Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fat Cottonwood

Here we are in Alamogordo, NM. The name means 'Fat Cottonwood' or something like that. An hours drive from Las Cruces on a long, straight road. It's in the middle of the NM desert on the edge of White Sands Missile Range, south of Trinity (site of the first Atomic explosion) and next to Holloman Air Force Base. So you could say the military like the area.

When we arrived last night a camp host (volunteer worker) directed us to our pitch. Turns out he's ex Air Force and married an english lady back in 1960. They've lived in the US since the late 60's but spent a lot of time overseas. After a brief chat we hooked up and were just about to sit down to dinner when the guy came back (can't remember his name) and invited us over for a 'cup of english tea'!!! Fab. So after eating our dinner we wandered over to his rig. We'll never having been in a large RV before we were amazed. He had a 40ft A Class with more slide outs than I've seen before. In fact one whole side slid out. He had a huge kitchen, lounge area, desks, dining room table, a bathroom bigger than ours, bedroom, two flat screen tv's, wardrobes, washer drier - all the mod cons. We had a lovely couple of hours chatting before coming back to our ever so small rig for bed. What a lovely evening which just goes to show how friendly other campers are. Everyone waves to each other and I've never talked to so many different people on a holiday.

We're just off to explore White Sands National Park after stopping at a pistachio farm for supplies (apparently they farm a lot of nuts here - Abi should feel at home..:-) ).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Down New Mexico way

We arrived in Las Cruces, New Mexico last night after a 4 1/2 hour drive from Tucson, Arizona (all of which I drove and praise the Lord for sat-nav).

Let me just got back a bit and report on our last few days in Tucson. We spend Monday at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.... (Abi's bit...) it was a loop of about 2miles and then had exhibition halls etc off to the sides. Fortunately it was quite cloudy as we walked round, but it was still lovely and hot... in fact as we didn't get up and get moving too quickly (shocker!) so by the time we were at the 'mountain lions' they were having their siesta and we could only see feet and the shapes of their bodies. The little piggies were all snoozing under a bridge and the coyotes were no where to be seen (but we heard them every morning and evening around our campsite). There was an aviary which was not that great (saw most of the birds around our site) but it was nice to see them close up (and on their nests). The highlight had to be the hummingbird house with the tiny colourful 'shots' as they wizzed by, sitting still though one did come to check me out (by all accounts they are really nosey) and all I could hear was the buzz of his wings and the chirping. Rob got some great shots, but it's so hard as by the time you spot one, it's gone! We saw one sitting on the smallest thimble type nest and if it hadn't been pointed out, you would have walked past easily. I stroked a snake and had it wrap it's tail round my finger - at which point Rob was admiring from a great distance!! It wasn't poisonous - so I felt quite happy, but still wasn't able to convince Rob to come and get closer.

(Back to Rob ....) Yesterday we stopped off at Pima Air Space Museum on the way out of Tucson. It's a fabulous place filled with 250+ planes. From a Hawker Hurricane to a giant B52 and everything in between. They even had the worlds greatest aircraft, the Harrier (albeit a US AV8B in marine colours). There are two things that make it a great place. Firstly all the guides are retired pilots and secondly it's right next door to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base so we had A10's and F16's buzzing us all morning.

So what next? Las Cruces is just an overnight stopover. A place to rest and replenish supplies. From here we head north east to Alamagordo (love that name) and what I hope will be one of the highlights of the trip, White Sands National Monument

As a final note I'd like to say that everyone we've met in the parks has been lovely. We always chat to more people when we camp. Everyone is helpful, friendly and 'loves our accents!!!'.

Oh and another thing the mobile valeting companies will come and clean your RV onsite. How much I hear you ask. Well they charge by the foot!!!!! I suppose they would. At $6 a foot our RV would cost $132 or £91...So Abi, go fill your bucket!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Currently in Tuscon, Arizona. Our luggage arrived at 11am yesterday afternoon so all is good in Arizona. Abi hasn't worn most of the clothes she purchased so we'll be returning them later this week. As we had to hang around yesterday we spent the afternoon wandering the park and sitting by the pool. Lots of nesting birds and a wonderful owl chick that everyone is keeping an eye on.

Although this is the end of the season the park is only 1/4 full. Everyone here is lovely and we've been chatting to so many people. We met a young couple who live here (Jess and James) and they invited us down to their pitch to last night for a drink. They lit a fire which encouraged a few more people to pop over. We had a relaxing evening putting the world to rights and talking nonsense. This couple are artists - painters and writers. Jess paints 9ft by 4ft pictures of insects. It's difficult to explain so have a look at her website. It's very interesting.

Today we are off to the Arizona Sonoma Desert Museum. More to come later.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The missing bag

Where is Abi's luggage? It's not in Phoenix and BA don't appear to know where it is/ Not a great start to our holiday but at least we are both OK. We have credit cards and travel insurance so it's not the end of the world. More updates to come later.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Which phone

Its official. The Blackberry storm is not an iPhone, not even close. Its a touch screen Blackberry with an awful UI. What makes the iPhone great? The UI, the Apps Store, Itunes integration but most of all it's so simple to use. Keep it simple!!!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge, originally uploaded by tidy mind.

This photo has been chosen for the latest Schmap guide to Sydney. We think Abi took it from a ferry but it could have been from Milsons point. Regardless it was taken with the cheapest camera we own. Click here for info.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Storm in a teacup

Just upgraded with Vodafone and purchased a Blackberry Storm. They still don't have an iPhone and as I'm not keen on O2 I've decided to stay with Blackberry. A friend bought one round at the weekend and I was very impressed. It's not an iPhone but it's not that far off. I get it on Wednesday so I'll post my first impressions then.

East Wittering, West Sussex

East Wittering, West Sussex, originally uploaded by tidy mind.

Taken on Saturday at East Wittering. Not the nicest of beaches. Lots of stones and no sand but it was a great opportunity to take some photos.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Boathouse, originally uploaded by tidy mind.

Taken today when Abi and I took a short walk on some local footpaths.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Moab Canyon from Gold Bar Rim - Moab, UT

Love this place.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Cross Processing

Billingshurst, originally uploaded by tidy mind.

A fantastic photoshop technique called cross processing. Looks very 1970's/1980's. Professional photographers used to achieve this by 'deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film'. All I had to do was click on a few buttons. Awesome.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

24 Days until we roll

The vacation is getting closer and closer and I'm soooo excited. I've spent a couple of evenings over the past few weeks researching the sites of the Southwest, in particular southern Arizona and New Mexico. I'm reasonably confident I've got the basis of a fantastic road trip. A total of 1750 miles and 32.5 hours driving :-) A lot of ground to cover but nowhere near as much as last year.

Phoenix, AZ - Start and stop.
Tucson, AZ - Destert Museum and Pima Air and Space Museum
Bisbee, AZ - Small southwest town
Tombstone, AZ - Home of the OK Coral and Wyat Erp
Alamogordo, NM - White Sands National Monument
Magdelena, NM - The Very Large Aray
Acoma Pueblo, NM - Indian Pueblos
Santa Fe, NM - The heart of the Southwest?
Taos, NM - More Indian Pueblos
Durango, CO - Home of the Durango Silverton Railroad
Monument Valley, AZ - Need I say more
Sedona, AZ - The first place Abi and I visited in the Southwest and a great place to end the vacation.

Road to the Farmhouse

Road to the Farmhouse, originally uploaded by Sian Bowi.

Lovely photo I found on Flickr last week. Great composition. I like the way your eyes follow the road. I would have been tempted to move to the left and place the majority of the road in the centre of the frame which would have been wrong.