Report US trip 7/24/1989 to 1/2/1990

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Vail, 4-Jan-1990

We left Switzerland in the early hours of the 24th of July 1989. We drove our camper (called "JOKER") to Emden, West Germany, where we left the car for the shipment to Albany, NY. The next day, we traveled with a rented car to Luxemburg. On 7/26/1989, we took the plane to Reykjavik, Iceland. The day after, we flew to Greenland, the largest island in the world, where we spent five cold, icy, interesting and wonderful days. We visited Narsaq, the second largest town in Greenland, a small Eskimo village and an inland glacier. On 7/31/1989, we returned to Iceland, where we picked up a rented car the next day. It was a Mitsubishi Pajero, a four- wheel-drive car, perfectly suited for off-road driving. This was a must, because we planned to spend the next 14 days in the highland of Iceland. There are only dirt roads, small, winding and bumpy. The highlight of our stay on Iceland was our trip to the volcano "Askja". The road to this volcano lead through a large lavafield, there were no visible traces to follow. All we could see were poles, it was up to us to find the best way from one pole to the next. It was a real adventure, shaky, rough, tough but fun ! Also not to forget the famous river crossings, sometimes the water was up to 3 feet deep !

vessel at the pier
Volkswagen vessel at the harbor of Emden
DC-8 with stairway on the tarmac
DC-8 of Icelandair at the airport in Luxemburg
Boeing 727 landing on a short runway with a fjord and icebergs in the background
Spectacular landing in Narsarsuaq
aerial view of mountains, glaciers and a frozen fjord
Greenland from above
floating icebergs
Icebergs in Greenland
iceberg with opening
A very beautiful iceberg in Eriksfjord
an endless lava field
The F98 leads across a lava field
our car in the middle of a river
Crossing a river with our rented Mitsubishi Pajero
crater rim with lake and patches of snow
Crater lake in Iceland

On 8/15/1989 we made the final jump over "the pond" and landed safely at JFK airport in New York. To our surprise we had no trouble at all to cross the border, even if we had no ticket for the flight back home. We spent 7 wonderful days in New York City, including a 15 minutes helicopter flight over the Hudson river, a 2 hours boat tour around the island of Manhattan, a visit of the platform on top of the world trade center and an attendance at a performance of the musical "cats" at the world famous Broadway.

statue of liberty seen from a helicopter
Statue of liberty
aerial view of Manhattan
New York City
Central Park with small lake in the foreground, trees and tall buildings in the back
Central Park
neonlights and passing cars on Broadway by night
Broadway by night
New York City by night seen from the top of the Empire State Builing
New York City by night
Chinese signs and lots of cars in China Town
China town in New York
the Twin Towers from below (the black frame shall express our solicitousness with the victims of 9/11)
World Trade Center
Empire State Building between tall buildings
Empire State Building

On 8/22/1989, we picked up our JOKER at Albany, NY. Even if a few things had disappeared from our camper, we felt home immediately. We spent a couple of days at Lake George, NY to arrange ourselves in our new home and to solve some daily problems like shopping, washing clothes and so on. Four days later happened one of the very special moments on our tour so far: we met Cheryl Grime, a DEC employee with whom Reto had contact over the worldwide computer network of Digital Equipment for years. We had talked to each other like friends, but we have never seen each other before. We spent a wonderful weekend in the area of Saratoga, NY. And we were so happy, that the feeling of friendship even grow after we met in person. As you might know, sometimes it's no longer the same, if you meet a pen-friend, but fortunately, i did not happen to us.

view from a mountain on the surrounding hills all covered with forest and Lake Placid
Forests as far as you can see ... (Lake Placid)
our VW van between trees, Susanne is preparing dinner
Campground in New England

We spent a month in the area of New England, including a side-trip to Montreal and Quebec, Canada. Before we visited Cheryl at her home in Merrimack, NH, we stayed at the "Acadia national park", where we had the chance to observe beavers in there own living space. We spent a few days at Cheryl's apartment. For the first time on our trip, we lived outside of our camper. We enjoyed Cheryl's friendliness and the space in her apartment until we left her on 9/24/1989. The following weekend, we had the pleasure to visit a local fair in Bolton, MA, with another friend from Reto's time at DEC. Ray Pfau showed us all the vegetables, people grew and exhibited at the fair. We also saw different kinds of animals and some funny competitions. Reto also had the opportunity to meet some other friends at DEC, which he enjoyed very much.

Skyline of Montreal
Downtown Montreal
Olympic park with the housings for the athlets in the back
Olympic stadium
castle-like hotel building
Grand Hotel in Quebec
bay at the Atlantic coast with grinded rocks and big waves
Huge waves at the Atlantic coast in Acadia NP
small lake in the foreground, old brick building in the back
"The Mill" - head quarter of DEC, Reto's former employer
Reto, Susanne, Cheryl and Bill in a backyard
Reto, Susanne, Cheryl and Bill

On 9/27/1989, we left our friends at the east coast and started our long trip to Los Angeles, CA. Our first stop was at the Niagara falls, where we saw the huge waterfall from both, the US and the Canadian banks of the river. During the next 3 days, we crossed almost half of the country from the state New York to South Dakota. In the "badlands national park", we had the luck to see many animals, like pronghorns, mule deer, prairie dogs and bison. In the "wind cave national park", a ranger led us through a large cave, where she showed us a very special kind of rock formation, called "boxwork". On 10/5/1989 we turned south to Colorado. After a night in Denver, we spent four extraordinarily wonderful days in the "Rocky Mountain national park". The first day, we drove with our camper over the more then 10'000 feet high "fall river pass". The next 3 days, we hiked to the "Andrews Glacier", to the "flat top mountain" and the highest mountain in the park, the "Longs Peak", elevation 14255 feet ! Up to now, the "Rocky Mountain national park" is our most favorite national park in the whole USA.

view of the Niagara falls
Niagara falls
sand rock formations in beautiful red and brown colors and spectacular shapes
Sand rock formations at Badlands NP
2 male pronghorns
small glacier with a little lake
Andrews Glacier at Rocky Mountains NP
Longs Peak seen from a distance
Longs Peak, highest peak in the Rocky Mountains NP
Susanne and Reto on top of Longs Peak with many mountains in the back
Susanne and Reto on the top of Longs Peak (4345 m.a.s.)

During the following weeks, we visited most of the national parks (NP) and national monuments (NM) in the states Colorado, Utah and Arizona. In most of the parks, we drove the park road on the first day and hiked one or more of the trails on the second day. In this order, we saw "Arches NP", "Canyonlands NP", "Mesa Verde NP", "Monument Valley NM", "Capitol Reef NP", "Bryce Canyon NP", "Zion NP" and "Grand Canyon NP". Please don't ask us, which one was the most beautiful. Each park or monument is somehow unique, we liked all of them. But there is always a "but". "Grand Canyon NP" is definitively another of our most favorite parks. We spent one day at the north rim, which unfortunately was already closed for the season. On the second day at the south rim, we hiked down to the Colorado river and back to the rim on the same day. The hike was not as hard as we expected, but impressive and wonderful anyway. We like to do it again this year. Another remarkable day on our trip is the 10th of October 1989: This is the day when we met Debbie and Rolf Steeve from Escondido, CA. While we cleaned our dishes in the laundry, Debbie started talking to Susanne and from this moment on, a friendship began to grow, which led us to unforgettable days in the US. We met this couple, their children and parents again in the "Monument Valley", where they invited us to stay with them whenever we should come in the area of San Diego, CA.

redish rock formations, shaped by wind and water
Rock formations at Arches NP
Alleinstehender, sehr zerbrechlich aussehender Gesteinsbogen
Delicate Arch at Arches NP
long and fragile arch
Landscape Arch at Arches NP
red and white layers of rock with a blue sky and small white clouds above
Rock formations at Canyonlands NP
red and white layers of rock with some small shrubs
Rock formations at Canyonlands NP
well preserved solid houses of long gone native American tribes in a natural cave
Ruins at Mesa Verde NP
well preserved solid houses of long gone native American tribes in a natural cave
Ruins at Mesa Verde NP
redish table mountains and cristal clear blue sky
Monument Valley NM
single table mountain at sunrise
Sunrise at Monument Valley NM
a valley full of rock needles
Bryce Canyon NP
rock needles called "Hoodoos"
Bryce Canyon NP
rock needles in white, orange and brown
Bryce Canyon NP
Susanne in the very cold water of the "Narrows", a river in a narrow, steep valley
"The narrows" at Zion NP
Reto in the very cold water of the "Narrows"
Reto in the "narrows"
view from Observation Point into Zion Canyon
Zion Canyon at Zion NP
Rugged side valley
Side valley at Grand Canyon NP !!!
main valley with layers of rock and Colorado River
Colorado River at Grand Canyon NP
a hiking trail zick-zacks from the plateau down to the river
Hiking trail at Grand Canyon NP
shade in the foreground and a valley in the morning sun in the back
Sunrise at Grand Canyon NP

We continued our way to L.A., the next stop was in Las Vegas, NV, where we increased our cash by $8 in the casinos. On 11/2/1989 we entered the "Death Valley" in California.

on the highway just before Las Vegas
Approaching Las Vegas
neon lights in Las Vegas
Casinos in Las Vegas
neon sign of Circus-Circus
Circus Circus - casino, hotel and campground
brown-grey hills, white salt lake in between
View from Dantes View into Death Valley NM
hillside with patches in all kinds of colors
Colorful hillside at Death Valley NM
sand dunes, a few plants and various traces
Sand dunes in Death Valley NM

Finally, on 11/5/1989 we arrived in Los Angeles, just in time to meet our friend Hermann Mueller, another DEC employee. He lives nearby Munich, West Germany and came to L.A. to attend the US DECUS symposium. While he joined the different seminars, we cleaned up our car and clothes, got our first hair cut in the United States and enjoyed the "Disneyland". At the end of the week, on 11/11/1989, we left L.A. together with Hermann and another friend from DEC Munich and followed US #1 up to San Francisco. While the two Germans had to go back to L.A., we spent four wonderful days in San Francisco, where we especially enjoyed to ride on the cable cars.

lots of houses and some tall buildings
Skyline of San Francisco
center of San Francisco
Downtown San Francisco
cable car in San Francisco
Cable car
Susanne in front of the Golden Gate bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Pier 39 with various shops
Fisherman's Wharf
head of a sealion with dry hair on his head
Sealion at Fisherman's Wharf

In the next few days, we visited the "Miur Wood NM", the "Yosemite NP", the "Kings Canyon NP" and the "Sequioa NP". Even if some places and roads were already closed for the winter, we saw many of the most beautiful spots of these parks. We faced the up to 2000 years old sequoia-trees with respect, we found it unbelievable, that a living being can get that old. And we decided, that we would like to come back for more in spring 1990. On our way back to L.A., we had the luck to see a black bear on the road through "Sequoia NP". But we even didn't have the time to take a picture, the bear too quickly disappeared on the other side of the street.

dense forest in the valley surrounded by bright mountains
Yosemite Valley at Yosemite NP
alpine forest surrounded by mountains
Tjoga Pass at Yosemite NP
a tall Sequioa tree
4 huge Sequioa trees

We spent the weekend after thanksgiving in Palm Springs and in the "Joshua Tree NM".

Our VW van on a dirt road between shrubs and Joshua Trees
Our "Jogi" at Joshua Tree NM
Paved park road between huge Joshua Trees
Park road at Joshua Tree NM
Susanne and Reto sitting at a small table behind the VW van
Susanne and Reto having lunch at Joshua Tree NM

On Sunday afternoon, we arrived at Rolf and Debbie Steeve's house, where we spent the time before we left the mainland for our side-trip to Hawaii. On 11/28/1989 we boarded the aircraft to the 50th state of the US. We spent four days on "Oahu" and three days on "the Big Island". It was a brand new experience for us to swim in the ocean at the beginning of the month December ! We enjoyed the warm water of the pacific, we snorkeled and attended a native dance performance. On the Big Island, we visited the "Hawaii Volcano NP" where we had the chance to see some hot active lavaflow. We saw the earth bleeding, a very unique experience !

Lockheed Tri Star of Delta Airlines
Our plane at San Diego airport
Pacific coast near San Diego with Sea World and Mission Bay in the foreground
Sea World and Mission Bay
Pacific coast between San Diego and Los Angeles with smog over L.A.
Pacific coast with smog over Los Angeles
One of the islands of Hawaii seen from the plane
Approaching Hawaii
Sand beach with palm trees
Hanauma Bay
Busy sand beach with hotels in the back
Beach at Waikiki
Palm tree with bananas
Pineapple plant
Sunset between two tall hotel buildings
Sunset at Waikiki
Airplane of Hawaiian Airlines on the airport of Kona
After the landing in Kona
A luxury hotel with outdoor pool and palm trees
Hilton Kona Hotel
The sun sets behind the pacific between palm trees
Sunset on "Big Island"
Black rocks, blue Pacific and white steam
Hot lava drops into the Pacific at Hawaii Volcanoes NP
Lava blocks the park road, visitors stroll over the hot lava
A lava stream crossed the park road at Hawaii Volcanoes NP
Hot lava with a metallic look
Hot, flowing lava at Hawaii Volcanoes NP
Rote Blüte
A gorgeous flower at the botanical garden
Dichte Büsche und farbige Blüten
Colorful plants at the botanical garden
Rot-weisse Blüte
A gorgeous flower at the botanical garden

Back in California, we had a very special time with Rolf, Debbie and their children. Rolf and Debbie took us to the world famous zoo of San Diego and to the "wild animal park" in Escondido. We also had the pleasure to attend a Christmas parade in their hometown. On Monday 12/11/1989, when Rolf had to go back to his office, we went to "Sea World", where we spent another unforgettable day. We felt in love with "Baby Shamu", the one year old baby killer-wale. But also the other animals and shows where so impressive and lovely, that we want to go back to this very special place next spring. The next day, we had to say good-bye to Rolf, Debbie, Kristen and Dustin Steeve, but not without promising, that we will come back in spring 1990. For the 3rd time, we found our way to L.A., where we visited the famous "universal studios".

Rolf is busy in the kitchen
Rolf Steeve
Debbie Steeve with her cat
Debbie Steeve
Rolf - Dustin - Debbie - Kristen - Susanne - Reto
"Family picture" with Steeves
House with Christmas decoration
Christmas decoration
House with Christmas decoration
Christmas decoration
House with Christmas decoration
Christmas decoration
Trainer with Orca
Baby Shamu
2 Orcas
Shamu and Baby Shamu
Orca throws his trainer high into the air

After this, we had a strong desire to see some snow. We drove northward to "Lake Taho", where we had a look at California's ski resorts. But they did not completely meet our expectations, therefore we continued our trip to Utah. Several times, people told us, that we will find the best snow on earth in Utah. We finally ended up in Salt Lake City, UT, where we found a nice campground. We spent the days from 12/22/1989 until 12/25/1989 in "Alta" and "Snowbird", two wonderful ski areas, half an hour drive away from Salt Lake City. There was not too much snow, but still enough for skiing. And the sun was shining all day long. In the evening of 12/25/1989, we parked our camper on a parking lot high above the village of "Alta" and watched the lights of hundreds of torches, carried by skiers from the top of the mountain down to the village. And - of course - it was the time to unwrap the gift from our friends from Escondido !

Evening over Alta
Evening over Alta
Torches carried by skiers in Alta
Torches carried by skiers

On 12/26/1989, we drove to the "Dinosaur NM", where we saw the bones of dozens of dinosaurs.

River in winter at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Winter at Dinosaur NM
Dinosaur at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Petrified bones at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Bones of dinosaurs
Skeleton of a dinosaur at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Skeleton of a dinosaur
Skull of a dinosaur at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Skull of a dinosaur
Skull of a dinosaur at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Skull of a dinosaur
Petrified bones at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Bones of dinosaurs
Petrified bone at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Bone of a dinosaur
Details of a petrified bone at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Bone of a dinosaur
Susanne next to a dinosaur's bone of a leg at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Susanne next to a dinosaur's bone of a leg
Leg bones of a dinosaur at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Leg bones of a dinosaur

We spent the day before New Years Eve, New Years Eve and the first day of 1990 around Aspen, CO. Unfortunately, this area is extremely expensive, a one-day ticket for the ski area costs $36. Therefore, we went skiing only on 12/31/1989 and 1/1/1990. On 1/2/1990, we finally drove to Vail, where we have rented a condominium for seven days. How we liked Vail and what we did after skiing, we will tell you in our next report ...

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Production note: Images have been taken as slides using a Minolta 7000AF camera with various Kodak films. Images have been digitized using a Canon Scanner and have been processed using Microsoft Image Composer.

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