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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default B-52s

    I've never heard the Concorde, but the B-52s make enough of a racket for me. It especially gets noisey when they're heading out for a mission. My entire house will shake and they just seem to keep coming. Try waking up to that at 2:00 am. You start having nightmares of planes accidentally dropping bombs in your backyard.

    I'm lucky though, that I was born after the sonic booms. I remember going to my grandmother's house as a kid and all of her pottery and glassware was glued down to the shelves and much of it was cracked from the sonic booms. I can't even fathom that noise.

    Laura

  2. #12

    Default Days 7 & 8

    Another extraordinary breakfast. This time it was pancakes with tinned strawberries and sausage. Seriously. Fred, the owner, sits down to visit with us. He asks us about the "terrible fog you always get over in London". We ask him how the Cowardly Lion is. Fred and his wife Kathy are very nice.

    My girlfriend, Donna, insists on taking their picture, something she's done all along the way. Kathy disappears to apply some make up. For 30 mins.

    As we're so close to Holcomb and as Donna has just read Capote's In Cold Blood we decided to visit the town. It seems kind of sad but maybe that was just me projecting.

    We have lunch at a Mexican in Lakin before embarking on a detour of the blue highways of Kansas. It's just totally flat and quiet - the only landmarks are grain elevators. I am stupidly happy with all this flatness. Temperature around 98. Even the air is warm at 60mph.

    Finally head into Colorado. US-50 a bit dull now but when we finally hit the Rockies the temperature plummets from 93 to 70 in about 10 minutes. Remarkable.

    We reach Salida at 7.45pm to be met by Steve "Mountain Man" Office and his wife Tammy at their homely B&B, Thomas House, just shy of downtown. Our room, the Princeton Suite, is the size of a small apartment.

    We head out to 1st Street Cafe where tiny Donna orders huge plates of food. We also polish off a litre of fantastic margarita [spotting the trend yet?] before making for the Victoria Tavern. We decide not to make a night of it as we're both still feeling the effects of the Lawrenceville lunacy [and I don't mean the Yorkshire pudding]. Bed.

    Breakfast the next morning is french toast and syrup. Steve and Tammy tell us to take the West Elk Loop on the way to Grand Junction.
    Donna gets out the camera. Steve removes a small dog from his beard and proclaims himself ready to be snapped.

    We reach Monarch Pass and hour or two later. It's the Continental Divide. West of the divide people vote for Bush and East of the divide they think he's too liberal [sorry, political joke].

    I persuade Donna to take the cable car to the top. She agrees finally, although not without some coercion. Once up the cable car [$7 return, bargain hunters!], Donna is fine, taking her usual 345 pictures of the same rivet or safety sign from a multiplicity of angles.

    Up top it's fantastic and not too cold which is just as well as I'm wearing my lederhosen again. Donna getting hungry. You don't want Donna getting hungry. She may weigh about 100lbs but she packs a punch.

    Finally get lunch at Gunnison. Donna eats waitress, then potato skins, ranch burger, and finally table.

    Turn off at Sapinero for loop. It's beautiful but very long. We drive past Joe Cocker's house. It's not very impressive.

    Grand Junction proves to be a real find. Tree-lined and, amazingly, art-lined the main street is a gem.

    Our downtown Hampton Inn is pretty good and we have a great dinner at the Rendez-Vous French restaurant. The food is fantastic and the wine is even better. We sit outside with some of the staff who are having a birthday party. A really nice evening. And not a margarita in sight.

    Tomorrow we head for Utah. We're excited....

    TBC

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default Must be something in the water....

    Three recent UK-bred field report writers and all are a hoot to read (UKCraig, Vambo25 and you).

    Thanks,

    Mark

  4. #14

    Default Days 9 - 11

    Up at 8am and a wander round Grand Junction. What a really nice town.
    However, I discover that I've lost my power supply to my Powerbook. Duh, no more in-room internet research and booking of rooms. Can we find a replacement? Can we heck. Donna hits me upside the head so we head to the Main Street Cafe for the worst breakfast of the trip. Truly awful in every way.

    We then head for the nearby Colorado National Monument which is pretty impressive. Donna takes lots of pictures. Lots.

    Then it's off to the I-70 for a spot of speed. 75mph speed limit! Thank the god of roads. It's one of the enduring mysteries of US road trips for me - the ridiculously low speed limits. I've only ever been stopped twice for speeding in my life - both times in America, once in Idaho and once in Montana. Both times my English accent and apologetic simperings saved the day and the fine.

    Anyway, there we are rattling along at 85 when, kaboom, it happens. We're heading for Red Cliffs Lodge near Moab and Donna suggests an obscure-looking turn-off. I question Donna's map-reading. All hell breaks loose. Suffice to say the explosion means that we miss Cisco ghost town and that Donna fluffs a great chance to shoot a vast freight train at a crossing.

    It calms down quickly when I admit my error. The route is fantastic - typical southwestern Utah with huge red rock edifices in wide open spaces. So wide are the spaces, in fact, that we pass the Fisher Valley Farm which has a 13-mile driveway with a mailbox at the end. 13 miles! Incroyable!

    We reach the Lodge, a little too soon as we were enjoying the drive so much. But our room overlooks the Colorado River which runs about 5 yards away from our terrace. We celebrate by opening a bottle of wine. This proves to be a mistake later.

    Dinner is served on the terrace of the lodge. The view is truly wonderful. We get excited and tuck into more wine which is just as well as the food is pretty awful. We toddle off to bed a little worse for wear.

    The next day is spent reading and lounging around the pool, recovering from our excesses. Poor dinner again.

    The next day we check out and make for Moab for breakfast - we can't face any more food at the Lodge, great view or not. Two plates of eggs Benedict later we're off to the Arches National Park. Maybe it's me but I find it a huge disappointment. Too few holes and arches for my liking.

    Drive north to the I-70. More 75mph speed limits and a really great drive. I didn't realise interstate driving could be so pleasurable but then this is Utah.

    Finally get on to US-50 heading towards Nevada. Oh. My. God. What a road. This kind of road is exactly why I love these trips. Surely the US-50 from Utah into Nevada is every driver's dream. We stop off at Sevier Lake and walk onto the dry, salt-encrusted surface. There's no sound or sign of life in any direction. Just wonderful. Donna takes pictures. I'm in heaven.

    Then it gets even better. The last 19-mile stretch from Utah into Nevada is straight like an arrow - you can see the entire 19 miles. The light is that soft, saturated, diffused light that's unique to early evening. I drive at 50mph, not wanting the stretch to end and knowing that we gain an hour once we get to the border. I can't tell you how happy I was for that 25 minutes or so.

    We reach Ely at 8.30pm and check into the bizarre Victorian-era Hotel Nevada. Anyone who's been there knows just what a strange place this is but we were equally charmed and bemused. What is it with the gambling bug? There were fruit machines EVERYWHERE. Well everywhere there weren't stuffed bears and antelopes, that is. Our room is the Lyndon B Johnson suite. We head down to the casino/bar. They have 99c margaritas. Uh-oh.....

    MORE TO COME SOON...

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default Some of the rooms are haunted...

    I like the Hotel Nevada -- and you have to try the steaks next door at the Jailhouse Cafe. More info here!

    Mark

  6. #16

    Default Days 12-13

    We awake several times during the night in the Hotel Nevada. There are dogs howling and drunks yelling. And that's just in our room.
    It's not a particularly restful night, especially as an inebriated local informed us that our room was haunted by a con artist. Didn't bother me but Donna's quite thrifty - she is an Essex girl after all.

    After our restless night we're glad that the hotel restaurant is serving excellent FC [full cholesterol] breakfasts. My food comes first so Donna starts licking her arm for salt. Finally her roast cow arrives. She even uses a knife and fork. While re-filling our cups with coffee the waitress asks us where we're from. Donna looks up impatiently from gnawing at one of the cow's hind legs. I tell the waitress, "England." Then it happens. One of those moments you hear about but never believe will happen to you.

    The waitress responds thus: "Cool, what language do you speak over there?"
    We both look at each other. Donna drops the leg in shock. Is she joking?
    From the vaguely inquisitive look on her face it appears not.
    "Er, English," I reply.
    "Wow, really? I thought you spoke English real good."
    Better than you do, I thought, perhaps a little uncharitably.

    We wander around Ely for half an hour or so taking pictures of the murals. It's a nice little town. On our way West Donna spots the "US-50 - The Loneliest Highway" sign and takes perhaps 4,567 frames.

    Then begins another fantastic drive which earns the US-50 the loneliest road sobriquet. This part of Nevada is beautiful and huge and full of nothing. Absolutely astounding.

    Then we get to Eureka. Before we embarked on this road trip we'd earmarked one hotel that we really wanted to stay in - the Jackson House Hotel in Eureka. When we'd called to reserve a room we got the Best Western down the road telling us that it was shut. I was, as we Cockneys say, gutted. It's owned by Jeff Bartley, the same man who owns the Best Western. I tried to see Jeff to have a chat but he was in Alaska. Likely story.

    Anyway, we crept in to see the place as there were some very friendly guys performing some maintenance. It's a terrific old-style hotel, with real class. The bar itself must be 100 years old. We find out it's for lease. We discuss leasing it and setting it up as an upscale getaway boutique hotel. Then we remember. I'm a writer and Donna's a photographer. Neither of us has any knowledge of the hospitality business whatsoever. It was a brief but delightful dream.

    We continue West. Suddenly the road is carpeted with weird brown insects. What the hell are they? Kamikaze crickets? Mile after mile of them just sitting in the road. We stop off at some petroglyphs although I've forgotten where. Out of the car all is still and calm. We are utterly alone. It's spinetingling. Then Donna's stomach rumbles. Uh-oh. Better get a move on.

    We find food at either Austin or Cold Springs, I really can't remember which [the town was on a hill]. We find the loneliest phone which is adjacent to the buggy-infested Sand Mountain and the dried up Carson Lake and airbase. Donna has a brief reverie which includes Tom Cruise and a fighter jet. We spend some time just watching the pilots horse around in the sky, as though they were just riding bikes.

    We head toward Lake Tahoe and find lodging by the lake. Bed.

    The highlight of the next day is Lake Tahoe and me joining the Lake Tahoe Bear League. I'm the only English member. Still am actually. The drive down from Lake Tahoe becomes increasingly traffic-ridden and I find myself yearning for Nevada again. I think it might be my favourite American state. Well, it's certainly in the top two with Montana. The drive is now boring. We're nearing San Francisco and the end of our 3,400 mile road-trip. We feel sad and vow to do another next year. We're totally hooked.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default You really do "speak" English well...

    The waitress responds thus: "Cool, what language do you speak over there?"
    We both look at each other. Donna drops the leg in shock. Is she joking?
    From the vaguely inquisitive look on her face it appears not.
    "Er, English," I reply.
    "Wow, really? I thought you spoke English real good."
    Better than you do, I thought, perhaps a little uncharitably
    I'm guessing the looks on y'alls faces were similar to the ones on mine and my sister's faces when asked about speaking French at home. What?! Now Craig (UKCraig) can testify that I have a very redneck/Southern accent. How the heck they thought I could switch to French from that accent when at home, I don't know. Oh, this was in Upstate New York, not even a foreign country.

    I'm almost sad that these daily installments are almost over. I've enjoyed logging in everyday and reading. I hope that you have a large backlog of trip tales to regale us with.

    Laura

  8. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    I'm guessing the looks on y'alls faces were similar to the ones on mine and my sister's faces when asked about speaking French at home. What?! Now Craig (UKCraig) can testify that I have a very redneck/Southern accent. How the heck they thought I could switch to French from that accent when at home, I don't know. Oh, this was in Upstate New York, not even a foreign country.

    I'm almost sad that these daily installments are almost over. I've enjoyed logging in everyday and reading. I hope that you have a large backlog of trip tales to regale us with.

    Laura
    Thanks for your kind words, Laura. I've undertaken a few trips [mostly solo] but only two on which I kept a daily diary [you won't be surprised to learn that the ultra-efficient Donna is to thank for that]. The other one was a totally random road trip from Austin TX, to San Antonio, TX, via Nebraska.
    I might have a go at writing that up this week.

    And we'll be heading your way at the start of June. I've been to New Orleans three times and found it rather dispiriting but I've never spent much time in Cajun country, despite cooking a mean jambalaya. I'll have to remedy that in June.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Welcome to Louisiana

    New Orleans is a great city to visit but I didn't like living there at all. Long story, but the pollution finally got to me so badly that a doctor told me the only cure was to move. That was my final straw. I was back in Shreveport within a month. There was a good amount of homesickness involved as well, but that was the final straw.

    I actually live in the northern part of the state where Louisiana meets Texas and Arkansas. But, I've lived in New Orleans and done extensive travelling within the whole state. I'll be glad to answer any questions that you have.

    Laura

  10. #20

    Default

    So, do you live anywhere near Lake Providence?

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