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Old 14 May 24, 11:12 AM  
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#1
cornishfrogboy
VIP Dibber
 
Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
FL CA AZ NV UT NM CO. Conclusions on completion of Vacation.

This trip commences on 03 June 2024 and concludes on 23 June 2024. The trip report will be updated every evening and in effect be a ‘live’ trip report whilst memories are fresh after each days activities.

As is normal, this will be an honest, warts and all account with both triumphs and tribulations detailed throughout. It is placed in the Florida section as this is in fact, the State in which we will be spending most time (6 nights).

I will be ‘living the dream’ in the next few weeks and I invite you to come, live it with me!

INDEX OF EVENTS.

Post #2. Travel from Penryn to LGW, settling in and the Premier Inn.
https://dibb.in/16166956

Post #3. A flight to Vegas, getting to the Luxor, eating at Hooters, first stroll up the strip .. and back without Matt.
https://dibb.in/16166957

Post #4.Our first full day in Vegas.. An unusual breakfast and later, Heart Attack Grill & Fremont St.
https://dibb.in/16166958

Post #5 Kayaking on the Colorado River and then, the Bachanal Buffet in Caesars.
https://dibb.in/16166960

Post #6. We pick up the Mustang before visiting 7 Magic Mountains, Bonnie and Clyde’s Car, Lipton, Hackberry Stores and the Roadkill Cafe in Seligman.
https://dibb.in/16166961

Post #7. Seligman, Oak Canyon, Sedona and then Sunset at the Grand Canyon South Rim.
https://dibb.in/16166962

Post #8. Grand Canyon S Rim trail and then onwards to Gouldings Lodge, Monument Valley.
https://dibb.in/16166963

Post #9 Horse riding in Monument Valley, Forrest Gump stops running, Fort Bluff and Mormons, arriving in Cortez.
https://dibb.in/16166964

Post # 10 Mesa Verde and the Pueblos, Four Corners naybe and the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook.
https://dibb.in/16166965

Post # 11 Holbrook to Tombstone, Drinking in Town.
https://dibb.in/16166967

Post #12 A rather exciting bit of fun play that had a predictable ending, Big nosed Kate’s, Bird Cage Theatre and then on to Tucson.
https://dibb.in/16166968

Post #13 My day in the Pima Museum and then a drive to Phoenix to preposition.
https://dibb.in/16166970

Post #14 Travel to Busch Gardens.
https://dibb.in/16166971

Post #15 Kayaking at Fort de Soto, Riding hard at Busch Gardens and terrible injury.
https://dibb.in/16166974

Post #16 The big move to Star Island Resort, Orlando.. plus some more Hooters!
https://dibb.in/16166976

Post #17 Shopping, Bahama Breeze, Golf and Pickle Ball.
https://dibb.in/16166977

Post #18 Discovery Cove, Seaworld .
https://dibb.in/16166978

Post #19 Aquatica and ‘Orlandoed out’.
https://dibb.in/16166980

Post #20 Our last ever, full day in Orlando.
https://dibb.in/16166981

Post #21 Our departure from Orlando, Machine Guns and Busch.
https://dibb.in/16166982
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 11:12 PM.
cornishfrogboy is offline Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 14 May 24, 11:13 AM  
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#2
cornishfrogboy
Thread Starter
VIP Dibber
 
Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
Final preparation and travel up to LGW.

Sunday 2 June 2024… Travel preparation.. or ‘Davey’s on the road again’ by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.


Well, this is it! Work finished at Midnight last night and tomorrow the adventure begins. Today has been spent packing and preparing for the tortuous, long, 287 mile journey to LGW.

I must start by saying that a week ago, we had to have our faithful Cat, Toby put down after 12 years of great fun and companionship. Those who have read my previous trippies, may remember the fun that we had, putting him in a Catbox in order that we take him to the local Cat Hotel.. He peed all over us and the wall!

R.I.P Toby, a King amongst Cats.😢

Here are mine and Mandies packing, hand baggage only, but of course subject to the very generous 23kg British Airways allowance on both Hand Luggage and Personal Item.

I have no idea what is in the Bags on the right (just like I have no idea what Dan (21 years) and Matt (18 years) have packed. Apparently they are grown ups and know what they are doing.

I can list what is contained within my, rather colourful bags on the left, though.. stand by to be astonished 😃

The Cabin bag weighs 12 kg and contains..
A Fleece for the evenings
10 Shirts, mainly Polo.
3 Shorts
8 Underpants
4 Socks .. or rather, pairs.
Fatface baseball cap.
Swimming trunks.
Lightweight travel towel
Flipflops
Underwater mask and Snorkel that any Discovery Cove visitor may find familiar.

The Small day bag personal item on top weighs 7 kg and it contains..

Mandie’s Scrap Book (A5 size)
Mandie’s toiletries in the regulation bag with my Shield Soap and Razors added.
Satnav, leads etc in a box.
Travel Scales.
2 x Olympus Tough Cameras.
Waterproof 4” x 6” bag.
IPad.
2 Pants.
2 Socks.
1 Shirt.
My Magical A5 planning and Document folder!


Money.
We have $2691 cash plus £1200 on a Revolut Card that can be further loaded. Of that, $1000 belongs to the boys. This will be evenly distributed prior to travel.
Is that enough?
Is that too much?
Only time will tell.. and anyway I can always put some more on Revolut.
I have my BA Amex, as a safe backup.

Tomorrow, we will see the Builders who are working on our extension and then move out after briefing them thoroughly.

We have all day to reach LGW and difficult decisions had to be made. Even with Handbaggage only, space will be tight.
Our Seat Mii FR is clearly too small.
Our VW Polo GTI is not much better.
Dan’s VW Golf TDI is 19 years old, but clearly the best option. Thanks for the lift, Dan!

MONDAY 03 JUNE 2024.

This is it! The Patriotic Pants are out .. possibly for the very last time as they are becoming increasingly worn out and tatty.


And my early morning bath is done.


Better get everybody else up, now… or at least the boys as Mandie is already downstairs, making me a cup of tea. She is well trained!

The Car is now packed..
4 x Handbaggage suitcases.
2 x Personal Item Backpacks.
There are a further two backpacks within Dan and Matt’s cases, just in case they buy anything.
.

And then we were off..


We departed Cornwall at 1128, passing the ‘Welcome home trees’ .. or in this case the ‘see you in 20days trees’.
We were on foreign soil! 😂.
Dah wheiheyn, Kernow!


And so to my first (of many), Food report.. in Exeter!


I have opted for a rather famous Swedish delicacy.. 12x (I am no cheapskate) Meatballs, served with Gravy on a bed of Sloppy Mash, accompanied by Loganberry joue and 42 Garden Peas.. (my peasant family opted for Chips, rather than Mash).
Absolutely delicious as always and a bargain at £25 for the four of us. High end dining at its finest!

We then selected (but did not buy), a Lampshade for our new bedroom.


And then, it was onwards toward Gatwick on the Glorious A303, my favourite road in the whole World (other than the PCH).

We passed Stonehenge..

A place that I loved as a child, when you could walk amongst the stones and heaven forbid.. even touch them. All without paying a dime to the National Trust.

We then turned into Durrington in order to view ..

Woodhenge, A poor relation to Stonehenge, but just as old and a place where you can actually walk amongst the history without being fleeced by the National Trust to get within 100 yards and look over a rope barrier.


Next to Woodhenge we viewed..

Durrington Walls, a truly enormous banking that again, is 4000 years old.

But of course, all this culture stuff was not the actual reason that we had diverted into Durrington.. it is well known that only culture I possess is between my toes!
This vacation is very much in memory of my Dad, who passed away on 12 January of 2023 and whose ashes were scattered into the River Avon at Durrington Bridge as was his wish.

We paused for a few, poignant minutes in his beloved memory and I am pleased to report that we saw no sign of his ashes. He must have reached Christchurch by now?
Dad even learned to use an IPad in order to follow our vacations on the DIBB. This is the overriding reason why my trips are done live, as he would get up every morning and catch up with the DIBB over breakfast whilst we were away. Having been ‘live’ in the past. He would then phone and wake up my Brother 😂😂😂 in order to update him.
I see no reason to change my habits and Dad may even be watching…
R.I.P Dad, sorely missed.

Then it was onwards yet again to Gatwick! The journey actually passed with minimal congestion and without incident. We dropped Mandie and Matt, plus baggage at the Prem Inn furthest from the Terminal (me always being a cheapskate.. and headed to the Summer Long Stay parking… where we hit snags aplenty.

Our booking papers and QR Code would not raise the barrier to the Car Park, as we had put the Registration Plate of mine and Mandies Car on it, rather than that of Dan’s. We eventually raised the barrier by issue of a further, small ticket. There was no Staff, no Reception and no Office available to us. Eventually, we located a wandering Staff member who informed that there would be no problem, that we should enjoy our vacation and simply press the intercom on the exit barrier and explain as we left.
This did not sound right and so, we tried phoning their Customer Service in order to clarify.. which was shut.
A Phone call will be made when they open at 0800 and the situation explained.

Eventually a Bus arrived and conveyed us back to the Airport, parking up immediately adjacent to our Premier Inn in order to pick up a fellow Staff Member. When we tried to disembark, the Driver told me that he was not allowed to drop at this point and that we must stay on board until he reached the Gatwick North Bus Stop. I was sorely tempted to step off and tell him to ‘Ram it where the sun don’t Shine’ as I was not overly enamoured with his company by then, but managed to refrain.

We then met up and had a rest in our two Premier Inn rooms whilst preparing mentally for our ‘meal deal’ at 1945. You can be assured that a comprehensive food report was to be added later that evening!

The meal was good.. very good for a Prem Inn. Whilst my family banned me from photographing their food, they were unable to stop me from photographing my own.

As said, we went for the ‘Meal deal, (Dinner and Breakfast), now a rather pricey £29.99pp.
When you take into account the cost of a Prem Inn Breakfast and add in the realistic cost of a Pint, Chicken Wings and a Burger, as opposed to the menu prices, then the discount on the multi buy is rather marginal. In addition, many ‘staple’ things, such as Cider now carry a supplement and of course that makes the decision even harder.

I went for..

10x Peri peri Chicken wings (£3.50 supplement) and they were very good. The others had Calamari.
We all had Strongbow Cider (£1.50 supplement each). To be fair, it was fresh, clear and with just a bead or two of condensation forming on the glass in which heavens nectar was gently effervescing . It tasted of Apples.

I had a Chicken Burger as a main..

It was not on its side like in the photo, as clearly gravity would have caused it to fall off (I got an O Level in Physics, back in 1976 and have forgotten nothing in the intervening years). I simply haven’t edited it. It would never fetch £14.60 in a real restaurant, though.

Mandie had Peri peri Chicken and I am told that it was real good. I unashamedly stole this image. Sorry the glass was in the way 😟.


Dan had a Burrito (Good but not apparently tasting very Mexican at all) , whilst Matt had a Sirloin Steak that was OK (and that attracted a £3 supplement).

A Dessert came at a £2 supplement and I must say that this represented excellent value. Unfortunately, I ate my Ice Cream Sundae so fast that I forgot to Photograph it for Claire NJ, but it had Cadburys Flake (Stolen by Mandie) and lots of Caramel Buttons in it!

I then invited Matt, who turned 18 last month to buy us a round. Foolishly, I did not look at the price, merely inviting him to transfer £20 into my account as he purchased his first ever round of drinks… foolish because they came to £26.40! We don’t pay that in Cornwall as locals. Even the Emmits don’t get ripped off that much! I had been done.


Matt looking smug after escaping with just a £20 bill for his first ever round.

The total for the evening (and tomorrow morning) was £162 plus a £10 cash tip.
Was that good value? I am honestly not so sure. Whitbread had charged us at an average of £90/night for accommodation and also upped the price of the ‘Meal Deal’. They are pricing at a point where they will now be meeting some very sharp competition for my hard earned Lucre. In future, we may stop elsewhere on our way into the Airport, whilst just ordering the Buffet Breakfast next morning.

And now to sleep. We rise at 0530 for a 0600 breakfast and move to S Terminal for our flight.

8569 Steps.

And it’s goodnight from me. 😃 🌙.
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 09:07 PM.
cornishfrogboy is offline Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 14 May 24, 11:13 AM  
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#3
cornishfrogboy
Thread Starter
VIP Dibber
 
Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
Flight day 04 June 2024… or. ‘Wind beneath my wings’, by Bette Midler.

As is normal, I struggled to sleep before a flight and as a result we were all at Breakfast by 0600, had walked round to the North entrance, had caught the Monorail to South, had cleared Security and were seated in Departures by 0715. Not bad for a 1015 flight ☹️.

A quick call to Long stay North Customer service.. who confirmed what I had been told in the first place.. “enjoy the Holiday and use the intercom at the exit gate, quoting my order number and the gate will be raised at no further cost”. Good service! .. I hope.

Back to Departures. We are not Duty Free Shoppers in any way at all (other than Matt and I am holding his 💰 in any case, as a sensible precaution).
Thinking about it, the truth is that we are not Shoppers at all. I detest shopping.. and people.. and queues and spending money.
Dan, meantime chalked off Wetherspoons pub no 336 on his list, purchasing a Bumbu Single with Pepsi..at £7.40!


Boarding was simple and the Aircraft, a B777 200, 95% full. Exit row seats 33a,b,c were duly occupied, along with 33d across the aisle. Mandie is clearly looking somewhat smug as the two middle seats in her row of four are to remain unoccupied.

Mandie looking smug in her capacious pair of seats.
And then we waited… the pushback from the gate was delayed by 15 minutes to 1030, due to some snag with the Irish. I can live with the disappointment, having had a few snags with the Irish in my far distant, Military past.… we are going to Vegas!


The flight was long, 10.5 hours long and interspersed with Food.. typical Economy Class Airline Food.

After take off, it was Pretzels and Orange Juice. I have spared you an evidential photograph on that one!

After a couple of hours, came our first hot meal..

Dan, Matt and I went for the Cottage Sludge, accompanied by a rather rough 🇨🇱 Chilean Sauvignon Plonk, a tough, chewy Bread Roll, some Jacob’s Crackers that were broken, and some cheap Cheddar that cut like a rubber car tyre, when using the wooden knife. There was also a Tub of Chocolate and Rasberry Compost that was rather delicious and also a Tub of Cusscuss that remained unopened by any of us. Not great, but adequate by outbound Airline standards. 6/10.


Mandie however, went for the Vegetarian Lasagne and she rates it as 10/10.

I then settled down to Angry Birds, but soon passed every level at 3 stars, not by skill, rather persistence and boredom.

Then I had a nap.. only to be woken by some raucous Martians who had clearly hammered the free drinks and were in their multiple dozens. I expect this on a flight to Magaluf, Khavos or Sunny Beach, but surely not one to Vegas? One miscreant (30th Birthday Girl as evidenced by a Badge), visited the Toilet next to us 11 times, each time seemingly in a more inebriated state.

It was time to play who wants to be a Millionaire. I got to the $1,000,000 question on one of my many attempts.. but blew it!

Around 2 hours before arrival, a second meal was forthcoming. We all went for the Chicken Option with a Barley Side plus Carrots… because it was in fact, the only option that they still had. This was rather good!

It came with a Strawberry Cheesecake in a pot that was also nice and in addition a pot of seasoned, cold Barley, which we all gave a miss.

Dan was by now settled with his rather fascinating book..


And time was quite literally flying by 😄😄😄 (I apologise for that one).


We passed over the Grand Canyon (I think)

Shortly before finals and an uneventful landing at Las Vegas!

Immigration took an hour and was manual, rather than the new, fancy passport readers. It was also seriously under staffed. We were then out with our Handluggage, pausing only briefly to watch the entertaining scramble at baggage reclaim, that we no longer partake in.
We were soon out in the sunshine.. I love mild, temperate climates and at that moment, this whole day had been worthwhile.

Dan took this screenshot.

A taxi from the Airport to the Luxor was $22, fixed rate and then we entered to find that the Computers had crashed, the queue to check in was huge and we were joining the end of it.. or rather I was, whilst Mandie, Dan and Matt relaxed in the Lobby and ‘observed’.
After an hour, a very apologetic staff member came around and offered a $25 pp Dining Credit note as well as a tiny bottle of Peckham Spring Water to all in the queue and I duly took 2 such notes to a value of $100.

Here is one of them. These should cover breakfast tomorrow morning.. I hope!

Eventually, I got to the front of the queue and was dealt with by an extremely apologetic (or even apoplectic and stressed out) Receptionist who was booking in manually. In fact, she was so apologetic, that she then gave us another $25 Dining Credit pp. The poor Lady intimated that when she got home, she would be having an extremely large drink.

I would have looked extremely rude, had I declined her generosity and besides.. that will pay for another Breakfast 😂😂.
I guess that $200 is fair recompense for the inconvenience, particularly as the first vouchers were not allocated by name or room number.

Additionally, our rooms were upgraded into the towers. Even better, whilst Mandie and I are in the Gold Tower, Dan and Matt are in the Silver Tower.

Our room.


Dan and Matt’s room.

Now to see the Strip.. The temperature was now a mild and balmy 39 degrees C, (102 degrees F). The Air was also very still. Perfect weather for a nice, long stroll 😅.

Firstly, we were somewhat tired and somewhat hungry. Hooters is just a couple of blocks from the Luxor and so it came to pass that it was the favoured choice of all 4 of us.

The place looked real nice, clean and respectable. The girls had scrubbed up just fine. Their shorts were.. short and their T Shirts… Tight!

Dan had Sliders..

Matt had a custom Burger..


Mandie and I opted for the Grilled Chicken Burger..


We all had bottomless Diet Coke.

When presented with the $97 bill and ever mindful of frequent assertions that this joint is guilty of misogyny and sexual exploitation, I questioned our rather ‘ hot’ Hostess, Darlene at length about her working conditions, potential career progression and other such sundries .. before giving her a tip, just so that this in no way influenced the ‘Tottie’s’ replies.
All DIBBER’S can now rest assured that I detected no sign of any exploitation whatsoever in her replies.
Darlene smiled, said thankyou and then shoved the ‘20’ in her Bra, before walking off, wriggling her Orange clad backside in appreciation as she went. I would have recorded this event for posterior (sorry, posterity), but Mandie prevented me.
In modern pricing terms, I would describe this as a really good, budget meal and as always, great, clean fun. I am an unashamed ‘Hooters fan’.. as are my Son’s.

Time to move on, and we were all incredibly tired by now. We took a stroll up as far as Caesars in order that I could do a ‘recce’ for our forthcoming ‘Bachanal Buffet’. I felt pretty stoned from the Cannabis fumes by the time we got there, yet alone by the time we returned to our Hotel. I just hope that none of those ‘partaking’ , intend driving.

Here are a few of the somewhat familiar images (to most), that we took. I apologise to those who have been here before.

‘Paris’.

‘Bellagios without fountains’ (a much rarer shot than ‘Bellagios with fountains’).

Caesars Palace.

‘Blackpool Tower’.. (I tried to trick people, there). It is really another shot of ‘Paris’.

‘New York New York’.

‘Home’.

We had a slight ‘issue’ with Matt. Like many 18 year olds, particularly one who joins the Army as a Vehicle Mechanic on July 7 (We are very proud), he has an independent streak, frequently striding off ahead, but with no real sense of direction… a commission possibly beckons!
We turned at Caesars in order to return down the Strip and as usual, Matt set off ahead, retracing our route, including crossing on an overpass near the ‘Aria’ to the opposite sidewalk.. out of our sight, but continuing South. He had effectively ‘disappeared’ , no great issue for Dan or I, but to the consternation of Mandie. Unaware of where he was and initially failing to answer his phone, we eventually met up with him when he crossed back over by Newyork Newyork.

We were in our room for 2100.. and now for what will hopefully be a good nights sleep… only I am typing this at 0340…

Stand by for tonight’s thrilling, innovative and imaginative update. It may involve a bit of pain… but I am prepared to go through that barrier in order to objectively continue this report for the entertainment of my fellow DIBBER’s .

14937 Steps.
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 07:13 AM.
cornishfrogboy is offline Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 14 May 24, 11:14 AM  
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#4
cornishfrogboy
Thread Starter
VIP Dibber
 
Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
First day in Vegas 05 June 2024.. or ‘Waking up in Vegas’ by Katie Perry.

I write this at 0130, local time and for reasons that will soon become apparent. I must also add that it is in probability, not very ‘PC’ in parts, so you have been warned!

Rather predictably (in Vegas terms), the day dawned bright and there was not a cloud in the Sky. As we left the Luxor at 0830, it was still relatively cool at 33 degrees as we headed the half mile or so to the famous, Las Vegas sign.



We were soon passed by the local Fire Brigade, double marching in a squad of about 20. They were marching to music, but strangely, it was recorded. Times have changed because in my day and after having done the Nijmegen March, I expected any American squad to be singing the songs themselves (badly). It was clear and rather reassuring though, that to a man, these guys were very fit indeed, muscles a bulging and all that, whilst Testosterone and sweat was coming off them by the bucketload. Sorry ladies (and possibly Gents), I felt it strangely inappropriate to photograph semi naked Firemen doing exercise. You will have to simply use your imagination.

Even at this ungodly hour, on arrival at the sign, we found ourselves in a queue of 20. However, after 10 minutes or so, the deed was done and we were headed back to the Luxor.

.

On the way, we passed the internationally renowned Pinball Hall of Fame, but could see no reason whatever to enter, particularly as it was clearly closed. I cannot name a single famous Pinballer in any case 😀. Other than maybe Tommy, the ‘Death Dumb and Blind Kid’ in the song ‘Pinball Wizzard’ by the Who, who as I recollect “Sure played a mean Pinball”..


0900 and we were back in the Air Conditioned luxury of the Luxor. We had Credit Vouchers from yesterday and it was time to use half of them in the Pyramid Cafe.
It was a strange breakfast menu, but we chose some traditional, British favourite dishes.


I went for the Nachos topped with Chicken … and a glass of Pineapple juice.

M

Matt opted for a Double Cheeseburger with Fries .. and a Root Beer.

Dan had with Fries, something with Avocado .. and a Coke.



Mandie had a Ham and Cheese Omelette with Pineapple Juice.. but wouldn’t let me Photograph it, as she gets hacked off with my taking images of her food.

The bill came to $112 (minus our $100 of Credit) and as such, I felt that $20 including the tip was rather reasonable. The food was actually, excellent, which came as a surprise.

A quick swim for Matt and I in the Resort Swimming Pools and we were ready to take a stroll in to town.

Whilst the New York New York looked resplendent in the sunshine.

The Tropicana clearly did not.

They started tearing it down in late April and the site should be flat by October. It is to be replaced by a Basketball Stadium, great if you want to watch Basketball. A part of LV History, lost.

It was time to catch a Deuce Bus to Fremont Street. The Deuce buses run the Strip every 15 minutes or so and within the bus stop area there is a ticket machine. $8 gets you a 24 hour ticket and this is what we did.. x4. It was a simple process.

The Bus soon arrived, ticket swiped and we took the top deck for the 50 minute journey to Fremont Street. It should be shorter than this, but there are continuing delays traversing the Strip, due to building work at the North End. As we headed North, it was becoming clear that things were getting a little seedier.

Fremont St is clearly an Arts area, sprinkled with Casino's, Nightclubs, Street Performers and a smattering of Down and Outs with clear Mental Health/Drug related issues. Out of sensitivity (I have some), I will refrain from any reference to their apparently practicing to audition for Sean of the Dead 2, but I spent many years of my Police career in Drug type Squads and as a result, have little sympathy for those that partake. The whole place also stank heavily of Cannabis.
Whilst vibrant and colourful, Fremont Street was not an area where I would want to depart from the main, lit areas at night. It was just a little seedy.

I have never seen a Disco for Cats, though!

Much of the street was covered by a several hundred yard long roof onto which was projected a swirl of moving images that were difficult to photograph, but awesomely impressive.

Fremont Street and it’s difficult to photograph roof.

Another, equally poor effort.

We had visited this area for a reason. This was in fact, Dan’s big moment, namely an appointment with some very pretty and some might say, inappropriately dressed Nurses at the Heart Attack Grill! “Some might say”, however does not include Dan, Matt or Myself.


The rather forbidding entrance door left you in no doubt what you were facing.


Being a Medical Establishment, we were firstly ordered to ‘Gown Up’ by one of the Nurses..


I must say that Nurses Uniforms are rather different in the USA to those in the UK. Perhaps they are specialists?
Perhaps this is the future of Nursing?

Food in this place consists of Burgers and Dogs… with Lard. The Burgers range from a Single Bypass Burger to an Octuple Bypass Burger of 19,000 calories, all ‘cooked’ with less than no consideration to a low calorie count. There are scales outside and should you weigh in excess of 350lb, then you eat for nothing.

Mandie and I sensibly ordered a Single Bypass Burger, whilst Matt went for a Single Bypass with Fries. Dan, ever greedy, opted for a Double Bypass, Fries and with an injection of Vodka Jelly.



Whilst Mandie seemed very keen to eat her food in very short order, regrettably Dan Matt and I all failed miserably and in my case deliberately (In order that I could provide a comprehensive, rather than abridged food report to the DIBB ). The things that I go through for you guys!

I am ashamed to report that this was my own, personal, deliberate and abject failure 🥲.

In this place, failure has consequences. Matt, Dan and I duly were punished with a ‘Paddle’ for failing to eat all of our food.

Dan’s ‘paddling’. (I will spare you, mine).

It can fairly be said that the Nurse went about her task of administering 3 ‘whacks’ for each of us with great ‘Relish’ 🤣🤣🤣. (I apologise for that)… and yes, they hurt!

The bill was $120, not bad at all for what can only be described as an unusual experience. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that these girls may not in fact be ‘real’ Nurses. They didn’t have those pin on, medical watches on their Chests.

Real Nurse.


Fake Nurse.

It was time to catch ‘The Deuce’ and return to a stop, right outside the Luxor. I am afraid that there are no Photos, as the Bus had an external ‘wrap’ that made it difficult to see out.

And this is where we made our big mistake of the day. At 1800, we elected for a ‘Power nap’.. that ended in my case when I woke up at 0130. My body clock is all over the place!

14261 Steps.

Tomorrow, we go upmarket and cultural.
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 07:12 AM.
cornishfrogboy is offline Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 14 May 24, 11:14 AM  
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#5
cornishfrogboy
Thread Starter
VIP Dibber
 
Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
Kayaking on Colorado River. 06 June 2024.
Or ‘Messing about on the River’ by Josh McRae.

By now, we have pretty much had it with Vegas. It simply ain’t either mine nor Mandie’s scene, but we have shown it to the boys.

Today we visited Black Canyon, 10 miles down river from the Hoover Dam and home to the Emerald Cave.

Clearly we do not yet have a hire car and thus, we had to book a Tour that included transport from Vegas.
We found what we wanted on Viator, who were offering 10 Avios to the £ at the time. The Company was Las Vegas SUP Kayak Club and the cost, £384.60 for the four of us. The ‘pick up’ was at the Resort next door, ‘The Mandalay’. You may remember that I had previously carried out a ‘recce’ to ensure that we assembled at the right spot.

We were picked up as promised 0930 by ‘Zander’ and taken on a 1 hour drive to Willow Beach Marina, a picturesque location on a bend in the Colorado River. We did pass over the O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, from which you get marvellous views of the face of the Hoover Dam, but regrettably, the continuous concrete safety barriers prevented us from having any view at all.

Here is the view (from an earlier vacation… that we never saw )😃.

Never mind, we were soon at Willow Beach Marina, where we were greeted by this rather lovely view.

A rather lovely view.

We were soon changed, given a thorough safety briefing and with no more ado (I don’t like too much adoing) , the 8 of us plus Zander were heading upstream towards the Hoover Dam in our ‘closed top’ Canoes. Contrary to my expectations, there was no current at all, the water was Mill Pond Flat and the temperature at 110 degrees with no discernible wind. I was very grateful of my hat and T Shirt as well as glad that I had applied suncream factor 30.

Moi! In an extremely rare Selfie, in my Fatface Cap that replaced the one cruelly lost to Infinity Falls several years ago, my Humuhumunukunukuapua’a T Shirt from Hawaii (you will have to read the trip report) and my suntan lotion.. plus a Life Jacket.

The water was clear, crystal clear and with a very shimmery, bright green bottom, even at a depth of 30’ plus. It looked rather strange. It was explained that this ‘radioactive’ green colour was a type of Algae and totally harmless to Humans.
As we paddled the two miles downstream, it was clear that Zander knew his stuff, Flora, Fauna, History and the story of Queho, the Native American Indian mass murderer were all covered in fascinating detail.
en.wikipedia/wiki/Queho#...ad%20Indian%22.
We travelled at a very leisurely pace, one that any could achieve with ease.
Matt clearly saw himself as advance Scout and soon disappeared into the distance.

Matt, in the early stages of his disappearing (almost) into the distance.
We were informed of Long Horned Goats that we never saw, Bald Eagles that we did, Tamarind, Creosote bushes, Historic and pre Hoover Dam, river watching stations. It was good stuff as we ambled along.




Eventually, we reached the Emerald Cave where, rather like the Blue Grotto at Capri, we had to queue up in order to enter it. Zander explained that the Emerald Cave had featured on the front cover of a National Geographic Magazine many years back and that ever since, it has been a very popular attraction.

Eventually, we all entered the Emerald Cave. I will be very honest and say that it was underwhelming at this time of day. Apparently, when the Sun is in a certain position, the spooky green lake bed illuminates the cave… but it didn’t when we were there ☹️.


Time to leave.

We began paddling back up stream (not that the stream was moving) and basked in the glorious sunshine as we went. Eventually, we came to a rocky beach, where we disembarked to eat some snacks and take in the views..

Along with several other groups.



We moved on.. intrepidly.

Dan, moving intrepidly.

All too soon, we were back at the Marina, 4 miles covered and with consummate ease. It was time to partake in a 700ml, ice cold and with condensation running down the tin, Coors Lite. I don’t normally drink beer, but at a mere $2.50, this bargain was too good to miss!

The drive back to the Mandalay was uneventful and Zinder’s tip.. well earned. In conclusion, I would heartily recommend this tour to anybody wanting a days break from the mayhem that is Vegas. We had a great day.

Now we were back in Sin City and after a very quick Power Nap, it was time to take a stroll through the Cannabis fumes to Caesars and the Bacchanal Buffet, £360 for the four of us and booked many months ago. The queue was lllloooooonnnnggggg!, but we were still seated by 1930 as arranged.
Diet Cokes were part of the deal and it must be said, administered freely… but we were there for the Food!
These were my plates.. and in chronological order.

Spider Crab legs (and claws).


Lobster Claws, Crevettes, Prawns, Crawfish and Octopi.


Lots of Asian stuff including Frogs Legs (they taste like Chicken).


A selection of desserts.


Gelato, Lemon, Strawberry and Vanilla.


More Gelato, Lemon, Strawberry and Vanilla.. again.

The food had been excellent… and the best bit? The Gelato.

It was time to leave and three of the group were really flagging and in pain. We had a look at the Caesars shopping area.




I referred to 3 of us flagging and in pain. Well, despite being the oldest by 13 years,I was not one of them. I explained that pain was a good thing as it was in fact, weakness oozing out of their inferior bodies, but they seemed rather unimpressed with my medical diagnosis.
Whilst the three weaklings caught the ‘Deuce Bus’, I resolved to walk through the Cannabis and make my own way back. Principles were involved here!


Caesars.



Bellagio’s


Blackpool.

I arrived back at our room to find Mandie had a confession to make, one that shocked me to the core and left me breathless.
She had gambled. $20 on Black… and lost.

20029 Steps.
Time for bed.
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 01:33 PM.
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Old 14 May 24, 11:16 AM  
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Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
07 June 2024. The Road trip element begins. Or ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ by Cheryl Crowe.

It was up and early(ish), as for Mandie and I, this is where the true vacation begins for us. We have only been in Las Vegas in order that the boys could see it. It could fairly be said that other than the Architecture, Las Vegas has less thannothing in it for the pair of us.
Breakfast was once again at the Pyramid Cafe.

Two Granolas with Yoghurt and berries, One Avocado Toast and a Club Sandwich with 4 x Juices came to $100.
Yet again the Receptions software was down and we were told that we (and everyone else due to check out) would be booked out, once the system was working. We left. The Luxor has been somewhat less than fine on this occasion and no amount of freebie meal credits can change that fact!

With reflection, I should have looked to Bellagios or the MGM Grand, regardless of price… but there would have been the same people present.

A Taxi to the Car Rank at the Airport was $22 and by 1100, we were driving out of the Garage in a beautiful, red Ford Mustang Convertible after having no snags placing our handbaggage and personal items in the trunk. Checkout had been an absolute breeze and the car in flawless condition with 11000 on the clock.


We headed West, West towards LA (not that I ever want to visit that area again, either. The Mustang, whilst having a digital dash, lane assist, cruise, reversing camera , electric seats with air conditioning etc etc , did not have a Satnav. My trusty (and preloaded) Garmin was up and running within minutes.

First stop was 7 Magic Mountains, impressive, iconic and I cannot for the life of me, work out what it is all about!

7 Magic Mountains.


I feel that my personal effort was at least as good, if not better, albeit on a smaller scale. My family disagreed, walked off and I had to get a passer by to photograph my imaginative effort. If I ever visit again, I will bring some rattle cans in order to finish things off, as it will doubtless have been incorporated into ‘8 Magic Mountains’.

Before moving on, we took a few images of the Mustang.



Now it was time to move on.. further West to Primm. Primm is in the middle of nowhere, but with 3 Casino’s and no other conurbation other than a Garage. In one of these, Buffalo Bills, are two rather Iconic Cars.

Buffalo Bill’s.


The car in which petty criminals, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were rather murderously gunned down on 23 May 1934 in Gibsland, Louisiana .

The Story makes fascinating reading.
en.m.wikipedia/wiki/Bonnie_and_Clyde
The car then toured around the USA for many years, with people paying to sit in it and pretend that they were the famous Gangsters. The car has 112 Bullet holes in it. Bonnie Parker had 26 entry wounds and Clyde Barrow, a mere 17.
Here is Clyde Barrows Shirt.

It is in need of considerable repair. It looks somewhat moth eaten with holes in it.. and appears somewhat stained

The other car is an Armoured Lincoln that formerly belonged to ‘Dutch’ Schultz, a rather violent and unstable New York Gangster who was shot whilst at a Urinal in a New York Chop House.
Another rather fascinating story.
en.m.wikipedia/wiki/Dutch_Schultz


And then we moved on again, yet further West and into California along the i15, before turning off and onto the 164 towards Nipton.

Close to this junction, we viewed the Ivanpah Solar Power facility, once the most powerful in the World.
en.m.wikipedia/wiki/Ivan...Power_Facility

This is a file image, because the light shining off of the reflectors was sufficiently bright that you could not actually Photograph it.

The 164 eventually was very long and very straight.


We did stop rather briefly at Historic Nipton, San Bernardino Country CA (population 15-20) when we spotted the ‘Hotel California’.

I somehow doubt that this was in fact the one that the Eagles sang about even though it was undoubtably on a ‘Desert Highway’ as it is highly unlikely that Henley, Frey, and co would ever have ‘Checked in’, yet alone ever ‘Checked out’… and it most certainly was not a ‘Lovely Place. I was more expecting the sound of duelling Banjo’s than the duelling guitars of Felder and Walsh. It has just 5 adobe constructed rooms, including the reception.

Eventually, we made it to Kingman AZ, that served no other purpose than as an entry point from where we were able to head down ‘The Mother Road ‘ (Route 66) towards Selignon. I love this piece of road, with derelict cars and wagons, seemingly dumped all over the place.
These images were at the former Garage of Gigantus Headicus.



We drove on until we reached a favourite of mine, the Hackberry Stores, a place absolutely rammed solid with Route 66 and other American Auto History.





Dan even donated a Dollar Bill to join the many thousands of other that were pinned to the walls.




A train passed by (one of many that day)


It was time to move on again, this time to the Route 66 Motel in Selignon where we were to stay the night. This place is iconic, albeit clearly a Roadside Motel.


The abandoned transport means of a previous guest!

Whilst Mandie and I had a king bed room, the boys were treated to a two bedroom suite out the back, all at a seemingly reasonable £167 for the night.

This was our room, basic and with some nice memorabilia. There was Aircon and in addition a Shower with just two water temperature options.. Cold and Scaldingly hot.


Our Car outside our rather opulent abode.This truly was a kitsch, authentic, route 66 Motel. Deeply impressive, yet basic.

It was time to eat, eat in the very nearby ‘Road Kill Cafe’, motto, You kill it, we grill it’.
The place is full of stuffed Animals and the illusion being that all of the meals are in fact, Road Kill, with suitably imaginative names of dishes within the menu.




Outside were some historic artifacts…

A Still?


A Gaol, dating from 1860.


A Toilet.


A prison Truck.

I am not convinced as to the authenticity of the prison truck!

The meal….

Well, I had a Dead Squirrel Swirl.. although I will be honest and say that it was rather like a Burger made of Fried Toast and with Fries.
As is my usual, it came with Bottomless Coke.

I never photographed the Diet Coke.

Of note, Dan had a beer and it came to $12. The total bill came to $104.

261 miles driven.
6824 steps walked.
Tomorrow, we move on.
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 11:09 PM.
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Old 14 May 24, 11:17 AM  
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cornishfrogboy
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Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
8 June 2024.. or ‘The long and Winding Road’ by the Beatles.

Today was absolutely brilliant.. if you are into scenery.

We loaded up.. proving once and for all that four people can do a driving vacation in a Ford Mustang. In here are four Hand Baggage size Suitcases, four Backpacks and plenty of Water.
The back seats are bucket and a little restricted, but clearly my 6’ 3” and 6’ sons can manage in the Bucket Seats. My driving position is a little restricted as I have kept my seat a fair bit forward.. but we manage.


We were out of Selignon after looking at just a little more Automobilia..



I have many more, but will not bore you with them… however, I will bore you with an image of the Icecream that Dan purchased at Selignon for $2.60. I reckon this an absolute ‘Bargin’ when compared with those Mickey Mouse Premium Bar ones with the ears that people buy in Disney!


The Weather was once again.. hot. We reached 34 degrees.
On this occasion, we chose to drive with the Roof down for a considerable part of the journey.

Firstly, we went down to Flagstaff and then, purely on the advice of fellow DIBBERS, head down Oak Tree Canyon to Sedona. Our research on this had been minimal, but we were in for the most stunning of pleasant surprises, namely some of the most stunning scenery that I have ever witnessed. It even stopped the boys from moaning as the road wound down from an altitude of 6000’ above Sea Level, to a mere 4300’, by the time that we entered Sedona City Limits.




Things were going so well, albeit the speed limit signs were dropping until we were in a queue at 20mph.. then we came to a halt.
We were under traffic light control due to a ‘Rock Slide’ and as we were later to find out when we reached the traffic lights, there was a 15 minute delay between Red and Green.. with a digital count down next to the lights.

Eventually we were through and shortly afterwards, driving in to Sedona.
Sedona can best described as half a mile of low rise Restaurants and Shops, all beautifully maintained and the area seemingly prosperous, with a decidedly ‘Mexican’ feel to it. The pictures, taken from within the City,speak for themselves..



We decided to eat in the Don Pedro Restaurant.. that strangely, had a very ‘Mexican’ feel to it. This was the view from our table..

All four of us opted for ‘The Don Pedro triple’ with Tortilla wraps.

All was excellent and the bill.. $120 inc tip. Whilst not normally a great fan of Mexican food, pretty much only having eaten from El Paso boxes and at Taco Belle,
this stuff was good enough to convert me overnight!
What was it? Well all I know was that the Chicken was in a sauce, the Beef was without those horrible Kidney Beans and that the Prawns were wrapped in Bacon. 10/10!

Mandie then had an expensive idea… Gelato!.. 3 scoops each and in a waffle cone.


It certainly beat Dans earlier Ice Cream in Selignon, but then again at $39 for the four of us, it should have done. 😌.

It was time to head out of town, head out towards the Grand Canyon South Rim. I had no intention of heading back up into the traffic chaos in Oak Canyon, so we took a seemingly 30 minute detour by heading down and on to the i17, before heading back up to Flagstaff and onwards towards Grand Canyon Village.


We came to Valle Airfield, the location of a former Aircraft Museum, now closed, but still apparently with its full complement of Aircraft. Some may remember my visit in 2022, when we were given an impromptu tour.

Yes, the Aircraft were still resident. No, much to Mandie’s clear disappointment, the place was deserted and we never got inside. Time to move on.

Grand Canyon Village is clearly within a National Park and as such, admission is charged at $35 per vehicle. As we have other parks to visit on this excursion, we opted for the National Parks annual pass at $80.

Admission gained, we drove on and into the Events Square, where we checked in to the Yavapai Lodge before heading out to our block. We had booked a Family Room on the West Side of the complex. It consisted of 2 x Double Beds, each with a Single Bunk Bed above.

Clean, basic and perfectly adequate for our needs.

We had time to kill, as sunset was not until 1925, more than an hour away. Dan and I took a stroll to the events square for some food shopping and on our way, saw these Elk.


We were at Mather Point, around 10 minutes walk from our room for 0715. The following, imho spectacular images, mainly taken by Dan.





And then it was back to our room for Cider and Crisps. We most certainly know how to live. An early night followed as Sunrise was due at 0500!

And now, some pictures of Sunrise (where the temperatures were very much milder than my hyperthermia experience in April of 2022.






All that remained was to return to our room, past this Elk and get a little more sleep.


236 Miles travelled.
11587 Steps.
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 03:50 AM.
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Old 14 May 24, 11:17 AM  
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Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
GC South rim to Monument Valley. 09 June 2024. Or ‘Road to nowhere’ by Talking Heads (I always had a thing about Tina Weymouth).

Today was just a short hop from Yavapai Lodge to Gouldings Lodge in Monument Valley… a 177 mile, short hop.

You may have already seen the first light/dawn shots that I used to conclude the previous day. I forgot to include this marvelous image that my beloved Hire Car projected onto the Road!

Isn’t it wonderful!

We returned to the accommodation and prepared to enjoy breakfast.. a budget breakfast that I had invested in on the previous evening, whilst in the extortionate Yavapai Grocery Store.
A bottle of Tropicana and a Bottle of Coke, which combined would make a lovely ‘Spetzi’.
6x Bread Rolls.
12 x Boars Head brand slices of Chicken.
6 x Triangles of Laughing Cow.
We know how to live!

We had no knife in our possession and therefore realised that whatever we ate would have to be prepared using Credit Cards and that was why we had Laughing Cow, rather than Butter, which would be too hard and was in any case, priced at a ridiculous $12.99 for a 4oz Pat. Only fools and their money are easily parted!

It was a disaster. Matt had drunk most of the Tropicana the previous night, the bread simply crumbled and fell apart under the onslaught of the Credit Cards and in any case, tasted far too sweet as American Bread Frequently does and finally, ‘Boars Head’ Chicken Slices tasted very, very cheap indeed… in the Bin and we were off.

We initially took the G Canyon South Rim Road towards Cameron and with frequent stops for photo ‘Opportunities’.





I was deeply saddened to read this, rather shocking commemorative plaque at the Tower Lookout. Even a flippant antisocial idiot such as myself can sometimes and briefly be moved by such tragic events.


We moved on and the Journey slightly flattened out around us. We passed ‘Elephants Feet, a rather weird formation of two , enormous rocks.


By now, the sand and rock were becoming rather orange as we eventually entered Kayenta, a place that I had not even bothered researching. We were clearly rather hungry after my earlier, abject failure of a breakfast .. that the other 3 had mentioned just once or twice during the journey.
In front of us was a Burger King! This is not a place that I would normally consider, given that I can eat as many as I like in the U.K… but needs must..

You will notice that there are just 3 meals ($39). That is because Dan displayed one of his quirky and historic weaknesses at the sight of a nearby ‘Taco Belle’. The lure was simply too great and he ate alone.

Next door to the BK, we got a pleasant, cultural surprise.There was a Navajo Cultural Museum. We entered, merely out of curiosity, as sometimes/ frequently happens on our vacations.. and even though it was closed. The placards next to the exhibits were fascinating!







There were several other, equally fascinating exhibits and I must confess that I found this (closed) museum very interesting indeed.. a surprise bonus!

We moved on and it was soon very clear that we were entering the area of Monument Valley.


Soon we were seeing iconic rock formations as we got within a few miles of Gouldings Lodge.


And then we were there!


Check in was simple and fast. We were at our detached Lodge within minutes.


The view from that Veranda was awesome.

The place was fresh, clean, well decorated, had good aircon and was a credit to the Lodge Staff. It had 2 double beds and a foldout, as well as a decent Kitchenette area.
Highly, highly recommended!

Dan, Matt and I decided on exploring the Museum to Harry and Mike (female) Goulding and what they achieved in their lifetimes for the Navajo Indians, the Film Industry and their Legacy.

This was the Lodge and accommodation above. It was initially a trading post to the Navajo.


The Lounge.


The Bedroom


In brief, the Gouldings introduced the Film Industry and John Ford to Monument Valley, whilst insisting that any Indians employed as extras would be paid the Hollywood ‘going rate’. In so doing, they brought considerable prosperity to the area and the indigenous Navajo population.
Here is a signed document on the wall..

The Gouldings were clearly well connected!
gouldings/2019/10/19/mon...and-hollywood/
Above is a link that relates to the Gouldings and Hollywood.

It was time for Dinner and in Gouldings Stagecoach diner (Named after the first Film made here?)

Here is the view from the Restaurant window.

I had an average to decent Cod and Chips, whilst Mandie had a Steak Salad, Dan at Strip Steak and Matt (surprise, surprise) a Burger. We all had water and the bill came to $68.
Surprisingly excellent value, given the isolation of the location.
‘Road to nowhere’ somehow sums up Gouldings fabulous lodge perfectly.



All that remained was to drive back to our accommodation and take a look at a rather ‘Old’ Shack in front of it
. Matt assures that this is a viable alternative, should Dan snore again.. like only he can.

177 miles driven
9930 Steps

Tomorrow, I will be John Wayne!
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 06:46 AM.
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Old 14 May 24, 11:18 AM  
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cornishfrogboy
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Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
A tale of 2, very different Historical Accounts.. Horse riding, Forest Gump, Bluff Fort, 4 States Monument, Cortez. 10 June 2024.
Or… ‘Horse with no name ‘ by America.

We had an early start today.. well Matt seemed to think so.. completely forgetting that Dan normally starts work at 0600 and both Mandie and I arise at 0630 in order to awake him at 0745 in order to drive him to work for 0830. He will be on a somewhat steep learning curve when he joins the Army on July 07.

Up at 0630, out at 0715 to be at ‘Sacred Monument Tours , contained within the Monument Valley Visitor Center for 0730. The two hour Horse Ride we had booked had already cost $480 (about the going rate) and as we reached the Visitor Center, we were clipped for a further $32 to enter Navajo Tribal Grounds. I was just a little peeved at that!

I must add right now that whilst Mandie used to live in Lyndhurst, riding the Forest Pony’s and has also ridden in San Diego, Kissimmee, Tombstone, Hawaii and now Monument Valley, I have been somewhat more selective in my Equestrian experience, namely once each in the Rockies, Hawaii , Tombstone, and now Monument Valley.
Dan and Matt? Just the once at the ‘Lazy H’ in Kissimmee before today. Harvey Smith (remember him?), we most certainly are not!

No matter, we found the start point, met Dion and Ty, our two Navajo Guides and by 0800, we were moving out of camp… or rather Paddock with Dodgy Wooden Hut next to it. My rather calm Steed/Horse/ Mustang/ Whatever, was called ‘Pocahontas’. Mandie had ‘Tank’ and I have no idea what Dan and Matt’s were called.







Some of the terrain was steep, but we managed it with the consummate ease that befits our increasingly vast experience.

A Horse Rider of consummate skill and experience!

Dion was a great orator, particularly when it came to the customs and traditions of the Navajo, the arrival of Settlers who wanted to change their beliefs and in particular, their being forced off their own land, land that they exercised no actual ownership over because of their belief that the land belonged to everyone (unless of course you can charge an $8pp admission fee).
Dion spoke of the Geology and names of the various rock formations, the Flora and Fauna, the Lifestyle and also the determination of his people to pass down their traditions to their children.
All too soon, the two hours were up and we had returned to the Paddock, having learned a great deal and feeling that it had been very much worthwhile. A well deserved $60 tip was passed… and we were off!

Next stop was around 15 miles down the road, a very famous film setting and the taking of a photograph that Dan had spent 3 years growing a beard for.. possibly.


Me.. looking less than nothing like Forrest Gump (hopefully).

And then we moved on again, driving through some awesome Countryside. I was flagging and it was 1200.. time for a Refuel and some Garage Sandwiches, a relief to my poor family after my previous, poor effort.. before moving on once more towards the famous 4 Corners Monument, where Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado all meet at one point.. apparently.

Again I was flagging and looking for somewhere to stretch my legs.. and then providence? intervened!
We were driving through Bluff, a Town that I had never even heard of .. and then we saw a sign for ‘Fort Bluff’, a Fort that I had never heard of either.. but that was advertising free admission.. now ‘free’, that is a language that I absolutely do understand!

We pulled over and got out to find that Fort Bluff was a camp of around 100m x 100m, surrounded by a Brushwood Boundary. There was a reception building and within the compound, a truly large array of apparently genuine Horse Drawn Wagons, Settler type Huts and Agricultural Paraphernalia. This looked fascinating, as well as good value at the price.


The reception building.

Upon entry, I met a guy who I initially believed to be Amish.. until he identified himself as a volunteer in period costume at this, the site of an historic encampment of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints (AKA Mormons). The guy told an amazing story of the Mormon Mission that settled on this spot after enduring tremendous hardship and very difficult ground, including blasting passage through cliff faces.

This link tells the story rather well..

bluffutah/bluff-fort/

I asked him whether any of the building that we were standing in was original, to which he replied that it was a 2013 recreation after the original was destroyed in an inadvertent ‘accident’ involving a safe and some dynamite in 1925.

He showed me the safe.


He showed me an explanatory plaque.
He was unfortunately unable to show me the dynamite.. or ‘Poor Fred’, who is believed to be buried in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

I them met a Lady in a very Victorian looking dress, who introduced herself as a former School Teacher and now fellow volunteer. She showed me an original Studebaker Wagon that had actually been on the journey to this first settlement.

She the. Gave a very vivid account of how the Mormons had moved to and settled in the area in order to give the Native Americans both an education and also to convert the heathens to the ways of the Lord, for their own redemption. This Lady seemed very certain that the mission was in Gods name and that the Native Americans were very fortunate that the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints had arrived in order to save them from themselves.
It was at that moment that I fully and utterly understood the sentiments of Dion, from earlier in the day. Who on Earth did these settlers think that they were to ride roughshod over thousands of years of Culture, belief and Heritage that although alien to their own, was just as valid. President Andrew Jackson would have been proud of her!

I felt it best to leave this Lady with her sanctimonious thoughts and depart the building. With open bigotry such as this, I was relieved that I personally have no faith whatever.

I entered the outside area of the Fort, where there were perhaps a dozen reconstructed dwellings with family names on them. Within each, it was very clear that these people had lived a spartan existence. There were family heirlooms in each one, furniture, beds, threadwork, photographs and the like. You really did feel that you were stepping back in time.

It was utterly fascinating.
There were perhaps 30 Horsedrawn Wagons, that were clearly of great age, albeit in fairly good repair.


This location was actually an incredible find and one that I would highly recommend if visiting the area. All too soon it was time to go.. or so my family strongly advised me!

Next on the list was the Four Corners Monument, a 60 mile detour, but simply one of those iconic, must visit ‘places’. We got there soon enough, turned off the road and joined a queue’ of vehicles leading to a ticket booth. $8pp, another $32 in all to the Navajo Nation? I had already given them $32 at Monument Valley. Enough was enough and anyway, I well remember Dion saying that the Navajo did not believe in Land Ownership!
I did a three point turn and headed back out again, I had in any case done my research and was well aware that they only believe that Monument to be within 1800 feet of the correct location.

ngs.noaa.gov/INFO/fourco...ual%20monument.

1800 feet is 600 yards and that is the length of 6 football pitches. I may well have driven over the true , Four Corners point already… and for nothing. We took a picture of the Advertising Hoarding instead, saving ourselves $32 in the process. We were well aware that today, we had been in Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona in any case.

A photograph of what may very well be the real, 4 Corners location… that cost me nothing. Perhaps I could put a cross on this spot and charge just $16? It is as likely the right spot as the $32 one, at the end of the day😃.

We headed on to Cortez, where we had booked a family room in the Holiday Inn Express..
The first bit looked spot on, in that this was clearly a Holiday Inn Express.


Now was to come the good bit for Dan (21) and Matt (18), a surprise… Their bunk beds in Fort Holiday 😂😂😂😂😂😂.
It should have looked like this ..


But actually looked like this..


Still, no harm done.. until Dan headbutted the ceiling light as he climbed into the Bunk and smashed it.

Time for Laundry (our first and at a total of $4.50) and then Dinner at Denny’s.


Communal Nacho’s first and Oreo Milkshakes for Dan and Matt (Coke Zero’s for the grown ups) A Bourbon Chicken Skillet for Mandie and I. T Bone for Dan.. and I will leave you to guess what Matt had.

A Bourbon Chicken Skillet.
$106, rounded to $124 and it was back to our room for the night.. until Dan had an ‘idea’.

Dan is 21 and there was a Liquor Store over the Road. Dan assured me that visiting a Liquor Store was on his Bucket List.. and besides, he had never tried a Vodka ‘Buzz Ball’.


Then that finally was ‘it’ for the night.

142 Miles driven.
11592 Steps.

Speak to you, tomorrow!😃
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 06:43 AM.
cornishfrogboy is offline Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 14 May 24, 11:19 AM  
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cornishfrogboy
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Join Date: Nov 10
Location: Falmouth
Reserved Our first vacation failure (so far) and Wigwam Motel. 11 June 2024.

Today we awoke to a snag! All though we were up and awake in our Cortez pre-positioning Hotel for Mesa Verde, we had encountered snags when booking our tickets to the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde. We had wanted an early slot at 0930 and exactly 14 days previously at 1600 Cornish Time (0800 Mesa Verde time) we had been paused to strike, the very second that the tickets became available. They were all gone and up until 1330. It would seem that all of the Local Tour Companies get ‘first dibs (as opposed to DIBBS) and then resell tours at vast profit. Not happy as with 45 people on each slot at half hourly intervals throughout the day.
It is rather interesting to compare the price of these advertised tours on Tripadvisor with the $8 pp we paid to the Park Rangers who actually conduct the ‘money shots’ of the Tours. You can only see Cliff Palace, when escorted by a Ranger and in addition, entry to the rest of the park is only subject to the standard National Park Fee.
We knew as we booked, that this was likely to cause us problems later on this particular day!

We arrived at Mesa Verde at 1100, used our Annual National Park Pass (purchased for $80 at Grand Canyon a few days before) and spent the next hour and a half following the meandering and only route through the Park, stopping and photographing various, clearly marked viewing points.

The views were expansive and far reaching.

Eventually we reached the High Point of the park at 8572’

The views were even astonishinger.. into 4 different States 😀.


We then moved on to the Far View Restaurant, where 2 Scoops of excellent and generously served Ice Cream came to a remarkable $7. I had Huckleberry and White Chocolate with Raspberry.



Then it was time to move on… to Cliff Palace and our appointment with a Native American Park Ranger. This meeting occurred (along with 41 others aging from around 6 years to 70 years) at the Cliff Palace viewing point… where we had these views as we waited.

Across the Canyon.


Into Cliff Palace, formerly home to 100-150 Pueblo Native Americans.

We descended down some very narrow (but safe) , steps into the Cliff Palace, where our guide gave a very detailed account of the history of the Palace, from 1200 when built, to the present day. When asked when this was discovered, he stated that although the Wetheralls claimed discovery in the 1800s, people had been aware of the Pueblo Sites throughout millennia.
en.wikipedia/wiki/Mesa_Verde_National_Park
Above is a link to a Wiki entry that provides much information about the area and its history.

The tour of the actual ruins was very controlled and only after a briefing. We were warned not to take any fluids other than water and no food. We were also told to not touch any of the structures.

The briefing.




And then, all too soon (again), the tour was over and it was time to leave.. by finishing our walk across the front of the Cliff Palace and then climbing a combination of Steps and Ladders in order to get back to the Car Park.


Dan finishes his ‘Climb out’.

Now, it was time to go.. and as it was by now 1500 , with National Parks closing at 1700, we knew that we had no chance of making the Petrified Forest. I feel sure that all those Ticket Touts who snap up all of the Mesa Verde Tickets for earlier in the day and flog Tours at $175pp inc lunch, would not care in the slightest.

We had already driven 50 miles and I now had a further 237 to look forward to. We drove past the closed Petrified Forest,

Eventually we arrived at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook for 1830 hours (Arizona does not change its clocks seasonally and thus, we had lost and hour).

We pulled up at the Wigwam Motel to see that a group of a Dozen Bikers had arrived seconds before us. Mandie had never been keen on this 2 Star Hotel selection and this seemed to reinforce her position. The actual site, however looked everything that I had been eagerly expecting.
After queueing for a few minutes behind the Bikers (who were down from Michigan and were rather pleasant) we checked in to our pair of Authentic Wigwams… Authentic other than that they were clearly made of Concrete.

Wigwam no3 .

The inside. Whilst Mandie felt the place looked tired, I had to disagree. I felt like we had stepped back in time to the 1950s and almost expected to hear Bill Hailey on a Radio.

I went outside and took a few Photographs.





You might notice something rather relevant to my earlier disappointment in this image.

And this one.

Petrified Trees everywhere that I looked (well almost).


Time for Dinner and we chose Butterfield Stage Co Steak House, around 50 yards from the Wigwam Motel.
It looked tired. on entering.. it looked tired.
We ordered Sirloins Steaks all round and with the Salad bar and Diet Cokes to drink… with trepidation. Matt declined a Burger on this rare occasion as it was Bison.

My rare, Sirloin was cooked to absolute perfection, rare yet melt in the mouth. This was actually one of the very best Sirloins that I have ever tasted, with an emphasis on thickness, rather than covering the plate.
$158, rounded up to $180 to our very friendly and attentive Waitress.
The best things in life do not always come in the most impressive wrappings!

It was now time to move back to our accommodation. As we walked, we took these images..




To finish my day, I returned to the Wigwam reception and looked at a few more Petrified Forest Trees… hundreds of them!


After seeing this lot.. and I have only shown around 10% of what was at the Wigwam, I really do not believe that I have greatly missed out on the Petrified Forest at all!

287 Miles driven
5550 Steps.
And that is goodnight from me!
__________________

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...6#post15662196

Edited at 01:25 AM.
cornishfrogboy is offline Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
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