States visited: 49!

visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800

Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)

Monday, June 14, 2010

To the UK: Sunday, May 30th

Caitlin and I left Reno on Sunday lunchtime, flew to San Francisco, over beautiful Lake Tahoe and as we came in to land, over the Golden Gate Bridge. We had quite a long stopover in SF before getting on the flight to Heathrow. We were on the plane a long time, thankfully though, we’d managed to get our seats reassigned and avoided the row of 5 seats in the middle of the plane; it was a full flight.

Dad and Helen came to meet us early Monday afternoon; it was great to see them, wish the circumstances were different.

It took us a few days to recover from the jetlag, flying east is so difficult, much tougher than going west; we can adapt to gaining hours and extending our day but struggle to lose a night.

Our days were filled with continued organization until Thursday. The funeral was incredibly difficult of course; it still seems rather unreal, so difficult to comprehend that Mum is gone. I found myself remembering her doing different things in the house while we were there; such an emotional couple of weeks.

The church service was lovely, Cheralee’s address was perfect and Dad’s eulogy was amazing; he delivered it incredibly well too. The outpouring of kindness for us was so touching. The church was full of people, paying their respects and supporting us. Helen and I met three cousins we had never seen before, two had flown over from Northern Ireland. It is tough to be social at times like these but it was helpful to chat with various friends and relatives – thank you all for your kindness.

Caitlin spent a lot of time reading while we were in England. They really miss going to the library, and actually taking books out, so the privilege of using Grandpa’s library card was great. She took out and read 14 books during our stay! I asked her one day if she wanted to watch TV, her response, “No, thanks!” I think if the other three had been with us, the TV may have got more use.

Helen took her out on Friday to spend time playing with Anna and enjoying a picnic at the park. It’s great that there is someone so close in age to her and, bonus, that Anna is Aunty Helen’s Goddaughter.

On Saturday we spent the day at Helen and Rae’s house, meeting up with Rae’s Mum, brother and his family for a pub lunch. Caitlin was happy to play with Tiegan, who’s the same age as her. It was a gorgeous day all day long, lots of sunshine…right up until dinnertime when the rain really came down for our drive back to Letchworth.

After church on Sunday, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Lizzie and Mick’s. So many friends popped in during our stay; including a few of mine; it was wonderful to catch up with people, just wish the reason for our visit had been different.

On Monday afternoon, we went to the cemetery to be present while Mum’s ashes were scattered. We will be organizing for a plaque to be placed at the Crematorium.

It was terribly difficult to leave on the Wednesday; I wish we could have stayed longer. It was another long day of course. This time, our flight from Heathrow took us to Denver. We were so lucky that United upgraded us, for free, to Economy Plus – thanks to Richie, the gate agent! I have to say that the (almost) extra half foot of leg room made a huge difference, so nice to not have my knees touch the seat in front of us or have to climb out at an angle if the person in front puts their seat back – it was wonderful.

We watched movies much of the flight back, I would not recommend watching ‘Dear John’ in an emotional state; I was sobbing for about an hour! We managed to get some rest and landed safely. Unfortunately, we did not have a lot of time between landing and the connecting flight. As Denver was our first point of call in the USA, we had to clear customs and immigration before reclaiming our luggage. I then had the challenging task of fitting Dave’s all-important duty free whiskey into the back-pack for rechecking! Thank goodness the check-out girl in the shop had reminded me about the ‘no liquids’ through security. It was incredibly hot in the airport and the effort of forcing that bottle into a non-existent space must have been quite a source of entertainment for all those people waiting in line for rechecking! I had to take a few things out so the hand luggage got heavy quickly. Caitlin and I must’ve been quite the sight, she had chosen to bring back my huge ‘Comfort’ gorilla, so was carrying that all over, getting many comments.

The flight to Reno was just beginning to board as we got to the gate. Due to high winds in the Reno area, we hit a great amount of turbulence the last half hour of the flight; it was a bumpy ride, we were glad to get back on the ground.

Dave and the kids came to meet us with lots of hugs and kisses, so happy to see them again. Skype is a wonderful thing but seeing them sitting in the camper, while we chatted, only reminded me how much I missed them, so I was very happy to be able to hold them.


Little House On The Mesa said...

Oh, I'm so glad you all are back safe and sound, and ready to continue your journey. After all, absence does make the heart grow fonder, right?;)

The Valentines said...

LOL, right! Although it was a tad overwhelming the next day, you know, readjusting to life in the camper again - with 6 people, having spent almost 2 weeks in a house with only 3 people! Think I'm back on track now though. Keep thinking about you whenever we pass those little enclaves of houses in the middle of nowhere, one day, you'll find your perfect base.