Choosing a photographer
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Tuesday, August 18

Today we set our GPS to the town of Tobermory out of the end on a peninsula in Lake Huron, the guidebook said it contains some of the areas most scenic terrain, maybe it does once you get to the shoreline but our drive to the Peninsula was through a beautifully wooded area with beautiful trees either side passing by hundreds of, I assume, holiday homes, built on the side of the Lake, perhaps 10% of them are currently for sale, and lots of new developments along the shore being offered to prospective buyers.

Once we reach the Peninsula we turned back and 20 km later took a left-hand turn towards Dyer Bay and then attempted the 9 km Road along the lakefront towards the Cabot head lighthouse, they don't tell you it is a shingle Road about 10 foot six wide and with our motorhome being 10 feet wide is not exactly a lot of room to manoeuvre, and it becomes really interesting when a car comes towards you, no problems with the first two, then there were four cars to pass us, on an extremely narrow part of the Road, so we had to back up probably 400 m where we had seen a wider apart of the Road and let the cars passed, leading car told us there was a lot more people at the lighthouse to come through so we decided that point to turn round instead of driving on the next 5 km.

Back onto normal roads and we headed for a parking spot we saw as we came in so here we are for the evening without the photos we wanted of the lighthouse!

Wednesday, August 19

We started heading towards our next destination which was Midland up on the Peninsula and we noticed the vibration in the motorhome getting worse and the motor appearing to be not firing on one cylinder or whatever, so we changed our destination to Port Elgin where we passed a Ford dealer coming in arriving there about lunchtime and they immediately had a technician look at the motor with a computer to analyse the problem and they quickly found that the number three ignition coil was faulty and for my own record this happened at 150,146 miles which also was well with in the warranty period and distance the cruise America gave on the vehicle.

We then got on the road again and found we still had a vibration, so was back to the workshop and the engineer climbed in the RV with his computer we plugged it into the diagnostic plug and went for a drive and after about 15 minutes he gave the engine at clean bill of health and suggested it may be the wheels out of balance.

Back to the workshop, the tire man started to balance one of the wheels and discovered that the front passengers side tire had delaminated making the tire unsafe almost at any speed, was useless as a spare and had to be replaced.

We breathed a sigh of relief that we did not get a blowout on the narrow one-way road we did yesterday, it would have been fun trying to change one of the heavy wheels on such a Road with all the traffic wanting to pass.

A new tire was ordered with a promised delivery of Thursday afternoon.

Thursday, August 20
We filled in the morning doing chores at about 2 p.m. the tire arrived and 15 minutes later the RV was ready to roll so we set the GPS for Barrie and got back on the Road.

When we reached Collingwood (yes it seems there is a shortage of original names) we pulled into the Walmart for the night ready for an early start tomorrow.

Friday, August 21

We set off this morning to visit Wasaga beach, according to the guidebook one of the longest golden sandy be freshwater beaches one can find, and they proved to be the keywords, "one can find" we did see a small portion of the beach at one of the few areas you could drive down to the beach but the rest of the way we are driving along a tree clad Road with again lots of expensive houses it between us and the beach.

We did look for Discovery Harbour the site has a Museum which houses the preserved HMS Nancy one of the few bridge boats to survive the war of 1812 along with a reconstruction of the British naval base et cetera but with the heavy rain we decided to move on.

Our next stop was Saint Marie among the Hurons the replica of a French settlement in 1639 in what the French called New France that once had one fifth of the European population of the area but thanks to the diseases that the Europeans brought with them like influenza measles and smallpox and the warring between the two Indian tribes the settlement was abandoned, torched, with the Jesuits and the natives returning to Québec.

Whilst we were there we saw in the parking lot one of the red German Rotel travel buses that has normal bus seats in the front portion of the bus and small pigeon like compartments at the back that you can crawl into to sleep, I guess you hope baked beans have not been on the menu for a peaceful night's sleep.

I next destination was London Ontario, and we noted as we drove through the countryside taking a very zigzag course so we could avoid the outskirts of Toronto that we passed through Wellington, Waverley, and ended up staying in Cambridge with the towns of Kitchener and Waterloo close by, Kitchener evidently was originally called Berlin by the German settlers but was renamed Kitchener after the First World War.

The Road that we took was definitely what one could call the scenic route with not one of the roads being longer than probably 10 km before we turned a different direction, through the very lush looking farms that appear to have no need for irrigation and a lot of the very small towns very substantial grand houses.

Is much simpler to go motorhome meeting in New Zealand where you can park on a beach and in most places almost anywhere and it is interesting that Canada with all of its land and about three people per square kilometre is so restrictive about overnight camping preferring to have all RVs stay the night tightly packed into campgrounds with all the amenities of home available on each campsite, we choose the Walmart car Park were at least we're not packed in tightly.

Saturday, August 22

We finished our drive to London Ontario and found it terribly interesting with all the names for the suburbs streets et cetera straight from the British Isles, even though the French were here first there is very little sign in Ontario anywhere of their presence, I guess will be dramatically different in Québec and Montréal.

It was not totally English as we did drive through Paris, so France was not totally forgotten, and we did see a Colleden and a Derry and some long unpronounceable names which we assumed were Welsh.

We arrived at 29 Dundee Court and a sign in the front porch announced that Craig and Amanda Starkey lived here and it was the home base for their "Image Photography", so it was a pleasure to finally meet Craig's wife and their three children so we spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on what has happened since 1989 Craig joined me on a tour of Turkey. Craig of course worked with me in the 1970s and it was a pleasure to see the beautiful photography he is currently producing.

Craig took us on a tour of London, with a population of 381,000 there was no way is going to be confused with its namesake, but it is an extremely beautiful city with lots of amenities and of course what other name could they give the River that was flowing through London than the Thames.

Sunday, August 23

This morning we headed towards Niagara Falls and when we were almost there on a crowded motorway we said to ourselves, the weekend, Sunday, two weeks before the schools go back, no we do not want to join the crowds at Niagara today so we got off the motorway about 10 km from our destination and sat in a Walmart car Park for the rest of the day and had a good wander through a lot of the shops in the large complex that we were in. It was interesting to see an A class Carathago join us in the car Park, they had Swiss numberplates and we gave them our best wishes to get out of the American continent without any mechanical trouble with their Fiat motor which is still basically unknown in this country. It was a peaceful night, but.....

Monday, August 24

This morning we got up and got set up for the last few kilometres to Niagara and I discovered I'd left the headlights on which sort of flattens the battery. They do have an override switch to start the motor off the house battery either that was too flat or the switch did not work. That's one advantage of parking overnight in a Walmart car Park because the shop is real close if you need something like what we did this morning so I went and looking for a jumpstart device with a small battery and talking to the shop assistant I asked did they have one that they used in their department, the answer was yes, and yes he would bring it out to the motorhome and get it started, and yes he did and it was a success, I figured that was worth the $20 tip I gave him so after letting the motor run for a little bit were on our way to Niagara and there was still a surprising amount of traffic coming on a Monday morning.

The GPS took us right to the falls, we found a short term car Park and fed in the five dollars of coins for the 30 minute minimum time, crossed the Road and photographed the twin falls that you see from the Canadian side, it could have been interesting doing a lot more there but we felt we had seen enough so was then back into the RV heading out North, following again the good old GPS, which took us on a tollway bypassing Toronto and it was very pleasant driving on the 12 Lane Highway with enough traffic to barely fill four lanes.

We very easily got onto Highway 69 going North to Sudbury but when we reached Parry Sound we felt we had had enough driving for the day.

Tuesday 25 August

This morning we set out for the Killarney Provincial Park, a rather beautiful park out on a peninsula with Killarney, the village of 500 people out on the end. The Road was tar sealed all the way but was in rough condition and we found the starting point for the walk about 20 km from the village, a delightful drive in from the main motorway past lots of Lakes that reminded us of Finland but they were full of water lilies which we did not see there.

The starting point for the walk had quite a few cars parked there along with a large sign indicating to Park there you needed a permit, and of course there was a permit machine prominently placed, and I pressing the green button I found there was a Senior rate, then there was the trail, Luda and I looked at the map and noted all the other people that had parked there to tackle the trail all had packs, dressed like they were tackling Everest, and looking at the gridlines on the map indicating the slope of the trail I realised the 3 km walk to the top was extremely ambitious for myself, Luda however announced she could do it easy so off she went through the flat of the forest then reaching the rocks of the destination at the top of the hill managed to climb that easily, taking good care of the camera, after enjoying the incredible view and taking plenty of photographs she turned to come down, as it started raining, and climbing down the rocks her foot slipped on one of the tree trunks and down she went, not to the bottom but just to her knees, did not damage the camera! But twisted her knee.

It was then a slow trip for her on down the mountain, fortunately there were plenty of people going both ways but it was a much slower trip going down the rest of the way. Fortunately we had plenty of ice so that was the first treatment.

So was time to get back to civilisation so we headed towards large city of about 130,000 population called Sudbery and on our drive their back over the rough Road there on the side of the Road running towards us was a beautiful little fox with a small animal in its mouth, it rapidly disappeared into the Bush and we carried on.

Back in the city I procured some liniment and elastic bandage so that helped to keep the sprain one could say in control.

Wednesday, August 26

Luda was moving a lot slower this morning than normal, so we looked at the route we would take to get back to the states and we had two options one to drive to Sault Ste. Marie and then cross over, or the other around the lake to Thunder Bay and then back to the states an extra 4 to 500 km, so we opted for the shorter drive.

The drive was a very beautiful drive through lots of native forest, tremendous amount of Lakes, it's easy to see why when we see Hollywood's version of the French trappers and their canoes why that would be the main form of transport.

There were lots of camping spots on the way along with some fancy hotels promising lakeside views and we came to a small town of 1000 people and driving through the town we saw a black bear walking towards our direction then it turned round and started running away and then through the fence into somebody's backyard, I guess if you lived in this part of the world having a bear run into your backyard could be a common occurrence.

Driving to the border was a very indirect sig zag path through the border town which eventually lead us onto a beautiful bridge taking us from Canada to America, we are at the border almost before we realised it was the border and not the toll booth, and the customs officer wanted to know almost our total history, where we both lived, did we know each other, how do we meet, what airport did we fly into, when were we leaving, where we renting the motorhome, then he got down to the real important stuff, how much alcohol did we have and do we have any eggs or uncooked chicken or citrus fruit, the next step was then to come into the motorhome remove the food but left us with the alcohol and then it was "Welcome to America" and carry on!

We realised the customer officer possibly had shares in Walmart but nevertheless we headed there to replenish the bits he confiscated then we visited the local casino where we parked up for the night.

Thursday, August 27

We carried on our way South down some very straight roads turning occasionally to another straight road through farmland and forests and quite a few abandoned restaurants and motels, both with for sale signs on them, but in all showing quite a bit of signs of neglect. When we got to the town called Gulliver we noticed a sign for a lighthouse, and undeterred by our previous experience we turned down the shingle Road for about 8 miles and came to a fairly simple lighthouse on the Peninsula with a house attached and a date of 1885 with a note it was restored in the 1990s so grateful this time we had least made it we did some photos and then turned round back to the main Road and back on the Road South.

Once again we travelled close to the edge of Lake Michigan, separated from the Lake by trees and a row of houses, again with a lot of houses and sections available for sale. What little glimpses we could get of these houses looked absolutely delightful but I guess we were looking at it at this time of the year and not in the middle of winter.

Travelling on down the Peninsula we passed through Hiawatha National Forest and then a large city called Escanaba after which we felt we had done enough drive into the day stopping at a campground near Ford River.

Saturday, August 29

We carried on our drive westward towards Minneapolis across boring countryside (pouring at this stage of the travel) and overcast weather with an occasional clearing of the clouds and the sun shining through and occasionally a beautiful part of the countryside that one would like to stop and explore but is onward westward.......

Arriving on the outskirts of Minneapolis St Paul we met up with the rough roads that are a normal part of the snow country scene, traffic was very heavy for a Saturday but perhaps were been in the countryside to long.

I'm quite a few parts of our travel with seen large concentrations of wind turbines to generate power, we've also noticed there is a fringe group of people who feel that their health is being compromised by some think in these turbines and with noticed a lot of signs suggesting they the banned, I guess with progress some people want one step forward and two steps backward!

Wednesday, September 2

The last four days since we left Minneapolis where Luda spent a few hours teaching her grandson more Russian, and the words that he replied sound like a very primitive form of Russian, but time will tell. We have been driving over the plains of middle America and let me tell you they are just as an interesting as the steps of Russia and the steps of Kazakhstan. Were currently in Iowa and I will never be able to think of that state again without thinking of corn as far as the eye can see, and if you turn the opposite way soybeans.

Is quite interesting occasionally to see an old two story house that has been abandoned for so long the paint has worn and you just have the bare wood, looks like is just waiting for somebody like Hitchcock to come along and use it for a horror film. This also interesting to look at large barns that were probably built over 100 years ago slowly collapsing in on themselves through lack of use and maintenance.

We left Minneapolis heading for Des Moines's and then decided to do the back roads which have certainly been more interesting and while we were in Minneapolis I went on the Internet and I must've had it set on to automatic updates as I discovered my Microsoft streets and maps had been turned off and I was being asked for the original disc which of course is in Ashburton, so it is a little bit of a lesson not to do automatic updates when you're on the Road as anything can possibly happen and probably will.

Were travelling on a Road that has been selected as one of the scenic roads of America and I think the writers for the publishers have lost the definition of scenic or perhaps coming from New Zealand we are spoilt.

We see very few cows in the field but we see a lot of feedlots with cows in them up to their ankles in dirt and on one occasion much deeper so it becomes a little bit obvious to the casual observer that the land is more valuable growing crops than cattle and if you want to grow cattle keep them in a small field and carry the food to them something completely foreign to us New Zealanders.

We are programmed the GPS to avoid motorways but it says something for how flat this land is that were travelling over in Iowa and Nebraska that the GPS tells us to stay on this road for 200 miles. There are in an incredible number of grain silos almost everywhere which tells exactly what happens in this state, most of what we have passed is not yet ready for harvest but we are now starting to see ploughed fields which indicates some of the corn has been and gone.

As we carry on the Road towards Denver we started seeing some signs on the side of the Road for a Pioneer Village in a town called Minden, the Road signs were so bad, most of them the paint had faded and the signs were falling to pieces and it was quite hard to read, perhaps it is the latest marketing technique, but eventually we got to the town of Minden and decided to stop, they call it an authentic American pioneer village with over 50,000 items in their respective order of development.

So they had one of the earliest horse buggies and then the development of them all the way through to the time they put a motor on them, then from the earliest cars all the way through, from simple aircraft made out of sticks and cotton through to one of the first jet fighters produced, the full range of Ford and Chevrolet cars from day one, one of the first helicopters invented through on to kitchen appliances, motorbikes bicycles, everything used by society rich and poor.

Luda found the Museum of deep interest as to when the household items appeared in America to when they appeared in the Soviet Union. A lot of the items didn't appear in the Soviet Union until the wall came down and even now some things have not caught up. It was very obvious that America was a consumer society where consumer was King and products were produced to satisfy this demand. I remember my first trips to America and being overwhelmed by the products available compaired to what we had a New Zealand with the rigid import control. For a long time I had 110 V wired into my house for the gadgets I brought back.

We are finding that some of the very small towns with about 1000 population have RV parks where RVs can stay for free for three nights. These same small towns are almost devoid of shops that have their doors open are plenty of premises just waiting for the right occupier. Along with this of course other houses in the same towns that had been abandoned, or appeared to be abandoned, it is obvious that people have had to move on as the town starts dying.

It's interesting to note all of the pro-life signboards on the side of the Road as we cross America, Iowa was very heavily saturated with a large variety of different messages all anti-abortion.

Is interesting as we drive across America to see the oil pumps pumping away in almost every state it almost appears that the USA is sitting on a big lake of oil with the frequency that the oil pumps appear.

We entered Nebraska round the city of Omaha and whilst there we decided to call on the late Bud Reese's sons Steve and Jim who are carrying on their adopted fathers business and have a very nice studio in what looks like a nice residential area of the city and they were pleased to hear that their father is still well remembered in New Zealand.

It was a long drive across Nebraska, driving through the massive cornfields and where as in Europe we see on the skyline the spire of a Church here we see the very high grain elevators on the horizon welcoming us to the small towns that are almost now devoid of shops.

Tuesday, September 8

Eventually we got to our destination which was Estes Park just over the border in Colorado so we spent the day driving through the magnificent scenery of the Park and the Rocky Mountains just north of Denver, we reached a maximum height of 3.7 km but I do believe there are parts in the Rockies that will take you higher. We saw quite a variety of more common wildlife as we passed through the mountains but none of the more dangerous, interesting animals.

to top right....

Wednesday, September 9

I guess if you camp in the rocky mountains at an elevation of over 8500 feet you've gotta expect it to be cold, well it was, it got to a low of 7°C this morning before I turned the heater on in the ground outside when it was finally light was covered in a good strong white frost.

So all of that got us off to an early start, and of course an early start means wonderful light for the magnificent scenery that mountains and lakes create. Like every day on our trip westward we have avoided the motorway's and this takes us through the countryside and in the mountains up and down and through all of the little ski villages just waiting for the first snow.

One of the guidebooks that we have been using suggested doing a left turn on Highway nine, crossing a bridge and doing a right turn into country road one, this would take us alongside the Colorado River and give us some incredible views of flowing through the various gorges on its root. We checked this possible route on both of our GPS's, on the Microsoft America streets and our computer, and they all told us it did not exist. Nevertheless we did the left turn then the right turn on the brown sign at the beginning of the Road told us it would take us to the destination we are looking for, it was a shingle Road all the way, but travelling through the mountains most of the time between an elevation of 8000 to 6000 feet, yes up and down, there were some magnificent photo opportunities and considering that the alternative Road was having major work done and they promised delays of up to 45 minutes was a good alternative.

Once back on the main highway we carried on following the Colorado River, again going up and down the mountains and observing the motorway running along the floor of the valley in a nice straight even line with very little scenery.

Almost every corner presented a chocolate box photo so it was a rather slow trip to reach the first of the many high mountain ski villages with all of the blocks of ski accommodation. We pulled into the local Walmart and found that they had a very upmarket looking store on the outside but the inside was just as normal. Was interesting to note that some of the staff that I spoke to did not understand English so there must be a large Spanish-speaking population here to serve the tourists.

We are now driving along the Eagle River on a Road that changed its elevation constantly as it wound its way following the riverbed giving lots of opportunities for beautiful photographs.

We carried on our way and found a beautiful little camping ground and one of the forests at an elevation of 9200 feet, these camping grounds are usually very well laid out, have tables toilets and a pit for an open fire and are usually priced round the $18 fee for the one night.

Thursday, September 10

Today was another drive through the magnificent mountains with wonderful views around each corner and our destination was the Royal Canyon Bridge near Canon city, the world's highest suspension bridge and then it was again onward East and we stopped at a campground for fishermen at an elevation of 6400 feet which presented us with a normal evening and no frost in the morning.

Friday, September 11

Carrying on our way east we had to cross over Mount Ambrose which rose up to 11,300 feet and then we were presented with a 6° downward slope for the next 9 miles which took us down 3000 feet in elevation. We did feel sorry for the lone cyclist we passed as we were going down and he was coming up, we did have an couple of other mountain passes to go over but nothing as high and then there was a beautiful 10 mile long Lake that we drove along the edge of, the result of a dam on a River but it certainly gave some good photos.

It was then on to the Black Canyon near Gunnison, not as big as the Grand Canyon but almost every bit as spectacular, it was a beautiful drive the 7 miles to the end with lots of opportunities to stop for the necessary photographs.

As it was round 4.30 p.m. when we finished we decided to make use of the campground attached to the park.

Saturday, September 12

As we drive through Colorado everywhere we see the results of mining either in large piles of tailings or the remains of pit heads, mine shafts and mines still being worked.

This morning we headed south towards Durango and in our way were three mountain passes, the highest being 11,120 feet in elevation and the other two just over 9500 feet.

While we are in Durango we looked briefly at the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad but as it was an all day excursion covering the Road that we travelled over to get to Durango we decided to move on, the Road is called the million-dollar Highway and we consider the name extremely worthy because of all the fantastic views along the whole Highway. The autumn colours are just starting to change and were told that in two weeks time they will be absolutely wonderful but by then will be back in New Zealand.

It is interesting at one of the viewpoints that we stopped we saw the second guy riding a unicycle (bicycle with one wheel) both of the guys we had seen had large packs on their back on the hills that they were riding went on forever with at least a 6° slope, can't quite work out what they are training for!!!!!!!!

We went on to Mesa Verde and as we entered the large Park we found a forest to service campground where we are staying for the night.

Sunday, September 13

This morning after cold start, we carried on the 20 mile drive to the end of Mesa Verde stopping at the viewpoints to take photographs of the Canyon features and eventually the buildings that were carved into the canyon wall. We had a rather exciting moment when we saw three stags with good heads of antlers just eating grass on the side of the Road..... They made a good photo!

Then it was time to start our drive North and again it was through the Hills, I should say mountains, up over 10,000 feet, incredible views all the way. When it was time to stop for the night we had run out of camping sites, we considered paying a motel to use their car Park but were told it was State Law we were not allowed to sleep in the motorhome in their car Park. Eventually we stopped by a sheriff's car and he directed us about 4 miles down the road to a parking site that was designated a camping site, right by a River so we have a sweet sound of the River flowing over rocks to rock us to sleep, just hope there's not a large down pour someone up in the mountains.

Monday 14th September

We set off from our River campsite heading North towards Grand Junction taking the longer scenic route which incidentally is only 20 miles longer, the sheriff last night when he learnt of our intent told us to make sure we had a full tank of petrol, I think he's forgotten the size of petrol tanks today.

Highway 141 North ran alongside the river almost all the way and eventually we got to the Paradox Valley between the towns of Uravan and Gateway when we started running along the bottom of what I can only describe as a version of the Grand Canyon, except we are at the bottom looking up and we drove this for about 30 to 40 miles, is currently one of the most remarkable drives we have ever done, the cliffs were absolutely spectacular and the rocks that had fallen and just lying on the side of the hill waiting for a good shake most cases were almost as large as a house.

We stopped at one viewpoint and looked down at the remains of a early constructed water race made out of wood with iron brackets bolting it to the Canyon wall and this was used to transport water to the goldmining face where a jet of water was used to wash away the dirt and any gold, but the sign says that the gold was what they call flour gold and back then it was very hard to recover so they moved on to richer pastures.

As we are driving through the valley we saw a couple of prospectors with modern version of a water sluice trying to make their fortune.
According to Wikipedia the Valley we drove down is the result of salt tectonics and about 300 million years ago the groundwater washed away the salt and the Dolores River over the course of 150 million years down cut the land creating the Valley that we drove down today.
The one thing I find amazing is the number of RVs (motorhomes, caravans, fifth wheel) of all sizes slowly rotting and being covered with weeds beside all types of....... I won't say houses, but accommodation.

Tuesday, September 15

After a peaceful night on the Walmart car Park with a had a notice of no overnight parking and offenders would be towed all seven RVs that were there at 10 p.m. were still there at 8 a.m.

Today we drove to the Colorado National Monument which was about a 26 mile drive through a smaller version of the Grand Canyon, little bit like yesterday's drive except this time instead of being down at the bottom of the canyon we were at the top. They had lots of interesting names for the various viewpoints and fortunately it was not so much traffic to make it hard to get a car Park.

Once out of the canyon we programmed in our next location and it told us over 300 miles, now when you that was not right so we reprogrammed the GPS to take in motorways and that brought it down to 100 miles which we were prepared to accept. We stopped at the visitor centre and got a map of Utah so we could work out where we were and where we were going and then it was a matter of finding a campsite and the woman at the visitor centre suggested that we would may find most full, and it turned out she was correct, once the children go back to school those without children head away in the belief that there will be less crowds of people everywhere.

Our destination was the Arches National Park near the town of Moab, we are told that this town had been taken over by people with plenty of money, and the town itself looked like one that was set up for the tourist trade and there was motel after motel after motel, almost all of them full, and there was almost as many campgrounds and most them again had Sorry Full signs out of the gate, but we carried on to the other side of town and found a brand-new campsite that had been opened since May so here we are for the night, with black clouds moving in everywhere and good lashings of lightning with that wet stuff falling down out of the sky.

Wednesday, September 16

We got off to what we thought was an early start to the park and found about 40 or 50 vehicles in front of us, but as we are going up the hill looking back down at the queue was almost out to the gate probably 1 to 2 km.

This time there were masses of vehicles, almost every viewing point was fully packed with vehicles, and the sculptured rock scenery of the Arches National Park can be traced back 300 million years to the depositing of salt thousands of feet thick in places and then the wind, the rain, the ice and the River have made it what it is today, it will be properly substantially different in 1 million years time and I will make a diary note to check it out!

Almost all of the canyons are located on what is called the Colorado Plateau, and uplifted region that covers much of the four corners areas of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Within this Park the exposed formations range from the middle of the Jurassic period (180 million years ago) to the Cretaceous period (95 million years ago)

After having lunch we followed the Colorado River from Moab to Interstate 70 and again it was a drive through the sculptured rock scenery on either side of the dirty Colorado River. We are heading for Green River but at Thompson Springs we found a new RV Park where we have settled in for the night.

Thursday, September 17

Quite an interesting RV Park we stayed at last night, the owner is from Tennessee and established the park four years ago, looks like it cost quite a bit to set up and the only has the ones sign on the motorway to get business, the town itself is dead, the houses are all falling to pieces and around the corner is a motel has been out of business for some time, yes quite an interesting situation.

We carried on our way this morning along I-70 turning off to go South on Highway 24, this part of Utah is what I would have to call a big desert, desert in the sense that we've seen nothing growing for the first part of this morning, and all the time in the background you have these old Hills that have been worn away with the winds and the rains but make the fantastic backdrop as ones driving through this desolate area. Occasionally we come to a area that has a River flowing through and then it's very green but it was interesting that one side of the highway had enough feed on the ground for cattle to be grazing and on the other side of the Road which had plenty of water was really growing nothing. Then would come to the desert part again we even goats were having a hard time getting food.

We stopped at a viewing point that had a wooden walkway on the opposite side of the Road going along the rock face and we saw some old rock paintings and the interesting question was how have they survived being is exposed as they are! Little bit further on we stopped at another viewing point and somebody came up and said I see you have a New Zealand website, I pointed to the New Zealand sign on the door, it appears he was from Kaikoura and was in the process of doing a round trip from Salt Lake City to Tennessee and back by rental car.

Eventually we turned onto Highway 12 and started driving into the mountains with lush forests either side of us and we still had the spectacular views of the canyons, the multicoloured Hills the solid rock, climbing to 9600 feet and then going down a 14% hill for 5 miles, wondering what ever possessed the six cyclists we saw going the opposite way, being passed by a pack of 12 motorcyclists all without crash helmets again going the opposite way.

As were going round a corner we saw a pickup with the body of a large stag on the back an enormous antlers, at the other end of the scale we saw a deer that didn't make it across the Road, the road we are travelling through the mountains was open range, so we passed several groups of cows grazing on the side of the Road, would not like to be driving through this area at night with these black animals wandering the Road. The whole area would been driving through is designated on the map as a scenic Road and all day coming towards us with seen the "Cruise America" rental motorhomes coming towards us which tells us we are on a good scenic tourist Road.

We got to Escalante and drove to the state forest where we are in the car Park right beside a reservoir where we can see the sun sinking through our open door.

Friday, September 18

We carried on our drive through the canyons, first Canyon was Kodachrome Canyon, I presume it was so named because of all the red rock, we drove in an out of the Canyon not going for a major walk on one of the many trails as Luda's knee was still sore, from there we drove on to Bryce Canyon deciding to drive in instead of taking the free tour bus, but as we drove in we found one entrance to one of the canyons you could not enter with an RV, the next Canyon we knew were in trouble when we started passing cars that were parked badly on the side of the Road a large distance from the Canyon, so we managed to drive through the parking lot and back on out of the Canyon to decide what our next step was.

We decided to go back into the village, parked in the major car Park and for Luda to hop on the bus and do the tour, which she did and was back about two hours later.

Then it was time to move on to the next location which was Red Canyon gaining that name for obvious reasons, we then drove through a couple of Arches on the Road, I think the holes were manufactured instead of being natural.

We saw a campsite advertised on the side of the Road at a golf club but we were presented with a shingle Road so we drove on to Glendale and found a nice campsite just on the edge of town.
Saturday, September 19

Carrying on South we drove through the village of Kanab and on through a region called Vermilion Cliffs again for the obvious reason, and then it was on to Marble Canyon and the Navajo bridge which an actual fact were two bridges over the Colorado River.

On through Bitter Springs, which we did not taste, and so to Page. Page was the closest city to Antelope Point, and this Canyon, which was on Navajo land, was only accessible via a tour vehicle which was in most cases a pickup with seats on the back.

The main to accompany had a large notice out the front that all the tours were booked through until Monday, we did visit another company that could take us at 4 o'clock in the afternoon but Luda's knee in the cramped quarters of the tour vehicle and having to walk a long distance once at the Canyon made us place a large question mark over the feasibility of the tour.

It was terribly hot so we decided to head to the dam that created the Powell Lake and the magnificent bridge that was in front of the dam, crossing the bridge at the businesses viewpoint we got some magnificent photographs and more important found some magnificent shade which we enjoyed for the rest of the afternoon. As the local campground was full, it was then on to our favourite parking spot in the Walmart car Park.

Sunday, September 20

Again we were heading South and just outside Page we saw a signpost to Antelope Canyon so we decided to do a short stop to check out the vehicles and found that on entering the car Park is mandatory that you do a tour and the next tour that was available was 2 1/2 hours away so if lightly said will just move on our way, slightly amused that in a country known for its marketing and selling skills do not meet the customer demand and having tours available now instead of, like yesterday three days time and today 2 1/2 hours time......

Driving on South to Flagstaff we started going over territory that we have done before, going through Sedona, where the Sunday trade was at its full swing and I think parking spots were about is a rare as hen's teeth and we drove on to Cottonwood as we found there was a Walmart car Park there, but also found there was a State Park called Dead Horse Ranch, fortunately there was no smell of the Dead Horse.

Monday, September 21

This morning we headed towards Phoenix and the headquarters of Cruise America the company we bought the motorhome from, we had one of two minor problems to be fixed and they got onto it straight away and within about three hours we were on our way, they certainly take the after sales service seriously.

While we were in Omaha we found out Donald Jack's address here in Phoenix so we wanted round unannounced arriving on his doorstep so we spent the next 2 to 3 hours reminiscing on his and Donna's trip to New Zealand and photography in general. Donald has lost most of the sight, there are some long technical name, but he can really only see a large computer screen with the aid of a magnifying glass.

He and Donna seem to be getting out of Phoenix often on family visits and cruises.

We spent a quiet night in the car Park of the Phoenix casino.

Tuesday, September 22

Today it was a matter of heading to Tucson and leaving early as we did we struck the early-morning traffic but we decided to avoid motorways which made our journey an extra 8 miles and we had a very peaceful drive on some very interesting roads all the way back to Tucson. The sky was quite black and we did run into some serious rain both on the way back and after we had arrived but that at least tested the motorhome for leaks.

Was then on to a truck and RV washing service where they washed motorhomes for a dollar a foot, then made an appointment with camping world to have the motorhome serviced, then it was a matter of booking the motel for the Friday and Saturday after dropping the motorhome at the garage, then back to the Crazy Horse RV campground, we fly out on Sunday via San Francisco, I think it is a code share flight with United so that will be interesting as we can't preselect our seats.

That's it for this year!

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