A Travellerspoint blog

Day 108 San Francisco, USA

Saturday 24th September 2005

sunny 22 °C

Another day with a fair amount of walking and first we went down to Union Square and then headed down to Market Street to watch the Love Parade funnily enough being paraded and stood here for several hours watching all the floats and other entertainment going on.It was all very entertaining,very colourful and also very load as each float was blasting out loud music although i wasnt complaining as it was all the type of music i like.
It was then a quick walk around the shops followed by a late lunch and after walking back to the hostel where Simon decided to relax for awhile Jill and I headed off out again and we were hoping to have a look around city hall but after getting there we realised this was where the Love Parade party was taking place and though we were both tempted to pay to get in we thought we had better go back to the hostel to see Simon otherwise we would of probably ended up partying and drinking without him all night,plus he had no idea where we would be and we did say we would only be an hour or so.

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City Hall

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

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The Love Parade

Posted by Reece Sanford 13:17 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Dsy 107 Monterey-San Francisco, USA

Friday 23rd September 2005

sunny 18 °C

Upon arriving in San Francisco my first thoughts were this seems like a very dirty and rough city.The homeless population is horrendous and apparently the worst in America.Although the hostel we are staying in is one of the best so far.The rooms are very spacious and each dorm even has its own bathroom which makes a change.
Once we had checked in we walked down to the waterfront where i got my first look at Alcatraz which we would be going to visit on sunday.Also down by the waterfront where the boats were harboured were a huge gathering of sea lions that seem to have made this there home.We stood there watching them for around 20 minutes as they are quite entertaining.Then after a walk along the shops by the waterfront we made our way to Lombard Street which is possibly the crookediest road you will ever see and how also very steep along with many of the roads in San Francisco.How they ever cope in the winter time with snow here is beyond me.Walking up these steep roads is hard enough but driving up them in the snow i really wouldnt want to do.
After making it back to the hostel and everyones legs feeling like we had run a marathon we then rewarded ourselves that night with a few beers.

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Sea Lions on San Francisco Pier

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San Francisco

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:56 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 106 Los Angeles-Monterey, USA

Thursday 22nd September 2005

sunny 20 °C

Spent the whole day driving although the scenery was fantastic and its a lovely route to take along the coast if you ever drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco.After 8 hours in the car we found a motel in Monterey which would give us a short drive the following day to San Francisco.

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Scenic Road from LA to San Francisco

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Scenic Road from LA to San Francisco

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:52 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 105 Los Angeles, USA

Wednesday 21st September 2005

sunny 28 °C

Jill and Simon went to Disneyland so i spend all day getting my diary up to date.

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:50 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 104 Los Angeles, USA

Tuesday 20th September 2005

sunny 29 °C

Well today was the most bizarre on the trip so far.
It all started off fairly quietly as we drove over to Melrose Avenue first where theres alot of funky and designer shops.
After this we decided to go on abit of a celebrity house hunt and drove around Beverly Hills and Bel Air where they all live.
We found where Hugh Hefner lives and although theres no house to see with the huge walls shielding it we still decided on taking a photo of his front gates.Well after driving away and getting no more than 50 metres down the road a huge black limosine drove past us with the number plate '1 HEF' on it.If we would of waited 30 seconds longer on taking that photo we could of bumped into the man himself.
But that was just the start of things to happen that day.
We then went to Hollywood Boulevard where all the stars with famous peoples name are on the pavement before going into a small shopping mall next to Mann's Chinese Theatre or now known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre.As we were then about to leave the mall we noticed a red carpet had been laid down near the cinema entrance and also some film advertising boards around it.It was promoting Johnny Knoxvilles new film Daltry Calhoun.For a little while we didnt think anything of it until Jill said maybe all the film stars would be here tonight.So we stuck around for abit and people got talking and it turned out it was the premiere of the film and several of the people in the film would be here.
Well after standing in a good spot for photos for 2 hours we were then moved on and scrambled across the other side of the building with loads of other people to try and still get a good view.I stood there with camera in hand just in case someone famous walked in but still nobody did.Well 5 minutes later out of nowhere and to my astonishment who walks out of the lift only Quentin Tarantino.
Jill and i looked at each other in amazement before i thought shit photo.Well after he walked in several others also followed with Johnny Knoxville then turning up and several other of the cast of Jackass,Meredith Monroe from Dawsons Creek,Juliette Lewis,David Koechner,Ethan Suplee from American History X and Jack Black.

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Gates to the Playboy Mansion

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Johnny Knoxville

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Johnny Knoxville

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Meredith Monroe and Me

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Chris Pontius from Jackass and Me

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Weeman from Jackass and Me

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Quentin Tarantino

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Quentin Tarantino

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Leonor Varela from Blade 2

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Jack Black

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Ethan Suplee from American History X

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Graumans Chinese Theater

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:25 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 103 Los Angeles, USA

Monday 19th September 2005

sunny 28 °C

Had a lie in this morning and by the time we all decided to go out it was already 2pm.For some reason we were all feeling rather tired so we only went out for a few hours.We drove over to Santa Monica and had a stroll along the beach which has lovely clean golden sand and its a huge beach.Then it was over to the shops for a quick look around before heading back to the car and a drive around Beverly Hills where all the rich and famous live in their huge houses.

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Santa Monica Beach

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View from Mullholland Drive

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View from Mullholland Drive

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There are skyscrapers in the distance through the smog of Los Angeles

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Beverly Hills

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:15 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 102 San Diego-Los Angeles, USA

Sunday 18th September 2005

sunny 30 °C

Took the scenic drive to Los Angeles so even though we had left San Diego at 10am it wasnt until 4pm by the time we made it to Los Angeles.The drive out of San Diego was packed full of people out cycling and i was starting to have withdrawal symptoms as i was desperate to join them and the routes along the coast looked great for cycling along.
Once in Los Angeles we checked into a hotel which although it looks shabby from the outside its actually nice inside and also comes with a kitchen.Apparently its more like a place where people actually live and on the occasions they have people move out they then advertise it as a hotel room.An hour later we headed to Mullholland Drive where you get a view of the Hollywood sign from a distance and also a good view of Los Angeles although its covered in a dirty brown smog.

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:46 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 101 San Diego, USA

Saturday 17th September 2005

sunny 34 °C

Wasnt to sure what to do today but decided on walking over to see Balboa Park first with the others and it was on the way to the zoo which Simon was going to.The park is huge and theres alot of museums to walk around but unlike alot of places we have visited here they actually charge you to go in.
I didnt really feel like being out in the sun today especially after getting burnt yesterday and just my luck today it was hot again.
So after looking around for awhile Jill and I headed back into town and walked around the shops and then stumbled across a well hidden shopping mall that actually looked quite small but once inside it seemed to go on forever.I was back in the hostel around 4pm and the walking and sun had taken its toll and before i knew it i had fallen asleep on my bed,but luckily simon knocked on the door 2 hours later or i would of probably slept all night,besides it was a saturday night so staying in wasnt an option.
Around 7.45pm we headed out and found a bar 2 blocks from the hostel where after a meal simon headed back to the hostel and Jill and I stayed for several more beers.By the time we left at 11.30pm the place was packed and for a change the music was more to my taste and i could of quite easily stayed alot longer although we had to check out of the hostel before 10am so i decided it was best to leave then.

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Balboa Park,San Diego

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Balboa Park,San Diego

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Museum Of Man,San Diego

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:29 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 100 San Diego, USA

Friday 16th September 2005

sunny 28 °C

Quite a busy day today and it doesnt seem too hot so you can spend all day out rather than avoiding the sun around 2pm.
We walked down to the Seaport Village which is nice and peaceful and has a few shops by the sea and then found a small restaurant to have some lunch.I never realised San Diego had such a huge navy base and theres numerous amounts of ships that are docked and made here and this is where the marines come to train.
After a short walk around we decided to go on a 2 hour boat tour where we got to have an even closer look at the navy aircraft carriers and smaller ships.
The sun didnt seem that hot while we were on the boat trip but what i did forget about was how bad the wind can be while your out and after the 2 hours my face and head was glowing a rather dark shade of red.That will teach me to forget my hat and suntan lotion.
Once off the boat we jumped on a tram and headed off to Old Town for an hour where there are a few small shops and restaurants which give you the feeling you really are in an old town and cut off from the usual city life where theres numerous office buildings and skyscrapers.The houses on the hills here also have a fantastic view across town and it looks a lovely place to live.

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Light reflecting on a plant

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San Diego Harbour

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USS Midway,San Diego

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Aircraft Destroyer,San Diego

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San Diego

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Old Town,San Diego

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Old Town,San Diego

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Old Town,San Diego

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:08 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 99 Death Valley-San Diego, USA

Thursday 15th September 2005

sunny 28 °C

Thank god we were out of Death Valley.It was a great place to visit but its not really a place i would want to spend to much time in due to the intense heat.
Now we were on our way to San Diego and had made it all the way back to the west coast.The hostel we booked into is in the Gaslamp Quarter and very very busy as its right in the middle of downtown and sandwiched between bars all around.It is however a very nice hostel and the people ive met so far are all very friendly.
San Diego itself also seems like a great place and its another favourite area for cyclists and theres some awesome hills to make it all the more exciting.
That night we headed over to a bar for several beers and a meal which was followed by giving simon yet another lesson in how to play pool.

Posted by Reece Sanford 18:48 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 98 Las Vegas-Death Valley, USA

Wednesday 14th September 2005

sunny 46 °C

Managed to escape Las Vegas and still had money in my pocket which was a bonus.Next destination was Death Valley the hottest place in the world.I wasnt really looking forward to driving around here as it just kept going through my mind what happens if the car breaks down and im stuck out here.
We stopped off at one viewpoint at Death Valley and as i got out of the car i thought wow the heat isnt that bad and then i shot off up this small incline for about 50 metres.Well by the time i had got to the top i thought i was going to die.It had sucked the air out of my lungs and i felt like i had run 2 marathons in a row.What i couldnt believe was we saw 2 people cycling in this and how on earth they manage to do that in this heat i dont know.Total nutcases thats what i say.
We then had a look around the museum before going on a long drive all around Death Valley and apart from seeing sand,rocks and the thermometer in the car going up thats about all there is to see.

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Me at Death Valley National Park

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

Posted by Reece Sanford 18:34 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 92-97 Las Vegas, USA

Thursday 8th September 2005 Friday 9th September 2005 Saturday 10th September 2005 Sunday 11th September 2005 Monday 12th September 2005 Tuesday 13th September 2005

sunny 36 °C

Well after spending a week in Las Vegas and at first not knowing whether i would like it or not i have to say i really enjoyed myself and would go back again.After going to Atlantic City and seeing the Casinos and Amusement arcades i was dreading Vegas as i thought it would be pretty much the same only bigger and abit more upmarket.To be honest after visiting both they are like chalk and cheese.Atlantic City is a dump compared to Vegas.Considering also im not a gambler either and Vegas is a haven for gambling i was never ever bored.The casinos and hotels here are just something else from Paris Paris Hotel where you have replica models of the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe to the Venetian where you can go on gondola rides down the river inside the hotel its just pure crazy.Even with spending a week here there still something around the corner be it outside or inside a hotel that will amaze you.I mean how many hotels/casinos in the world have real lions for you to see (even if they did look drugged up to there eyeballs).
So the 7 days were pretty much spent drinking mainly as have many of the days been spent so far and also having my first games of blackjack after being persuaded by simon which even after both us losing money in minutes in one casino it was quite enjoyable and even more so when i started winning.
The best thing about gambling besides when you are winning is that you get barmaids asking you if you want a drink and its all free.Although i guess they think the more you drink the more you gamble although in my case the more i drink the more time i spent in the toilet peeing.The only thing you do pay for is a tip for the barmaids although 50 pence for a beer is certainly well worth it.
Apart from drinking and gambling the usual shopping spree was enjoyed by jill and myself although this time i only managed to buy one lance armstrong tshirt to add to my collection of erm 5 now.
We also went to the top of the Stratosphere for a great view of Vegas at day and night although i did decline on going on the rollercoaster and other suicidal rides at the top of it.
Then there was a walk around downtown Vegas which is very different to Las Vegas Boulevard where we were staying.The area we stayed in is the posh end of Vegas and downtown is certainly very downmarket and grotty and pretty rough in places.The highlight of the downtown area though is Fremont Street and its literally a 200 metre straight road with a roof over it and the whole roof is full of lightbulbs and every so often at night they play something on the roof.Its light a huge television screen and hard to imagine unless you have been there before.
So my first trip here was very good and maybe one day i will be back again.

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The Eiffel Tower,Las Vegas

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Arc De Triomphe,Las Vegas

Mandalay Bay Hotel

Water Fountain Show

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Lions inside MGM Grand Hotel

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The Wynn Hotel

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The Venetian Hotel

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The Venetian Hotel

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The Venetian Hotel

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Inside The Venetian Hotel

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The roof inside The Venetian Hotel

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Inside The Venetian Hotel

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Excaliburs Hotel and Casino

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MGM Grand Hotel

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The Luxor Hotel

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Fremont Street

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The roof down Fremont Street before the light show

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The light show on the roof at Fremont Street

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The light show on the roof at Fremont Street

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Las Vegas strip from the Stratosphere

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Las Vegas strip from the Stratosphere

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Caesars Palace Hotel

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Inside Caesars Palace Hotel

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Monte Carlo Hotel

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Monte Carlo Hotel

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The Mirage Hotel

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The Mirage Hotel

Posted by Reece Sanford 23:35 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 91 Grand Canyon-Las Vegas, USA

Wednesday 7th September 2005

sunny 38 °C

In the end even after an early night i still only managed to get about 4 hours worth of sleep and that was with waking up about 6 times in the night.Every time i know ive got to get up for something or have big plans the excitement kicks in and i always end up never being able to sleep properly.By 5.15am we were out of the door and ready to see the sunset and for the first time since being in america i got one hell of a shock weatherwise.It was freezing cold this morning and that was even though i had 4 layers of clothing on and a hat as well.
Everyone else seemed to have the right idea and stay in there warm beds and part of me wished i was still in mine but once we got on the bus and then over to the point where we would see the sunset i was glad i did get up early.The sunrise was pretty good but it all happened so quickly and you didnt get much of a good view as this time there were to many clouds covering it to get a decent photo.
We then walked along the path by the side of the canyon and back to the village for breakfast before starting the drive to Las Vegas.Along the way we stopped off at the Hoover Dam which was another pretty amazing thing to see and compared to how cool it was at the canyon you really did notice the heat now and the sun was blazing hot.The other thing you noticed was how low the water level was and whether its usually this low at this time of year or whether theres been a real shortage of rain im not sure.So after a look around it was onto Las Vegas and i wasnt sure if i would love it or hate it but i guess in a few days i would know.

Grand Canyon

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon

Hoover Dam

Me at the Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:36 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 90 Tucson-Grand Canyon, USA

Tuesday 6th September 2005

sunny 28 °C

Unfortunatly it was time to move on because it would of been great to spend some more time in Tucson.But the next destination was certainly going to be an eye opener and worth seeing.
We arrived at the Grand Canyon around 3.30pm and in plenty of time to catch the sunset.As we parked the car and i walked over to get my first ever look at the Canyon i just stood open mouthed for a few minutes before i managed to come to terms with how big it really is and of the views to,it certainly is mindblowing.
Also luckily for us we managed to get a late cancellation on a room within the Canyon grounds so we were able to to stay close which meant we could get up early to see the sunrise in the morning to.We checked into the hotel and then just about managed to catch the bus to take us to Hopi Point where we were going to see the sunset.The views were great as the sun went down although there were not really any clouds about and i think it would of looked alot more impressive if there had of been some.
As we were getting up at 5am for the sunrise it was an early night for me and by 11pm i was fast asleep.

Grand Canyon

Me at the Grand Canyon

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Me ath the Grand Canyon

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Sunset over the Grand Canyon

Sunset over the Grand Canyon

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Sunset and the Moon over the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:13 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 89 Tucson, USA

Monday 5th September 2005

sunny 34 °C

Met up with Joz and even though it was her idea i managed to scare here shitless as we drove up Sentinel Peak.Im just glad she wasnt sick everywhere in the car hahahaha as i really thought she was going to at one point.Mind you i have to admit that i wasnt feeling to great myself as i drove up it even though i didnt tell her that myself.
The views we got from the top though were well worth the terrifying drive up and luckily we got the chance to see the sunset over the mountains.The whole of Tucson is surrounded by mountains and its another place i would really feel at home with as i could spend so much time cycling,running and hiking in the area.So Joz hurry up and get the house sorted please hahaha and can we have one of those ones that are at the bottom of the peak.
Oh and by the way ive forgotten about the hair gel saga as well OOPS did i say that out loud!!!!!
After terrifying her again on the way down we headed to the bar for a well earned beverage and yet another very enjoyable night.Hopefully next time im in Tucson we can get the chance to get the bikes out and you can kick my butt up the mountains and show me whos boss at cycling.

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The gorgeous Joz

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View from Sentinel Peak,Tucson

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Sunset from Sentinel Peak,Tucson

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Sunset from Sentinel Peak,Tucson

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Posted by Reece Sanford 22:03 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

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