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30th May - California again

USA | Wednesday, 31 May 2006 | Views [1863]


The problem with Utah is that here wine is classified as hard liquor and hard liquor is only available for purchase in state liquor stores.  In the seven days we were in Utah we did not see a single one that was open. What a place.  As well as being full of mormons, the south of the state is also covered in gorgeous coloured rocks – pinks, red, oranges.  The place looks so dry what with all the dust and rocks and redness that I was a bit shocked to get caught in the biggest, scariest thunderstorm and then come back to find a small river flowing past the tent.  Well, at least it wasn’t flowing through the tent I guess. 

The national parks we went to there (Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef) were all beautiful but so were the drives in between so it was a really good place to visit (if only we’d brought some wine in from out of state!).  One day we saw two snakes when we were out walking. I don’t know who screamed the loudest when this really long one slithered past us, me or Eoin, but I’m glad there was no one around because we looked a right pair clutching onto each others arms.


 We left Utah behind (as well as all Eoin’s stupid jokes about finding some more wives, I mean honestly, he can barely handle one) and headed north.  We stayed in a town called Jackson and were greeted with a chilli cook out. What an amazing idea.  You pay $5 and get given a spoon, then you tour around tasting chilli cooked by lots of different hotels and restaurants and vote for your favourite, I shouldn’t really have tasted them all, I could barely walk by the end of it.

"Big Tits"

Jackson was our base for Grand Tetons National Park.  Translated from French, "Grand Tetons" means "Big Tits" – the mountains here were discovered by some French explorers who were clearly either missing the company of women or just had dirty minds (French men? Never!).  I thought they looked more like ice cream comes myself.

 Either way, the Grand Tetons were beautiful.  We saw a wolf trotting around, prompting me to practice my wolf howling til I found out it was illegal to do there. And best of all was our bear spot – from a very safe distance we saw a bear swimming over a river and running through a meadow.  Very exciting.


I knew Yellowstone was going to be cold but I wasn’t prepared to see all that snow!  We had to wear gloves to go walking when we first got there.  We did drop down a few thousand feet in elevation after entering the park and it warmed up though…There is loads of geothermal activity there so lots of geysers and hot springs, some of which were absolutely stunning (see photos).  Elk and buffalo roam freely so we had quite a few close encounters with them but the best of all was bear encounter number two, A bear with two cubs was right beside the road when we drove by, along with lots of photographers and a ranger – I should have felt safe but half the photos I took came out blurred because my hands were shaking so much.

The worst thing about Yellowstone was the food though….I swear the lunch I bought there was the worst I have ever seen and I include school dinners here.  I couldn’t believe I paid them for the food and they didn’t pay me to eat it. We were staying in a hotel cabin with a no cooking policy but we refused to eat in the restaurant after that and cooked dinner out the back of the car like a right pair of pikies. 

Idaho / Nevada

Yellowstone is miles from anywhere so we ended up driving 800 miles in one day because we could not find a single place worth stopping in between there and California.  We drove and drove through Idaho and saw lots of really quite unfriendly signs saying “Idaho for Idahoans”.  Well they’re welcome to it, what a dreary, potato covered boring place.  Then we drove for miles through Nevada, that was just desert and hicks.  We tried to stop for coffee in a biggish town – no cafes, just MacDonalds.  And what a MacDonalds, full of the most enormous people on both sides of the counter, it put me right off my ice cream.


I can’t explain how happy I was when we drive over the Sierra Nevada mountains and hit California again.  Suddenly it was all green trees, pretty towns and nice cafes again.  A happy ending.

Tags: Adventures

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