Saturday, March 17, 2007

Planes and hurricanes

We have survived two of our three plane flights with all our baggage intact!
Walking onto the air new zealand plane and hearing all those Kiwi accents was strange, I've never been aware of kiwi's sounding different before, but they understood me, and my children without repeating myself!
Liam was wearing his Hurricances shirt and it was commented on straight away.
The flight was uneventful and the children watched movies and slept most of the way. Generally I think the shorter flights are harder for us, two hours from Alberquerque to San Franscico was tiresome for Madeline who'd not had quite enough sleep in the afternoon.
We arrived in NZ at almost exactly time change time so everything fell back an hour, we only spring forward last week! It changed the line up of international to domestic flights but we've been able to move up to the earlier plane so don't have to wa it an extra hour in Auckland, Though now we're in the koru lounge and the boys are watching the Hurricanes v Sharks, they probably won't want to get on the plane 'cause the rubgy's not finished!

Friday, March 09, 2007

IT's happening

Yesterday I posted our return tickets to NZ to Air New Zealand in LA for them to reissue. The young lady travelling with us means we have to have paper tickets not e-tickets. So we'll be leaving Albuquerque on Friday the 16 March and Arriving in Wellington on Sunday the 18th.

Argh what do I have to do here before then? I have a week and I'm substitute teaching one day and partipating one day.

That hour we loose to daylight saving this weekend might be critical!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Catch up

So Since we got home, in the snow, we have had snow delays for school but no snow days and today as I type we're expecting 60 F - Last week we had 40 highs.

We have maintained our weekend trips and have visited Petroglyph NM near, almost in Alberquerque, Fort Union NM just north of Las Vegas (New Mexico) and White sands and Carlsbad Caverns our furthest venture south.
White Sands was amazing, but not in its usual sense. A guide book we had said White sands was great for people who like the beach but not the water. There has been ALOT of snow all over New Mexico and ths has resulted in Lakes all over White Sands, like the one Liam is paddling in. So those people better not go to White Sands at the moment.

We had warm days but frosty nights while we camped we drove through a little town called Cloudcliff which has one of the only outdoor ice skating rinks in New Mexico.

Calsbad Caverns were impressive, the scale is so different from any other caves I've been to. We walked in through the natural entrance it very developed with paved walkways and rail all the way, but then there is an elevator too. The amount of carparking around suggested it can get very busy there in high season. We ment the only kiwi Park Ranger, which was interesting he's been working for the Park's service here for about 10 years.

The last few weekends have been in Santa Fe doing ordinary things like garden maintance and school activites.

Looks like our next venture might be a bit further afield involvoing several plane flights and a huge time zone change. Richard is mid ticket organisation and its looks like we could turn up on a Southern hemisphere door step soon rather than later. We intend to be there over Spring break (here) the Easter holidays (there)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

San Diego Zoo was day two it's a large zoo and we had a great day, Californians were experiencing there week of winter and so both Seaworld and the zoo were very quite by their normal standards, lucky us this continued through for Disneyland as well. I think a lot of the animals were enjoying the cooler weather, but then others were huddling under their heat lamps. Cheetahs seem to have an eye for my children both these ones and the ones in Wellington get this look of interest in their eyes and start pacing trying to figure out how they could get them to fall into the enclosure.

We look around the historic San Diego plaza area and had a get Mexican lunch their before heading up the coast to LA, or more accurately Anaheim.

We had three days in Disneyland and went on every ride we cared to, there were hardly any ques so in some cases we went twice. Liam and Charles got trained as Jedi and Madeline got sound advice from Cinderella about not losing your shoe, as she tied her lace. Everyone was shattered by the end of day three.
Many tears were shed as we said good bye to the NZ based component of our party.
Our return trip took us back to Indio, where we did get the date shake this time and past the

Salton sea, more time below sea level to Organ Pipes National Monument. We had our first border check point on the way there. You would think we'd left the country the way they do the border checks just after you leave the national monument, they thought we should be carrying our passports but they didn't make us unpack our stuff to check for drugs and illegals.

We headed on to Tuscon and stayed in a nice campground near the city, visited Saguaro National Park and saw LOTS of the big cactus, and lots of other types of cactus too, Liam's becoming quite a cactus expert having done both these Junior ranger programmes.

One day to drive home for work the next day. We took a more direct route drove though a mountain pass rather than up the 'I' which would have been fine had Tuscon not received a snowfall, not common in the south of Arizona.

While we say a few sprinkles it wasn't till north of Globe that things got serious. We slowed for the conditions and traffic was OK. Thinks got worse and we followed a snow plow for a while. We saw several people unaccustomed or unable to drive in the snow, highlights being a rear wheel coupe seen 90 degrees to the centre line at times, and a Police SUV being towed out of a ditch by a passer by.

We passed many cars simply stopped going the other way but we crept on, now in very slow traffic. Our unconventional route took us away from the traffic and fortunately a drier road until we got to the familiar I40 just before the New Mexico boarder. A short stop for food brought darkness and more snow. Driving at night, in snow, on the interstate is not fun. It's not obvious where the road is but the other traffic seems to fly past at times.

That said we saw stranded Truck in the middle of the road and two cars on their roofs before we got home. A very long day in the car (14 hours) but we were safely home.


So we had had some tyre excitement prior to entering Joshua Tree, I've never hear a tyre actually burst before. In fact the tyre "issues" started with a flat tyre in Williams, in the motel carpark. The local tire (sic) guy wasn't that keen to repair it becuase it was so worn, but did, so we left the brand new spare in it's place (tyre 1). Then on the way into Las Vegas a different tyre delaminated and made a strange thuking noise. So one new tyre in Las Vegas (tyre 2). At Indio, after Joshua tree we purchasing two more tyres(tyres 3 and 4). The intention was to replace the exploded tyre and the very worn spare but the final tyre on the car showed very serious cracks on the inside wall, the same area of failure of it's partner the exploded tyre. Tyre prices seem to get considereably cheaper the closer to the coast you are, these ones were $20 less per tyre than the one in Vegas, which we'd thought was a good price.

So we left Indio, Date capital without the requiste date shake, but with four shiny new tyres on the car, and the bodgy patched tyre from Williams still as a spare.

We were in the swing of camping after the past few nights so found a site near the Anza Borrego Sate Park, a camp fire and cards, the usual evenings entertainment. This campground was a step up from the others it had showers! We were glad of this with a hotel in San Diego being the destination for the next night.

So Bright lights and big city beconed and we headed down the 'I' to San Diego, took a look at the water and checked into the hotel. Apprently the coldest weather for some time.

We had tour guides for the next day, our itinerary featured Seaworld. We had a behind the scenes look, featuring flamingo, Manatees and the hospital area. We petted dolphins and saw the Shamu show. favourites were the manatees, especially feeding them, commersons dolphins which are really little and the beluga whales. I went on my first roller coaster here, Journey to Atlantis, I think it had the longest drop of all the rides we were to do over the next few days.