House sitting in California, Oregon and Washington – An American Adventure

House sitting in California

Regular contributor and house sitting expert, Angela, shares her latest adventures while enjoying house sitting in California, Oregon and Washington this summer. In part 2  you can find out how it could have been so different and why flexibility is a great attribute for a house sitter.

Part 1

“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.com 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 “Good Morning” Evening or just plain “Hi how’s your day going?” 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.

Dog sitting in California

Getting to meet lots of furry friends along the way

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… “Cemetery and Re-cycling Centre first right” 

A small teashop in Mill Valley CA … “unaccompanied children will be given a double espresso and free puppy” 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!

House sitting in Ashland, Oregon

Don’t miss the Shakespeare Theatre if you are house sitting in Ashland, Oregon

Moving on down the highway and across to the I5 we made a point of staying in Ashland Oregon,a town that’s a “Must See” 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 “A Midsummer Nights Dream”.

Welcome to California!!  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………

Part 2

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 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. Never confirming an assignment unless I’m 100%  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. The homeowners were understanding and sympathetic and whilst disappointed were absolutely comfortable with the replacements we found for them.

Cat sitter in California

John enjoyed being a cat sitter in California

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.com  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.

Washington State coast line

Dramatic scenery was part of the joy of house sitting along the Pacific coast

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. All that’s left is to put it all back in the car and get home.”

View Angela and John’s house sitting profile

 

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2 Responses to “House sitting in California, Oregon and Washington – An American Adventure”

  1. Liz Nichols says:

    Hi Lovely post. Am starting to look into house sitting. Getting references police checks etc. I wonder if we have no previous experience will that stop us in our tracks. Also if we travel overseas..cost for airfares!! what do we do if we cant get on going sits..Oh you said organise before you set off thats right..thanks for sharing..We have travelled quite a bit but only getting a taste of the places we stopped at so hoping by house sitting we will get more of a feel for the town and locals..thank you for posting cheers from Tasmania

  2. Angela Laws says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your comments you’re certainly making steps in the right direction, it’s all in the planning and prep. As for having no house sitting assignment expereince, why not start at home apply for some local sits or even help out friends. With 80% of home owners looking for pet care volunteering at your local shelter is always a good start helps the shelter, gives you expereince and demonstrates your love and concern for animals. There really are many ways to gain experience and build up that important reference and reputation pot.

    Getting house sits isn’t always dependent on having numerous assignments under your belt either, it’s more about demonstrating to the home owners that you have the qualities they’re looking for, qualities which make them feel comfortable and confident with their choice of sitter.

    You’ll find great info and insights by reading other sitters blogs and the FAQ’s on our site.

    Good luck house sitting really is a great travel lifestyle … Angela

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