Sunday, November 09, 2008

A new home

Moving to my new home....

Click HERE for my new blog

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving On...

It has occured to me that the blog 'Road Trip USA' isn't all that appropriate anymore. I feel that part of our life has come to it's natural end and we can't hide from that fact any longer. We never knew 'how' the trip would end. I always dreaded the idea that flights would be booked back to England and Harvey would be off to the knackers yard, no longer part of our family. But then I never was very good at facing up to these things, though it's gotta be said the path we're taking isn't exactly an easy option in itself.And so the path to Canada beckoned. Immigration into Canada is far from easy. The current wait times for a federal application processed in London is 4-5 years and from all accounts getting longer by the day. Still that little nugget chugs along in the clockwork of London CIC.

And our road trip ground to a standstill in British Columbia - our new home of choice! Basically if we can find a job and have a few bits of paper signed by the future employer there are ways and means of getting here somewhat quicker. In the short term as a temporary worker (being able to start work in as little as 3 weeks) and in the longer term as a permanent resident (that old application gets hauled out of the dusty cupboard to be processed with priority). Different options. Different choices to be made.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy bee!

Only a week left here in Kelowna. We've had some good fall weather - cold, like frost in the morning a couple of days, but so crisp and fresh. Been out walking most days - on the Greenway here. It's a 14km trail along the Mission creek and is absolutely beautiful and with the leaves changing right now every day is a different picture. Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. We're celebrating by Chris going out on a bike ride and me staying at home (but that's OK!). Our landlord here at the RV park brought us fresh apple juice yesterday - Oh WOW - talk about good - you'd be satisfied just from the smell of it let alone the taste!

So I've been taking an online digital scrapbooking class with Jessica Sprague. It's been awesome so far. Lots of new and quite funky techniques - I never knew you could do so much with Adobe Photoshop! Catching up on some layouts I've wanted to do for a while from this last 6 months. Here are some of them;

Friday, October 03, 2008

So it's not all work

We might be job-hunting but we have to remind ourselves that we are in the Okanagan - this might have to be the prettiest part of BC though there's plenty of contenders - no wonder we want to live here! This week took advantage of the fantastic fall weather and took a ride out with Tony. 220 miles in the day with a plesant stop for lunch on a lakeside. There's a book on the biking roads of BC - Destination Highways and we rode the number 7 rated road (based on twistiness, engineering, remoteness, scenery, road surface etc). It was a lovely trip - I just loved the colours, the leaves are really starting to turn here.
These are the sort of views you get in the rear view mirror (yes that's Chris in the background - I'm not daft to risk my camera as we're actually riding!)

Chris - making friends. In this case it appears to be Sasquatch(...Or this from a couple of days ago. Making friends AND influencing people! And in case you weren't sure - yes that is a RCMP uniform. Put it this way she wasn't writing down her phone number for him!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What can I say?!...

Not heaps happenning here. Busy doing stuff though I wouldn't like to define stuff!! Have had some pretty great autumn weather. Lots of walking along the beautiful Mission Greenway in Kelowna and making the most of the weather out on the bike.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Biking and Boozing (in that order)

Busy month for guests this month; no sooner had we said goodbye to my sister and her two, we had Andy P over to stay with us for the long weekend in Kamloops - so much for getting on the job hunting case...He rode 8 hours from Calgary to get here; I did say not to buy a Harley...We then had a good couple of days riding round the region in a variety of weather; from the 30s in the Okanagan Valley to single figures riding up and over the mountains from Kelowna to Merrit. We got soaked through and frozen at one point, stopping to heat up on hot chocolate and adding any spare layers we had; but it was on the best road in the area so we did it again - twice! We dragged Helen out one day with the promise of stopping at a winery for lunch, sat out on the patio with a stunning view overlooking Lake Okanagan. Helen enjoyed her choice of BC wine whilst we suffered our Pepsis, saving our wine till later - I do believe we made up for it though when we got back to the RV!We cooked outside and stuck it out as long as possible until it really did get too cold; it does cool off here once the sun goes down, even as early as late August and we're not as tough as Canadians who don't even put long sleeves on if it's above freezing point.This morning we filled Andy up with a hot breakfast, again cooked outside, to hopefully see him through the best part of his 8 hour trip home; at least he's got a hot-tub when he gets there - we took the day off to recover! Actually not the whole day; we did manage a few mile walk along the South Thomson River and a spin up the race-track like road to Sun Peaks; Kamloops' own ski resort - hopefully we'll be seeing more of that one day...

Friday, August 29, 2008

2 Weeks on the Lower Mainland with family

It's been a hectic 2 weeks and things are just beginning to settle down for us again. It's been great having Chris's sister - Helen and our neice and nephew - Lauren and Callum come to visit us. We based ourselves for the first week in the gorgeous Porteau Cove Provincial Park. Situated right on the water's edge of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky highway (runs between Vancouver and Whistler - so very aptly named). The views along the road are quite staggering. Every time we drove out we never failed to be impressed. It was quite the introduction to Canada for our guests! From here we visited Whistler. Drove a crazy 40km old logging road to some rustic hot srings which were some of the nicest we've been to (apart from the odd mozzie - the trick there was to just stay submerged in the hot water - tough but someone had to do it!!). Of course the big advantage of driving desolute logging roads is their remoteness - on the way back at dusk we turned a corner and there in the middle of the track was a big black bear trundling along. Fantastic for everyone to catch a glimpse of theif first 'bear' - it perked up a rather tedious journey no end!We hiked 'The Chief'. Apparently the 2nd largest monolith in the world (after Gibralter) it was a seriously tough climb and even tougher coming down, but the views of Howe Sound, Squamish and Mount Garibaldi are quite worth it. We visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, rented bikes and cycled along the sea wall of Stanley Park, bought supper fresh from Granville Island market after hopping the bath-tub ferry across False Creek. We took the boat out on the water of Howe Sound many times and spent a day at the lake in Alice Lake Provincial Park. Lots of BBQs and campfires finished off most of our days.

Next stop was Cultus Lake. This was where we had spent 5 months over our first winter on the trip. Sadly some things don't seem to have changed. Summer or not it still seemed to be raining! Thankfully not every day and there were still things to do. Harrison Hot Springs was a great way to while away a couple of hours (fully developed, it's really just a super warm swimming pool), the cinema, a couple of fab meals out at Earls. And Lauren and I managed some scrapbooking time. When the weather did perk up we went to down the lake, hiked Teapot Hill with some fab views of Cultus Lake. Spent an afternoon at the Waterpark where we had a blast. (Talking of 'blasts' Callum really wanted a ride on Chris's bike but the only spare helmet was my extra small one - not really suitable for a strapping rugby playing rower! Lauren however, with her small and lady like head managed to convince both Chris and her mum that it would be a good idea for her to go for a ride. So they did and she came back grinning from ear to ear and wanting to go again - sorry if she's been converted to a life of biking...) But really I think the highlight of the fortnight for us all was the white water rafting. Writing this my twisted knee seems to have finally righted itself and the black eye has faded but I'd do it all again tomorrow. About 14km of white water rapids down the Chilliwack River (the Canadian National team train on parts of the river apparently). Chris and I rafted a couple of years back but that was so tame compared to this!! Quite adventurous and derring-do we all loved it! Lots of rapids - just a constant 2.5 hour hard work and paddling. Both kids fell out on one major rapid and our raft nearly capsized - I can only assume this was where I picked up the knock which become the black eye but I was having such fun I never noticed at the time! Big smiles all round!

As always it's hard for us to say goodbye to visitors. It reminds us that this life of ours is a little lonely at times. It also highlights all the strange quirks we've picked up over the years. Too much time on our hands and not enough social interaction perhaps....?!?!?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bear encounters of the good kind!

Time has flown by since we've been in Canada - 2 weeks already! We spent the first few days in Calgary with friends Andy and Sharon and then headed out to Kananaskis Country in the foothills of the Rockies. Very beautiful but we had horrid weather and spent one day cooped up in the RV - we were using the furnace - in August!! It was a public holiday here in Canada so the weekend was crazy busy but we still managed a lovely hike out to Ribbon Creek Falls.

As we drove across the Rockies into British Columbia we stopped for a short break in Banff and look what we saw...!!
Not 20 feet from the RV and in my mind the perfect way to see wildlife - safely in the confines of a hard-sided vehicle with the engine running!! The bear was so dis-interested - busy eating berries he gave us a quick glance over his shoulder before turning back to his food!!

Now we're in BC and very much looking forward to family visiting next week in Vancouver.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Glacier National Park

Back to Glacier National Park in Montana for our second visit this trip. Sadly for us the weather didn't really play ball for us this time either. Smoke from the forest fires in California made the views hazy and we had rain each night. HOWEVER!! We did do a couple of FABULOUS hikes. And this is surely the place for it! So much good hiking and with our now tight-ish timetable we really only had time for a couple - it was a tough choice!

Monday we hiked the 11.5 mile Highline trail. This is my kind of hike. Due to the (free!) shuttle service running throughout the park we were able to start and finish at different spots and meant that we had a 200ft elevation gain on the first 7.5 miles, followed by a 2200ft downhill to the trail end! Apart from it being pretty easy going we saw billy goats and big-horn sheep up close, we were wrestling with the goats for trail rights!! Thankfully no grizzlies (check out Chris's hand compared to one of theirs!! - and kids the world over take bears to bed and cuddle?! - sheesh!). Whilst waiting at the bus stop for our shuttle to the start point we met Jeff the Geologist. He was from Helena, Montana and has spent oodles of time in Glacier - as a Park Ranger in his youth. We hiked with him the first 7.5m as far as Granite Park Chalet and had a great time chatting away about this, that and everything. So enjoyable to hike with someone new. Not that Chris isn't charming company, but...well you can imagine!! Thanks Jeff - we'll be looking you up for your guided hiking services next time we're in Montana!!

Today we hiked 9 miles to Iceberg Lake. With every other man and his dog (Actually I was kidding - no dogs - but they would make great bear bait...) Despite the grey, miserable start to the day the sun won over eventually. Again a pretty easy going hike, but the closer you got to the lake the chillier it got - all that snow and ice around?! And curiously enough the lake was full of icebergs - well I never...!! Very cool. Literally! A quick stop for lunch and the hike back again. We were surrounded by prime bear habitat, no sightings for us today. Mostly that's a good thing!

This evening we crossed the border into Canada. After an exciting moment when an 18-wheeler steamed past the control booths and was chased down the road by the border patrol we calmly pootled our way to the nearest town on the Alberta side - Cardston. Bonsoir!! (because this IS a bi-lingual country!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Swarm of Mozzies devour hapless campers!!

That was us in Sawtooth Wilderness. A seemingly innocent enough camping spot right on the shores of Alice Lake - 6 miles from the trails end, 8500ft up in the Mountains and not a soul in sight. Gorgeous enough but that was us, in that tent before nightfall. Just to escape the incessant mozzies. Hideous creatures. Eating our freeze-dried curry wrapped in all the clothes we had, not so much because it was cold but to build up the layers which the pesky bugs could nibble us through. And yes we had repellant. These ones had obviously been working on their immune system against the stuff. But enough moaning, after all the itching has calmed down now!! After a major winter in these parts the area around the lake still had snow and the river crossings were way more entertaining than this time last year. Thank heavens for Tevas!! We just strapped them on and waded straight across. We had great camping weather too, and got back to the trailhead just in time as the first grey clouds we'd seen all week enveloped the mountains we'd just been trekking through!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sawtooth National Recration Area

We are hanging out in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Wilderness in central Idaho. After doing a wee 10 mile hike today to yet another gorgeous alpinesque lake, we have decided this is possible our favourite all round spot for great hiking - anywhere - a pretty lofty statement I agree but it really is splendid. Coincidentally we ended up here on the exact same week this year than last and this time of year the electric blue of the sky contrasts so starkly with the brilliant fresh greens and a rainbow full of wildflowers in the meadows. The weather is lovely too. A little chillier than I'd like to get on a bike first thing to ride out to a trailhead for an early start. But you can't have everything - by the time we finish a hike we're in vest and shorts and still too hot! We're camping at 6500-7000ft but most of the hiking is inevitably straight up - many of the lakes are 8500-9000 so it stays perfectly cool to hike and picnic.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You what?!?!?!!?

Did they change the date of April Fool's and not tell me? Tell me this isn't for real. I mean, seriously I have seen it all now!! Much as I find it hard to beleive myself this is a bona fide chocolate wrapper from a bar I bought last week in Walmart. My skin feels more beautiful already and I can't tell you the change in Chris's complexion. Oh Puh-lease!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Scuba diving in a Hot Spring!

Who'd have thought the slightly obscure 'Altitude Diving' certification would come in handy again?! We originally did our altitide scuba course in Lake Atitland in Guatemala 15 months ago at 5500ft. Here in Park City at 5000ft there's a hot spring crater thingamy that you can dive in. How could we resist. Besides after a 15 mohth gap since our last dive (in said Lake Atitlan) it was about time we reminded ourselves what it was all about. (Added to which I'm fairly sure that my Scuba Instructor Brother hasn't done a Hot Spring dive!!)

So the Homestead Crater is some sort of Calcite deposit thing. On the inside it's about 40ft in diameter and is 65ft deep. The water in it is a balmy 95 degrees (this is SO my kind of temperature!) and constantly circulates at a rate of 100 gallons a minute - circulating completely over the course of 3 days. There is an natural light opening but at 50ft it gets pretty dingy. To be fair there wasn't a lot to see or do but a good chance for us to practice drills. A sweet little dive to add to the logbook!

Another scrapbook album from CKU

Here's a little peek at another album I did at CKU. Finally I got around to creating a whole album from the photos taken by Tara last year. Beats a crusty old Wedding album - eh?!
You can see the whole album here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wasatch Mountains & Salt Lake City

The whole Wastach Mountains and National Forest has become our new 'fav'. Love this area, so much beautiful scenery and more hiking than you could shake a stick at. It's so green too, with the last straggling remains of the winter snow on the peaks. We ventured into Salt Lake City for the afternoon. Didn't stop too long - we really aren't city people. But timed it right for the daily organ recital at the Tabernacle in Temple Square which was incredible.

SLC is the Morman 'mecca' and temple square seems to be the symbolic heart of it all. We took a guided tour of some of the square buildings with a couple of women working as missionairies at the Temple who explained the history and basic teachings of the church. Interesting....I'll leave it at that shall I?!

One of the very good reasons for me not being a Morman is the Utah Beer. Not in any way a dry state (contrary to popular belief) It just has a few restrictions and unique laws surrounding it's sale and distribution. It generally is a little weaker than other brewpub beers (max 4% volume) but still as fabulously tasty - I am rather partial to the Wasatch Raspberry Wheat ale!! and as always brewpubs came up trumps with a good lunch too - I ordered TUNA!! (I am SO not a fish person!) but I had the most amazing Ahi Spring Roll Salad (check that - not only was it fish it was a salad!) that was at the Squatters Brewpub in SLC (we get around when it comes to beer!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

4th of July

Happy Fourth of July! We spent American Independance Day in Park City, UT. Lots of celebrations going on; on the evening of the 3rd we went to The Canyons ski resort for an open air concert and huge fireworks display. On the 4th there was a town parade in the morning and we spent the afternoon in one of the other Park City ski resorts (they have 3!) - Deer Valley where we took the scenic chairlift to the top of the mountain, took a wee hike back down to the midway point and lounged out in the sun having a lovely indulgent picnic - Simply lovely - hey it almost felt like a holiday!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What is this...???!

.....a tyre shop??? The new bike is now on it's third rear tyre in 2 months. Bike tyres don't do so well as the car versions, more's the pity!! But on the up side - it just goes to show how much we've been out and about on the bike. Saving gas and exploring!! 5500 miles in 10 weeks!

And once we worked out that the RV costs us a little over 50 cents per mile to drive (OUCH!) you can see why this has become the preference.

And here's the childish way that Chris sends the old tyres to Tyre-heaven - doing wheel spins in the Walmart carpark - tut, tut, tut...

Friday, June 27, 2008

My CKU Evolution Album

Yesterday I finally finished off my 'Evolution' album that I starting working on at CKU. I am SOOO happy with the results. Love it. The album was designed in 3 parts. Since it was all about me I broke it down into my childhood, school & Uni years and adulthood (when I get there!!).

Each part is essentially the same; a front cover with pocket for journalling on the left, a transparency page with section title and photos on either side, a page with 6 circles with mini photos or embellishments, the backside of that with 6 square photos, and a closing full page photo of that era (love that picture of me and my brother as superheros!!). I added a couple of extra pages along the way to be able to include more photos!

I so enjoyed this project (designed by Life Artist - Ali Edwards). I loved the excuse to dig out all these old photos and scan them in - it now means I have a whole stack of old photos on my laptop and they come round periodically on my beloved screen saver slideshow. Love that.

To see the whole album visit my scrapbook gallery HERE

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bryce Canyon NP

Such a wonderful couple of days in an enchanting and unique place. As their orientation and promotional movie goes 'Bryce Canyon is like no place on earth'. Due to some complex layers of specific stone and rock the erosion that takes place here is something else. In winter it has freezing night tempearatures and warm days resulting in a constant freeze/thaw action in the cracks of the stone. In summer it receives monsoon rains and washouts crumbling and dissolving the limestone and runoffs off the plateau leaving distinct gullies. When gullies get deeper the walls between them get narrower and taller and fins eventually devlop. Fins erode to form windows and windows erode and collapse to form hoodoos. Phew - busy eh?! The landscape is constantly changing here. And what we see is magnificent ampitheatres full of a crazy, other-world landscape of fins, hoodoos and spires.

This is our gorgeous campsite in amongst the trees...

Last night we went to a ranger talk on astonomy - just reminds us how teeny weeny we are in this mighty big galaxy of ours. Earth is 3 light minutes from the sun whereas Pluto is 14 light hours from the sun (both planets are within our little ole' galaxy and they estimate there's billions of separate galaxies) The figures just start get overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. Bryce is quite remote and at 8000ft quite high so has awesome visibility for star-gazing so after the talk the rangers had set up several telescopes for us to spot through. We saw Saturn. Amazing. So clear, complete with it's rings - we could see the gap between the planet and it's rings and everything! Also saw some other stuff (all with weird astronomy tecchie names) - a galaxy, a dying star and a double star and other cool stuff!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Wave

So this is 'The Wave' and we're 2 of 7300 people a year to see it! (which sounds a lot but really, think about it - it so isn't - 20 a day). Still can't believe we got lucky in the lottery for permits!!

It was a pretty tough hike out there. Only 3 miles each way but completely exposed and thus VERY hot. Mostly walking across slickrock which was easier, but toward the end it was thick sand - I'm sure I've brought home half of the desert with me. Aren't I just wishing I didn't got for those vented trek shoes?! The Wave's location is pretty tricky to find. It's in the Coyote Buttes area of the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness and although the trailhead is in Utah the actual Wave is in Arizona! You get given 4 pages of trail details when you collect your permit - with colour photos and descriptions and even they were ambiguous at times we thought!. Because the sandstone formation is so fragile they limit the people able to visit. And when you're there you can really understand why. It wouldn't take long to wreck the beautiful rock if hundreds of feet were trudging all over it. It would wear trails on the stone and damage the thin layers that create the waves and streaks. So really having limited permits is a good thing (easy for me to say now I've been!) It was great to get out there and see this famous formation!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Page, AZ as our base

So here we are in Page, AZ. On the shores of Lake Powell. It's a man-made lake created when they dammed up the Colorado river at Glen Canyon. I had no expectations of this place. I had no idea the scenery here was so spectacular! The lake is vast and generally fairly inaccessible (unless of course you have a boat - Houseboating is enormously popular here - I want to come back one day and do that it looks such fun!). We have stayed at a great campsite in Page, bargain price and it's been so hot so we've indulged in some non-stop aircon action which has been very appreciated when we get back from long days out on the bike.

We went on a tour of Antelope Canyon - a very popular slot canyon. It's amazing and although we're pretty happy with our photos they don't do it justice. I must be honest I don't really understand quite how slot canyons are formed (wind & water obviously!) but they are just something else. The walls are smooth, almost polished and wave-like in shape and in many places you can touch both walls as they tower up above and in Antelope Canyon it was just a floor of perfect, pristine pale sands. Tours are popular and busy but we still got chance to savour the place and take plenty of photos!!

We've been getting up early the last couple of mornings. There's a really 'famous' desirable hike in the area. Very exclusive and preserved area they only issue permits to hike to 20 people a day. 1/2 are reservable in advance but the other 10 are offered to people in a lottery system. It didn't bode well. I was the person who had a standing order national lottery ticket and won NOTHING for a year!! In high season 80 people turn up to try to get lucky for the 10 permits. Oh dear me!! You have to be in to win as they say and we went yesterday at 9am and didn't get lucky :-( Second chance this morning and this time they give you 2 balls in the bucket - we got drawn 3rd and got our permits for tomorrow! - Hurrah!!

Back to yesterday though. Who'd have thought we'd be re-visting the Grand Canyon. Certainly not us. We visited in Spetember 2006 and hiked to the bottom and back and spent several days based at the South Rim. This time we were much closer to the North Rim and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit. This is the 'exclusive' side!! Apparently only about 10% of all park visitors come this side. It doesn't open till 15th May and closes again by mid-October (due to snow - it's at a higher elevation than the south rim). Visitor facilites are much smaller here but that added to it's appeal. Even on a busy day in high season the place was quite lovely - not at all teeming with people. And at 8800 feet we managed a midday hike (wouldn't contemplate that back at Page where we're staying!) Walked out to Cape Final - just a lovely view! Such a great day out we had to drag outselves away around 5pm. We had a long ride home to Page. ABout 3 hours. But the scenery on the ride was hardly an eyesore. Past the Vermillion Cliffs, over the Colorado river where the condors hang out (we didn't see any!) and a full moon to guide us home the last 30 miles to Page.

Today we visited another slot canyon. This time we didn't need a guide and it wasn't quite as popular as Antelope. We had to ride a nightmarish 8.5 miles on a horrid dirt track (we've got to do this again tomorrow to get to the trailhead for our 'special' hike). From the trailhead we walked 1.5 miles in a sandy wash then entered Buckskin Gulch. This goes on for miles and miles. We only walked about 2.5 miles before we turned around but it was a fab hike for the time of day. The walls were so high and narrow - in one place we had to walk sideways to get through! It meant the sun didn't get in much so it stayed beautifully cool and shaded almost the whole way.

On the way back to Page we visited the Glen Canyon Dam - the cause of Lake Powell. Watched the video of how/why it was built and took it the spectacular views.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Monument Valley

When we FINALLY left Sedona (after 15 nights!) we made an impromptu decision to detour about 100 miles to take in Monument Valley.

Probably the first time we've actually been bothered enough about gas prices to cost out just how much extra it would be to take the RV rather than do a day trip jouney on the motorycle. But for $40 ish it was worth it. It meant we could stay overnight and for us that was the highlight of Monument Valley. It's just such a classic American scene and we were camped out on the top of the mesa overlooking the lot. Perfect sunsets with the buttes glowing in front of us and sunrises silhouetted them perfectly.

As I lifted my head from the pillow in the morning I was greeted with the most fabulous view - not a bad sight to see first thing in the morning! Went on a lovely short hike - actually did it twice, once in the evening and once again the next morning. Down off the mesa then onto the valley floor and around the butte in the middle of the photos.

Friday, June 13, 2008


We'd heard so many good reports about the whole Sedona area that we really were expecting a pretty cool place; and we weren't to be disappointed! Part of the appeal was the race track quality mountain roads (obviously I didn't act like I was on a race track; ok well maybe a little bit then... after all Helen was away in Houston for a few days leaving me alone with the bike...), not to mention the stunning scenery - There seemed to be something to do in every direction; to the east was the Coconino National Forest, south to Prescott was the local area brewery which Helen made the most of whilst I rode us there! Like so many brew pubs we've been to, the food was pretty spectacular so I didn't do so bad out of the deal. It was no surprise that the brewery was there as the town has the original "Whisky Row" street from way back in the days of the wild west; they had a fire once, (as most old American towns seem to!) and the patrons of one particularly popular bar managed to get together and physically lift the wooden bar out in to the street to save it - it's still there!

On the way to Prescott was a small town called Jerome that although now quite a hippy/arty town, was once a virtual ghost town; it was a big, (in fact the biggest in America) copper mine built on the side of a 7,000 ft mountain overlooking the Sedona valley but partly due to a lack of demand but mostly because of a huge land slide that dropped more than half the town down the mountain, people moved out and almost but not quite, deserted the place.

In and around Sedona itself are the most amazingly red rocks and mountains so hiking was big on our list; unfortunately the pictures will never do it justice - you'll just have to go there and see for yourselves! Sedona is well known, (apparently...) for its vortexes; not really my chosen subject but the area is said to be full of high energy points which means everywhere you go there seems to be a bunch of people chanting and offering sacrifices, (thankfully not live goats and things) to whoever I don't know.

This was our hike out to the West Fork. Lovely shaded hike and at the end the trail just dead-ended in water. At least I'm sure it would go on if you wanted to get your feet wet!! We paddled a little just to see what was round the corner but it was COLD!! On the way back to the trailhead we were treated to a glimpse of this Hummingbird faithfully guarding it's nest. Didn't seem bothered by us even if we were poking a camera lens in it's face!

And then there was Slide Rock State Park; the name might hint at the theme here; basically a large park cum picnic area with a river running through a very rocky valley. The river of course had worn away the rock over the years leaving a smooth, narrow and thankfully, cold channel in which one can slide one's way downstream. We should have perhaps taken more notice of the fact that the locals were all wearing heavy duty shorts or cut-off jeans; let's just say my backside hadn't felt like that since my last caning at boarding school!

Last but not least was the winery just outside the campground gate; too expensive for us travellers to shop there but we of course had to at least go through the rigorous process of tasting the choices they had on offer...