Update on Blondie and her Cubs!!

As you know, we saw Blondie and her three cubs on the 8th June during our stay in the Tetons so are very sad to receive the following news. 😔

Mum Blondie

Blondie’s Cubs

Buckrail Daily News reported the following last Friday 16th June.

MOOSE, Wyoming. — Park officials confirmed on Wednesday that the popular Grizzly 793, also known as Blondie, lost her three cubs at the end of last week.

C.J. Adams, the public affairs specialist for Grand Teton National Park, said the last confirmed sighting of Blondie with her cubs was around dark on Friday night in the Pilgrim Flats area of the park. Park officials who have managed bear jams throughout the spring and summer spotted her. By Saturday morning, she was spotted again, this time without her cubs. While the exact cause of the cubs’ death is unknown, Adams says it was most likely predation by a male grizzly.

“We did observe a male grizzly in the area on Saturday,” Adams says. “The mortality rate of grizzly cubs of the year is around 45%, and predation by a male grizzly is the most common cause of death.”

This is the third set of cubs Blondie has lost.

One good piece of news from The Washington Post is that parts of Yellowstone National Park will be reopen Wednesday morning, after dramatic floods forced the national park to shut down last week. Click on this link to check out what happened.

We’ve visited Yellowstone three times and it is the most amazing place but will it ever be the same again? 🤞

The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 23 – Home!

Before I sum up our holiday let me jump back a step to finish off what happened yesterday.

Our chauffeur came to collect us and we had an uneventful trip to the airport. We’d been in the hotel all day and when we stepped outside wow, it was hot, hot, hot. 🌞🌞🌞Luckily the Tesla was lovely and cool.❄️

When we arrived at the terminal we had to wait 30 minutes for the Virgin Atlantic desks to open but we were first in the queue. When the young lady took our suitcases, Si told her to be careful as they were heavy and she replied that she didn’t think they were heavy at all! 🦾One case was 27kgs (59.5lbs) and the other one 29kgs (63.9lbs). We are actually allowed four suitcases each weighing 32kgs (70lbs) each. So I think we did okay. 👍

As we are flying Upper Class we get complimentary entry into the Lounge for eats and drinks. So at the moment we are very comfy.

Waiting for our flight!

We were not so laid-back 30 minutes ago though! There was no queue at Security so we were straight in, through the body scanner where the lady said she needed to pat down my left leg and whereupon she immediately patted down my right! Don’t know what she thought I had down my left trouser leg!! 🤔

From there we put our bags through the security scanner and immediately my carry-on bag went down the left channel!! Oh, oh, I thought, there’s trouble ahead!! I’ve seen what happens when the left lane is used!

Well, even though I knew I didn’t have anything I shouldn’t, I started to feel a little nervous and was trying to think what I had packed. The security guy asked me if I had anything dangerous inside and I said I didn’t. Then he asked me to open a box that had  a buffalo ornament in it. Then he ran a drugs paddle over it. I knew it was a drugs paddle because we’ve had our hands checked in the past. OMG I thought, what if someone who’s handled the box previously had been taking drugs, they would think I was responsible. I thought I could be arrested! 👮‍♀️🚓

I repacked the bag and then realised I couldn’t find my carry-on suitcase! That too had taken the left channel! My God I thought, what now? Another one of the security personnel asked me if I had any food in the case and of course, I did ………….. I’d put the huckleberry pancake mix in there! Sure enough, they opened the case and there was the offending item. He unwrapped it and pulled out the contents! Dear Lord, it looked just like a bag of either heroin or cocaine!! Now you may ask how do I know what those drugs look like? Well, I watch the airport security programmes don’t I! 🤷‍♀️Again, he took out the paddle and rubbed it all over the package which thankfully was clear. Well of course it was, I bought it from a store in Jackson for goodness sake. I’m thankful that I put the two items in my carry-on because if I’d packed them in one of the suitcases they would definitely have been opened.

He also remarked about the bag of blueberries in there too. I told him they were actually huckleberries but now I’m worried about Customs at Heathrow as I don’t think we are supposed to take fruit and veg into the country! When I purchased the pancake mix I didn’t notice that it had actual berries in the bag too. I guess they must be dried ones. 😱

Bail money may be required! 💷

Regular readers of the blog will know our history at airports. It’s usually Si who’s taken to one side and patted down, as you know he looks seriously suspicious, or nine times out of 10 our suitcases are opened by Security and everything gets thrown back in with a note saying they are not responsible so don’t even bother complaining and to read their leaflet on better packing!!!!!!

I’m just having a large hot chocolate to calm my nerves! 😂 ☕️

Once on board we settled into our seats. After dinner we had the seats changed into beds. I was surprised how comfy they are. The seat back comes forward to create a full-length padded bed, a mattress topper is added together with a duvet and pillow. It’s great to be able to stretch out.

Si on board

Sand on board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand’s starter – mozzarella and pesto with baby tomatoes

 

Si’s prawn starter

 

Sand’s pud – peach cobbler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to sum up our holiday. We had a wonderful time even if there were a couple of hiccups. Covid being the biggest one of course.

We are both clear now, we took tests again yesterday just to be sure and both were negative, but that doesn’t mean we are back to how we were previously. Si in particular is finding himself very out of breath by just doing the simplest tasks. I guess it will just take time. We were both so lucky to have mild doses. Things could have been so much worse. 😔😷🩺🏥

One disappointing thing is that we couldn’t do as many hikes as we had hoped. Never mind, it’s a good excuse to come back again. As if we needed one. 😂

The second disappointment was the first car we collected from Avis. We had booked a SUV, Ford Edge or similar. They didn’t have a Ford available so gave us a Hyundai Sante Fe instead. We were told it was much more comfortable! It was very disappointing and with hindsight we should not have driven off in it but gone back in and asked for a different one. It didn’t have electric seat adjustment, and I couldn’t even make the seat higher, but we wanted to get on so just took it. It was quite dark when we picked it up but did notice it had not been cleaned very well and had a couple of dents but didn’t notice the large crack in the bumper or the hole in the carpet on the driver’s side. It also had 49,000 on the clock whereas most rentals would not have more than 20,000.

Since Covid a lot of rental companies have either sold off their stock or been keeping them for longer. It wasn’t until we got to Capitol Reef we noticed the tyres were practically bald and the windscreen wipers wouldn’t work properly!! We telephoned customer service and they told us to take it into the Avis rental at Jackson airport and get it changed. That’s what we did and they gave us ‘the tank’. A Toyota 4Runner meant for off-roading. That was much more our style.

We actually did some off-roading driving through deep water. that was scary. It got filthy, all covered in mud but luckily we had that rain on the drive from Jackson to Vegas so that gave it a much needed wash. ☔️

Covid also stopped us from doing horseback riding and river floating. Another two things to add to our list for next time.

We loved the Grand Tetons as we knew we would from previous holidays. It is such a beautiful place with lovely people. It’s very laid back and has lots of great restaurants and shops.

One sad thing that happened as we left Jackson, is that Yellowstone National Park has suffered the most horrendous flooding washing away houses, roads and bridges. The Park has been closed and at the moment it is not known when it will reopen. We met a lot of people in Jackson who were travelling on to Yellowstone so I just hope they are safe. This is a very busy time for Yellowstone and it seems that a lot of staff have had to be laid off. Lots of students work there in the summer months.

There are of course, all the animals too. It’s a very sad state of affairs. The severe flooding was caused by late season snowfall and then very high temperatures that caused the snow to melt quickly along with a day of torrential rain. It’s been blamed on global warming.

I’ve been meaning to post some a pic of our Dornan’s Cabin. Dornan’s also has its own well for water. Boy, it’s cold but tastes great.

Dornans

Our cabin, Osprey

Here too are some of the photos that didn’t get published earlier in the blog.

Panorama of sunrise at Schwacher Landing

Balsam Root

Church of Transfiguration

Si in contemplation!

Sand in the Church of the Transfiguration

Elk Antlers in Jackson Square

Floating Bears

Elk Crossing!

Panorama of Moulton Barn

Teton Waterfall

One thing we noticed on this trip was the changes in Vegas. In the old days it was a shady place, then there was a ‘family friendly’ period but sadly, now, it’s changing again to the point where it’s not necessarily a pleasure to walk down the Strip. There are quite a few homeless on the pavements and women walking along practically naked asking people if they would like their photographs taken with them and pay for the pleasure! We first noticed in 2019 that things were changing and it’s worse now. We were talking to a lady at Security and she said she felt happiest just staying in her hotel!

Our flight home was good and only took nine hours. When we arrived at Heathrow people were mainly using the automatic passport control gates but when it came to our turn, I went straight through but Si couldn’t get through and had to seek help! He was allowed in eventually and within 30 minutes we were on our way home. Wouldn’t be a holiday if Si didn’t have problems at airport security! 👮‍♀️

Seems strange to be back home and for life to be returning to normal. We haven’t watched a television in three weeks. 📺

The suitcases will have to wait until tomorrow to be unpacked. We feel very tired and will be having an early night. It was hot when we first arrived in the UK but it’s cooling down now so hopefully we should get a good night’s sleep! 🛌😴

Thank you to everyone who took the time to follow our adventures, leave comments and ‘likes’. Like a lot of people over the past couple of years, we waited a long time for this adventure but it was worth the wait.

So, it just remains for me to say ……….

arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé,

and see you all on our next adventure. 😀 ✈️🚙

 

Day 22 – Las Vegas to London Heathrow

So, it’s here, the last day of our holiday! 😔 It’s gone really quickly.

We are all packed and ready to go. We will be leaving the hotel at 3.00 p.m, and our flight leaves at 7.35 p.m., 3.30 a.m. UK time and we land at 1.35 p.m. UK time.

Once again, the Tesla Model X will be taking us to the airport. The temperature is forecast to be 107 degrees! Hot, hot, hot! 🌞

As we won’t be eating again until much later this evening on the plane, we both decided on hearty breakfasts at Sadelle’s this morning.

Happy Si

 

 

Couldn’t manage the hash browns!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Father’s Day here too on Sunday and Sadelle’s added this little touch to the tables.

Happy Father’s Day!

Not so much somewhere to hang your hat but your handbag!

Here are a few photos from the Bellagio.

The glass ceiling in the Bellagio reception is very famous. It was constructed of Chihuly glass, in 1998, by Dale Chihuly, a master glassblower. It is made up of more than 2,000 pieces called “Fiori di Como”. The cost …………. $10 million and well worth every dollar.

Bellagio Reception ceiling

Some photos from the Atrium.

Si’s got a Toucan on his shoulder!

 

It’s now sitting on my head!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheeky frogs!

Chocolate lovers will love this little piece of trivia!

Bellagio chocolate fountain

The ‘World’s Largest Chocolate Fountain’ is located here at the Bellagio. Designed by award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Philippe Maury and Norwood and Antonia Oliver Design Associates, Inc., the fountain took a year and a half in planning and design.  The floor to ceiling sculpture circulates more than 2,100 pounds of melted milk, dark, and white chocolate through 500 feet of pipes 24 hours a day. It’s designed to operate continuously for over a year without having to change or replace the chocolate. Since chocolate contains no water, there’s no evaporation. The chocolate cascades down 14 feet from one suspended glass vessel to another. Between the unique hand crafted glass basins and the visually stimulating flow of three different colours of chocolate.

So, this is our last post from the USA. 🇺🇸 Our next one will be from the good, old and I understand, very, very, hot, UK. 🌞🌞🇬🇧

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join us one more time on Friday or it may have to be Saturday if I can’t stay awake!! 🥱 😴 🛌 😂

Day 21 – Las Vegas

Today is our last full day at the Bellagio here in Las Vegas, our adventures conclude with our flight home tomorrow.

We decided against the pool as it’s so hot today, currently 96 degrees and supposed to reach 100 degrees by 4.00 p.m., so we slept late and then went for breakfast at Sadelle’s. As we were much later than usual it was very busy.

Susan and Mike, our two lovely servers were working today so I took their photos and said I would include them in today’s blog. Thank you for taking such good care of us and making us feel so welcome. We’ve known Susan for many years and besides having a wonderful memory, she always has a smile for everyone . We look forward to coming back soon.

Susan

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing I find a little strange about the breakfast menu at Sadelle’s …….. they don’t serve cereals!! Some days you just want a bowl of cereal, preferably Frosted Flakes. Note to the powers that be …………. please include cereals on your next menu. Thank you. 😀

So, after breakfast we had some luck on one of the Monopoly machines, we couldn’t stop winning! Then we managed to find another couple of ‘momentos’ that we couldn’t possibly leave behind! 😱 Oh dear, I think we’ll have to sit on the suitcases to close them!

I need to start re-packing the cases ready for lift-off tomorrow. I hope Virgin Atlantic have factored in that the Barretts are flying so there will be rather a lot more poundage in the hold!! 😂 ✈️

As I mentioned yesterday, we are off to the Petrossian Lounge (I keep calling it a ‘bar’ but they call it a ‘lounge!) this afternoon for cocktails and of course, the cheese plate. Even though I will have had three by the time we leave tomorrow, I know I shall be dreaming of  it again once we return home. 💭🧀🍽

I certainly hope I will not have to wait another three years for one!! 😱

We decided it would be a good idea, now the cheese plates are a lot smaller, to have one each plus extra bread and that’s just what we did! As always it was delicious.

The cheese plate and Champagne

 

 

 

Si enjoying the cheese plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand savouring her last cheese plate for a while!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managed it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did record a video of our visit to the Petrossion Lounge but when I played it back it was so awful I decided it would be best to leave it out. When I saw it I laughed until I cried! 😂I looked and sounded like some old lady who had forgotten to put her false teeth in! Truly shocking, but good for a laugh! 😂

After I posted yesterday about the Spiky Lemon dessert I had at Spargo, I realised that I had forgotten to mention that when it was delivered I wondered how I would start to eat it but I need not have worried as a lovely waiter came over with a knife and said it should be cut in two. The spikes were made of crunchy marshmallow. My, it was fabulous!

Spiky Lemon dessert with 24ct gold!

This is what it was like inside:

Inside the lemon dessert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought this flower display deserved a mention!

Bellagio Flowers

We’ve just received a message from Virgin Atlantic to say we can book in for our flight tomorrow. When I did, an interesting message came up asking for volunteers to take an alternative flight and be rewarded with lots of miles! It would seem the flight is overbooked!

Some years ago we volunteered and in return were given free flights to anywhere in the world! Decided against it this time.

I’ve repacked the suitcases and managed to fit everything in. Si was really impressed! How could he even doubt me!? 🤷‍♀️

We leave here tomorrow at 3.00 p.m. for our flight at 7.35 p.m. As it’s a night flight we will get the chance to try out the ‘beds’ for the first time in Upper Class. Looking forward to that.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you again tomorrow.

Day 20 – Las Vegas

As our adventures are coming to an end, today’s post is rather thin on the ground. It’s been a lovely quiet day getting over the long drive yesterday and the recent very early mornings.

We decided against going round the pool today and instead had a late breakfast at Sadelle’s here in the Bellagio before going to visit a couple of other hotels. We then visited the Petrossian Bar for lunchtime cocktails but decided not to have the cheese plate as we are fine dining this evening at Spagos and didn’t want to ruin our appetites!

Si’s healthy breakfast!

Bellini Cocktails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As tomorrow’s our last full day we were planning on having afternoon tea at the Petrossian Bar but sadly that’s now only available over the weekends! 😔 So, we will be doing the cheese plate again instead. Can’t get enough of the cheese plates! 😀

Boy, I wish I’d completed this post before going to dinner! We’ve now drunk and eaten a little too much but had a fabulous time at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago!

We were so lucky to have a table on the open terrace right next to the Bellagio fountains. Had a great time. We decided we should choose tonight for our final ‘posh’ meal as we didn’t want to find ourselves on Thursday with hangovers when we have to fly home. Great decision on our part!

There was a huge ceiling fan that kept us cool even though we were seated outside.

The ceiling fan!

As it’s been a slow day photo-wise, I’ll bore you with a few of our meal this evening!

Si’s happy!

Si’s cocktail – Whole Lotta Love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand’s cocktail – Too Much Too Young!

Our starter – Rosemary Focaccia with Hummus

Hope you can hear Celine Dion singing in this video! It’s not the best video ever as there’s lots of background noise and people but for anyone who has never seen the Bellagio fountains it gives an idea of how wonderful they are. It’s best watched in full screen mode. Yes, that’s my thumb in there too! 🤷‍♀️

Si had Lobster ‘Fra Diavolo’, Linguine, King Crab, Thai Basil, Spicy Pomodoro, Calabrian Breadcrumbs

Sand had something she doesn’t normally eat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si had gelato and sorbet

Sand’s dessert was Spiked Lemon
Japanese Yuzu Cream, Chiffon Cake, Citrus Mousse and 24 carat gold!

S&S enjoying their dinner

It wouldn’t be a good meal without finishing with coffee and Disaronno!

These are the next big thing in fashion from Bottega Veneta! They are on sale in the shop next to Spago! May be I should try on a pair!🤔

To finish we had a quick visit to the Bellagio Atrium but it’s very busy at night so this video doesn’t do it justice but gives an idea of how wonderful this season’s display is! It’s best watched in full screen mode.

Tomorrow’s our last full day so hope you will join us then as we wind up our adventures!

As always, thanks for reading and sharing our adventures.

Day 19 – Salt Lake City to Las Vegas

Today was a driving day back to Las Vegas and we had a nasty surprise this morning when we woke up to rain, heavy grey clouds and the temperature was only 51 degrees! ☔️ It was supposed to be hot and sunny! 🌞

Being a Monday the roads were much busier so add in the rain, wind and roadworks it all had the potential for a long seven hour drive! Salt Lake City is huge, there were twelve lanes of traffic and seemed to go on forever. The one lucky break was the fact that there was an Express lane so we spent the first hour driving in that. The Express lane is solely for cars carrying two or more people and means no Toll fees have to be paid.

The Express Lane

The one good thing about the rain was the fact that it washed much of the dirt off the car so it actually looked respectable when we returned it today. I couldn’t take a photo as I said I would as all the dead bugs had been washed off.

Looks nasty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had two very scary incidents where the wind was so strong in exposed areas that the car was pushed across the road into the next lane.😱 Considering the car was like a tank that was some strong wind!  If there had been another vehicle driving next to us it could have been very nasty. 😱

The weather can be crazy. Back in Jackson in the Kelly area there was a flood warning for today.

For today’s driving snacks we changed things up a notch and had sandwiches, corn chips and hot drinks. Si had a Turkey Club and coffee while I went for Tuna and hot chocolate. There’s something so soothing about hot chocolate. Now hot chocolate and a tuna sandwich may sound a little strange but I drink it with just about everything.

Vegas here we come!

Only 312 miles to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove through Arizona for a while.

Welcome to Arizona

Feeling a little whimsical, this cloud made me think of William Wordsworth’s poem “I wondered lonely as a cloud”. 🤔

Landlocked Lighthouse

On our journey we saw this landlocked lighthouse in Cedar City. It seemed a rather strange place to put a lighthouse as it’s 450 miles from the nearest ocean so I investigated further and this is what I found out:

The lighthouse was built in 2000 and stands at 88 feet tall. Developers claimed it was the tallest inland lighthouse in the United States when constructed. It has never guided any ships, and it doesn’t have a lighthouse keeper.

It was originally built to be an icon that would set Providence Center apart from other developments in Utah. But there’s also an underlying reason for its construction. According to Thomas A. Pugh, managing partner of the Providence Center and CEO of Quantum Construction, it was built in preparation for a big earthquake when California may drop off into the ocean, at which time the lighthouse in Cedar City, Utah will be the only lighthouse standing on the ‘new’ Pacific Coast of the United States. He obviously has a sense of humour! 😂

Thought this was interesting ……………. Love’s petrol! Not at the current prices we don’t!!

The Love’s story is an interesting one dating back to 1964. If you like a little history, check it out here.

Interesting!

A long way from the UK!

Leeds!?

Could be tricky!

Si’s favourite road ……… not!

We eventually left the bad weather behind, the sun came out, the temperature gradually increased and by the time we arrived in Las Vegas it was in the high 90s. It’s much quieter here than when we first arrived nearly three weeks ago. It was Memorial weekend back then and was just crazy busy.

I expect we will!

The first thing we did after checking in at the Bellagio was to have my favourite cheese plate with cocktails at the Petrossian Bar. We both had a Conservatory Cup consisting of Haku Vodka, Pimm’s No. 1, English Cucumber, Fresh Ginger and Fresh Lemon. Very refreshing.

The Petrossian Bar

Just arrived!

Waiting for my cheese plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our long drive today I think an early night is in order. 😴Thanks for reading, hope to see you tomorrow.

 

Day 18 – Grand Teton National Park to Salt Lake City

We woke this morning to very heavy rain ☔️and thunder ⚡️ with the temperature being 45 degrees. Snow is forecast for Tuesday in the Grand Teton area. I think we left at just the right time. ❄️

Today we were driving to overnight in Salt Lake City before driving on tomorrow back to Las Vegas for our final few days before flying home on Thursday. The drive today was five hours and by the time we arrived here the temperature was 99 degrees! 🌞

It was a lovely drive with long roads seeming to go on forever with just us on them and beautiful green hills and mountains but as we drove through the Wasatch National Forest, elevation 8,934 feet (2,723 meters), we saw snow on the side of the road and on the hills!

Snow on the hills!

One thing we have noticed on this trip is the amount of bugs that have been killed on the front of the car and on the windscreen. I do not exaggerate when I say we have killed hundreds. We would like to apologise to those poor little creatures. We also saw four dead deer on the side of the road. 😔

We’ve decided  in future when we come to the US that we will always make sure to travel on a Sunday. The cars are very few in number and there are no roadworks so the drive is a delight rather than a hassle.

Just as on the drive to the Tetons, we once again passed through the States of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming but the difference this time was that we are driving a much more sophisticated vehicle and each time we passed over the State lines a lady’s voice was heard in the car (rather creepy!) welcoming us to Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. Big Brother is definitely watching!! 👀

We had our usual car journey snacks along the way and a good old singalong with John Denver.

It occurred to me on today’s drive that we haven’t mentioned our dear friend Margaret (the sat nav) at all on this holiday. Well, Margaret’s getting a little old in the tooth now and when we woke her up this morning after a week of non-use she was rather disgruntled and refused to accept our destination into her memory. I must have tried six times before she eventually agreed to co-operate. Note to Avis “Me thinks it’s time she thought about retirement”.

You remember I said yesterday that I thought packing the cases would be a challenge? Well, I was right. We had to open the extenders! When we arrive in Vegas I think a complete repack will be in order. It’s Simon’s fault, he’s been making a rather large amount of purchases in Jackson!!!! 😉

For dinner tonight we went to another one of our favourite restaurants, the Texas Roadhouse. Our dear friends, Dot and John, first introduced us to its delights some years ago, particularly the hot bread rolls covered with runny honey and cinnamon butter. As far as I’m concerned they are my starter, main and dessert! I ate three! 😂

Tonight I enjoyed a 6oz fillet, just right for me and Si had the 12oz prime rib. He started with garlic shrimp, his favourite. My beverage this evening was a ‘Kenny’s Cooler’  inspired by Kenny Chesney’s (American Country singer) island lifestyle and consisted of Blue Chair Bay coconut rum, DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps blended with Minute Maid Lemonade, sweet and sour and Monin’ Blue Curacao. It was fabulous. Si stuck with his beer.

The delicious bread roll!

Sand enjoying her three bread rolls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si’s shrimp

Si’s prime rib

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand’s steak

Sand and her cocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow we will be up and out early, again, as we need to be back at the car rental establishment in Vegas by 5.00 p.m. Can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they see the state of the vehicle. I’ll post a pic tomorrow of what it looks like. Well, it is an off-roader after all and we have been off-roading!!

Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow!

 

 

 

Day 17 – Last Day in the Grand Teton National Park

Our last day here in the Grand Tetons and Dornans. 😔

Firstly, on a personal note, it’s 55 years ago today, 11th June, that Si and I started dating! 😱

Secondly, we were pleased to hear that it’s no longer necessary to take a Covid test to enter the USA. Shame that didn’t happen three weeks ago!

Although the start to our week here was a little disastrous with me recovering from Covid and Si testing positive, it’s all turned out rather marvellously. We’ve hiked, enjoyed some lovely weather, seen bears and other critters, dined well and found a few things to buy in Jackson. So all in all, we cannot complain! 👍

We decided on another early start this morning, 4.45 a.m. and took the short trip to Mormon Row to see the sunrise over the two famous barns, T.A. Molton Barn and John Molton Barn.

T.A. Moulton Barn

Sunrise at T.A. Moulton Barn

The T.A. Moulton barn is an iconic structure in Jackson Hole. The sunrise view with the barn in the foreground and the Teton Range as the backdrop is one of the most photographed locales in the valley.

Thomas Alva (T.A.) Moulton and his brother John homesteaded on Mormon Row in 1908. T.A. built a frame house in 1915 and dry farmed grain until the state built irrigation ditches to their property in the late 1920s. In 1930, the Snake River Land Company met with the Mormon Row settlers and many sold their property with most securing lifetime leases. By the 1950s, few remained.

We then drove to see if we could get one more glimpse of Blondie and her cubs. Alas, we didn’t but when we arrived at the location the Rangers were out in force, a sign that bears are present and sure enough, one of them told us we’d just missed some, they’d run into the woods. That happened to us twice today. We visited Lupine Meadow in the hope of seeing red foxes and were told we’d just missed seeing a bear there! I guess it’s all about timing. 🤷‍♀️ We did see Pronghorn though.

Mr Pronghorn

 

 

Pronghorn

 

 

 

 

Just across the Snake River at the back of our cabin at Dornans is The Chapel of the Transfiguration. Somewhere we’ve been meaning to visit so we decided to do that today.

 

 

 

The Chapel of Transfiguration

The chapel was built to serve guests and employees of the dude ranches that stretched north of Jackson along the base of the Teton Range. The land was donated by Maud Noble, owner of nearby Menor’s Ferry, predating the establishment of Grand Teton National Park in 1929 and its expansion into the Moose area in 1950. Construction materials, labour and funds were provided by local ranchers. It played a primary role in the movie Spencer’s Mountain, which was filmed in Jackson Hole in 1963, and featured Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara. The movie, although set in Wyoming rather than the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was a forerunner (or early alternate version) of the television series The Waltons. I loved the Waltons and have all the DVDs that I still watch today! Sad or what!?

Beautiful window in the Chapel

Anyway, back to the Chapel. It has been visited by President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, President Bill Clinton and his family plus the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Chapel with view over the Tetons

Across the Snake River at the back of Dornans is the now unused Menor’s Ferry and the home of Maud Noble.

Dornans from across the Snake River

Trippers on the Snake River

Maud’s House

The old store at Menor’s Ferry

The outhouse at Menor’s Ferry!!

Machinery that operated the ferry

As we need to pack today for our onward trip tomorrow we decided on lunch instead of dinner and so went back to the Cowboy Bar in Jackson. We had another lovely meal and the place was really buzzing as it’s a Saturday.

The Cowboy Bar

So, to the packing! This is going to be a challenge as we are now travelling with more than we started with! Oh dear! Fingers crossed we can get the cases closed. 🤞

Tomorrow is a driving day. We will be overnighting in Salt Lake City before driving back to Las Vegas on Monday for our final few days.

I can tell the end of the holiday is upon us as I’ll be booking my Spinning class at the gym for Monday 20th later this evening. We’ve waited so long for this holiday and now it’s nearly over. 😔

Catch us tomorrow in Salt Lake City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 16 – Grand Teton National Park

First of all, we decided not to stir ourselves last night so didn’t make it to Mormon Row after all. That’s on the list for tomorrow.

We didn’t have such an early start today …………… we were up and out by 6.45 a.m. instead!

Our plan for the day was to hike the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point Trail that starts from Jenny Lake. To get to the trail head we first of all had to take a boat across the lake. At its deepest point the lake measures 250ft deep and during the winter freezes between 3-5ft deep. This year it was due to open on the 15th May but on the 13th May it was still frozen solid. By some miracle the ice melted in time for the 15th!

We decided to do an early crossing and hike as usually by about 11.00 a.m. the queues to get the boat across are huge. When we arrived there was no queue and we were across the lake, completed the hike and back to the Jenny Lake visitors centre by 11.00 a.m. so all in all a good decision to do an early start.

The only disappointment was we caught the 7.15 boat and if we had been in time for the first one at 7.00 a.m. we would have been treated to the sight of an early morning Moose in the water. Hence, we are still waiting to catch sight of one.

The lake was formed approximately 12,000 years ago by glaciers pushing rock debris which carved Cascade Canyon during the last ice age.

Jenny Lake is named after a Shoshone Indian woman who married an Englishman, Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh. who was guide for F.V. Hayden’s survey of the Teton Range in 1872 and has been called “possibly the West’s last mountain man”. He also has a lake named after him, Leigh Lake. Jenny and their six children, died of Smallpox in 1876.

The first thing we see on the trail is Hidden Falls although you hear them first before actually seeing them. The force of the water is something to see. It’s the snow melt from the Tetons that rushes down and into Jenny Lake. The water is pristine.

S&S at Hidden Falls

The trail to Inspiration Point was quite steep, rocky and at times, a little sketchy with very steep drop offs. The last time we hiked to Inspiration Point was in 2019 and we discovered today that what we thought was the top was not in fact correct. We put that wrong right today by going to the very top. Luckily, there’s quite a lot of shade and the temperature was just right. In fact the day’s been beautiful, not too hot.

Si on the Trail

On the trail

Sand at Inspiration Point

S&S at Inspiration Point

On the trail we were treated to the sight of a marmot, lots of chipmunks and heard the call of the pika.

Marmot

Again, we met and chatted with numerous people too.

 

 

Chipmunk on guard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little friend enjoying a stretch!

After we completed the hike we caught the boat back and decided we needed something to eat so went to the Millionaire’s Cowboy Bar back in Jackson. It’s somewhere we’ve heard lots about but never tried. Today we put that wrong right and boy are we glad we did. It’s a fantastic cowboy bar with saddle seats at the bar, pool tables, televisions showing sports, memorabilia and a dance floor. There’s live entertainment every evening.

It’s a really jolly place. The first thing people do when they enter is to climb on to the saddle stools and have their photos taken. The seats have stirrups to help to climb aboard. It sure is a sight to see. 😂

The Cowboy Bar in Jackson

We enjoyed the Philly steak with fries. I had a Pink Pony cocktail consisting of Aperol, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice and topped with sparkling rose. We know just the person who would have loved it as well – our friend Ann! I then followed that with a Cowboy Mule made from huckleberry vodka, ginger beer and fresh lime juice. Si stuck to beer.

Oh my!

Comfy Seat?

Enjoying lunch!

Saddle seat with stirrups

It’s been a busy day and so tonight we are staying in with a glass or two and just taking it easy.

Tomorrow is our last day here 😔 in the Grand Tetons but we shall be returning. Out of all the National Parks we have visited, this is definitely our favourite. It really is beautiful here and everywhere you look you are treated to the sight of the stunning mountains.

Thanks for joining us on our adventures and hope to see you again tomorrow.

Day 15 – Grand Teton National Park

First things first, last night’s dinner at the Jackson Lake Lodge.  Well, we had the perfect seats, right next to the huge glass windows that overlook the Tetons. Only problem, the scaffolding was still up and the windows still covered so we couldn’t actually see the mountains.

Mural Room Restaurant

Sand enjoying too much of the lovely bread!

Butter in the shape of ???

We started the evening with a couple of cocktails, Huckleberry Mules and boy did they hit the spot! 💥 I ended up having two but as Si was driving he was limited to one. It consisted of huckleberry vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. We then shared baked Brie. Well, it was different to what we were expecting. It was encased in puff pastry and served with rosemary-pear compote and brown sugar candied walnuts.

Note to self: must make that when we get home.

Huckleberry Mule

Si decided he would have the elk and after being told that it would have to be cooked ‘medium’ or it would be tough and I like my meat well done, I settled for my usual Beef Fillet with huckleberry sauce. My beef was lovely, very tender and the sauce yummy. Sadly, not for the first time on this holiday, Si’s elk had to go back as it was as tough as old boots. He settled for the beef too but with Bearnaise sauce and that was great.

The Elk!😔

The Beef Fillet 👍

Si’s a happy chappy with the beef

Shoshone Headdress from the 1970’s

On the wall of the restaurant was a Shoshone headdress from the 1970’s.

Another 5.00 a.m. start this morning for the photographer and his assistant! We will definitely need a holiday to get over the holiday when we arrive home! It was warmer this morning, 45 degrees, but the sunrise wasn’t quite as dramatic as yesterday but worth seeing all the same.

Another Teton Sunrise

Schwabacker Landing

We met two very nice chaps from India, an uncle and nephew. The nephew is training to be a doctor in New York.

We went back twice today to see if we could catch another glimpse of Blondie and her cubs but no joy. Everyone we spoke to hadn’t seen her either and even the rangers said they hadn’t seen any bears today. Hey ho, that’s how it goes.

We went back to the Pioneer Grill again for breakfast, it’s getting to be a habit!

We then decided to try a hike to Taggart Lake. The first for me in eight days after testing positive for Covid. We have done the hike before and our memories told us it was quite a flat one so shouldn’t be a problem. As we all know, memories can be very funny things! It wasn’t flat and the start was all uphill and in the sun. We took it slowly and made it to the top.

The Taggart Trail

Photographer at work!

Sand on the Trail

Taggart Lake is a beautiful natural lake and along with the other lakes in the Park are still considered pristine and have not been impacted by air or water pollution.

Named after William Rush Taggart, an assistant surveyor to Frank Bradley, who also has a lake here named after him, as part of the Snake River division of the Hayden expedition of 1872 to document the geology and topography of the Yellowstone area.

This video shows snowmelt coming down from the Tetons. Moving at a very fast rate!

S&S at Taggart Lake

We met two people along the way who were visiting from Atlanta. They are on a retirement trip and about to celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary (40 years). We had a lovely chat.

Si ready with the bear spray!

Prairie Dog on the trail

On the way down we could not believe the amount of people who were hiking up at 11.15 a.m. in the hot sun! Some wearing flip flops and no hats!

On the way back we saw the missing Buffalo (Bison)!

This Buffalo (Bison) looks a little cross!

After a long tiring day we won’t be going out to eat but if we can stir ourselves may go for a ride out to Mormon Row to see the sunset!

Please join us again tomorrow to see what the day holds!

Day 14 – Grand Teton National Park

Our meal last night at the White Buffalo Club Restaurant was exceptional. I had  the Venison Tenderloin Medallions with garlic mash, baby carrots, New Orleans butter sauce and chives. I think it was probably the best Venison I have ever eaten and believe me, I’ve eaten a lot! The New Orleans butter sauce nearly blew my head off! 😂

Si had the 14oz Ribeye with Bearnaise sauce, garlic mash and asparagus. He said it was excellent and even managed to eat most of it!

Si’s Ribeye

Garlic mash and aspargus

To go with my meal I had a Strawberry Feels cocktail made up of Grand Teton Vodka/Strawberry Simple/Balsamic Vinegar and fresh lime juice – it was fabulous! Si had a glass of Merlot.

Strawberry Feels cocktail

The Merlot

To quote from their own website: “The restaurant features old Chicago style décor incorporating large angled mirrors, fine gallery art, wood floors, custom hand-crafted Douglas Fir table tops, and cozy banquettes.Our granite 3-sided bar centres the dining room and allows for a social, yet sophisticated environment. Whether here for a romantic evening, entertaining clients or sharing a few drinks with friends, The Restaurant at White Buffalo Club has everything you need for a memorable experience”.

The restaurant is listed as ‘Fine Dining’ and from a food point of view that’s true, the food being faultless. However, that term usually relates to more than just the food but to the staff as well. Our waiter, Cody, was fantastic. He was friendly and attentive. However, if we are attending a ‘Fine Dining’ establishment we do not expect to be greeted by and seated by, in this case, young women, the oldest of which looked all of 14 years old, wearing cut jeans and cropped tops and who stood by the rostrum giggling the whole time! They were very friendly but in our opinion, in the wrong setting.

If we are expected to dress appropriately for ‘Fine Dining’ then I think it’s only fair for everyone to do likewise, don’t you agree or are we are just getting old and grumpy with unrealistic expectations in the 21st Century!!? 😔

So, little gripe over, 😬let’s get on with today!

We were up and out just after 5.00 a.m. and it was literally, freezing. ❄️The temperature was 32 degrees Fahrenheit!

Freezing!

There was a red sky and so made for a beautiful sunrise.

The Photographer’s Assistant’s Sunrise Shot

We decided to make our way to Schwabacher Landing for the event and when we arrived there were a few other photographers and their assistants but it was by no means crowded. I was surprised though at how many other ‘Photographer’s Assistants’ had come along this morning. Perhaps we should form a club! 🤔

The Photographer’s Assistant’s Sunrise over Grand Teton

The Photographer’s Assistant’s video of the sunrise over the Tetons this morning.

Now for the real photographer’s shots!

Sunrise at the Grand Tetons

Sunrise Panorama

For breakfast, we went to the Pioneer Grill at Jackson Lake Lodge. It was very cute, just like being in a big diner where everyone sits at the counter. Great food and lovely hot drinks. Just the thing after being out in the cold.

The Pioneer Grill

Si at Breakfast

 

The Grand Tetons

Sand by the lake looking cold!

Here in the Tetons there are bears of course and two in particular that people like to try and see. The two are called Grizzly 399 and Blondie (because she’s a much lighter brown). Grizzly 399 (born 1996) is the most famous brown bear mother in the world, with her own Facebook and Twitter accounts. We have yet to see her.

Blondie, is with her three yearling cubs, thought by most to be her first offspring. Many bear enthusiasts thought Blondie might have met a terrible fate as she didn’t appear at all last year. Now, in hindsight, they think she was raising her new cubs away from the busy roads and bear filled meadows that she usually frequents.

When Si spoke to Steve Mattheis on Sunday he told us where the two bears had been sighted. So, after breakfast we set off in search of Blondie and as is usually the case, not expecting to find her but today turned out to be our lucky day! As we drove along a dirt track a car flagged us down and said that Blondie and her three cubs were up ahead walking in the road! 👏

Mum Blondie

You can imagine our excitement as we sped along as fast as we could on an unmade road. Thanks goodness we are driving a tank! When we arrived she had moved from the road into the meadow but was as close as we had ever been to a bear. Of course, Health and Safety being always first in our minds, we did have the bear spray with us!

There were a couple of other groups enjoying the experience too. By the time we left word had spread amongst the photographic community and cars were pouring in. Sadly for them, the little bear family had moved further into the woods and had settled down for a snooze. 😴

Blondie and her cubs

Isn’t it strange that bear cubs always look so adorable and playful and you just want to pick them up and take them home but give them six months and they would be trying to rip you apart! 😱

Mum and Cubs

Blondie’s Cubs

Blondie and Cubs

By now it’s after 10.00 a.m. and we are feeling a little weary but decide to try one more time to see if we can see early animals out and about, but apart from lots of blue birds eating gnats on the wing, we didn’t see any.

We still need to find a moose and see buffalo up close. We’ve seen a couple of buffalo herds way off in the distance but too far away to photograph.

Tonight we are going back to Jackson Lake Lodge to eat in the Mural Room. The restaurant has huge windows with views out over the Grand Tetons that are just magnificent.

The hotel is currently undergoing renovations and this morning they had started to remove the scaffolding. Fingers crossed it’s all been removed by the time we arrive.🤞We don’t want the most magnificent view in the world spoilt by scaffolding!!

Thanks once again for joining us on our journey. More tomorrow!

 

 

 

Day 13 – Grand Teton National Park

We are both feeling so much better now and life is returning to ‘normal’. Thank you all for your good wishes.

I would like to start today’s blog by saying that the life of a ‘Photographer’s Assistant’ ……… that’s me, is not an easy one! 😔

Covid  🤧or no Covid I’m still expected to jump out of bed before the birds are even singing to perform my duties.

The Photographer’s Assistant with all the photographer’s equipment!

This morning we were up and out at 5.30 a.m. along with quite a few other visitors to the Park. Luckily, it had started to get light so it wasn’t such a shock. The last time we visited here in 2019 is was lovely and hot. Not today, it was very cold.❄️ We have been assured that it will be in the 80’s by the end of the week though.🌞

As I said yesterday, it was our intention to visit Yellowstone today, but after checking the travel details we discovered there are two lots of roadworks that had the potential to add two hours to the journey. As we have visited Yellowstone before we decided to give it a miss this time and to go out and visit some of the areas that Steve Mattheis told Si to check out for early morning wildlife.

As you will see from the photographs, we were not disappointed. As we left Dornans there was the most magnificent red sky so couldn’t decide then if we should concentrate on the sunrise or the animals. The animals won and if the weather permits, we may do an early start for sunrise tomorrow.

Sunrise on the Tetons

First elk of the day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tetons

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tetons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ground Squirrel

It was so lovely to get back in the warm for breakfast after such an early start. Once breakfast was over we managed a little more shopping in Jackson! We both brought hiking shoes with us but after our stay in Capitol Reef and the red soil, they are basically only fit for the bin as they will never be clean again. So, new ones had to be purchased for both of us. Pleased to report success on both fronts.👍

We had a very interesting conversation with a man working in the shoe shop regarding American gun laws. It’s always interesting to hear what the locals think!

Funny thing happened to us as we were leaving Jackson. We walked up to the car and Si couldn’t unlock the doors. He tried, cursed, tried and cursed until I looked at the licence plate and realised the particular vehicle he was trying to open was from Utah whereas ours is from Colorado! Exactly the same car, parking just four places down from ours! I think we need to make an appointment at Specsavers when we get back!! 😂👓

As we are feeling so much better, we’ve decided to go to a restaurant for dinner this evening (with masks of course!😷). This will be the first decent meal we’ve had in days. 👏

Last night we had a visitor to the cabins …………. he came, caught his supper, ate his supper and left! As we do not have televisions in the cabins it certainly made for some  interesting viewing!

Fox with his supper!

Fox slinking away!

Hope you will join us for more adventures tomorrow!

Day 12 – Grand Teton National Park – Plus Day 11!

So, I’ll start today (the 6th) with our trip yesterday (the 5th)! Keep up please! As yesterday’s blog was rather short, here’s an extra long one!

It was a long, but fairly easy drive from Capitol Reef Resort. Mainly I think, because it was a Sunday so there were no roadworks or business traffic. We started off in warm, dry, although breezy weather but as we came closer to the Tetons it clouded over, cooled down and started to rain. ☔️

As I’ve mentioned before, the trip took eight hours but as most of the trip was in sunshine 🌞 it was very pleasant and when we do a long road trip, I’m sure like most people, we have a little routine that consists of snack-fests and music-fests.

Our particular favourites for the road are cheese puffs where you end of with really orangey fingers, fruit and mint Mentos sweets and sour patches or similar. Today we added finger Twixs.

We had Apple Play in the car, so it was easy to connect our phones and today, Si’s request was for some John Denver, so that we could have a little singalong. We sometimes have some Brucie (Springsteen) that is but today it had to be JD.

I’ve mentioned the Avis hire car before but didn’t mention that we were not too happy with  it as it was not quite up to the standard we expect it (had 49,000 on the clock for a start!) and had a couple of safety issues with regard to tyres and windscreen wipers. We had spoken to Avis Customer Service and they told us to stop off at their outlet at Jackson Airport and get it changed. This we duly did and thanks to Pedro, are now riding high in a Toyota 4Runner. It is indeed a magnificent beast and more to the standard we expect. The only problem for me is that it’s high off the ground so I have to use the running board to clamber in. Good job it has one! Strange we should be singing John Denver songs as this car comes from Colorado! 🤔

The Beast!

So, when we arrived, Si decided he should take a Covid test as he was due to go today (the 6th) (still keeping up?) on a photographic workshop with a professional photographer who lives here in the Tetons called Steve Mattheis. He has his own YouTube channel and takes some magnificent photographs. This was going to be a special treat for Si after a very difficult year.

He took the test and it was positive. Well, his response was similar to Victor Meldrew from the BBC One sitcom One Foot in the Grave “I don’t believe it!” but with a few expletives thrown in. That meant his day with Steve could not go ahead. You can imagine the disappointment. Still, it just gives us a good excuse to come back again.

Steve telephoned and has given him lots of tips for places off the beaten track where we can go to see wildlife and hopefully, take some good photos. Assuming of course that Si feels okay. At the moment he has a cough, temperature, sore throat and can’t stop shaking.

We are staying once again at Dornans in a log cabin. It’s much larger than the one we left behind in Capitol Reef. This has a separate seating area, fully serviced kitchen plus table and chairs, bedroom and bathroom so it’s a very comfortable place to be unwell in.

There is The Trading Post and Deli (they make the best sandwiches we’ve ever tasted) a pizza/pasta restaurant, a wine shop, that has the best collection this side of the Mississippi apparently and various other places to shop and eat at, plus rental facilities for bikes and boats

It sits next to the Snake River and we were hoping to do some rafting but as things stand at the moment, I think that little adventure will have to wait for our next visit. Likewise, the horseback riding. For those of you who like a little history, this is an interesting read on how Dornans started. 

This morning (the 5th), we left Utah, passed through Wyoming back into Utah, through Idaho and back into Wyoming again. We know how to live!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few of the other pics I took along the way.

Menacing!

 

Cracker Barrel – We love to eat here when  travelling between places

 

 

 

 

 

The Flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Road

Got Sand? Yes, I’m in the car behind!

Entering Afton, Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little PS on last night (5th): Si had a dreadful night, mostly coughing, couldn’t sleep 🤒🤧 and things did not look good. However, I think all the good wishes and finger crossings must have worked some kind of miracle because he was out of bed this morning declaring that, besides the cough and sore throat, he felt much better!! What!!?? 🤷‍♀️

So, on to what we’ve been doing today, the 6th of June.

With both of us on the mend, we were so lucky to have had mild doses of this terrible disease, we decided an easy day was in order so went into Jackson for a little shopping. Nothing like shopping to put the spring in one’s step! We managed to find a few things!

We then decided on a drive to one of places Steve had told Si about last night to see if we could see blue birds. Along the way we stopped off at a very popular spot, Schwabacher Landing. It’s a beautiful place to photograph but as it’s quite breezy today the water was not still so the reflection was not good.

Schwabacher Landing

Sadly, we did not see any blue birds today but we did see these Pronghorn Deer grazing.

Pronghorn Deer

 

Pronghorn literally locking horns!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Tetons!

 

 

 

 

 

After the rain when we arrived yesterday plus thunder and lightening last night, today has been sunny and warm and we are told will be in the 80s later in the week.

It’s so beautiful here in the Tetons, especially with all the snow still on the mountains.

 

 

All being well, and if we feel up to it, 🤞we may rise early tomorrow to avoid the traffic and make our way to Yellowstone National Park.

Don’t want to speak too soon (whisper it), but I think the holiday may be back on track! 👏

 

 

 

Day 10 – Capitol Reef – Fremont River Trail

Another lovely breezy day here in Capitol Reef. 🌞🍃

As we were leaving this morning the Llamas were just setting off on one of their treks accompanied by some of the guests.

Morning Llama walk

With regard to my Covid. I’m pleased to say I’m starting to feel a little better, it’s now turned into a cold. 🤧😷My chest no longer hurts and my throat’s not as sore. The pharmacist certainly knows his stuff. The medicines he provided have worked very quickly. 👏🤒

At least when people ask me how I spent the Platinum Jubilee I’ll have a good story to tell!

We went out this morning to Fruita and managed to buy cinnamon buns at the Gifford House. My goodness, they are delicious, large but very light. I managed half of one while I was waiting for Si to return!

This is a sign we are not likely to see back home!

Marmot crossing!

Si left me sitting in the car, in the shade, with four of the buns plus ice-cream while he attempted the Fremont River Trail. Meanwhile, I saw deer grazing, marmots and beautiful birds but unfortunately they were not close enough to photograph.

Sand in her limousine! Can you see me waving?

View from the car this morning – lovely!

Fruita is the most beautiful place to visit and we will certainly come again.

Fruita Orchard

Fruita Orchard

The Fruita Orchards all flower and fruit at different times of the year with flowering starting in March and harvesting finishing in October..

The Fremont River Trail is a short hike, 2.1 miles round trip and is generally considered a moderately challenging one along the Fremont River. Although you don’t actually follow or see the river, apart from the start, you can hear it. It starts as an easy stroll but it then becomes a steep climb to panoramas of the valley. It has a elevation gain of 480 ft (146 m). The trail surface is hard dirt and rock. The rock is hard but crumbles and this makes parts of the trail a rough gravel.

Si managed the trip in about 95 minutes and here are some of his shots.

Fremont River Trail

Fremont River Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ridge-top offers a fine panorama of the park from the north around to the east and south. Elevation is 5429 – 5917 feet.

Fremont River Trail

Fremont River Trail

Fremont River Trail

Most of the trees in Fruita are very old dating back to when the pioneers first settled here. We saw this old gnarled one and it is called the Fremont Cottonwood ‘Fruita Mail Tree’. In 2014 the girth of the tree, measured at a height of 4ft 11ins (1.5m) was 24ft (7.20m) with its full height unknown.

The Mail Tree

It has had a long life. Planted in the late 1800s, it has lived longer than expected. It is called the “Fruita Mail Tree” because in the 19th century it was used as the mail tree for the Community of Fruita. Mail (letters and packages) had to be hung on the tree branches and were then collected by the postman. This practice of using big notable trees as mail trees was quiet common in the Wild West. Well who knew that?🤷‍♀️

The one thing about visiting Capitol Reef is the red soil. Everything gets covered in it and I dread to think what Avis will say about the state of their car. Therein lies a tale for another day!

Fruita residents needed to be largely self-sufficient, so they had their own Blacksmith Shop. Founded at the very end of the 1870s, the small community of eight to 10 families remained until well into the 20th century one of the smallest, most isolated towns in America. That isolation translated into technological delays; the first tractor was not introduced here until World War II. This late arrival of modern development meant that people had to make their own tools of every kind.

Old Blacksmiths

For the foodies among you who like to see pics of what Si’s been eating well, due to the Covid situation we’ve been eating in our cabin so have no interesting pics to post. Fingers crossed once we get to the Tetons, I’ll be feeling much better and we’ll be able to start eating out again at some of the great restaurants Jackson has to offer.

When I posted the photos of our cabin earlier in the week I forgot this one! It’s the cabin ceiling, made of wood with a light fitting made from deer antlers. That’s different!

Cabin Ceiling

Well, this will be the last post from Capitol Reef as tomorrow we drive to the Tetons. It’s a long drive, eight hours, so tomorrow’s post will probably be very short.

Hope to see you there for the next stage of our adventures!

 

 

 

Day 9 – Capitol Reef National Park and The Bulldog Spirit!

So, Covid or not, this morning I strapped on my ‘Bulldog Spirit’🇬🇧 and went out with Si in the car so that he could take photos of some particular places on his list.

Entrance to the Park

It’s been very breezy today and we had the windows open in the car so that there was a healthy airflow as we pootled along.

Apart from one photo opportunity (it was so awful of me that I’m not even going to put it on here!), I spent the whole time sitting in the car while Si climbed up and down short steep hikes getting all hot and breathless.

He visited two areas, The Goosenecks and Sunset point. The rock formations here are just fascinating. It’s called Goosenecks because of the meandering river that has cut through the canyon.

Goosenecks

Sunset Point

Capitol Reef National Park was named for its whitish Navajo Sandstone cliffs with dome formations and is approximately 60 miles (97 km) long on its north–south axis and just six miles (9.7 km) wide on average. The park was established in 1971 to preserve 241,904 acres of desert landscape.

Chair at Sunset Point

It was designated a national monument on August 2, 1937, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect the area’s colourful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths and officially opened to the public in 1950.

Sunset Point

Capitol Reef encompasses the Waterpocket Fold, a warp in the earth’s crust that is 65 million years old. The park is filled with brilliantly coloured sandstone cliffs, gleaming white domes, and contrasting layers of stone and earth.

We then drove back to the Gifford House in Fruita with the intention this time of purchasing some of their famous cinnamon buns but even though it was only 11.00 am, they were all sold out so we settled for ice-cream instead (that was lovely and soothing on my very sore throat!) and an apple pie for later.

This evening, Si returned to Sunset Point to see if he could get any good sunset shots. There wasn’t much colour but here are a couple of the ones he did get.

Capitol Reef Sunset

Tomorrow is our last day here in Capitol Reef National Park before we move on to our most favourite place, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. So please join us to see what our last day here has in store.

 

Capitol Reef Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8 – Disaster! Covid Strikes!

It’s true, we do not have any bananas today and we do not have a ‘normal’ blog post either!

I (Sand) have tested positive for Covid so we haven’t been able to do any hiking today or the horseback riding we had booked!

No wonder I was so breathless on the hike yesterday! 😥

Si’s spoken to a pharmacist who has provided me with the necessary pills and lozenges and fingers crossed, this will only be a mild dose. He said I can go outside but to make sure to wear a mask but I will feel tired. I concur with that!

How ironic after isolating for two weeks to make sure we could fly that this happens. I haven’t been feeling well since we arrived here but I just thought it could just be a little chest infection! Dah! (Note to self …….. should have been the first thing I thought of!). I think I must have picked it up on the plane or in Vegas.

Anyway, the whole day’s not lost entirely as the mule deer from last night has just been feeding outside our window.

Mule Deer

I see you!

Is he laughing?

Who’s that?

I’ll finish by wishing Her Majesty a very happy Platinum Jubilee. 🇬🇧

Day 7 – Capitol Reef National Park

It was another cold start to the morning. It’s freezing overnight and we have to have the heating on but it soon warms up after breakfast.

Here are some photos of our ‘shack’ I said I would post on Monday!

Our ‘Shack’

Our ‘Shack’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our ‘Shack’

 

Our ‘Shack’

Sand on our deck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From our window we overlook the range of red rocks, the tepees and wagons.

Other places to stay!

 

You can stay in these too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, we tackle the Hickman Bridge Trail. It’s considered the number one trail to do in Capitol Reef. It is only a 1.7 mile round hike and is considered moderately challenging. The challenging part however, is that it’s all uphill! The trail follows the Fremont River and leads directly to a breathtaking natural bridge. If you’re brave enough (we weren’t) you can climb up and stand on top!! 😱

Freemont River

On the hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saw this on the hike

Hickman Bridge

Lovely flower

After the hike we went and climbed up Panorama Point Overlook to take in the view and it was magnificent. This was just a short climb but we could still feel it on our thighs!

Capitol Panorama View

Nearby was the Fruita schoolhouse. A small modest building built in 1896, the one-room schoolhouse was Fruita’s only public structure. It also served as a church and meeting house since Fruita’s Mormon settlers never had their own church building, a room for dances, meetings, church gatherings and other social events.

Fruita Schoolhouse

As the population of Fruita declined, so did the need for its own school. The last class of students was taught in 1941, after which the schoolhouse was closed and the children were bussed to other schools in the county.

Close by to the schoolhouse is audio from a former teacher, Janice Oldroyd Torgerson who taught at the school as a brand new teacher in 1934. She recalls how the schoolhouse was in need of repair when she arrived and mud was falling from between the logs. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing but Fruita was beautiful and across the dusty road were row upon row of grapes, bordered by huge walnut trees. On moonlight nights the majestic red cliffs seemed gentle and protective. She spent a very happy year there making friends and on the day she left to go back home she looked back at Fruita, sat down on a rock and thought about the eventful year just passed and cried a little, knowing it was over.

Our final visit of the day was to see some more petroglyphs but we don’t have any photographs as they were so faint they didn’t photograph very well. Sadly, some of them have also been destroyed due to rock falls. Why do petroglyphs always seem to show drawings of Martians??!! Answers on a postcard please to ……………………..

On our way back from dinner tonight there was a mule deer grazing by our cabin.

I was thinking last night that I haven’t posted the audio of our favourite adventure song, Holiday Road! All together now 🎶 ………………..

Please join us again tomorrow for more of our adventures.

 

 

Day 6 – Capitol Reef Resort and National Park, Utah

Today we did our first hike. The day started very cold. So cold in fact, that we dressed in double layers at first but by the time we had eaten breakfast and driven to our first stop the weather had changed to hot and we had to strip off layers. 🌞

We started by visiting the Gifford Homestead and Museum in Fruita. Fruita was settled by the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the first settler is believed to have been Nels Johnson who arrived in 1880. Nels recognised that the mild temperature in the area and the continuous water supply made the location ideal for growing fruit trees. The early residents of Fruita planted fifteen orchards containing cherry, apricot, peach, pear, apple, plum, mulberry, almond and walnut trees. Fruits from those orchards are also used today in the freshly baked pies available in the store at the Gifford Homestead. The pies are very famous and usually sell out by lunchtime. That’s why we arrived early!

Gifford Homestead

Gifford Barn

Old Plough

We bought five, two strawberry and rhubarb and one each of cherry, peach and berry. Of course, we just had to eat one straight away while it was still warm and that was one of the strawberry and rhubarbs with vanilla ice-cream. We were not disappointed, it was delicious!

Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie

Si and his pie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that we did the self-guided scenic driving tour of Capitol Reef National Park. The Scenic Drive is amazing and was used by ancient peoples for centuries and in about 1884 the ancient trail was developed into a wagon road. It was used by the settlers, Mormon church leaders, miners and by cattle and sheep ranchers.

Scenic View

Scenic View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is this a Rhino?

Located deep in Capitol Gorge at the end of the road that can only be used by 4WD vehicles, it’s just a short hike along the flat, dry stream bed to get to petroglyphs and the Pioneer Register (early travellers along the stream bed wrote their names on the canyon walls and this became known as the Pioneer Register).

Well, as usual with us and hiking, it didn’t go exactly according to plan! Regular followers of the blog will remember our 2013 visit to Yosemite where we intended to hike halfway to Yosemite Falls but we missed the marker telling us to turn around and we kept going until it finally dawned on us that we had made a mistake and I was at the point of collapse. 😂

Help! I’m exhausted. (On the way to Yosemite Falls – Photo 2013)

We were staying at a B&B and when the owner saw the state of us she gave us dinner and a bottle of wine for free.

Well, we set out along the trail and were told it was about a two-mile trip to see the petroglyphs. Along the way we saw the Pioneer Register but no petroglyphs. The walk was strenuous, mainly through sand and when we had walked 1.3 miles and had not seen any and people were heading back saying they hadn’t either, we realised we may have missed them.

By now, it’s midday and very hot so we turned around and started back. We met a family who told us the petroglyphs were actually at the very beginning of the trail! Yet another hiking mishap!

Sand on the Trail

Carvings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pioneer Register some dating back to 1883!

Pioneer Register

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finally found them and here are the photos to prove it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For dinner this evening we went just across the road to eat at a sister restaurant to the one here at the resort. Si decided on his usual ribs but unfortunately, had to complain as they were dry and very difficult to cut. The rest of the meal was okay but nothing special. The restaurant was listed as ‘fine dining’. 🤔

Still, at least we have the other four fruit pies we can eat!!

Thanks for joining us on our travels.

 

Day 5 – Las Vegas to Capitol Reef Resort, Torrey, Utah

Further to my post yesterday about wifi, I’m pleased to say that it looks as though everything will be okay! We have wifi. 👏🤞

So, today (Monday) is a travelling day but first of all let me tell you about last night’s dinner (Sunday) at Mon Ami Gabi.

After all we had heard about the restaurant, expectations were high. If I told you we were seated, had two courses and were on our way out within 50 minutes, well, I think that speaks volumes!

At Mon Ami Gabi

The staff were very friendly but the food in our opinion was second rate. Si had pate to start which was bland and the bread tough. He followed with pasta and shrimp. The shrimp  was lovely but the sauce was very thin and the broccoli stems were under cooked. I had baked goat’s cheese with garlic bread and that was okay but nothing special. We decided not to bother with dessert. All in all, rather disappointing.

The Pate

Pasta and Shrimp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Goat’s Cheese

After breakfast at Sadelle’s this morning, Si had the biggest French toast we’d ever seen, we were so pleased to see that one of the servers, Susan, who we have known for many years, was back again! She was so delighted when she saw us, we chatted for ages and heard all about what had happened to her since we last saw her in 2019.

Si’s French Toast!

We set out from the Bellagio and went to collect our hire car. The four-hour drive turned into six due to delays and roadworks. A great portion of the drive was through a mixture of flat desert scrub outside Vegas through deep-sided canyons into flat land used for ranching.

We were a little worried at one point as we hadn’t seen a petrol station for literally ages and were concerned we wouldn’t find one in time to fill up. Luckily, we came across a small town with just two pumps so filled up there. The price was $5 a US gallon which we think is about half the price in the UK.

A lovely cloud!

As it’s Memorial Day today there were lots of flags flying.

En-route we passed by Butch Cassidy’s boyhood home. We didn’t have time to stop but will do so when we do the return trip.

Butch’s Boyhood Home

We also saw a dead cow laying on the side of the road! Not something you see everyday.

We set out this morning in a temperature of 90 degrees and by the time we arrived here it was 54. Good job we had our fleeces readily available. We also had a drop of rain and some hail.

We passed through Arizona on the way to Utah, sprang forward one hour in time and at one point the speed limit was 80 mph.

Welcome to Arizona

Welcome to Utah!

80 mph

We arrived at the Capitol Reef Resort and our cabin is lovely. Will post some pics tomorrow. We went straight to dinner when we arrived and for the first time I had catfish and chips! Si had braised short rib that he said was delicious. We started with fish tacos, another first and finished with fruit cobbler. All in all a very nice end to a tiring day.

Catfish and Chips

Si’s Ribs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are worn out so it’s an early night for us. 😴🛌

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to Say!

As you know, we move on tomorrow to Capitol Reef Resort. The wifi there may not be very good or may not be available at all as we will be in the middle of nowhere. So, if there are no posts from us for a few days do not be alarmed. We will get them out to you as soon as we return to civilisation!

Day 4 – Las Vegas

I thought we were supposed to be on a stress-free holiday but holiday weekends here can be very stressful!!

To make sure we didn’t have to stand in line too long for breakfast this morning we decided to book. The only time we could get was 6.30!! Then, to make sure we got beds around one of the pools we had to be in line for them opening at 9 a.m. More stress! This morning we arrived at 8.40 a.m. to find a huge queue of people who were queuing in orderly lines but of course once they opened, it was every man for himself!! The pools here used to open at 8.00 a.m. but they changed it to 9.00. Crazy!! Most people on holiday are up and ready to be round the pool from at least 8.00 a.m if not 7.00.

Memo to self – make sure to leave comments for Bellagio!!

At breakfast this morning I happened to mention to our waiter that I thought Bellagio had taken a turn for the worse as they no longer serve jams and marmalades in little tiny glass pots but now arrive in sachets that have to be torn open like a ketchup sachet! Not good enough! Something else for my comments to Bellagio!

Bless him, to make up for my complaining the waiter gave us two lovely pastries for later.

Jam sachet!

Anyway, it’s very windy here today so even those who managed to snag umbrellas were not able to have them open as the wind was too strong. We managed a couple of hours but even though it’s cooler again today, it’s still very hot.

One funny thing I must tell you all about is something that happened yesterday and will always now be known as the ‘Restaurant Incident of 2022’.

Some of our regular followers and definitely some of our friends, will remember the ‘2013 incident’ that Si always refers to as “Sand’s meltdown!”. Well, this one is up there with that!

Some weeks ago I booked four ‘posh’ restaurants here at Bellagio and put them in my phone calendar. Well, I guess as a result of my phone still being on London time instead of Vegas time, one of the restaurants showed as a day later but I didn’t notice!

Si asked me where we were dining on Saturday night and when I checked I told him we didn’t have a booking (should have realised something was amiss then!) but we had a booking for Sunday. Hence, yesterday we set about trying to find somewhere to eat. Not an easy task on a weekend. First of all we booked Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen, then we get back to our room and decided to try something in-house so that we didn’t have to walk too far. We received a confirmation for the restaurant ‘Harvest’ and confirmed we would be attending then realise we need to cancel Hell’s Kitchen but couldn’t get through to do that. In the meantime, Si gets a message from the restaurant, Spago, here in the Bellagio asking him to confirm our booking! What! According to my calendar the booking’s for Sunday,

In the end I got out the paperwork and sure enough the booking I thought was for Sunday was indeed for Saturday. So, yes, we were confused as we now had three bookings for the same evening! I blamed Si, he should have been checking the booking instead of just believing what I told him.

We managed to sort everything out eventually and went to Spago’s where we had the most fantastic time.

Lesson learned – when in doubt, always double check everything!

Tonight we dine at the Paris Hotel’s ‘Mon Ami Gabi’. This is the first time we have ever been there and it’s supposed to be very nice. Will report back tomorrow on how it went.

Today’s our last day in Vegas until we return at the end of our holiday. Tomorrow morning we collect our hire car and make our way to Capitol Reef Resort in Torrey, Utah just outside of Capitol Reef National Park. It will be a four-hour drive. We will be staying in a log cabin (upmarket one of course!) and fingers crossed, nothing like the one we stayed in during our visit to Yellowstone in 2013!! 😱 🕸🕷

This is where we’ll be staying:

The weather’s going to be a lot cooler than Vegas so note to self: make sure our thermals are packed on top!

Day 3 – Las Vegas

It started out a little cooler this morning so we decided today was the day to do a walk and to look for shoes ………….. for me!

Before that we went back to Sadelle’s for breakfast and had the same as on our first day. Si the omelette and for me the yoghurt parfait and bagel with cream cheese.

I mentioned that it’s Memorial Day weekend and on each table this morning there was a pot plant to remember those who had died in active military service.

We were sat next to a lovely American couple visiting from Florida and during our conversation he told us how he visits the UK and is very good friends with Colonel John Nicholas Blashford-Snell CBE, the British Army officer, explorer and author. who founded Operation Raleigh and the Scientific Exploration Society. The man was telling us about his exploring adventures with Colonel John. He had been all over the world with him and still visits him in the UK. 

After breakfast we set out on foot to buy a few things including an electric toothbrush. I just cannot manage with a manual one. It turns out you can buy battery-operated ones especially for travel. We did not know that!

We then made our way to the Venetian Hotel where they have a wonderful array of shops, especially shoe shops. I didn’t need to look too far as I found two pairs in Skechers. One pair of trainers in black and gold together with a pair of black slip-ons. When I went to pay the young lady said she would give me 20% discount! So kind!

 

Both pairs are very light so won’t add too much weight to the suitcases!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we were at The Venetian we stopped off at the Jimmy Choo shop. This is the shop where over the years I’ve purchased many pairs of rather lovely shoes. It’s still managed by the same man but sadly, he wasn’t there for us to say “hello” to. I did see a couple of pairs that I may take another look at when we return to Vegas in a couple of weeks.

It’s now a few hours later and I must apologise in advance for any typos but we dined tonight at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in the Bellagio. We had the most wonderful evening while watching the Bellagio fountains. The food and drink was just about the best we’ve had. We did rather over indulge and now I’m more than a little bleary eyed and rather worse for wear! 😔

Our starter was a rather large smoked salmon pizza with dill cream, red onion and salmon pearls. Si followed that with wild Alaskan halibut, lotus root, chilli soy glaze with Jasmin rice and I had the baby beet salad with goat’s cheese and wild huckleberries (I first discovered huckleberries back in 2019 and love them). For dessert we had a dark chocolate soufflé with ice cream, fresh cream and chocolate sauce. As Michael Winner would say, “it was heroic!”.

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Si’s Halibut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand’s Salad

Dark chocolate souffle