Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bats, Bears And Burgers, Oh My

The post title is a take off on the famous line by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Hard to believe that this classic 1939 movie is still entertaining and being quoted some seventy years after it was released. I wonder how many of today’s crop of movies will have a similar stature in 2080?

Enough of that. On Saturday The Bride and I left early and headed to the Colorado Division of Wildlife Volunteer orientation. The orientation was in Colorado Springs about an hour drive from our home. About 15 people attended to find out what types of opportunities are available for volunteers.

It turns out that there are a lot of varied projects available to interested volunteers. I’ve mentioned previously that I participated in a waterfowl count last week and that it tame compared to some of the projects. One that interested me is the Bats/Inactive Mines Project. In this project, volunteers survey inactive mines to see if bats have taken up residence in them. First of all there a literally thousands of inactive mines in Colorado and they are extremely dangerous. These mines make perfect habitats for a number of species of bats and bats are of terrific importance to man. The dilemma is to allow the bats a place to live and to keep humans from entering these dangerous sites.

Volunteers go to the mines but not in them. They use electronic “bat detectors” to detect the ultra sonic signals the bats use. If bats are found the mine entrance can be closed with a grate that will allow access by the bats but prevent humans from entering. How cool is that??spgs1

Other projects range from helping clean up State Wildlife Areas to helping at fish hatcheries to collecting animal heads for chronic wasting disease testing. The collecting heads project gets the heads from hunter harvested animals. There is also a State Wildlife Area Host program where volunteers camp at the Wildlife Areas and help educate visitors about the area. Between volunteering for the Division of Wildlife and the Forest Service methinks that I’ll be pretty busy this year.

All of that information about opportunities made The Bride and I hungry and fortunately the DOW orientation broke up at noon. We had previously made arrangements with The Circle to meet them at Conway’s Red Top burger joint. I learned about this place from a Christmas present book given to me by Cajenn and Cajon and my curiosity took over.

As you can see by the picture above, the restaurant is a non-descript little place but it serves decidedly non-non-descript burgers. These behemoths are eighteen inches in diameter! Now they are not your typical two or three inch thick gourmet burgers but are relatively thin allowing that artery clogging grease to really flavor the burger. The burger is a bit thinner on the edges and their frying technique renders them crispy at the very edge. A great taste.spgs2

As hungry as I was I was not foolish enough to order a whole burger but settled for a half burger which was more than sufficient. I had mine without cheese most of the rest of The Circle ordered theirs with cheese. Guitar and Pic-E also sampled the chili while K had a hot dog and a bowl of bean soup. All pronounced their meals worthy of the trip.

After a leisurely lunch we all headed back towards the Denver area. On the way back we stopped at the little town of Monument, Colorado. Monument sit astride Interstate 25 and I’ve passed by it hundreds of times without taking the time to look past the ever present gas stations and fast food joints. It turns out that there is a quaint little historic town a few blocks off the Interstate. We did a little looking and following the ladies of The Circle and then Too Tall-Two Timing, Guitar and I retired to the local cantina to have a cold one and watch football while the ladies completed their exploration.

We were back in the Denver metro are by late afternoon. It was a great day. I had learned a lot and had an adventure or two. Life is good.

Thanks for visiting. 

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