13 July 2012

Independence day

Star Spangled Banner  
Amanda, Fiona and I choose to take our summer break during the 4th July holiday in North Platte, Nebraska. We stayed with her sister Pam. The 4th is a big holiday in the USA, one of the few. As far as I can work out it is when we (the British) decided that it would be kind to gift them (the Americans) a country just kidding. It is a holiday when people get together to drink alcohol and let off fireworks! hmmmm that doesn't sound right either but that is what seems to happen.

Thanks to all we shared this holiday with we had a blast!


Our holiday started by flying into Denver where we met up with Emily, (see her blog here and her trip write up here) Once we had had some dinner, I went out to do my run as Emily and I were still streaking (link here). After that it was off to bed for some much needed rest.


Ready for the road trip
The road trip began once we had enjoyed breakfast with Raf and Jola who used to live near us in Bogota, and visited walmart for some essentials for Fiona. Since I have not visited Wyoming we (I mean I really) choose to take the long way to Nebraska via Cheyenne in Wyoming. Although we failed to stop to get the welcome to Wyoming photo, we did stop in Wyoming so I technically have been. Following a short stop at a Sierra trading post outlet we hit the road again for Nebraska. Due to the time change and our inability to contact anyone at Pam's we arrived later than people were expecting us to but about the time I was expecting us to arrive. When we arrived with Fiona in full on melt down mode we were introduced to an incredible amount of people, luckily none of them seemed to mind that we turned up late with a screaming baby. Jeff took Fiona and I out for a boat trip around the lake which calmed her down enough so she would eat something. Once we had all eaten and Mum and Emily had done their run and gone for a swim we finally managed to get Fiona down to sleep around 9pm, she was exhausted. Around midnight a car full of cousins (Paul and Maggie's) turned up to ensure even more names for us to try and remember. 


Relaxing on the 4th. I got my run in earlyish to free up my day which was spent mainly swimming, water skiing or eating. The combination of Jeff, Paul, Maggie and Gerken (the experts) ensured that even people who have not skied managed to get up, this includes me and we have pictures to prove it.
Not sure about this 
Nick first time on ski's
Pam Skiing
Catch the ball.... 
Fiona getting sleepy
Paul and Rik

Fireworks (Arsenal of fireworks)  
Once the evening drew in I was shown the array of fireworks that we would be letting off that evening, there were a lot and they were big, think display suitable and you are along the right lines!
The only minor problem with letting off the fireworks was going to be the fact that all of the mid-west was in a drought. Jeff had been watering the ground but as the evening drew in a big storm rolled in bringing with it a huge lightening storm and some much needed rain to the area. The good news was the rain meant fireworks were a go but.... and there is always a but. The storm brought with it rain and lightening and lots of wind which meant lighting and watching the fireworks would be a challenge. 

We need not have worried though as the pyromaniacs (Maggie, Paul, Rik, Gerken and Butch) were on the case. Seeing fireworks being let off to a lightening storm was a fantastic sight. Also the ingenuity of these guys was incredible, "lets wire these together it'll look much better..." and it did.

The Pyromaniacs
Table preparation

Bang, Boom, Kaboom, Pow.... well you get the idea. 


After the excitement of the previous evening I'd like to say we all slept in but alas that was not the case, due to another resident of the lake choosing this day to pour concrete for a new jetty the waterskiing had to wait until the afternoon. The early part of the morning was spent assisting with the pouring of concrete followed by a quick lunch. Then it was off to the local gocart track. At the track there is a small amusement arcade where you are able to play a chicken at tic-tac-toe, luckily for us Gerken is an aerospace engineer he didn't stand a chance......Chicken 1 Humans 0

After a couple of races where it seems which cart you had made the biggest difference we headed back to the house for some more swimming, water skiing and eating. This time the experts thought they would take people who were skiing on two skis and teach them to ski on only one, they clearly know what they are doing since Amanda, Alexa and I managed to get up and skiing in next to no time. I however did manage to take out my instructor (sorry Gerken).

Amanda's Slalom skiing
Here we go
A little assistance from Maggie
Slalom Ski
Comedy wipe out
Professional ski recovery

Nick's Slalom skiing
Ok up and going
Loose the left ski
A little assistance
Nick Slalom ski
Post wipeout

Enjoying the lake finally

In the evening we had some fantastic steaks with sweetcorn and salad. Thanks to Grandpa for picking them and Rik for cooking them. We then all chilled out around the fire chatting while burning the remainder of the firework boxes, this was all going well until the first one went off with the residual firework parts, I've never seen see 12 people move so fast. Once it got dark Pam remembered she had some Chinese Lanterns so Paul and Butch lit them, although it was still a little windy and the lanterns left the area pretty quick but were pretty.

Steak Dinner
Steak Dinner

Looking for the elusive otter
Relaxing with Auntie Pam
The house that Jeff and co built

Relaxing around the fire
Chinese Lantern


Its a plough
Although Fiona asked to be in the carseat when we were getting ready in the morning, I think by the end of the day she was not so enthusiastic. Today was the day we drove back to Denver although we had a few stops on the way. The first one was at the Worlds Largest Plough, It was pretty big and dedicated to the "Sod House Settlers". 

After a short stop here is was off to Colby Kansas to meet one of Amanda's friends from school. We had a great lunch and thanks to Selena for the dog, Fiona loves it.

After Kansas it was on to Denver, Fiona must have dissagreed with something she ate at lunch time since as soon as we arrive in Denver it all came back up the wrong way, lucky mum did a great job of catching most of it so after we changed Fiona it was off for dinner with a friend of Amanda and Emily. Anne, it was great to meet up with you again.


Both days were spent mainly shopping. Since we were in Denver it would be rude not to go the flagship REI store so that is what we did on the Saturday, looking and buying things we never knew we needed. For the afternoon I took a much needed nap while the girls hit the shops at the cherry creek mall, I believe it was a successful trip, I definitely slept well.

Sunday was spent shopping at Castle Rock outlet mall once I had dropped Emily at the airport, we managed to pick up some clothes for Fiona and some work clothes for Amanda, so a successful weekend.


Sleeping with my new best friend
Another non-stop day, we checked out of the hotel in the morning and attempted to get Amanda's hair cut before our family photo session with Kent (our Wedding Photographer) The haircut didn't happen and whilst we were enjoying breakfast the rain set in. We called Kent and he said he would still do the shoot if we didn't mind the rain. So off we went to get some professional photos taken. We met at his house then headed up to Red Rocks. Once at Red Rocks the rain really kicked in, lucky for us Ken had an umbrella so hopefully we should have some interesting photos of the three of us.

After the photo session we met with a realtor on the south side of Denver. This was a really encouraging meeting and could potentially mean the purchase of a rental property for Amanda and I. 

After that it was off to another hotel, then dinner then preparing ourselves for the trip back to Bogotá.


The trip back to Bogotá went really well, Fiona was really well behaved and even managed to get a nap on the first flight.
Art care at Denver Airport
In flight sleeping

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