Michael and I have just come back from a month travelling the USA, promoting SCC properties to agents in many different states. We travelled with Juliet Agg-Manning – the marketing director for SCC. She had put together an incredible trip visiting up to 4 agents a day in many different cities and she delivered her presentation with incredible enthusiasm and energy on every occasion. We were proud to be with her and more importantly we were proud to be part of the SCC portfolio and the incredibly diverse properties that it now represents. In each office we were met with real interest and a desire for knowledge of these very unique destinations.
We were spoilt by the generosity of the Epicquest boys – www.epicquest.com – -who took Michael, Wiz and Juju heli-skiing in Sun Valley – quite brave, as they hadn’t skied for a while. Anyone who skis should try this, an amazing experience.
Our trip from Sun Valley, Idaho to the redwood forests of northern California led us through extraordinary country – so beautiful and empty and full of forests, followed by farmland, followed by the Pacific Ocean. The air was cold but clear, the roads incredibly twisted, the music on the radio stations brilliant.
Huge excitement as we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge after zooming down Highway 101 – a really great drive.
We stayed in motels of all descriptions some charming, others ghastly. We ate in roadside diners and 5 star restaurants. We slept in Charles de Gaulle’s bed in a brilliant b&b in San Francisco. We witnessed our first fire drill in a Sheraton hotel – the alarm set off by students but the noise so hideous it was impossible to block it off with pillows – so out we went and trod around in the cold air until the fire department had been.
We had a guided tour of Stanford University by one of its old boys – an architectural student who had designed some of the new buildings and was now raising money for sports scholarships.
We visited cousin Linda and her husband Steve – dinner with Linda’s mother, daughter and granddaughter – so 4 generations all together.
We were stunned by the vastness of Los Angeles and the fact that feet are not made for walking there, only jogging on the beach. We also found the ‘stoners’ of Venice Beach.
We were welcomed onto the King Ranch in south Texas by Cina and James – great Africa supporters – amazing hospitality on a beautiful ranch with impala grazing on the lawn. They had been brought over years ago and we heard that neighbouring ranches had eland, oryx and even rhinos. A bit of quail hunting punctuated with ‘shoot that pig’ was the order of the day – delicious bush lunch under the live oak trees with a view of the ocean in the distance.
We saw a real live rodeo in the stadium in San Antonio. Truly spectacular, displays of intense patriotism as well extreme skill from both riders and horses, as they entertained thousands.
Spaghetti junctions of note in all the cities – but Houston, Miami and Atlanta were the most intimidating for a bush girl of Kenya. Ten lanes, all full of traffic, the cars with only one driver – so whoopee we were able to drive in the car pool lane overtaking all, but in trepidation as it meant crossing back over to exit the freeway.
The Adam’s ranch in Florida was another highlight – wild cattle country literally 10 minutes from the chaos of the Florida coastline. A chance to walk on grass, visit with alligators and chat to Elaine – a legend whom we are privileged to know. She took Michael flying in her Tiger Moth and she is only 84!! And that is only one of her hobbies, she also has an ultralite, horses, bicycles and an ancient jeep with no brakes, but she has had to hang up her roller blades.
Our last two nights were with Betty Jo and Andy – the nicest and most adventurous people in Georgia. Amazing hospitality in their gorgeous home and a chance to relax, ogle at their amazing art collection and just chat for hours.
We had humour as our ever present GPS – Betty or Ken – depending on whose voice we chose for the day, tried to take us on the back country roads through California and Georgia. However we were delighted to hand over our last car rental and board the plane to JFK from Atlanta. Our last American contact was the bus driver over to Newark – an ex-army guy who is now a New York guide and he simply did not stop talking all the way telling us highly entertaining historical stories of New York and New Jersey. A fitting end to our safari around the states and a last reminder of how amazingly friendly the people of American are.