It had to be the best day since African times. It really is absolutely awesome. It really is nearly as good as Wadi Rum. The arches are real and yes I stood on them both. The trick is look at the arch after you've walked over it and not before. I must admit once I looked at the drop I was shitting myself and that's after I'd been over them !
The bike is a guy riding around from the Isle of Man. Why do you need and adventure bike were his words....
I wish we could spend longer here to see more but we gotta dash. We might come back next year.
You really must come here if you've never been to Wadi Rum but don't come on a weekend. I get the feeling it would be madness on that rim trail. Much better in the week and off season.
Here we are back on the road proper. Long distances to cover interspersed with fantastic National Parks. Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef. At least at this end of the road it is broken up with good things, not sure about later on.
Its been cold and they forecast snow last night in Bryce Canyon. We opted to carry on out of the park and camp elsewhere. We had out first proper wild camp in the USA. A little like an African one. We get away from the road and even had a fire. Lots of dead wood around and the signs all said no wild fire risk so we were cosy. It was very cold though and quite windy. I hate wind, both types. Had a lot of that recently as Panda Express poisoned us. I was really bad and Julie almost. It brought on my old symptoms again which we still attribute to Reef Fish Poisoning although I'm at a loss as to what it was. Need some tests when I get home as every time i eat anything vaguely dodgy I get full on shivers, high temp and pins and needles in my hands. A blanket and two -20c sleeping bags and still shivering. Two hours later I was sweating it out with the sheets off and could have run round outside naked.
Matilda is being adored by all the people in the Parks. She might be famous. We now have stickers that say "Its not a Bloody Jeep" and also one with a bit more colourful word than "Bloody". So Matilda is not a Jeep and really I'm only telling you this so when an American searches for "Matilda Jeep" it comes up. Just like it does when you put "Matilda Land Rover" in Google. At least to Google shes famous.
Thanks to the US Navy for the stickers.....Josh and Neill. Tax Dollars at work. I could go mad with a sticker printer. I really could.
Back in Vegas again. 3rd time this trip. One night stop over on the way across the USA to New York.
In case you missed it, 2 years have passed. 26th October.
More later as we are in a national park and the Wi-Fi albeit free and nice to have is slow. Its also the weekend so all the campsites are full and half of them are closed as its "off season". If its so off season way are the others ALL full ?
This is a first. I've just cut Julies hair. No this is a woman who spends a fortune on having her hair cut (when at home). It's the womens way. Rather than spend a few quid on a cut they go to a place the washes it and cuts it for 5 times the price. No difference in the cut, at least not to men but they insist only "the place" can do it just right. Come on fellas you know what i mean. Your woman is the same, isn't she ? It must be said, shes not had it cut in two years....I do my own every few weeks. I now have a Battery Wahl shaver.
So her hair is trimmed. Lightly trimmed so I couldn't get blamed for going past the "point of no repair" (return). Actually we washed it over the sink in the garage and then I just cut the ends off in a straight line. Easy. Vidal you have competition.
I've done loads of stuff to the car whilst we've been in the San Diego Clubs Garage. Today I thought i'd ask Julie to check when I'd done the differential oils last. We had a shock. It was in Chile in Los Andes and 25,000miles ago. Ooops. So we dashed out and got some Ep80w90 and changed them both. After all we have a long few weeks in front of us going to New York. You should see the map moving from tomorrow onwards we hope. We've not moved much recently.
So Matilda is of finest form. Everything is checked and greased and oiled. No major problems at all. She's a good girl but she gets looked after. She even has a few more storage places installed. We've been to Ikea and got some more plastic storage pots to hang on the dash. She's also been washed and waxed.
We've also been to the all you can eat Korean BBQ again. Stuffed to capacity we walked back to the garage. We drank Soju and felt ill. 10 plates of meat might be too much. There are loads of Korean restaurants here and we love Korean. The guy in the unit next to the garage is Korean, his name is Howard. He's so nice he bought us lunch in the form of two Subway sandwiches. Thanks Howard!!! So not only do we get Neill and Josh's hospitality we get their neighbours also.
I might mention we now have flights home. Not telling you when though. Sometime in December...
You can really see how clean Matilda is in the first photo !
Currently thinking about flights and of course the rest of the trip which is sort of on hold waiting for Summer in Canada. We are looking for a cheap flight home and cannot find any over in San Diego so we are trying to get a flight from New York which is MUCH cheaper. Trouble is we have no parking in New York and the many offers in California are no good if we are nearly 3000 miles away. We've messaged the nice folks at Land Rover USA to see if they can help. After all Matilda is a lovely example of one.
Everyone here has been great so far and we keep meeting people to repeat the story to. We seem to spend 10minutes a day at least going over it again and again. I don't mind but I get my sore throat back if I talk too long. All that said you know I like talking. In fact I did do it for a living......and will hopefully continue to do so. I really think when we got second prize at the British Car show it was the stories that won it,,,not the car. So come on Land Rover give us some help. After all we are promoting the brand big time. I'd love a Discovery to borrow for the rest of the trip if you're feeling very generous. I've never even driven one but they look really good off and on, road. Neill's Disco (from the San Diego Club) is pretty nice....
The Fifth Estate...
Not its not Wiki-leaks but Water Leaks. Today we have removed the roof rack and all it contains. A pretty major operation which hasn't been done since and bloody long time ago in a galaxy far far away.....England no less.
The roof was washed and sealed with all sorts of magic sprays and lotions. I doubt it will stop the water. Matilda also now has new guttering. This isn't finished so no photos of the guttering yet. Watch out for those.
We really must say thanks to Neill and Josh for letting us use their workshop and all in contains. I've even used the lathe, which is the first time since i was about 16 years old that I have. The other day we were also welding my exhaust which now resembles Frankenstein. Its got more patches than a family quilt.
Only in America do you have a phone system and internet line in your garage....so its a pretty good campsite. But really guys, you need to get a shower put in otherwise you won't get passing overlanders taking liberties with you facilities !
I should also mention both Neill and Josh are networking, IP, Data types. I've not been talking tech....honestly.
No we didn't got to Sea World or the Zoo. We've been there before. We are in San Diego. We came here for the British Car Day. We we followed into the car park, when we were scoping out the venue on the day before, by a Ladder Fire Truck....Guess where we've been sleeping....Number 1 District Fire Station in Downtown San Diego. I even went out on on a call !!! Julies in the Bomb Squad and now has a sweat shirt (hoodie). They even made us dinner. Matt, one of the firemen is a "Overland Dreamer" and although has a nice Overland Truck can't just pack up and leave like we did. One day Matt....you might. Thanks for looking out for us and looking after us. All the guys were great. Really great.
On the way into the aforementioned car park we ran into Stave and Wendy. Both are veteran overlanders in there Land Rover. On their way south. They came to the car day and stayed at the fire station. Many stories were swapped of their epic multi-stage journey. They've been overlanding on and off for many years. Previously in a 6 wheel Range Rover !
The Photos speak for themselves....and we got second place in the car show and Matilda didn't even get washed ! Thanks to the San Diego Land Rover Club and The British Car Council we had a great day, for FREE ! I'm sure we shouldn't have won but our stories of camping all over the world won it for us.
In the next few day the Land Rover Club are hopefully going to sort out a few of our issues. We get to use there workshop. Neill and Josh (yes its Neill with two LLs) are letting me use there workshop. Thanks Guys !
We've just been turned away from a campsite as Matilda "isn't a camper"....well really she is....don't you think?
One World Two Journeys...
Henning has updated his site.
Go take a look at www.oneworldonejourney.com
He doesn't do it very often and is about to depart on the next leg of his trip. He's currently in Canada and off to Asia. Not long and he will be finished and we will probably still be in the USA waiting for summer to complete Canada.
On another note you might take a look at http://www.kiwi-panamericana.com/ we met Will and Rochelle in Sucre, Bolivia. They've had a few BAD experiences recently so need some support. Get onto their web site and send them a message. Get onto their facebook and send them a message. You cannot imagine how unlucky they've been in the last few months. Its an unimaginable horror story which luckily we avoided.
Last night as always we were looking for a camping space on the coast and of course its Friday so all the spaces are full. I took a bit of my own advice from African days and tried a piggyback. We asked the gate if their were any way we could go into the camp and ask if we could camp with someone. They mentioned some Swiss in a rental RV. So we went to ask....of course we could ! THANKS guys. Hopefully you see this.
I also never said a proper THANKS to the guy who gave us some money.
So we saw the Pacific sunset last evening. Not a patch on Malawi. I'm sure you can look in the Lake Malawi posts for a photo of that. I'm sorry but its not even 10% as good. The tourists on the cliff top thought it was "AWESOME MAAAN". Really if their is something to define the younger generation of people from the States its the overabundance of expression for something a little ordinary. Then again we've seen a lot of stuff and we are very lucky. The people in their $55usd camping spots !!! with their $225,000usd RV's should try spending it on some travel. I mean we could do the trip and then some more trips on that sort of budget. Its enough cash for 5 years at least ! (They are very nice RVs though)
They do ask us all the time if we feel unsafe and "had any trouble",,, well,,, no not really. Will and Rochelle are unlucky and there's always the odd time like the time in Costa Rica for us but the Americans in general (and this is usually the older ones) are scared of almost anywhere else. Maybe rightly so in certain places but even England is off the scale sometime. When certain things happen at home they stop coming. I really think I'm more likely to be murdered in the USA than 80% of the countries we've visited. So if some of the nice folks we've met think our truck,, is awesome,, and the trip,, is awesome,, then get some of that money you spend on RVs, Quad Bikes or a Speed Boat and go on holiday to somewhere like Malawi. If Madonna can do it then so can you....then you will truly see something AWSOME and every person you meet when you get home will think you are awesome and the trip was awesome and you can dine out on stories of the trip for years. I mean how many of you friends will have been to Malawi ? (there are other places of course which may be easier to get to)
All that said, the people from the USA have awesome weekends....so enjoy your four wheel drive park....I know I wish I had a quad bike to go play !
Leaving Las Vegas....
Finally leaving Las Vegas slightly poorer than we arrived. This is the first time we've lost in Vegas. Not much and we are still up on lifetime gambling. A lot up. We camped in the hotel car park where we'd stayed with Mum. The last night we got a room via hotels.com and showered. You never know how long it will be until the next shower !
A few photos of things and another amazing happening in Lake Havasu City. Parking up doing wifi in the car park of a burger place....NO not McDonalds but Burger King this time. A nice guy donated $100 for gas money. Right out of the blue. We'd had a quick chat and he returned cash in hand to give us some help. Now this is really becoming South African hospitality beating stuff.....We drove over London Bridge which caused a few head turns. Havasu was a really nice place. Great Camping sites ! Not cheap at $20usd but you could stay for a week at the different lake camp sites. We need to move on to the San Diego British Car Day. More on that after the weekend.
We've also found another great camping area Ocotillo Wells Off Road State Park. Free camping and loads of places to camp. Many empty sites. The remote places have no water so bring your own ! We might return after San Diego and stay for a week....
Viva Las Vegas....
We really had a good time at the Land Rover (Southern California and San Diego) weekend. I did some talks and they had a collection for us ! Totally out of the blue we got a pile of Dollars for "Gas Money". We got tee-shirts and all sorts of free stuff. I'm wearing one now ! All my old shirts are oily. That's what you get for owning a Defender and knowing folks that do ! THANKS to all that looked after us and gave to our "cause". (I'm not sure what that cause is other than trying to last the trip financially )
We had a bit of a problem on the way though. Our Alternator broke. Luckily one of the guys at the show owns a scrap yard and brought us (well Alex brought us) two V8 alternators. They don't fit our car but one was cut to fit on the brackets and the other butchered for spare parts to repair the old one. My spare was fault. Would you credit it, we'd been carrying it fro two years and it was faulty. Because of the Alternator we never made any of the trails so missed out and sat FREEZING in the camp site. It costs a lot to heat a campsite....$14usd per night in wood ! And that's' considering my Yorkshireman economy on the wood burning. I don't build a bonfire.....
As mums been with us we've done a lot of sights in California and ended up back in Vegas for her to fly home. Unfortunately we didn't take many photos recently. Not sure why we didn't it was just on the bottom of the list. We neglected to take a single photo at the LR weekend....we should have taken loads. We met a few defenders and Chris in his 2.5 NA 90 along with his Daughter. There are so many names and you might know I'm useless at remembering names so I'm relying on Julie. We will Email ones that we got details off.
We are planning on going to the British Car Day in San Diego although only if we can blag a free ticket for Matilda. They only charge exhibitors and not spectators and we'd be classed as an exhibitor.
Mum didn't like the first Caricature....can you guess which one ?
More on Matilda....she's still leaking and I need to fix the wipers. Wiper stuff is here and Mum got it so I just need to get down to it. The leak will have to wait. We have the offer of a Garage in San Diego so we will take a look there. It might be the gearbox output seal. I really need to pressure wash under her to see properly. None of the wash places here have ramps.....
We are still looking for a LARGE box for the roof but only 10inch tall. We thought we got one the other day but its 12inch tall so would not go in a shipping container whilst still on the roof. We might need to get one made.
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