Monday, June 30, 2008

Grandparent's revenge

Remember how you were sick all the time when you had little kids? It happens when they get to school age. Those rotten little buggers go hang around a bunch of other unsanitary rotten little buggers who are sick and they bring every virus on the planet home to you! You can’t help but get sick all the time.

We, Judy and I, are so far beyond that. We hang out with a bunch of responsible adults all winter. We can go so long without getting sick that we forget when the last time was. So, after not being sick for years, we show up to visit the grandkids; watching for signs of sickness. None. We’re in the clear.

Then, from out of nowhere, both Judy and I get sick. Head cold. Fever. Sore throat. Cough. Exploding sinuses. Totally charming. Know what? Not a sick kid to be found. No-one to blame it one. Have to figure out another angle, and here it is. Grandparent’s revenge. We’re going to be the rotten buggers and leave our germs all over both our kids houses. We’ll be long gone and totally well while they struggle through what we’ve done to them before they could do it to us.

If it really were Grandparent’s Revenge that’s how it would be. The problem with that theory though, is that no-one else is sick. I am slowly getting better. Judy is slowly getting worse. We took her to a clinic today and asked if they could please either cure her or shoot her. Her cold appears to have degenerated into a sinus infection and bronchitis, something they can treat, so they chose to start with drugs instead of the gun. We’re still open to either option though.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

St vrain state park

A strange morning. It was cloudy. It’s always sunny in the morning then clouds up for the afternoon. Red winged and yellow headed blackbirds, grackles, brown headed cowbirds, and finches on the feeder. Horned larks, lark sparrows, and doves in the grass underneath. Sandpipers piping from both sides of the pond. Orioles in the bushes at the edge. Geese and pelicans in the water. Herons and egrets at the edge. Robins, kingbirds, and killdeer in the fields. Swallows flying through. The kingfisher rattles a strafing run across the water. The osprey lurks. It’s a busy place here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

St vrain state park

We really like it here at St Vrain State Park. It’s not like a fancy RV “Resort” though. The location is handy, but it’s a little close to the freeway. If there is no breeze, or the breeze is from the east, you can hear the freeway. That’s better than if the wind is from the north. With a north wind we get to savor the intoxicating bouquet of Greely stockyards thirty-five miles north of us. If there is wind from the south or west, the prevailing direction though, all that other stuff goes away.

This camping loop is so new; it’s a work-in-progress. And good news for us, we’re told they’ve gotten the funding to pave the dusty dirt access roads this fall. We’ll like this place even better then.

All things considered, it’s hard to beat this front-yard view.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Of course there are other grosbeaks. We’ve snapped a few photos of black-headed and rose-breasted in Colorado, Arizona, and Texas. We’ve seen the crimson-collared, a rarity in North America, but didn’t get a decent photo of him.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The blue grosbeak came to visit us in Texas during the migration. In Colorado we got evening grosbeaks. The evening grosbeaks were not worn out from flying across the gulf, so it was harder to get a clear picture.

Monday, June 23, 2008

St Vrain State Park

Gone from Matt’s house. We’re back at St Vrain State Park. One more week here and we’ll have worn out our welcome though (at the state park, hopefully not at Becky’s). There is a two-week limit each forty-five days at each state park.

Becky is picking Christie and the boys up from the airport tonight, so this week we’ll get to visit with even more family.

Wimbledon starts today (if you have the tennis channel). Network coverage starts on the weekend. We’re working on an A/V upgrade. The Video/DVD player/recorder setup never really worked very well. Couldn’t get it to record something while we weren’t here. We’re getting a DVR satellite box so we’ll have a little more control over what we watch when. Hopefully we can let the DVR just run, and pick the matches we want to watch as we go along. The early matches are interesting because you get a combination of familiar faces and people you would otherwise never see or hear of. We get to see more than the top four players.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Saw a coyote on the trail yesterday. Off on a grassy ridge. He was there for a moment, then gone. There aren’t a lot of different birds here, but there are more magpies than anywhere else we go. We sit outside and have this view through the native grass, pinon pine, juniper, pondersosa pine forest. It’s an open view; plenty of room for the striking black and white magpies to glide back a forth and gather to knurdle at each other. There is a nest in the middle of the small juniper in front of us. More scribbling calls of house wrens here than most places too. I passed a family group next to the trail in the forest; the young ones with their baby faces and tails so short they were almost nonexistent sticking straight up. I got seriously scolded by mom.

This is our first steady stream of hummingbirds this year. They like to fly next to the coach on their way to and from the feeder. It doesn’t matter if we’re outside or even if the awning is out. They buzz right up the length of the coach under the awning, sometimes making us duck. I can’t get past the image of a hummingbird dart stuck in my neck.

It has been a good week here with Matt and his kids. Lots of dinners together.

Friday, June 20, 2008

we're back

We’ve recovered from the involuntary email “upgrade”. Still at Chatfield. Still enjoying it. Been working on the website upgrade. New content. Client portals for a secure place to exchange information with clients. Intranet for exchanging information amongst ourselves. Maybe tie in the blog. Great plans. It hasn’t quite come together yet.

Spent the day at the office today getting some computer stuff fixed and having a visit. That was good. Spent the afternoon at Alex’s soccer game for five-year olds. (He’s almost five.)

We have a winner in the “name that grebe contest” and he didn’t even name it. He just suggested we “Take it to the grebeance committee.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tempory glitch

Got an involuntary email upgrade. Now I can send email from this account but can’t receive a thing. If it seems like I’m ignoring anyone……

Will keep you posted.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chatfield state park

This week’s morning coffee patio.

It’s nice here but not as birdy. A morning walk gets fifteen birds. At St Vrain State Park it gets thirty-five birds.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


It’s easy to tell the Western Grebe and the Clark’s Grebe apart. Just look in the bird book. The Western Grebe has a black cap that extends down below the eye. The Clark’s Grebe has a black cap that stops above the eye. The bird books have pictures and drawings. It’s so clear. If the eye is in the black, it’s Western. If the eye is in the white, it’s Clark’s.

Now. Reality. Which one is this???

Saturday, June 14, 2008


We relocated from the north side of Denver to the South side of Denver. Sixty miles. We’re at Chatfield State Park, close to Matt’s house, for a week.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Canada geese

One engine in the front, one in the rear.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We wonder about coal trains. They squeal and scream their way up and down Glenwood canyon. Easily ten or twelve a day. Sometimes that many in one night. A hundred cars. The usual configuration is two engines in the front, three in the middle, and one at the end.

We can imagine these great trains as two separate trains that happen to be traveling together; two engines pulling fifty cars with one engine helping from behind, then another two engines pulling fifty cars with one engine helping from behind. Why do they hook them together?

What is the efficiency that drives the train builders to attach those two trains into six engine configurations? Mechanical? Scheduling? Can’t figure it out.

Oh the mysteries of life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

St vrain state park

We left Glenwood Canyon Saturday morning; arrived at St Vrain State Park by lunch. It’s a convenient camp fifteen miles from Becky and Brian. Matt brought the boys up and we all met a Becky and Brian’s for a nice family afternoon and dinner.

This park has been here a long time. It was a county park before the state took it over. Altogether there are 87 camp sites sprinkled around about a dozen fishing ponds. Nice site separation. It’s close in to the Denver Metro area, so it gets a lot of weekend use; not so much during the week.

The old campsite section has mature trees and water and electric hookups for RVs. The state built a new camping section with full hookups; where we are this trip. They planted a few bushes, trees; and some grass. It’s going to be really nice when it grows up.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Glenwood canyon

It rained all last night. A cool misty morning this morning.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Glenwood canyon resort

Regardless of how a project looks when it’s done, we believe people generally have reasons for what they do. We don’t think people usually do things just so they’ll look stupid. Take this RV park; for example. There used to be a tent camping section up top, a trailer park at the mid level, and the camping loop down by the river. First they redid the top section several years ago so they could park some RVs up there and put in some park model cabins. Then they took out the trailer park on the mid level so they could put in some big rig sites. They got all the residents of the trailer park moved out. That took about a year because they gave them so much time to get relocated. Two of the trailers could be towed out. The rest got demolished onsite. During the next year, they knocked out any concrete and asphalt, bulldozed the space flat, marked out the sites, put in the utilities, and put in rocks and a few trees for landscaping. Now the big rig sites are open.

Utility hookups for RVs are always on the left side (at least in this country). They generally put them toward the rear of the motorhome, considering whether they mean for it to be a pull-in, back-in, or pull-through site. These are all back-in sites. They did put the hookups on the left of the coach, but then they put the electrical hookup at the rear wheel, the water hookup even with the front wheel, and the sewer hookup eighteen feet in front of that. It doesn’t matter how you align yourself in the site, it’s going to be a stretch to reach something. In our case, we don’t really have much leeway. We have to back all the way in or we’ll stick out the front of the site. The electrical hookup is in just the right place. We can reach the water spigot with one hose. The sewer hose.,.. no matter. We carry plenty.

Our challenge is to figure out what they were thinking when they laid this out, or what external forces conspired to wreck their plan.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Glenwood canyon resort

It’s on the side of a hill; entrance at the top, Colorado River at the bottom. On the other side of the river, the train track; a model train builder’s dream; train tracks winding along the river approaching a sheer cliff with tunnels.

A cool cloudy fifty degree day today with rain showers and a breeze blowing the pine siskins on and off the bird feeder like leaves in the fall. Just watched a news feature about the Independence Pass road finally opening today (instead of Memorial Day), amid thirty foot drifts while it snowed sideways on the reporter. There is such a common chant in Colorado about needing more rain in the summer and more snow in the winter. This has been a very good precipitation winter for Colorado.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Glenwood canyon resort

Here we get morning coffee and birds at the rear patio.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Glenwood Canyon Resort

It’s on the side of a hill; entrance at the top, Colorado River at the bottom. We’re parked on the mid level where the bigger rigs park. There is a lower level for camping too. What could be finer than pitching your tent next to the fire ring, then falling asleep to the background sound of the river gently flowing past your head.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Parting shot

One more Ridgway picture. Other streams are too fast and muddy to fish this time of year. This section of the Uncompahgre runs clear and clean. This water comes right from the bottom of the dam upstream. No messy snowmelt runoff here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Glenwood springs

High country springtime weather. High thirties at night with a forty degree swing to daytime highs. Ridgway was our decompression from the stress of southern California. Mild weather. Minimal people. Knockout scenery. A soak at Orvis Hot Springs. A walk up to the yurt. Side by side massages. Another soak. It worked. We’re ready to go again.

Now we’re on to Glenwood Springs. We’ll do the Aspen Center for Physics job mostly remote from here even though we’re within fifty miles of them. I’ll probably drive in for a live exit conference on Friday.