Day 1: 13th September, Manchester, UK.

It was an early start; the alarm didn’t wake me at 0530 because I was already awake. Caroline and I took the dogs out for a quick walk and watched a beautiful sunrise.

At 0700, I said a sad goodby to my two granddaughters; Lauren joins the British Army on 25th September. – easy to remember as that is my birthday. She will be based in Yorkshire, initially and will be training to be a ceremonial gunner, mostly dealing with all aspect of horse care and training. For Abby, 11, it would be her first day of walking the 1.4 miles to school, alone. Caroline drove me to Piccadilly train station on her way to work, we hugged goodby and I was off.

At the airport, i checked in straight away then was able to offload that big bag straight away. Because it was a soft bag,I had to take it to a certain baggage collection point. I noticed the man on the desk intently examining his monitor. ‘ ‘ Motorcycle helmet’ I explained. ‘Yes, I can see that’ he replied.

I had two hours to pass so had a cooked breakfast, knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat the onboard meals as I’m not eating any carbohydrates whatsoever. I was glad of that breakfast but the aroma of the meals being passed out still made my mouth water.

Waiting to see which gate we would be boarding, there was a tannoy message. ‘Would passengers la-lah-la, la-lah-la and Fitzgerald travelling on Virgin Airlines flight number … To Las Vegas please go to gate 204 and speak to a Virgin Airlines representative’. Ooh, I thought, it’ll be that helmet, bet they won’t let me take it. I marched to the other end of the gate numbers and spoke to the desk. ‘Fitzgerald’ I said, ‘ I was called on the tannoy’. ‘Oh yes Ms Fitzgerald, one moment please’ He shuffled some papers. ‘ah, here we are, Laura Fitzgerald’. ‘ No, I’m Christine Fitzgerald’. ‘Ah, not you then’ relief. Imagine though, two Fitzgeralds on the one flight.

Now I sit here on this long flight. Four hours elapsed, only six to go. But the free wine is really nice 🙂

There were two thirty-something girls in our row of three. Proper Lancashire accents. Chatty and friendly. Bickering quite a lot. Drinking quite a lot too. And the mix! Wine, gin, whiskey; and one of them with a fear of flying is popping the odd Valium tablet, ‘as prescribed by her doctor’. Not with alcohol, I suggested, once we got a bit friendlier. At one point,the pill-popper asked her partner to pass the bag down from the overhead locker. She proceeded to root through it, tried to palm something and suddenly, the more sensible one took it off her. There was a bit of a tussle and I realised why; it was an E-cigarette that she had decided she really needed a sneaky puff of in the loo. Her girlfriend, very wisely, took it off her and warned she would tell one of the cabin crew. Her friend relented and substituted it with another miniature whiskey. The next time the smoker went to the loo, the girlfriend climbed on the seat, brought her friend’s  bag down, removed the e-cig, hid it in her own bag then sat down looking all innocent. When the friend came back from the loo, she again went into the locker for her bag and started rooting around. Not finding the e-cig, she said, ‘C’mon, what have you done with it?’. ‘I’ve given it to this lady (me) to keep it until we land’. She asked four or five times for the cigarette but each time, I said, ‘Only when we Land’. She didn’t argue with me. They were quite entertaining really.

Naughty Girls. The smoking one is the one with the hat.

The rest of this post is to show the beauty of the North American continent. Flying above the country reminds me just how vast it is; how varied and quite beautiful. Once we were above Utah and Nevada, I felt a sense of awe and pride that we had ridden many of those lonely, isolated roads through the deserts. It gave me a bit of a shudder too, to realise just how out on a limb we have been for thousands of miles of travel.

The Rocky Mountains from 40,000 feet

 

Lake Powel, Colorado River, Utah

Lake Powel

Escalante Dessert, Utah

Escalante Dessert,

A plateau in the Escalante Dessert

This is one of the most breathtaking rides we ever did, HW 89 from Capitol Reef National Park to Blanding. It was a 180 mile ride with before we could fill up on gas and the red warning light had been on for a while.

Salt Lake, Utah

Great Basin mountains

Coming into the airport in Las Vegas

M

Leaving Las Vegas, headed for Mesquite

I was pretty whacked last night. By the time I got to bed here at 11pm, it was 0700 in my body’s time. So today, we have done nothing much. A little shopping for non-perishables for our camping trip tomorrow. Jan has washed the bike while I started merging our luggage and sorting out the bike bags.

We will be camping in Valley of Fire State Park, only 56 miles away. Whilst reading about the park, I noticed a warning about snakes common in this park; Jan was excited. Me, much less so!

Various rattlesnakes, such as the Sidewinder, Speckled, and Mojave Green Rattlesnake can be found in the park. Other snakes found in the park include the Gopher Snake, California King Snake, and Red Racers.

 Fingers crossed on that count! We’ll be out of contact until Friday when we check in to The Hoover Dam Hotel, Boulder City.

Bye for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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