Sunday, April 30, 2006

Las Cruces

South from Cortez, past Ute Mountain, past Shiprock, through the Navajo Nation, to Gallup. East on Interstate 40 to Gallup, Grants, Casa Blanca, and cut across to Los Lunas. South on Interstate 25 through Socorro and Elephant Butte. Stopped for the night at Las Cruces.

It was cloudy when we got here. I took a picture of the cloud.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Along the way

For brother Tom.


A morning meeting with the client and we’re off. We’re headed south east, so which direction to go? West. A three state day. Colorado, Utah, Colorado. With the driving loop out through Utah, we didn’t have to go over any mountain passes at all. We started the day working in Glenwood Springs, cruised through cool-car-week in Moab, and ended the day in Cortez.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Along the way

Black Canyon of the Gunnison


No juniper titmouse in Ridgway. No juniper titmouse in Glenwood. We can just keep it in the bank though. We’ve got the slam-dunk juniper titmouse place in reserve. It’s in Utah. I found it on the internet. Can’t miss.

Here is the camp spot in Glenwood. It’s called Rock Garden.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006



But enough of Ridgway. We’ve moved on. Now we’re in the Rock Gardens RV Park on the Colorado River at the No-Name exit, right outside Glenwood Springs and just inside Glenwood Canyon. Finished up a job in Carbondale today. Start a job in Glenwood tomorrow.


Work, birding, hot springs, a left turn down the dirt road to the Adobe Inn Mexican Food and Lodging(for Mexican food), campfire, stars, and…..

A new Bird. A new Bird! Blue Grouse. And a fine looking blue grouse he is.

It was a very good weekend.


The birding is good, we have golden eagles flying up and down the canyon to their nest on the cliff, Osprey, the swallows are back, downy woodpecker, red-naped sapsucker, white breasted nuthatch, spotted towhee, and black capped chickadee. And know what else???? We’re back into pinon/juniper. Pinon/juniper. That means….. the juniper titmouse. They’re not plentiful here, but there is always the possibility of a juniper titmouse.


It's a strange drive when you can see more scenery out the sunroof than out the windshield.

Monday, April 24, 2006


A yummy squirrel lunch.

Along the way

Headwaters of the Rio Grande.


Creede is done. We’ve moved on. Next job is in Glenwood Springs. With that in mind, we drove out of town on Highway 149, over Willow Creek Pass and the Continental Divide, Slumgullion Pass, and the looong winding downhill to Lake City. Second gear, engine brake, twenty-five miles per hour; except when that wasn’t enough, and we did first gear, engine brake, fifteen miles per hour. It takes a lot of thought and practice to get this driving downhill part right. We did better this time than we did going over Wolf Creek a couple weeks ago. I used the service brakes too much and made them smell before we got to the bottom. I don’t like making the brakes stink. I don’t want to deal with what comes after that.

Before we left, Brother Bill stopped by for a visit. He’s on his way to a conference in Santa Fe and was able to make his path cross ours.

From Lake City, it was still a long way down to Highway 50 to Gunnison, Blue Mesa Reservoir, and over the hump to Montrose.

So here we are at Ridgway State Park, halfway to Glenwood Springs. We’ll spend the weekend here, one of our favorite places to be. It is not low-elevation, 6,700 feet, but it is considerably lower and warmer than Creede. The days were warm and lovely at Creede, but starting from fourteen degrees, it took a while to get back up to warm and lovely again each day.

Here, with a low in the forties, we can even be out comfortably after sundown to watch the stars. Daytime temperatures in the seventies turns any wind into a non-factor. It’s not cold, even if there is a breeze.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


The view from the sunroof.


The canyon right behind Creede.

Friday, April 21, 2006


The campground view, fore and aft.


My favorite "beware of the dog" sign.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


A week in Creede. A five mile commute from the campground to the town. If you pass a car on the way there, you both wave. Elevation 8,800 feet. Population 400 in the winter, 5,000 in the summer. We've never been here in the summer when it's busy.

The view looking both ways on main street at rush hour.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


We left Cortez, Mesa Verde, pinon/juniper forests. Now we’re back in the high country. Spruce/fir, aspen, ponderosa pine; a little higher, tundra. Rio Grande River running right through the camp. This isn’t the big Rio Grande. This is the one a good running leap from the bank would get you about halfway across. Blue sky, nighttime weather in the twenties. Creede Colorado. We’re in the campground five miles out of town.

We don't get any internet out at the campground, but we did find a WiFi signal in town, for the first time ever in Creede. We can't use the internet in the evenings, but I can send and receive when I get in to work each day.

The town of Creede is tucked right up into the mouth of a vertical rock walled canyon. Here is the approach to town from out in the valley.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


One last sunset in Cortez.

Mesa verde

One last loop through mesa verde.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


It has been soo nice here in Cortez, seventy and sunny. We stayed as long as we could. Tomorrow we leave for Creede, the most spectacular place we visit every year.

Here, Bernie comes by every day and takes Annie for a ride in the cart.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Scouring the pinon juniper for the elusive juniper titmouse.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Along the way


Our view of Mesa Verde.

Along the way


The evolution of the favorite cottonwood tree in the campground. From midday sun, to evening moonrise.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good news

on the medical front. No more blood in the urine. No way to confirm, but I probably just had a small kidney stone and passed it unassisted. Probably all clear for now.

Along the way


When my computer died a few weeks ago, we decided the replacement should be an upgrade. We went with a widescreen and a flat screen next to it. Our work involves using two programs simultaneously. Side by side screens makes perfect sense. It takes a few more minutes to carry in and set up, but when I'm working now, I have all the information I need right in front of me. I find I don't even carry the printer in to the job site any more.

The fieldwork on my jobs seems to be going faster. The evidence is only anecdotal, but it's looking like this was a good investment.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mexican food

Screaming steaming flaming fajitas for two. Steak, chicken, shrimp, onions, peppers, mushrooms, sautéed, sizzling on a plate, brought to the table, then lit on fire for the grand presentation….. and a grand presentation it was. Flames a foot high. It got everyone’s attention in the restaurant.

The flames went out after fifteen seconds. The smoke alarm stopped screaming after about two minutes.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Good start on the job in Cortez. New client. Indian cultural center.

Not a bad view from the campground. Cortez is to our rear. Out the left windows, we see the snow covered San Juans north of Durango in the distance. Out the front, we look up at the plateaus of Mesa Verde National Monument. Out the right windows we have the silhouette of the Sleeping Ute.

We’ve made a couple forays out through the pinyon/juniper forests in search of the juniper titmouse. Nothing yet. Drove into the monument today for some good cliff dwelling views and white throated swifts swirling in the canyons. Watched packs of ravens riding the rollercoaster updrafts off the cliff faces, bursting up in a group from below the edge, then folding their wings to fall back below the forest and cliff edge until the next ride. It looks fun to be a raven.

We like it here.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Plans, what plans?

We wouldn’t have left Friday morning even if the rig had been ready. The weather was too rough. Woke up to rain, with snow and high winds to the west, east, and south of us; and we don’t want to go north. Blue sky in the afternoon, coach done by six, we’re out of there by seven. We didn’t really want to wake up in their parking lot again, so we left. Did the big bend to the east around Denver on the 470 loop. Stopped for the night just south of Colorado Springs; a good start.

Driving south on I-25 Saturday morning, we discovered it was blue sky all across Southern Colorado, and the weather permitted a drive west at Walsenburg on highway 160, over La Veta Pass, through Alamosa, Monte Vista, South Fork, over Wolf Creek Pass, through Pagosa Springs, Durango, and into Cortez. All in one day. No big loop south through New Mexico at all. Clear roads all the way.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Plans change

We woke up in a parking lot this morning. Funny the places you’ll wake up when you get a little drunk the night before.

Okay. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know we stayed here on purpose at the Freightliner shop to get a couple things fixed. How hard could that be? Well..... two things to fix requires three parts, none of which were in stock today. We’re in the parking lot again tonight. They have all three parts, all from different places, on the way, air freight, and they’ll be here by mid-day tomorrow.

After that, we’ll be on our way to Cortez. We won’t make it there in one day of course. It’s a two day drive to get there, but no problem. We’ll still have that half-day cushion…… won’t we?

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Plans change

We finished the Bailey job, so we decided to go out to Pawnee Grasslands Thursday and Friday, and get the chestnut collared longspur. But they’re burning patches of the grasslands over the weekend, so that wouldn’t be a good place to stay. We decided to leave early for Cortez, go straight across the high country, spend the night in Grand Junction, and get some work done on the motorhome Friday at a truck place we like there. We want them to look at the dash air and the exhaust brake. A Freightliner shop can do that. Then, since we’re not going out on the Colorado plains to get the longspur, we could loop out through Utah on the way south to Cortez and pick up the juniper titmouse.

But there is a winter storm going on in the high country, so no going west. No Utah. No juniper titmouse.

Plan C. We’re in the parking lot of a Freightliner repair place out north of Denver just off I-25, plugged into electricity. Tomorrow morning, they start on our coach at 6:45. I’m sure they’ll be done early, After all, how hard could it be to fix the dash air and check the exhaust brake? I figure we’ll be out of here by noon.

Then, we’ll go south over Raton while the weather is good, loop around through Santa Fe, and back up to Cortez. We’ll go to Cortez without going west through the mountains. Drive Friday, and Saturday, and have all day Sunday in Cortez, before we start work there Monday. That’s tonight’s plan, anyway.

Monday, April 3, 2006


I love that drive, I love that drive.

It’s a slow scenic four miles to get out of the park. The speed picks up when we get on the C470 freeway to head west then north to Hwy 285. That’s where we turn into the mountains. Highway 285 is modern four-lane all the way to Conifer. Through the hogback, then the narrow winding canyon section, past Tiny Town, Windy Point, and the Meyer Ranch Open Space. Past Aspen Park, and Conifer, traveling against any traffic. Commuters live in the mountains and drive to Denver in the morning. After Conifer it gets even better. The road reverts to the older two lane highway. It gets a little rougher. It gets a little slower. Past the Black Mountain Inn, the house that looks like a castle, Shaffer’s Crossing, and Pine Junction. Past the twin traffic lights of Deer Creek, to the top of Crow Hill, then two miles of seven percent downhill to a hard right turn, directly into the middle of Bailey. Forty miles, the first ten, driving next to the mountains looking at them, the next thirty driving through them. What a ride!

A good morning at work, a trailhead into Lost Creek Wilderness Area for lunch, and a good afternoon at work. Then I got to see the backside of everything on the way home. And know what else? I get to do it again tomorrow!

It’s all good.

Sunday, April 2, 2006


A short drive, a short day. From Colorado Springs to Littleton, Colorado. Arrived at Chatfield State Park by lunch. We arrive on a Sunday. We’re setting up while everyone else is leaving. We’ll be gone before the next weekend rush.

Tomorrow, the commute to the mountain town of Bailey. We wouldn’t normally stay forty miles away from a job, but no choice. No RV parks in the little town of Bailey.


We got thrashed. Every morning at the campground in Silver City.

By its name, you might think that a singing thrasher would produce a harsh sound, but not so. A thrasher sings the sweetest song, sung to us with great enthusiasm every morning while we were there.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Colorado springs

Woke up to a pack of chubby gamble quail pecking their way through the bird seed I’d spread the night before. An early leaving, and a nicely uneventful day driving. Stopped at Garden of the Gods Campground, and met up with Becky, Brian and Kids after dinner.

Yesterday, when we figured out we would be passing through Colorado Springs while they were here, we called and asked if we should join them or not, considering that this was a family spring break trip for them. They put it to a family vote and called us back. The vote, from this family of six, came out 6 to 1 in favor. 6 to 1? They voted yeas and nays. Conner, the one-and-a-half year old, voted both.

Tomorrow, we all get to meet up for a day at the zoo.

Colorado springs

It was a good day at the zoo.