Tuesday 27th March - Off at last!

After planning this trip for nearly six months, we left Malibu, California this morning at 6.15am. The early start due to a long drive of over 550 miles to Sedona, Arizona and also an attempt to miss the Los Angeles morning rush hour.

After yesterday's cloudy and drizzly day, it was a relief to set off with clear skies and a beautiful sunrise over the Santa Monica mountains. We decided to avoid the centre of Los Angeles by driving north to the 101 freeway and then south to the junction with the 405 freeway and then to drive north-west to join the Interstate Highway I15 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

After two hours we stopped at Victorville, a town on the edge of the Mojave Desert for a typical American breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns. Great breakfast but not very good for the waistline!

Enjoying breakfast 'American Style'

Wendy then took over the driving for the two hundred miles across the desert to Needles, a town on the Colorado river near the Arizona state line. Glorious desert scenery with cacti, rugged mountains and wonderful wide open country. The Interstate Highway makes the driving very easy and even though there were plenty of 'big rigs', overtaking was never a problem.

Needles is situated on the Colorado River and we think must be named after the mountains nearby that look like giant needles. We then decided to take a 20 mile detour to visit Lake Havasu City, famous because an American industrialist decided to buy London Bridge and rebuild it on the edge of Lake Havasu. It's certainly very strange to see an icon of London in the middle of the Arizona desert!.

London Bridge 6,000 miles from 'home'

Myself, Bob and Thelma with London Bridge behind us.

A last shot of the bridge with the cars in the foreground and a London Double Decker bus adding to the surreal nature of the place!

Three more hours of heading east brought us to the outskirts of Flagstaff. The town is located some 80 miles south of the Grand Canyon and is famous for its astronomical observatories. These are located high in the mountains which have very clear air and make for very good observing. We then turned off I40 for the 30 mile drive south to Sedona. A very beautiful drive down Oak Creek Canyon with towering cliffs of vivid red rocks on either side of the road.

The stunning red rocks near Sedona.

Sedona is a very popular tourist location and all the way into the town on either side of the road there were hotels and campsites.

We have two nights here in Sedona so tomorrow we can explore some of this beautiful scenery before we head up into the Rockies.

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