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Published: October 22nd 2016
On a clear day you can see as far as the Kaibab Plateau and Navajo Mountain in Arizona, 100 miles away.
Mega relaxed from our few days in Magic Hot Springs we headed off to enjoy the “canyon” part of our journey. Our first stop was Bryce Canyon where we had booked a site in the small town situated just outside the Park, named Ruby’s Inn. As we arrived we noticed that almost every business or building had the name Ruby on it in some form or another.
“Ruby”, we soon discovered, referred to Reuben Syrett. In 1916 he and his wife Minnie bought some land on the Paunsaugunt Plateau where they planned to set up home. It took them two days to struggle the 25 miles to reach it. They were totally unaware of the beautiful & unique scenery a few miles away, until one day a neighbour asked them, if they had seen the “hole in the ground”
They hadn’t, so off they went to have a look. They were so impressed by what they saw they wanted to share it with family & friends. The flow of friends and visitors increased, so in 1919 they obtained permission from the State to build a lodge near the brink of the canyon and named it
The Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon
Walking down to the bottom of the canyon. As I looked down it reminded me of an Escher painting.
“Tourist Rest”. It became a popular destination and flourished. In 1928 the State decided the area should become a State Park and they had to move. Ruby was asked what he wanted to relinquish the land, he asked for all the area that surrounded the entrance to the newly formed park. Smart move! Here they built another lodge and named it Ruby’s Inn. It was ahead of its times - as well as comfortable lodgings it also offereda beauty salon, barbers shop, Tea room, post office & guided tours. This building still stands today. The small town that emerged from these early beginnings is now known as Ruby’s Inn, and is still owned by the decedents of Ruby ( $$$$$ = Thank you Grandpa)
Bryce is one of the smaller Sate Parks. In an effort to reduce traffic in the park there is a free Shuttle that takes you to the tourist information centre and along the 18 mile scenic route to see the views and access the trails. They also offer a free half day tour to Rainbow Point at the furthest and highest end of the park, which we signed up
Bryce Canyon wildlife.
There may be pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs and v occasionally bears to see, but we saw this chipmunk which made my day. In an almost totally barren landscape he had found this flower, which he was delicately disassembling.
We arrived in beautiful sunshine, the red rocks glowing in the sun. We planned our four days, touring, walking & cycling, excellent. What we didn’t plan for was to experience four seasons in four days. Day 1 = bright sunshine, day 2= lashing rain, thunder & lightning, which was really impressive as it rolled and echoed around the cliffs, day 3-= Hail and Frost, what next? Oh on Day 4 = Snow! Apparently the snow was about a month early but it was a real bonus for us as we were able to view the snow sprinkled Hoodoos which was right purdy, (I can write in American now).
Bryce Canyon is different from the other canyons, partly because it is not actually a canyon at all but a plateau. Why is it called a canyon? someone asked our Guide, because to call it “ a large plateau being eroded away by rain, wind and ice doesn’t seems such a snappy name” he replied
But that describes the formation of this unique scenery. The constant freezing and melting of the rain, snow & ice, up to 200 times a year results
Darwinism for Trees !
We were wondering how trees could survive or even root in this barren terrain, then we saw this tree. Amazing
in the erosion of the softer rock forming and sculpting the famous “Hoodoos”.
We walked the highly recommended “best short hike in North America” route from Sunset point. On the way down you take the 36 steep switchbacks cut into the rock to the base of the Canyon. Here you pass through the surreal fairytale landscape, each bend, arch and formation revealing another unique view.
Bryce is also famous for its very dark skies, some of the darkest in America. On a clear night you can take an accompanied hike to see the Hoodoos bathed in the moonlight. But they say, on a moonless night the stars shine so bright they create their own shadows. Now wouldn’t that be an amazing thing to see? Weather deprived us of either of these treats, another time perhaps?
Onto our next stop in Zion. I had booked a park by the east entrance as this was the direction we were approaching from. Prior to the booking I had read two interesting things about approaching from the east 1) it offers up the most magnificent views and 2) there was a
Snow Sprinkled Natural Bridge
You get a beautiful view thought the 85 ft wide opening. It right side is cracking though, so it may have a limited lifespan left.
tunnel to go through that has a height limit of 13’1, and all vehicles over 7’10 wide and over 11’4 are subject to a one way traffic control.
We are 12’ 10 so we should fit, but there are often other unexpected factors to consider with things like this. We looked at the map to consider our options. Entry from the south was easy but out of our way, and all the RV Parks were booked anyway. We could miss it, but didn’t want to; we thought perhaps we could get a taxi into the park. I called the Park to ask if this was possible, answer, no, no taxi here. We decided not worry about it, to go anyway and see what would happen.
We are probably a bit odd amongst the majority of “Big Rig” owners as our idea of a great park is one that may be quite basic but in a lovely location, not the all singing, all dancing, entertainment, pool, golf course and Club house resorts. (Although occasionally for a short time they can be quite nice, particularly if they have a cocktail bar)
The trees are in the area show where you walk down to. Down is fine, but coming up is a little more strenuous.
into a lovely isolated rural park with the ever present multi faceted shop/ cafe/ blacksmith/ice cream but no taxi available store, run by Mennonites. (Excellent ice cream). We sat on their porch watching the passing traffic assessing the height of each large vehicle thinking if they fit so will we. Hummm, not sure. Let’s wait and see.
Next day we decided to give it go anyway!
We set off and half a mile later approached the Park entrance. The Ranger came out, looked at us and said, “Yeah, you should be OK.” So off we went. At this point the road was fine; at no time was there a sign that said “height restriction”. Some miles later we approached the tunnel. If you are a larger vehicle you pay $15 and they stop the oncoming traffic, so you can drive in the centre of the tunnel to enable you to fit. As we waited I noticed there was no way to turn around if you didn’t. I asked the Ranger on tunnel duty, “what if you get this far and can’t fit” she reassured me by saying “Oh, they stop you at the gate”
........... and season four.
Had to put the summer clothes away for a day. We were at Rainbow point which is 9000ft. it was very cold!
really, I replied, “he just glanced at us; still he must be an expert”. Yes, she said it not the height that’s the problem it’s the switchbacks the other side!
Our turn to go...... off we went....... Yes the Ranger was an expert height assessor and yes, we did fit (just), as for the switchbacks..... Well it’s an amazing view from the elevated passenger seat from which I currently view the world, and yes, the approach from the east is truly beautiful, you would certainly miss something special if you enter the park from the south, (another travel tip)
Our day just got better when we found, possibly the only remaining parking place in the park, achieved by ignoring the full, no spaces sign. Having used our National Park Pass to enter we were completely unaware that today was a National Park “Free day” We thought it a bit odd it was so busy,
As it was so busy there was a huge queue for the shuttle, so we set off walking along the pathway, then Graeme got chatting to some cyclists passing by. Afterwards I said it’s a shame we
Taking in the sights!
missed cycling in Bryce, it would be nice here too. Graeme paused then said; actually we have the bikes with us, why are we walking? Back we went to the Rig, got our bikes and set off to enjoy a beautiful twelve mile cycle through the canyon.
By now we were a bit canyoned out, you can only take so much beauty, and we decided to save the others for another trip. We headed off to Lake Powell, where we were going to stay at the wonderfully named Wahweap Marina
It’s really an odd moment when you drive through the Mojave Desert, one of the hottest, driest places on earth then, as you hit the crest of the hill you suddenly see this stunning area of blue in the distance.
There was huge controversy re the building of Glen Canyon Dam due to the beautiful & unique features of the gorge that would be flooded; also it is a sacred area for the Native Americans.
But the building of the Glen Canyon Dam commenced and by 1963 Lake Powell was formed.
Waiting our turn.
No U Turn possible here.
It may have taken just ten years to build but it took an additional 17 years to reach "full pool”. That’s like 17 year of leaving the bath tap running. The Lake has over 2,000 miles of shoreline which is more than the combined states on the Pacific Coast, is 400 feet deep, 186 miles long and has a water storage capacity of 27,000,000 acre feet of water. (I have no idea how you can visualise that
Because of its tremendous negative ecological effect on the Colorado River and, that due to silting etc it is thought to have a limited life span there are still many concerns that the reservoir causes more harm than good.
Currently though, the Lake provides essential water storage and electric power to small rural electric co-ops, Native American reservations, and towns throughout Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. It is also a great place for boating, swimming, fishing and general tourism.
If there is a lake, and a boat, and a trip, you just have to go on it so we booked to
Tight Tunnel in Zion
Lining up. In we go, there are openings in the side to give some light. Light at the end of the tunnel. Now, only the switchbacks to go.
view another canyon, but this one was from the water so it’s different.
Due to the harsh desert conditions this area had always been sparsely inhabited . But the Navajo people and several other tribes called this area home and had lived and flourished here for many years.
The Spanish or Mexicans had never been able to reach a lasting peace with the Navajo. When, in 1848 Mexico ceded the Southwest to the United States the "Navajo Problem" was also inherited. With a pronounced resolve, in 1863 -4 Kit Carson led a "Scorched Earth" campaign destroying food caches, herds and orchards, ending with 8000 Navajo people surrendering. They were marched hundreds of miles to an arid, barren reservation, Bosque Redondo, at Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico. Many died along the way on what has become known as “The Long Walk”. More perished on the reservation. Large scale crop failure and disease were endemic during this time,and the government failed to provide an adequate supply of water, wood, provisions, and livestock for the remaining
Otherside of tunnel
If you look carefully you can just see the switchback road. I was hanging out of the window to try and capture the view.
In 1865 an unnamed Navajo wrote "Cage the badger and he will try to break from his prison and regain his native hole. Chain the eagle to the ground - he will strive to gain his freedom, and though he fails, he will lift his head and look up at the sky which is home - and we want to return to our mountains and plains, where we used to plant corn, wheat and beans."
Eventually in 1868 the plight of the Navajo was acknowledged and a treaty was negotiated between Navajo leaders and the Federal government. This allowed the surviving Navajos to return to a reservation on a portion of their former homeland. The US Government issued them with rations and sheep and within a few years the Navajo people had begun to flourish again.Today they are the largest Native American nation in the US.
The Navajo Nation now constitutes an independent governmental body that manages the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area, consisting of over 27,000 square miles of land
Thought the canoe's might give you a sense of scale.
in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico
One of the things I really like here is the Native American arts. Each tribe have a distinctive style, dictated by the natural resources available to them. The Navajo are famous for their weaving and silverwork.
I love the tale of the history for the Navajo weaving. The legend is that Spider Boy brought the first loom to the Navajo. He created its frame from the power of the sun, the lashing cords were made from lightning and the warp strings of rain , with weaving tools being made of sunlight, lightning, white shell, and crystal
There is an ageless beauty to Navajo weaving. The Navajo textiles in their designs, materials and purpose are like a mirror reflecting not only the weaver, but her whole people, in a specific time and place in their history. Typical Navajo textiles have strong geometric patterns, many of a fourfold symmetry which is thought to embody traditional ideas of harmony. Today the Rugs are very desirable items, often displayed as beautiful wall hangings.
Best morning view yet
Glowing rocks in the morning sunshine. This was the view from our window at Wahweap Marina.
On the Navajo land is Antelope Canyon, a spectacular “Slot “canyon, which you can only view by being escorted by a Navajo guide. I had no idea what a Slot Canyon looked like; I assumed it was a hole in a cliff. (Wrong)
It was beginning to rain and the Guides were waiting to see if we should go. Strange, I thought, a bit of drizzle in the dessert can’t be that much of a problem. Anyway, we set off walking over a flat area of land, no cliffs or crevasse here; I was fascinated to see where this canyon was. We stopped, I looked around...... nothing much to see around here, then looked down at a stairway into the ground.
We climbed down many steps into a wonderful hidden land of colour & shadows. The magical interaction between sunlight and the red / pink sandstone rocks cast beautiful moving pictures that constantly change. It was a wonderful thing to see. We walked/ squeezed between walls that looked like frozen swirling pink liquid, to then emerge from, basically a
The blue set against the desert is stunning.
crack on the earth’s surface. Our Guide was watching carefully, he began to hurry us along. What are your concerns I asked, Flash Flooding he replied. Oh really with this little bit of rain? Yes really, he said, this Canyon can flood in seconds, “if you don’t believe me and want to see have a look on YouTube”. Later I did......... if you do and see the “apparent” river running through the red earth you need to know that the canyon is actually 120 ft deep and it only took seconds to fill to the surface!
After leaving here we then stopped at Horseshoe Bend, where we gazed over the cliff edge to see the Colorado River flow in; yes you have guessed it a, perfect horseshoe shape.
So, this is another great holiday trip. Canyons, we have been on them, through them and in them and there are so many more to see. Each is beautiful, each one you see you think must be the most spectacular, and then you see something else.
We are so lucky, to be here, experiencing life
That Rainbow again.
Renting a houseboat on Lake Powell is the best way to explore all the Canyons.
on the road. But it is not all a holiday and some days things don’t go quite as planned. Usually though it is far more pluses than minuses. But to give an example of a “not so typical but it happens day” I thought I would share this one with you
Prior to leaving Wahweap and Antelope Canyon we had looked at the map and planned to follow the scenic route through the “wilderness” towards Las Vegas. It is truly spectacular, wild ............ and remote. None of that poncey phone or internet stuff. I had noted that there didn’t appear to be anywhere en route to stay but in the USA there are many areas belonging to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) where you can just pull off the road and stop. They put out signs saying “this is your land” (well, not ours obviously) and encourage people to camp, fish and walk there. So having had the most amazing touristy morning, off we went. We drove onwards and upwards towards the Vermilion cliffs. Afternoon was drawing on, we were on a long & empty road, spectacular but dark skies were ahead
Lake Powell house boats
Put it on your holiday list.
of us. I said to Graeme “we should stop at the next suitable looking place. We passed a couple of pull offs, (BLM land) and decided we would stop at the next one. We then saw, in the middle of nowhere a restaurant and lodge!! (It really was in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing about 2 hours either way). Before we knew it we had passed it by so Graeme, seeing a “pull out” ahead did a U turn. It looked OK, we even thought of stopping there for the night. Graeme slowly and cautiously pulled in, in was OK but the camber (actually the gully) was deeper than it looked and on exit our exhaust pipe took the brunt of a 13 tons vehicle basically, leaning on it.
We returned to the restaurant area, (which was on a huge piece of land). We asked “we would like to eat here; if we do may we park in the car park overnight?”(Most places let you if they have enough space) The answer was no. In all the empty land around us the restaurant was “private land” and no we couldn’t park.
Boat trip through the Canyons.
They suggested we drive just down the road about a hundred yards to the Indian Land and park there. Now, here’s the thing, this is an example of the basic differences of the concept of land ownership between the “Settlers” and “The Natives”. The Native Americans have no concept of land “ownership”. To them the land is for all, to use and respect and worship. The Settlers immediately form boundary and rights and ownership. Anyway we went down the road and pulled in, spoke to a Native American lady selling her jewellery and asked “may we stop here?” Yes she replied, it is no one’s land, it is not problem. (You must know when reading this that these are enormous empty areas, we not in anyone’s way). So we parked up, got out and inspected our damage. One now very oval exhaust pipe crushed onto our bodywork, oops and we had a climb the next day of 3,000 ft and many miles before the next town. This problem could potentially cause engine damage or fire. What can you do,?................. Just about the only thing we could, we went for dinner at the restaurant.
Bought to them by Spider Boy.
Next morning, we were considering the problem and possible options, No suitable tools to repair damage, no phone signal to call breakdown,, no town to look for mechanic .......... creative thinking required. As we pondered on the situation a Fifth wheeler (a VERY large US type caravan) pulled in. Now, in our experience these people always carry every tool you can think off. Excuse me; I said do you have a hammer or metal pole? Of course, he replied and some short time later after much pulling and pushing and jumping onto the leaver we had a more rounded exhaust, removed away from our bodywork, we could move on.
We continued through the Vermilion Cliffs, climbing a few thousand feet toward the North rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped frequently to check the bodywork around the exhaust area was not getting hot. (I had put our passports into my bag just in case a quick exit was required, heat and fibreglass is not a good mix) But all appeared ok. Still, we chose not to push our luck and decided we should head back towards civilisation, or at least a phone signal, so we didn’t go
The traditional designs
to the North Rim. As always, if you don’t see one thing you end up seeing something else interesting.
We were looking for a stop when we saw a Gas station in a remote area named Pipe Springs. Whilst filling we saw a sign for a national monument just ¼ mile up the road. We walked up expecting to see just a stone monument or sign but it was a Museum and Fort. We went in and discovered there was a tour just about to start. We had no idea of exactly what tour we were joining but hurried along to catch it. It was really interesting. It added to the picture of the Mormon story. This Fort was a staging post and tithing farm for the Church of the Latter Day Saints (CLS) built in 1870 for Brigham Young.
Until the arrival of the Settlers this land had supported the Native American tribe The Kabaib Paiute They had occupied this area from approx 1250 AD attracted by the water, an oasis in the high desert and the huge prairie of grasslands which went as far
as the eye could see. This supported the wildlife and plants required for their lifestyle. They were hunter gatherers, surviving on the seed of the plants, the wildlife and the water.
The Kaibab Paiute believe that they were here to care for and nurture the land which fed, cured and clothed them, They believe that when they were created they were given the right to use, and the duty to protect the lands and resources. If the plants and animals were not used appropriately they would disappear and be gone from their people forever.
Unfortunately the Settlers didn’t have this insight (all this latest Green save the world recycling stuff, If you want to support the earth just ask the suppressed indigenous people how to do it) When the Mormons came along they took ownership of the land and fenced off the area, built the Fort to encompassed the only four natural springs in the area. They introduced cattle and sheep, which decimated the grasslands thereby displacing the natural wildlife and destroyed the plants the Paiute ate and used for many things. It totally destroyed the
Paiutes way of life. This resulted in their numbers dropping from 5,500 to 1200 until eventually only 75 remained.
Interestingly this genocide was achieved with no war and no huge numbers of people but just by destroying a way of life. If I am feeling generous perhaps some of it was the unintended consequence of not understanding the land they were using, but then again perhaps not.
Eventually their plight was recognised and in 1907 the Kaibab Paiute Reservation was created by executive order. It covers less than 200 Sq miles, which is a tiny percentage of their historic territory. However the Paiutes are the only Native American Tribe to have always remained on their original lands. They still don’t get the water though, well not all of it.
We also learned that the Brigham Young’s vision was to create a State for the LDS called Deseret.
The proposed State area would encompass nearly all of present-day Utah & Nevada, large portions of California and Arizona, parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho & Oregon. The aim was to eventually take in all of
Lower Antelope Canyon
Walking through a wider part of the canyon floor!
North America. (Now, where have we heard that idea before?) Only the beginning of the American Civil War prevented this.
The Fort though, was a brilliant exercise in practical planning, design and communal living. A bit too communal perhaps as they would send the “extra “or “Plural wives out here to have their babies. By now the authorities were trying to stop the Polygamy Culture and if seen in the town whilst pregnant they would be stopped and questioned about their Husband. It also had first Telegraph line in the Arizona territories.
We left the Mountains and arrived at a Place named Hurricane. It was getting to be time to stop for the night; a Walmart was coming up, always good for an overnight stay.
Most Walmarts allow overnight parking. It works both ways, we stop and we shop, a win win situation.
So, in general, from a bad start it had become a good 24hrs a) we had seen an amazing Canyon, b) we had got this far, not something we
Lower Antelope Canyon
Leaving the canyon floor.
thought possible earlier that morning c) the Rig was OK and the exhaust thing could wait until later this week., d) we had seen an excellent Museum Fort & e) we were now parked up for the night. There was to be an f) as well. I was preparing supper when my new very sharp IKEA knife sliced right through the top of my thumb, not just a paper cut type slice more a chop through the fleshy top, type. Now, if you are going to do this at least be somewhere you can wander in to buy the necessary Steri strips and stuff to stick the top of your thumb back on! See, win win........
(I have to say it did take my mind off the pain from the burn on my leg I managed to do a few days ago, but that’s another story) So much can happen in one day.
Next morning refreshed, freshly bandaged and with newly purchased first aid kit on board we set off towards Las Vegas. We had been in the wilderness park areas since Colorado in August, now we were going to
see a different kind of wildlife, Life on “The Strip”.
Are you going to have a little flutter or see a show, most people asked? No, we are going to eat, was the answer. We don’t have an interest in gambling but we do have an interest in good food and after weeks of my cooking our first stop was to see what restaurants there were. It was foodie heaven, there was so much choice. After much menu reading, deliberating and comparing we finally settled on trying Nobu & Spago. Both of which were fantastic.
We walked miles wandering around the “Strip” taking in the sights, in all sense of the word! We visited Venice, Paris, New York, Luxor, Bellagio, and Wynn’s to name a few
We went to see the light show in Fremont Street and almost bought tickets to see Blue Man Group, a show I have always wanted to see. However just as we were about to purchase the tickets we realised it would encroach on our eating time and you can’t rush a seven course tasting menu in Nobu...................
Surface of Antelope Canyon
This is what a Slot Canyon looks like from above. The Navajo would hide here to evade capture. You have no idea of the beauty that lies below.
Time was flying by, it was now early October and we have to be in Mexico in a few weeks. Graeme had booked the Rig into a place in Lake Havasu for a few things that needed to be repaired, including the recently squashed exhaust. I must tell you, we were quite worried when we were trying to adjust the exhaust, thinking we might break it or fracture a join in it. Then, at the Garage, using huge force, they just hit it with a massive hammer. Basic but effective.
Lake Havasu was really pretty. It is also where they shipped London Bridge to. I have to say I never expected to be in an American RV driving over London Bridge in Arizona.
We needed to order some spare parts to take with us and had ordered new shades for all the windows, which would be Fed Ex to us. On line shopping is really good but the problem is you require an address to receive deliveries. So we decided to book a site in San Diego, for a couple of weeks where
we could receive our deliveries and prepare the Rig to head south of the border. So here we are sitting six miles from the Mexican Border doing “stuff”. Its not too taxing though as we are in a lovely park overlooking the Marina, with a pool and a “Happy hour”
We have really enjoyed our months in the US. Life on the road in a Rig is easy; it’s a way of life here. The scenery is spectacular; we have stayed in some fabulous places and you can always find an RV Park. The people are really friendly and we have met up with, and chatted to, some great people and learnt a lot.
Talking of learning a lot we, we don’t watch much TV but do listen to the radio. We have listened to more hours of the election coverage and debates than any normal person ever should, we should be able to vote. We will be in Mexico for the result, which should be interesting!
Going to Mexico, IS it safe? Almost everyone asks. They probably wonder
Just a few hundred yards away was a little restaurant. Walking back I don't think I have ever been somewhere so dark at night.
why we look so bemused
Well we think & reflect
Everywhere we have been, soon after there has been some news worthy event. Recently there were riots in Charlotte N Carolina, A gun man killing people in a shopping Mall in Washington, Police shooting an unarmed man leaving his father’s funeral , multiple knife injuries in a fight in Salt Lake City, a 14 yr old shooting his father dead then entering an infant school shooting a teacher and 2 young pupils, police in two instants we have heard of, shooting dead, disturbed ( but unarmed, well no gun) black men and several incidents of civilians shooting innocent Police officers who were just doing their job. A shocking video of two policemen stopping an ambulance on way to the hospital with an elderly women and seriously and aggressively physically threatening the Driver & Medic, and there are more every day.
Our Taxi driver openly carried a Gun and was happy to tell us so, (looking for a bigger tip perhaps). We were a bit worried about this as I had just read in the news about a man who went to
In the isolated area of Vermillion Cliffs people built their homes to incorporate the odd shaped rocks. Anyone for a renovation project? Location, location, the views are wonderful.
answer the mobile phone in his pocket and shot himself instead!
We were told not to drink the water at Lake Havasu and at Pomona warned that our bikes needed to be well secured as thieves were operating in the area specifically targeting bikes with gears. We got poisoned from eating crab legs in a Red Lobster.
In general the standard of driving here can be described at best, a little erratic, mostly because the drivers are either texting, eating, on the phone or distracted by some other pastime. Perhaps they think cars are already self driving.
I sometimes think we must be invisible as they are often oblivious to the fact they have just pulled out in front of a 13 tonne vehicle and then slowed right down, and absolutely refuse to give way or let us in. I guess the extra 40 ft of road space we need would be just too much to give up.
We see signs advertising “defensive driving lessons” it must be well attended!
So in answer to the question “is it safe in Mexico?”............
Tools every AA man should carry, its amazing what you can do with a rock and a hammer!
Well, hopefully its no worse. We will take our chances and let you know how it goes.
So, adios amigos, got to go before that wall gets started. Will write from the other side.
PS I now have an insight into the erratic driving. We have just hired a car, I drove to give Graeme a rest. Normally I am an OK driver but I got so bemused on the six lane highways with cars overtaking from every direction, cutting in, speeding up, not giving way, I just sort of joined in. By the time we got home I was exhausted and Graeme not so relaxed! I take my hat off to Graeme’s excellent driving. I don’t know how he does it.
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