Saturday, April 30, 2005

Texas

South from San Antonio, New Mexico to Fort Stockton Texas. Stopped for the
night at the Fort Stockton KOA. We always stop here. Outskirts of town.
Nice enough spots. Food and fuel. Gasoline, diesel, and a fifties café
on-site. We always get chicken fried steak. And it's a good place for
birds. We pass through here in January. There are a few birds here then,
but not nearly like this. We have great-tailed grackles, western kingbirds,
and doves making a great racket. Mourning doves, white winged doves,
eurasian collard doves, and inca doves. All making their own noise. Then
Judy spotted scissor tailed flycatchers. They're common here in the summer,
but you never get to see them anywhere else, or any other time. We followed
the flycatchers. This is the first time we've seen them in years. We took
a walk down a brush-bordered path. We got cactus wrens. We got a bunny
rabbit. We got more kingbirds. I looked down a side path and declared: "I
want to look down that path and see scaled quail." I looked down the path.
It didn't happen.

We turned to continue on our way down the original path, and out dashed two
quail. Scaled Quail! Yeaaaaa! Scaled quail. Number 341 on the list.
Scaled quail. How perfect! We and the quail established a rhythm. They
would feed out in the open. We could get within fifty feet. If we got
closer, they moved on. If we stopped they stopped. If we walked fast, they
ran. We followed them for a long time. They probably were exhausted by the
time they got home to tell the kids about the stalkers that almost got them.

Chatfield

We usually see coots in the water, so I took this picture when we saw them
out of the water. Goofy looking little round birds.

Chatfield

I don't think the furniture is going to last as long as it was designed to
last.

Family update

Steve and Judy.

Friday, April 29, 2005

San Antonio

San Antonio. Not San Antonio, Texas, but San Antonio, New Mexico. From ten
thousand feet high to five thousand feet high. From thirty degrees to
eighty degrees in one day. The Bosque Birdwatchers Park. An RV Park right
outside the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in a creosote desert.
They have quail. Gamble's quail. Right here in the campground. We get to
listen to that soft muttering and plaintive calling all evening and again in
the morning.

We took a quick drive into the preserve. Quail, pheasant, kingbird,
blackbird, sparrow, finch, roadrunner, ibis, heron, egret, redhead, gadwall,
ruddy, mallard, coot, vulture, swallow, pintail, hummingbird. Warm and
windy. Birds everywhere. A good bird day, all in an hour. A good place to
come back to, but we're headed south this trip. We haven't logged a new
bird in months. This would be a good place to come back to, to try and bag
a new bird. I even have the new bird in mind. I enjoy the gamble's quail
and California quail so much; I picked another quail I want to see. The
scaled quail. They're along the border with Mexico, found in arid
grassland. We looked the entire month of January in Texas for the scaled
quail, but we never found one. We found places they were supposed to be,
but they were never there when we were.

Chatfield

From Lathrop State Park, we got another mountain view.

Family update

Annie.

Chatfield

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Chatfield

The Chatfield camp.

Family update

Becky.

New Mexico

Leadville. Done. We're headed south. We were scheduled to head south to
Santa Fe and do our first New Mexico job, but that one got postponed, so
we'll just head south.

New Mexico

Leadville. Done. We're headed south. We were scheduled to head south to
Santa Fe and do our first New Mexico job, but that one got postponed, so
we'll just head south.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chatfield


The doctor was right about my knee. He said to buy new shoes, take an
anti-inflammatory, and stay off it for a week and it would feel better. I
did. It did. By the end of the week it didn't hurt any more. I ran a
little. I ran a quarter mile. It didn't hurt. I ran a half-mile. I ran a
mile. He said to stay off my knee for a week, but to take the
anti-inflammatory for two weeks, just in case. I did. An interesting thing
happened, though, when I quit taking the anti-inflammatory. The knee came
back. It's not quite a miracle recovery: a miracle anti-inflammatory
perhaps, but not a miracle recovery.

I got some nice new shoes out of the process anyway.

Leadville

Did I mention we moved on? We finally finished the job in Conifer, so no
more driving up and down Turkey Creek Canyon to the winter wonderland. On
to Leadville. Ten thousand feet high. It is still snowing every day, but
it is warmer than winter and the ground is clear except for the drifts.

We have a few more pictures from the front-range to send, though. We're not
really bouncing back and forth; we're proceeding methodically through the
state, in spite of the discontinuity of the order of our reports.

Durango

On the way between Durango and Golden we passed a mountain. I forget which
mountain it is, but it's near La Veta Pass.

Durango

Got a better nuthatch picture.

Family update

Tony and Brian.

Chatfield

The evening view.

Durango

Train and track.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Monday, April 25, 2005

Chatfield

The morning view.

Chatfield

The Canada Goose at St Vrain State Park.

Durango

Where we stay in Durango.

Family update

Conner.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Moab

Okay. One more moab picture and I'll stop.

I promise.

Family update

Matt and Alex.

Chatfield

A weekend at the State Park. We had it all to ourselves during the week.
Meadowlarks in the morning. Magpies. Pelicans. Red-tails. The park
started filling up Friday night. It was totally full Saturday. Kids
campers pets music conversation boats bicycles campfires beer late night.
People having fun. Nothing bothered us. Once we close up the motorhome for
the night, we're done with the outside world. Sunday, the exodus begins
early.

Chatfield State Park. It is right at the edge of Denver, so it's easily
accessible to everyone on the weekends. Full hookups. More bicycle trails
than we can ride while we're here. Boating, fishing, birding. It has a
heron rookery. Horseback riding. An airpark for remote control model
planes. They buzz the sky in the distance, except for the jet. It
whooshes. In the middle of all these piston engine model planes, there is a
delta wing fighter jet, with a jet engine. Really.

We woke to hot air balloons rising over the other side of the lake Sunday
morning. This is a nice place to be.

Chatfield

We learned something about our air compressor while we were in Moab. It's
onboard the Bounder. We've always known it was there. It drives the air
suspension and the air brakes (and the air horn). It has a fitting for an
auxiliary hose. You can use the air for anything else you want, we just
haven't tried that part yet.

Jim, the guy who was doing the car shuttle for us, stopped by our campsite
for a visit. He had a little boat trailer (for kayaks, so it really was
little) and one of the tires for the trailer needed some air. He asked if
we had a bicycle pump. We didn't, but I explained to him what we did have,
an onboard air compressor hose I'd never used. I got out the air hose and
popped on the quick connect fitting. The hose is long and coiled. It will
reach any tire on the motorhome from where it connects in the front.

So I connected the hose to the compressor and fired up the engine. He gave
the tire some air. He pressed it with his thumb and it was still a little
soft, so he hit it with some more air..... for just a little too long. The
compressor on the Bounder will deliver about a hundred twenty pounds of
pressure. As I think about it now, I realize that not only does it have to
deliver high pressure, it probably should deliver high volume too, given
what it has to do while we're driving down the road. My ears only rang for
a little while after the kayak trailer wheel explosion. Jim's ears rang
longer, his head was closer to the wheel when it went.

Happily, no one was hurt, although the entire trailer wheel was destroyed.
I felt bad about the loss. Guess a diesel powered air compressor was a
little more than he needed.

Since we already had the compressor hooked up, I went on, carefully, to top
off the air in our bicycle tires and even our little kayak wheels. With
some finesse, and the right expectations, it can be done. I think we should
buy a bicycle tire pump.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Chatfield

We left Durango and drove to Golden. Lots of stuff to do each time we visit
the front-range. Kids, grandkids, and a satellite dish. Time for the big
one. Time for the data dish. Monday, I scheduled the entire day at the
motorhome so I could watch the installation and participate in any decisions
on the fly. Frank, the installer, worked Monday afternoon and into the
evening. Tuesday I commuted off to the Conifer job. Frank worked all day
Tuesday and into the evening again. The result....

Instant-on WiFi. A WiFi signal from our own satellite dish, from anywhere
in North America that we can see the south sky. Reliable WiFi. Frank did a
good job. A Motosat DataStorm. We never have to search for a WiFi park
again. When we have a choice between a commercial RV park and a state park,
we don't have to forego the state park so we can stay in touch. A major
upgrade to the mobile process.

Wednesday afternoon, we moved from the commercial RV park to Chatfield State
Park. Full hookups, well-separated sites, and a State Park view. Wildlife.
Grass, bushes, and birds. Quiet. I spent the rest of the week working on
the Conifer job. Didn't get it done. Jamie shuffled next week's schedule
for me. I'll go back to Conifer on Monday and Tuesday to get it done before
we move on.

Life on the road. Life in the State Park.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Durango

Durango. Weather, 70s every day. Scenery in all directions. Steam train
passing morning and evening. Job, perfect. I love these engagements that
go so well because their accountant did such a good job. Fieldwork
Wednesday Thursday and Friday. Exit conference in the afternoon. Time for
that bicycle ride in the evening that Sue (yes, I'm naming names) has been
promising (threatening) us with for a year. A mountain bike trail ride we
would never forget (forgive).

We each left work, went to our respective houses, gathered our respective
gear and spouses, and met up at the trailhead at the edge of town. We
unloaded our bikes, started up the hill, and immediately found ourselves
surrounded by mostly twenty and thirty something riders attached to their
high-tech, lightweight alloy, twenty-nine speed, full-suspension, disk
braked machines by their clip on pedals, our hosts included. This ride
consisted of a hill climb. Steep rocky dirt road (trail) with ruts and
bumps and rocky sections. So off we go, grinding our way uphill, ducking to
the side for more experienced riders swooping past at ten times our pace
(uphill) and a hundred times our pace (downhill), our hosts included. They
promised a meadow ride at the top, but what we found at the top was more
uphill. How can a meadow be uphill all the way? I swear, the entire ride
was uphill, except for that five minute downhill at the end.

Judy, the trooper, rode until she couldn't, walked her bike through the
rough stuff, then rode again when she could. I, being more testosterone
enabled (encumbered), managed to ride the entire way, chuffing my way up the
hill like the Durango Silverton steam train, finding our cheerful hosts
waiting for us at every trail junction. There is something innately evil
about a person who rides way ahead, waits for you, and just as you arrive
and are about to collapse, heads off for the next section don't you think?
The person who didn't need the rest just did, then takes off just before the
person who is barely still alive can. Judy survived the ride. I survived
the ride with only minor scrapes and scratches. Somewhere around the top,
on the only flat spot I recall, I moved to the side of the trail to let a
faster rider by who was approaching at something like fifty times my speed.
I lost it in the soft stuff and fell over. The faster rider didn't even
slow down going by. She just yelled out a question about me being okay as
she flew past.

Sue promised (threatened) a ride we would never forget (forgive). She
delivered.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Moab

Moab

Along the float, there were climbers on the rock walls.

Moab

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Moab

Did you notice the walls of rock behind that picture of the trailer with the
slide-out? That spot in the middle, the gap. It's called the portal. The
portal marks the path of the Colorado River into the Canyonlands.

The view from the mouth of the portal looking downstream.

Moab

clever naming on the rear-slide trailer, eh?

Moab

The slickrock trails are to the east of Moab. To the west are the
canyonlands. Here is an overview of the canyonlands.

Moab

We decided "fins and things" had too many fins. It had scrape marks all
over it. No way we wanted to take the Cherokee on that.

Remember the english trials days? It would have made a good trials trap.

Moab

_____________________________________________
From: Steve Taylor [mailto:spt@thetaylorcompany.net]
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2005 7:57 PM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: moab

First thing, we went looking for the slickrock bicycle trail. We have just
added our bicycles back to the traveling equipment, but we forgot the
helmets. No way were going to ride out on slickrock without helmets.

So we took a look for a good jeep trail. The first one we found is called
"fins and things".

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Steamboat

And a Steamboat Springs Limo.

Steamboat

Just to finish up the Steamboat report, here is a picture of the view from
the campground.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Trip reports

Our WiFi connection in Moab was a little screwy. We could receive email on
our personal address, but only send sporadically, so I had to send the last
couple trip reports out from the business address, not that it mattered to
many.

Now we've moved on. We're in Durango. This WiFi seems to be working
flawlessly. Even email. We're back to normal.

I have some cool Moab pictures to send.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Utah

Speaking of weather. Here we are, stranded in the sun in the desert, while
the front range of Colorado is being hammered by a blizzard. Strong wind
and heavy snow. The blizzard of '05, and we're missing it. We tune into
front-range television to check on it. It looks ugly for anyone who has to
go outside. Blizzards are fun to watch from indoors.

It's an upslope storm, so it's mostly an eastern slope of the Rockies thing.
The wind comes around from the east and pushes everything up against the
mountains. It's an eastern slope thing, but there are chain laws in effect
as far west as Vail Pass. Granddaughter Taylor is scheduled to leave on a
weeklong camp tomorrow morning. That's not going to happen. The storm is
supposed to blow all day today and all night tonight. The camp for Taylor
is going to have to wait. It is in Moab, where we are right now. She can't
get here.

Utah

Good WiFi connection here. Got in a good day's work Friday. Clean up and
catch-up.

For all the times, and all the years we've driven through Moab, this is the
first time we've stopped and spent the night here. Time to look around a
little.

We hear about the slickrock mountain bike trail outside Moab. It's the
place to go. We brought our bikes. We went looking for it. We found it on
the hills east of town. We found more than we expected. The slickrock
trail is for expert riders. We decided to walk out on the trail first to
check it out. That was one of the smarter things we've done lately. We
didn't have to go very far at all before we figured out that trail was way
over our heads. We are not equipped to ride that trail yet. There is a
practice loop to ride first to see if you're ready, before you disappear
into the backcountry. We weren't ready for that. We watched other people
ride off over the rocks. It looks like such a great trail, winding its way
across the red sandstone. We'd better go study somewhere else first.

Saturday

Wow! What a Saturday. Our friend Will, in the office upstairs, is always going on about the white rim road in the Canyonlands outside Moab. It's not a bicycle trail; it's a jeep trail. I guess you can ride a bicycle on it if you want, but we took the Jeep. Wow!

The canyon is two thousand feet down to the Colorado River, red rock sheer walls. About half way down is a bench. From the top you can see the shelf with some corroded copper green growth on it, and some white rock. In the midst of all this red rock canyon is a layer of white sandstone. All along the canyon walls you can see this line of white, a thousand feet above the river. On this line of white, is the white rim road. It winds its way for a hundred miles. A hundred miles? We could drive that in a day even if we drove slowly. A day-trip. We checked with the rangers. Allow a minimum of three days.

We drove out to the canyon's edge and started down. The people that built this road found a way to make switchbacks that would drop that road a thousand feet in about a mile. Low range, low gear. Saved the brakes. We got down to the bench. Now all we had to do was drive along this level winding road as far as we wanted. We drove for two hours. We covered eight miles. We declared victory. We've conquered the white rim road. We headed home for the day.


Before we headed home, however, something really strange happened. Something I still don't understand. We stopped at the sign for Musselman Arch. We couldn't see the arch, but we saw where to park. We were all alone. We followed the trail to the arch. We were walking across flat rock. We still couldn't see the arch. We walked right up on it. The arch wasn't in front of us, it was underneath us. We walked right out to the edge of the shelf. There, separated from the rock we were standing on, was the top of Musselman Arch. The arch was connected to the flat rock we were standing on at either end, but for about a hundred feet, it is a pure slender separated arch.

We stood and admired the arch. Judy wondered aloud how that slender strand of rock could hang in the air like that. There were cracks in it. It looked like it would fall down. We walked around to one end, where it connected. Here is the part I don't understand. My acrophobic wife grabbed my hand and asked if we walked out across the arch would I hang on and not stop before we got to the other side? What? Here I am, being careful not to stand too close to the edge so she won't get too scared, and she wants to walk across the top of the arch? She is already holding tight to my hand and her hand is already soaking wet because that's what happens when she sees anyone doing anything up high, and she wants to walk out across the arch?

I don't get it.

But we did it. We headed out. We walked right across it. It was a thousand feet down the slope to the bottom of the canyon. We didn't look. We watched where our feet went. Judy's legs started to go just past the midway point. She kept going though, on wobbly legs. We got to the other side safely. My wife, the adrenaline junkie, was ecstatic. She can't watch a window washer on a high-rise without getting sick to her stomach, and she walks across a stone arch a thousand feet above the canyon floor?

I still don't get it.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Utah

Steamboat went well. It was a new client, our first in the Northern part of
the state. Talked to a couple other potential clients while we were there.

The weather cooperated. Again. Storms move through Colorado, mostly from
west to east, and you never know for sure where they'll hit. The weathermen
make some pretty good guesses. They're so much better than they used to be.
The tools they get to use are a whole lot better. Storms don't pop up over
the horizon and surprise them anymore. Anyway, there has been a lot of
weather in the mountains, and we've been in the mountains almost the whole
time since January. We expect to get grounded by weather a few times in our
travels. We're ready to just wait it out and drive another day. So here we
are, mentally prepared for weather days. We've had some showers and
flurries, but nothing serious. We keep moving on to good weather while the
place we were at the week before gets pounded. Steamboat Springs got two
feet of snow the week before we got here. We had sun and flurries while we
were there.

The job is done. Time to head for Durango, our next job, so we drove three
hundred miles from Steamboat to Moab. Moab isn't perfectly on a line
between Steamboat and Durango, but if you drive to Moab from Steamboat
Springs, you're within a half-day drive of Durango. We drove to Moab
because the weather forecast predicted eighty degrees. That sounded good.

We got our eighty degrees. We got up in Steamboat Thursday morning at
twenty-five degrees and drove to eighty degrees in Moab.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Steamboat

The rest stop at the top of Vail Pass up to its eyeballs in snow.

Steamboat

Eagle's nest wilderness area.

Steamboat

Remember that picture of the ice monster I sent last January?

He's still hanging in there.

Steamboat

Got the website update. We're losing ground on the country count. We only
had hits from seven countries last week: United States, United Arab
Emirates, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Myanmar. Myanmar?
Where is Myanmar? Is that near Arkansas?

Monday, April 4, 2005

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Steamboat

And Dillon.

Steamboat

To get there, we drove past Loveland.