Page 4 of colvinyeates Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 4th 2012

The King is dead. Long live the King. Stand aside San Fran, you've been supplanted as my fave US city. Chicago can be different strokes for different folks but being cultural omnivores we hit the ground running to cram in as much diversity as humanly possible into 5 glorious days. RED # $5 Chicago merlot from Chateau de Supermarket. # The sauce base for "the world's best pizza", Chicago deep dish. Penny may argue the world's best claim but it is heart stopping food, metaphorically and literally. # Ketchup on my Italian sausage dawg at the ball game. Ask for tomato sauce and you may as well have 3 heads judging by the look on the hot dawg vendor's face. # The flames of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. # Baked bricks that are the ... read more
Sears Tower in a puddle
Young ladies' handstand reflected in "tThe Bean"

For weeks we layered up and bunkered down against the crisp, cool air, absorbing any window of sunshine in an attempt to give the bodies a snippet of respite from the bracing conditions. This week it's been shorts, t-shirts and the quest for shade from the sucking heat. Admittedly we drove in the right direction but the Wyoming/Utah border was like a barrier between winter and summer. I don't know what happened to Spring but it must be stuck somewhere around the 41st parallel. A few days in the south of Utah the mercury hit 42 degrees. The 2% humidity made it bareable but the extremes can reek havoc with the body thermometer. Prior to entering Utah, a smidgen of pre planning needed to be addressed. Trying to snavel a drink in this state can be ... read more
Bruce Canyon hoodoos
Long and winding road into Kolob Canyon.
Queens Garden, Bryce Canyon

The intention was to open with a "Good afternoon Ranger Smith" and back that up with every Yogi Bear metaphor I could muster. Boo Boo, Jellystone, pic-a-nic baskets, they were all going to get a run. Pulling up to the entrance of Yellowstone and the wind was taken straight out of the sails. Not only was Ranger Kowolski female but she also had a look of intensity that said, "Very funny sir, I've never heard that one before". Straight on to the back foot, tail between the legs and, "Yes thank you Ranger, I would like a map of the park". Yellowstone has a conjoined twin, Grand Teton, connected at its southern hip. The National Geographic Guide describes Grand Teton as the more physically scenic of the two with Yellowstone providing all the character. To some ... read more
Just another Yellowstone waterfall.
Looking down the eye of the beast

Prepare yourself for a paragraph or two of irrational whining. Starting with: GPS - Getting People Stranded. Our special edition Tom Tom has a fetish for gravel roads leading to dead ends. Why direct the WHOW down a highway when there's a perfectly rutted piece of dirt track finishing at an impasse. Resorting to the tried and proven method of map reading, we found ourselves at our final destination in Canada, The Waterton Lakes National Park, a place where: "rugged windswept mountains rise abruptly out of gentle prairie grassland, interloped with around 200 klms of hiking and bike trails, all with uninterrupted views of the tranquil waters of Waterton Lakes". That's a brochure's spin and it's probably true for those rarish days of the year when conditions cooperate. Bringing us to: Canada, I love you and ... read more
Cameron Lake
Waterton Lake
Akamina Lake mimicking a volcano

North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff National Park June 3rd 2012

This land just won't quit. I know these stretches of mountains, lakes and forests are finite but it doesn't seem that way. A harsh critic or two claim it's a bit same same. That's one perspective. Mine is it's a same same that's sublime sublime. Show me a person who considers the Canadian Rockies as same same and I'll show you a person of the glass half empty variety. We hit the Rockies in Jasper up north and this was the point where we rotated the WHOW 180 degrees, south now being the direction of choice back towards home base. This also coincided with roughly the half time interval and we clicked over half our allotted mileage allowance. Don't you just love it when all the pieces of the puzzle come together. Plenty of drives around ... read more
Medicine Lake
Moraine Lake
Male elk.

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver May 25th 2012

There's a near intangible sense of a kindred spirit between Canada and Australia. It's not that we didn't see eye to eye with the folks down south and in fact the overwhelming majority were inviting and jovial, but across that northern border there's a covert sentiment that the locals look upon us as Canadian sons of beaches from a hemisphere far, far away. On the contrary, I prefer to view our Canadian cousins as alpine Antipodeans but i guess that's a mute point. Listening to the accents in Whistler and you'd swear we were back home anywhere. Literally half the workforce are "fair dinkum Dingo Dundees". Now for a riddle. What do you call a cold, wet, windy winters day in Sydney? Summer in Vancouver. Over a couple of visits now to this town and we've ... read more
Lions Gate Bridge
Stanley Park
Stanley Park Totem Poles

North America » United States » Oregon » Cannon Beach May 17th 2012

I'd seen Springer. I'd seen all those images of Walmart frequent flyers that inundate the net. I'd seen all the films and heard all the anecdotes. I was prepared for total immersion into the trailer park lifestyle, right down to pseudonyms, Cletis for myself and Roxanne for the bride. I even had my outfit sitting in the wardrobe - blue work singlet, stick on tats and a durrie for the corner of the mouth. After 2 weeks, was it all a myth? Was my stereotypical image of US trailer folk merely a fabrication pedalled out by Jerry Springer in the hunt for ratings? We were beginning to think that way until.......... I won't mention the town's name but it's RV park at least gave us a small window into that genre. The trick is to look ... read more
Northern  California
Mount Ranier National Park
Cannon Beach

The great outdoors is where RV action is at so with a comforting sigh we flipped the WHOW from urban mode and into cruise control then pointed her east from San Francisco. We had our eyes set on a few national parks and lakes high up in the Californian mountains and a week later we are now on an equal high. If it's possible to find landscapes seductive, then consider us seduced. Whaddya think of the contrast of beach goers lazing around the sands of Lake Tahoe with a backdrop of snow capped mountains? How about sulphur pools bubbling and smoking amongst the snow at Lassen Volcanic Park up in the state's north? Both were a sight for eager tourist eyes but impressive as they were, the prototype for outdoor attractions in California is but a ... read more
Morning 1 in Yosemite Valley
Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls
Penny on an isolated trail.

We christened it the WHOW. The White House on Wheels is to be our home and transport for the next 2 months of sauntering around the Younited States and Canada.The orientation into the workings of the WHOW occupied around an hour and a half of convoluted instructions following which our inductor asked: "Did you understand all of that"? In fact I had basically tuned out after the part where she said, "Now listen carefully". One element that did strike a chord was on the topic of refuelling and how it would likely bankrupt us. Any guesses at the cost of a tank of petrol in the WHOW? The answer depends on whether you factor in the medical expenses of the heart attack that transpires as the bowser threatens the $200 level. Combine that with the inflated ... read more
The Big Sur
Not a bad life being an Elephant Seal.
Hearst Castle

Air conditioning, seats that are cushioned and recline to a level that allows even the average insomniac a fighting chance at a few zzzzzz. You receive a ticket for your precious backpack down below and they are punctual, a rarely observed quality in Latin America. You may even be dished up a couple of B rate American films, although they aren't great value if you can't understand the Spanish dubbing. The Mexican 1st class bus system is a silver edged bonus to the pain that is long distance road travel. Mexico is an expansive country that can require some exhaustive jaunts, day or night. Those minor luxuries mentioned above provide some pain relief from the general discomfort.The voyage times could be reduced significantly if the drivers took a leaf out of the Guatemalan chicken bus drivers ... read more
Temple of the Sun
Heads up!
Royal Palace

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