Roger and Wendy

Geriatric Pilgrims

Roger and Wendy

The subject of this blog is our trips to the USA.

Europe » United Kingdom » England April 8th 2010

7 - 8 April 2010 We had intended to drive down the coast into San Francisco but some miss navigation didn’t leave us time, so we took the freeway over the Golden Gate Bridge ( it was strange to see it again after a three and a half week absence), then through the Golden Gate Park and some city suburbs to the airport. All this was photographed by Wendy through the windscreen. Our overnight flight was tiring but we were met at Heathrow by Richard and Joy and on the drive back home we had a pleasant lunch at the Red Lion pub in Cropredy, a delightful village just outside Banbury. We arrived home mid afternoon for a reunion with the family. This was another excellent trip for us and once again we were made very ... read more
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco suburbs
Back home. The Thames from the plane

North America » United States » California April 6th 2010

6 April 2010 We turned inland and had a look at the Californian Wine Country along the Russian River, Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The Sonoma and Nappa valleys are flat, surrounded by attractive hills and almost completely filled with vineyards. There are many opportunities for wine tasting but we sampled only one run by a friendly Australian winemaker, Chris Loxton, who made us very welcome at his establishment. We are staying at Vallejo on the north edge of the San Francisco Bay only 50 miles from the end of our month long 4,000 mile round trip. Tomorrow we fly home. ... read more
Russian River
Chris the winemaker
View from his winery

North America » United States » California April 5th 2010

5 April 2010 We had a wonderful day in returning fine weather ambling along 100 miles of the North Californian Pacific Coast along Highway 1 which hugs the shoreline most of the way. The views were enhanced by rough sea conditions. Our fist stop was at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens which displays rhododendrons and many other plants on a 47 acre site running down to the sea. Strangely enough we had been listening to Edmund de Rothschild’s autobiography whilst driving on this trip. Besides being a banker he was also a rhododendron expert and we spotted a couple of plants that he had developed. We next visited Mendocino, a small town sited on a headland jutting out into the sea. It is composed almost entirely of attractive Victorian New England style buildings. A bit further down ... read more
One of the rhododendrons
Coastal view

North America » United States » California April 4th 2010

04 April 2010 A front came in from the Pacific which brought continuous and heavy rain for most of the day which made our planned expedition quite difficult. We drove along the 32 mile Avenue of Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and got very damp taking a half mile walk which went by some of the more impressive trees. As can be seen from the photos, the camera didn’t like the rain! The redwoods which have very straight trunks, grow to 350ft high and are over 10ft diameter at their base. Over 95% of them where felled for timber in the century following 1850. There are three trees that have tunnels carved through them which allows the passage of cars but we did not visit any of them because of the rain and we weren’t ... read more
Wendy enjoying the rain beside the Founders Tree
Sheltering in a tree with a hollow base
This one is called the Dyerville Giant and fell down in 1991

North America » United States » California April 3rd 2010

3 April 2010 Our fears of the previous night were unfounded and in the morning the snow had stopped, the wind dropped and the road conditions were O.K. We had intended to ride up the Squaw Valley cable car but the weather was still mainly cloudy and it being Easter Saturday cars were queuing to get into the resort, so we didn’t bother. As we were preparing to move off we had a pleasant surprise. We thought it was Sunday but whilst checking the calendar discovered it was indeed Saturday which meant we had an extra day before we fly home. Consequently we have time to drive further north than we had anticipated which will enable us to see the large coastal redwood trees. Therefore after a full day’s travelling across the width of California through ... read more
This shows the amount of snow we have had

North America » United States » California April 2nd 2010

2 April 2010 We left Yosemite by its northern edge which led us to part of the area where the 1849 Californian gold rush took place. There are several authentic towns along route 49 (I don’t know if this is a coincidence in numbering) and we stopped at two, Jamestown and Columbia which preserves many building from the era and is a State Park. Our day’s destination was Lake Tahoe, situated at 6,225ft it, is the largest alpine lake in the USA and has many ski resorts surrounding it. However just after lunch it started to rain heavily and as we ascended this soon started to snow. So we had difficult driving conditions for the last 50 miles and saw several bad accidents, but the Jeep behaved admirably and we arrived successfully. We had hoped to ... read more
As it is Good Friday we had USA style hot cross buns for lunch
Columbia Main Street
Wells Fargo

North America » United States » California April 1st 2010

1 April 2010 Our day in Yosemite started sunny but as time went on clouds rolled in and when we got back to the hotel it had started raining. We first drove up to Tunnel Point which gives the classic Yosemite view but we didn’t like all the coach parties there so we continued upwards on a two hour walk to Inspiration Point. We were the first party up there since the snow of the previous day so we were walking through 6” of fresh powder for a lot of the way. The walk was very enjoyable with magnificent views most of the time. Our next stop was at Yosemite Falls at 2,445 feet, the fifth highest in the world. We finished the day by walking around Mirror Lake which is right underneath Half Dome, the ... read more
Yosemite Valley.  El Capitan on the left Half Dome in the background in the centre and  Bridalveil Falls on the right
Unusual road sign
Yosemite Falls

North America » United States » California March 31st 2010

31 March 2010 On a day of contrasts we had an adventure in the morning and outstanding views in the evening. Exeter is on the road to The Sequoia National Park, our next park visit. When we awoke we noted it had rained overnight but we carried on anyway hoping we could ascend into the mountains. Arriving at the Park boundary we were told it was snowing at higher altitudes but the road we wanted to traverse was open. So up we went into the snow and the Jeep’s four wheel drive coped admirably without chains. The sight we particularly wanted to see was the General Sherman Giant Sequoia, the largest tree in the world and we made it there through the blizzard. However the road was closed just beyond there and we had to retrace ... read more
General Sherman
At its base
Some more Sequoias

North America » United States » California March 30th 2010

30 March 2010 We started the day by taking a swim in the hotel’s open air pool fed by local hot springs. Our first diversion was a walk along a boardwalk beside one of the few streams in Death Valley, called Salt Creek. It contains small Pup Fish which are only found in this one location and have learnt to live in the harsh environment. Then followed a 300 mile drive out of the valley and west across the southern edge of a range of mountains called the Sierra Nevada and northwards to a town called Exeter where we are staying the night. After having spent 10 days in a desert environment it was nice to enter an agricultural area with vineyards and groves of orange trees. ... read more
Isabella Lake in the Sierra Nevada. A good lunch stop

North America » United States » California March 29th 2010

29 March 2010 The guidebook told us that Death Valley despite being an inhospitable place can in Spring contain wild flowers and when we drove down into it back into California we were greeted with a wonderful carpet of yellow with other colours interspersed between. As we went along the valley we took a few short walks in the 80 degree temperatures. Out onto the salt flats of Badwater Basin at 282 ft below sea level, the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere. Along a canyon to see a natural arch. And along Golden Canyon which used to have a road until it was washed away in a 4 day rainstorm in 1976. In the evening we went along a drive past a cliff of many colours called the Artists Palate then went up 5,000 ft ... read more
Other colours and flowering shrubs
At Badwater Basin
On the salt flats

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