Friday, 29 June 2012

explored Denver

"sunshine on my shoulders feels so lovely"

Actually it was far too hot. We preferred to reflect a little more on what could be at Vail. Did we tell you it was really pretty.

Oh and we found our ski field. Could this be part of Paul's lost heritage?

Anyway, back to Denver.
It seems like a happening and groovy place. We did the Main Street Mall, which had a very useful eco friendly bus shuttle system which runs constantly down the 1 mile strip.

Here comes one now.

It's hard to maintain that air of authority when your horse maintains an air of it's own.

We then ventured to another Mall in the burbs to ask Mr Apple a few questions.
..... And our first Chinese food of the trip.

I'll skip to today Friday 29th June US time. Here I am diligently blogging at Denver airport.

When we returned our trusty steed to Alamo, we found out we'd ridden 2000 miles over the last 10 days. Not a scratch on it or us......plenty of dead bugs and red dirt however.

Paul and I checked in and got through security for our flight to Denver with barely 2 hours to spare.

Before we left Brisbane I thought about today often,and how we'd all be making our way towards the same spot a long way from Oz.

Paul and I arrived in Houston at 1400 ish
Myles has been in Houston for 2 nights, and desperately anticipating our reunion.
David, Jen and Colton also arrived in Houston today to stay in the same hotel as we are and have already crammed in a trip to NASA
Leesa, Tony, Lexi, Mia, Manda, Ben, Emma, Scott, Annabel, Jessica on the mega flight from Sydney to Dallas.

Here they are in their hotel's pool in Dallas kicking back soon after they arrived.

...and the bride and groom are preparing for our arrival at St Anthony's Key resort on the island of Roatan.

This is actually in Maine, in case you were confused about the scenery.

They tell us that internet services are unreliable, so if you don't hear much from us it's either because there's no WiFi or I'm just feeling far to lazy to be bothered.... What with all that relaxing, spaing, cocktailing and snorkelling.

Cheers dears!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

travelled 400 miles.... "Take me home country road"

Yesterday was our biggest driving day to date.
A big decision had to be made as to which scenic byway to take. Thank goodness for the extended daylight that Summer in these parts bring.

We loved Durango and the Historic Inn we stayed at.

Then more astounding views unfolded.

It's hard to believe, but only 100 miles south is the desert and mesas of monument valley.

Opportunities for wildlife were again presented, but they never eventuated.
We'll have to be happy with the snake we narrowly avoided at needle overlook and the chipmunks and lizards along the way.

We needed to check out Vail ski resort (paul's spiritual home he tells me).
Here we are planning our next visit.

.... And at 2000 we rode into town.

Little did we know that 900 softball teams were also here; as well as the evacuees from the savage fires near Colorado Springs.

The Budweiser arrived... Just the bottle and there was a house white .....

We didn't care. Cheers.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Messed with the Vertical

Not in an alcoholic way. Although we are in Colorado now so the options are soooo much better than Utah (see yesterdays blog).

Start with breakfast in the Strater. Simple but sufficient, something new called 'posolte' - a chilli spiced pork stew. Entertained by 'the old cowboys never die the stories just get drier' contingent that meets here each Tuesday morning.

Then off to Mesa Verde. 30 miles horizontal and a couple of thousand feet vertical.

On the way there was the obligatory quilt shop. 30 minutes later Suzanne was threatening to join a class..... We had to escape.

At Mesa Verde Suzanne declined the opportunity to visit the dwellings built into the cliff faces, and she is glad she did. Something about the vertical ladder climbs, crawling through confined tunnels and the better shopping at the top.

On the Balcony House site visit, the leader was a small 60ish female ranger with an informative speil and quiet manner.

The ladder climb in. A small drop behind for those who looked.

The climb out was fun.

On the second to Cliff Palace, we had ex-Sar-Major Chip (think Bruce Willis in Lethal Weapon)
who gave a more militarilly referenced speil, complete with 'defensive perimeter' and 'grenade' references, and comparisons between the esteem that farmers in the Pueblo society were held being similar to 'our' society's esteem of 'the soldier'. I think I learnt more about American militaries life/mindset than about the Puebloans. He would have made a good Evangelical Minister in his zeal for delivery. It was good though. The only problem was that I left the 'Military Buzzword Bingo' form at home.

Saw one of these on the road on the way back.

These didn't make it.

Dinner at the Strater's posh restuarant, where we had breakfast with the old cowboys.

From your guest blogger for today.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

visited the four corners of the USA

Another sunrise to greet the day.

I always like a good view with breakfast.

We were definitely standing straight after our no grog night.

This was our hotel; owned and operated by the Navajo.

Here's a view of the lobby.

Lots of art in the room to inspire.

Sand painting.

If you couldn't pay your bill, this is where you had to stay.
They're called Hogans and the old folk still prefer to live in these on the Navajo state.
This is the only spot in the US where 4 states meet. Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
Hot, damned hot.

At least at the end of the day, there was decent libation at the Diamond Belle saloon.

There were other things for Paul to enjoy.

..... And the piano player honky tonked like you wouldn't believe.

Durango, Colorado rocks!

Monday, 25 June 2012

visited the Wild West

We'll start at sunrise.

Paul had to be at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands at precisely 0605 to ensure the best light. Our motel room was an hour's drive away. Thankfully I achieved my holiday goal of sleeping in yet

Paul assures me that he got much better shots on his grown up camera.

We stayed at the Gonzo Inn. Gonzo in Italian apparently means wild and zany with a touch of elegance.
Here's an example of their Gonzo decor.

Sunday's not the best day for gallery hopping. Here's one that gave some creative input even though closed.

Who says the yanks don't have a sense of humour? This sign amongst the canyon region. When we got closer, it gave height at 400 ft.

Lunch in Monticello was also enhanced by the Decor Spirit.

.......and here they are
Monument valley did not disappoint.

A john wayne movie showing at the outdoor cinema provided graphic footage of Navajo being massacred; meanwhile inside the View hotel (utterly fabulous location) are their descendents looking after us.

Here's our dinner prepared by local Navajo celebrity chef.
Blue fried corn bread and blue corn mash. It hasn't been genetically engineered to make it yellow and therefore more appealing.

No alcohol on the reservation.

....and a sunset to finish another fantastic day.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Visited 3 national parks in one day

It's a new record for us. We started with a good aussie breakfast.

Our expectations of the views are fairly high now.

Could today deliver more jaw dropping moments? Let's see.

Delicate arch in Arches National park.

How rude.

Pretty flowers

It's tough country.

Mesa arch in Canyonlands national park at 16:30.

From Green River Overlook with White Rim in Canyonlands.

Colorado river.
This was our penultimate stop of the day. By then it was like flogging a dead horse, which was really ironic as this viewing area was called Dead Horse Point Overlook.

Our last stop was Moab Brewery. They scored 10/10 for food, drink and service. The gicanticast cranberry margarita! Sorry, no photos, too tired to get the camera out.