Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good days........

We are camped among the birds here at Cherry Creek State Park.   This is a lovely park, a high prairie setting with views of the magnificent mountains to the west and downtown Denver nearby.    The cottonwood trees are home to assorted birds, none of which I can identify.   I need to get the bird book over at the registration office so I sound intelligent.    The cottonwoods bring back strong memories of growing up in ND.   They have a very distinctive smell and it just propels me back to wandering the hills and wading in the streams.   Looking back, as young kids, we let our imaginations run wild in the hills, found arrowheads near the streams and came home dirty and worn out.   I don't remember my mother ever wondering where we were......it was just the playtime of kids back then and no one thought to worry unless we fell out of the high trees we nimbly climbed.   I never wore shoes (still prefer not to) and would often come back home to have my mother pick the glass out of my soles.    How I hated that and would wail and try and get her to stop.    The neighbors never questioned the sounds of trauma as they were doing the same to their kids.     But enough of the tales of old......

 I do know that this is the raucous and noisy magpie.   They seem to be the dominant bird around here and are very distinctive with the black and white markings....more prominent when they fly....but despite being patient, I could only get this non-impressive picture.  
 This bird was fleeting and pretty ....whatever it is.    
 On Saturday, we met Mike and group and the tricked out Rubicon.   After  wandering a farmer's market and choosing our breakfast from too many choices, we headed for the hills.  
 We didn't spend any time in Golden, but it is my favorite small town anywhere.    We lived there briefly in the '90's and I would go back in a minute.  
 Clear Creek Canyon is spectacular but photos thru the windshield don't do it justice.

We followed Peak to Peak highway to Boulder and Pearl Street.    We've spent many good times there and altho the stores change a bit, the flavor doesn't.   We highly recommend Boulder Book Store.
We are enjoying the Jeep.    With the top partially off, it's as close to a convertible as I'll ever have.   It sits high above traffic and is a comfortable ride.   We plan to test it's back road capabilities the end of July when we join up with the Mile High Jeep Club's rally up in Leadville where they find trails to conquer and vendors will gladly modify you and the Jeep.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A BIG DAY......

What a difference 1800 + miles makes.     We made it back to beautiful Colorado.   And just in time to proudly celebrate Alexander Lee Miller's graduation from Mountain Vista HS.    As with his siblings, the ceremony was held at the Red Rocks Amphitheater.   This amazing rock setting is not visible from the roads and just looks like a massive pile of tumbled and uplifted rock......but once you walk to the entrance, the stunning views in all directions is unforgettable .   It was built as a WPA project and someone had an amazing vision.   Everyone from the Beatles to Lady Gaga has performed here.    
It was a perfect day, clear skies, temps in the low 70's and a light breeze.  
We arrived early to get good parking and close up seating.   Becca and Lizzie came slathered in sunscreen but umbrellas and large hats  made it comfortable.   After all, we were 6200 feet closer to the sun !!  
Kelsey, Lizzie, Becca , the old people and Nicholas.   Nicholas and Kelsey are in the midst of planning their wedding in November and the details are exciting.   
Mike capturing the parade of almost 500 grads as they enter ..... you get the idea of the size of this place looking up from the stage.
The cheers were mighty from the crowd as our favorite grad received his diploma.
Nicholas, Alex, Becca and Lizzie.......
Meredith and Alex.....watch for her in the Miss Arizona pageant in June.   She is so talented and lovely and spirited and has been a special part of the family since they were in their early teens.    Alex will join her at Arizona State in the fall.
Denver rises out on the plains.  

It is so good to be back ............

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Neither rain nor.........

.........Anxiety will keep us from our appointed journey.    The weather forecast for this weekend has been anything but encouraging for travel thru the heartlands.    All week prior to departure, the warnings were dire and I hung on every word with dread.    I researched alternate routes despite the fact that we had actually made reservations for our stays along the way.    I was willing to give up $$$ for peace of mind.    So far, we have been able to dodge the yellow and red blobs on the weather maps and we have made it to Topeka.......and one of us is finally relaxing.    We stayed here last year,  Deer Creek RV park, and I commented on the abundance of concrete covering the acreage as the owner has a concrete plant......we recommend it, very nice.    

May is Lovebug season in Florida.    It also happens in September.   Apparently they are only on this earth as bird feed and as a paint destroyer and as a great annoyance on the golf course when they fly up Jennifer's skirt !!!     Anyhow, after a short trip down the road , this is what the front of the coach looked like.    It sounds like hard rain is hitting the roof and windshield.    Cars and trucks that have driven awhile, are literally covered .... and don't even think about using your wipers ....eeeeewww.   The rest stops have washing stations for quick cleaning.   

When we hit the Georgia border , they disappeared.   
 We spent our day in Nashville wandering the "Honky Tonk" district with its open bars and non-stop CW music played by young hopefuls.    It's not as tacky as I'd expected and the downtown area is clean with interesting architecture.   Lots of cowboy boots and hats as well.  
Having recently stayed at the Gaylord Hotel in Orlando, we went to view the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. It is at least 3 times bigger than it's Orlando sibling.    It is huge and very lovely and very peaceful with all the waterfalls and tropical settings.    This is a boat ride that goes around INSIDE the atrium.
 That evening, we were fortunate to get tickets to the Grand Ole Opry show.   It is a live radio show with outstanding music.    We had high high seats but it really didn't matter with the large screens showing close-up and personal shots.     We thoroughly enjoyed the foot stomping,  hand clapping entertainers.    Ricky Skaggs and LeeAnn Rimes were the only two names I recognized but others were more impressive.  
And thanks to Becca, we have grown to enjoy Country music and are thinking we need to come back when there is a BIG star performing and stay at the Hotel..............Who wants to join us ???
And so, we left Nashville (and the swarms of miserable mosquitos at the CG) and headed West.   We made it to a lovely CG in St Peters, MO,  St Peters Lakeside RV Park, near St Louis right off I-70.   It is very new but convenient and spacious and right on the lake.    

After too much of TWC's dire warnings and too much discussion on what to do,   we pulled up stakes and headed west in our 'not so friendly to high winds and damaging hail' vehicle .    We could keep attentive to radar by using the mini propped up on the dash and watching the little blue ball which marked our progress across the prairie.   We did see some ominous clouds and did have rain but that was about it.    Much ado about nothing I guess but at least we were well informed.    Hopefully, it will be well east by the time we hitch up the wagon for another day.    

 And, one last reason we might need to go back to Nashville.......with a few friends.    This is the Pedal Tavern and yes, you have to pedal it like a bike, each person has their own.   It comes with a cute bartender and meanders the streets with its boisterous passengers.    Wonder if it makes pit stops !!

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's a rainy day.....

....in Nashville.     It's pouring and looks like plans to stroll around may have to be reconsidered.  

AND, I can't post pics ....   We're  sitting in a Panera's enjoying their breakfast sandwiches and WiFi. But the iPad is not cooperating so this will be short and dull.  

For all of you wanderers, we are camped at Seven Points CG, a beautiful Corps of Engineers project from the '60's.   heavily treed, we have no satellite but do get local channels.   No Internet, but electric and water and LARGE concrete pads with a small wooden table for cleaning your fish.     Also, nice picnic tables, ample room and excellent spacing from the neighbors.    The lake is huge and a site with a view would be perfect.......and the sun would be especially welcome.    Mosquitos are fierce.

We need to rethink our routing based on TWC's prediction of very severe weather in the middle if the country this weekend.    One of us isn't too concerned and the other is.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Loading up and heading west........

The wagon is filling up and last minute at home obligations are almost done .   We have a few more horses on our wagon and hope to be in Colorado in about 10 days or so.   
Optimism reigns and the golf clubs are going along despite some concerns that I'll be able to use them in the near future.      He's trying to figure out where the Pickleball courts are along the way.  

Looking forward to leaving the love bugs and the Florida heat behind to enjoy the high country and the grandkids.      We'll take you along and I promise to start using the camera once again.    

Monday, May 6, 2013

Not what I had planned...........

Jeff and Jennifer are back.....to play golf.....and they take us along.....and we had fun.     

 And then , it wasn't fun anymore...................................
I'm trying to put a "smiley face" on it but I'm not optimistic about improving my golf game anytime soon.