Sunday, August 31, 2008

Together Again and I've Got a Plan

I'm always striving to put a little musical history in my posts and this is no exception. The title of the post "Together Again" is the title of a 1964 Buck Owen's hit. A great little song that has been covered by many artists including Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yokam, Kenny Rogers and even The Flying Burrito Brothers.

We...The Bride and myself, CaJenn, and The Emmer, were together again not for burritos but to have a very nice Italian dinner at a great restaurant in the Denver metro area, called San Lorenzo. None of us had ever dined there before and we were all pleased with both the food and the ambiance. Both CaJenn and I had the lamb shank and it was outstanding! The Emmer had Braciola and The Bride had the veal and they both had a smile on their face at the end of dinner too.

Unusual for us, we all had desert too. Each of us chose something different so we could try a little bit of just about everything that was offered. In the picture above you can see the deserts on the table. The desert in the foreground is the one I chose. A chocolate covered pear with creme Anglais.....

There's a little story to pears. The Bride hates pears. Always has. Always will. I'm not sure why and she's not either. I'm thinking it's a childhood thing she probably doesn't remember, like maybe when she was two years old she had to sit in the back of her dad's station wagon with a basket of pears and somehow they tipped over and covered her up making her think that the pears were attacking her and she would never see her Barbie dolls again. And then again maybe she just doesn't like the taste. I don't know but I do know she hates pears and I had one less person to share my desert with!

All that said and knowing she is this way, a couple of years ago her Mom sent her a small painting of a pear as a joke. I thought it was a pretty good joke so last year at Christmas, I got her a small oil painting of another pear. Can you see this developing into a house full of pears?

Anyway dinner was great. CaJenn will be with us until Tuesday when she has business to attend to in town.....which leads to my plan.

If you remember from the last post I bought a float tube to fish with over a week ago and haven't had the chance to try it out yet. I do believe that I will head up to the mountains on Wednesday to give it a try.

I'm going to head for a little lake just north of Buena Vista called Clear Creek Reservoir and plan to spend two nights there. There is an area for free but without services, camping right next to the lake which fits my budget perfectly. Hopefully I'll have the whole lake to myself!

I'd prefer to stay a little longer but The Brides mother is arriving in the Denver area on Saturday and we are going to take her to Mesa Verde National Park for a few days....but that will be another post.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Double Doins'

This week is a double congratulations week. First of all on this day 31 years ago I said "I Do" for my one and only time, to my one and only Bride. Happy Anniversary to both of us. The way I see it we're about half way through our adventure in life and as the old saying goes...The best is yet to come.

Speaking of adventures, 27 years ago tomorrow, an adventure entered our lives in the form of The Emmer. Both The Bride and I earned our parent stripes over the last 27 years but it was worth it and we have a wonderful caring daughter that we enjoy every single day.

On top of all of this good news it seems as if our #1 daughter, CaJen will be able to spend at least part of this coming long weekend with us. She will be coming out from the left coast on business and will squeeze in a couple of weekend days with us.

The only bad thing that's happened this week is that I
had to cancel a planned short fishing trip to the mountains. I was going to leave on Sunday and return yesterday....just in time for my anniversary. (Didn't really want to try missing that, even for fishing!)

Anyway, Saturday I went to the lot to get my RV and start loading it. When I got to my was RV! Not only was there no RV but since it was Saturday the office was closed and all the phone lines went to an answering machine. I drove around the lot about 10 times making sure it wasn't moved to another spot but it plain wasn't there.

After about 15 minutes of sheer panic I finally reasoned that since they had just completed the repair on the window, the RV was probably locked up in one of the service bays. I had to wait till Monday however, to find out if my logic was correct. It was, but that didn't help my trip

I was really looking forward to this trip because I just bought a float tube (aka bellyboat) to fish with. The picture to the right is just like what I bought. It deflates and folds up into a very small and light package so it's perfect to take along in the RV.

Maybe after the long weekend when the crush of people leaves the mountains, I'll sneak up for a couple of days.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Up, Up, And Away!

That's the title of a 1967 smash hit by the Fifth Dimension. I remember it well and had the album by that group. It was a "feel good" song that was a perfect counter balance to those turbulent times of the late 1960's

I just returned from Georgia and some turbulent times there so when K. called yesterday and asked if I wanted to go to the Balloon Festival at
Chatfield State Park, I was more than ready! K. said that the official opening and mass ascent would be this morning at 6:45 am and she and Too Tall -Two Timing would be at my house by 6:15 am.

OK, K....I was skeptical. You see, K. is not normally a morning person. I was thinking that about 6 am I'd get a call from K. saying she was running late and would be there about 9am. I'm a big enough person however, to say publicly that I was WRONG. That's right his-self was wrong. K. and Too Tall - Two Timing showed up with military promptness at exactly 6:15.

Once we got to the state park we tried to figure out the best place to observe from and I suggested that we see if we could get right on the launch field. To our amazement that was allowed and there was a fair sized crowd already there.

It was sensory overload for about an hour and a half. I couldn't figure out whe
re to look next or what to photograph....Over that time period I managed to take about 150 pictures. Over 30 balloons participated in the ascent and "ugly" is not something that you could associate with any of them.

The weather was delightfully cool. The sky was crystal clear. It was just a perfect morning for this type of event. If you click on the picture to the left to enlarge it, you will see that a powered hang glider was flying around the balloons for the perfect view!

We headed home by about 8 am and I'm hard pressed to think of how I'm going to have any more fun for the rest of the day......

Tomorrow The Bride and I will get together with K and Too Tall - Two Timing for dinner. Guitar will be out of town on an adventure of his own at the Trinidaddio Blues Fest. I'm looking forward to his report on that event.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back In Colorado

I arrived back home yesterday at mid-day. I had a bit of trouble getting here but I made it in better fashion than The Bride, The Emmer and CaJen did on Tuesday.

My three ladies left Columbus on the shuttle bus at 5 am Tuesday. About 5 miles south of the Atlanta airport they encountered an accident which had the Interstate closed. The driver managed to get off the Interstate on to the secondary roads but was caught by all the other people that did the same thing. It took them two hours to make the last five miles. Because CaJen was not checking luggage she managed to run to the plane and got there just as they were closing the door.

The Bride and The Emmer were not so lucky and missed the flight. They were re-booked on another flight at mid-day that would fly them through Chicago and then on to Denver. After they loaded the plane a mechanical problem was discovered and the flight was canceled. They finally made it out of Atlanta at about 4 pm.

I stayed a day later and left on the 5 am shuttle yesterday. Not too far from where the ladies got caught on the Interstate, our shuttle ran into two accidents that had I-85 closed both north and southbound. We were between exits so we didn't have an option other than to sit with everyone else. Sit we did for about an hour and 45 minutes.

We made it to the airport about 30 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave. Because I was not checking luggage I managed to make the flight with a bit of running through the concourse.

The weather here is warm...upper 80's but it is delightful compared to the heat and humidity of Columbus, GA.

I'll take a few days to get my life back to normal and then I will probably head up to the mountains for a few days. Not sure where but I'm considering the Leadville area.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Colonel's Last Patrol

The Colonel reached Fiddler's Green early this morning.

God Bless The Colonel.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Colonel's Last Patrol

Nothing was ever easy for The Colonel. He will end his life as he lived, with difficulty. There is no doubt in my mind where he wants to be. In each of us however, is the primitive urge to live which takes over in times of stress. The Colonel's is stronger than most, and despite what the greater part of The Colonel wants, this part is keeping him alive, even if just barely. The doctors have conceded that he will die when that primitive part decides and not to any timetable of recognized medicine.

He has no artificial means of life support. His struggle is painfully apparent to us. It frankly tears me apart to watch, but watch I do.

Number 4 son has returned to the Atlanta area to attend to business. #1 and myself remain here alternating in keeping The Colonel company and deconstructing his physical life. Cleaning out his apartment. Making arrangements for the arrival of family and for the last ceremony honoring his life......

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Colonel's Last Patrol

The Colonel has begun his last patrol and there won't be any return from this one. After 90 years the body that surrounds his soul just can't keep doing what it needs to do. It's late at night and I am sitting next to his hospital bed watching him begin the journey. It may be a few hours or a few days but it is a one way journey. When he reaches his destination he will once again be that young shave-tail Lieutenant arm in arm with the love of his life that went on ahead of him two years ago.

Over the past two years he told me many times that this is what he dreamed of. Being reunited with his bride of over 60 years................

God Speed Colonel! When you reach your destination, kiss Mom for the four of us left behind to keep the memory.

"Fiddlers' Green"

Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green,
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped
Near a good old-time canteen,
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.

Marching past, straight through to Hell,
The Infantry are seen,
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marine,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen,
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.

Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene,
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen,
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.

And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen.
Or in a roaring charge of fierce mêlée
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And go to Fiddlers' Green.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good News, Bad News, Muffler Man News

Good News. My RV repair guys are going to be able to fix the broken window by just replacing the glass and not the whole window.

Bad News. It will still be pretty expensive and it won't be done until Monday so I will miss
the Circle The Wagons trip I had scheduled to start today.

More Bad News. I made a a reservation for my camping spot at Ridgway State Park just to be on the safe side. When I'm traveling alone I rarely make a reservation because there is an $8 reservation fee. This reservation fee applies to each reservation whether it is one day or two weeks. In many instances, the camping fee is $13 and the $8 reservation fee amounts to a 70% surcharge..... Obscene. And if you think that's bad, there is also a cancellation fee if you decide, or in my case, just can't make it. By the time it was all said and done I was charged an additional $26 because I couldn't make it.....So, the charge for three nights camping (including reservation fee) was $62. The outside contractor, Reserve America, that handles all the reservations for the Colorado State Parks will keep 50% of the entire cost ($36) AND they will be able to charge someone else for the campsite as well. Something is really wrong with this. The outside contractor is really gouging citizens who supposedly own the parks by virtue of the taxes they already pay. Our wonderful state government seems not to care how its citizens are long as the state gets i
ts cut. I'm not sure who I can complain to that might make a difference but someone in the Colorado State Government is going to hear from me.

Last night I went to Bud's Bar in Sedalia to meet up with the rest of The Circle to wish them a good trip and to dine on a great cheeseburger. While talking about the trip, Too Tall - Two Timing mentioned that he had spotted a Muffler Man not far from Rock Mountain National Park! Long time readers will remember that I am a connoisseur of Muffler Men. Just look at the left margin of this blog under Labels/Muffler Man and you'll see that I have 8 different posts dedicated to Muffler Men. They are just another bit of weirdness and kitsch that I enjoy.

Anyhow, seeing as how my camping trip had been sunk, I decided that this morning I would go look for the cowboy Muffler Man and maybe take a short day trip in the mountains on the way back. As you can see by the picture at the top of the post I did exactly that.

This is a true Muffler Man. An original. You can tell by the position of the hands...right up, left down. It is not in the best of condition however. The left side of the brim of the cowboy hat is missing. This Muffler Man sits in the yard of a private residence not too far from Lyons, Colorado and it's one of the few of these giants that are "resident
ial" in nature. Most of them are found in front of businesses or in amusement parks. Seeing a "new to me" Muffler Man was just what I needed to get me out of the funk caused by the cancellation of my trip, and there was more to come.

After finding the Muffler Man, I decided to head into the mountains and specifically to the little town of Nederland. Nederland is a quirky little town of about 1400 population just west of the Leftist Nation of Boulder. It's most famous for it's Frozen Dead Guy Days that is celebrated every March.

Whoda thunk that in addition to all of this quirkiness, I'd also find a piece of real history? As I was entering this little town I couldn't help but notice a huge old steam shovel sitting on the side of the road. I can remember seeing a few of these still operating when I was a little boy but they are now pretty well extinct.

To make things even more exciting (doesn't take a lot to keep me excited), this was no ordinary steam shovel. This was the only remaining steam shovel to have helped excavate the Panama Canal! Wow. And to think it now has a place of honor in Nederland, Colorado. And the 1400 residents have not only this to be proud of but Frozen Dead Guy Days as well. Let me tell you God has really done right by Nederland.

All of this excitement just made me ravenous so I stopped at the local brew pub for a bite of lunch. Yes, even with only 1400 souls, Nederland has it's own brew pub....Frozen Dead Guy Days, the last Panama Canal steam shovel and a brew pub....makes you want to go there doesn't it?

Anyway, the food was good but the view from the deck was even better and right next to the brew pub, another bit of kitsch. Vintage travel trailers for rent. Man, I've hit a home run for the day! As the old saying goes, "When one door closes, another opens." My camping trip was a bust but today's trip was fantastic. I decided to quit while I was way ahead and head for home.

A pleasant ride with temps in the upper 60's....couldn't be better.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

....And When You're Not, You're Not

As a follow-up to my last post, "When You're Hot, You're Hot", the weather finally moderated some today and it's almost pleasant. That did not change my plans to escape to the mountains for a few days.........something else did.

This is what I discovered when I went to pick up my RV from the lot yesterday afternoon... A smashed window. A probably very expensive smashed window. It looks to be a random act of vandalism. There was nothing missing from inside the RV and it looks like the window was shot out by a small caliber round or a pellet of some sort. I haven't found the projectile but the curtain behind the window has a mark on it similar to what an expended round would make.

I am bummed big time. Not only was I really looking forward to this trip but this is going to be an extreme hassle to get fixed. This is an older RV and no one stocks or makes windows, or even window glass for it anymore. At very least it will require a special cut of automotive glass. At worst it will require someone to custom fabricate another complete window unit, frame and all.

My local repair shop has someone scheduled to look at it tomorrow but I have very low expectations that anything will be able to be done to salvage the trip....I was going to start on Thursday.

To top it all off we are predicted to get some pretty strong thunder storms today and tomorrow so first thing this morning I was picking out the glass and wrapping that whole area in plastic and duct tape.

This retired life is getting stressful!

Thanks for visiting.


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