Monday, 29 September 2008

Honeymoon complete!

We're home now safe and sound (and tired!). Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to update the blog after Las Vegas, so here's a brief round up and a few more photos.

After we checked out of Vegas we set a course towards Los Angeles - but on the way we made a stop off at a ghost town!

Not many ghosts, but lots of western style buildings from a town that sprung up for 30 years during the gold rush.

After a drink at the saloon we rode out towards our final destination - the Queen Mary.

She is a massive ship, bigger than the Titanic as with more engine power than her successor the QM2.

The interior of the ship is because, all elaborate Art Deco stylings that look like something out of Bioshock.

After two nights at our floating hotel we took the rental car (the White Stalion) for one last ride to LAX and waiting around for our plane. The airport isn't quite as up to date or fancy as Terminal 5 at Healthrow (which is very nice), but we've been to far worse airports!

Our flight home was pretty pleasent (for a nine hour journey), but although Alex and I originally had seats next to each other - we spit ourselves up so that a couple with a baby could sit next to each other. There's more to the story than that, but I'm too tired at the moment to write about it :)

I'm off to sleep now and then back to work in the morning!

We hope everyone has enjoyed reading the blog, it saves up from telling everybody about three weeks worth of adventures ;)

Pete & Alex

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

It shows how used you can get to things when a four hour drive from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas feels like quite a short easy drive :)

At one point during the drive we could only see a few meters ahead! They were doing some controlled burns of the national forests - although it gave the car a nice BBQ smell.

About 30 miles outside of Vegas in the Hoover dam(n) which is quite a sight. Although I wasn't feeling too great when we arrived there, so we had to skip the tour (and the chance to see some Transformers living inside it)

After we arrived at the hotel we got settled in and got some shut eye - Unfortunately today our camera battery died on us, so we didn't get picture of lots of the cool things that we saw.

Vegas was more showy than the tackiness we were expecting, although it can be quite tacky here :)

The biggest disapointment we making the 'trek' to the Hilton, which hosts the Star Trek Experience - because it had been closed down on September 1st :( It had been running for 11 years, but we came a few weeks too late. D'oh!

We got to walk right up to the extrance to see Quark's bar, but there were steal shutters clamped down and a sign saying it was closed. To come all this way and see it all there just out of reach, really disapointing... We were both really looking forward to going on the rides there and hanging out for a drink at Quark's bar - what can you do!

After a quite long and VERY hot walk we made it to the 'fashion' mall, which is a very big a fancy shopping centre on the strip. They've actually got a modelling walkway built into the centre, ready to spring into life whenever they do a show!

To perk outselves up over the loss of Star Trek we plonked ourselves down at an Oxygen Bar. Basically you sit on a stool with a 90% oxygen tube up your nose to breathe in, while they give you various massages and smells to enjoy - just what we both needed.

For dinner we went to a Japanesse Sushi place which was delious! Always nice to try something new and enjoy it!

We almost went to see Penn and Teller who do a live show every night at 9pm at the Rio, but decided we'd donated enough to Vegas for one trip :)

Tomorrow morning we'll be off on the road for our final desitnation Los Angeles

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Two days of updates: Moab to Panguitch Utah and then to Tusayan/Grand Canyon, Arizona...

The fact that there was no update from us yesterday may already speak volumes to you as to what we thought of Panguitch!!

I shall start from the very beginning, it's a very good place to start.... hah. We started our morning in Moab by missing the complimentary breakfast and having to eat Twinkies instead- we'd never tried them before and were sure a sugar rush would be good for us first thing in the morning... logical.. They were sugary and weird.. which I think you can tell from my expression!

We re fulled the white stallion and set about our journey- it was a shame to be leaving Moab behind, it had a lovely relaxing vibe. We had quite a small journey to make, 270 ish miles, so took a slow trip stopping in Capitol Reef National Park (obviously I know it's Capital, but we're in America here, so "cut me some slack" ;-) ) The first thing we stopped at was this little house which was built in the 1870s and still remains today. A family of 12 lived there- the kids slept in the rock face which you can see Pete trying out:

We are reaching our saturation point with regards to National Parks, however, they are still enjoyable to drive through and make good stopping points for lunch. We ate Subway again- I think Pete has some sort of addiction to Subway- actually, the whole of America must do, it's literally everywhere- but for $10 it does provide us with lunch and our evening meal...

After leaving the park we drove a very scenic rout taking us through many little tiny towns and settlements:

We arrived in Panguitch at about 3:30pm which was pretty early in the day really- the town appeared small and everything was shut. At first we couldn't find our hotel, so we parked in a car park and went for a stroll to look for it. We soon located it, and then went back to our car to drive it to the front of the hotel... this only took a couple of mins, and once we'd got there and unloaded our suitcases, we rolled them into the reception. The whole place appeared eerily quiet and there was no one around, so we rang the bell on the desk- it sounded very loud and shrill echoing around the empty place... no one appeared so we started to look around the front desk. We quickly noticed a note on the desk which read:

"we waited from 1pm-3:55pm and saw no one- we tried the telephone number for this hotel and the Marina hotel and received no answer. Please cancel our reservation. Do not attempt to charge our credit card, we have already notified them. Lettie & Charles *****" (can't remember what their surname was!!)

This didn't look good we thought.. it turned out the Marina was another hotel in the same town owned by the same people, and we found a note which stated guests should check in there, so we headed over that way. Again, we found an empty reception- it was dirty, messy and to be honest looked like it'd been broken into, so we were starting to worry for the safety of the owners! We waited around about 10 mins and then finally a member of staff arrived- she handed over a key, didn't want any other info, said we could show ourselves into the other hotel, there was no one there. OK we thought, odd, but at least we could get into our room!

We drove back there, parked up in the back then let ourselves in. To say the Casper horror wasn't replaying in our head would be a lie... we were somewhat concerned! We found our room door right down the end of a corridor, let ourselves in and found ourselves in a very dark, slightly dirty and very old room. The bathroom had old features, and towels that had been ripped in half- lush! But at least the loo didn't refill every 20 mins. The bedding was old, pillows had make up stains and there were hairs inside the bed sheets- thinking they don't change the bedding much!! The blind on the window kept falling to pieces so we shut it and left it alone!! Thankfully we did have a working TV!! The best thing was that the room didn't stink so we knew we'd be able to get by!

There was nothing except a garage open in the town, so we headed there and picked up some beers and pringels. There was really no other food stuff available!! Whilst I mention beer, it reminds we of the odd drinking laws in Utah- beer can be sold under one type of licence but it must be 3.2% or less. If places wish to sell wine they need a separate licence and again if they want to sell spirits- as a result, it seems like it's all too much fuss and therefore all you can get is weak beer! Very odd.....

We passed the night as quickly as we good watching tv and reading, slept, then got straight out in the morning.

And so our journey from Utah to Arizona began. It didn't start too well- we were low on food and ended up stopping at a small supermarket in a small town. It was quite run down looking, but we were just looking for something half decent. We grabbed a couple of burritos from the chiller cabinet which we were able to heat in the microwave they had. We got back to the car and I was just about to bite into mine when I noticed some mold on it. OK, it wasn't a lot of mold, but it put me right off eating it. I checked the use by- it was one day past. Ick. I took it back in and got my money back, but trouble was I didn't want to eat anything else from there- it was nearly midday and I was starving. Pete and I had a little fall out over it... we were both suffering low blood sugar I think!!

We carried on driving and stopped in Kanab, named "Little Hollywood" due to the amount of westerns filmed there. We saw a Mexican restaurant and stopped there... guess what we had to eat! Burritos!! So- we fell out and made back up over Mexican food. It was very tasty and extremely good value.

Back on the road, we made our way to Grand Canyon National Park which we had to drive through to get to our hotel- what a chore! As you would expect, beautiful awe inspiring views- something you might not expect- a lot of greenery and trees around the area!

After stopping in the park, we finally found our way to our hotel just outside the park (bit of a maze to get to after some very dodgy signposting!). We're now in our room and very glad to find it's a high standard and we have Internet again- yay! We're connected again!

We're going for some food in a sec. Tomorrow we're off to Vegas- pretty excited about that! And we're back on California time again, so 8 hours behind again.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Hot and rocky

This blog is a bit late going up because the internet stopped working last night, horror!!

Yesterday we headed down to Arches National Park - which is where they filmed the opening seqeuence for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I'll have to re-watch the film when I get back to check my photos against it - unless Kriss can do that as a final last man duty!

We bought a chicken salad for lunch at a local garage and it was HUGE! Had about 10 different veggies in it - which we enjoyed in our air conditioned car ;)

Wondering round the park we kept on seeing little lizards scuttling about. At first it was cute, but then I kept almost walking on them!

There's a giant balancing rock there too, which really is giant. When you starting walking round the outside of it you can really see the scale of it - then start to worry what you'd do if it fell down ;)

We also kept seeing little piles of rocks about the place. I figured it was visitors messing around and making little tributes to the park - so flicked a rock off the top of one to show it who was boss.

Then we saw a sign saying that the park rangers had put them there, to show people where the walking paths were. Whoops, sorry park!

So it was a interesting day out, but I almost got arrested for attacking the wild life and the park.

We headed back to the hotel for the late afternoon and washed our stinking clothes. How novel it is to pay to wash clothes!

Then into the hotel pool to splash around in the middle of the desert - take that nature!

Dominos supplied the pizza to go down with a local ale to round off the day

Saturday, 20 September 2008

From Colorado into Utah

Now we've got our new Lumix camera, I couldn't resist playing around with the shutter speed settings and getting a few nights shots done.

After leaving our hotel in Denver we started our journey towards Utah. Driving out of Colorado were some beautiful mountain sights, we went through a lot of areas which are used for skiing in the winter months.

There was a little town alongside the interstate which we used for gas - then on our way out spotted an odd little store that appeared to sell Moose related goods (Something which Alex was very keen to invest in!)

For brunch (as we didn't get a breakfast to start the day) we hopped off the interstate into a beautiful little mountain town called Silverthorne which the winter tourism has seemly made weathly. It was a fantasticly slick and well stocked little town, so we bought a coffee for the road.

For lunch we stopped off in a little town called Avon which had a bunch of old American stuff (houses and a train)

On our drive today we caught our first bit of rain since we've arrived in American and then a few minutes later some hail. Although it only last a few minutes, but it gave us an excuse to use the whippers for rain instead of trying to scrape bugs off the wind screen.

As we got closer to Utah the scenery started to slowly changed... Tomorrow we'll be spending the day going around the Arches National Park which is were they filmed a lot of the holy land scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - cool :)

We're trying to cut back on spending at the moment, after $50 meals in Denver, so for dinner tonight we're having a Subway each ($5 for a footlong!). We want to have enough cash to go on the Star Trek experience in Las Vegas (super geeky!!)