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Silver Screen

Take a quote from your favourite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

Daily Prompt

My favourite quote used to be from Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight: “You make your own luck”. But personal circumstances that make me feel massively out of control of my own luck have made that quote feel less important. So I’ve moved onto this one:

I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure

Gandalf, The Hobbit

I really enjoyed The Hobbit, and I felt that the film really pulled out the theme about quiet, unsuspecting characters being capable of greatness and being important in the grand scheme of things (even if it’s not common knowledge). I have enjoyed my adventures, and I think I felt a little like Bilbo before my first couple: determined to go but scared at the same time.

My big adventures have mostly been on my own, although I often meet people along the way, and this has definitely helped me overcome my shyness. My mini-adventures with my friends are also fun, whether it’s surfing and kayaking in Rhosneigr, wakeboarding in Abersoch, possum-spotting in New Zealand, or activities in Amsterdam. And I loved the group of complete strangers I met on the West Coast of New Zealand.

I like the idea of sharing one of my big adventures at some point, whether that’s with a group of friends or with one other person. If it was with my friends it would be full of outdoor activities, and probably a fair bit of drinking and dancing. But if it was with one other ‘special’ person, would it be a showcase of my favourite places, or would it be completely new places and experiences?

My favourite places would have to include:

Completely new places might include most of South America or South East Asia. I planned a trip to South America in 2009 and never got there. Not sure if I ever will now. I did a bit of research on SE Asia for a university report on ecotourism, and that made me a bit yearnful.

I’m working in tourism at the moment and the big marketing push is about experiencing a destination; so marketers should be illustrating how people can experience a destination rather than just showing stunning scenery and vistas. I completely agree: many of my trips have involved hiking, kayaking or even sky-diving, and those experiences definitely shape how you experience and remember a destination.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Leaving Silver Spur

We had our last breakfast together this morning and said our goodbyes. I felt myself welling up a bit – amazing how close you can get to people in a week!

M was leaving the airport a little before us, so me and Dad had some food with her.

We got a flight to Boise, where we picked up our rental car. Unfortunately what I wasn’t told when I booked was that I needed a driving licence and credit card in the same person’s name. And as Dad doesn’t have a credit card, I had to use my licence, bumping up the rental price quite significantly. Not happy.

So I did a couple of circuits of the the car park, trying to get to grips with a left-hand-drive automatic. Then out into a city I don’t know with road rules I don’t understand!

We checked into a motel called Catana, and found an nice pizzeria in town for supper.


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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Horse Drive: Day 4

Last day of the horse drive, from Warm Springs to the final grazing, then we would head back to the ranch in the trailer.

M rode with us today and made Wayne’s week by spending most of the day teaching him how to ride Western. By the afternoon, he was stopping or turning back just so he could canter to catch up with us.

It was a really fun day today. We started off on open range, then went into a canyon for ages. It ws slow going when there was only one track, but everytime the canyon floor opened up, we were pushing the horses on.

So in 3 days of driving horses we covered about 50 miles. But by rode, we were only about 20 miles from the ranch. In five days of riding, we’ve gone about 75 miles. Fit horses!

Back at the ranch there was a big queue for the shower. Tim took ages too! LT and Lana’s daughter Whitney is studying massage therapy, and she came up to the ranch to give us a massage. After dinner Lana and Lacey sang us a song they’d written, with a verse for each of us, and Lacey put that onto the photo DVD she made.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Horse Drive: Day 3

Not actually par of the horse drive though, because this was the day off when we just went on a trail ride. It was a much slower day, just taking it easy, but we did have a couple of good canters.

We headed up Grouse Creek and covered about 10 miles. There was a moose and calf, but they were quite far off. Probably a good thing since they can get quite aggressive when scared!

We rode into Grouse Creek canyon, had lunch and headed back the way we came. On the way back, I joined Sheree, Di and Tracy for a canter, to catch up with LT, Lana and a few others. We cantered for ages with no sign of them. When we stopped at a creek for the horses to drink, Di said that she couldn’t see any hoofprints on the track except ours. Turns out LT, Lana and the others cantered only a short way, then hid from us! And watched us go sailing by!

Still fun tho…

We were camping at Warm Springs again that night. Lots of singing around the campfire – not from me though!

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Horse Drive: Day 2

This morning LT cooked our pancakes and eggs over the campfire, while Lana did the hash browns in the chuck wagon. Apparently LT is annoyed at how little we’re doing because “this is not a dude ranch”. I don’t remember being told what was expected of us beforehand, but I think a few of us tried being a bit more helpful!

We helped take down the camp, then LT went to round up the saddle horses and we made a ‘human corale’ to pen them in. To start the day we had to walk alongside the creek to make sure none of the horses were hiding in the willows.

Then 9 of us had to get 25 horses to a bridge and hold them there while LT, Lana and the other 4 rounded up another 10 horses. There were a few attempts at a breakaway but we managed to keep them together. Until the other 10 arrived that is. Buzz ended up running back to camp, and it took Dad, Bob, Steve and Tim to get him back. Dad resorted to taking the halter off his own horse and leading Buzz back. Also managed to give himself a nasty rope burn on his arm too.

I did the same as yesterday: spent the morning at the back driving, and the afternoon at the front leading. Once Buzz was back, he didn’t want to leave us! He was in amongst the saddle horses the whole day.

We reached Warm Springs around 5:30pm and turned the horses loose. There is a pool near to the camp with warm water so we went for a dip, then settled down for the evening with a few beers. We had supper round the campfire again, and later LT sat with Bob and tried to understand what he was saying!

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Horse Drive: Day 1

Tuesday morning we set off, driving 26 horses from the ranch. Lana and M were driving the chuck wagon to the camp, with everyone’s luggage, the tents, food, etc. and going by road. We started our day going through a canyon. It was fine, except that I ended up so far back that I didn’t really feel like I was helping.

Didn’t take too long til we were out on the open range though: I felt much more involved then. We left one horse behind because he jst didn’t seem to want to keep up. Another horse, Buzz, made a run for it. LT ended up roping him, then swapping all his tack onto Buzz and driving the original horse with the others.

We rode til about 2pm, then stopped for lunch. My legs didn’t want to work when I got back on an hour later! I went to the front but it was kinda boring: you just ride and stay ahead of the loose horses. Much more fun to have to chase them back into the pack.

We reached camp at Webber Creek around 5.15pm. Lana and M had set up all the tents and put our (little) luggage outside. We turned all the horses loose, and they had quite a bit area to graze in for the night. We pottered about a bit: had a quick wash in the very cold creek and sat around chatting, before supper around the campfire. LT and Lana were driving back to the ranch for a bale of hay for the horses, and Lana had a call from Fedex that day saying the luggage was on its way.

So Tuesday night, 3 days after they were lost, we were reunited with our luggage. Huzzah! I changed into my PJs under my clothes and sat around the campfire til about 11pm.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Getting Away From It All

Wonderful breakfast on Monday morning, followed by several people trying their hand at lassoing. LT and Lana’s son Dax won a team-roping championship with his friend (I think at state-level, but can’t be sure). He wasn’t there at this time, but we got a taste of just how good he is on Friday!

A little later we were all assigned horses, and given a quick lesson in how to ride Western. I got Indy, a black and white paint horse (piebald to those of us in the UK!). We all got on our horses and had a quick go in the arena, before we headed out on a trail ride.

We covered about 15 miles, up into the hills and through canyons. The scenery was stunning and there were no settlements as far as you could see.

After we got back to the ranch, I went down to the winter house with Lacey to find out where our luggage was. Very confusing because Fedex had picked it up in the last half hour, so United weren’t really taking responsibility for it anymore, but Fedex hadn’t put it into their system yet. We were going to go back later, but didn’t bother in the end: just trusted that it would arrive sometime.

I had my first experience of the outdoor shower: perfectly nice until a gust of wind gets you from underneath the walls! Amazingly my clothes still weren’t smelling that bad.

We had supper and spent the rest of the evening listening to Di telling jokes.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Rockies Holiday

So this is the big holiday of the year … 3 weeks in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or as far as me and Dad could get in the Rockies. One week on a ranch doing a horse drive, followed by two weeks hiring a car.

Didn’t get off to a great start. We had a 3-part flight over to the US, and when we reached Salt Lake City, our luggage didn’t. We had one night there, then back to the airport in the morning for two more flights over to Idaho Falls. We looked in the airport shops for socks, underwear, cheap clothes. In Boise we each got a t-shirt for $7, and a pair of socks (but the fluffy kind you wear to bed in winter, not practical ones).

While we were putting these items into our carry on luggage, Dad realised that the security who searched his luggage on the way out of Salt Lake had neglected to put his walking boots and phone charger back in. At this point my stress levels were not coping well. The poor security guy in Boise who we collared looked quite uncomfortable with the crying girl he was faced with!

While we were waiting in Boise, I called the United Airlines bag track to see if our suitcases had been found. Someone had the great idea to use voice-recognition. Unfortunately the machine couldn’t understand my accent. Several times he said “I’m sorry, I couldn’t tell if you said ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Please repeat your answer”. Until the point when I was yelling down the phone in the middle of the airport.

But anyway, our bags had been found. He told me what flight they were on and what time. But he neglected to say what time they would arrive in Salt Lake, or possibly when they might catch up with us.

We got to Idaho Falls and waited around in the airport for a couple of hours until LT picked us up to go to the ranch. He lent me his phone to call Salt Lake Lost & Found, so we knew the boots and charger were there and claimed.

The ranch is about 1 1/2 hours drive from Idaho Falls. Dubois is the nearest town and thats about 40 mins away. We just kept driving, further and further into the middle of nowhere. It’s a very rustic ranch. There are several bunk rooms and a cabin with a lounge area and the dining table. There’s no electric: all the lights are gas lamps. The shower is outdoors, and the water is propane-heated. The toilets are long-drops. There is no mobile phone reception, and the landline and internet are at the winter home, 20 mins back down the road.

We met the guests who had already arrived, and waited for the others who where coming from Jackson. We had dinner once everyone was there, and I went to bed quite early.

Round the World 2007 USA

The End of RTW 2007

Breakfast, with the worst coffee I’ve ever had. No joke. It really was mud. I had to add so much milk to be able to put up with the taste, that it went totally cold.

Checked out. Spent some time on the internet. Left.

I met the two nicest people in New York today. The first saw me trying to get down to the subway with my two big cases, and carried the bigger one down for me. I wanted to thank him, but he was gone before I could: he wasn’t even going to the subway! The second carried my big case down the second lot of stairs. It was touching. There are some good people in New York.

Getting to JFK airport was simple enough. I had to change trains once, but it was on the same platform. Long journey though. The journey on the air-train round the airport was quite long too.

I managed to check in early, then spent ages in the departures lounge, just reading and drinking coffee and eating. Our flight was delayed because our cabin crew were held up by some UN conference, but we still made up the time in the air.

Round the World 2007 USA

Lost in New York

Woke up, straightened my hair, and had breakfast. I packed the last of my stuff, then headed over to the bus stop. I met some interesting characters on the bus, including a guy who thought Welsh people could walk on water, and that I had an elephant in my suitcase. He wished me well too. And the bus driver asked if I was going to write a book about my travels.

The journey to New York was uneventful. We got in at 3pm, and I caught the wrong subway uptown, so had to walk three blocks across and three up. New York doesn’t believe in many cross-town trains.

I checked into Jazz on the Park, and headed out again. I got totally confused downtown and walked north when I wanted to go south. I found a cafe called Pecan to get a coffee and find my bearings. I got chatting to a guy there, who was a photographer. Pretty good too: showed me his website: I’ll link to it when I find his business card!

Heading in the right direction now, I found Century 21 and bought the smaller version of my suitcase. I then got the subway back up town and spent the evening packing and on the internet.

Round the World 2007 USA

Ocean Drive and Cliff Walk

Had breakfast in the hostel, then moved my stuff down to “The Cave”, aka the cellar. I also packed up a lot of stuff too.

I went to the library at 10am and spent an hour on the internet. I then came back to the hostel and borrowed one of the bikes to do the Scenic Ocean Drive. It wasn’t that fantastic (and my arse was still sore after Martha’s Vineyard), but at least I could see the coastline without all the boats! Got quite a waft of salty sea air too!

The ride took about 1 1/2 hours, and I went to a cafe for lunch after. I returned the bike, had a coffee in the hostel, then headed out on foot to do the Cliff Walk. First Beach was OK, but looked better at the far end. The walk itself was quite pleasant, but as usual when something gets talked up, it was a bit of a let-down. The mansions were grand. Beyond grand in fact. I didn’t go in because it was getting late and apparently you should allow an hour in each.

I went down to the Coffee Grinder and hung out there for a while. Saw a dog in a life-jacket. Got a gelato on the way back. I spent the evening chatting to Paul, then showered and watched Legally Blonde, Along came Polly, and Cat Ballou, until I decided it was time for sleep.

Round the World 2007 USA

Well Do You Have A Flag?

OK, so if you don’t know anything about Newport…Firstly, it’s not the one from The OC. It is the home of the America’s Cup when America win and they host it over here. It therefore has a lot of boats. Hundreds of boats. It also has a lot of mansions. Old money billionaires built extravagant homes here. You can visit them too, and go on tours.

The title of this post is a reference to an Eddie Izzard sketch about the British taking over the world with the cunning use of flags. I only bring it up because there are a lot of houses with flags outside. Imagine driving along Ruthin Road and seeing a Welsh flag outside every other home, and that’s pretty close. That whole “pledging allegiance to the flag” in school stays with them!

But today, I was going round some of the historical sights. I started with the Old Stone Mill in Touro Park. No one knows who built it, why, when, or even what it is. Then I went to the Redwood Library, the oldest public library in the US. I then walked down to Trinity Church, which wasn’t as special as I expected it to be. Then I found Washington Square, where I got a coffee and bagel in a cafe.

I did a bit of shopping in a second hand shop, then wandered around Brick Market Place and Thames (pronounced Taymz) St on my way back to the hostel to drop stuff off. Heading back out, I went over to Goat Island, which you reach via the causeway. It has possibly the smallest lighthouse I’ve seen. And the views back to Newport were obscured by all the boats.

I came back over to Newport and sat in Coffee Grinder for a while. I then did some more shopping on the way back to the hostel, then headed up to the library to take advantage of the free internet.

I headed out for supper around 8.45pm. Stupid idea with it being a Monday. The pizza place I wanted to go to was already closed and I couldn’t find anywhere else reasonable and with something other than seafood, so I ended up with ice cream. I got chatting to one of the other guests who was a teacher over in California. Scary stuff: they’re taking geography off the state school curriculum, and they only learn American history.

Round the World 2007 USA

Martha’s Vineyard to Newport

There is a snoring guy in our dorm. I think he managed to wake everyone up. So I got out of bed earlier than planned and straightened my hair. I left the hostel around 7.30am, and caught the bus to Vineyard Haven, in plenty of time to get the 9.30am ferry back to Woods Hole.

I didn’t think I’d get out of Woods Hole until around midday, but one of the Peter Pan bus drivers got me onto his bus, and told me to get the bus to Providence, then get the RIPTA local bus to Newport. I reached the Providence terminal by 12.30pm, and had to wait until 1pm for a connection to Providence Kennedy Plaza. There was a direct bus to Newport at 1.45pm, but I decided to trust them.

I got to Kennedy Plaza and found my stop, but had to wait until 2pm (currently 1.20pm) for the next bus, and it takes about an hour to get to Newport. By the time I reached Newport, there was a Peter Pan bus there…

I then had to walk about 20 blocks to the guesthouse, and just caught Merrilee, the owner, as she was heading out. After checking in I went for a wander into town. It is the last day of the boat show, so it’s quite busy. I got a coffee and ice cream in an Italian cafe, walked around a bit more, then got a hot chocolate and muffin at Coffee Grinder on Bannister Wharf.

I headed back to the guesthouse and met the other guests, and also met Paul who is looking after the place for a week while Merrilee goes away, and was also in the hostel on Martha’s Vineyard.

Round the World 2007 USA

Rain

Lots and lots of rain this morning. There goes my day at the beach. Instead I had breakfast, then somehow ended up on the internet until 2pm, and still in my pyjamas.

I had a quick lunch, then cycled over to West Tisbury and caught the bus to Vineyard Haven. I returned the bike, bought a book, then sat in a cafe reading for a while, before getting the bus back to West Tisbury.

Showered. Packed. Read. Internet.