Friday, December 16, 2005

Skiing trip to Manning Park

Lord knows how we’re gonna cope with getting up for work one day; we've been skiing this weekend and it was hard enough getting up at 7:15! How did we manage at Brize getting up before 6 to go to the gym? So, yesterday was a day of RV chores; I fixed the bathroom fan, the cab heater should now produce more hot air, the fridge door doesn’t catch, the driver’s seat is snug again, I put some goop on the water tank and I may even have found the squeak from the front end!!! Of course time will tell if any of these cures are permanent, driving this old bus seems to create snags!

Spun up to Manning Park; about a 2 ½ hour journey and 80 odd miles straight up, or at least that’s what it felt like. And it got progressively colder as we climbed past signs giving info about road conditions and telling us we should carry chains beyond this point – chains, pah!
We did have a little worry when as we were cruising along what looked like a billiard table smooth bit of road, the front end started really juddering quite badly. Bad enough for me to pull over, jack Harvey off his wheels and check all the wheels for looseness and dodgy brakes. All was well so it must have been the road surface, but it was quite dodgy; up high in the middle of nowhere at sub zero temperatures! We had plenty of fuel for the generator, propane for the heating and food/booze for us so we didn’t worry too much. Little did we know at the time how easy the water pipes would freeze solid!!!

Once we got there it was getting too late in the day to take the bus on up to the downhill ski area, so…on recommendation from the girl in the hire place we went for a hike around the Nordic trails by there. Off we trotted only to find there were no trail markers, (they hadn’t been put out yet!) and the forest was exactly that – a forest, with no way of telling where we should or shouldn’t be going!

So…we went back to the hire place and hired some skates and had an hour to ourselves on the ice rink. At last we felt like we’d gone all that way for a reason!!! We had a good time skating and apart from a couple of others at the beginning of our hour and a family toward the end; we really did have the place to ourselves. There was music playing and a fire lit by the side and it really was picture perfect – but boy was it cold – it peaked at minus 8 during the day! We finished off and went for another walk along the partly frozen river till it started to get dark, then went for a soak in the lodge hot-tub!

By now we decided we’d gone long enough without a drink, (almost a week, as we’d decided to stop drinking for most of December so Christmas actually felt like Christmas and not just another day off!) so we got changed and went in to the bar which after the RV was lovely and warm. We’d resigned ourselves to the fact that as long as there was a bar that also served food, there was no way we were gonna cook. So we had cherry brandies and bar snacks watching videos of people who really could ski. Luckily we were early as they stopped serving food at 8!!! Satisfied, we went back to the RV, turned up the heating to keep pipes from freezing and went to bed.

In the end we were both way too hot in bed as we had to keep the living/kitchen area warm which inevitably meant the bedroom/bathroom would be much warmer. The water however, was another matter; by the time we went to bed the hot in the bathroom didn’t work, it did however in the kitchen and the cold was all fine and as there was nothing we could really do we switched off, (ourselves) and went to sleep. But when we got up at 7 – no water anywhere! It must have frozen down by the pump as nothing worked. We had half a kettle full and a couple of bottles. I gave it half a thought in the night, (the wrong half obviously) but never did fill any more bottles/pans etc up just in case! Luckily we were parked outside a lodge so we weren’t short on facilities so I still got my morning cup of tea!

We had a bit of a flap around trying to sort out what we should do but as we couldn’t, we decided the only option was to drive somewhere warmer, (California?) to thaw out. But we’d come to ski and the bus was leaving in 20 mins, so we buried our collective head in the sand and went skiing – any damage would have been done by now! Although as our pipework is plastic I doubted any of it would burst!?!?

We got to the slopes, hired our gear and found out it was 8 bucks cheaper to have a package that included rental, lift passes and a 1 ½ hour lesson than if we’d just had the rental and lift passes! Madness not to, especially as neither of us had skied since Cyprus and would probably be like Bambi on ice! We had about an hour to ourselves followed by a quick warm-up drink before our lesson started so we stayed on the beginner’s slope. Our lesson was a bit basic but as we had bad habits that needed nipping in the bud; it was worth every penny we didn’t pay! Later on when we were on the higher slopes the same instructor was up there with another student and even took the time to check on us and critique our “style”. Bargain!

So, cold but happy we got the last bus back to the RV, used the last of the water to make hot chocolate and settled in for the drive back down, down, down the hill to the highway and civilisation. We got back in record time – 2 hours 20 after driving the first dozen or so miles in about an hour. I’m sure the roads were ok judging by the vehicle overtaking us but I was taking no chances – this isn’t just our transport, this is our home and it would be a restless night’s sleep upside down in a ditch – the duvet would keep falling off!!! And the pipes had thawed by the time we landed back on earth!

No comments: