Monday, 23 July 2012

My Whole Trip in Summary

115 days on the road.  15,334 miles.   468.6 US Gals of petrol at a cost of $2268.58.   An average of 33.19 mpg (US Gals) or 39.8 mpg (Imp Gals).  57 nights in a tent at a cost of $1266.72,  and 19 nights in motels at a cost of $1547.95, and the rest were in people's homes.  I only have a total of $1591.85 listed for meals and food, but I know quite a lot of cash transactions didn't get written down so I would think it would be closer to $2500 for food. Also $2399.92 on Equipment, which was mostly camping gear and clothes, but also included the cost of the tear-offs for the windscreen. On top of that were car preparation costs, (which, like the equipment, I still have so don't really count unless something is worn out), and shipping costs, which are still not finalised but will be about $6000 all up..

So that is a summary of my costs !!!   As for a sumary of the trip, that will be a bit harder, because trying to condense a 4 month trip into a couple of pages is almost impossible as just too much would get left out. I have done a selection of photos and include a map of where the photos were taken to try to give an overall visual of the entire route - You can judge for yourselves if that has worked, but it sure took a lot of time to do !! For the written section I am going to try bullet points, and see if that works,  but first I want to state quite categorically that every single one of the people I have met along the way are the REAL high points of my trip.  I met so many of you, and although I mention a few, there were many more - You know who you were, and I apologise if I haven't mentioned you by name, even if I only met you for 5 minutes in a gas station somewhere and we had a chat, or you saw my blog address on the car while I was driving on the freeway and you contacted me.   But please believe me it was YOU that made the trip so memorable, so THANK YOU.  Anyway, here goes with the written part :-

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Blind Bay BC to Anacortes WA. The final leg !

For a change I had no tent to pack up, and Debra cooked me a lovely breakfast so I had a very leisurely morning compared to my normal early start !  After I had the car ready and we had taken some photos on their verandah of the lovely view of Shuswap Lake,  I set off at about 9.30. After a brief hiccup where Tom Tom took me the wrong way onto the freeway due to some new roads in the area, we set off on what was to be the last driving day of my long trip, returning to my Sister Janet’s house in Anacortes.  And the day looked promising weatherwise, so I had decided to go back down through the full length of the Okanagan Valley because I had been told that the southern part was really beautiful, so I wanted to see it for myself, and then I was going to cross the US border and then go through the North Cascades National Park that is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in the area.   I had planned to drive into Anacortes on this road back in March when I arrived from Montana, but due to the heavy snow this winter, the road was still closed then.  So it was too good an opportunity to miss doing it now.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Radium Hot Springs to Blind Bay BC

Woke up early at 5.30 am and it was still not raining !! So got up and got packed up while everything was still pretty dry, as I knew I had a lot of miles to cover today, and all of it was going to be on twisty B type roads – No freeways to help !  The campsite was on top of quite a high hill, and was in sunshine when I left, so the roof was off.   But 5 minutes later at the bottom of the hill, Radium township was in thick fog !!  Never mind, went out of town past a solar powered flashing Big Horn Sheep danger warning sign (never seen one flashing before – Must be lots on the road?)  It was just one of those beautiful mornings for driving, - cool, but not cold, and the sun trying to break through the fog and low cloud, but no hint of any rain.  So we bombed along down Hwy 93 just enjoying the morning.

Banff to Radium Hot Springs, via Calgary

So spent the night in about the only room left in Canmore, just outside Calgary.  Can’t believe it was so busy – but apparently it is where the US Nordic skiing and biathlon teams live and train, so is not the sleepy little village I imagined !!
It was very overcast so kept the roof on, and decided to go into Calgary for a look, since I was so close, and then went out to High River (40 minutes S of Calgary) where I had been told there was a rodeo and chuck wagon racing on – The Calgary Stampede is not just a one off even but one of a series, and the round before the Stampede (which is on from 6-15th July) was at High River. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Jasper to Banff

Woke up really early this morning for some reason, and was completely packed up and showered by 7.30 am.  It was dry but overcast, and I decided to head south to see Lake Louise and then on down to Banff as, although we had been there 35 years ago, the weather was so bad that we essentially saw nothing.  If I remember correctly Damien was 1, so that dates it !!!    Anyway, got going with the roof off and fingers crossed, but not 15 miles into it, the rain started, so I stopped and put the roof up.  And from then on it was regular showers and low cloud all day, although the drive down through the Columbia Icefield was pretty stunning.   Would love to see it on a fine day !

Jasper NP

Day off driving today, as it has been non stop for over a week. Despite threats of rain, the day dawned nice and sunny, so the first thing I did was confirm a second night in the camp site.  They really aren’t too full till net month, so this was not a problem.  I then went into town and had a cooked breakfast for a change – A yummy Mexican omelette !  This café is about the only wifi place in town (unless you’re in a hotel, as no Starucks or McDonalds here !) so was also able to post my blog which I had written last night.  Then back to the campsite to change for a hike somewhere, to stretch my legs after sitting in the car so much.
On the way back, have a couple of birthdays coming up in the family so had to find cards, and a post office for stamps, and then, annoyingly, had to go back to wifi café to log back on to get an address that was in email that required me to be logged on to get it !!   Anyway, by the time all this was done, it was 1 o’clock !!  So I then was able to set off on my hike.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dawson Creek BC to Jasper AB

Well I might have woken up early, (with the dawn at 5.30 am) but I certainy didn’t leave the camp site very early !  The morning was one long precession of people to chat to, and they varied from a Frenchman cycling though America who has been on the road or 5 years, to a guy from Arkansas towing a Honda Gold Wing trike to Alaska because that is the only US state he hasn’t ridden it in, to a blow up doll strapped on the back of a bike !!  And hen I did finally get away, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the drive just got…..better  the closer we got to Jasper.   Except for one torrential downpour !!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek BC

Well, today has certainly been different !   Enjoyable, but very different, from start to finish !!  First of all, I was doing my blog last night in the laundry (as usual – Hey, its warm, has light, has power, and you can shut the door against skeeters !!)  Finally finished at about 11.30 pm, went outsid – And couldn’t see a thing !!!!   It was dark !! Completely took me by surprise because I have just become used to it being light all night !   I won’t say I quite needed a torch, but I also didn’t need to pull my beanie down over my eyes to keep the light out when I went to sleep either !   So that was a big wake up call that I really am heading south !! 

And then this morning, woke up at 5.30 amd was going to get on the internet to check out weather and email, and the internet was down !!!   Again !!!  So much for getting up early to get it all done !  So I started to pack up, and then met Ken from Alabama who was camped net to me and was on a bike headed to Alaska, and shortly after that I met Juneal and Linda from Minnesota, and before you knew it, one thing led to another, and it was 10.30 in the morning and I was still there !!!   As I say, a very different day, but great fun nevertheless !

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Watson Lake YT to Fort Nelson BC

Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow.  Yup, that was a 5 wow day, up there with the Whitehorse to Skagway and the Haines to Haines Junction mountains drives.  After all the rain last night, I got up at 5.30 when I heard a break in the rain and packed up everything while I could. Then I had breakfast, and after that, everything just kind of got ……….better !!  The shower facilities were really good, the laundry was warm and dry to sit in and wok on my blog, the internet worked (well, as good as any recently) which made skype possible, and then the sun came out !!  I drove out of the campsite at about 9 am, still with the roof on, and hadn’t even got into 4th gear on the road when I saw my first bear for the day, climbing a bank just beside the road.  Yes, it was all looking promising after such a miserable night last night.  I drove the 12 miles into Watson Lake to fill up with gas, and while there took the roof off, and also managed to get a really good jam filled donut from the bakery attached to the gas station.  Better every minute. Even managed to get some cash out of an ATM with only a $2 charge, which was also good !  So off down the road to Fort Nelson – a 350 mile drive on a road that I had never driven before.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Whitehorse to Watson Lake YT

It has been wet !   Probably the easiest way to put it.  I just got the tent pitched in Whitehorse last night, and then it started raining, and it rained most of the night.  Luckily I woke up at 6 am this morning and found it had stopped for a moment, but I could see more black clouds coming, so I got everything packed up by 7 am, and then the rain started again !  It then rained off and on all day while driving, and then in Watson Lake tonight I just got the tent pitched before the heavens opened again – This time a full blown thunder storm, the first thunder I have heard in this part of the world, although apparently thunderstorms are quite common in the summer.  So the pictures today are mostly of rain clouds and wet roads – Not very exciting.  I drove this section of road some 6 weeks ago, and I have to say this country is more interesting to me when it is snow covered and cold – I just do not find the summer greenery to be as dramatic.  There are also a lot more people, and a lot more mosquitoes at this time of year !!!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

068 Dawson City to Whitehorse

Slept right through til 7 am this morning ! That’s a first – I must be getting used to this permanent daylight !   Had a lazy Saturday in Dawson, and then today drove from Dawson City to Whitehorse – Nothing stunning, but a really pleasant days drive – Made even better by having some new Moody Blues CD’s to listen to that I had forgotten about !  Oh, and I found a packet (edible) of Wine Gums at last (although most of them were green ones L ), so a good day was assured.  The fact that the scenery was great only made it, well,……..better !!!

Friday, 15 June 2012

067 Tok AK to Dawson City YT

Having gone to bed reasonably early last night, I was awake and ready for action by 5.30 am, but sat cooling my heels for a while as I needed gas and groceries before heading off to Chicken, and not much opens in Tok before 8 am !!  But as soon as they were open, I got what I needed, and headed off up the Chicken road.
I didn’t see another car for maybe 45 minutes !  I was starting to wonder if there was a problem somewhere !!  But eventually a few appeared, and they were all pretty dirty – Which indicated the road ahead was going to be all the fun I expected !  This is the Top of the World Highway, with over 100 miles of dirt, and supposedly stunning scenery, and I have been reading about it and looking forward to it for 3 years. I was supposed to come up to Alaska on this Klondike Highway, but the Yukon River was still frozen at that stage, so the ferry, the only way to cross the iver, was not in the water or operating at that time.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

066 Anchorage to Tok

Yesterday was a lazy day in Anchorage for me.   Was staying in friend Tom’s garage and was superbly comfortable, given that it is centrally heated, and has a bedroom and bathroom and all mod cons !! After a month living out of just the tent and car, you occasionally need a couple of days to just sort yourself out, and do some of the things both personal and to the car, that just don’t get done when you are perpetually cold and outdoors. It was so nice just to sleep in a bed after 4 weeks on the air mattress, and I know the car appreciated getting a bit of oil, and a clean air filter that was caked with mud and grime.  I also got hold of Joe and Dave, and while Joe had only just got back into town from a business trip and was tied up, it was good to touch base with him again.  And I arranged to meet Dave for coffee the next morning.  And on the way home in the evening, I couldn’t decide what I wanted for supper, but just at the bottom of the hill up to Tom’s house I saw an ad for Burgers that were kind of home made -  “Wee-B’s Burgers”.  Anyway, went in and t was one of the best burgers and fries  have had in a long time – Buffalo meat, juicy, perfectly cooked, with cheese and jalapenos, and the chips were hand cut – Not machine made.   Just delicious – and I told them so !!  Then it was off up the hill to the garage and to bed.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Homer to Anchorage

Woke up at about 5.30 am this morning - My beanie (which I wear to keep my head warm, and keep pulled down over my eyes to keep it dark)  must have fallen off and let some of the permanent daylight in !!  Actually, I wake up quite often during the night because each time I turn over I either get tangled up in my sleeping bag liner, my sleeping bag, or I fall off my sleeping mat onto the hard(er) ground - Or more usually all 3 at once !!!  Anyway, had my breakfast while I packed up, as usual, and by about 8 am was ready for off - And then the next 1 1/2 hours were spent talking to people who decided to come over for a chat before I left !!  Lots of interesting people in the campsite, with Brian and Margaret from Overton in Hampshire on one side, a german couple on the other side, and then Geoff from New York somewhere (but Alabama originally) who had been in Alaska off and on for many years, and had travelled extensively to many of the native villages out in the middle of nowhere.  Very interesting.   Anyway, by about 10 am (by the time I had said farewell to the camp owner, I hit the road - A cloudy day, but it looked lighter ahead, so I took the roof off as usual, and temp was a pleasant 10 deg C.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Homer Day 2

Homer Day 2 – The Fishing Trip

Woke up at 5 am feeling pretty good, which pleased me because when I was trying to do my blog last night before I went to sleep I suddenly felt really tired and had a bit of an upset tummy, so I wondered if I was coming down with something.  But all seems good this morning.  So I got myself breakfasted and ready to meet the other guys before 6 am so we could drive up to the jetty in their motorhome and be down on the boat Irish Mist before 6.30 am.  I have never been on a fishing charter before, but the crew of John and Chuck were great – Chuck is actually John’s grandfather, so that is lovely.  It was raining and very grey as we set of from Homer harbour (past fishing ship “Time Bandit” from “The World’s Deadliest Catch” TV show) and we were expecting a wet day. We set off to go about 2 hours west from Homer Spit, so quite a long way into the Cook Strait, and  near the 4000 ft active Augustine Volcano, which is an island in itself.

Homer Day 1

When the wind blows in Homer, it blows cold !!  Woke up this morning at about 5.30 am after having had a late night last night trying to get the blog and photos uploaded. I am not overly impressed by the internet in Alaska, but then I guess it wouldn’t be any better in Coober Pedy or Cunnamulla camp sites !! But it wasn’t raining – And I am learning that in Alaska, that means it is a nice day !! So after a while thinking about the contortions I needed to go through to get me dressed to go out into the outside world, I put my thoughts into action, got dressed, and went for a walk down the spit. Lots of the bat charters go out at about 6 or 6.30 am, so the place is a hive of activity early.  While on my walk I went to check out the dock from which my ferry would be leaving later, and also went further down the spit where I had been told that sea otters often congregate in the mornings – But apparently not this morning !!  Not much wildlife out there at all this morning, which was a bit disappointing. However, I had the ferry trip to look forward to, so went back to camp, and by the time I had showered and had my breakfast, and chatted to several people who came wandering by and wanted to talk, it was time to head for the dock.

Seward to Homer

My first windy pack up of camp this morning, so that was quite interesting, to say the least – You take out the tent pegs and the whole tent blows down through the camp site !!!  You have to find a whole new way of doing it, and folding everything up when all it wants to do is blow up like a parachute in the wind !!  However, all successfully accomplished, and I was on the road by a surprisingly early 7.45 am.

Saturday, 9 June 2012


I was woken up by the wind at about 5 am, with the tent shaking and straining at the guy ropes.  Looked out, and they had been right, it was fine – But that wind was super icy blowing up the Resurrection Bay – What is the good of “fine” weather  if the wind is so strong and cold that you need to stay out of it ? !!!!  After a while of lying their thinking about things, I decided to go for a walk, so I rugged up (or rather “I didn’t take any of my night clothes off” !!) and set off beside the Bay.  It was actually quite pleasant, but sitting around at a table to eat my breakfast wouldn’t be much fun.  Once again I ended up trying to boil the billy for a cup of tea inside the tent, and eating my cereal and yoghurt inside too.  Not too promising.  One of the local Seward attractions is a glacier that comes right down to the road, just 11 or so miles out of town.  So I got myself sorted out, made a couple of sandwiches for the hike, and set off to the Exit Glacier. By the time I got there the wind was dropping and the day was turning out to be beautiful.

Anchorage to Seward

Woke up early in order to try and get on the road and hopefully find some wifi in Seward to do my blog and get email.  After freezing outside a closed Starbuck’s in Anchorage  last night, and then going to 3 different McDonald’s to try to find some wifi (2 of them closed, and one had their wifi “not working tonight, sir” !!), this morning I first went to an open Starbuck’s to get my blog out, and then went round to REI to buy a couple of spare cans of gas for my little cooker – Only to find REI didn’t open till 10 am !!  So sat outside REI for 40 minutes, and naturally ended up with about 20 people round the car chatting as we all waited for the store to open !  2 minutes after the doors opened, I was on my way south to Seward, gas cans safely stowed.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Valdez to Anchorage

I awoke to another clear blue sky, and knew what was in store for me today because I had driven part of the road last night with Mark and Emmie.  And they had said that the drive today, all 300 miles of it back to Anchorage, was going to be like that most of the way, except for a “boring bit” in the middle !!  And they were right !!


It was a cold night in Valdez on Sunday night.  The sky was clear, and for the first time in a week or so I had to get my chemical hand warmers working and put them down in my socks to keep my feet warm !!  Also needed quite a lot of clothes on to keep warm, but once I finally had everything on, I was warm as toast !!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Updated - Whittier to Valdez

Woke up to rain this morning at about 3 am – was this to be my first wet pack up ?  If so, no matter – I guess I must be getting used to this camping life !!  But my mind did start to try to work out how I could do it without getting everything (including the inside of the car) too wet.  The first thing I had to do was get the roof on the car !  I had the shower cape on in the hope it would stay fine – Whoops – this is Alaska !! So in a lull in the rain at about 4 am I nipped out and got the roof on, then back to bed for a while.  I don’t really sleep in the tent – More a case of dozing a it between frequent wake-ups !  Probably about every hour I either find myself off my narrow sleeping mat, or need to turn over, or get some breathing space due to having my beanie pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the perpetual light, or because my woollen neck warmer is covering my mouth !!  Certainly a regular bed will take some getting used to !!  Anyway, at 6 am, I gave up, got dressed for the rain, and went for an hour’s walk around what there is of Whittier.  What an absolutely incredible place.

Updated - Anchorage to Whittier

It is 10 past 11 at night and I am sitting on the beach in Valdez to get a wifi signal, and I am cold. I am very cold. In fact I am freezing my proverbial nuts off. So I am NOT going to write lots now - Will update tomorrow.  (4.6.12  Now updated)

But basically, went down beside the fjord, Turnaround Arm, and Portage Glacier, from Anchorage, sun out, train with waving passengers beside me, with the most unbelievable view possible. Words would fail me even if I wasn't cold !! It was simply one of the most divine Elise drives ever. (Have I said that before ?) Seriously, just jaw dropping, and to be bombing down there with Elsie purring, it was almost too good to be true. It was THAT good that in a break in the traffic I actually got up over 100 mph, just because it was that kind of day. And then it got ................better........

Saturday, 2 June 2012


I arrived in Anchorage on Wednesday from Denali, and the camp site is not exactly the best, being beside a railway line and under the flight path for many of the small planes that fly out of here up to the mountains, but fortunately both of these don’t seem to be too active at night, despite the light.  And the showers are clean and hot.   Unfortunately, their wifi is pathetic and you can’t even go into google, so it means I have to go up to Starbuck’s yet again to get wifi, which is a  30 minute walk and is a royal PITA.   But  apparently it is the best camp site in Anchorage !!

Had a lazy Wednesday evening, mostly spent chatting to the hoards of Aussies that rolled in in 20 motor homes -  I had met some of them in Fairbanks and also passed quite a few on the highway, so we all kind of knew each other anyway.  They hand their motorhomes back in on Friday morning, and then catch the inside passage cruise back to Vancouver, from where they fly home.  For me, a visit to the shops to get some food and beer, and I bought some spare ribs and salad for supper from the shops which were delicious for a change from my “home cooking” !!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Denali NP to Anchorage

On my last night in Denali went out and had a lovely BBQ with Dave and Amy in their RV, followed by a quick trip into town to the Salmon Bake for some blueberry pie and coffee as Dave suddenly had a craving !!    Good way to spend my last evening in Denali !!   Back to the camp site, still VERY bear and moose alert !!, and to bed.
Woke up the next morning and packed up ready to get on the road to Anchorage, and then went round to the shop area to finish off blog and email, and have a hot shower.  They charge $4 for a hot shower in the park, but it is a good facilty, and they even provide towels so you don't have to find somewhere to put a wet towel in the car !! And a hint for anyone using the showers at the Mercantile at Riley Campground in Denali - Always ask for the key to cubicle number 4 - It is extra large to allow for wheel chairs, and makes getting changed without getting all your clothes wet SO much easier !!   While getting everything done there, met Don who was from Illinois and riding a BMW bike and doing all the rough roads, and had a good chat.  Hope you enjoyed the bus trip Don, and thank your ? cousin ? for the egg roll - it was excellent!   Safe travels and maybe see you in the Kenai.  
And so off I went towards Anchorage - Roof off, of course !!!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Denali NP 2

Woke up at 5 am (no dawn !! You could read all night at the moment) and had breakfast - keeping a very wary eye out for upset moose and bears, especially while I was making my ham and cheese sandwiches !!  2 deg C, so back into a little bit of a cold spell, and I decided to put my thermals on for the trip into the park.  And thank goodness I did as it was not hot !!   (I have only had about 2 days when I have not worn my thermals since leaving Anacortes 4 weeks ago !!)  Drove the 5 minutes over to the bus pick up point at the Wilderness Centre, and found my green shuttle bus and climbed aboard.

Fairbanks to Denali 2

Sunday was a bit of a washout day in Fairbanks.  It rained most of Saturday night, and was still raining on Sunday morning, which made life pretty difficult in the tent.  As I was leaving the next day, I got my laundry done, and then did some catching up on the pooter.  Gradually the weather cleared up until by early afternoon it had stopped raining, so, as I had been chatting on email to Lucy Hayward who I had met on the ferry from Skagway to Haines a couple of weeks ago and not seen on the road, I decided to go over to her camp site and have a chat. The following day, Monday, I was off to Denali again for a couple of days as it was on my way south to Anchorage.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Friday & Saturday in Fairbanks

On Friday it rained.  And rained and rained and rained !!   In fact it was quite useful as at least it did start to wash some of the caked on mud from the Dalton Highway off the car ! But apart from that, it was a pain in the neck. The tent was dry, no problem, so I stayed in there as long as I could, recovering from my long day.  But getting up, trying to get things sorted, get showered, and so on meant that by about 9 or 10 am, everything was pretty wet.  So I ended up watching a movie off my hard drive, and then in the late afternoon I managed to contact Amy and Dave who I had met in Skagway, and went over to their RV Park for dinner and a great evening out of the rain over there, comparing notes on where each of us had been in the last 2 weeks ! A great evening, and after scurrying back to my tent in the rain, went to sleep.  But today, Saturday, despite a bad weather forecast, has been fine all day, so I have been out exploring Fairbanks !

Friday, 25 May 2012

First ever Lotus to cross Alaskan Arctic Circle

Right, have had a bit of sleep, so will try and remember what I did yesterday !

Oh, thats right, drove to the Arctic Circle !!

Woke up early at 4.30, and hit the road at 5.30 from campsite at North Pole (yes !!) outside Fairbanks.  Clear crisp morning, so roof off, and sandwiches and nibbles packed as I am expecting a LONG day in the saddle - The day before when I took the tour just to the Circle took 17 hours, and I intended to go a further 100 miles north of the Circle, to Coldfoot.  And while Elsie may be faster than the coach, a lot of the road is on dirt where 40 mph is an absolute max, often a lot less.  Beautiful morning, so roof off, and rugged up with my fur hat, and off I went.  Climbing up the first hills, the light was catching part of the clouds and made some eerie patterns and light which looked suspiciously like a daytime Aurora Borealis to me - Which I know is impossible, but.....  Tried to ttake some pics but of course they don't really show it, but I have put them in the folder and circled the bit I am talking about.  It certainly was VERY vivid, and moving around.

Wednesday in Fairbanks

After going all the way to the Arctic Circle on the coach for some 17 hours on Tuesday, I had a relatively slow Wednesday morning at the camp site.  Then I went down into Fairbanks to find a tire place to rotate a couple of my tires which were wearing unevenly.  Later I went to the Univeristy Of Alaska Fairbanks which I had heard had an excellent museum.  Lazy day !!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Fairbanks to Arctic Circle 1

After a very lazy day yesterday, today I went to the Arctic Circle !!!   However, I went on a tour bus, because I had heard so many people telling me that the condition of the Dalton Highway was impassible to anything but and SUV, and that Elsie wouldn;t make it past the first section of dirt road.  So I decided to go and have a look at the conditions first, and if they really were that bad, then I would not take Elsie.
Result ?   Had a fun day out, and am taking Elsie up the day after tomorrow, as long as the weather holds !!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Denai back to Fairbanks

Nothing too special today. Done all I need to do in Denali for now, and the hoards of holiday makers were starting to roll in.  So I have run back to Fairbanks and will spend a few days here doing the the Dalton Highway and seeing what Fairbanks has to offer before I go down to Anchorage.  Not even many photos to post, because basically if you want to know what the drive was like, you just need to look at the photos I posted 3 days ago wen I drove to Denali - but start with the last one first and work your way backwards !!! Rofl.  But there were a couple of interesting / funny things happen !  As usual !!!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A day in Denali NP

Today was a relatively quiet day in the park.  It was a little warmer overnight, which was a relief, but the weather is still bright and sunny although more cloudy weather is coming. And the crowds are also coming - this is offcially the start of the summer season, so the campers and motorhomes are rolling in.  The peace and quiet of the pre-season is over !!!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mt McKinley Flight


I am not going to write a blog tonight, because words could not possibly start to even describe one millionth of the beauty and majesty of the scenes I have witnessed today.   We had a flight time of about two hours, plus half an hour on the Ruth Glacier. It was just the most breathtaking  trip.  There was not a cloud in the sky, and there was not a breath of wind or thermals from the mountains - conditions the pilot says he rarely ever sees.  So he was able to take us within a few feet of some of the mountan tops - we felt we could reach out and touch them.  Even he was in awe of what we saw and were able to do today !!!  

Enjoy the photos - There are a lot of them, but I think they will take your breath away.   And let me assure you, they do not even get close to showing you what it was REALLY like to be up there today.

This place is unbelievable.  I am in love.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fairbanks to Denali NP

Well I said I would get up early to go to Denali – And I sure did – Thanks to my iPhone not auto- switching to Alaska time so it was an hour fast !!   So I got up at 6 am, and realised about 40 minutes later when I looked at my watch that it was still actually only 5.40 am !!!   Ha Ha.  No wonder it was so cold – Minus 1.2 deg C when I got up – Which was at least a (little) bit warmer than the day before – Maybe God was away looking after someone else who needed attention more, and forgot to turn the cold knob down far enough !!  I had rugged up well before going to bed, and actually survived pretty well, although you do wake up a number of times during the night – Usually when you get strangled in your sleeping bag cord when trying to roll over !!! Rofl.  Anyway, beautiful blue sky, so once I was all packed up and showered to thaw out a bit, had said goodbye to the 3 US Navy guys from Fresno on their Harleys/Gold Wing (Russ, Bob, and Ken) I hit the road to Denali, one of the prime targets of my trip.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fairbanks 1

Well last night was FREEZING !!!   When I eventually got up at about 8.30 am, the temp was still -2.7 deg C, and someone was saying it was in the mid 20's Farenheit !!!  But I suffered because I had run out of instant hand warmer pads for my feet, and used a re-usable one, but it runs out of heat after a couple of hours, so by about 1 a.m. I was suffering !!  So not tonight Josephine - I have just bought a stock of the disposable hand warmers to make sure I don't run out again !!  The car was covered in frost, and even the condensation inside the tent had frozen !!  And they are saying that after the clear sky today, we are in for more of the same tomorrow.  Whoop-de-do !!!  I will be putting on ALL my clothes tonight !!  In advance !!
Other than that, it ws a kind of quiet day around Fairbanks.

Beaver Creek to Fairbanks Alaska

It started snowing last night about 9 o’clock.  By the time I woke up this morning, there was 1 ½ inches on the car, and it had settled on the ground.
My first thoughts were for the English cycling couple, Laurie and Edith, who were sleeping in a tent beside the road somewhere !!  So as soon as I had packed up and had my breakfast I headed off south, in the direction I had come last night, looking for them.  It was still snowing quite heavily as I drove and after 10 miles there was no sign of them – Perhaps they were hiding in a culvert, or maybe a hungry bear had got them !!!  Then I saw a car coming the other way, and jumped out and flagged them down – Yes they had seen them about 20 miles further back, and they were cycling south OK !!   So I could relax, and I turned round and headed north again.  Not soon after I had passed back through Beaver Creek, the snow stopped, and the sky started to clear up.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Haines Jct to Beaver Creek

IT WAS FREEZING LAST NIGHT !!!   I had to get up and go over to the car twice to get more clothes out to put on !!!!  I only slept fitfully until about 5 am, and then the next thing I knew it was 8 am !  And still only about zero !!  So I did get some sleep.  I had done laundry last night so am all squeaky clean again, and thought they had an internet conection at the camp site, but at about 9 pm it suddenly stopped working so I couldn't get blogs or anything done yet again !!!  But I packed up the tent etc this morning, had my breakfast, then had a LOVELY hot shower which helped warm me up, and then I headed into town to the Information Centre, and then the Bakery, in that order !! 

Haines AK to Hanes Jct YT

Woke up on Sunday morning in Haines – To a blue sky, with just a few clouds !!  (Still no internet or WIFI available anywhere that worked – This is about the first place in the world I have been to that doesn’t have a working system in place !!  Maybe that is how remote we are ?)  Anyway, I questioned the hotel people about tours, and they didn’t know of any except private charter fligts out to Glaciers etc.  I did call one of them and they said that even though it was sunny at the moment,  it would hardly be worth it as the cloud cover was going to come back down shortly and you wouldn’t see very much at all.  So I ran down to the Tourist Information centre, and they said much the same – Plus as it was Sunday, most things wouldn’t operate today anyway !!  But I had heard about a Bald Eagle reservation up at the end of the road in Haines, so I decided to run up there straight away, and then decide what to do after that.

Friday, 11 May 2012

REVISED WITH PHOTOS -A couple of days in Skagway

I arrived in Skagway on Wednesday and camped not 5 minutes walk from the centre of town. It is a beautiful old town, steeped in the history of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898, which was in itself a vital part of Alaskan history.  Prior to coming to Alaska I had read extensively about it all, so to drive through the Chilkoot Pass on Wednesday, in a blizzard, imagining the would-be and ill-prepared miners slogging over the same mountains on foot, was very thought provoking for me.  Now to see the town that was the start of their trip, still with all the old buildings, wooden sidewalks, bars and saloons etc, was just fascinating.  Alaska’s history is amazing – from the days when it was occupied by Russia, to its sale to the US, to the Gold Rush of 1898, and then the building of the Alaska-Canada (Alcan) Highway in just 9 months during the war – Everything is so recent and its history so tangible.  If anyone is interested, one book that really paints a brilliant overall picture is James A Michenor’s book “Alaska” – I can strongly recommend it.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Whitehorse Yukon to Skagway Alaska

I AM HERE !!!!!   Not the port of entry I expected, but I am in Alaska, all the same.  Just have had no wifi to tell you about it !!

After a miserable 4 or 5 solid days of rain, I was getting more and more disconsolate because I could do nothing.  Even the driving wasn’t much fun because there were no views – I might as well have been driving up the Newell Highway, and it was starting to really get to me. Even many the tourist things are not operating, most of them because the weather has been so bad.  Anyway, a BIG thank you to those of you who have supported me through this period of melancholy !!  You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  After a night in an expensive motel in Whitehorse (it’s a bit like Dampier – many workers, little accommodation, so they can charge what they like) because all the camp sites were closed, I worked my way in writing through what I needed to do – and it worked.  As I wrote it all out, everything became clearer in my mind, and by the time I finished, I had a plan. And from on the day just got……….better !!!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dease Lake BC to Whitehorse Yukon

When I started loading the car this morning, I was happy because it wasn't raining.  By the time I drove away, it was snowing instead !!  The weather changes SO fast round here you have to be prepared for anything.  But everyone is saying that the weather this yer is really odd - Much colder and much wetter than usual for May, and as a result many of the tourist facilities, including camp sites and tours, are staying closed until it warms up and tourists start arriving.  But because I was working on the past 10 year average temps and rainfall which I had carefully looked up and planned my trip around, I have been caught short.  All the things I read said get up to Alaska in the first two weeks of May to avoid the crowds and the mosquitoes.  Well, I have avoided the crowds and the bugs, but now find myself unable to camp, and unable to do any tour because they are not yet running this year !!!  So unless the weather changes, I may as well keep heading North to Alaska !!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Stewart to Dease Lake

I SAW BEARS !!!!  Just as I was beginning to think it was all a con to get tourists into the area and that they really didn’t exist, I finally saw two black bears beside the road just outside Stewart this morning.  It was raining, and misty, but believe it or not I managed to get a photo of both of them !!  I hall probably see hundreds now my duck is broken !!  When I woke up this morning it was still pouring with rain in Stewart, and the forecast for the next week was rain every day, and as nothing is operating (bear tour wise) for another couple of weeks, I decided to head north to my main destination – Alaska !

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Smithers to Stewart-Hyder

Not so cold last night, so woke up early to toddle across the campsite (!), and then back to bed and dozed till about 7.30.  Lovely views of mountains on two sides, right outside of town, and a weak sunshine while I slowly packed up camping gear into the car, and had my breakfast. Linda, the camp host lady came over to look at the car and have a chat.  She gave me some good tips about Stewart and the road in, as well as recommending strongly that I try to get to Newfoundland on this trip as she reckons it is gorgeous.  She also remembered the electric Radical race car coming through here in 2010 on its way from Fairbanks to Tierra del Fuego, and said they also stayed at this camp site !! (See here   After a nice hot shower to warm everything up properly, I jumped into the car, roof off, and headed into town to find a bank and get some fuel before setting off to Stewart.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Prince George to Smithers

Well, when I woke up this morning at 4.30 am my feet were freezing. I dozed fitfully till about 7 am then got up, and found out why my feet were cold - The temp on the car thermometer was 0.6 deg C even at 7 am.  I found out later that it was minus 6 deg C during the night, but I think it might have been colder because there was an enormous icicle growing upwards from the grass beside my tent where a tap had been dripping overnight - And icicles don't just grow without it being bloody freezing !!! So I was rugged up in all my clothes and thermals while I had my breakfast and packed up the car.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Vavenby to Prince George

After a wonderful nights sleep, and breakfast with Ed and Sarah, I packed up the car and got ready to set out on my adventure proper.  No more friends or family to stay with - From here on out the real adventure starts, heading north into the wilds, with cold and unsettled weather still, and not quite sure what surprises await me !!   But for this morning, the sun is shining, and although it was only about 8 deg C, I quickly removed the roof, said farewell to Ed and Sarah, and, once the farm track was safely negotiated (despite the additioal rain overnight), I headed back down to Little Fort on Hwy 5 before turning west and north towards Prince George.  From here on I am on roads I have never been on before, although I have travelled them on the map many times over the past 2 years, and all the names on the route are now very familiar to me, which makes it all very odd.

Lillooet to Vavenby

Slept like a log beside the rushing Fraser River.  Maybe that was courtesy of the beers from Phil ?  !!  Anyway, packed up slowly in the morning, and managed to download all the photos onto the pooter while sitting there over looking the river, but once the sun was up it was very hard to see the computer screen (my excuse !).  So I shut it down and headed out south down Hwy 12 towards Lytton.

Vancouver to Lillooet (Where ??!!)

Woke up on Wednesday morning in Vancouver to POURING RAIN !!  But once underway, everything got progressively better as the day progressed, and ended up with a NEW BEST ROAD for the trip !!!  Or maybe it just seemed really good because I had not been on the road for a while and had forgotten how good it could be  !!   Who cares ? In the end it was a GREAT ROAD and it left me grinnng from ear to ear, as all good Elise drives should !  And at the end of the drive I found a fantastic campsite on the banks of the Fraser River in Lillooet.  (Enlarge the map in the Picassa photo section if you want to find out where Lillooet is).


Ater a leisurely breakfast in Anacortes with sister Janet, I set off to do a couple of errands on the way to crossing the Canadian Border and heading towards Vancouver.  I thought they might take half an hour at most, but as usual, how wrong can you be ?!!  Luckily I only had about 50 miles to cover today. Although the sky was dark, I didn't think it really looked like rain, so left the roof off.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Anacortes Week 3

It has been a busy week in Anacortes as I prepare to head north to Alaska tomorrow, on Monday 30th April. Deer to dinner, working on the car, haircuts, incidents with Alice the Moose, picnics in Washington Park, and a few family photos before everyone disappeared home.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Anacortes Week 2

Despite the best efforts of the local weather forecasters to tell us it is going to rain every day, so far we have had mostly fine weather here. The last 2 or 3 days have been superb, with a wintery 5-6 deg C early in the morning rising to about 15 - 17 deg C in the afternoons.  So we have been getting out for more walks, and today attended an MG organised Car Rally over in Burlington as part of the Annual Tulip Festival which is currently underway. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Mulga Bill's Bicycle

I love Banjo Paterson.   For those of you who do not know him, he was a famous Australian Bush Poet who lived at the end of the 19th / early 20th century, and wrote some wonderful poems about Auatralian life and characters, the most famous of which is probably "The Man from Snowy River" which was of course later adapted to become a wonderful Australian movie.
But one of my favourite poems of his was about a man called Mulga Bill, a wild bushman / cowboy who decided he would master the cycling craze at the turn of the century, with somewhat mixed success.'s_Bicycle
Little did I know this week how similar I was to be to Mulga Bill !!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Portland to Port Townsend to Anacortes

Everyone at the CLNW meeting agreed that there was really only one interesting way to get to Anacortes, and that was to drive up the Oregon / Washingon west coast, around the Olympic Mountains (with a couple of peaks of almost 8000 ft), to Port Townsend, and then catch a ferry across from there to Coupeville before the short drive to Anacortes.  This would not only give me a spectacular drive around the coast, but also avoid much of the tedium of freeway and Seattle traffic if I went up the (much quicker) freeway I 5. Unfortunately this meant that I missed the opportunity to see Rod Powell at the Ridge Motorsports Park near Shelton, but I think that poor Elsie needs a rest from tracks for a while - She has a long way to go yet, and is a 13 year old lady with a lot of hard racing miles under her belt, so needs all the TLC she can get !!!    Next time.

Portland Oregon

Mark Velky, President of Club Lotus NW in Portland, had kindly agreed to show me around Portland for the day on Friday 6th April.  I was to meet with club members that night, but this left me a full day to look around Portland, a city I had never been to before.  After a quick cup of coffee with Jim, I drove into Portland to meet Mark, and we headed off to his local coffee shop for a coffee and to check emails on wifi. (Jim had no wifi at home.)  First reactions were that Portland is a little like Seattle, with lots of boutique style coffee shops and restaurants, hills, and of course the Columbia River running through the middle of the area.  I still had all my stuff in Elsie so although Mark had very bald rear tyres, we had no choice but to take his 2005 Elise and just take it easy.  And of course I had a brief chance to see his DeLorean, which seems to have taken a back seat now the Elise is there !!!

Richland to Portland OR

Up early in the morning of the 5th to try to fix the squealing brakes before they drove me crazy !  Reed and I left the house at 7 and drive over to Brad Sewart's, who had kindly offered us the use of his garage and tools, including his hoist.  And let me say, the hoist is a true godsend - Raising the car up to a workable height so there is no bending over and the associated sore back afterwards !!   I WANT ONE FOR CHRISTMAS !!!!  Objective was to get the work done as quickly as possible and then get on the road to Portland.   Thank you very much Brad - I owe you.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Missoula MT to Richland WA

Long day ahead over a supposedly scenic route over the Bitterroot and Clearwater Mountain ranges south west to beyond Walla Walla  - some 400 + miles.  Rain had been forecast, but while packing the car, the black clouds suddenly disappeared, so the roof was quickly removed, and we set off out of Missoula.  About 3 deg C, and at about 1000 metres altitude, so rugged up well for a day in the mountains !  Filled up with gas and once out of town, the road was gently rolling and zig zagging beside a river, surrounded by farming country - A great start to the morning !

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Yellowstone NP to Missoula, MT

Another cold morning in Yellowstone - minus4 deg C when I went down to pack the car - but no snow or rain - Just clear clue skies :-)
Found a note stuck on the side of the car offering me "a free cup of tea" when I got to Anacortes, signed  "A fellow Aussie".  They had seen "Anacortes" written on my box as one of my destinations, and as they lived there had asked me to visit.  Actually met them over breakfast, lovely couple Joe and Eileen and he is a keen fisherman, so they amended the invitation to "eat some prawns".  As they live not far from my sister, I shall make sure I find them !
In the mean time, off to Missoula, Montana.......

Monday, 2 April 2012

Yellowstone NP

Well the dark clouds that brought the rainstorm on the way into Yellowstone yesterday brought an inch of snow overnight !!  I awoke to a white town, although the roads quickly thawed in the sun.  But it stayed cold.  Minus 3 deg C when I went to clear the snow off the car before breakfast, and during the whole day in the park I only saw it reach about 5 deg C a couple of times - Rest of the day it was between 0 and about 2 or 3 deg C !   But clear blue skies, so I had the roof off, and the thermals on, and had a great day in the Park.  Bison, Wolves, Big Horn Sheep, and just missed a bear sighting on the road by about 10 minutes.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Greybull WY to Yellowstone NP MT

After a very pleasant and relaxing couple of nights with Jeremy and Jilaena and their girls in Powell near Greybull, I left this morning refreshed in body and soul.  A pleasant 15 degrees C and clear blue skies boded well for the day ahead, with the roof staying safely packed away yet again. We set off though some lovely swooping roads, heading north towards the Montana State Line and Yellowstone NP.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Denver CO to Greybull WY.

This was actually a two day journey, overnighting half way in Casper WY, but I will cover it in a single blog as there were quite a lot of boring stretches in there !! Wyoming is a big state with wide open plains and cattle, but fortunately there are always surprises to keep you interested along the way.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A day in Denver

During the LOCO meeting last night, amongst many others, I had met William Taylor, an expatriate Englisman now living in Denver, and he had kindly invited me to his house / office to see his collection of Lotus memorabilia and photographs and books that are probably second to none.  Nothing could have prepared me for my day.  After a lazy morning and a visit to Starbucks for coffee with Doug, I headed off to William's.

Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs to Denver

Fancy a run up a 14000 ft hill while the Mrs is in doing the grocery shopping ?  We should be back in an hour.  Pikes Peak, perhaps one of the most famous Hill Climbs in the world, is just down the road from the nearest shopping centre near Colorado Springs !! And I was here to drive up it !

Monday, 26 March 2012

Torrey, Utah to Colorado Springs

Start the day with a snow storm and minus 2 deg C, then have blue sunshine and some canyon carving, then high winds and 28 deg C temps, then blinding sandstorms, and finish off the day with an 11,312 foot pass over the Rocky Mountains into Colorado Springs !   Oh, and never go lower than 2000 metres / 6500 feet in 500 miles / 800 kms.     Enough to make for a fun day ? 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Zion NP to Torrey, Utah

Yes, slept like a log.  Yes, very stiff this morning !!  Ha ha. Packed up camp while having my breakfast -Had finally found some Earl Grey tea yesterday (I had left the packet I bought to bring with me in Australia !!!), and it was so nice to have instead of coffee !  It is quite a long process to fit everything into Elsie, and takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete to where I am ready to drive away - At a leisurely pace, of course !! Wanted to get moving as I had to get some miles completed today, but went through town to check email first.  While sitting outside the wifi enabled shaved ice shop, a couple came up and asked if they could take a photo - Of course they could.  Got chatting, Walter and Carol, and it turned out that had owned 3 Lotii in the past, a Europa, a Seven, and one other - I forget which.   Anyway, had a lovely long chat with them - From Illinois ?? Woops, forgot to write it down.   Anyway, fun start to the day.

Zion National Park, Utah

Woke up to a cold but sunny morning in Zion NP, had my breakfast of cereal, a banana, and a yoghurt, and started preparing myself clothing wise for a hike in the park.  I had been told that Angel’s Landing was a spectacular hike, but was classed as “Strenuous. 4 hours, 5.4 miles, long drop offs, not for young or anyone fearful of heights. Last section is along a steep, narrow ridge to the summit, may b snow covered and icy.” Right, nothing to fear for a young, fit, seasoned hiker and mountaineer like myself then !!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Las Vegas to Zion NP

Missed a couple of days because I found Las Vegas pretty seedy, sordid, OTT, and generally depressing, so I took no photos and had nothing to say about it. Seemed a cross between the touristy heart of Surfers Paradise and modern Dubai, times about 50 !!  And the fact the one of the few tent camp sites was not only in a VERY seedy area of town, but also next to a military airbase which had jet fighters and bombers flying in and out all through the night (yes non stop) was enough to make me pack up the earliest I could on the 20th and head out of town.   And as soon as I did, I was much happier !

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Death Valley to Las Vegas

Boring, Boring, Boring !!!    Well, I guess they have to have some straight bits to link up all the wiggly ones !!!  But the road from Death Valley to Las Vegas will not go down in the annals of history as one of the “must drive” roads in this world !! But considering that was the first boring bit I have encountered, I will forgive it.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Death Valley

Woke up early as I had heard the sunrises were spectacular, and climbed up to the top of the nearby dunes to get a good view. Cold, about 6 deg, and a wind blowing to make you realise you were in the desert ! But then the dawn came up, and the sun slowly illuminated the snowcovered tops of the mountains, and then quickly rolled down the blinds of darkness until they were fully awake !   And when the sun suddenly hit my back, you realised that despite the cold temperature, there was a bite to this sun, even in winter.  It must be incredible here in summer.

Bakersfield to Death Valley

I think I have started this way before – WOW WOW WOW !!!  I do not know what else to say.  I left the very plain Bakersfield at about 10 am after doing my blog and making some phone calls to friends.  After the rain of the last 4 days, the skies were blue, the air was cold (6 deg C), and the forecast fine.  And I checked the road conditions due to the recent snow and the one road I planned to travel on (Hwy 178) was open – No restrictions.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

SF to Bakersfield

It had rained heavily again during the night, but when I awoke it was blue sky - Mostly !!  But bitterly cold for San Francisco - 7 deg, and a cold wind.  Storms predicted for San Jose and Bakersfield today, so Elsie's roof stayed on for the 4th consecutive day !!  Must be a record.  But set off at about 10.30 am, expecting a 3-4 hour boring drive to Bakersfield.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Wet San Francisco 2

Well Friday was another wet day - VERY wet day.  More storms rolled in dropping non stop heavy rain on the coast, and snow up in the Sierras.  But you can't sit in a motel room all day when you are on a trip like this, so Elsie and I set off in the rain.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wet San Francisco

Wet Wet Wet !!! Who says it never rains in Southern California ? (I know, I know - I am in Northern Caifornia now, but that is not what the song says !!!)  Started raining as soon as I left Laguna Seca and has now been raining for 3 days while the rest of my route out through Colorado is basking under 70 degrees and blue skies with all mountain passes currently open !! Hope it stays that way next week when I get out there.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Laguna Seca to San Francisco

Well, I woke up early and prepared to pack up and get down to Starbucks to get on the wifi and update my blog before heading off to San Francisco. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Laguna Seca Day 2

Having enjoyed a number of laps of the track on the Saturday, Monday was a full on track day organised by Dave Mills and Luc Noel of Northern California RacingClub.  It was way over subscribed, but they promised me some laps during the lunch break again, and also some passenger rides during the day (In the US, passengers are allowed in the cars on track days, like in UK). 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Laguna Seca Day 1

All I can say is WOW.    Wow, wow, wow.  The track is fantastic, and the Corkscrew is all it looks like it would be, and more.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Big Sur to Laguna Seca

Nice sunny day again, even if it was still cold, so once packed up I headed off towards Monterey, following Highway 1 up the coast.  Not 5 miles from Big Sur I passed the Captain Cooper School - Don't have a clue what it was, but I had to get a photo, didn't I ?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Big Sur

Non driving day in Big Sur today, hiking through the beautiful Redwood forests in the hills around the campsite.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

LA to Big Sur on PCH Hwy 1

Well today the drive started in earnest.  Left LA at 9.30 am to avoid the worst of the traffic and headed north on 101 / 1, being the very scenic coastal highway.  And what a perfect day - Cool at about 10 deg C to start with, but clear blue skies, and it reached a high of 17 deg C, but still clear blue skies.  Just perfect topless driving weather !!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Car arrival in LA

Bit late posting due to local internet problems, but the ship arived inLong Beach early on Monday 5th March.  Louise, who I am staying with, kindly ran me down to Long Beach about an hour south of where they live, but about 5 minutes before we got there the shipping agent rang and said "Don't bother to go to the docks today Giles, they are still unloading" !

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Elise Run in LA

Wow !!  What a fantastic morning !  Picked up by Andy in his red car at 8 am, we went half an hour down the freeway on a magnificent Southern California morning to meet up with some others for a morning run.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

In L.A.

Well here we are in LA, and everything going accordng to plan - Apart from the fact that Elsie doesn't arrive till Monday 5th. 

Monday, 23 January 2012


I thought it might be worthwhile to just document the paperwork that I have done in order to get approval to ship the car to the USA, so that if any one else ever tries to do it, it is available.  Reason is that just a couple of weeks ago I was asked to provide a letter of Approval from the US EPA, and I had never heard of this letter, nor did I know where to get it or what information was required as it is hard to find out.  Luckily Ian Wilson in NZ who brought his S1 back from Europe via the USA a few years ago was able to help me at very short notice, and something that for a moment I thought could have been a trip-stopper turn out to be just a minor hiccup along the way !!!   Big thanks, Ian !!

Spare Parts

The final list of suitable spare parts has been one I have pondered over for more than a year now. I think my biggest concern is punctures or a broken windscreen rather than a breakdown. Treated right, the little car is pretty reliable so I do not anticipate major problems.   

Changes !!

Well everything changed soon after my last post !   At the last minute, just a couple of days before the ship was due to sail, my shipping agents called me and told me that the ship MV Figaro was no longer calling at Los Angeles !! Surprised a lot of people because the Korea and Japan sector to LA is usually one of the busiest ones for these vessels, carrying Hyundais and Kias from Korea and Toyotas etc from Japan to the US market. But for some reason, it isn't going to LA this time, so at the last minute we had to change to a different vessel, Taiko, Voyage 205.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Those who made it possible

People to whom I owe thanks :-

Australia Leaving

So yesterday we took Elsie to the Brisbane docks the required 5 days before the ship's sailing date, and left her there - Hopefully in good hands.