Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remember the Valkyrie?

The mid-engine V-8 kit-car Don McKee built and drove 20 years ago. It looked something like this:

That’s not a picture of his car. I don’t have any pictures from then. He drove his car hard on Autocross courses and a road course outside Aspen. Hard enough that the fiberglass rear-end caught on fire once from the heat. It has fallen into disrepair in the years since and hasn’t left the garage. Now it looks like this:

It hasn’t been forgotten, though. There is a new project underway. A Lincoln Mark VIII motor mounted to a custom racing transaxle, being prepped for installation.

Don is working on the tuned exhaust. The effort is to match the length and turns of each tube so each cylinder breathes the same as the others.

The orange tubes shown here are like Leggos.

They’re a bunch of interchangeable plastic pieces. Instead of trial and error, welding and discarding many different tubes until you get it right, you can play with plastic pieces, matching up lengths and radii, until it all works, then assemble and weld your own tubes just once.

That’s life at the McKees.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

It’s the yellow and red “Entrance Only” sign to get to the big-rig fuel pumps.

There are two ways to go in to the fuel island. If you go in this way, you get confirmation you’re doing it right. Problem is, if you go in the other way, nothing.

They put up a sign to direct traffic, but it has no effect on traffic. The only way you see the sign is if you’re already doing it right!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mountain Shadows Montessori

We have quite a history with this school. Becky was in the inaugural class when she was seven. It was held in the basement of a church in Boulder. We liked it then.

We still like it now. Now, all of Becky and Brian’s children have gone there. Teigan and Conner still do. That’s where we went for the school performances this year.

It’s come a long way over the years. Here is what the campus looks like now.

The inside and the scholastic approach are as nice as the outside. What a place to go to school!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Plavix Free!

A follow-up check-up with the cardiologist, almost a year after the last heart surgery. Doing great. He let me off the Plavix six weeks early! That was a great surprise. Drug-free again!

Exercise is good. I at least walk every day. Running is not fast or far, but I can run until my legs get tired, with no chest pain. Couldn’t ask for more than that!

Along the way…

Green tailed towhee, Wilson’s Phalarope with a Cinnamon Teal, and White-faced Ibis at Bosque del Apache

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Along the way.

Black throated sparrow, Black Phoebe, and a White-crowned Sparrow with a Pyrrhloxia at Bosque del Apache.

Monday, May 23, 2011



The road is gravel.

The path is paved.

A study just found Colorado to be the fittest state in the nation.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Longs Peak makes its first appearance from the clouds.

Henry visits his birth-family in Westminster. Mom, Dad, Sister, and the Golden Retriever. Annie was there to help.

It was a fun reunion.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another milestone

Granddaughter Taylor just graduated from High School.

Taylor with us:

With her mom:

With her friends:

With her boyfriend:

Back at Brian and Becky’s house,

a good time was had by all.

Rags the Cat stayed cool.

Friday, May 20, 2011


We’ve been freezing our asses off here at forty degrees! Mostly rain. Today, it cleared up. 60 degrees felt great.

Along the way, Bosque del Apache NWR, Gamble’s Quail.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Along the way

Painted Buntings at South Llano River State Park

The female is not quite as dramatic

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



To have a good big day you have to be really good, or you have to be really lucky.  Big day conditions aren’t an issue for Judy and me anymore.  We’ve left the coastal migration behind.  Jon however is still on the coast.  He went out by himself on a promising day.  He got both good and lucky.  The migration was monstrous.  The warblers were everywhere.  Our previous record from earlier this year, 207 birds.  The new record, 244 species of birds in one day.  244!



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Last week


We spent at Chatfield State Park with Matt, Lindsay, and the boys.  This week we’re at St Vrain State Park.  We’re here in Colorado for a busy time.  Judy has been wedding shoes shopping with Lindsay.  Matt and I have been fitted for tuxedos.  We’ve been to a Mother’s Day celebration, gymnastic practice, middle school scholastic awards, and rugby practice.  I’ve had blood drawn for the Berkley Blood Test.  We’ve taken the coach to RV Interiors to have it fitted for a new HD television.  I had a nice long phone interview with a potential client in Santa Fe (We got the job.).  Richard installed a new front door step for us to replace the one that rusted through and broke our last day at Gulf Waters.  Both dogs have been groomed.  Judy has been clothes shopping with Becky and Taylor.  The Jeep has had its 90,000 mile major service, and we’ve gotten the Hydrohot serviced.


Still to go, a middle school track meet, a couple school performances at Mountain Shadows Montessori, a high school graduation, a middle school graduation, and a visit with the cardiologist.  After that, we’ll watch the Indy 500.



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dammit Henry!


We leave the rig for a couple hours, walk back in the door, and find shredded paper strewn all across the floor.  That Henry.  He just can’t resist demolishing any kind of paper.


Wait a minute!  Henry is locked inside his wire crate.  The crate is wire because Henry ate the cloth crate and we had to replace it.  Wait another minute!  There is shredded paper all inside the crate as well.  What happened?  Did Henry escape, trash the house, then lock himself back in the crate?


We don’t think so.


Maybe it’s a conspiracy.  Maybe Annie let him out of the crate, cheered him on, then secured the door behind him.


We don’t think so.


We think it’s more likely Henry was set-up.  Annie planned and executed the whole incident and blamed it on Henry.  She got the paper and put it next to the cage within Henry’s reach.  Henry, helpless to resist, pulled it inside and ate it.  Annie planted the evidence all over the rest of the room.


Dammit Annie!



Thursday, May 12, 2011


Last Saturday. Lathrop State Park. Our last night out before we got back to the kids. Lathrop is another special place for us. About 8 years ago, Judy and I did an out-of-town job in Monte Vista together. There was a small nonprofit in Monte Vista that needed an audit, but there weren’t any CPAs in the neighborhood to do their work. We only worked in Denver at the time, but just to do something different, and to help out a small organization, we decided to travel there in the motorhome. We did the work together. It was fun. On the way home we were struck by the potential of what we had just done. Colorado has lots of small towns that are not near any large metro area. How many small nonprofit organizations are there that don’t have access to what we do?

We could do this on purpose. We could promote this as an extension of what we were already doing in Denver. We could move into the motorhome and travel to small towns all over Colorado if there were enough organizations that needed us. If we were already living in our motorhome, there really wouldn’t be much in the way of extra travel costs, so what we do would be affordable for the organizations that needed us. People work all their lives so they can do something fun and off-the-wall when they retire, like full-timing in a motorhome. We could go full-time *before * it was time to retire. It’s an easy day’s drive from Monte Vista back to Denver, but we got so excited talking about our new idea, we didn’t make it all the way home that day. We stopped early in the day at Lathrop State Park, to spend the rest of the day talking our way through all the possibilities. That was the day that launched our life on the road.

Oh, and the view there doesn’t suck.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Along the way

A Green-winged Teal. Trying to tie himself in a knot.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Henry Wins!


He won a Cute Pet Pic of the Month Contest.


http://www.jazilane.com/  You’ll have to scroll down.


The contest happened to be sponsored by the Breeder we bought him from, but I doubt that had anything to do with the outcome…


We entered Annie for May.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

We made it back to the Denver area in time to meet up with all our kids and grandkids at Matt’s house.

It was good.

And just in case you think it looked calm and quiet, here is a sound sampling.


Happy Mother’s Day all.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary to us

Forty-five years.  Already!  How does that happen?


Forty-five years and ten days ago I came home from Southeast Asia.  With ten day’s planning, Judy and I got married on a Saturday afternoon.  We left the wedding chapel, changed clothes, and headed off immediately for a week-long driving honeymoon.  Since I’d just gotten home from overseas, we didn’t really have any means except a little cash we’d saved up.  As a wedding present, Brother Tom provided us with his Ford Falcon for the week.  It was pretty new at the time.  That was a special treat.  Dad provided us with a gasoline credit card.  We were set.  No real plan.  No reservations.


By Saturday night we were in Santa Barbara for a big dinner and our first night out together.  We stopped at the Town and Country to see if they had a room, and what a nice surprise, they rented us a room, *and* gave us a complimentary upgrade to the Honeymoon Suite.  From there we headed up the coast on Highway 1, stopping at San Simeon, Big Sur, and a couple nights in Yosemite.  We crossed Tioga Pass, stopped at Bishop for a night and headed south on Highway 395.  We were back to Long Beach in time for the wedding reception at Mom and Dad’s house in Carroll Park, held a week after the wedding.  Fond memories.


We waited four years from the time we started dating until we thought we were old enough to get married.  That seemed like forever.  But at twenty and seventeen, it was finally time.  We started out our married life together on a trip and here we are all these years later, still going.  What a wonderful trip it has been.


Back then, we had prime rib for dinner.  Tonight, steak and lobster on the grill at the coach at Lathrop State Park.  Life’s a trip.



Friday, May 6, 2011

Las Vegas

New Mexico. The KOA. This is the right kind of KOA for us.

Sites carved into a gentle hillside.

Trails through the pinon/juniper forest.

Western Kingbirds.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We left the KOA in Carlsbad.

It wasn’t that hard to leave. A new park. Well designed. We ordered ribs from their restaurant and they delivered them to our door. We liked everything about it, except for the dust. We’ve been living dust-free for seven months. Now we’re dust-sissies.

Tonight we’re at Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park outside San Antonio, New Mexico.

It is just a big gravel/dirt lot, but any shortcomings in the park are immediately forgiven in favor of the Gamble’s Quail wandering about.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We did it. We did what we said we were going to do. We drove out of Texas! We’re at Carlsbad, NM KOA. It’s a nice KOA. They brought us dinner. There are Scaled Quail wandering about.

Here’s the campsite we left at South Llano River State Park.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



The 173rd Airborne Brigade Memorial Highway.  We take that every chance we get now.  It’s a nice two-lane backroad through the Hill Country and around San Antonio without a hint of traffic.  We ended the day at South Llano River State Park, right on schedule.  The park was closed until yesterday because of fire danger and smoke.  No damage to the park.  No trace of smoke.  It’s as charming as always.


Got Common Poorwills calling tonight.  That’s a warm summer evening’s bird.



Monday, May 2, 2011

On the road again


We weren’t anxious to leave the beach, but it was time, so we drove down to Sandpipers outside Edinburg.  We thought it might be too hot in the Valley this time of year, it’s in the 90s, but the temperature wasn’t an issue.  It’s so easy to be there.  We weren’t anxious to leave, but here we are in Choke Canyon State Park.


Here is our planned route to Colorado.




I just love maps.  I just love driving this motorhome too.  Lots of wind today.  Didn’t matter.  This thing is a dream to drive.


The route is day-to-day, subject to change.  West Texas is on fire right now.  We’re hoping they get it put out before we get there.  We’ll take alternate routes as required.



Sunday, May 1, 2011



Henry ate a tube of Neosporin.  We don’t expect any problems from it though.  The cardboard he ate earlier ought to soak up most of it.  We got the Tic Tac container away from him before he was able to get it into small enough pieces to swallow.  When he ate the Bluetooth for Judy’s phone, he spit out the battery, so no problem there either.  It’s always worth a glance at his poop to see if there is anything there we recognize and didn’t know we were missing.


All packed up and ready to hit the road tomorrow!