So now we are home….well actually I (Jane) have been home for a month, but somehow ordinary life has taken over and I have not managed until now to finish off this blog!  Cathal arrived home from a few weeks surfing in Bali last week…to a very different wife (brunette not blonde!) and very different weather!  Needless to say it is difficult to settle back in!  He’s getting there.  I have started devilling at the Bar – which sounds a little dodgy but in fact means that I am starting work as a barrister.  It is a very exciting change for me – and so far so good! 

Thanks to all of you, our family and friends, who checked in on our travel blog over the year.  It is lovely to think that you took an interest in our adventures, and it made all the writing and uploading worthwhile!  Thanks also to those who left us comments – it was nice to know you were back home checking in on us. 

So, signing off until the next time,

Jane & Cathal

13 August – Sitka, Alaska

Rain rain rain….we really should have read the words “temperate rain forest” and actually understood them!  We left Prince Rupert on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry on Sunday, pitched our tent on deck, and enjoyed the journey north through the Inside Passage to Sitka.  

Camping on deck on the MS Taku

We pitched our tent in the rainy darkness at Starrigavan Campsite, hoping that the local sow Black Bear and her two cubs were fast asleep somewhere far away….two very wet days later and we have treated ourselves to a night at the Sitka Hotel.

It is a lovely little town all the same – it has a rich Native Tlingit, Russian and American history, all of which have left their marks.  It is busy with cruise ship passengers by day, but in the late afternoon, when the rain clears and the crowds go, it is a very pleasant place.  Last night we met “Irish Dave”, a Kilkenny man who is a fisherman here.  Not quite the Deadliest Catch, but not far off!  He let Cathal “ring the bell” in the Pioneer Bar – this signifies that the bell ringer has had a great catch at sea and buys the bar a round of drinks!  Dave picked up the tab…thanks for that!

Sitka is a town where gun-toting is quite normal.  The sales assistant at the outdoor store had a gun at his belt, and a lady told us she wouldn’t even go picking berries without bringing a gun!  Locals here still hunt for some of their food, it is deer-hunting season at the moment, so venison will be on everyone’s menu.  We saw a musical display of Tlingit culture yesterday, in a replica of an old community house, with a big fire pit in the centre.  Cathal commented on the similiarity to Siberian culture.

Tomorrow we travel to Juneau, the Alaskan Capital, a little further north  This is our jump-off point for getting to Glacier Bay.  On the 16th, we are heading off into Queen Inlet in Glacier Bay for 5 days seakayaking.  There will be no get out clause there if it is wet!!

Sailing out of Prince Rupert

3 August – Seattle

it’s been a while since we have posted – you might think that surely the whole of the States is one big wifi spot, but once out of the big cities it can be hard to find.  We have arrived in the home of grunge, Frasier and Starbucks coffee – Seattle.  The big surprise (and somewhat disappointment) was that as we came over the hills from Montana and E Washington State, we left blue skies behind for what is quite Irish weather!  However the fact that we are sleeping in a real bed for the first time in a month (thank you Comfort Inn) makes up for it adequately.  

Since we left Moab, Utah, and began heading north about 2 weeks ago, we have enjoyed what we consider perfect summer camping weather – 25-30 degrees, no humidity, no rain and it cools down at night enough to make it comfortable to sleep under canvas.  We have also done our longest driving trips in the last while – 9 hours from Moab, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming was our record.  For Americans it is nothing – but we were quite pleased with ourselves!  I had uploaded an audiobook from the Library in Moab, a 9 disc tome, and this kept  us entertained from Moab almost to Seattle.  The big car and our GPS have really come into their own – the former for comfort and the latter to prevent major directional mars-venus fights!  

Our three main stops in the last section were Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is the gateway town for the Grand Tetons National Park, Yellowstone National Park (immortalised as Jellystone in Yogi Bear!) and Missoula, Montana.  We slowed the pace down a little and spent 5 nights in each of the first two and three in Missoula.  Jackson Hole is in the middle of Cowboy country, the Stetson hat reigns and the Rodeo is the biggest show in town.  Yellowstone enthralls with all its spouting geysers, boiling mud pots and lots of wildlife – the oldest National Park in the US.  Missoula – well it was a bit of craic, with two unexpected great nights out! 

Some photos on the right, more stories to follow!

15 July 2008 – Moab, Utah

Utah Rocks!

Our route so far, to Moab:

Red rock, red rock and more red rock…we’ve seen a lot of it over the past while.  We have enjoyed the sights of Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, and now find ourselves in Moab.  Moab is the slickrock mountainbiking capital of the world – a town surrounded by red rock hills just made for biking and 4x4s.  Cathal got out and took on the challenge of the Slickrock trail – and surprised the bike rental guys by finishing way earlier than expected!  

It is seriously hot here…over 100F right now at 4pm, and blue blue skies.  We’re going to explore the Arches National Park later on when it cools down a bit and the sun is in the right spot for those frameable shots.

USA Road Trip Summer 2008

1 July 2008

We are now a month into our road trip, and have had some great adventures so far.  We have just spent a fantastic week in Yosemite National Park, photos & commentary on that to follow.  

We are now relaxing for a couple of days at Mammoth Lakes, before heading to Las Vegas for 4 days – to include Cathal’s birthday, 4th of July.  

Yosemite National Park

Route map at link below:
View Larger Map


Life on the road with Cathal!




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