Tuesday, 31 March 2009

22/03/2009 - 21/04/2009 - Seattle to Penticton

22/03/2009 - Seattle. The weather has still not brightened up, it is raining and cold, so we have decided that we will come back to Seattle at another time and do the city. We did decide that today we would leave the park and at least go and see the Boeing Factory - we shouldn't get too wet. The building is recorded in the Guinness World Records lists as the biggest building in the world by volume at 472 million cubic feet (13.3 million cubic meters). The building is so large that it has it's own fire department, security force, fully equipped medical clinic, electrical substation's and water treatment plant. There are about 30,000 people working at the factory over three shifts. We were visiting on a Sunday so there weren't too many workers about - Sunday's you need to pay overtime and penalties.

22/03/2009 - 23/03/2009 - USA to Canada. Well, to our surprise and relief, we had no troubles crossing the border, customs didn't even want to look inside Stubbie. The Canadian officials did take our US I-94 forms out of our passports and apparently they forward these onto the US immigration. So at least we should now have a record that we have left the States and hopefully we will be able to get another Visa when we arrive at the US border to travel into Alaska.

Travelling up to Kaleden from the border gave Dave and I a really unusual feeling in a way it felt like we were coming home - or at least to our holiday home. So of course the first thing that we just had to do was drive past the Canyon House, and what a great surprise to see Tony and Lisa working out in the yard. It was great to catch up for a quick chat and we hope to be able to catch up for some dinner and drinks later on in our stay - we will be hanging around and annoying the Howard family until later in April. That evening we had a great catch-up with Bobby, Brant, Peter and Lisa - and of course the old Oyster Bay.

24/03/2009 - We have been very lucky in being able to park Stubbie in Peter and Lisa's driveway and hook-up to electricity. This morning I woke up to snow on the ground and also being able to see the deer out on the road - unfortunately they didn't recognise me (probably without food) and took off quickly.

We are now back to reading the snow report on a regular basis and this morning they've had a few centimetres of fresh snow - they have still got a great base, so the big fella and I are looking forward to the day. Bobby and Brant picked us up and off we went. The drive was just like we had remembered and Apex hadn't changed at all. We all had a great day skiing - fighting the crowds NOT.

25/03/2009 - Today we have been able to talk Peter into slumming it at Apex. So Lisa, Peter, Dave and I all head up to Apex - oh did I mention the fact that they had 25cm of new snow which also helped in getting Peter up to Apex. So another great day on the hill - it really is good to be back in Kaleden.

26/03/2009 - 31/03/2009 - We had yet another great day up the hill with Bobby and Brant on Saturday and Sunday. News Break - Brant took a fall today and we all saw it...

Dave finally got his Lasagna dinner on Saturday night- thanks to Bobby - he really has been craving this since we crossed the border. Bobby is just too good to him. Lisa and Peter kindly made us some great Venison burgers on Sunday night. I've taken Buck (Lisa and Peter's dog) out for a couple of walks and it was great to see the quail and deer running around and to hear the woodpeckers making their usual ruckus.

01/04/2009 - 20/04/2009 - As we had expected we've had another fabulous time in Kaleden. The whole Howard family have been just fantastic and I blame them for the few (ok more than a few) pounds that both the Big Fella and I have put on - but to be honest it was worth every pound. Although, we didn't get to see the Penticton Vees play Ice Hockey, but we did get to go see the new Arena, we went and saw the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which to my surprise I really enjoyed. We finally bought a new Camera to replace the one that was lost in Mexico, at least we will be able to take some not so fuzzy photos. Unfortunately, I know that I wont be able to get my hands on this until Dave has had enough or he has another new toy.

Easter was spent with the Howard family incl. Jeannie and Ross from Vancouver. I had my last day skiing on Easter Friday, the Big Fella decided to have a rest day. We had dinner over at May's place on both Friday and Saturday nights and then on Easter Sunday we had a great meal over at Bobby's place.

In the last week that we have been here I've been out walking with Buck and I've been watching Kaleden start to welcome Spring. It has been great to see some of the trees, plants and flowers all starting to bud and bloom, we also got to see the Pussy Willow and Buttercups in flower, whilst driving up and down the hill. The only problem that I've had with walking Buck is the fact that she (yes Buck is a female dog - great name Peter) decided one day that she had enough of walking and took off on me - so after a 3 hour walk and calling out for Buck I decided it was time to go back to Peter and Lisa's and see if she had returned home. I was really worried that I would have to tell Peter that I had lost his dog. I returned back to Stubbie and unfortunately no Buck. I had only one hope left so Dave and I jumped into the car and drove over to Brant and Bobbie's to see if she was there - and to my great relief she was there, well I didn't know if I should hug her or yell at her. (There were reports from neighbour watch stating that there was a strange lady with an accent screaming obscenities....)

Dave has bought himself a new toy an Ipod Touch. He did tell me that it wasn't a toy, that it was a necessity and that it was for us. Well he has had it for about a week, I haven't been able to touch it and he has hardly put it down. He has downloaded an audio book - of which he said I could listen to as he had finished listening to it, well if I did want to listen to it, which I don't - it's a book on the stock market (he knew he was safe) and I don't think I would ever be able to get the Ipod Touch off him - oh well at least now I'll be able to use the new camera.

We had a trip up to Maury and Gwen's, in Kelowna) to help us with our planning for Alaska. It looks like we are all set to go - as it looks like the roads and RV parks aren't going to be open until mid May we have decided to head over to Edmonton, Alberta, then make our way back over to the North of British Columbia, then up to the Yukon before entering Canada.
We have made plans to be in Calgary, Alberta for the famous Calgary Stampede in the beginning of July and hopefully we should be able to meet up with Bobby and Brant, and Peter and Lisa.
So as much as we don't like to leave Kaleden we are looking forward to getting back on the road - so we are still keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to get a Visa for the US.

A trip to Penticton would not be complete without a trip to the Lost Moose restaurant so we took May up for lunch. Once again the food was great and the company was even better.
Some great news - Brant and Bobbie will be making the trip to down Under early next year. It may finally happen.... Can't wait to get them in some real surf after they have shown off year after year on the white stuff.....

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

11/03/2009 - 20/03/2009 - Colorado to Washington

11/03/2009 – 12/03/2009 -Arches National Park, Colorado. After a couple of discussions with Peter we decided that we would make a detour to Arches National Park and Moab, Colorado on our way to Salt Lake City – and boy are we glad we did. The scenery and the rock formations in Arches National Park are just spectacular. The Park has the world’s greatest concentration of sandstone arches. We spent the night camping in the National Park and it was just inspiring. We were so inspired that that night we sat outside to have happy hour and nibbles. The next morning we blew caution to the wind and actually went for a hike for a couple of miles. After leaving the Park we headed down to the town of Moab – which bills itself as the recreation capital, and it delivers. One of the main activities is riding bikes and ATV’s plus a lot of hiking. The Moab area has been a filming location since 1949 with films like Rio Grande with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, Taza, Son of Cochise with Rock Hudson, Barbara Bush, The greatest Story Ever Told with Max von Sydow and Charlton Heston, Angela Lansbury and Sidney Poitier and more recent films – Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise, Austin Powers 3 with Mike Myers and Michael Caine plus many more.
Dave has been chatting with his sister Janice and since we were both so close in distance we decided that we would just have to catch up – so Hoover Dam was the place. So once again change of plans we are now going to head down to Hoover Dam prior to heading up to Salt Lake City – we are both looking forward to catching up with Norm and Janis. So from Arches National Park we made our way down to the Kodachrome State Basin Park – the drive we are going to take is in the top ten of the Lonely Planet’s drives.

Photos from Arches National park:

12/03/2009 – 13/03/2009 – Kodachrome State Basin Park – Wow – The Big Fella and I are very glad that we have made this drive. So far this is one of the most spectacular drives that we have been on. Kodachrome State Basin Park is known for its dozen of red, pink and white sandstone chimneys. We decided that this was going to be a great place to spend the night. Unfortunately we are on a bit of a tight schedule – so no time for hiking today – bummer.

Photos from Kodachrome State Basin Park

13/03/2009 – Bryce Canyon National Park – Another Huge Wow – Our first look at Bryce Canyon was breathtaking. We have spoken to a few people who have actually said that the Bryce Canyon is more spectacular than the Grand Canyon. Well at first glance we would have to agree with them. The colours and the formations of the ‘hoodoos’ (rock formations) was another breathtaking experience.

Photos from Bryce Canyon

13/03/2009- Zion National Park – yet again another magnificent drive from Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park. This Park is more renowned for its huge, overpowering and magnificent rocks – and yep yet again we were in awe. Zion National park has two tunnels you need to drive through to get to the other side. The first tunnel is no problem and we are allowed to drive through this tunnel like any other vehicle. The second tunnel is another story – first of all we needed to pay a $15.00 escort fee before we entered the park. When you arrive at the tunnel you need to wait whilst the rangers stop any traffic from entering the other side. Once the traffic has stopped from the other side and the tunnel is cleared – we are given the go ahead to proceed through the middle of the tunnel. It wasn’t until we were out on the other side that we realized the grandeur of the tunnel.

Photos from Zion National Park:

Photos from the drive:

13/03/2009 – 14/03/2009 - We arrive in Nevada (from Arizona and Utah) and have decided to spend the night in an RV Park attached to one of the Casinos (just across the border). We are both fairly tired – I know it’s going to be hard to believe but we don’t even visit the Casino, we did however stay and watch a bit of Cable TV before driving on to meet Janice and Norm at the Hoover Dam.

14/03/3009 – 15/03/2009 – Hoover Dam / Boulder City Nevada. We had arranged to meet Janice and Norm in the Hacienda Hotel and Casino car park about 2 miles from the Hoover Dam It was really great to see both Janice and Norm and to sit down and have a face to face chat. They both look really well. So after a cup of coffee and cake, I called Happy Hour so we adjourned to Stubbie for a nice cold beer / wine and a few nibbles. Of course we had already made a decision that we were going to have dinner in the Casino (a good excuse for Janice and I not to cook), so after Happy Hour we all headed into the Casino. After our little Happy Hour we weren’t that hungry, so we just had to have a bit of a gamble to work up that appetite (lucky staying in the car park is free) – because Dave and I are sure making up for it gambling. I must admit that by the end of the evening I did have a small ‘L’ on my forehead – but at least I didn’t feel too bad the Big Fella had a huge ‘L’ – so my conscious was feeling pretty good. In the morning we all set of, in Stubbie, for a look at the Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is an engineering wonder; it was named the number five construction achievement of the 20th century. Construction of the Dam began in 1931 and the last concrete was poured in 1935 (a few years ahead of schedule – very similar to the last project I worked on Shared Service Solutions – NOT). Dave and I walked over the Dam and just wandered around, whilst Janice and Norm went on the tour. So after this worthwhile stop we headed back to the Hacienda Hotel and Casino for some lunch – and then way too soon it was time to say our goodbyes and for Dave and I to head up to Salt Lake City. Another wonder of this trip is that yet again we passed the outskirts of Las Vegas – with not even a coffee stop.

Photos of Hoover Dam

16/03/2009 – We spent last night at another Rest Area – we are starting to enjoy boon docking a lot more – it’s free and the Australian Dollar the way it is – we need to save every bit we can; otherwise Dave has said that I will need to go back to work – I keep telling him he can earn a lot more money in a lot shorter time than I can and that if one of us needs to go back to work it should be him – he’s not buying it. We arrived in Park City, just outside Salt Lake City this is where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held, this is where we would like to try the Bob-Sledding.

17/03/2009 – Park City, Utah. After a bit of investigation we are not sure if we will tackle the Bob-Sled. We have found out that it is US$200.00 per person; you have a driver and then are 3 passengers. So we have decided to head up to the Olympic Park and have a look around. We take the guided tour which goes for about an hour. We stood at the top of the world’s highest altitude ski jumps and we saw the fastest bobsled, luge and skeleton track where Olympic History was mad. We saw some of the Australia Team in training launching themselves of the freestyle aerial kicker jumps. We also got a good look at the Xtreme Zipline – which is the World’s Steepest Zipline. You can zoom down the zipline at up to 50 miles per hour – this is only US$20.00. The Zipline is supposed to provide us with a similar sensation of ski jumping before you jump. Ok so after the tour we have decided that we will give the Zipline a go first. So we are both harnessed in and off we go – I get a jump at the start and I hop into the crouch position to try and keep my lead. The Big Fella is hot on my tail, but unfortunately for him the track runs out and I win – not that we were competing at all. After the Zipline we have another talk and decide to give the Bob Sled a miss. They don’t start the Bob Sledding until 5:00pm and they also have coverings all over the track to protect the ice – so you don’t get to see outside as you go flying past. Apparently it lasts for less than a minute – we pondered and pondered over this decision but decided that we would buy a second Laptop instead. After visiting Olympic Park we went for a drive around to see the snow fields and the town. We were expecting to find a bit of excitement happening around as it was St Patrick’s day – but then we realized that being in Utah – the Mormon State where for the Mormon’s it is forbidden to drink alcohol, tea or coffee. This is certainly a ski area that we would love to spend about a week in and do a bit more boarding – but unfortunately we are on a bit of a tight schedule and need to keep moving – our US Visa’s run out on 30 March – so we need to get to Canada and we still want to go to Seattle.

17/03/2009 – 18/03/2009 – On our way up to Seattle we have driven by the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats – this is Utah’s fame measure mile - site of world land record speed runs. The Last Indian was filmed here. Tonight we had yet another expensive Boon docking experience – yes there are no camping fees, but we are boon docking in a Casino and we do going in for a short visit. Unfortunately, yet again the Big Fella and I walk out with a Big L on our foreheads – I do get some bragging rights though, I lost the least. We have noticed that every time we cross into Nevada from another State that there is a town set-up like a mini Las Vegas, this time it was a town called West Wendover.

18/03/2009 - 19/03/2009 - As we are in Oregon (no sales tax) we have decided to buy another Laptop computer - this may save some angst between The Big Fella and I - so now we have two computers - the new one is really small, so that's mine, the Big Fellas fingers are two big for this one. I'm going to give this gambling business one more chance so tonight we are staying at another Casino, the Big Fella is staying in and I'm going over to try the Poker machines yet again. Well no surprise - I still have a big L on my forehead - I really don't like these Casinos anymore. So that's it no more boon docking at Casinos. Today we were going up to Mt Rainer and Mt St Helens - but unfortunately the weather was not very kind to us. The clouds were very low and you couldn't see too far in front of you or above you, so we decided that we will need to try and come back another time to see the two. Instead we headed straight to Seattle. Even with the weather we still enjoyed the drive. Once again our timing was impeccable - we arrived right on peak hour.

20/03/2008 -Today is a lay day in the rv park just outside of Seattle - it just so happens that it does have wifi and cable - time to update the Blog and do a few chores. We have been watching the weather channel and it looks like the rain etc. has settled in and will be hanging around for a few more days.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

11/02/2009 - Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

11/02/2009 - 12/02/2009 - Del Rio, Texas. Back in the US. We were going to try and spend a couple of nights in Texas to just tidy up a few things, but we arrived in a park that only had one night available. We settled in and Dave started to unpack the Boot, whilst I was doing a bit of cleaning up inside. Well Dave had everything out of the boot including our snowboards, bikes, suitcases, chairs and a lot of Dave's tools when from inside I hear what appears to be an approaching thunderstorm, I opened the door to Stubbie and all I could see was dust flying around (later on we found out that the winds reached over 100mph) and Dave running around trying to hold everything down, of course I did the right thing and shut the door to Stubbie as quickly as I could. No - I was out there running (ok crawling) around everywhere as well, trying to salvage our goods. Obviously we had missed the warnings, because we were the only ones running around likes chooks with their heads cut off. We had never seen anything like it, apparently this is what they call a wind storm. The next morning we woke up and their was a layer of dirt on everything inside and outside. So after a bit of a clean up we set off again.

13/02/2009 - 23/02/2009 - Albuquerque, New Mexico. We spent a night boon docking at a Rest Area before we arrived in Albuquerque. We have a few things that need to be fixed on Stubbie so we make appointments at the RV Centre and the Ford Centre. Looks like we will be in Albuquerque for over a week - a little bit longer than what we had planned. We did enjoy a nice relaxing time in Albuquerque. We went to see a couple of movies and we tried to get our Visa's extended. When we first arrived in the States in LA, we requested a permit for 12 months (the normal time period is 6 months) after a bit of talking we were told that they would stamp our passports for 6 months and that if and when we were still in the country to go to an immigration office and they would give us another 6 months. The immigration officer at LA advised us that he had made a notation on our files to say that the next 6 months had been approved. So after making our appointment at the office in Albuquerque and getting all our paperwork together we went to the immigration office only to be told that we need to go to an office that is a point of entry office, this office doesn't even have the stamp. The next point of entry we plan on visiting is Seattle - so now we just need to see what is going to happen at Seattle. Of course we plan on being in Seattle around the end of March and our Visa runs out on the 30th March.

23/02/2009 - 07/03/2009 - Colorado. We finally leave Albuquerque on the 22nd and are heading up to Longmont, Colorado (just outside Denver) to see Peter (our great Austrian friend, we met whilst travelling around California when my Mum was with us). After spending another night boon docking we arrive in Longmont in the afternoon of the 24th we park Stubbie across the road from Peters Townhouse. It was great to start catching up with Peter (oh and his dog Mozart), of course, soon as we arrived we had drinks in our hand. The area that Peter lives in is really gorgeous and has a great feel about it. Within about two hundred metres there is 3 restaurants, a bar, a hairdresser, a yoga centre and a coffee shop. Also from his back balcony you can see the Rockies. There are a couple of parks spread throughout the suburb - it really has a great feel. So after a couple of hours of drinks and chatting Peter advises us that we are heading on over to his local bar (about 75 metres away) for Fat Tuesday - apparently the day before Ash Wednesday all his neighbours are getting together at the Tusk Bar for a few drinks. Well, I'm not sure what time we got home, but we did get to meet a lot of Peter's neighbours, enjoy several drinks and not have anything to eat. For me this adds up to a nice little hangover on Wednesday (I guess I'm not used to drinking wine after those Margarita's in Mexico). At about 8:00am on Wednesday Peter calls us to say breakfast is ready (I don't know if I mentioned this earlier, but Peter is a chef - it just keeps getting better). So across the road to Peter's place we go for a great breakfast of omelette's, toast, jam and cheese plus coffee to wake us up. Peter let's us know that we are going over to his Mum's house in Frederick to have lunch and to meet his Mum, Grandmother (who is out visiting for a month) and his step-father plus his wife (it's a long story). So after breakfast (I'm starting to feel a lot better) we travel for about 15 mins to his Mum's place. They speak minimal English but they make us feel very welcome. I'm sure it is the European style, there are kisses and hugs everywhere - even for the Big Fella. We had a lovely afternoon and then headed back to Peter's place. We let him know that we will be cooking dinner tonight. Also, Peter has lent us his 2nd car (Mercedes Benz) to drive around whilst we are staying in Longmont. Dave says it is a lot easier to drive than Stubbie. We are very grateful.

26/02/2009 - Boulder - When I found out that we were going to be near Boulder one of the things on our list to see was Mork and Mindy's house (Nanu Nanu). In the morning I had a long over due hair cut and highlights (it had now been over 5 months since my last cut / colour). So after my hairdresser appointment we drove to Boulder (about 30 mins) found the house, stopped long enough to get a few photos and then had a stop in the Pearl Street mall for a little look around. The mall is a vibrant pedestrian zone filled with shops and restaurants. We popped into one of the little restaurants for a drink and a quick bite to eat. Boulder is described in the Lonely Planet as a university town with a yuppie crunch attitude and a love of the outdoors - we found this to be oh so true. We phoned Peter on the way home and he let us know that he had dinner all organised.

27/02/2009 - Eldora / Longmont - Today, Dave and I headed up to the local ski field of Eldora. We still had the use of Peter's car but unfortunately no chains. We had heard that there had been some light snow overnight. So of course as we are getting closer to the mountain it is still snowing, but the last stretch was slippery so the Big Fella had to take it really easy. When we got to Eldora we realised that it had definitely had more than some light snow, we later learned that overnight and during the day they received about a foot of snow. We had a great first day back on the boards - fresh powder and hardly anybody there which equates to no waiting on the lifts. So after a great day - we are feeling a bit tired and sore - we go out to dinner at one of Peter's friends house (Barry and Nikki). It seems to be a quiet a regular event. About 8 people from the neighbourhood are all invited. There was 3 main meals: Peter had made a delicious Elk Stew, Nikki had made a scrumptious South African dish (something like a curry lasagna), and Rick had made a Fillet Steak with a red curry and cream sauce, served with basil pesto rice. I made a salad. And of course if that wasn't enough then Barry came out with some home made crepes with a cream/honey filling - of course this is where the Big Fella fell in love and needed to have seconds -but this time they really spoilt him and added melted Lindt chocolate. The men did most of the cooking in the kitchen at Barry and Nikki's place, it was great to sit back, sip a glass of wine and watch. It appears that all of the men really have a passion for cooking - I don't know what happened to Dave. After talking to their wives / partners they appear to do most of the cooking and they are really great at it. So after dinner was all done, the crew decided to go over to the local - The Tusk Bar to continue. After such a divine and huge meal and a days skiing the Big Fella and I decided to pass. I did stay (for about an hour and a half) at the hosts house and look after her young daughter - I did a bit of a clean-up and of course packed a doggie bag for Dave and I. What another great night - no wonder we love this town.

28/02/2009 - Longmont. Overnight the temperature dropped to about -6 degrees (just a bit chilly) so of course as Murphy's law would have it - our batteries decided to stop working, (It has been three days since we hooked up to any power and we haven't ever thought about conserving any power - the furnce fan is the big power consumer) so we made a quick move closer to Peter's Townhouse - so we could connect to power. The next morning we decided to move to an RV Park so we could dump our tanks, refill our water and connect to electricity. We still have Peter's car and he has told us that we are still expected for breakfast every morning. Tonight we had been invited to yet another local's 40th birthday party for dinner and drinks and then over to the Tusk Bar. It was a fancy dress and you needed to wear an outfit that was in fashion the year you were born - so off to the Op Shop we go and for $10 we have both secured our outfits. We had left the Mercedes at Peter's place whilst we were moving Stubbie etc. So we caught a Taxi over to Sophia's (the birthday girl) house for yet another delicious meal (actually after some more thinking - I don't think that I could live in this town, I think I'd be huge). Peter had made yet another delicious meal - Lasagna. Their was also another South African dish made - the meat was cooked for a long time in the oven, the meat was just so tender it fell apart. So at about 9:00pm everyone starts heading over to Tusk. I have been wearing a pair of boots that have like a 4 inch high heel and are two sizes to big for me - so we head home. This again appears to be another ritual - you go to someones house for dinner and then at about 9:00pm everyone goes over to the local bar - how good is that, you have a good feed before you go out and if you are the host everyone is out of the house by about 9:00pm - I love it...

01/03/2009 - 02/03/2009 - After two big nights in a row for Peter, it was time to have a little rest so we watched a few videos, went over to his Mum's place for a late lunch and then Dave and I called it a day and went back to Stubbie for an early night. The next morning Peter, Dave and I, in Peter's Ford F350, drove up to Winter Park for a day of skiing / snowboarding. We met two friends of Peter's John and Kelso at the slopes. John does volunteer work at Winter Park and had organised free lift passes for all of us - fantastic. Peter, John, Kelso were all on skis whilst Dave and I were on the boards. We mentioned to the skiers that we are prepared to go anywhere, but would prefer not to do moguls or tracks. Well we had a warm up run, the first part was moguls but after that it was all good. They decided that we could handle the other side of the mountain, so we headed on over. The first part was a long track in which I fell over and then there was no hope of me boarding further, so I take my back foot out and I'm prepared to push (arghhhh). Peter comes to a stop right beside me and tells me to hop on the front of his skis, so with snowboard in hand, I hop on the front of Peter's ski and that's how I made it to the lift (it was about another 1 km). Peter had started skiing when he was about 2 - and it showed. After a couple more runs and a quick bite to eat my knee was starting to ache (and the Big Fella told me I was boarding like a Gumby) and Kelso had hurt his calf, so we decided to head back early and have a drink. It wasn't long and the rest of the crew arrived. We had a great day skiing/boarding. After the day on the slopes Dave drove Peter's car up to Steamboat were we met up with another couple of Peter's friends (Jonathon and Katherine). Jonathon and Katherine had so kindly agreed for us all to spend the next couple of nights with them. Peter cooks us another lovely meal and we have a couple of glasses of wine. Katherine was a professional Mountain Bike Rider and was once ranked no. 1 in the US. They have a beautiful dog named Boo who has one blue eye and one brown eye. He is a bit crazy (he was a rescue dog who had been mistreated) so it took him a little time to warm to everyone in the house. They are both so fit and all the food in their house is healthy and organic.

03/03/2009 - 04/03/2009 - Steamboat. Dave, Peter and I have decided to go for a little stroll into downtown Steamboat and then get half a day's skiing in. Steamboat is a really lovely town, it reminds us a bit of Banff in Canada - just a lot bigger. When talking to Jonathon he tells us that Steamboat is a town first which just happens to have a great ski field - apparently you come here for the Winter, but you stay for the Summer. The scenery in the Rockies is absolutely breathtaking. We have a lovely brunch in down town and then we head up to the Mountain. Jonathon works up the mountain in one of the bars, so after a few runs we head on up to the bar where Jonathon works. After a couple of drinks we ask Jonathon for the bill and he says that he does recieve a few freebie drinks and that these drinks are on him - what great people. The snow was a little slushy and slow as they had been receiving some unusually hot weather - none the lesss we still had a great day. That evening it was Jonathon's turn to cook another lovely meal - we do offer to take them out for dinner - but no he prefers to stay home and cook - so all we need to do is supply some more wine. We hope to see Jonathon and Katherine again either in Colorado or back in Australia. We said our goodbyes and headed off. Peter took us on a bit of a sightseeing drive around the Rockies and some of the other ski fields. Dave and I were both really surprised at the number of ski fields that are in this area. It was an absolutely breath taking drive. That evening yet again Peter cooked us another great meal. Once again we did offer to take him out for dinner but yet again he said that he would prefer to cook, as when he goes out he invariably gets disappointed - how fantastic and all I need to do is stack the dishwasher - he is also a very clean cook. Dave did tell Peter that he would cook Friday night - I never opened my mouth.

05/03/2009 - Today we went for a quick trip down to the Red Rock Amphitheatre and park and then for a quick drive into Denver. The Red Rock Amphitheatre was really quite spectacular with many well knows stars like the Beatles etc. playing here. It would be a fantastic place to go to a concert. Unfortunately the photos don't do the Armphitheatre justice, the true brillant color red of the rocks has to be seen to be believed.We went for a quick drive through Denver and then we headed on back to Peter's place.

06/03/2009 - 07/02/2009 - Longmont. Today is our last full day before we head off, so we do a few things to get ourselves organised to leave tomorrow. Tonight Dave has cooked a really lovely meal which we shared (along with a few bottles of wine) with Peter. The evening was just getting to much for the Big Fella and he needed to have a little party nap. The next morning we packed up and headed on over to Peter's place - to take him out for a late Breakfast - apparently this is the only meal that Peter enjoys going out for. Peter's Mum, Step-Father and Grandmother all come over to say goodbye. It was a sad morning, but hopefully we will catch up with Peter when we get to Alaska in May / June. Peter has been just so generous and hospitable, that one day we hope that we will be able to show him the same type of generousity and hospitality.

07/02/2009 - Today we started heading over to Aspen. Of course in the area we are in they have been having record highs - but not today - a snow storm has swept in. The Big Fella was very nervous driving as this was Stubbie's very first experience of driving in the snow. We did have some chains in the boot if we got into any trouble, but Dave just took it very easy and we made it safely to our next overnight stop at an RV Park in Glenwood Canyon - Wow. The scenery was just magnificent - I know I've said it before but the Rocky Mountains are just breathtaking - so much more than what I had expected. We had a great nights sleep.

08/02/2009 - Today we headed up to Aspen to have a look around the town and to get a few trail maps, the drive from the Glenwood Canyon to Aspen was spectacular, the houses around Aspen are huge and magnificant. There are 4 mountains - Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass - from the maps and talking to some of the locals we decided that tomorrow we will head on up to Snowmass. We had a nice relaxing day wandering around the streets of Aspen and taking in some of the signs. Aspen is definitely for the wealthy for example the gas / petrol is about another $1.00 a gallon and some of the shops looked like we couldn't even afford to step inside. We drove to the free car park and settled in for the evening.

09/02/2009 - Snowmass / Aspen. Wow what a fantastic ski field, by far the most impressive that I have ever seen. We had an amazing day, snowboarding and taking in the brilliant views. After a great days skiing we need to keep moving so drive for about 2 hours and decide to settle into an RV park at Fruita, Colorado. Once again the drive was just magificent, following the Coloroado River through the mountains and canyons. This RV park has cable and laundry facilities so it looks like we will settle in for a couple of nights.

10/02/2009 - 11/02/2009 - Fruita, Colorado. I really misjudged how much the Big Fella had missed watching a bit of English TV. It was after 1:00 before the King got out of bed - just in time for lunch. I was summoned a couple of times to bring in the coffee. A rest well earned.