Monday, June 29, 2009

Beautiful skies!

The trip home was relatively uneventful, after the downpour in Amarillo (two inches of rain in that bucket dump!). We hit downpours in a couple of places, but mostly had beautiful green vistas and gorgeous skies of blue and puffy white clouds.

The bottom picture is on I-40 coming into the eastern plains of New Mexico from Texas. The next two show why I LOVE the scenery along US 550 between here and Albuquerque, through Cuba, N.M. The next-to-top one is the wonderful view of the La Platas one gets coming up the Hesperus Highway north of Red Mesa.

And the top picture is my favorite section of the road between here and Durango, in the area of Montoya's ranch. It can also be the worst weather you encounter in winter, but it's beautiful the rest of the time. tv

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oh, my aching back!

Waking up in Amarillo, Texas, after a gully-washer that had us stalled in traffic for half an hour due to an accident and water under an overpass on I-40 that left a small sedan inundated almost to the roof.

Sandy is a wonderful project manager, having got her place in Chandler, OK, emptied out and ready for cleaning before I (belatedly) reported for duty. This seemed the right time to get the new vaccuum cleaner we needed and it did wonders on carpets. Sandy's moving crew had the U-Haul truck already mostly loaded and we put the finishing touches on the load yesterday morning, loading the clothes Sandy is bringing with ... in high temperatures.

Anyway, we got on the road before 1 p.m. and made it to Amarillo by about 7:30. Checked in, did a swim and chowed down at Lin's Chinese buffet. The rain had brought the temperature down from 104 at one of the rest stops to about 84, and it should just get better today as we get higher and drier.

The truck guzzles gas, loaded, going uphill and into the wind. But, it gets the stuff there. (Not sure where we put it when we get there, but that's tomorrow's problem.) It's not as nice as having my Sweetheart navigating in the seat beside me, but convoying is still more together than we'd been for about 10 days and that's nice ... at least there's a hug at rest areas and gas stations! :-} tv

Friday, June 26, 2009

DIA - Delayed In Action

What a day!

Worked hard throwing out more stuff (about 250 pounds of accumulated paper!), getting the pets ready for my absence and preparing for the trip. Got to Durango (La Plata County Airport) in time to go through screening before my plane's scheduled departure.

Learned that I now have to arrive 10 minutes earlier for screening, 'cause they know there's metal on me somewhere, but they can't see it inside my knee. So, they wand me as they put me through a variety of exercises ... I teased that they were actually conducting a sobriety test ... and convince themselves that the ping is coming from my knee and nowhere else.

In the event, it really didn't matter how long it took. The flight that was supposed to arrive in Denver just after 6, didn't board till 7:30 and didn't arrive at DIA till 9, long after my flight for OK City had departed. Nonetheless, flight service personnel announced at landing that the flight to OK was departing from Gate 36. So, I hoofed it to 36, which was loading for San Diego, and then on to 29 ... right gate, but too late.

God was looking out for me, though, because the ladies at the gate processed my boarding pass for Friday's flight and just happened to have a discount chit on hand for reduced lodgings. If they hadn't that one crumpled pink slip at their desk, I would have joined the line of more than 200 people standing at the Frontier Airlines customer service counter!!!

I opened up the laptop, went online and quickly got a reservation at Microtel Inn, plus directions to where to meet the shuttle. (Interesting how ubiquitous laptops are in airport waiting rooms ... everyone, me included, was checking out alternative flight arrangements as our departure time kept getting put off and put off!)

Then I stood for more than an hour at Island 3, Doorway 151, waiting for the Microtel van. My back said that was adding injury to insult after a day of lifting, standing and sitting in confined spaces!

Anyway, I got to the Microtel about 11:30, was checked in quickly and a very few minutes later was soaking my back and hips in a tub of hot water.

I slept well and I'm feeling much refreshed. Hopefully, I'll be able to get on the 8:30 shuttle to the airport, catch a good breakfast at the terminal, board a flight that will leave at the scheduled time and arrive in OK City just after 2 p.m.

Of course, Sandy has moving help arriving at 10 a.m. to load the truck, which she will now have to arrange to get to the house. The loading guys are there for three hours, so it looks like the weather has made me miss the loading of the U-Haul truck! Oh, well, my real reason for going is to drive the truck back, so I guess I'll still be able to do that.

The picture? Servas visitors (two retired teachers) from England have bought a Winnebago Aspect for their multi-month tour of the U.S. and it happened to be parked directly under a magnificent rainbow as seen from the house Tuesday evening. tv

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heat has arrived

Winding down my morning stint at Artisans. Not much in sales, but quite a few people through. Summer's here ... had 85 degrees at the house yesterday and someone said it's already in the 90s today.

On the other hand, Sandy said the heat index in central OK yesterday was a humid 104, so I guess I can be comfortable with what we have.

Culling, culling, culling ... tv

Monday, June 22, 2009


With more than 300 days of sunshine annually, it's uncharitable of us to get cranky when we have a cloudy day or two. Even then, Mother Nature often rewards us with an hour or so of bright, golden sunlight as the sun outdistances the clouds on the western horizon, painting the landscape with dramatic colors.

The examples of that effect above were shot last night above Echo Basin east of Mancos. The peaks in the distance are the La Plata Mountains. 'Twas glorious! tv

Friday, June 19, 2009

Home at last!

The trip home Wednesday seemed like a long one; didn't get in till 8:30 p.m!

Part of the reason was that I lollygagged in Ouray in the morning. Shops don't open until 10, so I worked on the previous day's pictures, had a great, leisurely breakfast at the Backstreet Bagel & Deli and went up the Camp Bird Road past the ice park further than we were able to go in March.

Probably just as well Sandy wasn't with me on the trip up the mountain ... she is a little edgy about roads on the edge, and this one is!

Downtown Ouray is a pretty pedestrian-friendly zone, and then there was this stagecoach coming up the street! What you don't see is the semi just at the right, unloading in the middle of the street.

Telluride was not as much fun as in March ... in fact, it was starting to get a little squirrelly with traffic in advance of the Bluegrass Festival this weekend. I did like the accessorizing someone had done on the statue of the schoolgirl waiting at the bus stop.

Coming over Lizard Head Pass, things were pretty grey. It was snowing on peaks adjacent to Lizard Head itself and started to rain when I got to Rico, where practically everything was closed down.

Finally, as I was heading home through the lower Dolores River Valley, I looked in my rearview mirror and immediately pulled over to enjoy this view of the Redburn Ranch, green grass, munching bossie-cows and the blue-black clouds beyond! One of those just-before-sunset moments we often get, when the setting sun has outrun the storm and sends its golden rays back in underneath. Gorgeous! Always a beautiful place to live! tv

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Tom is being kinda lazy this morning. I'm in Ouray, distributing the latest issue of Arts Perspective Magazine around the San Juan Skyway. I got a late start yesterday and didn't get into Ouray till 6:30 p.m. Most shops don't open till 10, so I'm catching up on the blog and the pictures from yesterday.

I was a little surprised to find the visitor center and many shops in Silverton closed at 4 p.m. I guess when the train leaves to go back to Durango, the day is done! Ouray has a more customary business day, I guess. It's 8 a.m. and the sun is just beginning to penetrate into the town of Ouray, so I'll soon go out, get breakfast, get some pictures and then hit the shops. Long day ahead!

Ouray is busy; lots of people on the streets after I finished my tostada (very good, very filling and only $10.50) at Buen Tiempo and lots of "no vacancy" signs on motels. I wound up at the River's Edge Motel and have been quite pleased. Reasonable rates for summer in Ouray ($78) and my room has some nice features, like windows that open for real air and a kitchenette with a real coffee-maker!

Our plan on these quarterly trips is to photograph the same places at different seasons of the year. One place that was closed with snow on our March trip (there are still snow patches below 10,000 feet) was the Old Lime Creek Road between Durango and Silverton (I gather it was the old stage route). So, I decided to take it yesterday, not realizing I was accessing it at the north end ... so, I crossed Coal Bank Pass twice!

It's a Jeep road (certainly won't take the Casita down there!) but it has some beautiful features. I'll definitely want to take it at the height of fall color to catch the aspens and their contrast with the evergreens and everything else.

There were flowers, reflections in natural ponds and lots of lily pads and blossoms in a beaver pond. As I was coming into Silverton, the last train was just leaving the town and heading down the Animas River. tv

Monday, June 15, 2009


Just a quick note to update.

We bugged out of Ghost Ranch yesterday morning, Sandy to Chandler, OK, and me to Mancos. On the way back, I picked up the latest issue of Arts Perspective in Durango; will distribute that around the San Juan Skyway on Tuesday and Wednesday. Have Servas guests here last night through tonight; we'll do Mesa Verde today.

Yearly Meeting was moving, as it usually is. The theme and keynote speech was about telling our stories, and there were some very deep and personal stories told. A good centering, renewing experience.

My heart went out to the clerk, who tried mightily to find unity on the issue of our service projects ... and there wasn't any. It was an anguishing time for her. We left it at "no unity," which I think was unsettling for everyone ... it kills the program in an indirect manner, not really dealing with the substance of the matter. That's what sometimes happens when you make decisions by consensus. tv

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Still here

We're still at Ghost Ranch, will leave tomorrow morning, Tom for Mancos and Sandy for Oklahoma.

The weather has been beautiful for us. There was rain earlier in the week, but it stopped the day we arrived and it's been wonderful. As we walked up to the cantina and back for out evening ice cream fix, the temperature was just perfect, it was still (despite the presence of more than 300 people) and twilight.

The lower photo shows the setting a little earlier in the evening. The other is shadows on the adobe walls of the Agape Center at Ghost Ranch Conference Center. tv

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ghost Ranch

You haven't heard from us for a while! Busy, busy, busy!

We had a hectic round of meetings and chores in the last week, then left Wednesday morning for Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. On the way, we stopped to see the juried art show at the Durango Art Center, where we both had pictures accepted (no prizes, though).

We also routed through the Jicarilla Apache reservation, eating lunch in Dulce and stopping in Lumberton to look at the St. Francis Catholic Church complex there. The doors were interesting sculpted wood. It must be 10 years since I was last through that way and this was Sandy's first trip through, so we enjoyed the greenery and the livestock.

We were fortunate to arrive at Ghost Ranch at the end of several days of rain, so today it has been the Ghost Ranch we know and love, with fluffy clouds floating in blue skies above redrock cliffs and green grass. Beautiful and peaceful. tv

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A visit to Mancos

We were pleased to host a young scientist named Ryan for supper tonight. He's working on a bird and plant survey at Mesa Verde. More relevant, he's the son and nephew of a couple of friends of long standing and the grandson of a dear friend of the family. So, after a pleasant supper and catching up on family stories (may have given him a few he hadn't heard before!), we visited some family spots in Mancos. As it happens, the house he's shown standing in front of  is one I lived in shortly after arriving in Mancos and it's also a house his grandfather lived in. His grandfather graduated from Mancos High School, shown behind him in the second picture up, as did my kids. Finally, I'm sure Ryan's grandfather and great-grandfather went to events in the historic Mancos Opera House.

After the brief show-me tour of Mancos, Ryan sat in on the Mancos Valley Cares forum held at the Mancos Community Center. Great turnout ... more than 50 people! Hopefully, we helped people prep for the County Planning Commission scoping session on July 9, and we got good questions and discussion concerning possible long-range planning for the Mancos Valley. Good variety of viewpoints expressed in the short time we had. Tired. tv

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Riding the waves ...

Seems like it's one thing after another, lately, with no time to catch up. 'Twill be nice to leave for Intermountain Yearly Meeting on Wednesday and have the rest and renewal that goes with being there. 

Summer's here, but it's not really very warm yet. A couple of times I've put on short-sleeved shirts and decided that was a bit too optimistic. Still, the flowers are coming along, like the Mariposa lily pictured here in the yard.

Last night we went to the reception for this year's Mancos Mix show at the Cortez Cultural Center. In addition to the works of 15 artists, there was a musical program that was enjoyable. The group shown singing "House of the Rising Sun" included three artists, a spouse of one of the artists in the show and a daughter of another artist. 

This morning we got our fresh vegies fix ... we went to the Cortez Farmers Market (top). This was the second Saturday it had been open, but we weren't here last week. The bags of fresh carrots especially made me drool; we had some for supper tonight.

Sandy had a productive afternoon at Artisans while I went to a funeral and then came home and made supper. Lots of stuff left undone, but maybe I can get some of it taken care of in the morning, when I'm more awake. tv

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Big Bird(s)!

Somewhere in Montana we ran across two eagles ( who were not cooperative enough to sit close together for a good photo shoot) and a blue heron .   It was such a treat to be able to get some pictures of these great birds!   sf

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Home again!

Sunday we traveled from Spokane to Fairmont Hot Springs, near Anaconda, MT. Had a relaxing soak in the pools there and a good night's sleep in the adjacent RV park (despite losing a hearing aid somewhere in the grass).

Got up early yesterday and got on the road by 7 a.m. It's just a few miles from Fairmont to I-15, which we remained on for more than 400 miles to Provo, UT, which we reached by 3:30 or so, after the interminable SLC metropolitan area and its traffic. So Tom suggests from Provo it's another hour or so to Price, and another hour or so from Price to Green River, and another hour or so from there to Moab, and two hours from Moab to Mancos ... we got home just after 10 p.m. Long drive, but it felt REALLY good to take a bath and go to sleep in our own big bed! (Even with the ADD dog whining for attention at 4:30 a.m.!) tv

Postscript: Our change of plans put us in the Moab area in time for late afternoon sun on red rocks with a storm cloud beyond. Lovely! tv