In America - In a Car

I was offered a ride from San Francisco down to Arizona in a car with my friend Jamie, I'm not very familiar with cars, and maybe had delusions of grandeur about what he would turn up in....

The truth, was somewhat different, and on the first day he had me working on it with him

Though to be fair he did do most of the work.

Leaving SF, the Golden Gate Bridge was inevitably wreathed in fog

It was sunnier downtown

and only in the Bay area would you see an advert for veganism on a bus

and crossing to Oakland we had blue skies which followed all the way - I'm not sure which bridge this was...

Before we knew it, we were out in the beautiful countryside

sampling the great fresh fruit at roadside stalls

and heading to the vineyards of Lodi
A chance to browse around the vineyard with wine in hand as the sun was setting

Yosemite in all its beauty

and a quick scramble up to Bridal Veil Falls

we didn't see any of these in real life unfortunately

but I was very intrigued to read that the majority of bears that are killed accidentally are due to vehicles hitting them. This got me thinking ...what on earth is happening to the minority of bears that are killed accidentally - in fact how would you accidentally kill one and not realise??

My first ever coyote

which then triggered a "discussion" as to whether it was a coyote or a grey fox which there are a lot of here in Yosemite.
Having resumed speaking terms, we went for a hike, which went up and up

the view from the top

and then a search for a camp spot - it was a bit chilly

no wonder it was cold when we camped, a few miles further on, we realised we had gone higher than we thought

more hiking - through a snow field

and the chance to try some natural spring waters that were bubbling up

lots of iron in the water which makes it taste a bit odd and it was fizzy...

heading for Tioga Pass, we both dressed warmly and it was beautiful with the top of the car down

- in fact we did the whole journey without having to put it up

Tioga Pass

breakfast on the move

oats, water and apricots (I'm easily pleased)

and then we were past the snow

arriving at Death Valley...

I rode through here in August on Thelma last time I came through, it was nice to be able to appreciate it in slightly cooler temperatures - I forget how beautiful Death Valley can be

and a chance to jump around

Jamie may have got more height but I got best Ninja move

Time to find a spot to camp

I cooked some food  - the most important part is the bottleof wine. I'm perched on my orthopaedic cushion which accompanied me everywhere on this trip.

view from the tent in the morning

we were next to a ghost town

which had some interesting outdoor art installations

that we joined in with

back on the road...

some more Death Valley views to see - the Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in the Valley

and I got to appear twice in the same picture.
More mountains to climb - but worth it for the views

and then a refreshment break - as you can see, I was getting to see the nicest places

this place had drinking AND gambling going on...
talking of which, that evening we ended up in that least subtle of places...

and a restaurant which had a strange boast

we didn't go in - I think I would have been thrown out for being a vegetarian.
And so to Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, AZ where I caught up with a lot of friends

I'd been expecting sunshine and warm weather, I did not expect this...

snow and more snow fell
evenings were spent huddled around the only heater on site

my jeans had got soaked while walking through the snow, they were soaked, I had to put them on my head to dry them off under the heater - I was wearing thermals underneath.

possibly not one of my most glamorous looks
there were some interesting bikes...

perhaps one of the most interesting views was the campsite