Menotripsical; BAR and Beyond - Getting There

Departed Edinburgh 0800h June 7th, on Etihad, headed for Abu Dhabi...

Yes, the longish way round, but it boiled down to convenience x cost; it was actually cheaper than most and got bonus points on Etihad membership and they are great to fly with. Had a 6 hour stopover in the AUH lounge, then through US Customs at Abu Dhabi, which was fantastic - though the young officer couldn't quite believe my route! The flight took us out across the Iberian Peninsula then up past the SE tip of Greenland, before 'u'-ing round down over Newfoundland & Labrador, on into Chicago.

Now, in Geography, I learned of the Great Lakes and their significance... but nothing really prepared me for the true immensity of them!!! Flying down over Lake Michigan I was gobsmacked. They are as big as some seas. Spotted the Mackinac Bridge (had to look that up just now ;*> photo next Tuesday).

Once on the ground (20 minutes early - 0930h June 8th), straight through to connect with the chauffeur car - no customs or checked baggage to hinder! He set his speed at 80mph and didn't vary it till we reached our Belvidere destination 40 minutes later - despite many construction zones requesting 45mph max and warnings of $10k fines if any workers hit, or double fines for speeding. I learned that first day that Americans are generally immune to such instruction on their roads... I admit to being shocked at the number of drivers on mobile phones or otherwise letting their attention be anywhere but on the task of driving. Definitely some major differences both in rules and culture of traffic over there. The whole 4-way junction thing had me squittering... but I digress.

I had arrived at Oreo's!!! His mum Diane had generously offered me a bed for that night, as the doods and their peeps were also driving to the BAR on the 9th and their route brought them via this Northerly drift - so we all met up that very first afternoon I was on US soil!

Diana is a great home cook and we dined on made-from-scratch pizza that evening! Before that though, we had gone shopping and bought stuff to make up a box so that we had food to keep us (and particularly veggie-me) going for the next four days. To see Oreo's view of that day, click here!  - and you click forward on his bloggy 'new posts' to see the BAR from his point of view... Or you can do the same over at the Doods' Place - (can there be any such thing as too much BAR???)

I want to make a special mention of Diana's good hubby, Don, a night-shift truck driver, for spending time chatting with me over breakfast whilst Diana prepared things for loading the car - I need to find some 'lorries' (not allowed to call them trucks in UK!) and photograph them for him! Don pointed me to Hank's Truck Pictures. It hasn't taken me long to find a UK equivalent in 'Lorryspotting'!!! Along with my shipping tracker, my little passion for big machinery is being indulged.

image courtesy of D. Chambers
June 9th 1030am and D, O and Y were on the road - just as the storm hit. Big rain for about the first hour of the journey. That was okay. Much needed for the ground. Oreo was very happy to sit on my lap as it meant he could get a good view of the cornfields and we could check that it was heading for knee high. There was lots of hay harvesting and bailing getting done too. Being a country gal, this was all very enjoyable and whiled away the hours wonderfully. That and lots of fine chatter with my 'chauffeur'!

It took 6 hours to reach our destination. Not only had Diana offered me accoms that first night, but also to share the hotel room with her at Taylorsville/Columbus. Red Roof inn is basic. No frills. It was all we needed. I had an entertainment in the evening in the shower.

It has to be said that American plumbing equipments are as different as the road rules. Take some getting used to, they do. Diana had happily dropped right off to sleep and not heard much of my remonstration with the faucet. Water was either at 'scald' or 'freeze'. Interesting experience. Next morning, Diana showed me how it was done and the following showers grew progressively more tolerable. The other thing that first night at the hotel was the cotton wool lump of a bed. I needs a firm base, world. At Diana's home, no probs. At Red Roof... oofff... woke continually in the night due to the spine complaining and next day was impaired to some degree with the pain which kicked in. I rarely resort to medications, but did take some aspirin and Diana, bless her, had some magic potion to rub on, which certainly took the sharpness away. The next two  nights in that room I slept on the floor. Oreo thought this very entertaining and wandered over to check me a couple of times. It was a good choice though, and was much the better for it. On the fourth night, had a different room, due to O & D heading back home - and that bed was much firmer. Indeed, all other beds throughout my trip proved to be good and solid and kind to my back... (though there will be tales about the one in Halifax...)

June 10th - FIRST DAY AT THE B.A.R.!!!

That's Madi's mum Cecilia on the right, the Doods' pawrents Carol and Bob, the Doods themselves and, at front and centre, Dory the adorable and Arty, mayoral candy date.

No we didn't land up in some quantum leap to another planet - that is just YAM doing her YAMstering with the new bit of software she had to download to cope with the mass production image processing! (FOTOR did an 'upgrade' recently, which actually slowed down the basic processes horrendously - will still use it for advanced stuff though.)

Also present first day were Hailey and Zaphod with their peeps Kristen and Drew, and (arriving very late), the Pencil-Vane-Ya crew; or as I like to call them, the Flat Hill guys. Frankie and Ernie with their pawrents Lana and Butch, and the Crabby gals Beachnut and Shelldon with mum Lori and dad Stan. We spent the day in 'getting-ta-nose-ya' mode, marking out territory, that kinda stuff... [NB... linkies to everyone's blogs and all things of interest will appear, but not all at once!]

"...mutter, mutter, mutter... YAMarazzi..... no privacy....mutter...mutter...mutter..."


Oreo said...

It was fun traveling and staying with Yam. We did have fun together and enjoyed our continental breakfast bagels every morning!! It was funny to hear her tell me about the shower the next morning. She said it was scalding HOT and so she would pop an arm in and out and then a leg in and out...kinda like the hokey pokey song. LOL
I must admit that it was a tricky shower and she mastered it by the end of the stay. Yam and I loved eating out of our food box and Oreo thoroughly loved her attention.
Looking forward to the rest of your trip.

Your friends
Diana and Oreo
P.S. Don would love to have been able to talk more trucks with you. Although that may not have been the best idea cuz once he starts he talks and talks and then we would not have made it to to BAR HA!!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Hiya Oreo and mum.... golly I'sa missin ya!!! Huggies, YaYa &*>

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

OMD OMD you could see the BIG MAC Bridge from the PLANE??? Our mom and dad have driven across it... there is a Pawlice car at Each end... and if peeps are afraid to drive over... the Pawlice will drive the car FUR YOU... It is a BIG LONG BRIDGE....FUR SURE...
OMD you gotted to eat Miss Diana's Cooking??? We are Pawsitive that it was DELICIOUS... SHE knows her way around the Kitchen.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Hi Guys... yes, wait till you see the piccie I got!!! I had no idea of the existence of that bridge till now. I sure would love to drive across it... with or without pawlice assistance!!! Golly, though, there just wasn't enough time together eh?... Yxx

stellaroselong said...

Oh your plane pictures are just lovely!
stella rose

Idaho PugRanch said...

You are so right - can't get enough of BAR and it is fun to hear the different pawspectives especially from the non US peeps!
Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

Sweet William The Scot said...

Oh the land from above looks so populated but at least no smog on that day. Oreo doing his form of hiking in the woods. Bawheheeee
Thanks for being a friend
Sweet William The Scot

Murphy said...

We're trying to figure out what the trouble was in the shower. Maybe it was one with just the single handle that needed rotated for temperature control? And what is the 4-way on the streets? A 4-way stop as opposed to a round-about? It is always interesting to see these small differences! When we did a tour in Europe (7 countries I think), our guide always had to tell us how to use the bathroom lol! Looking forward to more of these observations! Yes, unlike the Great Salt Lake (which is NOT so great) the Great Lakes are worthy of their name! BTW, can I get a copy of that pic on the floor at DiDi's house? Thanks YaYa!

Your Pals,

Murphy & Stanley

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Hehehe, yes the single rotator needing pulled out and apparently having no central point! The 4-way junctions in Nati city were the busiest I encountered... and yes I get that the essence is that of a roundabout - but OMD half the folks seem not to know that!!! Yes these are all the little things which add to the tapestry, what? Yxx

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

I guess growing up on a great lake (Huron), I never thought of them as anything but big!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, sounds like a great start to your USA visit. Except for sleeping on the floor. I love all the cute furbabies. Enjoy your weekend!

Joanne Noragon said...

Nice mention of our Great Lakes. Our mom used to quiz us on the importance of our terrain, and all the water in "our" great lakes figured prominently. When I was a child, we crossed the straights on a ferry. Mom could barely wait for that bridge, built when I was an adult. She and Dad only drove it once.

Merlesworld said...

Plumbing around the world is different, all takes time to it get right and the beds too.
The lakes are massive so much water.

Dory and the Mama said...

It's so great seeing your perspective and "view" on things! Looking forward to more!!

rudraprayaga said...

So pretty and mind blowing pics and the article.

Mark Muller said...

I can only imagine the eyes of the young officer as he saw your route.... and it is so great to read your travel diary... many thanks for sharing your adventures with all who had to stay at home :o)

Madi and Mom said...

YaYa this is absolutely an excellent recap of your flight from Scotland via Abu Dhabi. That was just amazing. It must have taken lots of research to find that DEAL.
Lorries is a great word for trucks. We might start using it as it is more colorful!! MOL mom looks good in alien green!!
OHCs the shower thingie must have been a challenge! We can hardly believe today is a month since we start on our road trip to meet all the beautiful friends at the BAR.
Diana and Oreo were PURRFECT host/hostess! Needless to say we look forward to your next installment!!
Hugs HiC, B-Cat and Madi-Cat

Sweet William The Scot said...

When one driver arrives first, s/he has the right of way, as the second driver must complete the stop prior to advancing into the intersection. When two drivers arrive at their respective stop signs simultaneously, the driver on the right side has the right of way. Easy Peasy.
Inner city is all stop lights. Only on one lane roads in the suburbs are the four way stop signs city regulations.
Sweet William The Scot

Janice Adcock said...

Yes, we Yanks are crazy about driving fast! And the BIG Truck love it, too. That is why I have to take relax pills before trips on Interstate roads. Was run off the road by an angry driver years ago and am a wimp now!
What fun you had meeting all the cute furfriends and their pawparents! As it struck you about how big the Great Lakes are, it struck us on how the European countries were the size of states or counties in west Texas. Once heard the Europeans have time cause there is not enough room, US has room but not enough time (always in a hurry and impatient). Look forward to your next post. BTW, the Mackinaw Bridge is a real trip to ride across in the wind!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love this! I had so many questions about your trip, this answers the first ones!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Yamini MacLean said...

....even dizzier now! bawwwhahahahahah.... I was kinda get the hang of them by the time we met a similar thing in Canada; I guess there are folks who've never encountered a roundabout and have a similar reaction! They are mostly reserved for the non-city centres also. But not always... Yxx

Mara said...

Your trip sounds great. Even with the bed and shower trouble of those first few days. I am really really really going to push Mara for the next BAR.

Brom from Norway