"Funny, Intelligent & Organised"......according to my family.....
...."Bad Pool Player", "Wears Loud Shirts" and "Mostly Well Behaved" according to some friends.....
I do like to travel, although with a growing family that has mostly been UK and some of Europe. In my youth I did a fair bit around the US and Europe....and with work I have done even more of those (although generally a work trip is *not* a holiday, despite what friends might think!).
So this blog has started as a means of recording a monster family USA trip very very soon.....we will see where it ends up !
September 4th 2012
Well, we returned home by Friday evening, all buzzing from our trip......some unpacking, some food, and some seriously broken sleep marked the first night home....and indeed a post noon-awakening from our fitful first night back! Then a nice evening out with Paul, Caroline & Deborah before catching up with the Dr Who....all good.....and then another night where I slept but the children really didn't (& hence nor did Christine). Luckily we were off to the London Olympic Park for Sunday at the Paralympics....which was a tiring time: puzzled (& intrigued!) by the goalball, admiring the basketball & enjoying some tennis, all in all a Grand Day out..... & a return that saw us all get a reasonable night's sleep: jet-lag be gone! So a final look back.....USA 2012 has been a massive adventure for Family Walters. ... read more
August 31st 2012
Every book has an ending, & so too will this blog. Wednesday evening soured a little when I received emails from United kindly telling me we were checked in: ooh goodie! But on opening their emails I soon discovered the buggers had ignored the fact that we had paid eight months ago to upgrade all our return seats to "economy plus", and had instead lobbed mine to the back of the craft. B'stards ! A phone call later and a nice chap called Phil explained it as "a computer glitch", and now he could only put me in the middle of a row. Oh great. We'll aim to get to the airport early and try to sort that out. ho hum.....bit of a low for our last tired evening to end on! Thursday dawned with the ... read more
August 29th 2012
A somewhat relaxed departure from Pacific Grove - we couldn't just race away from Zeus - and we headed on past Santa Cruz.....with a brief stop at a couple of stores (partly so see if our UK Costco Card really would let us in over here - yes!) before winding our way up to the World Famous Mystery Spotfor an hour in the woods. Okay, I am sure it is all simple optical illusions, but the young lad entertaining us as our guide was amusing enough, and the pictures make for an odd experience....take Ellie's Matrix Impersonation, for example ! Next up was the chance to demonstrate everything Stephen had learned.....of the hidden menu for In'n'Out Burgers. Yes, a neopolitan shake, protein mustard style, 3x2 extra everythin... read more
August 28th 2012
Highway 120 out of Yosemite is another long & winding road.....but early on a Saturday morning, most traffic was coming towards us, so we enjoyed a relatively smooth drive west. The road was out further along due to a rockfall, and a temporary bridge took us across to a single track road the other side of the Merced River: quite some mess, it certainly makes you appreciate how easy it is for communities to get cut off when Mother Nature decides to let rip ! We sat for 10 minutes waiting for a huge freight train to get moving at one point, then filled up with gas in Los Banos. Asked the attendant for a good recommendation for brunch, and he came straight back with "url=http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g32656-d577393-Reviews-Eddie_s_Famous_Cafe-Los_Banos_California.htmlEddies, up the road a short way". A cracking example of ... read more
August 26th 2012
An early farewell to LA with the expected traffic, but at least we were soon the freeway heading northbound. Trading the city mayhem for some wilderness calm....so we hoped! Our journey was expected to be long but event free. We followed Georgia's recommendation to drop in on a "Trader Joes" store to get some supplies for a camp BBQ, and what a gem of a store that is. Might be a chain, but it clearly has health food at it's heart, and the food was nicely laid out.....think of an up market and more stylish Waitrose versus the normal stores being more Netto/Lidl style! Another chain knocked off for lunch with a stop at an IHOP.....pretty tasty pancakes, even off they are mixed with combinations that make no normal sense ("Dad, why would you want eggs ... read more
August 23rd 2012
Well, after the madness of Vegas comes the rush of LA. Quite a drive in a hot desert to get across on a Monday morning: we made a decision to stop off at "Calico Ghost Town", an authentic ex-mining town from the silver-rush days of the late 1800's. It was an interesting place, but it has to be said the temperature was again in the 100's, and the best we could do was seek out occasional respite in the "stores" to try to take some cool air on board. The road continued hot, but as we approached LA the traffic density was noticably increased. We paid a short courtesy stop at the Guitar Centre on Hollywood, a huge store. I think we were all a bit too hot to be interested, and so we headed to ... read more
August 19th 2012
In reverse order, of course... Ellie has been doing some catching up, & I thought it would be good to link to her blog, much more photo-based than mine - see http://www.americatrip2012.tumblr.com - a pretty good reflection of some of the fun we've had so far. It's hard to believe, but we are only half-way through this adventure - a shattering trip, but we're seeing so much it's a shame to slow down so we won't ! Before leaving our cheapie Lake Havasu Travelodge, we finally managed to catch up with Granny & Grandad on Skype - great technology ! We liked the City, despite it being darned hot and kind of in the middle of nowhere - & headed up to the interstate...then took a bit more of the old road, good old Route 66 ... read more
August 17th 2012
Parts of America have big spaces…..& this was one of ‘em! The drive to Yavapai Lodge was “only” around 150 miles, but much of it was through area’s given back to the “Native Americans” in a deal many years ago. Of course you could see why it would be given away: dry, hot (car showed 90-101 degrees most of the way) and really nothing much to say for itself. Thank goodness for SAT Alt Nation rock on the radio - a fabulous find ! Bordered by impressive plateau such as the Vermillion Cliffs, the land itself was just a loooong road punctuated by many stalls propped up by the road with Native American gifts. We stopped at a couple: pleasant chats & a few gifts bought, but the finest was the last, where the nicest Navajo ... read more
August 16th 2012
Woke up at 2am.....heard a noise outside, checked and saw a deer wandering off. So I was awake. Less than 100 yards from the rim of Bryce Canyon. I had to go check whether the stars were as astonishing as I hoped! Christine heard me rustling about & clearly thought I was nuts. She was right. It was a bit windy and pitch black nearer the rim, away from the low lighting round the lodges....and the sky was clearly full of clouds, because it was clearly not full of stars. Not a photo opportunity at all......Bah! Her assumption I was mad was fully confirmed when I found I had picked up the non-working doorkey, so she had to stumble out of bed to let me in! Still, at least there were no bears about..... The morning ... read more
August 14th 2012
It was noted today that we had used many forms of transport thus far: obviously we had flown out, then 3 boats in NYC & the train to DC….& now Winifred (6WNF999), our Jeep 4x4. Never fails to amaze me how car companies make such large waggon’s with so little real space inside….& in the US case, such rubbish MPG from the puny petrol engine (24, even allowing for US:UK gallons)....but at least our bags crammed in okay. Sunday 12th. Salt Lake City. After a nice night in our largest room so far, we decided to cram some local stuff in and do a little worshipping in this most religious of states….at the Church of Walmart. But first, a quick jaunt around the corner to Temple Square to seek wisdom at the visitor centre. I took ... read more