America Day 37: The Last Post

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No, not a sad trumpet tune but a reminder that this was our last day in America for this particular adventure. Lady Burton is already talking about “when” we come back and not “if” so there’s a fair chance that one day we’ll come back and see a bit more of this totally amazing place. But all good things must come to an end, and that’s the case for us.

We had breakfast after being roused by the Housekeeping team at 07.30 this morning. Mary complained about it before we sat down to eat and we were given an apology and a late check-out until 12.30 which suited us perfectly. For my part, I went back to bed after breakfast and grabbed another couple of hours sleep while Mary did whatever she did: I don’t know as I was sleeping! We filled up just along the road and headed off up the I-15 towards Las Vegas where we were booked for the last night back in the Luxor again, it being also where we had to drop off the Kia.

Classic advert

Having driven this route three weeks ago, there wasn’t a whole lot to marvel at but we did manage to snap the frequent oddities that came our way. In a regulation two-and-a-half hours we were on the streets of las Vegas, watching the daily chaos unfold in front of us. I refilled the tank for handing back, found the upper car park with no problem at all compared to our first visit and rolled the Kia into Avis bay 16. As we unpacked the Avis lady in charge came driving by and took our documents and the car keys, saving us any bother in that respect. Mary soon checked us in (room 245 on the 18th floor this time!) and up we went to settle in.

Vegas Streets

But this is George and Mary you’re reading about, so settle in doesn’t mean settle down. You see, we had always intended trying to fit in another Vegas show before leaving and we’d noticed there was a Cirque du Soleil presentation of some Beatles music in a show called “Love” on up the road, so if we could get a ticket we would give it a go. In the room however, I re-read the brochure and it appeared to be a lot more acrobatics than music at the “Love” performance. So I searched on and would you believe it found a show by a Beatles Tribute band on at 17.30 in The Planet Hollywood Resort also up the road. I found this at 16.35!

In a flash we were out on the Strip, marching boldly along, up, across, down, along, up, down etc until we found the CVS Market we’d bought our last tickets in and yes, they had some for us at discount. Tickets in Lady Burton’s handbag, we continued to sprint along then up, over Las Vegas Boulevard and back down before plunging into the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood. When we reached the Box Office inside, it was 17.22, but we’d made it and in we went.

The show was brilliant. They recreated The Beatles’ appearance for the first time in America on the Ed Sullivan Show with a really good “Ed Sullivan” by the way, before switching to The Sergeant Pepper’s Beatles and doing stuff from the classic Album as well as songs from “Yellow Submarine”. And they finished with the late Beatles songs from “Abbey Road” and “Let it be”. It was an excellent 90 minutes and we were well pleased with making it there. We also had photos taken with the Fab Four at the end of the performance.

Original Line-Up

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Austin powers popped in!

Good Moment

After the show, we ate out at a Mexican place and then enjoyed a slow walk back through the madness to the Luxor where we had another go at the roulette. As before I lost all my money but Lady Burton won almost exactly what I lost, so we actually came out on top. The pace however began to catch up on me at this point and I had to get back up to the room where I’m writing this bleary-eyed but happy.

Mary above the Strip

Fairy Tale City

Well, that’s it! America – done and box ticked! We both think this has definitely been the best holiday we’ve ever had and we almost can’t believe the amount of things we’ve managed to do in the last five-and-a-half weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed following my blog and if you can’t comment here then send me an email to let me know what you thought of it. For the moment, Goodbye everybody and thanks again for sharing the crazy ride with us! Bye! Bye!

A Final Selfie

 

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America Day 36: Sequoia

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We knew today would be long and tough but we just HAD to finish in style. Up at 7, breakfast and packed by 8, on the road by 8.30 heading North surprisingly. Although Sequoia National Park has an entrance right across from Visalia, it’s a long way up 5000 feet on a very narrow, windy road and we’d end up 40 miles further away from tonight’s hotel which was already 220 miles away. So start at the top and work down was the order of the day. Because of the rather strange road design around that area it took a good hour to reach the north entrance to what is actually King’s Canyon National Park and not Sequoia., by which time we’d already climbed 5000 feet but on a gentle incline with the odd hairpin to keep me awake!

Just past the entrance (no fee, “America the Beautiful” duly flashed, but we did get I.D.ed) we turned right and entered General Grant grove where, among a selection of giant sequoias, stands the 2nd largest tree in the world. Our first taste of what a giant sequoia looks like was a real surprise, as they are not in the clouds (like the Beanstalk!) so you can easily see the tops, but it’s the girth at the bottom which captures your attention and provides the “Wow!” moment. We had a bit of a walk round a loop trail which took in the General Grant tree and a fallen trunk you could walk into as if it were a wooden building. These two goliaths helped us make some sense of the dimensions we would be dealing with today.

Mary in front of the General Grant Tree

Back in the car, we now drove from the King’s Canyon National Park through south into the actual Sequoia National Park, maintaining our height (I’m still 5’9″!) and entering the land of the giants. We made our way to the car park near to the General Sherman tree (the largest tree on the planet) and walked down to see it for ourselves. We ticked a box here seeing the famous tree but actually it was a combination of all the other ones that made our eyes widen with delight. You know, after all that red rock and desert, it was wonderful to have living trees all around us, trees that were here when Jesus walked the Earth and some even older!

Having ticked off the big tree, we jumped on the Sequoia Shuttle bus and were taken down to the Giant Forest Museum which we visited for half-an-hour then took another shuttle bus further into the forest to a place called Moro Rock. Now this is a huge rock that overhangs the valley beyond and offers fantastic views of the high Sierras to the North and East, including Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the USA outside of Alaska. Now, believe it or not, those crafty American engineers have gone and cut a stone stairway all the way to the top of this rock, including handrails on both sides. Well, we could hardly turn down such an invitation, could we? So off up the stairs we plodded. And by the time we got to the top, we knew we were experiencing something quite extraordinary up there. Moro Rock itself is round and smooth and yet tourists are able to quite safely climb onto its whaleback and take photos from on top. And what a view we got from up there!

Moro Rock

On the way up

Selfie on Moro Rock

Once back down on the ground, we took a notion to go for a wee hike, so I checked out a trail of about a mile that would take us over to something else we wanted to see. Once on the trail and in among the pines but entirely on our own, the presence of bears began to play with our minds and we started to talk really loudly to each other, which is one of the tactics you are advised to use to keep curious bears from venturing closer to you. It obviously works because we saw not the slightest sign of Yogi or Boo-Boo in the depths of the forest and came upon the main road again, safe and sound.

As my orienteering skills are finely honed(!), we came out right beside our target, The Tunnel Log. This tree fell over in 1937 and somebody later had the bright idea of cutting a hole in it big enough for a car to drive through. This was after the more famous tree which straddled a road in the park and was also cut to allow passage to vehicles fell down in 1957. Well, we took some photos on foot then resolved to go back to the car and drive it down there for a better photo, at which point the shuttle bus drove by. I rushed over to intercept, charmed the driver into letting us get on (he wasn’t allowed to let people on except at official stops!), swopped shuttle buses at the Museum, reached the Sherman Car park where we’d left the car and drove back to the Tunnel tree. The results are obvious!

This wasn’t in my test!

It was now time to head down the twisty road to the bottom of the mountain and we knew there were road works half-way down. This delay caused by a much-needed contraflow left us sitting in the car for twenty minutes, by which time we were both fast asleep! I was woken up by Lady Burton shouting “George, they’re moving!” as the queue in front of me set off down the single track road. The journey down was quite amazing and we had continuous excellent views over into the valley.

Great view!

The road out seen from above!

Once outside the Park itself, there was the small point of a 200-mile drive over to our hotel in Barstow, where we had stayed three weeks before. OK, it was hard going but the ever-changing landscapes kept us enthralled for most of the time with crops, hills, desert and one-horse towns to consider. We stopped in a slightly more-civilised place and grabbed some fast-food for tea but ate it en route as it was getting on and the computer told us we wouldn’t reach our hotel until ten o’clock! Well I put my foot down and we got there at 21.58! We’d driven through towns called Boron, Cameron and Keene and we’d passed the famous Edwards Air Force Base where all the experimental flying takes place and where the first shuttle took off from and landed.

A beautiful dusk

So that’s it, our last day visiting on our tour of the West. Tomorrow we drive back to Las Vegas, drop off the car, stay the night in the Luxor, get up early, taxi to the airport and fly to JFK in New York. From there it’s straight to Edinburgh and the train back to Dundee. How will we ever cope!

Sequoias

Lady Burton in repose!

America Day 35: Crops

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Look what was outside our door this morning!

Today was meant to be just a travel day, designed for no more than to get us from King City over east to within striking distance of Sequoia National Park for tomorrow’s visit. So after breakfast, we took our time and headed away just after eleven. There were just ordinary 2-way traffic roads to drive today with no great highways to negotiate but we still had 130 miles to cover so we hoped that the route would at least be interesting.

The road east started by penetrating some high hills covered in a beautiful golden yellow grass, the likes of which we had only seen in one other place, and that was also in this valley west of the Sierras. From early on there were little creatures dashing out in front of us to cross the road and we couldn’t help but notice the obvious signs of those who hadn’t quite made it over safely. We’re not sure what they were but we did notice some of them standing on their hind legs in the fields, like you see in the meerkat adverts. (Mary is researching as I type! She now tells me they were probably bushy-tailed wood rats!) I kept pulling over to let cars behind me pass as we were really enjoying the drive and were in no hurry to get to our destination. Then the crops gave way to fields of cattle and a field of goats, something we hadn’t seen all that much of on our travels here on the west coast.

Eventually we came down out of those glorious hills and passed through a town called Coalinga and, chancing upon a Walgreen’s (we now know that’s Boot’s the Chemist in the USA!), we pulled over and went in to buy our tea for the next couple of nights. When I opened the car door to get out, it was like walking into a furnace! The thing is, you don’t notice the heat at all when you have AC blasting away in the car as you travel along, so you can get quite a shock when you stop and get out. Fortunately, there was an electronic signpost not 5 yards away so I was able to record for posterity the temperature.

It’s a cooker!

Once we’d done our shopping, we headed east straight along the road towards our destination Visalia, yet another town we would be sleeping in, whose name we had never heard of. Visalia will join an esteemed list that includes Holbrook, Barstow, Kayenta, Price, Moab, Hatch, Hurricane, Bishop and Merced! While I imagined that the following 30 or so miles would be boring and uninteresting, I had no idea what lay ahead. The next part of the journey started by passing the Pleasant Valley State Correctional Facility (prison to you and me!) and Lady Burton quipped that it could have been more appropriately named as “Unpleasant Valley etc.” It looked like a grim place to be a resident in, all walls and razor wire and turrets, just like the other 3 places we’ve passed where folk go to get “corrected”.

Miles of fields!

And then we reached the fields. Fields of what? We weren’t really sure although I did manage to identify some Maize and some vineyards. But it was the extent of these fields that rather blew us away. They averaged maybe 2 miles in length each and we could see that they went back at least half a mile in depth. With a tree or bush maybe every 6 feet, that would amount to (let me see…..) an awful lot of whatever it was! Our lack of ability at recognizing what was growing in such vast quantities all around us only frustrated us even more  as mile after mile of beautifully cultivated fields sped by. In the end I counted 38 miles of non-stop crops both sides of the road. There were great intricate watering systems on view and this was clearly a very major growing area of the west coast. I couldn’t find a specific name for the flatlands we passed but it was all west of Fresno and part of their agricultural administration.

When we were checking in to our hotel in Visalia, there was a young man doing likewise and he was able to tell us that the area we had mentioned was the main place for the production of almonds and pistachios, which was a real surprise to us who were thinking apples, oranges and lemons. By the way, and I’m not so sure how we got round to this, the guy told us he had been looking after his grandfather who got shot 3 times by a son-in-law who rather “lost it” one day! Would you believe that? Anyway, we researched the crops once we’d settled in and discovered that the guy with the shot grandfather was correct about the almonds and pistachios but there is also a vast amount of aubergines, grapes and honeydew melons growing in this area. The main agricultural product nonetheless turns out to be milk!!

In the late afternoon we sat out by the hotel swimming pool and did the reading to prepare for tomorrow’s visit to Sequoia National Park (pronounced “sek-woya” and not “sek-koya” as I had guessed, so Mary 1 Me 0) as well as treating ourselves to a wee glass of Morgan’s and diet. Tea followed in the room and then we just watched some TV and chilled. The AC is on full blast now at nine in the evening and the outside temperature is 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Did I say “chilled”?

Mary last night in Monterey

 

America Day 34: Big Sur

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We were quick off the mark after breakfast this morning as we had a two-and-a-half hour drive west across fertile plains to rediscover the Pacific Coast near the town of Carmel. It’s at this point that US Highway 1 dons the mantle of the famous Big Sur, a coastal helter-skelter with the Pacific Ocean to the right, a single-lane route of world renown which has lured adventurous drivers for almost a century. So that’s what we did today – we drove the Big Sur!

 

 Not all of it in truth, because you can’t do that ever since a landslide took out a section of the highway about 50 miles south of Carmel. So we took in about 30 miles of this glorious coastline before simply turning and driving right back to where we’d come from. So did about three thousand other cars today, this being the Sunday before Memorial Day holiday and one of the busiest (one Ranger said it WAS the busiest) of the year. Huh! Was that going to stop George and Mary on their adventures? Not a chance!

Our couple of hours up and down this great road was punctuated with stops every so often at one or other of the hundreds of “turn-ins” (laybys) on the ocean side of the road to look over and see what the Pacific was doing at that point, the shapes of the coastline, the surf, the cliffs, the beaches, the winding road, the birds and the boats. We took it all in with little or no comment, just looking and thinking. It was wonderful and I was happy Lady Burton was there at my side to share it with me, to gaze over that immense ocean and wonder if we’d ever see it again for real. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve seen much more amazing things on this incredible journey, but just being on the Big Sur ticked a box for both of us. If they can drive it then so can we, and if we can drive it then so can all of you. We’ve taken it on because the opportunity has presented itself and we encourage you to do likewise if you ever get the chance.

At Rocky Creek Bridge

The fog was never far away

Nor here!

Just don’t do it on the Sunday of Memorial Day. Because, when we started our journey back up the Big Sur we got 8 miles from the starting point then met the queue! We’d set the iPhone to navigate us round to Monterey (yes, the famous Monterey of the 1967 Music Festival – think Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar etc) – and the dashboard information told us we’d be there in 80 minutes! We scoffed at this and assumed a malfunction until we turned one corner and met the others, thousands of them! From there it was literally nose-to-tail, 4 miles per hour. Surprisingly we were both uber-cool about our predicament and just put on some classic rock radio channel to help us wile away the hour and a half of 1st gear stop/start. At one point, on came Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” which drew some great air-guitar moves from me (the car wasn’t moving, remember!) and then followed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” which just seemed perfect for where we were.

Oh no!

Look what’s crossing today!

Once free of the traffic, I put my foot down and headed south for the hotel, an hour or so away and it was already 18.10. Five minutes later, having rejected going into Monterey, I suddenly had a thought that I’d never get the chance again so did a rather nifty U-turn at some traffic lights and drove back into Monterey Beach. We parked up, walked to the beach, took our shoes and socks off and walked into the ocean, to be specific, the Pacific! We’d done it! The waters healed us of the frustration we’d held in so well in that ridiculous traffic jam and we smiled and hugged one another.

Mary paddling!

A walk along the pier followed then we grabbed something to eat and headed back to the car. The 50-minute drive down to our hotel, Keefer’s Inn in King City, was the first time we’d really driven in the USA after dark but we got here safe and sound and we’re watching the Memorial Day Concert on TV. It’s been another brilliant day and I for one am absolutely shattered. So “Goodnight!”

A Pacific selfie!

America Day 33: Champions

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We woke up this morning with a bit of a worry because we actually have nowhere to stay tonight and all of a sudden all the hotels and motels are either fully booked or $200 a night! It would appear that Monday is a holiday called Memorial Day, to celebrate the fallen combatants of US wars and everyone and their dog is checking into a hotel somewhere. Over breakfast we resolved to stay exactly where we were here in Merced as I for one was beginning to feel the pace of this amazing romp around the West.

The problem was that we knew from asking last night that the hotel was fully booked, so we asked the guy at reception to give us the first cancellation he got and book it for us right up to checking-out time at 11. In the meantime, I went in to the Eagle Bar next door and asked if there was any chance that I could watch the Champions’ League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at 11.45 this morning. The guy checked the TV schedules, found the game live at 11.30 on Fox Sports 1 and said he’d put it on when I came in. Brilliant!

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Our room here in Merced

For the following hour or so we kept checking on the Internet for a reasonably-priced hotel but got nowhere so packed our bags and put them in the car in anticipation of leaving. As I took the last bag out, the room phone rang and Mary answered it. I could tell by her tone that it was good news and so it was: the guy would let us keep the room we were in for a second night! To make things even better, he not only kept the price the same ($88) but reduced it to $76! We paid up, I put our cases back in the room and we went over to the pub to watch the game, although Lady Burton took her Kindle with her.

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The pub where we watched the game

 

As you probably know by now, the Final was a classic even though Liverpool lost and we’ll all remember Gareth Bale’s overhead kick and the Liverpool goalkeeper’s 2 shocking errors for a long time. Well done to Real Madrid for their 3rd consecutive Champions’ League Final win all the same and I’m especially pleased for Bale himself who hasn’t had it easy since joining the Spanish club a couple of seasons ago. After the match, we walked to a service station to get something for lunch, ate it back in the room then I crashed out on the couch for the next 3 hours as the fatigue and the 3 glasses of IPA caught up with me. Lady Burton had a soak in the bath while I was in the Land of Nod and then when I awoke we got back to organising the next couple of days.

It looks like we might go back down to the Pacific coast near Carmel so we can drive a bit of the Big Sur which is the SR-1 and runs south for about 90 miles towards Santa Barbara. They say it is one of the most beautiful roads in the world to drive so it should be worth the 2-hour drive to get over there from where we are just now in Merced. We have to hand the Kia back at the Luxor in Las Vegas on the 30th of May as we fly to New York the following morning, and we still have to set aside a day to visit Sequoia National Park but that still gives us a couple of days to do something a bit spontaneous.

It is an adventure after all!

America Day 32: Yosemite

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The High Sierras

This was always going to be a bonus day, as we originally hadn’t included Yosemite National Park on our itinerary, but it just sort of developed out of the rhythm we were following. So, first thing this morning, I had to check to see if the snows had come back and if the road from the east was open. The CA-120 through Yosemite is closed from October to June each year, but had opened on Monday past, so there was a chance we could get in from Bishop. Last night’s weather report warned of 80% chance of snow, so I was by no means convinced.

Fortunately, the report had put the snow back until Saturday, and although mist and rain was forecast, it was still possible to drive the Tioga Pass at 9000 feet through the High Sierras and into Yosemite itself. A decision was taken and by 09.30 we were on our way north to Lee Vining. Now that’s not a guy’s name ( My apologies to any guy called Lee Vining who actually exists!) No, Lee Vining is a small town to the east of the Sierras and denotes the point at which the CA-120 swings wildly west and up and over into Yosemita Valley.

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I had endured a sleepless night worrying about the snow but it was brilliant sunshine that accompanied us up the steep slopes on a really good road for the first 30 minutes of the climb. On our way up we encountered a dramatic waterfall that threw itself off a ledge and plummeted God knows how far down to where we’d just come from. A few miles further on we drew in at a partially frozen lake and spent some time just staring at the beauty of the place. The signposts told us we were at 6000, then 7000 then 8000 then 9000 feet.

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And  then we were at Tioga Pass, the entrance to Yosemite. We flashed our “America the Beautiful” pass, sailed in without paying and started a long and winding descent, just as the clouds came down and the rain started to fall. The road down into the valley was outrageous and I revelled in driving such a demanding route, but the mist ruined our views for much of the descent. We were kept alert however by scanning both left and right to see if we could spot a bear or two.

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Bear-proof bins!

However we made it down to the Visitors’ Centre where we had some lunch then set about seeing some of the sights of the valley. The first thing was so obvious we couldn’t fail to notice, as it was a massive waterfall cascading from a false valley 500 feet above us and splashing down just yards from where we, and as usual half of Korea, were taking the compulsory photos. From there we walked a trail to a position directly below the huge rock they call “El Capitan”. Although the top was shrouded in that persistent mist which stubbornly refused to lift just for us, we had a great view of the giant wall and our excitement grew when I spotted 2 little orange blobs about halfway up which we slowly interpreted as rock-climbers, a point confirmed by a guy carrying ropes and pitons soon afterwards!

 

 

 

 

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Spot the climbers!

A final consultation of the map showed that if, on the way out, we were to take the Wawona road, we would arrive in minutes at Tunnel Viewpoint from where we would have a clear look down the whole valley to the pride of Yosemite, the Half-Dome Mountain. I negotiated the narrow roads to this point quite quickly and indeed we were rewarded with a fine view down the valley, except that the enormous Half-Dome remained in the mists and unfortunately out of sight for the hundreds at that viewpoint.

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Our exit from Yosemite was on the CA-140 which followed the Merced River for 60 miles down into the great Californian Plains. This landscape proved surprisingly Scottish to us and reminded us of car journeys through the glens of our native land. The road was lined with lush, green embankments, pines, grasses and hillsides, the total opposite of what we had experienced yesterday in Death Valley.

Speaking of which, while yesterday had a high of 107F Fahrenheit, today we enjoyed 39 in the High Sierras and 52 in the valley. Quite a contrast! For the first time I think, I put on my hoodie and even had my waterproof over it. Lady Burton had four pairs of knickers, three pullovers, a tartan blanket and a hot water bottle. And that was in the car!!

We are well happy with our adventure in Yosemite and while we didn’t see Half-Dome, the top of El Capitan, Yogi, Boo-Boo or any bear for that matter, we did see a few Rangers and a couple of picnic-baskets! And the scenery was truly outstanding! I’m glad we made the effort to go there and I’m delighted it all turned out so well. Tomorrow it can snow as much as it wants. We’re going nowhere!

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New furry friend of the Day!

 

 

America Day 31: Death Valley

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We’re there!

We left Pahrump (is anyone singing little drummer boy’s “Pa rump-a-pump-pa”?) and made our way up to Death Valley junction where, not surprisingly, the road swung off west into the desert. The views were once again quite magnificent as we climbed to just under 5000 feet before dropping down into the valley proper. Boy, did we choose the right day for it – or maybe not! – as the blazing sun threatened to burn a hole in the car, never mind our heads. We noticed how hot it was when we made our first stop at the famous Zabriskie Point and had to ascend a very modest slope to the viewpoint. By the time we reached the top our skins were prickling and our breathing was strangely laboured. The view however was stunning and left us once again thinking we could be on an alien planet.

Zabriskie Point landscape

Further down the valley, we stopped in to the Oasis Inn at Death Valley, a really posh hotel complex where we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a chat with an Welsh couple whose car had developed a fault (their car keys had been left on the front of the windscreen by their valet car park attendant and although they had managed to drive off for a short distance, a strong desert wind had dislodged said keys and their car came to a halt in the middle of Death Valley.) They were waiting to be rescued.

 

Oasis Fountain

Inn at Death Valley

Tunnel to Lift

From there, and with the temperature still rising, we set off 17 miles down a side road to Badwater Basin whose Salt Flats mark out the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet BELOW sea level. We got out to walk on the salt flats but after just 10 minutes the heat chased us back into the car. I checked the temperature on the dashboard display and it read 107 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Centigrade!) so, despite being well creamed up with sun block and wearing hats, we kept our sorties outside to an absolute minimum.

107 Fahrenheit!

How could I stoop so low?

Us on the salt flats

The road out of the valley involved climbing 5000 feet again up and over a couple of mountains before plunging back down into the next broad valley and the contrast of landscapes we saw was quite unbelievable Sometimes it was craggy rocks and deep gulleys, at others there was nothing but stony desert for miles and miles before suddenly a series of sand dunes caught the eye, then maybe salt flats again, then all at once an oasis with streams and green shrubs, even crops.

“Into the Valley of Death….”

Death Valley Salt Flats

To cap the whole lot we turned a sharp corner as we approached a wee town and there, standing quietly at the side of the road was …….. a coyote! Take a look!

Coyote!

We’ve now driven north with the high Sierra Nevada to our left and we’ve stopped for the night in the little town of Bishop. We’ve just had our tea and we’ll be off to bed soon as we’re really tired and have another big day tomorrow when we drive up over the Sierras and into Yosemite National Park. And guess what? The forecast is snow!!

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