Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Can we please come in? pretty please....

After four months in Canada it is time to move south. Before we even got fifteen minutes down the road Lindsay remembered that he had left the stone guard back at the house. Luckily we had factored in an extra half hour into our travel plans. Any further and we would have left it behind.

The Visa system is flawed. When you have a five year visa for the USA it allows you to stay up to six months per year, even all at once. When we first came over we filled in an i94 with our details and this was stapled into our passports, when we left it was taken by the airport or the country you were entering and given back to border control. Now it's electronic. No bits of paper, but what that means is that they only track you when you come into the country, not when you leave. So if you change your mind and leave early, bad luck, your time was allocated and you don't get it back.

The first night we stayed at Walmart, we do this for transit stops. No point in paying for an RV park when we are in late and leave early, plus we have the convenience of doing a little shopping - as it was we went in three times! The police put a note on our windscreen at 5am, the checkbox indicated that our building was found to be secure, and in the comments they had written "have a nice trip". So different from the others we have met.

Along the highway, the farmer's have signs on their fences telling us what crops they are growing.

Next stop was Vantage WA. We had rung ahead and she had said there was no need to make a reservation as it was winter. No water would be provided - you are self contained aren't you? yes. They turn the water off so that the water doesn't freeze and burst the pipes. Charge for the night $11, even though it was a Passport America park, not surprisingly they don't give a discount on this price!

We had come this way to see Jerry and Myra who live in Harrison just outside Coeur d'Arlene in Idaho whom we had met in Harrison Mills British Columbia when we were photographing the Bald Eagles. It was originally on our way but Tom Tom took us south before I realised what it had done, so we had to come back up again. We stayed at the Tamarak RV park in Coeur d'Arlene, which a really nice town sitting on a lake. It was so cold that the water froze in our hose overnight and we had to turn the water pump on and use our tank water for our kettle in the morning.

Tamarak, not a bad RV park
I can't believe how many lakes and rivers this country has. So many places to have a house overlooking the water. We brought our travel dates forward so that we could catch up on a weekend day when Jerry wasn't working, even though he works from home, he works long hours. We had brought a few things online and it is always better to have them delivered to an actual address than a post office, so they had lots of goodies there to give us when we arrived. Lindsay had bought a f/2.8 300mm second hand lens from Adorama on eBay and Jerry could not believe that it looked brand new but was a third of the original sale price. Adorama are a large photographic store in New York and we have bought a number of things from them before, so we knew that if they said it was a good lens, it was.

Jerry and Myra's house is magnificent, it's right on the lake, on a steep slope, so that there are three levels and you enter on the top one. Their gated road runs behind the houses but in front of the garages. All their neighbours are down in Arizona for the winter! There is a void over the living/kitchen/dining area so that there are two stories of windows that look across the water. In summer there is a large verandah to sit on with lots of outdoor furniture - from the company he started on a shoe string 40 years ago which has grown into a one of the largest outdoor furniture companies in the world. His office has a glass wall so he can then look over the living area and through those amazing windows across the lake. The price they pay for this magnificence? it's a 30 minute drive into town for supplies and you have to take your rubbish back to a residential garbage spot just before the highway.

fuel is so cheap at the moment
Travelling through Montana, there is a light sprinkling of snow on the ground and on the branches of the trees, it is very pretty. It's -13ºC /28ºF outside at 8am which is playing havoc with my laptop battery, I should have taken it to bed with me. We had to buy another heater to heat the cavity of our trailer to warm up the pipes. Apparently it is too cold for it to snow.

Today we head to Mammoth in Yellowstone, which should be a bit lower in altitude, but it's only -11ºC there now, so maybe not!

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