Up at 7.00 am. We got a 9 o'clock taxi to Heathrow Airport. It was dull and damp. We did 'self book in' - but were given non adjacent seats. Luckily the lady changed them at the desk and we had seats near the emergency exit, with no view but good legroom. Adrian had ordered me gluten-free meals, which were better. We had wonderful views over the snowy wastes of Canada and arrived at Chicago, which was cloudy and damp, at 3.00 pm (9.00 pm UK time). We got the bus to Kenosha. The countryside was flat and uninspiring and there was a lot of traffic and a busy road system. There was still some snow on the ground. We saw lots of stretched limos. People seemed pleasant and law-abiding. We arrived at the Best Western hotel at 6.00 pm (midnight). It was a long walk across the "parking lot" with all of our luggage (in stages!). We had a room with two large beds. We slept in one each so that we would have a good sleep. I had a swim in a nice spa pool then we went to the bar (we had a free delicious cookie first). In the bar we had a free beer each, then came back to our room and went to bed at about 8.00 pm (2.00 am).
Thursday 24th January. 34 miles
We slept well and were awake early. We had a cup of tea. The sky was grey and cloudy but cleared to a clear blue. It was very cold!! We had a good breakfast - cereal, English muffins, pastries, orange juice, tea and coffee. We both had a swim (and Jacuzzi) then a shower. We got packed up and waited in the entrance lobby for a lift with Lyn to nearby Campers Factory Outlet to collect our new Trail-lite B plus motorhome.
The receptionist was formerly from Romania. We met Barry and his wife Diana and their 18 month-old son Logan at Campers Factory Outlet. We were given a demo of our van by Frank and Duane. It looked good – an unobtrusive beige inside! I unpacked some stuff while Adrian did the paperwork.
The CD player we had ordered over the Internet had arrived, but not the phone. We left at 1 o'clock and did a short shop in huge Woodman's for things for lunch. We ate this then drove a few miles east to Lake Michigan.This was partly frozen and vast, and looked like the sea. There were lots of birds on the ice.
We had passed some nice houses. We drove north to Racine after looking at the lake. Adrian bought a bit for the CD player, and then the rest of the day and evening was spent shopping at Walmart for things for the van. I got my first film developed. We ate a tatty meal (chips with "shrimps" /Burger) in Walmart. Back in the van we unloaded our stuff, then went back in to shop for food supplies. We came back to the van at 10.30 pm and began to get sorted. We went to bed at 11.30 pm.
Friday 25th January. 86 miles
We slept well in our huge bed. We were awake early and I made a cup of tea. We had breakfast in the van, and then shopped again in Walmart! We returned to the van, had tea/ coffee then headed for Campers Factory Outlet. We collected our phone (which had arrived just after we left yesterday), then said goodbye and headed south on the 94 then the 294. We stopped soon for lunch. We joined the I-55 to Bolingbrook. We turned off just before and managed to get water to fill the tank at a petrol station! We continued to Camping World - and spent a long time looking around. We bought several things, and then stopped for the night in the car-park. We are now on route 66! We cooked chicken drumsticks and rice and drank beer. We were both very tired so had an early night.
Saturday 26th January. 43 miles.
We slept well and were up to a fine day, but a day of mixed fortunes! After breakfast Adrian returned to Camping World and sorted out the President's card (discount card) and spent a long time trying to sort the phone. Eventually we drove on to a Verizon shop in Bolingbrook and spend the rest of the morning there finally sorting out the phone. At 11.30 I phoned Emma. We now continued on Route 66 through Romeoville and the nice town of Jolietand then through pleasant flat, empty country to Wilmington, on the Kankakee River. We had lunch here beside the river - there were lots of Canada geese and ducks.
We found that the battery was low so Adrian rang Barry. We went on to shop at nearby 'Family Dollar’ and Supervalue. We had a cup of tea and a "Brownie" afterwards, and found that water was leaking under the sink! We drove on to nearby "Fossil Rock Recreation Area" campsite. The Office was closed today and tomorrow (only)! Adrian got someone to let us in. We had showers and hair wash then I cooked minced beef and tacos. We started the gin (Adrian) and whisky (Rosie) bought at the bottle shop, then we opened the wine. We felt tired.
Sunday 27th January. 143 miles
We had a good sleep. Adrian made a cup of tea, we had breakfast and then Adrian emptied the loo. We left at 9.30, and continued on Route 66through Gardner, where we drove through the town - there were some nice houses, then Dwight - another pleasant town. We had coffee just afterwards by Lions Lake
On through Odell - nice houses again and a large brick Catholic Church and a lovely "Gas Station" with a 1953 Winnebago caravan beside it.
At Pontiac we visited a huge hardware hypermarket - Adrian bought an axe and some other things. We had lunch beside the road, on a track to a disused carriageway. We then drove through Chenoa - again lovely; Bloomington - a large town, but nice houses; Mclean - where we called in at theDixie Truckers Home with the Route 66 Hall of Fame. We saw the octagonal public library in Atalanta, then stopped at Lincoln and saw the Courthouse and the Memorial Park with the plaque of Abraham Lincoln's dedication of the town. We drove on to Springfield "Fairground" to stay. The day had been very warm (55 deg F) with clear skies. There was a full moon.
Monday 28th January. 108 miles.
A fine day - really mild (66 deg F in the afternoon!) we had breakfast, then left at 9 o'clock and drove into Springfield. We shopped at ‘General Dollar’ (bought a clock which had a loud tick), then visited Lincolns Tomb in Oak Ridge cemetery - an attractive hilly area with lots of trees.
We had coffee afterwards sitting outside. We went on to visit Lincolns Home site and had a tour of the House.
We visited the library, which was opposite, and sent our first e-mail, then came back to look at some more of the old houses and had lunch in the van. We got water, fuel, money and stamps then left Springfield on the SR4 - the old Route 66 through many small towns, with diversions to old bits of road.
We arrived at Horseshoe Lake State Park at 5.45 - just as it was getting dark, just north of East St. Louis.
Tuesday 29th January. 64 miles.
We awoke to a very grey day. After breakfast we drove out of the park, then back north. We turned off to view the Lewis and Clark monument at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
We drove back to view the Chain of Rocks bridge over the Mississippi,
then back again to East St. Louis (Adrian visited a hardware store). When we got to the McKinley bridge over the Mississippi, we found that it was closed so we diverted south to cross the river, and then found our way to Gateway Arch ( 630 ft high)!
We had lunch here, then visited "The expansion of the West" museum below the Arch. We drove westwards out of St Louis on the road 100. We stopped to shop in a "Shop and Save", which was huge and seemed expensive. When we came out it started to rain and it rained heavily. We continued west in dreadful visibility. We stopped just after 5 o'clock in Walmart car-park, Manchester. We shopped in Walmart - we bought place mats and serviettes. Adrian fixed a shade on the roof light. We cooked shark steaks for supper.
Wednesday 30th January. 98 miles.
It rained in the night and all day. There were some noisy lorries in the night. We had breakfast then shopped in adjacent "linen and things" - we got a duvet cover(!) and a wine stopper. We continued southwest on route 66. We stopped in Baldwin at Verizon and Adrian tried to sort the phone and I posted cards to Nathan and to Felix. We had coffee then continued through pleasant hilly country at Gray Summit to St. Clair. We had lunch then rang Paul and Tom and Adrian got some route 66 maps. At Stanton we turned off to Meramec Caves, but we didn't visit as it was expensive and the tour would have been too long (the visibility was poor, so it got dark early). At Bourbon we had to take the northern 'outer road' because our road was closed as there was a derailed train. We stopped behind a school bus and were horrified to see the children run straight across the road without looking. We turned off at Cuba, and took the northern "outer road", but after several miles found that it went nowhere. We turned around and the cupboards flew open and all the crockery flew out. We took a second road (the old Springfield Road), which became unsurfaced and there were many floods. We finally found a road to the campsite at Blue Moon.
Thursday 31st January. 137 miles.
It rained in the night and all day! It was very wet everywhere. We had breakfast then left after 10 o'clock (Adrian had done the "filling and emptying"). Near Doolittle (Arlington) we saw cabins of old John Dausch ‘motel’.
We continued southwest on Route 66. We shopped in Walmart (again) near Waynesville (I bought a fleece jacket and trousers) then we cooked bacon pancakes for lunch. We took the wrong road northwards in terrible visibility. We drove on through Lebanon and stopped by a sports field nearStafford between the I-44 and the railway. It was very windy. Adrian started fixing the blind.
Friday 1st February. 127 miles.
It was a cold start, but a beautiful day with clear blue sky (hooray!) We drove on to Springfield (Missouri) and shopped in K-Mart. Afterwards we drove through pleasant rural country and stopped for lunch in a park by Spring River, Carthage.
It was the site of the battle of Carthage. There were some nice buildings in the town. We drove on to Webb City (mining) and Joplin, which was very large, and then we were in Kansas State. We came to Galena, which had lots of character, an old mining town. Adrian videoed some old cars. AtRiverton we stopped by a rainbow bridge over the peaceful Bush Creek.
We went on to the lovely town of Baxter Springs which had nice rural and town houses. It was the frontier, Civil War town. We now got to Oklahoma State. We drove through Miami, which was surprisingly large and found a free RV park beside a river. We had a short walk out. Adrian was busy fixing the blind. It was a clear sky.
Saturday 2nd February - 02. 02. 2002 136 miles.
There was a frost in the morning. We left at 9.15. We stopped at Vinita and Adrian took the smoke alarm back to Walmart. We drove on to Foyil and turned off 4 miles to visit the Totem Pole.
We had lunch afterwards then drove onto Claremore and visited the Will Rogers Museum. At Catoosa we stopped by the Blue Whale.
We visited the Visitors Centre (tourist information) at Tulsa then drove through Tulsa to Kellyville. We turned off 4 miles to Heyburn lake.
Sunday 3rd February. 118 miles.
It was a fairly mild, dry day. We left after breakfast at 9.30 and returned to Route 66. We got some fuel then drove on to Bristow, taking some old sections of road. We "jogged off" to view Depew which was like an old film set.
We had coffee soon after on an old bit of Route 66.
We drove onto Davenport after shopping in Strand and had lunch in a park here, then drove through and around the town on some brick sections of road. We next went through Chandler, and saw the "Meramec caverns" advert on a barn soon afterwards. At Warwick we viewed the Seaba engine station. It was warm sun now. We drove through the town of Wellston (where there was a dispute about route 66 coming through the centre), then we stopped to view the Round Barn at Arcadia (bought a route 66 nameplate).
We drove on through Edmond into Oklahoma City through a very tree-covered area. We stopped at the cowboy Museum, but it was too late to visit today. We drove past the Capitol then on to an RV park at Rockwell, Bethany There was much evidence of storm damage to trees. We had a cup of tea then a swim.
Monday 4th February. 63 miles.
We slept until 8.45 am! We had used one duvet over and one under. I had a swim then coffee and a muffin in the entrance area. An American chap chatted to us - he thought we had it easy as £1 is more than $1, so we get more dollars in exchange! We drove to the RV service place nearby and had the water pipe fixed and I had more coffee while we waited. We got some propane and then drove back into Oklahoma City and viewed theNational Memorial to the Oklahoma bombing of 1995.
We drove on to the Cowboy Museum, having lunch outside first. We had a two-for-one ticket ($8.50). We spent a couple of hours here. There was a pleasant "guide" who was part Indian and married to a German. It was a vast museum. I liked the work of Jerome Tiger. There was also a nice "twilight town" of 1901. We left Oklahoma City westwards then via Lake Overholser (we lost our way and also saw a minor accident). We drove on throughYukon, to El Reno. We stayed in large El Reno Park. There were lots of broken trees still.
Adrian fixed the blind by the sink. Adrian started writing his "people".
Tuesday 5th February. 110 miles.
There was snow in the night and it snowed all day! There was a lot of damage to trees and electric wires from last week’s ice storm. We didn't take the northern route via Calumet and Geary, or visit Red Rock Canyon State Park because of the weather. We stopped for coffee near Bridgeport. There was no electricity at Weatherford and all the shops etc were closed. We drove through Clinton, but didn't visit the Oklahoma route 66 Museum (mistake). We continued past Foss, having lunch beside the road, and Canute, where we posted letters. At Elk City we shopped then we visited theNational Route 66 Museum but we were disappointed as there was very little there. We stopped in a park in Sayre and I cooked baked potatoes.
Wednesday 6th February. 181 miles.
It was still snowing in the morning. We left after breakfast at about 9.30 and continued west on Route 66 through Erick (home of Roger Miller "King of the Road" and Sheb Woolley "Purple people eater" and Rawhide) and Texola (almost ghost town) into Texas. At Shamrock we drove around the town looking for the library. When we finally found it, it was closed! There were nice murals in Shamrock.
At McLean we visited the Devil's Rope Museum (barbed wire), there was also much Route 66 stuff. It was very enjoyable, but cold, although it had stopped snowing. We had lunch at Alanreed - there was still snow on the ground, but the sky was blue. We got fuel at Groom. We tried the phone several times, but it wouldn't work (it was still on analogue). We joined the I-40 for the last few miles into Amarillo, then turned off to Palo Duro canyon (30 miles). We drove across really flat country and when we finally got to the Canyon, it was closed. We were just able to have a brief view (we were going to stay for the night). We were very annoyed that there were no signs about this. We drove back a bit and stayed beside the road. It was a beautiful blue sky by now. We watched the sunset then I cooked minced beef and we had beer to drink as we still had no wine.
Thursday 7th February. 81 miles.
We woke early - it was a cold night but a beautiful day with a clear blue sky. After breakfast we left at 8.50 and drove back into Amarillo. We located the library with difficulty. We received several e-mails and sent one back. Adrian phoned Barry (Campers Factory Outlet) about the repair work on the van. He also rang about the van paperwork, which hadn't arrived. We had a long unnecessary detour before we found Circuit City and got a new CD player. We went on to shop at Homeland (which was closing down) after having lunch and making more phone calls. We stopped to have the vehicle tested (MOT type) and then continued west. We saw the Cadillacs upended in a field. We stopped at Vega (we drove north first unnecessarily) at a grotty RV park.
Friday 8th February. 154 miles
It was a clear blue sky and became very warm (66ºF) but very windy. We had pancakes for breakfast and left at 9.30.
We stopped at the Midway Cafe at Adrian run by two very nice ladies Fran and Joanne.
We had coffee/ tea and Adrian bought a T-shirt, hat and a mug all with Adrian on. We now drove on into New Mexico. We stopped at the Visitors Centre and got a lot of leaflets. We had to put our clocks back one hour. It was nice desert scenery with "mesas" (flat-topped hills). We got petrol atSan Jon. We shopped at Tucumcari. Adrian posted the broken CD player off. We continued west to Santa Rosa and visited the Auto Museum - a lot of "modded" cars and rather posey. We drove south a few miles through wonderful scenery but returned to the outskirts of Santa Rosa for the night.
Saturday 9th February. 150 miles.
We woke to a clear blue sky but a cold wind all day. We left after breakfast at 8.30 and drove to the Blue Pool. We viewed it and chatted to a scuba diver.
We now left and drove on a northern loop to Santa Fe through lovely scenery, remote and desert like. We stopped for coffee at Romeroville then continued to the historic town of Las Vegas (not the Nevada one).
We walked around the old town then we got petrol and stopped soon afterwards for lunch, but Adrian spent hours on the phone trying to sort out our mobile-phone without success. We drove through more lovely country, past Pecos and Pecos forest to Santa Fe. We visited the Wheelwright Museum, with a lot of Indian art type jewellery - not what we had expected! We drove around Santa Fe, a very different town with Adobe type buildings, then we stopped at a Walmart car-park on the way out. We took my photos in, again they were very good.
Sunday 10th February. 86 miles.
We left the heater on at night, so felt warm, but it was very cold outside (ice on the inside of the windows). We rang Paul and Nicky and got through to them! (hooray the phone’s working). We left after breakfast and drove back into Santa Fe and had a lovely walk around the old town. It was cold but with a clear blue sky and there was some frozen snow on the ground. We saw the Plaza and the Governor's Palace (the oldest building in the United States - 1610) and San Miguel Chapel (the oldest Church in the USA) and Loretta Chapel with its spiral staircase.
We had coffee afterwards and shopped at Target on the way out. We got wine glasses and a bucket. We had lunch soon after then headed for Albuquerque. At Bernalillo we stopped by the Coronado monument - I took a photo looking to the Sandia mountains.
We stopped at the Pueblo Indian Centre in Albuquerque, but didn't visit the museum. We drove via the Nature Centre west for a few miles toEnchanted Trails RV Park. There were lovely views and a lovely sky. I cooked a beef casserole and we used our new wine glasses.
Monday 11th February. 95 miles.
It was a beautiful bright day with warm sun. We left after breakfast at about 9 o'clock and drove back on Central Avenue (Route 66) to Albuquerque. We had lovely views of the Sandia Peaks beyond. We arrived at the RV place to have the battery checked, but the place was busy until the afternoon. We drove back into Albuquerque and parked in the old town and had a lovely walk around.
We drove to the Botanic Gardens but it was closed on Mondays! We had lunch in the car-park here then drove back on the motorway to the RV place. We stopped to shop in a nearby supermarket (Raleys). The chap fixed the battery charging and the back door lock (hopefully). We left at 3.30 and drove back into Albuquerque then on another Route 66 loop south, through busy Los Lunas to the middle of nowhere!
Tuesday 12th February. 118 miles.
It was a sunny day, and turned to very warm sun. We left after breakfast and continued on the loop back to the I-40, and then a short distance on there, then on the northern road through Laguna.
We took the road south to Acoma (Sky City). At Acoma we had a tour of the Indian town led by an Indian called Orlando. No video was allowed and photos needed a 10 Dollar permit so we didn't take any. It was an excellent tour of Acoma - a fascinating ancient Indian town with only 30 inhabitants now (Orlando was one of them) - 13 adults and 17 children.
There were seven others in our group. Afterwards we climbed down a steep cleft in the rock back to the car park. We spoke to a couple on our tour - a woman called Rosemary and her husband from Wisconsin, then we cooked pancakes for lunch, as it was Shrove Tuesday. We drove back to Route 66 a different way then on to Grants. We turned off south several miles to visit the ice cave and volcano.
It was beautiful in the late afternoon sun, with a lot of snow on the ground.
We drove back a short way and stopped beside the road at 5.30 at El Malpais (Badlands). I tried cooking pancakes, using cornflour, for supper, which were only half successful!
Wednesday 13th February. 168 miles.
It was a cold night, but warm inside! There was a blue sky and warm sun, but it became cloudy in the afternoon. We left after breakfast at 8.40 and stopped at El Malpais Visitors Centre and looked at the books there. We enjoyed the drive back to Grants with the snow-capped Mount Taylor behind. There was lovely red rock scenery - we stopped for photo/ video, then again at the Continental divide
. We looked in the shop here and Adrian bought a map of the Grand Canyon. We then stopped at Red Rock State Park just before Gallup.
We had a lovely walk in the warm sun and came back for lunch which we enjoyed sitting outside for the first time. We continued west into Arizona. We looked in the ‘Welcome Center’ at "Painted Cliffs" by the border. We travelled mostly on the I-40 to junction 303, Adamana, having called in at the Painted Desert to return to tomorrow.
Thursday 14th February. 75 Miles.
Valentines Day. We exchanged cards and left after breakfast and drove back to the Painted Desert/ Petrified Forest National Park and spent a lovely day there.
There were wonderful colours and rock formations. We stopped at all the lookouts and walked several trails amongst petrified trees and moonscape rocks.
We also saw rock engravings (petroglyphs) and the remains of ancient Pueblo buildings. It was a really good day. We met a couple from Alaska and left just before 5 o'clock. We saw a free RV place at the exit, but couldn't stay as we had no water and neither had they (it still hurts!) We continued past Holbrook to Challo Lake Country Park, beside a large power station, but also by a lake. There was a lovely sky. We did the " emptying and filling". There were lots of little rabbits running around. We opened a bottle of bubbly and ate corn on the cob and then pizza. It was a much warmer evening.
Friday 15th February. 133 miles.
It was a fine day and fairly warm. We left after breakfast and headed west. We stopped at Winslow, and enjoyed "standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona" with "Take it easy" playing.
The town looked rather run-down. The library was not yet open. We drove on to Meteor Crater. It was $12 each entrance, but a good visit. We had a tour along the rim of the crater.
We had lunch afterwards then headed towards Flagstaff. We turned off at Winona and Adrian phoned Texas and found that our vehicle registration forms have arrived - hooray! At Flagstaff we had trouble finding the Post Office, but eventually did and got our post, then we located the library and read and sent e-mails. We got some fuel then headed south looking for a free camping place in our book, but couldn't find it, so in the end stayed at the Fairground (although the campsite was closed). We arrived at 6.30 just as it got dark.
Saturday 16th February. 57 Miles.
It was a fine day, cloudy later. After breakfast we drove back into Flagstaff. We did the washing, shopping and got the photos done. We had coffee with some nice "European bread". We visited the "Office shop" and got a "shelf organiser". We got some propane then drove to Walnut Canyon.
We had lunch in the van, then walked the Island Trail, down (then back up) many steps into the Canyon to view the remains of ancient homes of the Sinagua people. The sun was warm - I wore my shorts for the first time! We drove off via Winona
and on to Sunset Crater. We couldn't find the camping place in the freebie book, so stayed beside the gravel road. We slept longways in the van as we were on a slope.
Sunday 17th February. 120 miles.
It was really windy in the night and all day. We left after breakfast, called at the Sunset Crater Visitors Centre and then walked the "lava walk". We drove onto Wupatki National Monument - and visited several pueblo ruins - Wukoki (like Donington Castle); Wupatki - large and amazing, after the Visitor Centre;
then we climbed Doney volcano where there were good views; lastly we visited Box Canyon and Lomaki. We left at 3.30 and headed north to Cameron, then west towards the Grand Canyon. We stopped at two viewpoints to the Little Colorado Canyon, which was very impressive. We arrived at Grand Canyon National Park at 5 o'clock but the eastern campsite was closed, so we had to drive 25 miles to Canyon Village and Mather campsite. Adrian was exhausted. We had a few glimpses of the Grand Canyon, one with the sun just glinting on it from below the stratus clouds - it was out of this world!
We arrived at the campsite at 6.00 pm. We had seen two coyotes on the way.
Monday 18th February. 59 miles.
It snowed in the night. We awoke at 6.45 and left to view the Canyon. We drove east to the Desert View end, having breakfast at one of the "viewpoints" and we had fantastic views from all the lookouts.
We looked around the ‘Watchtower’ at Desert View and then drove back and had coffee at Navajo lookout. We looked at the Tusayan ruins and had more views of the Canyon on the way back.
We had lunch of poached eggs on toast at the last viewpoint. It started to snow now and then snowed for the rest of the afternoon. We stopped at the "village" and got the shuttle bus to the Visitors Centre and looked in various shops. There was now some sun so we drove back to Yavapai Observation point to view the Canyon, but the paths were very icy. We drove back to Mather campsite. It was very pretty everywhere with snow.
Tuesday 19th February. 121 miles.
We were awake early and had a cup of tea and then left to view the Canyon again in the early morning. It was very cold and icy, but cleared as the day went on. It was sunny, but with an icy wind. We viewed the Canyon first by Hopi House, and then drove along West Rim Drive to Hermits Rest. We had breakfast of bacon and egg at Hopi point on the way then stopped at Mohave and Pima Points then at Hermits Rest.
We drove back and had coffee at Hopi Point and walked to the Powell Memorial, then stopped at two more "overlooks" and saw people walking the Bright Angel Trail.
We drove back to the village and finally got water at the RV park, but in doing so Adrian scraped the van. We had lunch by a lookout for the last time, then left the Grand Canyon on the 64 to Tusayan. We stopped here and Adrian phoned about the tax forms for the van. We also got some fuel, which was expensive. We drove back to Flagstaff, turning off at Valle and then we had lovely views of the San Francisco mountains with fresh snow on them.
We stopped by Kendrick Park Picnic Area for a cup of tea. Back at Flagstaff we took in 2 films and again stayed at the Fairground after finding nowhere else to stay.
Wednesday 20th February. - 20. 02. 2002 71 miles.
It was a lovely day. After breakfast we drove back into Flagstaff. We washed the duvet covers at the launderette, collected two lots of photos from Walmart (we were very pleased with them) and shopped at Bashers. We had a cup of tea and some of the new loaf; got some money and some fuel, then left Flagstaff and headed west - back on Route 66. Some of this was on the I-40, but we turned off at Bellemont and had lunch in the Kaibab forest, followed by a short walk in the warm sun with the lovely smell of pine trees. We continued to Williams. We visited the Visitors Centre and wrote in the Route 66 book. We then visited the Post Office for stamps and the library opposite for e-mails but it was really slow. We walked up and down "Route 66" street, which had lots of little memorabilia shops, many of which were closed. We took the I-40 to Ash Fork then turned off and stopped for the night just off the road. We sat on our new seats for the first time outside in the sunshine for a cup of tea.
There was a beautiful evening sky, then lots of stars. Near Crookton
Thursday 21st February. 118 miles.
It was a lovely day, but cold at first. We left at 8.45 after breakfast and continued to Seligman. We called in at Angel Delgadillos Route 66 gift shop.
We bought a Route 66 sweatshirt for me for my birthday and an Indian doll for Ruby. Angel was the instigator of the Route 66 revival. We drove on to the Grand Canyon caverns and toured these with a (skinny) Texan guide called David.
We drove on through lovely "Castle top" hills and had lunch. At Hackberry we visited the "general store" with lots of memorabilia including many old cars.
It was warm and sunny now. We drove on to Kingman and had a super visit to the Route 66 Museum in the Powerhouse, which included a video of Route 66. There was a large Sante Fe steam engine outside.
We drove the wrong way out of the town, so returned and stopped beside the road on the way to Oatman. There was wonderful scenery. We made a cup of tea, but the water wasn't very nice. It was a warm evening and we didn't need the heating on.
Friday 22nd February. - 22. 02. 2002. 86 miles
We were awake early - it was a beautiful morning. We left after breakfast at 8.40. There was fantastic scenery over the Sitgreaves Pass and it was very quiet.
We drove on down to Oatman - a former mining town, and now a tourist town with donkeys (burros) in the Main Street and lots of little shops.
We spoke to two of the shop owners. We then drove through more lovely scenery to Topock. We had lunch at Catfish Paradise, beside the water. It was now very hot and we were wearing T-shirt shorts and sandals! We sat inside as we had no table. We drove on down to Lake Havasu City. There were thousands of R.V.s and everywhere was packed. There was no room at Lake Havasu State Park campsite. We stopped in Lake Havasu City and viewed London Bridge and the surrounding area.
We drove back to Home-Improvement hypermarket, like the huge B and Q, and bought a bathroom cabinet, and letters for the van name (BAM). We stopped nearby on waste ground with other R.V.s. Although it said no camping on the way in, it was a free campsite. We spent the evening sitting outside with our neighbours Lily and Roger from Edmonton. We put the thinner duvet on the bed tonight.
Saturday 23rd February. 91 miles.
It was cloudy at first, then became hot and sunny. After breakfast we chatted to Lily and Roger. We finally left and drove back to Lake Havasu City. We did the shopping in Safeway and then found the library and received and sent e-mails. We got to the launderette and did the washing and saw Lily in there. We drove to Lake Havasu State Park and did the “emptying and filling" which we had to pay $7 for! Afterwards we had a cup of tea and chocolate cookie by the lake. We left at 4 o'clock and drove back towards the I-40. We got fuel then joined the I-40 and crossed the Colorado Riverinto California (here we come!) We followed Route 66 through Needles (we had a fruit and veg check, but luckily not a thorough one, as we had just bought lots of things in Safeway!). We drove through desert like landscape beside the railway and stopped just after Goffs. (5.45, now 4.45 pm.)
Lots of very long trains went by!
There was a lovely sky.
Sunday 24th February. 238 miles.
It was cold at first, but became very warm. We left after breakfast and drove to the I-40, then 30 miles along that, then turned off into the Mohave National Preserve through desert-like scenery with some Joshua trees.
We stopped at the Kelso depot - a grand railway building in the middle of the desert. We then drove on to Baker and got fuel. We had lunch soon after and headed through the desert to Death Valley. We stopped at Shoshone at an antiquated Museum and Visitors Centre, then drove up Death Valley. We stopped by Badwater (282 ft below sea level)
and at the Devil's Golf Course (salt formations).
We drove around the winding "Artists Drive" which had wonderful coloured rocks.
We arrived at Furnace Creek at 5.40, just before it got dark. We stayed at Sunset RV Park.
Monday 25th February. 157 miles.
We got up at 5.45 and drove to Zabriskie Point to watch the sunrise. There were lots of keen photographers there. We had a cup of tea then drove 25 miles to Dante's View where we had a wonderful view of Death Valley.
It was very cold. We had breakfast here then drove back to Furnace Creek and visited the Visitors Centre. We had coffee afterwards, sitting outside, as it was hot now. We stopped at the Borax Trail
then drove on to Salt Creek where we saw a Coyote. We had a lovely walk around the Creek and then had lunch afterwards.
We drove on to Stovepipe Wells and had a walk on the sand dunes first.
We got fuel then drove to the north of the park. We viewed Ubehebe Crater.
Lastly we looked around the area of Scotty's Castle. There was water here so there were a lot of large trees.
We drove northeast out of the park, through a canyon and then on flat ground with hills around. There were lovely colours. We stopped beside the road just before Scotty's junction (with the 95) - we were now in Nevada
Tuesday 26th February. - Rosie’s birthday 229 miles
I opened my presents and cards, then Adrian cooked pancakes for breakfast. It was a cold morning. We drove south towards Las Vegas. We turned off to view Rhyolite Ghost Town. We stopped for coffee and cake at Lathrop Wells rest area.
We arrived at Las Vegas at lunch time and I made salad for lunch and we ate it in the car-park. We drove out to Red Rock Canyon and drove around the 13 mile loop, with a short walk to the Lost Creek.
We then drove back into Las Vegas and camped in the RV Park at Circus Circus.
We had bubbly, then walked out along "The Strip". Eventually we found somewhere suitable to eat. We caught the tram (train) to Luxor, then walked and got the bus back - after midnight.
Wednesday 27th February. 46 miles.
It was a partly cloudy but warm day. We had a cup of tea, then walked across to "Circus Circus" and had breakfast in there - a very good buffet! We walked back and Adrian did the "emptying and filling" and so we didn't leave until gone 10.00. We drove up "The Strip" and through "Downtown" which was all pretty tatty, to Henderson. We located the library and we were able to read lots of messages and to send some back including birthday thank-yous. We found the post office, and got our licence plates through the post - hooray! We also asked for our post to go to Santa Monica. We drove back and found Walmart and took in our photos. We had lunch (a lovely loaf from Raleys). We shopped in the dollar shop, then Raleys and also Adrian got some money. We collected the photos, which were good again, and exchanged the bread knife. We drove on to Camping World and bought a camper van for Felix and also a table! We then drove to Lake Mead and stopped at Calville Bay. We walked out at bedtime, there were lots of stars.
Thursday 28th February. 286 miles.
We were woken early by people talking. We had a cup of tea, then left and drove back to have breakfast with a view of Lake Mead. We drove round Lake Mead, with some pleasant views, to the Hoover dam, but we couldn't view it as no R.V.s were allowed (panic from Sep 11th). We drove on toBoulder City and got some fuel then joined the very busy 95 road south. It was only a two-lane road and was very busy with all the extra lorries and RV’s that could not go over the dam - we passed an accident. There were no real stopping places, but we pulled off beside the road for coffee and the last of the little cakes from yesterday's breakfast. We joined the I-40 for a short way, then turned off south on Route 66. We stopped for lunch and sat outside using our new table.
Adrian fixed the licence plates on and I cleaned some of the van. It was a long monotonous drive in the afternoon through drab country. We drove through Barstow (we thought a police car was stopping us but it was the car in front). The I-40 stopped here. We continued on Route 66 (the oldNational Trails Highway) past Lenwood. We stopped for the night beside the road, it was extremely windy. We had a cup of tea and more birthday cake. Near Helendale.
Friday 1st March. 88 Miles.
It was bright but with a strong wind in the morning and much warmer "over the hill". We had breakfast then continued through drab, dusty country past awful cement works at Oro Grande, then at Victorville, but the old town here was very pleasant and the town centre was attractive and well kept. We visited the Californian Route 66 Museum. We drove on to San Bernardino Forest and Cajon Summit (on the I-15). We turned off to the "Blue Cut"through the hills. We had lunch here, after Adrian's rest - he was bad with a cough. A chap came up and tried to chat Adrian up! It turned out that this was a gay pick-up area! We drove on through San Bernardino and were now in outer Los Angeles suburbia. There were hundreds of traffic lights, but the surroundings were pleasant and there were colourful flowers and green grass. We turned off to Koa campsite at Pomona. This was very expensive, and just had "pull throughs", but after a cup of tea (sitting outside) we had a lovely swim in the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. We listened to my new Route 66 CD.
Saturday 2nd March. 84 miles.
After breakfast I had a swim in the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi and then cleaned a bit of a van. Adrian was very unwell with his cough. We left just after 9.30 and drove in through the suburbs of Los Angeles. At Pasadena we took a photo of Adrian.
We continued along Sunset Boulevard, through Hollywood (we saw the sign in the hills), and Beverly Hills to Santa Monica. It was non-stop traffic lights and there was a lot of traffic. We found the post office in Santa Monica, but there was no post for us. We drove towards the Pier, which is the end of Route 66, but it was very busy and parking was difficult and expensive.
Eventually we stopped just up the coast a bit, and sat overlooking the sea with a sandwich. We had a discussion on where to go and in the end I rang the Malibu Creek State Park and we found our way there (there were no signs so we had to do much backtracking). We finally arrived at 4.40 - and found someone in our "pitch", so we had to find another one. All the trails were closed because of the previous high winds! I had a cup of tea in the last of the sun. Adrian was unwell and dozed until 8 o'clock and then went to bed. I went to bed and read. We had a bad night - we were both unwell with cough/flu.
Sunday 3rd March. 15 miles.
After our bad night we didn't get up until about 11 o'clock, then we had tea/coffee and cereal. We sat outside in the sun with our coffee and rang Tom, Paul and Emma. We drove down to Malibu to get cough mixture etc, but we were both feeling unwell and dozed most of the afternoon. We had a cup of tea, then a short walk, but we were both pretty fragile. We ate Frankfurters, bacon and muffins and again went to bed early. Malibu Creek State Park.
Monday 4th March. 83 miles.
We slept reasonably well, and both felt a bit better today. It was a cold night, with frost in the morning followed by a fine day with a cool wind. We sat outside for breakfast and left at 9.30 and drove back along the Ocean Highway to Santa Monica Pier.
We walked down onto the beach then on to the Pier, then had coffee overlooking the sea. We drove to the Post Office, but our post was still not there. We drove to Sunset Boulevard and stopped at Will Rogers State Park and had our lunch there and saw his former home.
We drove right along Sunset Boulevard, past the Hollywood Bowl, and then back via Mulholland Drive (mostly) to Malibu Creek State Park.
We had views down over Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley with the film studios etc. We arrived back at 4.30 and had a cup of tea then a short walk to Malibu Creek. I cooked a thick soup for supper and we went to bed at about 9 o'clock.
Waiting at the hotel to collect our new motorhome
Our new motorhome
Partly frozen Lake Michigan
The Kanakee River at Wilmington
On ‘historic Route 66’
‘Historic’ Gas Staion at Odell
Lincoln’s tomb and memorial
Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois
Original brick road, Route 66
Rosie and the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri
The ‘Chain of Rocks’ bridge, St. Louis
The old John Dausch motel (in the rain!)
By Spring River, Carthage, Missouri
A classic rainbow bridge, Riverton, Kansas
The ‘Totem pole’ at Foyil
The ‘Blue Whale’ at Cartoosa
‘Old highway 66’
The Round Barn at Arcadia
The Oklahoma bombing memorial
Broken trees at El Reno
Snowy El Reno
The old ‘Gas’ Station, McLean
Adrian at Adrian!
Fran & Joanne
Deep Blue Pool, used for scuba diving
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Governor’s Palace - The oldest building in USA - 1610