We made it to America! After boarding a bus at 6am in Vancouver, we made the short trip to the US border. Before making it through customs and immigration with ease, our welcome into the US (while waiting in the line) was initiated with a looping video montage of all things ‘Merica – cowboys, BIG landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, Budweiser, flags, big cars, cultural diversity, opportunity… The list goes on. It does make you think: What could possibly go wrong?
Well, that depends on your definition, and I’m possibly embellishing the story a little but a road trip, while fun, is no easy thing to set up, especially when you’re renting an RV that is 30 feet long and 12 feet wide – all for 2 people. We picked up the RV just north of Seattle and headed straight to the nearest Walmart to stock up on supplies. Lists don’t really help when you walk into stores like this, as we felt instantly overwhelmed with its size and clutter. Paul almost ran out of there, fearing for his life, but we persevered, albeit forgetting about the list. Main items on our list were obviously food for the next week or so – but here’s the complete list of food we bought.
- Cooking oil
- 12 litres of peach flavoured orange water
- Instant coffee
- I don’t think all the food groups are represented there. Slow clap please…
We resolved our food purchasing issues in the proceeding days and have spent our time meeting with the folks at REI Adventures at their amazing HQ in Kent (it’s a gear heads dream come true!) and also Down Under Answers, the Seattle based agency that organises flights for people who join us on our New Zealand trips. We had, however, forgotten that New Zealand is a small place, and getting place to place in our cities is a relative swift task – even in our largest city, Auckland, it’ll only take 30 or so minutes to get across town. We figured out at the end of our day, that for 2 hours of meetings, we had spent 6 hours on public transport!
The last thing on our Seattle agenda was our get-together with the folks at AdventureHub in downtown to meet with people who are keen to join us on our trips in the next couple of years, as well as some who have joined us in the past. I was really happy to see Andy and Nancy Jensen, who I guided on our 14 day Rimu in 2003! Coincidentally, I also met them both while on a flight to Seattle about the same time last year – it really IS a small world.
So far, so good – right?
After wrapping up our evening at AdventureHub, we decided we’d hit the road towards Mt Rainier, find a quiet spot in the forest to park up for the night, and continue on to Portland in the morning. An hour of driving took us through the small town of Enumclaw where we found a small road winding its way through forest, and with a few great spots on the side to park our 30 foot beast and rest. Shortly after laying down for the night we were visited by two police officers who informed us that we had to move on, but not before we all got talking about what we do in New Zealand, South America and the Himalayas. Business cards were exchanged, hand shakes made, and a new potential Active Adventures hiker was born!
He still told us to move though. So we spent the night in the car park at Safeway Supermarket. The travel thing is glamourous eh?
This morning we’re headed to Portland, with better food stocks, new friends made, old acquaintances visited and the Police department of Enumclaw, Washington deciding whether to join our ‘Rimu’ or ‘Tui’ trips next year. Although we’re not sure who will enforce the law here when they do.
Onward to Oregon!