28 January 2008

Hoover Dam - Near Las Vegas

On one of our days in Las Vegas we drove out to Hoover dam. It is a massive dam in the colorado river and on the border between Nevada and Arizona. We did the tour which takes you down into the guts to look at the hydro-electric portions as well as the diversion tunnels used when building the dam. It was all very large and impressive. We also stopped on the way back and had a very nice unusually healthy lunch in Boulder city, built to house the dam builders originally.


The wall, very thick at the bottom


7-8 of the 14-16 turbines/generators. The dam was actually built to contain flood waters and hold irrigation water rather then produce electricity.


The bottom of the dam where the water comes through the turbines.


One of the tunnels made for the initial diversion of the Colorado river - massive.


An intake tower and a small view of Lake Mead - the lake created from the damming.

27 January 2008


After Yosemite we drove to LA and stayed at Venice beach. We spent our two days there visiting Universal Studios in Hollywood and the next day we did a hop on/Hop off bus tour of LA eg Beverley Hills, Hollywood, Downtown etc.

Universal Studios was pretty good, interesting tours and rides and shows, good food at the flinstones grill too. I got saturated at the water world show when i eyes off one of the actors, he hit me square in the chest with a bucket of cold water - ass.

The tour of LA was good as we could stop and get back on as much as we wanted. we visited the Hollywood boulevard, santa monica boulevard, koday theatre, chinese theatre, beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive, Tar pits, some big Mall etc.

We had a really good burger in bevereley Hills one of the best of many that we have had in the US.


Jaws is coming through this splash of water at Universal.


A scene from the full sized War of the Worlds Set - a full sized 747 is actually chopped up here.


Wisteria lane home of the loser desperate Housewives


Me and Corinne patting a friendly shark.



A Beverley hills rd with the big palms - nice


The la Brea Tar pits - we didn’t stop here but maybe next time as it looks interesting.


California is Full of Gum Trees - feels like you are home.


The famous sign.

More Yosemite Pics


Ice Crystals


On our walk to Mirror Lake, Liv, Downy and Corinne


An ice crystal hanging from moss, we saw some real big ones about a metre long.


El Capitan from a different Angle.


An As yet unidentified animal track in the snow near our house. There were many different types of tracks, we think we saw deer, cats, dogs and near the bins - Black bear tracks, they were huge. Near Yosemite village we saw a Bobcat which is a like a large domestic cat but very stocky, no tail and bigger, with pointy ear fur.


An Acorn Woodpecker - There were tonnes of woodpeckers about, you could hear them pecking all the time.


A Steller’s Jay - A very feisty little guy that squawked at us when we sat on his rock but was happy to eat some of our bread - very brave, good looking little guy.


Corinne and Liv jumping off a bridge into the snow.

Kennedy Space Centre

We also visited Kennedy Space centre at Cape Canaveral, florida while in Florida. It was about an hours drive from orlando on the east coast. One of the Space shuttles was actually on the Launch pad preparing to go for a flight some time in jan or feb. We did a tour which took us about on a bus and we saw the launch pads and where they do stuff with bits of the international space station, mission control etc. The space centre is massive and is mainly a large nature reserve, full of aligators, manitees (like dugongs), Vultures and other birds, wild pigs and more. It was a great day and we saw many cool things.


A fake shuttle out the front of the place


The Launch pad with the shuttle all set up and ready to go, you can only see the tip of the red Fuel tank though. This photo was taken from about 5 miles away.


The business end of the largest rocket ever built - a Saturn 7.


Two intrepid space travellers


A couple of Alligators by the side of the road.

Orlando Revisited - Disney World

We forgot to put a blog in about our time in Orlando, after Matt and Kay’s wedding and the beach house we had 3 days in Orlando. We spent 1 day at the Magic kingdom of Disney World and 1 day at Kennedy Space centre and 1 day relaxing and playing mini golf.

Disney world is massive and is made up of 5 kingdoms. You probably need at least 5-7 days to do them all and a lot of money too. The magic kingdom had all the disney characters and rides and stuff like that as well as people dressed up as Mickey etc. It was not really my thing but Corinne loved it. After a while you realise that most of the park is actually made up of large shops full of crappy overpriced merchandise and only a few rides. One ride we went on which was a space themed rollercoatser was absolutely amazing. It is based in a large building and is completely dark except for stars etc. you also ride one behind the other, very fast and can’t see where you are going at all. Every turn, dip and roll is a lot scarier when it is dark. I was gasping and screaming and swearing in amazement the whole time. We all came out agreeing that is probably one of the best rides we have ever been on. Another cool thing at DW were the Turkey legs. The food stall sell roasted turkey legs that are massive and weigh about 1 kg, pretty tasty too.


Fireworks over the Famous Castle


Downy and me eating a Turkey leg


Corinne in front of the Castle


The whole lot of them dancing about on the stage being very jolly.


Me and Dumbo or Dumbo and me.

Yosemite NP

Yosemite National park in north Eastern California is one of the Best places we have ever been. It is an amazingly beautiful natural place that is full of wildlife and great sites, views etc. We arrived here after driving form the desserts of Las Vegas. Suddenly we started driving up and out of the dry flat dessert, leaving the Joshua trees and into the conifers and pines. Before long we were at 5000-6000 feet and in the high Sierras. As soon as we arrived in the Park we saw White tailed deer and mule deer, Coyotes, wood peckers, Bald Eagles, Mountain Quail ands many more animals. The views are classic and as soon as we entered the park we had a great view of El Capitan and Half Dome which are very famous great monoliths as well as rock climbing meccas. We had brilliant weather while we were there and had great views of everything. We rented an awesome 3 bedroom house with veranda overlooking the valley. We went for a few walks up to Mirror Lake and also down to the Merced grove of Giant Sequoias. The big trees were great, very large but a bitch of a walk in deep snow.


A friendly Coyote, looking for food, from people in cars.


Corinne standing between two Giant Sequoias - a 2 mile walk that took about 3 hrs, in deep cold snow.


Sunset from Rocky point Cottage


El Capitan on the left and Half Dome on the right in the distance.


A Mule Deer, I think.

25 January 2008

Las Vegas

Here are some pics of our time in the city of Sin - Las Vegas. We stayed at South point Casino on the very far south of the strip. Our place was a fair way off and we had to catch a shuttle to the main strip but it was cheaper and pretty handy. We had a 50 inch plasma in our room which was good for in house porn - just kidding. We saw the strip which has all the big casinos and was much bigger than we thought. The Mandalay to the other end is about 6.5 miles which is a long way to walk. What you really notice about LV is the decadence. The casinos are massive and the hotels connected to them are huge and all the people inside are over the top. You have never seen so many surgically enhanced women, possibly prostitutes but possibly just normal LV chicks. We visited all the big places and went on a few rides rtoo, which are in the casinos. Probably one of the must see sites is the Belagio Fountain/water show which occurs ina massive man made lake. They have a bunch of computer controlled fountains which play to music. It has to be seen bu t is really excellent, and they have a new show every 15 minutes.

Of course we all won thousands of dollars and the house lost as per usual.

Las Vegas is an amazing display of distorted wealth and is a lot of fun for a short period.


The Luxor - amazing inside but not very popular


The snowy Sierra Nevadas on the way to Las Vegas


Out the Front of Excallibur


The fake eiffel tower


Inside Caesars Palace


The Venetian, which has real canals inside and gondolas and fake sky on the roof.


The fake sky of the Venetian looking very real


Liv and Downy in front of the Belagio Fountain lake.

19 January 2008

The USS Midway, San Diego

On the day we left San Diego for Las Vegas we did a quick tour of the USS Midway an older aircraft carrier that was actually built around 1945 but had been upgraded over the years and had only finished working in the late 80’s or early 90’s something like that. It is the second most visited military museum in the US after the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. It is very cool and you get to walk all around the ship which housed something like 4500 people and a bunch of planes/jets, guns etc. The seamen lived in very cramped quarters but after visiting the kitchen got a lot of nice food 23 hrs per day. This carrier has carried everything from WWII piston planes like bearcats to f18’s and f4 phantoms etc modern jets.


Corinne in the brig - bad, bad girl


Downy relaxing in his spacious apartment


The rear gunner of a Dauntless WWII Bomber/Torpedo aircraft


An F14 Tomcat, a common aircraft carrier Fighter but not actually used on the Midway


An F4 Phantom fighter/bomber - did a lot of work in the Vietnam war era.


An A6 Intruder


The bridge or something of the Midway, where all the controls are.