Monday, 14 January 2013

An epic road trip

So it's been a while since I've had anything exciting to write about my sailing, there's lots of 2013 planning going on and coming together but not that interesting to write about. More sailing news later, first the non sailing news of my epic adventure with Emma. I left working as captain of the big boat on the 1st December after a great season, with lots of traveling and racing. It was a great experience, good for the cv and a great way to clear the mini debt. To start Emma and I drove to a small town near Toulouse to visit her Grandma who was over traveling and painting, we had a fun time looking about and riding the road bikes in the middle of no-where. On the 7th we fly to the UK for Christmas number 1. We stayed with my family and visited all the Lymington gang. It was great to see everyone, it had been far too long. The 11th we were back at Heathrow to fly to Boston. In Boston we stayed with Emma's friend Gretchen. We did a quick trip to road island to buy a car from my sailing buddy Peter. It's an old Audi A6, with 233400 miles on the clock.... technically our home/storage unit/cross country travel transport(fingers crossed)! Back in Boston we went for "breakfast" and I was told to wear my "comfy pants" (that means trousers), but didn't! We walked through the town and then Emma led me into a bike shop, and waiting there was my Xmas present, a Cannondale Tarmac, carbon road bike. It the best present I've ever had, I was so taken back Emma wasn't sure I liked it! From Boston we drove to Freeport Maine, where Emma's Dad lives. Bill has built a boat shed and now has the new edition of Emma's mini that he collected from New York off the ship back fom France (For sale if your interested). We collected some more stuff that had been shipped over in the boat, went shopping in Freeports crazy but amazing outlet stores, (it's the only shopping I enjoy, outdoor toys and gear!) From here we drove on to visit Emma step mum and husband, Tigger and Brian in Nobleborrow. It was great to finally put a name to a face with Brian and to see Tigger properly after we briefly met at the Atlantic cup last summer. We had our 2nd Christmas, with great food, gifts and company. Emma and I went for a very cold snowy ride, that was in the pleasure/pain category. Stupidly, solo I decided to ride again the next morning with only fingerless glove. Surprise surprise I got frost bite and the tips of 4 fingers went hard and peely. They are still not right now but getting much better. Next stop was Brooksville to visit Emma's Mum, here husband and little siblings for the Xmas week, we had a great time playing, visiting wooden boat magazines headquarters where Emma mum Pat works, riding our bikes in the snow (no I didn't learn from the frost bite) and ice skating. Xmas eve we went to a 95th birthday party for Tiggers Mum and met Emma's Dad for dinner on the way back. 3rd and real Xmas was a great day, a walk on the island where Emma grew up, Deer isle. We walk across a sand bar onto a neighboring island. We headed back to light a bonfire, shoot the 22 and cook sausages on the fire! Perfect Christmas ! From brooksville we headed back to Boston for new year with Emma's friends. We never get to go to the cinema because we're normally traveling and often in non English speaking countries, over Xmas we went 3 times in 1 week, we saw the Hobit, Argo and life of Pi! On New Year's Day the epic journey really began from East to West coasts, we drove to Northampton Massachusetts to visit Emma's Gran, that we had seen in France, from here we headed out on route to Niagara falls, passing through New York State. Niagara wasn't all I had imagined it to be. I'd always wanted to visit. Don't get me wrong it was very impressive especially at night, but I had no idea it was between two cities, one in America and one in Canada, the strange thing was Canada looked more fun! Back in the car for a days driving through Pennsylvania and Ohio, nothing to report! The next day took us through the I's, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. In Illinois we stopped just south of Chicago for what I think has been my most scary supermarket stop of my life. I tried to pay the cashier and we had a 2 minute verbal exchange, not really a proper conversation but I think we were both speaking English.... Certainly not the Queens. Day 3 on the road took us through Nebraska, where as far as i can see no one lives and nothing happens its just space that lasts for 12 hours. Finally we arrived to Jackson Hole Wyoming for a weeks snowboarding. Wow, the best boarding I ever had, Jackson was great, fluffy powder, so quiet, off-piste, little park for rusty boarders like me, fun people with a laid back atmosphere... Basically the opposite off boarding in Europe! We skied on the last day, such a giggle and Emma got the bug again and has converted to be a skier! I was sad to leave Jackson but Westward to continue the adventure. Back in the Audi, after a pit stop at a tire place and a full new set of tires at an astronomical price, a necessary evil. They showed us the old tire, so much metal hanging out, I'm not sure how it held air or how it was still attached to the car! Next we passed through Idaho. We travelled past Bear lake at sun set and some funny cowboy towns, straight out of a western, just covered in snow. We passed through Logan gorge and dropped into Logan city, Utah to visit Emma's aunt and uncle. Utah is a wonderful but strange place, through the mountains to a completely flat city at the foot of the hills. I knew nothing about Logan, it has 90% Moran population (we found a Vodka called 5 wives) and is an outdoor activities paradise. On the 2nd day we went snow shoeing, an hour and a half up, 30 minutes down! I think it is one of my new favorite past times! We headed out of Logan in -25 degree Celsius and off through Nevada towards Incline Village to see Bill Pearson, that Emma and I have sailed with to visit the North Sails factory. Nevada was beautiful, a brief view of the great salt lake and mountain-flat-mountain-flat and i believe technically a dessert for 10 hours.We passed through the Tahoo Mountains and down to the lake at Incline Village, it was amazing. From here after visiting the loft we're heading to San Francisco for the next month to get in as much sailing and training as possible to be in tip top form for my racing in the Caribbean and then our class 40 season that kicks off with the Normandy Channel race on the 11th April. So what do i think about traveling across a continent? America is big, really big, there so much space with nothing and so much fun stuff in between. We did 16 states, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, utah, Nevada, and California and covered 3920+ Miles (thats a transatlantic). Big thanks to my co-driver, we've been lucky to have a pretty complete American experience with motels, dinners and almost ever gas stop on route (that's a petrol station in proper English).

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