MON, 29 APRIL, 2019
ADELAIDE TO DALLAS, TEXAS
Crowne Plaza, Elm St, Downtown, Dallas
home at 6 am with pleasant taxi driver. Plane left airport at 8.20 am. Staff were surprisingly friendly although I had to go through
the x-ray machine and be patted down as usual. Arrived Sydney 10.50 am, went straight to gate 15 and caught bus to international
terminal then to gate 9 for loading at 11.55 am. There wasn't time to do anything much. On the plane the locker space was mostly taken
but we put our bags in so they were accessible. A man came along and rearranged them, jammed Peter's bag on top of mine and then
another man stuffed his bag in front so that was goodbye to access to my carefully chosen nuts and lollies for the trip. We were
next to an exit door but that was OK. No queries about our ability to open it. In fact, everyone in our section of the plane was
older. It was difficult not having a seat pocket in which to put things. Caught taxi to hotel-$60 with tip. Hotel Crowne Plaza, Elm
St, Downtown, Dallas was very down market at front entrance but room OK. The whole city seemed to be made up of a few old buildings,
lots of new high rises and car parks everywhere.
Huge number of people on scooters, no helmets. Rested at hotel and
then went out to tea at an Italian restaurant. Upmarket and food nice but waiter drove us mad being so pleasant and asking questions
about Australia as if he was interested. Back to hotel and slept OK.
TUES, 30 APRIL, 2019 DALLAS, TEXAS
Went out for breakfast at an industrial cafe-about $17 with enormous cups. Mine was 'medium'
size and had 2 huge teabags. Walked back to hotel and then to a Verizon shop to get data for the ipad. Helpful. Dropped off ipad at
hotel. Feeling quite unwell with temperature and aching bones. Rested for a while and then walked down to 6th floor Museum at Dealey
Plaza. Made a contribution as well as $16 entry. The museum was crowded and the way it was arranged was not ideal, in my opinion,
but the displays were very good with photos and TV showing the assassination of President Kennedy. The actual spot where Lee Harvey
Oswald shot from is as it was and glassed off.
We bought a magnet and 2 T shirts from the shop and
they asked for yet another donation. Walked back towards hotel and passed the Red Museum. It was a magnificent building which told
all the history of Dallas. Visited the Kennedy Memorial next door. It was just a lot of cement columns above the ground
and not very relevant to anything. We ate at a Mexican cafe near the memorial-a hot chicken roll and 2 expensive fresh orange
juices. The sandwich was served with boiling hot spiced chips. Back to hotel for a rest. I was hardly able to walk for sneezing and
began to wonder about hayfever as it is spring and there are lots of wildflowers out. Later walked around the area a bit, including
the Rosa Parks memorial below, and bought hayfever pills at a 711-1 to a pack or 4 in the 711 version.
The shopowner said hayfever is bad in Dallas. The weather was very windy and showery.
WED, 1 MAY, 2019
DALLAS TO MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
Comfort Inn, Downtown, Memphis
with sore throat and hot and cold episodes. Woke up early. Had breakfast in room. Got taxi to airport from foyer at 9.30 am. Some
angry man was taking up the whole couch in the foyer, so nowhere easy to sit while waiting. We had a driver from Ghana. Helpful in
telling us where we had to go, repeatedly-5 gates for American Airlines. We were to go to gate 14 he reiterated several times.
A nice lady did
the registering for us and we checked in bags with ease but then the security line was a pain. We ALWAYS get chosen for extra
security. Peter was sweating and I was struggling to move his backpack from the line as stuff was building up and people were getting
angry with us. Then we went to gate 14 and waited for about an hour or so. We were worried that the plane did not come up on the
overhead panels so asked and the woman said no, that is gate 29. We hurried a long way down to 29. Still no notice about Memphis
flight but the woman at the desk said it was after the Cincinnatti flight at Gate 29. There were endless hold ups for that flight so
Peter went up and asked again and they said we were on gate 31. We moved again and checked with that desk and the woman said it
would leave from there. Eventually the previous plane left and the notice for Memphis came up. There were no obvious announcements
for any of this. Flight was OK but my seatmates didn't say a word or make any eye contact. Flight only an hour. Taxi to hotel was
about $47. Place looked pleasant and checkin lady was nice. Feeling very bad, had a rest and went out to Beale St for tea. Caught
the trolley near hotel on Main street for a dollar each. It was really nice. I was walking along talking to Peter but he had fallen
behind. I saw a lady looking at me and I said "I'm talking to myself because my husband isn't where I thought he was." She laughed
and said she thought I was just a mad woman and had kept right on walking. They were also catching the trolley. Beale St was pretty
tatty but in a friendly and relaxed way.
There was loud music and lots of tourists. We ate at
Pigs on Beale. The ribs were smoked and tasted good. We had beans and chips. All the chips are covered in paprika which is annoying.
It was quite tasty. Caught a trolley bus right back to hotel. Very convenient.
THURSDAY, 2 MAY, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
Half the night coughing. The air conditioner kept cutting in making a big noise to cool
things down when they got too hot. The air would then be too cool and not helping my cold. The curtains also let in much too much
light-poorly designed as usual. Got up about 7 am. We went down to breakfast expecting the worst but it was surprisingly good. The
bacon was thin and well cooked, there was ordinary bread, not sweet, and quite nice fresh fruit. They even had normal black teabags,
not just orange pekoe. After breakfast waited in foyer to be picked up for plan B of the Elvis tour which we had ordered yesterday
through the front desk. The driver finally appeared just before 9.30 am. We drove down to the riverfront to a tourist centre and
took photos of BBKing and Elvis statues and then it was on the road for Gracelands. Elvis Presley Boulevard, a long road, was badly
in need of resurfacing. The driver was quite good and gave explicit instructions about pickup at 1 pm, 3 or 4 pm. We were ushered
into a theatre under strict security and watched a movie about Elvis's life before going out and waiting for the bus to drive us to
the mansion. On arrival on a white bus, I was surprised to see the mansion was just a very nice 2 storey house but certainly not a
The trip inside confirmed this. Annoyingly the people in front were on a VIP tour so this
woman kept talking and talking and clogging up the walkways with her group.
We saw the house,
Vernon's house and the trophy room. The gardens nice with a lovely kind of plant bright pink like devil's ivy in a large size. The
graves were attractively laid out but the whole effect was still rather garish. We had a look at Elvis's 2 planes, bought an icecream and
looked at souvenirs. Caught bus back to hotel, with me feeling really ill-nauseous, sore left ankle, sore back. Rested for
quite a while and then walked down to Bass Pro store-the big white pyramid by the water. When we got there the place was amazing
with all sorts of animal displays, live fish etc. There were whole live trees, a river of water, aquariums etc. It includes a hotel.
Couldn't find anywhere to eat and feeling so nauseous I was scared I might be sick in the shop. We contemplated going up in the
centre lift to the top of the pyramid but it was $10 each, plus tax. Went out the back of the building and almost immediately a
trolley bus came along. We got on and looked for places to eat. Saw a cafe and got off. It was the Arcade cafe and apparently quite
famous. Peter had cheeseburger and I had a toasted cheese sandwich. They were OK. After that we caught the trolley bus back to the
hotel. In the evening we went back to Beale St and looked around for ages.
Finally we ate at TGI
Friday. Peter had crumbed chicken tenders and I ate one and some chips. Trolley back home.
FRIDAY, 3 MAY, MEMPHIS, TN
Went down to breakfast at 8.30 am. Caught trolley bus to Union St to Cotton
Exchange to see the cotton museum. It was interesting but probably did not concentrate enough on cotton itself. We at least
saw what a cotton plant looks like.
After that we walked down to the river front to find out
about the riverboat cruises. It was a nice park and quite modern and the building was huge though poorly marked but we finally found
out where to buy a ticket. Had to be back by 1.30 to board for 2.30 departure. Went up to Beale street and ate lunch at BBKing's
There was live music but the food was bad again-we shared a sausage sandwich and chips.
Took forever to get bill. The atmosphere was pretty good and heaps of customers. Walked back down to riverfront for cruise. Met a
group of Australians from the Mustang car club-about 20 in group travelling around. Spoke to a guy from Qld. Quite amusing. The tour
itself was boring-the water is brown and the trees on either side green, as the commentator said. He was quite good at commentary
and I would have learned a lot if I hadn't gone to sleep. When I woke up, Peter was asleep. We noticed this short, plump man with
glasses, a beard and suspenders, stroking the woman he was with all the time-her back, her hair, her arms, even though while this
was going on they were both looking at their phones obsessively. A couple of times he rested his head on her shoulder. It was quite
A lot of older men seem to be stroking their partners so perhaps it is a
thing here. There were huge arrangements for the Music Festival which was kicking off in Beale St from 5pm. At the end of the tour
we walked back up Beale St to the trolley bus and caught it to the hotel for a rest before catching the tram again to the
Arcade cafe for tea. Peter had a club sandwich and I had tacos with ground beef. The beef was luke warm, stale and tasted like old
grease. It was disgusting. After that we caught the tram back to the hotel passing no open shops along the way as usual. Not sure where
people get their groceries
SATURDAY, 4 MAY, 2019
MEMPHIS TO LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
La Quinta by Wyndham Downtown
Had breakfast and caught a cab to airport car rental. When taxi girl
arrived she opened her boot and it was a total mess with Barbie strollers, toys and all manner of stuff. She somehow managed to fit
our cases on top and we took the rest into the car with us. The car was very dirty but she drove efficiently and got us to the right
place for $40+$7 tip. We wanted to go to the rental car office but you had to go through the terminal and walk along a walkway to
the car companies. The girl was bland as usual. No conversation but quite efficient and directed us upstairs to the car. The girl
there said we could select a mid range car so Peter chose a white Nissan Versa sedan. It looked very clean and neat and there was
plenty of room in the boot, but we liked this car better when we saw it last night.
very stressful getting to Walmart to buy a GPS but they only had one at $299, so we decided to use the ipad for the time being. We
bought some sandwiches and a few other things including tissues at Walmart. The highway was very good and it was fairly easy to
navigate apart from my lack of knowledge of the ipad. Drove to Little Rock without any problems. Stopped at a roadside tourist
stop-good toilets but all brochures and vending machines were locked up so not sure of the point. Navigated to hotel La Quinta
OK-the streets weren't too busy. The reception girl was quite efficient and room pleasant with a good sized bathroom. Had a rest and
then went for a walk nearby-it is a terrible area with other motels, McDonalds, Taco Bell, and other horrible fast food joints.
There were a couple of nice church buildings. For tea went to a small Chinese place around the corner and it was surprisingly good,
though the sauce on my steak was strong.
SUNDAY 5 MAY, LITTLE ROCK, AR
Got up reasonably early, mainly because I was cold. Peter had put a clean towel on himself
overnight. Ate breakfast in messy foyer area-no one cleaning like at Comfort Inn, Memphis. Not much choice but OK with own
additions. Drove to Capitol, parked right outside and took pictures and had a look at memorials.
Lovely gardens with magnolia and many other stately trees. Drove down to Arkansas River front and because
we were scared we wouldn't find a place, parked in this little car park-$3 first hour plus $1 each hour after. We were confused at
method of paying. There was a board with numbered slots. We said we didn't have any coins to the man who seemed to be in charge.
That was OK. He just took our notes and squeezed them through the hole. That's how high tech it was-metal slots. Had to walk quite a
long way down the street to find the sculpture park. Lots of interesting works, some better than others, next to the Arkansas
There were many bridges over the river and lots of information in the park- gave a very different
view of the city than the area we were staying in. Then we got to the river market and it was 2 big roofed areas full of amazingly
beautiful and very expensive, mainly-metal sculptures-apparently it is a once a year event we had wandered into. From there we
walked back to the car and drove towards the hotel. Peter got petrol and sandwiches from a most unhealthy selection of food at the
petrol station. Ate in room and then went to Clinton library. Not as far away as we expected.
rectangular building off ground. Inside most impressive with huge square columns filled with blue boxes containing Clinton
papers-apparently only 2-3% of all paperwork generated.
We partly followed a tour but mainly did it
ourselves. The guide was an older man who knew his stuff, but sounded a bit like me, ie no voice- I had an excuse because of my cold
but I'm not sure what his problem was-we couldn't hear and understand. I'm sure it's not my imagination that US museums are a lot
more wordy that those in Aus. We bought a T shirt, cat mouse pad and magnet etc from gift shop. There was an excellent display of
art made from stuff fished out of the ocean (including out the front in the fountain/pool)-plastic bottles etc-looked very amazing.
We were really worn out by this time but fought our way to the old state house museum. It didn't look to be open but we followed the
meagre signs and dared open the door and it actually was open. We were the only ones there, I think. Lots of it was closed down
because of repairs but they had some very good stuff, including an excellent display of dresses worn by the wives of governors of
Arkansa for their inauguration, including Hilary Clinton's dress from January, 1979 when Bill Clinton was made 40th Governor of
There was much about how they did the museum up-it had certainly been unbelievably run down over
the years. Back to hotel by car, had a rest and Peter found an Irish pub which sounded a bit upmarket. It was in a much nicer
district and quite interesting. He had Irish beef stew and I had fish and chips-ugh-same thick crumbly batter they put on everything
and the chips were fat logged. We had a brownie with cream and ice cream-It was OK. Back to hotel and watched 'Bourne Ultimatum'
while I did a load of dark washing on 12th floor. Most efficient machine and dryer. Restless night as usual-cold and hot.
MON, 6 MAY, LITTLE ROCK to NEOSHO, MISSOURI
Super 8 by Wyndham NEOSHO Woke up about 7
am, had breakfast and left around 9.30 am. Took a bit longer than we should have. No real problems getting to Neosho. Stopped at a
store and bought sandwiches-it was a Harps shop and a bit classier than Walmart with plenty of fresh food. Took longer driving than
expected but got to Motel 8 by 2.30pm. It looked OK. Had a rest and drove into town and sadly it was just like all the other
places-the highway an endless stream of Dennys and food shops and shopping centres and then the centre of town was beautiful but
dead with empty shops and nowhere to eat. We had a walk around, looked at the park and then drove back to the motel before going
out to tea at a Chinese buffet restaurant which was pretty good. The main waiter was Alfredo, about our age, who worked tirelessly,
cleaning tables, setting tables, explaining the deal to customers, serving drinks. There was a lot going on and he did most of
There were good spring rolls, typical beef and chicken dishes, rice etc. Lots of
families and nice atmosphere. Back to motel to write up diary and relax. Very sore neck from coughing-both inside and in
A few on the many, many billboards beside the road
TUESDAY, 7 MAY, NEOSHO TO ST JOSEPH, MISSOURI Days Inn
by Wyndham, St Joseph
Woke up quite early. There was a terrific thunderstorm about 12.30pm with huge
cracks of lightning. Even Peter woke up. It got a bit cold but the Motel 8 room was OK and at least we were able to have ground
floor and an open window. Took jam and vegemite to token breakfast in foyer. No hot stuff but waffle machine was all fired up. Had
toast and they did have Lipton tea bags, so bonus. Talked to a lady who was looking at houses. She has been in military 30 yrs, is
now a realtor and is moving to Neosho as her husband, also ex army is going to teach at the high school. Left smartly and navigated
with ipad which was fairly easy. Arrived in St Joseph about 1.30 pm and went out to eat at a McAllister Deli. I asked for a cup of
tea so the teenage girls gave me a litre of luke-warm brown liquid. They didn't have boiling water. I had a baked spud and Peter had
a toasted BLT with a side of coleslaw which I was able to have with my potato because you couldn't have a side with a potato! They
had never heard of hot tea. After that we drove into town to the Jesse James Museum but went to the Patee House Museum instead and
it was truly amazing the stuff they had there. Most of the houses in the area looked like wrecks from the Fannie Mae home crisis but
when you went inside this former grand hotel run by a couple of volunteers, it was full of interesting historical displays-houses,
businesses, pony express, stage coaches, trains, wagon trains, some hotel
rooms etc. Sadly it
closed at 4pm so we had to leave.
Drove around town a bit to see if it was any better and found
many nice areas. It's as if they have never heard of planning, urban or otherwise. So many historical and beautiful buildings
decaying and being lost while the town is surrounded by pure ugliness. Went back to Comfort Inn and then out to tea at Applebees
across the road. It was still raining steadily-not strong but constant. Shared a ribs and steak combo. It was very ordinary. Back to
room and slept reasonably well. Room was comfortable.
WED, 8 MAY, ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI, TO VERMILLION, SOUTH DAKOTA
Woke early but went back to sleep. Had a late breakfast-very basic. The road was good but a bit slow-could
have gone a lot faster in many places. Bought some snacks at a small and rather attractive town at a HyVee-quite good supplies. Even
found a real bread roll. Drove and drove and it rained steadily and constantly-not hard but very wet. Some of I29 closed off so had
to take a longer route. Went off track when we stopped so that took time too. Had lunch in a shop car park and looked at the
Salvation Army store and then later followed arrows to Elkhorn, a Danish town.
It had a very fine
museum most professionally done, down a badly rutted roads-you just wouldn't expect it. They had detailed Danish history and huge
numbers of artefacts. Bought a book and magnet. They had good T shirts, better than in Denmark (about hygge) but expensive, and it
didn't seem appropriate to be buying Danish souvenirs in US.
Drove on to Vermillion past Sioux
City and thru various states. Still raining. Arrived at Best Western, Vermillion. Peter had a sleep and I sent emails then we went
out to Cafe Brule in main street and it was more like a cafe at home. They had some decent dishes and the presentation was good.
THURSDAY, 9 MAY, 2019 VERMILLION S. DAKOTA TO CHAMBERLAIN, S. DAKOTA
Western Lees Motor Inn, Chamberlain
Up early, ate in the small breakfast room where the toaster was above head height for
some unknown reason. Drove out quickly and no troubles along the way. It had snowed overnight nearby and the wind was bitterly
cold. We stopped once at a roadside stop where the tourist info was all locked up again. Saw some great motor bikes there-a family
roadtrip on Super Harley Davidsons.
Arrived in Chamberlain about 12.30pm. Room was available on
ground floor and we went to McDonalds for lunch. The counter girl and lady who delivered food were very friendly and nice, not just
teenagers. Then went to the Indian Museum at St Joseph's school. Fantastic displays but never any indigenous in attendance.
I took lots of photos and felt terrible sadness for the Indians and the way their culture around
bison was destroyed. It was an impressive museum but they didn't say much about how kids came to be brought up at the school minus
their parents and families. After that drove around main street and had a look at a fantastic second hand shop and a quilt shop that
had been much advertised on billboards. They certainly had lots of material but not many Indian
artefacts as they claimed. I guess their beads would be used in many of the Indian wares made. Back to motel, rested until 7 pm and
then went out to tea in main street to the fishermen's grill, a rather downmarket but honest looking cafe. We did the wrong thing
and ordered a pizza. It was a supreme but I couldn't taste a thing. Peter reckoned it was my cold and he was probably right but it
certainly needed some herbs. We watched a few tables full of people eat with apparent enthusiasm. They had a salad bar in a room out
the back. Drove over the bridge and had a brief look around before home to motel.
FRIDAY 10 MAY, CHAMBERLAIN, SOUTH DAKOTA TO RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA
Howard Johnson by Wyndham, Rapid City
Went over to breakfast with our own supplies. A
strange woman watched me the whole time. She was there to clean up, I think, but it really put me off. Then a friendly man came
along. He was 84 but looked much younger, a retired private detective, travelling home to Connecticut with his Scottish wife after
attending a grandchild's graduation somewhere in millionaire's row in the snow area. He asked where we were from and I said
Australia-he didn't recognise our accent so I said we were a bit more refined in SA. He didn't like refined. Those people are all
thieves he said. Don't be refined. Anyway, he was interesting, a Democrat with very sensible things to say. It slowed down our
breakfast but was quite enjoyable. Left for Rapid City but detoured along the way to see the big statue, Dignity. It was imposing
and with a great view over the town of Chamberlain. They absolutely love these metal sculptures-they are in every town
been even mildly 'done up." We again saw many billboards for Wall Drug but our breakfast friend had
explained about it so we called into the western town/pharmacy
shop and had lunch. It was a
terrific place, mainly souvenirs but they gave good value with statues and art etc. The food was pretty crap. We had hotdogs each.
Roll was toasted but big fat kransky sausages. Bought some magnets and an icecream.
I got Peter
to walk down the main street looking like he was in a wild west gunfight but it wasn't very convincing. Drove on to Rapid City. Had
a rest at the Howard Johnson and then made our way downtown to eat at the Firehouse Restaurant which we had seen advertised on
billboards for 100 kms. Each billboard had an old fire engine parked next to it.
pork medallions and I had half a chicken. They were both OK but a bit of gravy would have been nice. We had an expensive tiramisu
for dessert between us but it was bad-just cream with almost no biscuit and they haven't a clue about serving things attractively.
Still very light. Did some washing, scrap book and diary in effort to catch up. Cold, windy and wet outside.
SATURDAY 11 MAY, RAPID CITY, SD, TO KEYSTONE, COLORADO
Baymont, Keystone near Mt Rushmore.
Left quickly after breakfast and went straight to Mt Rushmore. It was
very good. Not many directions as usual but we worked out what to do. Good lifts so not too much climbing stairs although there were
plenty to climb. The faces were very impressive.
As expected they didn't look that big but, of
course, they are big at about 60' foot high each. It was interesting to see the Danish connection with the sculptor being Gutzon
Borglum, the son of Danish immigrants. The museum was interesting and the souvenir shop excellent. As we were leaving it began to
snow and was very cold but pretty. We then drove to see the Crazy Horse Memorial. That was $24 to get in and you could just see the
head on a mountain in the far distance. They have a long way to go if they want to do the horse etc. The interpretive centre also
had good souvenirs and displays but the snack shop was woeful and we ended up
having the only
hot food available, hot dogs. They were fat brown sausages on a plain, untoasted, unheated roll. Peter ate all of his and some of
mine and was sick of me complaining, he said. We drove back to Keystone and booked into the motel which was high up over the town.
It was isolated and fairly old and the room was small and cramped. We soon found that the toilet cistern kept getting stuck.
Eventually we moved next door to another room which was an effort as I had done washing and there was lots of stuff around. Later
went out to tea and walked down main street which was full of shops mainly selling Indian souvenirs to the relatively few tourists.
Ate at Joe's Pizza. It was a good pizza. I was starving and didn't want to share, but, of course,
could only eat half when it came. Peter was annoyed with me at wasting money and sulky. He had spaghetti which he didn't enjoy and
no wine, which always makes him grumpy. Went back to hotel and I did another load of washing-all the things Peter had forgotten. It
was worth it to get it all organised. Skyped with Michael which was very nice.
SUNDAY 12 MAY. KEYSTONE, CO, TO SHERIDAN, WYOMING, MOTHERS' DAY
Best Western Sheridan Center
Very ordinary breakfast and glad to get out of that cramped
room. Just leaving the hotel and Peter took the wrong turning before I had even looked at Google maps. He sulked for ages but the
road turned out to be good and although it wasn't interstate there were hardly any people at all. The countryside was woody with
pine trees and black hills and gradually turned into grasslands. Took a long time to drive to Sheridan and we were hungry when we
arrived. Great Western Hotel had its building on both sides of road joined by an elevated walkway-apparently owned by an Australian.
Walked down main street and eventually found a cowboy cafe which was good. Looked for the dollar shop on the way home to buy some meagre
supplies but couldn't
find it. Back to room for a rest. We checked places to eat and after our last good experience, unfortunately decided on a Chinese
buffet again. You paid at the door and were then on your own. There were some OK dishes but it was all lukewarm and not much of
anything I liked. We both went home in a bad mood. The room was rather hot at night and a lot of light came through the
MONDAY 13 MAY, SHERIDAN, WY
We hung around the hotel for quite a while as we had to change rooms. Riley at the office said
he'd ring us when the room was ready and one of the cleaners said it would only be a few minutes so after an hour I rang and we
could finally move. Because the guy was again sanding the steps for painting we had to take the long way around. After setting up
the room we left for the place that was mentioned in the advertising as a fine house called Mount View or similar, but when we got
there it just seemed to be a private residence in the better part of town. We went for a walk and looked at the houses, which were
much nicer than most we have seen.
Drove to Walmart to get the makings for lunch. We
bought bread rolls, ham and a tomato and that worked well for lunch. After that we headed for the local historic mansion called
Trail End. It was very, very impressive, built in the early 1900s with most of the furniture and fittings original.
Very grand indeed with almost every room being solid wood panelling. There was a great deal to look at
inside and the outside grounds were grand too. We drove around a few more blocks to look at houses and then back to hotel for a rest
before tea. Peter found a grill house for tea. It advertised lamb chops so we went for that. It was very nice. More upmarket. The
waitress, Jessica, wrote her name on the paper tablecloth with 2 crayons which were on the table. When we had to wait so long, we
wrote our names too! Peter had ribs again and I had chops which I asked to be very well done but when they arrived they were red. I
sent them back and when returned they were perfect, heated on the very plate. I also had a gigantic baked potato served with butter
and sour cream. That was good but too much. The meal came with a salad for both of us. For dessert we had a caramel pecan ice cream
dessert which tasted quite nice but had a massive wedge of rock hard ice cream in the middle. It was definitely the best meal we've
had in US.
TUES 14 MAY, SHERIDAN, TO CODY, WYOMING
Best Western Sunset Inn, Cody
Hotel breakfast but took my own teabag this time. The helper who was there yesterday and
tried to find normal tea was there again. He asked me what I meant by normal tea. I said I meant just tea, tea flavoured tea, not a
herbal infusion. He said that he asked a friend what was proper tea (what I had called it yesterday) and the friend said 'land that
I own.' The place was a bit cramped and not over clean. We left at 9 am and drove through some really stunning country-Big Horn
Forest and Mountains. The road was winding but the views amazing.
After that we came upon rather uninteresting land which looked like Yorke Peninsula. We
got to Cody about 12.30pm, checked in and then went to Walmart and got a sandwich and tomato etc which we ate in our room. After
that we headed for the Cody Museum which was really stunning. The exhibits were of all kinds and beautifully done but the wildlife
was absolutely amazing and on multiple levels-walked down a ramp to each new level.
Bought some magnets and a mat for Chris and then drove to the Mormon church to see the mural, only
it was not near the sign we had seen on the highway. Finally tracked it down and a very nice man showed us around and demonstrated
the Mormon story as told in the mural.
He showed us around the whole time. It was his first
day and he was nervous but did a very good job. We had a look at the chapel itself and it was totally plain. They don't go in for
ornamentation, obviously. It was a good story of the pioneers building a canal and section of the railroad around 1900-1903 to
establish irrigation. The Mormon settlers had been chased away many times but were encouraged by Bill Cody. It was very fascinating
and we felt pleased to have such a private tour. Back to Great Western motel and had a rest then out to tea. I picked out a German
restaurant and then saw that it was only open Thu-Sat. We settled on an Italian in town but when we went inside they had only tall
tables at the front or really high end dark tables in a back room that was cold and dark and there was only one other couple. We
said no and headed for a Chinese restaurant but both in town were buffet style. Finally went to Granny's. As we arrived an
Australian couple came out the door and the woman said "Well, I won't be recommending Granny's to Trip Adviser." That was a worry
but we had the seniors' menu and it was OK. I had fish and Peter had meatloaf with lots of gravy which he really liked. He had
cheesecake for dessert and I had a scoop of choc ice cream. We went past Buffalo Bill's Hotel, The Irma. The clientele looked rough
and the whole place was a mess with empty flower tubs full of cigarette butts and dead grass. What a pity in an historical place
like that. Back to hotel, and Peter planned our trip to Yellowstone. It seems complicated.
WED 15 MAY, CODY, WYOMING, TO YELLOWSTONE WEST, WYOMING
Historic Madison Hotel, W. Yellowstone
Packed up and set out by about 8.30 am. The breakfast was OK with some
bacon which made me happy. Drove straight to Yellowstone Park and paid $35 to get in. We did an anticlockwise tour as Peter had
worked out. I had no idea it was so huge and distances between places were 20km to 40 km. We looked at a beautiful artist point with
many colours in the hills going down deep to a river.
From there we went to a rapids area which was very pretty with so much water. We were not seeing animals. Like Rotarua etc
Yellowstone has many thermal springs, including Old Faithful which we saw later.
It took a long time as they were building a new road. We went to Canyon Village where we had a
soggy sandwich and happened to sit at a bench with 2 ladies, both from Melbourne on a tour. Australians had been with them at the
same bench before us. They were not impressed with the food, especially the crappy wet sandwiches on 9-grain bread like we had. The
Village had only just opened and there were big piles of snow. The main shop was already packed with people.
I bought a tile. After that we headed off to
Norris, Madison to Old Faithful. On the way we saw 4 bison and about 2 on the way back.|
We did not see other animals but you might need to get off the road for that. After a long drive we were lucky to walk up
to Old Faithful and within 5 minutes it erupted while other people had been waiting ages. It is very annoying that they don't have
signs pointing in the direction to go when you arrive at a landmark-dozens of signs in advance and then they disappear. By this time
we were really tired and the weather was very patchy-raining heavily at times. We drove to the western entrance to the park and were
immediately in Yellowstone West where we were staying. Our hotel was the historic Madison for the night. It was all made of logs but
fairly rough and ready. The owner gave us a long spiel on arrival but the room was cramped and the floor grubby. It was just
bearable. We got a hotel voucher for $10 each off a meal at the cafe next door so we went there and it was actually really good. I had
an excellent lasagna and Peter had bison meatloaf. The staff were pretty weak-no interaction at all and on their phones most of the
time. We went for a walk around town and you could see that in the season it must be jam packed with visitors and there were endless
souvenir shops. The town was mainly accommodation and souvenirs. We bought some breakfast stuff from the supermarket. It was very much
like a snow resort. At the hotel you could get free hot tea and coffee so it wasn't bad.
THURS 16 MAY, YELLOWSTONE, WYOMING, TO POCATELLO, IDAHO
Quality Inn, Pocatello
As soon as we were packed we drove straight to the Grizzly Bear Centre
arriving just after 8.30 am. Went straight to see the bears. There were 3 out. They were eating but then there was a bit of
fighting and sparring. Apparently this is quite common.
They are all male, desexed and
extremely cute. Luckily some of the wolves began to howl. They were restlessly going round their pens but then settled down and were
lying in the sun. We looked at the birds and had a quick look at the museum. The bears were the best. Set off to Pocatello.
Countryside fairly uninteresting-much like the area between Germein and Port Augusta to hills in background to scrubby blue bush. On
arrival in Pocatello we went to the local history museum which was a reconstructed western fort. It was impressive but someone had
put artificial flowers about the walkways etc- just random weird flowers. Looked awful. There were lots of little squirrels,
marmots. So, so cute but I can see that they could be a problem because there were droppings everywhere. The fort looked neglected
and a bit artificial but the displays inside were interesting
and the museum itself was full of
terrific old pioneer and more recent artefacts: a shop, fire engines, stage coaches.
that we headed for the Museum of Clean. It had the potential to be really good but it was rather kitsch though full of worthwhile
and relevant displays. The main emphasis was vacuum cleaners, however, hundreds of them. We spoke to the guy running the place and
he seemed quite enthusiastic but it looked like it was struggling a bit.
By that time we were
feeling very tired so went back to the hotel and had a rest before going out to Applebees. I had nachos and Peter had a steak.
FRIDAY 17 MAY, POCATELLO, ID, TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
The Kimball at Temple Square
Had breakfast downstairs. One fellow raced out with about 10 little
bottles of milk and then he was getting tea for his wife and taking numerous sugars and stuff. Then he came back several more times
and got about 6 yogurts and a few more milks and other bits and pieces. We were not sure if he knew the lady working there or what
was happening. Left about 9.30am for Salt Lake City. The scenery was similar to home but it rained the whole time and traffic was
really heavy. It stopped as we arrived and we made it to the hotel without incident. It is fabulously located right next to Temple
Square and has a kitchen so we can make our own meals. Walked down to the square past the grey temple to get some
groceries and had Chinese in a food court. It was OK. The shop, Harmons, was downstairs and
most spectacular with a huge range of everything, including fresh fruit and bread.
makings for curried mince.
Walked back through square again then went out to a hidden state wine shop in a car park for a bottle of wine. Had to ask the hotel
for a frying pan and a pot for cooking because there wasn't much in the kitchen. Had a call from Simon who was picking up Jake from
swimming. Thunder and lightning outside and it poured with rain. Bedroom
is weird-dark walls. When you put the light on the fan goes on. There is no curtain to cover the venetian blind which lets in a lot
SAT 18 MAY, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Tidied up then walked to The Beehive house which was owned by Brigham Young. It was quite a
long walk uphill and they had a brigade of young people gardening and making a mess everywhere with dirt on the footpaths. They were
washing it away, it was wet anyway and my shoes were getting ruined. They were blocking the whole footpath in places and looked
pretty hopeless. Maybe they were volunteers and maybe they were involuntary volunteers from the look on some of their faces. There
was a big Chinese tourist party at the same time as us so we had a fast, 4 person tour in front of them by yet another older man,
one of many running things round here. The house was quite ornate, more so than we expected. The beehive represents industry,
hard work, working together and
is the state symbol.
The gardens were very pretty but a bit higgeldy piggledy-begonias,
impatiens and lots of flowers in a variety of colours. They take great pride in their gardens, it seems. After the beehive we had a
look at the Joseph Smith Memorial building
which was actually a hotel built in about 1911,
the first in the city for guests. It was spectacular with a beautiful stained glass ceiling and upstairs on the second floor you
could see small ceiling domes which were gold-a very nice volunteer lady told us they were real gold leaf. When she learnt we were
from Australia she was very helpful. Told us to go up to the 10th floor where there was a fabulous view of the temple and the
appointments themselves were lovely. Lots of rooms were being prepared for wedding
receptions. Then went to family history building but it was on the other side of the square. I wasn't very optimistic but the man
really knew what he was doing with Irish records. He worked out like me that the only real contact we have is Margaret McEvoy
Kilbride so he got her baptism certificate and it seemed the mother was Ann Dunn. It seemed very convincing at the time but now I am
not so sure. We had leftover mince on toast for lunch, and later went out to Harmons again and bought steak and veges for tea. The
bread was French but the texture was strange. The tea tasted quite good. We were waiting to talk to Michael and did so
eventually-mainly about the election and Scomo's unexpected win. Watched a movie, "Legally Blonde."
SUNDAY 19 MAY, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Woke up early and decided to go and see the Mormon Tabernacle choir. Made breakfast and
left about 8.45. When we got there everyone was pouring in even though we were told that you were allowed in at about 9.10 am. it
turned out it was a rehearsal so much less formal than the actual broadcast at 9.30 am. It was fantastic. The organ looked fabulous
against the illuminated ceiling which changed frequently in colours. The singers were impressive and the orchestra was huge.
The old men were bossing people around again and telling you where to sit and there were numerous
young female missionaries showing people where to go. After that we walked to the library but it was closed on Sunday. There were 2
information centres open so we walked thru those and then headed for the tram to do a round trip. We didn't realise until we were
under way that the line was cut and we had to walk to one of the next stops-a very long way. As we got there the waiting tram pulled
out so we decided not to go on because there were so many mentally challenged and drug affected people on there that it wasn't very
pleasant. We walked the long way back to the previous stop and as we arrived that tram also pulled off just before we could reach
it. I complained to the officials but they said they couldn't vary the timetables or they'd have to reprint them all. It is only for
a month. I pointed out that a little flexibility for the month might be good. We walked to Harmons again. The mall was shut so we
had to go the long way instead of thru the tunnel, but it was OK.
The walk home was long,
passing the temple with the angel Moroni on top. I decided to do all the washing which worked well apart from the laundry being down
several floors and at the opposite end of a corridor. American hotels are very reasonable about washing in terms of convenience and
cost, unlike Europe where costs are absurd. After that we went for a drive around the suburbs to look at the houses in the better
areas. It was all quite nice. For tea we had the leftovers from 2 previous evenings.
MON 20 MAY, SALT LAKE CITY, UT, TO TWIN FALLS, IDAHO.
Sure Stay by Best Western, Twin Falls
Tidied rooms and left about 9.30 am. Drive was very smooth thru a
variety of country. Lots of irrigation and then very ugly country much like around Port Augusta. Checked in at Best Western
Hotel-small but OK. Got a room on first floor and then went for lunch in a mall. Hobby Lobby was an amazing huge shop of crafty stuff but we
had hot dogs from Orange Julius. The orange drink was ghastly-she did about 6 processes and it tasted like it contained milk and
vanilla-very strange indeed and undrinkable. Went around the path next to the visitor centre to see the river and steep sides. Later
we drove to the Shoshone falls.
They were very spectacular. Back to room, had a rest and then
walked to tea at Canton Chinese restaurant. It was big serves and OK but we couldn't eat much. Both feeling flat. The town doesn't
seem interesting. Posted 5 postcards.
TUES 21 MAY, 2019 TWIN FALLS, ID, TO ONTARIO, OREGON
Quality Inn, Ontario
Left about 9.30 am after breakfast in foyer again. Not very impressive
but OK. The grumpy looking woman in charge kept following me around and ostentatiously filling containers etc as quickly as I was
taking things- a toasted bagel and some butter. We used our own toppings of vegemite, cheese and jam. Peter checked out the old town
so we drove down there and it was charming as usual. There was so much on the outskirts we didn't expect much but it was quite
nicely done up and full of second hand shops and thrift shops. We had no problems with driving apart from the constant rain, but it
eased off eventually and we got to Ontario about 1pm. It was too early for our room. He gave us a 15% off voucher for Country
Kitchen so we went over and had lunch, a toasted bacon, cheese and tomato sandwich, tea and a pancake each. They had a very pretty
garden out the front.
Back to motel and Peter had a rest while I caught up with diary and
read. I had already dozed quite a bit in the car on the way. He slept too long so we only had about an hour to do the
museum/cultural centre in town. It was part of a big complex but there was hardly anyone in the building. We had a look at the
artefacts and then I saw a sign saying museum continues thru here –it was a viewing room and on the other side hidden in the back of
the building was a very fine museum-all very professionally set up and displayed. More about Lewis and Clark expedition and about
pioneers who travelled across country to the area of the four rivers. The Indian displays were detailed and there was a lot
about Japanese who were interned during the war in the area. Apparently many were released to work on
nearby farms. When we came out of the museum the gift shop was also empty, all the doors were open and it was full of good books and
stuff. I felt like pinching some of the lovely Dover colouring books about Indians. In the end we left without paying the $6 fee.
The town was a nightmare to navigate as it was laid out avenues one way and streets the other and they were all numbers-1st to 33rd
sts etc. and 1st to 33rd Ave. It is absolutely ridiculous. We bought quite a good pizza from Little Caesar's. It was enjoyable
watching the different clients especially a rotund couple who came in with a tiny chihuahua which they cuddled the whole time. Some
pre-ordered. Peter spent all evening organising the rest of the trip and booking tickets for the Boeing Factory. Handwashed several
garments. Duna much too hot and heavy but could open window again. Makes such a difference.
WED 22 MAY, ONTARIO, OREGON, TO KENNEWICK, WASHINGTON
Red Lion Inn, Kennewick
Got going about 9am and a good clear road the whole way. Sky very grey
and quite a bit of rain but patchy. Lots of Pt Augusta landscape, then undulating hills, beautiful pine forests and back to Pt
Augusta again on arrival here-sagebush, flat. The place was all new in our area with a forest of business centres, motels and
franchise shops and shopping centres. The time was an hour earlier and we couldn't get into the hotel so went to Columbia Centre for
food. That was a joke. It was a huge half empty shopping centre. It did have a food court but nothing we wanted to eat. It's a big
problem. We went to another shopping centre which wasn't a food store but a clothing store-Burlington. We finally went to Burger
King and had a box between us-a whopper, drink and 2 cookies. Not too bad. Back to motel, got our room, a disabled room again. The
window opened. Had a sleep then went out to find downtown Kennewick. It was the usual. Sculptures, trees and plants, antique and
second hand shops, tattoo shops etc. It is all a terrible mess. We drove back to motel and decided on the Texas Roadhouse for tea
later. Went out using ipad. The Texas RH was very loud and busy but quite good fun with the staff participating in a quick line
dance every so often.
We shared a 6oz steak, baked potato and salad and that was OK,
followed by a brownie, tea and coffee. The staff were very industrious, cleaning the booths thoroughly-even wiping off the menus,
filling pepper and salt shakers and checking for chewing gum. Not so sure how often they wash the peppers and salts. The place was
enjoyable and pretty full. Back to motel and ironed P's shirts.
THURS 23 MAY, KENNEWICK, WA, TO EVERETT/SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Hampton Inn, Everett/Seattle
Left hotel about 9 am after a fairly uninteresting breakfast. They
had the right oats but only muffins, no bagels. The drive was very scenic through irrigated dry land which still looked much like
saltbush but the river wound around all over the place and near that was lots of cultivation, grapes, fruit
trees like apples and pears and some kind of vegetable with acres of cane sticks and strings-possibly peas or beans. Gradually the
scenery became more mountainous although rather bare and then finally it turned into the expected look of pine tree covered
mountains, very beautiful, all the way to Seattle. You do get beautiful panoramic landscapes in America that I don't think you get
at home. Houses and farms looked neater too although we still are surprised at all these houses standing bare in the middle of
blocks with no yards or fences. We now understand why they don't have clotheslines. Arrived at Everett at about 3pm and Peter
started working on hotels for rest of trip. Room nicer than we have had lately-cleaner and fresher-just newer. Can see the port
and might go down there to look for a walk. After a rest we drove down towards the port but it was all very industrial. We kept
trying to find the shore and eventually reached a marina which was very fancy. Leaving the car in some car park where we couldn't
understand the rules, walked along to see the boats of the rich and famous. Many of them had shelter under sheds in the water and
there were more boats than we had ever seen before.
You couldn't enter the boat area. Then
went into Lombardi's to have tea as we had a voucher for a free dessert. We had a lasagne and salad between us followed by a very
good tiramisu. The lasagne was a bit rich, in my opinion. Looking at all the upper class who can afford boats was a nice change. We
were served by Michael who looked about 20 but apparently has 3 sons and a daughter. Drove back to Hotel Hampton. Watched some TV
FRIDAY, 24 MAY, EVERETT, WA
Went down to
breakfast. Peter asked the woman if there were any oats and she didn't seem to understand what oats were. Said no, this was their
only cereal. Later he did find some oatmeal. She was rude, not one of the "You're welcome" people we've come to expect. I had a
bagel in the usual slow toaster. They also didn't have any plain tea bags although they were acting like their breakfast on the 6th
floor was something special. After breakfast we set out for the Boeing factory, getting petrol on the way. We couldn't take photos while on
the tour but I saw an interesting plane coming in from the car park.
Peter was worried about problems with the tickets etc, hence our earliness, but it all worked smoothly with the phone tickets and
they asked if we wanted to go on
a 10.30 am tour, which we did. Our tour guide was Mark. He was pretty cool, in his own opinion, and a bit contemptuous in manner.
The factory is the biggest in the world, apparently, and employs 35,000 people in 3 shifts, 20,000, 10,000 and 5,000. The morning
shift has the fewest. We were able to look at the very hangars where planes were being built and it was impressive. Had to walk a
fair distance and go up and down stairs and lifts-fairly boring. I think they need a whole new interactive area and they do seem to
be building something new. After the tour we looked in their cafe but the food was soggy sandwiches again so we went to a
supermarket called Albertsons and got a corn dog, some wedges and a donut.
We ate it in the car and then I went back and got
toothpaste and brush and some cherries. Back to hotel for a rest up. Went out to tea to the Vintage Cafe nearby. It looked trendy.
Peter had meatloaf and I had fish and chips. It was awful. The batter is thick and cooked so hard it breaks. They can't seem to cook
things correctly, just fry it indiscriminately. She raved on about the icecream and brought out one scoop in a metal dish-no cream or
strawberry or any decoration. They just don't have a clue. Drove back to hotel, watched Disney channel and 2 episodes of 'Sex and
the City,' that's how desperate I was for entertainment.
SAT 25 MAY, EVERETT, TO ASTORIA, OR
Holiday Inn Express, Astoria
Left promptly. Road was very crowded most of the way and we were held up for about 15 mins
because of Memorial Day traffic. It poured with rain the whole time. There was much beautiful scenery but hard to appreciate with
rain. Lots of traffic in Astoria but found motel OK and it was nice. Rooms were generous size. We had a rest then went out for a
drive as it was so wet. Drove around piers and had a look at ocean. Toured around in town and then decided on the Silver Salmon Grille for tea. It was quite smart, even pretentious, but food was ordinary.
I had pea and ham soup. It was thick
and not much taste with big lumps of ham. There was a warm roll which was nice. Peter had steak and seemed to enjoy it. We didn't have
dessert. They brought samples around on a tray and they looked overdone and sickly.
SUNDAY 26 MAY, ASTORIA, OREGON
Restless night due to temp as usual. Opened blind and it was a glorious day with a beautiful
cruise liner pulled up in the harbour nearby.
Hotel breakfast wasn't great. No bacon, no oats. Got
ready quickly and drove to maritime museum. Had a look at ships on wharves near museum and at paddle steamer-'American Empress,' an
active paddle steamer that runs along the Columbia River. There were many very elderly tourists on board and quite a few seemed
confused about where to go but there was a big bus painted to look like the paddle steamer outside the museum.
Weather was beautiful-blue sky, no rain. Museum was wholly about Astoria-fishing, canning and ship
Walked uphill to local museum. It was too far but there were so many cars we
knew parking would be difficult. It was a nice little local museum-good Indian info and a fabulous bar-room.
From there went back to car to look for food. Drove to Flavel House and movie museum and found a
local labor cafe nearby. It was quite expensive but not a bad toasted sandwich if you like that orange cheese and sweet bread.
Flavel House was handsome but it was a winding effort getting inside as we had to go to the coach house out the back to get the
ticket and then climb back up to the house. My legs were getting sore by this time. House was very nice but not as fancy as some of the
other mansions we have seen.
We then went to the movie museum across the road but it was
really bad. You could make your own movie but we weren't interested. Displays were mainly about the Goonies, whoever they are. We
only went there because Michael said 'Kindergarten Cop' was made in Astoria as have been many movies, apparently, but there was very
little about that movie. We later saw the kindergarten building. By that time we were exhausted so went back to hotel. I did
washing-2 loads and 2 dryers at $1 each load. It was up and down in the elevator as there was no info on how long each cycle took but it
was a relief to get the clothes clean again-may be able to last until home. Communicated with our friend in Eugene via messenger.
Went out to a Chinese restaurant-across road and past the doughboy memorial-to Golden Luck. Food was quite good. Only a small steady
flow of customers. Not sure why not more as there were so many tourists in town and all the hotels were full for the Memorial Day
weekend. We also visited the Astoria Column during the day which was sunny but with a cold wind.
MON 27 MAY, ASTORIA, TO PORTLAND, OR
Heathman Hotel, Portland
We drove to Portland today but had a long wait to get into the hotel because it was a
public holiday and people didn't have to leave until midday so the rooms weren't ready. We had already stopped at some seaside towns
where it was grey and cold and then at a Safeway supermarket to get breakfast supplies. The beachside towns had many houses made of
wooden shingles-walls and roof.
The hotel only guarantees your room by 4 pm but we got in by
2.30 pm in the end. It is quite a ritzy and exclusive hotel but since I can't walk far we don't have much choice. We have been for a
little walk and there are lots of trams. You can get a day ticket for $2.50 if you are over 65. The town looks very nice with lots
of big department stores and street art, very trendy. Tomorrow we will use the trams to get about. The weather here is everything in
one day. Cold, windy, warm even hot right now. We are trying to decide where to go for tea as we had cheese and ham on saltine
biscuits for lunch. Breakfast isn't supplied at this hotel like in the big chains. Just as well, really. Seeing people putting white
sauce on scones and smelling waffles and hot cinnamon Danish for breakfast turns my stomach. I felt quite sick after wearing myself
out yesterday standing around at all the museums. Had a rest when we got to the hotel and felt a little better. Went for short walk
and saw all the trams going along several main streets. Had tea at Picnic House, a rather glamorous restaurant where there were a
group of people including a woman with the most piercing, impossible to ignore laugh ever-and she laughed a lot, thanks to a steady
supply of alcohol!!
TUESDAY, 28 MAY, PORTLAND, OREGON
Started the day with a bad bout of gastro but by 11.30 am I was a little better. I actually felt bad yesterday too. Should have
checked it out but got off the tram for the maritime museum, risked our life on the footpath over the bridge where pedestrians
competed with lunatic cyclists, skateboarders,
scooterers etc only to find the museum wasn't open on Tuesdays. Back on the tram we came into town and Peter had a hot dog at one of
the food vans in a city square.
I stuck to a small chips. Later we caught another tram and
did a big round trip to look at the place. It is very hipster. There are men in dresses, the public toilets in the tourist bureau
are shared so that urinals and toilets are together and all the churches have rainbow flags out the front. Food vans abound. They
have made a great effort to make things pretty and there are trees in most streets, many parks and hanging baskets of flowers on
lots of flagpoles. They are really working hard on rubbish cleanup too. On the trams many of the drivers get on and go over the tram
and pick up left rubbish before they start driving. There are also many push bikes. The only flaw is that on just about every street
corner there are homeless people-never seen so many. Generally it is one of the best looking places we have visited. Apparently we
are having roast beef and a berry pie for tea tomorrow night and we have decided on pizza as being fairly safe, ie well cooked, for
tonight after my bad tummy experience. We ate at a super trendy place called the Picnic House last night. I had lamb chops served
with a sauce of apricots and pistachio with a goat cheese something. The chops were perfect but the sauce was weird and the goat
cheese was like a pie, half cold, with unknown stuff in it apart
from the cheese. Peter had a turkey roll and a $10 glass of Merlot. He also finished off most of the goat cheese pie and didn't seem
to miss a beat! Not sure that the goat cheese pie wasn't the source of my gastro. Went into Nordstrom shop to look around but the
sandals I looked at were $1100 so we left quickly.
WEDNESDAY 29 MAY, PORTLAND, OR, TO EUGENE, OREGON
Home2Suites, Downtown Eugene
Got going reasonably early as we had decided to visit the rose garden in
the Washington Gardens and the Pittock mansion outside Portland before travelling on. The sun had come out and it was really
beautiful in the gardens. We were there at opening time and already lots of people were walking around and taking photos.
From there we drove to the Pittock Mansion which was very grand although not all the furnishings
etc were totally authentic. They explained all this which I thought was a bit pathetic. Some of the original furniture etc was
deemed not to be grand enough so they had decorated rooms in a style of the era but in a fancier way. As far as I am concerned it
should be as close to the original as possible or at least to the original in some stage of its being. The poor old Pittocks only
lived there about 4 years before they died. She had already had a stroke and wanted to stay in town but he had an elevator built for
her. It was high up and inconvenient on a hill, but a very impressive house.
After that drove
towards Eugene without much difficulty apart from the usual fights about the ipad Google map and it suddenly changing to Preview
mode from which it is impossible to escape. Stopped for lunch at a town and had McDonalds and went into a Fred Meyer store to buy a
plant and some wine for tea. Got to the hotel in Eugene about 3.30 pm so didn't have long before we had to be at our friend's house
at 5 pm. Had a wash and changed. Couldn't find the house in the very long street. In the end we had parked right next to it as I had
thought possible because it was grey and white and had a big driveway. Tea was very nice-roast beef with carrots, potatoes and
gravy. We learnt quite a lot about how the American teachers were recruited around 1972. I didn't know that Kim and Judy had,
never taught before, just
like us. Kim was recruited in health and PE teaching and Judy was allowed to come along for Kim. They were only contracted for 2
years and could then have their fares paid home, which surprised me, and they didn't have to pay tax if they chose not to, but then
they HAD to go back after 2 years. Kim and Judy stayed until 1976. When they returned he went to work at a golf course for the rest
of his career. They have had colleagues from Australia to stay many times. When I admired the beautiful Hardanger Judy had in her
front room on all of the furniture-across the table and several cupboards, she asked if I wanted any. She said her daughters had
taken what they wanted. The work was just meticulous.
Then I mentioned cherry ripes
and she kept on talking about a tower then brought out this tower of 5 boxes of chocolates made in Medford and gave them to me. I
said I couldn't take them but she insisted she had got them on special and wanted us to have them so in the end I relented. We left
around 9 pm, richer than we had arrived, carrying our wonderful presents and agreeing to meet them for tea at the Texas Roadhouse on Thursday.
THURSDAY 30 MAY, EUGENE, OREGON
Had breakfast downstairs but couldn't eat a thing
and still suffering gastro-that's 3 days. Felt better though whoozy after that so we went out to the Shelton McMurray Johnson
mansion. I managed to navigate us to the county fairgrounds as I thought I had chosen correctly on Google maps. Eventually we found
it, an imposing wooden mansion on top of yet another hill overlooking the city. It was spectacular outside and had some nice stuff
but the place was grubby and neglected with floating electrical cords- really a
disgrace in such a place. The tablecloth was dirty and wrinkled and the table unset although there was plenty of nice China. There
were plastic boxes of stuff all over the place and most of the house seemed to be occupied by staff who let you in and then
disappeared. Sad. After that we went back to the County Museum at the fairgrounds again-we had seen it on our earlier excursion.
Most impressive little museum with terrific vehicles and photographic display.
a sampler and some father Xmas stickers at half price. Back to the motel with maps playing up and bought makings for lunch at deli
across street. It was a fine shop, just like grocery shop in Vejle that is now closed. Had a rest, wrote up diary and stuck stuff in scrap book. Headed out
for dinner at Texas Steak House. Waited out front but they were already seated at the back of the retaurant. It was very cold so we moved.
had a 6oz steak with various veges. Kim and Judy left about 8 pm as they were leaving to travel for their granddaughter's birthday
in the morning. Had a look at Macy's and came home.
FRIDAY 31 MAY, EUGENE, OREGON, TO SILVER CITY NEAR MEDFORD, OREGON
Usual bad breakfast when they kept asking us how it was.
Got petrol and packed up. Waited down in lobby and Art arrived just after 11 am, having left Portland at about 8 am. Followed him
with some difficulty as he sped along and stopped for lunch at a beautiful little town called Oakland.
There were many antique shops, lovely old buildings and we had lunch at a ritzy cafe called
Toppers. Peter and Art had quiche and I had a half sandwich on seed bread. There were about 5 slices of ham in it-too much, and it
came with a bowl of what looked like scrambled eggs but was actually tiny noodles in a macaroni salad. The atmosphere was great and
when the girl asked me if I wanted my tea refreshed I said yes, because the first lot was luke warm. She understood completely and
got me a whole new pot. For dessert I had a chocolate Umpqua icecream and Art had a fudge sundae. Umpqua is a river and the name of
local Indians and the icecream is very nice. From there we drove on towards Medford, stopped at a shop to get meat for tea and then
to the farm and cabin. The cabin was gorgeous-a real wooden cabin about a 1/4 km from the house. We were anxious to see animals and
on the way over were lucky enough to see the herd of wild elk.
Art showed us 2 guns he has for
shooting squirrels. Peter and he (not me with my wonky hip) were going for a hike but the weather was strange with dark blue clouds
and winds. Instead we sat on the verandah and looked at the oak trees but didn't see animals. At about 7 pm we went across to the
house. There were pieces of petrified tree in the yard.
The ground is very hard and
dry-cracked and clay like. We saw an elk eating close to the house. Apparently they can be shot at some times, fired at with arrows
and even be hunted with powder guns, depending on the season. Weird. Art asked us if we wanted to do some shooting but it was a no
from us. Dinner was grilled steak with peas, carrots, corn and a potato for Peter and me and we had tea and coffee. Drove back to
cabin in dark which was a bit scary as small animals seemed to be running in the headlights. The cabin was hot as the temp got up to
31 degrees C.
SAT 1 JUNE, SILVER CITY TO WILLOW, OR
Best Western Willows Inn
Woke up at 6 am with sun shining brightly through windows and birds tweeting. No sign
of elk. Tidied up. At about 8.20 am drove over to house for breakfast-crumpets and omelette. After breakfast Art took us to historic
Jacksonville where we walked around the lovely streets, posted my postcards and bought some souvenirs. They have kept all the old
shops and they look fabulous but it is obviously a tourist destination with knick knack shops everywhere.
It was getting late and we were aware we had a long way to go so had a lunch of bagel and cream
cheese. Bagel was fresh but stodgy. I bought a cinnamon twist and that was the same with cinnamon and sugar. Returning to the farm
we packed and then drove over to meet Kathy who had only just arrived home. She was lovely and took us upstairs to see her Navajo
style weaving. She buys the wool, cards it, spins it, colours it naturally, works out the patterns and does the weavings. The wool
was beautiful as were the weavings. We said goodbye and drove to the motel in Willows by tea time. I was very hungry so we went to a
nearby pizza shop, one of the few eateries available. I thought I had ordered a personal which was the smallest but there were so
many variations that I'd ended up ordering a small which was bigger and dearer. Peter ordered a small too, even though he knew I
wouldn't be able to eat all of mine. It was ridiculously expensive and we tried to work it out but there were so many people behind
us, it was so hard to understand the choices that they gabble out, we were hot and tired and hungry so went along. It was a very
good pizza and I could indeed only eat half. Back to motel and to bed a bit early for an early start for San Francisco.
SUNDAY 2 JUNE, WILLOW, OR, TO SF, CA
Union Square Hotel, San Francisco
Still a lot of tension over pizza debacle. Had breakfast at hotel. Couldn't eat much. Left about
8 am and headed again past the most amazing amount of produce-trees, shrubs and fields of rice and every kind of fruit and vegetable
for as far as the eye could see. Amazing really. Apparently
California grows most of the fruit and veges for America and you can believe it from the huge paddocks away to the sky. Just like
Spain, there were miles of roads with flowering oleander bushes in the median strip and they looked lovely.
It was quite stressful coming into San Francisco, much of the way on a 6 lane highway. The
drivers were really silly too, swapping lanes and being aggressive which we had not seen elsewhere. We got petrol first and then
drove to the hotel where we were able to park out the front to unload luggage. Amazingly, our room was available in a distant wing
and we were lucky to be able to drop off the luggage before returning the car just around 2 corners. That was the rub of course. The
carpark was at a busy intersection straddling 2 corners and signs for dollar cars return and others were all over the place so with
difficulty Peter entered only to find we had to go around the corner where there were multiple entrances to various levels of the
carpark and none of them obvious. We finally found the correct one and went down to the basement which was packed with return rental
cars. The signs pointed ahead all the time but they didn't actually point anywhere specific. Finally Peter asked a person who showed
us where to go even though he hardly spoke English. We took the papers and went upstairs to the office and she signed us off very
It was back to the hotel for a rest. The hotel room seems very pleasant. We eventually went for a walk down to the cable
car terminus at the square so that Peter could get a hot dog |
for lunch. I feel hungry all
the time but take one look at food and want to throw up. It's been a week of upset tummy now and I have hardly been able to eat a
thing. It is so hard when travelling to find good eateries. There was a huge crowd waiting for the cable car at the
turnaround-families and children round the whole block so we decided to leave it for tomorrow and walk to the city hall which we had
seen on the TV documentary on oxycontin. It was a long way in the end and there were huge numbers of homeless people with gear all
over the place, spitting and throwing rubbish around. The city hall building which on the special seemed to have about 50 steps only
had about 12 on one side and a few more on the other. It is a very grand building with lots of balconies and gold leaf or paint.
Many of the other buildings nearby were equally fine with beautiful decorations. Common
sense told us they had been constructed after the great earthquake so they aren't that old but they were very optimistic and
extravagant in style. On the way to the hall we passed through a farmers' market. It was near the end when we got there but I got 2
nectarines and some cherries. The cherries were not very good and much of the produce didn't look that impressive. It was nearly all
veges. Many of the city buildings are empty -a bit like some dark post apocalyptic movie. The decorative painting and features on
many of the hotels are really pretty.
For tea Peter selected an Irish pub nearby. There
was a big basketball game on TV and people were barracking loudly. Behind the bar a barman rang a bell as each quarter started. I
had fish and chips and Peter had pot pie. The chips were good and fish not too bad but even though I was starving hungry, one smell
and I could hardly eat a thing. It was a very atmospheric place and pretty smart, full of smart young tourists and San
MONDAY 3 JUNE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Awoke around 7.30 am after a good sleep in a bed with a comfortable pillow. Had simple
breakfast in room and then went out and caught a cable car nearby. We talked to 2 Australians who have been here 7 and a half weeks
and are also going home tomorrow. When the cable car came along there was only room for 4 hanging on the platform outside so we took
it. I felt pretty nervous but there was no problem and it was very exciting although when I moved my hand the rail was wet with
sweat. It was a much longer trip than I remembered, really up and down some tremendous hills including past Lombard street.
We got off at the terminus and walked to the maritime museum along Beach Street. It was extremely
unimpressive, art deco with murals they seemed proud of, but had nice views of the beach. The man in charge liked Australian TV
shows on Netflix. From there we walked to the ships and went on 'Balclutha' and the tug boat 'Hercules.'
On the 'Balclutha' we watched the video about the ship's connection with Port Pirie.
The ship tour was irritating as some organised primary school group was
reenacting sailors' tasks, and were getting in the way. Then walked along the beach to the piers. Looked in various shops for souvenirs
and T shirts, had a
hamburger at a seafood pier and then walked to Pier 39 to see the smelly but amusing sea lions which kept barking and knocking each
other off the platforms when they could be bothered.
Looked at more souvenir shops and a lovely
carousel and caught a tram back towards the cable car.
Had to wait in line forever this time too
as the staff waited also for no apparent reason before turning the cars on the turntable. We were lucky to get a seat inside and had a great
view until they let so many people on you couldn't see a thing which was very annoying and pointless. Back to hotel for a long and
For tea, Peter had scoped out an Indian restaurant which we accessed going via the
hotel car park rather than the long and circuitous route by the hotel front desk past the swimming pool, a disabled lift that didn't
work and 20 steep stairs that are a challenge each time. The restaurant exterior was not promising but inside it was very elegant.
We had butter chicken, a salad and a pappadum. I assumed it would come with rice but it didn't. There was some kind of problem
behind the bar so I couldn't have a diet coke and they kept vacuuming. I tried to ask the girl what was happening as they kept
taking the vacuum outside and then bringing it back in. I wondered if it was liquid they were vacuuming but the girl's English was
limited. Food was good but a tiny serve we shared between us. They only had odd desserts and when we asked for tea he brought a box
of tea bags and none of them were actually tea, so we left, deciding to have tea and dessert elsewhere-easier said than done. In the
end we went into the hotel restaurant and ordered a fudge brownie and tea and coffee. We had to wait a while and then they took us
down to the back of the restaurant and sat us in the far corner next to a man who was eating fish and broccoli. He made a sucking
sound every few seconds. This went on
and on as it was a large meal and he then burped loudly. He kept nodding off while eating but didn't stop eating the whole time, and the smell
was bad. He didn't look up or around either. Our brownie was OK-sort of hard with candied pecans. Back to room and prepared for trip
TUES 4 JUNE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALI
Had breakfast in room. Went down to reception to see if we could
get an extension on the room but she said the whole hotel was booked so she could only give us until 11.30 am.
We booked the shuttle bus for about 11.50 am and went back and organised stuff, read and watched TV until 11.30 and then went down
to foyer. As usual took the lift from 7 to 2, trip along corridor past swimming pool where I'd seen and heard a man blowing his nose in
the water the night before, down
the 20 steps and along the corridor again. Bus came promptly, driver chucked the bags in and we got on. It was pretty crowded but he
stopped for 2 more people and then sped on to airport where he dumped us at the international door. We found out that Qantas would
be at aisle 10 about 3 hours before our flight at 10.50 pm so we had to sit with all our luggage for 7.5 hours. We had trouble
finding somewhere to sit. It was hard keeping the seats as we were near the airport transport area and they kept calling for
wheelchairs and looking nastily at us because we were apparently occupying disabled seats but actually only one was labelled.
Eventually Peter went to
look for food and it turned out there was quite a good cafe area with tables, chairs and not bad food behind the check in counters,
so we moved. I had fried rice
and spring rolls which were excellent followed by tea and a biscuit and lolly. About the best meal I have had in weeks and I felt
much better. I was having trouble writing as the predictive text on the ipad and my poor typing caused problems. Someone sitting
next to us sent some pictures to me by mistake but I declined. I watched men put up a huge TV on a flimsy frame. They worked for
several hours and then some guy came along and wriggled the whole structure and they took the TV off and wheeled it all away. I
think he was probably the health and safety officer. Eventually we had some more Chinese and saw that the Qantas counter was open so
checked in without difficulty and went through customs. It was very messy and makeshift but worked OK. This taking off of shoes is a
big pain. We then went to the departure lounge and there were no big problems. Plane was not very comfortable. We had the extra
space but there were big bars right in front of both our seats so we had to sit semi diagonally. The 2 men in front of us
immediately reclined their seats for the whole trip and made it hard to get in and out of seats. Should not be allowed as far as I
am concerned. I only watched one movie, Second Act or something, a chic flick but entertaining enough. I read a bit and tried to
sleep and Peter read a bit too. It was dreadfully boring, noisy and more cramped than on any recent trip we have been on. The food
was bad too. They dropped off a toastie during the night and it was like eating cardboard. The way the food was served was awful-all
separate little packs so there was an enormous amount of debris and no place to put anything. On arrival in Sydney all was fine.
Collected luggage. Saw people getting a card but there were no instructions so we asked a nice stewardess and she told us what to
do. Nowhere did it say to get this card or have a sign on the machine or on the wall. We needed it to get through all the machines.
On Arrival in Adelaide, rang Michael and he came and collected us. I was so happy to be home in our lovely clean city with fresh and
In Graceland garden, Memphis
Elvis's kitchen, Graceland
Elvis's billiard room at Graceland
Elvis Presley's grave at Graceland
Glass pyramid at Memphis
Arcade Cafe/Milkbar Memphis
Our riverboat on the Mississippi, Memphis
Sculpture park on Arkansas River, Little Rock
At the sculpture park, Little Rock
The Clinton White House (reproduction), Clinton Presidential Library, Lttle Rock, Arkansas
Welcome to the State Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas
Saw a few of these signs
At the Patee House Museum, St Joseph, Missouri
Huge collection of Danish artefacts at the Danish Museum, Elkhorn, S Dakota
Peter at the Akta Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, S. Dakota
Holiday 2008 Beijing, Europe, Delhi
Holiday 2010 H. Kong, Germany, Dk, USA
Holiday 2012 England, IOM, Ireland, Denmark
Holiday 2013 USA, Canada
Holiday 2015 Scandinavia
Holiday 2016 New Zealand
Holiday 2017 Spain, Portugal, France, Andorra
Holiday 2018 Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Denmark,