If you’re expecting a travelogue…

… you probably won’t be disappointed. Travelogue through the holiday and the week so far maybe.

So, as anticipated, there were few opportunities to blog while we were away. Not least because the daughter decided to do the itineraries.

No issue with that, per se, but I’ve driven around five foreign road trips and she doesn’t drive.

But anything for a bit of peace so we agreed we’d give it a go.

The first thing to remember about road trips

– certainly in the case of the USA – is the sheer bl00dy distances involved.

The second is that, away from the Interstates and US roads, there’s not too much dual carriageway and the state of said roads can best be described as “variable” and occasionally “challenging”…

The third is that many of the more scenic bits are scenic precisely because the road is windy.

And finally for now, if it’s that scenic, you’re probably not the only person travelling it.

Net effect? Everything takes a LOT longer than you expect.

And we did a touch under 3,000 miles driving in just over a fortnight!

Maybe it’s my age

but

I’m not alllllll that keen on driving after dark, on the wrong side of the road, on roads I’ve never driven before, to places I don’t know, to find accommodation with just the GPS or daughter’s phone to guide me.

And nor’s her mother.

So we had the occasional difference of opinion and the odd word or two was spoken but it is family so at the end of the day you shrug your shoulders and get over things.

Well I do anyway. Nyah, nyah, nyah!

So I hear you ask, what was your itinerary?

Actually you may not care in the least but it’s MY blog so I choose what to write about.

After a night just outside Denver – rewind. After a taxi ride to downtown Denver and a night at a motel, we took a taxi to pick up our hire car.

Why not collect it on arrival I hear you ask? Well, and I DO find this difficult to comprehend, the Denver Airport branch of the hire company had RUN OUT OF CARS.

Run that by me again?

HOW does a car hire company run out of cars?

Not a clue but you end up picking up the car from suburban middle of somewhere and nowhere and hope the GPS works.

We took the second car we looked at. The first looked nice but we couldn’t get the luggage in the boot/trunk* (delete as appropriate depending on which version of English is your language).

Which might have caused “issues”.

So, off for our first jaunt via an out of town mall to look at a craft shop for Lorraine and a Starbucks to fuel the daughter.

And a short break to visit my osteopath

 

including telling her all about our trip. Obviously. Whether she wanted to know or not. She is very good at listening to me ramble and smiles in the right places.

Genuinely interested or good bedside manner? Who knows and should I care???

So, basically , we drove

  • west from Denver until we ran out of Colorado
  • turned 90 degrees right cutting through the edge of Utah
  • up into Wyoming
  • through two major national parks
  • stayed in Idaho (because we could – and it was cheaper than Wyoming or Montana where we were)
  • 90 degrees right again and through Montana
  • over the top of a mountain and down the other side
  • straight on to South Dakota
  • visited another national park and a national monument
  • turned 90 degrees right
  • decided not to come down the delights of an Interstate (I-25) and took a parallel road through Nebraska instead
  • skipped back into Wyoming, and
  • headed south with the odd excursion west until arriving back in Denver

Oh, forgot, flew TO Denver via Vancouver and BACK via Toronto – because Air Canada had some very decent fares.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park in winter

Totalling:

States – 7 (see above)

National Parks – 4

  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Badlands National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park

National Monuments – 3

  • Colorado National Monument
  • Dinosaur National Monument (maybe ought not count because it was too late in the day to do much of it)
  • Mount Rushmore National Monument

National Forests and Grasslands – 7

  • Bridger-Teton National Forest
  • Bighorn National Forest (yes, that Bighorn)
  • Buffalo Gap National Grasslands x 2
  • Black Hills National Forest
  • Oglala National Grasslands
  • Medicine Bow National Forest
  • Roosevelt National Forest

Scary roads – 3

  • Colorado National Monument – Rim Rock Drive
  • Bear Tooth Highway (summit 10,947 ft)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park – Trail Ridge Road (summit 11,796 ft)
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone canyon and falls

And back to work

Back six days of which four are work ones.

The Saturday was the sort of day that sends you back on holiday – if only.

Remember my whinge a few weeks ago about Jessops? Well, they’ve NOT redeemed themselves.

The gimbal/gymbal (neither of which are in the spellchecker) doesn’t work. Refuses to power on. Took it into an Apple Store in Colorado and they agree it’s broken but as we didn’t buy it in the USA not much they can do about it.

Well, there are two stores locally – one in the middle of a major city and the other in a retail park.

So chose the retail park. Wrong in retrospect.

Firstly, nowhere in the Google results does it say the store in INSIDE the local Sainsburys. So we waste 20 minutes wandering around looking for it until (in desperation) I ask a Sainburys staff member and find out.

I talk to the staff member at Jessops and they need a ten digit number before I can return the goods to them.

So I have to phone Jessops’ online operation while stood in one of their stores…

Then we discover that, as it’s been more than 30 days since purchase, they won’t do a straight replacement. Fair enough I suppose but remember it was ordered for the daughter’s trip to the Seychelles and arrived the day after she’d gone. And we’ve just got back from our US road trip.

So it had to be a repair. Fair enough but

they couldn’t accept items for repair at that store and we’ll have to go to the major city one instead.

By now I’m beginning to lose it.

So, after a few choice words about their customer service (and me apologising to the staff member as it’s really not his fault – but see later) we stomp off.

Only to discover that we’ve left the baseball caps in the store.

Go back and they’re nowhere to be found.

Later, over a coffee, Lorraine phones Sainsburys customer services  who haven’t had them handed in and obviously then have a word with said Jessops staff member to be told that “the customers had them when they left”.

Lying git.

Lorraine had only bought hers in a US National Park a few days earlier so is unsurprisingly upset.

Sainsburys do ask her to phone back the next day in case they came to light.

(Postscript: she did phone back and – miraculously – said baseball caps had been found and she is a happy bunny once more. The less said about the time warp they vanished into the better or I may FURTHER libel people other than at Sainsburys)

THEN getting out of said retail park took forever. The road network is incredibly badly designed. And so to lunch.

First place we go there’s no room in the car park, second one (most apologetically) the landlord’s on holiday so no kitchen at the weekend and, in desperation, we go into one of the local garden centres which does have a cafe.

Duly order and find they’ve run out of what Lorraine wanted to order.

Can you make this up???

Things pretty much calmed down for a while after that.

Until yesterday and today.

Urgent filing deadline issue. Queries sent to client and no reply. Resend queries and answers received while we are on holiday.

Soooooo… now I am at Wednesday afternoon with accounts to be filed preferably by end-Friday or at worst by 30th (Sunday).

Wander in after dinner to remember than the software house had taken the programmes and data offline for an update.

Which left today. At about 08.15 this morning we get a power cut.

Not necessarily a problem. Except (i) data online and (ii) if power outage occurs while laptop is in the docking station I cannot regain control of the screen without a hard reboot of the system.

So about an hour later everything comes back and I have to do the hard reboot anyway because of the connection.

Get the whole lot back and go upstairs to wake daughter who I will be taking to the station later.

In that time we get a micro surge or some such and the whole system crashes AGAINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.

The only reason I knew something had happened at all was the funny bleep I get out of the landlines when this happens.

And I think it might have been only one phase as the lighting circuits didn’t flicker at all!

I did NOT believe it.

So in the rest of the morning I complete the draft accounts, send them off and drop the daughter to the station.

And on my return I did bugger all for an hour.

Do you blame me?

Yellowstone National Park travelogue

Morning Glory pool, Yellowstone


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Colin Bielckus

I've been a Chartered Accountant since 1981 and I set up Avenue Business Services (ABS) in 2002. Alongside that business I am also ‘The Outsourced Finance Director’, assisting with strategic planning and wealth management to give business owners peace of mind and greater financial security.

Colin, please let me know when new ReAccountancy posts go live

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