Big Climbs / Big Jumps / Big Heat

AHHH.....Pauline, Phil and Sheldon

AHHH…..Pauline, Phil and Sheldon

After 3 days of inclement weather in Squamish ( while the UK was basking in a heat wave), we were chomping at the bit to tick off a couple of our target climbs in Squamish before we hit the road again. Bingo! The first was Exasperator which is a stunning 2 pitch crack line on The Grand  Wall section of The Chief. We had both seen Lyn Hill climb it in a video and then it became a target. Phil looked as good ( if not better dare I say) as Lyn on the first pitch as he flew up without squealing once as he forced his toes into the delicate crack line. However, the second pitch was more challenging and a few grunts were heard in the valley. Obviously I made it look easy ( oh I love a top rope) and that convinced Phil to do it again and make it look even easier….which he did.  Competition is healthy?

Phil on Exasperator making it look easy

Phil on Exasperator making it look easy

 

I should explain what The Chief is. It is the largest and most imposing cliff face in this area and is the back drop to Squamish and the surrounding area. You can cilmb up the face or walk up the forested train from the back. So, our other big tick was to do one of the longest routes on The Chief by combining 3 sections together to take us from the valley floor to the top in 20 pitches. The two main routes were called Diedre and Squamish Lite. Early start to avoid the heat and 8 hours later we were on the top enjoying the views and energy bars in the sunshine.

Getting the kit ready for a long climb in the van

Getting the kit ready for a long climb in the van

Phil leading up Diedre

Phil leading up Diedre

20 pitches later and he looks ready for a Cliff bar or two!

20 pitches later and he looks ready for a Cliff bar or two!

Our last tick for Squamish was to catch up with my old mate Erik who is living and working in Vancouver as an animation director.ie in a world as far removed from us as you can imagine which made it even more fabulous.   He made the effort to come to Squamish where we ate and drank like we normally do and he didn’t complain once. That is how nice he is! Erik is part of my old London days before he left to live and work in LA at about the same time as I left for Wales. We had a great night and Phil and Erik bonded over Tour de France chat to the point I had to stop them both to get a word in edge ways. All I can say is ‘VIVRE Richi Port!’ I can’t move on without mentioning we are VERY proud of Erik as he won an Oscar for hiw work in Life of Pye/Pie.  He talks it down etc etc but we are going to big it up if only for our own credibility! A more down to earth over achiever would be hard to find. Vivre Erik!

3 AMIGOS, Erik, Pauline and Phil

3 AMIGOS, Erik, Pauline and Phil

Sheldon posing with The Chief as the backdrop

Sheldon posing with The Chief as the backdrop

Next stop…..WHISTLER BUNJEE! Yes, we are not ones for the commercial quick fix adrenalin adventure gimmicks. Not because we are purist adventure people but because we are tight. However, when I saw a great bunjee jumping opportunity and a strong £ to the $, I decided it was time to tick off one of my bucket list things to do. Yes, a bunjee jump. I think the pictures say it all although Phil give s a great rendition of a middle aged over excitable women getting ready to jump off a bridge. I LOVED IT!

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Then it was time to be back on the road to our enxt destination of Pemberton on the Trans Canadian Highway (TCH) aka Highway99.

The first thing we saw just as we were out of Whistler was a huge bear run across the highway! We have only seen 2 bears and both have been crossing the road!

When we arrived at Pemberton the heatwave had kicked in with temperatures in the high 30’s. We found an awesome campiste by the river which was an obvious place for a water fight….he started it!

camping by the river

camping by the river

We did a couple of good bike rides and the best was on Meadow Road which was 56km return. The road had a backdrop of snow capped mountains as we cycled past agricultural land and ranches. We only saw about about 4 vehicles but were part of about 40 bike riders. We had only just started when a fit bloke past us and Phil took the opportunity to catch his tail and draft him. He stayed with him to the turning point when he was able to use me as an excuse to stop. He stayed with him the whole way which was not bad as he was in his final stages of training for an iron man. We know this because was able to find enough breath to ask him some questions, thankfully he seemed to give long answers. Good ride but when we stopped the heat hit us big time so we packed up and got back to the river asap.

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Currently driving, climbing and swimming our way to Revelstoke. We need to use our cheap air conditioning in the van in these temperatures. This means stopping every hour to jump in a lake or river to cool down and then drive in our wet clothes. It works quite well.

Our air conditioning system is fuelled by swimming in lakes and rivers where we can

Our air conditioning system is fuelled by swimming in lakes and rivers where we can

The scenery has been spectacular and wild but the heat has menat we didn’t hang around too long to enjoy the view points. We managed to get up early to climb at Marble Craggs and have a swim before 10am and then wim and drive the rest of the day. Can’t complain.

Until the next update……

 

Canada /Squamish/Whistler

Doing athletic things on the Olympic rings in Whistler. Phil did pull ups while I was happy to hold my own body weight!

Doing athletic things on the Olympic rings in Whistler. Phil did pull ups while I was happy to hold my own body weight!

We have been based in Squamish this last week which is another outdoor mecca.  Kite surfing, mountain biking and climbing with Whistler only 30 mins away for skiing and mnt biking too plus all that quick fix adrenalin stuff like bunje jumping, bob sleigh experiences and everything I would pay lots of money for if Phil wasn’t holding the holiday kitty. He is so good for me. We would only last 4 weeks out of 3 months if it was left to me.

Our evenings have been spent watching kitesurfers

Our evenings have been spent watching kitesurfers

We have based ourselves in Squamish for the climbing which is just everywhere and so well managed that there are great trails to the crags with sign posts and even bneches to belay from! Cool! We have had some timely but compluslory rest days due to the rain that periodically comes in. Meanwhile the UK is in a heatwave!

Our evenings have been spent watching kitesurfers

Loving the cracks!

Pauline contemplating a climb in the unbelievably comfortable belay bench at Squamish...we do 5 star here!

Pauline contemplating a climb in the unbelievably comfortable belay bench at Squamish…we do 5 star here!

We have ticked off about 10 of the top 100 climbs in this area including a lovely one called Sky Walker which ends 100m short of mid way up Shannon Falls. Great place to finish.

Which way to the beach Phil? He is actually posing with a 200ft drop behind him straight down Shannon Falls....dude!

Which way to the beach Phil? He is actually posing with a 200ft drop behind him straight down Shannon Falls….dude!

Pauline blending into Shannon Falls

Pauline blending into Shannon Falls

Squamish is about the size of Aviemore with all the action taking place on thier main High Street. Ther is always a parade or event going on….really. Last week saw the Sikh Parade to celebrate the martydom of their great guru ( ok I have forgotten his name but forgive me). Anyway, one half of a field was Caucasian white, Bohemian Farmers Market and the other half was like walking into India. Brilliant as the harmony was evident. The other great thing for us was that all the food on the Sikh side was FREE. Unfortunately I was not hungry enough to do justice to the fab food but Phil rescued me and had enough for both of us. Bless.

The smell and colours were fabulous....and all the food and drinks was free!!!

The smell and colours were fabulous….and all the food and drinks was free!!!

Every Sikh parade needs this man. Awesome dude.

Every Sikh parade needs this man. Awesome dude.

That night we went up to Whistler for a concert in the Olympic Plaza. Brilliant….guess what…..it was a country & Western night! Phil and I were stoked dude! The band was absolutely brilliant so you can imagine Phil and I were thigh slapping most of the evening. Gues what….it was a FREE concert. It is like we are not meant to pay for anything.

You had Dolly at Glastonbury, we had these guys in Whistler

You had Dolly at Glastonbury, we had these guys in Whistler

Whistler is a very ‘rich’ place and in total contrast to Squamish. Each weekend there is an array of street performers in the village which range from face painting to full on theatrical displays. Mini     Disney World really……oh yeh….all FREE! Can you feel a theme being built here?

This guy did things with balloons you can't imagine!

This guy did things with balloons you can’t imagine!

Phil 'BUYING' North Face gear!!!!! Even the slaes girl thought it was funny

Phil ‘BUYING’ North Face gear!!!!! Even the slaes girl thought it was funny

 

 

 

A lucky chance meeting with Crystal and Uni

A lucky chance meeting with Crystal and Uni

Squamish is an international place but it was still a great surprise to bump into Crystal and Uni at the Adventure Centre. It turned into an afternoon of coffee and speed chat before they had to take off on thier road trip. They are a great fun couple to meet even briefly.

Did they know Phil was coming?

Did they know Phil was coming?

We only have 5 weeks left and we know what we need kit wise so we decided Squamish was the best place to sell off everything else. Dirt bag climbers congregate here for the summer and always love a bargain. Phil turned into a marketing and retail guru. We put flyers all around the campsite and it seemed to work. We based oursleves there for 2 hours and hard sell Phil style and I looked after the cash. He is a natural! It ended up being a good social with loads of great folk who gave us money for things we don’t need any more. Perfect! Everyone was a winner.

Phil in 'hard sell' mode

Phil in ‘hard sell’ mode

Pauline in 'take the cash' mode

Pauline in ‘take the cash’ mode

Not much road biking but enough to do a good spin with a careful eye out for any bears.

It is raining today so blog and coffee mode……happy days.

Thats it folks

 

 

 

 

BUVARIA & PACIFIC COAST

 

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BUVARIA & PACIFIC COAST

Levenworth aka Buvaria

Levenworth aka Buvaria

Since the last update we have been to Buvaria. Yes a small town in Washington called Leavenworth calls itself ‘Mini Buvaria’ and they have reason. The whole town, and I mean every aspect of it, is styled as if it was in Buvaria. Even the costumes worn by waitresses and shop keepers. It is like a Disney town but for real. The novelty value was huge as we felt that we were back in Europe, especially on a bike ride when we had the Alpine backdrop of mountains and then ride into town with fresh smells of sausage sour crout. Extrordinary.

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We were there for a European car Convention which was happening throughout the town. Every style of European car was welcome and Phil laughed as he saw a supped up version of a family saloon getting loads of street cred. There were loads of men taking countless photos and video footage. of this gathering . Phil and I sat with an ice cream watching them and I have to admit, having a bit of a giggle at them. Why video a car boot? We started talking to 3 young men who were part of it. I needed to know what was so fascinating and before we knew it we were laughing joking and getting the full education on why people go to such lengths to get to these gatherings.  They were 3 of the nicest guys and by the end of it we were in each others photos – we were European after all – and if they hadn’t had to get back home that night I feel  a night of beers was on the table. So I had to slap myself for not following my own advice ie never judge a book by its cover.

Our young car fanatic pals

Our young car fanatic pals

The bike rides were great in this area too with lots to go at away from the madding crowds and again we felt a bit of Europe as we cycled through vinyards galore as this area is fast becoming the winery HQ of Washington.

Lovely spot for dinner by Icicle River

Lovely spot for dinner by Icicle River

The climbing was vast too and we did a few Becky classics including one on Castle Rock . We got some more crack action in which always seems to leave us battered and aching….technique maybe?

Phil leading the way on Castle Rock

Phil leading the way on Castle Rock

Pauline following her leader on Castle Rock

Pauline following her leader on Castle Rock

Icicle Canyon offered a 'cool' climbing venue :)

Icicle Canyon offered a ‘cool’ climbing venue

After a week of Euro style life we moved to the Pacific Ocean and based ourselves for a stunning long weekend near Mt Erie next to the San Juan islands. Stunning climbing and biking in goreous weather.  Not much to add other than …LOVED IT!

Too tired to pose after Mt Erie ascent

Too tired to pose after Mt Erie ascent

After a day climbing on the coast

After a day climbing on the coast

TREES, BEER AND VIEWS...HAPPY!

TREES, BEER AND VIEWS…HAPPY!

 

 

We left for Canada but stopped of at MT Baker so we could cycle up it which was a great workout. We are now in Squamish, Canada and we saw our first bear within 24 hours of being here….super cool!!!!!

Off to change the washing to the dryer so till next time!!!!

Blue Grass / Fly Fishing & Rodeo Season!

 

 

Our mini domestic world.

Our mini domestic world.

This is a short and sharp attempt by me to put the last 10 days into bullet form before my washing is done. Yes mum…… I can feel your pride that we do wash our clothes!

Well, we could not leave the Sisters, Bend & Smiths area because we got a bit too comfortable with everything being convenient, hot and free! So we ended up staying for 3 full weeks which was not our original intention but that is the joy of ‘no agenda’.

Anyway – how did we fill our time? Biking, climbing, fishing and live music!

Our mini domestic world.

snow walls on McKenzie Pass

The road biking here is great especially on the dedicated scenic routes. One of those is McKenzie Pass that runs from Sisites Coffee Shop ( our HQ) to the top of the Pass and is closed to road traffic other than bikes until mid June. Fantastic! Our first ride on it was on a weekend with about another hundred plus  road bikers enjoying the views and fact we were kings of the road! It is closed to cars because the snow is still there but they have cleared it enough for bikes.  We saw, families, old people, recumbent, bikes, bikes heavily laden with panniers, top of the range time trial bikes and athletes and even a mono cyclist go up and down this 30 mile road. All of them were as friendly and cheery as if it was a festival. We spoke to several folk at the top who had been to Scotland too. One of them said it didn’t rain the whole week!

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Our other favourite route was up and down a quiet, scenic road that runs by the Crooked River from Prineville to the Prineville Reservoir. We saw fly fishing in scenes straight from the movie ‘A River Runs Through It” . In that film Brad Pitt does for fly fishing, what Steve McQueen for motorbikes in the Great Escape……or am I just attracted to blond blue eyed hunks?

Crooked River route

Crooked River route

Sisters is also the place we heard about a local Barn hosting a live folk music night with multi talented musicians. So we went. Stunning location on a working ranch  with the Cascade mountains as a backdrop. No sooner had we got out of Sheldon ( our van) than we were having a laugh with a guy from Bend who loves road biking.  His wife was a local musician and singer and they were our mates for the night. It was impossible to feel less than a local due to the fact that everybody talks to you all the time. I had a great laugh with a lady at the portaloo J. However, when the music started I saw Phil’s face go from elated and happy to uneasy and uncomfortable. The first song saw everybody clapping and swaying to what could have been described as a ‘happy clappy’ kind of song. Phil thought we had inadvertently found ourselves in the middle of some remote religious cult. Oh how I laughed as I rocked and clapped with the masses. As it was we were absolutely fine. They were all as normal and in the vast majority, as old as we were. The musicians were talented but not honestly our kind of music. Unlike another night we had in Bend at a local bar with Blue Grass music which had us tapping, clapping and smiling all night. Brilliant! The lead singer had toured Scotland and Ireland so we had a good chat. The joy of a small town bar.

Live at the Barn

Live at the Barn

As for the climbing -  hot in the day so early or late was the order of the day. We got a few crack climbs in and repeated lots of our favourites from the last time we were here. Nothing new to report. Just a great place to climb.

Live at the Barn

Smiths Rock

Fly-fishing……. Our friend and qualified personal trainer Lou Ramsay, has told us that it is now encouraged to have a ‘recovery sport’ so we are very current in our training regime. The fact that we don’t really over do any of our activities enough to warrant too much recovery time may mean we have gone a bit far in our approach to a new hobby. However, our age is coming into play and the thought of being in a gorgeous place doing something less active but challenging is now very appealing. We can now go and play with our mates Steve and Giles in Aviemore and Baz in the Lakes…….hooray I hear them say J

Our teacher Tay from Confluence Fishing in Bend

Our teacher Tay from Confluence Fishing in Bend

We took a 3 hour lesson from a local shop Confluence, in Bend and Tay was fantastic. That was an invaluable and inspirational 3 hours. We obviously bought one set of intro  kit between the two of us becausw we are tight but then managed to find a second hand set for $30 which I have adopted as I like it more.

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Is this Brad of Phil?!

We practiced our casting in the town park – that looked normal…not. When we actually got to the Crooked River and camped there it was perfect. Phil was casting when I turned to look at him. It could have been Brad! Needless to say we have caught nothing yet but Phil nearly got one. The fact that the fly was literally touching the trout’s face as Phil dangled a fly  right in front of him, probably meant he recognised the 6ft shadow hanging over him with a rod as a sign not to bight. Watching Phil’s body move with the rod as he tried to tease it with his fly was hilarious. It would have been more effective to get a stick and whack it over the head. It was only a few inches away from the bank where he was standing.

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So, our new hobby is full of potential adventures as we pass through some meccas for fishing. Watch this space. I can guarantee the first fish we catch will be photographed a lot!

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Then came our final night in Sisters and to end our time with a bang, we finished with the first night of the Sisters Rodeo. An evening of cowboys and cowgirls and bull riding. Yee ha! We have been to several rodeos now and it all felt familiar  especially as I had my appropriate hat on. I do like to fit in.

Pose? Me ?

Pose? Me ?

 

See you at our next wash!

Back on the Rock & Road Tour USA! Yee Ha dudes!

BACK ON THE ROAD!

 

Golden Gate Bridge on a blue sky day

Golden Gate Bridge on a blue sky day

 

Back on the road! It has been nearly a year since we left our beloved Sheldon (our campervan) with Tina in Oregan. Needless to say between Tina’s support team and the awesome vehicle that Sheldon is……he was as good as a 30 year old campervan should be ie style machine on wheels!

However, before we get to picking up the van, I must share our first experience of San Francisco. Phil and I are not great city magnets, but San Francisco has appealed to both of us for years so before we started our gypsy life again we stopped in this great city for a couple of nights.  I had pre-booked a funky B&B and a taxi pick-up. We were not disappointed with either. Our taxi driver was a heavily tattooed and pieced lady called Reese who was a part time musician and was as enthusiastic as any Bohemian loving citizen of this eclectic city should be. Despite feeling shattered after our long flight, by the time we arrived at destination, Reese had been so entertaining, I could have gone out for the night!

Golden Gate Bridge on a blue sky day

Golden Gate Bridge on a blue sky day

We stayed in a traditional city house with all the glory of its relatively bygone years embodied in the colours and features of every crack and of course on an incredibly steep street. Judith, our host had decorated in a style that I would if I had taste and could do that kind of thing. It  is full of interesting things to see, feel and smell from the fairy lights up the stairs to the original pieces of art and artefacts from around the world. Awesome.  The fact the house itself was yellow and blue on the outside was one of the reasons we booked it. We enjoyed home made bread and fresh coffee on the deck overlooking the  distant but neighbouring city and harbour while still being immersed in the heart of a terraced houses. Brilliant.

We set off on our tourist day on bus, tram, underground and finally a boat that took us around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were lucky with the weather……everybody kept telling us that. It was a blue sky day but the Bridge still gets covered in the fog from the Pacific. We were lucky enough to get stunning views the whole way, apart from when we had our twee  ‘couple’ photo taken under the Bridge when the fog came in and dominated our backdrop.  We are obviously not meant to be ‘twee’.

We walked the town for the rest of the day and wore ourselves out completely. All good stuff between China Town and the Hippie District where Bob Marley’s image would turn in its own stonework if he could see the capitalist profiteering going on in his name. A street full of retro clothes shops punctuated by ‘smoke’ shops. There is a feeling for the 60’s peace and love but it all has a price tag and those days will probably never come back and feel authentic again, with or without ‘smoke’.

We were staying in Neo Valley, a once trendy area but now a yuppie and cool area. The  next morning we had time for some cool café culture along a road that was fun to people watch.  Young, old, funky, cool and everything in the middle. Where did we fit in? In conclusion, we think SF is a stunning city that is small enough to be fun and the feel and look is not overwhelming and certainly not disappointing.

Golden Gate Bridge on a blue sky day

Golden Gate Bridge on a blue sky day

Next stop….Tina! We flew to Eugene from SF but our flight was cancelled and we ended up having a free night in a nice hotel with widescreen TV….. happy Phil. When we did arrive in Eugene, there was Tina with her big smile, big car and huge welcome as ever. We spent the afternoon going around Eugene Market which was brilliant and more in tune with what I expected from the hippy part of San Francisco and judging from the aged hippies free styling to some live jazz music, maybe this is where they all moved to when free love stopped in the big city.

Pauline making friends with a lady's pet chameleon at the market

Pauline making friends with a lady’s pet chameleon at the market

The market had the biggest collection of hand made goods I had seen in a long time and I managed to meet a cute pet camilion by talking to a lady who had it crawling on her head.  I love that people are different!

We stopped off at a micro brewery on the way home to test the goods and very fine they are too judging from how much we were talking…..Phil. Tina and Vito invited their fishing gang over on the Sunday so we could meet their world and what a great bunch of folk they are too. We laughed for most of the afternoon and finished with a card game that made Phil say things I would never have imagined only hours before……very funny!

local wildlife - aka alpaca

local wildlife – aka alpaca

Then it was time to say our goodbyes as we drove off to Smiths Rock for some down time. I can honestly say I have not felt this tired at the start of a trip so the first week has been pretty mellow. I haven’t even picked up the camera much. However, we have found some free camping in some bush area away from the road,  cheap showers, stunning bike rides and of course the climbing is just perfect.  As a bonus we saw a bald eagle carrying a fish as we just finished a climb. Good start to the week.

Sheldon and Phil enjoying a mellow evening in some desert like bush area we found...free camping!

Sheldon and Phil enjoying a mellow evening in some desert like bush area we found…free camping!

We have adopted Sisters as our favourite town this time. It is small enough to be friendly and big enough to have some fun things going on but their Coffee House is awesome and we all know how café culture is a big part of our trip. We are loving the lazy morning starts and slow evening sunsets. I am sure I will speed up again soon…..but no rush.

 

That’s it for now folks

 

Awesome 4some in Chile and Argentina

What a great trip! Pauline and Phil went to explore the road biking potential in Chile and Argentina for a month. They managed to talk two good friends ( aka masochists) into joining them, Lucy Noble and Craig Tweedie.

Just to get the big picture, Chile and Argentina are not third world countries so the road systems were expected to be pretty good…which they were. It was  the sections that joined the good roads that caused the interest. There are travel companies that already provide road biking packages but they have support vehicles to pick up and collect the guests and their bikes between sections. Pauline and her merry gang were on a self support trip carrying all they needed with them and going from one hostel to the next. This meant for interesting ‘road’ biking on the gravel and unbuilt sections of road between Chile and Argentina. They learnt new ‘off road skills’ and lost any natural inclination to be precious with their  road bikes as they negotiated rocks, ditches and pot holes for the 60km section through the Andes into Argentina.

However, where the roads were good…they were amazing! The views, the volcanos, the mountains, rivers and lakes were spectacular as they made their way from the Lake District in Chile to the equivalent in Argentina and back through the Andes via boat and bike into the islands of Chile via ferry and bike.

A successful and inspirational trip was experienced by all with over 1500 photos and lots of laughter. They are a team that love to enjoy local produce and so enjoyed a few bottles of local wine  and beer( in each area) , ice cream and chocolate in Bariloche and the best shell fish and traditional platter in Chiloe – the largest island in Chile.

Their main comment was how wonderfully welcoming the local people were. Everybody was helpful and had a smile and wave to greet them both young, old as they cycled through these wonderful countries. People maketh the journey.

 

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Yellowstone, Tetons & Shoot Outs

Phil and Yogi having a moment by Yellowstone Lake. Yogi's name was inspired by the famous bear from this area.  Emotional!

Phil and Yogi having a moment by Yellowstone Lake. Yogi’s name was inspired by the famous bear from this area. Emotional!

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Leaving a small town like Ten Sleep meant the only was was bigger! Cody is world renowned for Shoot Outs and Buffallo Bill but we  were there a bit too early in the season for it all to be kicking off and the town felt a bit sad and empty for its size. However, we are sure that in season it would be buzzing but for us, the Cody charm wasn’t drawing us in and we only spent enough time there to get a feel for the place, a coffee and a brief climb at a local crag – not aesthetically pleasing but did the job.

So Yellowstone was our next port of call despite the fact the weather not being at its best. So, we drove into Yellowstone and arrived at our northerly campsite near the main wildlife area. The weather on the drive in was gorgeous and we got the best views and feel of the place that night.

Yellowstone is somewhere that needs to be experienced by hiking, fishing or on horseback. The bike was not recommended by 3 different sources, as people driving RV’s and the general public are so busy looking at the scenery and wild life that there are regular incidents. Once we saw the roads, we reaslised exactly what they meant so we became tourists in the true sense of the word and drove around the main areas, stopping at the look out areas and posing for photos. It seemed so much more exhausting than cycling everywhere. We have to admit, we prefer cycling or climbing in a place as it makes you feel like you have connected with the area –oh that was deep!

Yellowstone Grand Canyon

Yellowstone Grand Canyon

Anyway, we saw the rear end of a brown bear which lasted 20 seconds as the ranger spent 2 minutess telling us to ‘not look at the bear for too long’. Work out the maths on that one! We saw buffalo and the famous geysers which seem to time there natural outbursts to compliment the tourist flow, namely 2 times per hour with a 10 min variation. How convenient.

Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn

The Old Faithful Hotel was as impressive as the geysers as it is made from knobbly wood and is still the biggest log structure in the world with amazing features such as the giant clock and fire place and it is fantastic! Worth looking around and it is booked up for a year in advance, not that we are planning on staying but we like to look interested in how the other half live.

Geysers everywhere. Pity we couldn't have a bath in one.....for everybody's sake

Geysers everywhere. Pity we couldn’t have a bath in one…..for everybody’s sake

We found that 24 hours of being a truck bound tourist was enough for us and we headed for the Tetons. WOW! We love the Tetons!! Amazing mountain range that overlook the flat meadows and rivers in the valley with more moose and buffalo than I dreamed possible. We had only planned an over night stay but couldn’t resist staying longer when we heard our friends were in town and the bike routes and climbing were fabulous and the weather changed to ‘perfect’…..fate was calling us.

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Cowboys will never stop shooting at each other in Jackson

Cowboys will never stop shooting at each other in Jackson

The benefits of staying longer in any area mean we get the feel of a town, in this case Jackson Hole, which include shoot outs by cowboys (the cowboys were corny but entertaining), country dancing to a local band (we were corny but entertaining) and of course soaking up the art galleries ( all 27) and café culture.

 

 

The Law still has 4 legs in this area

The Law still has 4 legs in this area

The Millionaire Cowboy Bar was a ‘must do’ for tourists, so we did it and it involved sitting on western horse saddles at the bar. It was all I could do to stop Phil pretending he was on a bucking bronco – oh how he craves public attention – but he did drag me out onto the dance floor much faster than I anticipated once the band came on – how will I ever get him to adjust back to Radio 2 and ‘popular music’?

Phil getting into the cowboy mood and the nearest he will get to riding a horse.

Phil getting into the cowboy mood and the nearest he will get to riding a horse.

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This area has invested millions of dollars on safe new bike routes which go for miles and miles. We went from our fantastically scenic campsite, which seemed to host its own local herd of buffalo and moose, all the way to Lake Jenny at the foothills of the Grand Teton. Awesome!

Cycling to Lake Jenny

Cycling to Lake Jenny

 

Cycling past buffalo on the road with their young was novel for the first time and became normal really fast but never less than fantastic. Another route took us into ranch country with massive gates and entry areas which made you think that JR had influence outside Texas as every ranch entrance was HUGE. Quiet roads, great scenery and the odd cowgirl/boy on horse back.

Team Sky rider Phil Sanderson showing us how to 'chill' between training sessions

Team Sky rider Phil Sanderson showing us how to ‘chill’ between training sessions

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We also got some great climbing in, the best route being on The Guides Wall. We walked in from Jenny’s Lake for an hour plus and true Scottish conditions kicked in.

Walking into the Guides Wall

Walking into the Guides Wall

Walking into the Guides Wall

Walking into the Guides Wall

 

 

It was cold with the skies threatening most of the time but we managed to keep above freezing so that worked for us. There was a local team ahead of us who were fun but shivered their way up, ( softies). It always makes route finding easy having fast moving locals ahead of you. At the end of the climb we walked back down to the lake in time to get one of the last boats back across the to the car park. Always a joy to short cut a route home and it was sunny! Hooray. Good day.

Jackson Hole Gang - Rex, Phil, Pat and Jack

Jackson Hole Gang – Rex, Phil, Pat and Jack

Then to finish off a great time in Jackson we met up with our pals Jack and Pat Tackle and Rex whom we had originally met in Spain 2 years ago. We met up in a stunning bar with huge windows overlooking the Tetons, gorgeous food and the largest variety of Scottish whiskey we have seen over here. Phil was on form! Needless to say we had a great night and our friendships with our Yanky mates continues to grow.

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We made a dash for Oregan to make sure we got to see our mate Whit in Baker City for a couple of nights but managed to stop off for the night en route in another climbing mecca called City of Rocks in Idahoe. We arrived about 7 pm after being on the road all day but managed to get one route in before sunset. Great way to have a stretch. It was a bit of a recce trip for the next time we are in these parts. Then off to Whit who greeted and entertained us with culture, hikes and of course a wee bit of alcohol. We visited Baker Museum where we were into everything now that I am fascinated by the Pioneers but we all spent an extra bit of time in the Jest Stream display where we read and saw how these iconic camper vans first started – we are a bit geeky on the whole camper thing, just in case you haven’t noticed.

 

First Friday in Baker is when the art galleries host open evenings and free food and wine – oh yeh! We went to all three and ate and drank at all three but more importantly LOVED some of the art and met loads of Whit’s fan club and what a great bunch they are. So diverse. Joel is over 80 and has never been abroad and reared cattle and children all her life. She is an absolute hoot to be with and had me laughing non stop and her beef is to die for.

Phil chatting about how it felt to artificially inseminate 35 000 cows

Phil chatting about how it felt to artificially inseminate 35 000 cows

The nicest ever – sorry mum. Then there was Steve who has lived all over the world working on conservation and then there were the Cooke family who now make wine having moved on from cattle but stunned us with the fact he went to Russia for a month last year to be part of a team that artificially inseminated over 35 000 cows in 30 days…..that has to be a record! So as you can tell we were not bored at all.

Pauline and Whit enjoying a hike in his local hills

We went for a hike into the hills where Whit had his ranch and met the man who is buying it from him. He has moved in and he and his wife and new baby are moving from Switzerland to start a dude ranch and there is a reality show from Germany that is following his progress so Whit is now going to be famous in Europe too. He is a great guy and Whit could not have wanted to find a better person with all the skills to take on his beloved ranch.

 

We managed to grab a couple of days back in Smiths Rock to finish off some unfinished business and it felt surprisingly nostalgic to be back in the place that we started our trip in earnest last year. We did the occasion proud by climbing Zion and the Monkey Face. Both classics of the area and we do love a good classic.

Phol on the first belay of Zion

Phil on the first belay of Zion above and on the summit of the Monkey Face below

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I have to fast track this last blog as we are flying back home in 2 days and I know I will not do it if I don’t do it now. We are going sea fishing with Tina and Vito this weekend before we fly out and what a great way to finish our 8 month (out of 12) trip ie with the friends we made on our first day here.

More to follow if I get round to it.

ROCK, ROAD AND RODEO!

Phil going local- ho ho ho

Phil going local- ho ho ho

Ten Sleep has proven to be everything a small town should be in the wild west. It is super friendly, with not a lot going on but when the rodeo is on…..it is ALL going on!!

 

However, lets start with the climbing and the Ten Sleep Canyon is an immense goldmine of limestone sport and trad climbing  a few miles out of town. We loved the easy access and well bolted routes and great views. Altogether a superb place. It is quite early in the season so we only saw other folk at the weekend so we could flail in the comfort of our own company.

Ten Sleep Canyon is a dragging dream!

Ten Sleep Canyon is a cragging dream!

 

The biking was limited but the three routes that were there were on great roads, stunning views and hardly any traffic. You really get to take in the scenery on a bike – especially at my speed – and the smells and the feel of a place. I love it!

Ten Sleep Saloon hosted its own fare share of local eccentrics. One ‘cowboy’ had his jeans tucked into his obviously new red cowboy boots. Maybe it is me and we are out of touch with the current ‘yee ha’ look but I feel he was single and in the bar for a reason. I got talking to one 68 year old man who was part American Indian and part white American and he had stories of huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ that would make your hair curl. He was just passing through but it is just normal to talk to complete strangers if they are on their own in a bar like this and I am glad it is.

The Main Street in Ten Sleep with the Saloon we frequented

The Main Street in Ten Sleep with the Saloon we frequented

The local and renowned café ( 2nd Street Café) is run by a hard working lady called Megan who looks like a model but has an eight year old son and gets up at 2am in the morning to bake fresh bagels, muffins and bread. How can she do that and look like that?! I learnt to my horror that if you are not there before 9am, she runs out of rhubarb muffins as she opens at 6am and all those early start ranchers come in! She really reminds me of Kirstin Gilmour in Aviemore who’s café  ( Mountain Café) is also one of the biggest draws to Aviemore. They both wear the same head scarf….spooky.

Phil enjoying some of 'Dirty Sally's'  ice cream the food of athletes

Phil enjoying some of ‘Dirty Sally’s’ ice cream the food of athletes

Campsites are great places to meet fun people and this was no exception. Phil went off for a spin on his bike while I saved my energy for the Rodeo dance that night. I am so pleased I did as it meant I was at the camp site to meet and greet our neighbors for the night. I said my usual hello and queried if these 3 men were here for the rodeo. They replied calmly that they were the country and western band playing at the after party – YEEE BLOODY HAA!!!! I was over at their site faster than Phil can get into my purse……saying something. We spent the next hour or two chatting away and they soon got the idea that we were country fans. Then my highlight came as they got their instruments out and played 4 songs to me – yes I had my own private band at the campsite. I was willing Phil to come back as they broke into a Jonny Cash number that he loves but he was about 10 mins too late. No matter as we were going to get the full deal later that night. What a great bunch of men. They are Steve Froome and his Rebels – aka Jim and Travis. Good giggle was had by all.

Steve and his Rebels Travis and Jim giving me a personal show at the campsite - rock and roll!!!

Steve and his Rebels Travis and Jim giving me a personal show at the campsite – rock and roll!!!

 

The Rodeo was the best one we have been to so far because it was small town. It had all the same level of talent and action as the country ones we went to in Oregan last year but at a much more intimate level. You could feel the pain as the men got bucked off and see the adrenalin. It was fantastic. We were entertained for 4 hours with bull riding, horse bucking, sheep riding by the kids – hilarious! The clown was particularly entertaining as he dressed as a horse. He  and his partner ( the rear end) danced to a variety of music which had us in stitches. Phil and I blended in with our cowboy hats and we got a mention on the loud speaker as we were the people from the furthest away by miles ie not America.

One of the bigger kids clinging onto his sheep to win the 'Mutton Buster ' race

One of the bigger kids clinging onto his sheep to win the ‘Mutton Buster ‘ race

The craziest event I think I have ever seen was the wild horse race where 4 men with more testosterone than a hyped up bull, wrestled with a wild stallion to try and get a saddle and a man on in a race. I have never ever seen anything as mad but really entertaining.

They start cowboy style and etiquette young out here

They start cowboy style and etiquette young out here

 

Then came the music and we got another mention from our friends in the band – we are so celeb. They played great music and as the dancing started we noticed that there was no freestyle, no line dancing, it was all the moves I have leant for rock and roll. We were not expecting this. Phil’s head sank as he realized he now had no escape from the dance floor. He knows 3 rock and roll moves (or in this case country dancing moves) and refuses to learn more but I don’t care, 3 will do and before you knew it there was no holding him back. The event was in the rodeo ring so it was sand being kicked up in every direction by enthusiastic dancers – it was great! Steve and his rebels did the deal and the crowd loved it. By midnight we were the oldest couple left ….we are not finished yet!

Steve and his Rebels brought country music and loads of fun - Fab!

Steve and his Rebels brought country music and loads of fun – Fab!

We left Ten Sleep with a warm and fuzzy feeling the next day as we went round to say bye to the people who had made our stay so great.

 

Mr and Mrs Sanderson trying to blend in  - do you think they could tell we weren't local?

Mr and Mrs Sanderson trying to blend in – do you think they could tell we weren’t local?

Next stop, Cody and Yellowstone where Yogi will be introduced to his home. If you have no idea what I am talking about Yogi our truck was named after Yogi bear from Yellowtone and our truck is not just a truck, he is now a personality in our lives. He is awesome dude.

 

See you folks soon now!

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH 4 ROCK HARD PRESIDENTS & SOME BUFFALO

4 rock hard presidents at Mt Rushmore

4 rock hard presidents at Mt Rushmore

 

 

We left Colorado ready for some open spaces, no traffic and more National/State Parks. Bingo!

Anyway, we were off at our usual pace of ‘slow’ in Yogi and the camper to Devils Tower in Wyoming which was the main geographical feature in the famous film Close Encounters (well famous to anybody over 40). It is also incredibly famous as a climbing venue and we had both seen so many pictures of it for so many years – we were excited! Then we heard on the local radio that the park was closed for camping and visitors until they could get a bush fire under control…..bummer. However, out of the rain comes the rainbow and we decided to use the enforced delay to go and visit Mt Rushmore in South Dakota which was only about 3 hours drive away.

I don’t know about any of you but I have to admit that I was an adult before I realized that those huge faces of the 4 founding father presidents carved into a granite mountain……were real. I thought for years that Mt Rushmore was part of some Disney creation. So, as we drove  around the corner from Keystone (local version of Blackpool dedicated to tourists with insatiable appetite for memorabilia, ice cream and all things bad/good ), I got a real buzz to see this magnificent display of craftsmanship which took 14 years to complete. George Washington’s face is over 60ft high from chin to hairline – I know all the important details. Interestingly, there is Crazy Horse Visitors Centre only 30 miles away which is in the middle of creating the largest sculpture in the world in the form of the American Indian leader, Crazy Horse. Seems fair to me, it was their land in the first place.

Mt Old Baldy - dedicated to all our bald mates

Mt Old Baldy – dedicated to all our bald mates

So, while we were at it, Phil did his usual superb research into climbing areas in the Black Hills around Mt Rushmore and found gold. It is the self proclaimed mecca for sports route climbing. We went to the only climbing shop in Rapid City to buy a guide book, but they had sold out. However, that doesn’t appear to be a problem over here as Eric – our new hero and shop assistant– said that he would lend us his personal copy as he was not using it for the next few days. Yet another unexpected and totally spontaneous gesture of goodwill from another great American guy. It really made our day as not only had we saved $35 ( Phil was smiling lots as he thanked Eric), we could go climbing in this beautiful National Park. It gets better though as the Black Hills has a free campsite in the quietest wooded area we could have hoped for. Bliss!

The climbing was fun but the rock was so sharp – granite with loads of quartzite – that you really had to climb a couple of grades lower than normal as you are scared of falling and losing your first five layers of skin. The climbing was literally 5 mins from our camper. The furthest climb was only 20 mins walk into the woods. There are large, huge pieces of rock spread among a wooded area so it makes for great shade in the sun and fab views from on top. Our best climb was on Mt Old Baldy which made us want to dedicate it to a few of our favourite bald mates – no names but your know who you are. Take it as a compliment.

 

Phil cycling through one of the cool tunnels

Phil cycling through one of the cool tunnels

Then we decided to do a few bike rides. One of them involved cycling 57 miles through 2 state parks on a scenic route designed specifically for people to take their time. There were switch backs, pigtail bridges which not only allowed you to swing back on yourself (hence pigtail) but were also a beautiful pieces of wooden engineering. There are also small tunnels made through the mountain but too small for any big trucks etc. There was hardly any traffic either as it is early season. Then the scenery was so varied and stunning but the highlight was going past a very big sign saying ‘Buffolo are dangerous wild animals’ – then about 200 metres later we saw one, then two, then three buffalo just in the woods to the side of the road. My gut reaction was to stop and take photos, but being married to a farmer he knows that these were beasts to be respected so – keep peddling! Then we saw some more in the  middle of the road. We had to stop, we had no choice. Then a loud couple of motorbikes came from nowhere and this was enough to move them on. The next time we saw them was only minutes later and in that short period of time all anxiety had gone and we just wanted a close up – they looked mellow enough so I stage managed Phil as he cycled past the buffalo who was happily munching away. Just to be sure I made him do it again. What is the worst that could happen? He was on a bike – just peddle!

Phil having a chat with a friendly buffalo

Phil having a chat with a friendly buffalo

As well as our fascination for these amazing beasts, we got to see loads of antelope, mule deer, mountain goatsand twitchers would have a field day as there are loads of birds. As rides go it has to be in our top 5 of our American trip so far.

Devils Tower from the tourist path

Devils Tower from the tourist path

Next stop – back to Devils Tower. We arrived in the early evening, which was the perfect time of day to catch our first close up of this magnificent piece of rock. We had both expected a desert like surrounding but far from it. This is cattle country so the grass was green and earth has great shades of red and white, which are like features on the landscape. There is a mass of cottonwood and pine trees too. The campsite is inside the National Park and is down as one of our favorites to date. This is probably helped by the fact we are still in the early stages of the season so it is really quiet, stunning location and the birds are in full Spring chorus. It just feels special and having Devils Tower as your backdrop is awesome dude! There is also a good area to practice our new past time of throwing ball – yes we bought 2 second hand baseball gloves and spend time each day looking like true Americans, including wearing our baseball hats. It can get scary if Phil gets too excited……it is a hard and fast ball!

Phil leading the way up Devils Tower on a route called Tad

Phil leading the way up Devils Tower on a route called Tad

We just walked around the tourist route of the Tower on our first day to take in the scale and beauty of it all. It also gave us time to assess how many prairie dogs were part of the scenery….1000s! They are like ginger moles on steroids. They are everywhere and we stopped counting after 50 in one small area. They are hilarious to watch. They have the meerkat stance when they come out of their burrow, ‘simples!”.

The next day we managed to do one of the classic easier routes as we had no idea how different the style of climbing would be. Phil was his usual self and got us up and down with no problem at all. I managed to strain or do something to my rotary cuff in my shoulder, which meant an enforced no climbing day the next day.

Our fantastic campsite and the first one we have had to pay for...some things are worth it

Our fantastic campsite and the first one we have had to pay for…some things are worth it

We went for a local bike ride to the nearest town to entertain ourselves which is small and full of quirky things like skulls on the front of the bank and shops with wild west frontages next to a modern café.  We are definitely in love with the ‘small town’ feel and I our cowboy hats are going to be out soon as Wyoming is cowboy country and we have a truck so we can just blend in…..as long as I keep quiet. Bring on the line dancing!

summit

We are now in a great small town called Ten Sleep with a population of 260. Despite small numbers it still has a café, 2 saloons and its own rodeo stadium, which we are currently camping next to. We saw a couple of cowboys herding cows on horseback through town this morning on our way to go climbing, as you do.

That’s it for now folks!  Off to the saloon for a drink  – yee ha!

beer

 

Hot Rock / Cold Snow / Fast Balls…..oh and Special Agents!

 

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Well what a great way to start our trip back in the USA. This blog is for the benefit of family friends and anybody who is interested but also as a diary. Therefore I need to update myself and others on how we left the USA in January as I never did the last blog.

We left Yogi and our camper in a storage site in the middle of nowhere 35 miles outside Denver Colorado. I had arranged for a taxi to collect us with 3 hours before our flight check-in time just to be sure. This was every unlike me as I never worry that much about anything. However in this case it was justified as the taxi I booked hadn’t turned up after being 30 mins late so we called and he said, ‘ sorry, we can’t find you, get another taxi’. Great! So I called a yellow cab ( I happened to have another number ready just in case- OMG I am turning into Phil). They hadn’t turned up after an hour so at this point the calm collected Pauline was getting a tad nervous. Then out of nowhere, this gorgeous car turned into the site – did I mention this was an unmanned office so there was literally nobody around for miles. Anyway, this car pulled in, the window went down and I threw my head and shoulders in as only a desperate woman in need of a lift to the airport could do…..add heavy doses of panic lead chat and before he knew it, the very nice gentleman inside the gorgeous car had offered us a lift all the way to the airport. FAB! His name was David and he happened to own the storage site. In the 35 minute drive we managed to have a real laugh to the point he offered to pick us up on our return….more fool him. He wouldn’t take the money for the taxi so Phil promised him a bottle of good Scottish whiskey on our return…..as long as you pick us up

Phil and our hero David

Anyway – 3 months later, we arrive at Denver airport and true to his word there was David, with a smile and a big empty trunk. We went straight to a bar to catch last orders which made jet lag seem a distant memory. We honoured our promise of a bottle of whisky but I thought he deserved so much more so I gave him one of my books – only 1798 to go – and ignorance is bliss as he seemed really chuffed. So after a great first night he took us back to our truck and camper and said we were free to stay over night and use anything we wanted which was strictly forbidden in the terms of the storage contract – I love how rules are flexible. What a great way to start our trip.

wecome

Our first stop was a small town only 15 miles from Denver called Golden which features in a really famous film with Kevin Cosner  about road biking. ….so famous I can’t remember the name but Kevin was super sexy in it.  It is a great one street town that has an eclectic mix of shops and eateries with an abundance of intricate bronze statues that tell the story of this historic mining town. It all stared with gold but now it is liquid gold in the form of Coors beer. The brewery is a major part of this town as we found when we went climbing on the crags above. It is huge and has really loud bells and horns. Despite an inclination, we never mustered to energy to do the tour with free beer.

Phil getting ready to climb on the Table Top Crags looking down on Golden and the Coors Brewary

 

Phil getting ready to climb on the Table Top Crags looking down on Golden and the Coors Brewery

Below is a typically ornate bronze statue and a kayaker doing it for real right in the heart of Golden.

Typically intricate bronze statue with a real kayaker in the background.

Howdy Polly

Golden is a quiet town during the week but on a sunny weekend it becomes a mix of  Harley Davidson gangs cruising from bar to bar, families eating their way threw a myriad of ice cream stores,  kayakers surfing the waves on the river running through the town, slack lining across the rivers, base ball games, kites, frizbyies and at every other free patch was a Bar B Q. People spotting heaven. I managed to have a chat with a couple walking their pet parrot just as a bonus. It really comes alive and buzzes.

Phil cycling on the only flat section of the Golden Gate ride.

The bike riding is brutal and convenient. Lookout Mountain hosts more road bikers than I think I have ever seen on one hill. It is a 5 mile uphill push from the edge of town on great tarmac so it is a joy to come down and obviously works as a training run for locals – but so many of them! Then there are the long rides like up Golden Gate Canyon (up hill for 16 miles to nearly 10 000ft) then back down and up Coal Mine Canyon which was about equal up and down back to the start finishing on a 2 mile up  – how can a loop have more up than down? We were both suitably shattered after our 60 mile altitude hill experience so when a sheriff came knocking on our door at 7am in the morning to say, ‘Excuse me maam, you are illegally camped. Can you move on please’ I am not sure who cared less, me or Phil. The Sherriff stepped away from the entrance as soon as he saw what a sexy lady in her non matching pyjamas, rough as a dog hair and probably overnight aroma emerged from the door. He looked more scared than scary……

Phil leading an easy section on The Bastille

We managed to get some great climbing done in El Dorado Canyon too which is a classic area in the history of climbing. We did one of the classics called The Bastille which was a perfect climb from my perspective. Loved it. That was the day before the snow came. We had literally been taking shade between climbing only 2 days before and then 4 inches of snow fell in one day. We took refuge in Boulder and visited Pearl Street – famous apparently. Full of Bohemian and funky shops and cafes with a generous portion of homeless wanderers just to keep the balance of life real. We also took in a movie and found a great leisure centre where you can use the gym, pool and sauna for $7. Deal.

Final hold on the Bastille looking into El Dorado Canyon

We met up with David and his son Ryan and friend Mike to go to our first ever baseball game. It was great to have our own personal guide both to the match and during the match as we were clueless both in terms of finding our way around a city in a huge and overweight vehicle and in terms of understanding the rules of baseball. Basically it is cricket with 4 posts instead of 2 and a different bat. We had a great night including the compulsory burgers and beers – awesome dude. The Coors Stadium is another historical landmark of Denver.  David had me sussed when he saw me playing with the giant foam hands – so he just grabbed two, gave the camera to Phil and said, ‘you know what she wants, lets do it!’ I am so predictable. It was everything we expected from a big game so no anti-climax and finished with beers back at the RV site where David let us stay again!

I just had to have those foam hands!

I just had to have those foam hands!

A real pitcher at our Coors game

A real pitcher at our Coors game

 

We spent another day climbing at a small crag near Golden and met 3 men having a great time and refused not to let us join in. Yes, we were going to share a fun day whether we wanted to or not. They were a lot of fun and managed to down a bottle of pastisse between routes. Phil developed a fan club and the cheers that went up as he went over an overhang made the cheering at the Coors stadium seem tame. They were in awe! We soon found out they were ‘Special Agents’. They go around the country chasing the bad guys. They need to be slightly mad to do that job and that spreads into social time too. They invited us to go to dinner with them and they took us to what can only be described as a Disney style Mexican bar with a flame throwing, diving woman in a leapard skin swim suit plus waterfalls and more fairy lights than you could shake a stick at. We had a fun time and got all their good stories about chasing the bad guys. They escorted us to our truck and reassured us we were safe by flaunting their weapons they had hidden in their car and person. If they were not so nice, they would be comical. They were however really good people with a slightly bizarre life and style.

14%

We managed to get another couple of exhausting road bike climbs in. One up Magnolia Rd from Boulder. Phil managed 8 miles up, I managed 7.5 miles ( with 2 breaks) but it was steep and long! 14% steep and long! Too much ! The snow meant there was gravel left on the road which meant dangerous downhill so that was a nightmare. Another ride was the Latimer Loop from Golden for 44miles which was great but with a long stretch on the equivalent of the motorway…..not my favourite. We have to remind ourselves how close we are to a major city compared to other places we have been. We are looking forward to the more remote places to ride again.

Phil found himself on the cover of a guide book in a Boulder store - Look at me!!!

This is a picture of Phil, having just found a Scottish climbing guide with hi on the front cover…LOOK AT ME!!!!

 

We are just off to meet David for beers before we head off to Wyoming and Devils Tower which is 400 miles away. By they way he is reading my book and was up to Chapter 5 ie not just looking at the pictures – what a great guy!!!