Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Fever's Gettin Worse

I've got the shakes. I'm sweating one minute and shivering the next. I got it BAD. Road fever has me in it's clutches...big time.

In doing a little research for this upcoming trip I keep finding things that are making the fever worse.

There is a Santa Fe Trail Museum in Trinidad. It has one of Kit Carson's buckskin coats! I've gotta see that.

The A.R. Mitchell Museum looks like it's got some wonderful western art. I've gotta see that too.

I'm still trying to find the site of Uncle Dick Wooten's house-inn and the toll gate for the old Raton Pass road. I think in doing so I've hit the jackpot because from w
hat I can determine the site is smack dab in the middle of a later ghost town. The town of Morley was an old coal mining town that finally died in the 1950's. Nothing except the foundations of a lot of buildings remain. From all the research I have done, Uncle Dick's house/inn and toll gate was on the south side of Morley. Click on the picture to make it larger and look at the yellow pin marked "Uncle Dick's House". I think that light spot may be where Dick's house was.

You can see that to the left of the light spot is a hill. Now look at the only know picture of Uncle Dick's house....there's a hill behind it that looks to be the same!

Oh, I got it baaaaaad. Stay tuned and watch me suffer some more before I hit the road.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Road Fever Strikes Again

It's predictable....Most of the times it happens about once a month. The only cure is "hair of the dog".

I'm not talking about substance abuse. I'm talking about road fever and I have it again! The only cure is to hit the road for however long I can. Work, weather, holidays and whatnot are boxing me in but I figure I can get away for a three day weekend in about two weeks.

A three day weekend isn't long enough to go too far but this is Colorado. There are all kinds of places just waiting to be explored that are relatively close by. Even if I stay out of the mountains and the chance at getting snow bound, there are still lots of places to pick from.

I've been wanting to explore the Colorado - New Mexico border area for a while and I think this is the time to start. It's about 165 miles from the Denver area to Trinidad, CO, a small front range town of about 10,000. It's the last town of any note before crossing into New Mexico.

Trinidad is on the old Santa Fe Trail route and was a former coal mining town. It also sits at the northern edge of Raton Pass. Uncle Dick Wooten built a toll road here in the 1860's and that route sits to the west of the present I-25. I've always wanted to find and travel it from Trinidad to Raton, NM if possible. I'm gonna try this trip.

I'm thinkin' that I can leave on a Friday morning with Bivouac and set up camp in Trinidad Lake State Park by early afternoon. This State Park has a year round campground with water and electricity so I should be comfortable. Saturday I'll try to find/drive the old Raton Pass route and if I'm real lucky, discover the site of Uncle Dick's house. Sunday I'll trudge back to the Denver area and start planning the next get away.

That's the plan so far. The details should keep me busy for a while and hopefully before I know it, it will be time to go. Stay tuned for more.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Over On Our Own...

Well, The Bride returned on Wednesday night from her trip to see CaJenn and to do "wedding stuff". It sounds like she had a wonderful time and is getting into the swing of this wedding thing. I've got to be real careful about getting information from her as I may not really want to hear all of the $pecifics! All I really know is that three DEADLY serious, giggly women spent a number of days in California depleting the wine supply...and my dollar supply.

Tuesday night I attended the appreciation dinner for Tesoro Foundation volunteers at the Fort Restaurant. It was a very nice affair with buffalo enchiladas for the main course. There were about 20 volunteers present. Holly Arnold Kinney, daughter of the late Sam Arnold and Executive Director of the foundation gave us an update of the Foundations activities in promoting Southwestern culture, art and history. The evening ended with participants giving the Mountain Man Toast....

Here's to the childs what's come afore
And here's to the pilgrims what come arter
May your trails be free of grizz
Yer packs filled with plew
And fat buffler in yer pot!

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 22, 2007

You Know It's Time to Retire When....

I had a medical appointment today that precluded my going into work. Just routine stuff but it gave me a chance also to catch up on some chores. One of the items on my list was a haircut.

I come from a military background and have always worn my hair short. I just feel more comfortable that way. It's also way easier to take care of. Right after I got out of the Army I decided to let my hair grow to the fashionable length of the times..1972. I tried it for about six months and just couldn't stand it. It felt creepy. It took time away from more important things. It was definitely not me, so I cut it and have worn it pretty short ever since.

But, I digress. So, this afternoon I went for a hair cut
. After describing the type of cut I wanted the barber-ess tried to strike up a conversation. "Do you still work?" she said........................

Now, I could take that statement and launch into an entertaining soliloquy on how deflating that was. I could compare it to some great put dow
ns and just have all kinds of fun with it. As much fun as that might be, I really didn't think of that at all. What I thought was, "Unfortunately yes. For 648 more days, yes I still work." The very next thing I thought is if this person has to ask, I really should be. The third reaction was really a sense of I am where I want to be. I'm looking forward to retirement and sometimes people just confirm that by asking "Do you still work?".

Other odds and ends....The Bride is still in California. Since I have the day off, I was going to take The Emmer out
to dinner after she got off work. She called a little while ago to say that she is having to work a double shift again so dinner is out. I think I'll order in some Chinese food that she can have when she gets home. She really likes that, so it will still be a treat of sorts for her.

We had our first snow of the season yesterday. It started at about 8am and continued off and on most of the day. Because the temperature was hovering on freezing we only accumulated about 3 inches. The temperature went up in the afternoon and the streets were dry by sundown. There's only a little left on the lawn right now. Gotta love this Colorado weather.

The weather was a good reason to work some more on my slide scanning project and I spent most of the day doing so. I culled through quite a number of slides and ended up scanning about 75. Not bad work for one day. I still have quite a number to go through.

Among the pictures I scanned are the two ships you see in this post. The first is the General William O. Darby. A converted troop transport ship that took my parents and our family from New York to Livorno, Italy in 1956. The ship had an interesting history as you can see from the link. The accommodations were spartan even for families. No one today would pay for a cruise on this type of ship.

The second ship is the SS Constitution....not "Old Ironsides" but the pride of the American luxury fleet in 1950. This was the ship we returned from Italy to New York City on in 1959. It was still very much the posh way to travel between Europe and the US at the time. In the 1950s it was still not common for families to fly to Europe. The military operated their troop/family transport service but they still had to ship a number of families to and from Europe by private steamship service. We were very lucky, indeed, to be able to
experience the last of the American luxury liners on the European run.

Sadly, the SS Constitution went to a watery grave in 1997 when she sank while being towed to an Asian "chop shop" that was to scrap her.

The final picture is one of my mother and father on-board the Constitution. I remember the journey quite clearly even the part in which we sailed through the tail end of a hurricane just before getting to the states. I think I can still feel the pitching and rolling....as luxurious as the ships were in those days they just didn't have the stabilizing gear that modern ships have. It was a rough ride and I stayed sick for days.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On Our Own - 3 Days Down

The Bride and her mother have been in California visiting CaJenn and making preparations for next June's wedding since Thursday. The Emmer and I have now been "On Our Own" for three days and thing are going famously. This adventure is going to be a snap!

Thursday The Emmer had to pull a double shift at work so dinner for me was a bit of left over pasta. Last night we decided to go all out and have leftover meatloaf with corn and mashed potatoes.

Lest readers think that all we can do is leftovers, be aware that the mashed potatoes were made by The Emmer and I...from scratch! It was a true father-daughter bonding experience as I explained the intricacies of boiling potatoes and then the proper wrist position for mashing them. To make the experience even more special I decided to add garlic for garlic mashed potatoes. She didn't say so, but I know The Emmer was just bursting with pride over the fact that her father could make garlic mashed potatoes!

Tonight we have been invited out for dinner so that's another day done. Sunday, I'll be fasting for a routine medical exam so that's still another day that dinner is not an issue.
Tuesday night I am dining at the famous Fort Restaurant. The Tesoro Foundation, of which I am a member is having a dinner in appreciation for it's volunteers...of which I am. So, yet another day's dining taken care of. This "On Our Own" adventure is turning out to be not so very challenging at all. There's a distinct possibility that I won't have to resort to Red Baron cuisine at all.

The Bride called home last night and said that they were having a wonderful time in California. After two solid days of shopping, they have finally purchased a wedding dress. I didn't even ask her what was next as at this point, I don't think I really want to know. Strangely enough, yesterday I had a voice mail from my banker saying that he wanted to meet with me and I have a sneaking suspicion I know what it's about!

Today is a turning point for the weather. Right now it is a classic Colorado fall day. Sunny, cobalt blue sky, 80 degrees. The forecast is for a storm to move into the area tonight with snow developing tonight and into tomorrow. Doesn't look like a lot but it sure will be a change from today.

Because of the change in the weather, Guitar, Too Tall - Two Timing and myself figured it was time to winterize our RVs. We met up first thing this morning and went to the storage lot where we drained all the water out of the RVs and then used an air compressor to blow out any remaining water from the lines. A little RV anti-freeze in the plumbing and we were done.

If you're wondering about the picture at the top of the post....The Bride took my camera with her to California so I had to resort to stock photography to give you the "flavor" of our culinary adventure. Our from scratch mashed potatoes would fit in the photo very nicely I think.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On Our Own - Once Again

I am not incapable of relying solely on my own talents to navigate everyday life. It's just that I have a family and am not used to doing so. Readers will remember my last "On Our Own" adventure and see that I can cope.

With that as a preface, it is time for The Emmer and me to be "On Our Own" once more. The Bride and her mother S. are leaving for California tomorrow morning to spend time with daughter #1, CaJenn, who will be getting married next June. They will be gone for a week. That's seven days of dinners that The Emmer and I will have to accomplish "On Our Own".

This time however, The Emmer, after catching a lot of grief from me the last time, did not tell The Bride that we didn't need any help, and could manage "On Our Own".

Because I was able to restrain The Emmer's youthful exuberance, The Bride has been preparing extra helpings at our normal dinners so we should make it "On Our Own" just fine this time. Besides, we've got a brand new oven and microwave...and Red Baron has some really innovative pizza products these days.

No,coping for dinner "On Our Own" is not the problem this coming week. Three women...in California...planning a June wedding is a much more serious problem! This is a problem, the magnitude of which, gets me all trembley. Makes me want to break out in hives. Makes me want to convert my entire estate to cash and bury it somewhere up in the mountains. Makes me want to call Rev. Moon. Makes me...well, you get the idea.

Three women, all giggly and DEADLY serious at the same time.Three women who want to make a statement to the world. Three women, who, at the nod of a head, could make me a pauper. Three women alone...shopping for a wedding....in California. God help me! This is really bad because under most circumstances, if I got into a real jam, I could sell my first born. That's not an option here because it's the first born that's getting married to begin with!

The only male, even almost related, that could act as a rudder, a voice of reason, a counterpoint, a stick in the mud, a beseeching voice in the wilderness, is the husband to be. He's in California too. Do you think he is going to play hardball with his mother in law...before she even is? Will he stand up to his mother in laws mother to be??? Nah...and I guess I can't blame him.

Is that the smell of toast burning or me?

Express your sympathy in the comments section.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Autumn's End

With news stories like this you know that time has run out for autumn...

KUSA – The snow really started coming down in the high country Sunday morning and rainfall is expected to continue along the Front Range.
9NEWS Meteorologist Nick Carter says the first WINTER STORM WATCH of the season was posted for the Front Range foothills and mountains starting at midnight and 3 to 6 inches of snow could accumulate by late Sunday. A SNOW ADVISORY is in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday in most of the mountain areas.

Because the weather was not conducive to outdoor activities, I started on a project that has been on the rainy day list for a while. My Dad, The Colonel, was a prolific shutterbug in the 1950's and 1960's. His cameras were an Argus C3 and a Voigtlander Prominent. They weren't the best of cameras but he sure did use up a lot of slide film with them. He amassed about 2000 slides that he kept over the years. A lot of family history is enshrined in those slides as well as a lot of landscape shots of places from Rome to London to Tripoli.

Brother #4 had previously scanned some of the slides and distributed them to the rest of the family but there was still plenty to do. This weekend I started to go through the remainder and get as many "family" shots as possible.

It's a long and tedious task. First the slides have to be removed from the old square slide magazines and the individual slides removed from the metal frame that held them in the magazine. The slides were then previewed. The landscape shots discarded and the people shots set aside. The scanner I use, has the ability to hold four slides at a time but you can still only enlarge and scan one at a time. Then the electronic file is saved. After I get them all saved I plan on touching them up with my photo software. Once that's done I'll make copies for the rest of the brothers.

It is a long process but it's something I've been wanting to do for a long while....and....it's the perfect thing for a rainy, gloomy fall afternoon. I'm sure that this project will keep me busy for some time to come.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Birthday Bride

Today is The Bride's birthday.....so....

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Bride
Happy Birthday to you

I cannot tell you which birthday this is if I want to make it until my next birthday but suffice to say that she can vote, buy liquor and is younger than me.

I hope you have a great day!

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Recent Read

Army Life in Dakota, by Phillipe Regis Denis de Trobriand is another of the fantastic little Lakeside Classics series. This edition of the "little books" that I have become so fond of, was published in 1941 and was the 39th volume in the series at that time.

General de Trobriand was the son of one of Napoleon's generals. Born in 1816, he led a privileged life in both Europe and the United States. He visited the U.S. for the first time in the 1840's and settled down to a gentleman's live in New York.

Despite the fact that he had no formal military training, in 1861, he was appointed a Colonel in the newly formed French Regiment of New York. He served ably throughout the Civil War and by war's end had attained the rank of Brevet Major General.

When the army was reorganized at the end of the war he was one of the officers chosen to be retained in service and was commissioned as a Colonel in the regular army. Between 1867 and 1879 he served on the Indian frontier in the Dakotas and Montana.

This volume is a copy of his journal from 1867 to 1869 when he was military commander of several forts on the Upper Missouri with headquarters at Fort Rice in the Dakotas.

A true first person historical narrative and a diary as well, the author tells the reader the day to day happenings in the dangerous and unforgiving landscape of Indian occupied Dakota Territory. A seasoned writer and wonderful observer, de Trobriand describes good Indians, bad Indians, good white men and bad white men. Reading his journal, it is easy to transport yourself back in time and stand by his side as he interfaces with some of the most famous Indian chiefs of all times. Medicine Bear, Running Antelope, Sitting Bull, Four Horns and Bloody Knife were just a few of the Indian chiefs he had direct dealings with.

At the time of this writing most of the troops on the frontier were infantry and not cavalry. It was therefore next to impossible to engage hostile Indians because of their mobility and de Trobriand was reduced to an occupation and defensive stance. Woe be it to any small force dispatched that let their guard down for the Indians were expert in deception and surprise. The forts themselves and large bodies of troops were relatively safe because the Indian style of warfare kept them from any large direct confrontation.

Indians, blizzards, wildfires, mountain men, a virgin frontier, this book has it all. It's as if you were reading a letter from a family member who recently left home for a new job. Incredible stuff.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Colorado Loves Winter

SUMMIT COUNTY – They have done it again. For the second year in a row Arapahoe Basin is the first ski resort to open in Colorado and in the country. In 2006, A-Basin opened on October 13 and this year they opened their first lift on October 10, the earliest ever in the resort's 61 years of operation.

"We keep getting our earliest opening ever, and every year we do that, so I'm wondering when it's going to stop – September? August?" said Mark LaFlamme with the A-Basin snowmaking crew.

The lines started forming overnight but at 9 a.m. Wednesday the Exhibition chair lift started hauling skiers and riders alike as they prepare for the first run of the season.

A-Basin officials say they have 18-inches of base on the intermediate High Noon run in addition to some features in the High Divide terrain park.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Holding on to Autumn

The forecast for Saturday was supposed to be nice but not so good for Sunday. I wanted to sneak up the the high country sometime during the weekend to check out the leaves and it seemed like early Saturday was the ticket.

I had also wanted to explore an area not too far from Kenosha Pass that presented opportunities to "boondock". Boondocking in RV lingo is to camp outside of a sanctioned campground and to camp without city electricity and water, using the RV's internal systems. In the 2 years I've owned Bivouac I have only boondocked a few times. I really want this to be my primary means of camping but in order to do this you have to know where the spots are. Hopefully I'd find some spots on this trip.

I left early Saturday with the goal of getting up to the pass, doing my exploration and being back home by noon. I took the new old Contour as I wanted to see how it would do in the mountains and I reasoned that if I could get the Contour into any discovered boondock spots, Bivouac could make it for sure.

The colors were a little past peak between 8000'and 9000' but once you got to 10,000' not only was the color gone....but so were the leaves.

In the picture above and to the left you can see one of the boondock spots I discovered. It was obvious that others had camped here and I can see why. A great view of the mountains and a nice large level spot for a trailer. If you will click on the photo and enlarge it you can see that there is some snow on the mountains in the background. You can also see that all the leaves are off the aspen on the hill in the middle of the picture.

I found four different spots that looked suitable to boondock and that I thought I could get Bivouac into. Now all I need is for the snow to
hold off for a while so I can try them out!

After my exploration, I headed back down the mountain and once I got back down about 1000'
the aspen colors came back. Going through the little crossroad village of Grant, I caught a glimpse of an old pickup truck camper on the side of the road and slammed on the brakes....turned around and went for a look.

To the uninitiated observer, the object of my interest was a big ugly piece of junk....and it was...but for me it was a forty year flashback. The picture shows a very, very abused and beat up Travel Queen Camper. In the last post I described driving across country in a pickup truck and camper in 1964. That camper was a Travel Queen. Travel Queens were the Cadillac of campers in their day. The distinctive rounded top and boat front made them stand out from everything else on the road at the time. A lot of my love of the out of doors comes directly from the adventures I had with my parents and brothers in our Travel Queen camper.

Travel Queens are a rare find today. In the last 10 years I have come across maybe 6 or 7 of them. Most are not in good shape. Every now and again I see one on the internet that has been restored with the original birch or knotty pine interior.

If I ever win the lottery....no I mean if The Bride ever wins the lottery, because I don't play the lottery, I WILL find and restore a Travel Queen and put it on a restored 1963, 3/4 ton Chevy truck.

The owner saw me taking pictures and came out to make a sale but I was not buying this day. He did let me look inside and that also provided lots of memories....and kinda brought me back to reality because if you think the outside looks rough...well, you get the idea.

I had one final thing to do on the way home. For years I have driven Hwy 285 and past the little cemetery on the other side of Crow Hill from Bailey. There are a number of plain white wooden crosses visible from the road and I have long wondered about them. This day was a perfect day to finally stop and check it out.

The sign identified it as Horn Cemetery and the wooden crosses all lacked any kind of identification of the occupants. It appears as if these were very old graves whose tombstones had long since disappeared. There were a few older headstones dating to the 1880's and a surprising number of newer stones.

One particularly interesting stone identified the owner as a former motorcycle rider. The inscription read "Ride Free, Forever Ride, The Tough Part is Over". I also noticed an unusually high number of Vietnam Veterans for such a small cemetery.

It was now time to get on home and do the weekend chores...and I did. The weather remained windy but sunny for the rest of the day and at this altitude (5800') I was able to continue to hold on to autumn.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Java Jive

A multi thought post about several things related to coffee.

First of all, I just love that song, Java Jive. My first recollection of the song was the Manhattan Transfer version from the 70’s. Before I started this post, however, I wanted to find a little of the history and was amazed to find that the tune was composed by Milton Drake and Ben Oakland and copyrighted in 1940. It was originally sung by The Ink Spots in that same year. A real blast from the past.

I do like my coffee. I’m not a caffeine addict or anything, but I enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning and in the evening, after dinner. I’m not sure exactly why? It certainly isn’t the “buzz” as I am one of a small number of people that caffeine has NO effect on. I can drink a double espresso in the evening and immediately fall asleep….it actually helps me to go to sleep! The bad side of this physical condition is that if I need to stay awake for some reason, coffee or caffeine is of zero/nada/zip help to me.

I realized that my father “The Colonel”, had this same trait in 1964, as the family was driving cross country from Colorado to New Jersey to my grandfather's funeral. Mom, Dad and 3 of the 4 boys were packed into the 1963 Chevy pickup truck and Travel Queen truck camper for a "straight through" drive of about 1800 miles. Much of the interstate system in the heartland of the US was non-existent during this time and we took two lane U.S. 40 most of the way.

Somewhere around Missouri, in the middle of the night, I was in the truck cab with my Dad and the rest of the family was in the camper asleep. The Colonel was starting to nod off but wouldn't let me drive. I prevailed upon him to stop at an all night diner and get some coffee and as we were paying the bill, I saw they had No-Doze under the counter. I told my Dad that if he wouldn't let me drive, at least he could take some No-Doze....he did and about 50 miles down the road he fell asleep at the wheel. Fortunately I was watching him and grabbed the wheel. At this point I realized caffeine had no effect on him.....and he confirmed it after he woke up by telling me coffee never "did him any good".

Anyway, back to topic. I like my cuppa joe and I have been searching for a long time for that perfect way to get that perfect cuppa joe. The picture at the top represents the devices I have used in the pursuit of this perfect cup, in the last few years.

I'm the only coffee drinker in the immediate family. Anything with caffeine will wire up The Bride for about 36 hours and The Emmer has never developed a taste for coffee. With that in mind, I really don’t need a 12 cup drip coffee maker…or even a 6 cup one for that matter. I’ll drink a cup or maybe two and I’m good. Besides I have found that drip coffee makers don’t do a real good job either flavor wise or temperature wise. Water makes it was through the coffee once, that’s it. If it doesn’t pick up the flavor that first time, for whatever reason, you’ve got no flavor. I also like my coffee HOT and drip coffee makers just don’t do HOT coffee.

The next option is an old fashioned percolator. This solves the coffee/water contact time and ensures that it you let it perk long enough you’ll leach out all the coffee flavor. It takes a long time (relatively) to get good coffee this way and for one or two cups it is not a great way to do it.

About a year ago I looked into the "brewing station" machines that will do one cup at a time. I had great hope for them as it looked to be my answer and they almost were. Being the son of the depression kid that I am, I was not about to spend a lot of money on anything that would give me just one cup or coffee....and I didn't want to be restricted to buying coffee "pods" at an exorbitant price.

The Black and Decker Home Cafe looked real promising. It wasn't real expensive and you could buy an after market gizmo that would allow you to use your own brand of coffee. It also let you choose between two sizes of "cups". I got one with the added gizmo and was quite happy with it but the gizmo broke after about one month. I went to WalMart and bought another gizmo and it didn't last much longer. I was blaming myself for mistreating the gizmo somehow, but when I went to WalMart to buy a third, I discovered that WalMart stopped selling them....product flaw. I was out in the cold! You can still buy the things online but they're between $10-$20 and you'll need to replace them every month or so......Don't think so!

In reviewing my options I came across a French Press. I'd never really considered these before and always looked at them as a fancy-schmancy thing that was more for show than substance. I was desperate however, so I bought one. By the second use I was a convert. This device gives me everything I'm looking for in a cuppa joe. The press I have will provide about two cups, my perfect serving size. Because you add boiling water to the press, the end product is HOT and because you pour the water over the coffee grounds, which by the way are any kind of coffee grounds you want, the resultant brew is stronger and more aromatic that most other coffee makers.

The only downside to a coffee press...and it's not a really big thing, is that you have to boil water first, pour it over the grounds and let it steep for about 3-4 minutes. For my 33 oz press it takes about 6 minutes to boil that amount of water in the microwave and 4 minutes to steep so total prep time is 10 minutes. Heck, if I go to Starbucks, I'm guaranteed to stand in line longer than that and I've gotta speak a foreign tongue to be able to order!

I like my press so much that I just ordered a stainless steel, insulated model to carry in my trailer, Bivouac.

Incidentally, the device on the right in the back row of the picture above in my Mr. Coffee "fru-fru" coffee maker. It will do all the latte-cappuccino stuff but I use it for espresso when I really want a strong drink. Since I've gone to a coffee press I hardly ever use this machine.

That's probably way more than you ever wanted to know about my search for coffee but it was therapeutic for me to explain why I have so many of these things sitting around the house!

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happy Birthday K and BRRRRRR

Saturday afternoon The Bride and I left the Spanish Market and Rendezvous and headed back to the Dory Hill campground for another night of festivities. Not only was this the very first "Circle The Wagons" outing but it was also K's birthday so a celebration was definitely in order!

We got to the campground right around 4 pm. The campground is at 9200' elevation and with a little cloud cover that came in late in the day it was starting to get a little chilly. Time for a fire! There's nothing like a campfire for a little camp ambiance and to foster fellowship.

I'm not sure what the womenfolk talked about but us guys were into subjects like grey water tank capacities, battery life and all sorts of other trailer related subjects. The dogs, Rocket, Woodrow (in the picture) and Katie just made themselves at home.

After conversation and libations it was time to start the feast. This night it was steak on the grill,
expertly cooked by Guitar, crab stuffed mushrooms, potatoes and green beans. A very nice bottle or two of red wine made everything even more special.

With dinner finished it was time to honor K with birthday gifts. Pic-E's birthday was a couple of weeks ago so we honored her as well. The festivities went on for some time and we moved out of doors again to huddle aroun
d the fire as we burned the last of the wood we brought. Dang, it was getting downright chilly so we decided to call it a night.

Sometime during the night I woke to what seemed like someone trying to move the trailer somewhere? After a couple of seconds I realized that the wind was howling like a banshee and Bivouac was doing an imitation of my old fishing boat.....rocking, and not so gently, back and forth. The Bride woke up too. This was not a quickly passing event and it kept up and kept up. I managed to go back to sleep although I would wake up every now and again as a particularly strong gust hit the trailer.

Finally early Sunday morning things quieted down and then the heat started coming on in the trailer. I got up at about 7 am (late for me), started the coffee and opened the blinds. The picture to the left shows what greeted me....22 degrees! It was COLD!

Not only was it cold but the outside, city water line was frozen so I had to unhook that and go to the onboard water system.

When I went outside to unhook the city water I noticed that all of the tents that were in the campground the night before were gone. They must have had their tents blown over in the wind and just packed up and left.

We weren't in any hurry and once the sun got up, it started to warm up nicely. We had a group breakfast in Too Tall-Two Timing's and K's trailer....no pictures...and got the rigs ready to roll back to the Denver area. A final "uncircle" ceremony and everyone was on the road.

So the first Circle the Wagons event is history. I'm hoping that there will be many more to follow. I can certainly see doing this again in the future....hopefully the near future. I could see Taos, Albuquerque, or Santa Fe before this coming winter is done.

What do you think Guitar? How 'bout it Too Tall?

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wagons Ho and Spanish Market

I finally got Joe Btfsplk to leave me alone and the rest of the weekend was a good time! Guitar and Too Tall-Two Timing showed up with their rigs...and ladies at about 7 pm Friday night. It took about forty-five minutes to get everyone situated and unhitched and we immediately started thinking about dinner. Guitar had made some chili and brought that along so all we needed to do was to heat it up.

We decided to christen Too Tall-Two Timing and K's brand new trailer with dinner and the five of us packed in and then packed it in! The chili really hit the spot and I even went for seconds. For some reason K has decided that the inside of their very nice trailer was a "no photo" zone so I don't have any pictures to show you of this nights festivities. Suffice to say that we did enjoy ourselves but called it a night by about
10 pm.

Saturday morning I had to drive back to the Denver area to help out at the Spanish Market and Mountain Man Rendezvous at The Fort Restaurant. The Fort is a reproduction of Bents Old Fort, a fur trading outpost in the 1840s, outside La Junta Colorado. The restaurant version has been in business since 1963 and is a perfect setting for an event like this.

I manned the ticket booth from 10 am till 1 pm. The Bride had to take a college course test that morning and then met me for a late lunch and to check out the event. There were a number of Southwest artisan
s displaying and selling their wares. A group of dancers entertained the crowd by doing Mexican folk dances. One dance they did with an odd number of men and an even number of women. The man without a partner danced with a broom. He would dance between the men and women and then drop the broom and grab a woman. The unlucky man that wasn't quick enough to get a woman dancing partner then had to dance with the broom. Kinda like dancing musical chairs.

There were also some vendors that were part of the mountain man rendezvous. They sold period clothing, hats, iron works and a variety of other things.

While all this sissy stuff was going on, the mountain men were doing manly mountain man stuff...like competing in hatchet throws and shooting events. You could see that some of the participants were really into authenticity. One thing that I found amusing was the guy in the picture shooting his period long rifle. He was going for authentic but still wore shooting glasses to protect his eyes.

After looking everything over, The Bride and I headed back up to the mountains to join the rest of the circle. I'll tell you about the rest of the weekend in the next post.

Thanks for visiting.


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