Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Monday 30th May 2011

Wednesday 25th - Well having got the puncture fixed and filling up with propane across the road.at the Eagle RV sales company where a very nice lady just wouldn't let Steve go, chat, chat, chat we were finally on our way to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Because of our delays we didn't arrive at Hoover dam until 6:30 pm to encounter a Homeland Security check to ensure we were not about to blow-up the dam. They were absolutely charming and exceedingly polite again, not as we had been led to believe. Somebody we had met told us that Obama had ordered "personality transplants" for all Homeland Security officers, if that is correct then they have done an amazing job. Perhaps UK Tax Inspectors and call centres could benifit from the same course!! (don't even get me started on French beaurocrats)
The officer told us that the Dam tours were finished for the day but we might like to visit the new bridge and then if we drove back a couple of miles the Hacienda Casino allowed RV's to park for free overnight. Then we could get a good idea of things before our visit to the dam in the morning.
The bridge was amazing right next to the dam and giving a great birds-eye view. Quite a feat in itself spanning the canyon only a few hundred feet down stream of the dam. It had only been open for a few months and had relieved the bottle-neck of the dam, which before was the only road. After walking right across the bridge and taking many pictures of the dam we went back to the casino we had been told about and pulled in behind a large 5th wheel RV also stopped for the night. A 5th wheel is a large articulated caravan which uses a pick-up as it's tractor unit. They are popilar with full timers because they provide the size of the largest RV's with the convenience of having the towing vehicle to go around in. Like a caravan but far more maneuverability and more stable.
We went to search out what food the casino had to offer and met the owners of the 5th wheel Rudi & Jackie who suggested we visit Sedona, their hometown, which they said was beautiful and said we could park on their drive while we did so.
The casino food did not look very good so we cooked-in. But they had a free film about the construction of the dam which was very informative.
Thursday 26th – An early start to visit the dam which meant driving across to park then walking back over the dam to the visitor center. We caught the first tour which was really interesting, after some lunch we left about 2pm to drive north beside Lake Mead the man made lake as a result of the dam which has been made a National Park.
We stopped at Echo Beach Campsite which had about 120 spaces but we were the only ones there, $10 a night again in an envelope into the safe. We had a really nice evening sitting in the warm outside having dinner.
Friday 27th - a fairly early start to drive to Zion National Park. The scenery was getting much more like we see on the cowboy films now with small towns of wooden buildings with horse trailers and pick-ups outside. The country got even grander with towering red cliffs as we arrived at Zion.
The park was heaving with people, we hadn't realized it was Memorial Weekend, something like our August bank Holiday and everybody was heading for Zion one of the more accessible parks.
The Ranger at the gate told us that there were no camp pitches left in the whole park and if we wanted to leave by the east exit we had to pay another $15 for the rangers to stop the traffic to allow us to go through the Mount Carmel Tunnel 1.1 miles long cut through solid rock by hand before they had large vehicles like the RV we were driving.
We checked at the campsite and they had nothing then chatting with one of the staff in the visitors centre when we bought a map she told us we may be able to find space at Coal Pits Wash ten miles back out of the park if we didn't mind "Primitive Camping" we certainly didn't so headed there to get about the last spot between the bushes with about forty other tents and vans. We had a really nice evening chatting to other campers and carefully drinking a couple of beers. We had been warned to take care with alcohol in Utah the Mormon area!
Saturday 28th – We started early and managed to get a spot at the camp ground at 7:45 which was 6:45 to us because Utah is on Mountain time, so we could get a good day's exploring in. Luckily a Swiss couple waved at us to say they were leaving in half an hour so to claim their spot with our cash in the envelope. The park had a really good system of shuttle-buses as they didn't allow vehicles in the canyon. Which was great for Steve as he could explore wuthout driving. We had a really full day investigating as much as we could and did a couple of hikes of 5miles and 2 miles the one to the emerald lakes was particularly beautiful but heaving with people because of the holiday weekend. We decided to get up early next morning to get through the tunnel.
Sunday 29th – The tunnel was no problem and we only had to wait about ten minutes for the Rangers to stop the traffic to allow us through. It was very low and narrow without any lights so we saw the reason for the one way only for large vehicles.
Out of the tunnel and the scenery dramatically changed and as we got nearer to Bryce Canyon we could see giant monoliths of red rock in the distance. But the temperature was steadily dropping from the 80degF of yesterday (sory the Americans only talk deg F). We arrived at the park and were told that there were only a few camp spaces left so to grab one quick which we did. Then went to the visitors center to sort out what to do. Bryce had a similar Shuttle-Bus service and an extra bookable 3½ hour trip to the very south of the park. We decided to book that for tomorrow but for now just to ride the first bus that came right round the circle just to see the sights then do a hike later. The first bus turned out to be the one we intended to book for tomorrow but the driver said he had space so to climb aboard. The driver "Spike" gave a continuous knowledgeable and witty commentary and took us walking at every view point to point out the sights. At one point though we were at over 10,000 feet and it was so cold. There were still patches of snow from the mornings fall! The scenery was breathtaking looking down into a prehistoric lake with towering intricate sand spires and temples that defy belief. Hopefully we can put up some pictures on the blog soon.
Unfortunately Steve lost his new glasses somewhere on the coach trip so we visited the Rangers desk and called the coach office with no luck.
Because we are now at over 8,000 ft the temperature at night really dropped we ran the heater as much as the battery would allow but still had a cold night. This motorhome is not as winterized as our one at home. After meeting a couple of Dutch and German people who had brought their vans over we are beginning to wish we had done the same. Although a smaller engine our van is far more powerful and much warmer and of course we would have all our bits and pieces and gadgets around us. And our fuel consumption would be half but we have what we have.
Monday 30th – After our cold night we woke early cooked Bacon and eggs then set out on our first Moderate Hike taking in the Queens garden route and part of the Navajo loop, which involved a 1.6 mile decent of about 800ft then a 0.6 mile assent of 900ft it sounds easy but the 8000ft altitude was really getting to us. It was impossible to get enough oxygen through the nose but breathing through the mouth had a very uncomfortable drying effect
Interestingly our pedometers registered enough strides for ten miles because of the climb and decent but the total from the camp site was only five. But the scenery here was just unbelievable these towering sand spires looking from above like the Terracotta Soldiers in china but when we were down amongst them they were enourmous probably the eighth wonder of the world.
In the afternoon we decided to take the long bus ride to see if we could find Steve's glasses but unfortunately had no luck so after checking in with the Rangers again to see if they had been handed in did another two mile hike frome Bryce point to Inspiration point to finish off the day. We must be getting fitter, not bad for a couple of "Old Fogies".
We will be heading off tomorrow towards the Grand Canyon North Rim which is supposed to be much less commercial than the South rim which many people have advised us to avoid.
So more next time, Hopefully we can send this from the visitor centre tomorrow which Steve discovered today has Wi-Fi.
Till next time...........................
Steve & Judy

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Wednesday 25th May 2011

So we arrived in Las Vegas at obout 4pm on Sunday evening after stopping at a shopping mall  in "Pahrump" the first town we came to after leaving Death Valley. We found a Radio Shack there and managed to buy a small 75watt inverter to charge Judy's camera.  It only has a mains charger and twice we have had to run the large and noisy 2.5 kw generator just to charge this tiny battery not only noisy and inconvenient but a bit expensive.
Arriving in LV we drove down the strip from one end to the next looking for somewhere to park.  Judy remembered that somebody had mentioned parking at Circus Circus Casino so we headed there and sure enough about 5 acres of parking out back with a few campers there already.
So blinds up and "let's hit the strip" we ambled along taking in the spectacle, tagged on to a German tour round the Venetian which was amazing, even went about three floous below ground to the conference centre, the corridors were bigger than some conference halls we had been in!  The size and scale of this town is just breathtaking.  Through a door and stopped just in time to avoid being hearded onto the bus with the Germans.
Back to the Strip and quite a bit of josteling from the crowds and Judy suddenly realised that her handbag was open and all her cards were gone!!  There was nowhere to sit quiet to considder things so we had a long and fretfull hours walk back to the Camper.  We hadn't realised how far we had walked.  Steve had left the details of "Sentinel Card Protection" in the van anyway.  Finally back at the van Judy went through her handbag to find what else was missing while Steve started writing out the information he needed to ring Sentinel. Suddenly Judy found her cards right at the bottom of her bag not in the pocket she usually put's them in, it was only a small bag but like the "Tardis" with what is has in it.  Panick over and time for a drink to calm down,  what a relief!!  But a lesson to us to sort out things into different places, just in case.
It was now about 11pm and we had not had a meal so again to the strip to find some food.
After the fright we had a good night's sleep and decided in the morning to search out "Down town" which we had been told had a fantastic laser show.  It wasn't lasers but "The largest Video screen on the planet!" but a fantastic sight the whole roof of this quarter mile mall was a video screen.
We found an RV park near to where we had parked so went in to find out whether they had space so we could park there for the night.  Had a chat with a very nice lady who told us where to get a good steak that night.  It was only about 3pm so we decided to go to the "Stratosphere" which we had been told was a must.  It was fantastic with an incredible 360deg panorama.  We spent quite a while watching the "braver than us" people doing tethered free fall jumps from the top 866ft.
It was 6:30 by the time we got back to the van too late for the RV park but we decided to eat in Downtown and enjoy the evening and lights there.  The meal was great, prime rib, not a steak as we had expected but an inch thick slice off what we would consider a Sunday Roast but extreemly tender and tasty.  The evening in the mall was fantastic with a much better atmosphere than the strip, much more friendly, three different groups playing and the night time show on the roof screen amazing.  We headed back to Circus Circus to park for the night but encountered a Security Gard on a bike saying "you can't sleep here"  but we could park while we walked the strip.  So another three or four miles walking to watch the show at Treasure Island amongs others and arrived back at the van at about 2:30 am by which time the guards on bikes had gone home so we stayed and had another good nights sleep with a few other campers nearby.
Tuesday we moved the van to the Central Car Park behind "Excaliber" and had another good day's walking, we saw the MGM Lions, the rain and fountains in the "Mile Long Mall" at Planet Holliwood, The dancing fountains at Bellagio, the Sphinx and Egyptian Relics at Luxor, New York, just too many to list.  But the strip was too frantic and noisy so we headed “Downtown” again to eat and “Hang Out”  the Steak at a different Restaurant was disappointing and the waiter realised and didn't let Steve give him a tip!  Not what we had been led to believe.  
We raced back to our parking place and even with our sore feet limped the mile and a half to see the dancing fountains at Bellagio at night, the last show was supposed to be at midnight but we arrived at one minute past just as it had finished and everybody was leaving, what a disappointment.  But we must move on tomorrow.
Wednesday 25th May another good nights sleep so woke early to type this and now heading off to Hoover Dam hopefully to find a McD's on the way to send it.
Sorry if there is just too much information here but we are doing this blog for us really and others to enjoy if they wish.  I will try to put up some pictures if we can get a good connection soon.  Unfortunately I have not encountered enough bandwidth to update the Google map yet and may have to try a different system.  We are constantly plotting our route with Autoroute (Streets & Trips) so I may be able to upload that
Just an update before I send this. We popped into Cruise America the company we hired our RV from just to ask a question,  five miles down the road when we pulled into the parking to send this as we got out we saw a large coach screw in our front tyre!  So back to Cruise America and they fixed it with a new Tyre whi
le we waited, so just a bit of shopping for essentials then on our way again which will be 3:30, lucky we have 2 1/2 months left ...............................

Steve & Judy

Monday, 23 May 2011

Friday 20th - Saturday 21st May 2011

After a good night's sleep we headed for Barker Dam and a two mile round trip walk to find the old dam still holding water and producing a great oasis for animals and birds. It was constructed by a rich Rancher to provide water for the cattle and their mining operations, a case of those that controlled the water had the power. The walk continued past the dam and we found ancient Indian paintings on the walls of a cave. Back to the car park for a sit and a cup of coffee before setting of on another 2.5 mile round trip walk to see the ruins of an old Ore Crushing Plant. On the way we found an old house now derelict and an abandoned old pick-up motor vehicle, which because of the dryness only had surface rust but was still structurally sound. A little further on we came across the wind driven water pump which was presumably for the house. We finally came across the Ore Crushing machinery which was apparently in use until 1966. Most of the machinery was basically intact and you could see the precarious working conditions, especially in the heat of the Mojabe desert. We slowly drove through the rest of the park stopping to read many of the roadside information boards then set our target for the nights camping at the Mojabe reserve another park but not a National Park. The three hour drive took us along a beautifully straight stretch of the old "Route 66" from Amoy to Essex unfortunately we missed our turning and ended up on a dirt road so had to backtrack a little. We found the "Hole-in-the-wall" camp ground at about 6pm and again posted our Camping Money into the safe. This time it was $12 but they had water and dumping facilities which we used before leaving the next morning. The visitor centre a short walk away was not open in the morning but some guys we met said the dirt road we intended to use was smooth and no trouble to use, the map said it was ok for two wheel vehicles so we took it, it was about twenty miles which would save us about 50 miles back tracking. It might have been ok in a car but it was what they call a "wash board" surface and shook our RV to pieces or it sounded like it and were down to 5 or 10 mph but it was beautiful scenery and worth the shaking but took 1-1/2 hours. We finally hit proper road so continued on to Kelso which was just a railway stop which had become important during the second world war but was now just a visitor centre.

We were heading for "Death Valley NP" so filled up with Petrol at Baker the last fuel stop before the park. We took the South to North route via Shoshone which was stunning with a seven mile continuous hill taking us from about 1200ft down to 200ft below sea level. We stopped at Badwater which is the lowest point about 282ft below sea level where we stopped and along with about 500 other people walked out about half a mile onto the salt lake. Which actually was a damp salt surface but not a lake. Amazing though, as it was about 106 degF Back to the air conditioned cab for the rest of the drive to our camp for the night at "Furnace Creek" stopping to walk into our first canyon "Golden Canyon" on the way. We had a nice evening sitting out listening to the wildlife all around. We took a walk to the visitor centre to talk about where else we could go but they were advising against hiking as it was getting too hot for safety and were actually closing some of the back country roads. So we decided to leave the park and head for Las Vegas where we are sending this from but that's for next time ................

Thursday 19th May 2011

After leaving cathedral City we took the side roads rather than the interstate which was lovely mandering through the fields then arrived at Joshua National Park about 11:30.  The Ranger at the Visitor Centre was great talking us through the sights in the park.  They couldn't take our credit card to pay for the anual pass to all the National Parks so she said "just go into the visitors centre at the other end and pay there"
We stopped and walked to an Oases and both agreed that this is what we came for.  Joshua has both the Colarado and Mohabi deserts and the transition is remarkable from the hot Colarado to the cooler, higher and damper Mohabi.
We did as we were asked and went to the next Visitor Centre and paid our $80 for the years pass which we will save on the first six parks. Then after being treated to a suggested route to our next three parks backtracked to find our first camp site.
We found our pitch, 120 tent and RV pitches all very secluded each with a picknik table a bar-b-que and a fire pit.  We walked back to the entrance to pay our $10 fee in an envelope through the slit in the safe. Then Judy prepared dinner before we took a 2 mile walk thrugh the desert at sunset, for us absolute blis.  Sorry to the city lovers who suggested places we should go, this is why we hired an RV rather than hotels or motels.  The rock formations here are incredible like gigantic granite marbles piled on top of each other.
So dinner eaten, blog written, will send as soon as we find a McD's  outside the park, so to bed for another day of trecking tomorrow.

Wednesday 18th May 2011

In the Morning we moved round to Star Bucks to send our emails and have breakfast while we waited for the rush hour on the freeway to subside.  We had experienced the traffic yesterday going round Los Angeles, the camper is so out of balance because of the long overhang behind the rear wheels that you can see that the front wheels are lifted.  Steve is constantly struggling to keep the thing in a straight line.  At one point we had an artic with a trailer overtaking on each side with very narrow lanes. (undertaking seems to be the norm here!), it was a nightmare for him .
So we headed for San Diego and arrived at Mission beach. It was very windy, the Pacific Oceon but still people were in swimming, without wet suits!  We had a walk around then chatted to a guy in the car park who suggested that we should head for "Downtown" so we did.  Unfortunately the parking meter bays are about twenty foot long and we are 25 foot long so parking was a bit difficult. We arrived in a quiet lane about three miles from the centre and stopped to plan.  The city looked nice but we are not cafe or resteraunt culture people and both decided to miss out the cities and head for the parks.  So we headed towards Joshua National Park via Palm Springs.
We needed to take on fuel and stopped at a station advertising a very cheap price.  Problem, no Credit Cards, Cash or Debit Card for a fee.  We opted for Debit Card as we are guarding our valuable cash.  Problem, our european Debit Cards do not work because the retail machines only use the magnetic strip so our PIN numbers which are stored on the chip do not work, problem, we were relying on being able to use " Cash-Back" to get cash.  So it looks as if we will have to use atm's which I hope will be set up for our cards and suffer the exorbitant bank charges.  If anybody has more information then please email us from the blog to let us know.
Palm Springs looked really nice but again cafe & resteraunt culture so we took a slow drive through and stopped at the next town.  While going through Palm Springs we stopped again for fuel at a Chevron Garage which had` accepted our Credit Card before.  Problem, have to pay first, but we wanted to fill up.  Steve offered to leave Judy as security again with the Credit Card but the guy said we must pay first so Steve guessed that we needed $200 worth so that is what he took.  He said that he would credit the difference  if we paid the wrong amount.  It only took $168 so back to the cash desk and they produced a credit for $32 so another lesson learned.
We stopped at "Vons" supermarket in Cathedral City which we were told was "Safeways" did a bit of shopping and sure enough our Safeway card did the same magic and produced a %16 discount.  By the time we had finished it was getting a bit late so Steve asked if we could park in their Car Park overnight, "no problem, go ahead" was the answer so we parked on the flattest bit which just happenned to be in reach of McD's wi-fi with Steves super aerial we brought with us.  So the evening spent having dinner and sorting out a few bits of necessary business on the internet.  Then in the morning linked up with Nikki on skype before he left work in the evening in the UK.  The internet really is incredible, here we are on the other side of the Atlantic and still able to carry out our business.
So onwards to Joshua ...............

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tuesday 17th May 2011

Sorry folks six days since our last post.  We made an early start on Thursday and back tracked to avoid the road block right back to Salinas which we had driven through the day before and the views going north on Highway 1 were even better than going south then down the H101 which runs parallel to H1 but on the other side of the mountains. At about 4 o'clock Steve realised that he had not been watching the fuel gauge, which had been dropping quicker than our motorhome at home, then the 50 mile warning came on in the middle of nowhere along Green Valley road.  We had a rather worrying hour watching the miles left, count down.  Then had to make a decision on whether to turn right to go back up to Hurst Castle just before the road block that had stopped us yesterday or to turn left. We decided that Cambria to the North was closer so turned right.  We reached a "Gas" station just before we ran out and had to pay a premium price for being "out of the way".
On to Hurst Castle just at closing time. The next morning's tours were all booked and we really wanted to be in LA by Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with our friends so we decided that we had seen many Stately Homes in the UK and a US one couldn't be that much better especially as we had to choose between five different tours, so we decided we would head on down south and give the castle a miss.
We pushed on to Morrow Bay and spent a delightful half hour watching the seals playing in the Bay and the Seagulls trying to pinch their fish.  Then onward to find a parking place for the night and took a wrong turn and found ourselves in a "HillBilly" looking settlement full of trailers and kids playing in the street and a seedy Saloon bar that looked just like it had come from an old Cowboy film.  We finally found the way back to the highway after a kind motorist had stopped us to say that the road ahead was a "bit tight" for our RV (not good to rely on TomTom too much) so we turned round and finally found the H101.   It was dark by now so we soon stopped in a rest area till morning. Six hours was the limit but the Truckers were bedded down for the night so we saw no reason why we shouldn't do the same.
In the morning we pushed on to LA missed Santa Barbara unfortunately as we had passed it without noticing.  We spotted many RV's parked by the sea below us, from the Freeway between Santa Barbara and Ventura so decided to investigate.  They were parked on a short piece of the old H1 just tarmac with no facilities and $27 for 24 hours. We found a day time parking place and had lunch and a short rest before pushing on to Moor Park just outside LA where our friends lived.
TomTom found their house easily and it was a surreal situation knocking on their front door in another continent but we were made very welcome and met their two children and many of their friends as it was their turn to host the supper party on the Saturday evening.  They took us to see the Hollywood Sign and the walk of fame, some of the stars houses in Beverly Hills and Sunset strip then on to Malibu and the second most expensive houses in the US, many of them just wooden shacks!
On Sunday they took us to Santa Barbara where the children went on an antique "Merry-go-round" and we had ice creams on the wooden pier. On Monday they lent us their car and we visited the Getty Villa as the Getty Museum which Judy would have really liked to see was closed on Mondays.
Today Tuesday we set off south towards Disneyland and arrived there in torrential rain which was obviously set in for the day.  We decided that Disneyland in the Rain would not be good so would save that for another time or when we visit the East Coast sometime.
So we headed on to San Diago stopping at a Wall*Mart to buy a mobile phone just in case of emergencies when we head east towards the Grand Canyon and beyond and are now parked up for the night in another Wall*Mart car park just outside San Diago.
Till next time....
Steve & Judy

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Two days in hopefully we will find an internet tomorrow to send this.

Cheryl & Kerry dropped us off at Heathrow on their way to work on Monday morning. The flight was comfortable and not too arduous and landed at San Francisco airport a bit early.  Homeland security were exceedingly polite and respectful, not the "Belligerent Animals" others had told us about so through the controls and straight into a cab. The cab driver added his own two dollar tip to the 12.20 dollars then rounded it up to fifteen dollars for the five mile journey to the hotel actually about two miles as the crow flies but getting on and off the freeway added the extra!

The hotel were expecting us and greeted us with hot cookies which were so sweet and gooey we could only share one. We phoned the RV company to arrange the early-bird pick-up from the hotel then went for a two hour walk along the Bay shore to try to stay awake till normal bed time and to get our legs working properly after the flight. We arrived back at the Hotel at about 6pm (2am UK time) bearing in mind that we had woken at 5:45 to travel to Heathrow.  So we watched TV till 11pm (would you believe "Piers Morgan Interviews" on CNN) so to sleep to wake at 6:45.

The pick-up was early and the reception at Cruise America friendly.  We did the video then the paperwork then were shown to our Brand New RV with only delivery miles on the clock.  Great in most respects but of course every scratch from trees an bushes will show.  The vehicle preparation was bad, I pointed out that it had no number plates so they had to fit them, what would have happened down the road if I hadn't noticed?  I asked if there was an inventory for the cookware kit and was told "no only the display in the office" so it became a game of "Generation Game" trying to
remember what was in the display and checking it against what we had. (I found the inventory in the book the next day! Too late!)

We left Cruise America to find the local Wall*Mart for provisions and to buy bedding etc.  The kit on offer was 50 dollars each for an ultra thin sleeping bag, pillow, towels and sheets and a few other bits. We spent 104 Dollars for a beautiful bedding set which had a duvet, fitted sheets four pillowcases also two pillows each towels, tea towels & dishcloths etc etc. so well worth it even if we donate them to the Salvation Army after.

Wall*Mart was a bit of a shock, the only fresh food was; apples, potatoes. lemons, limes and tangerines.  No salad green veg nothing!  How are we going to survive.  We bought some pizza's
and other bits and pieces of food but mainly our sleeping stuff.  Milk was by the gallon, nothing smaller but only 3.40 dollars. It looks like America was going to be a culture shock!!

So cup of coffee and away, no kettle, Judy definitely remembered seeing a kettle in "the display" so back to Cruise America which was only a couple of miles.   We had also found a couple of other things and some damage that needed reporting before we left.

So finally on our way without the coffee.  Twenty miles on we took a wrong turn and ended up in a shopping center with a Safeways, we had forgotten a few things in Wall*Mart so a bit more shopping in Safeways.  Wow what a difference, acres of fresh veg and salad, olives cheese the lot, we were like two kids in a toy shop, knowing now that we would be able to eat fresh fruit and vegetables!!  Then we noticed many things with "Club Price" on them about 50% off so asked the manager about the Club card and were presented with one after filling out the form and the manager overwriding the assistant by saying "they don't need all that address stuff" after we had chatted about our planned holiday.  He swiped our new card and the whole bill started reducing in front of our eyes.  It ended up reducing our bill by about 12%  and we hadn't particularly chosen the specials because we didn't think it could apply to us.  So it looks like Safeways from now on.  By now it was about 5pm but we thought we had better get some miles on so headed off down "Highway 1".  We didn't find the camp sites Judy had picked out and the one TomTom Suggested turned out to be a boys camp in the middle of a forest so not for RV's.  We also managed to lose Highway 1 going through Santa Cruise.  About 9pm we came across a Wall*Mart with a Dutch camper parked up so decided to stay there for the night.

We had a good night and Steve chatted with the Dutch guy in the morning who were 3 months into a six month trip of USA Canada, but as we had foreseen when we had originally planned to do the same, he had no end of problems getting the Visa's and the shipping of the motor home had cost about £3.5k.  The Visa problems was the main reason we abandoned the idea of taking our Motor Home, because living mainly in France we could not be without our Passports.

We needed a few more things missed from the "Generation Game" so reluctantly went into Wall*Mart in the morning, well we had used their car park over night after` all.  What a difference, just like Asda in the UK with plenty of fresh fruit & veg, but not as good as Safeway the night before, the San Francisco one must just be a bad example, but we got some chairs for sitting out, for less than the hire charge and a few other essentials then off down highway 1.  We were getting low on fuel so pulled into a Shell station, after finding the filler cap right at the back of the wagon Steve couldn't get the fuel to flow, asking the cashire she said I had to leave some security with her, so I left Judy! Still couldn't get the fuel to flow so back to the cash desk.  The young lady came out took one look and said "Yo gotta push it in Hon!" pushed down on the nozzle and pulled on the trigger.  There is a fume recicling system on the pump so it has to lock on to the top of the filler!!

What beautiful scenery, but about ten miles on we passed a sign saying "Highway 1" closed ahead, we had asked about the mud slide at the Big Sur we had been warned about by a contact on the internet but were told by the guy at Cruise America that it was now open but one way alternate traffic only.  Yes that was fine but sixty miles on the road was actually closed completely just before Gorda (GPS 35.87642N-121.44572W), so we turned around to return but the scenery was worth the double trip.  We are now parked in a really nice spot in the woods on the cliff overlooking the sea (GPS 36..16884N-121.68264W) halfway back to get the Highway 101 south again and I am sure we will have to do a bit of unnecessary miles to get back to Hurst Castle which is only about ten miles passed where the road block is.

More to follow after tomorrow..........

Don't forget to  let us know on the blog if you have any suggestions,

Steve & Judy

Sunday, 8 May 2011

On our way tomorrow.....

We have had a month in the UK, visited all the family & friends and have done  all the business we needed to do French & English tax returns etc. Very necessary so as not to get fined by the various "Tax Men" while we are away.
We have checked in online and reserved our seats on the plane so we just need to get to Heathrow tomorrow morning then relax because the trip will have started.
Thanks to everybody who has helped us plan and all our friends who have given their good wishes and asked to be kept informed of our progress.  Don't forget you can get an email everytime we update the blog by clicking on the "Email me" box up on the right of the blog.  Follow the instructions to prove you are human then you will be kept informed.
Now it is just up to how often we can get email access and how busy we are enjoying ourselves to keep the blog up to date.
Best Wishes to all.
Steve & Judy