I'm in Dillon, Colorado as I write this. After 6 months of planning, capped off by 10 weeks living out of a backpack, I've seen lots of the world but am happy to stop here for 4 months of snowboarding and writing.
Spending Christmas day in a Buddhist country was a pleasant change from the commercial feeding frenzy that goes in in Australia for most of November and December. It was a business day as usual for the Khmer while for us expats a time to catch up quietly with friends in cafes for lunch and evening drinks overlooking the lights of Sisovath Quay.
That pleasantly relaxing Christmas day also made for a nice contrast to the hectic 3 weeks preceding it as I got some dental and medical work done, packed up the apartment, put stuff into storage, spent a day photographing rocks at Angkor Wat and attended a friends engagement to a local khmer lass in Siem Reap.
26DEC10 was cheap airfare day and a good day to fly to Seatlle where we spent 2 days looking around as a bit of a pause before flying into Denver. Landing at Denver airport at 3pm we did what every tourist would do and took a taxi to a used car dealer. After kicking tyres for about an hour we bought a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Jasper the Jeep) for the princely sum of $3,000 and made Jasper’s maiden voyage to a friends place for the night where we picked up about 200kg of pushbikes and snowboarding kit courtesy of ebay shopping from Tanzania. The sheer quantity of ebay-tastic bargain parcels taking up their spare room would have been embarrassing if I hadn’t had my embarrassment gland surgically removed some years ago. Luckily he's a good friend with a very understanding wife.
The next evening involved driving 5 hours through a blizzard, in the dark, stopping only to buy new windscreen wipers so that I could actually see the road instead of driving by braille. There are, it seems, some mighty HIGH passes, BIG mountains and ICY roads in this part of the world so the investment in a full-time 4WD was definitely worth it. We spent a pleasant 3 nights up at a B&B in Redstone where a friends family gather each year for NYE so with little if any arm-twisting we had a very social time sledding, snowshoe trekking, eating, drinking, laughing and playing games.
On 01JAN11 we headed off to a lakeside apartment which will be basecamp for the next 4 months. A mighty pleasant spot in a small town amongst 3 snowfields with have a view over the lake to snow capped mountains so all is well with the world.
Best of all the heating is included in the rental so even when it goes down to minus 20 outside (as it occasionally does), indoor is toasty warm.