Jen reporting from the UK - midnight GMT:
Brian and I had different philosophies about conquering jetlag. He swore that all you have to do is set your clocks and watches to your new time zone and you can literally trick your brain into believing the new time. Yeah, right. My method has been painstakingly developed and well tested: to induce in-flight coma, stay up all night before leaving, then drink 2 bloody mary's at airport (repeat as necessary on layovers). I awoke on the tarmac in Manchester refreshed and rarin' to go. Brian's been in bed for hours. Looks like I'll be collecting on that bet!
The team has finally assembled at Steve's house in England's Lake District. We've loaded our kayaks and kit, had a great meal in the local pub, and will head off tomorrow for Scotland. There is frost on the kayaks out on the trailer and kayaking in Scotland in November is seeming like an odd idea at best. To make it seem like a better idea, I booked us into a lovely house (appropriately with a 5 star rating) on the water north of Oban for the week. I'll spare no expense for my loyal team! It's going to be important to have a comfortable place to hang out since the days are so short.
I've brought my new SPOT satellite messenger and am having fun playing with it. You can see our progress (sometimes in real time) at http://www.findmespot.com/. Click 'my account' and Log on: user name: jenkleck password: kayak. If you click on 'messages', then 'select all' and 'show on map', you can see where we are. Use the satellite view - it's cool. I'll use the tracking mode when it's interesting and you'll be able to watch our travels. There's a lot of info about this amazing little device on the findmespot website. If you want one, Aqua Adventures Kayak Center is well stocked - they cost just $150!!Brian (who is in the UK for the first time), had heard all the usual warnings about terrible British food. He was very impressed by his first pub meal and took this photo to prove the nay-sayers wrong. There was hardly a crumb left. Just wait 'til he tries haggis!
This is Steve, our gracious host, wondering how he's going to survive a week with 3 Americans! Steve nearly killed himself river kayaking a couple of weeks ago - hit his head very hard on a rock - and is still suffering from neck pain and numbness in his arms. He's taking some serious pain medication and acts a little strange from time-to-time...like drinking Guinness out of a wine glass!? We suggested that beer might not interact well with the meds, so he poured himself a scotch.
Internet access uncertain this next week, but we'll find our way to internet cafes whenever possible!