Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ya Gotta Love Spring In Colorado!

Taken 10 am 4/28/09. We got a total of 5" of snow by noon yesterday and as you can see it's all gone this morning! I'm packing my stuff for a trip to Granada, CO for the "chicken dance". I won't have internet connections for a couple of days.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Holy Snowshoe, Batman?

Taken at 7am 4/29/09

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Not Done With The Prairie Chickens Yet

The weather this week has been wonderful and there is no sign of the snow we had only a week ago. We're in for a little rain this weekend but the temps are pretty much out of the snow zone.

I've decided that I will take a solo trip to way southeast Colorado, Granada, to be exact, and do the Prairie Chicken tour on Thursday morning. I'll leave here on Wednesday morning in my RV and spend the night parked on the guide's ranch. I've been over much of this route before but there are several places I want to stop either before or afterward. I'm thinking I'll spend either two or three nights out.

Granada, CO has the unenviable distinction of being the location of the Amache Relocation Camp that housed over 7000 American citizens of Japanese descent during WW II. There's really nothing there now other than a small monument but I still want to visit.

Another stop will have to be Ft. Lyon, which is about 50 miles west of Granada. I have driven by this site several times but never really investigated the place. It's an interesting place to me because it was one of the forts on the Santa Fe Trail and because Kit Carson died here. Currently there is a National Cemetery there as well as an old Naval hospital that treated tuberculosis and is now owned by the Colorado Prison System.

There are two other sites I'd love to see but I can't get there in the RV. The first is the Sand Creek Massacre Site, another sad chapter in our history. The second is Hicklin Springs, an Indian petroglyph site. This one is just the sort of thing I seek out but it looks like with my RV I won't be able to get even close. I will ask some questions while in the area and maybe I can find a way to get close enough to do a day hike in and out.

This weekend I'm busy doing my demo job at the local big box. One day I'm doing Kraft, South Beach Living Bars and Pizza and the other day I'm doing Fiber Plus Bars and Special K. These are normally pretty popular "give-aways" so the time should pass quickly...and it's gas money for the RV!

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If They Danced, They Did It Without Us


A week or so ago I did a post entitled “A Miss Is As Good As A Mile”. In that post I described how we just missed a pretty good spring snow storm. Well, this time the weather guessers got it right and we had 2 days of snow/rain/sleet and generally just an ugly time.

The snow started at about 6 am on Friday morning. By early afternoon the roads were more of a mess than normal. The problem was that the temps hovered right around freezing so a wet snow would accumulate, melt some and freeze on the streets. The Emmer called from work at about 3 pm and said she wasn’t sure she could make it home in her little 2WD car so I went to get her with my little Suzuki Grand Vitara. I actually had to usspring2e LO 4WD to get through and even then I slid around a bunch. I’m really glad The Emmer decided to call me an not just give it a go. Because the snow was accumulating and melting it’s hard to say exactly how much we got. I’m guessing a solid 18” but it could have been more.

Yesterday morning it was still snowing like crazy so we had to cancel our trip to Eastern Colorado to see the Lesser Prairie Chickens dance. That part of Colorado got just a little snow and some rain but there was no way to get there safely. This morning is sunny here so they probably danced without us. I’m bummed. Our collective schedules are such that there is no way to reschedule for this year. If we want to do it as a group we’ll have to try next year. My schedule is more open and I’m seriously thinking of doing a solo trip in about a week and a half to see it.

By late yesterday afternoon the storm had started to subside and the plows had pretty much caught up with things so as a consolation prize, The Circle decided to get together at Pic-E’s and Guitar’s place for dinner and entertainment. Pic-E and Guitar provided the main course and the rest of us provided salad and dessert. After dinner we decided to play an electronic catch phrase game. spring3We divided into teams, men vs. ladies and used a small hand held device that provided a phrase associated with different topics. The person that was “it” had to provide clues to their teammates and get them to guess the phrase. All the while the electronic gadget was beeping a set amount of time away. When the phrase was guessed the device, still beeping, was handed to the other team for the next phrase. Points were awarded for guessed phrases and when the allotted time was expired the team left holding the bag…I mean device…lost a point.

All of us gentlemen were quite surprised at how competitive, and frankly unladylike, the ladies became during the competition. I heard a number of descriptive phrases uttered that made even me blush! In the picture above you can see K. flashing the “loser” sign to the gentlemen when she managed to successfully complete her turn. Belly laughs were plentiful and we all had a great time. The gathering broke up pretty early because K and Too Tall – Two Timing were headed out on a business trip to Las Vegas early this morning.

The Bride took tomorrow off for our cancelled trip so we will look for something interesting to do in the local area.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not Looking Good For Prairie Chickens

Few words needed...

My garage Thursday afternoon.

My garage Friday morning.

Friday morning 9 am.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Will The Chickens Dance In The Snow?


Another weather flag is up for this weekend! I know we need the moisture but can I get a break here? I have been patiently working my way through the last month of weekends of snow and missed forecasts of snow but it’s now starting to grate on me. Especially this weekend, when The Bride and I, and Guitar and Pic-E are scheduled to travel to the SE Colorado plains to view the Lesser Prairie Chickens do their annual mating dance. A weird thing to do you say? Well, it may be but this bird puts on a terrific show, so I’m told. It may also be that in just a few years these birds will be extinct so this trip does have some urgency to it. LesserPrairie-ChickenMetz3

The forecast is not much help…even though we’re only 2 days away from whatever happens. The good news is that the forecast is pretty definite for Sunday and Monday. Both of those days bounce back into the 60s and 70s. Right now there is a 50/50 chance for heavy snow along the front range that will make travel pretty risky. I was going to bring the RV here to the house to start preparations for the trip and to work on the graphics but I think I’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings.

On the blogging front, I’m creating this post using MS Live Writer. For all you non-techies what this means is that I can do a post without being hooked up to the internet. I can do both the text and pictures and even preview what the post will look like and then save it on my computer. When I get access to the internet I just upload the post.

I haven’t been able to try out this software before this because I had two big computer roadblocks…Windows Vista operating system and I used Firefox as a web browser. The Windows Vista conflict was solved some time ago but in Microsoft’s inimitable manner they engineered the software so that it would only work with a Microsoft browser…Internet Explorer. For a number of reasons I have refused to use that browser for years.

At any rate the roadblocks have been removed and I am now trying this software out. I do like the fact that I can compose a post, complete with pictures and links and be able to see the post in a WYSIWYG format on my computer without an internet connection. This will allow a bit more authenticity to posts I compose while on some of my trips. In the past I have either had to wait until I was somewhere that had an internet connection to do posts or I had to write the text in a word processing format, without pictures and links, save it, and then when I had internet connection, import the text and then insert the pictures. So far I’m pleasantly pleased with this Microsoft product.

While I’m doing a computer post I’ll also mention that I have been disenchanted with the Microsoft Office suite of products for some years as well. I didn’t like the way Microsoft made it difficult for any other software to interact with their products and I didn’t like the cost of their products. About a year and a half ago I decided to give Open Office a try. This is a free open source suite of products that includes word processing, spread sheet, data base, presentation, graphics and calculator modules and it is every bit as good as MS Office. It even allows you to make pdf files. I can recommend this as a professional grade, low cost solution for those of you that don’t want to spend the money on a Microsoft product.

I was bummed over the past few months when it looked like Microsoft would purchase Sun Microsystems who is the creator of Open Office. I was concerned that if the purchase went through that they, Microsoft, would make this great, free product disappear. I was happy to see that the deal fell through.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Mile Post of Life

I began paying Social Security Taxes in 1964 and have paid them continuously until December of last year. That's 44 years by my count. Today I became eligible to apply for the return trip...so to speak. Instead of paying in I will start receiving payments in August of this year.

I decided to apply online and had some trepidations about that, but it proved to be a pretty straight forward and easy process. Let's just hope that it's not a black hole on the other side of the process and my application actually gets to where it needs to be!

While this is a milestone of my life, it's a minor one. A much bigger one will be when I receive the first check. At that occasion there will be a real celebration.

Not a whole lot else going on this week until Thursday. On Thursday I'll bring the RV to the house and start preparing it for our trip to Southeastern Colorado on Saturday. Once the RV is here I'll also try my new magic potion to try to remove the graphics from the side of the RV. I hope this works or I'm going to be in a world of hurt!

I searched all over town for the plastic razor blades I referred to in my last post, without any luck. Most of the people I asked looked at me like I was crazy. I finally found a source online and ordered some. I hope they arrive by Thursday.

There are a lot of things in the works for more adventures this summer and the calendar is filling up fast. Right now there are definite plans to go to Moab over Memorial Day. I have volunteered for four different Passport in Time projects between June and September. Each of the projects lasts five days but I won't know if I'm accepted until about a month before the event. One of these projects is an archaeological survey in Southern New Mexico, in September. If I'm accepted for this one it will take me two days of travel to get there. The Circle has also made plans for a Circle The Wagons camping event in a local state park in August. I'm also planning on a couple of fishing expeditions to the mountains in between major trips.

It looks like a busy but fun summer so stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

This week I had planned to do some routine maintenance to my RV. I needed to de-winterize it and sanitize the fresh water system. I also wanted to put two more covers over the fresh air vents on the roof. In the picture above I circle the covers. There are actually a total of four of these on the roof although you can only see three in the picture.

I brought the RV from the lot to the house on Tuesday and for the last two days have been doing maintenance and other chores. Everything went so well that I decided to start another pretty big DYI project on the outside of the coach. If you will look at the picture at the top
of the post you can see an arrow pointed to the blue lines on the side of the coach body. These lines are actually decals and not paint. The coach is 17 years old and these decals are starting to curl off of the body and they look a little ratty up close.

I have read of people removing these decals using a hair dryer and some adhesive remover so I decided to give it a try. Everything I read about the process says that you should try on an inconspicuous place first just to see how it does...with the reasoning that if it doesn't go well you haven't messed up the look too bad.

I chose a spot on the rear passenger side that was a little hidden by the awning arms. It wasn't easy but it wasn't too bad and I reasoned that with a lot of time I could do a pretty decent job. The vinyl "stripes" came off pretty easily but left the dried adhesive below it, s
tuck to the wall of the RV. I used a little Goof Off to soften the aged adhesive and then rubbed it off with a rag....that was in the test area. After I decided to go ahead and started on a part that was clearly visible things started to get ugly.

The graphics still came off pretty easily but the dried adhesive got harder and harder to remove. When the Goof Off became ineffective I tried gasoline. That didn't work so I tried some 3M adhesive remover. That worked a little better but still not good enough to allow me to get much of anything done. I then tried some laquer thinner that worked ok but it also started to take the paint off of the RV! In the picture to the right you can see the colored line which are the untouched areas. The gray lines are areas in which the decal has been removed. The gray matter is the adhesive that held the decal to the body. The area shown in the picture above took me all day to do. That's all day as in eight hours!

About this time I began to get that sinking feeling. My brain started offering up every curse word it had ever stored...including some that I had not thought about or used since I left Uncle Sam's services over 35 years ago. It was back to the drawing board and try to figure out a good exit strategy.

In desperation I called a body shop that I had talked to a few months ago about repainting the entire coach. I never went through with that plan because my first born is married and living away from home now so I couldn't sell her to finance the project. Anyway, the body shop said that they had an industrial strength adhesive remover that didn't hurt the paint under the decals and that "might" work. This morning I put the RV back in the lot and headed some 20 miles north to the body shop to buy a sample of this miracle substance. While I was there the owner also showed me a plastic razor blade which he said could be used to help scrape off the adhesive without damaging the body paint. Whodathunk....plastic razor blades?

So, as of right now I have a little hope that I can pull this rabbit out of the hat. I won't try the new adhesive remover until early next week when I bring the RV back to the house to start preparing for the chicken dance trip on the18th.

All of you readers....think good thoughts. Do a few ohmmms for me. I'll need all the help I can get.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are You There George Orwell?

I don't do politics on this blog...just doesn't make sense. Besides if you look at my profile or have read some of my posts you can guess my political leanings but I came across this news story yesterday and it just blew me away. I thought I was cynical enough not to be surprised at anything that happens on either side of the political spectrum but this truly surprised and frightened me.

A business that declines government "help" should be applauded by the taxpayer. A business that accepts money from the government and wants to repay it with interest should be applauded by the taxpayer. What's wrong with this picture?

In this linked article, disregard the mention of any political names and parties. Concentrate on the facts and I ask you....regardless of your party affiliation or politics..is this a road we want to go down? I have searched the web for more information on this situation but I could find nothing beyond this article. I frankly hope it is inaccurate but I don't think so. Someone tell me I'm wrong!

Are you out there George? Tell me I'm wrong!

Thanks for visiting

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Miss is as Good as a Mile

This old saying can be traced back to the 1600's. It means it doesn't matter how close the miss is, a miss is a miss and it may as well be a mile. In the present case the miss was about 50 miles according to the weather gurus.

It's bright and sunny this morning with maybe...maybe an inch of snow on the ground. Yesterday was nasty, windy and it spit snow all day but the 12" of snow we were supposed to get was nowhere to be seen. The road condition report however made it clear that people just to the east of us weren't so lucky...

EB I-70 is closed Aurora to the Kansas border,WB I-70 is closed from Kansas to Limon US 85 is closed from Ault to the Wyo. state line, CO 71 is closed between Limon and Brush, I-76 is closed in both directions from Ft. Morgan to the state line, and I-25 Wellington to Wyo. state line closed Northbound due to adverse weather.

It really didn't matter to me, I was inside the local big box store distributing samples of Orowheat English Muffins. It's a fun job, giving stuff away and talking with people. It's also interesting to see what people have in their shopping carts. The hard part of the gig is just standing in one place for five hours. It would be a lot easier if I could walk around but I can't. I have to stand behind the small display table for the entire time except for one 15 minute break. Today I'll be at a different store distributing samples of Fiber One Chewy Bars.

I'm not sure what's on the calendar for next week...haven't planned that far yet. I feel the urge to do some more photography so maybe I'll visit one of the local State Parks? Stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Is Still Unsprung

Our Monday snow storm was nothing special. We got about 1.5" of snow that was gone by Tuesday morning. Tuesday bright, sunny and windy and I took the opportunity to go into downtown Denver and take some pictures of the inside of the State Capitol and the Catholic cathedral. The picture at the top of the post is of the main altar in the cathedral.

The cornerstone for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was laid in 1906 but it wasn't until 1921 that the Cathedral was consecrated. It has twin 210 foot tall spires that are pretty impressive but apparently are very attractive to lightning. One spire was struck by lightning in 1912 and it knocked off the top 25 feet. In 1997, the other spire was struck by lightning and it took some 9 months to repair. All that aside it's an impressive building inside and out.

After photographing the cathedral I headed down the street to the Colorado State Capitol. It too is an impressive building. The cornerstone was laid in 1890 but it wasn't completely finished until 1908 when the gold leaf was installed on the dome. The building is only open during business hours and it's a pretty busy building. Not only were the legislators wrestling with this years budget but the hallways were filled with lawyers, lobbyists and of course school children on their civic outings. I managed to get a number of pictures but it definitely was harder than in the cathedral.

Yesterday afternoon another snow storm blew through and left us with another 1-2 inches of snow. This snow will also be gone by the afternoon. Yet another much bigger storm is forecast to hit tomorrow night and continue into Saturday. This storm is much bigger and the weather f
olks are guessing...I mean forecasting that we'll get 12" or more from this one. While I'm ready for spring, we need the snow badly and I welcome it.

This weekend I'm doing demos at the big box store...both Saturday and Sunday. After this weekend I have two more scheduled for the end of the month. After those, I think I won't schedule any more for the spring/summer....I've got to keep my priorities straight. RV season will be here!

Thanks for visiting.


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