Brisbane, QLD

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It was a big day with scenery overload. Zion N.P. in the morning. Kanab at lunchtime and Grand Canyon in the afternoon. I realise this is not the best way to see these wonderful places. One should spend a week or more in each place but when you travel half way around the world and have a limited budget, one tries to see as much of the USA as possible in three weeks not counting the two weeks in California beforehand. Anyway we were having a ball. Everything was new and exciting.

It was raining when we arrived at our cabin on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and on the rim was right. Our cabin was about 50 metres from the edge see below.

The view from our cabin balcony. The rain cleared but unfortunately it remained overcast which didn't make the colours sparkle but it was still an amazing sight.

Are we happy? We can cross off another entry on our bucket list. This overlook near the lodge was breathtaking the drop plummeted for a mile. We are hanging on.

Then we walked to Bright Angel Point. It was exhilarating and scary. It was a walk out into the canyon on a narrow isthmus of rock with a mammoth drop down both sides of the path.

I was amazed that there wasn't a safety barrier on the side of the walkway. It did make it very scary exciting.

It is a shame there isn't a blue sky just a white one but it was still a magic 360* view.

"Living on the edge."

After we walked back up the track we needed a rest in our rocking chairs. We were 9,000ft above sea level and we found it hard to breathe climbing up, especially as I had developed bronchitis. Bill and I booked into the lodge restaurant for dinner. 

The view from the restaurant's huge picture windows was to die for. The overcast clouds were thinning and the sun was struggling through to give us a pleasant sunset. What a magic day that was. I never thought that I would ever really be there.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


After Zion N.P. we stopped for lunch on the way to the Grand Canyon. The tour guide had a surprise for us, which wasn't in the brochure. She organised a pioneers' lunch and a part in a movie for all 50 of us.
We were in the western town of Kanab, which is famous for being the place where many Western Movies were made back in the 50's and 60's. John Wayne, James Stewart, Alan Ladd and many others spent much time here while filming.

The owners of the restaurant took us out the back, gave us costumes and a role to play in a Western. Bill and I were the pioneer family. We all felt silly but it was funny.

This was our whole tour group that made up the cast of the pretend movie. Bill and I are at far right.

Monday, August 29, 2011


After Bryce Canyon we stayed overnight at Cedar City before going to the Zion National Park.

We drove along the floor of the Zion Canyon, where the colourful sandstone walls rose into the sky.

The tour bus dropped us at the visitor centre and we were given two hours to explore by ourselves. 

The guide suggested we get a shuttle bus further into the canyon and take a walk. We chose the  Sinawava Temple walk, where we followed the Virgin River to where the canyon gets very narrow.

We made friends with Helen and John, who were on our tour. They are from Tasmania. It was nice walking with them.

It was an easy relaxing walk by the babbling river with the colourful cliffs towering above us. Just beautiful.

All too soon the two hours were up and it was time to return to our coach. Next stop Grand Canyon. One could spend two weeks here exploring all the walks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Birthday Bear
dressed ready for Tennis
Note she has a spare ball in her knickers
just like the tennis stars.
It was my very good friend Helen's birthday recently. She decided to celebrate with Birthday Bear at Sunnybank Hotel. It was my turn to dress Birthday Bear for the occasion. Now we have been carrying on this tradition for quite a few years now and it is getting harder and harder to think of a new way to dress Birthday Bear to reflect the recipients personality. 

Now Helen plays tennis regularly, so Birthday Bear wants to have a game with her.

A close up of the ball in her knickers

Helen was happy with her Birthday Bear. 
She said, " Yes,  yes,  you can come to tennis with me next week. Now stop nagging me and let me read the menu." 

From left to right-Bill, George, Paul, Birthday Bear, Helen, Ann, Mary.
It was quiet for Saturday lunch at the hotel and we had excellent service and a nice meal. The best thing was the great company and the smile on Helen's face when she saw her Birthday Bear.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


We left Salt Lake City early and headed towards Bryce Canyon. First rest stop was at Red Rock Candy Mountain.
It was a grey day and the orange rock formations looked fascinating against the dark sky.

These two pinnacles are known as the Salt and Pepper Shakers. (The two shots above were taken from the moving bus)

We continued on through the Sevier Canyon and passed Butch Cassidy's house near Centreville. We drove on through the Dixie National Forest and the Red Canyon before pulling in for lunch. We were really in the Cowboy and Indian country.

For lunch we stopped at Ruby's Inn. There were shops and a resort set up like a wild west town.

After lunch I had a Pow Wow with the chief.

When we arrived at Bryce Canyon it was windy and raining. Unfortunately, our planned walk around the rim from Inspiration Point to Sunset Point was cancelled. 

However, the bus dropped us at both lookouts. 

Both spots provided breathtaking views.

There were walking tracks going down to the floor of the canyon. See the two black dots down on the floor they are people. It just gives you an idea of the size of these cliffs. I would have loved to have had time to walk down there, not so sure about coming back up though.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We left Yellowstone N.P. and Wyoming and headed south to Salt Lake City in Utah. It is a clean, neat and beautiful city.
The Capitol Building

The Memorial Gardens

That evening we went on a tour of the Temple Square and the Gardens on the Plaza. It was a very hot day and I wasn't feeling the best because I had started with a bronchitis cough. Consequently I didn't take my camera on the evening tour. The gardens and buildings were magnificent and I am mad with myself for not taking the camera. There are many buildings all to do with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, which makes sense as this is the headquarters of Mormon Church.

The gardens were absolutely beautiful.They surround the 35 acres of the headquarters of the LDS. There are 250 garden beds with over 165,000 plants and 700 varieties from all over the world. The gardens are redesigned every six months and replanted by hundreds of volunteers.
After the garden tour, the whole group of us had dinner at the Mormon restaurant called The Lion House Pantry. It was one of the best meals that we had on the tour. 

The Cultural Centre, Salt lake City. 
After dinner we all went to a rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was held in The Cultural Centre that evening and not the Tabernacle. The choir was a pleasure to hear they had fabulous voices.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


After visiting Jackson, Wyoming the bus headed north back through Yellowstone N.P. to our motel. On the way we stopped to see the geyser, "Old Faithful".  We had to wait some time before the next eruption so we had a look inside the Old Faithful Inn.

It was built in 1904 and is an example of Golden Age rustic resort architecture. The architect was 29 year old Robert Reamer. It is the largest log hotel in the world. It is designated a National Historic Landmark.

There is an immense lobby and stone fireplace. The fireplace is 500 tons and 85ft high. There are four stories of balconies but only the lower two are open to the public.There are many rooms and shops as well as a bar and restaurant.

We climbed the stairs, walked out on the deck and selected a good seat for the show.

From our spot on the deck we could see steam puffing out Old Faithful. We waited in anticipation.

Some people walked up for a closer look.

After 45 min wait Old Faithful  rumbled into action. It was an amazing sight.

After a few mins it started to wane.

Almost finished its show.  
Good bye geyser and the Yellowstone National Park you didn't disappoint, it was a wonderful adventure here. I can tick another destination off my bucket list.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


On our bus tour across America, we stayed at West Yellowstone for two days. On the second day we drove through the Yellowstone N.P. to the Grand Teton N.P. and the town of Jackson, Wyoming. The Teton Mountains are majestic and beautiful. The view is not obstructed by foothills.

The bus and all vehicles that day were detoured to Colter Bay for a safety check. This took some time and the tour guide and driver were not happy but we were because we could get out of the bus and take photos and stroll around the Visitor Centre.

The bus passed the test and then we were on our way to Jackson Lake Lodge for lunch.

The view from the Lodge's picture windows was stunning.

View from the deck outside.

After lunch we drove on through the Jackson Hole (valley) until we reached this very western town of Jackson.

The archways to the town park are made of antlers (they shed from the animal every year).

This was a gobsmacking scene for us Aussies. Guns for sale in an ice cream parlour. We have very few shops selling guns, because the rules are extremely strict for owning, purchasing and selling firearms in Australia. I bought a delicious ginger ice cream here. Somebody who saw this photo told me they were paintball guns. Who knows?