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Roadtrip 2013: Great Lakes and the Midwest

I never have time or patience to write anything longer before and shortly after Eurofurence. Or to sort and edit the photos that I need for a travel report. And it's been so long that I'm not able to write an actual report anymore, for example I don't remember most of the hotels and motels at all, hence some musing based on the experience have to do. But at least I've edited and uploaded the photos, for the first time in three years.

April, 11th to 14th: Traveling and Furry Connection North


Flying on airline bonus miles for the first time, yay. Still having to pay for fees and taxes, boo. I met my travel companions Kayjay and Lynard in Frankfurt at the new concourse A+ (or is it Z?) and we had a rather uneventful and pleasant Lufthansa flight to Detroit. All of our luggage arrived in time as well, it was just a bit confusing to find the shuttle buses to the rental car station. The car we got from the choice line was a new Chrysler 300C. While it has a lot of leg room even for the back seats, it has not much space for luggage. The only alternative would have been a convertible with even less luggage space. The 300C is quite nice to drive, though it has a somewhat cheap interior. Surprisingly, not only was satellite radio reception enabled (thank you, Alamo!), the built-in satnav worked as well. But it quickly dawned on us why they try to rent out a portable one anyway. The Garmin navigation system is nearly unusable. It receives traffic information via satellite radio, but doesn't use it for navigation. It can only find POIs within your current location (no "find me all hotels near Niagara" while we are in Detroit). It keeps sending you via state routes parallel to the freeway, except if the freeway is a turnpike. It definitely prefers toll roads. The menu system is a confusing mess. I'm glad I brought my Tomtom. But I digress.

Too tired to write a report...

...and no time to update LJ during the trip, thus an update to the map has to do for now:

Roadtrip 2012: Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Part 6

And this is the final part of my vacation report.

Thursday, 2012-10-11: Shopping Again, and CA-1


I didn't know Eureka had a large mall, even one with some independent stores, and the only I've ever seen with a Walmart as an anchor store. Mendra was looking for a game store, which apparently has moved, I actually found two CDs and a BD at f.y.e., and we almost had to use physical force to get Zefiro out of the store selling old arcade game machines. We drove downtown for a toy store, while the dragons were looking for a game console and dragon plushies I had the pleasure to have an excellent burger and shake at Fresh Freeze, a former drive-in restaurant on F Street, corner Harris Street.

Roadtrip 2012: Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Part 5

I didn't find the time to update my journal during the last week of the trip, but of course I took photos and notes.

Monday, 2012-10-08


We spent the night at the KOA campground in Otis, OR, beautifully located next to the antennas of KBCH, um, I mean, next to Devils Lake. Granted, we were not much interested in the lake, and it is one of the few KOAs that is not located directly at a major highway. Much more interesting were the Tanger Outlet Center nearby in Lincoln City. We didn't buy much, though.

Roadtrip 2012: Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Part 4

Thursday, 2012-10-04: Bay and Waterfall


We spent the night at Crescent Bay RV Park and Beach, a small recreational area near Port Angeles directly at the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The RV park is a bit overpriced, at least for off-season, but the people running the place are very nice and warm-hearted, the park clean and well maintained, and the best thing: it has a long private beach just across the street. On clear days like this it is possible to see Canada across the strait. We spent the whole morning at the beach, taking photos and chatting.

Roadtrip 2012: Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Part 3

Monday, 2012-10-01: Picking up the RV


We rented a 31 ft motorhome suitable for 8 passengers from El Monte. I wouldn't recommend to occupy it with 7 adults like we do, unless everyone involved can cope with the limited space and privacy. So far (after one day, I have to admit) it works out very smoothly and with way less hassle than with coordinating two RVs.

Roadtrip 2012: Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Part 2

Thursday, 2012-09-27: Wolfhaven


Located South of Olympia, Wolfhaven is one of the oldest wolf sanctuaries in the US. Their tour mainly features some of their rescues from irresponsible owners. The enclosures are large and and they only keep two wolves in each. I guess trying to compose packs of individuals who didn't grow up with each other or aren't even properly socialized wouldn't work anyway. They are also part of a breeding program for highly endangered Red Wolves. They are quite shy though, and I didn't get any pictures of them. Unfortunately, due to the fences it is quite hard to photograph the wolves anyway.

Roadtrip 2012: Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Part 1

Having skipped Further Confusion this year allows us to visit a different furry convention in the US. We are: Kayjay, Lynard and me spending a couple of days in Seattle, joined by Furvan, Tioh, Mendra and Zefiro at Rainfurrest.

Saturday, 2012-09-22: Missing Connection


I took the first tram of the day to get from my flat to the station hopped on ICE 822 to Frankfurt Airport. Lynard arrived shortly after me, followed by Kayjay. We got aboard LH402 to Newark and took off in time. The Boeing 747 was quite new, but the seat distance in cattle class got even smaller. I was able to live with the fact that my in-seat entertainment system offered only one Bollywood movie, as I refuse to watch movies on the tiny screen anyway. Everyone else hat a large collection of movies to choose from. The flight itself was calm, we landed almost on time in Newark, but it took the usual 15 minutes to get to the gate. Immigration was crowded, partly due to some technical problems with the fingerprint database. Even though we were offered to jump the line due to our short layover time, I arrived at the baggage claim three minutes after boarding of our connection started. Kayjay arrived shortly after me, but Lynard had to wait what seemed to be an eternity in Second Inspection. Not much of a problem as we missed our connection anyway. We got rebooked to the first flight to Seattle for the next day and checked in at the Best Western Newark West. At least the bar had Yuengling Lager, which made the evening acceptable.

Sunday, 2012-09-23: Seattle, At Last


After getting up at an ungodly hour we went to the airport, checked in and got aboard a United flight to Seattle. A six hour flight that required extra payment for the entertainment system (WTF?), and the cabin crew going through only twice with beverages... At least it was a mostly calm flight. We arrived in Seattle on time, got our luggage and picked up the rental car. Since we were way too early to check in we started with some shopping. Best Buy have reduced both their selection and stock even more, Fry's has a lot of empty shelves and none of what I wanted to purchase. We eventually made it to the hotel, after swearing at the GPS and the large amount of construction work in Seattle.