Sunday, August 31, 2003


The spoils of summer. Our first corn of the season. Silver Queen.

Saturday, August 30, 2003


And the apples too.


From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2003 10:34 AM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: garden

The corn grew well while we were gone.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


Thirty hours into the water only fast. It's getting more comfortable already.

My experience with food in the Army was that if you don't eat anything at all, the whole digestive process and hunger machine shuts down pretty quickly.

I'm still stunned by David's ten day fast. A fast that includes just a little bit of food keeps the hunger alive. Ten days of hunger? Now that sounds tough.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


The piece-of-shit Windstar tow car is no more. It brought on its own demise. It gave us waay to much trouble on the last trip.

Judy decided not to get the liberty:

Monday, August 25, 2003


We're home. Got home last night. Calm drive. Exciting time. More to follow.

Friday, August 8, 2003


On the road again. Finishing up tonight. Out first thing tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 3, 2003


We got a new bed. Rags says it's OK.


I just want to mention that the tone of the conversation around our house has changed considerably. Judy is no longer telling me to get over it.

I have been hearing the phrase "suck it up" a lot, however.


One of our tomato plants committed suicide while we were gone. It used to be chest high, well above the rack, like the other ones. It's the Roma pasta tomato plant. It grew so many tomatoes all in one cluster, that it collapsed under its own weight. The cluster of tomatoes is now on the ground.

I never considered that being a tomato plant could be so stressful.

Saturday, August 2, 2003


Well, we’re back again.

The Monte Vista trip went well. Got to drive down I-25 and turn right into the mountains. A one-turn trip. Monte Vista is a small community in the San Luis Valley. A down home farm and ranch community in a wide-open desert at seven thousand feet. Normal rainfall for them is seven inches a year. They’re having a drought here too, but we drove down into the valley in a rainstorm. The first rain they have had in two years.

We located the Mountain Trails Youth Camp, our new client. We parked down the road at the Movie Manor Motel RV park. By being in the RV park, we don’t get the full benefit of the Movie Manor Motel. If you stay in a room, you get to look out over the adjacent drive in theatre and watch the movie right from your room, with the sound piped in. But, alas, we can see the screens (there are two) from the RV park, but we’re not really close enough to get the full treatment. We’re told this is the only motel of its kind in the country, maybe even the world! Imagine that.

After our dry-camping adventures, it was nice to hook up and have unlimited electricity and long hot showers.

Haven’t been flyfishing yet, but we’re asking around.

Everybody loved Annie, although the cowboy guys seemed more stunned than impressed. They acted like they’d never seen a dog with her own carrying bag before.

The Youth Camp headquarters are in an old stone and brick church right in town. That's where we worked. The actual ranch is thirty miles outside of town, half of that on dirt roads, in a beautiful mountain valley on a stream. Three hundred eighty acres, eight cabins, one A frame, two train cars, a new bathhouse, and a new dining hall. Horses. Dogs. And challenge courses. There is a low rope course and a high rope course. They are all really interesting and challenging events that require patience, trust, cooperation, and teamwork. Everything is set up in the forest, strung between the trees. Years of work on the Executive Director’s part to get this all set up. Following him though all of it for the tour was enlightening. Almost everything he showed us got described as “one of his favorite challenges”. Clearly a labor of love.

Annie accompanied us on the tour which involved dirt roads, stock gates, barbed wire, mud, hills, trees, horses, and cow patties. Guess which was Annie’s favorite part. Go ahead. Just try to guess. We made it all the way to the end of the tour in pretty good shape. Then Annie lagged behind. Usually she reserves the full, rubbing the shoulders on the ground routine for dead things. Some distant relative passed on the compulsion to grind the scent of dead things into her own coat. This time was different. This thing was never alive. She passed all those other cow patties until she came to this one. This was the cow patty of all cow patties. We looked back up the hill to see her on her back in the grass, all four legs in the air kicking, as she ground her entire body into a fresh, wet, gooey, green, cow patty. We yelled at her to stop. She did. She stopped, stood up, looked at us, looked really pleased with herself, then fell over on her back wiggling and kicking again until forcibly restrained. I should mention that Judy did the restraining. I didn’t get anywhere near her. She stunk. She really stunk. Luckily for us, we had Annie’s bag along with us on the tour. Annie stayed in the bag stinking until we got back to the motorhome for the night. We had to stop at the grocery to get some doggie shampoo. Annie got a midnight bath and blow dry.

Not much in the way of birds around here. Once in a while one flies by, but none seem to land. The campground is pretty much just a parking lot in the desert.

Tested the satellite system again. It worked perfectly until that big gust of wind came through and blew everything down. So far we’ve just left everything on the ground. It’s so quiet and nice in the evenings we don’t really need any noise from a TV. Not until football season anyway. This time it all worked without Judy having to drive down the road and hold the cell phone up to the walkie talkie again.

Did I tell you about Solar Man? We met him last trip when we stopped at a park in Carbondale to dump and fill. He had an old Bounder with six batteries wired in up front, and fourteen solar panels to keep them charged. Said he never had to hook up. He was so proud of it. I mentioned something about the control panel for my setup and he exclaimed: “Oh. You must have a voltage regulator then.” His whole system consists of lamp cord, clamps, duct tape, and half a dozen batteries with a ton of electricity flowing into them. No voltage regulator. No meter. Just half a dozen batteries bubbling away.

The cat got out in the motorhome park today. Judy forgot to attach the bunji to the screen door to keep him from opening it. If she is in the house and sees him going for the door, she zaps him with the squirt bottle. Just water, but he hates it and stops whatever he’s doing. Annie stops what she is doing too, if you squirt her with the bottle. But otherwise, the reaction is completely different. Annie stops whatever she is doing to charge the bottle, growling and biting the water. She loves it. So when Rags got out and took off across the parking lot, there wasn’t much Judy could do, except go for the squirt bottle. When she got close enough to threaten him with it, he ran and hid. In the motorhome.

Overall the cat is being pretty good. No Giardia the last couple trips. He has been quiet and comfortable. He guards the house all day and plays with us in the evenings.

Wednesday is Judy’s normal day to volunteer, so she found a veterans home and an assisted living house. She and Annie were well received.

We really like the San Luis Valley. It is a giant desert valley, fifty miles by eighty miles, with water flowing through it and under it from snowmelt and streams from the mountains that ring it. We took a side trip to San Luis Lakes State Park. It was quiet. It was so still we could hear the pelican’s wings as they flew over us. It’s like Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, but with a lake. Lovely. I want to go back.

Shamu sure handles a lot better since we had the air bags in the front suspension replaced.

We finished the job and moved on to Lathrop State Park outside Walsenburg. Two lakes. Birding opportunities. Nice campground in the pinion/juniper. Picture attached. We had a quiet evening sitting around the campfire, admiring the milky way, watching for satellites, and spotting the occasional shooting star. It was quiet until that crummy cat overpowered the bunji latch on the screen door, slammed it open, and burst out into the night. Oh well. On to plan C.

Never did go flyfishing.

We did go home, though. Eventually.

Here we are.


Before Judy went off the deep end, we were having a perfectly sane conversation about how we do what we do. We had a great time packing up the motorhome, driving up to Monte Vista, meeting a new client, taking three days to do a job, and driving home. The client was thrilled. They don't get much attention in Monte Vista. I really enjoy what I do.

Usually, the road conversation turns to "when can we retire, then we could full time in the motorhome." This time the conversation turned to "let's go full time in the motorhome, work in remote Colorado towns together, work maybe half-time, and I can take as long as I want to retire. That works.

But then Judy took off on a tangent about "Sell the house now. Buy the new motorhome now. Work as long as we want, and just put everything we make into the bank so we can always just do what we want."

I like the part about redesigning how we do what we do. I can deal with changing things at work. I tell the staff I plan on being on the road six months, or maybe twelve months a year. I give them the option of stepping up to do what I do and I hire all the help they need, or I hire someone to step right in and do what I do in Denver while I go off and audit small nonprofits all over the state. I still own the company. I still have the support staff in Denver. They can do all the scheduling and preparation work. I send the completed fieldwork back to Denver for quality control and copy/binding. I don't have to have all the equipment on the road with me. I like it. It lets me continue to do what I do, but at a much more relaxed pace.