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USA | Monday, 11 June 2012 | Views [686]

Hello all.

Seems a long time since I wrote an update of our adventures, but you'll be pleased to know that life continues to be an adventure for us, at least for a few more days, after which we'll be spending less time travelling and more of our time in UK.

We got safely to our home in Russell, Bay of Islands in November and slotted back into living a restful, peaceful, happy life for a few months.

Highlights there included Brian's Birthday:

Brian achieving a golf handicap of 16 (for a brief shinning moment!):

Dawn getting a kayak and bonding with dolphins a couple of times:

our debut in historical Russell street theatre (Dawn as a Strumpet and Brian as a Drunken Sailor who got into a brawl!

And a visit from Dawn's mom Carole:

A setback to our plan of NZ residency because of changing foreign teacher requirements was a blow, but we decided that plan B, Dawn applying for UK citizenship was not a bad option.

Investigations into that process showed that UK government planned to introduce a change to their rules from 1st April which would mean the time to be in UK to achieve Citizenship would be extended from 3 to 6 years. YIKES! A hasty plan was put in place where Dawn flew to Hawaii to make her application before 1 April. Some hiccups were overcome, not necessarily to our satisfaction, but Dawn now has her visa allowing us to start the process of Dawn becoming a British Citizen. This should take 3 to 4 years (including Dawn pledging allegiance to the Queen) from when we arrive in UK on 8th July. 


For the first 5 weeks while Dawn was making the application from Maui, Brian stayed in NZ looking after house, garden and golf club. Dawn spent a lot of time somehow hanging out at Duke's (a beach bar) with dad John,

former KOMO colleague Shirley E.

and former sweet student Erinn Z. Whats up with all these Seattle folks on Maui?

We eventually met up again in Seattle at end of April after what seemed like ages apart (although you may think one of us being on Maui while the other was in Bay of Islands was not too much of a hardship:)


Because this is our last round the world trip for a few years (while we go through the British Citizenship process) Dawn thought it would be nice to do a road trip around the American North West, so on 9th May we set off on yet another adventure, starting with a week in Portland with 'Uncle Dave and Aunt Terry'(where Brian did some serious bonding with Nitro the fun dog),


and a visit to 'Cousins' Paul & Christine, where we helped celebrate her, ahem, BIG birthday along with other family and friends.


A visit to "Portland Underground" the 10th most haunted place in USA, was a creepy,but interesting place, where Dawn felt a ghostly chill up her back (not from Brian on this occasion)! Luckily Uncle Dave also took us on some great walks through the woods and the town:)

Then we headed for Park City, Utah for our 3rd Wedding Anniversary celebrations. 

While hiking, Brian had his first encounter with a moose (big, big animals). 

Jackson Springs was next for a chilly float down the Snake River in the Tetons Mountains

and a visit to the annual antler market (yes you read that correctly), where they sell naturally shed antlers found in the local woods.


We then drove through the South Entrance of Yellowstone Park to be met with 8 foot high banks of snow

and frozen lakes. We saw Old Faithful blow and lots of coloured hot water pools before leaving to stay one night outside the West Entrance.


Back in though West Entrance and across park seeing Buffalo with their young, spurting mud pits and the impressive Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.


Out the East Entrance to stay in Cody (Buffalo Bill's hometown) where Brian embraced his inner Cowboy with a hat (wearing) and steak (eating) that was supreme, reminding Brian why he can never be a veggie. 


Then went on the Chief Joseph Highway through beautiful mountains

to stay the night in Cooke City, where we were told a Grizzly was seen in our hotel car park the morning we were there (missed it by sleeping in, shame as one of our hopes was to see a bear!!). Back into Yellowstone through NE Entrance, more buffalo, moose and deer, but those darn bears were elusive. We did the trip round Mammouth Springs, more bubbling mud and water, before leaving Yellowstone through the North Entrance.


Having now been in the states of Washington, Oregan, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Montana we were feeling proud of ourselves (except for not seeing a bear in Yellowstone) and headed for the town of Hot Springs, MO. A unique place to say the least and it does have great value spa baths open to the public at $5 a day.


Why did we stay there, you may well ask? The reason is one of the best friends we could ever have, Bart, has decided to buy a holiday house in this anything but ordinary town.

The hiking is great, we went up in the mountains on paths that nobody seemed to hike on and came across a black bear with cub, who luckily scampered away rather than towards us... No time for photo, but the sight is etched in our memories.


What made the town especially unique for us were the wonderful people. It seemed every one of them believed in the upcoming Rapture/Shift in Consciousness/Polar shift, etc. on 21st December and had found their way to Hot Springs because it is in a vortex and, we assume, therefore protected. Brian bonded well with one set of guys who seemed to want to spend the time up to the Rapture in a state of rapture (if you get my meaning, wink, wink). We left even though the locals were keen that we stayed, or at least promised to return before the 21st Dec.

Next we went to Lakeside, Montana to stay with Bart and his very hospitable parents at their real log cabin house which had a wood heated sauna, so, so hot, phew, but great! From there we day tripped to Whitefish, quaint, and Glacier National Park, wonderfully tranquil.

We woke up to deer in the garden on the day we left Lakeside for Usk, Washington, an even smaller town than Hot Springs where 'Uncle Dick & Aunt Carole' have a house on the Pend d'Oreille River.

Dawn had the opportunity to go Kayaking with a fit 88 year old man, which she accepted and certainly did not have to keep waiting for him to catch up.


After Usk we crossed the border into Canada at Oroville and went along route 5 towards Vancouver. What a beautiful road and guess what - we had a close encounter with a big black bear which was grazing 10 foot off the side of the road. Wow, had time for a photo, but not with the window wound down, far too close......


Arrived in Vancouver to stay with more good friends, Sue & Dave. Brian played golf poorly with Dave, while Dawn & Sue drank wine coolers in the hot-tub on the deck. (Now who had the better deal here?) We got taken to a 1 hour spin class (believe us, it's not easy peasy pedaling - thanks Sue), shattered we were, but we still had a great time during our stay.

Reluctantly we left for Seattle with the feeling that our road trip was already over. After a few days with Dominique and lighting quick visits to various other friends and relatives: Rita,Claire,Susan C.,Jeff,Erinn,Dawn & Chuck,Sue L.,Jill & Jeremy,Brandon & Nicky,Craig & Penny, and the infamous Mr. Fortillini and his lovely wife Sharon:

we flew off to Jordan for another GREAT adventure which will be covered by the next blog. 




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