Impressions of our 2nd year of travelling the USA

As our 2nd year of travelling the USA comes to an end it would be fair to say that our impressions of American people have only improved.  American people are the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  We are not so naive to think that everyone here is nice, but everyone we’ve met are, and that’s a lot of people.   This year of travel got off to a bad start for me with a torn meniscus in my knee putting me out of action for weeks.  We stayed in Florida much longer than intended, a whole month so we could be close to the surgeon, but we enjoyed Florida apart from the Yellow fly, we hope we never see another one of those blood […]

Oh my sweet Carolina

We had a 3 hour drive to get to the Hamilton Branch State Park in South Carolina.  We are only just over the state line from Georgia.  We have a space at the lake edge, its beautiful here. We are away from the alligators, I asked the ranger what we can find here and he said there are lots of deer, fox, fox squirrels which are big, snakes, but there are snakes all over the US, and that’s about it, all very friendly. The drive today was all through tree lined roads, mostly pines much like Colorado and Oregon, Georgia seems to be a very green state.  As we head further north, there is an almost imperceptible sense that the weather is cooling off, although […]

See ya later Alligator…

The next day we had a day exploring around the state park on our bicycles.  We set off to the nearest alligator pond, which was only about 20 meters away! If I can’t sleep at night I sometimes think about what animals might be in the park we are staying in.  …these parks and infact most places we have been to are rich in animal life, that has been a very pleasant surprise about the US.  Here I have thought about alligators.  We have been in alligator territory since Galveston.  I would like very much to see one, but they give me the creeps, they like swampy water, they are nocturnal, they are purely instinctive, ie if they are hungry, they will find something (anything) […]

Jacksonville, Florida

We stopped on the way to Jacksonville for a couple of nights on the Suwannee River, made famous by the Stephen Foster song, and more famously sung by Al Johnson, Swannee (various sp…) how I love ya, how I love ya, my dear old Swannee…  Or the saying, Up the Swannee…When we arrived at the campground, I asked the owner if there was anything here we should know about, ie alligators, he said no, but don’t swim in the river (which was only a few metres away).  I asked, can we walk along the riverbank?   Oh yes, as long as there are no alligator’s there!  Anything else, I asked.  No, nothing else.  I told him, I’ve heard there are bears around here, is that true?  […]

Walking down into The Grand Canyon

We got up pretty early and got going so we wouldn’t be hiking in the heat of the day.  By 9 we had driven up to the visitors centre and were waiting for a shuttle.  The free shuttle ride out to the South Kaibab Trail only took about 15 minutes.   You cannot drive by car to this trail head. The track descends quite steeply along a well-made track. Already there were lots of weary people coming back up it.  This track goes to the Ooh Aah point, then to Cedar Point, then down onto a plateau which, if you walk to the end gives you a look over the river below-this is Skeleton Point.  The National Park strongly advises nobody tries to walk to the […]

Bryce National Park

We had an uneventful day of travel from SLC to Richfield.  Richfield was a place we stayed at on the way to Bryce Canyon.  Richfield was a nice town and we stayed at a KOA, Kampground of America.  These campgrounds are all over the US, but so far we have avoided them as they are very family focused which can mean lots of kids and kids activities etc.  We would rather stay in a quieter place.  This KOA was actually very nice, and quiet.  As with St Anthony in Idaho, many owners of RV’s here at this park have ATV’s as there are 1000’s of miles of trails in the surrounding mountains. We left Richfield the next day for a short drive to Red Canyon.  […]

Crossing the Nevada Desert

It was about a 4 hour drive across the desert heading for Elko-just past mid way.  I was surprised that there were scanty traces of civilization all along the interstate.  There were a few ranches, some very small communities, the odd house dotted along, but mostly the land is BLM-public land (Bureau of Land Management).  We drove along the interstate which in places had an 85 MPH speed limit which seems very fast. Elko was quite a large city with a population of about 20,000.  It sits on the Humboldt River so there is water!  Actually, that river runs parallel to the interstate just about the whole way.  There were a few RV parks to choose from at Elko but all close together-we chose the […]

Job completed and we leave Grant’s Pass for Reno, Nevada.

On Wed morning the job was completed by Hendersons.  They got it done quicker than they said they would and it cost less than their estimate.  We took it for a test run and ended up unknowingly on a road we couldn’t get off for 22 miles.  The road was taking us closer to the fires at Grant’s Pass.  We saw lots of roads leading into the Illinois Valley that were closed and had the army posted at the stop sign.  This was about as close as I wanted to get to those wild forest fires! Stuart was happy with the work they did and we finally got back to the workshop and had them look at why we hear a strange noise when we […]

In Idaho, land of the potato!

I was very sorry to leave Yellowstone, we will go back there in a future year, there is still lots to explore.  It was a good departure from the campsite and a good drive out of Yellowstone.  We saw more bison as we drove out, one was sunbathing right beside the road and cars were stopping to photograph and film him-it caused a huge traffic jam-in all the 2.2million acres he could lay…we think he knew the chaos he was causing!   As we exited Yellowstone we were in Montana-this is a state I hope to see more of, it’s full on horse country with snow capped mountains all around.  In only 20 minutes we had driven the little corner of the state and we […]

Into Yellowstone, looking for Yogi Bear and Bobo-Day 2

We didn’t bother with the early start today as it didn’t really gain us much yesterday given how cold mountain air and steam create fog.  We firstly went to Old Faithful as we pass it on the way to the Prismatic Spring.  Luckily she was about to blow within about 15 minutes of us being there.  Today the weather was hot and there were lots of people around.  There are seats all around Old Faithful and I suspect as many as 3000 people were watching.  The geyser was impressive but I think it’s on par with some geysers we have in Rotorua.  I’m glad we didn’t wait for hours to see it blow.     Then onto the Prismatic Spring.  This was so congested with […]

I’m going to Jackson 🎵

We’ve been off the air while we’ve been in Yellowstone so the blogs are now catching up…   That’s Jackson Wyoming, not Jackson Tennessee.  We left Vernal Utah and within 10 minutes we were into the mountainous area of the Uinta Range.  This was steep in places, 8% gradient.  The mountain range was a dry environment but the rock was many shades of red which was very pretty.  We climbed about 3000ft, the views were breathtaking.  As mentioned in my previous blog, this area of Utah is known for the dinosaur fossils found.  All through these mountains are signs explaining what dinosaurs have been uncovered, also, which was fascinating, a vast area of these mountains used to be flooded, and many sea creatures, turtles, sea […]

In the mountains at Elk Creek

It was a shame to leave Cold Springs in the Arapaho forest.  It was a great campsite.  I’ll never forget those wild flowers.  We pulled out of there knowing we were embarking on a pretty epic drive over a mountain range.  The scenery along the way was outstanding and very steep winding mountain passes.  Stuart drove exceptionally well and really enjoyed it.   This is a link to the video of the drive we made https://youtu.be/FE1AbgadLWY We were heading to a place called Grand Lake.  It’s in an area called Shadow Mountain and it’s right on the edge (less than a mile) from the Rocky Mountains National Park.  We found the RV park, Elk Creek Campsite easily and got set up, then went for a […]

18th June, Rocky Mountain High, in Colorado

We left the RV park at Colorado Heights this morning.  We had made some friends there, Cory and Cheri.  A delightful couple that we just loved.  We had drinks with them on two nights and it seems we have known them forever.  Here I am below sitting with them as we look over a map to discuss where we are heading.  They think we have a great trip ahead. Pulling out of the RV park and then filling up with gas was pretty painless, then on the road to Basecamp. We had the route carefully entered in the Garmin as there are some routes up to here that you don’t want to take in an RV.  We took the route that we reconnoitered a week […]

16th June, Still at Colorado Springs, but getting ready to move on

This is where we are currently parked: Since we left Pontiac this is the longest we have stayed in one place.  It’s Fri evening now and we are leaving this area on Sunday morning.  It’s been relaxing to stay for a while.  We’ve achieved a few jobs in the time we’ve been here.  We needed to get the plates for the coach and the car.  They had to come from our lawyers in Montana.  Lots of paperwork and beauacracy, but we finally got them and Stuart attached them yesterday.  Our temporary plates had expired so good to have them before we head off into the mountains. These are some shots of the inside of the coach that Stuart took: I had a few things I […]

Relaxing and exploring at Colorado Springs

Sat June 10th.  Yesterday we drove 50 miles from West Pueblo to Near Colorado springs to a place called Garden of the Gods.  It’s a big open free park that has lots of walking and mountain biking trails through it.  The draw card is the 250 million year old rock.  It’s red, pink and white sandstone.  Through time, the elements have carved out interesting rock formations including some tall spires.  It was a very impressive park. Stuart too most of these photos, they are very good.   I found the walking hard going-it was about 38deg and a very dry heat.  I’m still recovering from the chest infection I’ve had for a couple of weeks and I found it very hard to breathe.  I felt […]

In Colorado, the Wild West

We drove over the state line from Kansas into Colorado today.  The general area that we drove through today on Highway 50 is known as the Santa Fe trail and the area, Kansas/Colorado is New Mexico.  It looked very Mexican. It’s hard to imagine when you see the ribbon of concrete that stretches ahead to the horizon that this was the dusty trail that the old pioneers, settlers, trappers and traders rode in their wagons not even 250 years ago.  Life would have been so hard back then-the landscape is dry, hot and harsh in June.  In Jan it must be frozen solid. We passed through a town called La Junta and there is a historic fort there, which was basically a trading post back […]

Kansas, Prairies and cowboys

We overnighted in a delightful RV park called Lighthouse Landing in South Hutchinson, near Wichita. Stuart was intrigued by a big vehicle on a big vehicle-that’s be standing beside it… Then we continued along Highway 50 towards Colorado today. Mostly wheat fields to the horizon.  Farming here is done on a massive scale.  We are currently in a place called Deerfield.  We are now only about 3 hours of driving to Colorado Springs, but we are still in Kansas. This land is flat and hot.  It was 32 deg c today with a very hot strong wind blowing.  It’s amazing any crops can grow in this unrelenting heat.  Apparently, it’s only the humidity that keeps the crops alive.  We did notice lots of water pumps […]

Heading west to Kansas City, banks, Walmart and Armadillo’s

We are currently just east of Kansas City by about 40 miles at a place called Pleasant Lake.  It is very pleasant here.  We are in an RV park that’s about 250 acres in size.  There aren’t many RV’s and so it feels spacious and backs right onto the woods.  These are like the woods I remember growing up in the UK.  A variety of leafy trees, but so thick they look intimidating to walk into. We were sitting out having a beer after we arrived here and saw a stealth bomber fly overhead which looked impressive, but ever more impressive are the humming birds that are all around.  I love to see them, such pretty little birds. We saw a deer yesterday, and today […]

USA, Heading west, Missouri

We got the coach ready for travelling today, which only takes us a few minutes, were used to the routine from our boating life.  We said goodbye and a big hug with Judy, funny how some people you meet you feel as if you’ve known them for a long time-she’s one of those people.  We called into Pontiac RV to say goodbye to Greg who has been very good to us.  We said good bye to Phil who has been the sales man we have been dealing with.  He has also been very good to us-every single person we had dealings with at Pontiac RV have been positive and helpful.  We’ve never known such good service and hospitality, and this is after we had bought […]

USA, Observations of life in an RV park

The 4H park was tranquil and quiet prior to the long weekend.  There are 300-400 year old oaks scattered all through the park that squirrels are always scampering up as we walk by.  Beyond the park are the flat endless fields of newly planted corn and soy beans.  In the evenings, the sky takes on the most wonderful warm purples, oranges and yellows.  This is big sky country, flat to the horizon.  I like it. This is the coach towing our car in the 4H park   This is our campsite setup Me cooking RV’s started to arrive on Fri and more and more came in through the day.  The space we had around us, which I had naively considered to be our space soon […]

USA, Picking up the car and getting locked out of the coach

After 2 nights in the park more and more RV’s arrived.  This weekend is Memorial weekend, which is the same as our Anzac day, remembering and honoring veterans.  Monday is a public holiday, so the park is now pretty full.  The modifications we needed done to the car to make it towable are complete and so we want to collect the car ASAP.  All this time we have had a rental which has been costly and we don’t want to be paying for it over the long weekend, so we decided to collect the car on Sat.  We have to collect it from the salesyard in Coopersville, Michigan.  This is a 4 hour drive on the interstates heading North East.  We need to collect the […]

USA, life in the first RV park

We spent 3 nights on the coach in the Pontiac RV carpark.  This was great as we were still learning so much about the coach, and needed some minor issues fixed.  Stuart has been working alongside an engineer called Greg who has been so incredibly helpful and competent.  He’s such a nice man.  Stuart has learnt a lot about the coach and how it runs from Greg. Stuart and Greg Being parked at Pontiac RV (which is about a 3 acre carpark!) was great but we had no way to empty our grey and black tanks so we really had to move. Parked at Pontiac RV We had already looked at an RV park 10 minutes away called 4H and so booked in with the […]

USA May 23rd, still in Pontiac, taking ownership

May 23rd, we officially took ownership of the coach today.  This means we have paid for it, and we have insurance for it.  We have had the coach in the workshop today having the solar panels put on the roof.  Stuart has been on the roof with Greg the engineer assisting him and learning how they are installed and operated. I have been busy all day.  I opened all of our boxes of stuff needed to live on the coach. Then I cleaned the coach, which had already been done, but I wanted to do it again, to be sure all was free of dust.  Its also a good way to check for damage or any other issues.  I found some, but all minor stuff. […]

USA, May 21 in Pontiac

Pontiac Illinois is the place where we bought the coach from (over the internet!!)  We knew what coach we wanted and Pontiac RV offered the best price.  We are buying the coach new and has been built to our own specs.  Pontiac RV is such a massive complex with hundreds of RV’s new and 2nd hand.  Here’s a pic of us driving by, Sunday so they were closed… We arrived in Pontiac today.  We’ve been for an explore around the town which is very nice.  The landscape here is incredibly flat with big skies.  It’s agricultural and reminds me very much of Norfolk, UK.  This is corn and potatoe growing country.  The landscape is punctuated with grain silo’s.  I loved the book/movie, The Bridges of […]

USA Arriving and Chicago

We had a pretty bumpy ride over to LA from Auckland, neither of us slept.  Even though we left Auckland at 4:30pm, we arrived in LA at 9:30am on the same day!  We had a room in a hotel near the airport booked for a night of good sleep, but neither of us slept well again.  Everything gets so much harder to accomplish when we are both so tired. So LA was a bit of a blur, blue skies, cool wind, palm trees and homeless people.  We got a decent walk in but that was all. Back to the airport the next day for a flight to Chicago.  That was a 4 our flight and went quite quickly.  We were picked up from the airport […]

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