Summing up the events of this past week in one blog entry is
going to be quite a challenge.I have managed to get near computers during this time, but it was either
inconvenient, ridiculously expensive or slightly cheeky to access the internet, so hence the delay in blog
I will tackle as much as I can remember in chronological order, but then will probably will throw in
nuggets of things that I forgot and since came to mind as I work my way through this text as otherwise I’m going to
be back tracking and editing for hours.
On our last night in San Francisco we moved back into The Commodore
hotel on Sutter. Our trek was to leave from there the next morning, so to minimise on early morning transportation
we decided to relocate from the hostel (which we had enjoyed a lot).
Food was once again Subway (Aren’t we
predictable) while watching The Transporter on the room TV. The next day was an early rise, a meet-up in the lobby
and some introductions s we filled out paperwork for our tour in the lobby.
Our tour guide was a guy called
Joe – Californian bord and bred and clearly a big fan of his job. There were mostly Brits (11) and two Ozzies, who
we ended up becoming really good friends with. On the initial van ride (we were heading out to Yosemite) I sat next
to two Welsh girls, Ellie and Kerry. It later transpired that Ellie worked for BHFNC (My client) and therefore knows
Broomy, while also being the girlfriend of James’ ex-housemate’s brother. Small world.
We stopped for
shopping, then lunch (staple sandwiches which were to become lunch every day) at a covered bridge. By this stagewe
were getting to know people a bit better and by the time we had set up camp on the outskirts of the National Park
we all knew each other at least by sight. Joe took us to explore the giant Secoya trees (the biggest living
organisms on the planet) which provided time to get to know each other, including walking under and scrambling
through some particularly old logs. The latter experience was very funny, and nobody escaped without a good thick
layer of dust and dirt. Some great photos were taken.
At camp we played card games while food was cooked by
the designated team. Toothpaste was evacuated from the tents as apparently bear attacks are regular and they have a
particular penchant for Colgate.
The next day was yet another earliy rise and was the first indication that a
pattern was emerging here. I slept really well (considering it was camping) and we made tracks up through the park.
Enroute we saw elk, some very fats squirrels and some odd blue headed birds too.The vistas were stunning – truly
beautiful almost untouched scenery. James and I concur that we would never have seen all this had we chosen to
visit the park ourselves, and is one of the many reasons we have changed our preco0nceptions about travelling the
world by tour.
After a good number of hours trekking up and back down, Joe took us to a secluded part of the
park river where we
screamed bathed in icy cold water. There is some good video footage of this but I
haven’t got the ability to attach it to the blog until I get home. Unfortunately I managed to damage my toe, and
later I discovered the entire side of my foot had been shredded apart by the sharp shale I had heavily landed on in
my first cannonball, but it’s all clearing up now, and thankfully I escaped any pain.
That evening we ate
philly steak at a park restaurant before heading back to camp via some impressive rocks including the famed El
Captain rockface. Once again I slept well.
Another early rise and packing up tents meant we were back on the
road. This time we were heading to a different type of destination; Las Vegas. The place really is as hot as it is
made out to be, but all the same one of the most fantastic places I have ever visited. The glitz, neon lined streets
and strange desert existence makes for a place that has to be experienced to be believed. Joe had totally talked
down the rooms and the experience, and we stayed at the Golden Palm just off the strip. Undersell would be an
exaggeration, as the rooms were the biggest we had been since since we had arrived in the states, and the location
was prime, although we were only paying ten bucks per twin queen-size per night. I’ve never seen that kind of deal
We stuffed ourselves with pizza before, which unfortunately led to me bing sick (there may have been
other factors like the water/atmosphere, but I am unsure and so have blamed it on over-indulgence), but it didn’t
stop me enjoying our first night out in the place, and we headed out to the hotel car park to be greeted by our
We had been promised a limo drive down the strip, but once again under-sold we arrived to find a
gleaming black stretched Hummer and champagne. Awesome. I will never forget the ride. The driver had some bad-boy
tunes on the system and we watched music videos on the monitors while we waited for the lights to change. It took
one hour to travel the length of the Strip and back, and gave a really good opportunity to get our bearings. The
drive was punctuated by stops at various points including a display the longest screen in the world, a 200 metre
overhead video display to some classic Vegas music.
Many photos later we say in a bar at the MGM Grand, which
is the worlds largest hotel casino. Joe had chosen the place as he knew we were less likely to get ‘Carded’
(ID’d) and we sat and drank some very expensive drinks. It was at this point we split and headed into the
Our Australian buddy Pete managed to do quite well for himself and actually came away with more money
that he went with. Joe didn’t carry such luck, but we all had a superb night, strolling down past and into the
casinos including NewYork, New York, The Bellagio and The Monte Carlo.
I’ve realised we’re going out for
food. This story is to be continued…