Sunday, 5 December 2010

30/10/2010 - 03/12/2010 - Penticton to LA

It has been a little while since I've updated the Blog - so here goes in no particular order.

The drive down the Oregon Coast line was just spectacular - it really was like a combination of the Great Ocean Rd and the Sunshine Coast.  We took our time travelling down the coast line and spent many a night in RV Parks very close to the Beach - some parks were right on the Beach where we could sit back in Stubbie and watch the Seals / Seal Lions playing in the water - I never get sick of this.  The Big Fella was in his element - sitting in the front seat,looking through his binoculars, whilst drinking a nice cold beer with one eye on Cable TV - I think it was basically heaven for him. 

I no longer point out the many beautiful, green golf courses along the way - he is now talking about buying a new set of golf clubs.  I think it's like pulling his fingernails out each time we go past a gorgeous golf course and keep driving.  I'm pretty sure that before we get home he will have a new set..

After we crossed the LA Border we made a visit to the Redwoods National Forrest - a world Heritage Park. The Redwood trees are the world's tallest living trees growing to a height of nearly 380 ft.  The base / trunk of these trees is absolutely huge. 

We actually drove Shooter through one of these trees at Klamath, California - it is 2.23 metres wide. 

Across the road from this tree was a park with Australians - stating that these were Australia's 2nd largest bird - I must admit I had to look this up on the good old wiki pedia - apparently the Cassowary is the heaviest.
17/11/2010 - 20/11/2010 - Anyway we headed back to the California coast to resume our coastal adventure.  We had planned on spending a few more days travelling down the coastline, except the navigator told the driver to take a wrong turn and we eventually ended up in Las Vegas (I don't know how I could of made that simple mistake) just in time to meet Julie, Rob, Narls and Macca.  We caught up with Jules and Rob with the intention of having a nice lunch and a couple of quite drinks.  Well after sitting in the bar and chatting for a little while I decided that if I was going to keep drinking I needed to get some food - so Dave and I headed off to get us some lunch - whilst this wont come as a surprise to anyone who knows Jules (handbag) or Rob - went straight to the Pokies - no need to waste time on eating when there is gambling and drinking to be done.  So after lunch the Big Fella and I went out and caught up with Rob and Handbag, and kept drinking - now this will come as a huge surprise to anyone who has ever gambled with the Big Fella - but he sat on this one Poker Machine (Fireball) for hours - he normally only lasts about 30 minutes and then he is bored and normally heads off to the tables.  After a few hours Narls and Macca arrived (they had just got off the plane and at this stage couldn't even get into their room).  So we had a few more drinks, Narls and Macca eventually went and had a shower before coming back down to join us for more drinks and dinner.  I'll cut a long story short and lets just say that Dave and I got back to Stubbie around 12:30am, I believe Rob and Jules got home not long after and believe it or not I think Narls outlasted all of us and stayed up until about 5:00am (after their flight from Australia).  We had a great night and many many laughs - unfortunately it took us a while to get moving the next day.  We caught up with Handbag and Rob around lunch time and let's just say I think at lunch we were all on the soda's or juice.  We did end up catching up that night for another feed and a few very quiet drinks.

It was sad for us (okay me) to say goodbye to Vegas again - but I know I'll be back again shortly - next month.  And to be honest I don't think my body could of handled more nights with Rob, Jules, Narls and Macca.

I think the Big Fella was even out of whack after Las Vegas.  We were getting ready to leave and I asked him if he wanted anything and all he asked for was for me to look for his watch - mmmm guess what it was on his arm.....

22/11/2010 - 24/11/2010 - Los Angeles - Dave and I were up bright and early excited to see Karleigh.  It was really great to see her coming up the walk way at the airport.  She was looking a bit tired but other than that she looked fantastic.  After we picked her up we took her back to Stubbie - her new home for the next couple of weeks / months.  We watched her unpack and we just couldn't believe how much stuff she has bought over - she actually has much more clothes than I have.  So after she had unpacked and had a little bit of a rest we went on down  
to Venice Beach.  It really is amazing the things you see down there.  The Beach is a really happy place and the people are really friendly (some a bit weird).  We decided to stop at one of the restaurants and have a little snack to eat and a few drinks - well Karls and I had a pitcher (jug) of my old favourite Margarita's.  

23/11/2010 - Karls and Dave went to the movies - whilst I went and got my hair done - one of the things that I don't like doing when travelling - you really never know who you are going to get.  The last time I had my hair done was in Oregon and it really was / is a bit of a disaster.  Anyway this time I was really happy with what the hairdresser did - she needed to give it a really good cut to try and resurrect it after my last hair cut.  The back of my hair is about 1cm in length and has actually been shaved lower down.  I now have a concave bob - which I'm really happy with - Dave not so happy - oh well.

24/11/2010 - I went for a walk early this morning and stumbled upon the set of Miami CSI - in Long Beach, California - go figure.  So of course I went back to Stubbie and then Karleigh and I went back to check out the scene - she was still in her PJ's and I was in my walking gear - not looking attractive at all.  Karleigh was really happy she got her picture taken beside a hummer.  Unfortunately, neither of us watch CSI Miami so we needed to go back to Stubbie and look up the show on the internet - we did work out that we did get to see one of the stars.  We picked up Karl's friend Jess from the airport - she will be travelling with us to San Diego.

25/11/2010 - 29/11/2010 - San Diego
Thanksgiving - Today we made the trek down to San Diego - with the intention of finding a nice place for a Turkey dinner.  However, after we had got all set up we decided to head into the Gaslamp Quarters for a look around before going out to dinner. In the end we decided that the Gaslamp Quarters was a good place to have dinner, so we enjoyed a lovely Italian meal on Thanksgiving.  This area is a really interesting little area and a great place to visit.

26/11/2010 - Today is known as Black Friday and is suppose to be the day for the best Sales at the shops - so of course that is where the girls are going to spend the day.  Karls and Jesse picked up some great bargains and I believe they had a good day.  I have no idea how Karleigh is going to get all her gear home..

27/11/2010 - Today we are off to Sea World.  Last time Dave and I visited Sea World we had a really fantastic day - we had lunch right next to the Killer Whales whilst listening and watching the trainers interact with the Whales, prior to the show - we really enjoyed this and were hoping that we could show this to the girls - unfortunately after the Killer Whale accident in Orlando the the trainers are now no longer allowed in the water with the whales - which for Dave and I was the best part of the show that we were looking forward to.  I did love the fact that you could feed and touch the Rays.

28/11/2010 - It's my birthday and I was served a lovely breakfast (poached eggs on toast) and coffee in bed from Dave and Karleigh.  The girls and I then went to the Factory Outlet stores to do a bit of shopping and then we went and had a nice lunch.  Dave and the girls then made me a lovely Salmon and Salad dinner - overall a great day.  I did receive a Christmas Present from Louise - but I decided to open it up on my birthday - oops.  Lou made me a really beautiful bracelet and earrings - thanks very much Lou and Matt. 

29/11/2010 - 03/12/2010 Los Angeles

29/11/2010 - It is time for us to head back to LA - we need to pick up Kecca in the morning (this is Karleigh's really good friend who will be with us until the new year.)  We drove back up the old highway along the Coast so the girls could see Laguana Beach and Newport Beach, both in Orange County (OC).

30/11/2010 - We dropped Jess off at the Bus Station and went to pick up Kecca - unfortunately we got caught up in some traffic so we didn't get to see Kecca walking up the walk way.  We decided that it is best if you try to adjust to the LA time as soon as you arrive.  So we headed back to Venice Beach for breakfast, then we took a drive to Santa Monica Beach / Pier and Malibu Beach.  The girls then decided that they wanted to go to the shop 'Dash' the Kardashian's shop at Calabasas.  The girls got so excited because Bruce Jenner walked in - I think they nearly peed their pants.  So after the girls had calmed down we drove down to Hollywood to have a look at the Chinese Theatre and the Grauman's Kodak Theatre (home of the Acadamey Awards). 



We then headed to Hooters (one of Dave's favourite places - you can probably guess why).

01/12/2010 - 03/12/2010 - The girls have gone to Disneyland for 3 days, so the Big Fella and I are catching up on a few things and having a rest before we make our next move...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

19/10/2010 - 29/10/2010 Seattle to Penticton

21/10/2010 - 29/10/2010 - Penticton / Adams River
After a few emails going back and forth between the Howard's and ourselves and the fact that we were only about 6 hours from Penticton - we decided to make the trip to Penticton.  It had nothing to do with the fact that Brant had Box / Suite tickets to the Penticton Vees Ice Hockey Game.

21/10/2010 - We had a great drive from Seattle to Penticton - the scenery was once again spectacular.  To see the varying colour of the leaves (Indian Summer) on the trees against a winding river made the drive very enjoyable and quick.  We decided there and then that we would come back the same way.  We arrived at Peter and Lisa's place at about 6:30pm - once again they have been very gracious in letting us park Stubbie and Shooter in their drive way.  It was great to see them both again - even though I was disappointed that you couldn't even tell Lisa was pregnant - no bump / s anywhere.  So after saying our hellos and getting set-up it was off to Bobbie and Brant's for dinner.  Dave and I both commented that it did feel a bit like coming back to a holiday home.  It felt like we had never left.

22/10/2010 - Tonight we headed off to the Vees game. This was to be our first game of Ice Hockey in the new arena - and what a great way to see it - sitting in a box.  Unfortunately,  the Vees didn't come away with a win - they really didn't seem to have their heart into this game - and the result showed with 5 -0 lose to their old rivals the Vernon Vipers. 

23/10/2010 -Today we headed over to the Howard Hacienda for yet another meal (lunch) and also to watch a bit of football.  We hadn't been there long when Lisa was telling us that her and Peter had been visiting a friend of their's (about 100 meters up the road) and that there was a Mother Bear with her two cubs in the Big Walnut tree out the back. 

So of course Peter had to take Dave, Brant and myself for a little look see.  When we got there, the three of them were having a little rest.  At first we viewed the Bears (very bravely) from behind the fence next door.  But as they were sleeping we decided to edge bit by bit closer.  Peter and I found ourselves taking pictures underneath the Bears.  Peter was taking a picture of the Mother Bear when she let out this almighty growl/hissing sound - well we had never seen Peter move so quick - he was outta there, oh okay to be fair to Peter we were all outta there, we could take the hint. 

Tonight we headed off to another Vees game.  Unfortunately, after some overtime the Vees went down 3-2, to the Alberni Bulldogs - it was a lot better game though.  We are starting to wonder if we have become bad luck...

24/10/2010 - 25/10/2010 - Another one of the reasons that we decided to make the journey up to see the Howard's / Navin's (not that we needed one - it is always great to see them) was to see the Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run.  The adult Sockeye Salmon that managed to avoid a host of predators (including fishermen) battle the turbulent Fraser River and Thompson River 500 km into the heart of southern British Columbia.  The 12-kilometre-long Adams River will be the ultimate destination of as many as two million of the returning sockeye.  Four years earlier, the parents of the returning sockeye followed the same waterways, mated, laid their eggs in the coarse gravel stream beds, and died. 

We left Penticton with Brant in the Navigators seat and Dave driving.  We had a scenic drive up to the Adams River - we did make a few detours to see more of the countryside than the direct route. We arrived at the RV Park and set-up then Bobbie and I opened our first bottle of wine, whilst the men had a beer or two, before they opened their first bottle red.  By the end of the evening we had four empty wine bottles (2 red and 2 white). Prior to arriving in Penticton we had purchased another air mattress for our Sofa lounge.  So we set this up for the Howards and then went off to bed.  Dave and I both woke up after a good night's sleep and asked the Howards how they had slept - well mmm.  Bobbie said that Brant had to fill the air mattress up about 12:30 that night. I had a look at the air mattress and yet again it had gone down.  They really don't have a lot of luck sleeping on that bed. 

We set off in the morning to go to the viewing area for the Salmon.  The sockeye salmon, the second smallest of the five species of Pacific salmon, weigh an average of three kilograms when they leave the Pacific on their 17-day journey to the spawning grounds. Travelling at an average speed of 30 kilometres a day, the salmon do not slow to feed. Instead, they live off the fat stored during their two years in the salt waters of the Pacific. As their upstream battle consumes their body fat and tissue, they undergo a remarkable transformation. Their deep-sea blue-gray bodies gradually change to a brilliant crimson in their battle against such well-known obstacles as Hell's Gate Rapids on the Fraser and the many whitewater rapids on the Thompson.

By the time the Adams River sockeye reach the mouth of the stream in mid-October, the transformation from blue-gray to crimson is virtually complete. In addition, the male of the species now has become grotesquely distorted with a humped back and a sharply hooked nose on his gray-green head. The sockeye salmon pair up and then begin their search for clean gravel where fast running water will insure an ample supply of oxygen for their eggs.  When a suitable location is found, the female digs a nest from 10 to 40 cm deep while the male hovers nearby, fending off all intruders. The female deposits approximately 3,500 pinkish eggs to which the male adds a whitish milt to fertilize them. The sockeye pair then cover the eggs with loose gravel as protection against marauding fish and birds. Within the next 10 days, the crimson pair will turn a chalky gray as their tired and battered bodies slowly give up life, passing on the task of the continuation of the species to the tiny pink eggs that lay beneath the gravel.

I really didn't expect this experience to be a sad one. But for me it was so sad to see these Salmon that had made this enormous journey, lay / fertilise their eggs and then die. This part of the experience I did find sad. However, I did have to remind myself that this was their circle of life and also that these were the lucky ones who had made it back. Of an estimated 100 million sockeye fingerlings that leave the Lake in the spring of a peak year, approximately 10 per cent are expected to return. I really did enjoy the whole experience.

"Sockeye Salmon are the only animal that are born without parents and die without children." 
 After leaving the Adams River we headed back to Penticton.

26/10/2010 - Today we took Grandma Mae to lunch up to one of hers and ours favourite restaurant - The Lost Moose.  This was the first time that we had seen some long horn sheep on the drive up the mountain.  It was great to catch up with Grandma Mae - she is really remarkable at 93.  She is still living in the house on Skaha Lake and she still looks great - we did notice that her memory was not as good as last time we visited.  Dave and I enjoyed a nice glass of wine with our meal and after a little bit of coercing Grandma Mae decided that she would indulge and have a scotch and ice. Well all I can say is that it was a very large scotch.  Dave did mention to Mae that she didn't need to drink it all - but not one to waste anything it was all finished by the time we left.  Dave and I were both a bit worried that it might of been a bit too much, she did have a little bit of a wobbly boot - so we made sure that she got upstairs and settled in before we left - we were coming back for dinner.  Tonight we all met at Grandma Mae's for dinner ie. the Elfords, the Navins and the Howards.  After dinner we headed on over to the Ice Hockey to see another Vees game - and we finally got to see the Vees have a Victory over the Grizzlies 6 - 3 - a lot better game.  We are happy to report that after our visit the Vees are on top of the ladder.

27/10/2010 - Tonight we headed off to the Barley Mill for the Howards and friends Wednesday night weekly dinner.  We had a great night before heading back to the Howards for a nightcap and to say goodbye - until January, when we will back in BC doing a bit of snow boarding.  Once again we had a fantastic time in Penticton and Simmy you will be happy to know that as usual I put on weight - 2.0 kilo's in a week - not as bad as some with the Howards - I think I'm going to blame Bobbie's great cooking - oh and the alcohol.  Looks like it's back to rabbit food,

28/10/2010 - We said our thanks and goodbye to Peter and Lisa and headed off.  We are never sure what to expect at Customs / Border.  This time they were more interested in how we had registered our motorhome and asked us if it was legal what we had done - of course we said yes...  They did take our tomatoes and avocadoes - but they never seem to care that we have more alcohol then what we believe we should be taking back and forward.  We always tell them what we have, but they don't seem interested. 

We now want to get down the mountain passes and back to the Oregon coast beofore the snow starts to gather on the roads.  It is already on the mountains.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

24/09/2010 - 18/10/2010 Colorado, Oregon and Washington

24/09/2010 - 27/09/2010 - We enjoyed our trip from Kremmling to Longmont in Colorado and had a lovely dinner with Peter, Dionne and Dieter.  Unfortunately, I knew I had to work the next day at the Denver Oktoberfest so it wasn't a late night. 

The next morning we arrived at Peter's place at around 10:00am for the drive to Denver and to allow us some time to help set-up the stall.  Peter had advised us that he didn't believe that this Oktoberfest would be as successful as the Oktoberfest we had the previous weekend at Breckenridge - WRONG.  We still had about 6 hours to go and we had sold out of the Salted Pretzels, luckily we were also selling Bratwurst.  The day just got too much for Peter and Dave so they decided to settle themselves down outside a bar and that's where Dionne and I found them at around 11:00pm - by this time we had both had enough and decided that it was time for us to go home - I for one had been serving for over 12 hours and Dionne had been going a lot longer.  Well of course neither Dave nor Peter can drive home so it is left to Dionne and I - I was lucky enough to get the 350 Ford - which I had never driven before; remembering it was 11:00pm and I had no idea where the car was parked and how to get home, oh and I had a very happy husband with me.  No worries Peter said that he and Dionne would drive around to us and then we could follow them.  Well after about 10 minutes and Dave talking to Peter on the phone - The Big Fella lets me know that he thinks he knows the way home - WRONG.  We ended up not only on the wrong highway but also going the wrong way - so after hopping off and on different highways - we finally found the right one - oh by the way the speed limit on these highways is 75 miles per hour around 125 km's an hour - at first I was a bit tentative and a bit frightened but then I got the hang of it - and oh the power these cars have.  Well we finally arrived back at Peter's place to change cars - of course by the time we got there they were both tucked up in bed - it was about 12:30 in the morning.  All in all it was a good day and a very successful one for Peter.

26/09/2010 - I was going to help Peter out again today at the Oktoberfest but unfortunately I fell ill and was unable too - also, not sure if the body could handle that again.  So I spent most of the day in bed recovering whilst the Big Fella played a wonderful role of nurse Big Head (whilst he was nursing a small hangover).  We did go over to Peter's for a quick but lovely meal in the evening.

27/09/2010 - We had a relaxing day getting everything organised to leave Longmont, Colorado and start making our way to Oregon.  Peter and Dionne shouted us a lovely Vietnamese meal.  Dave ordered one meal and of course being Viet that wasn't enough to fill him up - so he decided to order Fried Rice (without looking at the menu) - the Fried Rice was just and only that Fried Rice - nothing else - it looked exactly liked the Steamed Rice except it was slightly yellow - anyway I had a great meal.

28/09/2010 - 30/09/2010 - We spent the last few days basically making our way over to Oregon - not the most exciting drive - but it was an easy drive.  I think we covered about 1300 miles.    On our way we did stop at the Lava Butte - a Cinder Cone (just outside Bend in Oregon).  Lava Butte experienced a single eruption about 7,000 years ago. The eruption began with a fissure spewing hot cinders to form the cone. In the next phase, a river of hot basalt flowed from the base of the small volcano to cover a large area to the west with a lava flow which remains largely free of vegetation.

We will probably remember two minor events.  The first being that when you pass many lovely spots on the side of the road and it's starting to get dark - don't push your luck - there might not be another one - and of course there wasn't.  So much to our disgust we were driving around at 8:00pm on a single lane highway with no idea where we were going to spend the night - we had spent the last hour hoping to find somewhere.  We did eventually find a Gas Station out in the middle of nowhere - where a few truck drivers had pulled over. 

The next lesson well learned - was not to follow anyone.  We did have a campground picked out for where we were going to spend the night but as we were driving we passed many National Park campgrounds (remembering now that some of these campgrounds aren't very big).  We saw someone with a large pull van pull into one of the streets / lanes so we decided to stop, turnaround and follow them - Bad Move.  By the time we had turned around we had lost them.  We came to a fork in the dusty track and decided to go left - of course it turned out to be the wrong way so after going over a one lane rickety old bridge (we kept our fingers crossed that it would hold us) we decided to try and turn around.  We couldn't make it with Shooter on the back so we decided to unhook Shooter.  We decided that I would drive shooter and see where the other dirt track went, well all I can say is that it was lucky we took the wrong track.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to turn Shooter around never alone Stubbie; it was a very well worn dirt track going down a steep hill.  Anyway after I got Shooter turned around and I went back to find Dave and said I think we should stick to our original plan.  About an hour later we arrived at our planned RV Park.

01/10/2010 - Today we spent a really lovely and relaxing day around the area.  Our first stop was Crater Lake.  Crater Lake is the United States deepest Lake and the seventh deepest in the world and from what we've seen also the most intense blue colouring - it really was an amazing site.    No streams enter or leave Crater Lake. 

After Crater Lake we took some advice from the locals and went to see some of the attractions on the Rogue River.  They were the Rogue Gorge and the Natural Bridge.  The Natural Bridge is where the Rogue River disappears into a Lava Tube.   A sight that Dave found interesting along the way - was the Living Stump.  Before this tree was cut, its roots had grafted into those of a neighbouring tree.  Because of this the stump continues to live.

02/10/2010 - Today we headed off in the other direction to have a look at some other local attractions.  They were Flounce Rock, the avenue of Giant Boulders, Mill Creek Falls, Barr Creek Falls and Pearsoney Falls - and what a great day we had.  The drive up to Florence Rock was a bit like driving through deliverance country - but well worth the effort, the view was amazing.

03/10/2010 -  Sadly it was time to leave the Rogue River and head on to Eugene (where we hope to get some Solar Panels for Stubbie).  On the way we stopped to have a look at what the locals say is the most spectacular of all the waterfalls in the area - Toketee Falls (Chinook Indian name meaning graceful)  well after about a 1/2 mile trek we arrived at a three tiered waterfall which was exactly as she is named graceful. 

I must admit we have really enjoyed the last few days trekking through the Forests and National Parks - some of it was a bit exhausting but boy do we need it - we realised how unfit we really are.
04/10/2010 - 14/10/2010 - Eugene, Oregon. 

We arrived at the Armitage Park in Eugene, Oregon.  It is one of the loveliest little parks that we have stayed in - we are here for 11 days, so this will give us time to get a few things sorted out and tidied up. 

The main reason that we came to Eugene was that the Big Fella was looking to get Solar Panels for Stubbie.  We went to the showroom and after the Big Fella asked numerous questions and he had obtained a good understanding of how they work etc oh and the cost, we decided that we really didn't need them. 

We have seen some interesting sights whilst staying at Eugene.  One was the three wheel car another one was that over here they have a lot of drive through coffee shops, whilst I was out shopping I noticed a lady in a scooter going through one of these - mmmm.

08/10/2010 - After yet another day at Hardware and Auto shops, we decided that we would head off to one of the local High School Football games - Thurston High School v South Medford.  We got to see a great game of football.  It was also the Homecoming game so we also witnessed the naming and showing of the Homecoming King and Queen and the many princes and princess.  I must admit that whilst the game was on I was also watching the Cheer Leaders - it really is exactly like you see on TV.  They also had a huge band and at half time we also got to see the High School Dance team perform.  We had a really great night and loved the whole experience.  High School consists of grades 9 - Freshman, 10 - Sophomore, 11 - Junior and 12 Senior - something I never understood. Also, the terminology 'college' and 'university' are interchangeable - not like back home.   Those who complete high school and would like to attend college or university can attend an undergraduate school.  This may be a 'community college' (one that offers two-year degrees, usually to prepare students to transfer to state universities), liberal arts college (one that concentrates on undergraduate education), or part of a larger research university. Community College is usually two years study at a public institution of higher education and were once called junior colleges.

14/10/2010 - 18/10/2010 - Seattle

16/10/2010 - Seattle - We caught the bus into Seattle and jumped on the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour - the real touristy thing.  Our first stop was the Seattle Tower.  The Seattle Tower is 347 feet high.  We caught the outside elevator up and the whole time we were looking for a view of Mt Rainer.  Mt Rainer is a massive stratovolcano.  It is the most prominent mountain in the contiguous  United States with a summit elevation of 4,392m.  Mt Rainer is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.  We weren't sure which direction Mt Rainer would be but we discovered a huge snow peaked mountain in front of us and we decided that must be Mt Rainer - we really didn't think that it was that impressive.  Then the elevator guide pointed out that what we were looking at was actually Mt Baker - oh well.  We then got to the top and went out onto the observation deck and decided that another mountain must be Mt Rainer - it was smaller and even less impressive - oh well.  We then rounded the corner of the observation deck and there in front of us was this huge impressive mountain - ahhh that must be Mt Rainer.  We really don 't know how we had missed it earlier it is absolutely enormous and is really prominent.

After the Seattle Tower we made our way back onto the tour bus and headed onto our next stop the Pike Market Place - known for the first Starbucks and fish throwing.  Pike Market Place is also famous for being USA's premier farmers market.  We had a good look around and went to see the first Starbucks - outside was a group of buskers which were really fantastic - so we bought their first DVD.  On the tour bus, our tour guide gave us a few little tidbits of information; one of which I remember was that there is 7 dogs to 1 child in Seattle. 

We then caught another bus out to the Washington Husky  University Stadium to watch the Huskies take on the Oregon Beavers in football.   The game scheduled starting time is 7:30, we arrive with a bit of time to spare about 5:30.  So we have plenty of time to look around and grab a bite to eat, as you can see the diet went right out the window.  The pre-game entertainment and warm up is really quite spectacular.  The Band consists of over a 100 people.  There are about 20 cheerleaders and one football teams consists of about 100 players and 12 coaches.  Just watching the Band and the Cheerleaders perform is great entertainment.

The game started really well for the Washington Huskies it looked like they were going to win easily they had a 21 - 0 lead.  The Oregon Beavers came back and at full time it was 21 all, now it's about 10:30pm and about 4 degrees Celsius - so while we were having a great time watching the football we were getting a wee bit cold - we had been out since before lunch. So into overtime we go after the first overtime it is 28 all.  For overtime they each get a shot at scoring a touch down, each team gets the ball on the 25 yard line.  They keep the ball until they either score or make a mistake. Eventually the Husky's win 35 -34 - it really was a fantastic game.

The game finishes around 11:30pm (so the game has gone for nearly 4 hours).  We certainly got value for money, even if we are cold and we still need to get the shuttle bus back to the park and ride - then drive home.  It's been a really long day - but we had a fantastic day.

17/10/2010 - We venture back into Seattle City so I can do a bit of Boot Shopping and Dave can visit the Ski Show.  So after I've finished shopping and much to Dave's pleasure have come out empty handed and Dave has finished at the Ski Show and much to my pleasure he also has come out empty handed.  So after a hard morning / early afternoon we walked down to the waterfront for lunch at The Crab Pot.  This restaurant is not only known for great seafood but also the way they serve it, they give you each a large paper bib and then serve their Seafood Platters on the table. They do put down some white butchers paper first, then just pour the meal out onto the table.   When we first arrive we have were told that there would be a 10-20 minute delay, no problems we will wait at the bar.  So after a couple of drinks our table is ready.  The Seafood was really succulent - even though we have both decided that our prawns / shrimps for us are a lot tastier.  We had a few more drinks and finally decided that it was time to catch the bus back home - another really lovely day. 

Seattle reminds us of San Francisco, which we both really enjoyed.

18/10/2010 - Well after a couple of busy days we decided that we had earned a day of rest.  I was doing a bit of washing and when I looked into the empty washing machine, there on the bottom of the machine was Dave's Cell phone - nice and clean and shiny.  Guess we will be back at the shops tomorrow. 

Saturday, 4 September 2010

29/08/2010 - 23/09/2010 - Los Angeles, California to Breckenridge, Colorado

29/08/2010 - 03/09/2010 - We said our sad farewells and headed off to the airport where we got to say our final teary farewells to Louise and Matt. The flight over was pretty good - unusual but Dave did sleep on and off for most of the trip, unfortunately I wasn't so lucky but I did get to see a number of movies.

This time we decided to follow the right channels in getting through customs - even though we did need two goes - we forgot to fill in a form - you would have thought we knew the process by now.We picked up a hire car from LA Airport and headed on out to see Stubbie. We were both feeling very anxious not sure what to expect on her condition. The Big Fella had these great fears that we would get there and she hadn't been started the whole time we had been away, I made him forget that I said to him I had a dream that the Storage place and all the motor homes had been packed up and that there was now a high rise building on the site. Well we were very pleased to find Stubbie was in great order and started first time - phewww.

After we got Stubbie set up we went to get some groceries etc. but instead decided to go and eat out - much better idea I thought - plus I hadn't slept for about 24 hours and I was starting to get a bit feral.

Oh I forgot to mention - but as many of you would have heard, Dave did have a few words about the amount of clothes and especially shoes that I was bringing over. But I'm sure he wont be telling this story - lets just say that when we had finished unpacking all my shoes and clothes fitted in my cupboard space with room to spare and the Big Fella had to use half of my hanging space. He had forgotten that when we left Stubbie he had kept a fair amount of clothes here - so guess who is going shopping....

The Big Fella has picked up the driving on the other side really well. Even though I must admit I was a bit nervous sitting in the passenger side for the first few days. Dave has been commenting on how hot it is, it's been about 37 degrees Celsius - I did remind him that we were in the desert and that it was still summer. I haven't been game to tell him that it is going to get hotter before it gets colder.

The Big Fella and I commented on how when we got Stubbie set-up it really felt like we were home. We didn't realise how much we missed Stubbie.

04/09/2010 – 14/09/2010 - The last few days we have been looking to buy a small car that we could tow behind Stubbie and today we picked up our new addition it is a 4 Door 4WD Suzuki Sidekick (a very small 4WD) - we christened her Shooter. We were lucky enough to find this one that had most of the towing gear already set-up we now need to connect Shooter to Stubbie and ensure that we have the appropriate braking and lighting systems set-up. The previous owner also left the registration going, so Shooter is registered until October.

Dave has been busy trying to get all the lights working but after a couple of days of no success he asked me to sit down with him and have a look at the diagrams. I did ask if he was checking the back of Shooter and not the front to see if the indicators etc were working - he just looked at me then looked back at the diagram and then went outside for another attempt. Well after about another 10 minutes to set it all up again (he had previously decided to pack it all up) we had lights - I'm not the most popular person - but hey I didn't care I walked back into Stubbie and poured myself a large glass of wine...

We have both picked up the driving pretty well - we just seem to be having one minor problem - Dave wants to drive on the wrong side of the road and I keep getting into the wrong side to drive.
Dave has been busy trying to get everything organised. I have been trying to keep myself busy at the shops – much to Dave’s disgust – he keeps reminding me that I’m no longer working and I keep telling him that I never will be either – he just looks at me and laughs. I do have the great job of organising the registration of Shooter, this makes me nervous, as last time when we were trying to get Stubbie Registered (with the help of the car dealers) it all went wrong and our temporary registration had run out before we had her registered. Luckily I had a bit of leeway. The registration process is fairly complex for us, as we are registering out of state i.e. we are in California and we are registering her in Vermont. Vermont is one of the States that we have been able to find that will register us even though we don’t have US Drivers License and an address in that State.
11/09/2010 – Today we headed to Palm Springs to have a look around. One of our stops was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This is a breath taking 10-minute, 2.5 mile trip going from an elevation of 2,643 feet to 8,516 feet into the Mt San Jacinto State Park on the world’s largest rotating aerial tramway.

12/09/2010 - After two weeks at Banning we finally decide to bite the bullet and leave the comforts of Banning. We were hoping to catch up with Vicki and Andy in Vegas but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. We are heading on up to Breckenridge, Colorado to see our friend Peter. It looks like we will be helping out on the weekend he has a couple of stores that he willing be running at Breckenridge for their Oktoberfest.
Well we have been told that it should only take about 5 minutes to get Shooter connected to Stubbie – well after 35 minutes we are both sitting in Stubbie ready to take off and at this stage still not feeling overly confident. I must admit we were both very hesitant and kept looking in the back-up camera to ensure that Shooter was following us and that we couldn’t see any smoke coming out of her.
Shooter is towed with four wheels on the ground. The manual 4WD hubs are set to free, the transfer case is set to neutral, the auto gear stick is set to park, handbrake is released and the ignition switch is set to accessory. The hardest thing you have to get use to is putting a car in PARK before you start to tow.
The first lesson you learn when unhooking is to put the handbrake on before you disconnect. Dave made it look easy stopping a runaway car. Of course once we get on the road and are feeling comfortable I finally tell Dave that our first stop will be near Las Vegas – well you can just imagine the look that I got. I decided to wait a while before I told him that we wouldn’t actually be stopping in at Vegas at which stage he gave me a nice smile.
13/09/2010 – We spent the first night camping in the parking lot of a Casino about 30 minutes outside Vegas – and no I didn’t even go in, but there were some outlet stores nearby which I did visit for an hour or two. We are really happy with the way that Stubbie towed Shooter. You can hardly tell that she is behind us, except we do loose a bit of power of the mark and going up hills / mountains. Unfortunately, it looks like our back-up camera is having a few intermittent problems and our TV up the front is going on the blink. Dave’s not happy something else for him to fix – I think he has had enough of doing is manly duties.
14/09/2010 – 16/09/2010 - One of the bonuses of staying in the parking lot was that we didn’t need to unhook Shooter. One of the directions we were given when we bought Shooter was that when towing a vehicle you need to stop about every 300 km’s and start her up for a bit. So when we had stopped last night, Dave did the right thing and went and started her up. Unfortunately, we couldn’t remember if we had turned the key to accessories – so after being on the road for a minute we pull over and check – luckily all was in order. Something I’m sure that we will get better and trust ourselves more with as time goes by.
On our way to Breckenridge, we drive through Arizona and into Utah. Once again we are just amazed at how spectacular some of the scenery is – it was really fantastic and I think this was the first time that the Big Fella really relaxed (and stopped thinking about his fix it jobs). We loved being able to stop whenever we like and for as long as we like. We ended the great day by staying at a Rest Stop among this beautiful scenery the sunset we experienced was fabulous the sun was really bright pink to red.
One of our stops was at Castle Valley and San Rafael Swell. This is a geologists paradise during the Jurassic Period, the area had tropical forests, inhabited by giant dinosaurs that died and left behind their bones. Unfortunately, our photographs don’t do this spectacular scenery justice.
We stop over at Grand Junction, Colorado for two nights to get a service and a few things sorted out with Shooter. Dave had the mechanic replace all the oil in the diffs, transmission and engine plus a radiator flush and some new front wheel hubs and bearings. After Shooter had been serviced we took her for a drive up to the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat top mountain, I don’t think that either of us will ever get sick of the scenery. Dave also had a chance and did a great job in fixing the Back-up Camera and the TV – he really is becoming the handy man.
We made our way up through Aspen Vale and it was great to see the country side without the snow this trip.
17/09/2010 – 23/09/2010 – Well we finally arrived at Kremmling, Colorado. (Which is just outside Steamboat.) This will be our base for the next week, whilst we catch up with Peter etc. One of the first things we notice is the tiny Chipmunks running around everywhere – these weren’t here last time we visited – I can just watch these little ones run around all day, except they make me dizzy – they are really entertaining and they remind me of my Grandmother and Great Auntie. They appear to be very busy collecting for the winter.
On Saturday Peter has us both up nice and early we need to get to Breckenridge and set-up for the selling of his Pretzels and Apple Strudel (the Big Fella isn’t overly excited at this). So we are already to go at 6:30 am, it takes us about an hour and a half to drive to Breckenridge. Breckenridge is a beautiful ski resort. It takes us a couple of hours to get everything set-up and ready to go; the Big Fella comes in handy setting up the tents etc. Peter is unable to do much except yell orders (he has a very badly swollen ankle and is unable to put any pressure on it – hence the crutches). I’m so surprised at how popular the Pretzels are; there are two varieties the original salted variety (which they serve with the bright orange cheese sauce) and a cinnamon pretzel which is served with a vanilla sauce – all a bit much for me and even the Big Fella. We are also selling Apple Strudel with the vanilla sauce and cream. It was great to get there early and watch the little town come alive (well I thought so). It was amazing that there was only a couple of beer tents set-up; prior to going to the beer tents you also had to line up to buy the tickets – Dave and I looked at each other and thought that there might be a riot – all of these stalls had lines of up to 20 people and they weren’t moving that quickly – we are sure there would of been a lot more noise back home. At the end of the day we were sold out of all Pretzels and sauces, I believe we sold over 1,500 Pretzels plus the Apple Strudel – we really didn’t stop all day and even the Big Fella needed to get in and lend a hand in making the sauces. Ohh well at least tomorrow we won’t need to get up so early – we are leaving everything set up and just closing the tents.
Peter has told me that Sunday wouldn’t be as hectic – well it wasn’t as bad but we had our heads down most of the day selling Pretzels etc again. We had another successful day with all but one tray of the cinnamon pretzels not selling – about 30 pretzels all up. At least the kids in the playground were happy – free pretzels.
All in all it was a great weekend – I believe Peter said it was his best ever weekend. I did enjoy the stalls and the atmosphere – I especially loved that more than once people would ask us where we were from and that they loved us speaking Australian... We got the chance to catch-up with a lot of lovely people that we had met on our previous visits – they really did look a lot better on the Saturday than on the Sunday morning – all I can say is lucky that we were working and not drinking, or we would have looked the same.
20/09/2010 – 23/09/2010 – We now have a few days to relax around the lake etc. Peter and Dionne have gone back home and will come back to the Lake on Tuesday (and hopefully will bring his dog Mozart). On Tuesday we went for a drive to Steamboat (about 45 mins away). It probably would not have taken as long if we were driving Stubbie rather than Shooter; Shooter isn’t able to go too fast up some of the mountain ranges. But it is great to have the freedom of just being able to jump into her and take off for the day – without having to pack everything up.

The drive around this area is just breathtaking; we are here at the beginning of fall, to see the leaves of the trees changing from green to yellow are just spectacular. (Up in the mountains it is called an Indian summer.) Some of the colours are just amazing they range from green, yellow, bright orange and even a brilliant red.

One of the many benefits of staying near Peter is that he does all the cooking – you gotta love that. Unfortunately, Dave and I had been doing really well and trying to lose some of our weight – The Big Fella had lost over 15 pounds and I had lost nearly lost 8 pounds. I think this week with Peter we will both be happy to stay even. Peter was very grateful for our help over the weekend and bought me a couple of bottles of wine and also paid for our camping fees – fantastic.

23/09/2010 - Peter and Dionne leave us today and head back to Longmont. They have another stall to be set-up for the Oktoberfest celebrations in Denver and yep once again Dave and I are going to go down and help. So we will be staying just outside of Denver for a couple of days before we head off to Oregon.

Just to let everyone know that we are no longer complaining about the heat; we’ve gone from 40 degrees Celsius in California to a nice cool 4 degrees overnight in Colorado.