Our fifth wheel and the truck

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Week Four

Our last day in Leadville we decided to take it easy. We have met a lovely couple (Mary and Bruce) from Wisconsin who are also on holiday. The four of us took the Leadville train for a scenic tour of the mountains. It was really lovely - sunshine but not too hot - at least not when you are 10000feet above sea level. Mary and Bruce are heading to Colorado Springs tomorrow and we will be heading up to Loveland which is about 24miles from the Rocky Mountain National Park (which is where M & B have just been!) Next blog still in Colorado!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week Four

At last!

Finally we have done all necessary to get on with our holiday. Monday saw us arrive at the Mountaindale RV Park just out of Colorado Springs. Norm insisted on going out to dinner which was really nice so we went to Applebees. It is a chain of restaurants (like HJs Red Rooster etc) that are all exactly the same buildings, menu etc but have a menu that is better than going to HJs or Kentucky Fried You are seated and table service is provided and the food is really nice. I had ribs - I love the way they do ribs over here.

Tuesday we went to Pike’s Peak by cog railway. The top of the Peak is 14110 ft above sea level. On a clear day you can actually see the curve of the earth. It is possible to see into New Mexico to the south. Just the most amazing country. We also wandered around Manitou Springs which is a small town at the foot of the Peak.

Wednesday we went to visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, the Garden of the Gods and Helen Hunt Falls. The Cliff Dwellings were built by the Native Americans and were amazing. To think that they were built unbelievable.

The superlatives run out when you try to describe the Garden of the Gods. It is awe inspiring! You think you have seen it all and then you go around another bend in the road and a more spectacular scene presents itself..

The drive to the Falls was an experience in itself. A bit scary in fact - very narrow, winding road which would be okay in a small car but with the truck it was a bit of a white knuckle ride for both of us. The climb up to the top of the Helen Hunt Falls was very challenging. Only 500yards but with a 200foot increase in altitude. Certainly had me sucking for some air but we both made it. Beautiful spot to sit and contemplate life. So peaceful sitting in the forest, in a crevice between two huge mountains.

We had been told that we HAD to see Royal Gorge in Canon City so Thursday we drove over there. Again I run out of superlatives. The Gorge has a suspension bridge built over a gorge through which the Arkansas River runs at the bottom. There is a cable car, a funicular, a petting zoo, and other entertainment. The cable car is the longest one in the world and I hat to think how deep the Gorge is but looking down can make you a bit woozy. We went down to the river in the funicular which was just amazing. From the top the river looks pretty tame with the rafters and canoeists drifting along but when you get down to the river you have to reassess that view!. We had a magic day.

Tomorrow we are heading further into Colorado to Leadville. We are going to use this as our base to visit Aspen and other areas.

Aspen is gorgeous! The superlatives just don't do this state justice. To be surrounded by mountains with a valley floor with wildflowers and rivers running through it is something out of a movie. (Don't know which one but must have been one somewhere.)

We took the scenic route from Leadville to Aspen or should I say the white knuckle route. We went through Independance Pass which is the highest pass in the Rockies. Can't remember how high but I think it was something like 11000feet above sea level.

We took the gondola to the top of the mountain which was just beautiful and also visited the John Denver Memorial.
I convinced Norm to take the long way around to get back to Leadville. I would have been on the outside of the road trying not to look down if we had come back via Independance Pass. No thank you - being up against the rock wall of the mountain most of the time was stressful enough especially when you see a sign which tells you that the road narrows and there is another car coming towards you. It was so narrow Norm even put the side mirrors in!

Week Three

Monday and we were headed for Texas. The plan was to ‘boondock’ (dry camping - no electricity, water or sewer connections) at a Flying J Truck Stop for Monday night then an RV park on Tuesday night, arriving in Livingston TX on Wednesday.

Well we stopped at the Flying J and when the temperature still hadn’t cooled off by 10.00pm we decided to keep driving. Other people at the truck stop were trying to sleep in their cars with the air con on to stay cool. We tried to sleep in the RV however even with having a cold shower it was impossible to sleep.

We drove on into the night but then got stopped at an accident site around midnight. We were stopped on an interstate for about an hour while the emergency crews dealt with it all. The good thing was that we were able to turn off the car, put the windows down a bit and catch some zzzz.

We stopped at an RV park in Tennessee on the Tuesday night and arrived as planned in Livingston on Wednesday. We unhitched the RV and grabbed our paperwork for the vehicles and went into the Tax Office which is where we have to license them. There was only one small hiccup in that they would only accept a cheque or cash - not credit cards. Anyway we raced over the road to the bank, withdrew the $3600.00, raced back and left there with the registration plates for both vehicles. The postal service couldn’t have done it any quicker!

We spent the next couple of days in Livingston - did the chores and went out to Lake Livingston one day. There is nothing in Australia (that I am aware of) to compare with the size of the lakes in the US. We were impressed with the Great Lakes last time we were here but even Lake Livingston puts the lakes in Australia in the shade. It is humungous!

We did go shopping in Livingston and bought my birthday present - woo hoo I can now do some quilting. Norm bought me a Janome Jem Platinum which is a really neat little machine.
I also bought some fabric (I have a stash now!!!) for a quilt and for some placemats.

It has been so hot in Livingston and in Texas generally we decided to drive to Colorado so Saturday morning we headed out for Colorado. It was going to take about three days driving through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rushing around this country!!

We left Columbus, OH to drive to New Castle Indiana on the Saturday morning. We did take a bit of a detour to Walmart to buy some basics - sheets, towels, pillows etc just till we had time to pick up all the things that we would need.

Considering we bought the RV 'sight unseen' over the internet we are very happy with it. It suits us just fine. It isn't that difficult to tow according to Norm and has all the comforts of home - just in a smaller space. It is amazing how quickly I have got used to cooking in a tiny galley!

We stayed in Indiana for the week as we seemed to spend everyday at Walmart buying all the things needed to deck out the RV. It was like Christmas every day!! I had written a list before we left so we really stuck to that as much as we could however there were things that we needed that weren't on the list. Norm came shopping with me everyday as we often needed two trolleys. So much fun!

One day we took ourselves off to Indianapolis to go to the Indiana State Fair. It was so interesting. We sat and watched the trucks (like ours but done up) pulling a tractor and then tractors pulling trucks and then the trucks pulling a truck with very heavy weights added to it. There is no danger of either of us turning into rev heads but we enjoyed watching it.

The other thing that I found interesting was the food. 'Pigs in Mud' - bacon in chocolate (waste of good chocolate if you ask me!), Deep Fried Butter (Heart Attack material!), deep fried snickers, mars bars etc, doughnut burgers and the list goes on!

The weather in Indiana was very hot and extremely humid. So bad we were sleeping with the air conditioner on all night just to get some sleep.

Part of the reason for staying was we were waiting for our aircard to arrive so we could access the internet. A long story about a US Postal Service parcel that we tracked through about five states and we still didn't get it!

We decided that if it didn't arrive on Monday (1st), rather than trusting USPS with the paper work for the vehicle licensing we would go to Texas and do it in person.

In the meantime the owner of the RV dealership took Norm out for a test run with the RV on the back just so that he was familiar with towing something that big. Not that is very big by standards over here - in fact it is quite small but more than enough for us.

So made a few phone calls to get a new aircard delivered to our home address in Livingston and headed off to Texas.

Week One

We departed Perth at 7.20pm on July 23rd bound for Auckland, New Zealand. Not a bad flight and had a fifteen hour stopover in Auckland where we went to a motel and got a few hours sleep before heading back to the airport for our long flight to Los Angeles. We spent Saturday night in LA and the next day flew out to Houston via Phoenix.tom
While in Houston we picked up the new computer and the TomTom - must haves when you in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road and when family are all ready to Skype you!
We stayed in Houston for a couple of extra days and the flew out to Cary, North Carolina via Atlanta, Georgia. Beginning to feel a bit like a rabbit hopping around the country like that . We picked up the truck in NC. It is sooooo big! We left Cary on Friday with a stop over in Columbus, Ohio heading for New Castle, Indiana to pick up the fifth wheel. We really haven't had time to stop and smell the flowers yet but I am sure in a while we will have all the time in the world. I hope!