Thursday, June 24, 2021

Colorado Means Family

Both John and I were born and raised in Colorado.  We met and married here and have spent most of our years of marriage here.  So each summer we return to the state to spend time with family and friends.

Sunday we had dinner with our son Eric and his family.  Lots of pictures were in order.

Granddaughter Kylie and me in front of their willow tree.

I am shorter than our daughter-in-law Liz and her son John.

John with our son Eric and Kylie.

We had a fun afternoon and plan to see all of them more in the next five weeks.  Even more time in the future because of a lifestyle change we are making.  Check back for another post about that.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

No Airplanes, But a Fun Place

Stanley Aviation was a company that designed, tested and manufactured ejection seats for the military.  The factory was built in 1954 in Aurora, Colorado, near the old Stapleton Airfield and continued until 2007.  Ten years later the sprawling facility opened as Stanley Marketplace.  Since we are staying in Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, we decided to check it out.

You can see the building was once a factory.  They have kept the steel beams and concrete stairs.

The place is full of small shops and lots of places to eat.  We couldn't resist checking out this train layout, built with legos.

If you look closely, you can see a large paper dragon hanging from the ceiling in this Chinese restaurant.

There are places for adults to work out as well as a place for young gymnasts to practice and learn.

One shop sold luscious-looking baked goods.  This man had poured chocolate frosting on a thin plastic sheet.  The frosting cooled quickly and he was able to pick it up and work with it.  We aren't sure what he was going to use it for.  We did see a cake in  the background with a small sign saying "#1 Dad."

One of the restaurants obviously sold BBQ pork.

Trash containers were labeled for recycle of landfill.  We even saw a container to collect compost!

This seating area is very modern looking.  I'm not sure I really wanted to sit there, however.

This restaurant is the Denver Biscuit Company.  If the biscuits are as large and yummy as they look in the wall mural shown in the lower photo, they would certainly be worth buying.

We settled for some "mooolicious" ice cream.  I had a sugar cone with heath bar crunch, John had a cup of super vanilla.

 We had a fun outing to Stanley Marketplace.  What other interesting sites are there here we didn't know about?  We have lived much of our lives in or near Denver and Aurora. 

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Reflections and Birds

 These are the two main reasons we spend time in St. Vrain State Park in the summer.  Established in 1965, the park has 87campsites on 50 acres of land and 80 acres of water.

In 1958 the Colorado Department of Transportation purchased land along the St. Vrain River to mine for gravel needed to develop highway 87 into an interstate highway. That required lots of gravel.  The gravel pits were turned over to the State Parks Department for recreation.

Today the park has 87 campsites.  By 2005, trees had been planted in the park to augment the large cottonwood trees that grew along the St. Vrain. It is the winter home of bald eagles and hosts the largest blue heron rookery in the state.  It also has the only known nesting site of Great Egrets in Colorado. White pelicans and osprey also find seasonal homes at St. Vrain.

There are 14 ponds in the park, accounting for the reflections.

This is one of the osprey in a dead tree.

A nesting platform for bald eagles.

Blue heron are often difficult to photograph, but here we saw them numerous times during our stay.

This is some kind of snake—possibly a bull snake—swimming in one of the ponds.  Yuk!

Cormorants resting on a log.

American white pelicans.

One day we saw some turtles.

This osprey seemed to be posing for us.

Then it flew away.

So did this heron.

This is a red-winged black bird.  My dad grew up in Illinois and this was a bird he knew from there and often pointed them out when we saw them.

I will take photos of reflections in ponds and rivers, wherever I find them.  At St. Vrain, I am never disappointed.

We also have great views of snow-capped mountains along the Front Range of the Rockies.  

When they were developing this park, we looked at a treeless hill with some campground hookups. We asked, why would anyone camp there?  Today, you can see why we love it.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

So, Why Did We Go There?

The Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, we headed east from Pueblo.  Why?  All serious RV travelers know how important it is to make reservations early, I mean way ahead of time, for holiday weekends.  I did that, I thought.  

In January I made reservations for our time in Cherry Creek and Chatfield State Parks in the Denver area and in St.Vrain State Park north toward Fort Collins where we stay each summer when we visit Colorado. My only mistake was making a reservation for Memorial Day (May 31) but not for the weekend days leading up to that holiday.  Ooops!  We looked at the map and made a reservation at the KOA in Limon for  Thursday through Sunday.

The scenery driving east to Limon included green, I mean really green, fields and barns.  Parts of Colorado have had more rain so far this year than all of last year.  The fields are really green and beautiful in the eastern part of the state.

We saw wind generators on many of the hills.

Many towns have water tanks.  We saw this one at Ramah.

Look at this large brick grain silo.

We had some great views of the snow capped front range of the Rockies.

The water tower in Kiowa.  One day we drove west from Limon through Elbert County and into Douglas County were we visited our former home of Castle Rock.  John was born and raised there and we owned and operated the family funeral home there from 1975 to 1984.

Another great photo of the Rockies as we drove through the forested parts of Elbert and eastern Douglas Counties.

This was one view of the rapid growth in the Castle Rock area since we left there.  None of these homes had been built in 1984 when we left.

This is the rock outcropping that gives Castle Rock it’s name.

The last time we were in Castle Rock was to tour the funeral home and our house before the new owners tore it down.  We realize how the new facility they are building will greatly improve the facilities and the service to the public.  But it was still sad to see the 100+ year old building gone.

Back in Limon, we were parked very near this great scene of grain elevators.

Below are two of the murals we saw during a walk in downtown Limon.  

We enjoyed our Memorial Day weekend in Limon and the excellent KOA campground where we stayed.  My mistake led to a good weekend in an area we haven’t spent much time in before.