Published: August 5th 2008July 10th 2008
Early morning, on the road and I was behind the wheel. US route 395 was the road that was to take us the majority of the way to our next destination which was Carson City in Nevada. This may sound like a strange place to visit and I guess it kinda is. But for the fact that James also has family there that had invited us to stay, we probably wouldn't have gone. It infact turned out to be some of the best times we had in the US of A.
After a 2 hour drive almost any form of civilisation had died away, leaving just a straight road through nothing but desert. This indeed was a long long road but it certainly wasn't winding. Possibly the longest and most boring drive of my life. But, I was entertained by the other 4 who kept me awake! At one point we decided to place bets on how far a rock outcrop of the horizon was away from us. Based on the distance of Wilmslow to Manchester being 12 miles we said it was about 10 miles. Infact it turned out to be 15 miles away! Wow, oh what fun we
Perhaps the highlight of the drive was at the time we were probably going a little bit too fast (100mph actually) and Jonny Lees decided to have a bit of his Subway sandwich. However, and a big however, he bit into Mucs which was layered in Mayonaise - Jonny's biggest fear. This caused Jonny to stick his head out of the window to spit it out which he did. But he forgot he was wearing his reading glasses and... well, farewell glasses basically!! (Only now can he just about laugh at this incident!)
At the Jerky shop in the middle of nowhere I swapped keys with Ross and he got behind the wheel. The temperature was almost unbearable outside so we were all glad to be in the air-con environment of our Dino. Continuing the journey we eventually came across a house, then another and then a school. It was civilisation and Carson city. We found the location of James' family and proceeded through the introduction stage. There was Carin (Caz's aunt), Paul (uncle), Nick + Katie (cousins). They lived in a large country-style house with large grounds and even Lamas! Ha! The introduction lead into a
game of Nintendo Wii in which Little Nick showed us all up! Both Nick and Katie are awesome little kids with so much energy. That fuels their fondness for sports - of which they do literally every type! Their huge garage is full of sport equipment for literally every sport imaginable!
We had a nice homemade meal that evening and all chilled out watching a film and playing some games before it was time to sleep. Our bedroom was quite special. It was outdoors on the porch decking at the front of the house where they had put a collection of airbeds! As it is so hot in Carson city it was really nice to sleep outside under the stars in a cool atmosphere. Perhaps some of the best nights sleeps I have had!
The next day the GYC 5 set off to Lake Tahoe and found Zepher cove which was a nice beach to chill out on. The weather was really warm and the lake was nice and cold - perfect for cooling off in! As it was American school summer loads of teenagers were down at the lake equipped with eskeys and beers. Not a bad
day trip eh? From the beach we ventured up towards Emerald Bay which is an amazing lookout that gives fantastic views of the lake, surrounding woodland and lakes. This drive was much more interesting than the mission from San Diego as it was on tight windy roads with sweet views around every corner.
Back to the house and we played a basketball competition with the kids, a bit of soccer and American football and then were treated to an excellent BBQ coutesy of Paul. The steak and salmon was spot on and filled some empty stomachs from a busy day of adventure. The next day we were off to Graeagle which is a vacation hotspot in the mountains that Corin and Paul go to annually with the kids. Paul planned to take his boat up to do some watersports and also every other imaginable accessory from the garage with the intention of keeping us all occupied!
We set off mid-morning and were there within 2 hours and settling into an amazing house that backed onto the golf course! Everything was unpacked and we set out to explore the area on bikes, scooters and skateboards; finding a golf driving
range which we couldnt resist a crack at!
The next day we took the boat out for the day on the lake. Wakeboarding was the first activity which was a good laugh but I must confess after numerous attempts I am no pro. The best laugh of the day was on the huge inflatable ring that they got out. It seated 3 and was pulled behind the boat at high speed - such a great laugh when on it! Me, Caz + Muc had a spectacular fall-out when Paul flipped the ring for the first time and we went hurling into the water which was crazy fun! A good day in the outdoors on the lake...
The next day was a big day on the American calendar - 4th July - Day of Independence.
It started early, very early, as Paul had treated us to a round of golf on a nearby course. With stiff arms from the Wakeboarding we tee'd off on a pleasant morning. Ross was struggling and at one point resorted to throwing his club like a big girl in anger. Apparently he couldnt hold on properly...
We had a good and enjoyable round -
a great wake up and start to the day. Then off to meet the others...
A few nights before we had been talking and got onto the topic of tattoos. It developed and Corin said she wanted James to go with here to get a new one for herself. We bought up the topic of all of us getting a tattoo as we had been tempted in Thailand (me + James atleast). Muc was easy to convince, the Nick and eventually Jonny gave in also. The design was to be a 5-sided-star wth 10 different segments. The idea, as sad as it sounds was that 5 sides = 5 people and 10 segments = 10 countries visited on our travels.
With no hesitation Corin had booked us all in. Caz and Jonny first when we were playing golf and then us afterwards. So we drove on to meet them. On arrival Caz was all inked up and it was looking good. Then came Jonny and then me next. The design was finalised and stenciled on. The machine cranked up and off it went. I dont think I was really that nervous; more aprehensive as to what the level
of pain was. If my sister can get one, surely I can stand the pain right?...
And I did. It was fine. Infact I would amost go as far to say that it is enjoyable. Maybe not comfortable but there was certainly a great sense of purpose that we were all in this together and this mark would be with us for the rest of our lives just like the memories of our adventures would be. I have the tattoo on the outside of my right foot so everytime I put my socks on in the morning I will remember some happy days...
In no time we were all inked up, including Corin, and everyone was happy and chuffed with the days events. The 5 newly inked up lads went for a meal together overlooking Lake Tahoe. Great talks about where we have been and what we have come through. The end was unfortunately staring us more or less in the face. We were determined to enjoy our remaining days and we certainly did.
A pleasant drive back, stopping at Truckee (for Muc), flicking through the day which will certainly be the most memorable July 4th I am
likely to have.#
For some backwards American reason, July 5th was to be the day of celebrations in Graeagle and so we had another full day lay out infront of us. Further troops from James' family were to join us at the house. It was really good to meet everyone and they were all friendly and good to talk to. The day was spent playing with the kids and then we had a game of tennis down at the courts (me + Muc a great partnership). Everyone was together again in the evening for a BBQ outside on the decking and then it was time to head down to the town for the infamous fireworks which were to begin at nightfall.
Paul had reserved some space so we all sat about in seats and eventually dusk came and the fireworks started. At first they were fairly standard but the finale was typically American - ie Huge! It was enjoyable and everyone was cheering for the good ones. A good evening and quite fitting as it was our last to be spent with James' family. It was fantastic to stay with them and if they are reading this I'd
like to say a MASSIVE thankyou again! You guys were awesome!
The next morning we packed Dino again and hit the road AGAIN. This time our final journey to San Francisco. The final stop on our global adventures. Where oh where has it all gone?
There are more photos below