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.