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Sunday 23rd April 2006

Roadtrip USA

My situation has changed considerably since my last email. The company I was working for in Kelowna, Canada tried to sponsor me to stay on for another couple of years but unfortunately the application was denied. They appealed but that was also unsuccessful. So my stay in Canada was cut short. I finished up work and had a month of relaxing and snowboarding to gather my thoughts.

I figured that I would never own a car in North America ever again so the logical conclusion I came to was … ROADTRIP. An Aussie mate (Luke) had just quit his job in Sydney and didn’t need much convincing to fly over and join me … GAME ON!

Last week I packed up my stuff, transformed my van into roadtrip mode (ie installed curtains and built a bed in the back), said my goodbyes and headed off into the sunset to the Land of Opportunity …. the USA!

The drive from Kelowna to Seattle was fairly uneventful apart from ridiculous Easter Long Weekend traffic and arrogant border guards. I arrived in Seattle just in time to indulge in some of Luke’s home made pizza and enjoy some fine American beers (hahaha)! We crashed at a mate’s house in Seattle for a few days and spent the days exploring the city and the nights sampling the bars. Great times! Seattle is a very lively exciting city with a very picturesque skyline.

Our first destination was Yellow Stone National Park. The journey involved 2 days of driving through 3 states with an overnight stay in hicktown, Montana, quite the experience. Everyone has been extremely friendly so far and the Aussie accents have been pure gold!

On arrival at Yellow Stone we were surprised to discover 10cm of snow covering the park and sub-zero temperatures. Not ideal considering that I had left all my winter clothes in Canada, I didn’t even have gloves or a beanie. We setup camp in the snow and crashed out for the night … Luke in his tent and me in my van, it was absolutely freezing. My water bottle froze during the night inside my van. Out of control!

We were advised that the bears in the park had just come out of hibernation and were hungry. The ranger issued us with strict instructions on what to do with our food and the bear jokes flowed freely around the campsite. We figured that it was all fun and games until someone got mauled by a grizzly. The next few days were spent exploring the park by car and foot. Unfortunately not everything was open due to the winter conditions but we still got to see plenty of bison, deer, hot springs, geothermals and got a good overall impression of its immense size and beauty.

We’ve only been on the road a week and yet we have already disgraced our country by delivering a horrendous rendition of Men at Work – Down Under at a seedy Kareoke bar in Salt Lake City…. Not pretty!

We are now in Davis, California (near San Francisco) staying with an American mate (Ian) that I met at uni. On our way here we spent a night in Salt Lake city mixing it up with the Mormans and a night in Reno mixing it up with the rednecks … awesome times!

Yesterday was a huge university party here in Davis (the equivalent of Autonomy Day or BSD). Good times were had by all!

The plan from here is San Fran tomorrow then we are taking a couple of weeks to drive down the coast to Mexico then Vegas, Grand Canyon, meeting some mates in LA then we have allowed 7 days to drive across to the East Coast as we have a wedding to go to in Washington DC and I have a date with Meg Ryan at the top of the Empire State building. Going to be some long driving days but should be epic!

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Dan brand Orange Juice in Slovenia ... what a country!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
--Mark Twain

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