Our flight was uneventful apart from a 20 minute period of strong turbulence as we flew through the storms that had hit the eastern border of America early in the week but had now gone north over Canada. We did arrive at Heathrow 20 minutes early and customs and immigration at Heathrow was extremely efficient, unlike our experience at New York’s JFK three weeks earlier.
Our total travel miles from Heathrow, across the USA and back to Heathrow is broken down on the photo below.
This trip has been a fantastic experience. We have covered so much, from cities to rural towns, to high mountain areas and low lying desert. I would recommend this trip and Great Rail Journeys to anyone wishing to have an adventure in the USA.
This is our last morning in San Francisco as we travel to the airport at lunchtime for our afternoon departure to Heathrow. We spent the morning at Grace Cathedral, having travelled from our hotel to the Cathedral by cable car. The Cathedral has some wonderful stain glass windows and murals.
Our flight is leaving on time!
Our final free day in San Francisco.
We decided to visit:
The Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park
Coit Tower (Unfortunately the lift was broken so we couldn’t go to the top), with it’s stunning views.
Fortunately, the weather was slightly better and we had a better view of the Golden Gate Bridge
The Cable Car Museum. This is where the cables turn in order to run the cars, a fascinating place!
We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at the top of Macy*s – I highly recommend this restaurant.
Today we toured San Francisco, including:
A walk down Lombard Street
Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge – Unfortunately, the cloud and mist were very low so not a good day for a photo.
After the tour we went across to Alcatraz for a visit to the infamous prison.
Today we left Los Angeles by Amtrak on our 10.5 hour journey to San Francisco. LIke all other Amtrak Journeys we arrived late, this time an hour late. This is mainly due to the fact that both Amtrak and freight trains use the same line and therefore sometimes have to wait for each other before proceeding.
Luckily we had upgraded on the train, so much of our time was taken up with lunch and dinner. We also enjoyed a wine and cheese tasting session – very enjoyable!
We finally arrived at our hotel at 11.30 pm.
After an overnight train trip from Flagstaff, this morning we arrived at Union Station Los Angeles. We were taken on a tour of Los Angeles’ most famous land marks:
The Chinese Theatre where the stars have their foot prints set in stone.
The walk of stars
The Kodak Cinema where the Oscars are now held each year. Interestingly, on the wall they list the main award for best film for each year. In 1964, the year I was born, My Fair Lady won.
After a tour around parts of Hollywood we were taken to our overnight floating hotel, the RMS Queen Mary.
After a short tour of the ship we went ashore to the Shoreline Village in Long Beach.
Leaving Flagstaff early this morning we went by coach to Williams (Route 66) where we boarded the Grand Canyon Railroad train to the Grand Canyon. We had a sheriff on board to keep us safe and musical entertainment.
The Grand Canyon was spectacular and photos do not show the true perspective of the area.
On the return train journey to Williams, the train was held up by bad cowboys who demanded money. The Sheriff was nowhere to be seen at this time, so we paid up and the train arrived back safely.
We then returned to Flagstaff to board the overnight Amtrak to Los Angeles.
Today we had a free day in Flagstaff. This included visiting Flagstaff Town to buy cowboy boots, lunch followed by a swim at the Hotel, Little America and then dinner at Black Bart’s. Blake Bart’s was brilliant. Each waiter took turns on the stage singing their favourite musical hits; they also sang together. There were some extremely talented waiters and waitresses, many of whom are studying music majors at Flagstaff University. Catch my flicker page for some video of their performances.
Today we visited Monument Valley. Enjoy the photos.
Our final destination of the day was Flagstaff and the Little America Hotel, we are here for two nights and have a full rest day tomorrow – pool day me thinks!
This morning we set off by coach, with our driver Paul, through the San Juan Mountains. This is a high and rugged mountain range within the Rocky Mountains. Before reaching this mountain area we passed through three little America towns, Delta, Montrose and Ridgeway. Our first stop of the day was at Ouray before travelling on to our lunch stop at Silverton. We had lunch at Grumpy’s and time to explore the old town.
After our break, Paul and his coach carried on the journey to Durango, whilst we caught the Silverton to Durango steam train. The trip took us through the mountains to our final destination for the day, Durango and the Doubletree Hotel.