The Voyage: Roz Savage
Nearly There
07 Apr 2007, Woodside, California

Suzy and I arrived at our west coast destination in Woodside, California, at 2.30am last night. We hadn't left Las Vegas until about 4pm, reluctant to tear ourselves away from the hospitality of my Vegas benefactor at the Green Valley Ranch.

We hadn't exactly planned to push on all the way through to my home-from-home in Woodside, but somehow we never got around to stopping for the night. We reached a point where we were so close that there seemed little point in paying out for a motel so we just kept going.

This presented us with the problem of where to leave Sedna for what remained of the night. The original plan had been to arrive on Saturday afternoon and drop her directly at the KKMI boatyard. But this was not feasible at 3 in the morning.

After considering numerous options about where to leave her (security and a generous turning circle being the main criteria), I decided to leave her at the top of the extremely steep driveway to the cottage in Eugenia Lane. Not easy trying to unhitch the trailer and make it secure in the pitch dark. The trailer has no handbrake, so we used the spare trailer wheel as a chock.

It seemed strange to be all of 50 yards away from her, after being in such close company for the last week, and I lay in bed hoping she would stay where I left her and wouldn't run away and demolish the next door neighbour's mailbox, and that nobody would crash into her in their car, and that nobody would vandalise her, and, and, and.... and then 3 seconds after my head hit the pillow I fell asleep.

As it turns out, my main risk was of getting a citation for parking a boat inappropriately (or whatever offence this falls under). My neighbour Joni came round to the cottage mid-morning to say that the police had been wanting to know what this strange contraption might be and why was it parked on their patch. She had saved my skin - she told them all about me, showed them my website, and invited them to my party later on this month. That seemed to do the trick, and Sedna escaped citation-free. Phew.

Now we just need to get her to the KKMI boatyard in Point Richmond, about an hour away. I will be driving very carefully. After 3000 miles we don't want any mishaps at this stage...

[photo: Sedna and me in Flagstaff on Wednesday]

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Boating Across America
04 Apr 2007, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Yesterday we got an early start once again (5am) and made good progress west - such good progress, in fact, that we decided to make a quick detour up to Santa Fe. It amply lived up to my expectations with clear skies, clean air and bright sunshine, and a natural-looking city blending into the landscape. Even the Dunkin' Donuts is adobe.

Suzy and I have got our gas station routine down pat now. I go inside to prepay for the fule, while Suzy opens the petrol cap and cleans the squashed insects off the windscreen. By the time I come back out a few people have usually gathered to ask about the boat (usually along the lines of, "What the hell kind of a boat is THAT?"). I join Suzy in fielding questions and handing out flyers while the tank fills up.

We've been going through this routine 4 or 5 times a day, as Quackers can only do about 250 miles on one refill, so we've had plenty of opportunity to practice. Even when I'm being asked for the fortieth time what I ate and how I slept, I try always to answer courteously. It's good of these people to show an interest and I constantly remind myself of that. I am also aware that I may be the only ocean rower, and possibly one of only a few Brits, that they will ever meet, so I try to be a good ambassador for both.

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5 States In One Day
02 Apr 2007, Van, near Dallas, Texas

This morning we hit the road at 5.45am (yeah, thanks Suzy, great idea, who needs sleep anyway...) and by breakfast we had passed through a huge thunderstorm and 4 states - Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. We drove into New Orleans around 10am, past buildings still showing signs of Katrina's devastation, and miraculously managed to find a 50-foot-long parking space on the edge of the picturesque French Quarter.

After a quick gumbo breakfast and a look around Bourbon Street we hit the road again and headed west once more.

We are now in the second largest state in the US (Alaska being the first), just outside of Dallas. Texas, according to my road atlas, has a population of 21 million and covers an area of 266,807 square miles. Incredible to think that the North Pacific Garbage Patch is alleged to be about the same size.

[Photo: Suzy catching up on calls over breakfast in Nawlins]

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Go West
01 Apr 2007, Pensacola, Florida

Now we are four. Quackers the truck, Sedna the Boat, Suzy the (Kilimanjaro-climbing) friend and I are en route to San Francisco from Tampa - a distance almost equivalent to this summer's row from San Francisco to Hawaii. That journey will (weather permitting) take me around 75 days. This journey will, I hope, take no more than 7, so we should be on the West Coast by Saturday night.

The upgraded trailer is performing just great so far - not a wobble or a wiggle - so there is a good chance that after all her adventures Sedna will make it safely to Frisco without flying off her trailer and skidding along the freeway - my vivid but hopefully far-fetched nightmare.

[photo: L to R - Suzy, Quackers and me - Sedna hidden behind]

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