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Jun
30
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After a nice sleep in we headed out for a late breakfast and some exploring including a trolley car ride which didn't quite work out as planned as the trolley cars were broken down, DOH, so nearly walked our legs off. You can see a tiny bit of what we saw below:

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Before the breakdown.

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And believe it or not each trolley has 4 of these timber brakes which is what stops them. Yep, the same as when we were here in 1998.

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An intriguing rego plate on a motorcycle, would have liked to see who came to get on it!

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Union Square known for it's shopping and here is the Westin Hotel complete with Victoria Secrets....

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...and a real reason to go retail, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany's. Now you're talking. Nah, didn't happen.

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A recognisable speccie skyline.

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An awesome fire truck with a rear steering axle complete with a driver in the rear cab as well as the front.

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Hotel Fairmont. Beautiful building and interior space where we went to use an ATM.

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The Grace Cathedral.

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Cute neighbourhood.

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Tangles of cables are everywhere.

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And a Church on Washington Square.

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Heading up Lombard street before the interesting stuff starts.

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The Crookedest Street - Lombard Street.

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On the way up.

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From the top down. This looks much more speccie than it did in 1998.

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And finally heading down Powell Street. We walked over 11,000 steps today and Norm says the degree of difficulty our knees and hips can testify to at least doubled the effort involved to walk those steps....and he is absolutely right!


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Jun
29
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We headed off in surprisingly cool temperatures and headed for San Francisco and after having a coffee at a quirky spot on the harbour in Sausalito we headed for the Golden Gate Bridge and made our way to the foot of it and checked our Fort Barry, then with a tip from a local there who took our photo headed for Malin Head so we could get an ariel type view of both the bridge and the city which was fun. We also got to Fort Cronkhite and a number of others spread amongst the hills as well as the Lighthouse at Point Bonita then it was headlong across the bridge and into the city. Pics below tell the story:

Oh and as a PS to the bite on my leg, it is starting to subside so hoping nothing more needs to be done other than continue the antibiotics. Hoping the itch will dissipate as well!

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An interesting view this morning past the grape vines to the hills where the sea mist has rolled in from the ocean and starting to fall down to the valley here, looked like a grey wreath draped over the top of the hills. I've smelt a delicious sage fragrance early in the day today, like I did last year when we were amongst the sage brush. I havent seen it, but something around obviously smells similar.

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A view from a hill in Sausalito back up Highway 101 where we had come from.

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And across to the harbour where we are about to head for a coffee.

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And a quirky coffee spot. We were the first customers.

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Some interesting floating caravans / houses / houseboats moored in the harbour.

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Heading for Fort Barry and this is a shot across the harbour to Alcatraz.

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And one of the San Francisco Skyline.

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And to the Golden Gate Bridge with a couple of happy campers.

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And with many boats moored in the harbour.

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Some of the very pretty buildings in Fort Barry which are being used as accomodation which meant they were in pretty good shape where the ones on Malin Head where we went to from here the buildings are visibly deteriorating. Note the massive eucalypt tree trunks in the shot. Feels very familiar all through the hills with huge numbers of eucalypt trees complete with delicious eucalyptus fragrance.

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Heading to Malin Head here is a look to the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. We climbed even higher than this but figured we had our shot and kept moving.

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Heading down the 18% grade from the overlook sights.

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Point Bonita lighthouse.

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And the actual light which is the original where the current lighthouse isn't the original one. The light can be seen from 23 miles away.

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And we head onto the Golden Gate Bridge and I'm sticking to Norm like glue because my GPS has decided to run on emergency lighting so Ican't see it unless I almost have my face on it so not a good way to watch the road and traffic.

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Over the bridge and into the city on the way to the hotel. We crossed lots of steep streets which would make for good movie car chase scenes. Ha ha.

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And another one.

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Phew, ready to book in.

Last Night's Accommodation:

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El Pueblo Inn, 896 W Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476

Clean, comfortable refurbished room. Nicely furnished but dark given the veranda and garden plantings, probably something to be grateful for in the heat. Included parking, continental breakfast and wiFi as well as pool but doesnt seem all that great a value ... until compared with some of the other prices. Over a mile to dinner options so a bit of a bummer.


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Jun
28
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We already had a big trip lined up but added to the time greatly by following the recommendation of a local to strike off Hwy 101 to # 1 and travel through Leggett to the Chandelier Tree and experience the Avenue of the Giants, basically the original highway #1 with giant redwood trees and it was awesome. The trees were spectacular and the road incredible! Very few services but also very little traffic and looked surprisingly isolated even though it is only over the hills from mainstream civilisation, Bizarre. The ride was one of intense concentration moving from counter steering in one direction to another without time to stand the bike up in between time after time often and the gradient and camber were delicious. Waaaay better than we anticipated. We moved from chilly weather and sea mist / fog for most of the day to quite hot  this afternoon as we came into Sonoma where we felt right at home amongst many eucalypts and the countryside looked surprisingly familiar like around the Yea area with yellow dry grassed hills with luscious green vineyards spreading along the flats and up into the hills. A bit scary really since this is early in the summer here. The California hills are brutally dry. Enjoy the pics:

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The Avenue of the Giants.

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Some houses being refurbished at Westport. This is close to Abalone Point and if it is aptly named it would explain the huge numbers of caravans and divers we passed.

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Delicious roads up and down.

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And the mist moves out enough to get a shot of some rocks on the shore.

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Coming into Fort Bragg, an awesome old railway bridge now a footbridge.

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And a Guest House Museum which was just lovely.

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Heading south out of Fort Bragg. An awesome bridge we actually crossed over on # 1.

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And a shot through Anderson Valley as we headed from the coast towards our hotel in Sonoma.

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Almost into Sonoma.

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A Sonoma street view. Some of many attractive buildings. A lovely comfortable feel here.

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The Town Hall.

Last Night's Accommodation:

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Holiday Inn Express & Suites Eureka, 815 West Wabash Avenue (the opposite direction to all the GPS maps) Eureka, CA 95501.

Another nice comfortable space. Walking distance to dinner, included breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi.


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Jun
27
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The morning dawned with us lost in sea mist / fog which drifted into fine drizzle so although there were lots of great craggy rocky shapes off the shore they were lost in all that and apart from that a bite I got on my leg while I was riding about a month ago decided to come to life yesterday afternoon and increased in size, redness heat and itch through the night so headed to the Urgent care Clinic (like an A&E department with some clinics in a stand alone facility) at Brookings to see what was the go. Have come away with doxycycline which covers me for diseases which could be passed on by biting insects including  lymes disease in case it was from a tick bite and looking it up on the internet tonight that is likely what bit me though the red swollen bit doesnt look so much like a bulls eye which in theory it's supposed to (one can hope). Mmm. The symptoms are all things I wouldn't likely recognise chills and fever - hot flushes / freezing airconditioning through the US, swollen aching knees - have them anyway, stiff neck - always as a result of whiplash, fatigue - well I'm riding my butt off, memory loss / what was that?  and so it goes on. Fingers crossed the antibiotics kick in and the redness doesn't extend past my texta line (or the white halo line beyond). Moving on from that, after losing a good few hours at Brookings we headed off, still in the fog, but as we got into the Redwood Forest we came into sunshine and what a glorious experience that was. It was like riding through a massive great cathedral with towering giants all around us and the sun and dappled shade like stained glass windows. We stopped and walked for a bit and just experienced it then headed off to get to our hotel. Oh and the road all day made for a glorious ride with twists and turns and ups and downs. Ahhh! Pictures tell the story below:

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A view to the beach last night.

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A close encounter of the deer kind. Norm was taking a pic of the fog and mumma deer struck out across in front of him. I slowed down thinking the kids mustn't be far behind and last years child crossed then this years hesitated at the road verge as I rode past. Phew.

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Craggy rocks off shore.

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Not clearing yet.

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After Brookings and hospital and still fog!

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A bonus find, birds and seals.

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Gradually clearing.

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Many views of the redwoods. Ahhhh.

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Some eucalypts on the way into Eureka this evening.

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And an impressive building.

Last Night's Accommodation:

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Pacific Reef Resort, 29362 Ellenburg Avenue Gold Beach, OR 97444.

Lovely room, not quite as roomy as some but a good sense of and disabled friendly bahroom. Only oe suit case holder big oversight. Meals a few  steps away so a spot to drop assuming you can drag yoursellf away from the view! Felt nice.

 


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Jun
26
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We've had a lovely day starting with a beautiful winding ride through incredibly lush mountain with massive tall fir / pine trees and shady glades with large amounts of water through the mountains to the west coast and the ride has continued with lots of twists and turns with more of the trees right down to the water which seems bizarre to me as well as charming little seaside villages and rugged coastlines. Wow. record high temperatures to the east of the mountains but happily a comfortable / cool temperature to the west where we are. One of the constant companions to the ride has been a roadside flower which looks like a prolific flowering sweet pea. It is more sturdy in growth and has fewer tendrils and little to no perfume to what I'm used to and varies from pale pink to a deep cyclamen (predominantly) in colour. Beautiful. Pictures tell the story:

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First view of the Pacific water on the inlet in Florence (albeit it in a bit of sea mist).

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Lake Woahanik.

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Water all round.

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Siuslaw River Bridge, a drawbridge.

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Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area in the sea mist / fog.

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Street scene in Banton.

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A coast shot in the sea mist.

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And one when it has partially cleared. with a bonus shot of an eagle.

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The second of many great bridges we have seen today from underneath.

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And a lighthouse (not issuing a fog horn warning as one on the break water which was shrouded in sea mist / fog we saw was).

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Small village having a serious go at attracting the tourist hordes.

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Umpqua  National Park Dunes - a designated ATV area and some sort of ATV rally happening today with ATV's and  all sorts of RV's parked up everywhere. Bizarre seeing the ATV's zooming everywhere on the dunes!.

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And another.

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Heading into Gold Beach.

Bits and Bobs:

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Coffee spot wisdom above and a beautiful coffee below.

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Last Night's Accommodation:

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Phoenix Inn Suites, 850 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, Oregon 97403

Large comfortable room to spread out and relax, comfortable bed. Included WiFi (which won't let me load photos), included continental breakfast and parking. Short walk to multiple eating options. Quiet neighbourhood.


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Jun
25
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We headed off a bit later today and had a lot of looking around so didn't get in until after 6pm but we had a great day. We loved the High Desert Museum and enjoyed the Volcanic experience but the highlight was without doubt the ride from Sisters Via McKenzie Pass and Hwy 126 where we climbed from sandy pine forest a lot like around the Narribri area up into and through mountains and  initially alongside a massive lava flow then through and over it and down again through incredibly cool, moist and luxuriant forest. Magnificent ride and awe inspiring scenery. WOW! An excellent road surface and lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. Not fast but a lot of fun. We are in Eugene tonight, a University town. Pictures tell the story:

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Indian Chief head dresses at the High Desert Museum where the history archeologically and anthapologically were covered well.

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An otter who posed beautifully before diving in for a swim.

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And one of many beautiful sculptures throughout the museum.

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Heading for the butte on the shuttle at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

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A shot of Mt Batchelor from the summit of the Butte.

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And a view from the Pilot Butte of Bend and the Sisters mountains in the distance.

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And a slingshot parked beside our bikes when we emerged from lunch.

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Sisters, a cute and quirky little town. A sign unfamiliar at home.

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And this tree has literally been built around in the ground and first floor verandas. Told you it was quirky.

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Lava flow on the way to Eugene.

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And ultimately it goes from beside us to the road going straight through.

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The Dee Wright Observatory in the Willamette Natioal Forest. Quite bizarre, literally construted by lava rocks on the top of the summit of the McKenzie Pass.

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A shot of the Three Sisters from the Observatory.

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And a  shot of the Three Sisters as we descend.

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And we descend into the forest. Didn't get a shot where the forest was the most dense. So should have had a GoPro on.

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A Covered bridge across the Blue River as it galloped alongside the road.

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And a shot of some buildings in the University of Oregon, Eugene being a University city.

Bits and Bobs:

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Breakfast room wisdom from this morning.

Last Night's Accommodation:

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Hampton Inn and Suites Bend, 730 SW Columbia Street, Bend, OR 97702

Lovely room and building. Parked our bikes under the portico at the front. Included WiFi, hot breakfast and parking. Staff very friendly and comfortable bed with short walking distance to many restaurant options for dinner. Comfortable spot to drop.


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Jun
24
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Well yesterday was all about exploring one lake and surrounds, and today was about exploring many lakes and surrounds so the same only different. We yet again enjoyed the solitude of country roads with many twists and turns so a yummy ride. We also needed to source a new front tyre for Norm's bike, not available in Chemult or La Pine but thankfully was in Bend at Pro Caliber Motor Sports of Oregon, 3500 North Highway 97, Bend OR 97701 where we walked in and the boys had it fitted for us half an hour later with much good humour and banter. Thanks Guys, really appreciate it. You can find them at

http://www.procaliberbend.com/

Again the pictures tell the story of our day:

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Crescent Lake resort where we had a coffee, a fishermans paradise, as were most of the lakes.

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Odell Lake Resort.

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Odell Creek.

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Davis Lake, we were going to call it Disappointment lake becasue we couldn't get to the water and if it hadn't been for some fire damage wouldn't have got this shot.

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A massive lava flow which followed alongside us on our journey, not surprising since Davis lake was formed by a lava flow blocking the Oddell Creek. It was over 100 foot high in places.06-24-twin-lakes.jpg 

Twin Lakes.

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Deschutes River.

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Lunch at La Pine at a truck stop and Norm checked out what was parked up and had a chat with the owner of this rig (Peterbilt) with a 10 foot sleeper and a 53 foot trailer!

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Lava Lake.

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Elk Lake Resort, all happening here.

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Devils Lake. This one was a real contrast, only 9 foot at it's depest and only 30acres.

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And heading for Bend this was the view in our rear vision mirrors.

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An impressive building in Bend where we are staying tonight.

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And the Old Mill area where we had dinner tonight.

Bits and Bobs:

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Words of wisdom from a shop window in Bend.

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And a hitch hiker who attached itself to my arm at the bike shop.

Last two Night's Accommodation:

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Eagle Crater Lake Inn, Chemult, OR 97731

Scary from the outside but has been nicely refurbished inside. Definately looks the pick of the ones here in town .... town is very challenged. Complimentary sodas in fridge and available in office. Complimentary basic continental breakfast parking and wifi so doing their best to be customer focused. Bed comfortable but highway literally at our front door and railway line at the rear so not entirely peaceful albeit that the trucks were greatly diminished through the night. No lock on the window ... in fact no catch at all so Norm retrieved a stick from outside to fit the channel at the base of the window. A can do man my Norm.


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Jun
23
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June 23rd is the 21st Anniversary of our son Danny's death so the day has felt a little surreal and I have appreciated being surrounded by incredible beauty today as we circumnavigated the Crater Lake, somehow felt a little soothing to the emotions. We also doubled up on a bit of the trip to get to where we needed to go and discovered it's possible to cover the distance in a surprisingly short amount of time if you don't stop every few hundred metres for a photo, hardly surprising that and tonight we are officially in the sticks and I'm typing this in the bar beside the restaurant where we will have dinner and am apparently a bit of a curiosity to the locals. I think Danny would have been pretty stoked about exploring the country as we have done so I will continue to assume he is doing so with us. It's been a huge job to decide what photos to include and what to leave out. Enjoy!:

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A very cute Art Deco building in Klamath Falls on our way out this morning.

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And a barn near Fort Klamath I spotted yesterday.

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Heading from the entrance to Crater Lake, and interesting Canyon as we head for the lake. 

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Fossilised Steam Vents - these vents vented steam along a fault line as the volcano erupted. They are in fact hollow and lined this canyon / fault line.

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Into the snow and if you look closely you will see a round snowball aloft which was aimed at Norm but the oomph was lacking and instead it landed on my bike. Ah well you apparently get that.

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 The rocky outcrop is called the Phantom ship.

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The pinnacles, more fossilised steam vents but some huge ones, sorry it doesn't look like it in 2D.

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Heading out of the Lake park.

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The Vide Waterfall. Impressive.

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And a shot in the Rim Village.

Bits and Bobs:

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Hire car wisdom found in a car park today.

Last two Night's Accommodation:

Olympic Inn, 2627 South Sixth Street, Klamath Falls, OR 97603

Comfortable room, lovely bed, free parking and Wi-Fi, included hot breakfast and soup and light soup and sandwiches in the evening as well as a cookie later in the night. Staff helpful and handy to major roads and shops as well as walking distance to a few dinner options. Good value.

Sorry, forgot to take a photo, doh!


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Jun
22
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Have had a quieter paced today which was welcome and have found it hard to take in the abundance of water and luxuriant growth after spending so much time over recent days in very dry and arid conditions where anything struggles to grow. I'll let the pictures tell the story:

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A view of Mt Shasta across Upper Klamath Lake. Mt Shasta was out to our left as we approached Klamath Falls yesterday. Sorry about the power lines, couldn't avoid them without sliding on my butt down to the rail line and no way back after that.

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The Logging Museum in the Collier Memorial State Park was a treat and apparently a lot of the machines were operating yesterday for Fathers Day, shame we didn't find that out earlier. We did a lot of daydreaming at the museum and felt very old. By the way family, Dad says you can put the chocolate in the pantry for his USA fathers Day so it's there when he gets home....Good luck with that I'd say.

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This monster did a mammoth job before the days of hydraulics.

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And an interesting shoe Sharen and Ken .. shoe? I thought it would be classed as a boot.

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And a cute little bridge at the museum over a crystal clear fast flowing stream. Beautiful.

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We visited the Fort Klamath Museum which was a bit of a disappointment really. This was a fort charged with keeping the peace between the new western settlers who came out on the Oregon Trail (which we followed on last years trip) with the resident Indians so a big job. It was once a fort of 2,000 men complete with a 100 acre vegetable garden and 50 buildings. It is now a large grassy paddock with a gaurd house (interesting but small museum) a jail (which isnt listed on the building list) and the little red post office (from Klamath Agency a settlment down the road a bit). Oh and a steep entry with a deep layer of large stones designed to tip people off their bikes which thankfully didn't happen. The poor little village of Fort Klamath was in a very poorly state also. Very sad. This is a view over the fence of the Fort Museum to Mt Shasta at which point Norm was ready to go.

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Norm just out of jail. Ha ha,

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We came back a different way in fact on the 'Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway' and this is a view from Norm's bike of the lush growth on the way to the Wildlife Refuge.

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And through some of the National Forest which was beautiful.

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A view back to Upper Lake Klamath as we headed back to the hotel.

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And then on the shore as we continued.

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Then we headed out the same way we had in the morning to gain a bit of height to take a shot of the lake and this is a contrast of some of the intensive farming with irrigation and the lake looking back towards Klamath Falls.

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And a lava flow, one of many, on the hillside we had ridden up.

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And a look out to Klamath Lake.

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One of many eagles circling around the hillside.

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Coming down from the eagles lair.

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Another one bites the dust, literally and no Norm didn't drop it when he was taking a shot. My camera holder broke a strap on the bottom and it tipped upside down. I felt something brush my foot (my notepad) and looked down to see the holder upside down so pulled over and did a U turn and rode back until I saw the notepad on the edge of the road, the torquoise aluminium cover was a help so picked that up and walked back further and found the poor old camera right in the wheel rut. By that time Norm was back and we checked for the camera card and needless to say it was gone so walked back further again and found that in the middle of the road. Phew. Thankfully we had turned off the main road looking for a windy ride back to the town so we were literally the only traffic on the road. The joke is that when we replaced Norm's broken camera in Moab it only cost $130.00 and we joked later that we should have bought 2. Today we did buy 2, for $53.00 each! Probably helped that the shop was closing down. Exactly the same model as Norm's so no bragging about who has the better camera now.

Bits and Bobs:

Two signs I missed getting a shot of today which appealed to me were both in Klamath Falls, and then another quote from the shop in Truckee.

The first:

A credit Union called 'Rogue Credit'. Really? Wouldn't want my money in there!

The second:

On the city limits on the highway 'Unmuffled engine brakes not to be used within town limits'. Yes, finally a differentiation so responsible operators still have access to engine brakes.

Truckee Quote from one of the shops:

Every parent should have this tattooed on their forehead! Love it.

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Jun
21
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We headed off before breakfast because we had decided to return to the coffee spot in Carson City but you guessed it, they are closed on Sunday.  Not to worry, we had a delicious breakfast at Mom & Pops Cafe just up the street then headed for Virginia City and what a treat that was. Of all the old gold mining towns we have visited it was the most complete even though only a shadow of it's former glory and all kinds of quirky, we could easily have spent all day there, if not longer. From there we continued on the old 395 Highwy to Reno and and it turned out to be an awesome winding climb up and down ride as it had been into and out from the lake. Having decided yesterday that Reno was easily missable we took the freeway straight through and proceeded to have a beautiful ride through vast open plains, pine dense hills and sandy rocky outcrops along with many dry lakes and and then ultimately productive farming and agricultural pursuits amongst volcanic remains. We are going to find increased traffic and people numbers hard to cope with when we get to the coast after all the peace we have enjoyed in the interior and the mountains. Ah well.

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Breakfast in Carson City in Mama & Pappa Cafe opposite the State Capitol Buildings and memorial Park we checked out yesterday.

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A shot of the State Capitol Building which sat in a lush garden of trees and lawn. It felt moist and cool under the leaf canopy and the birds sounded wonderful so they obviously appreciated it as well.

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And a shot through the door into the building. Yummy.

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And then there was Virginia City. Wow. This is on the approach.

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And I just kept snapping.

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Gold was the first draw and the miners were aggravated by the grey mud they had to deal with so discarded it into the main street ... until they realised it contained silver so then they dug up the main street. Gotta love it. Check out the timber veranda walkway, it literally followed the contour of the land... up and down. Bizarre.

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And another. Could have spent a long time in here!

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And the last one.

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Cold Springs Valley, think it should be Dry Springs Valley at the moment.

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Heading to Reno and I just love the big infrastructure of America and this was the highway we headed into Reno on yesterday. Loved these bridges. There was another one to the right of this shot but couldn't get it from this vantage point.

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Heading north.

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and still heading north.

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Lunch at Kopper Kettle Cafe in Susanville which was delicious. This is what we found when we retuurned to the bikes.

As we were leaving an elderly gent saw Norm's Folsom Prison Blues singlet top under his jacket and the conversation went as below:

EG: Folsom Prison!

N: Yep.

EG: I was a warder there.

N: Don't remember seeing you.

Me: He wasn't in there, just a Johnny Cash Fan.

EG: I was there when he performed, I didn't see him but I was there then.

N: Awesome.

EG: It was a terrible place to be, I didn't like it, it was all the worst of the worst ....

N: Maximum security?

EG: Yeah. We had to carry rifles all the time. I had to pull a gun on a guy once, and if I'd shot it would have been a terrible mistake. I didn't like it and I left soon after that.

Mmm, been humming or singing the song all day since Norm said  ... shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die ....

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Nap time after fueling up at Adin.

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The scariest toilet key we have ever seen at Juniper Junction (Adin) thankfully only needed it to unlock the restroom.

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19 miles to the National Heritge sight for the lava flow but evident even here and the plateau (crater) here is incredibly fertile with irrigated crops everywhere.

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And a last fuel stop at Merrill. Nearly into Klamath Falls now and I asked if there are 'Falls' at Klamath Falls only to be told not since the dam went in. Very familiar story. Probably just as well, too pooped to check them out tonight anyway.

Bits and Bobs:

Truckee Quote from one of the shops (sorry it was too blurry to post the photo): 'Opportunity is missed by many people because it is often dressed up in overalls and looks like work'.

Last two  Night's Accommodation:

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Marriott Vacation Club Timber Lodge, 4100 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Huge complex but comfortable room and good personalised service. Parking not on site for bikes so don't like that but knew before booking in, mind you it took Sharen and Ken longer than the 10 minutes they were told to retrieve their car yesterday and 45 minutes today. All sorts of choices re activities and ideally suited to the many families here. Awesomely comfortable temperatures so not surprising it is so busy. Have their own chair lift to the ski slopes / high country. Bed beautifully comfortable and good eating choices. A great resort to relax in.


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Jun
20
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We headed off on a round trip through Carson City, Reno and Truckee then back to Lake Tahoe and saw a variety of sights. Carson City was named after the Carson River which was named after Kit Carson who was a revered explorer and western identity who we have even heard of. Reno was a city full of casinos and also some sort of parade today so after a frustrating time trying to get into the main street for a look we abandoned that and headed for Truckee which was a treat. A former mining town (not sure about today) but was chock full of tourists enjoying all the quirkiness of the place then we headed back to the lake and glimpsing so many beautiful sights of people having fun in the lake and just the beauty of it on our way. The lake is 1,670feet deep so must be awfully cold.

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A very quirky hotel in Carson City, Firkin & Fox.

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Supreme Court of Nevada in Carson City

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A Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in the park in front of the court and state buildings. Liked it.

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Silhouettes of deer on the entry back to the highway from Carson City. Looked good.

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Stopped trying to figure out where to go in Reno and some of the parade revellers pass by. Check it out.

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The Reno Bus Centre, quirky sign.

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The Truckee Diner. Cute.

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Truckee Hotel.

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Ken and Norm in our lunch spot in Truckee The Wagon Train Cafe. All kinds of quirky and delicious lunch.

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And Nola and Sharen.

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Lake Tahoe Brewery in an old servo in Truckee.

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Heading back to Lake Tahoe and this is a beach spot along the edge of the lake.

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People enjoying the water anywhere they can get down to it which made for some interesting parking on the road above. Apparently 'No Parking' and  'Tow Away' must mean something different here!

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And into the distance across the lake and yes snow covered peaks.

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Love the beautiful tall straight pines all around here. These are right beside where our bikes are parked. Covered tonight to keep the pollen off them.

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A tribute to the Pony Express in front of the Harrahs Casino.

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The Chair Lift beside our Hotel. $40.00 per adult and up to the top of the sand line you see behind the building. We didn't take a ride.

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And a shot of part of the resort. There is an array of incredible real estate in the area right around the lake, all year round spot for holidaying so a great run away for the rich and famous. Along the perimeter of the lake the buildings are incredible and some of the entries alone would cost as much as a really good sized house at home.

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And a final farewell shot at our last dinner together for this trip. Tomorrow Norm and I head for Klamath Falls, Oregon and Sharen and Ken head for Sonoma, California. We've had a great time since we caught up in Nashville and have made lots of great memories on our magnificent adventure together. We will have to start planning the next one!


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Jun
19
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Left Death Valley at 7.30am to beat the heat but it was still close to 100F and the day just continued to be spectacular from start to finish. We started in God's abandoned quarry with what looked like heaps of different piles of stone, earth and sand product sorted in their colours and some a bit mixed with a bit of a jumble in between but by Lone Pine there was more vegetation albeit desert type but then by Bishop it changed and reminded me of around Cooma (NSW) with yellow hills coming down to lush green flats except the yellow hills were predominantly sand not dry grass and the green was promoted by irrigation as we found in a number of places. The ride to Bishop was getting uncomfortably hot but from there the altitude averaged between 4,000 feet to 7,750 feet and was more comfortable and the vegetation changed to ponderosa pines and even snow draped peaks in the distance, couldn't believe the contrast. Then into Lake Tahoe tonight and we climbed forever then dropped down onto the lake and the sights were incredible. Would have loved some shots on the way up but the day was already long so if I get a chance tomorrow I'll get some, if not, I missed them.

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The sign at the front of the ranch as we left this morning showing the highest recorded temperature. Apparently swallows were falling out of the sky, not surprised at that.

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The Devils Cornfield.

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Mesquite Sand Dunes.

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More dipping roads, fun on the bikes.

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Crossing Panamint Ranges moving out of Death Valley.

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Climbing up over the range and looking back to where we had come from.

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The County Court House in Lone Pine.

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Here come the troops over Norm's shoulder, Me then Sharen and Ken bringing up the rear.

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And we climb up into the pines and cooler air,  very welcome.

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We had lunch in Mammoth Lakes and discovered there is not 'A' Mammoth Lake, rather a collection of lakes and hence the title Mammoth Lakes, this is Mary Meade Lake complete with a waterfall at the end. We are standing on a very substantial bridge about a third of the way up the lake. Very impressive.

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The Mono Basin not far from when we headed for Lake Tahoe.

Last Night's Accommodation:

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Furnace Creek Resort, Highway 190, Death Valley, California 02328

Check in wasn't until 4pm and we arrived early at 11.30am but were booked straight in so were very grateful. Room comfortable with another comfortable bed, air conditioning effective, lots of eating options, pool, golf course and a whole lot of other stuff if you want to poke your nose outside the door into the blast furnace. Staff managed things well and were friendly and helpful.


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Jun
18
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We had left our bikes at Yamaha Las Vegas to be serviced on the way into town (on the west side for a trouble free get away) and once we heard the severe heat warning on the news last night for today regretted it a bit. In any case we were on their doorstep before they officially opened and we pulled away from there right on opening so really grateful both for them fitting our bikes in but also for helping us get away in good time this morning.  Impressive service and helpful staff

www.yamahaoflasvegas.com

Our ride to Death Valley was only a couple of hours to get here so we were glad we got here before the real heat of the day. Definitely not as hot at the time of riding as it was to go to Hoover Dam. We had made the decision that any exploring we did we would do with Sharen and Ken in the car and we did. The Park Ranger told us the temperature today would reach 51c by 4pm and stay there until around midnight before it slowly dropped and tomorrow will be 54c. We will be leaving at 7.30 in the morning so we can be out of the park heat within a couple of hours.

The mountains surrounding us here and the desert landscape is both severe and beautiful but I wouldn't want to be stuck in it. The hotel here is 191 feet below sea level so quite a contrast to a lot of the National Parks we have been in. Again, the pictures tell the story.

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It's official, we are heading for Death Valley.

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The road stretches out in front of us.

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And heat shimmers combined with spectacular moonscape views.

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Heading to Furnace Creek.

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Almost there.

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A look out over the Badwater area and I resorted to Chris Ikin's T shirt as it was roomy and light coloured so a hit in the heat and amused many, especially a German tourist. Happy to help.

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Thought we would go see natural Bridge but there was a 1.5mile road, then a 1 mile walk and a crappy road as well. Gave it a miss.

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A one way drive along the Artists Drive,

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A second shot on the drive.

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Furnace Inn where we first wanted to register but at this time of year it is closed. looked good.

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View at Zabriskie Point.

06-18-zabriskie-point-2.jpg 

And another.

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A view from Dante View to the Amarosa River not that we could see any water, more a salt pan. The smoke which has been increasing all day is from a grass fire in San Bernadino on the other side of the mountains.

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And coming down from the Dante View. The temperature up there was 13c lower there than in the valley and as you can see the area also supports more vegetation.

Last two Night's Accommodation:

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Vdara Hotel Las Vegas, 2600 W Harmon Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89158

What a treat from start to finish. We had booked a nice suite in this new hotel what we ordered wasn't available when we got here and we must have looked on the point of collapse because they put us in an upgrade complete with full kitchen washing machine and dryer on the 32nd floor so got all the washing done and had a great view as well. The bed, oh my God the bed. I stripped it down to get the name of the  (Sealy Posturepedic with Vdara Plush Pillowtop made expressly for Vdara Condo Hotel). Have to remember that, it was deliciously comfortable on all my sore achy bits which was quite something as I was so asleep when I went to bed the first night I got my tablets out and forgot to have them and still slept in until 10am! Hotel in a great position, great amenities and all staff terrifically helpful and friendly. Great experience.


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Jun
17
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We melted into the mattress last night after dinner and a short stroll on the strip and finally convinced ourselves to get out of bed around 10am. Got all our washing sorted, had brunch then headed off for a look along the strip and I have to tell you I felt better about how difficult I found the heat yesterday because we could retreat into air conditioned buildings for a bit of relief. In theory the heat won't be quite as high as we ride to death Valley ... hope that's right ... damn! The weather channel just said it's going to be 121F in Death Valley tomorrow. Just as well we are planning to head off early and only a couple of hundred kms before we get there. But, to Las Vegas, a collection of shots below.

06-17-window-view.jpg 

The view from our window.

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And with the Bellagio Fountain at work in the day ..

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.. and at night.

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The Harley Davidson Cafe today...

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...and last night

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A chocolate shop with no shortage of customers in the Bellagio building.

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Last night, a bit of Paris ...

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..and today.

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More of Las Vegas.

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A sign which may appeal to some / many.

06-17-bubba-gump.jpg 

And for Forest Gump fans, here is a branch of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.


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Jun
16
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Yet another awesome day from start to finish!

Superlatives are meaningless and the brief  dipping in and out of National Parks we have done doesn't do any of them justice but we are gob smacked at how different they all are. ALL of them realistically should take days to explore, some more than others but that sort of time we don't have. The photos below tell the story.

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Our neighbours last night, a group of German Harley riders with back up support.

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And on a fruitless search this morning for an espresso coffee.

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Approaching Zion National Park.

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And just into the park, this is the Chequerboard Mesa, the rest I didn't take names for as we were riding through. We had hoped to take a side road to waterfalls and such but this required a shuttle ride and extra time we didn't have. I'll add a number below. Don't know the names as we were riding.

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The start of a very long windy tunnel, quite narrow but adequate for cars to pass each other but we were being stopped and sent through one lane at a time today, we assume to cater for Recreational Vehicles. Glad we were waiting in the shade as the heat was starting to get up there even though it was early in the day.

06-16-near-mesa.jpg 

And a final one in the park.

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A shot not long after leaving the park. The sights kept unfolding in front of us.

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And on to Las Vegas and we marvelled at the massive engineering feat to construct roads to get in and out. Above and below.

06-16-engineering-feat-2.jpg 

06-16-hoover-dam-freeway.jpg

Ken and Sharen headed to Las Vegas after lunch and we went on to the Hoover Dam since we didn't get to see it in 1998 when we visited Las Vegas. It was awesome but oh my God it was at least 40c and we struggled to keep up the water and the will to continue for that matter. it was like riding in a blast furnace coupled with incredibly strong gusty wind so a trial all round really. Definitely hotter than anything we have ever ridden in for such extended periods since the heat had been rising rapidly since early morning. This is a shot of one of the many freeway bridges on our way into the wall since the wall is no longer the main highway.

06-16-hoover-dam-wall.jpg 

And some of the dam wall.

06-16-hoover-dam-spillway.jpg 

And the spillway, as you can see it's a long time since any water ran over this.

Last Night's Accommodation:

Sorry I haven't located the photo so will add it at a later stage. 

Best Western Plus Ruby's Inn, 26 South Main Street, Bryce Canyon, UT 84764

Comfortable though a bit dated. Hot water in the shower and a brief walk to the main building for substantial dinner and breakfast and a huge store of souvenirs and practical stuff. Quite incredible. Been trading since 1916 and in the same family.


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Jun
15
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Well yet another great day of spectacular sights from start to finish. Since we couldn't access the Vermillion Cliffs other than looking at them which was awesome (Google Vermillion Cliffs Arizona for awesome photos) we decided to double back and head for Page so we could see the Horseshoe Corner and what a treat. The ascent up to the plateau was incredible in terms of engineering of the road and rock face views as well as towards the plains and the Vermillion Cliffs as well and then all sorts of changing views and treats as we travelled through the edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and back onto 89A at Kanab and we just kept seeing terrific sights from there up to the park and they continued. Can't believe there can be so many changes!

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The Vermillion Cliffs in the morning light.

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And an awesome cutting as we climbed to the plateau from the plains.

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Glen Canyon Dam Wall on Lake Powell.

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Horseshoe Bend. What I would give for a camera with a larger viewfinder.

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North of Kanab.

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Dixie National Forest - Red Canyon. Gob smacking.

 

06-15-2nd-tunnel.jpg 

The second of two short cute little tunnels.

06-15-natural-bridge.jpg 

And to Bryce Canyon. Wow. We could have a handful of photos for each point but will spare you that. This is the Natural Bridge.

06-15-fairview-point.jpg 

And Fairview Point, 8,819foot elevation.

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Bryce Point.

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Inspiration Point, 8,100foot elevation.

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Sunset Point, 8,000foot elevation.

Bits and Bobs:

06-15-b-n-b-1.jpg 

It has certainly been underlined for us here at the National Parks that Australia is somewhat a nanny state given all the things we have been able to see and explore here in the USA. perhaps it has something to do with their right of self determination and a quote we hear recently that 'All Americans have the right to die in their National Parks'. In any case people are expected to be responsible for themselves rather than being protected from their own stupidity. A couple of signs as an example today from the Glen Canyon Dam Wall overlook above and at all the Bryce Canyon Overlooks this afternoon below.

06-15-b-n-b-2.jpg 

Last Night's Accommodation:

Marble Canyon Lodge, Highway 89A, Marble Canyon, AZ 86036

Adequate spot to drop for the night. Basic but clean and restaurant available with air conditioning which was appreciated after the hottest day so far of 101F. After dodgy Wi-Fi the last two nights we had none at all here. Ah well.

Sorry, forgot to take a photo.


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Jun
14
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We had an awesome day's riding with ever changing geography from red rocks then winding along a cool leafy valley from Sedona up to the rim of the canyon and then through a lot of ponderosa pine grassland and onto the Sunset Crater Volcano complete with lava flows and then Indian Pueblos and great open plains around the rim of the Grand Canyon and ever changing colours of the cliff faces and mountains around us. All sorts of wow!

 

Bridge north of Sedona.

06-14-sunset-crater.jpg 

Sunset Crater Volcano believed to have erupted in 1100.

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And in the opposite direction where we came from.

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And a look at a small part of the lava flow which remains and nature is slowly reclaiming the space.

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Wukahi Pueblo

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Citadel Pueblo looking towards the surrounding grassland.

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Cameron Trading Post a surprising oasis just past the turn off to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

06-14-bridge-at-cameron-tra.jpg 

And the bridge which was on the old highway at the Trading Post.

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Some tough clay wearing away over centuries making a great show of colour in contrast to the red cliffs in the distance.

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The view stretching into the distance.

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Changing again as we head for Marble Canyon.

06-14-more-changes.jpg 

And more changes.

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And we descend towards the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River.

06-14-nahajo-bridge-old-and.jpg 

And the Navajo Bridge old (left) and new (right)

Last Night's Accommodation:

06-12-lexington-hotel-holbr.jpg 

Best Western Plus Arroyo Roble, 400 N State Route 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

A lovely comfortable spot to drop and explore. Large comfortable room and bathroom. Included parking breakfast and Wi-Fi. Just a short work to countless dining and shopping options. Very nice.


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Jun
13
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Slept in, had a leisurely breakfast then headed off on a Pink Jeep tour of Sedona and surrounds. Really enjoyed the birdseye view before it got too hot and Mike Lamb our guide was knowledgeable and fun.  Sedona he started off as an agricutural area and is like an island in the middle of National forest, the area being about 75% developed at this point. After the tour we had lunch and I've been fighting most of the afternoon with tech bloody nology. Think the laptop has had an upgrade which inteferes with internet connection and the notebook has real potential to become a frisbee at this point.

06-13-chapel.jpg

Chapel on the mountainside.

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Clouds building.

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Pillars.

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The troops over Sedona, all squinting in the sun you will note.

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One of many galleries.

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Lizard head.

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Spectacular nature.

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Great view.

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Awesome sculpture of an indian mother and babe above and below. Need three shots to take it all in. My favourite of all we have seen and there have been many. Damn shame we haven't had a tattslotto win I could have happily bought some.

06-13-indian-mother-2.jpg 

06-13-indian-mother-3.jpg

06-13-storm-on-the-way.jpg

And late in the day the storm gathers behind the valley.


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Jun
12
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A reasonably kick back day but we managed to stretch it out and loved the whole day, even the solid rain and hail where there wasn't supposed to be any. Gotta love being on the road.

 06-12-neon-in-holbrook.jpg

A taste of the neon signs in Holbrook after dinner last night. This was part of Route 66 and there are lots of examples of 'Main Street America' to be seen.

06-12-holbrook-station.jpg

The Historic train Station on Bucket of Blood Street ... I kid you not!

 06-12-on-a-corner-winslow-a.jpg

Standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona and such a lovely sight to see ...

 06-12-dans-diner-holbrook.jpg

Dan's diner Winslow for a chocolate milkshake. Beautiful old building and great ambience. Place was full of tourists, most of them on motorbikes.

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A windmill in a memorial park which caught my eye.

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We visited the meteor crater west of Winslow. 1 mile long and 3/4 mile wide and was 750m deep but gradually silting up over time with wind erosion. We saw this from the air in 1998 when we flew from LA to New Orleans and never dreamt we would see it first hand.

 06-12-leaving-meteor-crater.jpg

Looking west from the Meteor Crater to the thunderstorm we were about to ride through which wasn't supposed to be happening. ha ha.

06-12-Bell-Rock.jpg 

Welcome to Red Rock Country as we approached Oak Valley.

06-12-heading-into-sedona.jpg

And we headed into Sedona.

 06-12-wow-whee-to-look.jpg

Wow, where to look, the views keep jumping into our view and is it any wonder heaps of movies have been made in this environment.

 06-12-from-hotel-window.jpg

The view from our hotel room. Glad we will have time to explore tomorrow.

 06-12-bit-of-fun.jpg

And a bit of fun with a sculpture in the garden.

 

Bits and Bobs:

 06-12-opening-hours.jpg

The opening hours 'ish at the Petrified Wood Company in Holbrook, way too much stuff for me to even tolerate there.

 

Last Night's Accommodation:

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Lexington Inn Holbrook, 1308 Navajo Boulevard, Holbrook, AZ 86025

We rocked up and there was literally no other vehicles in the car park so we were wondering if this was the Holbrook version of Hotel California where you can check out anytime you like  but you can never leave. Imagine our relief to get back from dinner to find the car park full. Phew. Anyway, large comfortable rooms and not a bad included breakfast.  The hotel also wins the award for the best located toilet roll holder being in the most obvious / practical / reachable spot in the bathroom so you can reach it without dislocating any joints, go figure .... given all the other places we have stayed.

 


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Jun
11
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My favourite shot at Monument Valley late yesterday afternoon.

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And the sights continue heading out of Monument Valley as we head for the rain.

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Coming out of one of many thunderstorms today complete with pouring rain and hail and a night dark sky as well as some awesome / scary lightening. Seems we dipped in and out of these and were either approaching or leaving or riding alongside. We got very very wet.

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A shot of the Painted Desert. A shame it was so overcast, doesn't do the clays and stones justice.

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And another with petrified logs at the base.

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Painted Desert Inn.

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And a shot in the quirky little bar. A stretch of the old Route 66 was within the park.

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More Painted Desert known as the Teepees.


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Petrified tree. These trees were blown to bits by treasure seekers after amethest and crystals many years ago. Really!

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And the cross section of the grain of one log. Beautiful colours and patterns.

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And here is a happy camper we found in the car park.

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At the end of the day in spite of waterproofs we were very wet and uncomfortable and my bike served as a handy clothes line in the Arizona sun, is nothing sacred?!?!

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And since Holbrook is on the old Route 66 we had a look at what we could find reminiscent of the period and here is the Wigwam Hotel which is still in use ... including the wigwams as well as other rooms.. We enjoyed the drive on our way home from dinner tonight looking at some of the old neon signs.

Last Night's Accommodation:

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The View Hotel, Indian Route 42E Oljato, Monument Valley, Utah 84536
The only hotel inside Navajo Tribal Park and is attached to a huge Visitors Centre and Restaurant. The room was comfortable and artworks throughout the hotel were superb and varied. The whole complex showcased both the valley and the Navajo people. Worked well. The hotel sits nestled into the side of the valley and doesn't seem obtrusive. Staff friendly and helpful .


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