Free camping spot, 5 minutes south of Joshua Tree National Park

Deserts, Mountains and Canyons, Southern USA Style

Time seems to be flying by and so here’s an update on some of the amazing stuff we’ve seen and done since San Francisco.  I can’t believe it’s only been just over 3 weeks since we left, and how much we’ve seen in that time.

After San Fran we drove down the coast before heading east to Death Valley.  We hung out here, below sea level, for a week and Mark burst his eardrum equalising in the pool at Furnace Creek (here’s our post on Death Valley) . Then we headed to Area 51, where we did our first bit of wild camping in the hope of seeing suspicious looking bright lights in the sky.  That night we spent a chilly evening in Hanna, with all the lights off and all the blinds open.  We were keen!  No aliens were seen but we did stop off the next morning at The Little Ale’inn – made famous in the film ‘Paul’. That was a bit of kitsch fun!

Las Vegas was our destination for Christmas.  Christmas day started off with both of us feeling really homesick, but things looked up when we splashed out on an amazing meal at the Wynn Hotel and Casino.  I found out that it was the best place to eat for vegetarians in Las Vegas because Steve Wynn, it’s owner, is a vegan.  All his chefs have to be able to create vegetarian options that are as good as the meat and fish options.  Rock-on Steve Wynn!

Our Christmas Day treat - the Wynn Hotel & Casino Buffet, Las Vegas
Our Christmas Day treat – the Wynn Hotel & Casino Buffet, Las Vegas

After Las Vegas we drove on to the Grand Canyon, which was awesome (in the true meaning of the word) but very cold.  Driving by the Grand Canyon without really interacting with it felt wrong.  It’s so totally magnificent, but we were just too chilly to really do anything other than jump out and take photos. I’ve seen photos of the Grand Canyon but nothing compares to actually seeing this place for real.  It’s IMMENSE.  And stunning. I’d love to come back one day, to hike and ride the river, 1 mile down in the bottom of the canyon. It got us thinking about coming back to the USA at some point in the future, for a longer visit at a warmer time of year.  There’s sooo much to see in this vast and beautiful country and we’ve barely scraped the surface.  Considering America was only supposed to be somewhere we were visiting ‘on the way through’, I’ve fallen in love with its geographical diversity.

The Grand Canyon, south rim
The Grand Canyon, south rim

South! South! South, to where it’s warmer!  So we headed for interstate #10 where the daytime temperature went up to a heavenly 20C.  On the way we wanted to see the red rocks of Sedona and the Saguaro cacti in the high desert.  We accidentally ended up stopping at Black Canyon City (which is actually a village) for the night.  We had the most gorgeous morning walk among the cacti, before setting off for Joshua Tree National Park, our last stop before Tehachapi and my Godfather.

View from the Black Canyon Trail, Arizona
View from the Black Canyon Trail, Arizona

We loved Joshua Tree NP, especially the west side.  We free-camped just before the south entrance and drove through the whole park.  It was magic.

We love to hear from you, so if you feel inspired please leave a comment at the bottom of the page 🙂

The last 3 weeks in photos (click to expand):

6 Responses

  1. Michael renovich.
    | Reply

    Fun. Tell mark I’m working on Netil toof in Hackney. Ben and I are really missing you and wishing you all the best. M

    • Mark
      | Reply

      Hey Micheal, Glad to hear Ben has some top class help – I am a little jealous to be missing out on the boys on the roof team … but not jealous enough to fly home and help 🙂 – Say hi to Ben for me x x x

  2. Michael renovich.
    | Reply

    (Roof)

  3. Ron
    | Reply

    And the Breakdowns in the title?!

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      Hi Ron :). I decided to put that in our next post (half written right now) and then forgot to change the title of this post. Breakdown news update coming soon!

    • Mark
      | Reply

      HI Ron
      Good to hear from you – Sas has written another post which contains the details – but basically air in the fuel lines. We are waiting for Merc parts to arrive Wednesday – water pump, thermostat, temp sender (just to be sure) and the centre support bearing for the drive shaft. Hopefully all will be fitted on Thursday and maybe, just maybe, we might have no more overheating and reduced or no more wobble. The knocking steering box on the other hand … maybe that will wait till central America where mechanics rebuild things. Hope Thailand is warm and gentle – loved the motorhome photo. Mark x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *