Sunday, July 31, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 21 - 22

May 2005

Our last stop in our nearly 5 week USA trip. Yosemite was a new location for both of us, a rarity on this trip, and we were there at a perfect time of year, the falls were gushing and it was warm enough to enjoy the outdoors. Details of where to stay, eat and stop at the bottom.

We had breakfast one morning in the beautiful, historic Ahwahnee Dinning Room (our limited budget didn't allow for dinner or lunch there), but we enjoyed our breakfast there just the same

Pizza Deck at Curry Village

If you bring your own food (which we did for lunch and snacks) make sure you use the bear boxes provided, the food is not safe left in your car!

Curry Village Tent Cabins- like all the national parks book in advance. We were there before a long weekend and there seemed to be a lot of people staying for weddings?

If you like photography check out the Ansel Adams gallery, we brought a print, if you can buy an original (or have one!) I'm envious
Check out one of the evening programs, we went to one of the evening presentations, and best of all they're free
Great views from Glacier Point, this was recommended by one of our tent neighbours who holidayed every year in Yosemite and we would have never had know otherwise
Yosemite Valley for all the main attractions including Tunnel View, El Captain Meadow and Sentinel Meadow
The waterfalls of the Yosemite Valley including Lower Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Horsetail Falls, and Nevada Falls

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 19 - 20

May 2005

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National parks in California have to be one of the most magnificent places on earth. I spent some of the summers of my childhood in this areas so maybe I'm biased, but I would say I prefer them to Yosemite, which i think has more visitors. We only spent 1.5 days here, but could have spent more. We did little hiking (nothing more than an 1 hour at a time) and some of the areas I wanted to visit were blocked off. We did however get to see the largest living thing in the world, General Sherman.

Grant Grove Cabins, inside the park. We stayed in the Camp Cabins.

Giant Forest and The Big Trees Trail
Check out General Sherman
Climb Moro Rock (we didn't get a chance this trip, but I did in 1997)
Generals Hwy
Grant Grove

Saturday, July 23, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 18

May 2005

After nearly a week in Vegas it was time to pack up and head off. We were heading towards some of the Californian National Parks and decided to go through Death Valley. In May the average temperature ranges from 22C to 43C (or 71F to 99F) and it got so hot at one stage we had to turn the air in the car off and pull over as the engine was starting to over heat.

Death Valley, making sure you check out Scotty's Castle

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 13 - 17

May 2005

This was my second trip to Vegas and DHs first. If you've been following my blog for a while you know we both went in January 2010 and I also went in June 2010. No we don't have a Vegas obsession, but I do have family there and who needs anymore of a reason to visit Vegas than that?

Neither DH nor I gamble, I don't drink, so you may think what is there to do in Vegas for us? Plenty, and I will summarize below what we did in this trip. Check out my old posts for some more great ideas.

The Bootlegger Bistro
If only I could remember the name of the place - but awesome Prime Rib

Jubilee at Bally's

Tournament of Kings - a great fun night out, and with a meal included it's great value

Valley of Fire - bring lots of water, there is none available when your out and about at the park

MGM Grand Lion Habitat - best thing is it's free

Walk up and down the strip - by time you check out the main casinos this will take you most of the day

Shopping - try one of the two outlet malls, Fashion Show Mall across from Wynn's, Miracle Mile in Planet Hollywood, and the Forum Shops at Ceasers

Sunday, July 17, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 12

May 2005

We decided to start the day with a helicopter tour over the Canyon. Just like you can't appreciate the Canyon via photos, it's also hard without seeing it by air.

We spent some more time exploring the area (including DH going to a free talk on Vultures), before heading off towards Hoover Dam. Like the Snowy Mountain River Scheme, I doubt the Hoover Dam would be built in these times, due to the high human cost, but like the Snowy it is a key water source to the area.

Helicopter tour over the Canyon. We did the North Canyon Papillion Tour.
Mule trip of the Grand Canyon. I've always wanted to do this and am still kicking myself for not doing it.
Self tour around Hoover Dam. You can also do a variety of organised tours.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 11

May 2005

It was a day of desert delights, in the form of National Parks and Recreational Areas. We first stopped at Montezuma Castle, Arizona.

We then headed to Sedona for a very quick stop (it would have been nice to have more time here).

Followed by a stop at Sunset Crater just outside of Flagstaff.

Before finally arriving at the Grand Canyon. Photo's do not do the Canyon justice, you have to be there to truly be able to appreciate it.

Bright Angle Lodge Book ahead, through the link. It was a amazing how many people were trying to get rooms that night, only to have to drive outside the park to get a place to sleep.

Sedona, Arizona
Sunset Crater, Arizona
Grand Canyon, South Rim

Monday, July 11, 2011

West Coast USA 2005: Day 10

May 2005

We headed away from the sun and the sea, into the desert.

Best Western Bell Hotel, Phoenix - we loved the pool, but from current reviews it seems like things have not been maintained over the past 6 years

Rawhide Steakhouse - definately try the ribs, it seems like they have relocated since we visitied