A Travellerspoint blog

Arriving in Paradise - sorry!!!

Hi again,

yes we finally left USA and are now happy and relaxing in the lovely Cook Islands. We're on Rarotonga now and on 26th Nov fly 45mins to a paradise atol of coral called Aitutaki to stay in a beach hut on the sunset side. Rarotonga is great though and exceeded my expectations. We have in fact been fairly busy, cycled round the island twice (it is 33km around!) we walked across the jungle interior (11km) scuba dived - Martin is doing his advanced course me - well i did one and was a tad sea sick so will stick to snorkelling for a bit!! lovely when down there though gorgeous coral and fish. We are going to check out some local food and dancing tonight on the island night plus go watch the yrly canoe regatta. We've been super healthly and cooking fresh fish daily and lots and lots of tropcal fruits! I will make you all sick some more whne I have more time we go to the Aitutaki atol on 26th Nov for 11 days so more paradise in store - oh and i forgot to say - there are no bad bugs bitting me!!! wow!!! and nothing that wants to kill you in or out of the water!!! PARADISE!!!! bye for now

xx

Posted by martgina 14:46 Comments (0)

The last leg USA

Gina's entry

So Hi again - We're in San Diego and made it all the way around. It has been ages again since i last had the chance to write a blog same story either no time or no access. We've been to some fantastic places since i lasted wrote in Yosemite and oh I have to take back what I said about Yosemite it is beautiful just my tip would be miss the valley out and head striaght for the sun road which takes you across the mountains. We drove out of there (lucky but as the rd was closed due to snow the day before) though stunning sceanary high up seeing bits of snow cap peaks and coyotes in the fields tehn drove down to below sealevel to death valley our most amazing drive day i think. Death Valley was just mindblowing we both where lost for words and yes again you have to go there to see it we will get round to doing some photos at some point. We camped in Death valley for 3 nights 2 of them in a free site no showers so we didn't stay longer. We did some amazing walks - goldern canyono springs to mind and artists drive just stunning. After death valley we drove to Lake Mead for one more night camping by the lake and a lovely hot shower!!! then into Las Vegas where we stayed for $26 a night at the sahara hotel on thestrip! loved las vegas again - we picked up a free steak meal and won a bit on black jack and roulette. Las Vegas was also great after camping and wilderness we needed the city lights even crazy Vegas! After 3 nights though we where ready again to seek more nature and headed for Flafstaff and the Grand Canyon. we walked 4km down and back up again as we only had a day there was beautiful as expected and the photos wont do it justice. From there we drove to a place called Kanab in Utah had a great night in a motel called Parrys Lodge whre all the old western movie stars used to stay when they film round there. They even showed an old movie for free that night (The Wagon Train it was called - classic!!). Had one of our best meals in a lovely organic cafe come gallery and then drove to Zion National park for 2 nights camping. Unfortunately it was weekend and very busy - we only just managed to get a camp site but it was still worth it to see Zion park red colours and beautiful mountains and valleys. We did some more great walking in particular angels landing which was almost free climbing at some points!! From Zion we went for a quick look at Bryce Canyon which was a shame as it deserved longer - we did a walk around the edge and down into the canyono it is a bizare place and very orange in colour beautiful though and we would both like to go back to explore it more! After that we drove to Page and found a great place to saty an apartment called Debbies hideaway only $50 for a large apartment with kitchen and a communal garden and bbq. From there we went to antelope canyono which is stunning but the tour wasn't too good a bit rushed and we felt like cattle being herded through - just take your photos and move! we also went to look at horseshoe bend which was gorgeous and better as that was on our own. After Page we went to Monument valley in the Najavo researve - beautiful - if anyone goes it is worth staying at the view hotel we didn't as it is too procey at $120 a night but it has killer views for sunset and sun rise. It was way too cold to camp so we drove on and stayed over at Holbrook so we could see the petrified forest the next day. The P forest was amazing an we spent longer there than expected just looking at the colourful old petrified trees in amazment.
After lingering we drove to Sedona and got a free nights luxury accomadation by attending a time share talk it was worth it and no we didn't buy anything! the hotel amara was great and needed! Sedona was lovely too we did a very brief walk and really should have stayed longer but instead we moved on the Phoenix and stayed with our friends Rita and Joe and was introduced to their lovely new baby Sydney who is just adorable. Thanks Rita and Joe for everything we enjoyed your cooking especially the golash and the BBQ was gorgeous. We also enjoyed walking round historic Scottsdale Martin nearly baught a cowboy hat but not quiet!
After leaving Rita and Joes we drove to the Joshua tree national park camped there for 1 night and again we should have stayed longer really it was a stunning place it was weekend again though and busy. We did a few amazing walks past weird looking landscapes and trees full of lots of colour. We did get lost though as we got distracted by the sun set! thanksfully someone gave us a lift back to where we where meant to be before it got too dark!
After there we drove to LA stayed in Santa Monica for 2 nights at a pricy hostel and now we are in a much better hostel in point loma ocean beach San Diego. We're staying a week until we fly out to the Cooks on the 8th Nov trying to sell our lovely car that has served us so well. Good place to hang around at though San Diego sunny and lots to do oh and yes - internet access!!!!!!!!
bye for now prob wont write again til the Cooks - roll on the beach!
Gina x

Posted by martgina 11:18 Comments (0)

Cheating Death in the Valley

How to be Hot, Salty and perfectly Happy

sunny 38 °C
View The big trip on martgina's travel map.

Who would have figured that communication will be more of a problem in the US of A than in Malawi, Africa.... sorry to everyone who's been wondering if we've lost interest or simply fell off the face of the planet (neither happened but we came close to the latter a few times).

The drive from Yosemite to Death Valley is stunning for more than one reason. First, it's a climb to over 9000 feet, across mountain passess and past glorious valleys, bubbling streams, startled Coyotes and majestic forests. Then it's all downhill, and I MEAN down - to the lowest point in the western hemisphere, 286 feet UNDER the Sea level.

The Highway 395 took is past hamlets with names like Lone Pine and Smoke Butt into a place so astonishing it's hard to describe. Imagine a wide valley, with a flat bottom consisting of salt pans and sandy plains, hemmed in by 8000+ feet high mountains seperated from each other by a labyrinthean arrangement of canyons, Dunes, dry river valleys and Gulches. Minerals lend all the colors of the Rainbow to Rocks in some places. Ghost towns and abandoned mines tell their stories of hope, courage and greed.

At night, when the stars come out to play, even the noisiest of idiots puts the beer down, shuts up and raises his low brow to the skies.

There's not enough water here for showers but what the heck.... our next stop is Sin City, and they'll have showers there. They have EVERYTHING there.

Martin

Posted by martgina 11:41 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Wow big trip - National Parks galore!!!

long time coming - again!!

sunny

Hiya 'all again,

it's been ages I know but I tell you it is not through lack of trying! when camping and going into National Parks internet access and mobile phone reception is lacking, and when we do stay in a bed it is normally free wifi for these with a laptop - not the sort of thing that travels light around the world. There is a serious lack of standard internet access in North America, I never thought of all the places I've traveled that North America would be the hardest communication wise and in Canada the ATMs don't take Visa!!! Anyway we have done lots and lots since Thunder Bay Canada it is hard to believe time has flown. The short list is;

Across Canada's plains (VERY long straight roads!!) I even took a turn at driving it was that quiet and straight! had some long drive days but the plains where beautiful in their own way. Stayed at Portage Le Prairie a farming town in a great motel tad pricey but it looked better then Winnipeg. Then on to Saskatoon to go see some Native Indian heritage only to find it closed for repairs for the season so went on a nice nature trail in beaver creek and relaxed in a cool lodge/hostel next to the uni and hospital. Nice place but 2 days was fine. We then headed to Edmonton near the mountains to restock before the Rockies. Have a great evening beers and tucka with Ash a friend I met ages ago in Australia. Got lots of tips on the Rockies from him and headed in to Jasper for 3 nights - oh yes it is getting colder now!! in the day we had fantastic sunny weather but at night on the 3rd night we froze - so much so we ran to a hostel in Banff for one night (bit pricey so moved on). Jasper was fantastic we did a STEEP hike up opal hills (more like a mountain) there was snow at the top- wait to see the photos if I ever get time to up load them on that is!! Had great views of Millage lake. Jasper was stunning and the drive to Banff gorgeous past glaciers and mountains. We saw a coyote in Jasper plus elk to the dozen. Now the bears we had to wait til the next stop. Ash thanks for your tip on going to the Waterton National park we went there after our brief banff stop all refreshed and ready to camp again, we stayed in the town campsite right on the lake for 3 nights including my birthday. We did a cruise round the lake which crossed into USA Montana briefly before going back to Canada. We saw a black grizzly bear and a brown black bear eating berries - thankfully from the safety of our car!! On my birthday we did a long hike up to Crypt lake 6hrs hike mostly up!! gorgeous though and an achievement for old me turning 35! had fish n chips choc cake and beer for birthday treat - great! the weather was stunning and not too cold at night (very lucky!!). Even more lucky we crossed the boarder into the glacier national park over chief mountain into Montana USA stayed at a KOA campsite with a hot tub for 2 nights (lovely) and went walking up another hill/mountain to Ptarmigan Tunnel in the glacier park (gorgeous sun again bit chilly air blue skys - perfect) I was a tad tired but made the 12miles round trip with lots of up!! Abi you and Eliav have to go there it's stunning!!

Left Glacier park and drove a long way to Yellowstone the weather getting decidedly colder we stayed in a nice cheapish motel for 3 nights we wanted to stay longer but with one road closed for road works another for a fire and then snow arrived we only had 2 days in the park. Those 2 where great though saw the geysers one day and springs the the grand Tetons after where we saw our first moose of the trip (2 that day).

Time to start heading south west we drove to Idaho and stayed in a really nice hostel in Nampa on the outskirts of Boise really friendly people even had beers free at the restaurant we went to. Great chips then Idaho is well known for potatoes so I hear. After that we tried to drive to the redwood park in one day without success and made it to Cave Junction stayed one night in a motel and then drove to a camp site to sleep amongst the redwood trees - just gorgeous and amazing to think how old they are. I felt even smaller than normal!! we did a long day walk through the forest to the coast and back through the forest again our photos will not do it justice but all i can say is try and go yourself. The camping got cold (5degrees or less ) TIME TO GO SOUTH!!!! so from there we drove LONG to here in Yosemite National park in a great hostel with a sauna and hot tub. Lovely WARM double private room. So tired though yesterday we only just managed to drive around the park. Yosemite is a bit of a disappointment after Yellowstone and Waterton a bit to organized and touristy. So we are having our first relax day thought I've spent all of it on the internet so far!!!! We are off to Death Valley and monument valley and las vegus next - sorry Lorraine I said I'd call it may be another week yet! not sure we will have reception!!

Oh I've missed some bits!! yes we did see mountain goats and big horn sheep in glacier park though the goats where just white dots in the distance. And we drove brief by Crater Lake national park which is just amazing - you will eventually see some photos and they look amazing from then but they still don't do it justice - just GO! Also we went to a native indian site called Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, very cool place and amazing to see a bit culture. We are lovin USA and loved Canada but also looking forward to beach time in the Cooks - we may get time there on a rainy day to upload photos!!!
I hope everything is ok with everyone and DO write to me!!!!!!!! my e mail is georgina_tomlin@yahoo.co.uk if anyone has forgotten it!
love
Gina xx

Posted by martgina 14:00 Comments (1)

Crossing Huron Lake...

it's a Lake.

sunny 23 °C
View The big trip on martgina's travel map.

this is what went on in my head as we're on the ferry across to Manitoulin Island.... with no land in sight.

Hmmm. Got to keep my eyes open for Humpback Whales or Dolphins.

No Whales, No Dolphins, Dummy. It's a Lake.

It can't be a Lake, it's too bloomin' big.

No seriously, look at the map, it's a Lake.

ok then. But over there, that shadow, looks like....

It's a Lake.

But.......

And so on.

And folks, Lake Huron isn't even the biggest of the Great Lakes. That Honour belongs to Her Majesty, the aptly named Lake Superior. The largest body of fresh water on the planet. It's so big that it's got a ground swell and creates it's own weather system. It is also eyewateringly beautiful - we went for a few hours of canoeing - we weren't lucky enought to see Bears or Moose but the serenety and peacefulness of the place had something profoundly spiritual about it, and i would have gladly spend a few weeks there, just us and the canoe and our little campsite on the beach in Agawa bay. Instead, after 2 nights it was time to head north and west for some serious miles as we crossed the rest of Ontario and into the Great Plains - A change from endless Forests and mountains and millions of Lakes to wide, big open skies and Prairie and Grass... This is where the Buffalo was once hunted by the people of the First Nations.

We're now in Saskatoon, on the other side of the Great Plains, and we hoped to find out more about the culture and lives of the native peoples here at the Heritage park nearby, but sadly it's closed for building work. Well at least we've got time to update our blog!

Hope you're all well - Photos will be forthcoming i promise!

Martin

Posted by martgina 11:40 Archived in Canada Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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