Saturday, July 26, 2003


Couldn't pack for this next trip until we got the giant suitcase home from the RV shop in Longmont. Drove up first thing this morning. Bailed Shamu out (spark plug wires caused the sput). Nothing serious.

Of course we wandered over to the showroom since we were already there. Thought we'd go sit in a new Bounder for inspiration. A week before, they had three. Today, none. They sold them all. Right out from under us. There are a couple Fleetwood models just above the Bounder, the Expedition and the Discovery, so we decided to take a look at them. Neither one did much for us. The fireplace was nice, but you give up a lot of storage space for it.

The sales guy took us out on the lot, talked to us about what they had, then left us alone. He suggested we take a look at the Alpha before we leave. We did. Uh Oh. Bounder has a challenger. Walking into the Alpha was like walking into a really nice apartment. They changed the basic design for this one. They put the air-conditioning in the basement and raised the roof over a foot. Raising the roof raised all the windows as well. You can stand in this one and admire the view. It feels different. The outside compartments are HUGE. Big doors. Roll out trays with plastic tubs on them. Plastic tubs three deep. If a person was thinking in terms of a second home, as opposed to a few trips, this would certainly fit the bill.

The price was higher. We've been thinking of $100,000 for a gas Bounder, $150,000 for a diesel. The Alpha is listed at $190,000, but they knocked $30,000 off that before we even asked.

We're also thinking maybe $100,000 is all we want to spend. Diesels don't wear out very fast. We could wait a couple more years, then buy whatever year Bounder diesel we could get for $100,000.

No hurry.


Getting ready for the next trip. Leaving tomorrow for Monte Vista for a week. Then back in town for a week. Then Yellowstone to fish with Bill for a week. Then stay at Yellowstone and fish for another week with Judy.

Plenty of time for Yellowstone to cool down by then. Right?

Sometime, during that second week, I think, Ken and Christie and kids will be passing through on their way to Colorado. Becky and Brian and kids will come up to meet them. It might happen that we all connect at the Pebble Creek campground.

Let's see. That takes care of July and August. Then we don't have another trip planned until maybe September.

Monday, July 21, 2003


Off to Aspen.

Drove right up here. Got reservations for the campground at Difficult, a five mile commute from the Physics Center. We're not staying in a condo this time, we brought Shamu. We get to wake up to the birds in the forest every morning. Every day at lunch I get to run on the Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork river. The weather has been perfect. 80s during the day and 45 at night. It’s been a good week.

We got a stuff-to-fit campsite for the motorhome. A trip around the outside with the wire snips to trim the distorted foliage, and we were all set. We got a nice sunny spot to give our new solar panel a good workout. We added one more this year. Now we have two collectors on a system that will accommodate three. We like to run a fan at night for air movement and background noise. We ran a bunch of other stuff one day too and ran the battery down pretty low. The next day we left everything off all day long, so by the evening, the battery was charged most of the way up! It looks like we could take a totally spent double house battery, lay off it for two days, and completely recharge it. Cool. We can monitor the charging. In the middle of a sunny day it is charging at five to six amps.

I get to fly fish almost every afternoon at all my favorite places, and I've already found a new favorite section of stream as well. All on the Roaring Fork. Slow shallow clear wide winding meadow stream with lots of cuts and holes. Firm sandy bottom for wading. Filled with trout. The Aspen Valley. What a place to be.

The five-day job went very well. We completed it in four. Stayed over Friday anyway, to just hang out and do everything we like to do some more.

Annie was a big hit at the Center as always. She gets to go everywhere we go.

Went to an interesting public lecture Wednesday night. Our friend Pierre, one of the Physicists gave a talk about neutrinos. They hadn’t invented neutrinos yet when we were all in school. Well, they had been thought up, but not many people believed in them yet. None had been observed or measured. According to Pierre, a trillion of them penetrate our bodies every second and pass right through. Lucky for us, our bodies are mostly empty space and neutrinos are so small, nothing gets hit very often. Neutrinos are so small, and so stable, they really aren’t looking to hit anything or react with anything anyway. They come from lots of places. From the core of the sun, it takes eight minutes to get to us. They’re a lot faster than light, in that regard, because it takes a long time for light to escape the core of the sun so it can even begin the journey to us. This was a public lecture, so he kept it simple. Of course he went way off over our heads early on in the talk, but he is so charming and such an accomplished speaker, that it was a good lecture all the way through. A minimum of mathematical formulas, and generous use of understandable analogies and anecdotes. If you want to know about neutrinos, I guess Pierre is the guy to know. He is one of the inventors of “superstring theory” and “supersymmetry”. He is one of the inventors of the “seesaw mechanism” for light neutrino masses. I have no idea what the seesaw mechanism is. From hanging around the Center, I gather that String Theory has to do with tying together all the different Physical Theories into one comprehensive structure. The concepts you use to describe gravity are different from those used to describe electricity or astrophysics, or particle physics, and so forth.

My office-mate this trip, Murray, is a Nobel Laureate, but we never saw him. I’m guessing he’s really really smart though.

On our last trip I described crossing the Great Divide on our way through New Mexico. I thought it was funny, because it’s essentially flat desert down there, and the Divide is just not that impressive. However, McKee was kind enough to explain to me that if I really crossed the Great Divide, then I was actually thousands of miles north of where I thought I was, in the Yukon, between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. So. To the best of my knowledge, I never really left New Mexico that day. When I crossed the divide, I didn’t really cross the Great Divide, I crossed some other divide, that sometimes seems great, but not in New Mexico. We crossed the Continental Divide.

I thought this campground looked quiet when we first got here, but I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The birds go off at about 5:30, and they don’t stop yelling all day long. They go till dark. What a racquet! But it’s a horrible place for birdwatching. All these birds making all this noise, but the only ones you can see are the robins. The rest are all little warblers off in the woods warbling their little hearts out. You can't see them from very far away, but if you go in search of them, they shut up whenever you get close. Contrary little creatures. There are fifty camping spaces carved out of an aspen/oak brush forest with views of the mountains surrounding. Nice spot.

We got the satellite TV rig out to test it. We had it installed and tested in Louisville. Everything worked just right, while we were in our driveway. So to test it under actual field conditions, we set it up, pointed it to where the satellite should be …, and nothing happened. No cell phone reception, so we couldn’t call for help. Next time we drove into Aspen, we called the 1-800 help line and they gave us some hints, so back we went to mess with it some more. I set the tripod up on the roof of the motorhome to get a better shot at the satellite. We made progress, but the screen told us we couldn’t actually watch any of the channels until we subscribed to them first. Of course, we have already subscribed. So Judy drove back down the road toward town until she could get cell phone reception, called the 1-800 number again, and relayed instructions to me over the walkie talkie, and I read error messages back to her until they had all the satellites talking to each other in the appropriate languages, and it all worked perfectly. Judy came back and we shut the television off for the rest of the trip. After all, who would want to go out into this wonderful wilderness and sit and watch television?

Oops. The sky clouded up for a thunderstorm in the middle of a hot sunny day, and the amp meter went down from 5.5 amps to 0.5 amps. Several cloudy days in a row could send us off in search of a different system. Good thing that doesn’t happen very often anywhere.

Oops. Remember that new favorite fishing spot? The wandering stream through the mountain meadow? Well, nevermind. We fished it again. We spent three hours there and did well. We fished this great loop way out into the meadow and back to the road again. On getting out, we read the sign again about not allowing your dogs to run free, and about staying on the established trails, and about no fishing. NO FISHING? Oops. All those fish must have been really surprised to find hooks in their faces. We’re the people who follow the rules. We always keep our dog on the leash when we’re supposed to. We always pack out our trash. We always pick up our dog’s poop. We never make noise during quiet hours. We ditched our gear and snuck back to the car. We read the sign again where we got into the water. Yep. No fishing. We didn’t get arrested, but there are probably wanted posters out on us by now.

Sunday, July 13, 2003


Knee high by the fifteenth of July.

Right on schedule.

Saturday, July 12, 2003


We're off to the mountains tomorrow. Got the motorhome dumped and filled. Got it all packed. We're going to go stay in a forest service campground down the road toward Independence Pass this time. We always enjoy ourselves in a condo, but it's time to try something different. Tomorrow morning we'll attach the car and hang the bicycles on the back. Got one more racquetball session in with Woody today. You know, I might be starting to get this racquetball thing. Now I'll just have to imagine how good my racquetball game is for the next week.

I'll have to work some too. We'll call it multi-tasking.

Wednesday, July 9, 2003


Oh yeah.

6 pounds 9 ounces.

18 inches long.

1:39 pm.

Looks a lot like Matt.


A wonderful baby boy.

Alexander Paul Taylor.

Mom and Dad and Baby are all well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003


Tomorrow we're off to greet our newest grandbaby.

He is scheduled to arrive at 1pm.

Sunday, July 6, 2003



We’re off again. We drove off in a light rain. We decided to leave the night before. We got all of a hundred miles before we stopped for the night. Not wanting to be left out of the adventures of our brothers, we stopped for the night at a Wal-Mart. Now we’ve racked up that cultural experience. There were several other motorhomes there, but nobody came out to play or talk with us. I had a nice big loop for my evening run. Patrolled by security. I’ve played hard at racquetball lately, and my legs are pretty dead. We got to listen to rain on the roof all night long.

We got a new bed. In the process, we figured out that the guy who had this rig before us had substituted a full queen mattress for the short queen mattress the platform was designed for. I’m not that big a guy, so the short queen length ought to be just fine. It’s as long as a double bed. Since we got the new mattress in, it is remarkable how much more walk-around room we have around the bed. It really is a walk around.

I have a question. How can it be 35% humididy while it’s raining?


What a Saturday!

Breakfast at Wimbledon. Got to watch the Williams sisters play. Breakfast in bed in fact(bedroom television in the motorhome).

Some yard puttering. Two hours of racquetball. A picnic. And the afternoon/evening at the lake windsurfing.

The conditions were perfect. My primary sail is in for repair, but that leaves me with a great big light wind sail, and a small storm sail. The winds were light and steady. Lake Union is a no-wake-lake(no water-skiing), so the surface was smooth. I got to use the big sail and not get overpowered. Perfect conditions to rediscover my balance on the board.

The winds did shift a little as the evening wore on. On my last sail, I sailed out on a starboard tack, sailed around on the lake, then sailed back on the exact reverse of the course I sailed out on, and sailed back, also on a starboard tack.

Thursday, July 3, 2003


The onions are chest high. The tomatoes are waist high.

It's all good except the corn. I was a little late getting it in. We're not going to make "knee high by the fourth of July". Maybe it'll kick in with the hot weather.


We retired the bird bath in the front yard. Got Judy's new fountain working nicely.