A little bit about ourselfs:

Two crazy Swiss Immigrants living in Canada since 1996 traveling the Country in a 5th wheel together with their two cats ....
Let's introduce ourselves:

There is the lovely and multi-talented Sue: A Sagittarius that likes travel, cats & dogs, reading good books and rather swings a hammer then using a sawing-needle. She dislikes rude people and getting up early

The other part of the team is André: Born in the sign of Aquarius always looking for something new and exciting to explore. Let's go around this corner - there may be something we haven't seen yet! Likes traveling, cooking and making new friends. Dislikes are changing - they may become acceptable

Please follow us on our journey - and don't be shy, we'll love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moab to Idaho Springs (Catching you up Part III)

Moab is also the place we went for another adventure. One early Saturday morning, long before the sun would rise, we drove out to the desert outside of Moab getting ready for a hot-air-balloon flight. The air was crisp but not cold when the ground crew got the balloon ready. With a full moon in front of us, the sun came up behind us and soon we were gliding through the air. As long as the pilot didn’t use the burners to keep us up or gaining some more height, everything was incredibly quiet and peaceful. And Lou, our pilot, sure knows what he is doing. At times it seemed like we were just barely avoiding skimming the ground or were about to crash into a shear wall of rock when he utilised wind, updrafts and the burners to keep us in perfect position. At other times he brought us up to more than 2000 feet above ground. A balloon does not react like a car. Every single move comes with a delay and so piloting it the way Lou did is an art. This was one of our “calmer” and “softer” adventures but nevertheless one we would not want to ever have missed!

But we were not through with Moab just yet or better, André was not: Moab - Canyonlands - Arches have so much outdoor activities to offer that it is almost impossible to choose which ones to do. During our 2 week stay at the OK RV Park (which was really OK, except the internet perhaps) we have seen all kinds of 4x4 vehicles like never before: 4wheelers, side-by-sides, rock-boogies, regular Jeeps, modified Jeeps, upgraded Hummers - you imaging it and it was there. So where the rental places, the adventure operators offering white-water rafting, day-and-night dinner cruises on the Colorado river, speedboat trips on the river, sunrise or sun-down Hummer tours, mountain biking trips and so much more.

We have done the white-water rafting in B.C., the Jeep off-roading here in Moab (yes, about 25 years back - but there was no novelty in it for us at this time) and the mountain biking or hiking where not our cup of tea. This time we did something we had never done before and the area is almost designed for it: we went for a ride in a big pick-nick basket hanging from a big balloon filled with hot air, we went for a flight in a Hot Air Balloon. But Sue already described that outing to you so let me tell you about the other great adventure I had (Sue was too chicken to do it lol) because it got better:

Even today I don't know why I picked up the phone and signed up for ... a tandem parachute jump. Yes, and not a regular one they do all year long, but the special jump they only offer during the Moab Skydiving Festival "The biggest Boogie". This jump is from 17,500 ft or 14,000 feet above ground! Normally they jump from 10,000 feet above ground which makes the jump I took a bit longer. 1 minute of free-fall and about 5 - 7 minutes of gliding. Transport up to the altitude in a twin motor Otter plane that holds 24 jumpers, some of them "crazy newbies" like me. And I went through with it: signing all the legal paperwork, meeting the guy that was going to be strapped to my back for the jump, getting suited up into a harness and up we went ... and down we came, I with big eyes, high on adrenaline and in a mental rush. What a crazy and amazing experience it was! Steven took a lot of pictures and a video (which I will get once they cut it together) and Sue took pictures, too. Check some of them out on our web site.

Moab, Utah - we will remember our time in this area for a long, long time for sure.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monument Valley to Moab (Catching you up Part II)

Now we were very exciting to go see Mesa Verde for the first time. We knew that one can find the ruins of dwellings built by the Mesa People between about 900 and 1350 there. Built into the sandstone cliffs the houses were actually very sophisticated. They had indoors fireplaces and used big, flat rocks to channel air to feed the fires and vent the smoke. The dwellings were also extremely protected and accessible only by first climbing rocks and then entering them using ladders. The Mesa People lived in clans and built houses with as many as 150 rooms, temples and community buildings. One of those community buildings shows just how advanced the People was. It actually has rain gutters and spouts. Visiting sites like this one or the Viking dwelling in Newfoundland last summer gives a whole new perspective on how knowledgeable people were over a thousand years ago. Getting an idea from books in history class is so difficult. We speak of the stone age, the iron age etc., but never really get a grasp of those times. Even after seeing those sites with our own eyes we can not comprehend 1000 plus years. You see some of the most amazing accomplishments of those Peoples but what was life like then? What were some of the challenges they had to cope with? Wildlife, vegetation, climate, other, maybe hostile Peoples, the landscape in general, how far up did they have to climb to reach their dwellings (how much ground has been washed away since then?)? Maybe their dwellings were only 10 feet above the canyon floor and now that floor is 100 or more feet lower due to erosion. Was there water close by or did they have to go get it from some place hours away on foot? Where did they get their food from and how did they cope with the heat in the summer (how hot was it?) and the cold in the winter (again, how cold was it?)? So many questions, it’s impossible for us to even try and imagine what their lifes must have been like. It makes me look at some things in a different light and I have the outmost respect for those people. They were all but “primitives”.

Cortez, from where we visited Mesa Verde, is a lovely town and we really loved it there. We even extended our stay for another week and took a much needed break from seeing things. Though we had learned from last year’s information overload and planned our trip differently this summer, we still had reached the point where we just wanted to spend some time doing and seeing nothing. Cortez is just the place to do that. We had a great RV park, nice people all around us, a great farmers market, perfect weather and to top it all off, André had found the perfect doggy daycare for Princess. Located behind the animal clinic it offers a whole day of playing with other dogs, learning new things and all the running around a dog can wish for every Wednesday and Friday. Though we didn’t need to give Princess to a daycare because we didn’t have the time to look after her, we decided that she would love to be there and get a lot of exercise at the same time. Sure, we walk her in the morning and at night. But unless there is an off-leash dog run close by she never really gets to run free or play with other dogs until she drops. So we brought her there every Wednesday and Friday during our stay. When we picked her up around 5 p.m. she was done. She would eat her food and go to the bathroom but other than that the only thing she was interested in for the rest of the day was laying down and sleeping. The way she woofed and her paws were running while she was sleeping, she must have been dreaming of her adventures for the next couple of nights each time. She also brought home a Doggy Gram each time, telling us what she’d done, what her favorite thing and the special activity of the day (e.g. playing soccer, agility training, splash dance etc.) had been. Real cute! Anna is doing a great job with the dogs. She is also a trainer and gave us some valuable tips about Princess. If we’re ever going to be in Cortez again, we’ll bring Princess to the daycare again.

From Cortez we drove to Moab for a couple of weeks. If you look at our map you will notice that we are going forth and back between Utah and Colorado. You guessed right if you thought that from Moab we would go visit more national parks. Arches, Canyonlands and Death Horse Point to be exact. And yes, we’ve been to all of them before.

Death Horse Point has its name from a rather cruel and inhuman practice. Some time ago cowboys would drive herds of wild horses to that point and then block their way back by piling brush at the narrowest part of the rocks to trap them. They would then choose and take away the horses they wanted, leaving the reminder of the herd trapped on the point. With no water and the sun beating down on them those horses would soon die an agonizing death from thirst.  It’s a beautiful place with a very sad history.

Arches National Park is always worth the trip. The sandstone formations are breathtaking and one can take countless pictures of them as well as the rock spears with huge rocks precariously balancing on top. The best pictures of course can be made early or late in the day when the interaction between sunlight and shadows really makes the place come alive. With our annual pass ($ 80 for access to all national parks for one year) we went back to the park several times. We also went to Canyonlands twice. Once we saw the stunning landscape from the top and the other time we drove into the canyons at the bottom. Last time we had been here, we went off-roading in a rented Jeep and had a blast. This time we went to see and photograph Indian writings. Though nobody has yet been able to decipher them, they have been dated and thus are authentic. Experts cannot tell if the scenes carved into the sandstone cliffs are actually story telling, hunting stories or simply doodling and unfortunately some people thought it funny to go and ad some symbols and writing of their own before the sites were protected. But when you look at one of the writings and read a name and date beside it, you can pretty much assume that the later has been added by someone in recent times. A shame really. Why can’t some people respect ancient sites and leave them alone?

To be continued.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.