ContentsRearview Mirror - Summary of the past week
Pups Across America! - Rearview Mitzy and Hanna Pug
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading
(Note: click on any photo for a larger image/slideshow)
As a change of pace, the four of us decided to walk around the park instead of taking a trail. It was interesting to see things from a different perspective. We saw a doe and her fawn, and of course the usual cacophony of the meadow birds.
It was a busy camp host day, but Jan did the whole job as I was doing work on a report for a Swedish client. Because of the size of the documents involved and the slowness of my Internet, I had to drive to Fruita a couple of times and “borrow” the Internet signal from the La Quinta motel (oh, the challenges of roughing it :’>>>).
If you have read the blog before, you know that I’ve been watching and photographing a young owl, but I have not been happy of the quality of the shots. I’ve made it a personal quest to get at least one decent image of this handsome young avian while at the park. Jan had been doing some scouting for me, and when I returned to camp she informed me that Little Hoot was on a low, unobstructed branch, with a good background. I grabbed my camera and headed for the tree. Finally I got a decent picture! Yes, patience is a virtue. See what you think.
Jan also had been scouting a male flicker, and here is my first shot of this guy.
The weather here gets a little wild at times, bouncing from hot and dry to wet and wild, with lightning and strong winds. For example, early this evening the winds came up and the camper’s tent across from us came down, and within ten minutes of the occurrence they were packed up in their car and out of the campground.
Monday: Close to Home
My 6:00 a.m. European phone appointment was a no-show, so after scanning the papers and drinking coffee, the four of us went out for a hike. Here is a shot of a morning storm in the distance.
The neighbor’s cattle were out so I took advantage of this photo op and snapped a few close pics of the calves.
Several small planes in the area regularly fly over the park. Here is a shot of a red one.
The rest of the day was quiet--doing more work on the computer and helping Jan now and then.
Tuesday: Ain’t Flying Grand? (Grand Junction to Grand Rapids that Is)
At 5:15 a.m., with coffee and Pups in hand, we were out into the dark heading for the Grand Junction airport. My flight to Salt Lake City was smooth, and I took a few shots through the scratched glass of some interesting patterns with my pocket camera.
The first 80 percent of the flight to Minneapolis was going well, but as we were just entering our landing pattern, our friends in the tower decided to put us in a holding pattern because of some growing local storms. After 30 minutes they diverted us to Sioux Falls, where we stopped for fuel. The weather eventually cleared as it always does, and we made it to the Twin Cities. I missed my flight, but my good friends at Delta got me on the next plane and I was in my hotel in Grand Rapids by 8:30.
Wednesday: Grand Rapids Client
I spent the morning working with my Grand Rapids client, helping them with their services strategy. On the leadership team was my old client and friend, Bruce. We had kept in contact every now and then, but we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years. The good news is that we are still the handsome devils we were back then. :’>>>.
After a really good session, I took a cab to the airport, but instead of flying back to Grand Junction I flew to Denver. While I was in the air, Jan and the Kids drove across the state and then picked me up from my flight. We drove the 30 minutes to Parker, where our grandson, Austin, his parents, and his pug greeted us.
Aaron had a great meal ready for us, and then we went outside to watch a lightning storm over the Rockies. Wonderful day.
Thursday: “Grandpa, Do You Want a Dog in Your Room?”
I had a conference call with a Sarasota business partner about a new venture we are working on. They are great people to work with, and I’d told them that I was visiting my grandson and also that I was working from the guest room. So, it came as no surprise that during the call they heard a young voice say, “Grandpa, do you want a dog in your room?” Gotta love it.
After wrapping up the call and taking the pups for a run, the Little Man was getting anxious because we promised him a trip to the water park. Hustling up, we passed through the entrance at 10:45 to be greeted by several hundred youngsters along with their parents and grandparents. Like many other parts of the U.S., it was hot, so people were attracted to the water like moths to a light. The sound of splashes from the flowing water and yelps from the youngsters combined with the smell of suntan lotion and the sights of sliding/running/swimming kids. Austie had a great time, and for close to three hours he played and played and played.
Friday: Playground and Aquarium
The day started with a nice Pup walk, and Austie helped me herd our two Kids and the boisterous Hanna Pug pup. If Jerry is likened to a thoroughbred, and Mitzy to a ranch pony, then Hanna Pug is a war horse, running straight ahead no matter who or what is in the way. She has a habit of escaping out the front door and running as fast as her stubby legs will go down the street and out of the neighborhood, mobilizing parents and kids alike in the chase.
Because another hot day was predicted, I took the Little Man down to the playground early. My job was to watch him play, and try to capture a “non-posed” picture or two when he wasn’t aware.
Soon, however, a five-year old Emily took a liking to Austie and soon had him doing her bidding. It was interesting to watch him because he obviously was unsure how to react to this flirtatious young female. Here is a shot I like of the two of them.
After lunch at Austie’s house, we’re in the car heading downtown. After 30 minutes we were in the impressive Denver Aquarium, exploring the exhibits and checking out the fish and other water life, plus spiders, snakes, tigers, and all other sorts of creatures, including mermaids. It was obvious Austie really liked this place, as he ran from place to place, coming back frequently to check out the tarantulas.
This was a big day for everyone! Back home I downloaded pics and caught up on work while Jan “re-built” Austie’s room. Later we hung outside in the neighborhood enjoying the cooling temperatures of the early evening.
Saturday: Drive-By Shootings
After saying goodbyes, we loaded up for a scenic road trip. From Parker we took I-25 north to 470 west where we stopped off at Chatfield State, as we wanted to scout it out for future camping. This is one big park and looks like a great place to camp (loop D) as there is lot’s to do, and it is close to Austie’s place. From there we got back on 470 west turning on 285 west. We drove through Jefferson and down to Fairplay stopping along the way to buy some of the best elk jerky in the West. Jerry heartily agreed, sticking his nose all the way into the package, gulping his piece, then looking longingly at the bag when I put it away. The drive was really pretty, but when we picked up 24 west near Buena Vista and headed NNW on this scenic byway, the quality of the vistas picked up a couple of notches. As we drove, our most common comments were “wow,” “jeez,” “look at that,” and so on.
When traffic is sparse or when pullouts are abundant, Jan goes very slowly or stops or pulls off for Kodak moments. However, when the opposite scenario is in place, drive-bys are required. Now, shooting out of a moving vehicle at 30 to 75 mph on curvy roads hanging partly out the window, trying to frame shot when the car is in the one-right position while keeping other cars and poles and trees out of the image is a challenge. However, is it a big enough challenge? Oh no, our dogs love to peer out the window, so when I anticipate an upcoming photo op I have to sneak the window down in hopes that both dogs won’t be on my lap, feet on the door and heads pointing at the desired image. This challenge is magnified when the Pups hear Jan shout (which happens often) when we are in picturesque locations. At the sound of her heightened voice my lap is full of dogs, my “window of opportunity” small, and my odds of a good pic diminished. So keep in mind that for the few drive-bys published in this blog, there are scores more with ears and noses that didn’t make it.
At Bailtown we took 82 west, the Independence Pass Scenic Drive. Still lots of snow in this 12,000-foot route and the scenery was wonderful. Not the kind of road we would take BERT on though, often being narrow and sometimes in poor shape. In addition, vehicles were limited to 35 feet in length, eliminating the possibility altogether. This route took us through the manicured and majestic Aspen and up to Basalt, where we stopped for some delicious Chinese. Then it was back on to 82 through El Jebel, Carbondale, then on to Glenwood Springs where we picked up I-70 west and headed back to camp at Highline State Park. After unpacking we ate popcorn while watching a Netflix flix and went to bed early.
August 4 - 7-11: Rifle Gap State Park
August 8 - 31: Exploring Colorado
September 1 - 15: Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan?
September 11 - 25: Visit Kalamazoo, MI friends and participate in Ribarama
October 16 - 31: Visit Kentucky friends
November 1: Head back to Pine Island
Have questions or comments--send them in.
See you next week.