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  1. Default USA roadtrip 2014 -- Loop from California to Wyoming and Texas

    Hello Everyone, as most of you know, Pete and I are currently on our fifth roadtrip in the USA. Tomorrow is the start of week two. At the moment we are in Jackson, Wyoming and have been for the last five days. It's been a grey, cold and cloudy day today with light snow showers off and on, so we are taking the opportunity to R&R and catch up with a few chores. In between doing the washing I have been writing the first of our Travelogues to share our adventures with you all. This is Part One. I am also sending Part Two today as I have such a lot of photos. Part One will cover our trip from Los Angeles to Jackson, and Part two is all about Jackson as we have spent a lot of time here and seen so much.

    We started in L.A. with the pick up of our big beautiful GMC Yukon SUV. We had a quick brunch at Denny's Diner then headed off to Fresno, California.

    We drove through some very dry landscapes, very reminiscent of Australia in summer, as California is suffering badly from drought.

    At Fresno we stayed a couple of nights to recover from our jetlag and to stock up on essentials at Walmart.

    Whilst there I renewed my love affair with the cute squirrels.

    From Fresno we drove to Yosemite National Park, on a glorious sunny day, first stopping at the Mariposa Grove of giant Sequoia trees.

    They are absolutely awe inspiring. I was just blown away to think that some of these trees have been alive for well over two thousand years. We also saw the California Tunnel tree. It was cut in 1895 to allow coaches to pass through it (and as a marketing scheme to attract visitors to the grove), this is the only living tree with a tunnel in it since the fall of the Wawona Tunnel Tree in 1969.

    Hopefully they would never do anything like that to these magnificient trees now. The remarkable thing is that it is still alive!!

    After that we drove through the rest of Yosemite, stopping to take photos of the little Yosemite Chapel as well as other beautiful scenery.

    From Yosemite we drove to Lee Vining for the night so we could visit Mono Lake nearby with it's limestone Tufa Towers. We drove down to the South Tufa Reserve on Mono Lake in time for sunset. The lake is beautiful and the Tufas give it a very surreal appearance.

    The next morning we drove west towards Reno just in time to catch the reflection of a beautiful sunrise in Mono Lake.

    We stopped at Reno for lunch, driving through some pretty Fall scenery,

    then pushed on to Salt Lake City in Utah. We stayed there a couple of nights and did a bit of sight seeing. It is a beautiful city and although we have seen it before it is always worth another look. Especially when it is cloaked in it's Autumn colours.

    We enjoyed revisiting Temple Square, the Capitol Building and the very pretty Deveraux House, which is also known as the Staines-Jennings Mansion,and was built in 1857 for William Staines. It was designed by William Paul.

    From Salt Lake City we drove to West Yellowstone in Montana for three nights. The first day we drove into Yellowstone N.P. hoping to see some wildlife but the weather changed and by early afternoon it was snowing quite heavily. Unfortunately the animals stayed somewhere warm and we only saw a few Bison on our drive.

    We were lucky to get back to the motel as the roads became quite dangerous and quite a few motorists came unstuck. I heard that the roads were closed shortly after we drove through. We did get held up at some road works in the park for about 20 minutes during the worst of the snow storm while we waited for the pilot vehicle to lead us through.

    I felt sorry for the Stop and Go guy. I really can't imagine our road works people putting up with those conditions. They down tools in a heavy rain storm!!! And it was a Sunday!!

    We finally made it back to town and stopped at a lovely warm Cafe with two fireplaces for an early dinner as we had missed lunch.

    The poor Yukon looked like an undefrosted freezer.

    The next day we woke up to a fairy land in town and I took the opportunity to spend some time at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Centre a short walk from our hotel. I got some great shots of the wolves and grizzly bears in the snow.

    The next morning we drove through Yellowstone Park to spend some time in Jackson Hole and the Teton N.P. It was a glorious sunny morning and the park looked like a winter wonderland with snow and icicles everywhere, glinting in the sun.

    One thing that did amaze me was the number of Fly Fisherman standing in the Madison River fishing. And I thought photographers were crazy!!!

    The river looked very picturesque and mysterious surrounded by snow with the early morning steam rising from it.

    We arrived in Jackson around lunch time and checked into a lovely hotel just a few minutes walk from town, ready to explore both it and the Teton N.P. over the next five days.

    Stay tuned for Part Two.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-07-2016 at 11:20 AM. Reason: restored the photos

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Wonderful.

    Wow! Ann, that was well worth waiting for. Thank you so much for taking the time. I am looking forward to further episodes.


  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Wow! Ann, that was well worth waiting for. Thank you so much for taking the time. I am looking forward to further episodes.

    Thank you Lifey. I need to thank Keith and Mark for getting it up there. We are just about to leave on our next trip so haven't had the time to try and work out how to do it yet. :)

  4. Default Jackson Hole Wyoming

    Well folks, here is part two. I hope you enjoyed part one and didn't get bored with all the photos. There's not quite so many this time.

    We are on our last night in Jackson Hole in Wyoming. We have had mixed weather, but most of it has been good. We drove into town in glorious Indian Summer weather and booked into a hotel just a few minutes walk from town. On our second morning in town we woke to a dusting of snow around but it quickly melted and we hit the streets to explore the town. The town of Jackson is a very upmarket town full of art and photography galleries and some very inviting eateries. We drove out to the Historical Moulton barns on Mormon Row just inside the Teton N.P. and then caught up with my friend from Jackson, Annie, for lunch to plan our day of fun looking for things to photograph.

    The next day Annie and I headed out into the park and within a few minutes had found a group of Moose in amongst some trees not far from the road. We got some wonderful photos of the bull and twin calves, but the cow stayed well in the background.

    We had a wonderful day and I got to see the Wedding Trees, used for weddings with the majestic Tetons in the background, as well as the Shane Cabin, an old cabin originally built and owned by Luther Taylor in 1916. The cabin was featured in the 1953 Western movie Shane, hence the nickname.

    That afternoon we headed into town for the Halloween celebrations in the town square. They really got into it with kids and parents dressing up and wandering around the town trick or treating the stores and collecting a ton of candy. I don't think too many wanted dinner after all that. The costumes were wonderful and there was a competition for the best costumes in the square. Of course the headless horseman was the favourite and took out first prize.

    Yesterday Pete and I drove around the park and I found some more wildlife such as a little Chipmunk, a Mule Deer and some Pronghorns. We also went and had a look at the Historic Miller House inside the Elk Refuge. The Miller House was built in 1885 by Robert Miller who served as the first superintendant of the Teton national Monument. We finished a wonderful day with dinner in town with Annie and her husband.

    Today was spent doing the washing and writing this Travelogue. I was delighted to find a moose cow and her calf resting and munching on some willow shrubs right next to the hotel laundry. Tonight we are having dinner at Annie's house and tomorrow we sadly, but excitedly, leave for the next chapter of our adventure.

    But that, my friends, will be another chapter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default awesome animal photos

    Yes, really beautiful photos. Enjoyed the tale!

    (And thanks to Keith for getting this posted!)



    Hi Folks,
    Well it's time for another Travelogue. The last one finished in Jackson Wyoming. After Jackson Pete and I drove to Idaho Falls. The morning was cold and partly cloudy but cleared to a beautiful sunny day. Along the way we saw a Wind Turbine farm that we were sure hadn't been there two years ago. After checking into the motel we drove back out to the turbines to have a closer look. Now I know a lot of people don't like them but I think they look quite beautiful. So clean and bright like a modern sculpture. I liked the geometric lines they made in the golden fields.

    After Idaho Falls we headed to Bryce Canyon in Utah. I love the red and cream hoodoos of the Canyon. Although not as big and mind blowing as the Grand Canyon I think Bryce is actually prettier, especially with the early morning sun backlighting the sandstone rocks. They seem almost transluscent. I think we stopped at almost every viewpoint in the park. We even found some snow at a couple of them.

    While staying at Bryce we also drove down to Zion National Park about an hour away and I was very happy to get some shots of the resident Bighorn Sheep, including a couple of mature rams with their big curving horns. The park itself was gorgeous with it's amazing red cliffs and autumn foliage. It was quite a warm day, compared to Jackson Hole anyway, and sunny, which brought the tourists out in droves. We couldn't believe how many people were there.

    After Bryce we headed for my longtime favourite place, Monument Valley, for a couple of nights. As usual the monoliths were beautiful and Mother Nature put on a nice show at sunset and sunrise for us. This visit I decided to go on a guided tour to give Peter a break from driving around. I went with a lovely couple from Arizona. The Navajo guide was very knowledgeable and interesting and an extremely good driver, driving over and through pot holes and ruts that even experienced rally drivers would balk at. He was especially skilful at driving full pelt through the sand dunes one handed while hanging on to his can of soda. I think sitting in the front seat might have been a mistake on my part!!

    Apart from showing us his driving skills we also got to see some beautiful arches and sand dunes that can't be seen on the self drive tour that we have done in previous visits. He also sang us a Navajo song in one of the big cavelike arches called Hidden Arch. All in all it was a wonderful 3 hour experience.

    The next morning we woke to a beautiful sunrise and said farewell to the magical valley and headed off to our next stop, Williams, in Arizona, via the mighty Grand Canyon. Once again the weather was perfect with warm sunshine and blue skies. The canyon was stunning but once again we were surprised by the number of tourists we encountered. We went to the South Rim viewpoint but to be honest I think the view from the Desert View lookout was far better. Also there is a 70ft high stone building there called the Watchtower which was built in 1932 that you can climb to the top of for an even better view of the canyon.

    A bonus for me was the huge bull elk I found sitting in the shade near the Watchtower. He was massive with a huge rack of antlers any hunter would have been proud to hang on his wall. I was glad he was safe in the National Park. He didn't seem too bothered by all the silly tourists tripping over the brush trying to get a good photo of him, me included.

    We got into Williams late and by the time we had checked into a motel it was dark so we just walked up the main street to an old 50's style diner called the Cruiser for dinner. Williams is named after William "Old Bill" Williams, a mountain man and trader who often trapped in the area. Williams was the last town to have it's section of Route 66 bypassed. The following year Route 66 was decommissioned. The town is full of Route 66 souvenir shops and has some old restored original buildings and gas stations. It is also famous for being the gateway to the Grand Canyon and is a terminus for the Grand Canyon Railway. It's definitely a tourist town now and a bit cheesy, but we liked it and enjoyed our stay there.

    Next stop was Albuquerque in New Mexico which I will talk about in the next chapter.

    Until then, take care and I hope you enjoy the photos.

  7. Default Williams to san antone

    Hi Everyone,
    Here I am again with more of our travels. Last chapter finished in Williams, Arizona. After Williams we made the long and very dusty drive to Albuqurque in New Mexico. We stopped briefly for lunch at Holbrook but didn't linger as the wind was very strong and there was dust and tumbleweeds everywhere. We stayed two nights so we could drive up to Santa Fe for the day. Santa Fe is very pretty with it's distinctive adobe homes and buildings. The downtown area is very arty and full of art and gift shops. It's very expensive and upmarket but beautiful, with some genuinely old and amazing buildings, including a couple of beautiful old churches. One of them is the San Miguel Church which was built in 1610 and is the oldest church in the USA. The other one is the St. Francis Cathedral and was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1886. We were also very lucky to arrive in time to see the Veterans Day parade which was a bonus. That was fun and we were even given a couple of American flags to wave. All in all, another good day.

    From Albuquerque we headed to Roswell, New Mexico, but detoured for a couple of hours to drive around the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Reserve to see some of the wintering birds. The Snow Geese were the loudest and most prominent flock there, as well as a lot of ducks and the beautiful grey Sandhill Cranes. We also saw deer and a wild pig. The day before a photographer had been lucky to see and photograph a Mountain Lion and her tiny cubs, but I didn't get that lucky.

    The reserve was very pretty with the Fall colour just coming into it's peak down south. After that we headed to Roswell, New Mexico, home of the infamous UFO crash landing. After driving through a few scattered and extremely small towns, one of which seemed to consist solely of a rock shop beside the road, we arrived at Roswell and were surprised at just how big it is. Over 50,000 people live there and there is a very large Military Institute in the middle of town. Apart from the inevitable slightly seedy, but amusing, UFO souvenir shops and the very serious UFO museum the town is normal and quite lovely. We enjoyed our time there, although the sudden cold snap they were experiencing made walking around town a little uncomfortable. The temperature had dropped from 80F (25C) to 26F (-3C) in one day. It was so cold even our water bottles in the car froze overnight. It also snowed off and on for most of the day we were there, something that rarely happens in Roswell, even at Xmas. The UFO museum was quite interesting, documenting all the stories and news reports of the "alleged" Alien crash landing.

    According to Wikepedia:

    "The Roswell UFO incident refers to the events surrounding the crash of a military Air Force surveillance balloon at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947 which gave rise to claims alleging the crash was of an extraterrestrial spaceship.
    After an initial spike of interest in the crash, the military, reported that the crash was merely a conventional weather balloon. Interest in the crash subsequently waned until the late 1970s when ufologists began promoting a variety of increasingly elaborate conspiracy theories claiming that one or more alien spacecraft had crash-landed and that the extraterrestrial occupants had been recovered by the military who then engaged in a cover-up.
    In the 1990s the US military published reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed Project Mogul balloon. Nevertheless, the Roswell incident continues to be of interest in popular media, and conspiracy theories surrounding the event persist. Roswell has been called "the world's most famous, most exhaustively investigated, and most thoroughly debunked UFO claim".
    After Roswell we made the long drive which took us from west of the Pecos River, through the town of Pecos to the Interstate 10 highway to San Antonio in Texas.

    For quite a long time we seemed to be the only private vehicle on the road as the rest was made up of oil tankers and other oil worker vehicles servicing the large amount of oil wells scattered across the ranches. We saw more oil wells than cattle, and the vehicles reminded me of a colony of ants who have just found a large insect and are rushing to harvest it before something else gets it. Very curious. It also slowed us down with trucks entering and leaving the oil fields.

    Once we reached the I10, however, we were able to get going again, but we still arrived late in San Antonio and hit the Friday night peak hour traffic. We were extremely glad when we found a hotel not too far from downtown and could finally stop driving for the day.
    Now we are in San Antonio, or San Antone as the locals affectionately call her, and looking forward to exploring the city and her famous landmark, The Alamo. I will tell you all about it in the next chapter.

  8. Default San Antonio, or, as the locals call it, San Antone,

    Hi Folks,
    I seem to be getting a bit behind with my Travelogues but we have been pretty busy.

    Our time in San Antonio was really good. We arrived on a beautiful sunny, but cold day, but unfortunately the next two days dawned grey and showery. That didn't dampen our spirits, however, as there were things we wanted to do that were indoors anyway.

    The first day we went to San Marcos, just north of San Antonio, to see Dicks Classic Car Museum. The cars were beautifully restored and presented and the displays were very interesting, for me. We spent quite a bit of time there and took heaps of photos.

    After that we stopped at a Home Depot, a hardware store like our Bunnings. We just love the things you can buy here and the Xmas department is amazing.

    The second day we decided to go to Bass Pro Outdoors World which we love browsing through. For the folks back home, Bass pro is a hunting, camping and fishing store 10 times bigger than BCF or Anaconda in Australia. The dioramas are fantastic and, once again, the things you buy there are mind blowing. Apart from all the fishing, hunting and camping paraphernalia there is my favourite part, the camouflage department. Apart from hunting clothing and hides, which I could have used in the Bosque del Apache Wildlife refuge, you can get anything you want in Camo, from bed linen and lounge chairs to ladies underwear. I actually saw a man wearing a camo jacket sitting in a camo recliner. Now that was a photo just begging to be taken, but I resisted.

    After wandering around in Bass Pro for an hour or two we went next door to the Fish Company restaurant where I had shrimp and crab gumbo and a platter of fried catfish and Alligator. I hadn't tried the Alligator before and I found it really quite tasty. I couldn't talk Peter into trying it though.

    While I'm still on the subject of Camouflage, about a week later while we were in the Texas hill Country we parked next to a big V8 truck all covered in..... you guessed it, camouflage. Right down to the wheels. The deer might be able to hear it coming from a mile off, but at least they won't be able to see it!!

    Our third day in San Antonio, or, as the locals call it, San Antone, dawned bright and clear, so we went Downtown and had a look at the famous Alamo, where the fight between the Americans and the Mexicans in 1836 took place. Among the many men who gave their lives that day were Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. To this day, the Battle of the Alamo, although lost to General Santa Anna, is a symbol of heroism and the Alamo is a shrine to Texas Liberty.

    After the Alamo we crossed the road to see the San Antonio Riverwalk, which is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of Downtown San Antonio. It is really pretty, with water taxis going up and down the river and canals and a huge variety of restaurants and cafes along the banks.

    The next day was another fine day so we took a trip down to Corpus Christie, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. At this time of the year it was pretty quiet as it was too cold for the beach and swimming, as Peter was to find out before we had lunch. He was in and out of the water so quick I barely had time to take a photo!!

    While at Corpus Christie we visited the USS Lexington Museum. The USS Lexington was a world war two aircraft carrier that is now a permanent museum just off the North Beach of Corpus Christie. That too was really interesting. I'd never been on an aircraft carrier before and was blown away by how big the flight deck was.

    Although Corpus Christie has a population of just under 400,000 it is home of the Port of Christie, the fifth largest port in the country, and handles mostly oil and agricultural products. It also boasts an International airport.

    The next day we left San Antonio and headed to Fredricksburg, an old German town in the Texas Hill Country, but more about that in Chapter 6.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-09-2016 at 10:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Ah...., It is San Antonio!

    Nice photos -- really help to put the text into context...


  10. Default

    Thank you Mark. :)

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