Monday, July 31, 2017

Time With Family and Friends

Chatfield State Park is always on our route through the Denver area. It is just a few miles from the home we lived in till we went on the road full-time and it is only a few minutes away from our son Eric's home. Another reason to spend time here this summer was so we could attend a 50th anniversary party for our long-time friends Larry and Betty. Two years ago they came to our 50th and we wanted to celebrate with them when it was their turn. We drove to Boulder where Larry and John were both members of the Boulder Police Department in the late 1960s and early 1970s. So many people never make it to 50 years of marriage and it is special to join in the party when a couple does that.

Here Betty is holding her 50th anniversary champagne glass, ready to respond to the group's toast to the couple.

Since we only see Eric's family 2 or 3 times a year, it is important to spend as much time as possible with them when we are here. They own a pontoon boat which they keep on the lake here at Chatfield during the summer. Liz was out of town but Eric and our grandchildren Kylie and John came out to see us. We cooked our dinner on the grill at the dock.

When we finished eating we all boarded the boat and Eric carefully backed it out of it's slip in the marina.

We enjoyed the ride across the lake.

But it wasn't long before the sky became dark and threatening.

Eric quickly turned the boat around and put the pedal to the metal so we couod get back to the dock before the storm hit.

After the boat was moored at the dock, we all pitched in to close the sides of the boat before the rain really drenched us.

We sat in the boat for nearly an hour while the rain came down. We talked and we shared some old photos in our Google Photos albums. When the rain ended we emerged, only slightly wet, and started for our trucks as the skies cleared. The storm was the typical Colorado afternoon weather pattern.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Where Did That Come From?

Where on earth did this really long screw come from?  We didn't know what the problem was but when John checked the trailer tires Thursday in preparation to drive to Chatfield State Park on Friday, he found that one of the tires only had 30 pounds pressure instead of the normal 65.  Oops!

We called our road service company, Coach-Net, and they sent out a tow truck from the nearby town of Berthoud to remove the low-pressure tire and put on the spare.

We were very impressed with the service.  Coach-Net called to tell us the truck would be there in 45 minutes.  The driver, Jake, called us when he was 10 minutes away.  And by the time he had started to work we received a call to be sure help had arrived.

John watched as Jake jacked up the trailer.

Once the tire was off, they inspected it to see if they could find the problem.

Yep, the screw pictured at the top of this post was imbedded deeply in the tire.  No wonder it was leaking air.  Jake put in a plug so the tire wouldn't leak and put it back on the trailer.  One of these days we will have the tire repaired even better, but hopefully this will hold till we return to Arizona.

We needed to get on the road Friday so we could see family in Littleton.  We shared adult beverages and chips and dip with our son Eric and his wife Liz and grandson John.  Kylie, our granddaughter is in Oregon swimming the in sectional meet.  We will see her next week.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


After two and a half busy months, we have had two weeks of doing little or nothing.  And have we ever enjoyed it!  We may have full hookups with 50 amp electric, but this is camping.  Way back when we were working, a trip out with our RV was usually just a time to relax.  That is what we have done during our stay at St. Vrain State Park.

We visited John's sister Cindy at her new home in Fort Collins.  She had a small home built in a senior community there and we enjoyed seeing the house and the "big house" where there are apartments, a very nice dining room and other amenities.  We then drove to the Back Porch CafĂ© for lunch.  We had a good visit.

John has been working on two diamond willow walking sticks that needed cleaning and sanding.  They promise to be really attractive.  I brought along a bowl I had turned that needed sanding and a scroll saw project that needed sanding and assembling.  I completed both of those projects.

We have both been writing.  I am putting together stories of my life.  John is finishing up a future book about his ancestors.

Other than that, we have only left the campground for groceries and visits to the laundromat.  Each day we walk five miles, enjoying the ponds in this park.  I could post the many, many photos I took here this year and last.  I could take pictures of reflections and birds all day long.  I will spare you all the photos, but here are three I took this week.

There are several pelicans that spend most of their time on one of the ponds.  They often float around in a group, looking like a small island.  They are impressive when it flight when the bottom of their wings are tipped in black.

This blue heron liked having it's picture taken, I guess.  It posed for us in this tree for over 6 minutes before we walked on.

We saw these logs in one pond this morning.

One of the fields hadn't been mowed before we passed it last week. The sun really showed off the flowers that were going to seed. They looked like a really large dandelion flower but they are probably some plant I don't recognize.

John almost always gets up before me, often getting out of bed before first light. Yesterday he woke me up before 5:30 (I usually get up about 6), telling me there was going to be a spectacular sunrise. Was he ever right! It was definitely worth waking up a little early.

Tomorrow we move on to Chatfield State Park in southwest Denver.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Settling Down

After driving from Arizona to the East Coast and then back west to Colorado in a little over 2 months, then getting caught up in a wedding and several family health issues, we were ready to relax and do as little as possible. In January I made reservations for 8 weeks in 4 different Colorado State Parks. The rules allow only 14 days in a single park within 45 days. That's fine. The state has lots of parks we love.

Our first stop is St. Vrain State Park north of Denver along I-25. We stayed here last summer, as well, and we knew we love it. There are 4 ponds, possibly once gravel pits, that became a state park. The ponds house a blue heron rookery and good birding opportunities, as well as fishing for trout and bass. What I like most are the multiple opportunities to photograph reflections--my favorite camera opportunity. Here are a few I have taken this year.

Canada geese are very prevalent. We see them everywhere--and have to watch where we walk because of their poop.

These little birds were lined up on a branch. They sort of look like some kind of swallow.

Saturday while we were out for our walk, we came on a raptor presentation. Very interesting. We saw a Swainson's hawk, a kestrel and a great horned owl. They are all magnificent birds.

The park is located in a relatively rural area. This old house is still standing just outside the park boundary.

We are really enjoying our time to relax and refresh in this beautiful, peaceful place.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Scenic Route

We left our winter home April 18.  Since last summer John had known he was going to officiate at the wedding of our great niece Sarah and Jay.  The wedding was scheduled for Colorado Springs, a mere 754 miles away.  So why did we drive 6,600 miles and stay in 32 different campgrounds to get there?

We certainly took the scenic route.  We made memorable visits to Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Washington, DC,  and New York City.  We spent time in New Hampshire when Doug graduated from Nashua Community College.  We also completed our bucket list of sleeping in every mainland state in the US, picking up Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Yea!

After going just about as far east in the country as we could (without going to Florida), we turned around and headed for Colorado and the wedding.

Now we have 8 weeks to relax in 4 different Colorado State Parks before heading south to Arizona for the winter.  We are enjoying this slower, more relaxing pace.  John is carving.  I am sanding on a a bowl I turned and a scroll saw project that I need to complete.  And we get to connect with family and friends.

It almost feels like we are on vacation.  We enjoy traveling in our trailer, rather than staying in motels when we getting somewhere.  But RV travel is even more fun when we can do it slowly, spending extended time wherever we park.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Sunshine and Rain

We all know that "into each life some rain must fall." Life is always full of both sunshine and rain. The main reason we came to the Colorado Springs area was so John could officiate at the marriage of our great niece Sarah. The rehearsal was Saturday at her parents' home.

The wedding was late Sunday afternoon in a garden near downtown Colorado Springs. Here is the wedding party. Don't they look snazzy?

While waiting for the wedding to start, I had time to check out the area where the reception would be held.  The cake topper here was first used by John's grandparents when they married.  Both of John's sisters had the topper on their wedding cake.  We did, too.  I'm not sure about John's brother or the other nieces and nephews.  But it really is a meaningful historical item in our family.

Sarah likes pie more than cake so these beautiful pies were being served at the reception.  They had been baked by her aunt, wife of her dad's brother.

Sarah and Jay recited their vows under this pine-festooned arch with the mountains in the background.

And here the happy couple leaves the ceremony with big smiles on their faces.

But it's not all sunshine around here.  Sarah's grandmother, Kendal, who is John's sister, has been undergoing treatment for cancer and Friday she suffered a stroke.  We visited her in the hospital today.  The four siblings, Tim, Kendal, John and Cindy, were all together in the hospital room.  As if that wasn't enough rain, brother Tim is having surgery tomorrow because of a brain aneurism.

We never know what the future will bring but when we see a new family begin in a marriage, we know life and the family will go on, even as the older--much older--generation faces difficult times.

Monday, July 03, 2017


More than a week has passed since my last post.  We spent three days in the Venango Corps of Engineers campground south of Salina, before hurrying west to Colorado Springs for a family wedding.  Since we left Venango, we haven't had good enough internet for me to post.

While at Venango we drove to Lindsborg, a town along I-70 with a decidedly Swedish feel. We have been here before and enjoy looking at the shops selling Swedish goods and foods. One store offered lutefisk, but we passed on that. If you don't know what I am talking about, don't feel bad. You aren't missing anything.

Throughout the downtown area we saw painted Dala Horses everywhere. Traditionally, Dala horses are decorated with Swedish folk patterns. Those in Lindsborg have used modern American images in interesting ways. Here are a few of my favorites.

The one below was named "tellacomma."

This one draws on traditional Swedish dress.

Even an old telephone booth had been painted with Swedish designs.

And here are a few more horses.