Saturday, August 13, 2016

Summer Synopsis

It's been a busy summer.    Golf ( Couples and Ladies), Pickleball ( in the Cobble Creek groupings and with Montrose Rec Dept ( a beautiful new Rec Center will be ready in winter...yea !!  ),  Hiking with our Hiking Club friends in the stunning beauty of the mountains and Jeeping into the thin air of the mountain passes to revel in the carpets of amazing wildflowers and the unparalleled vistas.

That would be huge herds of sheep.....and if you get up close, they are smelly and dirty and really mess up the place.......


That's the shelf road down to room for passing....

Meanwhile, when we are having down time, we are enjoying the high-speed antics of the hummers at the feeder.  We have about 6 that are feeding all day and they do not always play nice.    They can be very aggressive and defend their habitats and feeders.    I think they are black chinned hummingbirds.   I can stand up close and personal and they seem to not even notice....but I do wear glasses to avoid a run in with that beak.  


And the BIG consuming summer activity has been the buying and selling of houses. ( altho the house seems to be a bit crooked, I think it was the photographer who was not quite awake )    We've been thinking of making some changes for awhile and have considered any number of options.    After all of the angst and pondering and hand wringing and a bit of wine,  we are in process......   We are selling this house and will sell the FL house (going back in Oct to get it listed) and we are going to combine all of our 'stuff' into one larger house just a few doors down the street here in Cobble Creek.     We are excited about staying in this wonderful part of the world but a bit stressed by all the changes and commotion that needs to happen.   We just feel like this is where we belong, surrounded by great neighbors and friends and nature at its best.   We will miss our Florida friends and neighbors and warm winters but  we probably won't spend too many snowy days here and look forward to exploring Arizona or Mexico or .......  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

When last we talked...............

.......we had just returned for the summer.   It was a bit chilly and breezy and we were happy to be back.     Fast forward a few weeks.....its now hot and sunny and dry and the wildflowers are ready to burst forth. 
    These are claret flowers on a small mounded cactus. 

Our first hike of the season was a nearby canyon.    It's been a challenge to find hikes as it is too hot at lower altitudes but the deep snow this year is keeping us out of the high country.  

 In the past two weeks, we've been able to get up into the mountains.    The snow is melting and those amazing  snow plow drivers have cleared the narrow roads.    The iron ore has colored the stream beds but the water runs crystal clear.  

On top of California Pass, we found the perfect place for our lunch with Gisela and Randy.    In the far far off distance, you can see the valley and Grand Mesa.

The miners were the real intrepid adventurers and most of the roads and trails are following in the footsteps of mules and men trying to make their fortunes.   

A week later, we headed to the thin air once again with friend Matt and Matt Jr who was escaping the soggy Houston air.    The snow had melted considerably and the ATV's , rental jeeps and dirt bikes with the tourists were out.
 Note the snow flow near the center of the picture.   We headed for the old mining town of Gladstone, then up and back into Velocity Basin for a picnic.  And up close and personal with that snow flow.

 Lake Como is coming out of it's winter hibernation and soon, the turquoise waters will reflect the towering mountains.   It is always a breathtaking sight.  

After the 4th holiday, we hope to try the other passes which are recently cleared.    There is NOTHING like being in the mountains.  

Except, maybe having success with a new driver.......NO...... I only tried it out.   And it worked wonderfully.    It is very light and the ball soared  higher than usual and farther as well.  (actually, I've never hit a ball and watched it soar but it did stay  above the grass )   I plan to start a GoFundMe site and  know you'll want to contribute to my happiness.!!

On a sadder note .... last month, a 17 yr old with his 17 yr old very pregnant gf, decided to breeze thru a stop sign and an intersection and meet me in the middle.  (no injuries thankfully).     Of course, he had no insurance....and of course , we have very good insurance.    Anyhow, initial estimates said $3-4000 to fix it.    And then they looked underneath at the bent rails and ended up TOTALING it.   We are not happy.   We liked that car.    We didn't name him Brad  but we really liked it.      And of course, being a low mileage 2011 with all the bells and whistles and driven by a little old lady,  they didn't even consider anything but what the book says and so we are out a bucket of coins if we want to replace with new.    For now, the Jeep is fine and we don't need two cars.....but it's not comfortable for longer rides and we'll have to consider a more permanent solution. 

Life is good out here in the southwest...... come visit !

Monday, May 16, 2016

Back where we belong..............

No news is good news.............

For whatever quirky reasons, I can't upload pictures so you'll have to use your imagination.

We made it to our Western abode about 10 days ago.     Our trip after San Antonio was uneventful and we planned to take a short break in AZ.     Jeff and Jen moved from their beautiful home on the Columbia River in WA to their equally lovely home in North Scottsdale.     So we had to enjoy the sunshine and the desert and the magnificent saguaros.    This mighty cactus is only located in the Sonoran Desert  ( Northern Mexico, SW Arizona and So California).    It is highly prized and protected and very slow growing so the stately tall ones are very very old.

To celebrate my lengthy stay on this earth, they treated me to a lighted sculpture show at the Desert Botanical Garden one beautiful evening.    Non-professional pictures just didn't capture the views.  After, we retired to their home to eat VEGAN chocolate cupcakes and Ben and Jerry's VEGAN ice cream.    Yes, it's full of calories but ........ How often do I turn 73 !!  

We so enjoyed our stay in the desert.    The varied restaurants, featuring fresh well prepared food, was a real treat.    The outdoor mall and a light lunch and sangria with Jennifer was special.    Hikes in the hills at the campground amid the flowering cactus was the best.    

We explored the many 55+ communities in the Phoenix area and were intrigued.    We met up with some RV friends who winter there and learned a lot from various sales centers.     No, we haven't committed to anything but we are thinking broadly about the next chapter in our lives.

AND, we had great fun reminiscing with my cousin Diane and husband Mark.   They live in Cave Creek which is next to No Scottsdale.      We grew up together in nearby states  ( ND and MN) and shared a wonderful grandmother and great memories.  

And then we came north to Cobble Creek and found it to be COLD.    It's ok tho.  We love the morning fireplace, the jeans and sweaters and pickle ball and morning walks in the crisp air.    It does warm up quickly and the Colorado blue sky with the snow capped peaks is always a wonder.    Yesterday, we had some spring winds.    They are notorious this time of year and my Weather Underground app said the winds were 52-63 mph.    One of us left a chair cushion out and altho we drove around the neighborhood, it is likely in Utah.

We had barely unpacked when my brother Tom and wife Regina arrived on their way to Arkansas from California.   We were happy to give them a break on their long drive and he brought more outdoor spinners for neighbors who admire ours.    He sold a bunch last year and hopefully, I can find homes for the 3 that I have.

Tomorrow we head East to celebrate Lizzie's graduation from Mountain View HS.   As with the other's graduation, it will be held at Red Rocks Amphitheater.     An amazing natural setting unless it is 80 degrees and brilliant sunshine.....then it feels a bit like getting fried on the stone seating.    Forecast is for partial sun and 60's.      Can't wait to see all those grown-up grands once again....such a  great bunch of kids........but when did they become adults.    I was at their births and that means we are really old !!     But thankful that we are !!

When and if the blogger app decides not to censor my pictures, I'll post a few .................

We're happy to be back in the West and among friends and family once again.....   Life is Good.!!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Quick travel catch up...........

You'd think that blogging and sharing our exciting life with the world wide web would be a priority, especially when we are wandering about the country.   But at this age, just staying upright and mobile seems to be a higher goal.   But for all of you hanging on my every word, here's the latest.....

 After New Orleans, we enjoyed a few hours on the River Walk in San Antonio.    Our KOA campground was very very nice and as an added plus, was on the bus route directly into downtown.   We got to see a bit of local color on the route and decided it was probably best not to do this after sunset.  

We had stops planned for the next leg of our trip but our impatience to just get across Texas/NM, made us put pedal to the medal and drive over 575 mi one day.   The speed limit for others was 80 on the wide open roads and we rumbled along at 65 and with both of us driving, we made good time.

We stopped in Tucson to catch our breath and then turned north on I 10 for a short drive to Palm Creek in Casa Grande.     Quite the amazing and lovely winter resort.   It boasts 1000 RV sites and 1200 small homes around a golf course, beautiful facilities, world class pickle ball and tennis courts and 3 pools.   We were there for the Tiffin Allegro Rally.    More than 250 coaches made by the Tiffin company gathered for 4 days of seminars, entertainment and catching up with others of similar interests.   One of the perks of the rally is the assorted techs they bring.   We made a list of minor things that needed looked at  and before we left, the A/C had been checked, another item repaired and a motor on the steps replaced. ( all at no charge! )    Plus, we had the coach washed and waxed by an efficient young crew that didn't mind being on the roof.   They also rolled in sparkling new 2016 coaches to encourage us to trade up..... it was easy to resist, we like ours.    But they sold a few.  

The resort is worthy of an extended stay but there is not much outside it's gates as the town has struggled to stay alive.   It does have some major stores and being half way between Tucson and Phoenix, I'm sure those populations will eventually creep that way and revitalize it.

It was very well organized and we met a fun group at our nightly Happy Hour in our section.   Marian and Allen have recently become full timers and plan to wander the country for the next year or so with plans to join us in Montrose this summer.  

And so, yesterday, we headed north to Scottsdale to check up on Jeff and Jennifer and Guiness in their new home.    A bit windy with blowing sand around here but we are looking forward to spending time exploring and enjoying.      Talk soon............

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Where we've been so far...........

Trying to take our time as we cross the southern states.  But we had an auspicious start.    We only went 100 miles the first day and then realized that we'd left P's eye drops behind..... Rats !   So we unhitched the car and backtracked.    Naturally, as I wandered thru the house, I found a few more things that needed to make the trip.     The RV steps decided to stop working so they are tied up to prevent wandering out suddenly and we have a  kitchen type step that looks pretty ugly but works.    Then the forward A/C decided to stop working.   Not a problem unless it was summer in AZ as we have two more to keep us cool.   It's always something when you own one of these behemoths so maybe we got lucky that they are relatively minor and can be fixed easily.    

   Usually, we zip along (well, we don't exactly ZIP  considering our mode of transport), and keep our noses pointed in the direction of our destination.    This time, we are taking it a bit slower ..... it's easier on the old bodies and broadens our   view of this great country.  ( yes Donald, it's still great ! )    These pictures reversed themselves so we'll go with the flow.

We spent a day in New Orleans.    Once was enough.   I'm sure it looks a whole lot better in the colorful evening but in the harsh light of day, it was dirty, smelly, crumbling and still full of tourists.    Fortunately, all of the night people were still hidden and the street musicians that we did enjoy were 

fabulous.    We took a break at the well known Cafe du Monde and even succumbed to the lure of fried, sugary beignets and cafe au lait with cream.... horrors!.    The coffee, made with a dark roasted bean and chicory was delicious and the cream certainly didn't hurt.    Our arteries didn't close up and the scale didn't move..... who knew?

A few days before , we made a nice stop at Topsail State Park, near Destin FL.    A beautiful beach and a very nice camp ground was a welcome respite  despite the rain.  


All of the FL beaches that we have visited of late have these walkways over the dunes and prohibit walking on the dunes..... No shells on this beach but beautiful powdery sand that we remember from so many years ago in Pensacola.

Currently, we are in San Antonio.   Heading out shortly to do the River Walk.    We've been there a few times in the past and it's a good walk.      Tomorrow we'll continue our way west following I 10 to Tucson.     Talk later..........

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Paddling around ............

We had our favorite company last week.    Becca and Lizzie left snowy Colorado and came to visit.   We got a bit of their time but mostly, they spent their days with Mickey and Harry Potter.    Becca left her heart at Disney after her intern days and her joy at returning is so obvious.   Lizzie wants to go to school at Hogwarts but it seems that Northern Colorado State accepted her instead.      Seems strange that they are so grown up that we just give them the keys to the car and off they go.

 On a perfect day, we did join them for some kayaking.    Altho there are many springs and lakes recommended for this venture, Weeki Wachi Springs seems to be the favorite.   The water was a cool 72 but didn't seem to bother the many younger kayakers as they jumped from rope swings or swam near a sand bar.    We chose to stay mostly dry.     The water is so amazingly clear.   No alligators in this river but we saw turtles and assorted herons and osprey along the jungle-like waterway.    As the river neared the Gulf, we saw a few manatees and one mother with her little calf.

 We were captured in Becca's selfie as we paddled DOWN river...
 Weather was pretty nice while they were here, with only a few showers and low humidity.    Meanwhile, looking out the back of the western manse, the day was not good for golf.

I'm constantly on the look out for new recipes and I found a winner.    Called "nice cream", it is a creamy delicious frozen treat.   Made with only frozen bananas and a few added berries,  we would be hard pressed to differentiate between this and ice cream or sorbet.   And it's so guilt-free.    I am an avid proponent of this whole food, plant based way of eating that we are committed to but I try not to be too preachy and obnoxious about it.    I came across this article today and because many of our friends and family are of a certain vintage and might just have some creaky joints, I decided to share this informative bit of info.    I understand that many are skeptical of claims that seem to good to be true, but the sources that we use have backed up their claims with proven studies and reliable credentials.    So, peruse if you want ....or not.    I just wanted to share.........AND, my achy joints are gone and I feel pretty limber and flexible for this stage of my life.     AND, the pickle ball player in the family is even more obvious proof as he has all that metal holding him together.

And now, we are in full pre-travel mode.    We leave in 4 days.     We've been cleaning inside and out.....unless we power wash the lanai and walks and furniture at least every 6 months,  the green will take over.   I'm trying to pack up  less this year, having learned that i don't have to take everything I own with me.   We always leave something behind but usually manage to have the important stuff.... like each other.

We will try and wander westward at a reasonable pace and stop along the way.    We need to be in Casa Grande AZ on the 10th for a big Tiffin (the brand of our motorhome) rally.    Then it's up to Jeff and Jen's beautiful new home in Scottsdale for a few days before heading farther north to Montrose.  We'll be there at least a month earlier than usual but the social calendar is already getting filled in because it's that kind of happening place.         Stay tuned..........

Monday, March 14, 2016

R & R

Because  the day job is so taxing and stressful, we had to get away from it all.......

Besides Pickleball daily and dealing with a stressful golf game, we also had to spend way too many hours waiting for the launch of the newest Space X rocket.    Many nights, we consulted the clouds, measured the winds and hovered over the live updates on the laptop.   But time and time again, the launch was cancelled at the very last second.   One time the countdown had reached ZERO and then they cancelled......must be like stopping your golf swing right before you hit the ball and about wrenching your arm.    But, we were finally rewarded with a spectacular sighting as it lifted upward at sunset.   Now, you'd think if we'd waited this long for this spectacle, I would have stepped beyond the lanai to get a picture sans screen.....but I am basically lazy and the grass was wet. 


I am totally frustrated by my inability to find a working can opener.    And I've tried.    I remember way back when, there were the electric can openers and they got all gooey and messy but they worked.   A few years back, well maybe 10+ my mother raved about the battery operated one at the top of the pic.    It worked amazingly well... I set it on the can, it zipped around and the lid came off.   It lasted a long time without frequent battery changes and when it did give up, I went to Target and got another.    And then it started slowing down and we started eating differently and apparently it isn't made anymore.     Cans  needed to be opened.... beans, beans, beans and veggie broth and tomatoes and ROTEL.    So, I tried a couple of different manual openers....they all failed quickly or became too hard to operate.   I even tried different colors hoping for a miracle.    Nada.      Then, at Christmas, I wandered into Williams and Sonoma and there it was.... a smaller black battery operated gem.    I bought 3, convinced it would make a good gift in a stocking.  

Well, it worked about once !   I changed batteries, shook it, cleaned it and occasionally, it moved at a snail's pace half way around the can and then would die....forcing me to wrench it off the can with fury.    I hope the gifted ones have had a better life.....    Last week, I found the white one at Publix.   It was $16.95 and it turns easily.   BUT, altho the lid is cut off, it won't lift off without brute force, often causing the contents to spray about and once, it left a tiny metal spear which sliced thru my thumb and caused a mingling of my blood and tomato sauce so I didn't know which was which....nor did I much care at that point.      Finally, there is the one at the bottom.   This belonged to my grandmother and I remember her using it.    It worked slowly but efficiently as she nudged it around the can lid.   Notice how the paint is worn from where her thumb would be.     It is a bit rusty and I'm not sure if that is healthy but at this point, it can't be worse than my stress and my lacerated finger and it cleanly lifts off the lid.  

And that is why our escape from the bubble was imperative.  

We headed over to Anastasia St Park, a couple miles south of St Augustine.

The beaches are vast and vacant.

The gulls are quiet and relaxing as well.

We wandered over to St Augustine ..... if you haven't been there, we recommend it highly.   Very historic, many many B&B's and interesting restaurants.     Flagler College was once  the mighty Flagler Hotel, built for the rich and famous to stay in as they traveled down to FL by train.    It is impressive in its opulence.

The entry was designed to impress the millionaires.

The dining room, with copies of the original hand carved chairs, is now the student dining hall.

Mostly, we hung around the campground and walked a lot .    The nature trail was quiet and cool and the only wild beasts that we saw were the birds.

We spent our days walking, reading, lounging at the beach and de-stressing around the campfires.   It was quite lovely.   

 My efforts to even out the golf tan..........( Yes, I know about the sun and aging but I think I've passed that point and I saw the dermatologist last week to see if there was anything growing on me ...and there wasn't so it was back to the hard work of tanning.)

We did go to an excellent Farmer's Market on Saturday, right next door to the campground.   We found good vegan food ! and enjoyed vegan tamales and bought some Korean kimchi to add a bit ( or a lot ) of spicy goodness to our burgers and burritos when we get home.    We also bought a wonderful red lentil soup that is now frozen and will make us happy when we are on the road.

We came home yesterday.    It is getting hot over here and more humid.    Life will get much busier in the next couple weeks.   Lizzie and Becca will be here in a few days to make us very happy.    And they will be happy getting their Disney fix.      Then, it's last minute stuff to get done and in about 2 weeks we head WEST !!      Stay tuned............