Gladlee of Guernsey
America 2018 (Plus a little U.K.) Page 1 - January/February
2nd - 15th Jan - Scotland and UK
We headed back to the UK on the 2nd January for some family visiting before heading to the US. First of all a trip to Aberdeen for stepson David and Gemma's wedding (who gets married on the 4th January in the frozen wastes of northern Scotland?). However, really nice few days and nice to catch up with people.
Following this a short trip to Wakefield to see Rons family. Unfortunately Yvonne was in Papworth hospital in Cambridge for surgery. Sunday lunch with John and Rachel and takeaway with Lisa, Richard and Charlotte made it all worthwhile.
Then a few days in Wellingborough with Julie's mum and of course a visit to Lowestoft to see the new Great grandson Grayson who has grown considerably since last seen in June.
16th Jan - Always RV, Arizona
And so, here we are back in Arizona to pick up Harvey Too, and spend the next four weeks touring. Our plan is to stay at low altitudes to avoid the cold and snow so we have carefully planned a route through Arizona, into Nevada and then California before heading back to Phoenix.
17th/18th Jan - Saddle Mountain BLM
Our first stop - other than Walmart for food etc., is our favourite location of Saddle Mountain BLM land. A hike to a previously unknown bit and lunch at the half way point.
19th/20th/21st Jan - Crossroads BLM (technically California)
22nd Jan - Cattail State Park
Not too much to say on this other than it was a new location for us. Unfortunately the place was full so we ended up in the overflow parking area. Nice hike - a bit longer that we had thought it was going to be but on the shoreline of Lake Havasu so really quite nice.
23rd/24th Jan - Katherine Landing
Been here once before but did manage a really good long hike here that we hadn't done before.
25th Jan - Hoover Dam
En route to Valley of Fire, we stop off at the famous Hoover Dam. It really is quite impressive. Apparently if you took all the concrete that was poured into the dam, there would be enough to build a road from coast to coast in the US!
25th/26th/27th Jan - Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Another totally new location for us and truly spectacular. Remember the bit about staying at low altitude - well here we are at 4,500ft and it gets a little chill at night. At least there's no snow and the days are really quite nice.
28th/29th Jan - Las Vegas
Our second trip to Vegas. The RV park at Circus Circus is as close to the Strip as you can get without actually driving down it. Though neither of us like being in the big cities, we can put up with a couple of days here just for the fun of it. This time a trip to the top of the Stratosphere where a few of the more adventurous types can go on the rides. Not this time for us though. The worst is having a wire attached to you by a harness and literally jumping off the top and free falling to the bottom, where hopefully the wire hasn't snapped and you land gently!!!!
30th/31st Jan - Hole in the Wall Campsite, Mojave National Preserve, California
After a significant enforced detour because of a road closure we finally manage to get to the edge of the Mojave Desert. A really beautiful drive to start with through all the Joshua Trees eventually leading us to a dirt road. We either turn back or 'just do it'. Of course we 'just do it'. 30 miles of 'washboard' dirt road later we are shaken not stirred. One of the signs at the campground is that you can't come to the 'Hole in the Wall' and not do the "Ring Trail". And so of course on our second day we do just that not knowing what it entails. The "ring" part of the trail is where they have hammered steel rings into the side of a very narrow canyon where you have to climb down (or up depending which way you do the trail). Not easy and using muscles you never knew you had - but of course it had to be done. Another great lunch stop half way round in stunning countryside.
1st/2nd Feb - Cottonwood Campsite, Joshua Tree National Park
We don't seem to be able to come to California without visiting the Joshua Tree National Park and staying at Cottonwood Springs. Of course the only hike we could possibly do is the Old Gold Mine walk which we have done about four times before. Even so it is still good. And of course the compulsory lunch stop at the top.
3rd Feb - Lake Cahuilla County Park
Just south of La Quinta and near to Coachella (of music festival fame) this is a handy stop for us. Always some birdlife here for Julies camera to capture.
4th/5th Feb - Salton Sea HQ
How could we come to California without visiting the Salton Sea. Julie's absolute most favourite location for bird watching. This year however there was something missing - no pelicans. We think that the ongoing evaporation has caused the water to be too salty for them (much more so than the sea). Still lots of other things though.
6th Feb - Red Hill Marina County Park
At the southern end of the Salton Sea this used to be a boat marina area. Now however the water is about a mile away. Worth the visit however as Julie 'somehow' managed to get a photo of the first owl of the trip. Always worth it for that.
7th/8th Feb - Oxbow Campground, Cibola NWR, Arizona
This is quite an odd location. The campground is actually in two States - California and Arizona. At some point the Colorado river changed leaving an oxbow so you have a choice of time zones here. The main reason for the visit was to head across the river to the Cibola wildlife reserve where we had hoped to see the Sandhill Cranes before they headed off wherever they go in the spring. And yes - they were still there. Also as an added bonus we managed to find a Burrowing Owl. The reserve has set up a number of false tunnels to try and attract them but we have never seen one there before. This year - success. The photo doesn't show it but this one is stretching out to make himself look bigger than his normal six inch height!
9th Feb - Saddle Mountain BLM
And here we are - full circle. Last night primitive camping before heading into civilization.
10th Feb - Saddle Mountain RV Park, Tonopah
What is becoming our normal last stop before going back into storage. This place gives us access to laundry facilities, wifi, pool hall etc.
11th Feb - Always RV
And that's it. Back into storage and heading back home to Cyprus. A real nice four week tour taking in a number of new locations for us. And of course some of our old favourites. See you again in the summer.