Category Archives: USA

Los Angeles to Melbourne to Perth – Day 43 of 43

We moved out of the WorldMark Suites at around  9:00am and moved into the Hilton Garden Inn across the road from the Qantas Freight area at LAX.

LAX from our hotel window.
LAX from our hotel window.

Stayed for the morning then off to the Westfield at Culver City where we shopped and had lunch.

Westfield, Culver City, Long Beach LA
Westfield, Culver City, Long Beach LA

Then back to the hotel in the afternoon and evening. We were lucky enough to arrive early enough for breakfast.

Left LAX around 10:30pm on Saturday.  The flight was 14.5 hours and then we landed in Melbourne. Got two movies in, St Vincent, and Hot Pursuit.  The second one was a popcorn movie – my classification, derived from the assumption that you could eat popcorn all the way through, even crunching over dialogue, and it would not detract from the conversation on screen.  Good fun, not very credible but it was entertaining. image The other was terrific with Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, also Naomi Watts was enjoyable as a grumpy Russian prostitute. In fact it had a surprising, high quality cast,  and I would recommend it.image

All good fun.  Business Class is fun too.  See you all soon.  Boarding in two minutes. Catch ya out west.

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Los Angeles – Melbourne Day 42 of 43

Yesterday we sat around and read, slept, packed, blogged, watched TV and a DVD – “Duff” – fun movie. The other movie we watched was Kingsman which started well and turned into gratuitous violence and it was just so silly.  The gadgets were cool though. And the cast was terrific.

LAX - the airport is across the road.
LAX – the airport is across the road.

So today we have checked out of the Wyndham Resort and have moved across town to another room across the road from the LAX airport – from where we fly at 22:30 tonight.  So we are indulging in some R & R just killing time.

We went to Westfield at Culver City today and did some last minute shopping.  There were sales on everywhere – oh joy.  I think I have bought enough clothes for the next 5 years. Very pleasing.

Westfield, Culver City, Long Beach LA
Westfield, Culver City, Long Beach LA

So we leave tonight and head home and I suspect that will be the end of my blog.  I will add to this next time I go away and also in reminiscing about trips I have made in the past.  Stay tuned or not.  If you follow this blog I expect you will get an email next time I post.

So looking forward to coming home.  I have missed my dad and my furries and the chooks and the garden. Sigh.

Bye for now.

Anaheim, California – Disneyland – Day 40 of 43

Yes, they exist Yay!
Yes, they exist Yay!

Finally, Disneyland.  Always wanted to see it.  Glad I have.  Some of the music made me cry! I’m just an emotional person I guess.  And I saw Rapunzel! my all time favourite fairy story.

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I didn’t take my proper camera because I thought it would be a problem to carry all day so these pics are from my iPhone.

The number of people there was phenomenal. The strollers, the fat people, the balloons, mouse ears, cleanup teams, the smells from the restaurants.

The Mark Twain
The Mark Twain
Buy Buy Buy
Buy Buy Buy

We caught the ART – Anaheim Resort Transport bus number 6 from Katella Ave just near our resort at WorldMark by Wyndham Resort. Katella Ave was named after Kate and Ella whose parents had been early settlers in Anaheim.

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Kate and Ella

The bus ride took about 5 mins and it drove right into the Disneyland lot.  The were stops for about 20 buses which circle constantly around the resorts every 15 mins from rm 9am-12midnightish.

Scottsdale to Anaheim Day 39 of 43

Inside Gainey's Hotel - Sottsdale, Arizona
Inside Gainey’s Hotel – Sottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale to Anaheim took about 6 hours in all with stops and driving and eating and shopping.

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The drive was good, I felt a little stiff each time we got out from sitting still for so long.

The day got hotter and the clouds became more impressive as the day wore on.
The day got hotter and the clouds became more impressive as the day wore on.

It got hot.

Up to 41 degrees on the road.
Up to 41 degrees on the road.

The landscape was ever-changing and interesting.  Beautiful mountains and hills and roadsides of great variation as we journeyed west on the 506 (I think) I was not driving so did not have to worry about navigating.

Crossed the border into California and went through an Agriculture Checkpoint, we were waved through without stopping.  No Mexicans on board.

Walmart, Indio, California
Walmart, Indio, California

Had lunch in Indio and collected some stuff from Walmart and Petco.

The drive continued for 6 hours approximately and the countryside was amazing, wonderful, beautiful.

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Love the outdoors.  We had a great drive, fantastic stuff.

Grand Canyon – Sedona – Scottsdale, Arizona Day 38 of 43

After following some advice from the National Park where we saw Smokey we started with a one last look at the canyon after two days looking at its majesty. An amazing place, beautiful, audacious, mystifying. The landscape continues to change and the earth is changing colour again from the reds and browns of the canyon area to softer warm creams.

Beautiful countryside.
Beautiful countryside.

There are grasses along the edge of the roads and trees of a conifer variety and small blue greens shrubs. The roads are of a reasonable condition most of the time. We stopped on the way out of the park and stopped at a sign for the area where Smokey Bear stood.

Smokey Bear is on the job!
Smokey Bear is on the job!

image We all took photos. imageThe woods around the stop were bathed in rich sunlight and we saw a blue jay in the trees collecting something to eat.

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

It moved very quickly so my photos did not do it justice.
We have just stopped in Tuscayan, Arizona at a Trading post where we saw Navajo jewellery where it was said the Navajo were the first Indians to use jewellery in their designs.

We continued to drive through beautiful red rock mountains, that smell divine. We’ve had the windows open taking pictures and the earth smells so rich and the trees so sweet.  So cool!!!

Woodlands on the way.
Woodlands on the way.
Camping sites along the road - well occupied too, long weekend.
Camping sites along the road – well occupied too, long weekend.

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http://www.redbubble.com/people/stormygirl/works/5533115-snoopy-rock
Snoopy Rock (he’s lying on his back)

Snoopy Rock!

Big rocks as far as the eye can see.
Big rocks as far as the eye can see.

We had lunch in Sedona and did a little shopping.  I bought an indian earring set in silver with inlaid stones.  Very cute and lovely.

We had lunch at the HP Cafe and sat outside and enjoyed good food.

We then continued our drive to Scottsdale where we stayed for two nights.  Here is a picture of the pool, sigh.  Tough life.

Scottsdale, Arizona, Gainey Suites Hotel.
Scottsdale, Arizona, Gainey Suites Hotel.

 

 

Las Vegas, Nevada to Grand Canyon Day 36 & 37 of 43

 

Packed and left Las Vegas and headed east then south to the Grand Canyon. The landscape on the way was beautiful. I love the desert shapes and colours. The smattering of rocks up and down the volcanic ridges and valleys. The blues and mauves of the distant mountains and the yellows and creams of the grasses on the hillsides.image

Green in patterns across the rolling hills. Some have rocky outcrops on the top. Red, brown yellow, grey-green and white – almost like the Aussie landscape. Just stunning in its parched look.

Colours in Nevada and Arizona
Colours in Nevada and Arizona

Now the flats again with occasional palm like stumpy trees no more than a metre high. thick stems and green tops. Coarse and tough.Many of the native scrub is very like Australia. It looks dry and desolate yet worth a second look.

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The drive could take between 4 and 6 hours depending on our stops.
The more we travelled into Arizona the more lush the landscape. More grass and more stumpy trees – where there had been fewer than 1 per square km now it would be 10-15.

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Arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park and are staying in two cute cabins called Bright Angel cabins. Basic but lovely, with wooden doors to cupboards and the bathroom. Cosy and unassuming. Easy to get around. There are a few cabins for the princely sum of $125 per person per night. Right on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s seven wonders. Beautiful to see.imageimage image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image

Day 37 Grand Canyon

The next day we were up around 7:30 Fresh and cool. Lovely day.

Went for a wander to “the rim” for morning photos – different from the sunset ones of yesterday. We are driving around the south rim 40km drive around the edge of the canyon. 17 degrees and clear. The air here is fresh and tasty.
Spent the day driving around the south rim of the Canyon and being awe inspired. Again if you want any further explanation, ask.

We came back to the Bright Water Cabins on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. There are hotels here that have been here since the beginning of the last century. Some of the buildings are very rustic and full of character. Our cabins are very basic but very well constructed and cosy. We have a bathroom with toilet, a built in Wardrobe a TV ceiling fan, heating desk and about 4 lamps.
We had dinner at Bright Angel Lodge Restaurant, where we had Clam chowder and Apple Pie. Very yummy.
There is little to no internet access here so I have had to write my blogs each day in the notes section on my ipad until I can make them ‘real’
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We went to look at the Canyon once we had dumped our bags. It is amazing and a huge expanse of rock in so many colours it was awe-inspiring to see. There is no rail, fence or boundary to stop people stepping off the edge. There is an idea in some places and a wall in others but no barrier from actually tipping over if you over balance on the edge. With the sand stone pathways, there is  a high likelyhood of this happening.

 

Las Vegas, Nevada Day 35 of 43

Hoover Dam wall
Hoover Dam wall
Its famous!
Its famous!
Holding up the bridge. Some people do silly things!
Holding up the bridge. Some people do silly things!

Hoover Dam

Las Vegas is only an hour’s drive from the iconic Hoover Dam.  We drove out early around 9.00 to avoid the tourists.  The tour busses arrive around 10 am.  The day was hot and you could feel the sun penetrating your clothes.  I wore my cap which I bought at the Missouri Memorial in Hawaii – that was after leaving my woven paper hat on the front seat of the shuttle we caught to the Memorial. It was untraceable.:(

The structure of the dam is phenomenal – one of the modern wonders of the world.  It was precipitated by floods in the low lying areas where food crops were being grown and subsequently wiped out and the depression at the time, when millions were out of work and this was an opportunity to earn $40 a week, a fortune in the 30s. The amount of concrete used was amazing and the video intro we had before the tour was facincating.  The tour through the tunnels lasted about 20 mins and we then were let loose in the display area to read more and look at the tremendous effort performed by the men who built it.

http://www.history.com/topics/hoover-dam
Publisher A+E Networks

Highway bridge of Hoover Dam
Highway bridge of Hoover Dam
Images of the time. Lots of evidence of the Art Deco era when this structure was born.
Images of the time. Lots of evidence of the Art Deco era when this structure was born.

We did a Power Station tour to look at the hydro-electric turbines and listened to the amazing talk about how marvellous the hydro electricity feeds thousands of homes and controlling the water has made growing food down river from the dam where the Colorado River is no longer  a problem for farmers down river.

There was nothing said but it was documented about the 96 men who lost their lives during the construction.  Some through accident and others through illnesses assoiated with being underground – pneumonia and tb showed up but they were not considered to be the fault of the work.

“Officially, the project had 96 construction-related fatalities —from such causes as falling rocks and run-ins with heavy equipment—but some sources contend the number likely was higher.”

The dam - Lake Mead
The dam – Lake Mead very low at the moemnt as evidence by the high water line.
The tunnels
The tunnels
The turbines
The turbines

This is  a sign (below) we saw twice at this venue.  We went through some security checks on our way in and had to removed everything from our wrists  and pockets.

No firearms!
No firearms!

We had icecream at the cafe and toddled home for lunch.  as we were leaving the Dam, the line of cars coming in was very long.  Glad to be leaving – it was very hot and we did not want to hang out with lots of tourists.

We went back to the hotel and had turkey sandwiches, then a sleep, then we looked at the pool.  We went to the outlets on the northside of the city and i bought a pair of very cool brogues in plum.We ate at the food hall there for tea, and had chinese.  Very nice too.

Later we went out to look at the casino lights and the strip to get photos. Saw the famous Bellagio water fountain with music and movement.

The Bellagio at night with the music playing.
The Bellagio at night with the music playing.

Moments after seeing this display – I lost my party.  A youngster of about 10-11 with a black long haired wig on and a hat and Michael Jackson music blasting out of a huge speaker in the forecourt of the Bellagio caught my attention.  I moed to my left with a swarm of others to watch this kid dance.  In the meantime, Didi and Brian were somewhere in the crowd.

After many messages to Brian and Anne on the Bellagio wifi through Skype and What’s App , and waiting an hour on the steps inside the hotel “Where I could be seen!” I went back to our hotel and low and behold if not 15 minutes later the other two returned also.

Lovely night overall and home in bed by 11:45pm

Washington to Las Vegas via Chicago – Day 34 of 43

Today we packed up again and flew via Chicago to Las Vegas. On our flight from Washinton to Chicago, we met a fantastic Steward called Rodney. He had dreads very well contained in long wraps and he had frameless glasses, and greying hair.  He was tall and slim and black, and had been married for 22 years and has a couple of kids We met him again on the next leg of our journey from Chicago to Las Vegas.  I gave him one of the furry koalas I brought with me for those who gave exceptional service. The food on the American Airlines flight was beautiful, yummy and fresh. Upon our arrival in Las Vegs where the desert winds blew a little and the car cleaners at the Hertz station mentioned them in apology if your car was dirty.  We collected a car at the airport in like this one.imageWe needed a vehicle this size due to the bags each of us is toting around.  And then there is the extra stuff we have bought at all the outlets and presents and stuff.  So we are currently running at 4 suitcases, two large extra bags, two smaller cabin luggage, 3 hand bags, and 2 camera bags.  So we need a van!

We will probably need two taxis when we arrive home too. lol

Las Vegas, Nevada – Sin City

The famous Las Vegas sign
The famous Las Vegas sign
Famous Las Vegas sign more info here about its origin and the clever woman who created it. Betty Willis who only died at 91 in April this year.

Hilton Grand Vacations at The Flamingo

We checked into the Hilton Grand Vacations Flamingo and moved into our spacious, palatial rooms.  We had two adjoining rooms.  One had a bathroom, spa room, bedroom and kitchen lounge dining.  The other room had a spa/bathroom, bedroom and kitchenette with small fridge and coffee/tea making facilities.

We were on the 4th floor so lift waits for rides were few.  Our MO when we arrive at these places is looking for – the gym, the pool, the ice machine and the laundry.  Once that has been sorted we usually settle down for a drink or swim or get the laundry done.

It’s all very civilised.  In Vegas we went out to have a look around and were only one Casino’s width from the Strip.  Saw posters of Donny and Marie Osmond who perform at the Flamingo Casino next door.

The Strip is pretty ordinary in the day time.  There are homeless people on every street corner/bridge/walkway.  At least they won’t die from the cold. Some we saw in New York looked very sad.  I never know what to do, I would probably talk to them all but when I am with other people I tend to walk on.  I gave a few dollars to a couple of different people as I walked by.

Just thought about the movie that Richard Gere has just made about being homeless. Read an article in Street Sense (I bought a copy from a guy)- which is a paper in Washington sold by street vendors who are trying to get back on track – like our Big Issue in Perth. Anyway he said that they filmed for 45 mins when he was being the ‘homeless’ guy and no-one spoke to him.  http://www.india.comimageI spoke to a kid in town one day and gave her some money.  I have also heard that kids do it and make between one and two hundred dollars a day.  I don’t know what is the right thing to do.

You can have your picture taken with these birds at the Flamingo
You can have your picture taken with these birds at the Flamingo
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Or these showgirls for a tip
Or these showgirls for a tip

Washington DC, Day 33 of 43

We went to the Washington Giftshop where they have a fake pressroom and oval office set up for photos. Hilarious and great fun.

And therefore:-
And therefore:-
So, The President is in the oval office.
So, The President is in the oval office.

We went to see the White House today and took the obligatory pics in front.

Us at the White House
Us at the White House
My photo of the White House
My photo of the White House

We went back on the Hop on Hop off bus today because our second day was free and that took us back to stop no 10 – the Lincoln Memorial but also in that vicinity was the Vietnam Memorial, which I wanted to see.  I had heard that it was at Arlington Cemetery but it wasn’t – it was near the Lincoln Memorial.  The Vietnam Memorial is a highly polished wall in a wide V shape covered in thousands of names of the fallen.  The are in alphabetical in order in the year they died.

Vietnam War Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial

There are books that look like phone books on stands covered with perspex so that the vetrans or families can locate their loved ones and it gives them the panel number where they can find the name they are looking for.  Some people do a rubbing of the name to keep.

Vietnam War Memorial - rubbing
Vietnam War Memorial – rubbing

The city was wonderful to look around and the weather was phenomenal.  We have had 2 days of rain in the whole time we have been away.  That is pretty amazing I reckon.  Thanks for reading.  Any feedback or comments are welcomed.

 

Washington DC Day 32 of 43 Part Two

Arlington Cemetery

Field after field of white monuments.  It is a sad and confronting place.  So many lives lost.  Such a waste of talent and so many lives lost without proper planning, training or consideration of the outcomes.  Much was done for the right reasons, however, the loss has been staggering.The men and women killed were aged between 17 and 23 on average.

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The tomb of the unknown soldier in four wars is guarded 24 hours per day every day of the year, rain, hail, snow, or terrorist attack without fail.  Even of the day of the attack on the Pentagon, the soldiers stayed at their post.  The changing of the guard happens every hour. The guard marches 21 steps along a rubber mat which has foot prints in it from the hours of repetition.  At the end of his 21 steps he turns, changes his weapon from one sholder to the other , waits 21 seconds and returns to the other end, and repeats this for an hour.

Changing of the Guard, Tomb of the unknown soldier. Rain, hail, snow, shine, or  terrorist attack; nothing will stop the soldiers guarding the tomb.

Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the unknown soldier
Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the unknown soldier
Tomb of the unknown soldier.
Tomb of the unknown soldier.

Also saw the monument to commemorate the taking of the the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese in 1942.

Iwo Jima Memorial
Iwo Jima Memorial

After all that we needed to eat so headed to the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Washington.

Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe
Nachos - for ONE!!!
Nachos – for ONE!!!
Too much food - ribs for ONE
Too much food – ribs for ONE

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