Odessa, Texas

Today we put another few hundred miles on the clock and…we found ourselves still in Texas. Odessa may just be a pit stop on our way to Arizona and California but we wanted to check out the local points of interest. When we searched the hotel’s displays and researched online, we found just two. The first of these was the Odessa Meteor Crater, which is apparently an impact crater 170 m in diameter. We set our sat nav for the second largest meteor crater in the USA and were somewhat surprised to draw up at the local hospice! Not saying our Tom Tom is rubbish but….on deeper investigation than instructions and addresses on the leaflets from the hotel, it appears the real deal is 20 miles away! No problem because also listed as a major point of interest is a replica of Stonehenge here on the campus of the University of Texas. It seems it was completed in 2004 and the replica is said to be horizontally equal to Stonehenge, although only 70% of the vertical height of the original. We were keen to see how this had been constructed – had they learned the art of moving huge stones from nearby mountains using primitive methods? Well, what can I say? I took the photos of the concrete slabs to prove we came and tomorrow we have the promise of a scenic drive to El Paso! Lots of laughs today 😂😂. Small American towns are so proud to offer their wonders to visitors but somehow Stonehenge it definitely wasn’t. Perhaps we might go to the cinema… oh look, even that had closed down.





Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities

Odessa was very quiet and we didn’t realise until much later that, on 31 August, just over a fortnight before our visit, a gunman killed seven people and injured more than 20 in Odessa and Midland in western Texas. He had called the police on an FBI tip line, making “rambling statements” about being fired by his employer before he went on his drive-by mass shooting rampage, police.

Not knowing the recent history, I did look for a queue of people to photograph where I could have posted … “Filming the ‘Odessa File’! ” Seems totally inappropriate now.

Dallas, Texas

This morning Houston; this afternoon Dallas. We wasted no time and, after a quick check in, we were off walking to the JFK Museum. Those of us who are of a certain age will always remember what we were doing on 22 November, 1963, and with no morbid curiosity whatsoever, I simply wanted to see the place which housed the memories of this historic event.
The museum is situated on the 6th Floor, which was once the home of a book packing business, at Dealey Plaza. From there (a window on the right hand corner as you stand and look up at the building) it is alleged that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot which killed the young President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I say “alleged” as it is 55 years this year since the assassination and to this day conspiracy theories abound. Did walking through a minute by minute account of the shootings help, or standing in the room where it is said Lee Harvey Oswald stood and watched the motorcade approach before taking the shot once the car had turned and passed in front of his window? Not a bit! I don’t suppose seeing the grassy knoll where other shots were heard will help either. The investigation closed some years ago through lack of evidence to support other theories and I guess we will never know. It was a sad time for America and who would know that “curse of the Kennedy’s” would continue to visit this materially privileged family and affect so many more members in the following years.
‘Book Repository’ – now museum on the Sixth Floor.
The two crosses on the road mark where the cavalcade was when the bullets were fired. The ‘Grassy knoll’ is to the left.
The window where the shots which killed Kennedy are supposed to have come from.
Time for dinner and an exploration of Dallas tomorrow.
Stepping out from the hotel, the wall of heat just envelops you. We set out in a morning temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (Carolyn says don’t put Centigrade!). Whatever – it’s a rather warm 98.6 Fahrenheit!!!
We opt to explore this beautiful city via a hop on/hop off trolley bus, but recognise there will be walking involved. Our first stop involved an opportunity to get up close to the most amazing display of bronze statues called “Cattle Drive”. It looks as though the cattle are heading for the city in a large herd. Really clever.
The ‘Cattle Drive’!
From there we toured the city until we were decanted somewhere near Reunion Tower, which was definitely worth a visit. Each city in America appears to have such a tower overlooking its tall buildings and the Dallas structure did not disappoint. We were able to walk around the viewing platform and enjoy the sights we had seen from a different perspective. A really helpful lady steward heard our English accents and went out of her way to converse and entertain. She pointed out the markers on the road outside Dealey Plaza which showed exactly where the car was when JFK was hit. The grassy knoll next to the building is exactly as it was and she shared once again some of the conspiracy theories we had heard the previous day. To this day, Dallas feels the shame of being the city which failed to prevent the President of the United States being assassinated.
From here, Carolyn had the great idea (as it was mid afternoon) that we might head for a bar she had researched which had great live music and food. It wasn’t too far, she thought. Hmmmm! The afternoon felt much hotter than when we left in the morning and we were constantly in need of liquid but a walk was not a bad idea….oh yes it was! I’m sure Carolyn will talk about the bar which was closed because of a private event, although she may not mention the hour it took to get there and the fact that we needed to stop at a very seedy McDonald’s for a much needed cold drink. Suffice to say, we ended up going to Hooters of all places with their under-clad and over-endowed serving staff. Interesting. I politely declined the idea of walking back to the hotel afterwards though… enough!
On the road again tomorrow and a pit stop in Odessa.
Reunion Tower at night.

Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities

‘#55years’ Great exhibition and experience. Reliving memories from my teenage years. Sad but uplifting as well. I don’t remember where I was when Kennedy died but I know I felt a loss. His hopes and dreams of a brighter future seemed dimmed if not extinguished. The song ‘Abraham, Martin and John’ (originally by Dion but a big hit in the UK by Marvin Gaye) has a particular poignancy – we’d visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on our Music City Road Trip and went to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Martin Luther King Jnr. was shot, later that trip. Now in Dallas, we see both the road where Kennedy was assassinated and the window of the Book Repository from where the shot is alleged to have been fired. We mustn’t let that dream die with the men who spoke so passionately about it. I, too, have a dream that one day…!

‘#55years’ Great exhibition and experience.





Dallas – memories of “Who shot JR?”  from the eponymous TV series and, more significantly, “Who shot JFK?”

The trolley bus tour made Dallas more real and appealing. Miles of concrete greeted us as we drove in with a slightly aberrant Sat. Nav. but we triumphed. Very hot evening and equally hot day but now 500 feet up on Reunion Tower and there’s a breeze!

The local football team (NFL) is the Cowboys so what else could we do for a photo… “Yee-haw!” with Captain America thrown in!







Kath mentioned my suggestion about a visit to well-known music bar… Well, it seemed a good idea – music, food and, perhaps, a drink. And, apparently, our friend, Emily, had been there according to Facebook.

However, … wouldn’t you know… no music tonight, snacks only at the bar and… the requested cocktail (on their menu!) couldn’t be made as they didn’t have the ingredients. Maybe next time!

But, resisting the temptingly titled (chuckle) ‘Dick’s Last Resort’ as an alternative, we moved to the equally suggestively titled ‘Hooters’ and, despite the two giant carved owls outside, we knew the intended allusion.



The local football team (NFL) is the Cowboys so what else could we do for a photo… “Yee-haw!” with Captain America shield thrown in!


Apologies immediately, Kathleen Rainbow!

I tried hard to resist but a ”twit with two whos?!” Really, really sorry – and it was outside Hooters!

I tried hard to resist but a ”twit with two whos?!” Really, really sorry – and it was outside Hooters!




“One small step for a man…” Houston, Texas

Such a brilliant day at the Space Centre, home of Mission Control for the Apollo Missions, moon landings, etc. We had reserved tickets online and thought that on arrival we would simply present the confirmation on our phones and we would be in. In reality we arrived early and found long queues of families also waiting to either buy tickets or, like us, to receive tickets from confirmations. However, 10 am arrived, the ticket desks opened and we were swiftly through.
So, what to do first? My personal ambition was to see Mission Control and one of the parts of our tickets provided trolley rides out through the site and admission to Mission Control. So far, no problem, Houston. We took one of the early trolleys and we were off. The narration was provided by young stewards who read scripts as part of their training. Unfortunately, like many trainees, they wanted to get through the script as quickly as possible and it was difficult for us to follow. However, we were decanted at Mission Control and it was then easier to understand the narrative. After climbing 54 steps to the top of the building, we were seated in a viewing gallery overlooking the area where the experts read the information coming back from the Apollo space crafts on their large computers and responded to the voices of the Astronauts, especially those immortal words from Apollo 13, “Houston, we have a problem”. The desks are exactly as they were and the positions of the key people are clearly identified. Really fascinating.
Back on the trolley, our next stop was the opportunity to walk around the total length of a Saturn rocket. We were totally amazed to see the final (very) small capsule in the nose cone where the astronauts sit. The whole length of Saturn is overlooked by banners recalling the different missions which used the rocket. There are films to see along the way showing Mission Control at the time and the astronauts who took part in the quests to conquer space.
We then took the opportunity to return to the Centre and explore the rockets which piggy backed on the back of a jet [Shuttles). Amazingly, you can walk through the aircraft and view the inside of the rocket. Whichever method used, the huge Saturn rocket or the more compact rocket on top of the aircraft, the space for the astronauts is tiny and cramped. When you see it up close it is very, very real and you cannot help having renewed respect and admiration for those very brave souls who risked (and in some cases gave) their lives in pursuit of knowledge.
The exhibitions in the Centre are amazing and, because so many are interactive, they provide something for everyone to enjoy from the space nerds to small children and everyone else in between. There is also a lovely part of the grounds planted with trees, each one commemorating an astronaut who will not be flying any more missions. It was a truly fascinating day and we involved ourselves in the interactive exhibits, got lost amongst the huge tableaux and had to send text messages to each other detailing where to meet, enjoyed some of the characters (both staff and fellow browsers) and generally walked our legs down.
Not wanting to miss a thing we drove into Houston but totally failed to find the “centre”. We eventually presumed we had seen uptown, downtown and several bits in between so went to dinner!
Off to Dallas in the morning from our hotel in Pasadena and not too long a drive.


Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities

It may have been, “One small step for a man”, according to Neil Armstrong but, as Kath mentioned, it was 54 steps to get us to the Control Room! On the day of the Moon Landing in July, 1969, I was camping in a field near Barmouth, Wales and managed to watch the landing on a tiny portable television powered by a car battery. In the midst of our excitement and clamour, a crowd surrounding the minuscule screen was almost amusing but, of course, what we saw was still amazing! Later that evening, as we gazed up to a bright summer Moon, we talked realistically of the ‘Man’, not in, but, on ‘the Moon’. What we heard on the crackling sound, of course, was “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” which, thinking about it later, didn’t make sense as ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ in that context are synonyms. On analysis later, after reading Armstrong’s views on it, he claims – and who am I to doubt it – he actually said “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”. As Michael Caine might have said (but didn’t), “And, not a lot of people know that!”








Note: “Houston, we have a problem” is not the actual quote (I looked it up!). What was actually said by Jack Swigert was, “Okay, Houston, we’ve had problem here”. Needless to say, we didn’t have a problem – we had a great time!

A teenage hero of mine…feeling reminiscent at Space Center Houston.

The ‘Big Easy’? Easy? Not really but great fun!

As we say a ‘goodbye’ to New Orleans, we realise the sobriquet of ‘The Big Easy’ may be appropriate for some but we’ve walked 10k steps a day in roasting heat for three days! Phew!

However, what fun! Tonight’s music was the cacophony of all musical genres merging into one as we walked along Bourbon Street. However, the traditional jazz of ‘Steamboat Willie’, aka Larry Stoops, was pure Creole as we paused to sit and listen. Further jazz back at the hotel. Great evening.

A few final comments about this part of our Road Trip before we ‘hit the road’ tomorrow heading for Pasadena.

Superdome: largest unsupported dome in the world and the stadium proclaims, ‘Dome Field Advantage’.

Nicholas Cage has an empty pyramid tomb ready for his death.

Harrah Casino has seven flags outside including… our Union Flag and a Rainbow Flag – no explanation, it just is.

A balcony and gallery on a house differ…
A Balcony is a narrow platform coming out from a building. Balconies have no support to the ground. … A Gallery is generally wider than a balcony as it is supported to the ground by posts or columns often the width of a sidewalk.

The Streetcar Line is the oldest in the world, we were told.

Creole means born in New Orleans,

Benjamin Button’s house was filmed in the Garden District.

And, if you can – visit New Orleans. If you’ve visited, come back… like we did! It’s well worth it!

Plus, we learned how to make Gumbo!

Harrah Casino has seven flags outside including… our Union Flag and a Rainbow Flag – no explanation, it just is.
The Streetcar Line is the oldest in the world, we were told.
Superdome: largest unsupported dome in the world and the stadium proclaims, ‘Dome Field Advantage’.
Nicholas Cage has an empty pyramid tomb ready for his death.
A balcony and gallery on a house differ… A Balcony is a narrow platform coming out from a building. Balconies have no support to the ground. … A Gallery is generally wider than a balcony as it is supported to the ground by posts or columns often the width of a sidewalk.



Tonight’s music was the cacophony of all musical genres merging into one as we walked along Bourbon Street. However, the traditional jazz of ‘Steamboat Willie’, aka Larry Stoops, was pure Creole as we paused to sit and listen.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Here again! Whoop!
Coming back to New Orleans is such a treat. Even in our ‘ever so slightly done in’ state when we arrived last night, we still went out to dinner, still watched some American football (New Orleans won!) and much appreciated the hotel being just as good as last time. We were able to fully take in the scenery on our arrival into the city, as this time, our transport was via a taxi from the airport. You always wonder if a place will be as good as you remember it, but, catching sight of familiar buildings was reassuring and our short walk in search of dinner left us comfortable that little had changed. Creaky floors and a steep staircase in the restaurant, coupled with friendly service and good food, spoke of an easy homecoming, as did the fun and laughter on the street below. As for the music, it is still loud, still vibrant and still pouring out of every bar and restaurant.
Today, our first full day, in the heat – even for me, it is off the scale – and in the hot, bright sun, my sun glasses broke. Bother, or words to that effect, so a walk to buy more and an even longer walk to claim back some tax. There is no doubt that walking enables you to see more of the scenery and the river front which we followed was certainly worth looking at. How amazing to bump into Allan Oldfield, Chief Exec of Fylde. I am not sure who was the more surprised, Allan or Carolyn, but we enjoyed some lighthearted banter before continuing what we thought to be a short stroll. However, by the time we had taken a couple of wrong turns in search of the shopping centre which housed a small tax refund office, we were much in need of a cold drink. This was accomplished quickly, along with some beignets (a New Orleans speciality which are a bit like donuts). After the small tax refund and pondering whether it was worth the few thousand steps it took to find it, we went back into the sun and had lunch along the way with oysters and cold beer. Fabulous and we will definitely go back should we return to New Orleans in the future. But the afternoon had begun to really sizzle so we thought it prudent to step inside the air conditioned hotel for a while, plan tomorrow properly and prepare to visit a few bars this evening (it’s for the music, honestly!!)
For our last full day, we began with a walk down to the river to pick up the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus. We decided to do the walking tour at the Garden District… not exactly gardens, it turns out, but a visit to the outside of homes belonging to the rich and famous. Anyway, I now know where Sandra Bullock and John Goodman live, how much their homes are worth and how the previous owners had decorated. Actually, our guide was fun. Then it was more walking back to the bus (did I say it was hot, hot, hot with high humidity?!) before deciding we had earned lunch.
Magnificent houses on the Garden District walk.
The guides here on the various tour buses all remind you to tip but I was hugely amused when one guy, possibly even older than me, asked for a contribution which would go towards his grandmother’s facelift!! Our New Orleans visit has been fabulous. In addition to the miles we have covered on foot, we have been shown the mighty Mississippi, the Casino, the Cathedral, the Superdome, the cemeteries, the World War 2 Museum, the Mardi Gras World, a variety of architecture and been told all sorts of fascinating claims and stories about the city and its occupants. The tour guides certainly inject a sense of fun with pointing out local ‘peculiarities’, including a car park mural of whales – known as the ‘whaling wall’ and a gold statue of Joan of Arc on a horse which is called ‘Joannie on her Pony’. Well, it appealed to my sense of humour.
Tomorrow the road trip begins as we pick up the car and drive to Houston.
Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities
After 22 hours on the go, a Cajun Platter and this Half Ass Beer (a couple!) round the corner from our hotel seemed the least we could do! — at Bourbon Orleans Hotel.
Food later included Fried Alligator bites followed by ribs with Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Crescent City Brewhouse. Oh, and, yes, beer as it was a brewhouse! Highly recommended.
Kath mentioned the amazing coincidence of ‘bumping into’ Allan Oldfield and his partner as they walked along the Mississippi. As a man was walking towards me from a distance, I, as I often do, thought that “vaguely looks like… ” However, I paid no more attention until he came closer and, as he passed me, I turned to look at the what I thought was a mere similarity. Allan, too, had turned and, as we faced each other… “Carolyn?”, he exclaimed incredulously. “Allan?!”, I replied as I moved from questioning to certainty with amazement. Wow! It wasn’t a gin joint, nor Casablanca but… a fabulous moment reminding us how small our world is and where our individual paths in life frequently cross!
“Carolyn?” “Allan?!” Wow! It wasn’t a gin joint, nor Casablanca but… a fabulous moment reminding us how small our world is and where our individual paths in life frequently cross!
…amazing coincidence of ‘bumping into’ Allan Oldfield and his partner as they walked along the Mississippi.

Our usual Big Red Bus Tour started with a loop around ‘The Big Easy’ taking in, amongst so much else, Cemeteries (Nicholas Cage has a pyramid ready for himself in one!); Mardi Gras Exhibition; Basin Street, Armstrong Park, Harrah’s Casino (with some outdoor gaming machines for smokers!), World War 2 Museum and… Beyoncé’s New Orleans house.

Unlike the torrential rain on our New York Bus Tour, New Orleans had 35 degree wall-to-wall sunshine as a Kath and I tried to top up our tans on the open upper deck.

After starting to plan our schedule of ’get off and ons’ for tomorrow, lunch called and a beef Po’boy arrived in front of Kath! I have to report that she didn’t eat all of the fries but absolutely loved the rest! (Po’boy, by the way, came from ‘Poor boys’ who, when there was a closedown of the Streetcar Line, were given French bread to help them eat.)

Another fun day with a Gumbo demonstration this evening!


…a beef Po’boy arrived in front of Kath! I have to report that she didn’t eat all of the fries but absolutely loved the rest!

Street cleaning took on a whole new dimension for me this morning. Whilst walking down the pavement of Toulouse Street, I heard the deep, guttural sound of a large U.S. truck’s distinctive horn. Not once but several times it honked and I turned to face the monster and saw it coming towards me from the centre of the road spraying soapy water across the whole carriageway. As I stepped closer to the wall, it came past and the driver and I exchanged smiles and waves. “They don’t do things by halves”, I thought, as the suds shone and twinkled in the sunshine for several minutes after it passed by.

Street cleaning took on a whole new dimension for me this morning.

An extra thought, as I continued the long walk down Toulouse Street in the French Quarter, … could my efforts be titled… Toulouse – le trek?! Perhaps not!

An evening on Bourbon Street culminating with a Bourbon on Bourbon Street! What’s not to like?!

…a Bourbon on Bourbon Street!
More food… and a favourite… oysters.


Lunch with Louisiana oysters – fresh and BBQ… Hmmm! Yes! Kath and I have earned it and it’s cooler out of the sun. Temperature outside is 33 degrees.
Landry’s – a family tradition since 1947! Me, too!

You don’t just walk down the Mississippi – you sail on it and the tram system is, we were told, the oldest!




Some extra fun – aka silliness – took place towards the end of a fun-filled day.

Silly? Who, me?!
Some extra fun – aka silliness – towards the end of a fun-filled day


On the way from Manchester to New Orleans but… pausing (and changing planes) in Atlanta, Georgia.



The flight was lengthy – as expected – but acceptable as our excitement and anticipation mounted. From the air conditioned and controlled temperature of the plane to the Southern summer heat was a bit of a body-shock.
In Atlanta (Hartsfield-Jackson), we saw it was 36 degrees outside as we waited for our connection. However, here we are nearing New Orleans… which is also hot! Yeah!

The Prologue – Down South not ‘Up Pompeii’



We like having ‘fun’! We take pleasure from the anticipation, the planning, the taking part and… the looking back: reminiscing, reliving and relishing – and planning the next journey.

September 2019 saw us revisit New Orleans as we began our Road Trip across the southern border of the United States on our way to Santa Monica. We’d been to New Orleans on our Music City Road Trip (2017) and had ended our Route 66 Road Trip at Santa Monica (2016). Both places deserved a more detailed and leisurely exploration and indulgence.

Previously, we have written our blog at the end of each day on the road. This time, we decided ‘merely’ to share our enjoyment and experiences via Facebook. However, our blogs are not primarily for others. They are for ourselves to review our travels and rekindle the events and experiences as we read again in the future of our ‘exploits’ in the past.

Facebook, we have decided, doesn’t allow us to do that as well as we would like. Hence this blog and book.

We are writing now, in April 2020, during the Coronovirus pandemic to raise our spirits and to inscribe and share another wonderful Road Trip together despite being physically distant. We can look back this day and during our tomorrows with pleasure and many new smiles.

Kath and Carolyn


And that is it – our last hurrah for this Road Trip after 3945 miles and even more smiles

Although we had agreed to have a late(r) breakfast and a leisurely run up to hotel check out, the morning began, rather rudely in my opinion, with a persistent fire alarm at 04.40. The hotel was definitely being evacuated, albeit in a rather relaxed fashion, and there we stood on the roadside enjoying (!!) the early morning chill.  Information? Reassurance?  I think not. The hotel staff looked as confused as their guests and I wonder how many fire drills they had undertaken. But along came the flashing lights and the sirens with Vancouver’s bravest and finest firefighters. I would like to say that I knew the cause of the problem but we heard nothing.  It was only when we noticed other guests slinking back upstairs that we asked a fireman if we could re-enter the building. We Brits know the correct procedure!  Anyway, not a snowball’s chance in hell of another wink of sleep for me, so something of a lethargic day.


We did want to do something as our flight is an overnighter… another night of minimal sleep… so we enjoyed a lovely return to Stanley Park for the waterside views and the Fall colours. This was followed by a leisurely lunch at the Botanical Gardens, simply because it was on our way to the airport.  

The car is now returned and at this point I want to record our trip mileage. It is a rather impressive 3945 miles. Gosh. It has been a fabulous trip and once we learned not to stop for leisurely lunches we had plenty of time to see and do.  We have seen magnificent vistas, enjoyed the panorama of huge skies, seen/done everything on our “to do” list. It was truly awesome.


On that note, I think that is a good place to stop. Thank you to those who have followed our exploits, we have loved your comments too.  Here’s to the next adventure, wherever it may be. 

Carolyn’s Curios & Curiosities

And, it’s a last ‘hurrah’ from me, too! A great trip, once more – thanks to Kath for sharing the ideas, aspirations and driving. I have to end with two shopping bags I spotted in Vancouver Airport. Good to smile and laugh!

The ‘bags’ are on the next pages before you reach an erroneous conclusion!!!



Vancouver to Whistler (and back) – 168 miles


Last full day today and, with a good weather forecast, what better place to visit than the mountains which have been hiding themselves since we arrived. Surprisingly, at least to us, was to find constant notices as we climbed the mountains demanding that snow tyres should be used and snow chains carried from 1st October to 31st March.  Crikey, that’s next week!  We had been asked by the car rental people whether we intended driving in the Rockies, so clearly there might have been a concern to ensure we had the right kit.


Our first stop was Shannon Falls, the third highest waterfall in British Columbia.  What?  OK, it’s high and impressive and it made a nice stop, but I have no idea where to find the two higher ones. There were various hiking trails which took you through dense forestry, no thanks, as well as a trail to the gondolas which took you to the top of the mountain. I think there was snow up there but the morning cloud was still clinging steadfastly to the mountain and who knew when/if it might lift.  Even for seniors, it was a $40 ride and with the risk of being unable to see anything, it was ‘no thanks’ again and we simply carried on up the fabulous Sea to Sky Highway.


We passed by Squamish, another small mountainside town, which helps to service the better known Whistler. You could see that the 2010 Winter Olympics had demanded service requirements to those going up the mountain, so many of the usual culprits were there, including McDonald’s, Subway, etc.  By this time the sun was breaking through, the views ahead were becoming increasingly spectacular and the prospect of coffee at Whistler provided the impetus to continue.


We knew we were nearing when the electricity pylons became almost as dense as the trees.  Somewhere a huge amount of electricity was being used.  Smart lodges and hotels, clearly ski related, were much in evidence and then we saw the ski lifts and the hillsides which will soon be pistes, deep with snow and full of brightly clad skiers.  We turned into Whistler, discovered the Tourist Information Centre, found loads of huge hotels, chalets, drop offs for the gondolas, but no coffee.  Come on, this is silly, there must be a village. Of course there was, and eventually we found everything we needed, all overlooked by the still proudly displayed Olympic Rings.  In fact we found a large slice of pizza each at a cafe quaintly named ‘Gnarlyroots’ and enjoyed the sun in the village square sitting in huge adirondacks.  The Fall is much in evidence in Whistler but the maples are already shedding their bright red leaves ready to reclothe their branches in thick snow. Were I ever tempted to slide down a mountain on cold white stuff, I would certainly come here.  Luxury and convenience are everywhere, but I confess that sliding onto a sunbed on a hot white beach is more to my liking, so perhaps not, Whistler. You did your best and I loved the visit, but……


The scenery was, of course, spectacular.  The high mountains already have snowy tops and the sea views during our descent were equally breathtaking.  Such a wonderful day for our last full day of the 2018 Road Trip. What entertainment can we come up with for the evening?  Cinema, music, a nice meal?  Something to sustain us for the packing!!


Carolyn’s Curios & Curiosities

A final full day of our Road Trip and we were… on the Road, again. (Apologies to Willy Nelson and Canned Heat as we sang both versions – albeit briefly!)


The Sea to Sky Highway (aka BC-99) took us through some of the most beautiful countryside with mountains (some snow capped) on one side and the Strait of Georgia on the other. The road wasn’t devoid of bends or hills so it was also interesting to drive. Signage was in English and Squamish which added another dimension. Researching led me to find out that, in 2014, there were only 7 native speakers but now there are University courses in it as they try to preserve that part of their First Nation heritage.


I found Shannon Falls quite impressive but resorted to one of my appalling attempts at humour by mentally singing “Oh, Shenandoah” when I saw a Shannon door! #trulysorry

I found Shannon Falls quite impressive but resorted to one of my appalling attempts at humour by mentally singing “Oh, Shenandoah” when I saw a Shannon door! #trulysorry

Onto Whistler. It wasn’t our first choice of destination for today but coming on as a substitute, it scored!

Again, looking at some research, Until the 1960s, this quiet area was without basic infrastructure; there were no sewage facilities, water, or electricity, and no road from Squamish or Vancouver. In 1962, four Vancouver businessmen began to explore the area with the intent of building a ski resort and bidding for the 1968 Winter Olympics. Garibaldi Lift Company was formed, shares were sold, and in 1966, Whistler Mountain opened to the public.

Later, the town, then still known as Alta Lake, was offered the 1976 Winter Olympics after the selected host city Denver declined the games due to funding issues. Alta Lake (Whistler) declined as well, after elections ushered in a local government less enthusiastic about the Olympics. The 1976 Winter Olympics were ultimately held in Innsbruck, Austria.

However, Whistler was the Host Mountain Resort of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, the first time the IOC has bestowed that designation on a community. Whistler hosted the alpine technical and speed events.


There is money about in the ‘resort’. Impressive, indeed. However, the Olympic Ring ‘statue’ is inaccurate, in my view, as the rings should show linking to form a chain of friendship between the continents. The colours are indicated on the ‘statue’ but not the chain, I suggest. Anyway,… the place was still impressive – as was the pizza slice!

On the way back to Vancouver, I had the enviable task of finding appropriate picturesque opportunities for our resident roving photo-journalist (aka Kath!). Looking for viewing points (which often didn’t have much of a view) and driving down ‘No thru roads’ (sic) to find the best shot of a mountain or water focussed my mind and enabled me to have a ‘task’. I like tasks! Genuinely, give me a task to do for someone and I’m like a dog with two tails! Chuckle! 


I, also, like rocks. Having read Ruskin’s ‘Ethics of the Dust’ many years ago, the longevity, history, sight and feel of rock impresses and intrigues me. So, when I overheard that a rock close by was the biggest monolith on Earth, my ears pricked up.

If the rock (approx. 100 million years old) had been around for the equivalent of one day, I would have been around for 0.06 seconds of it! Wow!

Stawamus Chief (Mountain) is not the highest nor has the greatest volume despite standing some 2297 feet (700 metres) above the Howe Sound. Looking at World Rankings, The Chief came in 12th which is still impressive but has often been claimed to be the second largest GRANITE monolith in the World and I can’t dispute that claim. Hail to The Chief – Stawamus (not Trump). 

We’ve had Ribs and Baked Potato (not ‘Jacket’!) for dinner. Very North American and very tasty, too. 

Tomorrow is another day and our 2018 adventure is almost over.