Friday, February 26, 2010

Okay, I confess.

We've been on the lam!

The bottom picture of the La Platas from near Red Mesa will perhaps show you why we were leaving town when the picture was taken.

As we were driving to Meeting in Duarango on Sunday morning ... driving through the slush of yet another snowfall this winter, I asked Sandy if she was ready to go south? She was!

So, Sandy and Scooby Doo and Tom headed south on Monday morning. Reasoning that we could get to lower elevations faster through New Mexico, we went through Albuquerque to Truth or Consequences, NM. And, of course, it was bitter cold and windy and there was what my Dad used to call "sheep turd snow" in T or C that night!

We did have a few minutes Monday evening to tour T or C ... colorful, kinda quaint, not doin' so good economically. Nice steak house and Denny's, but not too attractive as a winter hidey-hole or relocation location.

Tuesday we set off for Silver City. Never been there before, but have heard a bit about it from Friends who live there.

Stopped for a while in Hillsboro, NM. Cute little town that goes back to the 1870s or before. Population of 162, and it is small town to the core. Everyone obviously knows everyone, there's one little coffee shop/cafe kitty-corners up the street from the post office.

Anyway, onward and upward ... into snow! There was probably about 4 inches of snow on Emory Pass, plus some pretty icy spots on the road. Over the pass and through the trees, past some very nice USFS campsites buried in snow, on past the open-pit copper mines and outlying settlements and into Silver City.

Interesting town. It's about the size of Cortez, with a 4-year public university (Western New Mexico U.) and a regional medical center, plus a vibrant art gallery section of town. We enjoyed walking around the downtown area for a while, ate lunch and visited the galleries, where we found a few expatriate Badgers (Wisconsinites). Several people in the galleries commented on the friendliness and accepting nature of the town, while also apologizing for the unusually cold winter day.

The guys sunning themselves outside the west wall of the Yankie Creek Coffee House provided context for the locals' term "unusually cold." Nobody is catching the sun outside the Absolute Bakery in Mancos, nor will they be for more than a month!

Well, it started running late and we had to get out of Billy the Kid's old stomping grounds and get on to Tucson.

On this trip, we tried out the TomTom GPS device Sandy's son Bob gave us for Christmas. It takes some getting used to, and you have to think like the GPS programmers do, but it was very helpful. It bypassed a couple of more direct routes to fishhook us around an air base on the way to my brother-in-law's place, but I was impressed at how it (eventually) adapted when I detoured from the prescribed route. Best of all for this country boy, it helps me be in the right lane ahead of course changes in the city!

We had a good evening with Bill and Sherrie, with the added treat of having supper with newly-arrived-in-Tucson Michael, Beth, Jessica and Abby, Bill's son and his family.

Alas, we had to turn northward again. We looked at several places in Chandler, AZ, as possible winter hidey-holes. The one shown, with palm trees and lake, was quite large and we looked at several units there. The Phoenix area inflated hugely during the housing boom, and now the consequences are being felt. The temperature was in the 60s.

Along with thousands of others, we headed out of town in the last afternoon, reaching Globe before we tucked it in. Frankly, we were amazed at the prices for rooms in some of the chain motels in the Globe area. The idea of paying more than $100 for a room at an EconoLodge in Globe, AZ, didn't appeal to us; we went to Motel 6. Over $100 a night in GLOBE?

That decision gave us a chance to go through the Salt River Canyon by mid-morning and that was as beautiful as always. The top picture was taken from the north side, looking west (down-river).

We got home before 5 p.m. There was a flurry of snow north of Gallup, but no snow on the ground till we got back into Montezuma County, just south of Towaoc.

This morning, it was 8 degrees at dawn. We're back in Mancos! tv

Monday, February 22, 2010

... and on, and it still snows

There's about a 2-foot Propanel pile behind the Subaru and the sky is overcast this predawn morning ... probably more snow on the way.

Drove through snow and slush to Meeting in Durango yesterday; two other people showed up. Enjoying the snow? NOT!

I don't usually get this tired of winter, but this one is taking its toll on me. Again, no pics ... don't want to show snow, snow, snow. tv

Friday, February 19, 2010

Time goes on

It's snowing again. Some say it's going to do this for three days. I will not show you more pictures of snow; you probably can see enough of it out your own window. Blahhhhh!

Monday, February 15, 2010


It's been a long weekend, not over yet.

Friday we went to the Michael Martin Murphey concert at the Cortez Elks Lodge; it was a benefit for Hospice of Montezuma. We enjoyed it greatly; this is the third time we've seen him perform. At the end of the show, they announced that he'll be playing the Mancos Opera House again this November, as he did last year.

That kept these old birds up late and then we had to be up early for the 9 a.m. start of the La Plata Paw up in the mountains above Mancos. Same thing on Sunday.

Truly, though, it was a GREAT weekend! Both days were bright and clear and cold - perfect weather for dog-and-snow sports ... mushing with 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 dogs, skijoring (1-3 dogs pulling a person on skis) and cani-cross (human on snowshoes with 1 or 2 dogs). The Paw sponsored by the Colorado Mountain Mushers Association, is a fun event, not NASCAR mushing with sled-jockies, as I heard them described. There's people who are pretty good with dogs that are pretty experienced and there's beginners of just about all ages, both dogs and people. Some of the dogs are pretty good at towing their people uphill, some of the dogs like it the other way round ... let the human do the work!

And there was a doggie parade in town, plus the Wolves at Heart art contest that Veryl Goodnight promoted, including sponsorships by her gallery and lots of other downtown businesses. All in all, the events involved lots of local people, garnered about 30 entries in the competitions (107 kids' drawings) and made it a fun weekend for us all. Not only that, I think it helped the sales in the downtown businesses.

The weather couldn't have been better. In the top picture, that's the Canyon of the West Mancos beyond one of our neighbors, with Sharkstooth Peak in the distance, part of the La Plata Mountains. In the other direction, from some locations on the trail you could clearly see Ute Mountain ("The Sleeping Ute").

But, after looking at pictures of dogs for three days, they're all beginning to look the same! tv

Friday, February 12, 2010

The weekend's coming

Gotta retire (again) soon!

This week is speeding up and getting hectic. Yesterday, I did a presentation for Dr. Andy Gulliford's class on National Parks at Fort Lewis College in Durango. Fun, but took some preparation and thinking (that's the part that hurts!). On the way over I delivered baklava to the library for today's bake sale and dropped off the MacBook laptop at the computer hospital; I dread the prognosis on the computer, especially since I just replaced the battery and the cord.

Got back just in time to be on duty at Artisans for the Men's night sale ... the only men there were members, but we had a good visit with the editor and each other. Sandy set the place up and then she went to the Mancos on the Move meeting and then went off to a KSJD meeting and I dashed home to eat a couple of hot dogs (my emergency rations) and walk the dog before going to a Mancos Valley Cares meeting. Nice to come home and have a little time with my sweetheart before turning in.

This weekend is the La Plata Paw and we're looking forward to that. First, though, I've gotta get the Jeep's light switch replaced this morning, then we do the visitor center and Sandy has book club at one. This evening, though, should be pure enjoyment ... the Michael Martin Murphey concert in Cortez!

Tomorrow and Sunday we'll be involved with the La Plata Paw, a mushing event that is expected to draw more than 30 participants ... a yippin' good time in the Rockies! There are a number of events and activities associated with that, so I expect we'll be busy taking pictures and helping out. We have a good snow base this year and this is really a great place for winter sports ... I heard last week that 2,200 cross -country skiers had already used the Chicken Creek Cross-country Ski Trail above Mancos this season!

Next week should be quieter ... yah, sure! tv


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Six more

Good thing we went to the party in Dolores last night; this morning we have six more inches of snow! It let up for a while and now Mother Nature is back at work, snowing us in. Meeting was called off this morning, so we didn't have to try to get to Durango (and back).

We did enjoy the party ... lots of kids having fun as well as their parents and even older folks. Sandy found a soulmate, another wild thang!

Good day for a pot of soup, which I have on the crockpot ... I made a bunch, so I hope it turns out to be edible!

Also a good day to watch the entire PBS series on the NPS and download accumulated pictures onto discs, since neither of us is that interested in football. TV

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Catching up

Another snow is past, but it looks like more coming. Winter in Colorado.

We had a reception at Artisans last night for our newest member, Suezan Chapman, who does mirrors with uniquely tiled frames. She's shown with her works in the top picture and with 89-year-old Mac Neely in the middle picture ... Mac is everywhere, vigorous and active! The bottom pic is of one of Janice Reich's decorated gourds in her exhibit.

We didn't have a lot of people turn out, which is disappointing for the amount of work Sandy put into it, but those who came enjoyed meeting Suezan, looking over her work as well as all the others and members got a social occasion. We're optimistic about good sales in recent days; maybe the winter doldrums are already over!

There's a KSJD event ("Cabin Fever Party") in Dolores we're going to go to this evening; visit with some of our Dolores friends and support the local public radio station.

I've been following the Wyoming Stage Race closely; one of the mushers was Kate St. Onge, who will be moving to the Mancos Valley this year with her husband Rick. The race ended today with Kate in 11th place out of 16 finishing teams ... not a bad showing! Makes me eager to see dogs running soon in the La Plata Paw a week from now. Still not sure if the San Juan Stage Race will take place at the end of the month.

Sandy and I are also wrapped up in the planning that's going on for the Mancos Melt, a new winter event the downtown businesses ("Mancos on the Move") are launching to give the community an activity that will draw regional folks to Mancos for fun and frolic. We're hopeful.

There are skunk carcasses on the highways now and red-winged blackbirds sing when I put fresh birdseed in the feeder ... two sure signs that spring is not far off. We have our heaviest snow season just ahead of us, interspersed with multiple mud seasons, but we're hopeful! TV

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter White at Sunset

Winter is in full force here in Colorado with all it's beauty,cold days and promise of April being only 60 days ahead! It does seem that February turns the curve in the winter. There are potted spring flowers available to savor indoors and winter sports in full swing for the outdoor enthusists. We have dog sled races scheduled for two weekends this month and the ski slopes a few miles down the road are sprinkled with skiers,snowboarders and sledders enjoying winter fun. Seasons are good, but in all honesty my body and soul right now longs for warm weather,sunny days and sandals! But then I guess that is one of the good things about the changing seasons, looking forward and appreciating what lies ahead when it arrives. So I am off to bed, to snuggle with Tom in our warm bed and dream of Colorado in spring. sf