, she was Canadian.

The Boeing factory was breathtakingly large in every respect. Officially the largest building in the world by volume at almost 100 acres.  On one side they were assembling the B747 while the other side B767, 777 and the 787 were being born. Unfortunately photographs were not allowed but we did see the 500th 787 being finished.

Today we crossed the border back into Canada and glad we did. We have a few appointments in Vancouver this week before the 4 hour drive to Penticton which will be the end of the whole trip. Dont know what to say.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Crater Lake

Just before leaving California I managed to buy three pairs of Levis, one 501, one 514 and one 511 all for the same price of a pair of 501s in the UK.
Crossing the border into Oregon we stopped at a casino for a rest, with a $20 budget each we attacked the floor. For me it was slot machines as I have no idea about Blackjack or those sort of games.  After a $5 bet I won $33, called it a day and went to the bar for a soda.
Strange place Oregon, there were people smoking at the bar!  

So, one can smoke in bars and public buildings, wear a firearm openly and carry an assault rifle in the street, buy cannabis from dispensaries on every street corner, even saw a drive through cannabis booth but its against the law in Oregon to fill your own car with fuel!

Today we drove to Crater Lake which is as it says on the tin. A huge crater filled with water 5 miles across and apparently the deepest lake in the US created after a volcano died. Must have been one big fire!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

USA facts

The mountainous El Capitan situated in Californias Yosemite national park is the largest single piece of granite in the world.


After a close encounter with a cougar we decided a hostel for a few days was appropriate, so we headed for Yosemite national park near the Nevada border.  An hours drive into the park revealed the most wonderful landscapes.

There is no way I can describe the sheer mass of rock going straight up for about 7000 feet and with people climbing the vertical face! Apparently, it takes a climber between 4 to 8 days to reach the summit! That means they have to carry enough food & water, they must sleep up there and do their poo poos in a bag because they are not allowed to drop anything and this is on a vertical granite face of over 7000 feet!  With binoculars, one could sit in a deck chair and watch their progress for a week! (see attached photo) Very humbling.

Tomorrow we head for Sacramento and the freeway north up to Oregon and Crater Lake, maybe take 2 days to leave California but its not a race.

Clint Eastwood

Carmel is a town with no street lights, I wonder if Clint Eastwood got rid of them when he was the mayor? 
The shops are all very upmarket as are the houses and don't ask how many Bentleys I saw.   At the bottom of the town is a beautiful long beach with the whitest sand where pelicans watch the seals playing in the surf.

We met some old friends on the beach, Ross & Kerry Adams who live here in Monterey.  Ross is a good old Cornish boy from up St Austell way while Kerry is home grown US. After a walk along the beach with their dog we had lunch at the Hogs Breath pub and although he owns it, Clint Eastwood didn't make an appearance, the lunch was rather tasty though and dog friendly!

We stayed on a ranch which had a terraced camp site up the side of a hill, the view down the Carmel Valley was cool. Always bear aware we put all food in the van at night but something was scratching around outside the tent in the darkness. The site owner said probably not a bear, more likely a packrat, like a rat but bigger!  On the second night Mr Packrat was on patrol for titbits when he squealed once followed by the sound of something running through the grass. Site owner said not to worry, that would be a cougar getting his dinner!  On a nocturnal toilet mission, Lyn startled something big in the dark by the van, probably the cougar..............

On an entrance slip road to the freeway there were three guys hitching and all holding cardboard placards, the first simply said San Fransisco. The second said Travelling and broke but the third said I just like holding cardboard.  Make us chuckle, didn't pick them up either.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Journeys end

Journeys end, Carmel where Clint Eastwood once was the mayor. Also, its Archies 21st today but he has come down with a stinking cold. We popped a bottle of champagne anyway. Staying here for three days to recharge before heading slowly north inland to Vancouver.  Beautiful sunset with crickets singing their hearts out. Crossed the Golden Gate bridge and forgot to pay, I told them to charge it to Dave Pendletons account.