Sunday, 30 January 2011

04/12/2010 - 02/02/2010 - LA - San Francisco - Las Vegas - New York - Las Vegas - Canada

04/12/2010 - Today we are on the move - we are moving closer to Universal Studios.  After we had set-up, the girls and I went off to the Shops - Sales are still happening.  The way the girls buy up at the Sales I have no idea on how they are going to get everything home - but boy are they having fun.  The shopping over here is a lot cheaper (especially with the exchange rate at the moment).  I must admit I was a bit frightened after I came home from shopping and Dave asked what I had bought - I realised why, he was looking at purchasing some golf clubs via the Internet - I knew it wouldn't take long, but he is getting smarter he did say that he was looking at purchasing a set for me too, and of course it's cheaper to buy a full set than just a few clubs. (Dave is missing his golf...)

After our little shopping adventure I decided that it was time to introduce the girls to Red Lobster.  After looking at the Navigation System I let them know that the restaurant was about 20 mins away - to which Kecca replied is that half an hour.  I know that they have been having trouble with converting miles to kilometers and the time difference but this comment is right up there with Dave's comment on is that the Australian Calendar or the American Calendar.  At least we are having some great laughs along the way.  It is really great to be travelling with the two girls.

One thing that I am noticing is that with two young women in the motorhome and with their boyfriends back home - the laptops are working overtime - lucky we have two. 

05/12/2/010 - Today we headed on over to the Hollywood sign and to have another look at Rodeo Drive.

07/12/2010 - 22/12/2010 - LA to Las Vegas
 After finishing up in LA we headed up the coastline to San Francisco.  On the way we stopped at Hearst Castle and a beach which is renowned for the elephant seals.  One of the nights we camped right on the beach and set-up a great fire. The sunset was just beautiful, watching the sunset over the ocean and drinking a nice cold glass of wine around the camp fire - heaven.

When we arrived in San Fran we went into town to show the girls around Pier 39 and the Fish Markets.  I came home a little bit confused - Dave kept stopping at each camera shop. 

The second day we were in San Francisco was the day that we had purchased tickets to watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks.  The RV park that we were staying in is right across the road from the Stadium.  I got up and had a look around at 9:00am and there were already cars parked in the car park.  People arrive early open up their boot / tail gate and set-up their grill and start drinking - I knew then that we were going to be in trouble.  The RV park had also opened up any spare space for cars to park ($30).  It was just an unbelievable site.  One of the things that we loved was that you can walk around with your own drinks and no one cares.  Well after a couple of drinks we finally made it over to the car park where we wandered around just taking it all in. It really is something to see - it is a bit like the car park at Melbourne Cup - except a lot lot bigger.  We finally made it to our seats and the two girls started chatting to the guy next to him - well I don't know how much of the game the 3 of them saw - but they were definitely having a lot of fun.  The atmosphere is something like that of a State of Origin game - except a lot more polite.  At one stage one the players had injured themselves and the girls yelled out that in Australia they walk off even if they are dead - well that a bought a roar of laughter from the crowd around us.

After the game we wandered back to the RV park - we did loose the girls as they were busy stopping at some of the tail gating parties.  When we got back to the park it was obvious that the game day antics where not over.  Everybody was outside their RV's drinking and having a great time.  So we joined the family next door and of course kept on drinking - I must admit that part of the night is a bit of a blur for me.  Luckily we had planned a rest day the next day.

The following day the girls went to visit Alcatraz.  Dave and I went for a walk to the bank and then headed back down to the piers, where he continued to look at Cameras.  When Karleigh came back from Alcatraz, Dave and her went straight to the Camera shop - mmm - now I know I'm in trouble.  Karleigh has great bargaining powers, so in the end Dave walked out with a new 7D Canon Camera  The weather in San Francisco hasn't been that great to us - there has been a lot of fog around and visibility has been really low.


After San Francisco we headed to Yosemite National Park - we once again broke one of our golden rules of trying not to arrive in a park when it is dark - oh well only missed by an hour or 2, but then when we finally get to our planned RV Park it was closed, back to the fairgrounds for us.  We had a good day in Yosemite, the waterfalls are beautiful - would love to seem them after winter when all the snow has melted. 

After Yosemite we headed on down to Death Valley National Park.  Death Valley was a wonderful surprise - the mountains and differing landscapes where really spectacular.  We did get the girls up prior to sunrise to walk out onto the Bad Salt Lake to see the sunrise - but unfortunately there was too much cloud cover.  After this we went for a small hike up to the Natural Bridge (I'm sure every park has one of these), we then drove down to the Devil's Golf Course, around the Artists Palette and then headed over to the Cathedral.  It was about a 5 km round trip hike - this was way too much for the girls, they stayed in
the car while the Big Fella and I made the trek - which at some stages we wished we had taken the same option as the girls.  Though at the end of the trip we were both very happy that we had made the hike.  The girls are a bit puffed after their early morning and have had enough - so we decided to go back to the park and pack up and head on down to Vegas.  Dave and I will be back to Death Valley to explore more at a later date.


The first night we arrived and everybody was sitting around not planning on going out - hey I'm in Vegas (yes I know again), so I put on some fresh clothes and off I went - over to Circus Circus for a few hours.  I have learnt that the servers expect a $1 a tip for each drink and if you give them a bit more and ask them to just keep them coming (thanks for the tip-  handbag) that's exactly what they do - so a few drinks later I ventured on back to Stubbie.

The next day is Kecca's birthday so the girls have gone to do a bit of shopping and get a bit of waxing done.  We make the trip down to New York, New York for dinner - prior to going in the girls and I just had to have a cocktail in one of their yard glasses.  After dinner and drinks we headed on over to the Big Fella's favourite Poker Machine (yes I know it is hard to believe but since our last visit to Vegas he really has enjoyed playing the Fireball Machine - don't know if that is a good thing or not).  Unfortunately, tonight we weren't so lucky on the Fireball - so we decided to go for a walk to have a look at some other Casinos.  Kecca had purchased a beautiful new pair of grey boots (high heeled) which looked absolutely fantastic on her but unfortunately she couldn't walk in them for too long so we decided to call it a night and head on back home. 

We have decided to leave Stubbie at Circus Circus RV Park in storage whilst we visit New York, so the day before we are to leave we are getting her ready i.e. winterising her so nothing freezes over whilst we are gone.  We have organised to spend the 21st Dec in the Flamingo Casino as we have an early flight the next day.  Well, let me just say that things did not go according to plan.  We had packed up and decided that we would fill Stubbie up with Propane then give her a wash before putting her into Storage and meeting the girls at the Flamingo - we had originally planned to be at the Flamingo around 3:00pm.  We did eventually make it to the Flamingo around 6:00pm.    Whilst we were filling up with propane - we noticed that Stubbie had a flat tyre - of course it had to be one in the front.  So I decided to do some washing whilst Dave worked on the tyres. After Dave got the tyre pumped up we then needed to find an auto shop to get some parts. We eventually caught up with girls who asked us if we would like to go to Holly's show, but after the day that Dave and I had we decided that we would have dinner a quiet drink then go to bed.  Once again our plans changed.  As we hadn't eaten for sometime and we were very thirsty the first few drinks went down very fast and from then on there was no return.  We just continued to drink and have a good time - I had a win on the Pokies which meant we had some money to play with, so we decided to wait until the girls had come back from the show and have a nice quiet drink with them.  Wrong again - by the time the girls arrived we had had way too many drinks and we were both playing the tables with some young lads from Texas - I'm sure to this day they don't know what hit them.  I'll just say that the Big Fella and I believe we both finally made it to the room around 2:00am. 

22/12/2010 - Las Vegas to New York - We wake up the next morning at around 5:00am not feeling too bad - I think we still had some alcohol left in our system - but we were very slow to get going.  We arrive at the Las Vegas airport only to stand in the line for about 30 minutes then to find out that we have missed our flights.  The air line staff put us on standby for the available flights.  If we can get on both of our stand by flights we will arrive in New York around 9:00pm - 4 hours later than planned.  Our first flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta, Georgia felt longer than our flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles - we had broken one of our cardinal rules - never fly with a hangover or drunk.  Whilst we waited for 4 hours for our connecting flight from Atlanta to New York, I was going through my folder with all our travel information in it and our tickets to Madame Tussuad's for New Years Eve to try and provide the girls with the address etc for our New York apartment, well still not having a clear head I left the folder at the Atlanta airport. 

We eventually arrived at New York Airport and this was when I realised I'd left my folder at Atlanta airport.  The four tickets for New Years Eve was my main concern - I needed to wait until the morning before I could try and contact lost and found to see if it had been found - It was a long few days before I received a call to say that the folder had been found and was being shipped overnight to New York - if it hadn't been found I was up for 4 more tickets to Madame Tussuad's at around $130 each - I'm sure this is something that the Big Fella would never let me forget. 

So after a long long day we finally arrived at the address we would be staying at for the next 11 nights - only to realise that we are on the 4th floor and there are no lifts - great.  That wasn't the worst of it - we knock on the door and the girls let us in.  Let me just say that the apartment doesn't quiet look like the photos.  The floor has a huge bend in it - the cupboard doors don't slide, one has been broken off, the sofa bed would be like sleeping on just the spring no mattress and the list goes on - two good aspects was that it was clean and in a fantastic location - within walking distance to most attractions.  We are lucky enough that the apartment sleeps 5, so Karleigh will be sleeping on the Sofa Chair in the bedroom, Dave and I in the DOUBLE Bed (not much room after us two get in there) and Kecca will be sleeping on the lounge.  When we had unpacked we started chatting to the girls and found out that not only had Karls hugged the Porcelain bus in the morning but that Kecca needed to use the sick bag on the plane.

23/12/2010 - 24/12/2010 Our first day in New York was spent trying to orientate ourselves around the neighbouring area.  We headed on over to the Rockefeller Centre - Soaring 70 floors high with an unobstructed 360ยบ view of the city.   From the Top of the Rock you get to see the whole city - i.e. Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Central Park etc etc.  It is a fantastic view.  We decided to do the Top of the Rock ilo the Empire State Building as we were told that the wait wasn't as long and also that you get a good view of the Empire State Building.

The second day we spent on the Staten Island Ferry - passing by the Statue of Liberty, visiting Wall Street (where the Big Fella was really keen to see the Bull and the Bear - only to find out that there is no Bear), Ground Zero gave us all a weird feeling - it was really eerie and sad.  After visiting Ground Zero we ventured on our walk to the Brooklyn Bridge, this is where we realised that Kecca is really afraid of heights - half way was well and truly enough for her.   We get home to discover that the heating isn't working - luckily there are two electrical heaters in the cupboard.


25/12/2010 - Christmas Day - We were lucky enough that the Bond's, Waite's and Pitkin's invited the Elford's over for Christmas Lunch.  So in the morning we caught the subway over to their apartment.  Oh boy there really is no comparison in apartments.  We were all missing our families and it didn't really feel like Christmas until we arrived.  The Waite's / Pitkins had their apartment decorated with Christmas decorations and you could smell the Turkey cooking as you walked down the hallway.  We had an absolutely fantastic lunch - Roast Turkey, Ham and all the trimmings with some fantastic desserts to finish off the great lunch.  The Bond's were so thoughtful they had gone out and bought the Elford's some wonderful little Secret Santa presents.  We had an absolutely wonderful day thanks to all the fellow Australians.  After such a great day we get home to find out that the Heating is still not working, and now there is no hot water - and all this for $300 a night.  I think I will be making a few phone calls in the morning.

26/12/2010 - Boxing Day - Today the Big Fella, Kecca and I all took the Hop on Hop off bus to the downtown area of New York i.e. Wall Street etc.  We had a lovely lunch at a little french restaurant on 7th Avenue.    After this we then took another Hop on Hop off bus tour to Harlem (which is now a really lovely area), Central Park, Lincoln Center, and Museum.  During our bus trips it has started to snow - they are expecting a blizzard later on today and through the evening.  We hoped off the bus tour at Times Square where Dave and I purchase tickets to go see the Rocketts Christmas Festival at Radio City.  It was a great show which Dave and I really enjoyed - however, after the show we then needed to walk home in Blizzard conditions - and all I can say is that it was windy and very very very cold.

27/12/2010 - We woke up this morning (after the blizzard) to find that everything was white.  The Blizzard had dumped about 50cm of snow on the city.  The whole city seemed to come to a stand still there were cars just left in the Streets now covered under snow.  The girls where excited to get downstairs and make some snow angels. 


28/12/2010 - We had planned on doing the Brooklyn loop of the Hop on Hop off bus tour today.  So after a phone call to check to see if it was running - the Big Fella and I got dressed and braved the conditions.  We hoped of the bus to go and get our connection, and only after walking around for about 1/2 an hour, we asked one of the operators where we needed to catch the bus only to find out that it wasn't running due to the Blizzard (by the time we left the tour was still not operating).  The Brooklyn tour wasn't the only one that had been cancelled - there is about 5 different loops and the only one that was partially working was the main loop.

28/12/2010 - 30/12/2010 - Over the next couple of days we went and visited the Guggenheim Museum, Madison Square Gardens, Tiffany's on 5th Avenue, Ice Skating Rink at Central Park etc.  Karls, Dave and I even went to the movies in Times Square.  Kecca and I took a horse drawn carriage ride around Central Park - something we just had to do, even though we knew it was a tourist rip off.  We had a great couple of days and I for one was really impressed on how they care for their lovely old buildings.  I have taken a real liking to New York City.  I think the Big Fella is glad that he has seen the city but wouldn't put it in his top 5.

31/12/2010 - Today Kecca, Dave and I are having an easy day going for a visit to Grand Central Station, trying not to do too much before our night out at Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum.  Karleigh has gone to visit some more museums etc.

We have an early dinner prior to heading on over to Madame Tussuad's - I'm glad we have left early and that we have tickets.  We started to make the journey over at around 6:30.  The police where out in force trying to control the crowds, many of the streets had already been closed off and you could only access some of them if you had tickets. The crowds where just huge.  We walked down the street where Madame Tussuad is located and look up to see the ball glowing.  We will only be able to see if from the side - which is okay by us. The tickets cost approx. $130.00 each and includes, viewing the wax figures (we weren't sure if these would be put away)/ drinks from 8:00pm to 2:00am (6 hours), plus some nibbles etc.   Well it wasn't long before we realised that there were a lot of Australians in the place.  We ordered our firsts drinks and to my disgust no scotch, oh well I'll try the Gin and the girls had Vodka, the bartender poured our drinks and there was at least two nips of alcohol in each drink - they were very strong, even I struggled to get the first one down - but not being a quitter I got through it.  Seeing how strong they were pouring the drinks we knew that some of the Aussies would be in a real mess and it wasn't long before it showed.   I had gone to the toilet and the Big Fella was waiting for me and when I came out he told me the story of how a couple of Aussies had tried to pick Angelina Jolie up and take her for a little walk to get some fresh air.  Another embarrassing (funny moment) was when the Aussies discovered that they hadn't put away all the snacks and ice creams and started handing them out to everyone.  After only a couple of hours the Museum had run out of mixers and champagne, so it was either beer or wine - no big problem for the Big Fella and I - but a few people were disappointed so they just started drinking the spirits straight - oh it's going to be down hill from here. 

At around 11:30 we decided to try to venture outside with 3 million of our clesest friends, to get a spot on the sidewalk to watch the ball drop.  This was a battle in itself, everybody else had the same idea, so it took us a while to get outside and find a decent spot to watch the ball drop.  With about 5 minutes to go we found our spot.  From where we were standing you couldn't see or hear the count down so the ball just started dropping.  When the ball reached the bottom there were a couple of very small fireworks let off and that was basically it.  Whilst I'm really glad to cross this off my list - I don't need to do it again.  After the fireworks had finished we decided not to fight the crowds to get back into the Museum but instead we headed for a nice little healthy late night snack at MacDonald's. 

01/01/2011 - Today is our last full day in New York so the Big Fella and I decided to go and have a really good look around Central Park. We visited Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, Betheseda Fountain etc. We had a wonderful day just wandering around the Park. The Park still had a large amount of snow so was really pretty.

02/01/2011 - Back to Vegas.

03/01/2011 - Time is running out for the girls - so of course we head off to the shops for some last minute shopping.  The Big Fella stays behind to keep Stubbie company.  I think he is overwhelmed living with 3 females - all I can say is wait for Simone and Heather to get here.

04/01/2011 - Today is the girls last full day together in Vegas.  So they get up earlish and go exploring some of the Casinos.  Tonight we have tickets for Mystere (Cirque de Soleil).  Prior to going to the show we all went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at Caeser's Palace, then the girls and I head on over to Treasure Island to see the show - which as usual with the Cirque de Soleil was just fantastic - this was Kecca's first.  Dave wasn't feeling too well so decided to give the show a miss. After the show we walked back past Circus Circus at which stage Kecca left Karls and I to go onto the Stratosphere where we went on the XScream ride.  The ride is a like a teeter totter 900 feet above ground, which goes over the side of the building. 

05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 - It was a sad couple of days as we first had to say goodbye to Karls and then the next day say goodbye to Kecca.  Kecca's last day didn't go as planned.  We had actually planned to take Kecca to the Older area of Las Vegas - after dropping Stubbie in to get the shower pan replaced. 
The Big Fella had ordered a shower pan from Arizona and had it delivered to Las Vegas.  So we had booked Stubbie in for this work - expecting it to take only a few hours - wrong again.  We were out and about when we received a call from the RV Service Centre to say that they needed to talk to us and could we return.  Mmmm - when we got there we were told that we had the wrong pan, well at this stage the shower had been pulled to pieces.  So in the end we decided to get them to order the new pan in and get them to fix it whilst we are away in Canada.  Of course this wasn't our plan as now Dave and I need to find somewhere to stay for the two nights before we fly out - and we also need to pack, whilst at the dealers.  Whilst I was looking for accommodation I discovered that the Consumers Technology Conference was in Las Vegas (the largest conference in the world) hence the cheapest accommodation we could get was around the $500 a night mark.  I'm starting to think that we will be sleeping in the car shooter.  In the end we found some accommodation 30 minutes outside of Vegas.

08/01/2011 - Silver Star

We have retrieved our snowboard bags off the baggage carousel and we are still waiting for one more bag - when the carousel stops and there are no bags left on it, we realise that this bag has gone missing   After filling in a report and getting through customs we catch the shuttle bus up to the resort. Of course the bag that is missing has mainly my clothes and underwear plus both our toiletries. I let Dave know that I will need to borrow some underpants- to which he replies not to stretch them - he is living on dangerous ground.
After checking into our room and unpacking we decided to go for a walk.  As we where walking past the coffee shop we had a look in and spotted Carmel and crew.  So after a coffee etc we decided to meet the Bonds, Waites and Pitkin's for happy hour at around 6:00pm.  We have a great night just sitting around having drinks and nibbles and ilo of going out for dinner we decided to order Pizza.  Of course after a small bottle of Rum the Bond and Geoff decided that they would go pick it up - in there shorts it's about -18 degrees outside - oh the effects of alcohol

09/01/2010 - 11/01/2010  -The next morning the Big Fella and I are up early and are on the lifts at around 8:20 - after 7 runs and realising how unfit we both are we decide to head on if for a coffee - it's only just past 9:30am - really don't know how we are going to get through 5 days of snow boarding. After a quick chat with the Bond he does confess to needing to sleep with a bucket beside his bed, last night - just in case.We had a great few days on the slopes skiing with Bond's, Waite's and Pitkins.

Bobbie and Brant have arrived to stay with us for two nights, so of course we have a few drinks before heading out for dinner at the Den. 

12/01/2010 - We woke up this morning to snow, snow, snow - they had over 40cm overnight.  The previous 3 nights they had received 3-5cm each night so with another 40cm drop it became very deep posder.  So the Howard's and the Elford's take off - Much to Dave's and my delight we witnessed something that neither of us had ever seen, Brant and Bobbie both fell.  Bobbie and I lasted about 3 runs before we decided that it was too much hard work for our knees and headed in to the coffee shop.  It was a great day for the powder hounds.

Another highlight of the trip was when Michelle relayed the story of Darrin and her having a race down the mountain - Michelle won - something I would of loved to see.
13/01/2010 - Sadly it was time to leave Silverstar - we have had a fantastic time here and would love to come back.  When we arrived at the Howard Hacienda we noticed that the Australian flag was flying high - what a great surprise.

15/01/2010 - 25/01/2010
We had an absolutely wonderful time - yet again at the Howard's Hacienda.  We got to see the Vee's play 3 times.  We went out to dinner at the Ross's friends of the Howard's for a lovely meal - they really do dinner parties extremely well over, and what a lovely group of people.  During the dinner party I had picked up an allergy and both my eyes became really swollen and weepy (they felt like there was sand in both of them) - it really looked like Dave had wacked me one - if it was first thing in the morning he would of been blamed.  So unfortunately the next morning I was still not quite right and decided to give the skiing a miss - Dave and Brant both went up to Apex whilst Bobbie and I stayed at home.  We did get a day's skiing / boarding up at Apex - unfortunately the weather wasn't the best - it had started raining down the bottom of the hill.  Lisa and Brant made it up for lunch and then some afternoon skiing.  Even with Lisa being pregnant she skis just so beautifully - it is great to watch.

It was great to catch up with Peter and Lisa. Lisa is now only two months away from her due date and what really annoyed me was that from the back you couldn't even tell if she was pregnant. 

Bobbie cooked an absolutely delicious roast turkey one night for all the family - it was great to catch up with them - May, Jeannie and Ross,  Maury and Gwen, Peter and Lisa, Bobbie and Brant and the Aussies (us). They really are a lovely family and one that we have been blessed to meet - thanks Tony and Sim.
We had a great opportunity to catch-up with Tony and Lisa (our landlords for the Canyon House) for a lovely lunch.  It was really great to see them again - they are a wonderful couple.  They really haven't changed a bit - we got to have a good old chin wag and to finally see some of there gorgeous wedding photos.  Visiting the Canyon House bought back many fond memories. 
The time at the Howard's was wonderful and restful - Dave, ok and I) were really happy to have a big comfy bed (oh and did I mention Cable TV in the bedroom).

It was sad to leave (yet again) - I'm sure they think we are a boomerang.  They keep saying goodbye but we keep coming back.

26/01/2011 - We have arrived back in Vegas - yes I know again - whilst I eagerly await the arrival of Simmy and Heather to let the games begin.... 

27/01/2011 - We have decided to take Stubbie for a run, but first we need to check to see if we have a problem with the drivers side rear outside tyre.  We pull in to the first tyre shop and Dave goes to talk to one of the mechanics who says that he can have a look at it now.  So Dave and the mechanic take a tyre off and immerse it in water - no leeks - but the valve does appear to have a slow leak.  As they are putting the tyre back on I wander outside and whisper quietly to Dave that I thought it was the other tyre - to which he does not reply - looks at me and then says oh Sh*t - so now he needs to check with the mechanic if he can check the other tyre - luckily for Dave both tyres have the same problem.