Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.Cesare Pavese
And so came the day that comes at the end of all good holidays – the one where you have most of a day to kill before your flight home, and no particular enthusiasm for doing anything.
Our final full day in the USA, and we decided that it would be a good day for doing as little as possible, so we just planned to look around Monterey and do lots of eating, drinking and relaxing.
The breakfast at the Bella Maggiore was extremely good, so we left in a good mood and with full stomachs. We hadn’t really decided where to go or what to do on this day, so the whole thing was a bit hit-and-miss.
This morning we suddenly got very conscious of the fact that we had just three nights left, and that we had to get all the way from the south-east side of Los Angeles to San Francisco.
A new day dawned, and another whole day in Joshua Tree was in the offing. We began with the customary free breakfast at the Best Western.
A Rangers at the Park Headquarters told us that we should leave the park in mid afternoon and return in early evening, because the afternoon temperature would be too hot to bear.
We set ourselves the target of getting to Joshua Tree National Park from Holbrook in a day, which meant we had to cross all of Arizona and half of California.
It's a long drive east along I-40 to Holbrook to visit the Petrified Forest National Park There isn’t much to look at in that direction.
We wanted a walk along the rim of Grand Canyon, so we parked up in a big lot in what looked like an old railway yard, and found our way to the bus stop going to Hermit’s Rest.
Over breakfast we were debating most was whether to take some sort of flight over the canyon. We decided to go for it.
This morning started off as a complete disaster for us. Overnight, Mexican Hat had been hit by a power cut as a result of the thunderstorm the night before.
Capitol Reef was about the most lonely place we visited. It is a very long, thin area of land which follows a geological feature called the Waterpocket Fold.
You can’t really get a feel for Bryce Amphitheatre if you stay on the rim, so we decided that one or two of the loop trails below the rim were necessary.
A day in Zion National Park looked like it was going to be fairly strenuous and action packed, so what better way to start off than with a substantial breakfast.
Hoover Dam was just a couple of miles away. The new visitor centre cost more dollars than the original dam, apparently. That’s inflation for you.
We had it in our minds that we'd stay in Las Vegas. We hadn’t booked anywhere to stay, and hadn’t tried to book anywhere, so it was going to be an adventure.