Scenic drives

After our full day at the Grand Canyon, “the cookies were all eaten” and we were due in the next hotel. As it was in Page, AZ the pressure was on to get there in time.

Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of fun things to do on the road between Tusayan and Page. We started our day off with the last part of the Grand Canyon which we didn’t do before: the Desert View Drive. This road takes you from the center of the park vis the west rim to the Painted Desert (hence the name) and out of the park. Along the road, there are a lot of stalls with native Navajo Indians trying to sell the tourists hand crafted jewellery, pottery and paintings. I’d say it’s not the best way to make a living…

Somewhere near Tuba City, on our way to the ever so grand Monument Valley, we ran across some dinosaur tracks. These were set in hard stone lying under softer limestone which washed away a few million years ago. The tracks were said to be 165 million years old (at least by our guide, Roger, a true Navajo tribesmen) and are being cared for by his chapter of the tribe. After those, we arrived at the windy Monument Valley.
The scenery over there is radical, yet it can only be accessed through a bumpy, strenuous, badly maintained dirt road. The local Indians offered tours, but these unfortunately did not fit in our schedule. So we took our Dodge to the road and drove the first mile ourselves, leaving the other 16 as they were. Too bad! I would’ve loved to see more of it! I’d highly recommend going there; the 110 mile d-tour is definately worth it!

After this, we quickly proceeded driving towards Page and quickly visited a famous curve in the Colorado river known as Horseshoe Bend. Am I a happy boy; having a 12 mm lens! Also, the Glen Canyon Dam was on our itinerary; this is the dam that holds back the water in Lake Powell.

Our hotel was great! Back to the old standards after our poor experience at the Grand Canyon. On Monday: more good stuff! Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon and everything in between!

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Canyoning

Let’s make this an easy post: the Grand Canyon is both a canyon and definately grand!

On Saturday we’ve visited and seen pretty much everything there is to see and visit apart from the Desert View Drive. This included an epic flight on a helicopter over the south rim towards the north rim over one of the widest and most majestic parts of the Grand Canyon. The folks over there are pretty greedy when it comes to money (apart from the quote hefty fee, there’s a $20 “temporary” fuel fee to be paid, which is not included in he regular fee) but they do offer a unique product.

Unfortunately, the seats in the craft are assigned by the ground crew based on weight and not on personal favorites, so we got separated. Luckily, we were on the same flight!

Our hotel was, how to put it, better than shabby, but it was mediocre at it’s best, compared to the other hotels in our itinerary. It was not bad, but certainly not good. I guess it was, back in the seventies. πŸ˜‰

Sunday, fathersday, is the day we’ll be driving all the way up to Page, Arizona with possibly a d-tour to Utah for Monument Valley. It’s going to be great!



The eternal blowdryer

Whoever went to California, probably knows the phenomenon: an ever present high temperature low humidity wind, which basically acts as a blowdryer stripping anything in its path from its moisture. Today we have been in its grip for over 4 hours. Luckily, we were prepared and bought a huge tray of bottled water to keep us hydrated.

The route was from Palm Springs, CA to Scottsdale, AZ and led us over the infamous I10. There’s one thing for sure about this Highway 10, it’s long, straight and pretty much boring! Probably all highways are like this, but as it’s our first, it’s boring. πŸ˜‰

We made a little d-tour, and rode straight through Joshua Tree National Park. We can be very short about that one: you should go there! It’s a beautiful place with mad flora and an even crazier scenery. The backdrop of mountains with the weirdest names make for a perfect day out. The drive took us about 3 hours extra in total, but was worth every second!

Right now, we’re sitting in our hotel Indigo after a great meal in a lobster restaurant (in the middle of the desert!) contemplating tomorrow. Only a big drive and a huge gap stand between us!

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Travelling and such

Coming to you live from the US, it’s me!

After a grueling 8 + 5 hour flight, with a very tight 1.5 hour transfer where we were met only by angry looking US customs men on Washington Dulles Airport and a huge buzz on LAX.
It’s safe to say Los Angeles is a huge city, and that it has two major problems: smog and traffic. Both of which we have been in contact with…

Right after our arrival on LAX we took the transfer bus to our rental company, where we were to pick up our car. The guy at the teller made us a good offer by upgrading us about 2 classes from a medium to an intermediate size, but added a little extra as a bonus because we were from Holland. πŸ™‚
I’m keeping the make and model a secret, but we upgraded from a 1.6 liter engine to a 3.5 liter version. Nice!

The trip from LA to where we are now was a meager 2 hour drive which took us about 3 hours because of the bad traffic in and around Los Angeles. When you think the traffic in Holland is bad, come see for yourself in LA!

Right now, we’re in Palm Springs, in the wonderful Renaissance Hotel, enjoying our drinks and thinking about the trip for tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day, filled with driving and sightseeing, but that’s what we came here for!

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Holiday in Greece – part 1

It’s been quite a while since we’ve returned from our holiday to Greece, and I’ve been very busy editing the raw pictures I’ve taken.

In total, there’s over 2000 photo’s that needed attention, which was reduced to 1850 due to the crash of my HDD and the incomplete restore from my memory cards. Of those, the following made the cut for posting here. πŸ™‚

BTW: There’s 117 pics in total, so I’ve created several post-sets. Here’s the first 40!

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Pan-o-rama!

I’m still really busy working on the pictures we took during our holiday.

Today, it’s creating panoramas by stitching them together. There’s a whole lot of tools capable of doing so, including the ancient Photostich, several paid programs, and my saviour:

Hugin.

I like!

Free to use, maintained by the community and easy to use. What more to wish for?
(Well, some binaries would be nice though. πŸ™‚ )

It'll be no working for me the following weeks!

You’ve read it correctly;
today is my very first day off this year. In fact: it’s the first day of an, in my opinion, well deserved three-weeks-and-one-day period of holiday!

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending my friend Mark’s wedding, he’ll be married to, his now fiancé, Christa.
I’m rooting for great weather!