Simon and Jackie Annals

Recently retired. Now 2 Novice Globetrotters.
Living in: Cuckfield, United Kingdom
  • Day32

    Day 31- The Minute You Walk In The Joint

    Today in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Not the best start to the morning! I sat on the toilet & shut the door only to be blinded by the shocking pink mural.

    We went down to get our free $18 worth of breakfast. 2 coffees & a quiche & a Flamingo croissant cost $25. We had to pay the difference for very greasy food. During breakfast, Jackie tried to upload more funds on to our Caxton prepaid card, but it was blocked. This meant returning to the room & having a long wait contacting the Bank & then explaining to them what we were doing & our problem.

    Eventually we got out & went to the free monorail, but it wasn’t. Change of plan then, we proceeded along The Strip in a southerly direction. We passed the shops in the parade in front of Bally Hotel & used the ATM. We looked to withdraw $200, got to the end of the transaction & suddenly it announced it was going to charge us $5.95. No way.

    We continued & enquired about tickets for David Copperfield at a Tix4Tonight stall. Apparently David had had some time off & he was literally just returning to continue his run of shows. We were quoted $81. Thanks we will bear that in mind.

    We then found another ATM recommended by the receptionist in a Travelodge Hotel. Jackie took out our $200 & was charged with a $3.95 fee. Whilst Jackie was doing we banking stuff, I was accosted by 4 showgirls wearing just nipple tassels & feathers. They asked me to take a photograph, but I came over all embarrassed, fluffed my lines & meekly said, “Maybe later”.

    Now $200 better off, we zigzagged through Planet Hollywood Hotel, then out & toward the MGM Hotel. We found a Tickets On Demand booth & enquired about D.C. tickets. We were quoted $71, getting better. In to MGM we went & found the official ticket office for all MGM shows. The guy I spoke to offered us tickets starting at $90 for the very back row going up to $250 for meet & greet seats at the front. Thanks for your help.

    We had a wander around MGM then headed out of one door & saw Hooters Hotel & Casino on the other side of a 12 carriageway road. I somehow managed to persuade Jackie we needed to check it out. Half an hour later we had crossed the road & walked into Hooters. It was quite tame But we decided to play a fruity & try & blag a free drink.

    We got out the princely sum of $5 & sat a machine requiring a minimum bet of 20 cent. Before we knew it we were on a winning streak & got up to about $23, the only problem was the waitress was like the scarlet pimpernel. Eventually we caught the attention of one & a second immediately followed. We ordered a free beer & even tipped the waitress a dollar each. After 45 minutes of good fun we walked out over $5 up.

    We made our way to back to the Tickets On Demand booth to buy our $71 David Copperfield tickets. Unfortunately the only tickets they had left for the 7.00pm performance were at $132. We enquired & picked up some apparently prime location seats for $71 got his show the following night. Today was going well financially!!

    We popped into New York, New York Hotel primarily to see the scariest roller coaster we had ever been on, that used to actually go in & out of the hotel. We couldn’t see it, so I enquired & apparently it doesn’t anymore. Sharp-eyed Jackie noticed that it was now happy hour & drinks were half price & they had deals on food. We took advantage with a plate of wings & 2 large beers.

    After what felt like the perfect lunch, we put $5 into a slot machine. Again we did well & I left $5 up. We headed on to The Strip & bought some cheap booze & a tacky drinks holder. We continued & then we were accosted by 2 more feather adorned dolly birds. They asked if I wanted a photo & I took photos of them with Jackie. They then demanded a tip of $10 each for the privilege. I handed over $5 for them to share & we hurried on with them calling me back or names or something!! My photos had better be worth it!

    With my $5 fleeced, we headed back to the Flamingo for a quick nap before hitting Downtown later. Jackie insisted on spending her $5 winnings in the fruit machine which she did in 10 seconds flat.

    Back in our room, we played Instagram tennis with Sue Drackett, our friend from up north, who was literally over the road lording it up in The Bellagio. Sue was off to a show, we were heading Downtown to the Fremont Street Experience.

    Around 6.00pm we caught a bus to Downtown Vegas & entered Fremont Street. It was still too light for the ceiling light show, so yet again we popped into a Casino. We found a 25 cent fruit machine & Jackie was quickly stuffing her $5 into it. I popped to the loo & returned to find she was in credit by over $15. We’re in the money 💰

    I went in search of a cocktail waitress & found the same fruit machine we had had success on in Hooters. It is all lights & noise & requires more player interaction. Jackie cashed out of her machine & inserted her $15 slip into Crazy Money II. We were playing 20 cents a spin & were still continuing to make a small profit. I had now gotten the attention of a waitress & the free beers were flowing.

    At one point, I noticed that Jackie had accidentally hit the 160 cents a spin, but before I could stop she had hit the button & the machine went crazy. Phyllis from Philadelphia, who was sat next to us, assisted us to maximise our winnings by playing the money catch (You have to tap the dollar notes as they fly around the screen) for us. WELL, she won us about $140 & it was high fives all round with total strangers. We’re really in the money 💰 💰

    We continued playing (Note: Quit when you’re winning) & actually got up to $168 in credit. We eventually walked away, several free beers later & with a payout ticket of $135.11.

    By now it was getting late for us, so we walked up & down Fremont Street. It was all action, a light show was playing on the arched ceiling, people in zip wire sleeping bags whizzed over our heads & a band was playing on stage. There were all sorts of freaks & hustlers & beggars. One muscular bloke was stopped beside a sign saying ‘Kick Me in the Nuts. Bet you Kick Like a Bitch’ & needless to say, there were scantily clad women trying to extort money for photos.

    We then caught the bus back to The Strip & our hotel. We were starving, but had a disagreement over which stop to get off at, so we called it a night. It was late for us - about 11.30pm.

    FITBIT = 19,078 steps / 8.86 miles.

    Song of the Day = Big Spender by Shirley Bassey.
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  • Day31

    Day 30 - Viva Las Vegas!

    Yesterday in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Woke up in the wonderfully named town of Pahrump, Nevada. I caught with the news & was disappointed to see that the British pound is now at a record low against the US dollar. Perfect news for a 3 month road trip. Luckily, Jackie had used her BlueLightCard last night & saved well over $100 for a 3 night stay in The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas...every bit counts!

    I got ready & at 8.30am I toddled down to reception to get 2 free cups of coffee. It was funny to see that there was already (or still) people playing the machines in the Casino & puffing away on their fags.

    After checking out of reception, we drove over to the Laundromat opposite & fed the machines with 25 cent coins. It was like being back in the Casino again, they paid out the same amount!

    We drove out north of town & eventually found our next point of interest, Coffin It Up. Apparently they made exotic coffins to order. When we got there we found it to be a private house with a fence round it & a macabre, hopefully fake, graveyard in it’s grounds. I got out to take a couple of photos & saw the sign that said ‘Private Property. Trespassers will be Violated. Survivors will be Shot’.

    Now lunchtime, we stopped for a burger at Sonic America’s Drive in. We were impressed & will have it again over a McDonalds. Next stop on the agenda was brothels!!

    We drove out into the middle of nowhere, primarily to see an (in)famous brothel called The Resort at Sheri’s Ranch, which is owned be an ex-homicide detective, Chuck Lee & was previously known as The Original Sheri’s Ranch Brothel. It was fine, but not a great deal to look at.

    Next door, however, was ‘Yes, The Best Little Whorehouse In The West’. It was The World Famous Historic Chicken Ranch,which proudly advertised itself as ‘Voted #1 Nevada Brothel of the Year’.

    We parked up outside it & actually it looked more like a brothel theme park.
    More signs advertised ‘Free Tours & Gift’ and ‘The Leghorn Bar & Souvenirs’. By the front door there was a novelty cut out of a lady & a cowboy for you to put your head on for a photo, regrettably we didn’t. I also noticed that there was disabled parking spaces. Men & Women were welcome, but we didn’t go in.

    Instead we drove the the 60 odd miles to Las Vegas. Our 1st stop was the ‘Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada’ sign. There were a hundred plus people there, many in a long queue to have your photo taken immediately in front of it by a volunteer photographer. We chose not to wait & took our photos at the side.

    We then drove along The Strip (not so impressive during daylight hours) & on into Downtown Vegas. We passed the World Famous Chapel of the Bells, the Little Vegas Chapel (that did Elvis 🕺 weddings), the Little White Chapel & Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel to name just a few. They were all next door to each other on just one street.

    Our next stop was the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, the scene of one of my favourite TV programmes by the same name. There was no filming going on, but we were allowed to go into the still operational pawn shop to look around & buy stuff or souvenirs. Next door was Chumlee’s Candy shop & Rick’s BBQ Joint. It is now a massive money making enterprise & the main ‘stars’ are now multi millionaires.

    We then drove to the kitsch Flamingo Hotel & self parked (if you’re too lazy you could get a valet to do it for you). It was now just after 4.00pm & the queue to check in was horrendous. I queued in the long check-in line, whilst Jackie attempted to speedy self check-in. She just beat me, but didn’t have the bonus of chatting to an English woman who had just flown in from Gatwick for a wedding & behind her an elderly mother with a Down Syndrome daughter who had driven down from Wyoming to see the Donny & Marie Show playing in our hotel. Apparently they lived in the same small town as Donny & Marie’s mother.

    After asking for help, we finally made it to our room #5056, which I would describe as tasteful, but minimalistic. You’re not supposed to sit in your room in Vegas, so we didn’t. A quick shower & we were out.

    We wandered around our hotel trying to get our bearings & looked at the outdoor flamingo park in the middle. We then hit The Strip & turned down The Linq Promenade, which was new since we had last visited. It was full of bars & had the High Roller (Vegas equivalent of the London Eye) the end. We chose a bar for a beer & to do some people watching. As it’s said ‘Anything Goes in Vegas’ & dress sense certainly does. People were wearing literally anything. The worst offenders were overweight girls wearing way too skimpy outfits & it wasn’t a pretty sight.

    Next stop was The Bellagio which we strolled through, but hadn’t really changed since before. I’m my opinion it is too posh for Vegas. We circled the giant lake outside & timed it right to watch the fountain show, played to My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion.

    We then did Caesars Palace, but our timing were all wrong for the Fall of Atlantis fountain show. Now hungry we returned to The Linq Promenade & selected Off The Strip, a bar & grill. We were shown to our table & then a rather surly waiter took our drinks & food order.It took several attempts to establish that they only served Heineken beer on tap & then only by the pint. Not a great start, then he plonked our cutlery down as he passed.

    We waited at least 15 minutes for a drink & contemplated walking out, but eventually he plonked down our 2 beers with a large head. I was not impressed & I’m sure my face said so. He then reconfirmed our food orders & completely had Jackie’s wrong. She ordered salmon & he thought she wanted a cheeseburger! He was definitely not getting a tip.

    10 minutes later & weirdly out of the blue, our waiter came over with another waiter who gave us 2 pints of beer free of charge & said he was our new waiter, who turned out to be over friendly. Our new waiter soon brought my gnocchi (which he pronounced with a Ker) & Jackie ‘s salmon. All very nice. The check arrived with it’s suggested tips of 18%, 22% or 25%. Not a chance, we left about 8% & did a runner.

    We returned to our Flamingo Hotel & Jackie took to the machines again. We only had $10cash, because the hotel ATM was charging $9.99 fee! I found a good old fashioned fruit machine that took our $10 & we could play at 1 cent a spin. We had 1000 credits. This was my type of gambling, but we struggled to make a dent in our credits, so we joined the high rollers & started playing for 5 cent a go.

    The absolute bonus was that a cocktail waitress asked if we wanted a drink. I told we would but couldn’t tip her, but she didn’t mind, so she brought us a bottle of beer each. Result!! That was us done for the night.

    FITBIT = 17,165 steps / 7.97 miles.

    Song of the Day - Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley.
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  • Day29

    Day 29 - A Long Day in the Saddle

    May 20 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Woke after a good night sleep to a lovely day in Lone Pine. As planned we got ready & popped next door for a McDonalds. I had a big breakfast & Jackie had a sausage McMuffin.

    The Lone Pine McDonalds must be one of the most picturesque McDonalds anywhere in the world. After breakfast we wandered trying to get the perfect photo of the surrounding mountains.

    At 10.00am sharp, we entered the Lone Pine Film History Museum & paid our $5 entry fee. At 10.05am we watched a 15 minute movie in their theatre that was all about the films 🎥 made in the Alabama Hills behind Lone Pine. Alabama Hills, I discovered were the brown lumpy things in front of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Literally thousands of Westerns had been made there, as well as more recent films such as Star Wars 5 & Iron Man.

    The museum had loads of props, exhibits & photos from the making of all the well known westerns & the actors that starred in them. These include John Wayne, Gene Autry, William Boyd, Roy Rogers, Will Rogers & Randolph Scott to name just a few. Fascinating museum.

    As we were leaving, I enquired if there was any of the old film sets were still in existence. The museum curator told us that all film companies were under an obligation to remove absolutely everything at the completion of filming. He did however give us a map to take us up to various film locations on & around Movie Road.

    We drove just the 3 miles to Movie Road & drove a loop through a dramatic landscape & where it was easy to see why the western film makers chose this location for their films.

    Conscious of the time, we left the wonderful Lone Pine & picked up California 136, then 190 into Death Valley. After passing Owens Lake, we climbed up & then down into a valley. We stopped for photos at an overlook of a canyon where now the ground was red & black sharp rocks.

    ‘But even in the freshest mountain air
    The jet fighters practice overhead’.

    As predicted by our biker buddy, Doug, American Air Force jets screamed across the Valley flying at low altitude.

    We continued to Stovepipe Wells Village where we stopped to use the facilities & I ended up buying a baseball cap / T-shirt combo. I wore it for about 5 minutes before apparently it was more important they Jackie wore the hat to protect her scalp from the now scorching sun.

    On we went & I alone got out & walked into the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes to admire the sand & dunes.

    Next stop was Harmony Borax Works to see the remains of the original borax works. Borax is an important mineral & this product was sent by train to San Francisco. When we returned to the car, I decided to change out of my jeans into shorts. Had hardly seen a soul, but I somehow attracted an audience for this change.

    We didn’t stop at Furnace Creek, then Golden Canyon was next & we went just part way though it before deciding we had seen enough. You need to pick & choose your Trails!

    We then passed Devil’s Golf Course, before turning left for the Artist’s Drive. This was a tight, bendy, up & down one way road to Artists Palette, a multitude of natural colours on the face of the Black Mountains.

    Our final stop in Death Valley was Badwater Basin, 200 sq miles of salt flats that are 282 feet below sea level. We had the standard photo with the altitude sign, then walked someway out onto the salt flats, just so we can say we had.

    That was it, we now needed to get out of Death Valley & find somewhere to star for the evening. Time was ticking on & 6 ‘o’ clock was approaching. We drove & drove southwards on California 178 praying we were going the right way, because we had had no phone signal all day.

    Eventually we arrived at a tiny little town called Shoshone that looked too small to accommodate us. My next plan was to make Pahrump, a casino town just over the State border in Nevada. We got there 30 mins later & parked up, did some googling & decided to try Saddle West Casino Hotel, which was at a bargain price.

    It was perfectly satisfactory, so we checked-in, then on the receptionists recommendation, went to the ‘Pourhouse’ over the road. It was an Indian restaurant but did American food & was like a posh sports bar. The waitress obviously didn’t know us, because she asked, “Have you eaten curry before?” Have we? She then asked how hot we liked our curry between 3 & 10? She plumped for 8.

    We ordered & shared a decent curry washed down with a couple of beers. We should have asked for aa 9 or 10!

    On Jackie’s insistence we popped into the casino at our hotel, but unfortunately we didn’t really understand how to play, so after losing $3 we called it a night.

    I may have a short memory, but could be my best day yet!

    FITBIT = 12,754 steps / 5.92 miles.

    Song of the Day - Whatever Happened To Randolph Scott by The Statler Brothers .
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  • Day29

    Day 28 - High Winds cause Carnage

    May 20 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Woke up to a bit of an overcast day. We had our continental breakfast at the hotel & got set for another adventure.

    We left Visalia & took the 198 up past Lake Kaweah & on to Three Rivers, which was quite a sweet village, popular with adventure tourists like us! Thirty miles after setting off, we arrived at the entrance to Sequoia National Park & joined a queue to get in. I didn’t realise it was going to be so popular.

    When we reached the entrance booth, the Park Ranger asked us if we had snow chains. We didn’t. She then informed us that we could only go as far as 6 miles until the road was closed to us due to snow. As we had a NP Pass, we went in & drove the 6 miles to Hospital Rock & picnic area.

    We got out in the rain, saw the signs warning us of it being a high risk bear area, looked at a nice rock, then got back into the car. It was about 10.30am & it was interesting to see a large group actually having a bbq, albeit a soggy one.

    We were in need of changing our plans. We decided that we would drive to Lone Pine at one of the entrances to Death Valley. We drove out & picked up & headed south on California 65, then turned east on California 155. This was a deserted road with just the odd entrance to cattle ranches & a sign saying no fuel for 55 miles.

    We drove down the road dodging squirrels & chipmunks on suicide missions, but the highlight was us both seeing a coyote (our 1st decent wildlife spot of the trip) stood in a field just watching us. I came to a gentle stop & reversed back, but unfortunately he had already disappeared.

    The road was yet another windy steep road, which entered Sequoia National Forest. The road continued upwards to pass over Green Horn Summit at 6,102ft in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Again we had to drive through slush, the temperature dropped to minus & we crept down the other side.

    On the other side, we arrived at Lake Isabella, then Weldon & Onyx before meeting up with Highway 395 & heading north. Now we had the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains on our left hand side & Death Valley on our right as we travelled up through the El Camino Sierra.

    We were happily driving along, I had one hand on the steering wheel eating a cheese stick, when suddenly our car was blown violently to the right. Really scary. I slowed down & held the steering wheel with both hands. In front of us we could see massive dust clouds blowing across the road.

    Next, flashing signs warned high sided vehicles not to proceed. We continued & witnessed scenes of total carnage. 1st we came upon a lorry with its trailer on its side, then another, then a car pulling a boat on a trailer, but the boat had blown off & was now in a field. On the other carriageway, a big HGV was on its side AND was blocking the entire southbound carriageway.

    We stopped at a rest area to use the loo & it was packed with motorcyclists & people trying to secure their loads. I had never experienced wind like this. We continued & saw more vehicles on their side & eventually passed through the worst of it & into the town of Lone Pine. This is where we intended to stay tonight & we found The Portal Motel to satisfy our needs.

    Literally immediately behind our motel is Mt. Whitey, the tallest mountain in America outside of Alaska. It & it’s fellow mountains create a fantastic backdrop. We had pizza & beer, then walked it off with a stroll up & down the main drag. I was asked by a motorcycle gang to take a photo of them.

    FITBIT = 5,713 steps / 2.65 miles.

    Song of the Day - A Forest by The Cure.
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  • Day27

    Day 27 - I Know What I Like!

    May 18 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    I wasn’t sure if today was going to be an anticlimax after Yosemite. I shouldn’t have worried.

    About 9.00am, we wandered down to breakfast, which was effectively in the motel reception. There was coffee, cereal, fruit by the ton & a waffle maker. Jackie made me a waffle & it tasted like cardboard. No more for me on this trip....coffee & fruit.

    We shared breakfast with 5 skinny lean guys, one of them told us they had travelled from all corners of the country to climb Sequoias in the National Park. He told us that they competed in National competitions & were American tree (fellas) fellers....Jackie’s joke!

    Needing to look like fitness freaks, we smuggled apples, oranges a grapefruit out of breakfast, then packed & set off for the day in another gloriously sunny day. We travelled along California 180 & climbed steeply up to the National Park 🏞. It was $35 to enter at the Big Stump entrance, but of course we were waved through with our Parks Pass.

    At the visitors centre we learnt that a storm was coming in at 3.00pm & Generals Highway was be closed because of snowfall. It didn’t effect us, we were taking the Scenic Byway into Kings Canyon.

    Our 1st stop was General Grant Grove & it’s General Grant Tree, a huge Sequoia, which is the 3rd Largest Tree in the World! We took the trail that took us through a thicket of Sequoias. One was lying on it’s side & it was possible to walk through it.

    After admiring the enormity of the Sequoias, we were heading back to the car when we approached a motorcycle gang who were blocking the path. We were literally yards away when one of the bikers suddenly knelt down, pulled out a ring & proposed to his girlfriend (she said ‘yes’). It was quite a moment. The motorcycle gang were Coastside Armada Harley Club.

    We continued on our Scenic Byway heading towards snow capped mountains, then the road plummeted into the canyon. Our ears were popping from the swift drop in altitude as we negotiated the tight bends in the road. It was an exhilarating road to drive.

    We stopped at the regular scenic viewpoints & then took a turning off towards Hume Lake. Hume Lake turned out to be a Christian enclave, but the lake & mountains were pleasing on the eye. There were lots of young males that were stocky, but fit looking. My enquires revealed that they were gathered there for a ‘Football’ coaching weekend.

    The queue for refreshment was too long to endure, so we hit the road again. The road continued to cling to the mountain as we descended further. We stopped at Junction View & continued past an old fashioned petrol pump at Kings Canyon Lodge. I thought, “What idiot would need to fill up there?”

    On we went through Kings Canyon Scenic Byway & stopped at Grizzly Falls. This turned out to be a dramatic waterfall that we could get right up to the foot of. Unfortunately this meant getting saturated.

    Back in the car, I looked down at the fuel gauge & realised that the steep winding roads were taking their toll. We were in serious danger of not having enough fuel to get back out of the canyon. Brilliant.

    I now struggled to think of anything else as we proceeded on, even with the possibility of seeing bears in this ‘Bear High Risk’ area. We continued to Cedar Grove & Zumwalt Meadow, where there was the opportunity to go for a walk, but we chose not to.

    We then headed back, driving as economically as I could, but the fuel gauge was plummeting like the roads. We discussed our options, then at Kings Canyon Lodge, we saw the sign at the old fashioned fuel pump that said it was open. We pulled in & a man in a digger shouted over “Do you want fuel?”

    I nodded & he came over & started filling our car. He asked if we wanted it filled & me being concerned about how much it was costing said “Just $20 worth please”. He told me I was having $28 worth. I was not in a position to argue. Anyway, we were filling up at ‘America’s Oldest Double Gravity Pumps’. Not many people can say that!

    We drove up & out of the park & headed to a town called Visalia, along a straight road flanked by orange trees. At Visalia, we stocked up on provisions at Walmart, then searched for a suitable place to stay. We chose Sequoia Lodge, which was clean & tidy, but overpriced. The persuader for us was its location near numerous eating establishments.

    We got ourselves sorted then headed out for food. Jackie had expressed a preference for Chinese, but I said I would only have it if it had Crispy Aromatic Duck & Crispy Chilli Beef. I know what I like!! This caused a bit of an argument.

    Anyway we headed to the Chinese Garden restaurant, where we established it had neither of my favourite meals. By this time, however, I was so hungry & was happy to eat anything, so we decided to chance the Chinese. Our decision was cemented in stone, when we saw how cheap the house wine was.

    We ordered Mongolian beef, walnut & honey battered chicken, plain chow mien & rice. It was a fantastic meal and I don’t say this lightly when I say it was possibly the best Chinese I’ve ever had! We went to bed on full stomachs.

    FITBIT = 8,767 steps / 4.07 miles.

    Song of the Day - The Bends by Radiohead.
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  • Day26

    Day 26 - Tunnel Vision

    May 17 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Woke up having had a great night sleep 💤 Unfortunately, Jackie had been kept awake by my snoring, allegedly.

    As we enjoyed it so much, we went back to Sugar Pine Cafe for a big breakfast of eggs, French Toast etc. We kept looking round, but couldn’t find anyone who appeared willing to take care of our cheque. The is was made all the worse for the fact that Jackie was feeling a bit queasy & didn’t really fancy her breakfast after ordering it.

    We returned to the motel, packed our rucksacks & hit the road & followed California 140 back to Yosemite 🏞 National Park. The journey in was slightly torturous. We were in a procession of cars following a very slow car at the front. It was noticeable that there were more vehicles about today, either because it was Friday and people were having a long weekend or the weather forecast was better.

    Anyway we got to the Park entrance & as valued customers, we were waved through the Fast Track lane. This time I was on a mission with a clear goal. We were going to ascend The Mist Trail to Vernal Fall. We motored past the ‘tourists’ taking photos & arrived at Half Dome Village car park.

    As I drove into the car park, I did my best to avoid the potholes, but one puddle was deeper than I had anticipated & we grounded the car with an almighty crunch. Praying we hadn’t trashed the bottom of our car, we drove around the already full car park & didn’t find a space so I created a new row!!! The 1st RV that tried to get round us struggled, but ‘Hey, if you can’t manoeuvre it through tight spaces, you shouldn’t be driving it’.

    We left our abandoned car & made for The Mist Trail. I was praying it wasn’t too strenuous, because Jackie had already played the ‘sick note’. At the start, an information tent told us that The Mist Trail was very wet & slippery. We headed up a lovely tarmac path & came to a spot where the Nevada Fall was crashing down the mountain to our right. It was spectacular, but as always photos never do it justice. I particularly liked the slabs of grey granite covered with bright green moss. It reminded me of one of my favourite songs.

    We continued to a point where the tarmac path ended & granite steps took us higher to the foot of Vernal Fall. Jackie was still suffering & didn’t want to go further, so I bravely forged ahead on my own. The steps were slippery from the spray of the Vernal Fall, but I continued upwards barging grannies & kids out of my way.

    I got to the bottom of the waterfall & was blown away by the sheer beauty of it. This had to be shared, so using semaphore, I eventually got a message to Jackie telling her that she should join me. Despite her ‘illness’, Jackie trudged up to me & hopefully appreciated my scouting mission.

    We now had two options, 1. Continue upwards to the top of Vernal Fall by scaling the steps beside the fall or 2. Turning round & going back. I looked up at the steps & bravely decided that going up may be ok, BUT walking back down the saturated steps would be suicidal. NOTE: For those who may have been up or down this leg of the trail (Jonathan), you need to remember that this is Spring & the waterfalls are raging!

    We made our way slowly back down The Mist Trail, which felt more treacherous. We even stopped to fill our empty water bottle up with water off the mountain (Hopefully we won’t get the sh*ts!). Back at the bottom, we took a leisurely amble through the ‘Happy Isles’. I had to keep reminding Jackie where we were!

    We returned to our car, relieved to discover no idiot had bumped into us. We took a slow drive around the Park, taking in The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, that was previously known as the famous Ahwahnee Hotel (Why would they change the name?).....Idiots.

    We continued through Yosemite Valley & marvelled at the (mentally sectioned) lunatics that were climbing halfway up El Capitan. I noted the orange tent towards the top of El Capitan appeared to have not moved.

    It was now 3.00pm, the rain clouds were gathering above. We took the California 41 south out of Yosemite. It was now that I had to confess that we had not yet been to Tunnel View. I suspected this was the case, but I didn’t want to admit to it after saying we had been there the day before!

    Tunnel View is impressive & it was particularly as we were shrouded in clouds, but the Tunnel View was still in sunshine. We attempted a couple of pathetic selfies & an a granny offered to take some for us, which I jumped at. (The View from Tunnel View is impressive, but it was heaving with tourists, particularly Chinese or Japanese, still haven’t worked out which. I dread to think what it would be like mid morning in the summer!).

    We then drove south on 41, but yet again we got stuck in another convoy headed by a selfish inconsiderate Chinese driver, who failed to pull over & braked all the way down the mountain to Yosemite Exit. We passed through Fish Camp, Sugar Pine, Yosemite Forks to Oakhurst where we stopped for a McDonalds.

    Honestly, the main reason we stopped was to try & find somewhere to sleep for the night. McDonalds currently have a deal of 2 burgers for just $5, which we had with a coffee each. Using the WiFi, we looked at where we could stay for the night. Jackie didn’t fancy anywhere. i also sadly downloaded the McDonalds App.

    I overheard 2 middle-aged bikers discussing their sleeping arrangements, so I asked them what website they used, it wasn’t ‘grinder’. Jackie went to the loo & they showed me how to use Google Maps for accommodation. They sorted themselves out & left without saying goodbye to us....bit rude.
    Jackie was adamant that we weren’t staying where they were.

    Jackie said that she didn’t want to stay at the same place as them, so I randomly chose the ’Vagabond Inn’ at Fresno. The name sold it to me. We continued out of Yosemite, through Course Gold until we hit Fresno, a big sprawling City.

    We followed the SatNav until we reached our destination, a business park of cheap money, petrol stations & fast food outlets. The car park was full& included several brake down trucks conducting repairs. We got out & walked to reception & waited for 2 guests to check in. They were dirty road workers or breakdown recovery workers.

    In the queue, we looked at each other & both knowingly agreed this was not for us. This was confirmed by the guest who checked in before us spat a mouthful of phlegm out in the car park & another drugged loser who was totally out of it started doing karate kicks in the car park with his trousers & pants halfway down his legs.

    I drove away as quickly as I could, whilst Jackie cancelled our booking on Booking.com. In a road lay-by, we chose the town of Reedley that had two potential motels to our satisfactory standard. After driving through the most ridiculously straight roads, we arrived at our destination. We checked in & then realised that the bikers Jackie was avoiding we in the room below us.

    A drop of beer & wine was all we needed before we were out for the count.

    FITBIT = 16,186 steps / 7.51 miles

    Song of the Day - Green & Grey by New Model Army.
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  • Day25

    Day 25 - Never Underestimate The Planet

    May 16 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Woke up early feeling more than a bit excited about what the day had in store for us. I was aware that we had had heavy rainfall over night & the peaks of Yosemite had received a large dump of snowfall.

    We got ourselves ready & walked a few doors down to an old fashioned American Diner called the Sugar Pine Cafe. We sat down in a booth & ordered our breakfast. I ordered scrambled eggs with bacon & sausage, English muffins & cheese grits. Jackie ordered French Toast, eggs & sausage patty. This was washed down with unlimited coffee.

    Having placed our order we then realised that our biking buddies, Doug & Russ, were sat at the counter with their breakfast. We gave them a wave. Our breakfast arrived & was delicious. Cheese grits are a bit of an acquired taste, basically macaroni cheese, but polenta instead of macaroni. It came in a bowl as a stodge.

    By the time we had finished, customers were queuing outside to get in. Jackie counted out her shekels & went to the till to pay or bill of over $30. The waitress informed her that our cheque had been taken care of......by Doug & Russ. We were blown away by their kindness & went over to thank & say goodbye to them.

    We went back to our Lodge & got ourselves ready for the day. We headed north on California 140 (scenic route) & by god was it. The sun was out & we followed the Merced River through Stanislaus National Forest, El Portal & to the entrance to Yosemite National Park, where my Pass was accepted through the Fast track lane.

    As we followed the road towards Tunnel View & Valley View, the scenery was spellbinding. We kept stopping for a photo only to realise that the next stop was an even better view. Our 1st stop & walk was to the foot of Bridalveil Falls. The trail was just 0.4 miles, but it was so worth it. I wasn’t really prepared, protective clothing wise & got soaked. It is at this time of year that the waterfalls are at their most powerful & the spray is unavoidable.

    Drenched, we returned to the car & meandered on, repeatedly stopping for photos of the amazing granite monoliths of El Capitan, Leaning Tower, Cathedral Spires, Three Brothers, Glacier Point, Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, Taft Point etc etc. Eventually we arrived at Yosemite Village Visitor Center.

    We visited the Visitor Center, Museum & Ansel Adams Gallery, then headed to the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail for more sodden selfies. We then returned to an information tent, where I had it confirmed what I already suspected, Tioga Road & Glacier Point were still closed due to snow. Sadly these are some of the Yosemite highlights (a good excuse to come back another time).

    I enquired as to what they suggested for a couple of mile hike & it they suggested either the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall or the flat easy trail to Mirror Lake & requested we use the shuttle bus. Jackie chose the Mirror Lake Trail, so we located the Free Shuttle Bus to stop 17 (Mirror Lake). On the bus, there was an excited buzz that bears had been seen between in the vicinity of where we were going.

    It was approximately 1 mile there & 1 mile back. We set off at a hot pace on the on the wooded path route as opposed to the road. Unfortunately the heavens suddenly opened & we were drenched. We waded through the puddles & up & down the slippery path until we arrived at Mirror Lake (or pond as it should be called).

    Unfortunately, Mirror Lake was more like ‘Shattered Mirror Lake’. The pounding rain was preventing the water provide a reflection. We bravely posed for photo & I took a reciprocal photo. I then enquired whether it was worth continuing around the lake or whether it was best to go back the way we had come.

    The couple I asked mentioned that the route required some scrambling up rocks, I turned to inform Jackie, only to discover that she was doing her impression of a Sussex Veteran walking champion suffering for a severe bout of earwax. I had no choice, but to case her back down the trail to the bus stop .

    We were saturated & had to squeeze ourselves on to the bus back to our car. Jackie had now decided that she was not going on any further trails today. She was happy to see Yosemite from the car. I started to head out of the park & stopped for photos of more amazing views.

    The most notable was El Capitan, where other visitors pointed out a tiny speck that was an orange tent / bed thing suspended over 3/4s of the way up the sheer rock face. The thought of being in that made my bum go funny!
    ,
    By now the sun was back out, but Jackie had had enough of getting wet. We started to drive out of the Park but I decided to take an alternative scenic route California 120 northbound to get back to our Lodge. Almost immediately the road started rising sharply & signs were flashing ‘ Be Sure to have Chains with you’. Surely it couldn’t be that bad!!

    Soon our ‘Scenic Route’ was in mist with slush on the roads & our car dashboard display started flashing an alarm that it was freezing conditions. Bizarrely the USB power stopped, we had no WiFi or phone service & it started to snow quite heavily.

    I pigheadedly ploughed on, quite literally, but eventually we started to head downhill & out of the National Park. The journey continued through heavy rain & cloud. My alternative scenic route had taken us on a journey about 100 miles out of our way. & we got back to our Lodge in Mariposa about an hour and a half after we should’ve done. Basically, I f**ked up, but I’m not admitting that to Jackie.

    When we arrived back at our Lodge just after 1815 hrs, we got sorted & ended up in the local pizza house. We shared a 12” pizza & a pitcher of beer, which caused a few head to turn. We ought a box of wine & retired to our room.

    FITBIT = 20,683 steps / 9.6 miles.

    Song of the Day - Breakfast In America by Supertramp.
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  • Day24

    Day 24 - (I Left my RV) in San Francisco

    May 15 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Woke up at 6.00am for the next chapter of our travels.

    We showered, breakfasted, then I packed my rucksack. Next we set about cleaning the RV from top to bottom & chucking away gallons of salad dressing, cereal, cheese, milk, bread etc etc. The final job was to deal with poop pipe, which I bravely did on my own.

    It was going smoothly, albeit our neighbour offered me some ‘really’ useful advice about securing the pipe into the hole. Bit late now! I then turned on the tap to wash the pipe, but I had underestimated the power of the water pressure & suddenly my water hose was spraying water everywhere like an angry cobra, including at my neighbours caravan. Thank god he was on the other side. By the time, I had wrestled the water pipe into submission, I was saturated. Things were not going as planned.

    At 09.15am, we set out on our final drive in the RV. It was an hour & a half of purgatory, driving on Highway 580 in the the rain in a slow moving procession of vehicles. Anyway at 10.50am, we arrived at our final destination, the CruiseAmerica base in Newark, San Francisco.

    We arrived with a spotless RV & I noted that we had driven exactly 3,700 miles. We were dressed smartly & we handed our paperwork to the the check-in guy. He gave the van the once over & said it was absolutely fine. We even pointed out the broken plastic caused by Jackie’s head & he said it didn’t matter. We went into the office, signed off with them & received our $500 deposit in full. No mention of the little dink we had back in St. Louis. We are yet to hear thing about it, hopefully he was lost the bit of paper with our details!!

    First mission complete. Now to get a car rental. We decided Oakland International Airport some 20 miles away was probably our best bet. I spoke with the taxi drivers at CruiseAmerica & the quoted me $60 to the airport or $25 to the local railway station. Good old Uber got us a taxi 4 minutes later for just $31.

    The Uber taxi driver was Fijian and liked the Royal Family. He told us all about Prince Harry’s recent visit & whilst driving showed us on his phone photos of his friend in the British Army. We chatted along with him & persuaded him to drop us off at the Enterprise Car Rental office (it does 5% discount for Blue Light Card holders).

    When we entered the office it was chaos, so we let people go ahead of us until it was quieter. I explained our situation to him that I was looking to hire a car for a 60 day road trip across America to New York. Julian the manager started to look up what it would cost & showed us the ridiculous price of over $6,000. It was a fixed price & as we knew one way drop offs cost a fortune. He didn’t have any relocations. This was not going well, so we told him to serve another customer.

    In the meantime we spoke to his dappy colleague, who was interested in our intended trip. She mentioned that it might be worth going halfway & hiring a car for 30 days then hiring another. She mentioned this to Julian, who looked on his computer & asked where we would want to drop off a car in 30 days. How could I say where we were, probably somewhere in Texas. I think Julian was having a bad day, because he just gave up & said “You can have a car for 30 day for $1,000 & I don’t care where you drop it off”. I queried this & he said “Yes, just give them my name”.

    A customer who had come in & was listening piped “Wow that’s a good deal, it’s showing as $1,400 without the one-way fee”. She was married to an Englishman & was interested in our travels. I took Julian’s business card as insurance, in fact we not sure how insured we are as we turned down all of theirs. Anyway, as a result of our negotiations, we became the proud owners of a royal blue Nissan Sentra, not quite what Jackie had in mind. Still it was a bargain!

    Then in the drizzle, we followed the tail-lights out of the city, moving in a river of red, along Highway 580 & stopping in so we non-descript place for a McDonalds & to take stock. We felt like vagabonds with no place to go, so we got on Booking.com & sorted ourselves out with 2 nights in a motel in Mariposa.

    The journey through Manteca, Modesta & Merced was dull & tedious, traffic jam followed by traffic jam. Eventually we turned off towards Yosemite National Park & Mariposa, where there road weaved through rolling wheat fields. Conscious of the insurance situation we were lucky enough to get a Highway Patrolman to follow us all the way into Mariposa.

    Mariposa turns out to be a lovely little old fashioned town with a high street full of bars & restaurants. We checked into the Americas Best Value Inn Mariposa Lodge, our home for the next 2 nights. We immediately popped down to the local off-licence & purchased a drop of wine & beer, plus pork scratchings & dill pickle crisps. Outside there were a couple of hillbillies that were filthy, totally out it on some spice like drug. Not a good advert, but they seemed harmless enough.

    Returning we sat on out veranda & got talking to bikers, Doug & Russ. We spent over an hour chatting about places we should visit & routes we should take. They had just come out of Yosemite NP & were able to give us advice on what to visit, current weather conditions etc. Whilst sat there a bright red hummingbird hovered just in front of us. It was a lovely end to the day.

    FITBIT = 8,881 steps / 4.12 miles.

    Song of the Day - Vagabonds by New Model Army
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  • Day24

    Day 23 - The Streets of San Francisco

    May 15 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Someone should have reminded me that San Francisco is a massive city & very very hilly.

    After spending $39 on food for our next 2 breakfasts yesterday, Jackie decided she didn’t have time to have any before we left for the day. We walked 15 minutes to the Larkspur Ferry to take us on a 35 minute ferry ride to the Port of San Francisco.

    Although cloudy, it was fairly warm & the ferry took us past San Quentin State Prison, Angel Island State Park, Alcatraz Island & then into the Port of San Francisco at Ferry Building. A very pleasant morning commute into the city, but it should have been at $24 each for a return ticket!

    After disembarking, I was puzzled by the statue of Ghandi, then we took a stroll through the Ferry Building that was full of classy eateries & stalls. With a little difficulty we located & took the Muni Metro out to Church Street to begin my tour of Upper & Lower Haight. The Haight locality is famous for Painted Ladies & as a rock ‘n’ roll hangout in the 60’s & 70’s. My route was showing as 9 miles, but that had to be wrong...surely!!

    At Church Street station we got out, got our bearings & headed to my 1st stop - The Tornado Pub, supposedly a lively bar at night, unfortunately not so in the day. The only thing of note was a nutter woman was walking up & down outside effing & blinding. We moved on quickly to my next stop, Charles Manson’s House. I followed my guide, but none of the houses looked anything like it. A quick google & I discovered it was about a mile away. This was not going well!!

    Next stop was the Painted Ladies at 710 - 720, Steiner Street. To get to them we had to cross Alamo Square, which was a steep hilled park with a dog play area in the middle & public toilets. I thought I’d use the gents, but opened the door to find it was crammed with youngsters & looked like there was some robbery or drug deal going down. I’d wait.

    The park stank of cannabis & we joined hordes of others taking photos of the Painted Ladies from the best vantage point in the park. I was slightly disappointed, because they were currently painted in very pale hues.

    Next we marched to Janice Joplin’s 2nd home at 112, Lyon Street that she moved into after she shot to fame following her success at the Monterey Pop Festival. Quick photo, then we passed Buena Vista Park, which was crawling with ageing homeless druggies with dogs. Several had top hats & clearly tried to model themselves on ‘Slash’ from Guns ‘n’ Roses. I did contemplate taking a photo, but there was a slightly menacing atmosphere.

    We hurried on to the Patty Hearst hideout at 1235, Masonic Avenue for a photo. This address was where she hid out, whilst wanted by the Police for a bank robbery after originally being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

    Next was the Sid Vicious Party House at 32, Delmar Street, where in 1978 he took an overdose at a party following a Sex Pistols gig at the Winterland Ballroom. A woman in a car was viewing us with suspicion, so we didn’t hang around.

    Just round the corner was the Grateful Dead House, occupied by the band in 1967 at 710, Ashbury Street & immediately opposite in 719, Ashbury Street, was the Hell’s Angels House, the home of the motorcycle gang, the Grateful Dead employed to be their protection.

    Next was finally the. Charles Manson Home at 363, Cole Street, where Manson lived with his family at the time he was recruiting members to his cult. Note : he had moved to Southern California by the time his cult went on their infamous ‘Helter-Skelter’ killing spree. Manson later claimed the Beatles subliminal song ‘Helter-Skelter’ inspired them to kill.

    As one might expect from the characters that have lived here, Upper & Lower Haight felt edgy. There were dodgy characters at every turn & Jackie was keen to call it a day in this suburb, so I cut short my tour & headed for one final place. It was the Jefferson Airplane House at 2400, Fulton Street which also doubled as a recording studio. (My song of the day could be one of many!).

    With my tour now complete we planned to visit the Cable Car Museum, just 3 something miles away. I had now pushed my luck, so we plotted the best route to get there. We sussed it, by taking a 1/2 mile walk downhill we could catch a bus that would take us to just yards from the Museum.

    Another smug moment when we sat down on the bus, but not so smug when we got off 0.7miles too prematurely. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t already walked miles & the 0.7miles were virtually all uphill. Our patience was tested as we both looked to blame the other for this balls up.

    Perspiring profusely we finally arrived at the Cable Car Museum. It was fascinating, revealing the actual workings of the cable car system, the only one of its kind in the world. An engineers paradise!
    The Museum included lots of exhibits & photos particularly of the events during the 1906 earthquake. If I recall correctly the earthquake was over 1400 times more powerful than the atom bomb at Hiroshima. Somehow we ended up leaving with a snow globe.

    Next must do stop was Lombard Street that we didn’t see on our previous visit. I worked it out on the map, just another 0.8 miles. Not too bad, but when we got there we found up ourselves at the foot of one very very steep road. In the distance at the top was ‘The Crookedest Street in the World’ & in between were hundreds of tourists all trying to take that perfect selfie & dodge the tourists cars weaving down the road.

    This was the point where tempers got slightly frayed. Jackie wasn’t that bothered to scale the road to the bushy bit of Lombard Street, but I was adamant I was going up regardlessly. Jackie stormed off up the hill, leaving me lumbering up behind. The selfie was a bit strained to say the least.

    Lombard Street ticked, it was now on to my final destinations, unfortunately it was all the way back we had come. That went down well!! Through ChinaTown, the Italian Quarter & we arrived at the famous City Lights Bookstore & Publishers. It came to prominence following the obscenity trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti for publishing Allen Ginsberg's influential collection Howl and Other Poems (City Lights, 1956). It is a beautiful bookshop & I purchased a 60th Anniversary Edition ‘City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology’ Edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

    After we passed The Beat Museum, I popped my head in the door, but by now we were done in. We walked back to the Ferry Building looking for somewhere maybe to stop for refreshments, but nothing took our fancy. Instead we jumped back on the Larkspur Ferry & headed home with all the commuters.

    At Larkspur, we rested our weary limbs & ordered a couple of beers. Jackie had buffalo wings & mac ‘n’ cheese. Finally it was back to the RV, Jackie packed her rucksack & I typed up my Blog.

    FITBIT = 25, 863 steps / 12.01 miles!!!! And that was mainly up & downhill.

    Song of the Day - Helter Skelter by The Beatles.
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  • Day23

    Day 22 - Stuck in Folsom Prison

    May 14 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    What a day, here goes...

    Got up & did all the usual things. I had been umming & ahhing about whether to drive back into Placerville to see the Hangman’s Tree, that had been cut down & an Ice Cream Saloon now sat in it’s place. I was swayed to visit it because apparently an effigy hung outside it. Placerville used to be known as Hangtown for their propensity to hang thieves & the like for the most menial of crimes.

    We drove the 10 miles back to Placerville, intending to take a quick photo, but my heart sank when the main Historic High Street was closed. The American version of Trumpton had backed up two fire tenders & had used their ladders to form an Arch with the American flag 🇺🇸 hanging between them. I parked in a Bank car park & Jackie withdrew some cash to justify our parking there.

    We then wandered into the Historic High Street & there was bunting everywhere & cowboys swaggering along. I asked a lady at a stall what the occasion was & she said it was to celebrate a big bike race. After further interrogation of her colleagues, we established that the Amgen Tour of California cycle race was coming through. We were also given a free souvenir bell 🛎 to ding. We took some photos with the assembled cowboys & Jackie reminded them just who was the Sheriff.

    An hour or so later, the race finally passed through. I spent more time worrying about getting a selfie than I did concentrating on the blur of riders. I later googled this years Amgen Tour of California & discovered that Peter Sagan was currently wearing the yellow jersey & Mark Cavendish was also racing. (Today’s race ended in South Lake Tahoe, won by Kasper Asgreen & the new race leader is Tejay van Garderen).

    As soon as the race passed, we hot footed it back to the RV & raced out of town. Next stop was Folsom & it’s famous Prison & Museum. We arrived at Folsom Prison & abandoned the RV in the main car park. We walked over to the Prison guard & told him we were here to visit the Museum. The guard told us that we could take photos of the Prison, but not of the guards or the inmates. That was easier said than done, because both were everywhere.

    A deer actually walked past the Prison gates, but was gone before I could snap it. We then went into the Museum, paid our $2 entrance fee, then agreed to watch a 22 minute film about the Prison. The film was really cheesy & was presented by a John Huell Howser, who apart from being condescending, also had the most annoying voice.

    After a long 22 minutes we then walked around the excellent Museum, stuffed with artefacts from over the years. Folsom Prison has a long history of violence & during riots several warders were killed. There were lots of interesting facts & stories. There was the original 8ft Ferris wheel made out of toothpicks by an inmate. Most importantly, there was a big exhibition relating to the double visit of Johnny Cash, which was the main reason we had come. We learnt that on his At Folsom Prison album, the song Greystone Chapel was written by an inmate, Glen Shirley, who committed suicide shortly afterwards.

    We then drove west still on Highway 50 (The Loneliest Road) into Sacramento. I was keen to see the murals that pop up everywhere throughout the city, so I headed towards the Capitol State Building & we only saw the Capitol State Building! We were running late, so we didn’t stop.

    Instead we took a detour into a town called Davis, which allegedly had a good drinking scene, according to our ‘Where to Get F**ked Up’ guidebook. Davis has a big student population from the local university, which is no doubt how it attracted it’s reputation. We were running late, so we didn’t stop.

    We continued on Highway 80 & found a good old Walmart & somehow managed to spend $39 on some essentials required for the next day & a half. We had lunch in the car park & then refuelled.

    Next stop was the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean factory, open for free tours & an opportunity to buy ‘jelly beans’. We decided to embark on the free tours, but started to regret it when we told we had to where some weird jelly belly sailor paper hat. Still, we thought ‘Luckily no-one will see us wearing them’ so we continued with the tour.

    The tour started off with us being given some peach flavoured Jelly Beans. We had to endure a short video, the only thing of which I took from it was that Ronald Reagan was a Jelly Belly Jelly Bean addict. We had a series of sniff tests, a video game & views of the jelly bean production on the factory floor. At the end, I took my eyes of Jackie for just a minute & she had a bag brimming with you know what.

    Now it was rush hour & traffic was streaming out of San Francisco. From Highway 80 we took Route 37, then picked up Route 101. This took us right down to the Golden Gate Bridge which we crossed heading from North to South & cost us the princely sum of $6.50. As soon as we had reached the southern end we took a sharp right & drove to Fort Point which is pretty much under the Bridge. We took a few snaps & had to put our coats on. The temperature had seriously plummeted, due mainly to the winds blowing in from the Pacific. From this vantage point it was interesting to see how strong the current was.

    We then drove back over the Golden Gate Bridge to Vista Point & onto Golden Gate View Point for more photos. There was one final viewpoint, but we (Jackie) was Golden Gate Bridge’d out, so we headed to Marin RV park for our final 2 nights in the RV.

    FITBIT = 10,872 steps / 5.05 miles.

    Song of the Day- Folsom Prison Blues (Live at Folsom State Prison) by Johnny Cash.
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