Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wonderin' where the lions are...

Well I think I've probably been to all the attractions Pueblo and surrounding area has to offer! On Wednesday, I drove out to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, only to be shut down by a US$25 price tag - per person - to get close to the structure. I opted to hike up to a 'viewpoint' and snapped a couple of mediocre pics of the bridge. At 1053 feet above the gorge, it is for sure quite something to see... but I felt the cost was a little steep. Thursday I stopped in at the Pueblo Weisbrod Air Museum - and while the exhibits were neat, definitely the most interesting part about it was chatting with the war vets who volunteer their time there. Those fellows have seen and done more than I will ever imagine. They tell story after story after story! Yesterday I went to the Pueblo Zoo. Pretty cool I must say, especially the lions!! They are massive, powerful, beautiful cats... However I always leave those places feeling somewhat sad for the animals - which included camels, zebras, exotic bears, monkeys, penquins, kangaroos, and even a sloth!! Today, Todd and I went back to the Garden of the Gods, and climbed a couple of pitches on spires in the park. Apparently the weather at the moment is unprecedented - usually the area is under close to a foot of snow by now. It was lovely to climb in t-shirts, enjoying the sun and +15C temps! We also stopped at Seven Falls... which are mostly frozen and in all honesty aren't anywhere near as majestic as Takkakkaw Falls near Field, BC. Oh well. The last stop we made was at the Fallen Firefighters' Memorial, right in Colorado Springs. It is quite nice; it was touching to read the poems and see the sculptures.
Tomorrow we're heading into Denver - we'll tour around the city, since neither of us have been there before. Then I catch a red-eye flight home, and Todd continues on with another week of his hazmat course. So my vacation is coming to an end... but it has been GREAT!!! I can't wait til the next one!! Cheers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Garden of the Gods...

We're in Colorado now, Pueblo to be exact... Todd is attending a hazardous materials course and I'm touring around the area. Yesterday I went to Colorado Springs and wandered around a park called Garden of the Gods - very cool!! The rock formations are amazing! I highly recommend seeing it if you have time. Then I tried to drive up to Pike's Peak, but I guess there is enough snow at that elevation (14,000ft) that the road is closed. This is the same road apparently, that leads to the North Pole!? (see pic of the highway sign) Santa must have serious chains for his sled, and studded shoes for his reindeer!! Anyway, I then stopped in Manitou at the cliff dwellings museum, which is not a huge place but it is interesting. And to finish off the afternoon, I strolled around the historic section of downtown Pueblo. My good friend Toni would love it; there have to be more antique stores per capita than any place I've ever been! I'm not sure what's on the agenda for today, as it is much cooler and the forecast is for snow. The Pueblo Zoo is on my list, as is the Royal Gorge and bridge in Canon City, so we'll see how things look after breakfast. Cheers!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wind is my friend!

After a few days and several hermit crab races, the weather on Wednesday and Thursday finally co-operated... and Friday was kick ass!!! What a way to end the trip! The group was stoked and everyone left SPI as very happy campers! And yes, I finally got up and riding! How fun! I thrashed around in the crowds a couple of times, flying the schoolbus (a.k.a. the 14m - it is HUGE, slow, and yellow, hence "the schoolbus"), flying the 11m (which I inverted!!??), and flying the 9m... and I was able to figure out the water start on my own. But then the masses of kiters became a little overwhelming for my newbie skills, so I resigned myself to launching/landing duty. On Friday however, in perfect conditions, my favorite instructor Bill from Air Padre took me out on the boat - he had another lesson, and allowed me to come along for the ride. We went way downwind from everyone, and I rode non-stop for almost three hours!! No crowds to deal with or anything... I just concentrated on learning to ride! What a day! It was truly stellar!
Anyway, we packed up Ol' Purple, said our goodbyes, and left SPI early yesterday morning, stopping last night just outside of Amarillo. Today we drove across the Texas Panhandle and the corner of New Mexico, through a wicked snow storm which sent many, many vehicles into the ditches, and we arrived in Pueblo about an hour ago. I'll be hanging around here for the next week, and I'll post about my adventures around the area - if I find any!! Ha ha! Cheers!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sun, but still no wind...

Sunday turned into a super warm, CALM day... so needless to say, there was no kitesurfing to be had! Instead, we went out to the jetty, and checked out all the fishermen and their catches. Actually, I found it quite fascinating... the jetty is an amazing structure, built in the 1930's... revamped a few times, but constructed mostly of huge granite blocks. There are two jetties, both of which are almost a mile in length and run parallel to each other to provide the entrance/exit to Brownsville Harbor. The section of water in between is called Dolphin Bay, and yes, we saw dolphins playing!! We also saw pelicans, sea turtles and small sharks, and many other varieties of fish. Very cool! Anyhow, it was a neat way to spend the afternoon. Not sure what's up for today yet... likely no kiting, since it is forecasted to blow a whopping 3mph. Oh well. We're in the sun, not snow, so I'm not complaining!! Cheers.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rain, rain go away...

Well, it's been three days now, and we haven't seen a ray of sun. WTF?? There's been some wind however, and the diehards in their drysuits bashed around in the torrent for an afternoon, providing entertainment for those of us who were smarter than the elements and stayed on the beach!! Today's not looking too bad, and the rest of the week sounds even more promising. I'm still hopeful of getting out for a lesson, so we'll see. May have to make a trip across the border to Mexico, as the Scrabble and Crib boards are taking a beating! Cheers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doing the wind dance...

We're in South Padre Island, Texas... Todd arrived a few weeks ago and I got here Monday night - via Chicago O'Hare Int'l. Over the last few days, the weather has been amazing!! That is, if you like calm, hot, sunny days...! CALM is not a word we are friends with, actually. We are all anxiously waiting for a blustery 12-15 knots (at the very least), and so far it is not happening. Wind Guru says the forecast looks better for tomorrow however, so hopefully we'll get out riding in the afternoon.
We're sharing a house with fellow Canucks Renee and Sheldon, and Jen and Chris. To pass the time, we've been spending the windless days and evenings playing Scrabble, hanging at the beach and socializing with several other folks who live here part time. Overall we have no complaints really, just big-time wishes for wind!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Desert life...

Climbing, climbing, and more climbing!! Mount Lemmon is where we're at, and we've been on the rock every day since arriving in Arizona. Jody, J and Brad met us here on Tuesday and we have been playing non-stop. How fun! The temps are obviously HOT, so the upper mountain crags are desirable. Perhaps if we get a cooler day (not likely!?) we'll try something lower down.
The forearms are aching from overuse, and the fingertips are a bit sore from the prickly granite, but we still manage to hang on to beer cans at the end of each day, so life is good!

Monday, October 27, 2008

28 hours later...

Oh, it feels good to get out of the car!! We left home on Sunday, and early this afternoon we arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. Todd and I took turns behind the wheel of the exploder, and we drove straight through. Stopped only for fuel. So we're both kind of hopped up on energy drinks and coffee!! It is my sister's birthday, and we're visiting with her and my brother-in-law tonight, then tomorrow we'll head down to Mt Lemmon to meet up with some friends. If we can find some reprieve from the +35C temps, the rock climbing will be awesome!
Ahhh, I'm fading fast... time for some supper and then a good night's sleep. Hopefully I'll have some desert pics in the next few days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Road Trip Time!

It's almost that time again... time for a ROAD TRIP!! Today was my last day of work, basically until December 8th... which is a VERY good thing... I'm not feeling all warm and fuzzy about showing up there lately, so I'm hoping an extended vacation will get my mind off of how much I'm disliking it... Nothing like travelling around the countryside to lift a person's spirits, hey!!
I have a few things to look after early this week, then I'm going to make a stop at the parents' place in Medicine Hat. Sadly, their 8-year-old boxer named Gibson recently succumbed to a cancerous tumor... and the addition in the last few weeks of a baby poochie named Toby has really given that household a much-needed boost of positive energy. I can't wait to meet the little guy!! Then I will continue on to the deep south... Todd is picking me up and we will drive like madmen to climb at Jack's Canyon in Arizona, where we will be meeting up with some friends who left the country at the beginning of October. I'm flying back to Canada for a few weeks mid-November to tend to some family business, while Todd zips over to South Padre Island. When the coast is clear, I will catch a plane to Brownsville and join the kitesurfing crew. Todd has to be in Denver for a course which begins December 1st, so I'll drive with him and hang out there for a few days, then return home. Kind of a whirlwind, I know! But it should be great!! How can it not be? I won't be at work! Everything else is just a bonus!
So feel free to stay tuned; I'm taking my camera and my laptop and I'll post when I can.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A fine way to end the summer...

The weather actually picked up for a couple of days last weekend, and some friends came out to do a bit of sport climbing. Saturday we hiked up Cougar Creek, which is always a great place to crag... the rock is solid and the creek provides endless entertainment for the kids. We spent some time at Casino Cliff - I can't believe I've never climbed on it before!!! And, Crowbar was a good choice to end the day, since it takes some serious skill to pull the rope without dropping it in the water. Sunday, we enjoyed the upper area at Grassi Lakes. It's been closed for years, and I forgot what awesome routes are at White Imperialist and Upper Golf Course... so it was like a brand new experience for us!

This weekend, barring any major precipitation, we'll probably get out for a couple more days of sport climbing... need to get the fingers as toughened up as possible before heading south. Yes, we'll be on a road trip soon!! October 26th we'll be hopping in Ol' Purple (the Explorer) and bee-lining it for Arizona, where we'll be meeting up with a bunch of friends to do some stellar climbing at Jack's Canyon and Mt Lemmon. After that, it's Texas here we come! South Padre Island will be our hangout until the first part of December, where we'll be doing some kitesurfing.