Saturday, October 16, 2021

Home for the Winter

We've put some miles on the truck and are settling into our winter home in Gold Canyon, Arizona.  It feels good to be here, our winter home since November 2014.  The winter residents are slowly trickling in.  So far, there are only 4 houses occupied on out street.  By Thanksgiving, most of our neighbors will have arrived. 



We made a two-day trip from our Lone Tree apartment to here.  We stopped in Albuquerque at the Days Inn on the east end of town.  We walked across the street to the Owl Cafe for dinner.  We wondered how many of our children and nieces and nephews, let alone our grandchildren, would even know what this device is.  Remember the juke boxes found in many restaurants during our childhood?  Today, they can only be found in retro diners.  We didn't have the necessary coin to play a song.  


 There was a drug store with a soda fountain on the route I walked to grand school.  They had these on the counter.  I only ate there once and don't know if I payed to listen to a song.  The store was the place we stopped for a coke or ice cream cone after school.

I think this year will be more comfortable--and more normal--than last winter was.  The pandemic is waning.  We, and most of our neighbors, I imagine, have been vaccinated.  Masks are only required in the gym and other indoor areas of our resort for those who have not been vaccinated.  The same is true in the businesses we go into.

Arizona had mass vaccination sites early last spring.  We received our first and second Pfizer shots in February and March.  We got our booster shots shortly before returning here for the winter.  It is refreshing--refreshingly normal--to see people's faces and their smiles!  Three cheers for the scientists who developed these vaccines.


Monday, October 11, 2021

Changing Colors

Friday, we went for a walk along the Platte River Trail.  We were there a couple of weeks ago, but since then the temperatures have cooled and fall colors are showing up, especially in the cottonwood trees near the river.  It was a beautiful walk.



In a few places, we saw some red leaves.  I believe they are sumac.







 Saturday we were able to see a few high mountain peaks covered in snow.  Sorry, no pictures.  But this change means one thing for sure.  Snow birds--count us among them--are headed south for the winter.  We think we will be leaving Tuesday. 

Saturday, October 09, 2021

One Pesky Little Fly

 Who knew a fly could cause so much trouble.  We are used to flies.  We have both lived most of our lives in Colorado and flies are just part of the landscape.  We have been spending our winters in Arizona since 2009.  They are not usually much of a problem there.  Just to be safe, we have a fly swatter in our house in Arizona and another in our Airstream Trailer, which is also parked in Arizona.

This year, we have rented an apartment in Lone Tree on the south end of Denver.  And wouldn't you know it, we somehow let a fly into the apartment.  A magazine just doesn't work to swat a fly.  So, we went out to buy a fly swatter.  We didn't find one at Walmart.  King Soopers, same story.  Safeway didn't have one either.  Neither did Harbor Freight.  Finally, we stopped at an Ace Hardware--Big Tool Box on Holly Street.

At last, we were able to buy a fly swatter.  It cost lest than $3.  About the same as I found one on Amazon. But have a $3 item shipped from Amazon seemed a little bit of overkill.

Now, where is that fly?



Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fall Colors in the Colorado Mountains

Most years we head to Arizona in early September.  Not this year, so yesterday we drove to the mountains to enjoy the fall colors of Colorado's aspen trees.

Any hillside where there are aspens, we saw the golden leaves.
They start turning from green to yellow and then sometimes to darker yellow and orange.


Our route took us over Kenosha Pass, elevation 9,997 ft.   Obviously, we weren't the only people out to see the colors.


Some areas of the Colorado mountains have been decimated by the bark beetle, leaving large stands of dead conifer trees.  But that obviously hasn't been a problem where we were traveling.  There is a healthy mix of green conifers and aspen trees.




Even above timberline, the mountains are beautiful.  We come from a beautiful state. 


Just look at these hillsides.



When we got to Breckenridge, we decided to get some exercise.  Flowers grow willingly in hanging baskets around the town.


We crossed this picturesque creek.


More flowers.




These were in a flower box along the sidewalk, rather than in hanging baskets.



You can sit and rest a while in this area along the main street.



Breckenridge has a rich mining history. Here is a statue of a miner.


And another of a pair of donkeys carrying the miner's tools.




Any day now, Colorado  can be blanketed with snow.  Trail Ridge Pass road was partially closed overnight due to ice and snow.   Thankfully, we made our tour before we had to worry about that.
 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Football Kalaeidoscope

 
It has been so many years since we attended a high school football game--probably not since 1983 or 84 when our older son was on the team in Castle Rock.  So last Thursday was an unusual experience.  I came away thinking I had been looking through a kaleidoscope and the many shapes and  colors I was seeing were like the bits of glass when you look into a kaleidoscope and turn the dial.

Our grandson John had been nominated for the junior class boy's spirit award.  (This is the new way of naming popular student leaders.  They used to be voted on for homecoming king and queen.  Now it is the boy and girl elected to receive the spirit award at homecoming.  The nominations come from the faculty and the students vote for those they want to receive the award.)

Here we are with John.  He is both good looking and taller than either one of us.  He also, obviously, is liked and respected by his classmates.  The red ribbon shows he received the award for the junior class.


Here he is in the line of all those nominated.


The nominees walked between the rows of football players, band members, cheer leaders and flag girls.



 After the awards were announced, the winners got together for a photo as the other nominees left the track.


We are so proud of John.  And glad we are in Colorado right now and able to be there.
But, where do I get the idea of a kaleidoscope?  Here are some photos of the many students participating in the events.  

Of course, there were the boys playing the game.  And the cheerleaders on the sideline.

This is someone directing the band--from a ladder.


There were pompom girls.


The flag team.


I think these are the cheerleaders using pompoms.


More young people doing something.


These young women are very good gymnasts.



After this part of the half-time activities, the students left the field.


This is the marching band.


Obviously, many more students are involved with the  whole football experience than just the players.  It is a whole school actiity.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Where Have We Been Walking?

    Walking has been a major part of our regular exercise for years and years. I walked and John ran in Boulder when we were first married.  We walked in Castle Rock during the years we owned and operated the funeral home.  In fact, during the end of that time, when we were deciding whether or not to sell the funeral home so John could attend seminary, we walked daily on a gravel road east of town called the CCC Camp road.  (It had provided access to a CCC camp in  Douglas County following the Great Depression.)  While we lived in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where John attended seminary, I walked daily, even on the coldest and snowiest days of the Wisconsin winters.  John ran during his lunch hour at the seminary with two other students.

    We walked--rain, snow cold or sun--during our years in Granby.  We walked daily from our various homes in the Denver area before retirement.  

    During our years of RVing, we walked in circles in RV parks, along the roads leading to the parks and in every destination we explored in our travels.  Our granddaughter Kylie started running during her early school years and I was inspired to begin running.  That ended several years ago, but our walking continued.

    Now we are in an apartment in Lone Tree in the Denver area.  We have been walking on the streets around the apartment house and also looking for other places to walk.  We have taken the light rail to nearby Park Meadows Mall and walked there.  Earlier this week and once a couple of weeks ago. we walked in the nearby Bluffs Regional Park.

    This week, we went somewhere new.  We drove to Aspen Grove Shopping Center and walked to the nearby Carson Nature Center and picked up the Platte River Trail.  

    These beautiful flowers are in the Aspen Grove parking lot.

    This is the area along the Platte River--dried grass and lush trees.


    Finally the trail came close enough to the river that we could see it.


    We spotted a snowy egret sitting on a rock in the river.



    We first saw roundabouts when we first traveled to Europe.  They are becoming more prevalent on our roads in this country, too.  But a roundabout for bikes and pedestrians?  That was something new for us.  We made sure to walk correctly when we came to them.


    This attractive sculpture is located at the entrance of the Carson Nature Center.


    Today, we drove to the Lone Tree Recreation Center, part of the South Suburban Recreation District.  Using our Silver Sneakers memberships, we set up accounts at the rec center.  We can now sign in at any South Suburban facility with our membership number.  We can use the facilities for free but may have to pay for classes we attend.  Today we walked on the indoor track.  I miss being outdoors since the weather here is beautiful now.  But the track surface is cork and much softer and easier on our feet and knees.

    Before retirement, we used the Goodson Recreation Center near our house to do weight training and to walk when the weather was too hot or too cold.  Goodson is also part of South Suburban.


Our apartment house has a fitness room where we can weight train.  I don't know whether or not we will use the weights at the Lone Tree Center.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Fitting In: Too Many, Too Few

    Fitting in--where? with who (or is it whom)?

   Saturday, we took the light rail to downtown Denver to check out Taste to Colorado.  The festival originated in it's current form in 1985.  We remember attending at some point before 2009 when we moved out of our house and began traveling all year.  

    This visit, we realized we didn't fit in with the crowd that attends such festivals.  We have lived too many years and we have too few (read 0) tattoos.  In other words, almost everyone was under the age of 40 and most had numerous tattoos.  A far cry from the people we see regularly in Arizona in our 55+ resort, or in most RV parks around the country.  Our generation is obviously out of step with modern culture.

    The festival features both music and food.





There were numerous food trucks. This is called The Party Truck.  I don't think they served food but each compartment offers a TV screen and different music.



Many of the restaurants offered outdoor seating.


This water park offered fun for children.


Some of the entertainment went beyond music.
 

We saw murals on buildings.




The Daniels and Fisher building is 325 feet high and when it was built in 1910, it was the tallest building between the Mississippi River and California.  John's senior class sneak included visiting the tower and going to the top.  My class didn't have a senior sneak.  That would have been tough to arrange--there were 308 of us in the class.  John's class had 54 students.



    We didn't take any photos of the tattoo-covered young women and men.  That would have been rude.  But trust me, there were lots of them.

    Waiting for the light rail to return to our apartment.


    Our return trip on the light rail took us by the buildings that once housed Gates Rubber Company.  My dad spent most of his working life there as a cost accountant.  The company offered summer jobs to the children of employees--a form of financial or scholarship assistance.  I worked there two summers.  I rode to work with my dad and he always included me in the morning coffee gathering in the cafeteria before work began.


    Downtown Denver includes several cow sculptures.  I get cows in Colorado--a major cattle ranching economy.  



As we travel around the country, we see many different conversions of Airstream trailers.  This one was one of the food service vehicles at the festival.  Our Airstream is still for travel.  Some day, perhaps someone else will convert it for some other use.



  We did enjoy our walk up and down 16th Street.  And we split a sandwich from the Corner Bakery.  This is the cool tile floor in the bakery.