Posts Tagged ‘jeep’

Snow Day

18th December 2010 by Helen

Click on each thumbnail to see the whole picture.

A day out with Cascade Rovers, the local Land Rover Club in Seattle, gave us the opportunity to try out Landy in the snow, getting stuck in a snowdrift in Snoqualmie National Park, and getting pulled out again.

On the way we saw lots of other vehicles on the road heading out the same way, with snow bikes and skis, as well as a few other 4×4 off-road vehicles, so it was no surprise to see it was pretty busy in places.

We headed up the hills through the snow covered roads.  A few vehicles had been ahead of us but eventually we came to the end of the tracks in the now.  It was pretty obvious why looking at the snow drift in front of us.  A few of us tried getting through, including Paul in Landy to the point where he had to be pulled back out of the snow again!!  The local Jeep off-road club got through shortly after us.  We were mollified by the thought that they were well equipped for the task.  The Jeeps had heavily adapted suspensions and were well kitted out with some mean looking winches and recovery kit, while the Land Rovers were pretty much all as standard making it a much tougher task for them.

In the meantime, we found another route through the forest, got stuck several times, pulled each other out a few times and generally had fun, before heading back into town for a late lunch at North Bend Bar & Grill.

See the photos here and on Facebook!!

Seattle to Florida by Jeep

24th November 2010 by Helen

After a few days in Seattle, and with the Jeep repaired, there was nothing more we could do to help oil the wheels of Landy’s passage through port and customs and so we set off again, this time heading straight to Pepsi-Cola (aka Pensacola).

We drove through about nine states (lost count half way), on the quickest route the computer program and Carl could come up with and made it in five days, thanks to some long days’ driving and short nights sleeping.

Despite having had the transmission fixed in Seattle the Jeep saga was not quite over as the tyres (tires) reached their illegal limit and we had to stop off and get them replaced in order to keep going (to summarise, that’s new windscreen, heater fixed and oil change in Anchorage, transmission fixed in Seattle, and new set of boots somewhere around Sioux Falls).

We drive across the Rocky mountains.  Amazing scenery.  More snow covered Christmas trees everywhere.  Temperatures well into the freezing zone day and night.  Coming down from the mountains we cross the central plains of America.  The weather is getting warmer, the ground is flatter.  Then finally we reach the southern edges – Alabama and Florida.  The average temperature has continued to rise.  The average is now averaging a balmy 26 degrees Centigrade.

We have crossed three time zones.  The average temperature has changed from minus 13 degrees Centigrade to plus 26 degrees Centigrade.  Still equipped only with our Siberian and Alaskan clothing (the rest is still locked in Landy), acclimatisation was not an option.

We have passed some familiar sounding names, such as those that littered the Country Music sounds I grew up with as a child: Jackson, Nashville, Oklahoma, and Talahassee.  We’ve driven past Birmingham, Deadwood, Whitewood, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, French Town, Butte (but not of jokes), Gold Creek, Beaver Trail Hill, among so many other names that intrigue and entrance us.  We weren’t too sorry to drive straight past Gracelands, but we are sorry not to have a chance to stop at the Alabama Battleship Park, maybe another time.  We’ve seen some wonderful scenery.  We feel we are now in a position to comment with some authority on the US Interstate ‘rest area’ provision.  And we’ve had some quality time chatting in between trying to continue to deal with the bureaucracy of Landy’s progress through customs and some of the other internet based communications we’ve needed to get on with.

Since setting off from Anchorage some two weeks ago we travelled a gnat’s whisker short of 6,000 miles.  To put that in perspective, it’s the same road distance as driving from Land’s End to John O Groats, back to Land’s End, back to John O Groats, back to Lands End, back to John O Groats, back to Land’s End, back to John O Groats and back Land’s End again (or eight times the length of the UK).

Finally we arrived in Pepsi-Cola.  Jenni & Mike’s dogs bounded out to greet the car, if a little confused that Jenni and Mike were both in the house.  Jenni & Mike were more than relieved to see their Jeep at last and immediately went out to get some shopping for their dinner for 10 they had planned for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

So near yet so far

18th November 2010 by Helen

Tuesday 15th November: After waking in the National State Park campsite we realised we couldn’t pay the site fee as it’s cash or check (US spelling of course now we are in the US) only and we only have a couple of dollars in cash, so we slipped out of the park nice and early and headed on our way.  Does this make us criminals?!

It’s not far into Seattle and we soon find ourselves on a highway driving past the port from where we can see Landy’s ship (CMA-CMG Ravine) in port and almost completely unloaded with all the containers on the quay.  We wave and say hello to Landy as we pass.  So near and yet so far.

After hopping around the coffee shops trying to access internet without breaching parking regulations while we keep up communications with our agent about what happens next, we are relieved to be able to meet up with Carl & Marilyn, our expedition hosts for the next few days while we continue to negotiate the vagaries of the US temporary car import system!!  More on that in a later blog.

Our Seattle stop enabled the Jeep’s transmission to be fixed.  This gave us time to have a quick explore of Seattle and we have seen the enormous Microsoft ‘city’.  At a glance it almost looks like an entire housing estate but it’s not housing, it’s all offices.  Some 80,000 people work for Microsoft here.  They have their own gym, shops, eateries, etc.  The grounds are landscaped and the whole is a very pleasant environment.  Apart from that we’ve seen the Google offices and driven over the floating concrete bridge that crosses the huge lake in the middle of Seattle.  We’ve also shopped at Costco, in effect a warehouse outlet for the individual shopper moving bulk storage from the shop to the garage.

But still we needed to move on and quickly.  With the Jeep fixed, and feeling utterly helpless, on Friday 18th we took a deep breath, handed Landy’s precious keys over to our US agent to ensure he is able to be moved around the port to meet the various US port/import procedures.  And so it was we headed out on to Interstate 90 heading south east to Florida.