Medieval Fair!

Hi All!

A short update on our weekend so far! This Saturday the weather is extremely beautiful here in Fort Collins, it’s 85°F (29.5°C) with bright sunshine and blue skies, so much fun was had!

Rob’s dubious idea of fun was a grueling 28.5km bike ride around the reservoir, with an alarmingly fast top speed of 35 mph on the steep downhill bits. It does not look like an easy cycle:

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Not pictured: flatness

But he said he had a very good time, and saw a horse, a donkey, and some people tubing down to Poudre river! We have not yet tried tubing, but are very keen to do so since it looks like a lot of fun:

STEAMBOAT TUBERS
Soooooon ❤

I decided not to sacrifice my body to bike riding, and luckily got an offer to go a Medieval Fair with my friends Jeny & Linda from work! This sounded like a lot of fun, and something I have never done before, so off we went.

Unlike most fairs there was a very relaxed approach to clothing, so it didn’t matter that we weren’t dressed in costume. A few people did make the effort and were in full medieval dress, but good lord did they look warm:

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I can’t actually see his face but seriously. How is he still alive.

Also unlike most fairs, this took place just next to the beautiful ‘Devil’s Backbone’ in Loveland, which is a really pretty geological feature. There are tall rocks which rise up along a naturally occuring hill, making the whole thing look like a monster spine:

Devils backbone
Stock image to give you a better idea…
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And the view from the medieval fair!

The fair itself was really lovely. It was mostly small stalls in tents with people selling homemade goods, and there was lots of great stuff. I bought a wooden painting of the Colorado flag to hang up, and the others got some great jewellery.

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They also had homemade drinking horns, which I was very tempted by!

As well as the cute shops they had lots of performances, including Belly Dancing:

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A common pastime in Medieval times?

And sword fighting!

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We were pretty tempted by the sword fighting, but it was far too hot to be leaping around fighting. We had a glass of Mead instead 🙂

After that we wandered the fair for a few more hours shopping away and taking pictures with the cool outfits and prop jails…

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Again, not sure this is Medieval, but whatever!

 

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Totally had to fight some kids off to take this

Afterwards we went and got ice cream to bring our body temperatures after our baking in the sun, and agreed to do it again soon!

Tomorrow we are going to be day tripping across to Nebraska, so we hope to have more exciting pictures for you tomorrow 🙂

Much Love Xx

 

Safety First

When friends and family come out to visit us, we like to do different and interesting things. But also, we like to do things with people that they could not do in England. For example, hiking in the mountains is a very Colorado thing to do.

So, with the cousins here, we received a very kind offer from one of me and Cats closest friends here, to try something we had never even considered before:
Great_Guns_SportingLLC_21695.jpgNow, before we go any further, a few things to point out for those of high blood pressure or of concern for our wellbeing or safety:

  1. We are fine.
  2. No really, we still have the correct number of limbs and no extra holes.
  3. We took a very safety first approach and spent almost as much time going over proper gun safety and use, as shooting.
  4. Don’t. Worry.

Anyway, we first learnt and were made to demonstrate the three rules of gun safety. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot and ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

There are also other general rules like don’t drink and shoot, wear eye and ear protection (guns are like, well loud) and of course; never point a gun at something you don’t want to shoot!

We then went to a gun range out in East Colorado and did some target practice:

The kickback of the pistols (Smith and Wesson Revolver and Glock 27) was surprisingly large, hence why me and Cat aren’t shooting one handed like James bond or something…
P1020874Simon however, is a lot stronger than us and showed us how it was done. It does really put all the video games, American TV and films in perspective though. After shooting about 5 rounds my hands were tired and my brain hurt from concentrating. I have absolutely no idea how people do this for real!

We then moved on to some larger guns. Fortunately, this involved sitting down with some 25 yard targets which turned yellow when you hit them:
combined shooting pictureWe were quite happy with that grouping considering it was our first time and that was using a Ruger semi-automatic rifle which had no sight, so was difficult to aim. I should also point that the target that says ‘rope’ is actually mine. When we took Smraizle to Silver Grill on their first day here, I asked four times to book a table under Rob but ‘Rope’ is what the woman choose to hear and write down.

Cat, Simon and Marie didn’t think this was funny at all, and defo did not spend the rest of the holiday calling me Rope McCannon and creating a complete backstory… Anyway, I think we all look quite serious here with the big guns (Ruger sem-automatic rifle and Remington bolt action rifle), if we were American, these would be great profile pics:
big guns picture.jpgTalking of kickback, the bigger the gun, the bigger the kickback, hence why sitting down and having the back of the rifle in your shoulder helps, though we did have some small bruises on our shoulders to remember the day by.

Finally, we are very grateful to John for the experience. Here he is demonstrating his shotgun:
P1020907I include a picture of him here not us, as his expression is serious and concentrating and ours was more like panic and anticipation like this guy:

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Credit: http://www.123rf.com

That was some experience!

Rob and Cat xx

Beer & Food Time!

Hi Again!

We’re continuing fun times in Fort Collins with the cousins, so time for an update. On Tuesday we partook in the main form of entertainment in Fort Collins – Brewery Tours! Fort Collins has a population of around 150,000, and a magnificent 21 breweries – so around one brewery for each 7100 people 🙂 This doesn’t compare to the number of restaurants (about 400, so one for every 375 people), but still pretty outstanding!

We started at New Belgium, which is my personal favorite and somewhere that you will definitely all be visiting, to do their free tour! It lasts about 90 minutes, contains tasters of many, many beers and is extremely informative. Plus the New Belgium Brewery is just beautiful and the people are so relaxed, so it’s always fun 😀

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Ignore the uncharacteristic clouds! We blame the cousins…

We started the tour by learning a little about the background of the brewery, which as you can imagine is aiming to produce Belgium style beer in Colorado. Since they started in 1991 they’ve grown massively, and you may have tasted one of their most popular ales which is Fat Tire. We then went on to taste several of their other beers, of which they have a fabulous range:

New Belgium beers
Om nom nom nom nom

We then continued to drink as we walked around the rest of the site in the lovely sunshine, and it was great.

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After all the drinking we were feeling a little sleepy:

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But we partied on. Next stop, Odells!

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Odells is another of the most famous breweries in Fort Collins, and widely considered one of the real local treasures. They also do a great range of beers, and have a really beautiful site. We were too late to do their brewery tour, so we tried a few of their taster flights instead and also got some tacos! All whilst enjoying their wonderful patio:

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The taster flights were pretty wonderful, and they had a really good variety. Here are some of their tasty beers:

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Om nom nom nom zzzz

As you can imagine we were even more sleepy leaving the brewery:

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But we continued on to Cooper Smiths, which is a brewery in the Old Town Square. It’s very pretty, and has a great games room! We had a great time playing snooker, followed by the magical game that is Shuffleboard 🙂

We played the traditional way – Guys vs Gals – and I’m proud to say that the gals won both rounds! At that point the guys accepted their inarguable inferiority, so we moved on to the also exciting table tennis. Here there were no measurable winners, but the loser was definitely the guy playing pool next to us who was repeatedly struck by our ball, usually in the face mid-shot. We spent a lot of the game apologising.

To restore our dignity we had a few rounds of table football to finish the night. We played Channons vs Cheethams, and Channons just scraped victory over the few games. See if you can spot the common player amongst the winning teams! That night, we slept well 🙂

We continued the fun on Friday with the Fort Collins Foodie Walk! This is a self guided walking tour of some of the food stores in Fort Collins which happens once a month, put on by the stores. They offer free samples and tell you more about their shops, and since they are truly hipster style shops this is pretty exciting. One big highlight is the Tea Store, which is truly wonderful:

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On the left, fancy hand crafted teapots. On the right, fancy bricks of tea from China ❤
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I’m pretty sure they have every single tea in the world

There is also an extremely fancy Olive Oil shop, will sells an absurd range of olive oil.

Olive oil

And yet somehow everything in all of these million bottles is interesting and delicious. Again, you must visit and sample if you come to Colorado. Here is Marie loving the balsamic vinegar:

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So many infusion, so little time

We also visited the chocolate stop, the cheese shop, another chocolate shop and the spices/ liqueur store! Sadly we were too busy feasting to be vigilant with the pictures, so that’s on me…

After the food tour, we went on to get some pizza at the delicious pizza shop Slyce. This was enjoyed by all, but especially by Simon:

It really is top quality pizza. We followed this up by sharing a toffee apple, which we enjoyed initially but soon came to regret. Still, it merited a try:

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We were so young and optimistic back then

After this second round of feasting we decided a walk around Old Town was needed. They’ve just added new flowers to the square and some lovely lights, so it looks rather fabulous:

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You can see Rob is still recovering from the toffee apple a little…

But yes, so pretty! We ended the night with a drink at a new distillery that has just opened near our apartment called Mobb Mountain. It turns out to make extremely strong Whisky, Gin that tasted like Whiskey, and cocktails that are composed almost entirely of Whiskey. I’m not a big fan of Whiskey so only managed a sip of my cocktail, but the interior was beautiful and I love what they are trying to do!

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Quite an unfortunate picture of Simon, my bad again…

So yes, just some of the delicious fun available in Fort Collins! More of our adventures to follow soon 🙂

Much love xx

The Cousins are here!

Hi All!

Sorry for the long delay since my last blog, we’ve had an extremely exciting visit from my brothers followed by two weeks of working hard and being boring, so not much to tell! Happily now the cousins are here, so this will all change 🙂

They flew in on Friday, and are here for just over a week of magnificent excitement!

The excitement started almost right away, when we visited the amazing Wild Animal Sanctuary!

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I hadn’t heard of it before, but Marie found it online and it looked outstanding. What the Wild Animal Sanctuary does is rehome exotic animals that have been neglected or kept as pets illegally. It turns out that there is no law against owning exotic animals in five states (points for guessing which five!), and there are more tigers in Texas than are left in the wild! So we were happy to support a great cause, and also to see some happy wild animals.

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One of my favorites is this guy, who is beautiful!
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And also this guy, who has been a little overfed in his previous home…

The Sanctuary is set up so that animals are slowly allowed to get used to their new surroundings – a lot of them have been kept in very small enclosures and some have never seen sunlight before 😦 Once they are used to being outside they are slowly introduced to other animals of the same type so that they can form packs, and when that goes well they are moved to big 10 acre enclosures where they can live and be merry.

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Like this!

The park is basically a big walkway over the top of these enclosures, since predators don’t have any enemies from above so are not bothered by what goes on overhead. Here are some more of the amazing animals:

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Sleepy bears!
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Pretty Ocelot!
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Fabulous Lynx
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And Mr Lion!

It was extremely wonderful, and I strongly recommend giving it a visit if you’re ever in Colorado, or donating generously via their website: http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

Following the magic of the animal sanctuary, we relaxed at home while the wonderful Simon made us dinner and then we sleepily went to bed.

The next day, Exercise! First we went for a quick walk up the reservoir:

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And then we went over to Lory state park for a hike up to Arthur Rock, which gives you epic views of the town and the reservoir! It is a 3.4 mile round trip, with the first half being quite steep! But very pretty, and it feels much more remote than it actually is.

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This is literally ten minutes from our apartment

A hard walk to the top, but excellent views once we got there 🙂

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Pictured: Views!
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Our heroes, at the peak! 🙂

We had a quick picnic at the peak before heading back down to return into town. We went via the more rural part of town, so got to see some deer chilling in the fields!

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Not as impressive as the lions, but still great 🙂

We spent the rest of the day at the frankly amazing Fort Fun, which is just always great. We started with a fairly epic game of mini-golf:

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Epic in pictures, if not in skill…

This was wonderfully fun and we were not good, but that didn’t stop us taking it extremely seriously…

We followed our epic golfing with a quick but terrifying round in the batting cages:

And then fun in the arcade, which made our approach to golf look downright casual. No-one has ever taken arcade games as seriously as we did:

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Time-cop is inherently serious, so this is fine
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Driving likewise is a serious responsibility
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Pump-it-up dance is admittedly hard to excuse

It definitely needs to be mentioned that Rob is AMAZING at the dance game. Never has someone poured so much soul into something with such outstanding results. I fell in love all over again ❤

As you can imagine by the evening we were pretty tired from all the excitement, so we treated ourselves to dinner at the all-you-can Mongolian Stir Fry restaurant. It was, as always, delicious!

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Om nom nom nom nom

We are now back in the apartment and extremely full, and playing an extremely competitive game of Settlers of Catan. Is it bliss 🙂

More soon! Xxx

St George’s day and Fort Fun

We have had a fun few weeks recently coinciding with the varied but improving weather here.

HORSETOOTH HALF

Starting of this crazy time was that I finally did my Half Marathon (see here for background). Unfortunately, Fort Collins decided that the weekend was a really good time for some snow and cold weather (10 C) which made it a lot more challenging (wet feet = blisters), but I did finish in 2h 26 m 23 s without walking or coming last which was nice.

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I might be in this picture as I’m wearing blue, but who can tell?

Here I am looking a bit worse for wear with about 100 meters to go and at the end looking like my feet arn’t in a bad way, with a winning medal / bottle opener:

 

And here I am just after, wide awake, looking really happy with my efforts at lunch at IHOP (the international house of pancakes):

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Best of all was that the race was won by a woman – Brianne Nelson – in 1h 16m 44s, so big props to her! http://www.coloradorunnermag.com/2016/04/19/brianne-nelson-wins-horsetooth-half-marathon/

FORT FUN

We then discovered there was a place only 5 minutes from our house called Fort Fun.
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It’s fun! Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauldineen/161456714

Although probably aimed at people slightly (or arguably a lot) younger than us, we had a great time as they have arcades, mini golf courses, paddle boats, a big slide, laser tag, go karts and best of all… batting cages.

cat batting cages
Let’s go do the sports better than the other team and win the thing”

Cat actually did pretty well and hit a lot more than I did on the slow softball setting. I’m moderately ashamed to say I actually found it quite difficult (on the medium softball setting), as the bats and balls are different to cricket and without gloves, my hand hurt from the contact – such shame.

ST GEORGE’S DAY

Finally, we decided to throw a St George’s day party for our friends, partly to be social and show off our digs, but mainly to see what our American friends thought British people looked like. To be honest, we looked more like a Halloween party than an English one:

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Slam it to the left, If you’re having a good time…

We were brought some spotted dick, biscuits, tea, and variety of English beers (e.g. Old Speckled Hen, Holy Grail) and managed to play a few classic Channon party games (consequences, the chocolate game and the Maltesers spoon game) which went down very well, as they always do. Though I did feel sorry for one guest who kept having her hat taken off just as she was about to get some Chocolate, every single time:

 

SHirleyAs far as “British themed fancy dress”, big props have to go to the innovative ones e.g. Abbey Road, a Palace Guard, a Corgi, Where’s Wally, Zombie Princess Diana and three of the Spice Girls. One guy dressed as Angus Young (Scottish) from ACDC (an Australian Rock band), but that was all good. Cat decided to dress as me, which was actually really disturbing. Especially so with the drawn on chest and facial hair and some very unflattering impressions “Ello I’m Dr Rob, can I talk to you about cricket?”

Perhaps we need to do a better job of teaching our friends our culture…

Rob & Cat

Monster Trucks! 

Wotcha!

Last Friday, our friends Jaclyn and Willie invited us to see an American event that we had not previously even really been aware of; the Toughest Monster Truck Tour. My words cannot possibly do justice to just how fantastically American this event was, but I will do my best:

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People on the right for scale

It took place in an Ice Hockey arena where local Colorado team “The Eagles” play in a town south of Fort Collins called Loveland. Before the event even started, everyone stood up and sang the National anthem towards a big US flag, then the announcer made all the Veterans in the audience stand up and have a round of applause from the audience for protecting our freedom. We were surprised and impressed by the patriotism (considering most English people don’t even know the words to the 2nd and 3rd verses of God Save The Queen) and we thought the applause was very sweet, although neither of us knew the words to the anthem!

Anyway, the trucks themselves were massive, like really really big and impressive:

  • Size: 10 ft high, 12 ft wide, 18 ft long
  • Weight: 9,500 lbs (roughly 3 mini coopers, and even the tires weight 500 kilos!)
  • 1750 Horsepower
  • Fuel: Methanol (56 yards to the gallon!)
  • 572 cu in Ford Racing V8 engine, with a 871 BDS supercharger, in a Ford F150 body.

The sound was ridiculous and everyone had earmuffs on. Also the cars were really getting through fuel, so the whole arena smelt of weird nitro/alcohol fumes. We were lucky enough to see the tour championship and see 6 Monster Trucks (Big Foot, Quad Chaos, Heavy Hitter, Over Bored, Dirt Crew and Dawg Pound) perform three challenges;

Best wheelie:

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Dog Pound showing us his belly

A knockout race for fastest Truck:

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Over Bored taking a detour to crush some cars

And a freestyle round featuring some fantastic air:

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Dirt Crew flying 30 ft in the air

The eventual winner – Big Foot 22 driven by Dan Runte – stormed the show and won his 5th consecutive championship (Big Foot is also the original Monster Truck so that was pretty cool), although he might have been beaten by 2nd place ‘Heavy Hitter’ had its front left tire not become detached from the axle half way through his freestyle performance!

Not wishing to let people’s adrenaline return to safe levels at half time, we were treated to a BMX and Freestyle Motocross show featuring some cool BMX backflips (which we didn’t get a picture of) and some pretty impressive Motocross stunts:

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Oh no, my bike is escaping! Come back devil machine!

My favourite was actually this one below. The resolution isn’t great, but the driver us actually lead down on his bike with his hands behind his head like he is napping:

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Yawn…

How is one expected to get a decent night’s sleep after all that excitement?

Rob

Colorado with the Parents!

Hi Again,

You’ve almost reached the end of our adventures with the extra Channons, but we definitely have some more great pictures to show you before we’re done. After our week skiing we all headed back to Fort Collins, so that we could show Barry and Margaret our wonderful town.

As you may know we adore Fort Collins, so we were very keen to show them the sights. As well as that our local area has a staggering number of things to see, so there was plenty to keep us all busy.

First, we went to see Estes Park which we have visited previously. We had a great time even though everything was still very much under 50 inches of snow, including visiting this awesome frozen waterfall:

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Not pictured in the shot is the small child that was sitting behind the waterfall refusing to come out. The two people on the left are the concerned parents, who were trying to convince their son to stop trying to knock icicles above his head…

Still, it was a beautiful day! We enjoyed a life of contradiction, spending the first half of the walk around tutting at people being loud whilst we quietly watched the wonderful birds, including several of these pretty guys:

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Again, ten points if you can name it. And I know the correct answer this time! 🙂

We then decided we’d had our fill of sophistication and birds and started lobbing snowballs at each other and making a right scene. Heartwarmingly, we managed to inspire a Sri Lankan family who were visiting and had never conceived of such an idea! They started having a big snow ball fight of their own and seemed to have a great time. I’m ashamed to say I was most definitely not the winner of our showdown, but I did get a couple of great shots in! Tired out, we walked around and enjoyed the rest of the park in a more sedate and respectable manor:

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Pictured: Too tired for further mischeif!

As well as Estes Park, we went further south to see Manitou Springs (a very cute town) and Garden of the Gods. Both were excellent, despite the scorching hot weather! You can feel that summer is starting to kick in a little now, so hats all round.

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This, but dial the sun up to 11

It was very pretty, and we walked around the town for a while before stopping for lunch. Our lunch included some of the local spring water that the town is famous for, which tasted very fresh and lovely! I also finally caved and bought a Cowboy hat to keep me cool, which is actually extremely practical at keeping the sun off my face. I love it so 🙂

After Manitou Springs we went just around the corner to Garden of the Gods, an amazing national park.

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I hope you like blue skies and red rocks!

Garden of the Gods is quite unusual in that it features a lot of tall and strange rock features, often features which seem very unlikely. Here is one of the most famous views, the balancing rock:

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It was hard to get far enough away to take the picture properly, but needless to say it’s a pretty big rock balancing on a pretty small one!

With all these rocks around climbing was inevitable, and extremely good fun:

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Enjoy the first cheeky shot of my hat!

Selfies were of course also inevitable, but we had to wait until Barry wasn’t watching so that he couldn’t be disappointed in us…

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Ha, you can’t stop us all the time! Also, hat ❤

We also spent far longer hiking than expected! We parked the car so that we could step out and have a quick look and ended up hiking for well over an hour. It really was gorgeous. Here are just a few of these wonderful sights:

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So yes, super pretty and a new must visit spot for us to take visitors to!

Sadly despite our best efforts and wonderful tours we didn’t manage to convince the parents to illegally defect and stay in Fort Collins forever, so they are now safely back in the UK. That said it was a magical two weeks and we had such a good time, so we’re looking forward to convincing them to visit again soon!

That’s all for now, more soon 🙂

Xx

Steamboat – Part Two!

Hello all,

Sorry to keep you waiting so long on part two! We have been far too busy having fun with Barry and Margaret, but will be catching up on our blogging this weekend 🙂

So, back to Steamboat! At the end of the last blog we’d just returned from Dinosaur, so were ready to get back to skiing. Or more accurately the boys were going to go skiing, and Margaret and I were going to see the sights!

The first wonderful sight that we saw was Strawberry Springs, arguably the most famous hot springs in Steamboat. These are natural hot springs up in the mountains that have been carefully structured to provide pools of spring water at a range of temperatures for lovely bathing. They are awesome:

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You can see the big main pool in the foreground is only very slightly heated (and so is slightly iced over) whereas the raised pool is steaming quite a lot. You may also notice that outside of the springs was rather chilly, which made the prospect of putting on a tiny bikini and running through the snow towards the pool a little daunting. Still, bravely we entered the pool!

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We panic-snapped this on the way in!

The walk down to the pool may be the coldest I have ever been, and first entering the springs was probably the hottest. The ambient temperature was about 20°F (-7°C) and the hot spring shown was at 105°F (41°C). I use Fahrenheit because it sounds way more impressive to say that there was an 85°F temperature increase, although now that I think of it a sudden 48°C temperature increase also sounds like a lot!

Anyway, once we were in it was absolutely beautiful. The springs are very remote so it was nice and quiet, and there are lots of little waterfalls that feed the pools into each other so you can hear them bubbling away, as well as the lovely birds that were flitting around. The only thing that could, and did, drag me away was the hour long massage provided in the naturally heated stone grotto. The grotto also had some of the hot spring water running through and under it, so you had more soothing sounds and nice warm stone underfoot. We even, bravely, did a cold plunge! Here we are after a few hours, looking very relaxed and rosy:

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Good times!

So yes, lovely! Meanwhile, the boys were shooting around on the mountains doing increasingly crazy runs through the trees in the very deep snow. It snowed about 16 inches while we were there, so it was at some points knee deep!

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And of course pretty chilly!

But fear not, our boys still were still skiing beautifully while Margaret and I were hard at work relaxing.

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Such form!

On seeing this pictures I did ask them if they were just lost, but they assure me that this is what advanced, off piste skiing looks like and that they were very capable of handling it. Although the next few pictures suggested otherwise!

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Whoops!

 

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He’s free!

We did laugh at the pictures of the fall, and then had a lot of fun playing the picture in reverse so that instead of slowly getting out from under the tree it looks like Barry slowly crawls under and buries himself. Perhaps he leant many things from George the mouse! But teasing aside this was the only fall during three days of extremely difficult skiing, so we were very impressed 🙂 Rob also fell over, but I’m afraid you will have to contact Barry for these pictures!

It was very nice and sunny on the last day, so Marg and I got the Gondola up the mountain to meet the boys for lunch and very well deserved beers:

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It’s possible that no-one has every enjoyed a beer more

And Marg was sensible whilst I had a poorly chosen Sangria:

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It gave me a headache 😦

The boys then returned to their shenanigans, and Marg and I had a short walk around the top of the mountain which was extremely beautiful!

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You can see the many runs in the background
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And the pretty ski-doo posing for the picture
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And meeee, smiling despite my silly hangover

We then had what was some of the most fun I’ve ever had, which was the Gondola ride back down the mountain! It is a great tribute to Margaret that she did not insist on riding in a separate carriage as I squealed like a child and threw my arms around. It was a lot like a rollercoaster – the carriage starts moving in the bay, then the floor drops away and it accelerates wildly! I had far too much of a good time:

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This, with this sound: “EeeeEEEEeeeeeEEEEaaaiiiiEEEEEEEeeeEEEEEE!”

And obviously, it was completely beautiful the whole way down. It was so much fun that, with Marg’s reluctant permission, once we got to the bottom of the Gondola I insisted on going round again. Since having an English accent in the US is a little like having a superpower, the guy very kindly let us go around twice.

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EeeeeEEEEEeeeeeeMarglookathatmanskiingeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee!!!

I was so happy. Although a little embarrassed when I had to explain to the boys why our 20 minute trip home took just under an hour! Still, worth it. It turns out the boys also had a fun journey down, meeting/ almost crashing into two Moose on the way!

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Oh hai!

These were excellent pictures and we were very impressed and jealous. We also debated how to pluralize a collective of Moose for some time. I was sticking to my guns with “A bunch of Mooses” but sadly common sense prevailed with the relatively dull “A herd of Moose”.

For dinner, after a tiring week all round, we went to an amazing Steakhouse for dinner called 8th Street Steakhouse.

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No points for guessing where it was located

This was a very fun place, were you actually cook your own steak on the big hot grill provided. As someone who works in food safety this was a little alarming for me, but so much fun! They had a butcher style counter where you pick your steak, and the lovely New York man talks you through each one. Luckily the lovely New York man tells you how to cook your steak in great detail, so that you don’t fluff it up. Next, you head to the grill!

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Which we did, in a big way

And then, at least in our case, you have a whale of a time taking silly pictures while waiting for the steak to cook:

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We were doing very little to off-set the stereotype that all British people are silly. Eventually, our steaks were cooked and we could enjoy them. I was very proud of my effort, and enjoyed the steak all the more for it.

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Plus we didn’t even get food poisoning!

At the end of the night we managed to squeeze in a little dessert, and then back to the condo to pass out. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful week!

The next morning, we packed our bags and headed back to sunny Fort Collins to show our parents the town we love so much. Stay tuned for our sunnier escapades, which will be up very shortly! Thank you for reading 🙂

Xxx

Steamboat – Part One!

Hello!

As you may know we are currently on a lovely holiday with the Channons, skiing in Steamboat Springs. It is BEAUTIFUL, although also extremely snowy!

Steamboat itself is about three hours East of us (it would be closer, but you have to go around the Rocky Mountains) and is internationally renowned as an amazing place to ski. As well as the massive Mount Werner where the ski resort is there are a few other skiing areas, as well as some lovely Hot Springs, which is what the town is named after. There are no actual steamboats, the bubbling springs just make it sound like there are 🙂

I mentioned that Mount Werner is massive, but that probably doesn’t do it justice! The town itself is at 6,732 ft above sea level, but the peak of the mountain is at 10,570 ft! The highest point that you can get to via skiing is near that, at around 10,384 ft. So, quite a long way to ski down! Although this was put into perspective for us when we found out that there are people to eschew the long gondola rides to the top in favor of hiking up the 3,500 ft themselves! Needless to say, we did not…

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So happy not to have hiked up this. You can see the town very distantly down below!

At Barry’s alarming request we started strong on the first day (Monday) having arrived to our wonderful Condo on the Sunday night! So we got up at eight, snaffled down some toast, and off we went on the first lift:

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Fun side note: All the skin you see in this picture is now red 😦

And away we went! I’m still really not good at skiing so wasn’t anywhere near the guys standard, but they indulged me with some nice Blues and Greens to get us started! Here I am, looking sort of like I know what I’m doing:

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Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

A lot of the runs are very nice and wide like this one, which makes it much easier for a beginner like me to control my speed by making lots of turns. We skied down a lot of fun runs like this, with brief breaks on the chairlift to rest our legs! After a few hours, we took a nice break up on the mountain. There are a few places to eat dotted all over the slopes that are only accessible via skis, and they had wonderful views! Here is Rendezvous, where we stopped:

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And here we are enjoying a beverage in the sun! It was an extremely sunny day which is how we ended up a little pink, but we definitely appreciated the warmth 🙂 One of the reasons that I was a bit apprehensive about skiing was that I thought it would be very cold – rest assured that this is definitely not the case! You can see that as soon as we could we threw our ski jackets to the floor and enjoyed the sunshine:

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And absolutely destroyed our drinks

And then back to it! The preferred approach to skiing with Team Channon is to get the first lift up as mentioned, and to then keep skiing until the lifts close at around 4pm with plenty of snack breaks in the middle. Skiing is pretty exhausting, so doing a full eight hours was a bit of a shock to my squishy body! Still, much fun 🙂 🙂

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Go Team!

In the evening we explored Downtown Steamboat, with its amazing food and beer! For the next day it was more of the same, although at a gentler pace since my poor legs were a little tired.

Strangely, Barry managed to pick up a hitch-hiker during a slower phase of skiing! Meet our new friend George:

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Barry chose the name 🙂

We think we picked George up when he fell out of one of the toboggans, which was probably quite a rude awaking from what we assume was his hibernation. We suspect George is a Doormouse, and a very cute (if slightly mussed up) one at that! Upon being woken up and finding himself in the snow he quickly ran over to Barry and hid in the little well under his shoe, and we think planned to stay there until spring. It was extremely cute!

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But wait, it gets cuter!

I was all in favour of us adopting George and having him live with us forever, but sadly common sense prevailed and we decided to scoot over to the edge of the slope and shoo him into the trees. This turned out to be much harder than expected. To start, Barry skied over to the edge of the slope, with George now riding on the back of the skis:

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This turned out to not be the most secure place for a little mouse, and he fell off into the middle of the run! He then sat there waiting for Barry to rescue him, which Barry did accompanied by his new assistants – a bunch of young school girls having skiing lessons! As you can imagine, some chaos ensued. Luckily George safely made it to the trees in the end!

For a bit of a change of pace after all the skiing excitement we took a day off to go and visit Dinosaur National Park, which is on the border of Colorado and Utah. As well as being a naturally very beautiful area, Dinosaur is so named because of the large collection of dinosaur bones that have been found there, many of which have been kept in situ for visitors! This all sounded very exciting, so off we went to Utah:

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It was a balmy 10°C, so on went the sunglasses!

It was about a two and a half hour drive, but well worth it. First, we were very impressed by the Dinosaur on display, which we lovingly named Cuthbert.

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Tell me that he doesn’t look like a Cuthbert

After a quite long discussion about whether his colouring was accurate (unlikely, but hard to know for sure), we headed on into the actual park.

As I said, the main feature is the big wall of dinosaur bones that have been kept in situ on display. The whole park used to be a river, and so a large number of dinosaur skeletons were located in the river bed either as a result of a flash flood, or a drought. Over the year some of these skeletons drifted apart into individual bones, but others remain in their original shape. When the river bed dried up the bones were buried, and they were excavated in the early 1900s. A lot of the bones we had seen without realising it, including the Barosaurus that is famously on display in the Natural History Museum in New York! But back to the wall:

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Apologies for the stock images! Very hard to capture the scale

It was a little bit mind-blowing, and it was fascinating to look at it and slowly be able to pick out individual animals. Strongly recommend a visit if you are in the area!

As well as the dinosaur bones, there were some ancient Petroglyphs! This is art that has been carved into a rock surface, in a similar style to cave art. Again, it was a little mind-blowing to think that these carvings had been around for such a long time, and they were very interesting! There were a few of them scattered around the park, so we did a tour of these. The style is very distinct, and often they are quite high up on the cliff walls:

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The rest of the park is also very beautiful, you can tell that the whole landscape has had millions of years to take shape. This post will very much become a photo album from now on, since the pictures really speak for themselves! There were some super distinctive layers in the rock:

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Known as Morrison Formation, for my fellow nerds 🙂

Split Mountain, so called because the rocks are at an angle, which shows a really excellent range of rock colours. Again, it is really hard to capture the scale of this, but at least I’m using my own photos this time 😉

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The weenie dots near the trees this side of the river are picnic benches

This awesomely named Turtle Rock, which again caused much debate about whether or not it did resemble a Turtle:

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Five points if you can spot it

The even more tenuously named Elephant Toes Butte:

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I’ve made spotting this one easy for you

And finally, general awe inspiring beauty:

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Seriously, just get on a plane and come to the National Park

So yes, much fun! We were in the park for a good long time exploring the many lovely things before returning back to Steamboat for the second half of our wonderful holiday!

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Bliss

We are here until Sunday, so hold tight for Part 2 of Steamboat!

Xxxxxx

Saturday in Fort Collins!

Hello! Sorry, me again! Rob is writing up a few papers at the moment, but will be back writing posts very soon 🙂

I was going to title this post ‘An average Saturday in Fort Collins’ but to be honest it was a pretty great Saturday. It was also kind of Saint Patricks day, which for those of you who don’t know is a pretty big deal in the US. Like, a way bigger deal than it is in England or even Ireland. Saint Patricks day isn’t actually until the 17th, but it’s celebrated on a Saturday for reasons that will soon become obvious. How is it celebrated, you ask?

Firstly, Parade! A big one! Big and odd…

 

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Does that say Kuck?

 

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Aah! Kuck!!!
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Oooh, balloon rainbow! Order is restored.

I thoroughly enjoyed the parade, it was nothing short of magnificent. I absolutely insist that we in the UK organise and start having parades like this ourselves. So good!

Hopefully for the UK parades we will be better prepared, but unfortunately we weren’t dressed appropriately this time. As you can probably see in a few of these pictures above, green is the colour to wear! And ideally green with an Irish slogan on it. If you want to go all in, you can literally dress up like you’re Irish. You read that correctly. We were deeply impressed by the Walmart selection:

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We felt that it showed a rich cultural respect

Again, the whole thing is kind of awesome 🙂 After a quick trip to Target, we have fixed our lack of Irish wear so that we can better blend in for the big day!

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So authentic

But back to Saturday! After the parade and an amazing breakfast at the Silver Grill (it’s so good! SO GOOD!) we carried on with our day. After the above shopping for our Irish gear we decided on a lovely drink in the sun. The traditional Irish day celebration is to drink heavily, the drink of choice being a beer dyed green, until you pass out in the street – thus the move to a Saturday. Luckily, we chose a classier route with our day drinking:

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Yes, for once Budweiser was the classy option!

There is a big Budweiser factory on the edge of Fort Collins which has an amazing restaurant/ bar/ beer garden. They also for a limited time have Clydesdales! These are big strong horses that used to pull the Budweiser carts back in the very early days, and now kind of act as mascots. They’re also placed for maximum picturesqueness (totes a word) in front of the mountains!

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And they kept grooming each other! ❤ ❤ ❤

They also had some inside the stables, looking extra fabulous and also ginormous:

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His name is Eric!

But anyway, we enjoyed our beer in the sun and it was deeply relaxing. One each was enough for us to be deeply sleepy, and wimpy US pints no less! Only 470 mL, I mean really. So, we returned home to relax in the house for a bit before carrying on with our day.

As you can imagine productivity trailed off quite sharply into the evening, but we did eat healthy salad for tea and pop into the shops once more. We went to get Rob’s skis polished, and to scout out rental skis for me. We also, after much coercing from me, dropped into the Puppy Store! It’s just so cute, I can’t help it:

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Just some of the tiny friends up for sale!

Don’t judge me! What, I’m supposed to just not look at the puppies? I’m not dead inside and I love them. Also don’t worry about the small pens, they alternate getting them out for a run around so they’re only in there when they’re sleepy. Luckily I only looked at the puppies since Rob sensibly did not let me get any of them out for petting. One day!

That’s all for now, more soon! In the meantime, Happy almost St Patricks day to you all! 🙂