I actually use a pressure washer, but on a low setting. I have my own. I use simple green, diluted 50%, and an ex-girlfriends shower 'back brush'. Works great, and I get some satisfaction out of using it on my car. For the really heavy deposits you'll find around your timing chain cover, transaxle, etc., just use Gunk Foamy Engine Brite. They sell it everywere....BUT then use the mild soap/warm water and brush trick to make sure you don't leave any reside behind. After the inital good cleaning, it'* really easy to keep it that way. Mine is actually dirtier than normal. Josh'* is nearly this clean, too. A little neighborly guidance. Made it alot easier to diagnose his lower intake seal problem.
Getting the water out of the crevices between the heads and lower inake is kinda tough. I don't have the hard freezing probs you do, but if I did, I'd use a wet/dry shopvac to remove that water that stays behind.
When the intake and plug wires get here, I'll clean 'er up and take another shot