Moab – Part Two!

Hi Again,

On to our second day in Moab, we continue to explore the beautiful mesas of Utah!

Whilst Rob and I have visited Moab a few times before these have only ever been quite short visits, so we’ve only seen a little of the town and the Arches National Park. Just a little way further out is Canyonlands National Park, which we’d heard is spectacular but never visited. Like Arches, Canyonlands is very accurately named!

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Canyon time!

The park itself is massive, at 527 miles squared, so we only visited the North side of the park which is called ‘Island in the Sky’.

As with Arches, capturing the scale is basically impossible. Zooming in on the above picture gives you a little more idea of the scale, but only slightly…

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Much canyon

For scale, the first level below (the White Rim) is 1,200 ft down, and the lower canyon goes down another 1,000 ft.

We loved it, and took many pictures!

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Thank goodness for my husband and his long arms ❤

As with the Arches we did a nice mix of short walks and stopping at viewpoints, although mercifully we abstained from doing any longer hikes since the heat was still a toasty 105oF… Rest assured we were well marinaded in both sun cream and bug spray, and weighed down with plenty of ice water!

Let the short hikes through the sand begin…

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Our fist stop was one of the most famous views from the park, the lovely Mesa arch. Not as big as the Arches from the first day, but it does frame a view of the canyons very nicely. We got a few nice pictures, and managed not to fall off the completely-unfenced-off-in-any-way canyon edge!

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It’s not tooooo far down…

It’s hard to get the scale of the canyons, but it is very easy to get a beautiful picture. The colours are just stunning, and the sky is very blue so high up. Once we finished our photography and battled off the strong sense of vertigo we continued off on our short hike. A very sweaty two miles total, then back to the car for the sweet, sweet touch of the air conditioning!

After cooling off we soldiered on, over to the Green River viewpoint. The Green River, which flows into the Colorado River, is a beautiful 730 mile long river that runs in part through the canyon. It’s a pretty massive river, but looks rather small from the viewpoint…

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Can you see it??

We gaped at this in awe again a little longer, and then on to the next viewpoint! And it’s a good one…

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Ooh!

This viewpoint overlooked White Rim Road, which you can see in this picture is the narrow, winding road that absolutely does not look safe in any way. We discussed it briefly and agreed that regardless of what the road led to, we didn’t want to see it. Happily though at this viewpoint we saw the first fence we’d seen all day, so decided that we were willing to get close enough to the edge to get a team photo:

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It’s not the sturdiest of fences, but at least it was there!

A little further round were what were technically fences, but could more accurately be described as little piles of wood…

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Happily the great view mostly made up for the sharp drop!

After our little walks and our great views we were ready for some refreshments, but unfortunately for us the National Parks Service here in America generally doesn’t provide snacks in the parks as a way of cutting down on littering. This is probably a good thing overall, but at the time we were hungry hungry hippos!

Fortunately, a gift from the gods. We left Canyonlands National Park to explore the nearby Dead Horse State Park, and were delighted to see that they had a food truck parked at the entrance! We pretty much threw our wallets at the truck, and refreshments were purchased.

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Plus a bench in the shade! Bliss!!

After drinking as much Coke as we could manage and then rubbing the cold cans on our faces, we headed on to actually explore the park that we’d come to see.

The name of the park is probably the least appealing name I’ve ever heard for anything, but the park itself is very nice! There were no dead horses anywhere we could see, so hopefully all was well…

The main attraction of the park is the viewpoint at Dead Horse Point, which is stunning as promised. Again, brace for pictures!

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The sun was just starting to go down at this point so the lighting was stunning, and you can see in the picture above at it was raining way off in the distance. Behind the rain on the left you can see the La Sal mountains, and just in the front you can see the salt drying pools. As well as that Green River makes an appearance again on the right!

These were stunning views, and we stood and stared. I confess I was briefly distracted from the stunning views by this extremely cute Chipmunk who was having a nap under a rock, but look at his little face. I couldn’t resist…

Such, such cuteness.

We went on another short walk along the viewpoint, and got to see some slightly better views of the salt pools, which are a really excellent shade of blue.

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You can see that the rain is now really coming down on the mountains! They’re almost completely obscured.

Last picture! Although again, I have about 1,000 more should you want to them 😉

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Once we were done being amazed we got back into our car and headed back to town. Next thing to see, Monument Valley!

Until next time…

 

Moab – Part One!

Hi all,

We’ve just come back from an excellent long weekend away in the lovely town of Moab, Utah, so strap in and get ready for some beautiful pictures! Barry & Margaret are visiting us from England, so we took the opportunity to show them one of our favorite places in the US.

Moab is at a similar altitude to Fort Collins, but is over the boarder and on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. It takes about six hours to drive over there, but luckily it’s a very scenic drive that takes us past several famous ski towns (including Vail, Breckenridge and Frisco) as well as many spectacular views. The town itself is quite remote and surrounded by amazing landscapes, most of which we managed to visit during this trip.

First things first though, on arrival we headed straight to lunch at one of our favorite locations – the spectacular Moab Brewery:

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Very eccentric decorations, as well as delicious food and beer! As an extra bonus there is a signed Joe Biden (Obama’s vice president) picture on the wall from his visit here where he declares “this place rocks”.

After eating our tasty lunch and drinking several pints of ice water we headed over to the Arches National Park. We’ve visited it a few times before so apologies for the repetition, but hopefully our fancy new camera will give you some previously unseen views…

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Oooooooooh…

As always it’s very hard to capture the epic scale and the stunning colors, but alas I must try. Something that did give a glimpse of the scale was the crow helpfully sitting on top of the balancing rock…

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The balancing rock is the one to the left, so named because the top part of the rock seems to be very precariously balancing on the bottom. Can you see the crow?

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There it is!

So yes, if you like big red rocks this is the park for you!

After admiring the scenic rocks we drove further into the park for a hike. Unfortunately I was on antibiotics at the time so decided to have a sleep in the car rather than hike around in the 105oF heat, but Rob bravely carried on and kept taking pictures.

They hiked all the way over to the famous delicate Arch, and got some lovely shots!

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You can just see the La Sal mountains in the background, looking rather spectacular, as well as the big bowl in front of the arch itself.

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Stunning as always, with the blue skies and the red rocks.  The park itself is massive (almost 120 sq miles) and the views on the hike back to the car park continued to impress…

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On returning to the car park they drank several more pints of water (seriously, it was so hot!), woke me up and we headed off to see some of the more accessible arches. On the way we saw this little lizard friend, who was also hiding out from the heat…

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New game – name that lizard!

After pressing our faces against the cold air in the car we headed on, and saw the Skyline Arch for the first time!

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This was in a much more remote section of the park, so it was wonderfully empty and quiet. Many pictures were taken, and much scenery was enjoyed!

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We continued our exploring late into the afternoon, with our body temperatures slow approached those of Johnny Storm.

(+10 points for anyone who gets that reference! I couldn’t resist 😉 )

Eventually the park closed and we returned to the hotel for very cold showers and more attempted hydration.

That evening we went out to the delicious Steak restaurant in town, called the Moab Grill. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures since I was too busy stuffing my little face with a big steak and local beer, both of which were very delicious! Barry and Margaret treated us, for which we will be eternally grateful 🙂

That night we rested well, ready for more adventures in part two…

More soon!

Bike to work day

One thing I love about Colorado is the sun. It’s not just that it is uplifting, or that it makes outdoor sports more fun, but it’s much more pleasant to cycle in. Fort Collins itself is absolutely bike crazy.

There are 28 Bike shops in Fort Collins (this compares to 9 in Coventry (UK) which is twice as big as Fort Collins – 316900 people vs 156480 in FoCo), and there are lots of good biking events like races, fancy dress events, trail routes and bike to work day.

IMG_3357On Fort Collins bike to work day, there are 60 Breakfast stations set up all over town, most of which have Bike tuning stations. My work colleagues and I were kindly given the early part of the morning off by our boss (Chuck, in the red top in the background) to go and tour around these stations, get some free breakfast and get our bikes tuned up.

We also ran into Smokey Bear, a US mascot who warn’s of the dangers of Wildfires, so naturally we got a picture together:

20170628_083710.jpgAfter several more stations and loading up on OJ, breakfast burritos, granola and fruit, we made our way to the New Belgium who were reportedly doing beermosa’s (though they had run out by 8.50 when we arrived, so I ended up with Fat Tire and a pizza bagel).

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To top off the morning and digest our beer, we played Rolle Bolle. It’s a game, a bit like shuffleboard / curling where you have to roll a ball that looks like a cheese wheel along a cylinder and try to land it at the other end without going off.

roly-poly.jpgNeedless to say, it’s pretty fun and just the right amount of mental exertion after a morning of cycling and half a beer.

Rob

PS/ For those wondering, I was wearing my new Softball Top for the Quantum Mechanics, and I went with the name ‘Ringo’ as ‘Rob’ is too difficult for most Americans to understand in my accent.

Horsetooth Falls!

Hi All,

You’ll be pleased to hear that we’re continuing with our healthy weekend hikes! This weekend we decided to try the Horsetooth Falls hike, since we’ve heard great things but never been. Happily this is also a relatively short hike, since it’s 10 billion degrees and we’re still not quite hardcore enough to walk ten miles uphill in such conditions.

Once we layered ourselves in our bug spray/ sun tan, we were off! It’s a pretty hike, and we were treated to nice views almost immediately:

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I think the net elevation change throughout the hike is only about 300ft, but it did seem to go up and down quite a lot! We bravely hiked up and down the slopes, and were also treated to very nice views overlooking the town:

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You can just see a patch of water in the picture above, which is the Horsetooth Reservoir. It was very pretty, despite the fact that there were an absolutely obscene number of people boating about. It turns out that a large number of people in Fort Collins own their own boats, and I’m still surprised whenever I see people casually driving their boats through town.

Before long, we reached the top of the waterfall!

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That meant two things, if you’re doing hiking properly…

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Selfies!

And…

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Snack break!

My wonderful husband packed Cheese and Crackers, so we snaffled these down while resting our legs. We also drank plenty of water, because hydration is king! Before long though, we set off again…

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“Get Moving!”

We walked back along the stream at the top of the rocks, which feeds into the waterfall. I was very excited to see that there were some butterflies sunning themselves by the water, since it made for some fun picture taking opportunities!

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Aced it

As well as the butterflies, the pools themselves were very pretty.

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I would absolutely have gone splashing around in them if I wasn’t slightly worried about accidentally falling over the edge… Maybe next time!

After we were satisfied with pretty views we headed down to the bottom of the waterfall, so that we could actually see the mighty waterfall for which this path is named!

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Hmm…

Possibly this is not the optimal time of year for waterfall viewing, but the sound was very soothing nonetheless!

On the way back we were treated to some more open spaces and beautiful views:

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Then before we knew it we were back to the car, and ready to head home. This open space is also the home of the famous Horsetooth Rock, which is the next hike we’re hoping to do. This hike is a more challenging six miles, with a cheeky 1,761ft of elevation gain! Possibly one to try out on the visitors 😉

This weekend is Independence Day here in the US, so we have a lovely four day break which includes Rob’s Birthday! More fun to follow!

Xx

A Day in the Life of Unemployment

Hi All,

Sorry for the delay in new blog posts! We’ve been hard at working trying to find a new job (in my case) or be awesome at the job we have (Rob’s case) which sadly has not left much time for adventures! We’re doing what we can to line up some excitement soon though – suggestions always welcome – and in the meantime I thought I’d give you a sneak peak of how I’m spending my days now that I’m temporarily without employment.

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not just sitting on my butt watching Netflix, especially now that the weather is getting nice and hot! The temperature is hovering around 25°C – 30°C with the lack of humidity making it feel extra toasty 🙂 Because of this the last few weeks have actually been a fun mix of house cleaning, long awaited task doing and getting out and about.

My day today started very nicely with brunch with some lady friends at a restaurant in town called Avogadro’s Number, which is located near the University:

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Because of course it is

As well as having a great name Avogadro’s has a very nice sheltered back patio so that you can enjoy your food out in the sun without getting burnt.

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The food was super tasty, I had a vegetarian lasagna and a large coffee both of which I snaffled right down. We talked, we hung out, we caffeinated – solid way to start a day!

After brunch I spend some time back at home doing boring grown up things:

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Clean kitchen – check!
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Laundry – half check!

I wouldn’t say our house is spotless by a long spot, but at least it’s a little cleaner that it was this morning!

I’m also babysitting some guinea pigs for our friend for a few days, so I made sure to feed those chubby little guys:

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So chubby!

The feeding was then of course closely followed by snuggles with the tiny friends, and letting them work off some of that chub by running around the apartment.

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Disclaimer: at no point did they approach anything even near a run, but they did try and nibble my nose…

After that I went over to another friends house for an excellent afternoon of video games! We sold our game console before moving over here so it’s been about a year and a half since I’ve even touched an Xbox, and my goodness it felt great to break that streak.

We rocked out playing Call of Duty Black Ops 3, the latest in a series which is partly famous for it’s ‘Nazi Zombies’ side game. Yes, that’s what it sounds like – you get to shoot Nazi Zombies while running around trying not to get eaten. I think the idea is that you’re doubly justified in shooting them, which may or may not be how morality works. Either way, it’s truly magical:

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Pictured: Relaxation!

I should take a minute here to mention some good news – I have successfully lined up a new job! Not just a new job – an EXCELLENT job 🙂 🙂

I’m going to be working for a company called Penton who basically do marketing for marketeers, so gathering lots of data on the industries that they may need, and then putting together reports based on that. My job will be to make sure that the relevant part of that data is organized and accessible, which I know sounds a little dull to the layman but to a spreadsheet nerd like me it’s a dream come true 😉

As a bonus the team look completely awesome, and they have a history of celebrating all major holidays with bring-your-dog-to-the-office-in-fancy-dress competitions. I’ve suggested to Rob that this means that we need to get a puppy of our own, but he remains unconvinced.

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What monster doesn’t want to be part of this??

So yes, I start next week! Whoop whoop 🙂

More soon! Real excitement next time, we promise!

May Snow Day

We love Colorado, it’s all kinds of awesome and all kinds of crazy as anybody who has come to visit us can attest. This is perfectly exemplified by the weather over the last week.

On Wednesday it was 70 F (21 C) and Cat managed to get sunburnt hanging out with friends at a pool. For some reason, she wouldn’t let me take photographs of her all red, but here is a dramatic reenactment of what happened:
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Getting sunburnt in May is not out of the ordinary, however it looks kind of strange when it snowed heavily for the next two days.
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Snow at Colorado State University
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This was actually quite a big problem at the University as the snow was unusually wet (for Colorado), meaning loads of tree branches were falling under the weight. They even closed the university for the afternoon which is pretty unusual for a city as used to snow as Fort Collins.

Fortunately, I managed to convince my work colleagues to come join me for a snowball fight before the university was closed. This was particularly fun seeing as a) I haven’t had a good snowball fight since I moved here, because b) the snow here is usually too dry to make good snowballs (but it was unusually humid last week), and c) a few of my work colleagues from dryer climates (e.g. Brazil and Thialand) had not seen a lot of snow and had only had 1 snowball fight in their life, and with rubbish dry snow.
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Needless to say, we had a great time, even Cody (the guy taking this picture who got pelted 5 seconds afterwards), and notice the big tree branches freshly fallen behind us. We even managed to pelt our bosses window with some snowballs to let him know we were working hard on our experiments, thank you and sorry Chuck! At least we wore safety glasses…

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If you are reading this from England, don’t feel too jealous of our fun weather and take solace in the fact it is at least warmer in England today that Fort Collins.

Rob

Learning to Home Brew!

Hello again!

As you know we’re loving life here in Fort Collins, and Fort Collins is an amazing town. While here we’re trying to enjoy as much of the local experience as possible, and so we decided to give one of the major past-times a try – home brewing! Despite the fact that there are an insane number of local breweries lots of people also try their hand at brewing their own beer, as well as the occasional wine/ moonshine.

First things first, we had to buy the equipment. Not much is needed for home brewing since there are really just two main steps – boil it all up and then leave it to sit for a while 🙂 For the boiling we just needed to buy a large enough pot, and a thermometer to monitor everything; For the fermenting we needed a storage container, an airlock and a second thermometer. Finally, a siphon to move the beer between containers and sanitizer to keep everything nice and clean. Generally people make beer in five gallon batches, although we decided to just do little one gallon batches to start with. This is quicker so it lets us do more experimentation and means that we’re not spending lots of money on ingredients if our beer is going to taste weird 😉

This brings us to part two – buying the ingredients! Again, this is fairly straightforward. To make beer you need malt extract (or grain, if you’re feeling fancy), hops, yeast and water. We started off nice and easy using malt extract, which meant that we could skip the whole business of extracting malt extract directly from the grain. Don’t worry though, we have given that a go since.

And now for the hard part – actually making the beer! First things first, get a pot of water and get it boiling. While doing this you want to weight out your malt extract, which is kind of like treacle in consistency:

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Mix that into the boiling water, and make sure everything is nicely blended. This then boils away for an hour, and you add hops throughout the boil depending on what kind of flavor you’re going for. For this recipe, which is an Amber Ale, we need to add hops right at the start and then some more right at the end:

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Hops!

 

I wish I could somehow convey the smell of the hops through this blog, because they smell amazing. This made up for the fact that the hops look very much like rabbit pellets…

Once we’d thrown a few hops into the mixture and got the thermometer set up (all of which made my inner Chemist very happy) we left it to boil away for a little while:

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Again, this smelt truly amazing ❤

We start off with about two gallons of liquid boiling away, and this boils down to just one gallon over the hour. Once it’s all boiled down you throw in the rest of the hops, give it another five minutes and then move the whole thing over to some ice water to cool right down:

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The ice melted immediately, damn this heat

It’s kind of hard to see in the picture but the resulting liquid is now pretty cloudy and not looking that great. This is why you need to be careful while filtering, to make sure you don’t end up with an overly chewy beer…

Whilst the beer is filtering you get to sanitize everything else that is going to be used, since you definitely want to avoid getting any foreign bacteria in the mixture. These will result in a bad tasting final result, and if you’re very unlucky the extra gas production may cause the whole thing to explode. Not ideal in a rented apartment, so we sanitized hard! After that we siphoned the beer over to the container…

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The face of confidence…

We then checked the alcohol content to make sure that we weren’t going to accidentally blind ourselves, and continued to cool the whole thing:

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The beer really needs to be kept below about 25oC while fermenting so that the yeast doesn’t die, which is not that easy when the ambient temperature is 30oC…

Once the beer finally cooled down we put the airlock in and left it, and it now needs to sit in the dark for a few weeks to figure itself out! After two weeks fermenting we take the airlock out and replace it with a seal so that the beer can carbonate, and voila.

Fingers crossed we get a tasty final result, so watch this space!

 

 

Casa Bonita!

We’ve been very lucky that during our time in the States we’ve gotten to see some really amazing places, and some places that are truly unique. Casa Bonita was both, but also somehow a total mess… There really aren’t the words to describe the experience, but nonetheless we will do our best!

For those who don’t know Casa Bonita is a Mexican Restaurant for families near Denver that was made famous after it featured in an episode of South Park. It was already quite well known (for reasons that will become clear) but the South Park episode was extremely funny and portrayed it as a place of true lunacy. We’d been meaning to go for a while, despite the fact that the food is widely regarded as some of the worst in Colorado, so we mentioned it to Pete and Jonno who were both very excited to find out that it was a real place.

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Surely such a place can’t exist?

It does. It exists.

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As you can imagine we did not have a lot of trouble spotting it from the road, and we were impressed right away!

We’d read a little about Casa Bonita before going, and the first thing that was surprising was the capacity. Casa Bonita seats over 1000 people at once, and the entrance to Casa Bonita is not unlike a theme park. We walked a little way to the first till, and placed an order for our meal. We then walked even further in order to pick up our meal, and then carried that over to a server who told us where to sit. Strangely the advice we’d been given from friends was to avoid actually eating anything that you ordered, and to instead just consider it the price of entry into Casa Bonita. If we absolutely did want to eat they suggested either ordering something not-Mexican (odd, for a Mexican restaurant) or ordering something so cheap you wouldn’t be disappointed. It became clear why when we saw our food appear through what we named ‘the food hole’:

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Oh dear

Undeterred we carried our plates over to the server, and requested a table near the waterfall. Oh, did I mention? There is a freaking waterfall in the middle of the restaurant:

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?!

It’s no excuse for a waterfall either, it’s a ridiculous 30 foot high. The waterfall then leads into the diving pool, into which Cliff Divers jump every 15 minutes or so. Again, yes, you read that correctly.

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Woo!

We had a great timing watching Bo the cliff diver do his thing. There weren’t many people eating and Americans love participation so we had a great time yelling out our dive requests, although our lack of dive knowledge meant that the requests were generally either ‘front flip’ or ‘back flip’.

As promised the food was truly awful, and the very strong smell of chlorine from the pool wasn’t a big help. There was a lot of it though!

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Both at the start of the meal, and once we were done

The highlight was probably the Sopapillas, which are little pastry pillows that you eat with honey. The flag on the table was excellent – you raised it if you wanted attention, or if you needed anything refilled. Here is Rob using the flag to cover his mouth so that he’s not tempted to even try and eat any more:

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‘Server, please please take this food away’

After the food came the true treat, which was exploring the restaurant itself. As I mentioned it’s very big, but also very much compartmentalized. It’s split across many levels and each area is decorated with a different theme.

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We were in the island section, overlooking the waterfall
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Caverns…
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Caves…
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Mine Shaft…
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Fancy area?
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Even fancier area!

It was very confusing, and there was much weirdness along the way. Sights that we witnessed included this random fake(?) dead body hidden in the mines:

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AAH

This corridor, which had a list of previous employee names up on plaques:

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Pete suggested that these may be the names of people who died carrying out their Casa Bonita duties, and having tried the food that was definitely a possibility.

After that weirdness we were granted a wonder – the view from behind the waterfall!

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Magical!

Rob was very excited, although he’d forgotten to let his face know:

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He’s smiling on the inside, I swear it

After this brief flash of beauty we were treated to the true horrors of Casa Bonita, starting with the fortune teller!

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Possibly a real human woman once…

Pete and Jonno bravely put a quarter into the machine and received their fortunes, which surprisingly were not ‘you will get severe food poisoning’ or even ‘help me, my soul is trapped in here’…

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“When you speak honestly and openly others truly listen to you” – Nice!

We then moved on to the puppet show, which mercifully was not playing when we were there:

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Fun fact – his eyes follow you everywhere

This was next to this blatantly haunted, screaming tree

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I didn’t blame him, I too was screaming

This all lead up to Black Bart’s Cave, which was actually pretty fun. It’s basically a dark, enclosed cave filled with spooky stuff that jumps out at you or spits you with air. We genuinely did scream a few times, and I think as a child it probably would’ve broken my fragile mind forever.

By this point the mixture of strong chlorine smell and extremely salty food meant that we all had headaches, so we decided that it was probably time to head out! That said, it was an extremely exciting afternoon, and we definitely recommend visiting if you get the chance 🙂

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Truly

 

Wild Animals: Seeing and Eating!

Hi All,

Sorry or the delay since our last blog, we’ve been having a great time hosting more friends, the lovely Pete & Jonno! They’re exploring the area for 10 days, and we got to have a great time joining them in their adventures last weekend 🙂

Our fun times revolved mostly around experiencing various animals,  initially by eating several of them. Before you start to be concerned, rest assured that we haven’t gone insane! There is an amazing deli in Old Town Fort Collins called Choice City that does a range of tasty sausages, and we’ve had our eyes on them for a while now.

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Choice, indeed

We treated ourselves to a whole range of meats, and were very excited:

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Such colors!

Here are our tasty specimens up close:

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Sorry babies! We couldn’t pass up the chance to try Rattlesnake…

We were extremely lucky that the wonderful Pete offered to cook for us, and he decided to pair the sausages with some veg as well as mustard mashed potatoes ❤

We cooked up the tasty sausages, and all got very excited by the assorted meat smells:

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The sizzling sounds were also outstanding

We were very happy with the final result, beautifully plated up by yours truly:

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From top to bottom the final sausages are: Antelope, Boar, Bison, Duck, Rabbit & Rattlesnake.

They were all pretty great, so we were very satisfied by our assorted sausages! My favorite was probably the Antelope which was really nicely seasoned, and least favorite I think was the Duck. The Bison was super juicy which was really nice, and the Rattlesnake and Boar are definitely not to be sniffed at. All in all, our exotic meat meal was a success!

After this deplorable display, we decided to give the Wild Animal Sanctuary another visit, since it is an outstanding place. Happily it was still outstanding this visit, despite being almost impossibly windy!

All the regular favorite animals were there, so please enjoy the highlights of what we saw. There was some excellent camouflaging on display, so keep your eyes open!

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This stealthy leopard friend
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A sleepy wolf, pretending to be a log…
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This Arctic Fox (who I love so much!) blending nicely with the snow
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This Fox is not even trying to camouflage himself, but he did give us a smile ❤ 
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This guy was doing something very cool, which kind of surprised us. He was walking up and down the edge of the cage, but was taking care to step into his own footsteps every time he did so. You can see in this picture that he’s standing in previous imprints, which blew my mind
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This bear looks very sad that the snow hasn’t melted here yet…
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This very pretty white tiger is okay with it, and is making no effort to walk in his own footprints
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Fat tigers were OF COURSE the main attraction, they’re so chubby and I love them so much 🙂
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The lions were pretty great too though
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Especially this gal, who seems to be pretending to be a sausage 🙂

Finally, there was an unexpected treat with this visit! Not part of the sanctuary, we were lucky enough to see these two Bald Eagles hanging out together:

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I’m guessing the one on the bottom is a juvenile since he’s still very puffy, but despite his youth he still did a great job posing for photos:

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USA! USA!!

If you want to see 1000 more pictures of these two eagles just shoot me an email, I got extremely snap-happy when I saw them 🙂

That’s all for now, but part two coming up shortly where you’ll get to hear all about our amazing visit to the truly ridiculous place that is Casa Bonita…

Enjoy!

The Second Peckspedition

Back when I was in my first year at Warwick University (2007), two of my oldest friends came to visit me all the way from Birmingham and Southampton to meet my new girlfriend, known only to them as ‘Peck’. They called this trip the Peckspedition and came and surprised me and an unsuspecting Cat, who froze like a rabbit in headlights when two Bristol boys that she had never met ran up in public and bear-hugged her.
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Last week (or 10 years later than the first Peckspedition), Josh and his girlfriend Hannah came out to visit me and Cat in Fort Collins. We had a lovely time, not just for nostalgic reasons (I have known Josh for 19 years) but it’s always nice to be able to speak proper English and show off the best bits about FoCo (Fort Collins) and ‘Murica (the USA).
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Josh and Hannah made great use of their time and saw all the best bits including Estes park (picture above), New Belgium brewery, the Wild Animal Sanctuary,
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Fort Fun,
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They also took some artistic shots during the Arthurs Rock Hike around the foothills (Instagram much Josh?),
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did a hike around a river up in the Red Feather Lakes district,
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… and even saw a Buddhist Temple up in the mountains.
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We were very grateful to Josh and Hannah for coming and visiting, especially as Boston was under a foot of snow so adjusting to the warm, dry, high altitude Fort Collins climate was not straightforward. So, we decided to end their holiday with the most American thing we could think of: country line dancing
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Josh and Hannah are in the quite famous and semi-professional folk band Threepenny Bit (http://threepennybit.com/), so are very used to folk dancing and Cèilidhs, though are more accustomed to providing the music than the dancing. So, we did a couples line dancing class (learning the waltz) and had a great time, only crashing into each other about 5 times. Josh and Hannah were particularly impressed by “the wearing of cowboy boots and hats unironically” as well as the live country band playing a cover of the national anthem as their first song.

We had so much fun we had no time to take pictures, but I can assure everyone it’s one of the most fun things we have done in the US.

Finally, I am not one who likes being photographed, especially if I have to pose. But if I ever decide to record a country music album this picture is going in, thanks Josh for the awesome photographs!

Rob

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