Brainard Lake

Snow-shoed the other day to Brainard Lake.

Brainard

On the way up there we came across this guy who scared the **** out of us,  but he seemed pacified enough when we turned around and legged it, screaming like a pair of girls. I think we both broke the 4 minute mile on a pair of snow shoes which was mighty impressive.

Deer

More tame was my new friend who seemed to like eating Power Bars. No doubt a few minutes after this shot was taken, the poor sod dropped dead out of his tree after a hideous sugar overdose.

Bird

Yesterday we hit Copper Mountain again, Iain and Wendy got the day off along with Kathy from Wendy’s salon so we made a nice day of it.

Iain_Wendy

Taking it easy today, then tomorrow we’re planning to go to Winter Park, another ski resort of Summit County, 70 miles or so west of Denver.

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Entertainment Establishment

Interesting night last night. Joe takes us to a strip bar (‘cos he’s classy like that), a fairly low-key affair really where we were just having a few quiet beers and watching the bare-knuckle fighting they had on the big screen and completely ignoring the girls, by and large. Anyway, one of them comes over and decides to sit with us, between dances, for a good 2 or 3 hours listening to our waffling. She must like English accents, or something, as she seemed very enthusiastic… Further details are censored…

Afterwards, Steve was behind the wheels of the Mean Machine as he was designated driver last night.

MeanMachine

We get at most 200 yds out of the car park of the bar when the rear view mirrors illuminated with that all too familiar sight of red and blue flashing lights. Apparently we were “slightly out of our lane” which we are sure we weren’t, the geezer was just lying in wait without doubt. So Steve is on the pavement doing the sobriety test, trying to follow the guy’s finger around with his eyes without moving his head. Unfortunately he stopped short of getting him to stand on one leg and try and walk in a straight line which would have given us even greater amusement… Shame I didn’t have my camera handy!

We’re now off to go snow-shoeing in the Braimer Lake region of the mountains for the afternoon then out in Boulder, a suburban town of Denver.  Today we were in the Science and Nature Museum down town, we managed to kill 5 hours in there as it was rather good, with an interesting interactive exhibit determing your health and fitness. I managed to trash a stepper machine in the process which was somewhat unfortunate. At the end my profile told me that I’m not going to die, just yet.

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Copper Mountain Again

Copper Mountain yesterday was COLD at -20C, strong wind and horizontal snow. It makes for an interesting trip down the slope when all you can see through your goggles is white, which is particularly enterntaining when you accidentally come off the side of the piste where there is a 6 foot drop to the snow down below. But it’s all a “challenge” as the saying goes. It also took us 3 hours to get home as some dick decided to crash in the Eisenhower tunnel which is the only way in and out of the mountains on the interstate.

Myself and Steve now have our own wheels for the rest of the trip, we had paid up front for a mid-size regular car but got lured by the temptation of a cheap upgrade and now have a brand spanking new Chevy V6 4.2 litre 4WD SUV. It’s nice and should be a worthy long term investement to help us get up the snowy mountains, and is also handy as now we only have to give way to 18-wheelers and buses. But now we may just have to find some bar work to pay for the extra petrol.

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Return to Denver

Back in Denver. We didn’t get too plastered last night despite the quadruple JD’s that the barman was pouring down my neck, so got a reasonable start this morning. We had to dig Joe’s car out from under the 14 inches of snow or so that fell last night, but still managed to stop off at Wolf Creek for some serious powder action which resulted in the inevitable 3 or 4 head plants and buried skis which always make for a great day on the slopes. We road tripped back from there, it took about 5 hours but we had some fairly crap weather to contend with in places. Just off for a quiet dinner and pint, we head out early tomorrow for Copper Mountain with a few people.

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Pagosa Springs

In Joe’s house in Pagosa Springs.

Joes_House

We’ve had some marvellous conditions skiing in the nearby Wolf Creek, and a somewhat special night out the other night when we hit some of the local hot spots of the town and ran into some full-on cowboys who insisted on talking to us and buying us loads of beer. Curious to meet people from England they were asking us about the “stupid bitch that lives there” to which we eventually worked out they were talking about the Queen…

We also took a dip in the natural hot springs, a really nice complex made up of about 22 baths varying from temperatures of around 89F to 108F. In the 108F bath, known as the “Lobster Pot”, we met a guy who gave us a tip of of some reasonably cheap accommodation in Telluride, a really popular ski resort about 4 hours from here by road, so we have just spent 2 nights down there. A great place with some very seriously hard terrain, and cool bars for afterwards.

Telluride

Tonight we’re off to sample the highlife of a Friday night in Pagosa, we’re just praying we don’t run into our new friends the cowboys, but there’s every chance we will!Tomorrow we head back to Denver.

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Copper Mountain

Hit the mountains on Friday, we decided to take advantage of the 4 inches of snow that got dumped at Copper Mountain which was very pleasant, nice and warm too!

Copper_small

The best news is that we did about 7 runs in an afternoon and neither of us managed to break any bones, or anything. After this we naturally hit the bar…

Apres_small

Heading of to a mate Joe’s house in a place called Pagosa Springs in South Colorado in a little while. It’s a place with natural hot springs so we’ll be able to take a dip after a hard day on the slopes. We’re there for the week, skiing various resorts which we’ve never done before.

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Immigration

Well, we arrived. Everything was going fine until we arrived at Denver Immigration, where we were repeatedly welcomed to the USA whilst queueing for nearly 2 hours to get through. It was hot and stuffy and too much for one lady who collapsed in the queue much to the bewilderment of the bloke from the Fire Department that the airport thoughtfully sent to her aid. But they tended her well, as soon as she was well enough to partially sit up they made her crawl along the floor to keep up with the end of the queue to prevent holding everyone else up. As I said, “Welcome to the USA”….

I almost didn’t make it in to the country at all, as the retarded immigration official which served me seemed incapable of realising that the 18th Feb to 16th May is actually less than the permitted maximum stay of 90 days, and was only satisified after I had to give my word of honour that this is in fact 89 days. This combined with me not having a job really threw the simpleton, but after showing a bank statement and having to convert it to USD for him he seemed to be happy enough. He sent me on my way with a closing line “You be careful out there, people are after you….”.

As I said, “Welcome to the USA”!

Oh, Steve’s often hilarious anecdotes can be viewed here 

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Off to the Big, Wide World!

Well, these last few days have been (possibly) the worst of my life. Trying to pack for a 7 month multi-season trip and also put all my other possessions into storage (all 67 boxes of them!) have taken their toll… BUT I’m ready now. Just need to burn some tunes onto CD and wait for Steve to arrive before hitting the badly needed pub.

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Around the World in 210 Days!

So, the time had come to abandon what’s left of the job, and what better way to blow your redundancy money than swan around the world for a while?

I’m heading out with an old mate, Steve, to the States for 3 months on the 18th Feb, we’ll be skiing and then making road trips mostly out West. The last time we were in the States together, this happened:

Jetlag

So, things are looking pretty bleak, to be fair! After that, Steve comes home, I’m sure he’ll be sick of me by then anyway, then I go on to South America, New Zealand, Australia and SE Asia.

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