Thursday, 6 June 2013

15/04/2013 - 19/05/2013 - Brisbane to Penticton

15/04/2013 - Brisbane
Last day before we fly out to Los Angeles, Dave had a few errands to do and I had a few catch-ups organised.  Firstly I caught up with Sarah and Darrin to say goodbye.  One of my tasks for the day was to get a few copies of our passports certified, Sarah being a JP offered to help me out, so back to the old office to copy the passports etc.  Next I caught up with Ingrid to say goodbye, then onto the Big House for lunch and to say goodbye to Geraldine, Nat, Kate, Kelly and Tess.  Then over to Lou's and Matt's place where we caught up with Dad and Heather for afternoon tea.  After Dad and Heather left and before we were going out to dinner with Karleigh, Louise and Matt, Dave and I decided to organise some of our money, at which point I decided to check for the passports, and at this stage (it's about 6:30pm, the night before we fly out) I realise I had left my passport under the photo copy at my old work - Dave Not Happy Jan, luckily Sarah came to the rescue and met me at work with my passport - it did give me a chance to say goodbye to the Aitken family - a little added bonus, from my mistake.  

Oh well the rest of the night went to plan.....

16/04/2013 - Brisbane to Banning, Los Angeles
No problems at the airport checking in, we had a lovely cup of coffee and said our final farewells with Karls, Louise, Mum, Tony and Simmy.  So down through customs and immigration, there was a lot of people waiting to get through immigration so it took longer than normal - so we get into the departure area and Dave decides to go straight to the gate, whilst I thought I would have a little look around and do a bit of shopping.  Well before I know it I hear a final call for our flight and then an announcement asking me to come to the gate - Dave had set me up, yes we where on final call, but passengers were still boarding.  The plane flight over was uneventful.  The Big Fella and I had been saying how nice it would be to get on the plane, start our healthy eating and stop drinking for awhile.  Well before we had even moved away from the airport, the steward offered us champagne or orange juice, the Big Fella did well and went for the OJ, mmm me not so well went for the champas, time for dinner, Steward would you like a drink before dinner Dave - just water, Me - what the hell I'll have a Bailey's on ice.  The Big Fella tried so hard to be good but next time the steward came around Baileys all around....

We landed a little bit early at Los Angeles, which was a bit of a bonus as we were the first through to customs and immigration, we did need to fill in a form as we were carrying a bit more cash than a family is expected, we thought the limit was per person, okay I thought it was per person.  It was no drama though.

We have picked up the motorhome and car.  Dave is driving Stubbie and I am driving Shooter.  Well how soon we forget.  Dave is going to follow me. The first thing that I do is to look in the rear vision mirror, oops it is on my right, not my left.  Well I am travelling down the road a bit below the speed limit, whilst the Big Fella appears to be hardly moving - at least we only have about 1km to go.  Just a few reminders to one self - if driving hop in on the left side of the vehicle, drive on the other side of the road, handbrake is on the other side, you are driving an automatic and that's just as I've turned onto the first street.

Dave and I have both decided that we wont drive alone for a little while.

We arrive at the RV Park, park Stubbie at the site and start to set-up.  Mmm it certainly isn't like riding a bike, we really did have to stop and think for nearly every activity we did.  It even took me a while to turn the gas oven on and I have to keep reminding myself to flush the toilet you use your foot.  One of the tasks that Dave was worried about was making sure that he connected the water pump in a cupboard under our bed.  Well luckily (so we thought) he did remember to connect one side - but he had disconnected both sides.  So needless to say when we connected to the city water supply we had an excess of water.  Its a bit like turning a hose on when you are inside your house.  Pretty obvious that something wasn't conenected....

17/04/2013 - Banning, Los Angeles
Not sure exactly how long we will be in Banning - will be a wee bit longer than planned.  Why?  Well one of us who was responsible for making sure the registration and insurance was kept up to date, missed the registration on Stubbie (only just, it ran out in May last year).  Luckily we don't need to go and get a new registration, but we can't renew on line, we need to post away the documents for renewal, this will take between 6 - 10 days (working days of course) - Lucky we have cable tv and plenty to do and clean up.  We also need to wait for our rego sticker for Shooter.  

Some things haven't changed, it has been great to sit back and watch the squirrels and rabbits.  A little bonus was to hear and see a woodpecker, bringing back many memories.

22/04/2013 - Banning, Los Angeles
Woohoo the registration sticker for Shooter has arrived - off to the Outlet Shops for me...  I made a couple of purchases nothing big, but I did buy a jumper and Dave said to me great purchase in this weather (being a wee bit sarcastic). 

Still no news on Stubbie's registration.

23/04/2013 -    Banning, Los Angeles
We have been taking it easy and relaxing.  The Big Fella gives himself one job a day to do and when that is finished (doesn't matter if it takes hime 30mins or 3 hours) it's time for the movie channel.  It really has been great to spend this time just relaxing so in a way it was a bit of a bonus.  

We did need to get the tyres replaced on Shooter - a job that we knew would need to be done.  So off to Walmart, we book Shooter in and we are told it will be close to an hour, well after about 1hour 15 we receive a call to ask us to come back to the Service Desk, they advise us that they don't have the correct tyres in stock.  We let them know that is okay and that we will just take Shooter home.  Mmm, they need to put the old tyres back on, oh where did they put them???  So after another 45mins they have found our tyres and put them back on Shooter.  So we take Shooter into the GoodYear store in Banning.  Dave gets them to check the brakes as well (not expecting any problems) however we have sprung a leak in one of the rear wheel bearing seals.  We had these replaced two years ago!!!   After a steak and lobster lunch and a couple of bucks later we are on the road again.

The Registration for Stubbie was processed in Vermont on the 25th, and you wouldn't believe that I had left our postal address in Texas on the forms, not where we are now - oops.  I once again needed to phone the Department and they were so helpful it was unbelievable, they will post out new stickers etc. whilst I was on the phone he addressed an envelope to where we are now and printed out the stickers etc (all from a Government Department and done with such great customer service) now we just need to wait until the stickers arrive.  We think that it will be here on Tuesday - which means Las Vegas here we come...

Whilst we have been waiting, I've been getting out and doing a bit of exercise each morning. It really is great to be out there and watching the squirrels scurry around in front of you to get to their homes.  I really have been enjoying it, even though I have felt like the piped piper on one occasion, as I was passing a home about 7 small dogs ran out and started barking at me, but they didn't stop there, they kept yapping and following me for a couple of hundred meters, would of been quite funny if you were sitting there watching me.  There is also another home that has a couple of dogs, some chickens and some roosters, now not only do the dogs start barking, but the Rooster starts crowing - mmm still got it for the old Roosters.

Even the Big Fella has ventured out to the Outlet Stores - ohh and let's see what his purchase was considering he went to keep me company (great, love shopping with the Big Fella in tow) and to buy some shoes - 5 Jumpers/Jackets (great weather for it - NOT), and 4 shirts - no shoes in sight.  Lisa's purchase - Nil.

When we were driving back from the Outlet Stores we needed to stop at the Chemist / Pharmacy to pick up some cold sore ointment (stress of waiting for Stubbie's Rego) for me.  When we walked into the Pharmacy we remembered why we loved America, not only is it what we would call a Chemist, but you can also buy your alcohol, cigarettes, groceries, phones, ice cream cones etc.....  You gotta love that.

One of the Big Fella's job was to organise / diy job to have a new TV put in the front.  Well, I may have suggested (more than once) that it might be a good idea to take it to the experts at CampingWorld.  Dave took my suggestion on board (well that's what he told me) and decided that he would try and save us a bit of money.  I did ask how long the installation would take - Dave 2 Hours.  Okay not as bad as I thought,  and if it was going to save us some money and keep the Big Fella busy - go ahead I said.  Well at 10:00 am off to the nearest Walmart to find out that they didn't have the TV in stock - next closest store 30 minutes drive away - I must admit it was a nice drive.  Okay we've now got TV and tools etc in Shooter so back to Stubbie.  We get back around 4:00pm and the Big Fella sets to work, well at about 8:30pm the Big Fella is watching the TV, I can see that there are a few holes that need to be fixed up, but I think he has done a great job, until he tells me that he hasn't finished he still needs to do a fair bit of work tomorrow.

Well this morning after I came back from my exercise the Big Fella is already into the TV - it's about 9:00am.  It's now 4:00pm and the Big Fella has finally completed the installation of the TV - and though it has taken a wee bit longer than first anticipated - even I must admit he has done a great job - oh and saved us a bit of money.  Now we just need to see if it will stay up whilst we are driving.

2/05/2013 - Banning, Los Angeles
We have finally received our Registration Papers, but just our luck, the winds have picked up and the canyon roads that we need to cross to get to (of course) Las Vegas.  So looks like we will be staying another night in Banning.

03/05/2013 - 05/05/2013 - Banning, Los Angeles - Primm, Nevada
Yeah - today we finally get to go on the road, it took us a little bit longer to pack up and move on then when we finished our last trip.  Dave had to check everything that I had done and I needed to check everything that Dave had done.  

We were lucky enough that we could get through to Las Vegas with all of the fires around, it did slow us down a bit, but not too much.We arrived at Primm, Nevada (a three Casino town with Factory Outlet Stores) about a half hour outside of Las Vegas.  When we arrived at Buffalo's Bill we drove around to the
back of the Casino to park and set-up for the night in the parking lot.  There are normally only  couple of RV's and Trucks in the parking lot, but not today the car park is nearly full.  There are motor bikes and RV's everywhere.  This weekend they have a motocross competition behind the Car Park - The Big 6 Grand Prix Off Road Series.  That explains all the off road motorbikes, quad bikes etc and the dust.   The rider in the photo was one of our neighbours in the car park.  He works in Hollywood as a 'Special Effects' producer for the movies.  He worked on the special effects for the movie "Titanic".  (Very interesting person to have a beer with.)

05/05/2013 - 19/05/2013 - Primm, Las Vegas, Big Sur, San Francisco, Seattle

After picking up Dad and Heather I have been a wee bit busy and a wee bit slack at getting to the blog.  So here goes..  When in Vegas you have to go to "Old Las Vegas"

It was great to see Dad and Heather arrive in Las Vegas, looking a bit weary but other than that they had survived the flight and the transfer in Los Angeles (this is their first overseas trip - so they were a little nervous).  So after they met Stubbie and settled in we took them to the old Vegas.  


We showed them around Vegas for a couple of days.  Dad and Heather also took the flight from Vegas out to the Grand Canyon,  we then started to make our journey up to Penticton, Canada.  

On our way to San Francisco, we drove via the Big Sur and stopped at Hearst Castle the Seals and stayed in a few State Parks where we had some lovely camp fires.  

On one of the nights in the State Parks we somehow managed to break the lock on the door - which meant we couldn't open the door to Stubbie - yes we only have one way in and out, via a door.  Heather and I are locked in and Dad and Dave are locked outside.  Well after a while of me trying to take orders from the Big Fella on the inside to see if I could somehow manage to unlock it, out comes the step ladder, next minute the Big Fella (this is where being the Big Fella isn't a good thing) is climbing through the bedroom window.  He wrestles with the locks inside for about an hour and then decides that we need to get Stubbie to a workshop, this door is not going to budge.  So our first plan was to have Dad and Heather drive Shooter behind us whilst, Dave and I drove Stubbie.  This meant getting Heather outside, via the bedroom window and step ladder.  

So off we drove and only after about 15 mins we pull over to see the seals.  Dave and I stayed inside whilst Dad and Heather went for a walk.  We then decided that it would be silly to drive two cars, so we decided to hook Shooter up to Stubbie.  Yep we are still climbing in and out via the bedrooms window and the step ladder.  Dad is 70 and has a little bit of a beer belly and is afraid of heights ....  The sight to all the other tourists must of looked well,,, lets say interesting. We all manage to get inside safely and off we head to a Camping World Workshop, we are lucky enough to pull into one that has two wonderful mechanics on and who get the door to open in about 15 minutes - and all this for no charge. So onto San Francisco, the door can open and shut now and we can lock it, but you can not open it from the outside unless you have a key so we need to either get a replacement mechanism for the lock or a whole new door lock.  Well we haven't been able to find a store that stocks either one of these in San Francisco or on our planned route to Canada, so we order one on line and decide to get it sent to Seattle.

We have gone into San Francisco and put Dad and Heather on a trip to Alcatraz, whilst the Big Fella and I wandered around the Piers - we really do enjoy San Francisco.  The next day we put Dad and Heather on the ferry and send them on their way to do the Hop On, Hop Off Tour, so they can get more of a feel for San Francisco.  On one of these days Dad decides to take Shooter for a wash - the Car Wash is about 100 meters down the road.  Well Dad successfully gets the car washed and thought that he would do the right thing and fill her up with Petrol.  But on his way out of the car wash he finds himself turning on the wrong side of the road and ends up on the Freeway.  To cut a really long story short Dad turns up over 2 1/2 hours later, and yes he was a bit frazzled.

After San Francisco, we start our next leg to Seattle, via the RedWoods (the world's tallest trees), and one on the items on Dad's bucket list.  

We have arrived in Seattle and our order for the door lock and the glass crisper shelf have arrived (oh that's right in amongst all this fun, Heather opens the door to the refrigerator and accidently breaks the glass shelf).  So Dad and Dave get to work.

We have a nice day in Seatlle, showing Dad and Heather the sights, i.e. Pioneer Square (the old district), the Pier, Pike Market and off course the Needle.  Dad decides that he is going to brave the Needle (even with his fear of heights), so whilst they do that Dave and I wander around.  When we go back to meet them Dad is white as a ghost, he says that he really enjoyed it, but I don't think that he has recovered, and when we got back to Stubbie, the first thing he does is to reach for a Scotch....  

The scenery along our way is just breathtaking and I know that Dad and Heather have really enjoyed themselves so far.  

Now on to Penticton.

20/05/2013 - 23/05/2013 - Seattle to Penticton.
20/05/2013 - We have decided to make the trip in one day so have decided to get the Turtles up early.  After about a 7 hour drive and making our way through Customs on the border we arrive into Penticton.  On our way to the RV Park we drive past the Howard Hacienda, nothing has really changed it is all so familiar.  We spot a couple of deer and see the quail scooting everywhere.  At this stage we don't have any cell phones working in Canada, but we do manage to contact our friend Peter via email / Skype and have decided to meet up at the Howards after to dinner to catch up with everyone. I must admit we were in the middle of cooking a roast, but when plans changed it was toasted sandwiches all round.

 It is just great to see Bobbie and Brant and Peter and Lisa and to finally meet Jett (he is so gorgeous), and a wonderful surprise was that Mike and Karyn and their two beautiful children Hayden and Presley are both visiting from the Island as well - it was just so wonderful to see them all and to catch-up, they are just an absolutely fantastic family.

21/05/2013 - We have a few chores to do today so needed to do a bit of running around Penticton, nothing has really changed and the Big Fella remembers where everything is still.  We now have cell phones - yeah.  Tonight we have all been invited over to the Howards for Cedar Wood Planked Salmon - yummy, as if Bobbie doesn't have enough going on... It was another great night and the food was just delicious, Karyn had made a scrumptious Coca-Cola Cake, of which the Big Fella had two helpings.

22/05/2013 - Today we have organised for Dad and Heather to hire a car and travel up to the Rockies.  Dad is a bit nervous about driving, but Dave and I have assured them that they will be fine.  So after two and a bit weeks, we have Stubbie to ourselves for a little while, Dave is finally smiling.  Tonight we went to the Barley Mill for dinner with Bobbie and Brant and their friends, this is a weekly event which we have been invited to before.

23/05/2013 - 26/05/2013 - We have spent the last few days catching up with Bobbie, Brant, Peter, Lisa and Jett.  Bobbie and Brant have been their usual fantastic hosts.  We have moved Stubbie into Peter and Lisa's driveway.  It really is wonderful to catch-up with everyone.

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