Trek America 2019 Experience

On the 10th of August 2019 I was heading off to Manchester to begin my long journey to the USA, a what a journey it turned out to be. I wont lie to you, I had been in charge of organising everything so I was preparing for the worst, and to add to my anxiety quite, the weather was causing some serious delays but luckily, I managed to board the train on time… At least, that’s what I had thought! As the train pulled into Oxford Road, the conductor asked us to leave the train, 2 stops from where I needed to be and at this point it was cutting it fine with 2 hours to get through check in and security.

However, I managed to catch the plane and get comfortable for the next 11 hours. Literally was the worst experience ever, 11 hours in the same seat.

After a couple minor delays on board the Thomas Cook flight I arrived at San Francisco, and the flight overall was good. But this was where the good luck stopped, standing in the longest line in the world at customs I received an email informing me that my hotel room had been cancelled, seriously?! I immediately texted my friend that I was due to meet in arrivals and THANKFULLY she was able to get to the hotel and sort out the entire situation and I was free from customs a grand total of 5 hours later.

We stayed in the accommodation recommended by Trek America, it was expensive and not very nice but it done the job and saved us the hassle of travelling to the meeting point for the Trek as it was in the lobby. Also there was a nice American diner located at the bottom of the hotel. I wouldn’t chose to stay there personally.

I arrived a day before the Trek was due to begin and I would recommend doing this as it gave my friend and I a chance to explore San Francisco properly as you don’t get much time on the tour. We walked the Golden Gate Bridge, when we got there it was totally covered in fog, which was disheartening but by the time we walked to the other side and back again (around 4 miles) it had cleared up. We then headed into China Town for some dinner and back to the hotel for an early night before the next morning!!

Trek Day One

Starting the trek at 7:30am we met with all other campers in the lobby, there were 12 of us in total, 11 girls and 1 boy. It was a quiet start but everyone chatted and got along as we made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Making a quick stop there, walked to the other side and were met by our tour guide and I was glad because we didn’t have to walk back again, strongly advise wearing sun cream as I have some pretty shameful tan lines I have to admit. We then had a big drive to our campsite where we would spend the night near to Yosemite, we stopped a couple times along the way for food. The tour guide was great for accommodating stops and breaks, I never felt rushed or desperate for the toilet. That night the group cooked and cleaned at the campsite. The equipment was great, I expected old tents and dirty, old supplies but luckily we camped in brand new tents (we named ours Will Smith) with little mattresses which was a nice touch… much appreciated on that rocky ground!

Trek Day Two

We were all packed up and ready to rumble at 7am for our day at Yosemite. This tour is so fast paced, without the early mornings and late nights it would be so difficult to make the most of our experience, however, I don’t think that this took away anything from our trip. Mari, our leader, worked really hard with the timescale available and the group was able to get a lot out of the time that we had. Yosemite was beautiful, but I’ve done a few hikes, this was the hardest, it was incredibly steep and hot. When we reached the top of Nevada falls it all became worth it. What a view!

So glad that we done it together, we all supported each other to the top and by the time we got back down we had all bonded a lot better as a group. We left Yosemite at 3:30pm after our 6 hour hike and returned to the campsite for more cooking and a swim in the pool/river.

Trek Day Three

This day was the longest drive that we had on the trip and it was actually not so bad. We set off in the early hours and made stops in places like Death Valley and arrived around 5pm in Las Vegas, playing games, listening to tunes, chatting, sleeping all the way there. We stayed in an beautiful hotel called the Golden Nugget. I really did not expect this to be included in the price that we had paid so I was over the moon! (But don’t drink the water in the room it’s $4!). This night was epic, we had a private party bus through Vegas, stopping at the famous sign and at the Bellagio where we watched the stunning water show, honestly this night was my highlight of the trip, it doesn’t matter if you’re not 21 you need to experience it.

Trek Day Four

This was our free day, free to explore Las Vegas and do whatever you want. 7 out of the 12 of us decided to stick together and we had breakfast (massive pancakes) and then headed into Las Vegas to explore some of the most beautiful hotels in the world, and Trump Towers. We wandered around the hotels and MnM world from about 9am-4pm and then headed back to the Nugget for a dip in the shark tank pool! For dinner we went to an all you can eat buffet, which was immense and catered exceptionally well to my vegan friend, so trust me when I say that we got our money’s worth. After exploring Fremont street that night we went to bed to start the next day.

Trek Day Five

This day we mostly travelled again but I would like I said, the journeys were always enjoyable and totally worth it. We arrived in the Grand Canyon camp site where we were split in 2 groups. One group had paid to do a helicopter ride over the top of the Canyon, but I was in the other group that didn’t want to(*afford to) do it. Mari got us to put paper bags over our heads and walked us about 2 minutes to a location where when she told us to take the bags off, we had an amazing view of the canyon. It was worth being videoed and laughed at by strangers for walking around in paper bags because it was really cool to have it appear in front of you like that but I won’t lie, I was humiliated in public.

We had plenty time for photos and posing while we waited on the others and when they arrived we ate pizza on the edge of the canyon and watched the sunset… magnificent.

Trek Day Six

This day we were woken up early to go back to the canyon before it got too hot for a quick hike. We went down the Bright Angel Trail, and it may of only been 1.5 miles but it was like a freaking frying pan, don’t even get me started on the way back up, I could hardly breathe, I abandoned my friend Iona half way down, all friendship loyalties were lost and I’m glad because if I’d of went any further down, I’d still be there today trying to walk back up. Serious applause to you, Iona.

We then had a quick stop at the museum they have there before getting the shuttle back to camp.

We were off to Colorado River! We dragged our journey out as long as we could to avoid arriving in the heat. Done a bit of a supermarket shop and arrived at the Colorado River campsite at about 6pm. We were able to swim in the river and shower before a good old salad for tea. We slept without tents this night and it was beautiful… after we had to call the police to rescue 2 camp mates that had gotten swept out by the current in the river… everyone was okay though, bloody tourists.

Trek Day Seven

Last day of the trek was so sad! Everyone was so close by this point. Not one person had a bad trip, we were all so lucky to have had such an unforgettable experience and even though it was hard with all the travelling, we made the most of the time that we had. The last day was spent travelling to LA and had a stop at a tourist spot on Route 66 before we hit Venice Beach. It was so nice to chill by the beach with an ice cream before heading to the finish point. Our final destination was another hotel, which I was thankful of after 2 nights camping! You do have to book your own room for the meeting/finishing points so we had to say goodbye to the campers who were staying else where.

Last Day

We opted again to stay in the recommended hotel as it was convenient with a free airport shuttle. It was expensive, however it was nice with a pool, free breakfast and WiFi. It may be worth a look about for cheaper though, and I would definitely stay the extra night as the campers that flew that day were a bit rushed.

I had to leave for my flight at about 4pm the day after the trip finished so I had all day really to explore LA. I’m really glad Iona suggested doing a bus tour as it meant we could start at 9am after breakfast and see lots of the city quickly. Starting at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we got on the bus tour to Beverley Hills where we got off to use the bathrooms and explore a little. A highlight was definitely going to the Regent Beverley Wiltshire (Pretty Woman Hotel) and Rodeo Drive ‘baby’.

Getting back on the bus we finished back where we started and walked the Walk of Fame, looking out for my fave, The Rock Johnson… Got a snap of the Hollywood sign and then got an Uber back to the hotel for my free transfer to the airport. This was one of my favourite days despite not being with my team mates.

All in all, what an incredible week! It was quick but we done so much, it’s a great opportunity to see a big part of the world with a bunch of lovely other travellers. I would recommend this trip to everyone, 100%. Trek America Western Wonder from San Francisco.

Denial

Weekend Writing Prompt #105 – https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/category/weekend-writing-prompt/

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Denial

Challenge

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word.  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


No more messages,
you sit there and cry,
he pushes you aside
And he doesn’t reply.

He remembers the love,
It’s me he’s forgotten

You love him,
what more can you do?
Than just tell yourself,
y
ou can only be you.

We loved each other so much,
h
ow could he have forgotten?

You look at her,
t
hem both together.
H
e has moved on
because love isn’t forever.

Don’t call this denial.
It’s love, that he’s simply forgotten.

Week 3 – Goals & Finishing Touches

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I have decided to set a little challenge for myself, I have been uploading a blog a week this month, and this is blog number 3. After this post, I will upload one more then I should be getting the keys to our new property, so exciting! In this post I am going to write about my personal goals that I want to achieve throughout the duration of this project, what my ‘role’ will be and also expand on some of the little finishing touches I would like to incorporate into the interior of the house.

I am already aware that working with my parents is going to be the biggest challenge I face. We have entirely opposite views on pretty much everything so finding some kind of common ground is going to be tricky. I understand that when it comes to actual maintenance work, there will be no arguments because I am in no position to question any of that work, however, the kitchen, bathroom and new layout are, even now, causing a bit of friction… But it’s to be expected in any work place, different opinions are to be celebrated and accepted, the only problem is finding a compromise, it will just take patience. Another challenge I think I will have to really work against will be fatigue. I have a 40-hour job beside this, and I worry that I will struggle to find the time to really give it my all, but I do desperately want to, I feel exhausted just thinking about it… Other people in the world have it way harder so I reckon that I will just have to channel my inner grafter and get on with it (fingers crossed). My main goals are currently:

  1. Learn to tile
  2. Keep the paperwork in a consistent order
  3. Learn to wallpaper
  4. Learn a little bit about the plumbing
  5. Keep it simple!

In terms of my actual role within the project, I am eager to turn my hand to most things. The professional and more kind of laborious work I will just leave to the professionals and my dad, but I think I will if not willingly, be forced by mum to help with tasks like tiling, painting and decorating. Also, I was quite good at woodwork at school, so I think that I’d be able to lend a hand when it comes to measuring and fitting things like doors, blowing my own trumpet slightly so I hope I’ve not jinxed it, it’s been a long time since school, potential for a disaster…

Furthermore, doing the job that I do has led me to be quite regimented with paperwork, so I am going to take the lead on keeping on track with receipts, paperwork and of course, the budget.  Additionally, this will help with keeping this blog updated on cost and progress. Having a paper bank of all the updates and expenses will assist me in the future when I start to embark on these projects singlehanded because it will give me a clear insight on how much work costs and experience with dealing with specific trades, bearing in mind that every house will require different work. Not to mention, my mum always loses the damn receipts and we have to endure a few days every year turning the house upside down on a proper mission to find everything, if I can avoid us having to do that, I will be very happy.

budget

The Budget Chart

In regard to the finishing touches I would like to make, I personally think that every house needs to have a little something about it. I understand that it’s safe to paint it all magnolia and have everything very ‘Plain Jane’ but I still think that giving it a subtle personality is important. In all the houses my parents have done, they’ve wallpapered one wall in the house. If it was my house, I think I would have the whole sitting room papered, that is the done thing in these more classic interiors, a soft pattern all the way round. However, this is not my house so we might wallpaper one wall in the sitting room to give it some life, or we might just leave it for the people who would move in. Although, for small bedroom I spied a beautiful cream wallpaper that would be barely noticeable if the room is to be magnolia like the rest, but it has animals like elephants and zebras etched into it in gold; how beautiful would that look in the sun, just a plain bedroom but with the light shining on to a gorgeously drawn design, I think it would be perfect.

As for the rest of it, we will probably steer away from any kind of personality as it might hinder it in the selling process. I was thinking of framing some art to hang up on a wall or 2 just to brighten the place up a smidge but I’ll see how much time I get. I’m also on the hunt for a big gold mirror and a glass frame for those pressed flowers for the ensuite I wrote about in week 2, I think I am getting a bit giddy, but I am awfully excited.

bedroom

The wallpaper that I like for the bedroom

https://www.homebase.co.uk/boutique-jungle-animals-cream-wallpaper_p491743

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