Blog now in Chronological Order

This blog now reads from first post to last, so you can read of our adventures in order as they happened. The final post was made in Los Angeles after we left Whistler, so if you are reading and haven't got that far, there is still more!!!

Enjoy.

7 days to wheels up...

All hotels booked. Almost time to start packing (well, almost time for Diane and Lorraine to start packing anyway).

Accommodations:
7th Feb - New York - Grand Hyatt
10th Feb - Niagara Falls - Embassy Suites
12th Feb - Los Angeles - Westin LAX
13th Feb - Las Vegas - The Palazzo
16th Feb - San Francisco - Stanford Court
19th Feb - Big White Ski Resort - Stonebridge Lodge Unit 405A
29th Feb - Vancouver - Pacific Palisades
2nd Mar - Whistler Ski Resort - Woodrun Lodge Unit 403
9th Mar - Los Angeles - InterContinental Century City

Nice snow down to the village at Whistler. The dreaded 'r' word hasn't raised it's ugly head for a while, so this good solid base of the white stuff should be able to withstand all but the most severe rain events until our arrival.

Temperature links...

More links.

These links will give you current temperatures, weather conditions and forecasts for the day.

New York
Buffalo (Niagara Falls)
Las Vegas
San Francisco
Big White
Vancouver
Whistler/Blackcomb
Los Angeles

Today's the day we've waited 12 months for...

Well, the day has finally arrived for Diane and myself and we are enjoying our final cup of coffee, possible the last decent cuppa we'll get for 5 weeks, ready to be taken to the airport by Bob Snr.

My next report will be from the 'Land of the Giants', that's New York for those not au fait with the Superbowl.

A click on the weather link below shows we will be greeted with clear skies and a maximum of 7 degrees. The Swannies scarf has just been moved to the outside zipper, lol.

Thx all for words of encouragement and Clive and Lorraine, we'll see you next week.

Bye for now.

Greetings from The Big Apple...

7th Feb, 2008

Arrived safe and sound in New York, 28 hours from the time I locked the door behind me at Hoddle Place until we checked in at the Grand Hyatt.

New York is cold.

Found a great bagel place for breakfast with all kinds of flavoured cream cheeses to spread. I had Jalapeno flavoured cream cheese and Diane had Apple and Cinnamon, Mmmmm.

Went to the top of the Empire State Building today. We paid $7 for a hand held device, something like an oversized mobile phone. You enter numbers on the keypad as you come to the corresponding numbered sign on the Observation Deck and it gives you a couple of minutes narrative of points of interest at each point. Amazingly, only about 20% of people seemed to have them, but it was easily the best $7 you could have spent. It pointed out all the areas of Manhattan and a few historical facts as well. Fully recommend.

A few pics of the view from up top, though it was quite misty:






Did a fair bit of shopping afterwards at Macy's and a menswear shop.

Tonight we are off to the theatre to see Chicago and to have a post show dinner at Carmines.

Later.

More from New York...

9th Feb, 2008

Great night at the theatre last night. Chicago was good and a great meal at Carmines afterwards. We only had to wait 10 minutes for a table, but they were still streaming in at midnight. Frank wasn't lying when he said "a city, that never sleeps"

The theatre - great seats!!




A toast to Dulcie on Feb 8th, New York time.




The hotel, the room and the view (of sorts).






Finally, some sights around Times Square and Broadway.






Later.

Greetings from Niagara Falls...

11th Feb, 2008

Firstly, the good stuff.

All these pics were taken through the window of our room. We are on the 37th floor and though the pictures make it look like we are bit further away, we are less than 100 metres from the edge. The view is seriously breathtaking, even for a cynical old bugger like me. We are on the Canadian side of the falls. The border runs directly down the middle of the main river and dissects the Horseshoe Falls, Canada on the Northern bank, USA on the Southern bank. About 200 metres before the Horseshoe Falls, the river branches off to the right and comes down to form the American Falls which are solely in the USA.

Both falls, American Falls to the left, Horseshoe Falls to the right.



American Falls



Horseshoe Falls






From the lift lobby on the 37th floor, looking over suburban Niagara Falls




Now for the not so good. This picture of the plane we flew into Buffalo on gives you an idea of the weather. As you can see, snow is flying around all over the place, but it is all windblown, it wasn't actually snowing at the time. When I walked out of the terminal to meet our transport to Niagara, it was the coldest weather I had ever experienced, colder than anything Charlottes Pass had served up in my times there. But, it would get worse.....



From this picture, you can see that the casino is on the next corner.



We had a late lunch after we checked in, so decided to relax in the room, watch the view and have a nap because both of us have found it difficult to sleep, I've had about 4 hours each night. Around 9pm we decided to get dressed and go check out the casino. Unfortunately we just missed the shuttle which loops around Niagara and can drop you at the casino. No big deal, it's only a block away and we could do with the exercise.

Big mistake.

Well, if we thought it was cold at Buffalo, we hadn't felt anything yet. I had a skivvy, a jumper and my thick Swans 'bomber' jacket on and within 20 metres I was frozen solid. The wind and cold was totally insane. We made it to the casino, 150 metres away. My glasses were fogged/iced? over, I had the kind of 'brain freeze' headache you sometimes get when you eat an ice cream. It was madness.

But it didn't end there. I said to Diane we will get the last shuttle back at 2am because I have no intention of walking back in that weather. We agreed, but when we went to get Diane's coat from the coat check, it was closed and she had to go to the other end of the building to the 24hr coat check and, yes, you guessed it, we missed the last shuttle. The walk back was just ridiculous, how do people live in this weather??

We shivered our way back to the hotel and collapsed in bed.

When we awoke this morning and turned the TV on we were greeted with the news that it was currently -17!!!!, the wind chill was -40!!!!, there was a severe weather and wind chill warning and all schools from Buffalo to Toronto were shutdown for the day because it was too cold for children to leave their homes!!!!

Unfortunately, ALL our ski gear, jackets, gloves, balaclavas etc are in a locker at JFK. We left them there, along with one of our suitcases so we didn't need to lug them up here for 2 days. NOT HAPPY, JAN. I thought I had done as much investigative work that was humanly possible in arranging this trip, I just had no idea I would need to prepare for insane cold snaps like this one. I'm sure we'll laugh about it in years to come.

It's almost midday here (Monday) and we are rugging up as much as possible to go down to the edge of the falls. It is still -15 outside. I have no idea how long we will be able to stay outdoors, but we'll never forgive ourselves if we don't attempt to get a closeup view from the falls edge. All the major attractions are closed, as you can see from the pics the river that the Falls flow into is iced over in winter so some don't run anyway, but the 'Cave of the Winds' and 'Behind the Falls' walk is shut for obvious reasons.

Sorry for the novel, more later.

Cheers Bob and Di.

Spielberg be afraid, be very afraid...

12th Feb, 2008

A few short videos taken at high resolution (100MG+) and shrunk down to fit on the blog. The video quality is not too bad. The director/producer/cameraman on the other hand........

This is the Horseshoe Falls taken right at the edge of the falls

video

Next two are the Horseshoe Falls a bit further downstream

video
video

Finally the American Falls

video