This newsletter takes us with visitors to Southern California- another dip into Mexico, then San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas and into Arizona-The Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona. The trip as far as Las Vegas is shown on the map on the left. On our own we also toured Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks in California.
View Arizona & Utah May 2004 in a larger map
Doesn’t time fly, nearly June already and we haven’t written for ages. It is Memorial Day weekend here in the States, a big public holiday commemorating all those that have died serving their country over the years.
We have had quite a busy time with visitors. Amy and her friend Lizzie came to stay in April. We had a great time with them in Southern California. Highlights of the trip were Sea World in San Diego, Ensenada in Mexico-where there were some extremely cute Bull Mastiff puppies on the camp site; Magic Mountain, which was a theme park made up almost exclusively of roller coasters. The scariest was one that went backwards and upside down at a top speed of 76 miles an hour. Unfortunately the karaoke neck injury was aggravated from last year but it was well worth it. We all enjoyed Santa Monica in West LA. This included jogging along the pier: So cooool.
After the girls left we headed east to Malibu Point State Park. This was set in the rolling hills Northeast of LA. It was really beautiful and hard to believe that the vast urban sprawl of LA was just half an hour away. As the land had once belonged to 20th Century Fox we looked forward to seeing some old film sets. As Mike is a M.A.S.H. fan we walked a 45 minute trail, along quite difficult terrain in order to see the original set. Imagine our amusement when we got there and discovered a couple of very rusty jeeps and a picnic table.
A village we passed through in the LA backcountry gave us cause to smile. The town sign gave the name, population of 100 and height above sea level as usual. However an additional sign underneath referring to the population said, ‘97 nice ones and 2 or 3 grouchy ones.’
My sister Liz was due to fly into San Francisco 3 weeks from the girls going back. Until she arrived we had a very pleasant time enjoying some parks including Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert, Kern Canyon; Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. All very beautiful and contrasting scenery. We then drove back to the coast just South of San Francisco to a quaint town called Half Moon Bay. It was just half an hour’s drive from the airport but the day we got there the State Park was full. The ranger explained that if we came back the next day before noon our names would be entered in a hat and drawn in a lottery at 12.30. What a laugh for us as we were among the lucky ones and got a place. Sadly there were 9 spaces for 11 entrants so someone had to lose. We felt really sorry for the two ‘losers’ as their weekend must have been ruined-they looked terribly disappointed.
We spent 3 days exploring San Francisco enjoying the really warm sunny weather and clear skies. We took in all the major sights including The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Lombard Street (‘the worlds curviest’ street), Union Square and Fisherman’s wharf. Although Mike and I have been before we really enjoyed it all again. Whilst there our friends Bob and Anne arrived from Norfolk so we enjoyed catching up with them.
From San Francisco we drove across to Yosemite. The waterfalls in Yosemite were full and very impressive although it was extremely busy, we managed to escape the crowds by taking a lovely walk through the trees to look at the giant sequoias. There was still snow up on the higher mountain tops and the lake was frozen. We left the frozen lake at lunchtime and were in Las Vegas by 7.00pm, having driven through Death Valley, an amazing contrast all in one day!
In Vegas Liz checked into Circus Circus on the strip and we stayed in the RV park there. We completely exhausted ourselves with all the fun things to do and see. Even though we have been before Vegas is such a great place to be, we’re not sure we’d ever tire of it. It’s pointless trying to explain it as it’s the sort of place you just have to go and see for yourself.
Sadly Liz left us in Vegas to return to the UK. Bob and Anne had rejoined us in Vegas, it was all part of Bob’s 50th birthday adventure. We continued with our friends to Flagstaff in Arizona along a stretch of Route 66. Bob having hired a Harley Davidson, fulfilling an ambition he’d always had. From Flagstaff we drove up to the Grand Canyon, detouring to Sedona on the way. To give Anne a rest from the bike we left Sedona in the motor home and drove up to the Grand Canyon, Mike taking his turn as pillion.
Since everyone left we have kept ourselves busy and have been to Zion National Park in Utah. This is a canyon with vast red sandstone cliffs. Near to there we also stayed at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State park. No prizes for guessing the colour of the dunes though.
From Zion we drove to Page in Arizona. From here we have taken a tour to Antelope Canyon. This is a slot canyon in the desert on the Navajo Reservation. It is called a slot canyon because all you can see on the surface is a slit in the earth. Inside though was a beautiful canyon carved out of the sandstone from the effects of wind and flooding. It was a bit like looking up at a natural cathedral with light filtering through the holes and amazing swirls and shapes in the rock.
We have also taken a boat tour at Lake Powell to the Rainbow Bridge. This is the largest naturally occurring bridge in the world and a site of religious significance to the Navajo Indians. It was hard to comprehend its size even being there as it stood 292 feet tall and 270 feet across.
We are now staying on a campground overlooking Lake Powell. The lake has been formed by the damming of the Colorado River in the late 1950’s. It is very beautiful, although we have 2 noisy families next to us with lots of bored children. They haven’t left their tent site for 2 days-now surely, if we didn’t have things like a journal or newsletters to write we would winge as well!