G Adventures - Part 2

Trip Start Nov 04, 2012
Trip End Jan 02, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 7 - Headed from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon. Drove across Death Valley. Hiked around Zion NP. Minus 25c temps but braved the hot tub in the evening, even tho we had to walk across 100 m through  black & white ice to get there.

Day 8 - Then on to Bryce Canyon - breathtaking. Cliff top walks, then an extended walk with our small crew  to the Queens Garden.These are incredible "termite mound-like"  snow capped formations - called "hoodoos". Really a magical landscape covered in snow.
Sunset was  overlooking the Colorado River and Horseshoe Bend.
Stayed at Page (daggy), rebelled against the burger and ate at the the Blue Buddha - nice fresh food for a change.

Day 9 - The morning saw a tour in the back of a breezy freezy open truck to Antelope Canyon. It's  amazing -  2nd longest of its kind in North America. Guide was great with photography.
On to Monument Valley.  Another  incredible landscape. Navajo guides drove us around in a jeep and talked to us about the Navajo ways.
Stayed at a Navajo hotel - hmm. Pretty rough but what the heck. Stressing about the sketchy wi-fi as 24/12 here and Christmas at home but overjoyed to get to hear the kids voices for Christmas. Introduced our German friends to The Sound of Music!

Day 10 -  The Grand Canyon where  we were greeted by blizzarding conditions.   First suprise of the day - No helicopter flight! But what about an  IMAX movie? Hmm.   Thank god the clouds parted by the middle of the day to view the canyon. Walked part of the rim and saw some beautiful scenery, followed by a warming Irish Coffee..  

Day 11 - Christmas!  At Sedona....hmm.  What's for Christmas lunch??  Shitty burgers!Montezuma's Castle?  No it's out of season!  Phoenix cowboy bar??  No, nothing's open! Had Christmas dinner in an empty restaurant across the road from the hotel. 

Day 12 -Visited the  Imperial Sand Dunes around lunchtime where locals were racing dune buggies around the slopes.  On to San Diego, before which a conversation happened about the many bed-bug hotel reviews for our "choice" hotel on the exit out of SD.

Day 13 - San Diego.  Wandered around town & had lunch in Little Italy. Again railed against lazy choice of burger bar or Sizzler and after crappy dinner in leader-chosen pizza bar, found a pub with decent music.

Day 14 - Wonder why we were suprised by the tackiness of Hollywood Blvd,  Beverley Hills &  Rodeo Drive.  Wandered Santa Monica Pier in fragmented groups. Pre-dinner drinks at a lovely civilised hotel near the beach for 3 of us. Emphasized the poor quality of the food choices by our leader along the way.   Dinner at a Santa Monica seafood restaurant.  Farewell drinks in the hotel foyer.

After a low day in LA,  checking out the shopping outlets, we realised that we had an extra day than we had thought, so hired a car to drive up the West coast from LA.
Started with Venice Beach, another exclusion from the trip. Old hippies, freaks, fashion dogs, drunks, Marijuana pushers and roller skaters cruised the scene.   On to Malibu and the teetering beach houses of the not-so rich or famous.
Splurged for our last night at Avila Beach in a lovely apartment by the coast. Continued driving up for our last day toward Big Sur. Along the way saw beaches of Elephant Seals, amazing coastline and waves crashing across the road.
Managed to get the car back by 8am and straight to the airport for the gruelling flight home. On the upside, got upgraded to Premium Economy because of a broken tray-table!.
Home to Brisbane and a week of craving sleep after our hectic 2 months away!
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john Anderson on

Fantastic photos, I hope I get some great ones on my trip also.

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