The Pengelly USA Roadtrip

Thank You! from Elizabeth

Our trip has now reached its end and there are a couple of “Thank You’s” that need to be said.

Please forgive me if I sound like I’ve just won an Oscar by the end of this! :)

Firstly to Mom, Anne and Reg –

Thank you for allowing us to kidnap your two grandchildren and to run off to another continent and for surviving so well without us for 7 months.  It was extremely comforting to know that you were so self-sufficient without us and we thoroughly enjoyed all the Skype calls and phone calls.  Don’t worry we won’t do it again soon. :)

Thank you to Anne and Reg for going above and beyond with handling things at home that needed doing. :)  We greatly appreciate your help!

To John –

for making sure that everything was fine at home – you are a star!

To the office staff –

Especially Marcelle. I think “mommy bear” now needs to take a long break during our lovely hot summer to rest and recharge after a somewhat busy and taxing year with some of your “children”.  Thank you Marcelle for shouldering this responsibility for us.

Thank you to each of the staff members for doing your bit to keep the office running so efficiently and competently during this time.  We could not have been away for so long if you hadn’t held up your end.  Don’t worry, when we return you will see so much of us you’ll be enquiring as to the next trip..

To our friends  –

Who have Skyped so regularly that we feel you were on the trip with us (fantastic).  Thank you for all the Emails, Sms’s, What’s apps, Skype calls and any other form of communication that I can’t think of right now – so sorry that I am so rubbish at replying to your lovely long mails.  I promise to spend hours with you chatting over many cups of coffee, lunches, braais and bottles of Savannah…….

To Uncle Donald and Tannie Ronelle  –

Thank you for joining us on the MSC cruise.  Such fun that we shared with such lovely people.  Couldn’t have asked for better dinner companions or drinking partners.  Ferrero and Carrera have missed you and can’t wait to be reunited!

 To Aunty Suzanne –

London was great and it was really special that you were able to join us for a couple of days.  Just love the hustle and bustle of the big city.

To John, Sandy and Nicola Saner in Tampa –

You have a special new home in the USA and we loved sharing the day with you.  You are going to be really happy there.  Thank you for the lovely lunch and for showing us where you are settling and making a new home for yourselves.  Sorry we missed Rob, but we hope he is settling into Varsity well in Miami.  Enjoy your first Thanksgiving with the family and we hope to hear from you often.

To Chris and Robin Henke in Hilton Head –

We missed being able to pop in and see you after so many years, but we understand that building up your own business takes many hours and a great deal of determination.  Perhaps when next you are in Cape Town we’ll see each other and catch up on all the news.

To Elodie and Karl in Asheville  –

Thank you for the use of your little Cabin on the Lake.  A lovely retreat to enjoy the countryside and for our family to ease into living in the States.

To Jamie and Jenny Cawood in Atlanta –

We had such a lovely lunch with you and were able to catch up on +/- 25 years of children and Alaska and moving and career info.  We look forward to seeing you in a couple of years when you are planning to come to our side of the world.

To Gini and Dick Cawood in Mountain Rest –

The last time we saw you was when Cameron was 10 months old and it was really special being able to stay over and chat about all the years in between.  The boys had an absolute ball with you (shooting guns, riding motorbikes and the Polaris).  Naturally they are now pushing for us to move to a large piece of property with (need I say) guns, bikes etc, etc.  Thanks for that  :).  Lol. We loved spending time with you and of course your cute grandchildren.

Gini your quilts have really inspired me and “Yes” our cases were full of fabric and crafts and the mind is full of ideas.

Dick and Gini, we are planning to see you and your boys (and hopefully families) when you all come over to SA for the boys to run in the marathon.

To Bill in Washington DC –

Thank you for the use of your home in DC.  We loved the big city and all it had to offer.  Being in DC on the 4th of July was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

To Penny Leggo in Sparta, near New York –

Although we haven’t seen you for about 30 years you haven’t changed a bit and it was wonderful to spend time with you (thank you for the superb lunch).  Our boys were fascinated by the way our memories just clicked into place and all the old names, places and memorable events just came tumbling out.  If you ever find yourself in Cape Town again please look us up so that we can repay your hospitality.

To Karla, Bruce, Brittany and Kyle in Guelph, Ontario  –

You are very special members of our family and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and hospitality during our stay in Canada.  Going to the boat with you was definitely another highlight of our trip.  Of course I’m not really thanking you now for putting the idea into the boys heads that they “HAVE TO” have a boat at some stage in their “NEAR” future.  All we hear is “the boat this and the boat that” J and “do you remember mom when we were on the boat” – (like I could possibly forget). Lol.  Special people, special times – even a quick road trip to Tobermory, good fun. We’d love to see you in Cape Town to repay your hospitality.

To Pam and Brian and Staci and Shauna in Guelph, Ontario -  

It was so lovely to see you again and “Thank you” for including us in the “warm” Canadian welcome.  We loved the “Poutain” and will definitely make it at home for our friends.  Pat and Karl would be very proud of you two girls and your little ones are just toooo precious.  Keep in touch with us please!

To “The Boating Friends” in Guelph -

We now call you friends as we felt so welcome and included in your lifestyle on the boats.  Thank you for your friendship and for allowing us to share in your special relationship that you have.  Thanks to Wendy’s introduction to a new aperitif we now have all the knowledge we need to make plenty of “Caesars” whilst here and back home. They will remind us of our days on the boats. – Ahhh good times! :)

 To Neil and the South African Pilots in Oshkosh–

To hear the accent and eat the food and spend time with “like-minded” fellow Suid-Afrikaners is a real treat when you haven’t been home for many months.  You brought SA to us which was wonderful.  Just loved the curry and rice and of course the boys just loved talking about planes and jets and fuel and all things masculine.  Now of course the boys are talking about their next trip to Oshkosh.

To Bev and Don in Minneapolis –

Thank you for the house swap experience in a lovely city.  This was a terrific week for us as a family including Russ and Mitch’s flying lessons and Cameron and I going to the Science museum.  It was unfortunate that I was not well this week, but having a secure “home away from home” was wonderful just to regroup and get some work done and for me to heal.  By this stage we had been on the road for a couple of weeks without having a base and when you are travelling for such a long period of time it’s good to get a sense of “home”.

To Dennis and Libby in Boulder –

Boulder is so like Stellenbosch (a Varsity town) back home that we felt we could just move right in.  We had a very productive 2 weeks, with Cameron needing to do tasks and tests for each subject.  It was busy with work, but also with experiencing the little town and the “Fall Festival” and the boys went ice-skating and go-karting and Russ and I spent a couple of hours on “date night” at a brilliant little Italian restaurant that we found.  Pearl Street is a pedestrian mall and the shops along that stretch of town were so interesting and inviting (the best Kitchen shop that I have ever been into).

I must mention Mosby (Dennis and Libby’s cat), what a sweetie.  Very shy and reserved around us until he realized that there were many tickles to be had once he came close enough to be touched.  So cute! And we were, of course, missing our l’il ones by this stage.

 Chris and Kim in Park City –

More work for Cameron and catching up on the blog for Mitch, but we managed to get out quite a bit too.  Up the mountain for a toboggan ride (similar to the one in Durbanville only this one is like a mile and a half long) and rollercoaster ride.  Very clever use of the mountains in summer if you consider there is no snow at that time.  They also do mountain biking and mountain races – (anything from a 5km run to a long marathon).  We did a couple of walks through the beautiful little town too.  Would love to revisit in Winter.  The surroundings we could only imagine would be spectacular as a Winter Wonderland.

To Harlen and Karen in Las Vegas –

As personal tour guides we would hire you in a flash. J  Thank you for the wonderful day exploring the countryside and for giving us the opportunity to learn so much about the amazing area you live in.  Vegas was terrific and there was so much for us as a family to do.  Mitch missed out on being able to gamble (especially thinking that he was in the gambling capital of the world and he was being denied…..), but both boys loved the city nevertheless.  Our lunch was amazing and Mitch was correct in the blog, those were the best ribs in the States.

Thank you to both of you and to Martha and Mike for the gift of going to see a show and to experience the High Roller – very special memories for us!

To Daniel, Charlie and Cambria in Lodi –

Thank you for giving Mitch the opportunity to spend the week with you in Lodi.  He had an absolute ball and hasn’t stopped talking about his experience and the freedom that he enjoyed with you.  It was such a wonderful time to spend with friends and to live in your world was a fabulous life lesson for him.

To Nick Stubbs at Lyall Morgan in Cape Town SA –

Thank you for being there when the trip took a turn that was not welcome.  We were devastated when our car was broken into and it took a couple of weeks for the family to get through it emotionally.  Thank you for sorting things out for us and for being on the other end of an email, ready with answers and solutions to brighten our day.

To Phillip and Brigitte in Westchester LA –

Your home was a lovely haven for us in LA and we loved exploring your big city.  It was also a busy work time for us (Cameron wrote 6 exams) but we went to all the beaches, and the Irish Consulate and the South African Embassy J and got sorted with travel documents and the necessary paperwork.  Dinners out were amazing and drives along the coast were beautiful.  We went to a taping of a Dr. Phil show and tried to balance tourist LA with Local LA and I think we saw everything that we should have seen.

To Annie and Tony in Rancho Palos Verdes in LA –

Thank you to you both for welcoming us into your home and your lives and introducing us to all your favourite people. Your home is so beautiful with such a lovely view, thank you for opening your door to us.  We had a ball and Los Angeles will forever hold a special place in our hearts.  We saw the city, the beaches, the hype and the everyday life.  There is certainly plenty for a visitor to explore and enjoy.  We will no doubt be back, but first we will be welcoming you to SA when you come over to holiday in our beautiful country.  To Sylvia – – Gracias por echar a perder durante nuestra estancia. Realmente disfrutamos de su presencia y la próxima vez sólo estaremos bebiendo su café.   :)

 To Lynn and Richard in LA -

“Thank you” for our first Halloween experience in America.  We loved it and the boys had a very special evening handing out candy and watching all the antics with the “well-dressed” trick or treaters.

To Peter and Joan in LA –

How lovely to meet you and spend time with you at the Halloween evening and then to meet again at the quiz night.  A lovely evening with friends and good food, rounded off by having many intellectuals at our table – good to know!!

To Fenton and Oksana in LA –

We had a really superb evening with you and enjoyed wonderful company and excellent food and an amazing nightlife view of Los Angeles.  Thank you.

To two VERY special young men in my life  –


Thank you for keeping it real…..

Thank you for remembering to bring your sense of humour into each day.

Thank you for being mature when necessary, silly when it wasn’t and for being just children to remind me that having 2 mature adults on the trip is enough…..

Mitch – Thank you for blogging and messaging and for your muscles, intellect and common sense when it was needed the most.  You kept me grounded and reminded me that the youth REALLY do have a handle on technology that us older folk don’t have. J

Cameron – Thank you for being a “good” student MOST of the time and for making my time of being a tutor insightful and educational and fun.  Some of my best moments were when you gave me a “teachable moment” :), meaning YOU taught me something (and it usually had to do with Mathematics) Lol.

Thank you for reminding us of your love for your “mom and dad”.  We love you both very much.

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone from Russ and I for helping to make this trip a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to explore and have fun and experience how the other half live. :)

And Last but Not Least to Dearest Russ –

A huge THANK YOU for your forward-thinking and planning and abounding energy.

When I said……..

“How long?” you said 7 months. “Where will we stay?” you said Timeshare and home swapping.

Of course my questions didn’t end there and nor did your answers – nice one. We have had the most awesome experience and it was fuelled by your determination to make it work and to organize it down to the smallest detail.

Thank you, thank you, thank you – I love you very much and couldn’t have asked for a better life partner. Celebrating 28 years together on the 20th of December is a culmination of a good life that we have enjoyed together. All my love. E

4 thoughts on “Thank You! from Elizabeth

  1. Russell

    Thanks Liz – your ongoing support and ensuring Cameron passed grade 8 cannot be measured. We heard yesterday that he passed his home schooling grade 8 course and Reddam have accepted him back!. :) Thanks for your enthusiasm, trust and willingness to sometimes be out of your comfort zone – these are things that made the trip such a great memory for all of us. Now lets plan the next one….

  2. Reg and Anne

    What a wonderful message after a trip of a lifetime, very well written both of you. It is great having you back with us, no more planning holidays for the next few years !!! Well done boys, Mitch your blog has been so interesting and you have kept us going for the seven months, well Cameron, it must have been hard for you to settle down to study with all the wonderful places you have been to, you had a good teacher didn’t you?
    We are pleased we could do our little bit to help while you were away, it is great having you back with us.

  3. brigitte and philip

    You all might as well have won an Oscar indeed, for planning this huge trip which was a great success. And Cameron did pass his tests, well done ! It was great meeting you even if it was for only an hour. We had a great time in your house that really felt like home. We are still having fun discovering your beautiful country (Port Alfred as we write this). And above all thank you for contacting us; we had written to several families in SA but none was interested in an exchange with LA… until your mail. We were so happy to receive and accept it.

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