1st May to 8th May 2010
Okay so going to write about the INtrepid Trip in it's own special space and will probably bullet point each area as there was so much we did it will go on forever.
So the first day didn't actually count as it was joining point for everybody at LA Airport, so the next day actually counts as the official start of the tour. WE got started with introductions, everyone in the group was a girl so I think our young tour guide ERic was either very happy or very scared!! Anyway, all paperwork had to be filled in, the itenary run through, trailer attatched and loaded and then we set off on the road to Joshua Tree. It was a long drive, the first of many long drives as we were about to find out. We got to Joshua TRee, first job was to buy food for first part of the trip, quick stop by the grocery store, food loaded up and then we drove further into the park. The trees themselves are not actually trees but a form of cacti and were named by The Mormons because the way the branches reached up to heaven!! So we got to our point and ate lunch before going off for a walk around the park. It took about an hour and a half, decided not to climb up the rocks as I didn't want to break anything on my first day. Afterwards we went to the visitors centre and had a look around. Was going to buy WEndy her own JOshua TRee to plant but then realised customs wouldn't like that when I got home. After that we drove into Nevada and stayed overnight at a town called Laughlin. It's basically Vegas still stuck in the 70's. Enough said.
The 3rd day saw us leaving Laughlin and heading into Arizona to our next point of stay which was some little huts 45 minutes from the Grand Canyon. They were quite cute little wooden huts and they came complete with heaters so once again I was with Lauren and this time Britta came into us. After a spot of lunch we started another drive to The Grand Canyon where we first droped off the girls who were going on the helicopter trip. Lucky things. Janice, Britta and Verena and I went to the National Geographic centre for the Grand Canyon and took in an Imax movie before Eric picked us up and we took some pictures of us on The Grand Canyon sign before heading to the canyon itself. All I can seay is SPECTACULAR. Words cannot describe how wonderful this landscape is. People need to go see it for themselves. Cue lots of pictures while walking by the rim, even Verena's bear got into the action. We walked along the section of Grand Canyon before heading back on the bus to watch Sunset. Eric the star had good sense to order in Pizza's so we all sat there eating pizza, drinking soda and watching the sunset over the Canyon. Absolutely awesome. Back to camp where we all got kitted up, lit a fire, made smores, toasted marshmallows, drank beer and had a good chat over the fire.
Next day packed up ready for VEGAS!!!! We drove a bit more into Arizona and came to a stop at the town of Seligman which is on the historic restored stretch of Route 66. This town was what inspired the movie Cars and some of the old cars were painted to resemble the characters. There was also a lot of souvenir shops and in one shop Johnny Cash blasting out on the sound system. Fantastic. So it was a food stop at on old fashioned roadside diner where I had a classic Cola Float. Then we headed off to Vegas and after another long leg of road we arrived and straight away had a drive down the strip before stopping for Grocery and Booze. Basically unpacked, swimsuit on, suncream on and a couple of hours by the pool. Nice sun, water was freezing exactly like the Lido in Heath but it was water and after a couple of glasses of wine was feeling good. We had payed for a mysterious surprise that night and along with the Southbound group we were outside the hotel where we find out that it's not a Limo like first thought but a bloody Partybus, decked with lights, DVD screens and 2 poles!! It was so bad it was hilarious. We were driven around Vegas, singing and drinking before our first stop The LIght Show which had Queen blasting out. Onwards and more partying before coming to a stop outside The Bellagio for the water show. That was fantastic. Then we were off the bus and then cue more drinking before going to Margheritaville and that's where the night ended. The next day woke up in a slight hangover fog and had breakfast by the pool and decided there and then I was going to spend most of my day lounging around there. So got busy topping up the tan, swimming in the cold water and recovering before deciding to go onto the strip for a short walk with Carol. It was too hot and tried to walk in the shade most of the way there and back, we decided to keep the walk short as we were going out for dinner and would probably walk the Strip that night. So Buffet dinner at The Luxor before trying to gamble where I won about 3 dollars. Carol, Kristin and myself decided to walk up the strip and tour all the different hotels, casino's etc. Stopped in Ceaser's, The Parisienne and all the others along the way before backing out as we reached the Venetian and Treasure Island. At that point it was after midnight and we had a long drive through the desert ahead of us the next day.
Okay so the next day was a long and tedious drive through Death Valley which most of you know is one of the hottest places on the planet. Today I was riding shotgun up front so as we left Las Vegas we filled the van with Sheryl Crowe and Leaving Las Vegas. After about 2 or 3 hours we entered Death Valley National Park and took the 10 second timer picture on the stand. So we then drove further in the park and noticed the heat picking up already just as we pulled into the first spot. Luckily there was a wind and it wasn't too hot, we had a small climb up to the viewpoint and took pictures and hung out for about 20 minutes before heat started to get to us before driving onto the info centre for lunch. We had a quick look round the info centre, ate some lunch and had some little companions.. First time I ever saw a chipmunk. Was well happy. Then we drove down to the salt lands where we were officially 100ft or something under sealevel. Where we were was a lake but now it's just a huge salt plain, so we walked out and carved things in the salt before heading back to the van and air conditioning. The next stage of the drive took us to some of the few sand dunes in Death Valley, most of Death Valley is just rock and after that we started the next stage in the drive. We we were leaving the valley when we had to stop due to the brakes on the van overheating because of the hills but soon we were on our way again and 3 hours later arrived at the hotel. Death Valley interesting and great sights but probably won't go there again.
The next day was what I was looking forward to the most and that was Yosemite Park. We set off nice and early and had another 3 hour drive or so to contend with, we drove up some really nice countryside before entering the area and I was in outdoor heaven. Straight away trees, forests, rivers and amazing waterfalls. Thanks to the melting snow, they were everywhere. We had a quick stop for lunch and to pay entrance into the park b4 heading to our main stopoff point. We stopped and took a few pictures and saw the huge rockface that's popular the world over, can't remember it now but when I do will come back and enter it. Needless to say huge and I would never do it. Basically Eric suggested a hike up a waterfall which is one of the most poular climbs in the park. So we basically followed up a pretty well carved path for about 750 meteres and then you come to a bridge and the waterfall and then climb up a further 750 metres or so. I was prepared to get wet but I ended up soaked. Good job I had all, proper hiking gear on. It was a really good walk, they have carved steps into the side of the mountain alongside the waterfall but it was still pretty wet and slippy going up. Going down was even worse but the view was spectacular and one of the best climbs I've ever done. The rest of the way was closed due to the fact that the snow hadn't completely melted but there remained another 500 meteres or so to climb. One day!! So after Yosemite we headed off to camp for the night and they were cool little Yurtzes. More luxurious than the huts, no heaters but with sleeping bags and wool and fleece blankets, I was toasting. Another campfire, time to reflect and more marshmallows before final night together :(( So the last and final day saw us drive up to San Francisco and we'll end this Intrepid blog here and finish it off in the San Francisco blog. I had an excellent trip, lots of time on the road but it was well worth it. Thanks Eric for a great trip :))