Thursday, September 29, 2005

Glenwood springs

The rain finished off the fire, but I'm left thinking about wildfire logic.
If you have a particularly dry year, the fire danger is high. That happens
all the time in Colorado. The dryer it gets, the dryer the fuel, the higher
the fire danger.

Southern California is burning. I heard an explanation for the problem.
They had a wet spring. A wet year produces extra growth, which dries out in
the fall and raises the fire danger. More fuel.

I think I've got it. Dry year, high fire danger. Wet year, high fire

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


And the working conditions.


And then..... the approach to the jobsite.


Back to the job in carbondale. It's a long way, a 25 mile commute. It's
not really in carbondale, it's just before redstone, but it has a carbondale

Here, the commute. It rained on us last night, snowed in the high country.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Silver city

In Silver City we got to wake up the the curve-billed thrasher's song.

Glenwood springs

We're at an RV Park two miles outside Glenwood Springs, just inside the
mouth of the canyon. So is the fire.

It's not a large fire, just a spotty one burning up some difficult terrain
on the north side of the road. Yesterday I drove home past the burning
glowing mountainside. Today it's been cloudy with rain off and on. The
mountainside smolders.

Sunday, September 25, 2005



Glenwood springs

A quick walk around the campground and we got magpie, house finch, house
wren, bushtits, flicker, yellow rumped warbler, and Osprey. North again.
We didn't go over the high scary passes, Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain.
Cortez to Dolores, Stoner, and Ricoh. Over Lizardhead Pass, only 10,000
feet high. Full fall colors.

Right turn at Placerville, over Dallas Divide, 9,000 feet, Ridgway, and
lunch at the state park. For lunch we got starlings, magpies, pine siskin,
yellow rumped, mountain bluebirds, and eastern bluebirds. Montrose, Olathe,
Delta, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Bowie, Somerset. Over McClure Pass, 8,700 feet.
Down past the turn to Marble, through Redstone, Carbondale, and Glenwood
Springs. We're back in the Roaring Fork Valley again, staying at a
different place this time. The Campground at the No Name exit. They
changed it. It used to be tight and tiny. They opened it up. Now we get a
large open site with fifty amp full hookups, and a view of the sky for the
satellite dish.


Saturday, September 24, 2005


North from Bosque, through Socorro and Albuquerque. West through Grants,
and Gallup. North again through Shiprock and back into Colorado to Cortez.
Our friends at the Cortez KOA, happy to hear we got the Beaver and anxious
for the tour. A quick look at the pond next door produced mallards,
canadas, coots, pied billed grebes, kingfisher, northern flicker, a big
flock of red winged blackbirds, and a bigger flock of yellow headed

New mexico

The leveling system on this thing is amazing. No jacks, just the suspension

We parked on the boat ramp parking lot. Not very level.

Punch the button and wait.


Friday, September 23, 2005

New mexico

Travel day. South through more of brother bill's favorite desert southwest.
Past the city of rocks. Past faywood hot springs. Around the southern
point of the mountains and back to the north. North to elephant butte state
park for lunch. On to bosque del apache for the evening. Coyotes. Quail.
A crissal thrasher, new bird for us. White crowned sparrow, meadowlark,
ruddy duck, ringneck pheasant, lesser goldfinch, western kingbird

Here is the campground sign. Can you imagine a more appropriate place for
us to be?

Lyman lake

Our campsite at lyman lake state park on the way to silver city.

And a boat. I'm thinking if we left the bicycles at home we could roll down
the road with this boat on the back of the jeep while we're towing it. We
could be a triple.


E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: rita

The hurricane heads north. The forecast for Port Aransas is for scattered
showers. Looks like our slab is going to survive this one.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Silver city

The view from our spot.

Silver city

Our site at Silver City.

Silver city

Happy autumnal equinox.

It was feeling like Fall in Colorado. We retreated south to Summer. Silver
City, New Mexico. Eighty-five and fifty-five all week. Low humidity, as
low as Colorado, but the skin doesn't feel as dry. I think humidity in the
teens at eighty degrees is different from humidity in the teens at thirty or
forty degrees.

I really like it here. I haven't had a chance to look around much, mostly
just back and forth from work, but what a beautiful spot we're in. High
desert. Kingbirds, curve billed thrashers, canyon towhees, spotted towhees,
white winged doves. Got to go.

First time job. It went very well. The job finished today. Exit
conference. Time to leave.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Silver city

We watch the progress of Hurricane Rita with interest. Category five,
projected landfall somewhere along the Texas coast between Corpus Christi
and Galveston. Our property is on a barrier island, a sandbar, outside
Corpus Christi. Our island has a job, to protect Corpus Christi from
hurricanes. It does that by taking the first hit, absorbing some of the
force, sapping some of the hurricane's strength before it hits the mainland.

It looks like the island, Mustang Island, has been there a long time, but on
a geologic scale, it probably shifts like sand with the winds and tides.
Like, say, a sandbar. Don't know yet where the hurricane will come ashore.
Corpus Christi to Galveston.

We don't have a lot at risk compared to most, just a cement slab and some
landscaping. Maybe it will all flood then dry out fine. Maybe the
landscaping will wash away. Maybe the cement pad will wash away. Maybe the
whole island relocates. Whatever, we don't have a lot at risk compared to

We watch the progress of Hurricane Rita with interest. We watch from high
and dry in New Mexico.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


One more racquetball story. Got a game in Bend Oregon a few weeks back.
Judy dropped me off and waited to make sure I got a court. The owner walked
her out to show her something, and out comes this guy to get his gear,
saying: "Hey Jerry. There's this old guy in there that wants to play. I
wonder if he's got a game." Judy got a kick out of that, figuring I had to
be the "old guy" inside that wanted to play. She asked him to take it easy
on me.

We had a good time. We traded serves a lot. Finally, he had me down 14 to
10. That was a good score. His game was just that much better than my
game. We traded more serves. I hung in there. He got frustrated. He got
the serve back and announced: "This is it."

That was the turning point. In announcing, "This is it!" he completely gave
up on his winning strategy, the strategy that had got him the 14 to 10 lead,
and shifted to trying to win the game with one stroke. Winning the game
with one stroke is not a good strategy. He made a lot of mistakes, which
inspired him to try harder, and make more mistakes. He lost that game 15 to
14. It got worse after that. He lost the next game at three. Then he had
to leave for an appointment.

Old guys rule!

You know, it's fun to win, and it sucks to play poorly, but it's fun to play
well whether you win or lose. I like just hanging in there and hanging in
there, doing everything that can be done, watching the dynamics of the game
and looking for opportunities. It's about how it feels to play. I'll go
hit the ball by myself, thinking about stroke mechanics, and working on
hitting the perfect shot. That's what feels the best, setting up and
hitting the perfect shot. Not the lucky rollout that could just as easily
been a skip, but the high percentage wide-angle pass two feet high off the
front wall that is placed just right, and hit with such pace that there is
no chance for the opponent to return it as it goes past, and no chance to
catch it off the back wall because it dies there. That's what's best.

But I don't get many chances to do that. Oftentimes there are no
racquetball courts within a reasonable distance of where we're staying and
working. I could switch to tennis. There are a lot more tennis courts out
there than racquetball courts. But tennis requires two people of similar
ability who both want to play at the same time. Golf! Now that's
different. There are golf courses everywhere we go and you don't have to
have an opponent or partner to play. Maybe we should switch to golf.

Silver city

Arizona, New Mexico. Back highways all the way. Silver City. KOA four
miles outside town. Grass, bushes, yucca, junipers, young cottonwoods.
Heavy on the cicadas, it sounds like we're in Georgia. Nice and birdy.
White-winged doves.

Broncos Rule! The dominators! I think they're going all the way!

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Colorado, Utah, Arizona. Straight down US Hwy 191, parked at Lyman Lake, a
State Park in Eastern Arizona, within easy striking distance of Silver City,
New Mexico tomorrow.

Go Broncos.

Friday, September 16, 2005


The lunch break bench.


Here it is. I know you've been waiting for it.





Campus sculpture.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Fall. Two weeks ago it was eighty and forty. Last week, seventies. Still
seventies this week, but last night it dropped to twenty-eight degrees. We
get our daily forty to fifty degree temperature swings.


The CRMS campus.


Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: carbondale

On the way to Independence Pass, there is the town of Independence. You
have to watch for it, you could drive right past and not notice.


The juvenile cedar waxwing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


More Independence Pass.


We drove to the top of Independence Pass on Saturday. I decided to have my
run for the day at the top, twelve thousand feet. It's like going outside
when it's twenty below and you don't have to, just for the rush. Running at
twelve thousand feet is an instant puff. It's an immediate level five on
the treadmill stress test. It's an immediate; "why did I think this was a
good idea?"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


A hairy woodpecker. An american dipper.

It was a tough recovery from surgery for Annie. Several trips back to the
vet, but she seems to have made the recovery. The biopsy on the lump from
her ear was negative. She is back to her normal charming self, active and

Sunday, September 11, 2005


The elusive red crossbill.... The elusive Weller Lake. We got directions
to where the red crossbills are the most plentiful, the trail to Weller
Lake. We drove there. We parked. We hiked. We looked. We didn't find
the red crossbill. We didn't even find the trail to Weller Lake. We know
it's there, somewhere.

The Broncos suck! We should have kept Frerotte.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Earlier in the week, a drive to McClure pass and a red-naped sapsucker.
This weekend, Independence Pass in search of the red crossbill...

Friday, September 9, 2005


Swarms of chickadees. Black capped chickadees. All summer long they are
dispersed for nesting, but in the fall they get more social and gather up
into gangs.

The occasional mountain chickadee. A downy woodpecker. Barn swallows.

A green-tailed towhee in the bushes right in front of the motorhome. A new
bird for us.

Thursday, September 8, 2005


This is a very nice place I'm working, the Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
Three hundred acre campus overlooking the crystal river, in the roaring fork
valley. The weather just changing from summer to fall. The client is well
prepared, but it is a big job. We scheduled it for two weeks. Maybe I can
stretch it to a month......


Annie started to scratch at her ear where she got surgery, so the collar had
to go on.


Wednesday, September 7, 2005


Poor Annie. She needed a lump removed from her ear, and some oral surgery.
She spent yesterday afternoon sleeping off the anesthesia. Judy cooks eggs
and rice for her so she can have soft food. Today, she has a cough.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005


Fall does not wait until October to happen in the high country. The
campground cottonwoods are hurrying to be first to turn.