Patty’s Epic Trip to the US. Part 12. Sedona Day 2

We started with a walk the next morning. It ended up a bit longer than we intended because there were so many different paths.

Walking around Sedona is awesome. I can see how miserably hot it will get in summer, though.

We were staying in a suburb called Oak Creek (where we discovered the most awesome Thai restaurant!) and we could walk to this walking trail from our accommodation. It was nice not having to sit in the car for a change, although the local traffic is… interesting, due to the frikken SIZE of the cars and the fact that literally ZERO of the drivers knows where to find the indicators.



This is called Bell Rock.


The local vegetation is really friendly.




We went to have a look at the shops in the afternoon. I don’t know if I have any photos of that, not being a shopper. My daughter was a bit disturbed that several people asked her what her favourite rock was, and she went er… Apparently you’re supposed to have one.

Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 11. Sedona Sunset

I have no idea how I came to want to visit this place. No one outside the US talks much about it. I think I started looking at Google maps and thought the map looked interesting and randomly dropped myself into Google Streetview and went “Whoa!”
Yup. No one outside the US tells their friends that they should go to Sedona, but man, they should.
Crystals and rock shops aside (more about those later), the place is full of walks and awesome views and rocks of all colours and did I mention the rocks? Oh, it has loads of cactuses, interesting town landscaping and a real permanent creek going through it with waterholes and stuff where you can swim. Not in January, though.
What’s there not to like?
So we drove there from the Grand Canyon and spent three days in Sedona. Because there was lots of walking, because it was Not Cold. And because it’s just a cool place. I could live there.
Anyway, when in Sedona, you have to climb the Airport Vortex (a little rocky hump that you can see in the first photo, with all the people on it) and watch the sunset. Warning: if it’s January, it gets a bit nippy.







Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 10. Grand Canyon

We stayed at the Gran Canyon for two days, and walked the entire South Rim trail. There was still a bit of snow around, and quite a lot of people.

It was January. It was a weekday. I seriously don’t want to know what this place is like in summer!







On the first day, we had some lunch at a picnic area. We got back to the car and were putting our things away, when all of a sudden there was a guy next to me with a ginormous camera pointing into the car, jabbering in Russian.

There was a squirrel in the car!


Yes, the comments are closed, sorry, but I get so much comment spam on this blog that I’ve had to do that. This post is syndicated to my Facebook page, where you can comment.

Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 9. Page

Page is a funny town along the Colorado River.

It’s dry. It’s desolate. There is zero mobile reception. There is not a single tree or blade of grass to bee seen anywhere. There is a disgusting factory at the edge of town.

It’s full of motels, hotels and other forms of accomodation. It has a marina. Yup, we’re in the middle of the desert. The country is red and dry. It looks a bit like Australia, except with no trees, and zero kangaroos.

There are two reasons people come here: because of Lake Powell (a dam, and bloody big one, too) and because of Horseshoe Bend.

We saw a bit of the dam. Not that much, because the road on the north-western side is a toll road and I wasn’t going to pay $25 to go down there late in the afternoon. We went to the eastern side (ignoring the pay booths–seriously, what is it with charging for everything?). We’d also come past Antelope Gorge and passed on the $50-for-an-hour tour, because we’d done a tour at Monument Valley which was half a day for just a bit more, and we’d reached peak annoyance with tourist milking.

We walked across the dam at the road. We went to the lookout on the other side. We decamped to Denny’s, and we went to Walmart. The latter two were tick boxes on my daughter’s wish list. They even sell wine at supermarkets! Whoop-de-doo!



The funny thing is that, having returned home, I realise that I see Lake Powell every day. At the gym, they have this ever-looping video that shows people doing funky things with tightropes over water and throwing frisbees at people in speed boats from tall cliffs that’s taken at Lake Powell. You can see the marina in the background.

The next morning, it was off to Horseshoe Bend, where there were a lot of ridiculous tourists taking ridiculous selfies from ridiculously unsafe positions. I couldn’t stand the idea of watching someone fall to their deaths, so after a quick stop, we were off to the Grand Canyon.



The comments on this blog are closed due to persistent and pervasive comment spam, but this post is syndicated to my Facebook page, where you can comment and all that good stuff.

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.


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.



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






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.







Author Mailing Lists and Misinformation Lemmings Jumping Off GDPR Cliffs

If you’re like me, you probably feel yourself a little besieged right now. Yes, I just went through my inbox, and deleted yet another handful of “GDPR-compliance” emails, exhorting me to tick a box in order to stay on a list.

I delete them.

The senders are nuts, uninformed lemmings jumping off unnecessary cliffs.

There is just so much misinformation about author mailing lists and GDPR, that it’s rage-inducing. The flood of misinformed emails is rage-inducing, too.


The EU is introducing laws about personal data and how it can be used online. Good on them. Know those emails where you have no idea how you ended up on a list, much less how to remove yourself? It’s directed at those people. Big companies, who might sell your data to data warehouses. They’re not allowed to do that. Awesome.

For small-time users of email lists, Mailerlite made this really helpful post (and variations of this information exist elsewhere). The beef is in the little paragraph under “Revalidate Your Subscribers”:

If you are not sure that the people on your current lists gave consent or you don’t have a record of it, the onus is on you to revalidate all of your EU subscribers now.

OK, let’s unpack that from an author perspective:

“IF you are unsure…”

As author, you’re not unsure, because you’ve used double optin and/or tickboxes in your signup process, like ALL THE FRIKKEN TIME.

“The onus is on you…”

Cool, but only if you are unsure. YOU ARE NOT. Please don’t fall to the “better safe than sorry” ruse. In this case, it’s really not safe to be safe and send it out “just in case” unless you want to commit mailing list harakiri.

“Don’t have a record of it”

Yes, you do have a record. Mailerlite or whatever company you use records it. If your subscribers are from a joint giveaway, the King Sumo app that almost every organiser uses, records it. Furthermore, for each individual subscriber, they have a record of what they clicked and what groups they’re in. The subscriber can download that if they like. The subscriber can unsubscribe whenever they like.

“revalidate your EU subscribers”

OK, if you really want to do this (and I really don’t think it’s necessary, but say you really want to reduce your perfectly legal mailing list by 80%), please only send it to EU subscribers. NOT THE WHOLE FRIKKEN WORLD. I am in Australia. Why am I getting this garbage? Learn how to separate out your subscribers according to locality, and don’t even touch this subject before you can do it.

What am I going to do?

I’ve used double optin or checkboxes for my entire list (and my guess is, so have you). What am I going to do about GDPR? Well, at this stage… NOTHING. I’m already compliant. I might put up a privacy policy on my website, but I incorporate a statement in my signup process already.

The comments on this blog are closed, but this post is syndicated to my Facebook page, where you can comment and ask further questions.

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.



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


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


Really stunning scenery.


Yes, it was coooooold up there.


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.


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.