Wednesday, 2 April 2014

01/02/2014 - Sun Peaks, Penticton, BC to New York and Halifax

01/02/2014 -     Sun Peaks, BC

Well since we have been here we have had temperatures varying between +1 degrees to -32 degrees celsius during the day - needless to say on the days where the temps were below the -20 and there wasn't any new snow, it was very difficult to get motivated to go outside.  We have had snow, then gone for about 19 days without any - very extreme conditions.

05/02/2014 - Well today Maddie and I decided it was too cold to go skiing / boarding so we headed for the dog sledding.  This week they had a special for locals of 50% off, of course since we are staying here for 4 months we qualified, woohoo.  After making our way to the meeting point we needed to walk about another 500 meters through the snow to get to the dogs and sleds.  Of course in typical Lisa style, you could see a branch going over the track, and even I knew I would need to duck under this one, but oops forgot, turned around to talk to Maddie, turned back and whack straight into the tree - ouch.  No damage done so we kept going.  Once we got to the dogs, we were able to give them all a pat and then we were bundled into the sled, of course Maddie being taller she was in the back, once the dogs were put on their leash on the sled, the excitement began, there was barking and jumping everywhere, they just couldn't wait for the command to go - then mush off we went.  We were in the sled for about an hour, apparently because of the cold and the fact that the snow was hard packed (we hadn't seen any new snow for about a week) it was a fast course.  Maddie and I both felt sorry for the dogs when they had to pull us up hill, but they were just loving it.  We would stop every now and again for the dogs to have a break and catch their breath, and within a couple of minutes they were itching to go again.  We got to little McGilvray Lake both Maddie and I were able to drive the sled - wow it was really fantastic, something that we both really enjoyed and won't forget, especially as we both loved the dogs.  It was over way too soon so back to their home, where they were all given something to eat and drink.  The dogs do seem to love doing this..

On the way back to the Chalet, Maddie was making a wee bit of fun and mimicking her Auntie Lisa, where I had hit my head on the branch, and whilst she was doing this had a nice fall into the snow just off the track - there was no grace in this fall - all I can say is Karma.

8/02/2014 - Sun Peaks

Well the fridge is nearly bare, it's been about 3 weeks since we have been into Kamloops for a grocery shop.  There is a small convenience store up here which does provide the basics.

The bus into Kamloops is about $45.00 each  We had learnt from our local coffee shop that there is a Facebook site set-up for locals and workers up here which can be used to request rides into Kamloops etc for various reasons.  Well I put a post up and asked if anyone was going into Kamloops, I offered $20.00 each (for Maddie and I - no the Big Fella wasn't keen).  Well after a bit of messaging we gratefully accepted a ride from John (someone that we had never met before).  With no expectations, we had no idea who was going to turn up, well let's just say John looked a bit like a mountain man.  John introduced us to his wife Vern and during the first conversation advised us that Vern had brain surgery (I must admit I didn't say anything as I wasn't sure if he was joking or not), we were in the car for less than 5 minutes.  Then we found out that John wasn't going to drive us down, it was Vern.  John had provided Vern with instructions on how to get to Costco.  We later found out that Vern has a hard time remembering anything - mmm not sure what type of trip we are in for.  We arrived in Kamloops and after a few wrong turns, I think Maddie and I had a better idea of where Costco was, we made our way to Costco.  Well $700 worth of groceries, we then headed over to Safeways.

We all made it home safely, Vern was a lovely lady who has had 2 brain surgeries and still has one clot in her brain, at this stage they are unable to operate.  Vern has lived half way up the mountain for approx. 8 years, and from what we could tell (and witnessed) craves company, especially female, she lives with her husband and one son.  I was worried about keeping the conversation going on our way into town, but no need to worry, Vern didn't stop talking the whole time, it was lovely to hear her life story, we heard some things that you really don't need to know when you first meet a person.  She was talking about her endometriosis and Maddie made the mistake of asking exactly what it is - well poor Maddie.

10/02/2014 - Sun Peaks

Maddie is meeting up with her friend from her Ski Instructor course this morning, so it's just the Big Fella and I this morning.  We made it up the mountain around 10:30am, and after our first run, I decided I needed coffee and to clean our goggles.  Both of our goggles had completely frozen over, (not fogged but frozen) apparently because of the moisture in the air and the cold temperature, this sometimes happen.   

22/02/2014 - 02/03/2014  Sun Peaks

Over the last few days we have had some varying conditions - on one of the days we had a downpour of what I call bean bag filling, the whole ground was covered with tiny balls of ice, it really did look like someone had opened up a million bean bags and scattered the filling.  

Great news though is that in the past week we have had approx. 50cm of new snow - as the Big Fella would say it has been 'Awesome'.  The only problem is that the Big Fella had to make a trip into Kelowna (thanks Brant) for a tooth extraction so this has had him off the slopes for a few days - not a great time for this to happen, oh well Maddie and I have been having some awesome days.  Bobbie and Brant made the trip up from Penticton for a few days, so it was great to catch-up with them.  I must admit I had been very good being of the alcohol since the gang left, but I just had to be sociable - okay I may have had one or two more than Bobbie, but hey I think I deserved it….

Maddie is currently doing her Canadian Adaptive Disability Level 1 Skiing Certificate.  This will allow her to do some volunteering, so far she is really enjoying the course.  This will go great with her Skiing Instructor Level 1 course.

I have had some great falls, luckily for me none have been captured on camera, but I have kept Maddie entertained.  I really shouldn't try and keep up with her.   I did make a trip to the Spa for a registered massage, just to relieve some aches and pains but other than that all is good.

03/03/2014 - 12/03/2014

Well today we left the Cornerstone Chalet and headed on up to the village. We will be here for nine days, looking forward to complete ski-in ski-out.  You really couldn't get any closer to the slopes.  See the view from our balcony below:

On Wednesday we paid for the first tracks and breakfast and boy was it worth it.  We had about 12cm of snow overnight and the conditions were just perfect.  There was about 25 of us and 3 guides, so we were split into groups depending on our level of skiing.  We did three runs, one of which was the Exhibition Run and we were the first three to hit the slope, it felt like your were floating and you didn't need to worry about any bumps or ice - just amazing.  Just before nine we left the guides and Maddie and I headed over to Sting which was absolutely fantastic, I don't think I have had a better time on the slopes before and when all you can see in front of you is fresh tracks that noone had been on before you it just doesn't get any better.  The Big Fella went and hit Exhibition again, we then all met up the top and did Sting again, I think that other than Maddie and I only two other people had hit it.  We have all been trying to improve and having been trying to perfect our jumping.  The Big Fella is going so well that I find it hard to tell when he is coming down switch.

Where we are staying at has a Gym so Maddie and I hit that on our 2nd day, unfortunately the treadmill was closed.  So the next day we decided that we would do the stairs there are four floors.  Whilst it wasn't hurting too bad on the that day, the next day we both felt it, I felt as if I needed an A frame to get around, needless to say three runs for that day was enough pain that I could handle.  

The World Speed Skiing competition was scheduled to be run from 05/03/2014 - 09/03/2014.  This event will be held on the Headwalls, they have been grooming this run for the past week or so.  We have all skied/boarded this run, but we didn't face our equipment straight down the hill, for any length of time, on purpose.  Speed Skiing  is the worlds fastest non-motorised sport, the current world record is 251.4 km/h which is even faster than the terminal velocity of a free-falling skydiver.  These skiers suits are made from air tight latex or have a polyurethane coating to reduce wind resistance, other than a helmet they wear a back protector to give some protection in case of a crash.    

Unfortunately, the weather for the first two days hasn't been conducive to the competition.  The top of the mountain has been clouded in and there was a bit of snow happening.  On Friday they managed to get some runs in and omg sitting watching them is just unbelievably scary, we did witness one small accident but thank goodness he wasn't badly injured, I'm sure there would of had to of been bruising.

This photo really doesn't do the slope justice for how steep it is….

Dave took out the camera one day and did get some great snapshots.

You can tell by this photo how steep the double black diamond headwalls run is.  You have to do your turns fast…….

12/03/2014 - 19/03/2014 Sun Peaks - Penticton.

We had a really lovely week with Bobbie, Brant, Lisa and Jett in Penticton and Apex.  So nice to be back in Kaleden, and as is usual, the Australian Flag was up - not sure if it is to warn their friends or family that we are in town, or to welcome us.  

Brant had built a great enclousrue to capture deer so that visitors can get a close look…(It really is suppose to keep the deer out of the garden..) 

The view from the deck of the Howard Hacienda - just spectacular.

Memories - Apex Ski Resort

Maddie and I along with Bobbie and Brant got to take Jett down to the Park for a little while.  Not sure who had more fun in the park Maddie or Jett.  Bobby and Brant decided to drive back up the hill, so Maddie and I offered to walk with Jett back to the Hacienda, I did say that if Jett couldn't walk all the way I would carry him, well the walk back home and up the hill seemed a lot further than the walk down the hill.  Jett has taken a real liking to Maddie.

We were lucky enough to get a couple of days in skiing, with fresh snow and great conditions at Apex.  We went to two of the Penticton Vees Hockey games, they were in the final for the BCHL Interior Conference Final.  Unfortunately, they lost the 7 game final series 3-4.  

Canadian Lisa was having a bit of trouble getting the business truck going, so Dave was happy to help out and yes, it did get going.

A huge thank-you to the Howard / Navin family for their fantastic hospitality - it is always great to catch-up, and to see little Jett is just wonderful, he is such a happy little youngster.  We did notice that before we drove out the Australian Flag had been taken down.

19/03/2014 - 26/03/2014 - New York

We arrived into the airport at around 1:00am 20/03/2014 - unfortunately like they say New York doesn't sleep, it was still really busy and after realising that it was just going to be too much of a hassle to store our snowboard bags at the airport we realised we needed to book alternative transportation into the city with all our luggage, luckily we only had to wait 40 minutes until our shuttle bus arrived.  Well after checking in etc, it was about 3:00am before we finally hopped into bed.

We had a late start on the 21st, we even missed the free breakfast, for those of you who know me, this is most unusual.  So we put on our walking boots and off we went to see the City, it was Maddies first time to NYC.  We wandered around and saw Times Square, Broadway, Rockefeller Centre, St Patricks Cathedral, before making our way to the Empire State Building.  It is just amazing how many ticket sellers there are on the street and I don't think that Maddie had experienced this before, I think she was getting a lot more offers because she is blonde and gorgeous, they kept offering her tickets to go up - I said that was okay, as long as they don't ask you to go down.  Dave and I had previously been to the top of the Rock, on our last visit.  We both decided that we would like to go to the top of the Empire State Building.  There was an audio tour and we decided that it was a better way to see the city than the Rock.  We were lucky enough to arrive at the right time, the wait wasn't long at all.  The view from up the top of the Empire is just spectacular you really do you get a feel of the layout and also just how big this city really is.  Unfortunately, being up so high you do have to fight with the elements, the winds on one side were practically gale force, which sent Maddie and I inside after awhile, the Big Fella stuck it out.

View from Empire State Building

View from Empire State Building

 View from Empire State Building

The foyer inside Empire State Building

22/04/2014 - The next day we were awake earlier enough to make the free breakfast.  Dave and Maddie did comment on how they couldn't understand people eating chocolate covered donuts for breakfast - well I can tell you by the end of our stay, they were both lining up for chocolate donuts for breakfast.  

We jumped on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus and did the downtown loop, we stopped off at the 9/11 Memorial Site and the Brooklyn Bridge.  

The 9/11 Memorial Site is a tribute of remembrance and honour to the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, PA and the six people killed in the World Trade Centre bombing in February 1993.  Each reflecting pool is nearly an acre in size and the largest manmade waterfalls in North America.  The pools site in the footprints where the Twin Towers once Stood.  The site itself is very powerful.

Maddie and Dave at the 9/11 Memorial Site.

One of the new World Trade Centre buildings - nearly finished.

One of the memorial pools.

The Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn.  It was the first steel-wire suspension bridge built in 1883.

Maddie and I had tickets for Wicked so we left the Big Fella to have some time to himself whilst we headed over to Broadway.  Maddie had been really looking forward to Wicked and she was not disappointed, it was an amazing show with spectacular sets, and I think the Big Fella enjoyed having some alone time.

Wicked - Gershwin Theatre - Opening scene

22/03/2014 - Today we hopped on the Bus to head on over to Brooklyn.  Well I must say that this part of the Hop On Hop Off bus tour was boring, well for Maddie and I.  So we hopped off the bus, near a Starbucks (of course) and made our way back via the Subway.  It is just amazing how easy it is to get around in NYC via their rail.  We had decided that whilst in NYC we would take Maddie to the Red Lobster Restaurant, so as we ended up near one - we decided to stop their for lunch.  Maddie is sure getting comfortable with us, not only did she order the Lobster she also ordered the prawns and scallops to go along with it.  After our Bellies were well and truly full, we took the Bus Tour to do the Uptown tour.

Outside the Barclay Indoor Arena - Brooklyn

Whilst we were in Times Square we stopped off at the Ticket window and purchased some tickets to see Chicago, the musical.  Dave and I had first seen this stage show in Melbourne and it was just fantastic.  Dave was originally going to see this show when Maddie and I went to see wicked, but he decided to stay in for the night, so it ended up costing up another two tickets - score for Maddie and I.

Whilst the stage was a lot smaller and the main actresses not as good - we still enjoyed the show, and it was something different (her words) for Maddie to see.

View from Brooklyn over to Manhattan.

Mmm - Maddie chowing down on her meal from Red Lobster.


23/03/2014 - Today we are heading up to visit Central Park.  Whilst Dave and I have spent some time in Central Park, we wanted to spend some more time there, so this time we booked a bike tour.  Well, after we were fitted out with bikes and helmets, yes giant size for Dave and kiddies size for me, we started the tour.  It was great to do this tour as we did see and hear a few more details that we either hadn't learnt the last time we were here or we had forgotten.

 Maddie getting ready to ride

 Strawberry Fields - tribute to John Lennon

 The literary walk

Bethesda Fountain 

This is the pond were the boat race in Stuart Little was held.

Tonight we are heading over to Madison Square Garden to watch the Basketball - New York Knicks V Cleveland Cavaliers.  Whilst this wasn't one of our favourite sporting events that we have watched it did have some spectacular dunks (just not enough), and we had a good night.

New York Knicks V Cleveland Cavaliers

24/03/2014 - Today Maddie and I have decided to visit the American Museum of Natural History whilst The Big Fella took off to visit the High Line.

We enjoyed our visit at the Museum which had some great dinosaur fossils.

Luckily (for Dave) we didn't get to see the Power of Poison exhibit.

The High Line is a 1.6km park built on an old elevated railroad.  The park features lush horticulture, artworks etc.

Tonight we are heading off again to Madison Square Garden to see the New York Rangers V Phoenix.  It was great to see another Hockey game, even though we all had to admit that there didn't seem the same level of passion / urgency as the BC Junior Hockey League (basically there weren't any fights).

25/03/2014 - Today is our last full day in NYC - so we have decided to head on down to Chinatown and then hop on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
One of the main reasons for going down to Chinatown is to shop, especially for a wallet for Maddie.  Of course we decided that Maddie should have a fake.  Whilst selling a designer brand counterfeit handbag in NYC is illegal and a risky proposition for the seller, the buyer has little risk as no one has ever been charged for buying a fake handbag, even though it is an illegal act.  Don't think the Big Fella was too happy about me bargaining with a lady on the side of a sheet, whilst there were a couple of her watchers around - looking out for undercover police.  The transaction did take a bit of time as we had to wait until the coast was clear.  We couldn't go into her 'shop' as there were just too many police around, apparently.  Maddie was a bit shocked and found the experience a bit funny - it was really like a drug deal going on except it was for a handbag.  At the end of it all Maddie ended up with a lovely Michael Kors fake wallet.  Unfortunately, no photos were taken.
After our little experience in Chinatown we headed on down to the Staten Island Ferry.  This is a free ferry which goes straight past the Statue of Liberty, over to Staten Island, then turns around and comes back to Manhattan.  The ferry is free as this is the only connection to Manhattan Island.

 Maddie and Dave amusing themselves whilst I get cup of coffee.

Maddie on the Ferry

Statue of Liberty

As we had a bit of spare time we decided to catch the Train to the Grand Central Train Station.  It is the largest train station (by platforms) in the world.

 Grand Central Terminal

Of course on our last night we get flurries.

26/03/2014 - Well it's a sad day - we have to say goodbye to Maddie and send her back home.  Maddie has been a terrific travelling partner and I will miss her terribly.  Maddie is flying home by herself so is a bit nervous but also very excited to be going home to see family and friends.  So after we get Maddie checked in and sorted out, the Big Fella and I head on over to our terminal to catch our flight to Halifax, via Philadelphia.

When we get to the terminal and try to check in we can't find our reservation, so after calling an attendant over she lets us know that we are booked in for two days time, and asks if we had changed the booking, we let her know that we had not.  We go down to the counter and speak to a supervisor who finally lets us know that our flight from Philadelphia to Halifax has been cancelled due to weather, Halifax is having a blizzard with gale forced winds of 100km.  The airlines booked us on to the next available flight out of Newark to Philly then onto Halifax in two days time.  Well after talking to the attendant we walked away, and then we decided that it was better to spend two days in Philly rather than Newark.

27/03/2014 - Philadelphia.  Whilst there wasn't a great deal that we wanted to see in Philly, we did want to see the Liberty Bell and the stairs of the Museum of Art (this is were Rocky ran up the stairs in the movie Rocky).

The Liberty Bell

The Rocky Statue - outside the Museum of Art 

Looking down from the Museum of Art - the stairs that Rocky ran up.

We were glad that we made the journey into Philly city, that is another city of our list.  The only area that we have left on our list is Boston and New England, but we are not sure if we will get to these, it does depend on the weather, and I must say that after over 3 months we this cold / freezing weather we would love to have some warm weather.  We are both getting tired of feeling like the Michelin Man with so many layers of clothes on.  I must admit at one stage the Big Fella and I couldn't even remember what state we were in i.e. what state Philadelphia was in.

28/03/2014 - Halifax.  Well we finally make it to Halifax, and hopefully this will be our last flight until we fly back home.  We are both really looking forward to getting into the motorhome and unpacking.

29/03/2014 - 31/03/2014 - Halifax.  This morning we went to the repairers to pick-up shooter - it was like meeting an old friend again.  We went and had a look at Stubbie and she is looking good.  The only thing is that the batteries, have gone flat, which is to be expected and the logo on the front is missing.  The repairers have let us know that on Monday they will look into getting the logo put on the front and also will try and charge all our batteries for us - they will take her inside for this.  As the registration and insurance had been renewed whilst we were back home, the papers were sent to our Texas address, so now we need to wait for these papers to be sent to Halifax.  Unfortunately the temperatures are getting colder and our plans to go south are being delayed.

For more photos use the link below:
01/02/2014 - 29/03/2014 - Sun Peaks, Penticton, NYC, Halifax