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Flag of United States  , Montana
Friday, October 19, 2007

 
Well, we're still in Helena waiting for post to catch up with us, it's funny how you just take things for granted isn't it?  When you're "on the road" little things like receiving post, having an address so you can open a bank account or sign up for a supermarket rewards card (to save valuable dollars on special offers!) becomes impossible. Sometimes electronic mail simply will not do. Interestingly it's not simply an issue for us foreigners; full time American rvers who have sold up face the same problems, but they also loose the right to vote as they have no physical residential address! It's something that the RVing community, which incidentally has huge political clout over here, is lobbying to change.
 
I know from following news at home that post is a bit of a sore point at the moment, post here at this campsite arrives at a bout 5pm when the manager goes into town to collect it! But at least it does arrive if somewhat late in the day.
Whilst in Canada we posted some documents to New Hampshire in the States,  "should take 5 days" they went "astray" we repeated the process and used priority mail - next day delivery at a cost of $30- they took 5 days!. Claiming a refund was simple until it came to collecting the refund - a cheque for dollars...ah, but we don't have a bank account - Canadian or American...nope can't open one - haven't got an address...la...la...la



Some other thoughts from across the pond:
 
Going through the checkout at the supermarket (no matter which one) just stand back and let it happen...start to pack your own "groceries" and you risk the genuinely shocked & hurt looks from the packer whose soul job in life is to double/triple pack your goods in plastic bags, two items at a time and wheel your cart (trolley) to your car, where again you stand back and allow them to load up for you...
 
If by chance your bill had an odd few pence on it and you haven't the change, well there's always a little pot at the till where previous customers have dropped their odd few pence, so the cashier will use these for you!
 
When entering or leaving said supermarket "parking lot" the pedestrian RULES! Cars stop wherever you are to allow you to make your way, as slowly as you feel, to wherever you want to go...incidentally it's not necessary to walk in a straight line...
 
Said supermarkets provide hours of entertainment for poor souls like us, wandering amongst the aisles catching glimpses of such delicacies as," wickles" ( wicked pickles - pickled chillies) and all manner of unmentionable cuts of meat that I'm sure barely make the pet food shelves in the UK. This was particularly noticeable in the south.
 
Approaching many an "intersection" that is a four way stop, he who arrives first, goes first - can you imagine ANY situation in UK where that would happen? In all our travels (24 states + 2 provinces in Canada) we have only encountered a handful of rotaries (roundabouts) - Halifax you should feel special!
 
Then there are the traffic lights...you have normal R/A/G sequence but then there's a flashing green arrow meaning you have priority to turn left...if it's solid green then oncoming traffic has priority. If you come upon a flashing amber then you're approaching an intersection - you should have priority but there might be someone crossing your path. On a normal red then you can turn right on it - if there's nothing coming...
 
On interstates (I may have mentioned this in a previous blog) stay in the "middle lane" this allows drivers to overtake/undertake on both sides of you. Be prepared - the driver in the outside lane - this may be a six lane highway - probably needs the next exit which is 500'away!
 
Then there's the language - we all know about potato/potato etc but what about this...
Ketchup - katsup, Crisps - chips , Chips - French fries - TV ads are messages - and all those ones that have nearly got me into trouble like asking someone if they toast their "buns" on the BBQ how was I to know it meant a part of their anatomy?
 
As we've said it's "huntin" season - camouflage gear everywhere -pulled up at the lights the other day beside a pick up whose passenger was hugging his cross bow and arrows on his knee - a little unnerving!
 
Well the post did finally arrive, collected early for us, so at 2.30 we had a decision to make. We usually leave around 10ish, so this was very late and bearing in mind we had about 180 miles to go, it was a toss up between a night in Wal-mart and an early start or to set off. Weather reports last night had already made us change our plans - West Yellowstone where we were heading was forecast quite a bit of snow and there are "severe wind advisories" out for the whole region for tomorrow. So, here we are in Gardiner - the northern gate to Yellowstone, having gone round/through more sets of snow covered mountains. It was windy on the way down, Malc did his "movie driving" impersonation where he grips the wheel and frantically swerves left and right somewhat erratically, all this enables Bree to continue in a straight line. A fifth wheel one vehicle in front of us shredded a tyre (luckily just at an exit) some mountain goats decided to cross just in front of us as we came into the valley -  and worsening weather, were some of the other perils along the way! But we made it, this campsite is open til Sunday so all is well. 






 
 
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