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Two weeks in the USA a pilgrimage and a visit to Google

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Well here we are in the Business lounge in Canberra. No fog! This has been my stress point for some weeks and I was kicking myself for not overnighting at the airport in Sydney. However all is well.

Normally I would be feeling very excited as I love travelling - a whiff of aircraft fuel is like ambrosia. However having lost a good friend in the MH17 tragedy I find myself feeling very down and not really feeling like going. Hopefully that will pass. My friend loved travelling and we exchanged many e-mails swapping travel plans and experiences. She lived in Melbourne so we only saw each other a few times a year, but e-mail is so wonderful. I feel very sad thinking I won't see an e-mail pop up in my inbox in a few weeks saying "are you back yet?"

The lounge is very empty today - I guess those wanting a full days work interstate have already gone and the leisure crowd aren't here yet. I love the staff in this lounge - as soon as we walked in we were asked for coffee requirements and Mr FM's decaf was waiting at our table by the time we had selected some breakfast.

Our plans for the USA are

Straight through to Minneapolis to see a friend we haven't seen for close to 30 years

Fly to Buffalo

Hire a car visiting Niagara, Alexandria Bay on the St Lawrence and then our pilgrimage to Saranac Lake.

From there drive to Gettysburg and then DCA where we fly to San Francisco for our visit to Google and to spend some time Master FM then home, Not terribly exciting, but hopefully some nice pictures of the scenery.
 
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blackcat20

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Sounds like a great trip. I'm so sorry about your friend. Hopefully flying gives you a little something to smile about.
 
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I will put up lots of photos if I can - still trying to work out the technology :).

In the Qantas F lounge and feeling a bit happier. Just realised I haven't eaten much over the last few days and food does help.

Had my usual breakfast at the lounge - somehow we always seem to be here at breakfast time - hope to try out the other menu when we go to Africa next month. Sure is a lot quieter than around 9 o'clock when it is a total zoo!

bf.jpg
 
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RooFlyer

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Have a good trip :)

I remember I paid a business trip to Google about 6 years ago - downtown SFO office, which I think was pretty new.

Met by some child of course, and the reception area was just blindingly white, with coloured beach ball things ( natch).

But what cracked us up was when we went into the meeting room, and the guy went to show us a presentation, like us mortals, he couldn't get the laptop to run in projector mode :D
 

kevrosmith

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Subscribed. I'll be heading to Buffalo and DCA in a few weeks, so happy to hear any hints or tips you learn from your experience. So sorry to hear about your friend. Such a terrible situation. Trust you will be able to enjoy your journey.
 

bass_ke

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I'm so sorry to hear about you're Friend. I hope you can still enjoy your Trip, I'm subbed. Very interested in your movements around buffalo!
 
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In the Flagship Lounge at T4 at the moment waiting for our flight to Minneapolis. Had a fairly good run through Immigration, but made one basic mistake. :). We managed to pick a queue that had the tail end of a flight from Riyadh. I would think they processed the 4 couples ahead of us in the same time as about 20 in the queue next door. We probably should have queue hopped, but didn't think they would take that long!

Next problem, was I declared some leaves. I dried some wattle and bottlebrush leaves to take to Saranac as part of my pilgrimage. This immediately resulted in us being sent to area "A". This is similar to Australia's quarantine stuff - all bags have to go through X-ray machines and there was a big queue of people from the Riyadh flight having their bags scanned. My leaves were examined and allowed through, although I think my explanation of why I was bringing them totally bemused the official.

A young girl from our flight ended up with us - she had brought an apple from the plane.......

It still took us well under 2 hours from when the plane landed to arriving at the lounge.

Thanks for the good wishes - my friend loved travelling and I am sure she would be happy to see us doing this trip - just sad I won't be able to share it with her.
 

Major

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I am also interested in your Niagara trip. We are planning to attack it via Toronto in October

Enjoy the trip
 
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I have been told you have to look at Niagara from the Canadian side. We will be staying on the US side but will drive over to the Canadian side as well.
 

Hvr

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I have been told you have to look at Niagara from the Canadian side. We will be staying on the US side but will drive over to the Canadian side as well.
I stayed on the Canadian side last year and thought it offered much better views. Pick your time to cross the border, if you get caught in weekend/public holiday traffic it may take hours to get through.
 

oz74

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Was on the Canadian side last year to and it was awesome.

I think it's such awesome thing that no matter which side you view it from you can't help but be awestruck!
 

jastel

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I stayed on the Canadian side, could see the falls from the hotel window. You can just walk across the bridge and beat the traffic, cost 50c to enter Canada, still have to do customs but with only a backpack/camera etc its not hard...best views to see it from Canadian side, but on the US side you can get right next to it and even under it on the Cave of the Winds boardwalk. Canada has a Tour behind the falls as well.
Maid of the Mist boats go from both sides.
 

amaroo

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So sorry about your friend.....such rotten luck.

Hire a car visiting Niagara.......then our pilgrimage to Saranac Lake.
Niagara is best seen when the temp is -45c ;) Saranac Lake - wouldn't be staying at The Point would you?
 

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Subscribed. I'll be heading to Buffalo and DCA in a few weeks, so happy to hear any hints or tips you learn from your experience. So sorry to hear about your friend. Such a terrible situation. Trust you will be able to enjoy your journey.
Try and have as much time as possible in Washington - we had 5 nights there two years ago and hardly scratched the surface - the museums blow you away, In the Natural History museum there was a Butterfly exhibit with live butterflies that you could walk through. There is a hop on hop off red bus which is well worth it as there are quite long walks between the various monuments and it also takes you to Arlington and that area. If you want to visit the Capitol there are a limited no of visitor passes issued so you need to get there early - I think you can also book a tour online. The National Library is definitely worth a visit - beautiful ceilings.
 
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So sorry about your friend.....such rotten luck.



Niagara is best seen when the temp is -45c ;) Saranac Lake - wouldn't be staying at The Point would you?
Thanks - is just luck I guess - seems unfair though. Her husband owned a Chinese restaurant in central Melbourne and worked very hard for years - had sold it two years ago and just started travelling with my friend. Just shows you have to live for the day.....

Photo looks awesome :). I did look at the Point actually and was tempted, but was in budget mode as we have a very extravagant trip to Africa coming up in a month so I resisted the temptation.
 

Denali

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I have been told you have to look at Niagara from the Canadian side. We will be staying on the US side but will drive over to the Canadian side as well.

Reminds me of hubbys friends who drove to the Canadian side for a few hours and then drove back. At the border they were asked why only a few hours and one of the guys said, "because American beer is ****". Yeah. Extra security check for them.
 
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Had a beautiful day in the Minneapolis area - no idea exactly where we were as our friends drove us around - think we might have been more in the St Paul area. Reminds me of Canberra (just 10 times the size), with so many beautiful lakes and people walking and cycling around the lake. We walked around Lake Harriet and drove past many beautiful houses then went to Minehaha (laughing water) Falls. Lots of patriotic bunting around as we were following in Obama's footsteps - he had just visited. Hard to believe in winter this whole area is under 1m of snow and the lakes are frozen.
 

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Denali

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Everything looks so sunny and warm, I cant imagine it turning into a frozen hell (although a beautiful one) in a few months time.
 
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Everything looks so sunny and warm, I cant imagine it turning into a frozen hell (although a beautiful one) in a few months time.
Yes it was hard to believe with 30 temps that it can get as cold as it does. Apparently gets below zero in December and doesn't get above again for months. The walking clubs swap to having walks around the Mall of America instead.
 
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