A lot has happened since my last journal entry… don’t go thinking that, just because there are no entries, I haven’t been up to much! In this case, it’s quite the opposite 😈 Jan 14th 2004 The ship arrived in Fourchon on the 14th as expected, and the new crew arrived as planned. After a few hours of a handover and catch-up of all our various goings on, we left the boat and made out way up to New Orleans. We had a nice night in the hotel, a few beers, some good food, then retired for the night. Jan 15th 2004 All the other guys were heading back to the UK early in the morning, so I didn’t see them at breakfast time, as my flight was a little later. I caught the hotel courtesy bus to the airport, and as we arrived there I saw a huge C5 military transport plane sitting at the airport. I overheard one of the other passengers saying the President Bush was supposed to be in New Orleans today, and this transport was the advance security teams. I got checked in for my flight okay (after extra security measures, as I had been “randomly” 🙄 selected as denoted by the “SSSS” that was on my boarding card!) and sure enough, as we were waiting for boarding, the was an announcement that as the arrival of “Air Force One” was imminent, air space around New Orleans was closed which would cause a slight delay to all out bound flights. A couple of minutes later, “Air Force One” duly arrived, landed and taxied to the far side of the airport. I guess it’s the closest that I’m ever likely to be to the US president ❗ As it happened, we weren’t delayed by much, and our flight left for Chicago without any more to-do. When I arrived in Chicago, the first thing I had to do was find the gate that my next flight was departing from. Dazzle had been winding me up, saying that, knowing Chicago, I would be arriving at one end of the airport, leaving from the other end and have only five minutes to get from one to the other. I knew it wasn’t going to be as bad as that, as the gate we arrived at was in the middle!, But, sure enough, the gate I was leaving from was at one of the ends! I also thought that I had plenty of time, and as it turned out I had even more than I bargained for as the flight to Colorado Springs was delayed. After about a two hour delay, we did get boarded, and set off to Colorado Springs. I had hoped to see a lot of the ground, and I would have, had the flight been on time. As it was, we seemed to be chasing the sun-set, which made for interesting viewing on the ground. The landscape looked almost like a black and white relief map, water, lakes and rivers, looked jet black, with the landscape highlighted in white and greys. I must have spent the entire flight staring at the ground, and I can’t remember the last time I did that. We made up a little time during the flight, I think we were 1.5 hours late in arriving, instead of 2! Dazzle was there to meet me, along with Kelly, who had been good enough to take Dazzle and I back to our hotel in Cañon City. The drive took about an hour and we were soon back at the hotel. I wasn’t feeling the effects of altitude too much, but I was a little tired as it have been a long day and I hadn’t had much sleep on the two previous nights, so we ended up having our meal and going to bed. Jan 16th 2004 After having breakfast, Dazzle and I went to collect our hire car. Green, he said it was… Not the word I would have used, but then again, I don’t think I could possibly have come up with a one-word description of the colour of the Kia Rio that was now at our disposal 😯 “Horrible” may cover it. Aesthetics aside, the car did do what it was supposed to, in that it got us from A to B, or at least, from the car hire place to our rendezvous with Kelly and Bruce. Once we were with Kelly and Bruce we went to look at some ranch land that was south of Pueblo. The properties were nice, but not really what we were looking for. We did have one property that we had been thinking about, and we had wanted to see other ones before seeing the one that we had the best vibes for.. that way we would have the psychological advantage of not going for the first one that we saw 😆 Jan 17th 2003 On the Saturday we met with Gina and Vince and went out to a different ranch to look at some properties, including the one that had been top of our list. We spent about 3 – 4 hours hiking all over the property and felt that it really was what we were looking for. Even after looking at the other ones on the same ranch, we knew that the one that had given us the best feeling was the one for us. We went back to the office to start the paperwork ball rolling. 8) Jan 18th 2004 On the Sunday, we drove up to Colorado Springs, met with one of Dazzle’s cousins ad her husband. We went to the cinema to see Lord of the Rings, the Return of the King and then we went out for a meal together. Jan 19th 2004 Monday we spent round Cañon City, doing some shopping and visiting the Abbey. The Abbey also has a winery attached to it so we, somehow, seemed to get sucked into the shop for some sampling and shopping! When we got back to the hotel we did have a message saying that our offer for the land had verbally been accepted! Jan 20th 2004 We had intended to go up to Colorado Springs, but it was snowing when we got up. The snow never really came to much, even though it fell all day it just melted as soon as it landed. We spent the day round Cañon City again, did even more shopping and ended the afternoon really decadently by having a massage 😉 Jan 21st 2004 We had planed to have a lazy day around town but we ended up going out to see the land again, to see what it was like after the snow! Then we seemed to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to find out about all the local banks to find which one would be best to set up an account at. We did finally find one that could do at least the most important things of what we needed and got a joint account opened with them. Afterwards, as we felt we needed a treat, we ate out at an Italian restaurant. Jan 22nd 2004 We had intended to get up really early, but when the alarm went off, we couldn’t drag ourselves out of bed, so it was much later when we finally got up. We headed of up to Colorado Springs. We went for a short drive round “the Garden of the Gods” Now, there is a place that you could spend months going through and not see it all. Afterwards we went to pick up cousin Becky, and we all went shopping in craft and hobby stores.. Expensive day ❗ 😯 ❗ Jan 23rd 2004 Today was a busy day again. We had to be up early, have breakfast and get ready to leave for Denver by 8am. It was quite a long drive up to Denver, or at least the outskirts, where we went to the offices of the development company that we were buying the land from. All the paperwork was ready, so we just had to do the final signings and hand over the rest of the down-payment, and everything was done and dusted. It didn’t take us long at all, so we were left with the afternoon free to do more things. We headed back south to Colorado Springs and went to the Cave of the Winds. Jan 24th 2004 We did a lot of tourist things around town today, that we had intended to do earlier but never seemed to get around too. We went out to the Royal Gorge to see the worlds highest suspension bridge. (funny to think that when we retire it will be to within 20 miles of a world landmark ❗ ) After the Royal gorge we headed back into town, and to a couple of museums there. We went to the Dinosaur Depot which was a little disappointing, then we went to the Prison Museum, which was really interesting! After we had had our dose of culture we went back to our favourite Mexican restaurant for our final dining out experience before we woiuld have to leave Colorado. Jan 25th 2004 Today is travel day. One thing that both Dazzle and I agreed on was that we were both very sad to be leaving Colorado. Normally at the end of a holiday we’re both glad to be on the road home, even though we don’t really like the “travelling” experience. It was a bit of a surprise that we were both sad to be on the road home. In fact, if our dogs had been with us we wouldn’t have wanted to go at all. I guess that’s a good omen as we’ve effectively (after our land purchase) decided that this is where we are going to retire to! Travelling always seems to wear us out. It’s funny, but I do seem to be able to handle travelling on my own a bit better than I do when I’m travelling with Dazzle. I don’t know why, perhaps it’s that when she isn’t there, Dazzle is more on my mind. Either I’m leaving her, or I’m heading home to her and she is foremost in my mind, and any problems are of little significance compared to that. I think what I’m trying to say is that, there are always problems when you’re travelling, but when I’m away from Dazzle, the problems are of little significance compared to our separation. 26th Jan 2004 Our final flight from Amsterdam to Aberdeen was delayed, and we finally arrived back home about 2 hours later that we had expected. Our local Taxi guy was there to pick us up though, and he soon had us back to the house. We managed to unpack, and went to bed quite late. I think we must have caucht our second wind as, we weren’t THAT tired! 27th Jan 2004 Well, we slept later that we had intended, but we’re up now, and off to pick up the puppies before visiting the folks in Buckie with all our stories and photos

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