Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 8. Monument Valley

So the next part was a tour of Monument Valley. It was a bright and clear day, but OMG the pictures don’t show how COLD it was.

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The iconic view.

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It’s a bunny!

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Imagine going to this (very well-appointed) high school here (building with the green roof).

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Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 7. Indian Monument and Monument Valley

After Bryce Canyon, we were up for a big drive, from Bryce Canyon to Monument Valley, slightly complicated by the fact that up until now, the directions had either been clear or we’d used Google Maps.

Uhm.

No reception.

AAAARRGGH. Technology.

So we’re at this big intersection, and the option is left or right. Which way to go? No idea. I looked it up on the map the previous night, but can’t remember. I’d have expected there to be signs to the, y’know, major tourist attractions in the area.

So we went into a petrol station. It’s that way, the attendant said. By the way, what’s up with the fact that you have to pay for your petrol before you can get any. Yeah, I understand, but our non-US credit cards don’t work in the machines, so we have to go inside, give them twenty bucks, then get the petrol and then go back inside to get the change. What a nuisance.

OK, back on the road, and we spot this sign “Indian Monument” and get a spidey sense. Maybe that’s what they’ve directed us to. So we decide to have a look. Surely there will be a map or someone to ask.

There was. And what was more, there was a gorgeous little walk to a lookout where you can see a cave where people used to live.

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And after all that, we finally made it to Monument Valley.

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We booked a 4WD tour and would be looking at those wonderful rocks the next day.

Patty’s Epic Trip to the US. Part 6. Bryce Canyon

We stayed in Ruby’s Inn at Bryce Canyon National Park for two nights. Being January, there was almost no one in the entire hotel, and OMG, it was cold.

We walked the entire rim trail, and took hundreds of photographs of the snow and the weird rock formations below.

The deer were curious, but despite many signs not to feel them, didn’t come close.

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Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 5. Zion to Bryce Canyon

When you’re in Zion National Park, there is a road that takes a steep, hairpin-riddled shortcut up to the top of the rocky platform and you can drive from there through farmland and forest to Bryce Canyon.

The road gets quite busy in summer, I’ve been told, but in January, it was almost deserted. There is some truly stunning scenery along the way.

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That’s the faithful (and by now very dirty) silver Corolla. Isn’t that scenery awesome?

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Being Australian, my daughter had a good ol’ time with the concept “frozen water”.

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Really stunning scenery.

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Yes, it was coooooold up there.

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I think this is called Red Canyon, still a way from Bryce Canyon, but you can see what’s coming up next!

Patty’s Epic Trip to the US Part 4. Zion National Park

Slowly working through all the photos.

We stayed in Vegas for one night, as you will have seen in the previous post, and the next day left to go north.

Where the main road goes through a narrow pass, it started to get cold, and then it got colder, and it started raining, and it got colder still.

Until we got to Springdale, Utah, where they had torn up the entire (and single) main road and it was wet and misty and the weather couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to rain or snow.

There was only one other room occupied at the Bumbleberry Inn (cool name), and it was warm and dry.

Driving down that unpaved muddy main road to do such mundane things as buying some groceries, we put some serious red mud over the car.

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So yeah, the weather was kinda rubbish, but the next day we woke up to a bright clear sky. Time for Zion National Park! Apparently it gets really, like, really busy here in summer, but during December and January, you can drive into the canyon.

Funnily enough, the US government had decided to throw a hissyfit in the form of a shutdown, and there was no one at the gates to take our money.

Anyway, Zion National Park is pretty. And also very, very cold down in that dark canyon.

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Patty’s Epic Trip To The US part 2. Death Valley 2

In the previous post, I already said that we enjoyed Death Valley a lot. We stayed overnight in Beatty, just outside the park boundary, and when we got the park ticket, they said it was valid for three days. We were not meant to be in Las Vegas until in the afternoon, so why not go back?

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Pretty much nothing grows in Death Valley.

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But the rocks are of all different kind of colours. We learned that people used to mine borax there. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what borax is. Apparently, you can use it to get rid of ants nests.

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This picture doesn’t show how windy it was here. The little silver speck in the middle is our rented Toyota Corolla, when it was still clean LOL.

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On the salt flats. The ground was actually a bit wet here.

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The lowest point of the valley.

Patty’s epic trip to the US. Part 1

So.

When I returned from the US two weeks ago, it seemed that I took a little nasty passenger called a chest infection and I’ve only just recovered.

I promised to post some pictures, so here is the first lot. I have no idea how many there will be.

First off: I was away from 6 January to 4 February. The first 13 days of the trip were a tour with a community wind orchestra. We did some touristy stuff (Disney!) but a lot of those days were dedicated to music and musical things (none of which produce great photographic material).

When the rest of the group was dropped at LAX, my second daughter met me there. I had hired a car and we did an epic 2500km through California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. I managed to drive all this without once venturing on the wrong side of the road, although I’ve distributed dust (or snow) over the windscreen plenty of times, because the position of the windscreenwipers and indicators are swapped.

Anyway, after staying for one night in Santa Monica, we made for Death Valley.

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We enjoyed Death Valley much more than expected. I’d expected it to be dead-boring, but the colours are amazing.

So we stayed overnight in Beatty, and then went back the next day, because we only had to drive to Las Vegas.


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The evil kangaroos of DSS and other things Canberra

At the back of the Department of Social Services in Tuggeranong, there is a paddock adjacent to the staff car park. When you’re there at dusk, you’re greeted with this sight:

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Seriously, how many kangaroos is that?

They’re not cute little weeny wallabies. These are kangaroos. KANGAROOS. Look at the one in the middle of this picture, with his arse to the camera, and the department building in the background:

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I mean LOOK at him (definitely a “him”). That’s the biggest kangaroo I’ve ever seen. If he stands up on his hind legs, he’s taller than a person. The lawns are irrigated and in summer, the roos invade the courtyards. They don’t tend to be afraid either. They’re quite intimidating.
No Australian city does kangaroos like Canberra. They’re everywhere.

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Out of all of the places in Canberra, I like this one the best. That paddock in the first picture? If you cross it, there is a bush path that leads straight to the Murrumbidgee River which has swimming holes. But this here is Lake Tuggeranong in the morning.

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Another pretty view, with complimentary galahs:

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