Day 153. Friday, 18th October. At home in Rotorua

Firstly, Happy Birthday to Liz, Dennis’s little sister. 70 today.

We said there would be no more blogs until we return to Mexico at the end of December. This isn’t a daily blog but a thank you to everyone who hosted us en route during stage two of our journey.

Starting with Sarah, Tim, Charley and Jaxon with whom we spent two lovely weeks in Whistler. As well as getting Poki ready for stage two, we helped Sarah and Tim move house.  While we have been travelling, they have been preparing for their trip too and will set off very soon. When we go back to Mexico, the plan is to meet up and travel together for a while.

Good friends Bill and Joan in White Rock. We stayed the first night after leaving Whistler with them. On the way, later in the trip, we met Bill’s mum, Mary, in Glace Bay in Nova Scotia. Mary celebrated her 100th birthday a few days ago, on 14th October.

Jan and Bruce hosted us for two nights in their lovely home in Calgary. Jan is a very keen gardener. Despite it still being winter and the weather horrid while we were in Calgary, the garden was looking great.

Via the Land Rover fraternity we met Bill and Susan in Edmonton. On the first evening Bill met us in his Land Rover and took us out into the wilds to camp. A very pretty spot by a lake. We would never have found it on our own. We stayed another two nights and Bill and Susan were really helpful with organising spares and providing information.

Also via the Land Rover community we met Bill and Truly in St. John. Through Truly we also met Marie and Colin and enjoyed a great evening over dinner and much vino.

When we couldn’t find a reasonably priced camp site close to Gettysburg, Tracey and Luther very kindly let us camp in their paddock.

On another occasion when we couldn’t find a camp site, we were warmly welcomed by farming family Fred and Cookie and their son, Richard and grandson, Derek. We camped next to one of their barns among the peacocks. Fred and Cookie took great pleasure in showing us their beautiful historic house.

In Portland we had a superb Indian meal with Logan and Jamie. They had exciting news to share with us regarding the baby they are expecting and the new house they are buying.

Just outside Portland in Forest Park, Dennis’s cousin, Kellly and husband, Stacy were very helpful and hospitable.  As well as letting us stay for two nights, they organised for us to leave the Land Rover with friends, Scott and Marsha on their ranch. We flew back to the UK for two weeks. Scott and Marsha were also very kind in letting us sleep in a very comfy bed after our flight back from the UK.

We are also very grateful to Tracey and Jeff in Loreto for accommodating us for a couple of days and helping us arrange storage for Poki for two and a half months, while we are back in New Zealand.

There was much more interaction with people on this stage of our journey. Wherever we went people would want to know about our travels. Whenever we stopped and parked, we would find someone studying the map on Poki’s side. It was much easier to communicate, without the language barriers we faced on the previous stage. We shared experiences with so many people. They are not forgotten. Many have a mention in the blog, but there are too many to recall them all here. 

We met a few other European ‘Overlanders’ like us on the way. Swiss couple, Thomas and Chantal, on the Dempster Highway. Belgian couple, Ulrich and Lot, who are on a year’s honeymoon, at Garnet Ghost Town. Slovakian couple, Pavol and Ivana at Crater Lake and British couple, Joel and Nicky at San Ignacio in Mexico. We are all heading south to Central and South America so perhaps we will meet again and be able to swap stories regarding our different journeys.

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