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Dave and Jan's travels:

This is just an archive of previous front pages.If you've not looked at this site for a while (and who can blame you) then this will give you some idea as to what might have changed.

Newest update: 28th March (day 312)
After Costa Rica, we crossed into Western Panama where we visited another cloud forest and had an entertaining time with the car and a local mechanic. Then it was onto Panama City, for the canal, carnival and a failed attempt to sell the car. After that we had a well-earned rest in the beautiful San Blas Islands (a good one for all those who complain there aren't enough photos of us).

After not selling the car, we have to take it back to Texas. We started the return journey at speed: six countries in seven days (it might sound tedious, but bent cops, missing bridges and other hazards make this a different kind of road trip). Then, a little more tourism on Mexico's gulf coast before crossing the border to Texas. This message comes from an Austin motel, where we're waiting for someone (anyone) to buy the car.

Picture of the week. A little ford along the Honduran highway. The main road to the capital of the country, and it's rather substantially incomplete.

Newest update: 5th March (day 291)
Four weeks and two new countries since the last update! I hope our loyal fans haven't been suffering too many withdrawl symptoms: it all comes down to the availability of telecommunications.

Obviously it's even longer than that: but the next update will explain what's happened since 5th March. The summary is that we could not sell the car in Panama, so we are now involved in a mad dash north toward Texas where we will hopefully have more luck. This is nowhere near as boring as it might sound, and we will be updating shortly with a number of tales of bent cops and even benter roads.

We spent a few days in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa before moving on to a cloud forest at La Tigra. Whilst in Tegucigalpa, we spent a day doing jobs: not that interesting, but if anyone wants to know what we do when we're not photographing things, then this may offer some insight.

Then we slipped over the border to Nicaragua, where we started off with the motor-mouth people of Léon before moving on to Managua and Granada. Nicaragua is just about the friendliest place we've been yet, a charming and relaxing ambience and people who love to talk.

The last country in this update is Costa Rica. We started with a visit to the giant turtles at Playa Grande, and then moved on to the beautiful cloud forest nature reserve of Monteverde. From there, we wandered through eastern Costa Rica, including bird watching at 8,000 feet, Costa Rica's capital - San Jose - and an idyllic tropical beach at Manuel Antonio.

Picture of the week. Holey road, Nicaragua. This should give you some idea of just how bad an idea driving through Central America at night would be. The rainy season finished months ago, but so far they've only filled in the really big holes.

Newest update: 6th February (day 263)
We finished up in Mexico by visiting Villahermosa, our entrant for the "Mexico's crummiest city competition".

Then we turned south. It took three days to get the whole way across Mexico and Guatemala and two more days to zip through El Salvador and on into Honduras. This involved crappy roads and bureaucratic nightmare border crossings. The second border crossing (including the second bribed policeman of the trip) is instructive.

Our first posting from Honduras covers the small but nice colonial town of Santa Rosa de Copan and the last of the Mayan sites at Copan. After that, we headed for the north coast and some tropical relaxation at Tela.

Picture of the week. Two this week. Mangrove roots in the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Punta Izopo, Northern Honduras, and a beautiful sculpture from Copan

Newest update: 25th January (day 251)
So what have you done since last time? We've taken in a whole new country in the shape of Cuba. As well as lots of gratuitous anti-US sentiment in that article, we've also got our comparison. Cuba vs. Mexico? Communism vs. capitalism? Who's the winner? Click here to read our findings in four areas of critical importance.

Also we have a last word on the delights of the Yucatan, and yet more ruins at and around Palenque.

Picture of the week. Door lintel, Yaxchilan. Stunning carvings abound on the underside of door lintels throughout this beautiful Mayan site, deep in the jungle on the Mexican-Guatemalan border.

Newest update: 14th January (day 240)
Busy bees in the last nine days. We finished our time in Guatemala with a visit to the spectacular Maya ruins in the heart of the jungle at Tikal. Then we swept through Belize in three quick days, but not without enjoying some fun fauna and some bracing weather. Then we returned to Mexico for a short beach break at Tulum, and finally a whole raft of Mayan ruins in the Mexican state of Yucatan. Next stop four days in Cuba! All this circling is making the maps page look increasingly like the work of a rather drunk spider.

There's also a little bit of geekie stuff about Mayan science. This only scratches the surface, if anyone knows more then let us know.

Picture of the week. The face of Chac, the Mayan rain god. I've seen this face literally hundreds of times, often on the same temple. Still, when a civilisation of 8 million or so people decides to live on a riverless limestone plateau, you might expect rain to assume a lot of importance.

Newest update: 5th January (day 231)
We finally waved a fond farewell to Antigua Guatemala, after passing Christmas there. Then we moved onto the highlands of Guatemala for a while, most notably the colourful market at Chichicastenango. Then it was on to Lago Atitlan to chill out and await the new year. Finally, we headed east for the ruins of Quiriguá and the Rio Dulce.

Picture of the week. The market at Chichicastenango. A vivid sprawl of people sporting their traditional dress, not to mention just about anything that anyone might conceivably want to buy.

Newest update: 22nd December (day 217)
We've been in one place for the last twenty days: the longest stop for seven months. We're learning Spanish in Antigua Guatemala, where the living is easy and not even my first homework for seventeen years can make me feel fed up.

Also, whilst in Antigua, we've found time - mostly at the weekends - for some trips out of town. This article also has most (if not all) of this update's best one-liners.

Picture of the week. Exploding volcano. Not one of the great pictures, but the sight of red hot rock spurting out of the ground makes this one unmissable.

Newest update: 2nd December (day 197)
So, now over six months on the road, and still no major illnesses, accidents or other unpleasantness, and we're into our third country.

First, Mexico's third city: Puebla. From there, we went east to Oaxaca, a name which is pronounced "WaaHAAcaa" (and don't bother asking for directions if you don't know that). From there, we went past various attractions including a seriously overweight tree onto Tuxtla Gutierrez. Next stop San Cristobal de Las Casas, for a little Mayan culture.

Finally, the big border crossing into Guatemala, and our first night there in Huehuetenango.

Two pictures of the week. First, Fun prehispanic pottery. The most notable thing that disappeared from local art when the Conquistadors arrived was the sense of humour. Second, Pomegranate. Yum yum.

Public Health Warning from Jan: 'The camera can lie'. David has become very good at 'doctoring' photos. Mainly this means improving them no end. But I am afraid where this will end...

Newest update: 22nd November (day 187)
9 days since the last update. We spent a few days in big, bad, scary Mexico City. Then, after a brief interlude* we headed for the ruins of Teotihuacan and a couple of other archaeological sites.

*More about that brief interlude. As our regular readers will know, we've been selflessly blazing a trail through the U.S. and Mexico for some time, just to bring you these pages. Well, this has been such hard work that we felt that we deserved a holiday from the holiday. So there.

Pictures of the week: Voladores rite

Newest update: 2nd November (day 167)
Three weeks since the last update, and a bumper crop of new stuff as a result. This is our first posting from Mexico: hopefully by now we've mastered the technology and the next one won't be so delayed.

After we crossed the Mexican border, our first two nights were spent in the town of Hermosillo, where we recorded those all important first impressions of this country. Since then we've moved on through the US retirement home of Alamos, to the splendid Copper Canyon, then a whistle stop tour through various towns and adventures from Los Mochis to Zacatecas. There's also a few reflections on driving in Mexico.

Entries have been pouring in for our second competition, so check that out. The closing date isn't until approximately when we say so, so there may still be time.

Finally, two for all the geeks out there.

First, ever wondered how useful those image manipulation programs like Paint Shop Pro are? Take a look at Alamos Church, which is linked to the picture before I reprocessed it. Pretty scary stuff.

Finally, check out the new maps page,complete with graphical index.

Newest update: 11th October (day 145)
Since last time, we've been on a whistle stop tour, passing through several sites in quick succession. Fortunately, all that activity has been followed by a most pleasant holday from the holiday, courtesy of our splendid Los Angelenan hosts, Sarah, Rod, Rebecca and James. Living in such civilised circumstances makes a most pleasant change.

In summary: a quick visit to (yet) another slot canyon, this one called Wire Pass. Then we moved on to the heat of Mojave Desert and then Death Valley. The article about these deserts is not only amusing (I think), but also contains our latest competition. Don't miss it.Thoroughly cooked, we exited stage west for the High Sierra of Lone Pine, Yosemite and King's Canyon. This all ended with a little meditation amid the trees of Giant Sequoia National Park

Photo of the week: rock textures from Wire Pass. Let's hope this goes a little way towards explaining our slot canyon fetish.

Newest update: 23rd September (day 127)
Three more national parks since our last update. First, Bryce Canyon, all picture postcard rock formations. Then, Zion, monumental cliff faces, plunging canyons and glorious scenery. Finally, the Grand Canyon. All splendid in different ways, my favourite was Zion.

Now, the last time I posted something intended to annoy*, I got just one response, and that was agreement. This just isn't good enough: either no-one's looking at this or it's too hard to find the good bits. Hence the new-look front page.

*this was the middle-sized town America bit: perhaps you do all agree....

Newest update: 12th September (day 116)
Only seven days since the last posting, but we've been stunned by the scenery more times than you'd imagine. The rock formations of southern Utah are unique, and we've also discovered the beauty and fun of slot canyons (please excuse the profusion of photos of the latter, but we are rather smitten).

The full story: first we went to Dead Horse Point for a sunset, and were so taken that we drove under it the next day. That took us to Canyonlands National Park, where a nail-biting dirt road led us to our first slot canyon. After that, it was on to Capitol Reef National Park, another slot and a host of beautiful vistas. And finally to Escalante, the USA's newest National Monument, for yet more slot canyons, and other bewitching rock formations.

Last but certainly not least in this episode, a couple more entrants in Pedants corner (thanks to Neil Evans for nitpicking and classical references, and to Mark Leonard for comprehensive research on a small but vital grammatical issue).

Newest update: 5th September (day 109)
Lots of activity since the last update. First a day at Dinosaur National Monument, scene of a thousand big bones, then a lengthy sojourn in Rocky Mountain National Park (six days under canvas left us a little smelly). Finally, a couple of days enjoying the rocks of Arches National Park.

Also new in this episode is a new rant on the subject of middle-sized town US. Nothing very offensive has appeared on this site recently, hopefully this will go some way to rectifying that

Newest update: 24th August (day 97)
Since the last update, we've "done" Wyoming and Montana. For those who've had just about enough of adventures in National Parks, take a look at our tour of small-town Montana, which involved a lot of local colour and no hiking at all. For those that are enjoying the parks, there's Yellowstone and Grand Teton. And there's a new section dedicated to wildflowers.

Our more eagle eyed readers may spot that that activity doesn't quite fill the elapsed time since our last posting. The reason for this is quite simple... you may remember that we had taken the car in for a quick oil change a week earlier in Boise. The full story is rather tedious, but suffice it to say that should someone called Sheldon ever volunteer to change your car oil, just say no. If he insists, remind him that any plugs he plans to remove should be screwed back in carefully, particularly if they are designed to keep oil in the vicinity of the rear differential. The rest is history, but at this time we would like to commend Dave and Mike of Flat Creek Auto, Jackson, without whose expert assistance we would be rather more days later than we already are.

Newest update: 10th August
First in this update, one last  picture from Alaska of a brown bear. This follows a brief encounter between our 'normal' camera and some scanning technology, so should be of interest to nature fans and to geeks.

It took 6 days to get from Redwood NP, across Oregon and Idaho, to Grand Teton NP. In between, we had a few days' R+R in Boise, whitewater rafting nearby, a visit to the "Craters of the Moon National Monument", and a lot of beautiful scenery, notably the Sawtooth Mountains. Click here for the full story of our own private Idaho, not to mention movie reviews.

Newest update: 4th August
Eleven action packed days later, there's a profusion of new stuff this time. We've been to Mount St. Helens, and on through the Oregon Coast. Then a pleasant sojourn in Crater Lake National Park, courtesy of Christylee and Nicole, followed by a brief stop at the Oregon Caves National Monument and finally back to backpacking in Redwood National Park, an awe-inspiring location. Makes me feel tired just listing it.

Newest update: 23rd July
Well, ten days since the last update, and the first phone socket for six nights (spent the last five in the tent).  Since we last wrote we got the car mended in Seattle (broken petrol gauge) and visited the Olympic National Park. This involved flying visits to Hurricane Ridge and Lake Ozette, and then our biggest wilderness adventure yet, a five day/four night hike up the "Hoh River trail".

Newest update: 13th July
Wow! Ten days since the last update, and a lot of stuff to report. The main action has been visits to North Cascades National Park and to Mount Rainier National Park. In between times, we had a small adventure in somewhere called the Coloclaun Pass. That includes some wildflower photos: and there are some more flowers on a belated Alaskan poppy page.

As well as all that, I've added some more information to the car page, in response to various questions from our readership. This includes a small discussion with one Mark Leonard about the role of the car in popular American culture.

There's also new stuff on the Readers' comments page, including questions about who writes what, the technology in use, and finally our first readers' trip joke!

Finally, we declared the competition closed. After much deliberation, we've decided to award first prize to Amanda Brainyperson for getting the answer correct, even though Paul Smoothtalker was more sycophantic. So Amanda, please collect your $100 prize whenever you next see us in person (offer expires on December 31st).

Newest update: 3rd July
Since the last update, we went from Homer to Anchorage, and hung around in Anchorage for a few days. Then we bid a sad farewell to Billie, and flew back to Seattle to begin our tour of the other 48 states.

Step one in that tour has been the purchase of a splendid vehicle for the journey.

We had a few more general reflections on our six weeks in Alaska. You can get at these from the odds and ends section.

We also added a couple of new photos to the old Fairbanks to Valdez page, one of the trans-Alaska pipeline and one of the Worthington Glacier.

Finally, don't forget that one way to see the summary of the Alaskan trip is to look at newly working clickable map.

Newest update: 25th June
A lot of travelling since the last update. In summary, Denali-Fairbanks, Fairbanks-Valdez, and Valdez-Whittier-Seward-Homer. Then we finally sat still in Homer for a while.

Health warning: a lot of that isn't that exciting. We had a whale of a time with the scenery, and the animals, and the local colour (i.e. bars) but you may not.

We also finally got the clickable map working, it's a doddle this html stuff.

Newest update: 16th June
On the 11th and 12th, we travelled from Juneau to Denali National Park. Then we stayed in the park from the 13th-16th. Sorry about the lack of updates, but the park has a lot more bears than telephone sockets...

Also, by popular demand!! The readers' comments page! (well, when I say popular demand, I'm really talking about a few terminal geeks who find this interesting. Anyway, there it is).

Competition update: see the readers' comments page.

Our more eagle-eyed readers may have spotted a dearth of information about the events of the 9th and 10th of June. Well, Well, the 9th was spent touring Juneau city, fairly unremarkably: the museums there are especially unremarkable. The 10th was yet another hike: hugely enjoyable for us, but do you really need a description of a Porcupine up at tree? I think not.

Newest update: 8th June.
We're in Juneau. There are a couple of new pages. One talks about the hikes we've been doing around here. The other describes Glacier Bay, for which words are hardly adequate, but is in any case a highlight so far.

Our competition is generating keen interest: three entries already. One is clearly correct (hi Amanda) but needless to say that isn't necessarily enough to be a winner. Entries will be accepted "for a while".

A popular addition from the last update was Alaskan boat people. Alternatively, refer to either history of previous updates, or the day by day and odds and ends buttons at the top of this page to get at previous articles.

Newest update: 3rd June.
Major update: five new pages and lots of pictures to boot.

This update comes from Skagway, gateway to the Goldrush of 1898. There are two pages about our adventures in Skagway: hiking and cycling first, and then a trip on the White Horse and Yukon Railway.
There are also two new general pieces about Alaskan boat people and the difference between travellers and tourists.

Another addition is a history of previous updates, useful if you haven't looked here for a while and want to know what's changed.

Finally, question time. Are there any amateur meteorologists out there who might want to hazard a guess as to what this is?

1st June STOP PRESS!!! We just got to Skagway - now, finally, north of the top bit of Scotland - and it hasn't rained for 48 hours! Those of you who have been following these pages carefully will know that this represents something of a breakthrough, and won't be surprised to hear that we've been taking full advantage to hike around like mad. None of this leaves time for boring stuff like updating web sites, so you'll have to wait a few days to hear the full story of the assault on the AB mountain. 

In the meantime, there's a couple of new photos on the Ketchikan page, and a new page about Sitka.

28th May today, and we're in Sitka. It's still bleedin' raining, something that it has done pretty much non-stop for a week (we did get one day off).

We also added a picture of a totem pole to the Ketchikan page.

May 26th, and we're in Ketchikan. Raing everywhere...

Juat arrived in Ketchikan following the ferry ride from Bellingham. The main feature of this, our first Alaskan stop, was water. They got around 190 inches of rain last year, and most of this year's ration has fallen in the last 24 hours. It isn't actually raining at this precise moment, but it clearly hasn't finished for today yet.