Drama and the return to our home State

The day began with a bang, quite literally. Mark and I were awoken before 5am by the sound of a crash on the Interstate. Did I mention that this is another campsite next to a major highway? Lisa mumbled something and returned to her usual deep coma. He and I rushed out to see what happened. The Interstate was now quiet so we expected the worst. Just opposite the site a car was facing the wrong way on the highway and another driver was already tending to the woman, who was obviously in shock but appeared to be relatively unhurt. We requisitioned a chair and blanket from another camper and waited for the emergency services to arrive. Another driver was flagging speeding trucks. The Police arrived first, as always and closed the highway. EMS next, followed by a large fire truck. The woman, still shocked, insisted that she did not need to be taken in the ambulance (obviously no insurance) so EMS left her on the side of the highway still wrapped in the blanket! Tow truck was called and within 1/2 an hour the highway was reopened. Mark spoke to one camper who said he had seen the accident while taking a piss facing the highway – my theory – woman saw man exposed and lost control of the car. Man seen hurriedly packing tent and leaving campsite, no wonder he didn’t say anything when the Police asked for witnesses.

We hung around for sun rise ++ before rousing Lisa with a freshly brewed coffee. Other campers were already leaving the site.

imageWe left CDA at about 9am, having not showered and feeling slightly rough from lack of sleep. Crossing into Washington state we left the Interstate and returned to Route 2, an arrow straight single lane road that took us to Chelan, our expensive stop for tonight. Soon after we hit the post fire haze so no sights were seen.

imageOur hotel for tonight is the over priced Lakeside Lodge, but it is on the lake with a choice of two pools for Lisa, the outside one being a strange green colour. From our balcony overlooking the pool there was more evidence of obesity at work so a dip is delayed.

Instead we went in search of lunch. I am officially on hunger strike as all my food has been cooked in the oven that they call a car, this forces them to buy me some salmon.

Talking of fish, Lisa at last went swimming and had to fight her way through flotillas of ducks on Lake Chelan. Although shallow the water was still apparently quite chilly.

imageimageWe ended the day with BBQ at one of the many wineries, luckily we sit outside and they welcome dogs. Due to the fires the night sky is extremely red, giving the full moon a very different look. I had a rare play with a one year old Plot hound, until we became entangled and I had to be consoled by him.

Tomorrow we will be travelling home through some of the areas worst affected by the fires.

California – the push for the far west

Buckingham – an exceptionally early morning walk to the lake to catch the sunrise  (we find out later in the day that we have gained another hour somewhere in the state of Arizona state which means we’re finally in the same time zone as destination: Vancouver).  We then say farewell to London Bridge and depart Lake Havasu City.  We head south along the lake and stop briefly at Parker Dam where the decision is made to gas up, wisely as it later transpires.

We cross the border into California, our final western state, this being the first border crossing where we are stopped and questioned about some disease carrying moth – we deny all knowledge.   What they don’t tell us is that the road south across the desert has nothing, no people, no animals and no gas stations – for well over 119 miles.   We are surprised that dried out corpses don’t litter the road after being stranded.   The road is amazing, dead straight for miles and miles and miles with the added fun of roller coaster dips that churn the stomach.  Thankfully Super 8 motels don’t do greasy breakfasts.

At last we re-join our faithful Interstate 10 which has served us well from Florida westwards and stop for a desperate pit stop (or shall i say pee stop for  Lisa and I)  at the first gas station, 2 hours and 18 minutes after leaving Parker Dam in Arizona.    Needless to say, the petrol price is higher than anywhere we have seen and they can justify it being so.   To our surprise, this in the middle of nowhere stop has a museum honouring General George Patton, this being where he established the tank training division in WW2.

We arrive at the host bed for the night and immediately go in search of the nearest dog park, which I have all to myself and the park has the first real grass since leaving home in Norwalk on 15 November.  Heaven!

We head west to Palm Springs and find another dog park where some kindly locals direct us to the ‘town center’.  Thank God for that otherwise we would have never found it… and Mark secretly thanks Lisa for asking because it’s not in our male genes to not know where we are.    Palm Canyon Drive  is a pleasant main strip lined with nice shops, restaurants and guess what?  palm tress, this being Palm Springs afterall.   We pick an outdoor restaurant for a very early dinner and I am allowed on the heated patio.

Back to Indio, Palm Desert, Lisa is happy again because this casita (little home) although small, is finished with TLC, a woman’s touch with silk sheets which Mark and I wouldn’t give two hoots about.

“London Bridge is falling down”

Buckingham – to all my faithful readers, I apologise for my tardiness of not blogging for 4 days.  It is not  because I am lazy although I admit that I can be sometimes.  The house in Sedona was supposedly wifi equipped but it failed to work.   I am now back nose to the grindstone with 4 new entries…

…. back up to the hills beside Sedona again for a quick walk in the dark before we load up the car and head west again.  Starbucks is not yet open so Mark has to make the 50 mile drive north to Flagstaff minus the mandatory caffeine fix.  It’s a nice twisty return trip but the sun is not yet high enough to shed light on the red mountains for good pic’s so Lisa is frustrated.    As we climb up to Flagstaff cars coming in the other direction are covered in snow and we wonder what is in store as we get higher.   The celsius drops and is well below freezing when we reach Flagstaff,

we go for a brief walk around the ‘historic’ town before they retreat to the warmth of the famous Weatherford hotel for breakfast – it was built by John W. Weatherford from Texas.  Completed in 1897 it’s one of the first buildings constructed by using brick and iron after several disastrous fires that plagued Flagstaff, like most other frontier towns.

Sated, they return and we resume the westward trek and as we head down towards the desert floor the temperature rises. This part of the I40 makes for a pleasant drive, an arrow straight road and even the trucks are polite so the cruise control takes over for most of the trip.   They tell me that they have covered this road only 6 months ago when they drove from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and back.  Hence, this time, they opt not to go on Route 66.

We arrive in Lake Havasu City, our destination just after 2pm and check in to our first ‘Super 8’ motel.   Lisa charms the man at the desk to give us a lake view room and although small it s clean and adequate, a far cry from the awful house in Sedona.

Off to explore town, we head for London Bridge which was sold to the American McCulloch Oil Corporation on 18, April, 1968 for $2.46 million.  The bridge was dismantled, each piece numbered and shipped to Long Beach, California and eventually relocated and resurrected in the middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert.   Construction of the bridge took 2 years with a total cost estimated at 7.5 million.  The bridge finally opened on 10 October, 1971.    – they were thought to be completely mad at the time but they had a vision and today a whole city has sprung up around the bridge and a huge lake.

We descend to the base of the bridge to discover an English village complete with fish n’ chips.  The whole concept seems a bit naf, but in so being is actually quite realistic.  The beer also has the taste of England.  They even have seagulls and pigeons – did they import them?   We head off along the lake front promenade, done quite well, until we reach the no dogs allowed section.   I find a couple of rabbits to chase and we watch the watercraft on the lake and microlights flying above it.  We turn around and drive across the lake to the enclosed dog park which is quite pleasant.

Overall Lake Havasu City is a metaphor for the homeland of the bridge itself, quite quaint and nice but they could have done slightly better!