USA Trip 2006 -- 2007

In December 2006 using part of the money left to us by my late father we trekked to see Barbara Dieter, sister and daughter to the Hayes family in South Africa.
Barbara had moved to a small town in Colorado called Nederland. A word of warning for the South Africans: Don't try to pronounce Nederland! It is not pronounced ANYTHING like you would expect.
Nederlan lies about 20 miles, 32 km above Boulder. And I do mean above. At 8 300 ft (approximately 2 800 m). For reference, Johannesburg lies at 6 000 ft.
The main reason for visiting in December was that Barbara was to graduate from Colorado University on the 22 nd December. BA and MA simultaneously! Quite a feat.

This was trip of a lifetime. If we had tried to plan a trip like this it would never have come off. As it was chance played a huge roll in what we did and saw. The trip started off with us seeing Colorado under normal winter conditions.. Then the snow came.
Despite the snow we managed to fit in a toboganning trip, a trip across the continental divide (the rockies) to hot springs and a visit to Denver. And on our way home we did a flying visit to London.

Who were "We"?

Michael my son and his fiance Julia,

Richard my son,

And Amanda my fiance and myself.

To keep the record straight, Amanda paid her own fair over. Thank you Amanda.

Only Amanda had visited the USA before so we all had plans as to what we wanted to see and do.

In the words of the scottish poet, "The best laid plans of mice and men are apt to gang aglay."
And they did gang aglay.
The inbound flight was long and uneventful. This is Richard looking cool in Chicago International.

the meeting with Barbara and Bev was as rapturous as expected.

The trip to Nederland was amazing, exotic.
Nederland was beautiful. A scattering of snow on the ground and a frozen lake.

Then an unusual meteorological event occured.
Normally Denver, Boulder and Nederland get snow left over from the snow clouds coming in from the west over the rockies.
The Coloradans refer to this as a down sloper. The best you can hope for is a couple of inches (5 cm), for real falls in the order of 30 cm (a foot) you had to go over the continental divide.
Those flat looking mountains? They are the Rockies and rise to 14 000 ft in places. That is the continental divide.

A snow storm coming in from New Mexico is rare and is called an upsloper.
An upsloper dumps huge quantities of snow on the upslope of the rockies and on Denver and Boulder which lie in the flats just before the Rocky Mountains. An upsloper dumps huge quantities of snow.
On the 20th December the first of three upsloper storms rampaged up from New Mexico. The last starting on the day we left to return to South Africa.
The first and second storms dumped 90 cm - ag call it a metre of snow - each. The last one? I have NO idea. We flew out with 30 cm on the ground and more falling.

During our stay the temperature never rose above freezing, Barbara's graduation was cancelled, Amanda and I scurried to Boulder at 5 000 because neither of us could breath the thin air, Julia gave herself the mother and father of all bruises taboganning and Mike Daniel (Barbara's partner) wrenched his knee also taboganning.

All the careful plans with the exception of Mike and Richards trip to see some live music and my trip to the hot springs were cancelled. We couldn't get out of Nederland for most of the time.

Between the fived of us we fired off a huge amount of pictures.
I have trimmed mine down to about 200.
To make things quicker, I have split them into a number of separate pages.
Nederland before the snow,
The snow,
The Crossing

Join us now on a trip to the USA we could never have imagined or planned! An experience of a life time.

One last thing. Mike Daniel and Barbara Dieter opened their home to us and made us hugely welcome. Thank you from all of us.