Well the best plans can go wrong and such was the case with our freighter experience. Our early to mid May departure from Port Everglades turned into a June 20th departure. The load on process took a couple of days. While we were not the last boat loaded on the Chipolbrok Moon we were the last boat of day one. That meant we did not get to see the actual lift as the tender driver was done after a 13 hour day and wanted to get home. The last photo is below. We had to hope that she would make it on safely. Daylight was waning when the tender pulled away and the freighters crew were tired.
We left Fort Lauderdale the next day and began our drive to Seattle. We made numerous stops along the way. The trip took twenty five days and is shown in the photos below. Our drive took us across Florida and the panhandle and continued on to New Orleans. There we visited with Cath’s niece and her two young children. We stopped in Austin and stayed at the new Fairmont Hotel. A beautiful place as you would expect from a Fairmont. We really enjoyed the LBJ Presidential Library. Heading west across Texas included suffering thru the heat and ugliness of the Permian Basin in Texas. New Mexico and Arizona were filled with sightseeing and hiking.
We had the fortune of staying at the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Our friend Bob recommended it at the last minute and we managed to score the last room they had. It is a classic hotel built in 1905 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. We loved it.
While hiking the Bright Angel Trail we even witnessed a Grand Canyon ranger rappelling down to a badly injured hiker. A half hour later as we were ascending a medi-vac helicopter came in for the rescue.
Our last stop in Arizona would be on July 4th. We chose Lake Havasu and what a wild choice it was. The day was hot, well over 100, and sunny and the lake was busy. Lake Havasu City was nuts. You can’t describe the “Americana” scene that unfolded in front of us. The pictures provide a small sampling.
We crossed the bottom of the Mojave Desert and made our way to California’s Highway 1. Our overnight stops along the coast included Santa Barbara, Cambria, Monterey, Napa, and Mendocino. The weather was perfect for the entire Highway 1 drive. We visited Hearst Castle of course. We detoured off of Highway 1 for a quick trip to Napa to catch up with our friends Marc and Judy.
Continuing up the coast thru Redwood National Park we left California at the top of Pacific Coast Ranges and spent a night in Grants Pass, Oregon. We detoured to Bend, Oregon to show Cath where I had skied last winter with my friend Pete. On July 14th we parked our car at a SeaTac airport hotel and took the shuttle to catch a flight east to Rutland, Vermont. We had four days to regroup and pack before we took off for three weeks in Sweden, Norway and Iceland.