We spent five weeks in the USA, between 13th August and 18th September 2003. The pages for this time became pretty long and large, so it’ll take you a while to read them all!Our itinerary took us to Los Angeles, then down the coast towards San Diego. Then we turned inland, through Joshua National Park […]Read more "Sunny California"
(I know, its a bad headline, but it kind of makes the point!). So we’re in LA. On Monday, when we were trying to book a hostel on the phone from Canada, we found two types. Type 1 was full. Type 2 said “Yes, we’ve got rooms, but this isn’t the kind of district you […]Read more "LA, LA, so bad they named it once"
We’ve now had four days in the States, and we’re certainly wondering which country we are now in. Sure, there are lots of signs that we’re in the US – lots of very very wide roads, lots of very very fat people, and lots of fast food joints. But then, everybody seems to speak Spanish. […]Read more "Which country are we in?"
We left LA on Friday, and headed down the coast to find somewhere to have a bit of a break and catch our breath for a few days, and especially to allow the girls time to swim and play. Unfortunately the whole of LA had the same idea, and although we had a few hours […]Read more "LA to Carlsbad to Escondido"
Today we had a great day. We went to the ‘world famous San Diego Zoo’. Okay, it was a bit of a surprise to start with that it was going to cost us $100 for the family ticket (£65), but once we’d bitten the bullet (London Zoo was £25 for the family last time we […]Read more "San Diego Zoo"
We’re trying to get around the world on a limited budget, of around £400 a week to cover accommodation, activities, food and travel – and everything else. We knew that Canada and America would be more expensive, because of accommodation especially, but America has turned out much more expensive than we’d imagined. The principle reasons […]Read more "The American budget deficit"
Today, after a late wake up, a leisurely breakfast and a swim, we checked out of our lovely Comfort Inn in Escondido and headed inland. Our plan, evolving as we go, is to head towards Joshua Tree National Park – to find somewhere to stay for the night nearby, head into the park tomorrow morning, […]Read more "3 micro-climates in one day"
This morning we packed up after our overnight in Indio (sad to leave the Best Western in Indio – it had free movies on DVD, which meant that we were up till midnight watching them!) and headed to Joshua National Park. It was a nice drive, but after a while desert gets a bit monotonous. […]Read more "Joshua National Park – and driving"
The day started with a swim for the girls, and a quick visit to Starbucks for me to upload to our website and pickup email (and, importantly, the latest virus updates for Sophos – viruses are big news here at the moment). Then it was off to Calico, an old mining village that is now […]Read more "Aiming somewhere or drifting?"
Anybody who knows us (and especially Sarah) would know that Las Vegas isn’t our kind of thing. Tacky, crowded, booze and gambling-tastic, and a pale imitation of the real world. But somehow, when Vegas has got you in its grip, its becomes a little more charming. And I don’t mean ‘gambling grip’. We arrived Friday, […]Read more "Las Vegas – well, it kind of grows on you"
So, here we are in the States, and we’re world travellers, and we’ve been there, seen that, done it, got the T-shirt in too many places to mention. (Okay, since you asked, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Macau, […]Read more "America – How weird is that?"
No trip to Nevada is complete without a trip to New York. It kind of rounded off our round-the-world-in-three-days trip. And again, although it was movie-set-fake, it was pretty convincing. Outside, if you isolated small parts of the scenery, it made sense. But when you put the whole thing together it became confusing. When inside, […]Read more "New York, New York, so good they built it twice"
Time to leave Vegas, and move on. As always, it seems to take longer to pack up our rucksacks than it really should. In fact, its probably the job we all look forward to least. Because we have the car, some of our stuff stays in the boot permanently unless we need it – things […]Read more "Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep that Nissan rolling"
After a slap-up breakfast, we looked around Kanab, which used to be the centre of the Western movies business. There was a time when everybody in Kanab, from the postman to the pastor, were extras in the movie business. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin and Ronald Reagan all made films here. But that […]Read more "Cowboys and Canyons"
Today we went to Bryce Canyon, the third canyon in three days. Although Kanab is slap bang in the middle of Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyons, it doesn’t mean that it’s near any of them! It’s 30 miles to Zion (not bad), 91 miles to the Grand Canyon (but hell, it’s worth it to see […]Read more "Another canyon day"
Today, more driving. We have to relocate from Canyonlands towards Mammoth Lakes/Yosemite area. There are two ways to do this – head to Vegas, and then drive through Death Valley (in these temperatures, we’d have to be mad), or to head across miles of barren desert, and along the Extraterrestial Highway. So ET it was. […]Read more "More driving"
Yesterday we drove from Tonopah in Nevada to Mammoth Lakes in California. It took us about 3 hours driving time, for around 160 miles. We drove out of high desert, across passes up to 7,500 feet high and between 13,000 ft mountains. It was a long drive, but quite straightforward – roads that were as […]Read more "Mammoth Lakes"
Well, it’s still the holiday weekend, so we’re still here at Mammoth Lakes. After a lazy day yesterday, today was a day to wear ourselves out. We went to the Devils Postpile National Park – the main feature of which is the ‘giants causeway’ style pile of rocks. But we didn’t bother with that, and […]Read more "Still at Mammoth Lakes"
We were all excited today as we loaded the car and headed away from Mammoth Lakes, towards Yosemite. We knew it wouldn’t take us long – the Park entrance was only 30 miles from the motel, and it was dual carriageway all the way. But getting to the park gate was the easy bit! It […]Read more "Moving on to Yosemite"
Every day there’s a programme of activities at the Parks, led by Park Rangers. I’ve already written about the Junior Ranger Programme a bit, so I won’t repeat it. It means that in every park, the first things the girls want to do is get the books, and start completing the exercises. It also means […]Read more "Activities in Yosemite National Park"
It’s difficult to write about Yosemite without using too many superlatives, so I’m not going to tell you about the views, and the scenery and the breathtaking moments – I’ll show you some photo’s of those, and you can see for yourselves. And if you want to know about them you can go and find […]Read more "Yosemite National Park"
We picked the perfect time to be at Yosemite. All of the American schools were back by the end of last week, and we came straight after the Labour Day public holiday on Monday. This meant the valley was quiet (relatively), and all of the staff commented on how lucky we were. If we’d come […]Read more "More Yosemite"
After three nights, its time to leave Yosemite. We’ve really enjoyed our time here, as the park is very beautiful and the girls really enjoyed it, with lots of running around and animal watching. Its a shame that the accommodation wasn’t everything we’d expected, but then if everything in life was perfect, nobody would have […]Read more "Leaving Yosemite"
We’re aiming North, to Lake Tahoe today. It wasn’t on our plan originally, but people had said how beautiful it is, so we thought we’d make the 200 mile detour. The drive brought us down from 4,000 feet altitude, to 1,000 feet – where the air was hot and dry, and the meadows were yellow. […]Read more "Leaving Yosemite"
Tahoe is a good example of a ‘weird thing’, created by the presence of State lines. It sits on the border between Nevada and California. Driving here last night it was easy to work out where the State line was, even though there were only small signs on the road. On the California side was […]Read more "Weird things caused by states"
Well, it’s arrived – our 12th wedding anniversary – and just like our 2nd wedding anniversary, we’re traveling. For our 2nd anniversary we were in China, on a 60 hour train journey in ‘hard sleeper’ class, and we celebrated with one bottle of Becks (brewed in Quanzhou) and a tin of Lindt chocolates (made in […]Read more "A very special day"
We’d already decided we liked San Francisco by yesterday evening – the smiles seemed broader here than other parts of California, and the city streets seemed a lot more relaxed and less ‘mean’ than LA. Even the cops don’t seem as if they’re going to bite your head off if you look at them. A […]Read more "We love San Francisco"
I keep mentioning popping into Starbucks for web updates and email. That’s because its where we can get online with our Tablet, which has wireless Ethernet built in. Instead of having to sit in a cyber-café, using somebody else’s PCs, we can sit in a Starbucks and do everything from the Tablet. We needed to […]Read more "What’s all this Starbucks stuff?"
The weather has decided to take a turn for the worse. Instead of blue skies and sunshine, we’ve got a miserable sea mist hanging over the city, making everything seem grey and gloomy. So a great day to do indoor things. After visiting Starbucks to upload yesterday’s diary, and check our email, we took a […]Read more "We continue to love San Francisco – despite the weather"
A week ago we’d booked our tickets for Alcatraz for this morning – we’d been warned that it gets booked out well in advance – by buying online we avoided a queue, and having to come back two days later. However, we didn’t get to choose the weather, and as we’d gone to bed last […]Read more "Alcatraz – another great day in San Francisco"
Today we went to the Exploratorium – a bit like the Science Museum, but much more practical, hands-ony. We got entry free with our CityPass, otherwise we’d probably not have gone there. But we’re really glad we did – we spent 5 hours there, playing with all of the different activities, from the huge bubble […]Read more "San Francisco – a continuing wow"
When we arrived in San Francisco we’d bought the girls new shoes, because they’d both outgrown their current ones. Now came the difficult bit – throwing away the old ones. Emily threw an enormous flap, immediately putting them back on and claiming that they still fit her (despite the hobbling walk!), and refused to let […]Read more "Farewell friends"
We had one last look at San Francisco this morning, because we hadn’t really got any video of the cable cars. It was a mad dash to do all three cable cars, plus two trams and two buses. Even though we were rushing around, it was still a lovely, relaxed city. We’re definitely a bit […]Read more "On another big drive"
On our drive down the coast to Disneyland, we passed through Santa Barbara (wow – a really relaxed beach town with great shops – we couldn’t afford to stop!), and through Beverley Hills in LA (okay, it was a bit of a detour, but we hadn’t seen it before, and the girls were asleep). We […]Read more "Cruising past Venice Beach"
We’ve been in Anaheim since Saturday night, and we’ve spent 5 days in the park. And now we’re all tired of it. Sarah got tired of it by about day 1 (well, morning 1!), but we’ve been going back every day, exploring the real Disneyland, and the ‘Disney California Adventure’ – more like an amusement […]Read more "Disneyland"