America Day 5: San Diego

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We left San Francisco this morning what seemed like 10 seconds after we arrived. As always seems to be the case, time accelerates to infinity and good times flash by before we truly have the chance to appreciate them. A quick breakfast and check-out, then we walked the 200 metres to the BART station and caught the train to San Francisco airport. Having bought our tickets the previous evening, we experienced no delay or hassle whatsoever, meaning that we reached the airport relatively stress-free.

But stress was only having a tea-break! As soon as we got to baggage drop, the mirror began to crack. We checked the big suitcase which came in at 48 pounds with a limit of 50. but when we gave it to the official for checking his scales announced 53 pounds. Overweight meant dollars! One hundred to be precise! OK we’ll take something out, I suggested. Mary’s make-up cases and her leather jacket plus a knitted top came out and the re-weigh took it to 48 pounds again. Fine. Wait, can I put the top and the jacket back in? Yes sir! Now the scales showed 50.5 pounds! It’s still overweight. He looked at me, I looked at him with my big, helpless eyes, he tried to resist but eventually gave in and checked the suitcase in!

Next stop was security and our hearts sank as we saw the queues. They snaked around the zig-zags for ages. In fairness, it moved quite quickly and we passed through passport (i.d.) control and on to a new zig-zag queue where we emptied our luggage of digital devices, then removed our shoes and belts and jackets and money and specs and underwear – sorry, only joking! – to pass through the scanners and then put everything back again. Once at the departure gate we even got rid of our carry-on luggage when they asked for volunteers to put such luggage in the hold at no charge. The flight was excellent and we were soon reclaiming everything at San Diego airport, not from a carousel but just from a trolley!

It was time to get the car. To do that we had to make a 10-minute journey on a special shuttle-bus which took us to a car rental area at the other end of the airport. We got the car (not a Chevrolet but a Kia), paid an unexpected $80 for some extra insurance neither of us quite understood and hit the streets of San Diego. The car is of course left-hand drive and automatic but I quickly got the hang of things and headed up the Interstate 5 towards San Marcos where my cousin lives. Thanks to Mary’s I-Phone we found the address easily and met our family. Steven is the eldest son of the late family hero Joe Casciani and his wife Elsie and Kathy is his second wife. They have a beautiful 7-year old daughter called Julia. We were made to feel very welcome and settled in just fine.

The Galaxy stadium

Their 1 trophy!

At about five in the evening we all got into Steven’s car and he drove us to Los Angeles and specifically the StubHub Stadium where we were to have hospitality at the game between the L.A. Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls. This was possible because cousin Steven is an agent for Sports personalities and knows absolutely everybody in the sporting arena on the west coast, including one of the top executives at LA Galaxy. Jovan Kirovski, who won a Champions’ league Winners medal with Borussia Dortmund. This guy provided the tickets for a box, drinks and a superb meal whilst watching the game. The whole thing was brilliant and we had a wonderful time even though Galaxy lost by 3-2. Zlatan did score an equaliser but the stupid referee ruled him offside which he wasn’t!

The game rages on

At the end of the game Steven drove us back to their house  where we shared a couple of wines before bedtime. It had been a really long day but I managed to reminisce with him until two in the morning, by which time we had seriously put the world to right. After such a singular evening, we both felt it necessary to double-check that we weren’t dreaming all of this. The good news was that we weren’t!

Lady Burton at the footie!!

America Day 4: Bus the Park

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Our final day in San Francisco was just the way we planned it last night: quite active but not manic, seeing stuff on our own and avoiding big groups. Our first destination was Golden Gate Park over on the west side of the peninsula. We had seen it briefly from the tour bus yesterday and decided it was just the kind of quiet place we needed to start the day. Luckily our one-day bus ticket was really a 24-hour ticket and, as we hadn’t bought it until nearly midday yesterday, we were able to use it to retrace stops 6-11 and get to the park for free.

It was quite warm when we got off the bus so I shed my hoodie while Mary rolled up her leather jacket and put it in my backpack. We decided first of all to check out the Japanese Tea Garden which, for $15 ($9 for Lady Burton and $6 for this Scottish pensioner!) offered customers an hour or so in an idyllic tranquil setting filled with cute bonsais, perfect little bridges, weeping willows aplenty and the inevitable carp pond. Throw in a couple of pagodas and the compulsory Buddha statue (that waist has got to go!) and you can easily imagine what we saw. In truth it was a lovely way to start our final day in Frisco.

Slimming World here?

Multi-storey Tea park!

Next door to the Japanese Tea Garden there was a museum of machines which wasn’t really our cup of tea (Sorry I saw that pun coming but couldn’t avoid it) but a part of it was a nine-storey viewing platform which afforded us splendid vistas of the surrounding area. And it was free! Exercise was next on the cards, the walking kind I mean! We left the centre of the park and walked along the access road as far as the Conservatory which housed a botanical garden. You’re right, we didn’t go in to this either but we did have our lunch on a bench (Dedicated to a John McDonald) in the warm sunshine.

                Modern Art

On our way out of the park we admired one-by-one the statues of people revered by the original owner and creator. Well, what a surprise when we passed a clearing and discovered none other than Rabbie Burns staring down at us from a pedestal. This momentarily filled us with pride and made us feel a long, long way from home but that passed quickly and we got on with our walk, making for another venue we had seen from the Tour Bus.

“Wee sleekit……….”

Scary Movie scene?

The area of Haight/Ashbury was the original centre for the Summer of Love in 1967 and attracted thousands of hippies drawn from all over the world by Alan Ginsberg’s phrase “Turn on, tune in and drop out!” They came, as Scott McKenzie had asked, with “flowers in their hair”. This area has made its name from capturing the moment and maintaining it right up to the present day so it was no great surprise to find kaftans galore, headbands, tie-dye shirts, and hot pants bursting out of the myriad of retro clothing stores on Haight. Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all stayed a while here, enjoying alternative stimulants, funny fags and a wee drop of free love! We strolled the main street and stopped for a coffee just off Ashbury whose intersection with Haight gave the district its name.

Close-up of Hendrix’s place

Now we had to get back to downtown Powell Street. My transport map suggested a number 7 bus would do the trick and yes it did! On board, we were treated to a young couple having a loud but friendly debate about the merits of voting for our Donald and including the many conspiracy theories the young man adhered to, theories which convinced him that Trump wishes to start a war to avoid his arraignment! The young woman had views on the opposite side of the spectrum and so naturally sounded a lot more sensible to us than her partner. Their baby however managed to sleep through the whole debate!

Back at the bottom of Powell, we joined the long line to get on one of the world-famous San Francisco cable-cars to take us all the way north again to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. When our turn came, we found ourselves inside seated on a bench, but at the first opportunity I wriggled free and took up position standing on the footplate at the side of the car and holding on to a pole for dear life! That was more like it! I even managed to take some pics on my ‘phone, including ten seconds of video capturing the journey for posterity. Being a secret child-catcher, I had to tell the wee girl standing next to me and screaming continually at the passers-by that I needed her to shut up so she wouldn’t spoil my video. The strange thing is she did!


The Streets

Do I look scared?

She rode the car!

At the end of the line we walked back down to the Wharf area and headed for Pier 39 and another chance to see those damned funny sea-lions. Mary was particularly delighted with their antics and I had trouble dragging her away to the souvenir shop to get a couple of things for the boys. We then had tea at “Hot Spud” which turned out much better than it sounds before catching the number 8 bus back to town. We almost missed it as we were on the wrong side of the road and I had to call to the driver to please stop. He let us on and I started to explain where we wanted to go and that I was a senior and how much would that be and could I have change of a twenty. He shook his head, told us to just take a seat and we travelled back to town for free! Job done!

Mr C Gull on a bender!

Well that’s it. San Francisco = tick! It’s been good here and at times very good. The citizens are polite, friendly and helpful, the shopkeepers provide excellent service and the transport workers have an outrageously good sense of humour. (On the tour bus this morning a German lady said to the driver that she was going upstairs but if there were no seats she would come back down and wait for the next bus. The driver said she would have to go up and see as “my x-ray vision seems not to be working this morning!” Class!

Tomorrow morning we fly down to San Diego, get a car and drive up to Steven Casciani’s house in San Marcos. And then it gets a wee bit exciting, but you’ll have to wait for that. Thanks for reading this and please keep following the blog. Hasta la Vista, baby!

Mary, guette tes phoques!

America Day 3: Bus, Bridge and Biryani!

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We did our own thing for breakfast this morning and I rediscovered the joys of Granola cereals. That was around 08.30 but we actually woke up at 4 a.m. and had an hour reading before falling off again. We took it real slow this morning and resolved to do little walking after yesterday’s marathon so opted for the City Bus Tour, just as we’ve done in umpteen cities over this year of travel. When we headed out, the sun was shining brightly, but this time I hadn’t left my hat in a San Francisco hotel: it was firmly on my head, although a stiff Pacific breeze was trying hard to change that. After a quick stop at Walgreen’s mini market for provisions, we returned to Union Square where we bought our tickets and boarded the big red bus for our tour. At $55 a head, this was dearer than in most places, but there were extra bits we could do if we wanted, including a trip to Sausalito over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Lady Burton at South Vista Point

The tour quickly took us to the South Vista Point where we got off and waited twenty minutes for a second bus to take us over the bridge. This bus was an older type and downstairs had no lateral windows allowing us to lean out over the rails if we wished. We didn’t, as it was blowing an absolute gale up there and we quickly moved from cosy to freezing. The ride over to the North Vista Point was very exciting and the views were quite breath-taking, and then the wee bus took us down through the hills to the cute little town of Sausalito and back up again before re-crossing the Golden Gate where we alighted and waited for the main tour bus again.

On the tour bus

Crossing the Golden Gate

The second part took us through west San Francisco, a mixture of rich districts, poor areas, the old hippy area from the 60s, the Civic Centre and downtrodden Tenderloin district. We noted two or three things we thought we would like to visit in more detail tomorrow, maybe after our trip to Alcatraz. Once back at Union Square, the tour then headed out to the coast and Fisherman’s Wharf before swinging east and following the coast down to Embarcadero Plaza where it turned again and took us back to Union.

Jimi Hendrix’s flat in ’67

City Hall

In total the tour lasted about three and a half hours and was actually well worth the price we thought. Delighted with our trip, we skipped over to the booking office again to get our tickets for Alcatraz but you can imagine our disappointment when the very helpful lady couldn’t find us a single ticket under $120 each. Even she commented that we’d be mad to pay that kind of a price. So we decided to keep our cash and plan something different over our tea.

The entrance to Chinatown

Before returning to the hotel, we had a coffee in the centre of town and sat at the large window which looked out onto Powell Street. People-watching became the Name of the Game and we saw some classic sights including a gorgeous (gay) guy in a copy of Scott’s blue suit he wore to the Ayr races last week, a lady who was definitely a gentleman and a completely out-of-his-head guy who stopped long enough to tell me through the glass that he was going to slit my throat! Very nice too! Further down the street and almost back at the hotel, I stopped to check out an Indian restaurant where, an hour later, I eventually bought my dinner: a chicken biryani and nan bread. Mary had already got herself a salad thing and was quite happy not to share my curry, although the guy gave me three plates, two sets of plastic cutlery and enough food for both of us and some!

And over our meal we planned what we’re going to do tomorrow. It’ll be fun and will involve a bit more walking than today but still much less than Day One. We’ll not be doing that in a hurry. I’ve been in touch with my cousin Steven with whom we’re to be staying once we’ve flown down to San Diego on Saturday and it looks like he’s planned a few good things for us to do. Thanks a million Steven and family for your generous invitation. As I type this, it’s 22.30 and Lady Burton is already sound asleep! My, how things have changed! That’s two nights in a row she hasn’t even opened a book before the Sandman has firmly closed her eyes. Now that’s unheard of!

The original Towering Inferno!

America Day 2: “I left my hat… in San Francisco”


Believe it or not, dear readers, but the title is an actual report on what happened! You see, checking the weather forecast for the day, we saw it would be cloudy all day with a maximum temperature of 14 degrees. Based on this, I decided not to take my hat, and that was a serious mistake. I didn’t realise that meteorologists over here deliberately issue false forecasts so they can sit back and watch people in next-to-nothing freeze and get soaked or stupid Scotsmen sizzle in soaring temperatures wearing far too much including NO hat! So by the time I’m on the ferry tour around the Bay my pate is already tingling in a manner I know only too well. The cool breeze coming off the Pacific didn’t help either, telling me I’m quite cold while the sun is burning a hole in my head. Cloudy? We didn’t see one all day! The bottom line was I had to buy a new hat as soon as we docked at Pier 39 and we had to visit a drugstore on the way back to the hotel and buy some Aftersun to relieve my aching skull.

The day started with breakfast at the hotel. We decided to give it a try as we had no idea what was around us and weren’t too sure about going to the supermarket round the corner where all the zombies were! Don’t get the wrong idea that Frisco is populated with extras from “The Night of the Living Dead” however. It just so happens that half of them hang out round the corner from our hotel at the bottom of Mason Street while the other half frequent the far end of Fisherman’s Wharf. The rest of the city is brilliant! So we had breakfast at $12 a head and gave it the thumbs-down as it was absolutely average and everything was cold. We won’t be having a second try as we intend to buy supplies and have our own leisurely breakfasts in our room, something we regularly do when travelling. Not only does it save you a bob or two but it is a far better experience for both of us, especially as we don’t always jump up and embrace the morning’s gifts!

Union Square

We hit “The Streets of San Francisco” at about 09.30 and made our way across to Union Square, the official centre of town. As we arrived, we were assaulted by three or four reps trying to sell us bus tour tickets (“I’ll give you the best price!” “No, I will!”) but I chased them all away and we entered the square where we had a surprisingly quiet half-an-hour seated on a bench in the warm sunshine admiring all four sides of the central area. The obelisk in the middle did not however commemorate the Civil war as we had expected but instead referred to the capture of Manila in the Philippines in 1898 by US naval forces after war was declared between them and Spain. This surprised us and Mary reckoned it would have had something to do with fighting Mexico but we’ll check up later if you don’t do so yourselves.

No comment necessary!

Seeing one of those iconic cable-cars go by on up Powell Street, we decided to follow it, knowing we were about to get our first taste of the steep slopes. And steep they surely were! But your intrepid adventurers soldiered onwards and upwards, eventually finding ourselves outside Grace Episcopal Cathedral where a nice man took the first photo of us together in San Francisco. And the advertised upcoming event was a bit different!


A Beyoncé Mass??

A quick tour of this lovely place and the cloistered area outside set us up for a swift descent down through Chinatown, but we didn’t dilly-dally on the way and continued down to sea level before turning north and making for the harbour area. Twice we encountered screeching fire-engines from the SFFD, those 50-foot long monsters we’d seen on the TV, and then we walked by an actual Fire station which allowed us to take a quick photo.



We were delighted to reach the water soon afterwards, although we had just passed by a pretty tower on a hill which promised some splendid views of the whole city and beyond. That would be for later. Once we were in the thick of the shopping area at Pier 39, we took an Executive decision to buy tickets for a Bay Tour and I was delighted when I got $8 off for being so damn old! After a comfort stop for me in one of those fully-automatic toilets you always suspect will suddenly open while you’re in mid-flow, we joined the queue (line!) for the Ferry Tour and got chatting to a couple from Vancouver Island, the husband of which naturally had a grandfather from Oban! As soon as we left the dock, we could see Alcatraz Island beckoning in the middle of the bay as the boat turned to head straight for none other than the Golden Gate Bridge! It was windy and cold on the outside upper deck but we weren’t budging, determined to make the most of something we had both dreamed of doing one day but had never suspected we would.

Beautiful! And so is Lady Burton!


The Golden Gate in full

The boat took us under the Golden Gate then headed back to Alcatraz, giving us a close-up view of the famous State Penitentiary which once held the most dangerous criminals in America. This tour didn’t stop to let you onto the island but we know of another one which does and Lady Burton is determined to go there. Well, she already has the stripy pyjamas! (Thanks Mum!)

The Jailhouse Rock!

Beyond the island we had a great view of the other, even longer bridge called surprisingly The Bay Bridge, then the boat turned and made its way back to the Pier, passing at the entrance a whole ……. what do you call a collection of sea-lions? A pride? OK a lot of sea-lions basking on a series of floating platforms at the entrance to the harbour. Once disembarked, we walked back round to get a more-detailed look at these amazing creatures and laughed at their antics as they jostled for the best positions on the platforms. And boy, are they noisy!

You’ll have to imagine the noise!

Mary persuaded a couple of them to pose!

Next we went to see what else was in the area and soon found a Musée Mecanique like one we’d seen in La Rochelle many years ago (1998 to be precise because Scotland had just played a World Cup Finals fixture there!) Picture all the old penny machines from days gone by in the Arcades and house a couple of hundred of them under one roof and there you have it. We had a great time in there spending our handful of quarters on Dancing Barbers, a mechanical Hanging (Yes! A Hanging!) and “What the butler saw!”

Watching the Earthquake!

The engineering involved in these automatons was impressive and very, very clever. When we left by a side door, we found ourselves at a dock harbouring the submarine S.S. Pampanito and read how submarines manage to sink and resurface, as well as getting a close look at a torpedo and the electric batteries the submarines used. We could have gone inside as well but at $30 a head (and mine was sore!) we decided against that. Lady Burton wasn’t too sure about her claustrophobia anyway!

War stuff

As we started to head back, we chanced upon that iconic signpost announcing to everyone that they are at Fisherman’s Wharf so we obviously had to stop there and take a couple of snaps. I still remember that sign appearing in flashes in the opening titles to the series “The Streets of San Francisco” starring I think Karl Malden.

Iconic selfie!

So you’d think that that would be that. Nope! Not when Mary’s around! She insisted we climb yet another steep hill, this time to visit that tower we’d spotted on the way in. Actually, I’m really pleased she did because we were treated to some absolutely splendid views of the city from the top of this place (Coit Tower) whose elevator took us 13 floors up to the top. Given that the tower stands atop a steep hill, well the photos leave you in no doubt as to the reward waiting for anyone willing to make the effort.

Coit Tower and  Columbus

Would you believe this?

The long trek back to the hotel tested our weary legs to the full. We stopped at a store to buy some dinner for Mary and I checked out a Thai Restaurant not far from the hotel where I could buy a curry “to go”. Needless to say, scarcely was the food in our stomachs than everything caught up with us and we collapsed into bed with the clock showing just after 21.30! Well, that has to be a record of some sort. We were awake again about four in the morning but thankfully got back to sleep until eight-thirty when I went out through Zombieland to buy milk for my cereal. When I got back to the hotel, there was our suitcase sitting staring at me, happy to be reunited with its owner.

Now that DID make Lady Burton smile!

The Golden Gate!

Translation please?

America Day 1: Big Bird

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Our Big American Adventure started today at 05.30, half an hour before the alarm was due to waken us. As always, we were wide awake well before the accursed “Beep! Beep!” and able to launch ourselves into a real travel day. Young George picked us up at 07.45, dropped us at Dundee station and we caught the 08.20 to Haymarket from whence the tram took us to the airport. Despite quite a large queue, we were soon shot of the big suitcase and one little one, leaving us with only backpacks and handbags to look after. Our flight to Heathrow on BA was smooth as silk but we had to hurry all the same as there was only an hour between our flights and our gate was a long walk and a short monorail trip away.

                It’s London, innit?

For not the first time we rushed down to the gate only to find a huge crowd waiting to board. When we saw the plane waiting for us outside on the tarmac our jaws dropped. It was enormous! Inside we found 40 rows of 3x4x3 ….. and that was only the main deck as there was a second storey above us! I tried to get up the stairs somewhere over Greenland after using the facilities at the rear but there was a barrier stopping the plebs from having a look.

                               Big Bird

Altogether the flight to San Francisco took ten and a half hours, the longest we have ever been on a plane. BA served up loads of snacks and drinks as well as two very reasonable hot meals so no complaints from us as regards the service on board. I followed the flight path regularly throughout and noticed that, after we left Heathrow, we flew back up over Scotland, out to Iceland, on to Greenland, back over land to Hudson Bay then a straight line more or less to the Pacific and San Francisco. We were still quite wired when we arrived, having both managed a bit of kip during the flight, so we were able to cope with the “Entry into the US” carry-on before going to the carousel to collect our luggage.

Unfortunately only one of our suitcases appeared, the other, according to a text I received, having failed to make the big flight for some reason or other. But there was no panic as they have promised to send it over tomorrow and transport it directly to our hotel. Next was the question of getting to central San Francisco and our hotel on Mason Street. Well, I’d worked it all out from the Internet before we left, so knew to buy tickets for the B.A.R.T. a train which took us to Powell Street, just five minutes from the hotel. That bit worked out fine too, and here I am typing up our first report. We went out for something to eat about an hour ago and ended up in a Subway getting sandwiches to take back to the hotel, but the exciting bit was the street outside filled with a selection of disabled misfits playing loud rapper music from their mobility scooters! Everyone else appeared to be out of their skulls on something too. We thought it was very like what we see on TV!

Well, that’s us here. Let the tour begin!!

     The snowy peaks of Montana.

Season cut short

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Maybe slightly surprisingly, we have packed up and left Vilanova Park for the season and we are now briefly back in Dundee. This decision to come back two and a half months earlier than usual is due to our forthcoming five weeks trip to America which will start on 24 April when we fly to San Francisco. Our thinking was that it was a waste of money to continue to rent our pitch right through to the end of August when in fact we would only actually be there for about three weeks. As a result of this, we cancelled our annual contract and reverted to our previous month-by-month rent of a pitch which we could stop whenever we wanted by leaving the campsite.

Of course, the downside of this was that we had to disassemble everything and put the caravan back into storage. This proved quite a challenge this year as we had our floor in the awning which we had put down two years ago. The floor consists of three sections of 2.5m x 3m solid wood built pallet-style to raise the walking surface four inches off the ground. As each section is a 4-person lift, there was simply no obvious place to put the floor while we’re away and I had to establish a storage deal with the campsite authorities to take it away and bring it back when we return.

This done, we still had to get all the belongings we were leaving into the caravan. With hard work by Mary and me, we succeeded, dismantling the kitchen table and putting it on the bed via the bedroom window. We also slid our washing-machine through the front window and set it down between the benches minutes before we left. We have since been informed by our friends on the campsite that both caravan and floor have been removed from the pitch since our departure and are now in storage.

Heading up into the Massif

France NOT Holland!

Our journey back to Scotland in the Audi was trouble-free and at times a real joy for us both, especially as we drove through the countryside of central France between Clermont-Ferrand and Rheims up in the Champagne region. We crossed via the Channel Tunnel once again and then had our only bad moments as we drove clockwise round the M25 and up the M40 towards our hotel in Stoke-on-Trent. That traffic was horrendous, some of the worst and most stressful we have experienced, and Lady Burton’s heart-rate was over one hundred for much of the way, witness her FitBit.

Millau Viaduct, the highest bridge in the world.

The magnificent Puy-de-Dôme

It gets exciting here

Waiting to go through the Channel Tunnel

The Ashford Horse welcomes you to the UK

Welcome home!

The final leg back to Dundee was punctuated with a visit to our dear friends Mike & Het whom we had recently visited on their campsite in the Algarve. A couple of hours at their house in Kendal involved much chat, many laughs and an excellent, healthy lunch which set us up nicely for the rest of our journey home. By seven o’clock that evening, we were enjoying the delicious dinner Mary’s Mum had left in the flat for our return. Thanks Mum! We’ve been back four days now and already it feels like we’ve not been away! Mary has had two events with her family and I’ve spent an afternoon with young George and both of my grandchildren, Ben and Ari, I’ve had an evening in my local pub and we’ve visited Renée and Stef my cousins after mass yesterday in Blairgowrie.

Well, now I want to let you know about our American trip. As you already know, we fly out on 24 April to San Francisco where we’ll have four nights’ stay (I hope I don’t leave my hat there!) before flying down to San Diego where we hire a car and drive up to my cousin Steve’s place in San Marcos. We’ve arranged a couple of things with Steve and his family but on 2 May we’re going to drive back to San Diego to spend our twentieth wedding anniversary on our own (Stop it!) and do things we want to do with no commitment to others. On 4 May, we’ve booked a whale-watching trip in the Pacific which we’re really looking forward to. After a couple of further nights in San Marcos, we’ll be saying goodbye and driving up to Las Vegas for three nights. This is of course a must-see when you’re in that part of the world but I warn you that what happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas but appear on this blog!

After that it’ll be three weeks of seeing Mother Nature, starting of course with some time visiting the Grand Canyon then moving on North and East to Monument Valley, Canyonlands and Arches before swinging back round via Bryce National Park, Zion and Sequoia National Parks and Death Valley and back to Las Vegas from whence we fly to New York and on to Edinburgh on the first of June.

This will be the last journey of our year of travelling. My thanks to Lady Burton for giving up her job to come with me, and I’m delighted to report that she has secured her job in Vilanova again, starting on 3 September 2018. I’ve worked out that, if she works ten hours a day, seven days a week for nine months, she’ll earn back all the money we’ve spent on our travels in the past twelve months! This is also our way of confirming that we’re definitely returning to Vilanova for at least one more year. Friends Mike & Het are also coming back, at least for the autumn, Tom & Margareth will be there and I think Fred & Jeanette will also be there, assuming all goes well with Fred’s recovery from his motorbike accident. Joke & Walt will be back if the latter’s treatment for his illness turns out to be a success, so we’ll be keeping them in our prayers for the foreseeable future. They recently sold their caravan and accessories to Don & Sally as it doesn’t look likely that Walt will be able to handle caravanning any more, although their intention will be to come back and live in a chalet on the campsite. Darren will still be there when we get back as well as Don & Sally, and I think Jeremy will be returning at some point.

My next post will be from the U.S. so it will be in a funny accent! See y’all!

What was he hauling??