Two weeks ago Wednesday, Miki and I were prepared to depart on our long-planned trip for Ireland. With our bags packed, we were waiting at 6 AM for the shuttle to take us to the airport when we received word that our connecting flight from Chicago to Dublin had been canceled due to more volcanic ash spewing from Iceland. The airlines couldn’t tell us how many days would elapse before they had space on another flight. More importantly, I couldn’t be sure we would not have a similar interruption on our way home. Rather than risk being stranded abroad, we decided to cancel our trip, knowing that the pre-paid hotels, sight-seeing, meals and connections would be forfeit. (Aer Lingus was nice enough to eventually refund the cost of the flight.)
So what do you do at seven in the morning when your suitcases are packed with warm clothes and you’ve already booked two weeks out of the office? Road trip!
We threw some sunscreen in the bags, (optimists that we are) tossed the bags in the car, and headed up the California coast. Blessed with wonderful weather (only one half day of rain on leaving Mendocino) we got the opportunity to do something we rarely do – have a completely unplanned vacation, with no deadlines, nowhere we absolutely had to be, no pressure to please anyone other than ourselves, and no need to accommodate anyone else’s needs. It was wonderful!
We made it as far North as Portland, Oregon, with stops along the way in Pismo Beach, Carmel and Big Sur, lunch in Berkeley with some old friends, Sonoma, Mendocino (and a visit Dr. Langler, the man responsible for the Partnership Scholars program, that I’ve written of before) Eureka, Ferndale, Crescent City, Lincoln City, the Columbia River Gorge and Hood River, Oregon City, Ashland, Mount Shasta, Stockton, and eventually, home. According to the odometer on the car, we covered a little over 2300 miles. We also met some very nice people, hiked through trails of redwoods scratching the clouds as well as along miles of ocean front cliffs covered with spring flowers. We ate some wonderful meals, and experienced for the first time the beauty and variety of the Pacific Northwest. Rather than bore you with long winded descriptions, let the images I attached in the album on the right speak for themselves. I’m sure Ireland would have been incredible in a different way, and though I’ve never been there, I can’t imagine its grandeur being any more magnificent than the ones we’ve witnessed.
What did we learn? We learned that spontaneity in travel (as in many other things) has its own rewards. We learned that you can get incredible last minute deals on hotels and B&B’s thanks to the marvels of the Internet and programs such as Priceline. Last, but not least, we learned (once again) what an amazing country we live in!
What didn’t we learn? After staying in eleven hotels and B&B’s in twelve nights, you would think we would have learned to check if the alarm clock in the room had been set to some ungodly hour by the previous occupant, then left in the "on" position. You would think that, but, as we kept proving time after time, you would have been wrong.
Hope you all had a great weekend.
Sorry you had to cancel your trip to Ireland, however you turned things around and ended up having a good time.
Jorge, The best laid plans are those in the making. The best lived are those that are done and experienced. The most cherished are those yet to become. Here or there a pint or two of Guiness and a few hours of conversation over a fine meal would indeed be nice. This side of the pond or the other. In the mean time, as ever be well, my friend. Stephen Craig Rowe
You made the right choice by far . What an amazing trip from what I can see from your words and photos. I love california. I cant wait to see more of it. North is where I would love to go and walk where John Muri walked in the RedWood forest.Glad you shared your trip in words and outstanding photos. Have a great week. Reminds me . I think I have photos still fo California I need to look at. Im so far behind.
I\’ll have to come back for the photos, but I love that kind of trip…..although it is sad you lost your trip to Ireland and all that money!
We enjoyed an overnight train trip with private car between Seattle and San Fran early/mid April and really enjoyed the scenery in southern Oregon. And of course, San Fran is one of my fave locales. We made it as far south as Carmel even though I was itching to drive further to Big Sur (I\’ve never been)…nex time.Next time you visit the PNW, you must get to Seattle so we can meet.PS – lol about the alarm clock – we all know better but still…it happens.
sorry you didn\’t make it to Ireland. I had a great time in Dublin when I went – Guinness factory and the writer\’s museum. Iceland is a wonderful place, too. Maybe one day, I will do your shores, and you mine. Good to read you again Jorge.
Hi Jorgewe leave june 7 for Ireland…and bags packed with hot clothes loland as we dont live that far away from Ireland we go by buss and boat and shuttle back.we stay for 10 days and visit Ireland from down to northand no plane this time…Imagine the vulcano ashes are there again.well Jorge u enjoyed the Holidays in a different way..and seems even bettertc for ur comment Jorge and maybe u cna introduce me to ur Colombo friend??a wonderful weekendMJ
Hi Jorgethe comment below is minei logged in with wrong old hotmailtcMJ
Hi Jorge. Sounds like a great trip. Strangely I just came out of a philosophy lecture on scepticism in which Mt Shasta played a large part. But now I can just write the professor back and say that I have independent confirmation of it, so he can stop worrying whether it exits or not.
Hello Jorge! What a great post! I enjoyed reading it and I\’m amazed how you made happy trip from disappointment at first. I love the spontaneity and it sounds like a great idea to do. And I am sure you will see Ireland another time.I am going to check the photos!