Regular contributor and house sitting expert, Angela, shares her latest adventures while enjoying house sitting in California,A Oregon and Washington this summer. In part 2 A you can find out how it could have been so different and why flexibility is a great attribute for a house sitter.
"In a couple of days we'll be sucking out the space bags (all will be revealed in part 2) and heading North ... not to Alaska just Vancouver, Canada and home; our West Coast summer house sits put in the memory box.
This three month journey, 6500 klms round trip through Washington, Oregon and California house sitting; visiting friends; more house sitting; the odd couple of nights in a hotel and more house sitting. All through TrustedHousesitters.comA of course! One sit in Washington State, two back to back sits in Northern California, a third in LA. We've met doctors, nurses, a USC medical student, an aspiring veterinary student, retired lawyers, teachers, a Hollywood costume designer, a designer who worked with Victoria Beckham for five months, an Executive Director of an LA Synagogue and an Oxford Don .... that's just for starters.
In LA we were privileged to stay in one of the friendliest neighbour hoods we've ever experienced where everyone smiled and said aGood Morninga Evening or just plain aHi how's your day going?a In the 1950's and 60's the area was known as the Black Hollywood. Ray Charles, Ike and Tina Turner and many famous artists, musicians, actors and sports stars lived here. One of the neighbours, an 82 year old retired school Principle named Orleans, power walks every day, keeps an immaculate home and garden and single handedly raised $50K for Obama's last campaign, the changes she's witnessed over the years are beyond imagination.
We pet sat dogs, Charlie, Paddington, Coco, JR, Basenji and Blaze. Cats Terri, Mister, Missy. Stayed with close friends made over the years through house sitting and our travels in Africa. Driving along Hwy 101, the Pacific Coastal Hwy we saw stunning coastal scenery, as well as some amusing signs,
In an Oregon town... aCemetery and Re-cycling Centre first rightaA
A small teashop in Mill Valley CA ... aunaccompanied children will be given a double espresso and free puppya now that's our kind of humour!
We stayed in Cannon Beach, Oregon with it's amazing coastline, a surfers paradise. The town itself a veritable paradise for everything artistic and cultural .... foodies don't miss out either!
Moving on down the highway and across to the I5 we made a point of staying in Ashland Oregon,a town that's a aMust Seea if you ever get to Oregon. Full of art galleries, boutiques, a beautiful town centre park by the river and amazing restaurants, cafes and wine bars. On the first Friday in the month there's a walking tour of all the art galleries with free wine, not sure how much art gets bought! Each summer they have a Shakespeare Festival which runs from June to October, tourist flock to the town. With it's purpose built outdoor Elizabethan Theatre it's something very special. We've planned another visit on the way home and have tickets for aA Midsummer Nights Dreama.
Welcome to California!!A Where we walked the Golden Gate Bridge, through Muir Woods, in wonder at the size of the majestic Redwoods, watched the rolling surf and surfers on Muir Beach, attended the America's Cup Opening Ceremony in San Francisco and through patience and understanding gained the trust and affection of two mildly aggressive dogs ..... Basenji and Blaze, just mixed up kiddies really.
Our summer could have been VERY different.........
Planning house sitting assignments in advance is a skill, well that's what I tell my other half how else do I explain all the hours spent in front of the computer searching and window shopping
In November 2012 I had our 2013 house sitting itinerary from January through September put to bed. Our own house sitters were found and arriving in December for three months, Glen and Jacqui our regular Aussie's arriving from Australia May 1st. I was naturally feeling very happy with myself. We'd spend January in Nevada, Feb/March in New York, April on Vancouver Island flying to UK in May, all that remained was booking our UK flights I check fares on a regular basis obviously to take advantage of the best deals.
Then LIFE happened ......
A close elderly friend was taken very ill requiring major heart surgery,A a long uphill battle was in front of her deciding I was needed more on this side of the world wasn't a difficult decision.
BUT I had house sitting commitments in place.A Never confirming an assignment unless I'm 100%A I'll never cancel either unless a real emergency arises and there's is ample time to find a suitable replacement. Fortunately on this occasion there was ample time the only assignments affected were the ones in the UK.A The homeowners were understanding and sympathetic and whilst disappointed were absolutely comfortable with the replacements we found for them.
No summer in the UK for us this year, but wait, I'd only solved half the problem, sitters were arriving from OZ. John and I would be homeless from May 1st through to August 15th. We couldn't cancel our sitters unless we refunded their travel costs. I didn't panic after all this was only February, May was a long way off in the world of House Sitting, by checking the daily e mail alerts from TrustedHousesitters.com something was bound to turn up.
Fast forward to April our patient's surgery was successful and the prognosis excellent, we could travel after all ...... The States perhaps? New house sitting plan needed! By early May, thanks to Trustedhousesitters.comA I had confirmed assignments in Washington State and California we'd have to stay with friends for a few days in between sits but that was OK.
The next challenge was our mode of transport, we always leave my SUV for our sitters, we'd have to take John's car. How do you pack two and a half months worth of life in a shoe box (John's car is one of those feats of German engineering, very fast but very small) An aha moment.... space bags, those storage bags you suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner, every home has a vacuum cleaner so no problem re-packing. So three large space bags, one hold all, two lap tops, an electric kettle and cooler bag packed we wave goodbye to Glen, Jacqui and home and hit the road south.
Life certainly puts us where we're meant to be so if your house sitting travel plans change just make new ones .... we did and had a brilliant road trip down the West Coast leaving happy pets and home owners in our wake, pets and pet parents we'd otherwise not have met.A All that's left is to put it all back in the car and get home."
View Angela and John's house sitting profile