United States
United States

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  • Day10

    Day 10 - A Bridge Too Far (& TOO High)

    May 1 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

    Freezing start to the morning, but by 9.00am, the sun was out & everything heated up.

    After a leisurely morning, we headed out for the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. We had booked our tickets on line & upon arrival felt pleased with ourselves that we had saved $8 each on general admission. Our smugness was slightly diminished when we informed that the gondolas had been suspended due to high winds. I was secretly pleased.

    The Royal Gorge Bridge is 955 feet above the Arkansas River, 1260 feet long, 18 feet wide & made up of 1292 planks. Most incredibly is that it was built in 1929.

    As we approached the bridge, my bum went funny & my legs turned to jelly. Jackie strutted around without a care in the world. Eventually I managed to take a couple of photos & even attempted a selfie, which was bloody awful.

    We successfully reached the other side & went to the Theatre where we were shown a film about the construction of the bridge. The builders were utter lunatics with not a safety rope or harness in sight. For someone trained at ‘Working at Heights’, I was shocked.

    We had a wander round the park, scoffed at the idiots doing some sort of bungee ride, then realised the gondola was now working - oh joy. As we walked up to the gondola station to get a ride back over the gorge, I had to stop for a nervous wee. The gondola arrived at the station & a parks employee cam elite to say that they needed to suspend the gondola operation because the wind had got up again. I was half annoyed, but also half relieved.

    As a result we had to walk back over the bridge. We had lunch in the RV & monitored the gondola, but it didn’t start up again. Matters were made worse when I realised that I had forgotten to wear my Fitbit again.

    After lunch, we drove down into Cañon City, we drove past the Colorado State Penitentiary, which had a museum, but it didn’t take our fancy (Not enough notorious inmates). I have since read that Cañon City prospers not so much from tourism as from prisons. It has a dozen prisons, including a top security superman prison with 500 of the nations most dangerous including the Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols & Al Qaeda ‘Shoe Bomber’ Richard Reid. Amazingly we didn’t see the other eleven.

    Instead we drove up & down Main Street. We didn’t feel the need to stop & get out so we drove 8 miles south to Florence an old historic oil town. It was much more attractive than Cañon City & was full of Antiques Shops. We went to the Rocky Mountain Bank & changed a $5 note for 25 cent coins.

    On the way back we stopped at Pathfinder Park for a photo of John Charles Fremont, The Great Pathfinder. We arrived back at our KOA campsite just after 3.00pm, realising that we were were in a different time zone, presumably when we crossed into Colorado the previous day. We loaded up the washing machines & dryer with our dirty clothes & 25 cent coins, then just relaxed in the sun in our camping chairs with a couple of beers.

    We did have a couple of disasters that evening:-

    1. We snapped off the catch on the window beside the cooker whilst trying to let the cooking smells out.

    2. Whilst watching the rest of After Life, I ‘clumsily’ knocked my glass of red wine off the table onto the seat & all over my shorts. The red wine didn’t stop there, it dripped down into an electric panel, which set an alarm off and lights to start flashing. Luckily they eventually stopped & we had 18 dishcloths.

    FITBIT = 5,507 steps / 2.56 miles

    Song of the Day - Vertigo by U2.
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  • Day12

    Day 11 - Rimming the Black Canyon

    May 3 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Woke up freezing in the RV. Eventually I forced myself out of bed & put the heating. For the next 15 minutes I was Jackie’s skivvy with her barking her orders at me. I made her a cup of tea, got the breakfast stuff out & took the rubbish out (in socks & adventure sandals). I didn’t moan, because I was feeling guilty that Jackie had cleaned up the wine debacle from the previous evening. After having a shower, I even sorted out the poop pipe on my own.

    At 9:45 am, still wearing my adventure sandals without the socks, we set off, back on US-50 through The Rockies. This scenic route followed the Arkansas River on the south side & a railroad on the other. We went through gorgeous high sided canyons, & meadows for approximately 50 miles until we arrived at Salida, a one-time railroad town. We turned off US-50 here & headed about 8 miles north to locate Browns Canyon National Monument. We failed & instead ended up down a private dirt track. Turning round was tricky to say the least.

    We returned to US-50 & soon started climbing higher & higher. Soon we were surrounded by snowy mountains & it actually started snowing. We got into a skiing region & chugged over the 11,312 ft Monarch Pass, where the snow was thick. Monarch Pass is the highest point on US-50 & straddles the Continental Divide. In theory, rain falling to the east of the Pass end up in the Atlantic & rain to west in the Pacific.

    On the other side we stopped to brew a coffee in a tiny scruffy town called Parlin, then continued on to the crossroads cattle town of Gunnison. The town was much nicer than I had imagined, old fashioned buildings & wide boulevards. We stopped at the local Walmart for a few provisions, Jackie was yearning for a steak for her tea.

    At the entrance, we were confronted by the clothes section. I had a quick browse & bought a pair of brown moccasin slippers that took my fancy. Don’t laugh, the slippers are made by Levi Strauss & cost less that $10. Not to be outdone, Jackie insisted on buying a hoodie for $15. We bought some other odds & sods, then realised that the shop didn’t sell any meat or dairy products . They were in the shop next door.

    So we unloaded our 1st trolley full in to the RV, then went to City Market & what a supermarket it was. It had everything we spent ages filling up another trolley full, including 2 juicy ribeye steaks (the upsetting cattle ranches haven’t turned as veggie just yet!). At check out, the till lady asked us if we had a store loyalty card to get our discount. We obviously didn’t, but she borrowed one of another customer & saved us $12.

    I would add at this point that every American we have come into contact with so far has been so lovely & helpful. They also can’t get enough of our accents & feel compelled to ask us where we are from.

    Next we filled up with petrol, where I went to pay up front, Jackie was too premature with the pump & broke the attendants machine. It took several minutes to fix, whilst a queue started forming behind me. It was getting embarrassing, so I pointed out to everyone that it was Jackie who had broken it. We then drove to the Blue Mesa Reservoir where we stopped beside Middle Bridge for a roll & coffee.

    We then continued on westwards to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we decided we may stay for the evening. Jackie was worried about the bears & we had a stupid conversation about which of us a bear 🐻 would eat 1st (more of me, but would they want an arthritic foot?). Could we stand in front of one calmly & back away or just run? Jackie apparently is faster than a bear & would run round & round a tree until it gave up!

    We arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison N. P. around 3:30pm. We drove up to the entrance gates to the South Rim & I proudly produced my $80 US National Parks Annual Visitors Pass, which allows us free entry to all US National Parks. Otherwise it would have cost us $20 for this visit. The Ranger gave us a map, informed us that there maybe some campsite spaces available & to be careful of the snow, 6” had fallen a couple of days previously.

    Our first stop was the Tomichi Point, where we got our 1st view of the Black Canyon & wow wow what a view. It was breathtakingly beautiful & more than slightly frightening as it was a sheer drop.. After several photos we drove on to the the visitors centre at Gunnison Point where we watched a 20 minute video, explaining how the canyon was formed & how virtually every attempt to explore the bottom of the canyon had ended in disaster.

    The view from the Gunnison Point was just impressive, a couple of photos, then we embarked on the South Rim Road drive, which was in places quite hair raising to say the least. I was just glad I was driving & Jackie was near the edge. Along the route there were stop off points for different lookout points. Some were at the end of 300 - 400 metre tracks.

    We stopped at & hiked to Pulpit Rock Overlook, Cross Fissures View, Rock Point, Chasm View & lastly, but definitely not leastly, Sunset View where the Gunnison River disappeared out to the west. The view seemed to get more & more spectacular. Sunset View was incredible, I would be tempted to use the ‘A’ word, but I can’t bring myself to. Neither my photos & definitely not my descriptions will do justice to the sheer majestic beauty of the Black Canyon. The other massive bonus was that there were so few people around that we had each of the lookout points to ourself. In the silence you could hear the Gunnison River thundering along some 1800 ft below us & numerous hawks soaring on the thermals.

    We called it a day at Sunset View, then drove back along South Rim Road to the South Rim Campground. There were more RVs & caravans than we were expecting (about 10), but we found ourselves a nice private spot with electric hook up still in the sunshine.

    We supped a couple of Colorado Native beers in the setting sun with stupid grins on our faces, but jumped every time there was a rustle in the hedgerow. This was not helped by a sign on our table warning us of bears. Bizarrely we had 2 minutes of snow as the sun went down.

    When the sun went down the temperature dropped dramatically causing us to take shelter & get the heating. We didn’t bother with cooking, just rolls, nuts & popcorn.

    For me it was the best day of our trip so far, particularly as we think we don’t have to pay to stay in the park. Tomorrow, however, could be even better.

    FITBIT = 9,995 steps / 4.64 miles

    Song of the Day - Canyon by Joseph.
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  • Day12

    City of Angels

    June 2 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Up early to catch the Surfliner Train down the Californian coast to Los Angeles. I would have posted a photo but it was a bit cloudy and overcast and it looked a bit like Saltcoats at the Glasgow Fair. The train called in at Santa Barbara but there was no sign of Aunty Babs. Maybe she was out entertaining the old folks!

    As I arrived at the 1939 art deco Union Station, Los Angeles, I felt I should be carrying a small dog like so many wannabe stars of yesteryear looking for fame and fortune in Tinseltown. As I only have one day in LA, I decided to make the most of it. Took the Metro then bus to Melrose Avenue and caught the last tour of the day at the legendary Paramount Film Studios. We were a small group of 6 and had an excellent guide - Jackson, an aspiring writer - who gave us a 2 hour tour of the back lot in a buggy. It was quite a thrill walking through the famous Bronson Gate as so many stars have done in the past (Aileen you would love it à la Norma Desmond). I particularly loved the older part which was originally RKO Studios (where King Kong was made), before being bought by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Jr who turned into Desilu Studios and created shows like I Love Lucy and the original Star Trek. As we stood in Sound Stage 29, we were told that this was the very spot where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had created their movie magic - unbelievable!

    The back lot too was impressive, with mock ups of New York streets etc where the Godfather was made. Altogether a great visit and a place to be recommended if you are interested in old Hollywood.

    Three buses later and I arrive at the Griffith Observatory high in the Hollywood Hills, near the famous sign. The beautiful deco building featured heavily in the 1955 movie Rebel Without A Cause starting James Dean. It is free to enter and a very popular place to visit especially at sunset, with fabulous views over Los Angeles.

    Lastly a quick visit by Metro to Hollywood proper, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the footprints of the stars. Still can’t see mine there - it must be an oversight.

    Back to Union Station to enjoy the hospitality of the Metropolitan Lounge before boarding the 10pm Amtrak Sunset Limited Service, and my sleeper for the two nights Zzzz...
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  • Day23

    The Sunshine State

    June 13 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

    Had a lovely trip on The Silver Meteor - my last long train trip - from Washington DC to Orlando, Florida. Met a lovely couple in the next sleeping compartment. I heard the female’s accent and asked where she was from - ‘Cambuslang’ replied Pauline, a scientist who had lived in the States for 15 years but not lost her accent. Her boyfriend, Hector was a heating engineer from Mexico. We hit it off and had dinner together on board the train, and later Hector appeared with a bottle of red wine - a great nightcap!

    Passed through Georgia, and in the morning we arrived in Florida. Had breakfast with Pauline and Hector, and before I ‘detrained’ as they call it, in Orlando, I had lunch with a lovely older lady who gave me her card. She was a ‘Daughter of the American Revolution’ and gave lectures about the revolution, especially the Battle of Yorktown. She was amazed I had heard of it from the musical Hamilton, and was thrilled to listen to it on my phone.

    From Orlando Station I took the bus to the International Airport (a bargain 40 minute trip for $2). If was good to meet Campbell off his flight from Glasgow - so glad that this part worked out. Campbell tried out his new Uber app, and before long we arrived at our hotel for the next 3 nights.

    Had a great couple of days at Walt Disney World, visiting the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. ‘What’s your favourite ride?’ I asked Campbell. ‘Its A Small World’ came the reply!
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  • Day81

    Day 81 - We had a Nautical Nightmare!

    July 11 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 23 °C

    Jackie got me up at the crack of dawn, 9.30am, to get up & out for a planned boat trip. We checked out of the hotel, leaving Doodle in their car park, then headed back to the harbour.

    On the way down we were desperately looking for somewhere to grab something to eat. We settled on an 8” BLT French stick that we shared.

    We arrived at the City Dock at 10.40am & purchased our tickets for a 40 minute Annapolis Harbour & United States Naval Academy boat trip. 5 minutes later we boarded the ‘Harbour Queen’ & took a seat on the top deck.

    At 11.00am sharp, we set sail & immediately skirted around the banks of the USNA complex. There was an onboard commentary providing us with information about the buildings we were looking at. We passed the impressive sports facilities & Farragut Field, before turning up the Severn River. We passed Santee Basin, where there was dingy training in progress, then Dewey Field. When we reached Dorsey Creek we looked across at the Cemetery, where John McCain was laid to rest on 2nd September 2018.

    We then turned & crossed to the other side of the Severn River to admire, or be resentful of, the huge houses & their jetties, overlooking the bay. We then passed about a dozen small training Frigates in dock. We continued out to the Chesapeake Bay, then headed back to dock, passing a pair of nesting Ospreys & their chicks on top of a ‘crossing day beacon’.

    At the conclusion of our boat trip we took a stroll around Historic Annapolis, with it’s ‘oldy worldy’ buildings, then stopped for an alfresco lunch at O’Brien’s Oyster Bar & Grill. Jackie had grilled Chesapeake Shrimps & I had loaded potato skins, plus a beer & gallons of water.

    After a pleasant lunch, we headed for the United States Naval Academy Visitor Center & Museum. We arrived at the security desk & produced our UK driving licences as our identification. The ‘jobsworth’ Military guy, informed us our licences were insufficient & we needed our passports. What a nightmare!

    Jackie went back down to the harbour to rest her weary legs, whilst I marched back to our hotel & Doodle to get our passports. 40 minutes later, I located Jackie & we made a 2nd attempt to gain entry to the USNA. I was saturated in sweat, but they still allowed us entry.

    The Visitor Center contained various exhibits & examples of naval uniform down the last couple of centuries. There was a stuffed ‘Bill the Goat’, the mascot of the US Navy, then we went into the theatre for a 15 minute movie detailing the life of a new recruit at the USNA.

    The USNA was established in 1845 at it’s current location, a 338 acre campus, which was formerly Fort Severn. Approximately 1.200 “plebes” (an abbreviation of the Ancient Roman word plebeian) enter the Academy each summer for the rigorous Plebe Summer. About 1,000 midshipmen graduate.

    We then walked out into the grounds where students/trainees in varying uniforms were running around all over the place. We stumbled into Dahlgren Hall, a vast hall where 2 different troops were rigorously being put through their parade drills. It didn’t seem right that we were about to walk past them, but nothing said that we couldn’t. We compromised by scaling stairs to a walkway above them.
    Dahlgren Hall was stunning & had a ship suspended at one end of the Hall & model of a Wright B-1 Flyer at the other.

    We continued on to Main Chapel with it’s gold steeple & copper dome, unfortunately the Chapel was covered in scaffolding for renovation work. The interior was ornate & blue, with Tiffany designed stained glass windows. Under the Chapel was the crypt of John Paul Jones, who we now know to be one of the greatest Revolutionary War Naval heroes.

    Next was the USNA Museum in Preble Hall. As we walked in, we were accosted by an over enthusiastic Museum Volunteer who insisted on telling us everything that we were going to see in the Museum. We might as well have turned round & walked out as we knew it all, but we did enter & on the 1st floor we saw numerous dockyard ship models & model ships made out of animal bones by French Prisoners of War. The highlight was an incredibly detailed model of the HMS Victory.

    On the ground floor were exhibits throughout the ages, including John Paul Jones’ presentation sword from the Revolutionary War, Oliver Hazard Perry’s ‘Don’t Give Up The Ship’ flag from the 1812 War, the USS Hartford ship wheel from the Civil War & the surrender table used on USS Missouri from WWII.

    It was nearly 5.00pm when we left the USNA & we still hadn’t sorted out a hotel for the evening. We had been playing cat & mouse with Booking.com to stay another night at the Hotel Annapolis. We walked back to our car with the sky blackening & just made it before the heavens opened. The hotel rates still hadn’t gone down sufficiently for us, so we decided to stay at a substantially cheaper motel, Country & Inn Suites, just a couple of miles up the road.

    That evening we had a superb curry at the Basmati Indian Restaurant. Incredibly we shared a curry with the usual accompaniments & were both full after!!

    Song of the Day - In The Navy by Village People.
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  • Day60

    Yosemite National Park.

    July 15 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    After landing in LA we jumped in our hire car and begun the trip North to Yosemite National Park. We stopped for some clothes shopping and of course a must-do Walmart shop.
    The drive took roughly 6 hours and we checked into a hostel just outside the National Park for the evening.
    The next day we arose early to beat the heat and crowds and made our way into the park.
    We spent the morning wandering about the Yosemite Valley. Visiting the Falls, and the swinging bridge. After a quick lunch of fruit and bread we decided to head off on a hike.
    We did the 11km hike up the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls, visiting Vernal Falls on the way. The first leg of the hike was busy with people but luckily for us Americans don’t do much walking. So, after the first waterfall the trail was practically empty. The weather was beautiful and sunny, chipmunks darted around and the rush of the waterfall and birds singing filled our ears. Hardly any words were shared between Tallara and I as we walked up and over Nevada Falls, and took in the amazing view before heading back down the other side. We were immersed in the sounds and sights of the forest.
    Sadly, no bears to be seen! Next time.
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  • Day16

    Remember the Alamo

    June 6 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    What a beautiful city San Antonio is. Definitely my favourite of the three Texas cities I’ve visited. My top priority was to visit the historic Alamo - and it didn’t disappoint. I knew very little about the historic battle in 1836 other than seeing the movie years ago, so the visit was interesting, informative and moving. One elderly gentleman was giving out information about the battle and asked if there were any questions. One wee boy put his hand up: ‘ sir, were you at the battle of the Alamo?’ Moving on swiftly...

    San Antonio’s other main attraction is the River Walk - an extensive European style development of cafes and restaurants along the San Antonio River. I took a river cruise and it was relaxing to see the historic parts of this beautiful city from the river. Another place to be recommended.
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  • Day13

    Deep in the Heart of Texas

    June 3 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    The Sunset Limited sped through the night via Palm Springs and into Nebraska. The landscape is now much more desert-like, with great cacti lining the track. My lunch companions were interesting - Rob, a young, overweight railroad worker whose only trip outside the USA was to China where his wife comes from. ‘They do great Chinese food there’ he explained. Really?

    We were joined by a loud voice approaching our table which exclaimed ‘Hi, am Hooleeana and am a cansa suvayva fom Mehico.’ Come again? Oh, you’re a cancer survivor from Mexico, Juliana - thanks for sharing that. ‘Yo wanna see ma scas?’ No thank you ... but it was too late, the top was raised. ‘You like ma haya?’ she said, pointing to her bright red Tina Turner coiffure. ‘Ees a wig’ . ‘El Paso looks nice’ I said, trying to change the subject. ‘El Paso - yoo kidding - ees the ampit of yoo ess of a.’ Ah well, back to lunch.

    We travelled through the great belly of Texas - hour after hour of endless desert and scrubland with occasional mountain ranges - like scenes from so many westerns. Early on the morning of day 2 on the Sunset Limited we arrived in San Antonio. My planned connection to Dallas was interrupted due to flooding on the line, and the Texas Eagle train only went as far as Fort Worth. From here I caught a local train for the hour-long trip to Dallas (sings: ‘Big D, Little A, Double L,, A S’ - name the musical).

    Big D was hot and humid but still cloudy. Went for a walk to the Texas Book Depositary and Dealey Plaza where President John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. It was a strange feeling to be standing on the spot so familiar from TV documentaries.
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  • Day65

    Day 65 - Hot Stuff in Swampland

    June 25 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Woke up inexplicably early yet again, then went to breakfast at the unearthly hour of 8.30am.

    We got ourselves ready at a leisurely pace, then headed to the local Laundromat to do some much needed laundry. We were both down to our last pair of clean pants!

    Things didn’t bode too well, when the 1st person we encountered was the local village idiot, who was shoving quarters into a penny shove machine with all the concentration he could muster.

    Jackie put on dual loads of washing, whilst I listened to the cricket on the radio on my phone, well until Stokes was bowled out. We were receiving a lot of furtive glances, but I don’t think they get too many cricket listening Brits visiting their Laundromat in Sulpher, particularly in a bright red convertible Beetle!

    A lovely little old lady who worked at the Laundromat, helped with our change & was keen to know all about our travels. She warned us to be careful in New Orleans, because last time she was there she was attacked by a woman with a piñata!

    After our clothes had been tumble dried we re-packed our rucksacks & hit the road in the pouring rain. We drove east to Lake Charles, then headed south on LA27 towards Creole. We had now entered Swampland & we were driving with the top down on a single carriageway road flanked on either side by swamps and/or high reeds.

    We passed through Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, where the reeds were teeming with birds. The roadkill was not the norm, we saw a dead otter, half a dozen small alligators, one large alligator & a few other unidentified hunks of furry rotting meat.

    At Creole we turned east on the LA82, passing through Grand Chenier & Abbeville, before arriving a couple of hours later at Avery Island, the home of Tabasco. Avery Island is the only place on Earth where Tabasco Peppers are grown & made in to Tabasco sauce, bottled & distributed worldwide.

    We paid our $5.50 admission fee for which we received a self guide tour map & three souvenir mini bottles each of Tabasco of varying temperatures & flavours.

    We started at the Museum, which provided a potted history of the company which was set up by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868 & is still owned by the McIlhenny family. We then went into the shop, which had all the usual gifts for sale, but most importantly they had a little tub of each of their products to sample by dipping in pretzels.

    We made the most of the free tasters & both sampled (a couple of times) the Scorpion Tabasco Sauce, which is their hottest product. To cool down our tongues, we also sampled Tabasco ice-cream & Tabasco soda.

    Eventually we dragged ourselves away from the freebies & continued with the tour. We went to the Greenhouse growing a sample of their peppers, then the Barrel Warehouse where all the barrels are made & stored, full of Tabasco Pepper paste for up to 3 years.

    Next we went the factory where the Tabasco was blended & bottled. A digital counter informed us that 367,680 bottles had been produced so far that day. It was certainly an interesting tour, but we wouldn’t want to work there because there is quite a strong pungent odour in the air.

    It was now gone 4.00pm, so we headed north passing through the towns of New Iberia & Saint Martinville, before arriving in Lafayette, ‘The Happiest City In America’. After a bit of to-ing & fro-ing & buying some very cheap booze, we settled on another decent looking Baymont Inn for just over $50 including breakfast.

    At check-in, I enquired about decent Cajon & Creole restaurants she could recommend & the receptionist kindly provided us with the name of one just a couple of miles up the road & with a voucher for a free Gumbo.

    Soon after we arrived at Prejean’s ‘Southern Cuisine Dome Right’. The free Chicken & Sausage Gumbo was only free if ordering a main meal, but we only wanted starters, so I paid extra for their ‘Tree-Time World Champion’ Gumbo. When in Rome..........

    The Gumbo was nice but not really my thing, it was a bowl of dark brown bisque with bits of chicken & sausage, with a side plate of rice & a bread roll. It was a meal in itself!

    After, our starters arrived, Jackie had Firecracker Shrimps & I had a skillet of Brussel Sprouts, with bacon, onions, garlic etc etc. All washed down with a (two for one) pint of cloudy Tin Roof Voodoo beer. Lovely.

    Song of the Day - Hot Stuff by Donna Summer.
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  • Day56

    Day 56 - HELL Paso

    June 16 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    We had an undisturbed sleep, despite the presence of so many ghosts in Tombstone. Apart from my reading glasses snapping!

    By 9.30am we were ready & back on the road. We continued east on the Arizona 80 to the mining town of Bisbee. It was dead, as if everyone was still sleeping in from the night before. The town was quaint, but we might have felt slightly out of place if we had stayed here. The whole town was decked out in Rainbow 🌈 Flags. Just south of Bisbee was the impressive Copper Mine, where there was a Viewpoint for us to stop at.

    On we went to Douglas, then headed north, still on the Arizona 80 to Road Forks. This road was virtually straight (unlike Bisbee) & virtually traffic free. The road was 81 miles long, through a rocky desert & it felt like you were genuinely in the middle of nowhere. Jackie was convinced that we could get murdered & never be found. We weren’t!

    On this stretch, which crossed into the State of New Mexico, we saw our 3rd Coyote which was on the roadside, but had slunk away before I could train my camera on it; then we saw a Roadrunner, but when I stopped a car appeared forcing me to move on without a photo. Finally a pair of Turkey Vultures munching on dead rabbit even evaded me by flying off every time I raised my camera, then only returning as I drove off.

    The only thing of note was a Monument commemorating the Surrender of Geronimo on 4th September 1886 in nearby Skeleton Canyon. Geronimo had surrendered several times previously, always escaping shortly after, but on this occasion he agreed to the surrender terms. He was in fact the last American Indian Warrior to surrender to the United States & this finally ended the Apache - US conflict.

    At Road Forks, we picked up Interstate 10 again, but came off at Lordsburg for water at the petrol station, then McDonalds for an iced coffee. It felt decidedly rough, mainly Mexicans & long distance lorry drivers. We didn’t hang about, but continued east.

    There was nothing to see on this road, but sign after sign warning us of the risk of dust storms & advice on what to do. They warned that in the event of a dust storm we could encounter zero visibility & we should pull over on to the hard shoulder & wait until it passed. We didn’t encounter a dust storm, just the odd dust devil, which was just as well as we had the top down.

    We passed by Deming to Las Cruces, where sadly I’d forgotten that we needed to seek out the jail where Billy the Kid was housed. The Interstate than headed south towards El Paso, but for no apparent reason the SatNav took us off on the 404 to Chaparral, not sure if it was ‘High’. It was actually a pleasant route, then we headed south on the 213 & over the State Border into Texas.

    We stopped at a Walmart for bottles of water & new ‘peepers’, then continued into El Paso for a look round. We headed for the city centre & drove past the Holocaust Museum, History Museum & the baseball ground called Southwest University Park. It was busy because fans were arriving for a game & resulted in us having a row about whether I should take photos or concentrate on my driving.

    By now it was 6.00pm, we had skipped forward an hour, so we decided to sort out our accommodation for the night. I found an absolute bargain on Booking.com, which was just a couple of miles away, but the SatNav was saying it would take 75 minutes to get there. It was in Mexico!

    Our next selection looked rough, so we tried again & chose Extended Stay America near El Paso Airport. It looked ok from the outside & was cheap, so we booked it on-line. The receptionist who had been smoking outside the back door had a series of forms for us to fill in, mainly deeming us liable to a $250 charge if we smoked within 100 feet of the motel!!

    Instead of dropping off our rucksacks, we went straight out to see what food was available nearby. We ended up at the Corner Bakery Cafe, where we both had very acceptable bowls of pasta & lemonade. After, we returned to our motel & parked our ‘inconspicuous’ car close to the stairwell. The stairwell was a disgrace, with dustbins, not just overflowing, but hidden by stinking bags of rubbish & there were fag butts everywhere.

    Our room is large, but the beds were hardly made, the sheets definitely hadn’t been ironed & there were bits on the floor. Luckily we have an end room, so there is no walkway outside our window, but the windows must be single glazed, because we can hear every noise outside. The other residents seem to all have vans & lorries, which they seem to feel the need to have to rearrange the contents of during the entire evening.

    As I write, we are in bed praying that our ‘Doodle’ remains unscathed over night. El Paso has a nasty feel about it. Every road junction has people accosting you, trying to sell you something. Jackie doesn’t feel comfortable here, but it is too late to go anywhere else. I daren’t tell Jackie that just 3 days ago, it was discovered that 100s of ISIS Fighters had entered the US from Mexico via the El Paso Border.

    Hopefully we will be out of here 1st thing in the morning & will never need to come back.

    Song of the Day - El Paso by Marty Robbins.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

United States, USA, U.S., Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika, Verenigde State van Amerika, Amɛrika, አሜሪካ, الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية, যুক্তৰাষ্ট্ৰ, Amerika Birləşmiş Ştatları, Злучаныя Штаты Амерыкі, Съединени щати, Ameriki, মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র, ཨ་མེ་རི་ཀ་, Stadoù-Unanet, Sjedinjene Američke Države, Estats Units, Spojené státy americké, Yr Unol Daleithiau, Amerikas Forenede Stater, ཡུ་ནའིཊེཊ་སི་ཊེསི, USA nutome, Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής, Usono, Estados Unidos, Ameerika Ühendriigid, Estatu Batuak, ایالات متحده, Dowlaaji Dentuɗi Amerik, Yhdysvallat, Sambandsríki Amerika, États-Unis, Feriene Steaten, Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, Estados Unidos de América, સંયુકત રાજ્ય/ અમેરિકા, Amurka, ארצות הברית, संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका, Amerika, Egyesült Államok, Միացյալ Նահանգներ, Statos Unite, Amerika Serikat, ꂰꇩ, Bandaríki Norður-Ameríku, Stati Uniti, アメリカ合衆国, ამერიკის შეერთებული შტატები, АҚШ, Naalagaaffeqatigiit, សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក, ಅಮೇರಿಕಾ ಸಂಯುಕ್ತ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನ, 미국, وڵاتە یەکگرتووەکان, Statys Unys, ສະຫະລັດອາເມລິກາ, Jungtinės Valstijos, Amerikas Savienotās Valstis, Etazonia, Соединети Американски Држави, അമേരിക്കന്‍ ഐക്യനാടുകള്‍, Америкийн Нэгдсэн Улс, संयुक्त राज्ये /अमेरिका, Amerika Syarikat, ယူနိုက်တက်စတိတ်, Amerikas forente stater, Amelika, संयुक्त राज्य, Verenigde Staten, Sambandsstatane, ଯୁକ୍ତ ରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର ଆମେରିକା, Stany Zjednoczone, Stadis Unids da l'America, Leta Zunze Ubumwe za Amerika, Statele Unite, США, Amerihká Ovttastuvvan Stáhtat, ÂLeaa-Ôko tî Amerika, එක්සත් ජනපදය, Spojené štáty americké, ZDA, Maraykanka, Shtetet e Bashkuara të Amerikës, Сједињене Државе, Amerikas Förenta Stater, Marekani, ஐக்கிய அமெரிக்க குடியரசு, సంయుక్త రాజ్య అమెరికా, สหรัฐอเมริกา, Puleʻanga fakatahataha ʻAmelika, Amerika Birleşik Devletleri, Сполучені Штати Америки, ریاستہائے متحدہ, Қўшма Штатлар, Hoa Kỳ, Orílẹ́ède Orilẹede Amerika, 美国, i-United States

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