London to Baja California ~ across America

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by v v, Jul 29, 2018.

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  1. Jun 24, 2019 #301

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    More great stuff Jamie! Reminds me of the old days when I would spend the Winter in Mexico in places where "No ingles" was the norm!

    I'm impressed that as under the weather as yall were, that you were having such a good time! ¡Mas! ¡Mas!
     
  2. Jun 24, 2019 #302

    anumberone

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    I almost forgot another great town,
    San Ignacio. Beautiful Palm trees and Mission
     
  3. Jun 25, 2019 #303

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    Sadly we didn't see anything at all at is was a night bus and no moon or cloud if there was a moon, pitch black at all times. But now you have mentioned them we'll take a look next time we are in Baja, personal recommendations often turn out to be the best, thanks.
     
  4. Jun 25, 2019 #304

    v v

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    Think you ought to consider returning for a week or two, we know you enjoyed your time in Mexico. As far as we saw the security situation is obviously taken seriously but my best guess is you would have to be very unlucky to get caught up in a problem. Maybe have a chat with anumberone, he obviously is pretty knowledgeable about Baja.

    Thanks Jim, it feels like an endless journey taking 5 months to write, but we're getting near the end now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  5. Jun 26, 2019 #305

    v v

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    Thursday 17 January Day 35 - La Paz, Playa Balandra then night bus to Guerrero Negro, Baja

    Posted France ~ Wednesday 26 June 2019


    Moving on day but first I have to catch up with a little business email. Rosie takes a walk along the seashore, she's fascinated at the clarity of light here every day and compares it to the south of France. Here's a photo of just a normal morning on the promenade near to our hotel. People sweeping sand back onto the beach, a man reading his morning newspaper, a very chilled out place to be.

    1-n12051a.jpg


    We check-out, arrange to leave our bags at the hotel until evening then off to discover a little more of La Paz before heading to Balandra beach by bus. As we are leaving the hotel Rosie mentions her right eye has a problem, fine lines of swirling floaters are moving across it. Eye floaters are not so much normal but happen to a few people. No cure but no pain and they go as quick as they come, although this is a different version. She decides that it is a new type of floater and we should continue with our plans.

    Rosie has brought a hat with her, so as we discover a street market I decide to buy a wide brimmed one for the couple of hours on the beach as it's a hot clear day. It's a real field workers hat that Rosie makes fun of more than once. We like the different (to us) but ordinary look of this town, discover a second excellent supermarket way back from the main beach road that reminds us of supermarkets of 40 years ago selling everything in a small space. On our way back to collect our bags we'll buy supplies for the journey plus a few extras as we are not sure what we'll find in GN tomorrow.

    Take the bus out to Balandra, a pleasant 45 minutes. On the way there are two separate resorts that appear to be new, one built around a marina, the other centred on a golf complex. The big money is already here including one large super-yacht that would have caught everyone's attention in St Tropez.

    Playa Balandra was totally different, a rough parking area, 2 or 3 food trucks, a small toilet block and maybe 10 fixed beach umbrellas, and that was it. The bus drops us off at a sweeping bay, very shallow clear water, lots of sand, all sheltered by the hills either side of the inlet.

    Rosie wants to walk the bay, she wants to walk in the Sea of Cortez. I'm interested in the Saguaro cacti growing wild on the hillside just before the beach, we both get to do what we want.


    2-s67246a.jpg


    Standing at the top of the beach

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    This is what there is at this beach, not much but quiet and relaxing

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    A nest of tiny Saguaro, maybe 2-3 inches tall. One day they will turn into...

    5-s67228a.jpg


    This

    6-s67225a.jpg


    In the bus back we talk eye, now vision is similar to looking through a dirty window but hardly anything moving around. Rosie is still believing her eye will return to normal, wants to wait until the following morning to see what a night's sleep will do. Rosie had an eye problem about 30 years before, not the same but some similarities. At the time the diagnosis was it would eventually pass, her decision was to wait and see. My thoughts were, at the moment we were only 4 hours from 2 international airports to get to one of a number of major cities, Guerrero Negro was a pretty remote place about halfway up Baja and a long way from instant help, but it was her eye.

    The return bus route was via Playa el Tecolote from where we could see the islands we had hoped to visit, next time. Out at the point it was also possible to understand that the sea was quite choppy, it wouldn't have been a comfortable trip if we had been allowed to travel.

    Back to the supermarket, a bag of supplies then back to the promenade via the street market. Walk up to the hat seller and give him the hat back and explain that it had served it's purpose and if he could sell a nearly new hat then he was welcome to do so, I didn't want any money back. This caused a lot of confusion although he spoke good English, then his father came over looking worried so I explained again, father spoke even better English and understood the words but not the actions.
    I couldn't explain that I loved the hat but wearing it around the place I had nearly taken Rosie's good eye out with the wide brim ~ twice. It or me was a liability and better that they got something out of it, than I threw it away. It had shaded me for several hours so I was happy and it wasn't a lot of money.

    Next was a treat for Rosie, an Italian ice cream in an Italian ice cream parlour. The ice cream and the parlour were perfect, the view though the window wasn't too bad either.

    7-s67269a.jpg


    Another stroll, then another delicious meal and back to the hotel for our bags. Here's the last we saw of La Paz waterfront...

    8-s67271a.jpg


    Arrived at the bus station about 45 minutes ahead of departure, we had booked numbered seats too so no rush to board. Rosie says her eye is slightly better, I guess not by a lot though.

    Nice bus, comfortable seats with good leg room and leg rests, looking forward to this long bus journey. As soon as we left La Paz at 9pm everything outside the window was black. Going through our minds were the advisories from the US government site re bus and road travel in Mexico, not advised at night. To be fair this was not a high alert zone, the red zone was south of Tijuana.

    This long distance bus wasn't like a Greyhound where there is always an amount of chatter much of the time, the all Mexican (except us) passengers were a quiet bunch, but that may be the large TVs showing a movie? Have to write it wasn't inspiring when the bus would occasionally stop without warning apparently nowhere. Couldn't see anything from the bus headlights through the front screen as the whole of the front of the bus was shut off from the passengers. The only outside vision was through side windows.
    There is obviously a lot of work happening improving this main road from north to south Baja as we spent quite long periods on what felt like tracks, some of them very rough. We decided we were having an adventure where ever we turned up in the morning, I'm hoping that Rosie is ok tomorrow.


    To be continued...
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  6. Jun 26, 2019 #306

    anumberone

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    Feel bad for Rosie, she sounds like a real trooper. Too bad the trip is overnight, waiting to see where you are when you wake. I think those small cactus were actually choia, they are really mean If you tangle with one.
    Your whole trip has been full of suspense.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2019 #307

    v v

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    Yes, most women are pretty stoic when not well and Rosie is a good example, I'm a lucky man. Not sure that I could be as calm in her situation but she is also driven by wanting to see a whale with calf up close when we get to GN, we've come a long way and a long way round to get here.

    You are probably right about the cactus, thanks. They were at the base of that giant Saguaro and I put 2+2 together and got Saguaro. Note to self, do more research.

    Hope to finish this section of the journey by this evening but we have 40°C + today (104°F) and it slows us down a bit. Tomorrow supposedly even hotter...
     
  8. Jun 26, 2019 #308

    Bob Dylan

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    As the Flat Earth types like to say," What Climate Change?":rolleyes::(
     
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  9. Jun 26, 2019 #309

    oregon pioneer

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    What a beautiful place! Thank you for letting us travel via your descriptions and photos.
    So glad we know it all turned out OK, or I would be really worried for Rosie.
     
  10. Jun 26, 2019 #310

    caravanman

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    All this scenery is great, but where is the photo of you sporting your giant hat? :D

    Ed.
     
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  11. Jun 26, 2019 #311

    v v

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    That doesn't exist, but just for you have found a similar one

    mexican work hat.png
    The brim was wider and turned down more. It was so turned down that it wasn't possible to push it back to be able to look under the brim as the brim then hits your shoulders. I think it was designed only for looking down, not straight ahead! Great sun shade though.
     
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  12. Jun 27, 2019 #312

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    Friday 18 January Day 36 - Guerrero Negro, Baja

    Posted France ~ Thursday 27 June 2019


    Woke in a service area with thick fog, that wasn't expected. Moved off almost immediately and as it becomes lighter the fog thins, there are giant cacti both sides of the road, a forest of them. A little later it looked like this, reminded me of Morocco to the north of the Atlas mountains, stony desert. Sorry about the photo quality.

    1-n12072a.jpg


    Now it's light it's bad news for Rosie's eye, just about the same as yesterday evening, no improvement. Once we arrive we'll make a phone call to our optician, if we are in time as it's late Friday afternoon already back in the UK.
    Arrive in Guerrero Negro at the small bus station, feel as though we have arrived in the wild west with a few modern touches.

    s67278a.jpg


    It's a short walk to the hotel we have chosen, couple of minutes at the most. Walk through the entrance and see people in what looks from a distance like an office. Walk in and try to book a room but we are in the laundry, we all laugh. We're directed to the reception where we find the first Mexican we've met who didn't smile, this girl needs something to make her happy. On the other hand she was quite ok with us booking a room at 8:30am for immediate use, we appreciated that.

    The town didn't look very busy, another signal that we have arrived in Baja in the low season. Here's a photo of the area in front of the rooms, no one and no cars, we may have been the only guests? The car at the end was for someone in the laundry.

    s67284a.jpg


    At last we have a phone signal, thank goodness. Rosie phones the optician, if it had been 10 minutes later and he would have been gone for the weekend. The news was mixed, 3 options in his opinion making a diagnosis from 6000 miles away, get a specialist opinion asap in preference within 5-7 days. If it were the worst case scenario as the consequence of leaving it longer was an increased chance of losing sight in the eye.

    Make full use of the good wifi, the only option to move on was a bus that night at 11pm to Tijuana. We return to the bus station and find we can book 2 seats on the ABC luxury bus for that evening, that's a relief as we had to get on it and would have asked to stand if it had been full. Now we know we will arrive in Tijuana Central Bus Station tomorrow around 9am, from there I had already researched the journey back to LA via the PedWest border crossing as that had always been one of our possible routes back into the US.

    On our way out of the hotel we had noticed a café by the entrance, thought we would try to find breakfast there. Everything was good about that café, it appeared to serve as the town's meeting place too. Food and drink were good and the usual smiling friendly people.

    Now the real work began, we had all day to work out a plan for getting Rosie to a specialist eye hospital. Lots of research gave Rosie a few more answers to possible causes, best outcome would be the jelly attached to the retina has detached. The worst was a detached retina or a torn retina, only a specialist clinic could give a full diagnosis and offer treatment. One downside of treatment in the US was if the retina had to be re-attached that flying was not allowed for up to 6 months, this would make life very difficult.

    Checked out flights back to London, surprisingly difficult to arrange at very short notice. We expected to get back to Milton's in northern LA early Saturday evening, flying out on Sunday morning was close to impossible. Found an Aeroflot flight out on Monday via a layover in Moscow, would get us to London Tuesday late afternoon, that would 5 days after the first effects of the eye problem.

    Contacted Milton that he would see us sooner than anticipated, that we intended to get X train from San Diego and would arrive at about this time, all ok there. Next was more difficult in more ways than one, it involved Bob Dylan.

    Jim had contacted us about my coat left in the trunk of his car, he had a solution. He would book a coach ticket on the Texas Eagle from Austin, on the one we would be headed to New York on. Meet in the sight seeing lounge, spend a morning together and hand the coat over. We would have a chance to meet and talk while we were fit and well! He would then get off the train at Temple TX , have lunch in one of his favourite diner's, then get the late afternoon train back to Austin. That man is just amazing, not only inventive but very kind too.

    But now we had to cancel this too. If we remained in LA for treatment we would not catch that train, if we flew to London we would not catch that train so no meeting with Jim. Understanding and sympathetic as usual, how good is it to have a friend like Bob Dylan.

    We had not gotten so much sleep on last night's bus, maybe worrying a little and the unknown stops that didn't follow any pattern, so we decided to have a couple of hours sleep around lunch time, Rosie was exhausted.

    Afternoon, sat in the café talking about the reason we had arrived in GN, we could see the whale lagoon across the flatlands surrounding the town, it was only about 5 miles away, so near and yet so far. Walked around the town, this is a place that has an amazing resource on it's doorstep and hadn't quite worked out how to use it to it's advantage, but it was getting there.

    It still is a simple small town in a very remote location, dusty, dry and basic. If we had been staying to view whales it would have been ok for a couple of days as it had everything needed to be comfortable, but there was no apparent center to the town apart from where we were. Here is a photo of our hotel 'El Morro' with the neighbouring café 'El Pelicano' seen to the right of the photo.

    s67282a.jpg


    This is downtown

    s67281a.jpg


    We spend the rest of the day and evening walking, resting and a last visit to the café. Settle our one night (day) bill at the hotel and make sure we are at the bus station early. There is a sense of urgency to our travels now, the clock is ticking.
    Board the bus, it's full, aren't we lucky to have managed to book seats. These seats are even more comfortable than last night, we get a good nights sleep. Feeling more comfortable in Baja now, know there are possible dangers but it doesn't play on our minds. We take sensible precautions, stay aware, trust our instincts and think what will be will be.

    To be continued...
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  13. Jun 27, 2019 #313

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    Saturday 19 January Day 37 - Guerrero Negro, Mexico to Los Angeles, USA

    Posted France ~ Thursday 27 June 2019


    The ABC bus leaves Guerrero Negro promptly on Friday evening at 11pm, even though the reason for this journey isn't desirable it still feels like an adventure to both of us. We fall asleep easily, there is a blackness outside the bus windows that can only be found in wilderness places these days.

    This bus heading north has a few more stops than the previous one, the towns are larger and better lit. Once we reach El Rosario we more or less follow the coast road, but still too dark to see anything. At Ensenada which is a city at least the size of La Paz as seen from a bus window, it's light and our dislike for the partition behind the driver is increased, not used to not being able to see out of the front windscreen, here's the ABC version of the partition

    1-s67285a.jpg


    From Ensenada to Tijuana the road runs close along the coast, similar to some of California USA in places, very beautiful in parts as the US version. The big difference for us is we have never seen the Californian sea state so rough, or even very rough, huge waves are rolling in and breaking on the shore. We are sitting bus right heading north, the opposite side to the shore line so no photos I'm sorry to write, but very dramatic in places.

    We arrive around 9am at the Tijuana Central Bus Station, we know it's Tijuana as the bus doesn't go any further, there are no announcements. This is possibly the largest bus station we have ever been in, it's huge, clean and works.

    2-s67287a.jpg


    We take the opportunity to freshen up before finding the kiosk near the taxi stand where we book and pay for the taxi to PedWest. This bus station is a few miles from downtown, the border is on the northern side of downtown and a taxi is cheap and easy.
    The kiosk works so well, a driver is called over, given a ticket with our destination and fare already paid on it then leads us to his car. Once loaded I sit next to the driver, I want to see it all, heard so much about Tijuana and this border I want to take it all in. Certainly even at the bus station the place feels like it has it's own energy, we are both really enjoying this part of the journey. I want to confirm with the driver that we are going to PedWest but get a shrug. The driver does smile, but is fairly elderly (I'm allowed to write this as I can't be called young either) and not so spritely to the extent that I load our bags in deference to his age.
    After another couple of attempts of asking where we are going I go to get out to ask at the kiosk, he pulls me back in, I try again but he says it's ok that we will be going to the USA. Well we do like an adventure and this is the official taxi service so why not.

    Tijuana looks like it's reputation, a lot going on in an atmosphere of it's own. It's busy, lots of building works, lots of people of all types, and colourful. About 10 or 15 minutes later after a commentary from the driver in Spanish we pull up. We have driven north through downtown that's obvious, what isn't obvious is where is PedWest. We stand on the edge of a modern plaza with our bags, and still can't see an obvious entry to the pedestrian bridge over the border. The driver takes my arm and points into the corner of the plaza, "United States", it's well hidden. I tip the driver as not only did he drive very well in city traffic he was friendly and knew exactly where we had to go, so much for my ageism. He wants to shake our hands before leaving, a good ol boy.
    The atmosphere at this entrance/exit is lively, maybe because it's Saturday morning, interesting all the same

    We walk a little to find the entrance to the fenced walkway to the overpass, then we've got it, it's been a long while since we have walked across a border.

    n12073a.jpg


    There's the sign, not so easily seen from 150 yards away

    n12074a.jpg


    Up the zig zags, a long walk through a glass sided tunnel and then a spiral footpath down to a heavily built full height turnstile, with two bags I get jammed in the turnstile... and get shouted at by a US border officer to get a move on.
    Rosie thinks this is funny, this makes the two border guards less than happy.
    They ask for something and I don't understand, it turns out to be our passports but they don't use the word passport, more barking than shouting but still loud. I catch a sight of Mexicans behind us who look terrified, I think it's an intimidation act deliberately used to make us compliant but then I'm not a Mexican so maybe can afford to be more relaxed.

    Walk through to the immigration hall, short queue, which was very surprising, from the overpass we saw the long long lines for vehicles to cross the border and knew it was often a 2 or 3 hour wait to cross.

    A pleasant border officer takes our passports, just a couple of questions where and how long do we stay in the US, and that's it apart from a smile and "have a pleasant visit to the US". Just a few yards outside the immigration hall there are bus stops, this is to take us round to the bus and tram/trolley stations to get a ride into San Diego.

    Short wait, bus takes 3 or 4 minutes arrive at the San Ysidro International Border station, this is so slick. $ 1.25 each for a ticket by tram into downtown San Diego, unbelievable value as it's about 18-20 miles. Even better it's the Blue Line tram which terminates opposite the Amtrak San Diego Santo Fe Deport station, the start of the Pacific Surfliner route.

    Enjoyed the tram a lot, don't often get to ride them but wish there were more around the world. 60 seconds after leaving the tram we were at the ticket office in the Amtrak Station queuing to buy our Surfliner tickets for Chatsworth. Decided to treat ourselves by travelling in Business Class, an extra $ 30 for a beautiful ride up the southern Californian coast in great comfort, we felt we had earned it.

    Typical view of San Diego Santa Fe Depot, it really feels part of the city around it, so open on all sides

    n12075a.jpg


    A beautiful Saturday with people all the way up the coast out walking and playing on the beach, it looked idyllic. The Pacific Surfliner is definitely one of our favourite trains, it connects so many varied parts of California from end to end.

    We love Amtrak

    n12079a.jpg


    Bless him, Milton is at the station waiting for us, he is very concerned about Rosie as they are great buddies. It's now Saturday evening and we are back at his condo, we explain we need to make definite arrangements now and question him on local hospitals and eye clinics. On the way to Chatsworth we speak about an eye problem Rosie had had 30 years earlier, not connected (we think) but it was a major eye problem. Would this negate our travel insurance as it could be termed an 'existing condition' ? Add to which if Rosie has to have treatment she may not be able to fly for a long long while, how to get back to Europe except by ship.

    Rosie and I have a great deal of regard for the London eye hospital, Moorfields. We are not saying they are the best in the world but they have a fabulous reputation in the UK. We each have a cousin who has had serious eye problems that local hospitals couldn't treat properly, they both had successful treatment at Moorfields. Rosie actually took her cousin to Moorfields A&E (accident and emergency) and stayed with her there over a day and night. Quite simply Rosie heavily preferred to return to London to have treatment close to home and a place she and I have great faith in, of course the reasons below only added to that decision.

    Milton provided the answer, he mentioned that only emergency departments usually worked on Sunday's, and Monday was a public holiday Martin Luther King Day so it may be Tuesday morning before Rosie got to see the right person. I had seen taking the time difference into account that we could be in London an hour or 3 before the LA hospitals opened, it would solve two potential problems at once. Now I had a mission, book us the first available plane out...

    So that was the end of our London to Baja California, we had achieved what is written in the title. Not exactly how we wanted it to be but other things made up for minor disappointments. Rosie had the best of the 3 possible outcomes for her eye and can now see normally, so normally in fact that we are already planning a very very long distance trip to places we have never been.

    I'll add a small technical footnote later as to how we returned to London etc and sorry it's taken so long to write this down, but living in two countries that are splitting up (Brexit) is taking a lot of energy from us to re-arrange our lives.

    We both hope most got something from this journey, our big plus was to reinforce that people matter more than anything else.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
  14. Jun 27, 2019 #314

    caravanman

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    Your humanity and open minded approach to your fellow man shines through in every post. Well done you!
    Glad to know that Rosie has had no after effects, and I look forward to hearing about your next adventure...

    Ed.
     
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  15. Jun 27, 2019 #315

    oregon pioneer

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    Thank you so much for writing this all down. What a wonderful trip, up to the point where it had to be cut-short. I am looking forward to the final footnote. So glad the outcome was positive for Rosie. I know that Brexit is affecting you negatively, though, and I would love your thoughts on that. I am sure that is a topic for a separate thread in the AU Lounge. I do hope someone will start it, so we can hear how it is personally affecting AU members who live and/or travel in the UK and EU.
     
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  16. Jun 28, 2019 #316

    Bob Dylan

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    Well Done Sir!

    Hoping to see ya'll again on the Avenue when your health is good and the Political Mess in our two Homelands is History!

    Like Jennifer and Eddie and lots of AUers, I look forward to you two's next Great Adventure!

    Have a Great Summer my Friends!
     
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  17. Jun 28, 2019 #317

    anumberone

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    So sorry for Rosie and her eye difficulties, glad to hear they are cleared up as best as possible and she raring to travel again. Like everywhere on your trip, you captured Baja. Even the darkness of night is one of the things that make the place unique. Too bad you missed out on the whales, I'm sure it would have made those bus rides more enjoyable. Strange thing about Baja, things don't always go as planned, you seemed to take it all in stride.
    I really enjoyed your journey.
     
  18. Jun 29, 2019 #318

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    Thanks to everyone for their encouragement, we both really appreciate it.

    Written this before, but worth repeating. We have had endless help, advice and ideas from this forum, this is a simple thank you to the whole forum but in particular to those who chivvy me along when I start to flag.


    Ed, the next adventure should be different to recent years, I'll post a rough outline when the plans are a little firmer. To be included the city voted this year as the best place to live in the world. Then a city that changed it's name dramatically. A section of one of the Silk Roads, and with a little luck a drive across a not often seen Chinese desert. The end point isn't decided and maybe not even thought of as yet? but we are enthused even though the idea is still part dream, part reality.

    Jennifer, feelings re Brexit are very intense in the UK, it's splitting the country in ways that I have never seen. It's possibly better to keep away from it as it drags out such passions and anger from usually reasonable people.

    Jim, if we leave it as long as it takes to find solutions to current problems we will never meet again, we'll have to make arrangements to meet in a Honky Tonk in Buenos Aires or somewhere within a couple of years instead.

    Mr anumberone, very pleased to have reminded you of some of your own Baja adventures, pleased to be of service. Have just read you are missing out on your Europe vacation, sorry to hear that as I know you were looking forwards to it.
    You mentioned HS rail elsewhere on the forum, may I give you a personal recommendation. Have ridden on 5 HSR systems so far, the most exciting was end to end of the island of Taiwan, worth a spontaneous mini holiday to ride that train alone, you certainly realise just how fast you are travelling.

    Some of the European HSR are ultra smooth, my view is that takes away from the experience a little as you feel like you are gliding on ice, more than travelling very fast.
     
  19. Jun 29, 2019 #319

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    Saturday 19 to Tuesday 22 January Days 37 to 40 ~ Los Angeles to London

    Posted France ~ Saturday 29 June 2019


    Saturday evening, only one thing on our minds is to book a flight to London. The original Aeroflot tickets I'd seen were no longer available, now the first was flight was Tuesday 22 to arrive London on Wednesday 23rd at 21:05. A day later than we wanted and also the evening too (although Moorfields A&E will be staffed 24 hours). We had made the decision to return for treatment, this was our overall best option so we've booked it. It would be 6 days from the start before Rosie gets to a hospital but the best we could do.
    One advantage was Rosie would have 2 days to rest and just sit with her eyes closed in Milton's comfy apartment, no bad thing.

    I tend not to give up on things though and sat up half the night studying all forms of flight offers, LA and London have so many flights there must be something earlier. Around 3am on Sunday morning a ticket offer appears, Norwegian LAX to LON direct leaving on Monday 21st at 18:10 and the best of it, arriving on Tuesday 22nd at 12:25 mid-day, nearly 30 hours earlier than Aeroflot.
    We hadn't heard wonderful things about Norwegian so in the past avoided using them, but 30 hours earlier makes any mild personal discomfort immaterial. I book another pair of tickets knowing full well that the Aeroflot tickets are non refundable.

    We are now proud owners of 3 sets of tickets to London, the originals from NYC, those via Moscow and now the latest, but Rosie is worth it.

    We did receive minor refunds on the TAP Air Portugal and Aeroflot tickets, better than nothing at all. Had to start the procedure to try to get a refund or credit from Amtrak as we were ticketed through from LA to NYC via Washington. This was the one part of our original journey we were most looking forward to as we have never ridden the Texas Eagle or visited Normal IL, and were to visit the DC Capitol plus the African American museum. Still, needs must, there may be another time?
    Amtrak did us proud. Due to the circumstances and a letter from the hospital consultant they gave us a full refund on all our outstanding train tickets, thank you Amtrak.

    Apart from taking Milton and his friend Norma out to dinner we just started on the refund procedures and rested up till we left. It all felt a bit sad as each time we leave we really don't know if we are ever returning to the US because stuff happens in life as we had just experienced, so who knows.

    Monday we are ready to go ahead of time, try to persuade Milton to come visit us one day but he's no longer keen to leave the US so it is unlikely. He runs us down to the Van Nuys 'Flyaway' bus station, then 40 minutes or so into LAX airport. Milton looks sad and forlorn, we try to give him big smiles but it's difficult, we have to go.

    All the normal stuff at the airport, we are flying on 787 Dreamliner, we think one of the more comfortable planes even in economy. As we board we can't believe how many empty seats there are, we have our 3 seat row to ourselves and there are many others with no passengers, why weren't the seat prices reduced to just sell them?
    Food was very poor, the space and comfort very good and Rosie had 2 seats to spread out on, can't ask for more at such short notice.

    Arrive on-time at London Gatwick, usual airport procedures which I'm not a fan of, then Gatwick Express train to Victoria. A few transfers on the tube and we are at Old Street station, only just over 1 1/2 hours after landing. A 300 yards walk to Moorfields eye hospital, find the A&E entrance and interviewed within just a few minutes.
    4 hours later Rosie has seen two specialists and we are leaving, with a third confirmatory appointment for the following morning at 10am. Rosie had an age related, detached jelly which haemorrhaged and can tear the retina, but fortunately in Rosie's case didn't and left no damage to the retina, she had got away with it.
    We were both so happy travelling from central London back to Essex, don't think we had realised how much anxiety it had caused even if only in the sub-conscious.

    Back to Brentwood and Rosie's cousin made a lovely cup of tea, we're back.

    Footnote to this note:
    A couple of weeks ago Milton tried to persuade us to visit him at his small farm in upper New York state near to Syracuse NY. He mentioned a number of local, family and state events are happening around a certain weekend towards the end of August.
    He knew we had promised each other we are not travelling far this year if at all except for business, which we are in the process of closing earlier than planned due to Brexit. We have created a plan and a deadline which we must keep to.
    He piled on the inducements to be at or close to his farm but we held firm... for 3 days then we booked a return flight to NYC. Boy are we weak when it comes to travel, and the chance to travel on more Amtrak trains.

    Milton was involved in NASA and defence rocketry during his working life and is still a keen observer. Every year the local rocket club use his farm to launch home made rockets about 5 times each year. The big event this year is on Saturday 24 August including IF finished in time a very large local workshop built rocket. If there are people reading this who live fairly close by who are interested and would like to attend then please contact me, I'm sure it's possible to get an invite or two no problem, there's lots of space around the launch area.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  20. Jun 30, 2019 #320

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    17,980
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    Wonderful about Rosie, and Fantastic that yall get to return to the US to visit in Upper State New York with your California Friend. Keep us Posted!

    " We'll meet again Someday on the Avenue.." Bob Dylan/ Tangled Up in Blue
     
    oregon pioneer and caravanman like this.

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