Sunday, October 30, 2005

Running with the deer

Went for a run while we were in Montrose. A Saturday. I meant to just run
around the park, but on the first lap I passed a wood stile over the
barbwire fence into the pasture. Who could resist that? I crossed the
stile into the meadow, up the dirt road deeply rutted by the pickup truck
hauling feed to the herd even when it's muddy, through the open gate into
the next pasture, then the next, then above the irrigated fields to the
scrub flats, then the juniper/pinon forest, then hills, through the barbwire
gate to public land, to the top of the ridge. There I am at the top of the
ridge, looking back on the Uncompahgre River Valley below and the smaller
valley on the other side, thinking to myself: what could be finer than a
cool blue day like this, leftover fall colors, October, deer hunting

October. Deer hunting season. I'm running through the forest in tan
shorts, mostly brown hair, no shirt, sun-tanned torso. What's wrong with
this picture? I thought about it. I hadn't seen any hunters on the way up.
Had we seen any deer around here? No more than a hundred. Shots fired?
Just a few in the distance. How good was I feeling about this? What should
I do? I could kick rocks and make noise while I ran, as long as I didn't
sound like a clumsy deer approaching. Don't breathe loudly or cough, don't
want it to sound like a buck snort. I could sing or whistle, but that is
contrary to my nature when I'm out in the woods. I want to pass quietly and
participate in the wilderness, not send it scurrying away ahead of my

I returned by the route I came, and survived the adventure, but undeterred,
I ran the same route the next day, dressed exactly the same, ......with the
addition of the newly acquired day-glo orange stocking cap.


Hey. Football is not such a stupid game after all. Not when the Bronco's
offense scores 49 points.


Judy is being great, visiting, and helping out. I'm staying out of the way.
Judy's sister Sue has been taking care of everything here with their mom.
We just came to hang out and help out a little. Helen got moved out of her
apartment and into a full-time care facility. Sue and Judy finished sorting
everything out at the apartment. Judy can finish up a few things here while
Sue goes home to check on her husband.


We've been time-zoned. Drove from mountain to pacific on Friday, fell back
on Saturday, our satellite dish is hooked into mountain time, no matter what
zone we're in. All we have to do is turn it on at the right time for the
football game. Yeah, football. Maybe the game is not that stupid after
all. The Broncos play the Eagles. We'll see.

Then we'll work on not waking up until it starts to get light, or being able
to stay awake after eight o'clock.

Friday, October 28, 2005


A four state day. Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California. An early start. You
know how it is with these time zones. Dawn can vary by an hour within a
zone, and then you cross to the next one and it changes an hour all at once
the other way. I thought it was getting light so I woke Judy up, we got
ready, and left. An hour and a half later, after driving through deer
infested Utah mountains in the dark and the rain, dodging the carcasses of
the slower ones, it got light. It rained all the way to Nevada, then
cleared up at Mesquite for the rest of the way.

The good news is, we made it. We meant to stop out in the California Desert
tonight, then drive the rest of the way to Temecula in a short day tomorrow.
But guess what! It's Friday night! California desert camping is full! We
drove the rest of the way to Pachanga, where we're staying for a few days.
Indian casino. Alpha rally. Dolphin rally. Decorate your motorhome for
Halloween contest. Busy place.

So here we are in Southern California. White air, burning lungs, massive
traffic, and amazing driving tricks (theirs, not ours). Dangerous work, but
we do our best to be the steadiest, most boring, most predictable, moving
slalom gate marker in the middle lane. Twelve hours, six hundred miles.

Got a run in the desert at lunch. What could be better than a run at eighty
degrees in the desert? A run at ninety degrees in the desert. I didn't get
either, but I did get seventy degrees, and one very long perfectly straight,
slightly uphill road. The only turn was when I turned around to go back.

We have more internet connection options than we can possibly use. The
satellite hookup and phone modem are both working, and a free WiFi signal
from the park. The GPS is not working on our satellite dish, but we always
know our latitude and longitude from the navigation software, so I type that
in for the satellite dish and up it goes.

This afternoon's crock-pot torture was flank steak with onions, potatoes,
and carrots.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


You knew we were driving west. You knew we had to send this picture.



A two state day. Colorado and Utah. Lunch at the Rifle rest stop. That's
where Judy initiated the afternoon crock-pot torture. She started the
teriyaki chicken. Chicken, teriyaki sauce, and pineapple. Cooked all
afternoon while we drove. I was ready for dinner by the time we stopped in
Richfield. Mild weather. Supposed to rain tomorrow.


Aren't children something else? Sometimes they just fall asleep in your
arms while you're holding them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Time to head for California. It doesn't feel like we know much from here.
We'll go see if it seems like we know any more from there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Our view through the windshield in Montrose.

Our windshield has a name. We call it Imax.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


We are such birders. The more we bird, the more we listen. If there isn't
much going on, listening gives us clues on which way to look if something
does make a noise. If we happen to recognize a call, we know something
about where to look, more than just which way to look. If there are
multiple calls, it's fun to see how many we can recognize. Unless we
recognize something unusual, we'll tend to focus on the calls we don't
recognize and try to spot them. Even without specifically memorizing
calls, we recognize quite a few now. The more times we connect a call to a
bird, the more likely we are to recognize the call the next time we hear it.

We were watching birds at a pond in New Mexico in the summer, to a
background of bird sounds we recognized, when we heard it. A familiar
sound. So familiar, but we couldn't quite put a name to it. A high-pitched
kind of chirping, a chipping noise. What bird makes that sound? We
couldn't call it. It was so distracting. Here were all these great birds
to watch in the pond, and there was this repetitious chipping calling noise
from behind us. But there was nothing behind us, an empty field with a few
scrubby bushes and trees in the background. Birds of prey make a
surprisingly light, repetitious call. Not a deep manly call you'd expect
from a bird that kills and eats things. Reminiscent of a bird of prey, but
that's not it.

Smaller birds, warblers, make a chipping sound, but this was too robust to
be a small bird. It was something very familiar. Something large. We had
met an experienced birder while we were there, he was helping us identify
birds in the pond, but he was no help with the mystery sound. Painfully
familiar, but he couldn't call it either. He was puzzled too. We hear it,
we look, it stops, we look back at the pond, it starts again.

And so it goes, until Judy figures it out. With the resounding sound of a
self-administered slap to the forehead, Judy figures it out. It was not a
bird, it was a prairie dog. The empty field behind us was not empty. There
were dirt clods in it. Little dirt clods, about half the size of Annie,
indistinguishable from the dirt around them, that dig holes, scurry about,
chirp to signal danger, then dive in their holes. Such a familiar sound,
that chirping. They're all over Colorado. We've lived with them for thirty

We are such birders.


Football. What a stupid game. Why would anyone schedule their whole day
around being in front of the television in time to watch an afternoon game?

Oh, and the Broncos lost 24 to 23.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


We found it! We found it! We found it!

We found the reel to my four-weight rod. We had put some fishing stuff we
weren't using in the Louisville shed, and accidentally put the reel there
too. So nice to have it back. Now, what was that other thing I was looking
for? .......

A pin for the tow gear?

My head?


Now we're back at Dakota Ridge in Golden, closer to Matt and family. We'll
all gather at Becky's on Sunday to watch the Broncos beat somebody, then go
back to work on Monday. I'll hang out at the office for a while. First,
I'll get my keyboard fixed again, some of the key tops dance around while I
type. They didn't suffer a trampling by the pets this time, they seem to be
going loose of their own accord.


This guy writes all about bicycling. I'm not really interested in
bicycling, but I find myself reading this guy's blog, on and on. Guess I
just like the way he writes.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Front range report. Drove back to the front range on Tuesday, checked out
Tiger Run in Breckenridge, but drove down to Dakota Ridge in Golden to spend
the night so we would miss the high country snowstorm. No snow in Golden.
Got the rain. We want to be on the north side for a few days to be close to
Becky and Brian and kids. Moved from Golden to Johnson's Corner outside
Loveland, via Fort Lupton to get an emergency patch done on our hydro-hot
furnace. Caesar took good care of us and we have heat again. The
campground at Johnson's corner is old, so it is nice and shady, the trees
have been there a long time, but it's a little small for us. This camp was
built before motorhomes were forty feet long and had slides. A pretty spot,
but back-to-back sites, and not enough room for us to maneuver in and out.
One night there. Today we moved to the Boulder County Fairgrounds in
Longmont. No fairs going on right now. Not a fancy place, but fifty amp
hookups and a dump station onsite. Tomorrow night we get to baby-sit all
the kids while Becky and Brian go out for a quiet dinner. We're hoping
they'll come back after.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


When we were in Montrose a week ago, we traded in the Jeep and the Honda for
a new Jeep. They couldn't get the tow gear for the new Jeep in time, so we
left, driving separately, for the job in Cortez. After the job in Cortez,
we could drive back to Montrose and give the Jeep back to the dealer for one
more day while they put the tow gear on the front. From Montrose we got to
drive off together, towing the Jeep, back to the front range.

We thought we knew what our schedule looked like for the next couple months,
but things change. We'll go hug the kids for a few days and decide when and
how to get Judy out to California with her mom. She could just fly out
there and leave me here, but that's not how we usually do things.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Got some bad news today. What we know so far: Judy's mom has advanced
breast cancer. No treatment options. Full-time care. Maybe four months.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


We still decorate for every holiday.


Back over Lizardhead Pass. What a difference a few days makes.


This is the longest lasting fall we've ever been through. It's not like
they haven't been having fall here for the last thirty-five years, we've
just never done it like this. We always mean to get up to the high country
for a drive to see the fall colors. Some years we never get to it at all
and miss it entirely. This year we've been wallowing in it for six weeks
and it's still going on, and on, and on. Fall is gone from the highest
country, but a little change in elevation takes care of that.


From all over the Montezuma Valley, you can see the Sleeping Ute.


I love this old cottonwood. We got to watch it start turning color but we
don't get to watch it finish. Time to move on. Back to Montrose for a
couple days.


The morning sun makes a difference.


Sunsets in Cortez light up the mountains between there and Durango.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Next victim for the Denver Broncos? New England. Too bad. Defending
Superbowl champions and all. Too bad they have to fly all the way to Denver
and get beat.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Motorhoming is about trade-offs. You move from the house to a motorhome,
you get less space, but you get space that moves, a fair trade. Move from
one motorhome to another, and things change. Even when the new motorhome is
newer and nicer, there are still trade-offs. Moving from the Bounder to the
Beaver was an easy decision, but it was hard to let go of the bedroom window
I like so much. The Bounder had it, the Beaver doesn't.

At night, I could reach up and turn the crank. The louvered windows opened
right above our heads. When it got too cold, I barely had to wake up to
reach up for the crank and squeeze it shut. The new motorhome has no window
right over our heads. It has windows within reach, on each side, but none
right over our heads. I had to just suck it up and do without.

Now the weather is getting colder, ...... and we're not. No cold air
falling down onto our heads. No draft from the louvers. Now I remember
what it was like when it got really cold, ice on the inside of the window
over our heads, wet pillows by morning. Stuff a towel up between the shade
and the window, take the towel out and dry it out during the day.

I think I've gotten over not having that window I liked so much.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


First frost. Thirty-one degrees last night. The storm has passed.
Brilliant blue morning with frost on the shady side of everything. First
the bottom drops out on a clear night, then the temperature recovers over
the next several days. We'll be sunny and seventy by the end of the week.

Monday, October 10, 2005


From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 9:16 PM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: cortez

The consolidation continues. Two cars, the Accord and the Jeep, become one.

Sunday, October 9, 2005


Timing is on our side tonight. Sitting here on the western slope, a little
rain off and on, watching the winter storm warnings for the front-range on
the television. We're not on the front-range. Of course we'll have to
drive our motorhome in the snow sooner or later. Later would be just fine.
We'll be happy if that's where the winter storm stays, on the television.


We watched the eagles dance.

Mesa Verde National Park, high on a ridge, standing leafless trees. Four
golden eagles swirling, high overhead, riding the standing wave, folding and
falling from the sky to tumble with each other or flare out and land on the
tree, launching again, soaring on the currents to rejoin the others. Over
and over.


The drive over Lizardhead Pass to Cortez. Fall just goes on and on. With
the elevation range, from five thousand feet to fourteen thousand feet, it
doesn't all happen at once.

Stands of aspen on the hillsides, narrowleaf cottonwoods along the streams.
Classic southwestern Colorado.


Broncos Football Sunday. I don't know why the other team even bothers to
show up, the Broncos are so good. Nobody can run against that defensive
line, and if the Broncos could find some way to keep Lenny Walls on the
bench they wouldn't even complete a pass, or get an interference call.

Go Broncos. Superbowl.


21 to 19, Broncos. Those Redskins never had a chance.

Saturday, October 8, 2005


On overview of the campground below. That's us, tucked way in the back, the
stream winding behind. The Uncompahgre. It flows north to meet the
Gunnison. Catch and release water, flies and lures only, downstream from a
dam. Good combination.


The view from the top, looking out to the south.


See that little hill at the south end of the campground? That became my
daily challenge. Run over to it, then up it a little farther each day,
without hurting my knee. Careful and conservative. Not running downhill at
all since that's what hurt my knee in the first place a year ago. See the
switchbacks in the closer view? One additional switchback each day, then
hike the rest of the way to the top.

The first time I ran to the top without stopping it felt so good I couldn't
stop there at the flat part, I just had to continue on the trail across the
mesa overlooking the lake, past the bluebirds, living in a place surrounded
by bluebirds just feels right, until the trail started to descend on the
other side. Careful and conservative. No running downhill. Turn around
and walk back. I'm being as nice to my knee as it is being to me.

Western colorado

And this giant valley, it's a collapsed salt dome. The salt eroded away,
the whole valley floor fell, surrounded by mountains.

Western colorado

Outside Uravan, the remains of the hanging flume, a canal built in the 1880s
to deliver water to the mining operations. The last five miles of the canal
were built right along the cliff face.

Western colorado

On that scenic loop, we drove on the Divide Road, overlooking Unaweep


Got a lot of work done. I haven't been this caught up in months. Some
fishing, a soak in the hot springs, some trail running/walking, a drive to
Grand Junction for business then back by the scenic route, highway 141
through rarely traveled, seldom seen far Western Colorado, a cross between
Colorado high country and Utah desert and canyons. It has been a good week.
I'm not ready to let it go, but it is time to move on. Cortez on the
horizon. A week there. I don't think that's going to be enough. Another
new job. Diane is on her way out from the Denver office to meet me there
and help me through it. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005


This motorhome is very slow to change temperatures. It takes a half hour to
heat up in the morning to 70 degrees from our sleeping temperature of 60.
It doesn't cool off very fast at night either. We've still run the air
conditioner every night to get back down to sleeping temperature again, even
with the bedroom windows open.

Tonight is the first night we've had the heater on in the evening.


A cloudy blustery day at seventy degrees, suddenly dropped into the forties
when the cold front hit and settled into a cool rainy evening.

Monday, October 3, 2005


Suddenly the birding got really productive. All the usual suspects, plus
evening grosbeak, we finally got the evening grosbeak, plumbeous vireo,
warbling vireo, ruby crowned kinglet, and townsend's solitaire. Three of
these are new birds for us. A golden eagle cruised past with a rodent in
its talons and landed on a nest on the cliff across from us. Now we know
where to look to check if he's there each day. The osprey continues to work
the stream with some success.


Current working conditions. A chance to catch-up the unfinished jobs. A
chance to look ahead.

Sunday, October 2, 2005


A lazy Sunday morning. Coffee. Sunshine. Birds. Waiting to watch the
Bronco game. We'll just chalk this one up as a win now. The Broncos were
so good on Monday Night Football, I don't think any other team in football
can beat them. I see a Superbowl win on the horizon.


Now we're going to have to make-do here.

Okay. I can do that.

Saturday, October 1, 2005


Darn it! Darn it! Darn it!

The job on the Crystal River by Redstone is done. We have to move on.

Issues with the data dish. I can always find the satellite, but I can't
always get the satellite to give me permission to log on. The satellite
just gets in these moods. Not much you can do with a moody satellite.

The fallback is to send and receive occasionally with the cellphone when we
have cellphone reception. Pursuing alternatives. Communications may be
spotty for a week or so.