We all like to celebrate with a friend when they invite us to their birthday party, but for Mick and Vija Nethersole of Ardmona it meant travelling all the way to America.
It all started when Simon Williams decided to celebrate his 50th birthday in style, he and his wife Mindy thought the ideal place to party was Beaver Creek Ski Resort in Colorado.
They invited their Australian friends to join them expecting four or five families to fly over, as it happened 37 families making up 150 people including children attended.
It was an instant party. Mick says you could see the look on the ski resort owners face, all these Aussies staying for a week was certainly going to flood the local coffers.
The logistics were interesting, 150 people all wanting to eat together meant they had to hire the whole restaurant to accommodate them.
There were only two restaurants so one night they took over the Blue Moose and the next night the Mirabelle, the owners loved it.
The Aussies were so popular the local tourist authority decided to honour Australia Day by putting on an Aussie BBQ complete with Aussie beer.
Mick and Vija had a wonderful time, all the families got on well together, and Simon’s 50th turned out to be just one long party.
Vija has relatives in America living near Nashville so they took time to visit them and also spent time in San Francisco.
On the tourist trail, they stopped off at one of America’s most infamous prisons, Alcatraz. Mick says the atmosphere on Alcatraz was different, almost eerie, you put on headphones that gave you a guided tour of the prison telling the story of some of the famous names in crime that once filled the cells.
Mick was told the water around the island prison was so cold if a prisoner did escape he would never make it to the mainland.
They had a wonderful time in San Francisco, the old cable cars are still a major tourist attraction.
You can ride up and down the hilly terrain but on Lombard Street the hill is so steep that it’s easier to walk down.
Fisherman wharf was a great place to hangout, the seafood was wonderful and on a sunny day they hired bicycles and rode over the Golden Gate Bridge, the view was spectacular.
Mick and Vija really had a wonderful time, they heard from Simon and Mindy and the Beaver Creek Ski Resort has again returned to normal.
Simon says the local Tourist Authority is now looking at ways to attract more Aussies to Colorado for the next ski season.
Back in Ardmona, Mick and Vija would like to thank Lauren from Lyn McNaught Travel in Mooroopna for arranging everything.
Until next time,