1993 to 1998

Before we ever moved to the USA we had made many visits to this incredible country.  We had been to the west coast, had seen Disneyland and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and many other places.  These photos are taken from some of these trips.  We had also spent a lot of time in Russia and have some memories and photographs from those times.

During our first full summer in the United States we were enticed to travel to New Mexico.  We have always loved wide open skies and mountains, and the extensive walking available in the area was a major factor in our choice of location.

Although we camped in and around the area north of Santa Fe, we did get as far as Taos – which we liked a lot as well, and we particularly liked the absence of high rise buildings in Santa Fe.  For the later part of the trip we traveled south to the desert around Socorro, where we visited the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope.  This massive facility comprises 27 independently moveable and steerable radio dishes, which when used in different configurations can form the equivalent of a telescope with a very large aperture.  The visitor’s center at the VLA was very well appointed and the self guided tour very effective.

11,000 feet up in NM.jpg (105491 bytes) One day in summer 1998 we climbed from our camp in Santa Fe up to an isolated lake at an altitude of 11,000 feet.  This whole area is devoted to winter skiing, and to reach the lake we had to first find the winding engine for the chair lift for the skiing and then take the trail up the mountain.
SANTA FE SHOWER.JPG (99678 bytes) One of the difficulties of camping is that most of the sites we chose had no showers in their "facilities".  Liz and I developed a useful technique for showering.  About every other day we would boil up a few pans of water on the primus stove and then, standing on the picnic benches we would pour the water over ourselves (suitably diluted with cold water, I hasten to add).  This proved to be a most effective technique, and it is now affectionately known by us as a "Santa Fe Shower".
SOCORRO NM - 1998.JPG (72164 bytes) On the way back south from the mountains and the Santa Fe area hat summer we diverted our course and visited the Very Large Array, the radio telescope at Socorro, New Mexico.  This array of steer able and movable dishes can be encouraged to perform in a way equivalent to a radio telescope miles across, and although the resolution is not splendid when used under those conditions, the sensitivity is incredible.  Also incredible was the "self-guided" tour which they have there.  We found the whole place fascinating, well put together and the visitor facilities excellent.
VLA Socorro NM - 1998.jpg (52306 bytes) Each of these massive dishes is capable of being moved around on railway tracks, and you only have to stand alongside one of them to realise that one on its own is a significant piece of engineering.
VLA Socorro NM2 - 1998.jpg (43280 bytes) Stretched out across the desert, you really need to be able to levitate to be able to see the full extent of the array, but it is possible to see the line of dishes as they march across the countryside towards the horizon.
Flood Gauge - Xmas 1998.jpg (57483 bytes) This photo was taken at Christmas 1998 during our first visit to Terlingua Ranch and Big Bend.  The thought of a flash flood did pass through our minds as Lizzie posed for this photo, but she was luckily not swept away.
Paul at Chimneys - Big Bend, Xmas 1999.jpg (60000 bytes) During that same Christmas 1998 vacation, this time in Big Bend National Park.  This photo was taken on the way to the "Chimneys", one of the super walks across the desert.
Liz at Refugio Beach - Aug94.jpg (90086 bytes) A vacation in 1994 saw us on the west coast, where there was good swimming in warm waters, as this photo taken at Refugio Beach shows.  We spent a long time watching pelicans flying along the coast.
Liz at Universal Studios.jpg (75468 bytes) A visit to Universal Studios in LA was one highlight of that 1994 holiday with the children.  Frequent cooling drinks were needed as we experienced the many delights of this interesting place, with its many attractions and amusements.  A great place for a day out.
San Francisco - 1994.jpg (74398 bytes) In 1994 we also got to San Francisco.  The Golden Gate Bridge, like most other things we have visited and seen, is just a bridge when you actually get there.  There are places to stand and look at, and there are places to have your photo taken next to the sea.  
Lizzie at San Fran - Aug94.jpg (101419 bytes) It's a nice bridge - very photogenic, and San Francisco is an interesting place, but somehow even the Golden Gate Bridge is just a bridge when you drive over it.       
Lizzie in Yosemite - 1994.jpg (73226 bytes) That same 1994 vacation took us to Yosemite National Park, one of the nicest parks we have ever visited.  Yosemite offers the visitor crystal clear lakes, excellent walking, magnificent scenery and huge sequoia trees.
REFUGIO BEACH, CLIF - AUG94.JPG (87243 bytes) James and Abi entering the water at Refugio Beach, California on our way down the Pacific Coast Highway heading back to LA in summer 1994
San Francisco2 - 1994.jpg (59808 bytes) And one photo of me!  This one was also taken in San Francisco in 1994.
Paul and James - Aug94.jpg (72538 bytes) A rare shot of James and me, pretending to be Americans and copying each other in pose and expression.  Like father, like son?
Sunset over Sierra - Lone Pine.jpg (53715 bytes) I love this picture.  Taken at Lone Pine, Nevada (I think) as the sun set over the High Sierra and the thin band of cloud reflected its dying rays.  You can just see the inn sign in the lower right of the picture.  This was a "nice place", totally different from what we expected.
DRIVING URAL - 2.JPG (52039 bytes) Liz driving an "Ural" multi wheeled vehicle in southern Bashkortostan in summer 1995.
URAL DUST TRAIL.JPG (68715 bytes) This vehicle could (and did) climb almost vertical walls and carried us unscathed through virgin Russian jungle to our "Wild Jungle" vacation in southern Russia in 1995.
LIZ WITH FISH.JPG (100881 bytes) There was much fishing to be had.
SWIMMING IN BASHKERIA.JPG (69210 bytes) And some swimming in clean, clear water with fishes nibbling at your exposed parts.
US IN THE JUNGLE.JPG (69797 bytes) Altogether a very different place - a hundred miles from the nearest habitation, road or power line.

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