Sleepless Near Seattle

This is day one of 48 days of our tour ! Enough to visit each of the contiguous states of the USA at a rate of one per day! Although I don't think that matches our ambition...

Before I get on to today though, a quick look back at our trip over here. We started at dawn with the taxi to Heathrow...

And in fact the driver was the same guy as on the phone, and he was alright (i.e. at 5 o'clock in the morning he barely spoke).

We arrived two+ hours before the flight, which gave us enough time to check-in, get coffee, smoke X number of ciggies, and otherwise relax.

We also took the opportunity to afix Nicotine patches! We had a horrible moment during that exercise. The box of patches was inside a plastic carton; one of those cartons that is a bit like a chastity belt, i.e. specifically designed to resist penetration.

We had already passed through security, so were therefore completely without sharp objects. The sharpest thing we had was Lewis' wit, and that wasn't as sharp as we needed it to be. So I'm trying to bite through the carton with my teeth, rip it, headbutt it, anything. But it resisted. Imagine, we are sitting there about to endure 18 hours without a smoke and yet the nicotine patches are so tantalisingly close, but totally unavailable.

Eventually we persuaded someone in a coffee bar in the departure lounge to cut through with a pair of scissors. You should have seen her expression when I initially asked the waitress for a pair of scissors ;)

Anyhow. We got in, and tacked on a few patches (I chose my arm, but Sarah and Beth decided to put it over their heart, reasoning that was the quickest way to the bloodstream!). This is a picture of me when we had got in the box; and when I was reading the instructions AFTER already attaching the all-important nicotine patch (Sarah would like to know why men only read the instructions AFTER. I don't have a good answer).

Anyhow. We got our 24hr fix. Just to prove how effective the patches are, here are before and after photos of Sarah:

OK. I think I'm going to suffer for that one ;)

So. We then had a fairly pleasant flight to Detroit. By the way, even though we had paid for a seat for Laura, the flight was overbooked, so they gave the ticket away! I'm sorry, but how is that possible? I lose money on the ticket, and the airline effectively sells the same seat twice. How is that legal/fair?? Naturally we had a little moan at the customer service chap for Delta, but as Lewis says he was good at his job.

"How is that fair?" I asked.

"Well I'm really sorry sir, but that is airline policy. They can overbook up to 20% to avoid the consequences of no-shows."

"What consequences? I've already paid for the ticket? The only consequence is the airline needs to haul 100kg less to Seattle."

"Well, I'm really sorry sir, but that is airline policy."

"Can I get my money back? A rebate? A voucher? A cuddly toy?"

"Well, I'm sorry sir, but...."

"Oh save it."

At the end of the day, the flight was good; except for the fact that Lewis' inflight entertainment system had no sound. They tried rebooting it several times, without success. I quote the cabin crew:

"OK, we've tried rebooting the system. It didn't work, so we know what the problem is."


"It's broken."

"Excellent. Thank you."

"You're very welcome sir. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"


Instead of rebooting the system, we rebooted Sarah out of her seat, and kept Lewis happy. Sarah, perhaps predictably, slept most of the way anyway (when she wasn't playing Patience).

Eventually we wound up in Seattle, and stayed overnight in a fairly dingy Holiday Inn. Managed to sleep until about 6 in the morning local time, which has put us pretty much into the right timezone.

We took a taxi from the hotel this morning to the RV place. The Armenian taxi driver didn't have a clue where he was going nor how to use his GPS on his iPOD - it was a direction oriented map, not a north-oriented, and the guy drove around in three circles saying

"See? Now vee turn to za right."

"Emm. I don't think so - we need to turn left."

"Vait, vait. You see. Ahh. Vait. Now we need to turn to za left."

"Yes. Right back to where we were. You're going in circles."

"Yes. Yes. Vait, vait. You see. There; 54th Street East."

"Exactly where we were 5 minutes ago."

"Yes, but vait, vait. Now ve need to turn right!"

"OK. Vatever."

Suffice to say we got there eventually. It took a while to get everything together, but they got there. Apparently they had forgotten the bikes, but they did a quick job of adding them. We got the tour of how it works, and what goes where, and left at about 12.30 to go to find a supermarket:

During our shopping stop, I also phoned around for an RV park. First four places were full, and as a result my search moved further out from Seattle. I managed to find that last spot on 'Eagle Tree RV Park', in a town called Poulsbo - just across the Puget Sound from Seattle.

Now, I may not know alot about eagles, but I do have issues with this place calling itself Eagle Tree Park - surely eagles are fairly solitary creatures? I mean, how many times have you been startled in the evening by a flock of eagles? Or been at the beach with your sandwiches and been bombarded by a murder of eagles?

Thought not. Then how do the owners rationalise this place:

That's us squeezed in the middle....

And this is a view up-sight from us....

I'm not convinced! Anyway, we're here for two nights. We intend to go on the ferry from nearby Bainbridge Island to Seattle (on foot) to see the sights there. Let you know....