Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You're invited


Matt and Lindsay are getting married on Saturday, September 3rd at 6:00pm.  For those not attending, the wedding will be streamed live by the Event Facility, Lionsgate.  It will be at  It will only work on Windows machines running XP or Vista though.  They’ll be at Services/Gatehouse.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011


A thunderhead working its way out across the Eastern Plains.

That’s a powerful cloud.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Maybe we should get a little houseboat when we grow up.

Or maybe a Pirate Ship.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Along the way - followup

I should have had something clever, or at least interesting, to say about the big rock/mud/dirt clumps outside the rest stop in Southeastern Colorado, but alas……

I just sent out the picture.

Well, lucky for us, some of the people we sent those pictures to had something clever/interesting to say about them.

Sue suggests they’re dinosaur poo. That’s pretty good. Colorado has a rich dinosaur history. Thank you Sue.

Jacob responds with a narrative: “Meanwhile, the aliens were puzzled. They were sure that human technology was incapable of detecting them and yet this human kept taking pictures of their craft.” I’m a great fan of space alien theories. Thank you Jacob.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Along the way

A Colorado rest stop. Interesting rock/mud/dirt formations out in Southeastern Colorado.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ring-necked pheasants

We don’t see enough Ring-necked Pheasants. They’re out on the eastern plains, and we saw a few while we were driving (We’re back at Chatfield by Matt’s house now.), but the best looks we’ve gotten lately were at Bosque del Apache on our way up this spring:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



Do we think sunflowers are smart?  While it's dark, do they turn back toward the next day's sun in anticipation?  The answer seems to be Yes!  And more….  Check out Karen Mulholland's response.



From: Karen Mulholland
Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2011 10:41 AM
To: Steve Taylor
Subject: Re: I wonder


The sunflowers turn back during the night. . .  however this only occurs during the first part of the season. . . as the seeds form, they stay facing east with heads slightly down so the birds cannot eat them. . . if they follow the sun, the birds can sit on them and eat away, but facing slightly down, the birds cannot get to them. . . if too far down, they can sit on the stem and peck away. . . just the right amount of tilt.  We live in sunflower country. . . this county grew 50 million dollars worth of sunflower seed last year. . . (Not culinary seeds but seeds for the guys that grow culinary seeds. . . mainly the midwest like south dakota, kansas etc.)  Very intelligent little suckers!!! 

--- On Sun, 8/14/11, Steve Taylor <> wrote:

From: Steve Taylor <>
Subject: I wonder
To: "Bill Taylor (Bill Taylor)" <>, "David Taylor (David Taylor)" <>, "Tom Taylor (Tom Taylor)" <>
Date: Sunday, August 14, 2011, 8:40 PM


I wonder if some things we don't think of as related really are. 




Have you ever watched a field of sunflowers?  The flower heads turn to follow the sun.  By evening they are all pointed west.  On Saturday morning we went birding and drove past a field of sunflowers before the sun had hit it yet.  All the flower heads were pointed east.  So I wonder: Do sunflowers anticipate?  When the day is done and they're all pointed west, do they remember that the sun is going to come up in the east the next morning, so turn themselves overnight to be ready for it?  Or do they spend the night pointed west, then discover at sunrise the next day that the sun is in the east and they need to turn to meet it?


I wonder.




Monday, August 22, 2011

Bonny Lake State Park

We love this place. We love it, but there are two reasons we don’t come here more often. In the summer, it’s hot. Way out in Eastern Colorado, it’s triple digits. The other reason is that it’s hard to get to. We don’t mind driving for several hours to get here, but once you leave the highway, you have to get down a 3 ½ mile washboard dirt county road to get here. It’s an okay road in a car, but it’s a pounding 5 to 10 mph drive in a motorhome.

Once you make it to the gate though, the roads are paved again. All the access roads and campsites at Wagon Wheel campground are paved. Even though it’s still hot now, it’s shoulder season already. There is hardly anyone else here; no-one else in our loop.

The water is lower now than it was before. We took a walk and found where the marina used to be. Years ago we rented a pontoon boat in this little cove with Skip and Connie, and paddled our big yellow Prijon kayak back and forth across the inlet too.

And they have Red-headed Woodpeckers.

But it’s a bittersweet return to Bonny Lake. When we checked in, we found out the State Park is closing in October. Budget cuts. We’re having our last visit here ever.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado


What could be better than driving through Southeastern Wyoming?  Rolling hills of native prairie grass, only occasionally interrupted by farms and fields.  Cottonwood river-bottom forests in the low points.  The Laramie River.  Pronghorn, historic windmills, and endless blue sky.  Eastern Wyoming isn’t in-your-face, like Yellowstone in the other corner of the state, but it is wild and free and oh so open.


It was only 20 miles north on Interstate 25 before the right turn on highway 26.  Southeast into the sun the rest of the morning.  At Guernsey, the North Platte still flowing full.  Fort Laramie.  Fort Laramie is not in Laramie, it is east of Cheyenne on the Laramie River.  The Oregon Trail.  Register Rock, a 100 foot high outcropping.  Thousands of pioneers camped here and inscribed their names on the sandstone, dating as far back as the 1820s.  Historically significant artifacts now.  A graffiti rock, then.


Prairie grass going from green to gold.  The motorhome doing well for a heart-transplant patient.  Slow moving coal trains on sweeping railroad track turns.  The picturebook small town of Lingle.  Torrington, a big city by comparison.


At the Nebraska state line, the town of Henry, population 145.  Morrill, Nebraska, a shiny silver diner.  Scottsbluff.  Chimney rock.  A right turn at Oshkosh to head south back into Colorado.  Dryland corn.  Dryland corn sure looks different from irrigated corn.  Fields of sunflowers, and finally, Bonny Lake State Park.  A very nice campsite, and Red-headed Woodpeckers.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

We did it!

We broke the gravitational pull of the Denver Repair Shop. We blasted out of orbit and landed 140 miles north in Wheatland, Wyoming.

Nice visit with Bill and Marge (of course). The farm looks the same.

It always feels good.

Tomorrow, more miles. A little farther north, then southeast through Nebraska (Scottsbluff and such), then south, back into Colorado, through Julesburg, Holyoke, and Wray, to stop at Bonny Lake State Park for the night.

The new motor is running strong, but with an intermittent shudder at cruising speed. I don’t think the engine and transmission are communicating as well as they should. I suspect we’re just missing a downshift point and lugging a bit on slight inclines. A manual downshift resolves it. No surprise that there is something to tweak. I suspect an adjustment will smooth it out when we get back to Denver.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another busy day

We got the last piece of the motorhome repair done. We drove the rig back into Denver and got the clear rock-guard put back on the front. That’s the last piece. We’ve been back in the coach for two weeks, but now we’re *really* good to go. We need to put some miles on the engine before it’s time to leave the Denver area for the year; make sure everything is okay before we get too far from the shop that did the work. The perfect excuse. We’ll head north tomorrow morning to Wheatland, WY for a visit with Bill and Marge.

We hooked up the Jeep and towed it back and forth with us to Denver today. Have to make sure everything works. We filled up the tank in the motorhome. Haven’t done that since May. One more dinner at Becky and Brian’s house tonight. Taylor is not a loud person, but it did seem a few decibels quieter. A change in the dynamic I guess.

Anyway, we’re good to go. We’ll only be out on the road for two or three days, then we’ll be back to Chatfield by Matt’s house. Time to take in another gymnastics practice.

Evening at St Vrain:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big day today

We helped move Granddaughter Taylor to Colorado State University about 50 miles north in Fort Collins. The whole family went. Becky, Brian, Taylor, Tony, Teigan, Conner, Judy, and me. We got to carry a lot of stuff in the Jeep so Becky would still have room for all the kids in her car. Jim and Joyce, the other grandparents came up later and brought the mini-fridge, microwave, and bicycle.

Taylor got admitted to the honors program. That put her in the honors dorm.

We’re very proud of her.

This is move-in day for Freshmen. The campus was a zoo, but a well-organized zoo. Booths labeld “Ask Me” on most every corner. Upperclassmen wearing distinctive shirts, roaming about assisting anyone who needed it. A gang of five helped us carry all of the stuff we brought, up to Taylor’s room on the 3rd level in one trip. We got to meet the Resident Advisor on her floor. His name is Taylor.

This is what it looked and sounded like:

And her roommate wasn’t even there yet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Ta daahh!


We’re going to take Henry to the groomer and get him some eyeballs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Economics 101

Remember the Health Care issue?  I don’t think it has been solved yet.  I could solve it though.  Check this out.  I see three parts to it:  Health care providers, insurance companies, and people.  Are they all necessary?  What if we got rid of the providers?  Can’t do that, then nothing would happen when people got sick.  The people pay for everything, either directly or indirectly, so we can’t get rid of them.  What if we cut out the insurance company factor?  The process could still work.  What does the insurance company do, anyway?  They take your money, pay a whole bunch of people, make some profit, then pass the rest along to the health care providers.  Let’s just take less money from the people and give it directly to the doctors and hospitals.  We just cut the cost of health care in half.  Health care crisis solved!


What did I just do, put a few hundred thousand insurance company employees out of work.  Oops.  There goes the economy.



Sunday, August 14, 2011

I wonder


I wonder if some things we don’t think of as related really are.  As I get older, plaque accumulates on my teeth more than it used to.  I accumulate plaque in the arteries of my heart.  I wonder if those two kinds of plaque are related, or if the proclivity to form one kind inclines a person to accumulate the other as well.


I’m told I have Small Vessel Disease in my heart.  It’s not so much a clogging of the small blood vessels, but a constriction.  Sometimes the small blood vessels constrict and restrict flow when they should be doing the opposite.  Years ago, while flyfishing, I discovered that my fingers are over-sensitive to cold.  In response to cold, my body doesn’t pump more blood through my fingers to warm them, it over-reacts the other direction and completely shuts off blood flow, so my fingers first go numb, then turn pallid (fish-belly white), then turn blue-black.  It looks like I’ve lost them to frostbite, and it’s disturbing, but when I re-warm them, the normal color returns.  It’s called Raynaud’s Syndrome.  I wonder if the small vessel conditions in my hands and heart are related.


Have you ever watched a field of sunflowers?  The flower heads turn to follow the sun.  By evening they are all pointed west.  On Saturday morning we went birding and drove past a field of sunflowers before the sun had hit it yet.  All the flower heads were pointed east.  So I wonder: Do sunflowers anticipate?  When the day is done and they’re all pointed west, do they remember that the sun is going to come up in the east the next morning, so turn themselves overnight to be ready for it?  Or do they spend the night pointed west, then discover at sunrise the next day that the sun is in the east and they need to turn to meet it?


I wonder.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

When it's time to turn around

I always want to walk to the next bend in the trail, or top of the next hill, to see what I didn’t hike to. Know what? There’s an app for that!

With the My Tracks app, I can see without going there. There is a map of where I am and where I’ve been.

There are stats for how far I’ve walked and how long I’ve been out.

There is even a plot of speed versus altitude.

Of course, I still hike to the top of the next hill before I turn around, but sometimes I get to pick out things on the map that I didn’t know were there and adjust my hike. If there is ever a question about which way to go to get back to where I started(not that that would ever happen), it’s right there. I love this app!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I was tagged

While I was unconscious at the hospital.

I think I woke up with gang tats. They don’t wash off.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wow. We didn't expect that!


First, let me report that we’re home and in pretty good shape, considering.


We were at the Cardiologist’s Office by 9am yesterday.  They had us to the Heart Lab by 10.  Dr. Holland was already there operating on somebody else.  They just dropped me into the queue.  The queue was longer than expected.  Becky, Matt, Judy and I waited 5 hours in the pre-op room.  I think it was a longer wait for everyone else than for me.  As far as I know, I was the only one on Valium.


So the Cardiologist agreed that yes, it’s time to go into the heart again.  Before I went in, the entire conversation was about Plavix.  There are different treatment options, depending on which arteries are clogged and where they’re clogged.  I’ve voiced that I’m not sure I could survive another year on Plavix.  Plavix seems to want to treat my brain as much as my heart and I’m concerned it will change my brain irreparably.  Anyway, we talked about bare metal stents, medicated stents, and bypass surgery.  Bare metal stents only require Plavix for a month, but they don’t stay open as long as medicated stents.  Medicated stents require Plavix for a year.  If they crack my chest and tag bypasses onto the outside of my heart, I won’t have to take Plavix at all.  So in I go to the cath-lab.  Out I come 40 minutes later, no new stents and no new blockages in my heart.  That’s the part we never considered, that I would have no new blockages.  That changes everything!


First, it means that all the nutritional supplements I’ve been taking for the last year might actually be having a positive effect on my heart.  They may have stopped the plaque formation.  That is great news, because it takes Statin drugs (which I can’t tolerate) out of the picture.  I don’t need to take a Statin drug to lower my cholesterol more aggressively if I’m not accumulating plaque.  Second, it takes Plavix out of the picture.  I won’t have to whine for another year about how Plavix makes me feel.


Of course we still have to deal with the symptoms that drove us to the cardiologist this time around, but it’s nice to know they were not the result of a clog in a major artery, and nice to know that if I need to, I can take another Nitro-glycerin for relief.


The diagnosis is indirect, but if I’m having the symptoms and Nitro relieves them, and there are no new major artery blockages, then I’ve probably got Small-artery disease which is interfering with the blood flow.  Small-artery disease might be annoying and decrease my exercise capacity, but it doesn’t lead to heart attacks and sudden death like Major-artery disease does, so that’s a giant improvement.  If the quick-release Nitro-glycerin pills work, there are slow release forms that should work as well.  If I’m not having side-effect troubles with Nitro-glycerin, there is a good chance I won’t have them with slower release forms either.


All this is a surprise; new information to digest, and there are still issues to deal with, but all-in-all, I consider this to be a very good surprise.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's hard not knowing


We figure my heart is going to need some more work, but when is it time?  Don’t want to sound the alarm too soon and go through the whole Cath-Lab experience before we need to.  Don’t want to wait just a little bit too long and miss an opportunity to fix something before it’s too late.


Been running a little low on energy.  I still walk two or three miles every day, sometimes as much as five miles.  It doesn’t feel all that good though.  A little light-headed.  A little short of breath.  It’s subtle.  No absolutely clear indication it’s time to do something.  It’s only been a year since the last procedure.  That’s a little too soon, isn’t it?


I tried something different today.  After hiking a mile or two, I took a nitro-glycerine.  If there is nothing going on, I should get a head-rush from the pill, but otherwise, nothing much should happen.  Wow.  What a difference!  I forgot how good it feels to feel good.  The walk was suddenly fun.  I tried running.  Haven’t done that in weeks.  That worked too.  Good news/bad news.  It’s good to feel so good, but it also suggests it’s time to see the cardiologist.


We were already scheduled to see Dr Holland at the end of the month.  We called his office and they have an opening tomorrow.  Lots to do to get ready for that.  Relocate the coach closer to Boulder.  On the way, get the front tires fixed on the coach.  That went very well.  They couldn’t have been nicer at Wingfoot Tires in Denver.  We were going to be at St Vrain State Park starting Thursday anyway.  They got us in two days early.  Everyone is so helpful.


The coach is all set up to camp here for a week.  We’re close to Community Hospital in Boulder.  The dogs have a date tomorrow morning at Happy Hounds in Longmont to stay as long as necessary.  We’ll have a visit with the cardiologist and see what to do next.  It might involve the Cath-Lab again.  We’re as ready as we can be.


Judy’s email is  You can text her at 303-666-6018 if you want.  She’ll be the one who is still conscious and coherent (I think).











Monday, August 8, 2011

It lives!

The motorhome lives and breathes, and moves.

We get to choose where we want to be.

We're at Chatfield State Park.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Strange tire wear

Up until 1,000 miles ago, this tire was in great shape.

This is what it ends up looking like if you rotate a directional tire the wrong direction though.

Until now, it looked like it still had 50,000 miles life in it. The opposing tire, which is rotating the correct direction, still has 3/8” of tread.

There will be a fresh set of front tires waiting for us on Thursday.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Motorhomeless no more


We’re back in the coach.  We’re still in the parking lot of the repair shop, but we’re back in the coach.  Tomorrow we head for a camping spot at Chatfield State Park.  We still have that right front tire issue, but we think it will get us to Chatfield and back.  We’ll have two new tires put on next Thursday when we’re on our way north to St Vrain State Park.


It’s good to be home.



Friday, August 5, 2011

Along the way

Jewell Wetlands Park in Aurora.

Afternoon light.

And a local resident.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sooooooo close

We were supposed to pick up the motorhome today, but it’s not *quite* ready. Imagine that.

We’re supposed to be parked in a state park outside of Longmont tonight, so we drove to a hotel in Longmont instead. The Holiday Inn Express. This is the newest nicest hotel we’ve been in lately.

Did I mention the right front tire? Scallops out of the outside edge. We’ve been watching those tires for years. No sign of unusual wear and suddenly there are giant scallops out of the side of the tread. We blamed it on the tow truck driver; another part of the tow damage. We figure he skipped it on the road while he was towing it in for repairs. Today we found out what really happened. In 2006, the tire was put on backwards. This is a tire that is designed to rotate a specific direction. There is even a small arrow next to the tread (that we never noticed) indicating the correct direction of rotation. The alignment is perfect, but after five years of rotating the wrong direction, the bands inside the tire started coming apart. The structure of the tire collapsed. That’s how all of a sudden the tire showed bizarre wear.

A hold-up on the replacement tires. Can’t get them to Denver until next week. We did get to stop by, drive the rig around the parking lot, level it, work the slides, shuffle stuff around in it, and shut it all back down again. We had to give it back, but it felt good to be in it for a little while.

Meanwhile. Along the way.

Wildcat Bluff preserve. High plains desert outside Amarillo in northern Texas.

I stood on top of the bluff looking out. Near the bluff, a stream with riparian habitat. A historic food, water, shade, and rest stop along a branch of the Santa Fe Trail.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Limon, Colorado


It’s a hundred miles east of Denver.  It was too early to stop when we got there, so we drove on to Aurora.  We’re within fifteen miles of the coach tonight.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our adult children have adult children


Granddaughter Taylor turned 18 today.  Happy Birthday Taylor.  She’s off to CSU in Ft Collins in about two more weeks.  Wow.


Tonight, we’re in Amarillo, Texas.  Right on schedule.


Tomorrow, Limon, Colorado; about two hours outside of Denver.  We’re scheduled to pick up the Coach on Thursday.  It’s not really done, but we worked out a deal.  They’ll finish the paint today.  They’ll do the tires and alignment tomorrow.  We’ll pick it up on Thursday and head for a nearby campground.  The paint will be dry, but it has to cure for two weeks before the plastic rock guard can be stuck back on the front.  We’re staying in the neighborhood anyway, so we’ll just take it back to get finished when it’s time.  I checked again today and we’re all still on schedule.



Monday, August 1, 2011

Junction, Texas


Right on schedule.


Tomorrow, Amarillo.