USA 2013 part 1 : Cabin Fever


Marianne , Charlotte and I have recently returned from a 4 week trip to the USA. One of those weeks was spent at a conference giving us three weeks to do the more exciting stuff! The conference was based in Seattle hence it made sense to travel the great Pacific Northwest ; a source of so many inspiring images and photographers. It so happened that our journey passed through Los Angeles in transit, hence we set aside a few days to take Charlotte to see urban sights and of course, Disneyland. During this trip, medical illness prevented us from keeping up to date with this blog but I will try to recount our journey and address small issues related to travel and photography in each section of the overall report.

Chapter 1: The outbound toddler long haul flight

This was our first experience at attempting such a long journey with Charlotte , now aged 2 years and 2 months. During the outward journey, Charlotte developed a high fever on the day of departure! This meant that  she was fatigued throughout the whole flight but also very clingy to both of us. It meant that she slept through most of the journey but left one of us unable to sleep as she was sleeping on our lap. No sedation was needed and the security checks and immigration where relatively painless. It did not bode well for the rest of our journey as we knew we would be coming down with whatever illness she had.

Drowsy and ill child on a long haul flight

Chapter 2: Accommodation choices and car rental.

Our car rental was based out of Seattle. Out of all of the companies hiring from the airport, SixT were by far the cheapest and our experience with them was all positive. The standard SUV category landed us with a well presented Hyundai Santa Fe. There were no issues with pickup or dropoff and the car looked in good condition. Our accommodation needs are quite specific so take this with a grain of salt if you are a hostel hopper or prefer hotel style accommodation. Marianne and I needed the following prerequisites for accommodation : (1) Near points of interest (eg. Pacific City for shooting Cape Kiwanda) (2) Fully self contained with the ability to prepare and reheat food. This was particularly important for Charlotte’s meals. (3) Two separate bedrooms so that we could all get a good night’s sleep.  When I first started looking for accommodation of this sort, it was difficult as there would be many single roomed motels, suitable rental apartments with minimum stay requirements, or places meeting none of our criteria! It was all made easier when I happened to stumble across a page http://www.homeaway.com.au This site links in with a US site http://www.vrbo.com which lists a large number of homes for vacation rental. If this style of travelling is to your preference, then I would highly recommend basing your search around those sites. Having said that, our stay in Mount Rainier was made through phone inquiry as it was relatively late notice. There are many cabin style self contained facilities based at Ashford and Packwood. The southwestern entrance at Ashford gives easier access to Paradise and Longmire while the accommodation at Packwood gives easier access to the Stevens Canyon side of the park. We did not explore the northern section of the park. We would highly recommend the Copper Creek Inn as a base for making inquiries as they seemed most open to accommodation at short notice and did not require prerequisite Friday night bookings for a weekend (our arrival was on a Saturday evening).

Skate Creek : A short drive from the cabin

Chapter 3: Health and your holiday

Our shooting at Mount Rainier was severely affected by two issues. The first was the US government lockdown which resulted in National Park Closures. This meant that we had to seek shooting opportunities outside of the National Park proper. I had planned to drive possibly as far south as Lower Lewis Falls on a long day trip but this kind of trip requires one very important aspect of travel : good health! Charlotte and Marianne were severely ill from the Influenza A virus they had contracted and as such, most of the time was spent within the warm confines of the cabin in bed. Our longest excursion was to a drop-in clinic at Puyallup over an hour away where we obtained a script for Tamiflu to help combat Marianne’s illness. Perhaps we have been a little unlucky , but in our last three trips, there has been illness of some sort requiring medical attention.  Over and above the excitement of being in holiday, one’s health needs to take precedence in order to prevent any future consequences. Our travel insurance will help to foot the bill for the medical attention we received but we are glad to report that we are now fully recovered.

Charlotte on the mend , Mum ill, Dad yet to fall ill

Chapter 4: Take your opportunities

The only shoot or outing we managed at dawn was on the first day after arrival before Marianne’s illness became severe. Due to park closures, I drove a long way round to get to Tipsoo Lake which was covered in snow. It so happened that the light that morning was incredible AND Mount Rainier was visible. I should have come home with some great images from the area but unfortunately, a lack of preparation meant that I missed out. Had I done the proper reading, I should have been looking for ‘upper’ Tipsoo Lake but ended up thrashing around in deep snow at Lower Tipsoo before I realised too late that the view of Mount Rainier was not as I had seen in images. Given the health circumstances, this one opportunity slipped by and several returns to view Mount Rainier never coincided with such fantastic light again. Lesson learned.

Mount Rainier from ‘Lower’ Tipsoo Lake (ie the wrong one!)

Next up : Sleepless in Seattle – the family flu continues.

-D

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Posted on November 6, 2013, in USA and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Fabulous as always. I was amazed when I saw your post a few weeks back that there was snow and so much of it this early in the season? Love the pics, looking forward to the next instalment.

  2. Now, besides your images, hooked on your blog. 🙂

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