A Travellerspoint blog

Death Valley, L.A and tour end

Nearing the end of the American Dream

Furnace Creek to be exact, is the name of the place where we camped in Death Valley. Im sure you will excuse the fear that we felt as we were driving up to this National Park haha. The campsite itself was actually desert and when the sun went down, all we could see were stars. We have never seen anything like them in England, nor are we likely to.

We went to the sand-dunes to watch the sun set and took lots of piccies. Ash said she is looking forward to the day when a camera is invented that is as good as the eyes and I couldn't agree more. It's not possible to capture everything as well as we have seen it but we have done our best.

Our last supper consisted of steak and chicken (prepared by your truly and jezebel) and some salad which was accompanied by the worst potatoes I've ever seen in my life prior to cooking. They turned out pretty well though to be fair. Our plan was to sleep under the stars but than plan went to pot as soon as H saw a coyote on the site. It was so cute though, it just looked like a little dog.

Not much to report from Death Valley, other than that we all lived to tell the tale. From Death Valley we travelled to L.A and the last part of our tour.

Once we hit L.A we did the usual tourist things of the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame (which is nowhere near as impressive as I was expecting it to be) then arrived at the Hacienda Hotel to say our goodbyes...sniff!! On our way to our hotel, we drove through Bel Air and saw the Beverly Hills Hotel, The Viper Lounge and not forgetting the park where George Michael got caught by the police haha.

The hotel was nice and we all went for dinner last night in a local sports bar. We had a couple of drinks, then went back to the hotel to crash out. Nothing exciting there lol. What I will say about L.A is that it looks exactly how I expected it to-palm trees and sunny. Can you believe it, sunny haha.

Have been to Santa Monica beach today and tomorrow we're going to Venice beach to do some of the touristy thing. We are hopeful that we're going to get a tan and the flip flops have even come out haha.

Thats everything up to now phew haha

love

H and Deb

x x x

Posted by debski 21:22 Comments (0)

Vegas Baybeh

Champagne, Marriages, Limosines and Gambling

WOWEEEE!!!

Vegas is definitely one of the best places that we have been to on the tour so far. The weather was rubbish (no suprises there) but we managed to fit in a whole lotta goodness in the time that we were there.

We rocked up to Vegas and went for something to eat- JESUS!!! It was an all you can eat buffet- yes buffet not buffay just kidding- for $18 dollars which included all the champagne you could drink. It wasn't exactly a Sunday roast but it was an experience to say the least. I've never seen so much food in one place at once and I don't think I've ever had so many different types of food on one plate before. There was everything from carved beef to watermelon and everything in between. I got a tasty piece of steak and some oysters. I even found some salad without dressing!!! and made sure I got some of that lol. The dessert cart was awesome and the cheesecake was beautiful. The apple pie however was not and H made sure that everyone knew it haha.

We got into our hotel rooms (which weren't too shabby at all haha) and chilled for a minute or two before we got ready for the Vegas experience (we'll come to that later)There was a living room and even an en suite type thing (and you say backpacking isn't luxurious :o) As we were going out in VEGAS and there were a few girls on the trek tour, we all decided we wanted to look somewhere near decent to go out partying. You may all remember that my GHD's hate me over this side of the world and the only set we had available to us were Lil's but there were waaay too many of us so we decided to bite the bullet and go in search of a straightening iron.

We were successful and got a nice set of Revlon ones. I don't think my hair knew what had hit it what with being blowdryed AND straightened hahA. AAAAnyways- onto the Vegas experience. This was something that Jezebel (the tour leader) sorted out. He hired a limo for 2 hours for us and bought a load of alcohol in, including champagne- so that we could have a night of madness in the Big Easy.

I have never had so much fun in one 2 hour slot as the Experience night. We stopped off at a light show, the Vegas sign and Little White Chapel where I think we all got married to each other. My husbby is a lovely Japanese guy off the tour called Katz.....don't worry we're not actually married, it was all in jest haha. The limo driver was a hottie and I can't really remember much else about the limo. I am currently getting lots of flashbacks from the evening and I have some video footage as well hmmmmm

The best part about the evening was the club we partied in. It was on the top floor of the Rio hotel in Vegas and there was a rooftop garden. I have never seen views like this in my life and definitely never when I have been as intoxicated as I was. Thats what champagne combined with homemade punch will do to you. Apparently there was a guy who likes British girls (I really don't remember) and there is a piccie of him kissing my face which funnily enough I don't remember either. H and I kept him entertained whilst trying to keep ourselves on our feet in some sort of decent composure haha

The club was unbelievable and I'd love to go back there again. The daytime in Vegas was pretty awesome too, even though it was raining. We spent the day sightseeing and amongst other places went into the Coke shop and M+M store. We went in and out some of the hotels and I couldn't believe just how big they all were. My favourites were the MGM, the Venetian and the Bellagio. The MGM has a live lion show in, the trainers are ace and were throwing raw meat at the glass to get the lions to lick it. H has an awesome piccie, it looks like the lion is just sticking its tongue out- reeeeally cute:o). I also got to watch 20 mins of footie on one of the sports screens- Arsenal v Cardiff. I am really missing football and have heard that Agger is most definitely on the off as well as Alonso being suspended- not sure about all this though...plllleeeease keep me updated! The Venetian was just like Venice on the inside, there are even gondolas- its crazy. We saw the Volcan errupt which was pretty cool and also saw the waterfall show at the Bellagio (watch Oceans Eleven if you don't know what I'm talking about). It was breathtaking and I have captured it for you all on my trusty camcorder :O)

We hit the slots and we are pleased to report that we all won:o). Granted we all put in either $1 or $2 haha but a win is a win in any language and it is best to quit while you're winning!!!

Vegas was amazing and is def on our list of places to go back to :o)

lots of love

H and Deb

x x x

Posted by debski 20:54 Comments (0)

Valentines Day

Grand Canyon

OK so we last left off letting you know that we were updating from the Grand Canyon, I'm pleased to say now that I'm writing this from the Hostel International in L.A and guess what- its SUNNY!!!!! more about that later though. First things first, you need to be updated on the ongoings of the last few days of the Trek America tour.

We have seen true love blossom between 4 young lovers, (it's like something from A Midsummer Nights Dream but minus the donkey and the really weird love scenario haha) one of whom is our tour leader. Valentines Day was therefore a real biggie amongst the Trek group and so it was a crying shame that everybody spent Valentines Day suffering with food poisoning after a bout of dodgy food from the hotel restaurant the previous night.

The Grand Canyon was- suprise surprise- covered in a ton of snow. It looked amazing but seriously, how much snow can one country get. Is it not enough that they have 3 time changes without covered everywhere in whiteness too. It was pretty funny though, Will and Brendan clotheslined H and tackled her into the snow, her screams were enough to have reached the UK I bet.We spent the first night at the canyon in our hotel, having a few drinks and playing bowling. The hotel had some pretty good facilities including a hot tub :o). There was another trek tour in the hotel at the same time and I'm pretty sure that everybody was worried that there would be a repeat performance of Rustygate but luckily enough there wasn't. Their tour leader Eric aka Salvador (as he introduced himself) was pretty cool and spent the evening chatting/ bowling with us and left his own group to do their own thing. One by one everyone shrunk off to bed until there was only...wait for it.....myself and H - yes H carried on the drinking with me (she's getting quite good in her old age haha). We sat in the hotel bar, in a pretty surreal situation and watched all of the locals getting absolutely annaihilated (hope I've spelt that correctly but you get the drift) and it was quite funny as one guy actually fell asleep and was slobbering down himself, then proceeded to fall into our laps as he was carried out by his friends.

H and I sneaked bottles of beer out of the bar and up to our hotel rooms but hadn't realised how drunk we were until we tried to get the key out and put it into our door...you've all been there at some point so please don't be judging us- especially you mum....remember the races haha. We got to bed safe and well, sleeping like babies you'll be pleased to know.

So Valentines Day arrived and quite a few of the group went skiing, I decided against it because I wanted to spend the day with wifey (haha just kidding) We chilled in the hotel,(very exciting stuff) did our washing and watched rom coms with Ashley, it was a nice girly day. In the evening we ordered some pizza and did more of the same. Later on some of us hit the hot tub and had a bit of a girly chat. Nothing too major but all in all a good time was had.

We got up unbelievably early to go and watch the sunrise at the canyon- the views were so so beautiful but it was absolutely freezing. I have some great vids/ piccies but I am wrapped in a sleeping bag in them so I apoligise in advance. My hand could barely hold the camera but I guess sometimes you have to suffer for your art eh haha.

Well thats in for the canyon anyways....next stop VEGAS:O)

lots of love

x x x

Posted by debski 20:33 Comments (0)

Life since Nawlins

Rodeo's, Tarantulas, Coyotes and Javelinas. Not forgetting horses and Navajo Hogons

We're hoping that this blog is keeping you both up to date and entertained by the events occuring on our rookie world tour. For those of you who are familiar, there are comment boxes at the bottom of each blog. Please feel free to leave any feedback you choose but please make it in the format of motivational/ developmental- I respond better to this :O)

Since Nawlins we've visited a whole lotta places so will work through them place by place. Don't want you getting confused now do we haha. Since it's been so long since we've had access to a computer (shock horror), I'm using my travel journal (thanks mum) to remind myself of all the places/ things that we've done. Although we won't be putting the really juicy things on here cos after all 'what happens on tour, stays on tour' hahaha. Just kidding you'll have all the photographic evidence anyways when we get back.

First Stop was Sam Houston Jones, at amazing log cabins in the state of Louisiana. We were the only ones around for miles and with that kind of freedom, it would have been rude not to crack on with the beer pong to celebrate Brendan's birthday in style. Not much to report from here other than the Steve Irwin- esque alligator hunt 4 of us went on at roughly 3 am (the only ones standing yet again) and the major hangovers we had after going to bed at 4.30 am and needing to be up at 6. I'm telling ya, my beauty regime has gone to pot with all of these late starts and early finishes- I may never need to use a set of GHD's again (haha as if, that's just crazy talk)

After Sam Housten Jones we headed to San Antonio to stay in some more log cabins and to take in the delight that is Texan Rodeo ( where better to see a rodeo than in it's native home eh) It was the 60th anniversary of this particular rodeo and because of the occasion there was a concert straight after (will come to that later though) We never knew that bulls could move so quickly and although it was one of the weirdest things I've ever experienced, the funniest was watching a group of 5/6 year olds riding sheep in the same way the adults were riding the bulls/ horses haha. I was however treated like a criminal for having a camcorder in my bag (I know I'm a Scouser but it's my camera- honest) and was escorted to a security desk so they could look after it for me. Unfortunately no vids from this evening but plenty of piccies!!! There are also a couple of budding romances on the tour which is pretty sweet- and no! one of them isn't between Heather and I thankyou very much haha. It's going to be hgard saying bye to everybody because we've all bonded pretty well but I guess that's what Facebook is for haha. While we were in San Antonio, we visited the Alamo and have seen Davy Crockett's name in a plaque (swit swoo eh haha)

After San Antonio we visited the Big Bend National Park (feel free to google it) and camped there for 2 days. It was exciting because we were surrounded by coyotes, bears, javelinas (pronounced with a H) and had to lock all of our food away every evening so that the animals didn't come onto our site. The weather actually perked up, I mean it was HOT as we all hiked up Emory Peak (google it, it's impressive) It was 9 miles and the Peak is actually in the middle of the desert and H didn't think she was going to make it. I knew she was being stubborn so applied my army major/ coaching techniques and made it together. We both agreed that the views are incredible and for those of you who like to hike, I definitely recommend it as it was amazing! The hike wasn't easy by any means but it was satisfying! Again, the evenings were spent partying although no beer pong, just general chit chat and exploring. Found an open door theater in the middle of the desert- crazy eh haha. It was pretty good to be fair but only a few of us knew about it- the deserts best kept secret haha. The camping itself has been pretty cold so it has meant cuddling up to each other but bonding is nice eh haha. We visited some hot springs which were basically like an outdoort jacuzzi but we were right on the border of Mexico- it was literally about 5 metres away.

New Mexico- We basically set up camp and had an evening meal/ a few drinks. Nothing too exciting to report from here, other than acquring a game called 'Battle of the Sexes'. I am now a true lady you'll be pleased to know haha. The group are all still getting on quite well, there are a few quiet ones but I guess that's to be expected. H keeps trying to say that she's quiet but we all know how true that is (not very haha) but she's great and is enjoying the banter to be fair.

After New Mexico we went to a place called Tombstone- For those of you not in the know, it's home to the famouse cowboy graveyard, along with the OK Corral and a whole lotta history. The place is fantastic because it looks like something out of a Western film. It was ace! We went to a fudge shop- sorry we couldnt send any home but...well.....we just didn't want to haha. Just kidding it would have been way to expensive so we ate some for you all and it was delicious. We went to a cowboy shoot out- bless the actors, they tried but they really shouldn't be giving up their day jobs because the acting was awful. There were Margheritas for $2 so we thought we'd give them all a go but wish we hadn't bothered. H (who is steadily on the path to alcoholism haha just kidding) was the only one who liked the salt heavy drink and so we all tried to palm them off onto her haha.

Once the cowboy shoot out was over, we went to a snake museum. I thought we'd just have a little look and the guide would tell us about them We were stunned when he started to take them all out and let us touch them. In the course of 2 hours I held- an adorable lizard called Spike, 2 corn snakes, a small breed of Boa Constrictor, another snake (sorry I cant remember the breed but its on film) and....wait for it...... a tarantula- yes ME!! with an unbelievable fear of snakes. I couldn't believe it! Im actually stunned on the vid but actually think it's helped with my fear of friends with 8 legs. H held her fair share too and she has been captured in eternal playback on the camcorder haha. The most impressive one however was the rattlesnake. It didn't come out of its cage but the noise out of it was phenomenal- so so loud. It was the best $2 we've spent so far. Seriously fantastic. We visited the famous cowboy graveyard as well and the views from it were amazing. We have seen so many beautiful places already

Betty and Rusty's cowboy camp was so much fun!!! we slept in a chicken coop- yes a chicken coop and were kept awake most of the night by roaming chickens, guinea fowl and horses. It was in the middle of the desert and another great experience of true cowboy life. Betty cooked us the best steaks we've ever eaten and made chocolate cake in the fire- Thorntons eat your heart out haha. I should mention that Betty is in her 70'S and that Rusty is 92 and as bright as a button. We all sat around the campfire and they sang us cowboy songs. Betty is a sweetheart and Rusty still tries to charm the ladies haha. I went on a 2 hour horse ride on the biggest horse in the world- well not quite but he was pretty big. His name is Colorado and he almost killed me by taking me through a thorn bush. I don't want to scare you all but I thought I was a gonner. Luckily I escaped with slices up my tum and arms and our tour leader even saved my hat. The 1st thing H said when we got back to camp was 'did you fil it' (cheers H) but she didn't realise how serious it could have been until the tour guide told her I did extremely well to hang on. Enough of that though, I'm alive and would cheerfully go again because it was loads of fun!!!

What better way to continue with a trip to a cowboy camp than visiting a traditional Navajo reservation. The Navajo's are a tribe that live in Monument Valley which is famous for its red desert land and stone formations. We were taken on a tour of them in the pope-mobile (yes it looked like the one the Pope is driven around in) and had the names/ meanings explained to us. Monument Valley has been the setting for many John Wayne films as well as Mission Impossible and even Wild Wild West with Will Smith. After the tour we stayed in a traditional Hogwan which is made from logs and clay and has a roaring fire in the middle of it. So so toasty warm but I'm telling you all now, some of our group wouldn't be out of place in a herd of wild boar for the way some of them were snoring last night- seriously, you've heard nothing like it haha. The toilet was a long drop (pleasant) but did have 4 walls surrounding it. We say 4 walls because there was no roof and the door didn't shut properly but looking up we saw the most awe inspiring view we've ever seen in our lives. There were so many stars and they were so so clear- it definitely gives the planetarium a run for its money haha.

This morning we were up at 5.30 to have breakfast and then go to watch the sun rising which was again unbelievable. For every crazy thing we've seen in America, we've seen just as many fantastic ones and we have definitely started to appreciate life after Canada (although this is still our favourite). There is so so much to see and we can't believe that this tour is nearly over, although we have done tons.

Today we have travelled from Monument Valley to The Grand Canyon which is where I am using the FREE internet (sweeeet haha) The snow has followed us yet again so this time I have made a snow angel with one of the other girls Cindy. Heather had the joy of being body slammed into the snow by Will and Brendan but the video makes for very very funny watching. This evening we're going bowling and we are having a snowman building competition at 4.30 (better get my skates on then eh haha)

If you can be bothered, take a look at an American map and track how far we've travelled so far. We are currently 7 hours behind the UK as we have gained 2 hours while we've been travelling through (awesome eh can't wait for the bout of jetlag we're going to have come May haha)

Will probs update again in Vegas bayyyybeh

hope you're all well

H and Deb

x x x

Posted by debski 13:49 Comments (0)

cowboys, elvis and jazz (part deux)

nashville, memphis and nawlins

Hey!!!!! This one is coming to you from the hotel lobby of Best Western at the Grand Canyon but before I get to that we really need to update you on the events that have occured since my birthday in detail:o)

My birthday celebrations were kicked off in style when we were in West Virginia. Jeremiah (our tour leader) decided that we all needed (yes needed) to go to a restaurant called the Cracker Barrel, as he was convinced that we had never seen nor will we ever see another restaurant like it. He defined it as an experience and not just a meal, we were not disappointed the restaurant was unbelievable. West Virginia is situated in the South of USA and everything about this restaurant lived up to that sterotype- from the rocking chairs outside on the verandah to the deers heads that were so carefully placed above the roaring fireplace. If your having problems picturing this, think of the big scene in Sleeping Beauty where Gaston begins to sing and everyone clinks beer glasses- that is pretty much what this place looked like and was a true Southern experience. The food was unbelievably good and when we left we nominated our waitress Mindy for employee of the month because we all thought she deserved her name on a plaque by the fire too. Alas we will never know if she gets it or not but we tipped well and gave our thoughts to the people who counted haha.

After dinner it was back to the hotel- The Sleep Inn for some partying. I managed to have the longest birthday ever as the celebrations began when it would have been 12 midnight at home. At this point I got the worst but most entertaining rendition of 'Happy Birthday' that I've ever heard in my life but when theres been as much alcohol consumed as there was, I'm surprised that everybody remembered the words never mind the tune haha.

Our tour leader introduced us to the game that is Beer Pong and some of you lucky lucky folk will be subjected to it at various house parties. It basically goes that there is lots of beer involved and all you really need to know is that it was Heather and I who ended up drinking most of the shots this night. There are some rules but I dont really want to spoil the blog with trivial matters of rules haha. It did however result in one of the other guests threatening to call the police on us- they'd have had a job because the only thing for miles were trees haha.

My actual birthday (after about 3 hours sleep-not good) was spent with us being extremely hungover and spending 8 hours on the bus travelling to Nashville. During this time we gained another hour which meant another hour of partying for my birthday...can you see where this is heading yet haha. Well my birthday was a multi celebration as it was also the Superbowl and Korean New Year (we think, let me know if you know otherwise) There was also the non too shabby defeat of Chelski at home. Although we didn't get to see the match, knowing that we'd won was a great birthday present for me and another excuse to keep drinking:o)

At the lodge we stayed at, were a couple of guys who had formed a band. We all sat out singing songs, drinking and generally having a good time ( we were like somethin from lil house on a prairie but with decent songs haha). The guys all got me a birthday cake and got the band to sing happy birthday to me- albeit a much better rendition that the 1st one. I had a little cry and its all on film but Id like to say thanks for all the texts/emails/ facebooks msgs to wish me a good day. It was hard being away from everybody but if I had to be away from everyone for my birthday, Im glad I can say I was in Nashville for it:o). We hit some of the bars and saw a live Country and Western band. The band were great and even took requests. I requested Jackson by Johnny Cash (it would have been rude not to) and tried to film them singing it when they began. Security had a different idea however and decided to shout at me for trying to film it. I dont know who they thought they were haha. Heather repaid them by pinching a cow mask from the band for me- that'll teach em eh haha. All in all it was a great day and have captured most of it on film. We fully recommend going to Nashville, there are some very interesting characters there although some of the cowboys were a lil bit more friendly than we'd have liked. We didnt collect any phone numbers in Nashville although H was quite taken with one of the cowboys....but we'll leave that because he broke her heart by not giving her his cowboy hat.

Memphis- Soooo another day another hangover and this time we were headed for the home of Elvis. We decided to go to Graceland at the last minute because we figured its probs a once in a lifetime experience. Graceland itself wasn't as big as we've expected but there are a few museums is the area as well which are dedicated to the king. What Graceland lacked in size, was certainly accounted for with its crazy decor. He has something called a jungle room which is full of waterfalls and carved seating and another room decorated in bright blue and yellow. For those of you who visited me when I lived in Webster Road, it was more garish than that red colour- which I found unbelievable but hey he was Elvis I guess he had free reign to do whatever he liked haha. His planes and cars were pretty cool and they had a museum dedicated to his time when he was in the military. The general concensus amongst the girls is that Elvis was a hottie in his day and what a great loss his death actually is.

As we'd partied so hard in Nashville, Memphis partying consisted of a meal and a few drinks. I say a meal but what was put in front of me would have fed a small army so it was no surprise when I couldnt finish it. We went and watched a band next door and were treated like celebs because some of the locals wanted piccies with us (well we are friends with Obama dont you know haha)

New Orleans- If you ever have the opportunity to visit somewhere in the USA, you should definitely make it Nawlins (thats the proper way it's pronounced) We stayed in a room which we (the girls) have fondly christened 'The Orphanage' as it resembled the room used in the film Annie. We didn't elect anybody to be Miss Hannigan however as that could have caused offence. We partied like rockstars in Nawlins (well 4 of us did at least, the others caved at about 1) and tasted the magical drinks that are the Jester and Hand Grenade- they are as lethal as they sound and H was in a slobbering mess (ok I may have exaggerated a wee bit but I'm using writers liscence haha) The reason it is so great is because you are able to go from bar to bar with your drink and see what going on. We saw a live band who were playing music from all genres, the bar we were in was supposedly a hip hop bar but we saw them play 'Killing in the Name of' (I think somebody needs to explain genres of bars to America because they clearly dont seem to be understanding it haha) All in all it was a good night and also had the misfortune of seeing some ladies doing some dirty dirty dancing on the stage. I don't want to be too cruel about the ladies in question but all I will say is that you wouldn't see it in England.

Sightseeing in New Orleans is pretty cool (and not just because the weather is absolutely freezing) but there are lots of live bands to see and we had the pleasure of seeing a live jazz band and later a blues band. Both were unbelievably good and I have definitely found myself some musical culture (as if techno isnt cultured haha) I think both genres will be making their way onto the old ipod as soon as it decides it doesn't hate me any more.

The trip is still going really well and H and I are both still in one piece (just about) We both have flu but are troopers and are just getting on with it :o)

lots of love to you all

x x x

Posted by debski 13:04 Comments (0)

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