Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Silverthorne and Dillon

Continuing the day's journey further into the day...

Entering Silverthorne from the north (State Highway 9) we encounter the marvelous eagle's nest. 
See the eaglet perched on the edge? Here we see something natural on something manmade. 
Very interesting, don't you think?

What's a trip to Silverthorne without a visit to the Outlet Mall? We visit Ralph Lauren, Coldwater Creek, Cosmetic Company Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Jockey, Chico's, and Book Warehouse. After such an exhausting and exhaustive investigation, we head for Dillon and dinner:

We visited Arapahoe Cafe for lunch last year. This time, it's dinner.
Rita had the cherry-smoked pork chop while I had the bleu cheese and mushroom sirloin steak.
Both were great, but too much to eat. Guess what we're having for lunch tomorrow!

On the way out of Dillon, we observe something unnaturally natural. There on the top of the ridge; that doesn't look right:
Those "trees" on top of the ridge -- they aren't trees! 
No, they're digital wireless ("cellphone") antennas, clothed in inadequate masquerade costume.

We've seen such lame attempts at forestry disguise -- along I-25 at Monument Hill, between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, and next to I-80 east of Truckee, California. 

Okay, so we've seen a "natural" eagle nest on a power pole and an unnatural tree serving as a telecommunications antenna. How's that nest coming along?

Yes, it's still there, near sunset. It looks like the eaglet is still there, too.

How about some more natural encounters...

In north Silverthorne, see the flowerbed on the roof (along with the solar panels).

Headed back north...

Here's the dike ridges from the previous post, close to sunset.

The westernmost dike, close-up.

Okay, it's not Alaska, but Colorado is not that bad is it?

Previous Colorado post.

Last Day of June 2010 - Grand County, Colorado

We decide to head for Silverthorne via Granby and Kremmling...

Just south of Granby, three pronghorns make an appearance. Here are two of them:

A little further and some more wildlife appear:
Pelican and cormorant, Wildlife Viewing Area, Windy Gap.

Two more pelicans.

Entering the Seat of Grand County. 
The little sign says that your tax dollars are stimulating drinking water quality in HSS.
That's gotta be a good thing, doesn't it?

Home of the Riverside Hotel (once owned by Rex's step-grandfather).

And also home of the County Seat's namesake: Hot Sulphur Springs.

Rock time, just down the road from HSS:

In Byers Canyon, Rex points to a leucocratic dike in a rock he's holding.
The rock is on its way to the front-of-home garden in Arvada.

On the other side of the road...

Yup, that's the Colorado River, downstream from the pelicans.

And, what's that a-comin'?

Yes, indeed, it's Amtrack (more of your tax dollars at work).

What is that finger pointing to, and who's digit is it?

Yes, it's our blogger-geologist. 
Further down the road, he's showing us two alkaline mega-dikes, 
just north of Green Mountain Reservoir.
One is immediately above his fingers; the other is to the left (west), 
at the top if the ridge (the same ridge in the previous photo.

Green Mountain Reservoir -- the water level is as high as Rita and Rex remember seeing it.
The mountain at the north end of the reservoir (the dam is to its left) is cored by an igneous intrusion that probably fed the dikes shown in the previous two photos.

Across the road from the reservoir is a cliff of loaded with coal seams and fractures ("cleat") in the coal.

Upper left: three fracture (cleat) surfaces; lower left: two such surfaces. The surfaces are oriented roughly northeast-southwest, but are tilted (dip) at angles ranging from 70 to nearly 90 degrees from the horizontal.

See the next post for more fascinating photos and accompanying narration.

And Blackberries, too...

Memories deepen...

Our house in Baton Rouge was adjacent to a working farm. Just across the fence, in the cow pasture, were wild blackberry bushes. The owner of the farm, a descendant of German immigrants who first claimed the land, was also a member of St. George Church (we had built a house in that subdivision since it was close to the school and Church). I asked him if he minded us picking the blackberries. He gave us carte blanche (this had been French Louisiana, after all).

So, Beth, Paul, and Andrew took their bikes (I took mine, too) and plastic bags, and headed for those bushes. We carefully climbed between the strands of barbed wire to reach the bushes. "Keep an eye out for animals, I warned (especially 'legless reptiles' went unsaid). And be careful of the thorns.")

Within an hour we had full bags of blackberries, plus scratches up and down our arms. Thereafter, Paul was known to head for those bushes on his own. I wonder if Beth, Paul, and Andrew remember?

Peach and Blueberry Memories

Rita's breakfast post reminded me -- Many years ago when we lived in Baton Rouge...

It was June and peaches were in season. We drove north to Clinton, followed the signs, and reached a pick-your-own orchard. Beth and especially Paul were in heaven. Then baby Andrew wouldn't remember, and, alas, this was before Mary and Matt came along.

And there, between the rows of peach trees were blueberry bushes.

The picking went all too fast. When it came time to checkout the bill was a bit more than I had anticipated. But, the fun we all had made it worthwhile. Even more value came when we ate those peaches and blueberries. They were the best!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Eats in Winter Park

I must be catching up on long lost rest as I slept in nicely this morning, again. Here in the condo Rex and I have instant oatmeal and fresh blueberries* for our breakfast but today Rex suggested we go into town. Yesterday we had eaten lunch at a bakery-cafe called Carver's. It's actually the closest eating establishment to where we are staying and it's really a great place. Without a blink we agreed to try breakfast there. With such a beautiful day we would have preferred an outdoor table but all of them were in the sun so we stayed inside to eat.

We were given both breakfast and lunch menus as it was already pushing 11:00 a.m. I have already admitted I slept in so this should come as no huge surprise that I was thinking breakfast so late in the day. As we studied the menu I suddenly remembered that we had seen a sign yesterday at lunch that on Tuesdays they had $3.00 Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers. We confirmed this with our waitress and were soon enjoying our morning cocktails. Rex had the tomato-based one and I had the O.J. one.

Our breakfast food was nicely served and I had a half serving of a homemade biscuit with sausage gravy. I only picked on it enough to get a taste of one of my favorite things that I don't usually let myself order . Rex had the usual fare of eggs, potatoes, ham, sausage and bacon. He shared the bacon with me as he knows it's another one of my all time limited favorites.

I don't know if it was the morning sippers but Rex and I had a very lazy afternoon. We eventually even took naps. I know for my part, I've been exhausted and I'm very thankful for this time of rest and recovery.

Dinner was not the easiest thing for us to find. We went back to the Cooper Creek Square which is the downtown of Winter Park and where Carver's is also located. We were going to try the Chinese Restaurant, New Hong Kong, but it didn't open, even after 5 pm. We then walked down the square to try the Italian Restaurant, Alberto's, but on their door their hours posted showed us they were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We decided that must have also explained the New Hong Kong restaurant considering they never had any hours posted on their door. I had seen an open sign at the Chinese restaurant yesterday so I knew they were still in business. Something to consider anymore these days. Also in the square was a BBQ place we had considered and had over ruled in favor of these other two places. We knew for sure the BBQ restaurant was open so we went to Smokin' Moe's for dinner.

It's a cute place with a stage for live entertainment and lots of signs and decor to look at. I ordered the BBQ pork sandwich and Rex got the BBQ brisket. Our plan was to bring home leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I had been looking forward to Chinese leftovers but the BBQ will be just as good.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Selling NY

It's been many a year since I was in Manhattan while Rita has never made it to the Big Apple.

One of the delights of the Spring has been HGTV's Selling New York. The Kleiers are fascinating: beautiful young daughters and one remarkable mother while they fit right in to the properties they stage, exhibit, and market. The family-oriented Kleiers complement and contrast with CORE. Each episode different agents take on the challenge of sale-and-buy clients, attracting targeted sellers, and, the biggest challenge -- making the sale. I suppose that Denver has its own, though much, much smaller, versions of the Kleiers and CORENYC, and their upscale clientèle. Today we drove by numerous large mountain meadow homes of the Fraser River Valley - sale sign after sign. It would be nice, I guess.

The casual environment of suburbs and geoscience software in Denver (our environment for the past 13 yrs), even with our travels (Alaska, Dubai, San Francisco, Dallas, Winter Park), can't compare with the lofty world of high-price co-ops in New York, country homes in rural Connecticut, and condos in Boca Raton. I don't even own a three-piece suit, let alone a two-piece with wool sweater vest under a London Fog (or, perhaps an even more upscale coat).

Lap of Luxury is for me!

Rex is telling me that we need to work at getting me back to reality after I was so spoiled on the Princess Cruise. Can you believe? I love being spoiled and provided for! Here are some pictures of the life of luxury I lived for 11 glorious days!

Drinks were in abundance....cocktail hours, dinner time, anytime!

This was our steward bringing a champagne brunch to our balcony. Below are the plates that were served to us:

We also had a fruit plate that we forgot to get pictures of (we were so busy eating and enjoying the gourmet foods). We had smoked salmon available for every meal, of course, it was Alaska!

This is a plate of the goodies delivered to our balcony mini suite cabin every afternoon around 4pm. Sometimes there were chocolate covered strawberries too.

The evening at the Chef's Table deserves a blog unto its own self but as a sampling here are some of the favorites of the night:

This is only the start of our desserts that evening. The white ball is made of strings of sugar as is the basket and the swirl going straight up. This is accompanying a chocolate mousse with soft strawberries center.
This was a spiked flame of beef, venison and veal, served with multiple sauces and accompaniments.

Flambe was also the order of the meal when we had Bananas Foster the first night in Fairbanks and Baked Alaska was the last night of the cruise. Wild Alaskan Salmon was readily available for choices at meals and I found Smoked Salmon Chowder to be one of my favorite things to order. We had crab legs, lobster, shrimp, halibut, caviar, reindeer sausage and everything else from fish and chips to bangers and mash to pizza to tartar! It was a fabulous feast whatever we ate!

Beth hearts Minneapolis


Our daughter, Beth, and her family are featured in:

Woman's Day, August 2010.

Congratulations on your featured article, Beth!

I would reproduce the photo of the Blairs, but it is copyrighted.

Travel Connection Mystery

As Rita is dealing with connection stories, a couple of connecting mysteries have emerged:

A look at the map (zoomed-in to the max) provided a question: Is there a shortcut walking trail from the condo (center left), east across the railroad tracks to downtown Winter Park, or is it necessary to follow the much longer path provided by the streets?

*******BLOG Interrupt*******
This post is temporarily suspended.
Rita has a crisis - clothing needs to be hung before
we get halfway through our week in the Winter Park condo.
(My wrinkle-free shirt is on the right end; 
the rest of the hang-ups are Rita's.)
*******End Interruption; Blog Post Resume*******

Answer to the question above is Yes. Walk east to King's Crossing, then to the cul-de-sac by the other condos to the edge of the hill. A plow of some kind has scraped a broad trail (must have been muddy at the time) to connect with a foot path at the bottom of the hill. The path rises to the RR track and,  yes, there is another corresponding path on the other side of the track, down the hill towards Town Hall and central WP. Good information for future reference.

On the way back, I noticed some peculiar objects in the street. I carefully gathered them up, but, no, I didn't worry about fingerprints. Back in the condo I assembled them together with guilt-by-association card found next to one of the two TV sets in the unit.

On the right: TV channels provided via Winter Park cable service.
On the left, the suspicious objects.

Take a look at a close-up of the latter:

There, on top of the duct-tape are the culprits: a female-female cable connector for two male connectors (top center) It doesn't appear to be industrial quality. Additionally, fragments of cable cut, very probably, to put on F-type male connectors on the main cable(s). Again, the cable doesn't appear to be industrial quality.

Tentative conclusion: Somebody lost these fragments; are they evidence of a connection gone bad? Who can say? What of the duct-tape? A separate mystery, in all probability. The only possible evidence of association, besides spatial: the tape and the fragments appear to be fresh. Duct tape can fix anything but a broken heart.

Oh, and we're still waiting to get back to Louisville to see if a previous mystery has been resolved.

Chris' Recent Travail

I met Chris and his wife, Lisa, on the Princess Cruise P.R. trip. They are delightful folks and I enjoyed getting to know them. Since I just posted my travelling home story, I thought this was a perfect connecting link for my story:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Home but not really

Yesterday was a day of goodbyes in Vancouver, British Columbia, to all my new Twitter friends that I had met on the Princess Adventure Cruise to Alaska. Beth and I woke early in our Stateroom C 205, level 10, to a nice breeze blowing in through the open sliding balcony door. Our packed suitcases had been put outside our hallway door the night before so all we had to finish packing was our last minute make-up kits, computers and paperwork for customs. Around 6:45 a.m. we walked out of our delightful and comfortable cabin on the Coral Princess for the last time and headed to the Wedding Chapel. The Princess Cruise hosts, Nicole and Brian, had arranged for coffee and danish to be available there while we all said our goodbyes to each other. As we walked into the chapel, Brian was at the white Grand Piano playing his personal compositions for us. The music was stunning and a huge surprise as we had no clue that he was a concert pianist.

Soon an escort came to the room and walked those of us with early disembarkation to the door. I walked off the Coral Princess with a sadness to be leaving but an excitement to be returning home to Rex and our family. The hardest part was saying bye to Beth as I didn't know when I'd see her again. She was leaving on a different disembarkation time, bus and airplane.

Since my airline, United, wasn't participating in the EZ baggage check where suitcases are taken off the ship and handled completely until the final destination, I had some extra hassles to deal with. At the airport I was directed where to find my luggage. Luckily there were free luggage carts we could temporarily use to transport our luggage to the check in counters. After standing in line at United, I was told my flight was being handled by Air Canada since United didn't fly to Seattle. That little piece of information was not obvious on my ticket confirmation sheet, it was down a whole row of letters and numbers where the United agent pointed it out to me. So I wheeled my luggage rack down to another counter. At Air Canada I was checked through to Denver and given window seat assignments. However, the Air Canada agent brought me and my luggage over to the scale to check the weight of my big bag. It was 3 lbs over the limit. She suggested I take things out of it and put them in the second canvas bag. So, there I was rummaging through the suitcase trying to find 3 lbs of clothing. My white bra fell out on the floor as I pulled various things out hoping to get to the right digital number on the scale. Finally the agent said "okay" and let me get by with a few extra ounces. I then had to get my luggage to another area where I put it on a conveyor belt. I really was hoping I could keep the luggage cart for my heavy backpack and the canvas utility bag I had used as a "purse". No such luck. Next stop, security screening. I ended up in the wrong line! It just wasn't moving. It appeared that every person in line was in some sort of trouble...and then it was my turn. And, yes, I held up the line too. I had my small manicure scissors confiscated. I had totally forgotten to put them into the checked suitcase. I liked those scissors alot and was pretty well bummed to have them taken. The security guy did apologize and was nice about it though. Finally I was on my way to the gate.

Beth texted me to check on my where abouts in the airport. I was glad to see she had made it to the airport as well. She texted me that she was with some of our group having lunch near gate 87. I was on my way to gate 95. Hmmm, I had time to detour, so to my delight I saw Beth again and some of our fellow Tweeters for a nice lunch before heading to my gate.

My boarding gate was not an easy one to get to as it turned out. It was down a hallway, 20+ steps, another hallway and finally I walked outside and up more steps into a small turbo prop plane. No wonder I was in row 5! There weren't too many rows behind that one!

Flight to Seattle was only a half hour long and my connecting gate was right next door in the terminal. I had over an hour wait so I bought a few snacks for the lay over and flight home. I still had 5 hrs to go before getting home. Later I was so happy to have snacks as the promised "light dinner" on my ticket info turned into "nothing, not even a bag of pretzels".

I was so happy to see Rex at the airport. He took my heavy backpack and that was a huge relief. It had my mini laptop in it, the plaster of paris baby bear footprint I was given by the ATV guys, my jewelry and make-up cases, the book I read on the plane, my nylon nightgown I had worn the night before, my curling iron, what snacks were left, a magazine from the cruise ship and I supposed other this and thats!

I was home less than an hour as I tossed things from one suitcase into another, raided my closet for clean clothes and headed back out the door with Rex to stay in a Winter Park condo for a week. So, here I am "recovering" and getting back to everyday life. No chocolates on my pillow, plates of appetizers delivered every afternoon, bed made up in the morning and covers pulled down at night...but it is nice to be back with Rex.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Incredible Dubai

Dubai is one amazing place. Here are a few of the highlights from my visit in May...

Dubai Beach
Just a few tourists in the water, seemingly ordinary looking.

But, looking in the opposite direction...

Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah

Further down the coast on Palm Island...

Atlantis Hotel

These rocks flank Palm Island.

Zoom in:

The gray and green rocks are serpentinites -- fragments of the earth's mantle. They're probably from the Oman Ophiolite just a tens of kilometers away, up the Persian Gulf coast.

Looking back at the hotel...

Your friendly neighborhood blogger.

Heading downtown...

Skyline 1.

Another hotel, close-up.

Another skyline close-up.

Skyline 2: Cranes and more cranes.

From a distance.

Food Court
I'm not sure if the star is for Carl's Jr. or Hardee's, 
but who wouldn't recognize the Colonel?

Apres Ski.

Pirate bird in San Francisco?

What happened to the other leg?

Is it a pirate who has misplaced its peg leg?

Just around the corner are some possible compatriots...

Piratette hiding behind sunglasses?

What are they serving on board ship?

More San Francisco: