Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Time for some more blog.

One or two people (thanks Mark H), have suggested that I should try updating this thing. Since my last post, when I was about to leave Boston, I have been to Cleveland, where I stayed with Richard and Carolyn Butterfield. While there, I bought the vehicle I had planned to buy, though it was not without much trial and frustration. The actual purchase went OK, but I went through any number of hoops and bureaucratic flim-flam in order to get the thing registered. I even sat and passed an Ohio State driving test, only to then find that they wouldn't give me the licence because I didn't have the correct category of visa ! This threatened to kibosh the whole enterprise, but a friend of a friend of Richard, suggested that I ask the dealer who sold me the car to get the registration completed on my behalf, using my Social Security Number - mission accomplished. Quite why the dealer couldn't have suggested doing that for me in the first place, I don't know. Anyway, after a week and a day, my GMC Yukon and I were legal.
Next day, Richard and Carolyn went South and I went West. Michigan was the first destination, and was found to be cold and wet. Northwards through the Upper Peninsula was next, closely followed by South Western Ontario, Manitoulin Island, the Algonquin Natl Park and then Southern Ontario. Cousin Alan was next to put a roof over my head, in a tiny place called Lyn which is very near the St Lawrence River and the US border. After 4 or 5 days there, it was time to move on, and I headed north east towards Montreal and then Quebec. More miserable cold and wet weather was withstood, before my travels were thwarted by a non-functioning ferry - about turn and run for the border.
I crossed over into the USA last Friday, and was greeted by the most torrential rain I have ever seen. However, it has warmed up and dried out since then, and I am currently sitting in my little tent in a site near Bangor in Maine. Camping has been a mixed experience, with many cold, wet mornings and only a few bright, dry days so far. A wet tent is a miserable thing, even more so when you have to put it back up still wet from the night before. Most sites have been pretty good, with showers and ablutions of similar standard, but the Natl Park sites have been more enjoyable, despite (or perhaps because of) their lack of high quality facilities. Thunder and lightning is an interesting experience in a small tent, esp at 3 in the morning !
The car is a big lump of a thing, but loveable despite that. It has 4 wheel drive, a huge 5.3 litre engine, automatic transmission and (most importantly) air conditioning. It has also had a couple of hiccups - the interior ventilation fan was unwilling to work, and soon gave up altogether, fixed by replacing the switch and connector; the starter motor gave up one morning and was replaced; the brakes had to be renewed when it was serviced; and the engine cut out when doing 60 on a motorway - had to be rescued by a tow truck - and that was fixed by sorting out a short circuit. This truck is clearly not without it's issues, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and speaking nicely to it. Seems to be working so far.
Next direction is basically southwards, gradually following the line of the Appallachians down towards Virginia and Georgia.
Look out for my next nail-biting instalment !!
Love to all

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