Merry Christmas 2016

December 15, 2016

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Christmas will be here soon! That statement has brought me to my knees in the past, reminding me that my time was short to finish the shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, and just getting ready for Christmas. But now, living in our trailer full time, I can decorate for Christmas in about half an hour! I don’t bake anymore and we don’t have overnight guests staying with us. We have a ‘”creative” approach to gift giving and often don’t have much to wrap. All this to say, I miss not having a house where family and friends gather to celebrate the holidays. But as the family grows and changes with marriages and grandchildren, new plans evolve for gathering and celebrating. Bring it on, we are adaptable people!

We spent the month of November in Longmont visiting with family and friends and taking care of  normal doctor appointments.  It snowed once while we were there and that next morning we were greeted with this amazing scene, complete with a bald eagle in the tree.

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We are now in Mesa, AZ where we plan to live until the end of March.  We are settled and ready for company!

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And just to prove we are in Arizona here is a picture of the Arizona icon, a saguaro cactus.

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We will continue to blog about our travel adventures here in AZ. Right now, we are feeling pretty good about the weather, 60’s and 70’s and we feel even better when we watch the news and see that most of the country is in the deep freeze. Cliff is very happy about not having to shovel snow!

Merry Christmas!  Cliff and Cyndy

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Winter Wonderland

October 7, 2016

Yes indeed, staying in the Colorado mountains is a bit risky if you don’t like snow. We do like snow and yesterday morning we had some on the ground. The park and the surrounding mountains became magical. Cliff captured a few of the sights:

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We have loved being here in the fall and now we see what it might look like in the winter.  Our plan is to head  to St. Vrain State Park the end of October, spend the month of November taking care of doctor appointments, visiting family and friends and then head to Mesa for the winter.

We hope you enjoy the winter pictures!

Cliff and Cyndy

 

 

Adventures

September 2016

Here we are looking back over the month and all that we have done. Our time here is flying by with changes daily. The weather is getting cooler, the fall colors are beautiful and the park is in full swing! Here are the highlights:

We had a visit from Cliff’s daughter Amanda and her friend Michelle. Cliff took them to Silverton via Red Mountain Pass. We like our visitor’s to have at least one white knuckle experience while they are here.

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We made it back up Owl Creek Pass, this time with friends Don and Jan. We had lunch in one of the picnic areas at Silver Jack Reservoir, many miles from anywhere. It was a beautiful fall day with a shower just at lunch time but it cleared off to blue skies for the afternoon. More proof that this place has it all in terms of mountain scenery!

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There was a barbershop chorus singing at the Visitor Center on a beautiful summer night over Labor Day weekend.

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Cliff took this picture and we thought it should be on a calendar or something:

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First snowfall in the far mountains! Yes indeed, we are reminded that living in the mountains at 7500 feet is different.

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We picked out what looked like a good weather day to head up into the mountains to see the fall colors but unfortunately, the weather changed and we had a cloudy day. You can still see some of the color change in Ouray.

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And just because Cliff needs to keep us on our toes, he had another surgery. When we were dating we discussed our various health concerns and decided it would probably be me that had the more precarious situation. Let me remind you about Cliff’s heart surgery and then his shoulder surgery and now surgery to remove his gall bladder. I told him I would not have married him if I had known he was going to need 3 surgeries! Just kidding……

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We headed up Dallas Divide yesterday to see the color changes and were not disappointed.

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We finish up here at the end of October after having been here 6 months. It has been wonderful to live in the mountains in the summer but as the cold weather approaches, we need to make our way south. Yup, call us snowbirds….

Cliff and Cyndy

Colorado National Monument

July 22, 2016

We have a confession, the last couple of weeks we have spent our days off tackling the to-do list for the trailer and grocery shopping. It is very boring but necessary, especially if you plan to keep eating.

Our cat Zoe is having the best time of her short little life. She and her two sisters started out on the streets of Phoenix and then got scooped up by the Humane Society. Zoe was adopted by us and then found herself heading for the Oregon coast where there were slimy worms and icky bugs to chase. On to Alaska where she caught mice and did not really know what lurked in the bushes behind the trailer but bears, moose and porcupines had been spotted. She survived and off we went to Texas and Louisiana where alligators and snakes ruled the pathways. Now in Colorado she has met bunnies, deer, owls and at least a dozen mice have given up their lives for her entertainment. Every place we have volunteered has had a leash law and that applies to Zoe so her hunting is all done within 20 feet of the trailer. It must be a really stupid mouse to wander into her kill zone! Here she is stalking a deer:

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The Western Slope of Colorado is hot, shoot all of Colorado is hot this summer and there are several fires burning in the state. Most people with MS will tell you they hate summer, because of the heat. A rise in my body temperature, even a few degrees causes my arms and legs, already worthless to function at an even lower level, muscle spasms start, my brain shuts down and I get really cranky. The accommodation for hosts here is wonderful but our hook up for electricity is only 30 amp and that means we cannot run both air conditioners in the trailer and we cannot keep it very cool. This week on our days off we packed up the trailer and headed to Grand Junction to have a generator installed. Yup, we caved in and I am proud to say we have run the generator for several hours today and the trailer is nice and cool inside.

We explored Grand Junction a bit and determined it is indeed a city of contrasts. A desert but also a place where fruit is grown and wines are made. We toured our way through Colorado National Monument and enjoyed the different formations and colors. Another beautiful park on the western slope of Colorado!

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We bought peaches at a roadside stand and found out about early season peaches (they are tasty!) The crop of firestone peaches will be ready about August 1. We have been sampling the Colorado fruit wines and have discovered a few we really like!

Come and see and taste for yourselves!

Cliff and Cyndy

Owl Creek Pass

June 25, 2016

When you open the admin side of our blog the first screen that comes up is the stats for the blog – how many people have looked at it, the number of comments made, etc. What struck me is the date for our last posting and it was 2 weeks ago. I am sorry, dear and faithful readers! We don’t mean to forget about you, we just get busy with our life and we have developed a routine pattern to our work days (F, Sa, Su, M, T) and adventure/errand days for our days off (W, Th). The state park is getting much busier with weekends full, leaving no spots for anyone without reservations and a full campground stretches the campground hosts, park staff and rangers to the max (but in a good way). We love it here and enjoy meeting the campers and hearing about what brought them to Ridgway.

Last week on our adventure day we took a 4 wheel drive road up to Owl Creek Pass. It was breathtaking, both the road and the scenery. I wondered if someone from OSHA ever drove this road if there would be guard rails up the next day? It felt similar to the old Lariat Trail up Lookout Mountain to Buffalo Bill’s grave. OK, How many of you even know what I am talking about (we will see how many readers we have that grew up in Colorado)? Here are a few pictures from our drive:

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We ran out of time but figured we would head back anther day with our picnic lunch and make it to the reservoir that eluded us on this trip.

Our adventure days this week were spent running errands and getting our phone carrier switched and that included getting new phones. We have mentioned this before, our cell and wifi coverage is sketchy in the locations where we volunteer and here in Ridgway we have big time issues. So we gave up, switched carriers and can now make phone calls whenever we want in any part of the trailer or park. That is assuming we have figured out how to make calls on the new phones – might be best if you call us for a bit!

Happy Summer, Cliff and Cyndy

 

Silverton

June 9, 2016

Summertime in the Rockies! The wildflowers, the intense blue sky in the morning, the afternoon showers that bring delightful evenings, the camping and the smell of wood fires – we are enjoying all of these things. We are settling into our jobs and the life of the park and finding out that if you work with reservations for the Colorado State Parks you probably have a crazy job. Most of the camper issues center around a foiled reservation or one that the camper wants to change (days or location). Most of the citations issued are about leaving a fire unattended, driving too fast or damaging the forest by taking down a tree for firewood. It is a mix of meeting wonderful people, families and a few rotten eggs that just take more work for everyone!

We did manage to get a few days off over Memorial Day to attend the wedding of my son David and his beautiful bride, Christine. The wedding was at Snow Mtn. Ranch near Fraser, CO and as you can see the weather cooperated for a few hours on Sunday afternoon for the ceremony. We spent the weekend with family and friends and enjoyed being in the mountains on the other side of the state.

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My sister Deb and brother-in-law Mike returned to Ridgway with us and became our official first visitors! We did not have any time off but Deb, Mike and dog Beau are pretty self-sufficient and went off mountain biking and touristing every day. We had evenings for dinner, conversation and watching movies. It was a great week!

There are lots of birds in the park. We told you about the 3 baby owls in the tree by our trailer in the last blog installment. Now those babies are getting flying and hunting lessons from mom and dad and they have moved around to the other side of our trailer. We caught sight of a very large owl just sitting and watching our trailer and it made both of us nervous about letting our cat Zoe out.

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The other birds we see every day are the pesky bluebirds. The ones that sit on the truck mirrors and then get so excited when they see themselves in the mirror that they poop all over the mirrors. Cliff has been pulling the mirrors in at night and that seems to keep them off, now we just need to remember to bring the mirrors in!

We used up our days off for the wedding so this week we were back on schedule with Wednesday and Thursday off. We decided to head to Silverton on Wednesday. As in many places, summer time is road repair time. We waited about 20 minutes in this spot and about 10 minutes in another spot. The drive was spectacular but we expected to be wowed because they call this highway, The Million Dollar Highway. It is part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway and it takes you over Red Mountain Pass.

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The town of Silverton is the destination for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and brings lots of tourists to town. This shot was taken just before the train arrived and it looked very different a few minutes later!

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We had our pick of lunch places and we settled on the Avalanche Brew Pub. Lunch did not disappoint and we were soon on our way looking through the town. Cliff did a little shopping and we shared an ice cream before we headed home. From Silverton you head north on highway 550 to the top of Red Mountain Pass.  There are over 100 mines on the mountain and you see evidence of it in every direction.

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As you begin to make the descent toward the town of Ouray you cross over Bear Creek, thundering down the hillside.

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This road makes Trail Ridge Road look like child’s play. Similar to Trail Ridge, there are no guardrails on the road and if you are drive south up the mountain you do a lot of praying.

There are hundreds of waterfalls and this one was so spectacular that I had to stop and take its picture.

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Before driving through historic Ouray you stop at this pull-out to take an amazing picture of what is called “The Switzerland of America.”

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Beauty everywhere, come and see!

Cliff and Cyndy

 

 

 

 

 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

May 14, 2016

The Black Canyon is only a 50 minute drive from Ridgway State Park, which makes it a great day trip. So on our day off we hit the road and it was a beautiful day with blue skies and no rain in the forecast. We felt like we had skipped school for the day!

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Cyndy on the balcony at the Visitor’s Center.

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A few pictures of the canyon: bc 06 bc 05

We were visiting on a Thursday morning and there were plenty of people touring around the park. It is nice to see people take an interest in the National Parks! It would be nice if Hollywood would help out with some better movies! We watched the 30 minute movie about the Black Canyon which was slides set to “soothing” music – naptime!

We wandered our way back to Montrose looking for a good lunch place. Our friends Ed and Connie taught us that the best food is found in the brew pubs so we found a good one and enjoyed burgers for lunch. Cliff had a physical therapy appointment as he is still in rehab after his shoulder surgery. I went exploring while he was at his appointment and found a quilt store. While it was not the best store ever it will do for the months we will be here.

We are loving the Western Slope and Ridgway Park feels like home. Come visit us and see for yourself!

Cliff and Cyndy