Sent from Stockton California

Sorry it has been so long between Blogs , just haven’t been able to find internet we could get close enough to to send this.  Please look at the Blog for the updated GPS trace. We now have done the complete circle.

Wednesday 6th July

We found a forest campground last night but had to drive quite a way because there was a large recreation area of mainly boating etc. But we finally found a nice place for the night but it was by the river so quite a lot of Mosquitoes which now seem to make a beeline for Steve now he is not eating Marmite every day. Judy did find a small jar in Los Angeles but making toast is such a pain that we only have it occasionally.

So this morning we set of for Idaho falls which we had read had waterfalls to rival Niagara. We couldn’t find any signs so Judy sorted through all the pamphlets and maps only to find we had come to the wrong place, we needed to be at Twin Falls Idaho which was 170 miles away and taking us on a detour of about 200 miles but the brochure said it was 50ft higher than Niagara and more spectacular and with the amount of water in all the rivers at the moment should be fantastic so off we went and arrived at about 4:30 three dollars to get in and drove down only to find the falls with only a trickle of water, what a disappointment we felt really cheated. We found there was a visitor centre about two miles away so drove over to find if there was anything else or if indeed we had found the correct falls. The gentleman there was very apologetic saying that ten days ago the falls were trhe best ever but the authorities had decided to divert the water to fill two large reservoirs and had basically turned the falls off.

Outside we found some guys folding parachutes on the grass and discovered the Perrine bridge over the snake river next to the car park was the only place they could base jump in the USA without a permit so it was a Meca for these guys. We followed them down to the bridge which was 500ft above the river and watched them jump off, so a bit of compensation for the falls. We started chatting to some people and the lady said that the falls had been fantastic and showed us a photo on her camera and yes they did look impressive. They also told us about another waterfall nearby we could visit in the morning which you could walk underneath.

The gentleman in the visitor center said we were welcome to stay in the car park there for the night so we walked to a nearby steakhouse then had a peaceful night.

Thursday 7th July

We visited the waterfall the lady had told us about yesterday and it was fun, Steve walked right under it without getting wet except a bit of mist. See the pictures in our gallery.

So onward to Salt Lake City and arrived at about 5:15 the Wal*Mart was a bit inner city with only a multi story car park so we looked for the KOA campground for the night. They wanted nearly $50 just for the night and we would have to be out and park elsewhere for the day unless we booked two nights so as it was already late and we needed some shopping we decided to go about 6 miles to another Wal*Mart Steve had seen on TomTom then we could book into the KOA in the morning for the next night which would leave us more flexible. Infact it was a very nice Wal*Mart but we were the only camper there.

Friday 8th July

We got up early to drive in to the City and came across a very large car park just a short walk from the Mormon Temple complex which we had been told about in a Visitor Center we stopped at yesterday just $5 for the whole day.

We walked to the Temple and decided to investigate the Genealogy Center first. There we were shown a short film about the Center then directed to the British Section three floors down there a very nice lady Sister Karen Bagg showed us how to start on Jody’s Family Tree and in fact spent the whole day on and off working with us getting quite excited as we uncovered another pertinent record. At one point the record we wanted wasn’t on the computer so we had to find the microfilm locate the record and take a print from it. All the facilities were there for everybody to use free of charge except a nominal 5cents per copy printing fee. We had a really great day and left the center at about 5pm. Arriving back at the Motorhome everything was fine after being parked there for longer than we expected so we decided to take a walk in the City which is very clean with very wide roads. “Wide enough to turn a cart drawn by a train of bullocks” it is said was the initial intention when the city was designed initially by the Mormon Settlers when they first arrived.

On our walk we came across a free Country & Western concert in the park and spent the whole evening there leaving at about 10pm. We had completely forgotten about booking into the KOA so headed out to Wal*Mart again for another comfortable night.

Saturday 9th July

We could not decide whether to spend another day in the city and see more of the Mormon Complex but Steve was a bit concerned about the really long 1,000 mile drive right across the country to California and the Redwoods in the Motorhome which was like a Camel to drive and really difficult on the Freeway and jumped around all the time because it is so out of balance, so we decided to push on. We drove across the salt lakes which were impressive and across the salt flats where we hoped to come across the Bonneville test track where the land speed records are run but found no evidence except a run down petrol station so we pushed on and stopped for a break at Elco where we found a large craft fair in progress which took a couple of hours walking round. We motored on and found a really nice rest area to stop for the night with all the trucks and another Motorhome. A sign actually said that vehicles were allowed to stop for 18 hours not the Measly two hours allowed on motorways in England.

Sunday 10th July

While we were having breakfast Steve spotted something which on further investigation turned out to be a dump station for motorhomes and presumably coaches so before leaving we drained down and filled up with water before continuing our journey. We didn’t think about filling up with fuel at Winemucca because we had half a tank full but didn’t realize we wouldn’t find any more fuel for over 200 miles in fact we arrived at a little restaurant come saloon in the middle of nowhere with a petrol pump outside with only 12 miles worth of fuel left “The display said”. The lady would only take cash so we just put $20 worth in to get us to the next town and the price looked a bit high at $4 a gallon whereas we had paid only paid $3.30 in Salt Lake City. We got to the next town ok only to find it the same price as we were now in Oregon where you were not allowed “to pump your own gas” they have to serve it even though the pump was a self service type which took credit cards. Steve had to put the card in while the girl served it. But it gave Steve the opportunity to chat after the inevitable “Where ya from? Australia?”. She said “are you going to Crater Lake” to which Steve replied no it’s too far and she said “shame you are really missing something”.

Along the road we decided to stop and find where she was talking about and it was a different Crater Lake to the one we had seen on the map and was only about 50miles out of our way. So we made the detour and were very glad we did. Crater lake was a volcano which had collapsed in on itself then the crater filled with water to form a huge lake 30 miles circumference, leaving the volcano cone still sticking above the very deep water which was dark dark blue. The drive went right round the rim with many stops and overlooks. The only problem was that there was ten foot of snow at the side of the road and the road was closed for part of the drive because there had been a rock fall so we had to turn round and come back rather than driving right round the 30 mile rim. But it was worth the experience. The only camp ground open was full so we headed out of the park and found a 4×4 road out in the forest for the night.

Monday 11th July

We finished our journey towards Crescent City at the top of the Redwoods National Park. About 20 miles away from the town we crossed a river bridge and were suddenly in the Redwood forest with trees 10 to 15ft diameter and staggeringly tall on each side of the road with the road winding between them.

We arrived at the Visitor Center and found our second unhelpful ranger in all of the trip so far saying there was no availability for camping you will have to find a commercial site outside the park. We found the Wal*Mart but that was uninviting with “No Overnighting” signs so we decided to take pot luck and head into the forest.

We went down a couple of likely roads and on the first we came across a private exhibit of a “Drive Through” tree just a dollar each to walk in because our motorhome was too big. Sure enough there was a giant tree over 100ft high with a hole cut through it big enough to drive a car through (see the gallery).

Onwards to another scenic drive where we found a crowd of people at the side of the road. After parking we investigated to find that they were watching a mother whale with a baby whale in the river. The story being that there was a Killer Whale out in the Ocean and she had comer into the river with her baby for protection. We caught a glimpse of the baby about 20ft long but I think she sensed the people and went out into the middle of the river.

We then took another scenic drive through the forest stopping every few hundred yards to look at yet another amazing tree we will put the pictures in the gallery but they do not really do justice to the grandure of these amazing living things.

Steve’s nose for finding parking spots turned us into a logging road about half a mile long where we found a trailhead parking spot where we spent a nice undisturbed night.

Tuesday 12th July

We woke very early because we were still on mountain time. Opened the curtains to find a VW van and a tent which had arrived in the night and we had not heard it!!

We set off to see one part of the scenic drive we had missed which was the “Big Tree” which was “big”. The information sign said that it was narrowly saved from felling because an enterprising person wanted to cut a slice across to make a dance floor. The walk was realy good before anybody was about with the sea mist giving an enchanted feeling. There was an interpretive trail which explained very many of the questions we had been asking ourselves. We then went to another Visitor Center to watch a film about the forest and get more information on what to see then headed on to “The Samoa Cookhouse” which Elizabeth had told us about in Canyon de Chelle.

This was quite a lunch; Soup with bread and croutons, Salad, Meat Loaf, mash and vege and beans then Cake and Coffee. All served on long family tables as it would have been to the Lumberjacks of the past.

What a meal. So we set off to find a rest area for an after lunch snooze and stayed ther for the night!!

Wednesday 13th July

Another early morning to drive “The Valley of the Giants” a scenic road thirty miles long weaving between the redwoods. It was fascinating .

The rest of the day was spent driving the very wiggly Highway “1” which weaves its way all along the coast. We finally stopped at 4:30pm for an early evening at a private campground which was not cheap but much cheaper than the Californian State Parks.

Tomorrow we should reach San Francisco and the Golden gate Bridge and hopefully find a McD’s to send this.

Thursday 14th July

Well we arrived north of the Golden Gate bridge and tried to get to the Viewpoint but signs said roadworks “No RV’s” so we carried on and came to a Visitor Center. The lady there said it would probably be ok for us to go up to the viewpoint it was just a bit tight for the big RV’s and 5th wheels. But before we go why not take in the Missile Site just up the road which opens at 12:30, so we did.

Very interesting, it was a de-commissioned Cold War Atomic defense missile sight with Nike-Hercules missiles. The guide was a volunteer and very good. He came out with wonderful phrases like “For your own safety, please hold on to the Atomic Missile while we descend into the missile storage area” I hope to put some pictures up soon so keep looking at the gallery.

After the missiles we made our way up to the viewpoint and had no problems with our size but the big RV’s would have had difficulty. The view was great and nice to see it personally. We then decided to drive across the bridge to visit the city. It is interesting, $6 toll to get into San Francisco aacross any of the bridges but as we found later, free to get out. After we had extracted ourselves from the five lanes of high speed traffic we drove through the city itself. We noticed that the roads were exactly as in the car chase in the Steve McQueen film Bullet. A hill then a flat bit as it crossed a road then another hill. We were heading for a campsite and TomTom said to “Turn Left” which we did then both almost had a heart attack as ther road suddenly disappeared and we drove over a cliff! It wasn’t a cliff but the road descended at least 45 degrees for about ten blocks with a flat bit every block as before, it was terrifying so we turned right as soon as possible to find a less steep way round.

We arrived at the Camp Site only to find it had become a Safeways Supermarket. But the marina across the road had parking so we stopped there to walk into the historic “Fisherman’s Wharf” area, which had a great atmosphere. At the end of the wharf was a WW2 Submarine which had audio tours. Neither of us had been on one before so we took the tour which was so interesting it took about two hours. We had to be away from our parking spot so decided we would research another campsite and come back to visit after Yosemite National Park, which was next on the agenda quite an interesting day even if it did have a bit of a wartime theme. When we hit the freeway across the Bay Bridge we were pleased we didn’t leave it till the morning, at 11pm the traffic was bad enough what it would have been like in the rush hour. Outside the city we found a rest area and settled down with all the trucks for the night.

Steve & Judy

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