Europe, North America · 16 Days · 93 Moments · April 2017

Andrew's voyage in United States of America

4 May 2017

2410 miles later and were at Portland airport dropping off our car. We really liked this car it was enormous! It made our Range Rover feel like a little car.

3 May 2017

End of an unusual day and it's finishing with a lovely warm sunset. It feels like we've been away for ages and in a way I think we're both glad to be going home tomorrow even though we've had a great time.
Back to the hotel and we're ending our mini road trip with a quick visit to the shops to buy an extra bag as we've got too much stuff to fit in our bags.
The city has definitely got character. The buildings are interesting but the atmosphere is a little off. I've never seen so many drunks and drug addicts on the streets openly doing whatever their substance of choice is. It's quite shocking compared to what you'd see even in some of the worst places in London, and this is at mid day.
We did find a nice place to have coffee and another to have lunch but we decided to head back to the hotel after a while. The journey back on the bus was intense to say the least. It was packed with homeless addicts half of whom were barely able to function and the other half smelled absolutely terrible and were carrying huge knives. Something has gone wrong in this city, I've never experienced anything like it. I'd never come here again.
We're traveling into Portland city center on the bus which should be quite nice but we've noticed there's an unusually large amount of crazy/homeless people getting on the bus. We've already been verbally abused by one woman who was completely on another planet.
This is our breakfast. It's semi healthy as we are sharing scrambled eggs and only one French toast.
This is the view from our hotel in Portland. It's a Best western hotel called Pony Soldier!? It would be quite a nice view if there wasn't a big container there. The weather is really nice and is supposed to get really hot later.

2 May 2017

We stopped for a quick lunch in Kennewick at a place called Brunchies which was actually quiet nice despite it looking a bit rough from the outside. It's also nice and warm here compared to the rain from the last couple of days.
Time to check out of the lovely room and head to Portland and and slightly less impressive hotel.

1 May 2017

We finished the day off with a nice meal in the restaurant at the hotel which was really nice the steak was very good. I did spoil the evening a bit by looking at my credit card statement online at how much we've spent over the last two weeks!
It started raining so we went to see Logan at the cinema. It was quiet good but I was more excited about the posters for what's coming soon!
We did get to see the White House but it's definitely not as impressive in real life.
Having a wander around the town today. It's a bit empty as it's off season and there isn't really much to see or do, but we're both quite tires today so it's nice just mooching. Jacqui liked the noise statue and for some reason the toy shop had a full size sarcophagus in the window that I liked. The toy shop had a stupid name Figpickles and the man who worked there kept coming up to us and saying welcome to Figpickles. He said it about three or four times.

30 April 2017

We've arrived at our Hotel and it's very very nice. We got upgraded again for some reason perhaps because it's off season and have an amazing room looking over the lake from the 17th floor. There's even a fire in the room. This is the view of the sunset we got while we were having dinner. The only thing that spoiled it was this plinky plonky jazzy Latin xylophone/flute music that playing non stop.
The view from our room. The lake is pretty big and has lots of very expensive looking yachts moored here. We got here quite late so we'll have to do more exploring tomorrow as the town looked really nice when we drove through.
Stopped in a little town called Anaconda for lunch to go to a restaurant recommended on trip advisor. But it was shut so we came here to classic cafe instead. I'm not sure what the classic bit was but their theme consisted of lots of old number plates off cars stuck to the walls, funny quotes that didn't make any sense and weren't funny and two full size Volkswagen Beatle tables of which we sat in one. The toilets kind of killed my appetite but I won't go into details. There was a burger in the menu called an English burger. It was just a burger with a slice of ham on top. I'm not sure why that makes it English but I didn't order it to find out. The food was average and our beetle table wobbled and was dirty. It will be a miracle if we make it out of here without Ebola or something.
Leaving Yellowstone today. I'm a bit sad as I've really liked it here. Just time for breakfast at the running bear pancake house before we leave and start our 430 mile journey to Couer D'Alene in Idaho. We had cinnamon pankcakes that were delicious.

29 April 2017

Here's a few pics from through the day...
After driving all the way from the west side of Yellowstone to the east (nearly three hours) we stopped at a tiny little town called Cooke City, which despite its name is not a city and is one road, and for us it's the end of the road as the snow hadn't been cleared any further. So we had breakfast at the Bistro Cafe and Jacqui had an amazing muffin with egg and bacon and cheese on it.
Too many nice places to stop at! But we've got a long way to go to get to Lamar valley so we have to keep going.
It's minus 8 outside so the geysers and hot springs are really steaming! Even the river has steam coming off it.
Much like yesterday the views are amazing and the bison/buffalo are roaming around all over the place.
This is the view at 6.15 this morning. We got up early as the people in the coffee shop told us we'd see more animals in the park if we went early in the morning. So we got up at 5.45 this morning.

28 April 2017

There is an IMAX cinema right opposite our hotel so we went to see a film in the evening and saw Skull Island which was really good!
Despite all these warnings about boiling temperatures, acid water and boots melting we still saw a lady dipping her fingers into one of the hot springs to see how warm it was. Let's hope she's not a professional pianist.
The geysers and hot springs were interesting and almost looked fake it so weird to see them bubbling away in the middle of the snowy ground. Old faithful though was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting a much more powerful eruption but it was a bit like an indoor firework. Btw, were squinting so much because the snow was so bright it hurt our eyes.
We went into Yellowstone today and it really is a beautiful place. We've done Sequoia and Yosemite before but Yellowstone is so much more epic. Perhaps it's just snow making it seem better? There are Bison everywhere roaming around on the roads in the river although we didn't see any bears yet.
Everyone's very friendly here but Jacqui made a special friend in one of the shops. His name is Tex and he loved Jacqui but really didn't like me at all and barked and woofed every time I came near her. He is an Australian sheep dog apparently and is only 7 months old.
Had a look around the village this morning. It's very nice and very olde worlde with log cabins and some genuinely old shops like the Eagle store which has been there since 1908.
Jacqui tried biscuits and gravy this morning. It's basically a scone with white sausage gravy all over it. I think her face says it all.
This mornings view from our room...

27 April 2017

We went straight out for dinner as we've learned that everywhere seems to shut early. Jacqui found this very nice bar and pizza place. The reason she's looking so shocked in the photo is because they ID'd her when she asked for a beer. There's a lot of stuffed animals round here.
A quick 300 miles later and we're here in West Yellowstone at the Kelly Inn. The scenery on the way was amazing but the weather was terrible, rain sleet and snow. The hotel seems nice it has a thing about bears though, they are everywhere. On all the furniture and floors and chairs even carved ones looking through the room windows. When we first got out of the car we could hear wolves howling. We think there might be a sanctuary nearby.
We have a lot of miles to cover today so we got up early and had a quick breakfast before checking out of the Cottonwood Hyatt. Over breakfast we looked up what the weather was like in Yellowstone and were shocked to see it was -1 and snowing! So during the drive we decided to try and get some ski pants to keep our legs warm as we haven't really come prepared for that kind of cold. We tried everywhere and nowhere has any as its out of season now. So this is Jacqui looking fed up while we wait for our lunch in Five Guys.

26 April 2017

Jacqui just trying to squeeze in one last pudding before bedtime. Need to have an early night as we have another long drive tomorrow as we make our way to Yellowstone Park.
We were going to have dinner tonight at Rustic Chicken but when we got there at 8.15 it was shut. Lots of restaurants round here shut really early. So we had to go to Bandits bar and grill instead. Which turned out to be very nice!
This is Jacqui modeling her new waterproof jacket on the slopes. If only she had some skis!
We are at Snowbird ski resort. We were advise to go to the top of the mountain to eat because the views are amazing. But as we get near the top we realize we might not see much.
This mornings view from our room in Cottonwood... it's like we've skipped back to it being winter again. Apparently they had twenty inches of snow in the mountains over the last few days.

25 April 2017

After nearly 8 hours driving we end our day where we started. At Denny's. Not the best start or end to a day but better than Walmart rubber meat. Btw they are snow covered mountains in the background!
Just round the corner from where we had lunch is Candy Mountain. The Candy mountain from the song. This photo is where the photo of Candy mountain should be if we'd managed to take one and instead represents the sadness we felt at not taking it.
This is a picnic area we stop at to eat have lunch. We made our own sandwiches with meat and cheese that we bought from Walmart. Strangely the meat and the cheese both felt and tasted like slightly different types of rubber.
Just because Jacqui thinks it's funny that it's her mums name :)
They really like the American flag here. It's everywhere you look.
No 2. That's how much approximately 50 liters of petrol costs here. We worked it out that that would have cost about £65 at home rather than £30 it costs here.
Stopping for Gas at a Wendy's. There's two great things about filling your car up in America. No 1, you can lock the handle so you don't need to hold it for five minutes while you fill up.
Every seen the movie 'Dual'? You know the one about the truck that's trying to kill the man in the car.
More amazing scenery on the way. The photos never do it justice you really have to see it in person! This place is called Lone Rock. Because it's a rock and it's on its own.
The reality and the stodgy breakfast kick in quickly.
Jacqui is very excited at the prospect of eating pancakes and bacon for breakfast even though it's only a couple of days since the last time.
It's a long journey ahead of us so we need to go to Denny's to get a proper breakfast!
Another day and another amazing view to wake up to, and the scenery isn't bad either :) Just having some coffee before starting the days long 380 mile drive to Salt Lake City.

24 April 2017

The place we're staying at has fire pits to sit around in the evening. We sat by this one for about 20 seconds before deciding it was way too cold.
Snickers bars here have funny things on them. Well I thought that they were funny anyway.
Jacqui after our hour and 30 minute walk through the canyon sitting in the back of our car.
This one is supposed to have the face of an Indian chief in the rock if you can see it. Antelope canyon is on a Navajo reservation and all the guides are Navajo.
Next on the tour is Antelope Canyon. This is an amazing place, it's a very narrow and deep chasm in the dessert that's been carved out by water and wind. I took so many pictures down there but here's just a few.
Today we visited Horseshoe canyon. It looks like a horseshoe but I never got close enough to the edge to get it all in the photo properly. The number of people who are happy to stand literally inches from the edge of a 300 foot drop just to have their photo taken never ceases to amaze me.

23 April 2017

Just checked into the Lake Powell resort. This is the view from our room. That's Lake Powell. It used to be like the Grand Canyon but they built a dam and flooded the value in 1890 to create a water supply for lots of west coast cities.
After a very long drive we're finally at Lake Powell. Just need to find where we're staying.
Stopped for a quick visit to Bearizona which is like a drive through safari park with bears and wolves and other American animals, like goats!
Route 66 is very long and straight!
If you look closely you can see Jacqui's paralyzed arm is all swelled up which is why she wouldn't pretend to use the petrol pump.
We had a quick stop at this place (neither of us can remember what it was called) it's full of all these old cars and you can buy just about anything in the world with 'Route 66' printed on it.
Now we're off to lake Powell with a few stops along the way. We're on Route 66 again and there's lots of these cool old road signs of places that have been abandoned.
I had to cut up Jacqui's breakfast for her on account of her paralyzed arm.
The buffet here is a bit of a contrast to the one in Vegas. This was pretty much it. The sausages looked like they been cooked so long ago that they were starting to look fossilized.
Up bright and early in Kingman to find Jacqui has a paralyzed arm from overdoing it in the gym in Las Vegas.

22 April 2017

Had dinner at Mr D'z rout 66 diner tonight. It looks really nice but the food wasn't that great. It was a nice experience though and worth a visit.
This is where we are staying tonight at the Best Western in Kingman. it's very basic but it's nice and the people that work here are very helpful and nice. As we arrived in town there were dozens of old vintage cars around which was really cool to see. Unfortunately they had all gone by the time we had dinner so I didn't get to have a good look at them.
Driving on to Kingman now through some very winding roads in Route 66. The scenery is amazing. But some of the drops off the side of the road seem very dangerous and don't have any fencing. We also passed a calf that had been killed by a car and a crowd of other cows and donkeys were gathered around it. Very sad :(
All the old donkeys that used to pull the mining carts stayed in the town after it was abandoned and their ancestors are still in the town and wander around freely even going in the shops.
Having lunch here. I ordered Navajo nachos but when it came they said they were tacos. But then it turned out to be a big lump of fried bread with bean and cheese and done chilli on top of it. It wasn't bad but it wasn't nachos.
On the way to Kingman today and we've stopped st an old ghost town called Oakman. It used to be a mining town but now it's full of old hippies selling all kinds of weird stuff.
Leaving Las Vegas today a bit tired but not too poor. We counted up what cash we had left and we probably broke even in the end. This is the car we've rented for the next two weeks. It's a bit like our car but bigger!

21 April 2017

Back to the hotel for a quick half an hour by the rooftop pool before sunset. Jacqui bought two cocktails and it came to $40. LV is definitely not a cheap place to visit these days.
Me under a giant pole dancer. This is in another shopping mall in Vegas where there was some kind of Moroccan village theme on all the shops.
Jacqui next to this cool chrome Popeye in the Wynn hotel.
Jacqui flashing her winnings! We won 280 dollars which means we may have broken even. For now anyway.
Breakfast at the Wynn buffet
On the way to the Wynn buffet breakfast

20 April 2017

At the Belagio to watch Cirque de Soleil 'O'. This was really amazing. Very clever how they did the underwater stuff.
Healthy sushi for lunch today at Sushi samba. It was nice but soooo expensive. $5 for one piece of salmon nigiri is ridiculous.
We won a hundred dollars.. for about ten minutes and then we lost it all again :(
Traditional breakfast at the grand union cafe this morning. Wonder what I'll have!

19 April 2017

When we arrived at the Palazzo they didn't have any rooms left. So we got upgraded to a suite that's bigger than our house, for free!!
Coming in to land over Las Vegas
Waiting at LAX for our connecting flight to Las Vegas. It's 2.43 am London time.
Not business class :(
On the Gatwick express. Jacqui is very pleased that we walked all the way to the front of the train and got a seat while everyone else crammed in at the start of the train.
Jacqui getting squashed in the Victoria line on the way to Gatwick airport.