Archive for May, 2011

I’m bored of getting up early. I’m tired. But, nonetheless, I was out of bed and into the shower when my alarm went off at 7.30am. I know that isn’t really all that early, but when you are sightseeing and driving and stuff it starts to take its toll. After breakfast and repacking the car, we were on the road at about 9.30am. As Liz started driving, I phoned Boston Alamo to assure them that we were still alive and that we had not absconded with their car. They were remarkably blasé about the whole thing, I thought it was IMPERATIVE that we check in on a certain day – at least, that is what they have had us believe for the last 5 months! Anyway, after about an hour on the road Liz asks me if we can stop in Wallace for a photo, and explains that there is a book by Danny Wallace about a town called Wallace which is the centre of the universe and that she would like a picture of herself under the sign, even though she has no idea if it is the right Wallace. I had no problem with this, and, pulling off the motorway we stopped at a small rest stop, which, among other things had a sign welcoming us to Wallace. Once we had taken photos, including one awesome one of Liz mid-jump under the sign, we decided to return to the motorway via the 2 mile historic drive through Wallace. Driving into the town, it suddenly dawns upon Lizzie that this is THE Wallace that is the Centre of the Universe, marked by a drain cover in the middle of a four way intersection in the middle of town. Rather than just take photos and carry on, we decided that we definitely had time in our schedule for a wander around town. We visited a couple of shops and chatted with the owners, who, like in many small towns that we have visited were fascinated by our accents and our roadtrip.

Me in Wallace

After each buying a few things we waited for a break in the (very sparse) traffic to run into the middle of the road to take pictures of the drain cover, quickly moving out of the way as more cars approached.

The Centre of the Universe

Back at the car we each spotted things we liked the look of in the shop we had parked outside and headed in. The shop was amazing and I could have spent a lot more money than I did, both on myself and others. The shopkeeper was really helpful and even told us that if we wanted to take pictures of the drain cover to just walk out into the road and that people would either stop or drive around us, apparently that is just how it works in Wallace. She also told us that a couple had got married there not long ago and the traffic had just driven around them. About 30-40 minutes later, with much lighter wallets we headed back out to the car to continue our epic drive. This epic drive went on for hours, with stops to switch over and to buy supplies for the next couple of nights since where we are staying is quite far from the nearest supermarket. We arrived at the Sawanee Mountain Resort at about 8.20pm, having been screwed over somewhat by moving from Pacific Time to Mountain Time and losing an hour… there goes our evening of blogging. Liz braved cleaning the old milk out of the cool box while I cooked us dinner in the microwave. It worked very well and was actually a reasonable meal, but I am SO looking forward to being able to cook in a kitchen when I get home, rather than sitting cross legged in front of a microwave chopping vegetables in a Tupperware box. We spent the rest of the evening taking turns on the laptop before bed, looking forward to a bit of a lie in before exploring Yellowstone National Park tomorrow.


Back to the USA

After packing up our stuff and the car, we waved goodbye to the House of Weed and headed north towards Buntzen Lake and our final Supernatural filming location before heading back into the USA. The lake was beautiful, and although it was cloudy, it was good for atmospheric Supernatural like photos.

Buntzen Lake (as seen in "Dead in the Water")

Unfortunately the north end of the lake (where they actually filmed) was closed due to flooding, so we only got to see the south side. After a short wander and some pictures we got back in the car to find an Alamo to check in with, since we were already a day late with check in. After an hour of driving we found ourselves in central Vancouver, next to an empty office that had once been an Alamo. The next location we tried did not even have any evidence that it had ever been an Alamo… fail. With our phones not working, we had no choice but to carry on and phone through toBostononce we got back into the US later. It took a further 45 minutes to get out of Vancouver and we were both frustrated with all the time that we had wasted for nothing. Once we had left the city behind, the drive to the border was not too bad and the wait not as long as the signs had suggested. Picking the fastest moving queue, we got to the front quite speedily, hoping that we were not going to have any problems getting back into the US. It was surprisingly easy, and after examining our visas and passports and asking a couple of questions about our trip, he waved us on, after asking whether we knew where Maidenhead was, because he was born there. The rest of the day was spent driving through vastly changeable scenery, at one point I fell asleep in the mountains and woke up in farmland, which was very bizarre. We arrived at the Apple Tree Inn in Spokane just after sunset, and after hauling all our stuff inside, settled down for a quiet evening with a dinner of microwaved cous cous and brie.

After our intense planning session of the night before, this morning was the time to scale back a little on our plans for the day, realistically we were not going to get to over 20 filming locations in Vancouver and the surrounding cities. After reducing our locations to a more manageable number, we arranged them into a sensible order and wrote them all down before setting off. (See? Organised stalking.) Our first location was a Denny’s where they had filmed an episode, it seemed a good starting point since we could take pictures of the location, but have breakfast at the same time. During breakfast we used the free wi-fi to find screen shots for the various places that we were visiting and spent quite a while trying to work out exactly which table they had filmed at. Once we thought we had it worked out we willed the people sitting there to leave before us, which they did, and Lizzie ran over to take a picture. Back on the road, we drove through some stressful Sunday traffic to our next location; StanleyPark. It was really busy, being a sunny Sunday, and free parking was not forthcoming. In the end I waited in the car while Lizzie went to take the pictures, I haven’t seen that particular episode yet so it was ok. Our next location was also a case of staying in the car; the apartment building where the demons kept Sam and Dean’s dad in the first season. Luckily, there was a place to pull in right outside and Lizzie took pictures. We then went on to Spartacus Books, an independent bookstore featured in one of the episodes that I haven’t seen yet. It was a very good book shop though and I had to exercise huge amounts of self control not to break my no more books rule. Lizzie has no such rule for herself and left with an armful of books. Our next location was perhaps the most exciting; the house used as the boys home in Lawrence, Kansas. Unfortunately it was actually someone’s house and he was sitting in his front garden, this was going to be awkward. We parked the car and walked up and down the street trying to find the other house used for filming on that street but to no avail, I later spotted that it was actually the same house with a different door. The man then went inside, but we couldn’t take a picture without asking in case he caught us, so we went back to the car.

Sam and Dean's house in Lawrence, Kansas

When driving away, he came back out, so Liz pulled over and I got out. Walking up to his house I asked him if he would mind us taking a couple of photos and explained why. He looked slightly bewildered at first, but I get the impression that we are not the first, and he very kindly moved to one side so we could get good pictures. Thanking him profusely we got back into the car and drove on. Our next stop was George’s Greek Taverna in Richmond, which can be seen in the background in a few important scenes, this in itself is a huge continuity error though, since these scenes are meant to be in different places. Arriving in Richmond we came across a nice looking area called Fisherman’s Wharf with lots of shops and restaurants. Although neither of us were hungry, we decided to stop for a drink to enjoy the sunshine and the atmosphere before continuing on. Liz had a beer and I had a mocktail before we went off in search of George’s Greek Taverna. It was easy to find and we recreated some of the shots from one episode and just took pictures at the crossroads where Dean got hit by a car, not wishing to recreate that.

Me being dead Jess.

Our next stop was a little difficult to find, two roads that have been used in various episodes, but most importantly as the Crossroads in “Crossroad Blues”. (We visited the actual crossroads that these are based on when we were in Mississippi. Right next to the airport we soon discovered that these roads were not open to vehicles, but we found somewhere to pull in and headed down the road towards the crossroads, passing several dog walkers along the way. Once at the crossroads we posed for various silly photos and pretended to dig a hole at the centre point, all the while listening to Robert Johnson’s Crossroad Blues on the iPhone.

Standing at the crossroads

Once we had finished taking pictures, one passerby said that it looked like we were trying to direct planes, Lizzie collected some crossroad dirt and we headed back to the car. Back at the car we realised that our next location was only a block or two on from the crossroads, but time was ticking on and we couldn’t be bothered to go back, so we skipped it. Our next stop was easily recognisable once we found it, the Hookman bridge from “Hook Man” in season 1. It was a short walk along the road, but since it is not on a main road or in a populated area, it looked exactly as it does in the episode, minus the creepy hookman of course.

Hook Man Bridge

Several photos and silly videos later we continued on to our penultimate location of the day. The Riverview Mental Hospital has been used in SO many episodes that we had both assumed that it was no longer an operational medical facility, but it is. As we drove into the vast grounds we passed a sign forbidding any photography, and we realised that it was operational we both felt rather awkward being there, so we just drove through and out the other side, although we did spot some familiar buildings on the way. Our final location was not selected because of a particular episode, but because there is a blooper of sorts available online of one of the actors singing Eye of the Tiger and doing various silly dance moves, one of which is sitting on top of a car and using his leg as a guitar. Naturally this needed to be recreated, but there was no chance that I was climbing onto the roof of the car, so it was down to Liz, who did a very good job.

Eye of the Tiger

Time had caught up with us somewhat and it was a 40 minute drive to where Liz was meeting Catherine and then I had to carry on to meet Sam and Gill (people I worked with in Admissions last year) for dinner. I dropped Liz off at The Local and then drove back towards Sam and Gill’s hotel. On street parking was extortionate so I parked at their hotel, which was a bit of a nightmare, since you have to take the hotel elevator to get out, but they don’t tell you that! We went to a lovely little tapas restaurant for dinner just a few blocks walk from the hotel. Our eyes were rather bigger than our stomachs and in the end we were glad that our waitress stopped us mid order or we would have ended up with far more food than we could eat. It was great to have a chance to catch up with them both and we chatted for ages after we had finished eating. Eventually it was my running out parking that dictated our time to leave and after bidding them goodbye at the hotel I drove to meet Liz and Catherine. I found a parking space right outside the restaurant, and seeing me pull in Liz appeared outside the car window. I joined them for a drink while they finished dinner before we headed back into Downtown to meet Aude and some friends for a few drinks. After a drink in the restaurant while they all finished their meals and a drink in a bar, it was time for us to head home since it was getting late and we didn’t have a key to get in to the House of Weed. Back at the house, we were glad to discover that people were still awake and we gave them the bottles of wine that we had bought as a thank-you and chatted for a while before heading to bed.

Waking up passively stoned from your bedding is quite a surreal experience, and one that we both experienced on a daily basis while staying in Vancouver. Once we were dressed and ready we headed into Vancouver to do some sightseeing. Having discovered that our phones definitely did not work, meeting up with Lizzie’s friend Catherine seemed practically impossible, but, with the iPhone and various areas of free wi-fi we would give it a try. We parked near Yaletown and had a bit of a wander around with much needed cups of tea, before heading over towards Granville Island Market, where we hoped that we would be able to meet up with Catherine.

Granville Island Market - before the sun came out.

It was a bit more difficult to get to than it looked; the bridge that went over to the island kept going over the top and deposited us on the other side. Eventually we located the island and headed into the market in search of lunch, finding a plethora of options, we each chose what we wanted and then headed outside to find somewhere to sit while enjoying the atmosphere and live music outside. Once we were finished we gave up our table to one of the eagerly circling groups of people looking for a place to sit and headed back into the market to have a proper look around. Although many of the crafts were beautiful and the food looked amazing, it was all a little expensive for our budgets, so after a wander around we headed across to another building that had lots of little boutique stores, one of which was an amazing bead shop where you could make your own jewellery. Both of us contemplated making ourselves something, but decided against it because although the beads were cheap, we could see how quickly the prices would add up. There was just time to visit the Kids Market, a wonderful building full of toy shops, before going to meet Catherine at half past 2, with no internet, we had no idea whether she would be able to meet us, so I waited in the agreed meeting place while Liz went to find some wi-fi. Luckily, she logged on to an email from Catherine saying that she was on her way and she arrived a few minutes later. We headed back into the market for some lunch for Catherine and dessert for Lizzie and me before heading over to the Granville Island Brewery to sample some local beer. The tasters came in 4oz glasses shaped like miniature pints and we each tried two beers, my personal favourite was the Raspberry Ale. After a brief trip back into the Kids Market to show Catherine some awesome hats, we went on an adventure to buy food for dinner from the market, following telephone directions from Catherine’s friend Aude, who was cooking for us. Two bags of “Fantastic Falafel”, some lemons and a bunch of parsley later our mission was complete and we headed towards the water to catch the ferry back towards the car.

View of Vancouver from the ferry.

All the clouds of the morning had burnt off and we were treated to wonderful views of the city from the water, and then from the park that we walked through on the way back to the car. On the way back to Aude’s place we stopped off to buy wine and ice cream to have with dinner. Our evening was wonderfully chilled out, with good food, good wine and good company. Aude cooked a delicious Greek inspired meal with falafel, cous cous salad and pitta style wraps which we followed up with ice cream and more wine. (Being the only white wine drinker I fear I had rather more to drink than the others, who kept refilling my glass.) Eventually the time came for us to leave, since we still had to plan tomorrow’s Supernatural location stalking. Back at the House of Weed, we socialised for a while before disappearing down to our room to plan. This look waaaaaaay longer than we thought it would and we did not get to bed until well after 1am, but at least our day was mostly planned.

In terms of sightseeing, today can be classed as a failure. We slept in, then blogged a little, then showered. Once we were both ready we headed out to Denny’s for cheap food and free internet. We spent altogether too long in Denny’s but got a decent amount of blogging done before heading back to the house, where the afternoon followed in a similar fashion. Liz had plans to meet with her friend Catherine for dinner, and I was going to drive her, until we realised that with our phones not functioning in Canada, I would have no idea when to pick her up. Once we had decided that Liz was taking the car, I headed out to buy myself something for dinner. Once back, Liz headed out and I spent the rest of the evening alternating between blogging and watching Glee on the laptop.

Into Canada

Our choice for today was be ready to leave when Rachel did at 9.15am, or wait until she got back at 11.30am. Can you guess which one we went for? Our morning was slow and lazy, making sure we had everything packed and squeezing in a bit of blogging time. Once Rachel returned, we headed back into Seattle, for a final visit to the first Starbucks, hoping for a better photo and nicer weather. Naturally it started raining as soon as we parked the car. We had a much more enjoyable and less rushed visit to Starbucks than yesterday and managed to take a few more photos (unfortunately including the annoying family that wouldn’t move out of the way!). Sadly, Alex (our fellow St Andrean) was not working until later on, but we left her a can of Irn Bru and a note. Back in the car we headed towards Canada, and after a terrifying moment where I thought the GPS only covered the USA, I managed to find the Canada button. After about an hour we switched and it was Lizzie who drove us across the border, which was surprisingly easy… I think the challenge comes when trying to get back in to the US. (More on that when we try it on Monday)

Welcome to Surrey! Surrey, British Columbia that is.

Really hungry and not wanting to get tied up chatting and not have any time to blog we decided to find a Starbucks for a few hours, preferably one next to a supermarket. The one I had randomly selected just happened to be next to a Safeway… win! There was also a hairdresser, so while Lizzie got on with blogging, I ventured in to ask them to cut my fringe, sorry, “bangs”. My suspicions about the awfulness of my previous fringe cut were correct, she had completely butchered it and cut into one side more than the other. The good news is that the hairdresser here managed to fix it, and now I can see! Back in Starbucks I took my turn with the laptop before we headed to our home for the next few days to meet our couchsurfing hosts. We knew that it was a house with 1 girl and 4 boys, but we weren’t really expecting to be greeted with a strong smell of pot. I’m quite open minded, but do not like to be surrounded with smoke at the best of times, so this might prove to be a challenge. They were all really lovely and welcoming, and when I mentioned I was a little asthmatic, immediately opened some windows and banished all smoking to outside, which was very sweet. We were invited to join them for dinner and had a very enjoyable evening, and at about 9ish, Sophia, who was our official host came home. We eventually headed to bed at around midnight after swapping amusing drunken stories from student years past. We are sleeping in their “bar” which is really cool once you get used to the pungent smell of pot.

After a slow morning in we headed back towards Seattle Centre where Liz wanted to visit the Music and Science Fiction Museum. Since I wasn’t too interested in this, I planned to find the nearest Starbucks (pretty easy in Seattle) to do some much needed catch up on my blog. Waving goodbye to Lizzie by the Space Needle, I hurried off through the rain in search of the Food Court which HAD to have a Starbucks. That was the easy part, the difficult part was finding somewhere with electricity so I could use the computer. Eventually I ended up pulling a chair over to a corner by the information desk and balancing the computer on my knees – classy. Classy it may not have been, but it was certainly productive and I finally managed to finish writing and posting about our time in LA as well as a brief Skype chat with my dad. Lizzie came to find me at about 3ish and while I read my book, she took advantage of the speedy internet to get some blogging time in. After a while we returned the laptop to the car before catching the monorail towards the Downtown area. Our first stop was the first ever Starbucks, opened as a small independent coffee shop 40 years ago.

First Ever Starbucks!!! (Take 2)

Today we actually managed to end up in the right one! It doesn’t have any seating, which is probably so they can fit more people in because it was pretty busy. We also had a rather surreal experience; just after walking in the door Liz points out one of the baristas to me and we both recognise her fromSt Andrews, so we go over to say hi.

...and again.

She recognised us too and we chatted briefly, but she was working so couldn’t chat for longer. Drinks in hand we went outside to take some pictures before going to find the underground tunnel with the free bus in it. This was a little more difficult than expected, but we eventually found the right bus and got on. Pioneer Place was only a couple of stops away and we (just) managed to make the 6pm Underground Tour.

Some underground stuff

After the great Seattle fire in 1889 they decided to raise the level of the streets be several feet, approximately equivalent to one storey of a building. However, this would take time and the businesses wanted to start rebuilding straight away, so they did both at once; building up the centre of the streets, but leaving the sidewalks at the original level for several years until they built the new sidewalks over the top, leaving tunnels underneath where the original sidewalks ran.

More underground stuff.

The tour took us through part of this underground world that still exists, with the most enthusiastic (and somewhat annoying) tour guide in the world. The history aspect of the tour was interesting, but much of the stuff that we saw was a little disappointing, since most of the passages were in various stages of decay and disrepair, so we were essentially just walking through them. We did find out that some of these passages were used to store bootleg liquor for speakeasies during the prohibition. Another favourite subject of our tour guide was “crappers”, she explained how early sewage systems led down to the sea, but when the tide was in and you lived in the middle of town, flushing your “crapper” could lead to you being shot 4 feet into the air by sewage… lovely! The tour finished, as all tours do, in the gift shop, which was rather overpriced, so we quickly escaped back up to street level in search of something to eat. The tour had taken us past a cheese shop, but it turned out to be an expensive sandwich shop, so we gave it a miss and bought some chocolate instead.

In the chocolate shop.

We caught the train (free bus time had expired while we were on the tour) and the monorail back to the car and headed home via the supermarket to buy some dinner. Rachel and Matt were out for the evening, but arrived home just after we did since we got in so late. They sat with us while we ate our bread and cheese (while feeling slightly guilty for vegan torture) and not long later we all headed to bed, saying goodbye to Matt since he would be leaving really early in the morning.

After checking the weather only to find that there would be patchy sun today and rain tomorrow, we decided that we needed to do all our outdoor sightseeing and picture taking today, while we could actually see the sights. 11am saw us trying to park in downtown Seattle, which is as horrifying as it sounds; eventually we found somewhere that while expensive, was less expensive than some of the other places we had passed. Once parked we made our way to what we thought was the first Starbucks. (Turns out we were wrong, who knew there was a Pike Street AND a Pike Place?!) Blissful in our ignorance we enjoyed our drinks and took pictures, although in hindsight I think the staff were probably laughing at us.

Vegetables - apparently I didn't manage to take a photo of the entrance...

Our next adventure was to explore Pike Place Market and try not to spend too much money. I failed almost immediately when I fell in love with a silly hat. Liz was no help in dissuading me (she said it looked cute!) and I ended up buying it and wearing it for the rest of the day (well, once I had worn it for a while I had to keep it on because I had ridiculous hat hair). We then stumbled across a stall selling gorgeous photographic prints which we just HAD to buy. Luckily, after that we both managed to be a little more restrained, allowing ourselves to look and take pictures, although I was very tempted to buy a replica of the Ocarina of Time… Once we were done in the market we decided to head over to the Space Needle since it was such a clear day, but not too keen on the 13 block walk, we elected to take the monorail instead.

So, WordPress won't rotate this today. For best results, rotate computer screen or tip head by 90 degrees.

Arriving at Seattle Centre, we headed straight for the Space Needle, paid our $18 entry fees and posed for souvenir photos before catching the super speedy elevator to the observation platform. The views over Seattle were incredible, and although there were clouds in the sky, they were interesting clouds rather than the flat grey dull clouds that conspire to ruin photos. After circling the outdoor part of the observation deck a couple of times to take lots of pictures I eventually relocated Liz (I think we had been walking in opposite directions) and we headed inside.

Seattle from the Space Needle

Once inside we found the photo booths where we could select a background for our souvenir photos, which, to be completely honest were a little crap since in many of them the Space Needle looked like Liz was wearing it as a hat. This done, we caught the elevator down to the gift shop and didn’t buy anything (we’re getting better at this). Leaving the Space Needle, we had a wander around Seattle Centre to find some good angles to get pictures of the needle itself rather than from it. Eventually we found a good spot and as is now traditional with famous landmarks, I took pictures of Lizzie cartwheeling in front of it. I was not so adventurous as I wasn’t feeling great, but we managed to line up a picture with me wearing it as a hat. Not long later we returned to the monorail to go back to the car, having decided that Gasworks Park was another thing that we needed to do on a sunny day. Parking was free (finally!) and getting out of the car we went for a wander.

Seattle skyline from Gasworks Park

There was an ulterior motive for visiting Gasworks Park, other than the stunning views of Seattle of course, it was used in 10 Things I Hate About You for the paintball scene. We wandered around taking various photos of old gasworks structures, kind of recognising it from the film. The difficultly arises when you are looking at these places over 10 years after they filmed there, the main sections of machinery were fenced off and very overgrown.

Gasworks Park

It was nice to relax in the sunshine for a bit and once we were done we headed back to Rachel and Matt’s house. We had been invited to join them for dinner which was delicious; Rachel had cooked selection of vegan dishes. After dinner it was starting to get quite late so we headed back down to our room to do some final blogging before going to sleep.

We lay in long after Tommy had left for work this morning and spent a lazy morning blogging (still not caught up!), with the advantage of a computer each to get as much done as possible. We had arranged to meet Tommy for lunch before hitting the road, so just after 12 he called to give us directions to the restaurant, and to explain how to lock the house. This was a little complicated, but I managed it, with just one call to clarify how to shut the garage door. We met Tommy outside a small restaurant called Thai Beer, which didn’t look like much from the outside, but was both delicious and cheap. I had the green curry, but my only mistake was asking for medium instead of mild, there was SO much chilli in there, but it was delicious none the less. After lunch we bid Tommy farewell, thanking him profusely for having us to stay, but also for introducing us to couchsurfing which has saved us SO much money. Back in the car, we called our couchsurfing hosts for Seattle, Rachel and Matt, who had very kindly accepted our rather last minute request, to get their address. The drive was relatively easy, mostly just following the I-5 all the way, with patchy rain following us northwards. About an hour south of Seattle we visited the city of Tacoma, where we had one place that we wanted to visit, Stadium High School. Another high school? Yes, and this one was another film location, used in the film 10 Things I Hate About You.

The football field and bleachers from 10 Things I Hate About You

Luckily, school was long finished by the time we got there, so we didn’t look quite so creepy taking pictures of the football field and of the school building, which is based on a French chateau, so is rather impressive. One dog walker did give us a very odd look, so we talked loudly about the movie as she passed us, in an attempt not to look like complete creeps. A few photos later, after spotting the plethora of security cameras we decided it was time to return to the car and continue on to Seattle.

...and the school building.

Rachel and Matt would not be home until 8.30pm so we headed to the nearest Starbucks to use their internet (and electricity) to blog for a couple of hours while we waited. Once we arrived at Rachel and Matt’s they were so welcoming, and we were surprised to have not a couch, but a bedroom of our own complete with four poster bed. It was also a pleasant surprise to find that they are both vegan, and were able to recommend some veggie friendly places to eat inSeattle, which is great. We joined them for some home made potato wedges and chatted for ages before we all headed to bed.

 I awoke early, having forgotten to turn off my alarm, and upon standing up discovered that I had quite a sore head. After retrieving a glass of water I went straight back to sleep for a few hours. No one else stirred for several hours until Tommy appeared at about 11ish. This was our cue to get up and get ready for the day. Once we were ready and had eaten, we watched while JD played on the Xbox while waiting for Robyn to come back before we headed into Portland. This break was very much appreciated, I for one don’t travel all that well when hungover! After an hour of driving, we got toPortlandat about half past two, only to discover that Voodoo Donuts, our first port of call was closed for remodelling. Instead we went to explore the Saturday Market, open both Saturday and Sunday. There were lots of fantastic things on sale, many of which I would have bought had budget and space constraints allowed me to. We had some pieorgis from a food cart for lunch, which were delicious before heading back to the car, as we had only paid for an hour of parking. The market ticked one of the two things we wanted to see off our list, and we then headed on to Powell’s Books, an enormous bookshop selling both new and used books, to complete our to do list. Powell’s was genuinely amazing; so large that it is split into colour coded areas with numbered aisles, with floor to ceiling shelves throughout. It is particularly useful that they mix new and used books, so you don’t have to work very hard at all to find a bargain. I could have spent hours there and come away with far too many books, but I limited myself to two, there is only a month left on the trip after all. After Powell’s we headed to Henry’s Tavern for a drink with some friends of Tommy’s. They had a huge selection of different beers and I tried a raspberry flavoured one which was delicious. After our drink we headed back to the car to drive back to Salem. Both Lizzie and I were feeling our late night at this stage, and when we stopped off at the supermarket to buy veggie burgers planned to buy energy drinks. We felt a little less pathetic in needing these when Tommy also bought one and Robyn bought a coffee, at least we weren’t the only ones feeling our late night. After leaving Safeway, we headed over to Tommy’s parents’ house for a family meal. Much like the night before with Tommy and his friends, we were welcomed with open arms and offered drinks. We had a wonderful indoor BBQ (the weather had failed us), the food was delicious, but the best part was being made to feel so welcome in the home of virtual strangers. Once dinner and dessert were cleared away we stayed and chatted for a while before watching Tommy’s dad put the bins out. This is more exciting than it sounds. I’m not sure I mentioned that their house is HUGE, but just to put it in proportion, Tommy’s dad got his scooter out and, driving the scooter with one hand, grabbed hold of the bin with the other and dragged it down the driveway, it was that long! I have honestly never laughed so hard at someone taking rubbish out. Gradually everyone (at least those that didn’t live there) disappeared home to bed, and, with our caffeine hit from earlier wearing off, we weren’t far behind. Back at Tommy’s we arranged to meet for lunch tomorrow (he had to be at work in the morning) before heading north again to Seattle.


(PS – Sorry, I failed to take any pictures.)