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 🎶 ………………..

https://simonandsandra.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/03-holiday-road.m4a?_=1

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand’s French 75

Sand and Si at Spago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really do need to get out of Vegas as soon as possible to start doing some serious hiking and exercising or we’ll be needing two seats each on the plane home! 😱 😂

 

 

 

Day 2 – Las Vegas – It’s Cheese Plate Day!!

Once again, it’s been very hot here. So hot in fact, that I left my pool shoes out in the sun all morning and by the time we left the sun had melted the glue holding the sole on to one shoe and as I walked back to our room it fell off so I had to wear Si’s pool shoes instead! I take a size 4, he’s an 8, you can imagine what I looked like wearing those. 😂

Just a little update about the helicopter yesterday. Thanks goes to Julie and Nat for letting us know that it was a pre-planned Police training exercise. So pleased to say no-one was in need of the emergency services.

Police Training Exercise

Flying back to land

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a good-old US of A breakfast we spent the morning round the pool. We met a young couple from near York who were on their very delayed honeymoon. They had re-arranged their wedding four times due to Covid and like so many, eventually decided to have a simple pub wedding with a Las Vegas honeymoon as soon as Covid allowed.

For breakfast today we both decided to push the boat out and Si had his French toast and I had blueberry pancakes with white chocolate! 😱 Not my usual breakfast but I decided one naughty meal wouldn’t hurt but of course, I couldn’t eat it all.

Si’s favourite, French toast

My blueberry pancakes with white chocolate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the flowers on our breakfast table. They are so lovely I decided they needed to be shared.

Today is the day I’ve been waiting three years for! At 2.00 p.m. (8.00 p.m. UK time) I shall be partaking of the Bellagio cheese plate at the Petrossian Bar. Hip, hip, hooray! 👏👏👏 To quote Morgan Freeman’s character, Red from Shawshank Redemption: “I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head”. By the time you get to read this post my long wait will be over and my wish fulfilled.

I am pleased to report that the cheese plate was as fabulous as always but alas, there’s a new Chef who wanted to change things up a little and the whole platter is now only half the size it used to be. That just about sums up most things at the moment.There are now only three cheeses instead of seven, served with garlic bread instead of a selection of crackers and bread sticks and only half the fruit and honey. Hey ho, I guess it couldn’t stay the same forever and it was still worth waiting for.

Sand with her cheese plate

 

S&S at the Petrossian Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Petrossian Bar is described as an upscale lounge featuring champagne, caviar, English tea service and piano music at the Bellagio. There were some of the same staff and even the two pianists were the same. They were all looking that little bit older, but then, aren’t we all!!?

It’s going to be very busy here for the next few days as it’s Memorial Day weekend.

I’m very pleased to report that our winning streak continues ………….. for now at least!

Some things never cease to amaze me! We decided to order ourselves a little something from In-Room Dining, one of which was coffee for Si. This is what was sent up for him to put in his coffee ……………. 13 little pots of cream! 🤷‍♀️Rather generous don’t you think!

Enough cream for 13 cups of coffee!

Day 1 – Las Vegas

Wow it’s been hot today! As we haven’t been here for three years it came as rather a shock when we first walked outside this morning. 🌞

Before I talk about today there’s one thing I forgot to mention about our plane trip and that was the fact that our seatbelts had an airbag attached to them! That’s a first for us. I guess that’s because in the case of an emergency we would not have anywhere to lean our heads as there are no seats in front.

Anyway, we decided to have our breakfast at Sadelle’s here in the Bellagio which meant we had to pass through the famous Atrium and what a treat that was. The new summer display opened a couple of days ago and is based on an African theme. We’ve never seen one like it before. We’ll post a video of that later.

In the Bellagio Atrium

Breakfast was delicious and it was lovely to see some of the same staff back after the Covid break. As it was the first full day of our holiday it seemed rude not to accept the waiter’s recommendation of Mimosas. As our regular followers will know, Si usually starts the holiday with something outrageous so I was surprised when he ordered an omelette! 🤷‍♀️I had my favourite, yogurt parfait followed by bagel and cream cheese. Neither of us were disappointed.


It was our intention to visit Walgreens next to buy a few things but on the way we stopped off for our first little (look away now if you don’t approved of gambling!) 😂 gamble and we were pleased that we did. We won $482.06!

I can’t believe what I’m going to write next but we also stopped off at Footlocker on the way and Si actually bought himself some new trainers! Si buying shoes before me …… the world’s gone crazy. He bagged himself a bargain too because when he went to pay, he was told they were half price in the sale! That made him doubly happy. Bless!

We had some real excitement when we returned to our room. Out of the window we saw a Police helicopter hovering near the Vegas version of the London Eye. We have yet to find out what happened but they appeared to be rescuing people. We saw them hoist up three people. Further investigation needed! Si has better pics on his camera so will add some later but for now here’s one.

This evening we had the first of our ‘posh’ meals here at the Bellagio. Tonight we dined at the Mayfair Supper Club. This was our first visit as it has opened since Covid hit. It is inspired by top supper clubs around the world and is intended as a return to the glamorous eras of Las Vegas and old New York set against the Fountains of Bellagio.

S&S at the Mayfair Supper Club

May’s a singer!

When we first arrived we felt we were too near the centre stage and the piano was rather loud so we asked to be moved to a booth. Good choice on our part. They presented me with a red rose for our anniversary and at the end of the meal they gave us their Black Forest Cake with gold leaf and a little ‘Happy Anniversary’ card attached. Very kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the meal, Si had huge coconut prawns served in half a coconut shell followed by garlic crusted Prime Rib and I, of course, had the Fillet Mignon with black truffle sauce and we shared pureed potato and creamed spinach. The bread rolls reminded us of the ones we have at the Texas Roadhouse. Dot and Nat, you know what we mean. They are sweet and have butter poured over the top. Goodness me, they were good and very moreish. I had them as my starter.

For cocktails, Si had a Lucky Lady and enjoyed that so much he ordered a second and I had the Cloud 9, described as the champagne cocktail of your dreams and is a split of Champagne, Angostura Bitters with the glass wrapped in candy floss. What more can I say? Apparently, the Mayfair does the best cocktails in Vegas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you visit after 11 p.m. the show is of a completely different nature and is rather more risqué! It would be lovely if we could stay awake until 11 p.m. to experience it for ourselves!! 😂

Just to finish off for today, here is a photo of the Bellagio Reception, as always looking very beautiful.

The Journey!

Hello from Las Vegas!

We arrived okay and apart from two incidents of turbulence, the journey was very smooth. The food was excellent and the Virgin crew took very good care of us.

Our ‘suites’ as they like to call them, were very comfortable indeed and had all kinds of bells and whistles. We didn’t bother to make ours into beds but will do that on the night flight home.

I was amazed at how many people did and went to sleep at 6.30pm! We flew on a Dreamliner and as the flight progresses the cabin lights change colour to reflect what’s happening and they gradually darken and it’s like nighttime.

We started with champagne and nibbles and then on to the main event of dinner served on lovely china with real knives and forks. They even let us keep the little salt and pepper shakers!

Food and drink was in abundance. Once dinner had gone down we had a toasted cheese sandwich as a little snack, then later on, they wanted to serve us little plates of food including pulled pork on a brioche bun, crab cakes (Si had those and said they were fabulous), or two kinds of salads and even afternoon tea!

Sadly, my watch was telling me it was now midnight and although I so wanted to indulge in the afternoon tea, I just couldn’t eat any more! 🤷‍♀️

There were all kinds of teas and coffees, even hot chocolate. Si was happy as they had decaf tea and coffee for him too. For the food lovers, here are a couple of photos of some of the food.

Si’s Ginger Prawns

Sand’s Goat’s Cheese Tart

Upper Class was full and indeed the whole flight was very busy but then again, the Vegas flights usually are.

Sand’s Passionfruit Chocolate Bomb

After we disembarked and headed for Border Control, to our delight, we found we were the only flight there so were straight through. We didn’t even have to have our finger prints taken this time, collected our bags, met our chauffeur, Mohsin, and arrived at the hotel within 30 minutes!

Reminder to self: always catch an afternoon flight to Vegas! That’s the quickest we’ve ever experienced. Mohsin was surprised too, he said he’s usually waiting a couple of hours.

I remember that once, on a visit to Boston, we stood in Border Control for three hours! Not ideal after a long flight.

As we drive a Tesla ourselves, it seemed appropriate that we should have a Tesla to collect us so had booked the Model X with the gull wing doors. It did not disappoint!

Again, when we arrived at the Bellagio there were only a handful of people checking in so  that was speedy as well.

We were given a very large corner room overlooking the famous Bellagio fountains but alas, all was not well! 😒 There was a problem with the air conditioning inasmuch as it sounded like a freight train but as quick as a flash we were moved to another corner room. What’s so lovely about this are the windows on two sides of the room with great views and we even have a window in the bathroom with an electric blind.

This is the view from one of our windows:

Great view over the Strip and Bellagio Fountains

Well, it’s now 3.30 am and of course, we are wide awake! Better try and get a few more 😴.

More later!

Houston, we have lift off!

Well, today’s the day! ✈️

We had our Covid PCR tests yesterday and they were negative so that means, after four attempts and for the first time since 2019, we are off to the USA for our delayed Golden Wedding Anniversary trip.

Excited, you bet we are! 👏

Thanks to a very special offer I found on-line earlier this year, we are very fortunate to be flying Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class for this trip and if everything that we have read is true, then we are in for a real treat. 🥂 🍴

We will be starting our trip experiencing the delights of Virgin’s Upper Class Lounge at Heathrow. Apparently, there are Peloton bikes for those who feel the ‘need for speed’ before jetting off. Even though I love Spinning I think I’ll be able to give those a miss!

We’ll be sharing all these wonders with you …………. so stay tuned!

So, we arrived and within ten minutes were through check-in, security and via Duty Free we were in the lounge.

Why is it that when you find a perfume you love, in my case Dune by Dior, that it disappears? Apparently, there’s currently a problem with deliveries! 🤷‍♀️ So, I’m trying a new one, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet. It had better be ‘blooming’ okay!

Breakfast was delicious.  Si of course had the full English while I had Eggs Benedict. Only mishap so far was knocking over my glass of champagne. Lucky for me there was a hostess on hand to immediately replenish my glass. I think we could get used to this!

As is tradition ……………. here’s a video of Si eating his breakfast! 😂

Hello Again! It’s Good To Be Back!

So, here we are in 2022 and fingers crossed and Covid permitting, we will be flying off on our long-awaited holiday at the end of May! 👏

Once again, due to very unexpected circumstances, we have had to rethink our plans and instead of visiting the USA and Canada for six weeks, we will now be going to the USA for three weeks and Canada will be our destination in 2023.

We will fly into Las Vegas for a few days, enjoying everything the Bellagio Hotel has to offer, including the magnificent, often dreamed of during the past 28 months, cheese plate! I know I will not be disappointed. From there we travel up to Capitol Reef National Park in Utah (this will be our first visit there), staying in a log cabin* and then on to our most favourite place, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming where we will once again be staying at Dornan’s in a log cabin*.

* For followers of our blog, you will remember the log cabin we stayed in during our ‘big trip’ in 2013, 8000 feet up a mountain just outside of Yellowstone National Park!!! Well, this will be nothing like that one, shudder the thought!! 😱

While we are in Jackson, our resident in-house photographer will at last be able to use his new camera and lenses. We will be expecting even more wonderful photographs as Simon will be spending a day with a professional photographer, Steve Mattheis, who lives in Jackson and has his own YouTube channel. https://www.stevemattheis.com.

From there we will travel back, via Salt Lake City, to spend a few days in Las Vegas before flying home.

So, we look forward once again to ‘travelling’ with family, old friends and hopefully a few new ones too, on our first adventure since 2019.

See you soon!

Simon and Sandra’s Golden Wedding Anniversary Adventure Starting 1st July 2021?

This was supposed to be a very special year for both of us as we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary (50 years!) on 6th March and we both turn 70. We had big plans for an extended trip to the US and Canada but those plans had to change due to the Pandemic.

As parts of Canada we were going to visit were not intending to open this year we decided to go ahead with the US portion of the holiday and do the Canadian part in 2022.

However, as both the US and Canada are currently closed to UK residents, it means we will not be jetting off on the 1st July after all and have shifted the whole holiday into 2022. Fingers crossed, starting on 25th May.

I guess we’ll enjoy it even more once we get to go!

Stay safe and see you all in 2022! 😀

The Holiday That Never Was!

So, today we were supposed to be jetting off 🛫to the USA for our annual holiday but alas, due to the current situation we all find ourselves in, it was of course, cancelled. The most exciting thing happening today, apart from our daily exercise, 🤸‍♀️🏋️‍♀️will be a supermarket food delivery. Hey ho, it is what it is, nothing to be done about it. Millions of people are in a similar situation. 

Fingers crossed, we will be able to travel again next year. We certainly hope so as it is  rather a big year for us both as on 6th March 2021 we will have been married for 50 years!!! 😱 👰🤵💒 No! we hear you exclaim, how is that possible, you look so young? 😂 We say, goodness, where have all those years gone, how did we ever get this old? 🤨

We have already started to plan our trip for next year to celebrate this momentous event so hope you will join us again for ‘Simon and Sandra’s Golden Wedding Adventure to Canada and the USA’ starting 9th June 2021.

Until then, to all our blog followers we say, stay positive, stay safe and stay well. See you in 2021. 🌈😀

Day 19 – London Heathrow and Home!

So, here we are, it’s Friday and we are home once again! 🏡

We left the hotel at 5.00 p.m., got a taxi 🚕to the airport and once again we had a really friendly driver who moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles about nine years ago. He felt LA had just gotten too busy. He was originally from Ukraine and told us the most amazing story of how he and his family left and began a new live in the US.

The roads to the airport were very busy so it took longer than anticipated but we still arrived in good time to drop (not literally, they were much too heavy for that) our bags and then went off to wait in the lounge.

Both our bags were overweight, just as I knew they would be, mine 4kgs and Si’s by 3kgs. I don’t know how that happened, no really!, because I had most of our purchases in my small carry-on suitcase and I even made a list of what extras things we’d packed in the large suitcases and none of it seemed to weigh that heavy! Anyway, the young lady at the bag drop didn’t make any comment, she just put ‘Heavy’ orange stickers on both and let them pass right on to the conveyor belt. Bless! 🧳

We went through Security and once again, Si was body-searched! I don’t know, I think he must look shifty or something. Then, they wanted me to open my small carry-on suitcase. I  duly obliged and it turns out they didn’t like the way I had packed the charger leads! 😦

Our flight was good, apart from a little turbulence, but nothing to worry about ……….. well, I suppose something to worry about if you’re a nervous flyer!! 😱

The inbound flight from Heathrow to Vegas actually arrived early and we thought to ourselves, that that boded well for getting away on time …………. no, no, no, why would we think that, we know better!

They say it all happens in Vegas and that is so true. The inbound flight arrived and before anyone started disembarking along came five policemen 👮‍♀️👮‍♀️👮‍♀️👮‍♀️👮‍♀️ who proceeded to board. They were on the plane quite a while before two of them came off escorting a young gentlemen in handcuffs!!! 😱 Well, you can imagine what happened, everyone waiting in the lounge were just staring in disbelief. Then two more officers escorted two young women off, not in handcuffs though. We all assumed they must be the travelling companions of the arrested.

We never got to find out what happened. We did ask one of the stewards on our flight but he had heard nothing about the incident. What! You’d think that the British Airways (BA) staff would at least talk to each other.

So, in the end we were 40 minutes late leaving but because of good tail winds the flight back to Blighty only took 9.5 hours instead of the usual 10. Apart from the turbulence it was uneventful ………… or at least I think it was, I was asleep 😴 for about seven of those hours. Poor old Si, as usual, was wide awake the whole flight back. I’d booked us two great seats in the front of our section of the plane, next to the emergency exit, so we were able to stretch right out.

BA are celebrating 100 years this year and one of the things they are selling are small jars of Marmite with a special label on the front. I didn’t realise but you cannot take the large jars of Marmite into the US but these are only 70g so that size is okay! I had wanted to buy some on our flight out to Las Vegas, I thought it would be nice to have some on my toast once we were at Dornans, but they couldn’t get the Duty Free trolley unlocked so I had to wait until today.

For those who do not know what Marmite is, it is made from yeast extract, a by-product of  brewing beer. It’s a sticky, dark brown food paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is extremely salty. This distinctive taste is represented in the marketing slogan: “Love it or hate it.” Such is its prominence in our popular culture that the product’s name is often used as a metaphor for something that is an acquired taste or tends to polarise opinions. When talking to people who have never been to Las Vegas I always say it’ss like Marmite, you either love it or hate it!

BA Marmite

So, today ends another great holiday. 😢 We’ve had a fabulous time, seen so many beautiful things and met some very friendly and interesting people.

We drove 2041 miles in our ‘trusty steed’, low mileage for us I guess!

We would like to thank you all for journeying with us down our ‘holiday road’ and for all the comments you posted, 👏 they really are appreciated and we look forward to sharing our next ‘adventure’ with you all.

We usually finish with a little music so here’s a song by the lovely Alison Krauss and the Jerry Douglas Band that will get your feet tapping! I’ve also just found another video of Four Strong Winds by Neil Young. The scenery of Alberta, Canada is so beautiful I thought it was worth sharing with you.

So, for now, as usual it’s ………. “goodbye again!”

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 next time. Bye! 👋 🇬🇧 🇺🇸

Si and Sand in the Grand Tetons National Park

 

 

Day 18 – Las Vegas to London Heathrow!

Well, I’m wide awake this morning!

The first thing I did was to email the car company who will be collecting us from Heathrow. If you remember on the day they were supposed to collect us from home to take us to Heathrow they had a computer problem and no-one turned up until we contacted them. I’m pleased to confirm we are on their books for tomorrow, Friday, afternoon. 🚗

Then I double-checked that our room was down for late check-out. I originally booked to leave at 3.00 p.m. but when I spoke to Customer Services they said we could extend until 6.00 p.m. if we wished for just an extra $34, well it seemed rude not to accept. So, we have a comfy place to eek out some of the waiting time instead of the hard chairs at the airport. Our plan is to leave here about 5.00 p.m., we are already checked in so it should just be a case of dropping off the bags ………………. and paying the excess charges. I just know the bags are going to be overweight! Hey ho! 🧳

We had breakfast at the pool cafe again and our waiter was the same guy we had when we first arrived. He remembered us (is that a good or a bad thing!?) and when we ordered two mimosas (thought it would be a nice end to the holiday!) he actually paid for them! How kind was that!

Our two Mimosas!

One funny thing happened at breakfast. The pool cafe is open-air so there are always a few sparrows flying around looking for their own breakfast. Well, Si was sat there enjoying his breakfast when something appeared overhead and hit him on his head! He was so shocked but boy was it funny. It was a single French fry that a little sparrow had picked up but it was so heavy he dropped it just as he flew past Si.

That naughty sparrow with his French fry!

Si had his All American breakfast while I decided on the Fruit Parfait. Si always has his without the fried potatoes so our waiter decided he should have fresh fruit instead!

Sand enjoy her parfait this morning!

Si with his All American, minus potatoes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our waiter thought Si should have some fruit as he didn’t want potatoes with his All American breakfast!

Si had grabbed us a good spot by the pool and we found ourselves between two couples, one from near Denver and the other from somewhere I’d never heard of in Minnesota. We spent a few hours discussing this and that …………… and politics!! ☹️

It was very hot again this morning so we had our umbrella up straight away. Unfortunately, the wind started to blow very strongly and we were all asked to put them down, for safety reasons. We didn’t stay long after that because of the heat.

As I’m not one for eating on a night flight (I like to get my head down as soon as we board) we decided on room service and have just had a fabulous turkey club and french fries with a great pot of camomile tea for me and coffee for Si. I’m sure poor Si will spend the whole flight awake like he usually does!

Thought I’d finish the post today with a photo of one of the very lovely flower displays they have here at the Bellagio.

Just one of the Bellagio flower displays

Our next post will be from good ol’ Blighty, 🇬🇧 hopefully late Friday if I can stay awake! 😂 😴 So please join us then. In the meantime, thank you once again for reading. 😀

Day 17 – Las Vegas

Well, if you need something to help you sleep tonight, this post is probably just the ticket! It’s a little underwhelming compared to previous posts as we haven’t done much really.

Just as I predicted yesterday we’ve had a day of eating (breakfast) at the pool cafe, lounging round the pool, with occasional dipping/swimming to cool off, more eating (dinner) at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., cocktails at the Bellagio and then a little gambling!

Gosh, it was hot today, by 9.30 it was 90 and then rose to 101 degrees. We spent most of the time under our umbrella with dips in and out of the pool. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining. From what I read and hear the weather home in the UK is rather poor, rain, rain and more rain so we need to appreciate the sun and heat while we can.

We met and talked with some very interesting people at the pool, lounging just like us and who will also be flying home tomorrow. A couple from Kingston in the UK and a couple from Australia.

This is one of the waitresses at the pool who kept us hydrated!

Tonight we decided to dine at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (the restaurant dedicated to all things Forrest Gump, the film) as we missed it on our original stay here the week before last. We’ve dined at one of these before, in Tennessee, it was just the same. Si had his favourite coconut shrimp and I had the fish and chips. I’d been looking forward to that all day. Good job I only ordered the small portion!!

It’s a fun place to eat as they ask you questions about the film and it’s interesting to see just what you can remember …….. assuming you’ve seen it in the first place! 😀

Most of the drinks you order at the restaurant come with a free glass to take home. Yes, we now have two glasses to try and fit in the cases plus the other goodies we bought there too! Why oh why, can’t I ever just walk out passed the gift shop without buying anything!!?

The entrance to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on The Strip!

Si with his coconut shrimp

Sand with her small portion of fish and chips!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our drinks at Bubba Gump – these are the glasses we get to keep (well, they give us new ones!)

After dining we came back to the Petrossian Bar here at the Bellagio for cocktails before having a gamble. Mr. Monopoly seems to have gone on his own vacation as he was certainly absent tonight!!!

Si has a question ………………. when did it become the thing for men to wear their underwear under their swimming shorts????? It suddenly seems to be the thing to do, or it does here at least!

We’ve been coming to the Bellagio since it opened, 21 years ago, and for the first time we find ourselves in strange territory! They have dismantled the atrium exhibition and are setting up a new feature! What a shame for the people who come here and look forward to the display only to find it’s not there. These are the photos of what the new display will look like shortly, shame we won’t be here to enjoy it!

How the Bellagio Atrium will look when it’s finished!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my, all this lazing, eating and drinking is no good for a girl or boy for that matter! I’m actually sat in bed writing this and I’ve just realised that I fell asleep over the laptop! 😂 😴

Dear, dear me! I need to be awake and on the ball as I’m now waiting for British Airways to say we can check-in on-line and I don’t want to get that wrong. 😱 (It’s okay, I’ve just completed check-in, all’s okay).

I think I’d better say “goodnight all” and get some shut-eye. See you tomorrow! 😀

PS: I told you I fell asleep, well I’ve just realised I’ve missed some of the photos off the post! Dear me, I think I need a holiday. Here are the ones I forgot to add!

In the restaurant there are all the popular sayings from the film. if you want your waiter to stop you turn over the red sign.

From Bubba Gump!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, on the way back from Bubba’s we came across another ‘big’ shoe just as we did on our first week here. Loving those shoes!

My goodness, now my alarm’s going off on my phone, it’s time to book my spin class for tomorrow week. How quickly things get back to normal and we are not even home yet!

Now I’m really off to sleep. Night all! 💤 Thanks for reading.

 

Day 16 – On the Road Again! Salt Lake City to Las Vegas

The day started sunny and 70 degrees. After a quick breakfast we were on the road by 8.45. It was a long 6.5 hour drive that was totally uneventful today! As we drove south the temperature started to rise and our ears started to pop. The temperature when we reached Vegas was 103 degrees and we were down from 7000 to 2000 feet above sea level.

So, the events of the day so far! This is going to be a very long read and as I can’t promise what I’ll have to post about tomorrow as it will probably be just a day of breakfast, sitting round the pool, eating again and gambling, you may want to read this post in two halves, today and tomorrow! 😂

Britney (sat nav), I always knew she was trouble from the moment she started speaking! Today of all days she decides she’s going to have a strop. At least three times during our trip she decided to have a sulk and stopped working. 😠 We actually knew the way anyway, straight down I15 South but that’s not the point! The good thing is that when we reached the Hertz Returns facility and were asked if everything had been okay, Si told them about Britney and they very kindly deducted the cost of the sat nav, $170 (£136) off the bill. Thank you very much Hertz. 😀

We arrived at the Bellagio rather earlier than planned. They’ve now introduced an on-line check-in system, so instead of standing in the queue of thousands (we can remember a time when one didn’t have to queue at all here to check-in but how things have changed!). This means that you tell them when you expect to arrive and they email you your room number and you just go to the Mobile Check-in Lounge, pick up your key and off you go to your room.

Bellagio Reception (check-in queue)

We told them we expected to arrive around 4.00 p.m. but instead arrived at 2.00 so our room wasn’t quite ready. So, what are two weary travellers meant to do? Um, let me think! 🤔Well, we could go to the Petrossian Bar and maybe have my favourite cheese plate and a cocktail or two ………… so that’s exactly what we did. We hadn’t been there twenty minutes when the email came through telling us our room number.

Sand enjoying the cheese plate …. again!

Si enjoying a beverage!

So, here we are in our delightful room overlooking the famous Strip and Bellagio fountains. As I’ve already packed the cases ready for our flight home there will be no unpacking to do. Just take out what we need for the next couple of days.

We had a very interesting conversation with the Bellman who has worked here since it opened 21 years ago. It was privately owned then by Steve Wynn but is now part of the MGM Group. We discussed how things have changed since the early days. It’s still a lovely hotel but there are one or two things that regular guests would notice. Hey ho, nothing ever stays the same.

Welcome to Arizona

FedEx times three!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, as today’s been a day rather short of adventure I’ve decided to fill the post with photos and musings, in no particular order!

  1. When we had dinner last night at The Texas Roadhouse in Salt Lake City (SLC) we chatted to the waiter and he asked us what we were doing there and we explained we were on our way to Las Vegas before returning home to the UK. It so happens that he and his girlfriend’s family are all flying to Las Vegas on Thursday and staying over the weekend. “After all” he said, “who goes to Vegas on a Wednesday?” We replied, “well we do actually!” to which he replied “yes, but I’m young!” What the ….! Cheeky blighter. All the same, he was rather charming. 😀
  2. The last 100 miles on the road to Vegas is very boring! 😴
  3. We are, once again, eight hours behind the UK (what happened today with regards to the voting of the next PM?) 😱
  4. Why doesn’t the UK have Express driving lanes? Here, if you have two or more people in the vehicle you can drive in a special fast lane.

    Just a train we saw along the way

  5. As we left SLC this morning I remembered the last time we were there (not on this visit but in 2013 …. our retirement trip) when we visited the Great Salt Lake and even though I was wearing a cap I was bitten very badly on the head by something that was never identified. The resulting bumps on my head were so bad that when we arrived at Yellowstone National Park I had to see a doctor who told me I couldn’t wash my hair for a week! What!? I have to say that at the end of the seven days my hair looked rather gorgeous and not at all as bad as I imagined it would. I will not mention here what happened next when

    Double Coca-Cola truck – double the fun!

    we arrived in the Tetons and was attributed to those bites on my head, but my nearest and dearest will know what I’m talking about and what Si lovingly refers to as “Sand’s meltdown!” 😂 We laugh about it now but it wasn’t funny at the time.

  6. Si noticed on our drive today the various advertisements for different hospitals and how they said there was only a six-minute waiting time for Accident and Emergency. Wow, makes you kind of envious!

    Saw this on the back of a lorry!

  7. Yesterday, I lost an item of ‘ladies apparel’, couldn’t find the particular item anywhere and was convinced I’d either left it behind somewhere or someone had taken a fancy to it. Well, pleased to say I found it this morning tucked away in the small spare suitcase I brought with us specifically for all those goodies I didn’t intend to buy…… but did!!!
  8. We saw a lighthouse on the side of the highway today and it was my intention to post a pic but the photographer was flying along so fast that the photographer’s assistant only managed to photograph half of it. So, you won’t be seeing that little treat this evening!
  9. We passed by a town called Panguitch today and reminisced how we stayed their during our 2013 trip. We had booked a lovely little B&B where check-in was 3 p.m. We arrived at 2.50 p.m. and the hostess asked us to “wait in the parlour as you are ten minutes early.” Um, you can imagine what we thought about that. I have to say that it turned out to be a rather lovely place to spend a few days and the hostess was a very pleasant lady.

A rather bad ‘Welcome to Nevada’ sign but a good pic of our car mirror!

The Trading Post of yesteryear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last thing I thought we should share with you all, just in case anyone’s planning a long road trip in the future, are our ‘Rules of the Road’ (or our ‘must haves’ in the car) that have served us well for many a year! In no particular order:

  1. Snacks (must always includes Cheetos)
  2. Drinks (water and soft)
  3. Hand wipes
  4. Trash bag
  5. Lead for iPhone so you can play music

    Now that’s what you call an oil tanker – two together!

  6. Note pad and pen (because there’s always a time when you will say “remind me” and then you get to your destination and can’t remember what the “remind me” was for!
  7. Headache pills (the long trips can be stressful!)
  8. Lip balm for the lady and gent, if he’s inclined
  9. Nail file because all the lifting of the cases in and out of the car always results in broken nails for someone
  10. Always do hourly exercises to keep the blood flowing. This can include butt clenching, foot wiggling and shoulder lifts – 20 reps of each
  11. Always acknowledge the Cracker Barrel and Chick-fil-A signs with arms raised to the

    Cracker Barrel

    heavens and saying their names out loud. Cracker Barrel as it’s one of my ‘on the road’ places to pop in and have a meal. Good ol’ American fare, and very popular and Chick-fil-A (we’ve never eaten there) but, the founder, Truett Cathy (1921-2014), seems as though he was a great employer. He made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. Having worked seven days a week in restaurants open 24 hours, Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees

    Chick-fil-A

    could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose – a practice they uphold today.

Having had the cheese plate earlier I don’t think we’ll be eating again tonight so instead, perhaps a visit to Mr. Monopoly is in order. I received a message this morning from the Postcode Lottery to say we had won £20 so perhaps luck is with us today! Fingers crossed.🤞😉

As always, thanks for reading! 😀

 

Day 15 – On the Road Again! The Tetons to Salt Lake City

So, today we’ve been ‘back on the road again!’ The day started sunny and warm, about 70 degrees and the trip was uneventful until we reached about the half-way point and the black clouds rolled in and ‘boom’, very heavy rain. I’m pleased to say it didn’t last long and were soon enjoying the sunshine again. 🌞 The trip took about 4 hrs 30 minutes, so not too bad and once we had checked-in to the hotel (it’s the same one we stayed at on our trip north to the Tetons) we went and enjoyed a meal, once again at The Texas Road House with the fantastic buttery rolls.

One thing that rather puzzled us was when we ordered our drinks and were asked for proof of age!! What, I didn’t know we looked so young. 😂 Our waiter told us it’s because Utah has got the strictest drinking laws and because they are just a restaurant rather then a pub then they have to ask for proof of age. However, you’ll remember we went into the same restaurant last week and no one asked us then for proof of age! Perhaps our stay in the Teton range has made us look younger!!!!!!

As we were driving along today I asked Si what his favourite food had been during our stay in the Tetons. He said he had liked everything but for me, I will always remember the Tetons for the petite bison fillet with huckleberry sauce ………… more than fabulous, hevenly!  I wonder if I can buy that in the UK, I need to check out Amazon!! 😉

Here are a few photos of things we saw today!

As we left Dornans this morning the Coca-Cola lorry pulled up. I just love to see these, we don’t see them very often, if at all, in the UK.

The Coca-Cola lorry

Not even going to comment on this sign I saw in a ‘facility’ in Jackson!

Not a lot to say really!

Saw this RV and immediately thought of one of our favourite songs!

Four Winds!

This video, courtesy of YouTube, is not of the best quality, but the tune’s still great! Four Strong Winds sung by Neil Young and Friends. Sing along if you know the song!  La, la, la, la. 🎸

As we flew along the road in Etna, Stary Valley we saw this wonderful small cabin on the side of the road. I just knew I had to take a better look so we did a U turn in the road and went back. Sadly it wasn’t open but I’ve managed to find out some of the history, you know I love a little piece of history! So …………… here’s today’s lesson!

The Baker Cabin

The Baker Cabin

Anna Eliza Telford was born in Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, on 7 August 1856, the daughter of John Dodds Telford and Sarah Matilda Coltrin. She married Alonzo Baker on 29 January 1876. They first made their home in Richmond, Cache County, Utah, where they had six children: Harriet May, William Alonzo, Anna Eliza, Sarah Lavinia, Elcie Camelia, and John Lorenzo.

They moved to Star Valley, Wyoming, in the spring of 1888. Son George Tyler was born in May 1888 after they got to Star Valley. They spent the winter in a tent with a lean-to which was an overturned wagon box. In the spring of 1889, Alonzo Baker and other family members contracted to build a roadbed for the railroad south of Deer Lodge, Montana. The oldest boy William, who was 10 years old, went along to help.

Meanwhile, Anna Eliza, who has spent the harsh winter in the tent and wagon box, and vowed not to do it again, decided to build her own home. She and her oldest daughter May, apparently went to Prater Canyon to get logs. This was the nearest place to get logs. She brought the logs out, trimmed them, and carved the notches so the logs would fit together snugly. Her father was a carpenter and she must have learned carpentry from watching him. The home she built was 16 ft by 30 ft and had two rooms. It was strong enough to last more than a century. Long after the family had abandoned the home, it stood while it was used for storage, for animal shelters and other uses. It was only when the last owner was about to tear it down for firewood that it was revealed as the sturdy pioneer home that it was. It was relocated to Etna where it now stands as the oldest home in Star Valley. It is identified as the Baker Cabin. It was built by a pioneer woman with the help of a 13 year old girl and several small children.

Her daughter May went to Logan in the fall of 1889 to go to school. She contracted diptheria and died at the age of 13. Anna had four more children: Ruby Eleanor, Eather Cyral, Leroy, Mary Vella and James Telford. Anna died two days after the birth of her last child, James Telford.

Alonzo Baker remarried in 1902 and subsequently moved to California with his family.

What a great story that is! To read more on this story and to see one of Anna Eliza and Alfonso’s grandchildren, Lloyd Baker, who was actually born in the cabin, then just click on Lloyd Baker’s name above.

Meanwhile further along the road ………… some creatures just have no respect! These cows thought it was okay to walk on the road.

Cows blocking our path!

Welcome to Idaho

We thought this cloud looked like a laughing man!

Can you see the laughing man?

 

 

 

 

 

We just knew the rain was gonna fall!

Here comes the rain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reminded us of the spin classes I’m missing and Si his road cycling back home!

Reminded us of home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove past this trailer pretty quickly, it didn’t look very safe!

Hay trailer – it looked a little unsafe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

and finally ………………….

Welcome to Utah and Salt Lake City!

Tomorrow we have a long six-hour drive back to Las Vegas to return our ‘trusty steed’ and Britney (sat nav) to their rightful owners, then it’s in a cab and back to the Bellagio for our last couple of days before our flight on Thursday. ✈️

Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow to see what interesting sights we see along the way!

As always, thanks for joining us along our ‘holiday road!’ More tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 14 – Out Hiking Again!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, it was our intention today to hike to Taggart Lake and that’s just what we did! We hiked 5.5 miles in 3 hrs 47 minutes. It was rocky, mountainous with some steep gradients.

Sand ready to hike up to Taggart Lake

The natural lake is located at the terminus of Avalanche Canyon. There are a number of hiking trails can be found near the lake including a three miles roundtrip hike that commences from the trailhead parking area The lake is approximately one mile south of Bradley Lake reckoned by trail distance. A 2005 study of the water quality of the lakes in Grand Teton National Park indicated that the lakes in the park were still considered pristine and that they had not been impacted by air or water pollution.

Here are two videos of Taggart Stream in full flow from snow melt. The second one shows the photographer at work and yes, that’s my thumb too! 😉

We’ve visited Taggart Lake before and it was still as beautiful as we remembered it. The last time we visited in 2014 we were greeted on the trail by rather a lot of deep snow but not this time, the trail was clear.

We were glad we remembered to take our poles today, they certainly helped with the steep inclines.

We are told to be ‘Bear Aware’ and we like to think that we are. This morning, as we walked through a particularly dense area of trail I looked behind me and around, saw nothing, then suddenly seconds later, a dark shadow appeared from behind me, I jumped out of my skin, turned round not knowing what to expect and a young woman was behind me! She apologised for making me jump …… I would much rather she had made some kind of noise so that I knew she was there!! 😱 That’s one more of my nine lives gone! 😂

Taggart Lake

We met two very nice young ladies, friends from Wisconsin, who are on a two-week holiday having recently graduated. They are camping! How brave the young are with the possibility of bears comin’ a knockin’ in the night! One of them will be studying political science when she goes to college so she was very aware of UK politics and Brexit. We spent a very interesting 20 minutes chatting with them.

Si at Taggart Lake

Sand at Taggart Lake

 

We then decided to hike further on to the glacially formed Bradley Lake which is less than one and a half miles north of Taggart Lake. While still walking along by Taggart Lake we came across two young people who asked if we would take a photo of them. The photographer duly obliged and then the four of us walked the trail to Bradley Lake together.

The two young people were Dottie and Nate (sister and brother) from Texas. We spent the next 45 minutes or so in very pleasant conversation talking about all kinds of things. They are on holiday enjoying time together before Nate, who has just graduated, goes off to Florida to join the Navy. His ambition is to become a Navy pilot (he already has his own private pilot’s licence) and once Dottie graduates, her ambition is to become a Veterinarian, possibly with exotic animals.

Dottie and Nate

I told them I would mention them in the blog today. So, a big ‘shout-out’ to Dottie and Nate. It was our pleasure to spend time with you today. You made our walk to Bradley Lake a pleasurable experience. Hope you made it to Jenny Lake okay. Have a safe onward journey.

Just a few photos of other things we saw on the way up and down from Taggart Lake today.

Saw this Swallowtail Butterfly sitting on a Balsamroot on the hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baalsamroot

Butterfly that landed on man’s hand, flew away and came back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the hike with Taggart Lake in the distance

Sadly, this is our last full day in the Tetons so it’s time to pack up once again before we leave for Salt Lake City tomorrow, where we will overnight before driving back to Las Vegas for our final few days, before flying back to good ol’ Blighty on Thursday.

Our blog tomorrow will be all about our road trip to Salt Lake City. Not quite like being in  the Tetons but I’ll try and make it as interesting as possible! 😀

Thanks for reading folks. Back tomorrow!

Day 13 – Out Hiking!

So today we decided to ‘get back on the road’ and do some hiking. We started off at Jenny Lake to view Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Covering roughly 1191 acres, glacially-carved Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the Grand Tetons. At 423 feet it’s also one of the deepest. The lake was named for a Shoshone Indian named Jenny who assisted with camp logistics during the Hayden Geological Survey of 1872. Nearby Leigh Lake is named for her husband, Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh, an itinerant trapper and early tour guide who helped guide the Hayden Expedition through the area. In 1876 Jenny and their six children died of smallpox. Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake are either side of String Lake so they do in fact remain joined together forever. How romantic! 😢

The easiest way to access Hidden Falls is by way of the Jenny Lake boat shuttle to the entrance of Cascade Canyon. From there it is a 1.2 mile roundtrip hike or another option is to hike 5.2 miles roundtrip from South Jenny Lake on the Jenny Lake Trail. During the summer vacation period, Hidden Falls is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Grand Teton National Park.

Jenny Lake Ferry

We started to see the water from Hidden Falls as soon as we started on the trail. The noise and the speed of the water was truly amazing. It’s basically snow melt from up in the mountains. The captain of our ferry was telling us that further up the mountain there is still waist-high snow! We thought that we had better give that hike a miss today.

Sand on hike to Hidden Falls

San and Si at Hidden Falls

We then walked on to Lower Inspiration Point. This granite-carved segment of trail that gains access to Inspiration Point was built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the 1930s.

Sand and Si at Inspiration Point

We also did a short hikes along Leigh Lake and then String Lake. Both very beautiful areas.

String Lake

On the way back down we saw this American Robin and loads of Balsam Root. Balsam Root is a big favourite with bears so always best to be alert when there’s a lot of that around!

An American Robin

Balsamroot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we left we saw a ranger with moose and elk horns and two bear pelts! We went over to see what it was all about and he told us what happened to the two bears, one black and one grizzly. The poor grizzly was knocked down and killed by a car driving too fast. We’ve noticed here that there is often no patience by car drivers. The speed limits go from 25 to 55 but mostly people want to travel at 55 with no thought of the animals that can suddenly cross the road.

The poor black bear, a mother of two cubs, became attached to humans after they starting feeding her and the cubs and eventually she had to be euthanised and the cubs went off to sanctuaries. When they first arrived they refused bear ‘food’ instead preferring to eat apples from people’s hands and then lick them. How sad it is we can’t train humans to be more thoughtful of wildlife.

Si was amazed when he lifted up the moose horns as they were so heavy. Each spring, usually in April, antler bone begins to grow inside a nourishing skin covering on the moose’s head, called velvet due to its short, soft hairs. Antlers are one of the fastest-growing tissues of an animal, and can grow up to eight inches of antler growth in a span of nine days and can weigh as much as 60 pounds! Around September, the velvet will shed and the antler bone hardens. As males age, their antlers grow in bigger each year.

Bear pelt head!

Bear pelt claws!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si with moose horns!

While we were up at Lower Inspiration Point a family were having a snack when a Chipmunk suddenly appeared, quite frantic, and was trying to get at the food. He had obviously been fed by humans in the past too.

Chipmunk at Inspiration point

To finish off the day we drove the very bendy road to Signal Mountain. It is an isolated summit standing 7,720 feet above sea level. The next closest higher summit is more than 10 miles away, and this isolation provides sweeping views of the Teton Range, much of the northern Jackson Hole area as well as the Snake River. Though located adjacent to the Tetons, Signal Mountain was not formed in the same manner or period. The mountain originally was formed by volcanic ashfall from one of the eruptions of the Yellowstone hotspot. The peak is also partially a glacial moraine formed by a receding glacier that came south out of the Yellowstone icecap. This same glacier also created neighbouring Jackson Lake.

There were a couple of things I forgot to mention yesterday ……. the first thing is that we’ve noticed on this trip particularly is young boys on walkie-talkies! It seems families have decided that that is a great way of keeping track of their youngsters rather than by mobile phones!

The second was …………….. mosquitoes! When we went to Oxbow Bend at sunset last night, they were swarming. It was a truly horrible experience for the photographer ……………… he insisted that his assistant stay in the car, so that’s just what she did!!😂 Here’s another photo of our evening visit yesterday to Schwabacher Landing.

Oxbow Bend at sunset

 

Schwabacher Landing in the evening

Also, on our Eco Tour I told you about the herd of bison who crossed the road right in front of us. Well, I’ve managed to load a small video of the event. Sadly, I wasn’t able to load the full video as it was too long so you only a small portion of the whole herd. Still, better than none at all I guess!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a history lesson so here’s one now on the American Bison courtesy of The Nature Conservancy‘s ‘Bison History and Facts’.

Great herds of bison once roamed North America between the Appalachian Mountains on the east and the Rockies on the west. It is estimated that around 30 million bison roamed the continent when Columbus landed. The herds were so large that the bison became a symbol of the seemingly endless resources of the continent.

In the late 1800s, the bison were almost entirely eliminated, with less than 1,000 individuals left at the lowest point. A 1905 a census indicated there were 835 wild bison and 256 bison in captivity at that time. Sanctuaries, zoos, and parks were safe havens for bison and helped to increase their numbers. The first national preserve for bison was founded in 1907 near Cache, OK and later became the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Reserve. Subsequent game laws and other protective measures allowed the surviving bison to live and multiply.

Today their numbers have rebounded to about 350,000 – only about 1% of their original numbers, but enough so that the bison are no longer in danger of extinction. About 15,000 reside on public lands in the US, the rest are private herds, such as those maintained by The Nature Conservancy.

Historically, the bison’s most important predators were wolves. Wolves constantly followed the large herds, culling the old, incapacitated, and very young animals. Even solitary adult bulls were not immune to attack. To a lesser extent, native human Americans were predators of the bison. Grizzlies occasionally killed bison, and mountain lions and coyotes were also occasional opportunistic predators of young calves.

But one of the primary killers, before the slaughter by humans in the late 1800s, were iced-over rivers. Thousands of bison drowned, particularly in the northern U.S., when the enormous weight of crossing herds caused the ice to give way.

Here ends the lesson for today!

For dinner tonight we decided to ‘stay local’ and ate here at Dornans at the Chuckwagon Grill. Good ol’ American food!  A slightly different setting to what we’ve been used to but look at that view! The food was good too. It only stays open until 9 p.m. and each evening a country singer entertains the diners. Si had his usual ribs and as I wasn’t particularly hungry I just had the mac ‘n cheese.

View from the Grill

 

 

 

At the Chuckwagon Grill with the entertainer in the background

The food!

 

 

 

Tomorrow is our last full day here in Jackson 😢so it’s our intention to hike to Taggart Lake. We’ve been there before but it is so beautiful it deserves another visit!

Once again thanks for reading and your comments. More tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12 – Day of Leisure plus Shopping!

After the past few hectic days we decided today should be a leisurely one so we set off to Jackson to take a look around the shops and have lunch. It was about 75 degrees and very pleasant. It was a chance to leave off the hiking gear and get back into shorts and t-shirts.

Jackson still has that old cowboy feel about. Lots of lovely shops, great eateries and free parking!

Stagecoach in Jackson

We managed to buy quite a few things! Well, when the shops are so lovely it seems rude not to.

The boardwalk in Jackson

We went into one store the sun was ablaze, when we came out it was bucketing down. Of course, we’d left our wet coats and hats in the car. I asked Si as we drove into Jackson if he’s checked the weather forecast but of course he hadn’t! So, we made a quick dash, along with most of the other visitors to the nearest eatery which was the Roadhouse Brewing Company, a pub/eatery. We couldn’t have chosen anywhere better. Great atmosphere, with about eight TV screens all showing something different. There’s an upstairs terrace to sit out on and eat but unfortunately due to the rain, everyone came running inside so it was quite packed.

Roadhouse Brewing Company

Roadhouse Brewing Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the Petite Bison Fillet, again, with huckleberry sauce and caramelised carrots (fabulous) and Si had the Bovine & Swine Bratwurst, bovine and swine garlic knackwurst, sauerkraut, stour mustard and Hoagie Roll. He said that was fabulous too. For dessert we ordered the Strawberry Bunuelos consisting of strawberries, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and fried Bunuelos but sadly the Bunuelos (fried dough balls) were stale so we couldn’t have them! Instead we were offered Ice Cream Sandwiches that consisted of ice cream sandwiched between two biscuits and rolled in hundreds and thousands. I had the huckleberry ice-cream (I’m very heavily into anything huckleberry at the moment!) and Si had the salted caramel. They were both delicious and as our original choice was not available we didn’t have to pay for them either!

Sand on Jackson Town Square

There were some beautiful bronze statues on show. Here are a few:

This is probably the closest Si will get to a bear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si with Mark Twain and friends!

Sand sitting with the Wright Brothers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This evening we’ve been back to Schwabacher Landing to see if we could see any wildlife and to photograph it in different light. We did see a beaver but that’s all. The view was very different this afternoon to the morning view. The morning view was much better.

Beaver at Schwabacher Landing

We also went back to Oxbow Bend again to photograph it as the sun sets. Here’s just one of the photos Si took, I’ll post the rest tomorrow.

On the way back we nearly had our closest encounter with a bear yet! As we were driving past a wooded area a fast moving bear ran behind our car. We turned around and went back but he had fled!

As it’s been a slow day I thought I’d post a few photos of our current abode …..

Our des res!

Our cabin, Willow

Spur Ranch sign (that’s the name of where we are staying!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dornans Reception

When I’ve finished the post for the day and publish it, I always manage to think of something I missed off. I did that with yesterday’s post. I meant to say that here in the Tetons, they get approximately 500 inches of snow in the winter! ❄️😱Thought that was quite an interesting fact!

Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow for our next adventure. We are hiking round Jenny Lake.

 

 

 

Day 11 – Our Eco Wildlife Adventure! (Part 2)

Hi everyone, the photographer’s assistant is up bright and bushy tailed this morning (Friday). All these early starts and long days are playing havoc with these old bones! Mind you, I don’t think it helps that we up at 7000 feet above sea level either! 😂😉

So, to continue yesterday’s (Thursday) activities:

We were up early again this morning and in Jackson by 6.00 a.m., the temperature was a balmy 59 degrees, to meet our guide for the day, Kirk, for the Eco Tour Wildlife Adventure here in Teton National Park. There were just seven of us, including Kirk, the other four people were all from New Jersey, USA. They were all lovely travelling companions and we had a great day. Kirk bought breakfast, snacks, drinks (including tea and coffee) and a lovely picnic lunch with sandwiches that had been specially made to our order, crisps, pasta and fruit and chocolate brownies. We were all well catered for. Binoculars and spotting scopes were also provided and definitely added a further dimension to our day. We had never used scopes before but wow they are well worth the cost, the ones we were using cost about $3000 (£2400)!

The Eco Tour Bus

It was an early start as that’s the best time of day to catch sight of all the wildlife, they mostly go to ground later as it becomes warmer. We were not disappointed and even Kirk was amazed at how many species we were able to cross off our list so quickly. We saw two young moose playing together, bison, pronghorns, elk including a baby newly born and still being cleaned by its mother, a coyote, a fox with a huge bushy tail looking for food (Kirk thought it would have had cubs nearby) a brown bear and two grizzly bears (they were two-year old twins) who had recently been ‘put out’ by their mother (so we were reliably informed by the Ranger). That happens so that Mum can have more babies without having to look after her previous cubs. The difference between a brown bear and a grizzly is that the grizzly has a hump on its back!

Young Moose playing!

Pronghorn

Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that’s a grizzly in the distance!

While we were all stood on the side of the road admiring the bears there was one car with a young boy sat inside with his earbuds in playing on his phone!!!!  I made a comment (of course!) and his mother heard me and turned to him and asked him why he wasn’t outside and he just shrugged!! What can you say!?

It’s very obvious when there’s wildlife nearby as the road becomes a car park! People literally stop in the middle of the road get out of their cars, often leaving the doors open, so that they can catch a glimpse of whatever animal is nearby! The park Rangers are always on the look out for sightings of bears as they know just what that means and are on hand to control the crowds, especially those who do stupid things like trying to get up close for the ‘one great photo’.

Moose Pond

We stopped for lunch earlier than normal, about 11.30, as we had all been up since about 5.00 and also some rain was forecast for early afternoon. Kirk took us to a great spot right on the Snake River, Jackson Lake. It was beautiful. In fact the whole of the Tetons is the most wonderful place to be with magnificent views and crystal clear rivers and lakes. In the winter there’s great skiing too, although we’ve never tried that and looking at some of the slopes I don’t think we’ll be trying that anytime soon! 😱

Jackson Lake

San and Si at Jackson Lake Lodge

After lunch we went onto one of the backroads that most tourists wouldn’t know was there. It was a rather bumpy ride but well worth it as when we rounded one corner a herd of bison were just coming down a hill and across the road in front of us to a new grazing pasture. It was amazing to witness. Luckily, the roof of the bus opened up and we could stand and watch it all happening without being in danger of attack. I have a video to post of this but at the moment it’s ‘not playing ball’ so I’ll have to add that later but in the meantime I do have one of a bear!

 

 

Bison Herd on the move!

It’s great to stand and watch the wildlife living their natural lives. It’s difficult to take photographs, unless you have a huge lens, that really capture the magic of it as we are not allowed to get too close but I hope these allow you to enjoy what we are enjoying!

The tour was supposed to end at 2.00 but unfortunately on the way back we encountered road works (there’s always roadworks somewhere!) and we queued for 45 minutes. By this time we were all rather weary after a fantastic day. Kirk was an excellent tour guide, so knowledgable about the Tetons and how they were formed, flora and fauna and the eco system.

Lupins

San and Kirk out tour guide at the end of the trip

We are still trying to find the name of this beautiful butterfly!

While the Teton Range dominates the landscape, it is the interplay of mountains, faults, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and geologic features that create the overal grandeur of Grand Teton National Park. Taken individually, each feature is fascinating and worthy of protection, but when combined as they are in Grand Teton, they create a mosaic that is inspiring beyond compare.

Oh, while I think of it, I need to make a correction about a photo I put on yesterday. I told you about the prairie dogs under the cabins well, Kirk corrected us, they are in fact uinta ground squirrels. In our defence they look very similar just one is bigger than the other!

So ends another great day here in the Tetons.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and for your comments.

 

 

 

Day 11 – Our Eco Wildlife Adventure! (Part 1)

Hi everyone, we went on our ‘adventure’ today and I’m part-way through writing the blog but the photographer has had problems up-loading his magnificent photographs. The problem has now been resolved but we’ve had a long day and it’s rather late so I’ve decided to finish it tomorrow (Friday) as I don’t want to rush it and spoil your enjoyment!

Join us again later to read all about our adventure! 😀🐾

Day 10 – Yellowstone National Park

I’m pleased to report that the photographer’s assistant was up and out this morning, not feeling 100% but not too bad! The temperature at 9.30 a.m. was 59 degrees but this afternoon it rose to 72 degrees. Some rain and lightening was forecast from about 4.00 p.m. but I’m pleased to say that it stayed dry until about 5.30 p.m. when we had quite a shower but the lightening didn’t materialise and the sun came out and it’s very pleasant indeed! Fingers crossed the weather’s okay for tomorrow as we are off on a tour.

We were originally booked to go on a Wildlife Eco Tour here in the Grand Teton National Park today from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. but we were asked if we would change our day to tomorrow the 13th June which we did. Good job we did because I don’t think an early start like that would have been to the photographer’s assistant’s liking at all!!

Welcome to Yellowstone

Instead we drove to Yellowstone National Park, an hours drive from the cabin to the entrance of Yellowstone and then another hour to one of our destinations which today was Grand Prismatic Spring, the other being the gift shop at The Lodge to purchase a very important item, well a quantity actually of ……………….. Yellowstone bear soaps!! I bought some when I visited before and they proved to be very popular!

Yellowstone Bear Soap – cute or what!

We were surprised when we arrived in Yellowstone at the amount of ground snow there still is. Much more than in the Tetons.

Ground snow in Yellowstone

Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica. It was was noted by geologists working in the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871, and named by them for its striking coloration. Its colours match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

We’ve been to Yellowstone twice before and each time have photographed the spring at ground level but we knew it was possible to climb up above the Spring and look down to take photographs. Problem was that there was no official route. People would scramble up the hillside and over time a social path was made. An overlook was proposed back in 1997 but only opened in 2017. It is now a 1.5 mile hike up to the viewing platform and is very popular with visitors. It’s well worth the climb, the view is certainly something to behold.

The Grand Prismatic Spring!

We saw this smaller pool on our way up to Prismatic Spring but don’t know the name of it ….. research needed!

A smaller pool on the way to Grand Prismatic Spring

On the way up to the viewing platform we saw this bison have a rest and no doubt warming himself. They lie near to thermals because of the warmth.

A resting bison

On the way back to the car a bison that had been sleeping nearby decided to get up and have a swim. He’s looking rather the worse for wear poor thing!

Bison in the swim!

Bison after his swim

As we’ve been before and visited most of the favourite places to see we decided we would just concentrate on the ones we hadn’t. So, we stopped at Kepler Cascades, a waterfall on the Firehole River. The cascades drop approximately 150 feet over multiple drops. The longest drop is 50 feet. They were actually named in 1881 for the 12 year old son of Wyoming’s territorial governor, Kepler Hoyt, who toured the park with his father, Governor John Hoyt.

Kepler Falls

 

We passed through the Continental Divide a few times today. Continental divides spans the USA north to south and it divides the watershed of two great oceans. In the east rivers drain to the Atlantic and to the west they drain to the Pacific.

S&S at the Continental Divide – Elevation 8391!

Leaving Yellowstone

Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The naming of the mountains is attributed to early 19th-century French-speaking trappers—les trois tétons (the three teats) was later anglicised and shortened to Tetons. At 13,775 feet (4,199 m), Grand Teton abruptly rises more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above Jackson Hole, almost 850 feet (260 m) higher than Mount Owen, the second-highest summit in the range. The park has numerous lakes, including 15-mile-long (24 km) Jackson Lake as well as streams of varying length and the upper main stem of the Snake River. Though in a state of recession, a dozen small glaciers persist at the higher elevations near the highest peaks in the range. Some of the rocks in the park are the oldest found in any American national park and have been dated at nearly 2.7 billion years.

Smoking Grand Teton!

We’ve noticed over the past couple of days that clouds have been hanging over the very peak of Grand Teton, it looks as though it’s smoking!

We’ve made a discovery …………….. there are Prairie Dogs living here under some of the cabins! It’s not as bad as it sounds ………… this is them! They are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in the United States, Canadian Prairies and Mexico.

Prairie Dogs

As we left Yellowstone we clocked up 1000 miles in our trusty steed!

One thing that’s been bought to my attention (thanks Nat) is that the photographs in the blog are not behaving as they should i.e. you should be able to click on them and they open up larger in a new window and they are not doing that. Well, I think I’ve solved the problem and as of this post you should be able to do just that. Well fingers crossed they do! I’ll work my way back through all the photos of this trip and see if I can rectify them too.

Well, we need an early night as we have the early start tomorrow to I will say “goodnight” to all. Thanks for reading and we hope to have some great wildlife photos of our tour tomorrow.

 

 

 

Day 9 – The Tetons on a very chilly morning!

Well, we surprised ourselves this morning, the photographer and his trusty assistant were up, dressed, teeth brushed, bear spray in hand (I forgot to tell you yesterday that we purchased the obligatory bear spray and the lesson of the day was how to use it, curtesy of one of the Rangers … let’s hope we never need too but the Ranger did say that there had been many sightings in the past week or so!) and were on the road at 5.04 a.m. But boy it was chilly, only 36 degrees, but we were wrapped up warmly in layers (note to our dear Ann ………. you were right about the thick tights under the walking trousers instead of jeans, I was really toasty warm!) 👍😘

Our mission for the day was to photograph Oxbow Bend situated on the Snake River. It is one of the most photographed spots in Grand Teton National Park. It has stunning views across the river and majestic Mount Moran is staged as a perfect backdrop for the scene. Mirror reflections are possible on calm days and early mornings. It attracts loads of photographers and tourists, all willing to lose hours of sleep and endure chilly early mornings just to get or see the perfect shot.

The Oxbow Bend shot!

On our drive this morning we passed bison and elk grazing at the side of the road but we couldn’t stop because we needed to get to Oxbow Bend for the sun rise but we hope to correct that wrong very soon. We did stop for elk in the road on the way back though!

Elk

When we last visited the Tetons Si wanted to visit Schwabacher’s Landing on the Snake River but the road was shut off due to snow. However, this morning that has all been put right as it was open. Wildlife including moose, pronghorn, mule deer and bald eagles are commonly seen in the immediate vicinity of the landing but we only saw a chipmunk or it could be a squirrel out searching for his breakfast!

The hungry critter!

Schwabacher’s Landing

The reflections are just wonderful!

There were a few photographers when we arrived at the Landing and I had to laugh as they were all stood side by side, mostly men but some ladies of a certain age, with their huge tripods and lenses all muttering and murmuring at the beauty of it all. It is indeed very beautiful!

Here are a few of like-minded photographers!

And this is the photographer’s assistant wrapped up warm against the cold! I actually didn’t have to carry any equipment this morning …………. that’s a first!

The trusty photographer’s assistant wrapped up against the cold!

There’s an outdoor eatery here called ‘The Chuckwagon’ so you can guess where this pic is from!

The Chuckwagon!

In the cabin we have a telephone but no TV, well that’s not a problem. Also, we’ve now learned that they actually have their own well and that answers the question we’ve been asking about how on earth can the cold water be so cold? Now we know!

Here’s another pic of the Grand Tetons we took as we travelled back to the Cabin.

The Grand Tetons

We had a lovely lunch from the deli today, they do great sandwiches, huge as you can imagine and then this afternoon we went out to photograph the T.A. Moulton Barn,also known as “the most photographed barn in America” and the John Moulton Barn both situated on Mormon Row.

Mormon Row was established by Mormon settlers in 1890’s who moved into the Jackson Hole Area from Idaho.  There were 27 homesteads established, and these farms thrived even though this area presents a very harsh environment for farming.

Much of their farming success was attributed to their intricate dike and levee system that carried water to their crops. This eleborate irrigation system was built by hand, with the help of well-trained teams of horses.

Of the 27 original homesteads established along Mormon Row in the 1890’s, the buildings of 6 homesteads remain standing.  Up until the 1990’s all of the homesteads along Mormon Row were left to decay.  But once awareness of their cultural value became more and more apparent, the remaining 6 homesteads from then on have been maintained so visitors can get a glimpse into the fascinating past of Jackson Hole.

S&S at T.A. Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn (hope you’re not as confused as I am!)

Her Majesty in her chariot! Si’s words, not mine!

We met a lady at the Barn who told us she visits Oxbow Bend at various times during the day to see different wildlife so, we then went back to see what we could see. Unfortunately, apart from being very windy and cold we didn’t see anything other than ducks. Perhaps we’ll try again another day.

We did however meet a lovely couple and their two children from Washington State. Turns out she was a Twilight, Hunger Games and Harry Potter fan so we had a lot in common! Also, her husband had served in the Navy and at one time was in Portsmouth, England! Si and I were born just across the water in Gosport …… what a small world it is!?

We went further on up the road and saw this! We didn’t linger!

Bear warning!

We did manage to get a bison photo though!

A Bison herd!

Also, here’s one photo I forgot to add in yesterday’s blog. It’s a calf that took an interest us as we drove here to the Tetons.

A calf we saw on the free range on our trip to the Tetons

Tonight we dine in style (or so we are told) at The Blue Lion in Jackson. The temperature has improved a little since this morning, it’s now 54 degrees. The thing is we are booked to sit on the patio for dinner (the guy who took our booking promised us today would be warmer than yesterday!) so this could be interesting as it’s quite windy as well. Hey ho, we shall see!

Well, are back from the restaurant and I have to say, it was a fabulous experience. The patio was enclosed so no problems with the weather. The photographer’s assistant is a little squiffy!!! We had a fabulous meal and if I can finish today’s blog it will be a little miracle! You’ll have to excuse any mistakes!! 😂 We have just had the best meal of the holiday so far.

Si started with baked brie and raspberry sauce, followed by salad (I’ve never really got to grips with the idea of having a salad course!) then scallops with rice and asparagus. The photographer”s assistant didn’t have a starter or the salad but went straight in with buffalo tenderloin and huckleberries, potatoes au-gratin and asparagus …………….. it was fabulous! (have I said ‘fabulous’ before?)! I just can’t begin to tell you how fabulous it was! I had two Gin Basil Smashes (local Great Grey Gin from Jackson Still Works, fresh squeezed lime juice and house made basil syrup), probably two of the best gin drinks I’ve ever had 😀 while poor Si had just one sauvignon blanc, he was driving after all, and we finished with black coffee for Si and black coffee and Frangelico for the photographers’s assistant ………… no wonder I’m squiffy!!!! Si was really impressed with how I was able to work out the gratuity even in my ‘confused’ state!! I must confess, I laughed all the way back to the cabin …………….. I don’t know why!! 🥴

Cocktails!

The Brie starter

Si’s scallops

Sand’s buffalo tenderloin with huckleberry sauce .. fabulous! Does the photographer’s assistant look a little squiffy?

Black coffee and Angelico .. what better way to finish the meal!?

One thing I forgot to mention earlier was roundabouts …………….. or circles as Americans like to call them. There’s one on the way to Dornans, it’s very strange driving on the right round the ‘circle’ as opposed to the left. I’m not surprised that Americans find them so confusing!! 😕

We started the day with seeing the sun rise so only right that we finish with the sun setting!

The setting sun – please forgive all the windscreen bugs etc!!!!

In the meantime, I think it’s time for some shut-eye, it’s been a long, long day and the photographer’s assistant is not feeling her best!! We aim to make it to Yellowstone National Park tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Back tomorrow! 🥴

 

 

 

 

Day 8 – Salt Lake City to the Grand Teton National Park and Dornans!

Another day, another post! At least it’s on time today! 😀

After breakfast at the hotel we set out to find a Post Office as I wanted to post a birthday card. Well, it took a while because the instructions we were given were very complicated and we ended up going round in a circle! After locating the Post Office we set off from Salt Lake City for another long drive, albeit only five hours today! It was an interesting one too, not like yesterday on one long boring road.

A bendy road we travelled on today!

The day started at 68 degrees and was variable as we travelled north but it’s now 61 and sunny. I have to say it’s very pleasant indeed and tomorrow is forecast to be even better. The only snow we’ve seen is on the mountain tops so fingers crossed it stays that way.

We passed through Idaho (that was unexpected) and lots of open range country with cattle. We travelled along the Old Oregon Trail

The Old Oregon Trail

that was laid by fur traders and trappers from about 1811 to 1840, and was only passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organised in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. We also drove along the Pioneer Historic Byway

Old Pioneer Byway

that retraces some of the steps taken by Idaho’s early pioneers and early-day Yellowstone Park visitors.

We had a nice singalong en-route, it was first of all Si’s spinning playlist (an acquired taste for some) and then something a little gentler ……………. John Denver! You remember I told you yesterday that we had a different lady speaking on the sat nav and how curt she was, no respect at all for the elderly? 🙁 😂 Well, we’ve decided to call her Brittany!! 😱 (Apologies to any Brittanys reading this blog!!)

Entering Wyoming home to Jackson and the Grand Teton National Park and our destination.

Entering the state of Wyoming, home to Jackson and Grand Teton National Park

Entering Jackson

Entering Grand Teton National Park

After our long drive we arrived here, our home for the next week, at Dornans Spur Ranch

Moose Junction where Dornans resides

Dornans

Dornans

and what can I say, it’s Heaven. We are staying in a log cabin, well it’s more than a basic log cabin actually, about fifty yards from the Snake River.

The Snake River at Dornans

The Snake River

What a fabulous find this place is. Some of you will remember back in 2013 when we stayed in a log cabin, 8000 feet above sea level just outside Yellowstone National Park and it was such a dreadful experience I vowed never to do log cabins again? Well, I’m glad we took a chance on this one.

One of the views from our porch!

Our cabin!

It’s a family-run business and it was Evelyn Middleton Dornan from Philadelphia on leave from her job in a war plane factory during World War 1, who came out in 1918 to visit a friend, Maude Noble, who operated Menor’s Ferry (the ferry building is still located on the west bank of the Snake River across from Dornans) who started it all. The visit left a deep impression and three years later, the war over, Evelyn returned to the Tetons and homesteaded on the east bank of the Snake River and staked a claim to just over twenty acres south and east of the ferry Noble ran and the homestead eventually became Dornans Spur Ranch and has been in the family ever since. There are just 12 cabins and ours is called Willow.

I don’t expect many of you remember the film Spencer’s Mountain, released in May 1963, (it was for forerunner for the TV show The Walton’s). Well, Dornans and some of the family members running it at the time were extras in the film.

Filming Spencer’s Mountain

We had originally booked about a year ago to stay at the Old Faithful Lodge Cabins in Yellowstone but changed our minds in February and decided to stay in the Tetons. I didn’t expect to be able to find anywhere as most of the good places are booked at least a year in advance but we found Dornans and they had just one cabin available for this week. We were so lucky. Besides the cabins there are three restaurants, a nationally famous wine shop (we’ve just been in there and my goodness, I couldn’t begin to count how many bottles of wine they have, but I’ve just read they have over 1500 labels), a gift shop (think I may take a little look in there), a deli, a grocery store, a bar and a place to hire bikes, canoes and many other things.

Before I forget, I said I would post a photos of our ‘trusty stead’ and here she is plus a few other interesting things we saw during our journey!

Our ‘trusty steed!’

Bears in a raft!

Strange place to see a bear!

Elk ……. not real ones of course!

Suspicious cloud … it had three layers ….. do you think it’s hiding alien life force?

These elk antler arches are situated on each corner of Jackson town square. There are four of them. They have been picked up after the elk shed them.

Well, day one completed. I’m being told that tomorrow we rise at 5 a.m. so that we can get to Oxbow Bend to, hopefully, see the sun rise. This should be interesting ……….. me rising at 5 a.m.!! 😱

More tomorrow! Thanks for reading and for posting comments.😀

Day 7 – Las Vegas to Salt Lake City (Part 2)

I’m pleased to say that the author has awoken from her long sleep and is raring to go but first of all, let’s talk about yesterday!

You could say yesterday was a rather long, tiring day for the ‘adventurers’! The day started as usual with breakfast in the Pool Cafe of The Bellagio and there were no dramas such as milk throwing! The wind had dropped as had the temperature to about 92, so very pleasant.

Just a pic of me as Si was looking a big grumpy in his!

After checking out of the hotel and saying ‘farewell’ we jumped into a taxi heading for the car hire centre at the airport. You have to give a round of applause to Las Vegas because when it comes to car hire they have got it sorted. Instead of all the car companies being spread out around the airport as is usually the case, there they have one huge complex holding them all. The whole process is so easy.

Our taxi driver was Steve Davison, a very friendly guy who I said I would give a ‘shout out’ to in today’s blog. “Hi Steve, it was great meeting you yesterday.”

As Si is a Hertz Gold member we were in, collected our car and out within ten minutes. If you’re a Gold member, when you arrive you just find your name on the electronic board and next to it is the stall number where your car is ready and waiting to just drive off. You just show your driving licence to the man on the gate, collect the rental agreement and you’re off and running. So easy. I shall post a pic of our ‘trusty steed’ later. We asked for a Jeep Grand Cherokee (or equivalent) and got a Chevrolet Equinox. It’s okay, large enough for us. It hasn’t got all the bells and whistles we’ve been used to in the past but it’s comfortable and even has a reversing camera!!!

For regular readers of the blog you’ll know that we usually have sat nav, usually voiced by a lady and we call her Margaret. Well, I’m sad to report that Margaret has been retired 😢and replaced by a much younger women who I have to say is rather curt with us! We haven’t thought of a suitable name for her yet! 🤔

Our drive was uneventful but long and very tiring, approximately six hours plus here to Salt Lake City where we have ‘over-nighted’ before driving on today to the Grand Tetons National Park. The problem with yesterday’s drive was that it was literally one long straight road that went on, and on, and on for the whole of the trip.

We’ve visited here before, very interesting place and will be over-nighting here again on our return trip to Vegas.

Here are a few pics from our long drive!

Entering Utah

We also went briefly through Arizona and I did take a pic but unfortunately at that point I didn’t realise the camera was set wrong and it came out all blurry! Hey ho!

Snow of them there hills (or mountains!)

Driving through The Gorge on I15 outside Las Vegas

Good thing we could drive at 80 mph or it would have taken us even longer to get here!

Well, there you go then!

Hey, there’s one of our favourite ‘on the road’ eateries!!

Interesting!

Coming up to the Virgin River. Alas couldn’t get a photo but it looked very muddy!

Just a pic of the road we were travelling on!

When we arrived at our hotel we asked the receptionist about places to have dinner and she said that as it was Sunday most of the restaurants are closed! However, the Texas Roadhouse was open and as that’s one of our favourite places to eat, (two of our very best friends here in the U.S., Dot and John, introduced us to this great eatery a few years back) we decided to eat there. My goodness, they serve the best steaks ever and as for the hot rolls served with cinnamon-honey butter, well don’t even get me started on those. Si says they are “little clouds of loveliness.” They are so delicious that there are lots of copycat receipes on the internet. May have to try making some of those methinks. 🤔

Dinner at Texas Roadhouse

It’s all about the steaks ………… and the rolls of course!

A note about our next destination, the Tetons …………. we’ve just checked the weather for today and for Yellowstone and it’s snowed overnight!!!!! ❄️ We’ve brought some warm clothing but if it’s that cold I feel a little shopping trip may be in order!!

“What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours.” That was the case yesterday too. The temperature dropped 20 degrees from Vegas and 30 degrees from the hottest day we had there!

The time difference between us and home has changed as well, we are now only seven hours behind the UK. It all gets very confusing!

At one point yesterday we were wondering why our ears kept popping and then realised we were up at 6200 feet above sea level.

Well, enough about yesterday, today beckons. The sun has just come out and the temperature is currently 56 degrees, so a little cooler than we’ve been used to of late but hey ho!

More later! Thanks for reading. 😀

Day 7 – Las Vegas to Salt Lake City (Part 1)

I apologise to all our followers who have woken up on Monday morning expecting to see a post about our journey today (Sunday) only to find this!

We arrived safely in Salt Lake City after a very long and very tiring six-hour plus journey  and after having a quick dinner the author of the blog was so shattered (well it’s very tiring being a passenger on a long journey!) she decided a quick nap 😴 was in order before writing today’s post. Well, we all know what happens to good intentions don’t we? 🤔The nap turned into a nice long sleep and it’s now rather late to be composing anything sensible. So, today’s post (well it is still Sunday here, albeit very late) will be delayed until tomorrow, Monday.

Now let’s get back to that lovely dream  I was having before I woke ………………………

Day 6 – Las Vegas and Harry Potter!!

We’ve had a full day today!

It started off with high winds again today but at least that kept the temperature down for a while. As today was our last full day we decided against spending time round the pool this morning in favour of getting out and about. We started off with breakfast at the Pool Cafe and as we will be leaving Vegas tomorrow decided we should indulge a little and had Mimosas with our breakfast. We were part way through eating when suddenly, whoosh, we found ourselves being splattered with a white substance ……………… the waitress had dropped a jug of milk and it went absolutely everywhere including on us! It was hilarious really but unfortunately there were one or two guests who did not find it so amusing! 😂😱 The poor waitress was mortified.

Enjoying our Mimosas.

No, they’re not both mine …. just the one!

We then moved on to the Fashion Show Mall for a browse and possibly a little shopping. As we wondered around we came across a Vans store where they have just started selling a Harry Potter range of sneakers. I only found out about them yesterday and lo and behold there they were, right out in front of the store. Well, what’s a huge Harry Potter fan supposed to do ………… I went in of course and treated myself to a pair of the Golden Snitch ones.

I also managed to find myself a rather lovely handbag (because I really needed one you know!)

There’s a new show in town too …………….. ‘Potted Potter ………….. all seven Harry Potter Books in seventy hilarious minutes’. The show only started last Tuesday and today was the first matinee performance and we managed to get tickets. It’s showing in a small venue at Bally’s Hotel and as the venue only holds about 220 people it was a rather intimate setting. The comedy-duo are British performers Dan and Jeff, who used to be on CBBC (that’s a British children’s television brand owned by the BBC and aimed at children aged from 6 to 15). The show was entertaining and really funny at times, even a small amount of politics managed to creep in about a certain President and that went down very well!

The ticket pricing was a little screwey!!! There were three levels of ticket prices, General, Gold and Platinum but when we arrived at the venue there was really no difference between the top price and the bottom with regards to seating. We were three rows from the front but only paid $49 each whereas the people in rows 1-2 had paid  approximately $109 each. We would have been very unhappy to have paid top price and then find we were all sat together!

The day seems to be full of everything Harry Potter. Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 are even on the television tonight!

I will just mention that we’ve had a couple of good wins again today courtesy of Mr Monopoly and 4D Wheel of Fortune so always good to finish on a high note! 😀

As always, we’ve enjoyed our stay here but it’s now time for the second part of our holiday and time to move on to the Grand Tetons National Park so better bring the thermals to the top of the suitcases! ❄️ We’ll collect our hire car in the morning and be on our way further down the holiday road.

See you next in our overnight stop in Salt Lake City.

 

Day 5 – Las Vegas and the cheese plate ….. finally!

Well, I can see most of you scratching your heads thinking ‘what on earth is she talking about …………. a cheese plate?!!’ 🤨

Some of you will know this already but for those who do not then I shall explain.  One of my great joys of coming to the Bellagio is visiting the Petrossian Bar to partake of the cheese plate and cocktails whilst people watching and listening to the pianist (it just so happens that today one pieces was ‘Somewhere in Time!). The cheese plate consists of the Chef’s selection of seven fabulous cheeses accompanied by various warm bread rolls, crunchy flat breads, sliced apples, apricots, dried raisins, quince jelly and walnuts.

Sand with her cheese plate and cocktail!

To go with this I had a ‘Raspberry Cosmopolitan’ (vodka, cranberry juice, orange liqueur, raspberry liqueur, lime juice and ice shaken in a cocktail shaker then poured into a martini glass and garnished with a raspberry, or in this case two raspberries). Si had a ‘Park Avenue’ Manhahattan (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Cherry Herring Liqueur, Luxardo Cherry and Orange Peel).

As Si opened one of the cocktail menus he was given a little surprise! 

The ‘after’ photo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was an Irish gentleman’ sat on the next sofa to us. Our first impressions were not great as he was sat with his feet on the table. Anyway, our first verbal contact was when he asked us if we could identify the flavour of the popcorn! The first thing you get when you sit down in the Bar is a trio of popcorn and fabulous nuts. We were unable to identify the flavour (our server, who has been serving in the Bar since the Bellagio opened 21 years ago and who has served us many times over the years, informed us that it was truffle and truffle oil flavour). He turned out to be quite a character. He was from Belfast, had never visited Las Vegas before and had flown down from Chicago for a three-day visit before returning there for a business meeting. He was very chatty and turned out to be rather funny.

It was our intention to go and visit the Fashion Show Mall after lunch to take a look at the many shops (well, it’s been a couple of days since we last shopped!) and to visit a couple of the other casinos but by the time we had finished our cheese, cocktails and various other beverages, we decided it would be wiser to leave that until tomorrow …………….. if you get my drift!!! 😂 So, instead we visited ‘Mr Monopoly’ and once again he rewarded our loyalty with a nice little win. We are so easily pleased!

The winning combination

Our win!

We did go round the pool for a couple of hours this morning and had breakfast at the Pool Cafe. It’s lovely in there, very informal with lovely staff.

Breakfast at the Pool Cafe – caramalised pink grapefruit and cereal

Cereal and cinnamon raisin bagel with Philly cream cheese

I don’t know why we didn’t think of going there earlier in the week! So many places to visit and so little time. It was a little cooler today, 95 degrees but very windy. So much in fact, that we were told for safety reasons to put all the sun umbrellas down. 💨

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post about The Hunger Games what our archery scores were. We had various exercises to perform and on one we actually scored 94% and our overall score was 74%. Considering we had never used a bow and arrow before we felt rather pleased.👍 Also, we were both rewarded with a Hunger Games’ pin because they could see we were going to make excellent warriors in ‘the Revolution’! Wow!

Last night we ended up eating at Sadelle’s again

Si’s not so healthy dinner last night!

And mine wasn’t that healthy either – well the tuna was okay but not the fries!

and it was our intention to eat tonight at the Forrest Gump restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. but after our lunchtime indulgences we are not exactly hungry so another thing to go on the ‘tomorrow’ list. It’s a good job we’ll be coming back here to finish off the holiday!

Tomorrow is our last day here and so I was just checking out the weather for our next ‘port of call’. We are heading to Salt Lake City on Sunday and on Monday to the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. On Sunday, Salt Lake is forecast to be sunny and 62 degrees and on Monday the Tetons and Yellowstone, cloudy and 63 degrees. In fact tomorrow in the Tetons, snow is forecast with a temperature of 44 degrees. Good job we bought warmer clothing with us. After Vegas I think we are going to need it!

Thanks for reading and all the comments. We’ll be back tomorrow from what is sure to be a very busy Vegas ……………… the weekenders are arriving as I write! 😱