Saturday, May 21, 2005

Vegas to San Fran

Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas Boulevard,
originally uploaded by ebygomm.
So the bright lights of Vegas were cool, a very surreal place, had lots of fun. From Vegas the next stop was the Grand Canyon, we spent one very cool night at the top (24 Fahrenheit!) and hiked down into the Canyon the next day and then back up again. So after the cool nights at the Grand Canyon we decided we'd had enough of the cold and headed to Death Valley on Friday 13th. Spent the night in Furnace Creek which was lovely and warm as the name would suggest and explored the valley in the morning before it got too hot. Thankfully Richie (the car has been christened) made it out and we decided to head to Sequoia NP. It wasn't made easy by encountering road closures that added 70 miles to the trip and some hills that Richie really wasn't keen to do. Sequoia was cool, saw some BIG trees and walked through the snow in my flip flops, perhaps not the wisest footwear choice. Travelled to Kings Canyon, saw some amazing waterfalls and camped the night. And then it rained, and rained and rained, pretty much most of the night. Not discouraged by this we packed up our stuff and headed to Yosemite where we learnt that it had also rained and was now CLOSED due to flooding... by this time we were a little bit down and seeing as the NPS didn't know when it was going to be open again we decided to head for the coast and hopefully some sun. Well, we found the coast, but the sun was a little bit less reluctant to cooperate. Driving up Hwy 1 through Monterey and Santa Cruz we arrived in San Francisco last Wednesday in the rain and people told me it hardly ever rains in California - liars! Well, finally the sun was back and we've had a couple of good days here. We're leaving tomorrow, not quite sure where yet but the general direction is North.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Missouri to Utah

Delicate arch
Delicate arch,
originally uploaded by ebygomm.
Well, we’re nearly a week into our trip and everything is going well. We’ve seen all kinds of scenery and all kinds of weather – often in the same day!

So, I spent my birthday in Denver, wandering around and had coffee in starbucks, then we drove to the rockies where we realized we would have to be absolutely crazy to try and camp so we stayed the night in a motel. Went hiking the next day, saw lots of snow and elk and ground squirrels. Alberto tried to hike across a snow covered lake and got wet feet! Then from the rockies we headed west, stayed the night in a ski town, stocked up on food for the next week from the free buffet breakfast and then headed to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Scenery was absolutely amazing, we camped the night there, saw some deer and froze our butts off! Next stop was Arches National Park, with a brief stop at WALMART (where else?) for supplies. And here starts the adventure….

So we made it to the visitor centre, got out, came back and the car wouldn’t start. We tried for a while, but eventually had to get a ranger to get some jump leads and help us out. Well it started no problems so it all seemed good and we headed out into the park. Lots of great scenery, but about 16 miles in the car decided to die – aaarrgghhh! Well, some nice German guys gave us another jump and we made it another 5 miles and then we got another jump and we made it about 3 miles and another one and then the car was DEAD! So after passing messages on to tell the rangers we were stuck and seeing the sun come down, one came out and phoned the tow truck which was paid for courtesy of triple A. So the very nice tow truck man took us to a hostel in Moab and took the car to the garage. The next day the car had a new alternator and we were 100 pounds poorer but on the road again. Went back to arches and saw all the sites and then we headed to our next stop for the night on the way to Capitol
Reef. It’s all going great until the car starts to vibrate really badly at 55mph. We checked the tyres and they all seemed fine so we carried on, (slowly). We got to this amazing campsite at Goblin Valley State park, and decided we’d sort out the car in the morning. The weather was kind of funky, thunder, lightening, mini-sandstorms but by far the warmest we’d been so far. In the morning, the front tyre was completely flat so we guessed that was the problem. Changed the tyre for the spare, went to see the goblins in the valley, and then went in search of a new tyre – easier said than done in the middle of utah. Eventually found a place – only 70 miles down the road! – so we were on the road again with a new tyre, and the spare in it’s rightful place in the engine compartment (we’d had it taking up valuable trunk/boot space for all of the trip). Drove through some amazing scenery, total whiteout up in the mountains and then canyons and sandstone features and ended up here having in a little coffee shop in Escalante with an internet connection.