Wednesday 11 May 2011

Two days in hopefully we will find an internet tomorrow to send this.

Cheryl & Kerry dropped us off at Heathrow on their way to work on Monday morning. The flight was comfortable and not too arduous and landed at San Francisco airport a bit early.  Homeland security were exceedingly polite and respectful, not the “Belligerent Animals” others had told us about so through the controls and straight into a cab. The cab driver added his own two dollar tip to the 12.20 dollars then rounded it up to fifteen dollars for the five mile journey to the hotel actually about two miles as the crow flies but getting on and off the freeway added the extra!

The hotel were expecting us and greeted us with hot cookies which were so sweet and gooey we could only share one. We phoned the RV company to arrange the early-bird pick-up from the hotel then went for a two hour walk along the Bay shore to try to stay awake till normal bed time and to get our legs working properly after the flight. We arrived back at the Hotel at about 6pm (2am UK time) bearing in mind that we had woken at 5:45 to travel to Heathrow.  So we watched TV till 11pm (would you believe “Piers Morgan Interviews” on CNN) so to sleep to wake at 6:45.

The pick-up was early and the reception at Cruise America friendly.  We did the video then the paperwork then were shown to our Brand New RV with only delivery miles on the clock.  Great in most respects but of course every scratch from trees an bushes will show.  The vehicle preparation was bad, I pointed out that it had no number plates so they had to fit them, what would have happened down the road if I hadn’t noticed?  I asked if there was an inventory for the cookware kit and was told “no only the display in the office” so it became a game of “Generation Game” trying to
remember what was in the display and checking it against what we had. (I found the inventory in the book the next day! Too late!)

We left Cruise America to find the local Wall*Mart for provisions and to buy bedding etc.  The kit on offer was 50 dollars each for an ultra thin sleeping bag, pillow, towels and sheets and a few other bits. We spent 104 Dollars for a beautiful bedding set which had a duvet, fitted sheets four pillowcases also two pillows each towels, tea towels & dishcloths etc etc. so well worth it even if we donate them to the Salvation Army after.

Wall*Mart was a bit of a shock, the only fresh food was; apples, potatoes. lemons, limes and tangerines.  No salad green veg nothing!  How are we going to survive.  We bought some pizza’s
and other bits and pieces of food but mainly our sleeping stuff.  Milk was by the gallon, nothing smaller but only 3.40 dollars. It looks like America was going to be a culture shock!!

So cup of coffee and away, no kettle, Judy definitely remembered seeing a kettle in “the display” so back to Cruise America which was only a couple of miles.   We had also found a couple of other things and some damage that needed reporting before we left.

So finally on our way without the coffee.  Twenty miles on we took a wrong turn and ended up in a shopping center with a Safeways, we had forgotten a few things in Wall*Mart so a bit more shopping in Safeways.  Wow what a difference, acres of fresh veg and salad, olives cheese the lot, we were like two kids in a toy shop, knowing now that we would be able to eat fresh fruit and vegetables!!  Then we noticed many things with “Club Price” on them about 50% off so asked the manager about the Club card and were presented with one after filling out the form and the manager overwriding the assistant by saying “they don’t need all that address stuff” after we had chatted about our planned holiday.  He swiped our new card and the whole bill started reducing in front of our eyes.  It ended up reducing our bill by about 12%  and we hadn’t particularly chosen the specials because we didn’t think it could apply to us.  So it looks like Safeways from now on.  By now it was about 5pm but we thought we had better get some miles on so headed off down “Highway 1”.  We didn’t find the camp sites Judy had picked out and the one TomTom Suggested turned out to be a boys camp in the middle of a forest so not for RV’s.  We also managed to lose Highway 1 going through Santa Cruise.  About 9pm we came across a Wall*Mart with a Dutch camper parked up so decided to stay there for the night.

We had a good night and Steve chatted with the Dutch guy in the morning who were 3 months into a six month trip of USA Canada, but as we had foreseen when we had originally planned to do the same, he had no end of problems getting the Visa’s and the shipping of the motor home had cost about £3.5k.  The Visa problems was the main reason we abandoned the idea of taking our Motor Home, because living mainly in France we could not be without our Passports.

We needed a few more things missed from the “Generation Game” so reluctantly went into Wall*Mart in the morning, well we had used their car park over night after` all.  What a difference, just like Asda in the UK with plenty of fresh fruit & veg, but not as good as Safeway the night before, the San Francisco one must just be a bad example, but we got some chairs for sitting out, for less than the hire charge and a few other essentials then off down highway 1.  We were getting low on fuel so pulled into a Shell station, after finding the filler cap right at the back of the wagon Steve couldn’t get the fuel to flow, asking the cashire she said I had to leave some security with her, so I left Judy! Still couldn’t get the fuel to flow so back to the cash desk.  The young lady came out took one look and said “Yo gotta push it in Hon!” pushed down on the nozzle and pulled on the trigger.  There is a fume recicling system on the pump so it has to lock on to the top of the filler!!

What beautiful scenery, but about ten miles on we passed a sign saying “Highway 1” closed ahead, we had asked about the mud slide at the Big Sur we had been warned about by a contact on the internet but were told by the guy at Cruise America that it was now open but one way alternate traffic only.  Yes that was fine but sixty miles on the road was actually closed completely just before Gorda (GPS 35.87642N-121.44572W), so we turned around to return but the scenery was worth the double trip.  We are now parked in a really nice spot in the woods on the cliff overlooking the sea (GPS 36..16884N-121.68264W) halfway back to get the Highway 101 south again and I am sure we will have to do a bit of unnecessary miles to get back to Hurst Castle which is only about ten miles passed where the road block is.

More to follow after tomorrow……….

Don’t forget to  let us know on the blog if you have any suggestions,

Steve & Judy


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