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USA and Canada FlagsBarbara and Victor plan to tour USA and Canada in an anti-clockwise direction, starting and ending the circuit in Los Angeles. In this web site we hope to keep an updated blog about our adventures, with our movies as streamed videos, and our photos as captioned slideshows.
On this page, you may click on any date in the calendar on the left, to highlight the place in which we were or should be in the itinerary below, at that date. Places up to that date will have a white background, the nearest date will be highlighted in red on yellow, and places after will have a pink background.
Then you can click on that row to see our blogs, photos and movies for that date. Otherwise, you can simply scroll down our itinerary below and click on any place to go to its region page.  Or else you may select any US or Canada region  by directly clicking on it, from our
USA/Canada map page. 
PlaceStateNotesWe stayed inVisitDate
Arrive LAX airport Los AngelesCAHuge airport. Arrived 6 a.m. and picked up our hire car from Hertz. We walked along the beach and visited the shopping mall.028/03/2010
Santa Monica (Los Angeles) (Hotel Booked)CASeaside stay, big surf beach, nice promenade. We quite liked Santa Monica.Santa Monica28/03/2010
Santa MonicaCAWe drove through heavy traffic to Hollywood.Santa Monica29/03/2010
Santa MonicaCAWe drove a short distance north along the Pacific Coast road, to Malibu.Santa Monica30/03/2010
CoarsegoldCAPeter and Candy's wonderful home in the Sierra foothills.Coursegold31/03/2010
YosemiteCAPeter and Candy took us to Yosemite national park.Coursegold1/04/2010
BakersfieldCAWe saw some more oil wells, and lots of vinyards, and then intense cattle farming lots. 2/04/2010
BarstowCAWe continued eastwards, climbing through hills covered in wildflowers, including orange California Poppies. 2/04/2010
Las VegasNVCity of night lights, glitz and flutter, in the middle of the Nevada desertLas Vegas2/04/2010
Hoover DamAZWe crawled in heavy traffic across this amazing dam and hydro-electic complex. 3/04/2010
WilliamsAZAfter staying a night in Kingman AZ, we made the fairly short distance to Williams, only 50 miles from Grand Canyon.Williams4/04/2010
Grand CanyonAZOne of 7 Natural Wonders of world. It was very windy, fairly cold, but sunny and fairly good visibility. 5/04/2010
WilliamsAZWe returned to our motel in Williams after a great day at the Grand canyon.Williams5/04/2010
FlagstaffAZA pleasant town. Here we changed our car to a Toyota Camry because Hertz had given us a CA rego with March 2010 expiry! 6/04/2010
Walnut CanyonAZA lovely National Park, with 800 year old Sinagua Indian rock houses built into the hillside. 6/04/2010
GallupNMAfter miles of boring, dusty desert country, we crossed the border into New Mexico and stayed in Gallup. We skyped with Russell in his office in the evening!Gallup6/04/2010
AlbequerqueNMWe visited the Pueblo Indian Cultural Centre, then saw the Rio Grande river. 7/04/2010
Santa RosaNMThis is an attractive small town on the old route 66, with an 85 ft deep spring fed water hole used for scuba diving. We ate a nice steak dinner in a restaurant near our motel.Santa Rosa7/04/2010
HerefordTXWe shopped here, Barbara bought 3 shirts, Victor new shoes, at excellent prices. 8/04/2010
Caprock CanyonTXWe drove south to get away from the busy I-40 freeway, and enjoyed quiter roads to this remote, little-known canyon. 8/04/2010
TurkeyTXAlmost a ghost town! There was a hotel built in 1927, which has traded continuously since then full of antiques, no mod cons, no meals, so we didn't stay! 8/04/2010
ChildressTXWe stayed at a Travelodge motel here.Childress8/04/2010
LaytonOKCoffee stop in a park, by a lake, near a Vietnam war memorial. 9/04/2010
Oklahoma CityOKLunched at a Mexican restarant in city centre.We walked around botanic gardens in city square, then visited State Capitol building, and its adjacent oil rig. 9/04/2010
OkemahOKVery small town just off I-40 freeway, where we stayed the night. Skyped with Glenies, tried with Pikes.Okemah9/04/2010
Fort SmithARWe were lucky to see historical re-enactments of wild west events around 1880, lots of gunfights, a trial, two hangings, and Laura's bordello. 10/04/2010
Waldron (Y-City)ARWe stayed in a rustic cabin by a beautiful white river and waterfalls, in Ouachita Mountains.Y- City near Waldron10/04/2010
Crystal SpringsARLakeside stop for picnic, then nice walk through forest beside Lake Ouachita. 11/04/2010
GreenvilleMSWe crossed the wide Mississipi River, into this old river town, predominantly black, historic plantation houses.Greenville11/04/2010
GreenvilleMSIn the morning we explored levee banks of the Mississippi river, and the downtown areas. In the afternoon we drove to a state park, with a lake reputed to have alligators!Greenville12/04/2010
VicksburgMSWe drove through miles and miles of cotton fields, then into Vicksburg on the Mississipi river. 13/04/2010
NatchezMSBeautiful country of green rolling hills and vast deciduous forests lined our road to Natchez, another town on the river. 13/04/2010
New OrleansLAWe drove across the causeway over Lake Ponchartrain into New Orleans late in the evening, so stayed our first night at a hotel on the outskirts.New Orleans13/04/2010
New OrleansLAThis morning we transferred to a hotel right in the French Quarter, and walked all around this fascinating district. In the evening we went to Preservation Hall to listen to jazz.New Orleans14/04/2010
New OleansLAIn the morning we crossed Mississippi on the Canal Street Ferry to Algiers district. Then we took a cruise up the Mississipi on the paddle-steamer "Natchez"New Orleans15/04/2010
MobileALOn the drive to Mobile we saw the Gulf of Mexico, and its glorious white sand beaches. We went to the library's historical and geneological section, but failed to find any references to Dorothy Seear, Victor's maternal grandmother, who was born in Mobile.Mobile16/04/2010
BirminghamALWe drove north on a freeway straddling wide creeks and rivers, through vast forests. We visited David and Debbie Gomersall, and stayed at their lovely home in Hoover.We ate sumptious steaks at a thriving and lively restaurant, and exchanged family news.Birmingham17/04/2010
BirminghamALWe visited Oak Mountain State Park with David and Debbie, then had a leisurely brunch at Crackerjack, and a relaxing afternoon and evening with them at their home.Thank-you David and Debbie, for your wonderful hospitality.Birmingham18/04/2010
ClaxtonGAMonday 19th was a heavy driving day for us, well over 400 miles. We stopped about half an hour before Savannah at a motel in Claxton.Claxton19/04/2010
SavannahGAWe explored the fascinating waterfront with its history and paddle-steamers, and then the squares of Savannah, with their stately southern homes. We then went to Tybee Island, and saw its beach along the Atlantic coast. We've crossed the entire continent!Savannah20/04/2010
Beaufort & CharlestonSCWe stayed 3 nights in Charleston, after having a delightful lunch by the water in Beaufort, SC while driving north.Charleston21/04/2010
Magnolia PlantationSCWe spent an entire day at Magnolia Plantation, with huge azalea, camelia and magnolia garden established in 1676, originally a rice plantation using slave labour.Charleston22/04/2010
Downtown Charleston, and a rest!SCWe explored downtown Charleston with its southern colonial architecture, magnolia-shaded avenues, 'Provost' dungeon and old Exchange, built 1768. A beautiful & historical city.Charleston23/04/2010
Myrtle BeachNCThe drive north from Charleston was uninteresting. Myrtle Beach was a concrete jungle, reminiscent of Queensland's Goldcoast, but vaster and far worse.Sneeds Ferry24/04/2010
Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks.NCWe took a car ferry from Cedar Island (bridges to mainland), and after 2.5 hours reached Ocracoke Island.Ocracoke25/04/2010
Cape Hatteras National SeashoreNCCoast road 12 follows narrow sandbar along "Outer Banks". Driving was a pleasure as there was very little traffic. The houses we passed (or are they appartments?) were very tall, 3 storeys, made of wooden shingles, raised on high stilts, and rather ugly. 25/04/2010
Richmond area, VirginiaVAAfter the peace of outer banks, we had a stressful drive through clogged tollways and freeways, but eventually arrived safely in Williamsburg.Williamsburg26/04/2010
Colonial WilliamsburgVAWe spent all day at Colonial Williamsburg. Many original buildings still stand, others are restored or re-created. Colonial history is brought alive by costumed inhabitants acting through the calamitous events of 1765 and revolution!.Williamsburg27/04/2010
WilliamsburgVAWe needed a day to shop, get the oil changed, do our banking, and catch up on this website, and get some decent sleep.Williamsburg28/04/2010
JamestownVAWe saw the first permanent British settlement in North America, Jamestown, where John Smith landed in 1607. We also went to Yorktown, where Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington and French naval commanders at end of American War of Indepedence.Williamsburg29/04/2010
Big IslandVAAfter crossing the James river by ferry, and driving due west across Virginia, we reached the Blue Ridge Parkway, a tranquil tourist road through the beautiful Appalachian mountains. 30/04/2010
Buena VistaVAAfter following the Parkway for about an hour, we stopped at Buena Vista, just 3 miles west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.Buena Vista30/04/2010
Blue Ridge ParkwayVAOn Saturday we continued north along Blue Ridge Parkway. We took a few short strolls on trails off the road, and saw some deer. Then we went along Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.Warrenton1/05/2010
Washington DCDCWe drove to Vienna VA, parked, then took the metro to downtown Washington. We saw the National Mall, Capitol, White House, Smithsonian Museum, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, and the Air and Space Museum. We walked ourselves to exhaustion!Warrenton2/05/2010
HanoverPAWe drove north from Warrenton, crossed the Potomac river into Maryland, and visited Cunningham Falls and Emmitsburg. Then we crossed north into Pennsylvania, by-passed Gettysburg, to stay in Hanover.Hanover3/05/2010
Pennsylvania Dutch Country.PAWe drove around the beautiful farmland in Lancaster County, and saw the Amish and Menonite people, who reject and avoid most of the trappings of modern society.Hanover4/05/2010
New JerseyNJWe drove north-east from Hannover,into New Jersey, and managed to navigate the freeways to land at our hotel in Newark. From our 5th floor window we can see the Empire State Building and impressive NY and NJ skylines.Newark5/05/2010
New YorkNYWe went on a guided tour of New York City by bus and boat. The bus drove from Newark NJ under the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan. We started sightseeing at Times Square, where a car bomb had been found about 4 days earlier! We saw Central Park, and the luxury appartments where John Lennon was murdered, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and Wall Street and the financia and historic district. The highlight was a boat tour of the harbour, from which we had magnificent views of Manhattan, Jersey City and up the Hudson River. We went by Ellis Island, where all immigrants were housed and screened from about 1880 to 1950, including Barbara's great-grandmother, who went on to live in Quebec, then Kentucky. We went close up to the Statue of Liberty, and took the obligatory photos with her as a backdrop.Newark6/05/2010
North via NY, CT, MACTWe eventually escaped from NY City after a huge freeway traffic jam in the Bronx. We drove north-east almost to New Haven, but tired of freeways and dense traffic and heavily-populated areas, so we headed inland. We found a lovely lunch picnic spot in the woods by a little waterfall near Terryville in central Connecticut. We then crossed north into Massachusets, and stopped at a small town called Westfield.Westfield, MA7/05/2010
WestfieldMALast night it thundered and rained and it's still raining, so we are staying all day in Westfield MA, to catch up on all sorts of things, and take a rest from driving.Westfield8/05/2010
Bellows FallsVTBellows Falls was a small town in a beautiful riverside setting, but the motels all looked very run-down, so we moved on. 9/05/2010
GraftonVTGrafton is a postcard village, with a picturesque covered bridge, and a village green. It was freezing cold, with a firece chilling wind. 9/05/2010
WoodstockVTThis is a charming and elegant small town, which possibly typifies the classic 'New England' style. 9/05/2010
St.JohnsburyVTThis town has a very elegant main street with large stately ancient wooden houses. It was freezing cold with a biting wind, a few flakes of snow fell on us! Fortunately, the heating in our motel was very effective.St Johnsbury9/05/2010
MagogQBWe croosed the border from US to Canada on a very quiet country road, and explored the Sherbrooke region of Quebec. We had a picnic lunch by the lake in Magog, and we nearly froze! That evening we stayed in Orford, just by the Mount Orford National Park. We had a lovely walk by a lake, and through the woods in this park.Orford10/05/2010
Quebec, CanadaQBWe drove along provincial roads towards Quebec City, avoiding freeways. We saw some pretty forests, and also some mining towns with huge unattractive slag-heaps! When we reached Quebec City, we drove through the 'vieux ville' and were amazed by its beautiful and ancient buildings. We then discovered a wonderfully quaint 'auberge' along the St Lawrence river, in the 'Cote de Beaupre', where we stayed for 3 nights.St Anne-de-Beaupre11/05/2010
Quebec CityQBWe had a lot of difficulty finding a place to park in Quebec. Once that was settled, we walked around the old city for 5 hours, savouring its unique atmosphere, its ancient history, its quaint and picturesque streets and the magnificent citadel and Chateau Frontenac.St Anne-de-Beaupre12/05/2010
Along St LawrenceQBWe admired the huge basilica or shrine of St Anne de Beaupre, and the surrounding chapels and stations of the cross, learning a little of the history of 'Nouvelle France'. Then, in utter contrast, we visited Cap Tourmente, a nature reserve by the St Lawrence where the Snow Geese rest in may, en route in their migration from North Carolina to the Arctic Circle, where they nest in summer.St Anne-de-Beaupre13/05/2010
From Quebec to OttawaONTToday was a havy driving day, in rain, mainly on freeways. Barbara took the burden of navigating the congested Montreal freeways. We arrived rather late on the east side of Ottawa, and ended up in a motel in a rather noisy and seedy part of town.Ottawa14/05/2010
Canada's capitalONTWe liked the central, parliamentry areas of Ottawa, with their strong echos of London and Big Ben. 15/05/2010
TorontoONTFrom Ottawa we avoided freeways, and admired some lovely Ontario 'cottage country' full of little lakes, hills, woods, and pretty villages. We reached cousin John Hudson's house around 5:30, to be warmly welcomed by John and his daughters Daphne and Chris, who served up a resplendent meal of Roast Beef and Yorkshire PuddingToronto, with John Hudson15/05/2010
Niagara FallsONTCousin John Hudson drove us in his Jaguar, to Niagara Falls. But first he showed us the Guild Inn, a park near John's house, on the bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls are amazing! The enormous cloud of spray can be seen fro afar, and everyone who goes near the falls gets soaked! We saw the little boat 'Maid of the Mist' sail right up close to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls. Later we visited the trendy, pretty village of Niagara on the Lake, where bought ice creams and browsed the shops and walked by the lake. This was a really lovely day. 16/05/2010
TorontoONTIn the evening the three of us enjoyed a 'white tablecloth' meal at a lovely restaurant overlooking a marina on Lake Ontario, but very near to John's house.Toronto, with John Hudson16/05/2010
Driving towards Great LakesONTWe chatted all morning with John, leaving around midday. The afternoon was taken up driving north. 17/05/2010
Parry SoundONTThis town is on Georgian Bay, a huge bay off Lake Huron. It is the worl'd deepest natural freshwater port, and has wharves with some big cargo ships docked there. Our motel had a heated indoor pool so we took advantage of it!Parry Sound17/05/2010
Georgian BayONTWe are now following the Trans canada Highway. We took several side-turns to visit lakeside scenic spots. In one place there was a huge boat park, where people who own cottages on some of the 30,000 islands in Gergian Bay, keep their boats so they can commute! We also went on a glorious but strnnuous and rugged walk along and above Frenchman's River, and saw the beautiful Recollet Falls. Here we felt we were in the Real Canada, with rivers, pine forests, lakes and the whole place to ourselves! 18/05/2010
LivelyONTBecause of our frequent and lovely side-trips, we didn't cover many miles today, and we found our motel near Sudbury, Ontario.Lively near Sudbury18/05/2010
Sault St MarieONTSault Ste Marie itself is an industrial and port city of 170,000 people. The old St Mary river lock system, which connects Lake Huron to Lake Superior, was very interesting, even though the big ships now use the locks on the USA side, which are much wider.Sault-Ste-Marie19/05/2010
Lake SuperiorONTOur drive north up from Sault-Ste-Marie along the shores of Lake Superior has been our best and most scenic of all so far. We saw hundreds of beuatiful lakes, rivers, pine forests and waterfalls. Lake Superior has many lovely coves and beaches.White River20/05/2010
Thunder BayONTWe continued close to the shores of Lake Superior, finally reaching Thunder Bay, which is at the far western end of the St Lawrence and Great lakes Seaway. This is a rather grey, industrial city, whose enormous big ship port facilities are its biggest employer.Thunder Bay21/05/2010
Fort FrancesONTAfter Thunder Bay, we left the Great lakes, but there were thousands more little and big lakes and rivers and forests all the way to Lake of The Woods..Fort Frances was a pleasant town where lumber and wood pulp and paper mills form the main industries. 22/05/2010
Lake of the WoodsONTThe 'Lake of the Woods ' area is devoted to cannoing, kayaking, angling and boating, in the thousands of lakes. There are camps, cottages, cabins, and 'canoe outfitters' everywhere. 22/05/2010
WinnipegMANWe crossed the province border between Ontario and Manitoba, and reached the eastern outskirts of Winnipeg this evening after a very long drive.Winnipeg is Manitoba's capital.Winnipeg22/05/2010
SaskatoonSASKWe drove through huge wind gusts across the praries, some rain, and witnessed the flooding from the previous two days of heavy rain.Saskatoon23/05/2010
EdmontonALBWe crossed into Alberta and saw cattle, horses and some lightly undulating country, a contast to the plains. We also saw some oil wells. We reached Edmonton, capital of Alberta, and saw the parliament buildings.Edmonton24/05/2010
JasperALBJasper is a lovely town. We had sunny weather visiting the hot springs, the Mailign canyon and the Athabasca river.Jasper25/05/2010
Lake LouiseALBWe took a cable car up Whistler Mountain near Jasper, then climbed the last 400 metres to the snow-clad 2500 metre peak. As we then drove south toward Lake Louise, the weather became cold and rainy. We say the Athabasca glacier, and Bow Lake was totally covered in thick ice, then Lake Louise was also almost covered in thin ice. Unfortunately, it was darkish, drizzly and icy cold at Lake Louise. 26/05/2010
BanffALBWe arrived late in Banff and hotels were fairly full, but we eventually found a place. Banf has trendy elite shops and restaurants, interesting architecture, and views of mountains on all sides.Banff26/05/2010
Banff to CalgaryALBThis orning it is cold and rainy so we stayed in the hotel to update our webs etc. In the afternoon we drove through pouring rain to Donald's in Calgary.Calgary27/05/2010
At Donald and Elinor's.ALBIt had snowed and was cold so we stayed inside until lunchtime. Then we went with Donald and Elinor to a lovely restaurant in a park, called the Ranche, where there was a glorious open log fire burning, and a great menu. In the evening we met their daughter Susan, and her husband, Ken.Calgary28/05/2010
Nanton Lancaster MuseumALBDonald showed us around Nanton Lancaster Museum, then we drove south across the border into Montana. The weather was freezing, but at least it stopped raining! 29/05/2010
Great FallsMTWe found a geat motel with a kitchen and lounge. We saw the Missouri river.Great Falls29/05/2010
LivingstonMTThe countryside became prettier, we drove through forests and snow-clad mountains. Then the Montana park country was exquisite, with the Yellowstone River rushing through a scenic valley. 30/05/2010
Yellowstone Nat.ParkMTWe saw the Roosevelt Arch of 1909 at the park entrance, but stayed in a motel in Gardiner, beacause the Park Lodges were 100% full, it was the USA Memorial weekend!Gardiner30/05/2010
Yellowstone Nat.ParkMTWe made a dawn start to see the wild animals, returned to our motel for breakfast, then visited Mamoth Hot Springs, and the Canyon.Gardiner31/05/2010
Yellowstone Nat.ParkWYWe saw many thermal springs, bison crossing the road, waterfalls, walked along a trail away from roads, cars and people. We saw an erruption of Old Faithful Geyser, as it started to pour with rain and hail. 1/06/2010
Yellowstone Nat.ParkWYFrom the Old Faithful area, we drove across a pass 8300 feet above sea level, with deep snow in the pine forests on all sides. We reached Grant Village ton stay at the Lodge in the National Park, by Yellowstone Lake. An Elk protecting its baby, chased Victor, causing me to fall, but only bruises and grazes and dirty clothes, nothing serious!Grant Village1/06/2010
West Thumb geyser basinWYWe left the frozen yellowstone Lake, visited the fascinating and colourful Geyser basin, then drove south throgh Grand Teton national Park. From the shores of Jackson lake, which was not frozen, there were magnificent views of the snow-clad Grand Teton Mountains. We emerged into the enormous snake river valley, called Jackson Hole, then we decided to stay overnight in Jackson. We say the 'old west' style of the town square with the wooden pavements under the shop verandahs. In the evening we went to a cowboy show at a ranch, which was fabulous.Jackson Hole2/06/2010
Craters of Moon, Sun ValleyIDWe stayed in Jackson till noon, in order to get our hair done (both of us!). We drove through Teton Pass (8431 feet) and reached Idaho high plains. At Idaho falls we found a great music shop, with the best selection of sheet music in the western USA, and we had a music shopping spree! We had trouble finding accomodation, and had to drive a long way off our route, up the Sun valley, to find a motel in Hailey.Hailey3/06/2010
Idaho high plains, Blue MountainsORToday it poured with rain nearly all day, and we had to cover a lot of miles westward. We followed the Oregon Trail through the blue mountains, and stayed in Boardman near the Columbia River.Boardman4/06/2010
Columbia River GorrgeORWe followed the Columbia River westwards through Portland to the coast. The view afrom Bingen, on the washington side, was beautiful, reminiscent of the Rhine.The Columbia River Gorge was pretty, with many waterfalls and leafy walks.Seaside5/06/2010
Oregon coast to BeaverORSeaside has a huge sandy beach and an English style promenade, but it was pretty miserable in the rain, just like English seaside places! It started to rain last night, and rained heavily all day today, reducing visibility to 200 yards. So after less than 100 miles following the Oregon coast southwards, we cut inland hoping for drier weather. 6/06/2010
Inland to OakridgeORWe crossed some lovely forested green hills in the rain, and drove south on Intersate-5, then headed towards Crater Lake. We are staying at Oakridge, fairly close to Crater lake.Oakridge6/06/2010
Crater LakeORThe sun was shining as we climbed throgh forests to salt Creek falls.Eventually, after miles of forest, we climbed up into snow and saw Crater Lake.Wow! This has to be a wonder of the world. A turquoise lake 2000 ft below a snow-rimmed volcanic crater, surrounded by tall snow-clad mountains. 7/06/2010
Klamath FallsORWe drove through pretty farming country, and reached the town of Klamath Falls where we stayed for the night.Klamath falls7/06/2010
Sierra NevadaCAWe had a lot of driving, heading south into California, past more lava flows with steam rising. We had a pleasant picnic lunch beside Eagle Lake, then we climbed into the mountains and eventually reached Reno, Nevada. We drove straight across Reno on the freeway. We then climbed a very steep road up Rose Mountain, where the pass at 9000 feet is the highest pass kept open all year. The air was so thin I felt a bit dizzy! The snow was still thick beside the road. On the way down we caught our first splendid glimpse of Lake Tahoe.We then descended into Crystal Bay, where heaps of opulent homes have private lake frontage, and there were lots of properties and gated communities with resplendent entrances. We drove past some casinos and across the state border into California again, and found a motel in Kings Beach. We treated ourselves to a room overlooking the lake and mountains.Kings Beach, Tahoe8/06/2010
Tioga PassCAJust before turning west into Tioga Pass, we saw Mona Lake, which is 45 feet lowe than it was in 1941, as water has been drawn from the streams that feed it. We then climbed into the the eastern entrance to Yosemite, which is Highway 120 through Tioga Pass. The road itself climbs to 9945 feet. We stoppped at Ellery lake, 9500 feet, and were nearly swept over by a sudden gust of wind, dust and ice from the iced-over lake. We followed Tioga road past towering granite peaks covered in snow, such as Tioga Peak, 11526 feet, and flooded meadows such as Tuolumne Meadows and Tanaya Lake. 9/06/2010
Peter and Candy HudsonCAWe had under-estimated the time needed to cross Yosemite from east to south-west, and we were also delayed by road-works a lot. So we arrived very late to Peter and Candy's, at about 8:30pm. But they were very kind and forgiving, and they had a wonderful BBQ meal waiting for us.Coarsegold9/06/2010
Peter and Candy HudsonCAWe spent a lazy morning on Peter and Candy's deck overlooking the Sierra, reading and editing our movies. Then Peter took us around their local area and to his golf club.Coarsegold10/06/2010
Across central CaliforniaCAWe drove from Coursegold through pretty hill country, down to the central valley of California, with market gardens and heavily irrigated cropland. We visited a strawberry farm, packed with Japanese tourists, and picnicked at Merced. Then we drove through heavy traffic to our motel in Palo Alto.Palo Alto11/06/2010
Annalise's bacalaureateCARobert and Arlene met us at our motel, which was very close to Stanford Uni. We attende the bacalaureate ceremony, which was an 'inter-faith' service in the main quad of the campus. Then we went to a boring Philosophy lecture in a basketball stadium. Then we visited Annalise's dorm for a rest. Then we went to a garden party on the lawns of the President's house. Annalise and Arlene shook hands with Stanford's president while Robert, Victor and Barbara enjoyed strawberries and lemonade and chatted to other guests.Palo Alto12/06/2010
Annalise's graduationCAThe main event at Stanford's enormous football stadium, called the 'Commencement', kicked off with the 'Wicky-wacky walk', in which the graduands let off steam in fancy costumes.Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, and herself a graduate of Stanford, gave an inspiring speech. The President of Stanford conferred generic formal degrees, as the individual awards were made later on a faculty basis. The new graduates marched in to the stirring strains of 'Land of Hope and Glory', by Sir Edward Elgar, at the faculty ceremony, where Annalise received her degree with distinction from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. After a crowded but pleasant faculty buffet, we went again to Annalise's dorm for her party for her friends, on the lawn opposite her dorm.Palo Alto13/06/2010
San Francisco cityCABarbara and Victor walked to California Street Caltrain station, took a train to San Francisco, then a bus to Fisherman's wharf. The whole journey took 3 hours! We walked around the wharf, which was commercial, smelly and tawdry. We took a cable car up to Nob Hill and Grace Cathedral and Union Square, but it was so crammed with people we couldn't see anything! We wandered around the graceful buildings, then down to Chinatown, which was interesting. Sadly, the infamous San Francisco fog denied us any sighting of the Golden Gate Bridge.Palo Alto14/06/2010
Visit Joan in Berkely.CAWe drove along freeways east of the Bay, through Oakland to Joan's house in Berkely. After coffee and cakes and chats with Joan and Robert, we went to Annalise's party at a nearby house.Berkely15/06/2010
South to Santa CruzCAAfter photos in Joan's garden, and farewells, we drove around the northern end of the bay to view the Golden gate bridge from Marin county. We then crossed the famous 'iconic' bridge, and had a picnic lunch in Golden Gate Park. We then drove south down Highway 1 along the coast, to Santa Cruz.Santa Cruz16/06/2010
Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay.CAIn the morning we walked on Santa Cruz pier, and saw amazing Sea Lions competing with each other for space to sunbathe beside the wharf. We drove around Monterey bay, throgh Moss Landing, to Monterey. By coincidence, the US Open Golf Tournament was taking place all week in Monterey, so motels were full or at a premium! We walked aroung Montery's Fisherman's piers, Pacific Grove, and then drove to Carmel by the sea. This was a delightfully pretty place, with fairy-tale houses set in forested streets and along the rocky shoreline. We saw the Spanish Mission, but were unable to go inside as it was closed.Monterey17/06/2010
Big SurCASouth of Carmel we stopped all morning at Point Lobos State park. This was the most beautiful coastal scenery we've seen on this trip, with walking trails along the rocky coast surrounded by amazing displays of wildflowers.We then drove south along highway 1, past spectacular Californian coastal scenery. We saw Big Sur, Pfeifer Falls inland, and McWay Falls, which fall spectacularly from the clifftop into the sea.San Simeon18/06/2010
San Simeon and CambriaCAWe went to Hearst Castle's visitor centre, but didn't take any tours, as they were so regimented, crowded, with no time to wander and take photos. We enjoyed our visit to Sebastian's General Store at San Simeon, and then we saw magnificent Elephant Seals lazing on the beach.San Simeon19/06/2010
Via San Luis Obispo to LompocCADriving south we looked at cute shops in Cambria, and walked along the beach at Cayucos. It was sunny, but cool and very windy. We arrived around 1pm at Lompoc and took it easy, Barbara shopped, Victor updated this web site.Lompoc20/06/2010
La Purisima and SolvangCALa Purisima Mission is a restored mission, operated by the State of California, and illustrates well the history and typical way of life in the 1800s for the Spanish missionaries, the soldiers, ranch managers, and resident North American Indians. In the afternoon we visited a recreated Danish town called Solvang, which means 'Sunny Field'.Lompoc21/06/2010
Santa BarbaraCAOur first impressions of Santa Barbara were not terrific, as it was cold and cloudy, the area seemed very dry and dusty, more so than South Australia! As the sun came out later, it cheered up. The Marina was impressive, huge, and expensive-looking. The beach was nice, the surf reasonable, and the Spanish architecture of the motels, houses and public buildings is very attractive.Lompoc22/06/2010
LAX Airport, fly home 23rd JuneCAWe drove south via Santa Barbara again. This time we stopped at the Spanish Mission, which was impressive, the huge church stood out in particular. We passed through Malibu, where much of the seafront is blocked from public gaze by luxury private residences which line the shore. We saw the public beach at Malibu, and thought it to be relatively unattractive, with greyish sand, ugly bulidings, and a bit dusty and wind-swept. We then drove via Santa Monica to the LAX Airport, getting stuck in a huge traffic jam in the LA freeway system. We dumped our car at Hertz, reached our terminal, and waited for our plane home.On the plane23/06/2010
Adelaide Home at last! Tracey very kindly picked us up at Adelaide Airport and drove us home. Everything is green here, it's now winter, and the nights are cold! Our little doggie Honey recognized us despite our 3-month absence, so all is well in the world! 25/06/2010