Well, we made it. From Washington DC on the Atlantic coast (more or less) to Florence, Oregon on the Pacific coast. From sea to shining sea. A magnificent journey encompassing so many different types of scenery that we – yes, I kid you not – have run out of adjectives. All that remains is our final run south down the coast road to San Francisco, a few days with our friends there and then we fly home next Sunday. Our trans-American adventure complete.
We have kept a journal, as every good writer does when travelling, but for our eyes only. This trip is special to us but there is no reason why anyone else should be interested in the detail. We have enjoyed the scenery and the wildlife but even more we have enjoyed the chance encounters with people along the way.
Nancy in Lewisburg who we only knew because she had bought some CDs from us, the same with Jennifer, Amy and Beth in Ohio. These are friends we will keep in touch with. Then there was Larry in Decatur, Indiana whose wife was English. She died last year but when he learned we were English he told us about their trip home to Manchester together. He also gave us the name of his daughter Juanita who lives in Gardiner, Montana on the edge of Yellowstone National Park. He said we must contact her when we got there and he would ring her to tell he we were coming. Well, he forget to do that, but when we got in touch with her, she and her Park Ranger husband, Joe, welcomed us anyway and gave us lots of helpful advice.
Then there was Barbara and Joe from Southern California who we met in Jackson, Wyoming and had a long chat with after dinner, discovering we had much in common. A few days later we met Linda and Allen in Red Lodge, Montana. They were on their way home to Iowa and we all had dinner together. These last two couples look as though they will become on-going friendships.
A few nights later we met Rod in Boisie, Idaho. He is a ski instructor in the winter and a kitchen designer in the summer. He was on his way home from Seattle to southern Idaho and had stopped for the night. We had a long chat about wine, ski-ing and Europe. Then today we met a couple in Bandon, Oregon which stands on the estuary of the Coquille River. We never got their names but they come from Toronto and the lady was born in Deep River, Ontario, next door to where my cousin Pam lives in Chalk River. And so it goes on.
Of such encounters stories are made. My father had this knack of making instant friends and he also knew a lot of people. Whenever he went on holiday sooner or later he would bump into someone who would say: “Hallo, there, Alf, how are you?” As a child I assumed you always met someone you knew when you were away from home. Well, that’s not quite true but if you have the ability to make friends, whether they are friends for half an hour or for a life time, then your life is richer for it.
On that basis Dee and I are millionaires.