Saturday, 29 September 2012

Andi's Birthday

It has been over a week since we arrived in Fresno, Andi hasn't got time to put any photos on our RR co he is busy replacing parts, doing maintenance and enjoying himself ... who woulda thought eh!! , I have to take over and just do it.

Andi's birthday, first time in his life he is younger than his twin brother in NZ...

The day started from a beautiful sun rise

Followed by surprise gift from Geoff and Gus (It's Gus's birthday too) from Ozzie, you need look hard the left bottle to see the difference

a decent American BBQ

Ellen's famous Sushi

some Crayfish

and a nice new hair do

We did have a cheesecake

but Maestro (the cat ) wants to crash the party

with the real life Karaoke, we all sang "Happy Birthday" ... thank god (or the winemaker) for wine 

in the end, we all retired to the couch, ARAI need a design change for piss drinking 


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sequoia National Park

Upon leaving our camp at Kennedys Meadow Camp we climbed to 9200 ft through a pile of twisties fit for a motard race, Ellen and I smoothly and quietly carved up the road with virtually no one else to contend with while taking in the views supplied by mum nature.

We stopped at Springvale to get some food and fuel, a cyclist pulled up and we got to chatting , turns out he too had been to Wanaka which made it very easy for us to explain where we live.

Leaving Springvale we carried on up the hill, I missed my turn as Ellen had turned the sound off on my GPS, we took an excursion which took us up a steep zig zag only to have to come back....nice views tho 

On returning we picked up the correct road and continued on our merry way stopping only at a local dairy to get a coldy before hitting Sequoia National Park.

We arrived at the park booth to be very nicely greeted by the Yogi Bear, a quick chat and park map we were on our way to the BIG trees, part way up we had a 15 minute stop for road works.

We arrived at camp slightly late after taking the wrong turn earlier, no stress plenty of light and great facilities so all was in order, we even had a wardrobe 

The following morning we set of to see Sherman and the BIG trees, now I am no gardener and I don't have green fingers but wow , pretty cool, a little hard to photograph with our gear but we had fun doing it.

The Sherman was certainly big and pretty glam, some of the large trees stand incredibly high.

One that had fallen was the edge of the carpark support, the root system was massive!!

Some have huge voids in them from forest fires

That evening we took a stroll to the head of the valley, stunning place and beautiful weather, life is good.

We met some people up there who wanted to go to New Zealand so we went back to their camp later and sat around the camp fire, drunk wine and chatted about travel etc.

While in the park we went up Moro rock cool!

Nice pic of Ellen 

Things got a bit rough later that afternoon when we went to the lodge, I got too close to a bear and was attacked ... very lucky to be alive.

The trees were so big it made the DR look small

Next morning we set of toward Fresno via Buck rock fire lookout, on leaving the forest we carried on to Fresno to meet up with our mates Shann and Tonya, we organised to be there for my birthday which Pierre pointed out and yes I am 20 with 26 years experience.

We were treated to a black bear in a tree ... about 50 -60 ft high in the tree 

Spot him up in the tree!!!

Lastly before exiting we went up to the Buck Rock lookout

Steep stairs up

Pretty good view too

Ellen on the way out.

We were lucky enough to have tires and various bits and pieces sent to Shann and Tonyas home which made life very easy for us so we took the advantage to get everything done and dusted while having access to work space, tools, swimming pool etc.

Las Vegas

I went to Las Vegas about 18 years ago so was interested to see it again, Ellen never having been there was in two minds, we decided to jump onto couchsurfing to see if we could get a host for the night as it would have been very uncomfortable with the temperature in a tent.

We contacted a couchsurfer, Chinese guy called Dave and sent a request to him.

He replied promptly to us and it was when we were sitting in McDees loading our photos so the timing was perfect, he agreed to host which was cool.

We arrived at his place, whoa ... we went for 3rd world tenters to 1st world Vegas stars.

Dave has a very nice home to say the least and very generously offered to take us into town so we could see the strip from the safety and comfort of a local driver and an air cond car, a 550 Merc nothing less, we said ... o u w h OK.

No need to go to town to lose all ya money tho..

The Merc was twin turbo thus was not lazy in any aspect, Dave drove us around in to town and down the strip, we stopped at one Casinos and parked the car to go and watch the water display which was amazing to say the least.

Casino ceiling.... similar to our tent 

Our host Dave, Ellen and I, actually I look like the odd one out 

The water display in front of a casino .... o u t s t a n d i n g !!

While we were there two hot young lusties were getting their photos taken with all the guys, this is her, I had a little bit of trouble focusing on her face, something must be wrong with the camera but I don’t think I will get it fixed.

After the water display we went out for tea to a Chinese restaurant and the food was outstanding.

Mmmmm duck 

We returned back to Daves and sat with a wine that we had bought for another treat (two in a row) and had a chat about life for a while.

Dave was flying out the following morning so we all peeled off to bed not too late, Dave thanks for hosting us you made our stay in Vega very memorable, we will catch up again for sure.

In the morning breaky was had, some photo instructions were given on how to use our camera and we were on our way to cheat Death Valley.

Death Valley was HOT, also the lowest point on our GPS read -264 ft, we stopped for lunch at -7 feet and 45 degrees C, the thermometer went to 50 degrees C then hit the stops ... Whoa, we were just dripping.

Hard to photograph sand and make it look cool .. at least with our gear

I should have stopped at -264 ft below see level but I failed  .. so -7 will have to do. 

Lunch was a little on the warm side, be fair to say we were Two Toasted Kiwis with a half side of roasted Chinese 

Having made it through and cheated Death Valley we carried on towards Sequoia National Park taking a small back road to a cool camping spot 6000 feet above stress level.

Nice camping spot that we had to ourselves 

A fire was had, tea was eaten then off to bed to recharge our batteries.