Monday, October 1, 2018

October Trails on Wheels

Oct. 21, (Not yet,) Sunday, Keosauqua, Iowa - returning to Carlyle Lake by noontime.

Oct. 20,  Driving to Keosauqua, Iowa  with Sistah Carol to Marvin's 50th wedding anniversary celebration, returning Sunday. Carol arrived promptly at nine-thirty AM to have breakfast with us at the Wheelhouse Restaurant.  She gifted Ron a new wool neck scarf in the Clan Little Tartan plaid.  Thank you, Carol.  Thanks to YDNA testing, our Beatty line is genetically Little, with such a unique DNA marker it pinpoints the Borders Reivers (click here), the infamous Beatty and Little low land clans on the Scottish border of England; King James gave the Reivers (horse thieves) the boot by 1600.  Instead of surnames, they used clan names.  Hence, a Beatty woman kept her clan name when she had a child sired by a Little (click here) clansman.  Cynthia loves this pun.  Have recycling, will travel. Yes. a whole month’s recycling is packed to deliver to Litchfield recycling today.

Oct. 19, The move to pack is indeed slow. Sudokus are more fun. So is DNA!  But we did walk the River Trail.  The new restroom along the trail is completed and the horrid old one has been hauled away, filled in with grass planted.  The Great Blue Herons in flight are fun to watch.  Caterpillars decorate the sidewalks. The dam is silent; there is no water washing over any of the four divisions.  Perhaps they are getting ready for the fishing tournament that begins tomorrow??

Oct. 18, And another heat wave hits Carlyle Lake! The temperature reached a pleasant 60 degrees by noon-thirty.  We racked up close to 10,000 steps during the morning walk.  We first toured the Nature Trail, where we spotted four turtles perched so perchily on a log.  Then we hiked the River Trail, followed by lunch out of the refrigerator in our room.  Don S. thought he was improved enough for company and a Rummy game or two, but partway through the second game he returned to bed.   Now it is time for the second walk of this lovely day.  16,500 steps. Life is indeed good!

Oct. 17, Its a heat wave at Carlyle Lake!  62 Degrees warm.  Ron spent the day with sistah Carol on her farm using lopping shears.  The ATV ran out of gas, but the mower had gas to go get gas to fill the ATV tank.  Carol roasted chicken, potatoes and baked an almost fat free pumpkin pie. From scratch.

Oct.  16, Another day just like the other day, except we walked 7 miles enjoying the antics of Great Blue Herons in flight.  Ron is hardly working.  Cynthia is very hard at work, being an industrious preacher lady, she has completed 6 essays of the #52 Ancestors 52 Weeks with a huge shoutout to Jane B. in Kensett, Iowa, editor-in-chief!

Oct. 15,  Happy Birthday to nephew attorney Benjamin, who reported, “It’s been all downhill since I turned six.”  Our friend Don is still in bed suffering from a cold or flu.  We did our usual routine with eating alot, exercise and more eating. Pritikin is such a terrific program that allows us to eat non stop. The housekeepers cleaned. Cynthia did her favorite exercise: laundry, despite the howl Ron's clothes were just washed last year.

Oct 14, Ann reports Don is sick in bed with congestion after overdoing the gardening.  Hence, no trip to Trenton in 44 degree temperature.  Instead, we walked the river trail, rode to Wally World to replenish our food supply, and we worked on our computers.  Before dinner at the Wheelhouse, we walked the Nature Trail once again and explored the Corps of Engineers outdoor storage. The birds were so fun to watch. The pelicans sat on one side of the jetty while the sea gulls were across the jetty on the landside.  A huge great blue heron was wading in the water foraging for food.

Oct. 13, Sea gulls, great blue herons, and pelicans were out and about while we hiked the River Trail. It was most amusing to see a large community of pelicans gathering, circling, dipping black tipped wings in flight as we approached the hotel.  We wondered if a signal was going out to cluster for the flight south for approaching winter.  The temp is colder this morning, but we managed the 2 mile ride to Walmart to replenish our mainstay vegetables and fruit.  Don's newly planted grass is growing higher!  Cynthia reports a new TV station, "The Chosen" byVidcom. is going to have a TV series about the Life of Christ.  She watched a premiere, The Shepherd.

Oct. 12, Happy 18th Birthday Granddaughter Zoe. Well, we tried to prevent winter’s arrival as long as we could, but it sneaked up on us, arriving with another rainy day. But we did get in a four mile walk on the Kaskawaka River Trail accompanied by spritzes of rain.  The Restaurant next door is open weekends so they baked sweet potatoes for us. It is exceptionally heartbreaking to read about the devastation at Mexico Beach, FL.  One wing of the El Governor Hotel is gone and so is the pool. The town is demolished, it looks like a war zone.

Oct. 11, Finally, summer heat has ceased; the high temperature was 58 degrees.  Why do people post gedcoms on that do not show direct lineage?  Junk genealogy.  After the morning walk we got hooked up into more genealogy and time whizzed by so fast it was 3 PM.  Despite the chill, Ron rode to Trenton and helped Ann bring in green tomatoes.

Oct 10, a day of adventure!  The forecast was for thunderstorms so we planned to get in our walk in spurts during rain breaks.  Surprisingly, we were able to walk the dam in mid-morning 45 minutes.  After a couple of hours of computer work on Bankston DNA, we decided to take a second walk because the sun came out, and that's when the adventure began. We were fortunate to hike the entire Kaskawaki River Trail, just coming around the last curve when we spotted ominous black clouds approaching from the west.  And the rain drops started.  We walked up the hill very fast when the serious rain drops began pelting us while we got into our rain jackets.  We boogied so fast staying under the trees and made it to the shelter with our pants and shoes soaked to the skin.  The heavy downpour didn't last more than twenty minutes.  We scarfed down some hot oatmeal and dried our clothes.  Ron rode to Trenton to play rummy with Don and Ann.

Oct 9,  The red-orange sunrise blazed across the morning horizon emitting such a glorious feeling of gratitude: Thanks for this day!  We are doing a great job of keeping winter at bay!  Wherever we go it is hot; today wasn't an exception, except we didn't sweat as much as yesterday.  After buying some mouse poison at the Tractor Supply, we had a pleasant ride to Edwardsville.  Harvest is fully underway with few cornfields remaining to be harvested, and most of the beans yet to combine. Our first stop was the Moto Guzzi Store for a test ride on this Italian beauty.  It performs comparable to our BMW, and it is lighter.  Next stop was the postoffice to return Cynthia's Hoka shoes (they replace under a year for any problems) and we mailed her absentee ballot.  What a surprise to see Maxine (Credit Union) behind us in line.  We quickly made arrangements to meet her in Collinsville for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. The next stop was the bank to replace some coin sets in the safety deposit box and have Cynthia sign the card to access the box if necessary.  After filling out all of the forms which took forever, the teller let us know that the entire document had to be resigned by others authorized to have access because of adding a new person on the list. The last stop was the storage unit.  Cynthia asked where the space was after the motorcycle was given away?  How is really there room for a mouse inside this storage unit?  If one does get inside, the new mouse poison will take care of that problem.  Lunch with Maxine was so fun.  It cooled off by the time we got back encouraging us to go for another walk.  Good night!

Oct 8,  Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day: I still appreciate Columbus.  Bankston DNA is foremost on the agenda before playing cards with Don and Ann.

Oct 7, Sun: Zooming our way through October, too, with morning stretches, 4 mile walks, we enjoyed a great lunch with Don and Ann at the Wheelhouse Restaurant.  Ron rode into Trenton to play rummy, and beat them roundly once again.  We are likely to stay at the Carlyle Mariners Resort until 15 October.  The Wheelhouse had baked potatoes and tilapia for dinner tonight. It was too late for sunset views on the evening walk.  The mosquitos like Cynthia.

Oct 6, Sat. We did another 4 mile morning walk in August-like heat. Cynthia spent the afternoon on the computer, doing laundry, and wishing it wasn’t so hot.  In the meantime,  Ron enjoyed the afternoon playing cards with the Stalcops, beating everyone! Don’s gardening is done.  He can’t do much by himself any more; he is quite pleased to have the assistance of two extra hands and a strong back.   Don is really celebrating seed that is now planted before it turns cool, allowing it to germinate while the temperatures are yet warm. The ride home from the Stalcops was spectacular riding into the center of vivid double rainbows. The rainbows continued to increase in intensity approaching the hotel.  We dined at the Wheelhouse Restaurant, now open weekends.  A perfect ending to a great day.

Oct 5, Fri. Was a long day! We walked in horrid heat before riding into Trenton to visit a blind minister who uses a talking computer to write his sermons. Unfortunately for us, he wasn’t home. Lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s in Collinsville at two PM filled us up.

Oct 4,  A morning walk to beat the rain with cool 70 degree weather.  Ron rode to Trenton to enjoy the afternoon with the Stalcops hitting golf balls. Cynthia was hard at work on 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. God answers prayer.

Oct, 3:  We spent the AM walking the dam and river trail until Ron took the yellow blaze trail on the motorcycle.  Cynthia spent the afternoon trying to pull together a Christmas Dinner for our huge family with so many other conflicting schedules.

Oct, 2th!  Ron is enjoying his time with Don and Ann in Trenton. Cynthia was abandoned in Carlyle, but that's ok, there was hiking to do, a lake that held a huge community of seagulls this morning, a black squirrel, and lots of bicycles on the trail.  Cynthia didn’t  want to sit inside.

October - 1th, Carlyle Lake, Illinois: Turn the page to a kaleidoscope of color; autumn soon dressed in her finest apparel.  We are hunkered down at a quiet, pleasant resort with hiking trails, a woods near by, and a room with a view of a lovely lake, in yet another hot week. Ron spent the day with Don and Ann S. Gardening. Cynthia hiked 5 miles after publishing the first of 52 Ancestors a Week Challenge.

Walking the Dam

Goshen Trail 

Carlyle Lake Dam

Suspension Bridge Stuff

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hello September

30 Sept, Mariner's Inn, Carlyle Lake, Illinois.  Cynthia thinks she could live here. The room with a lake view includes a separate living area and kitchenette; a Walmart is within walking distance, and the Carlyle Lake park is lovely.  The restaurant next door offers baked sweet potatoes; and the visitor's center was a timely stop at 5 PM because they close at 6 PM for the winter.  There is a five mile trail across the dam and onto a river walk.  This looks like a great place to hunker down until the the high temperature of the day is below 70 degrees because that is the indicator to turn south to  warmer weather. And this is a good place for Ron to work on DNA and Swedish Colonial Society projects.  Cynthia can get started on Good bye September!

Praying Mantis 
29 Sept, Fairview Heights - the Hampton Inn after a terrific long walk achieving 10,300 steps; we stopped at Dick E.'s law office and shoved a message with a phone number through the mail slot.  Lunch at Ruby Tuesday was a delight.  After some time with our Macs, we enjoyed the gorgeous day by walking the neighborhood, followed by yet another walk to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s how fun, Ron discovered a large Praying Mantis.   Now we are back at the Macs; Lance sent a super funny email from the Beatty hometown in Scotland:  his Mac was revived by calling on St. Stephen of Silicon Valley. Cynthia is creating a new blog: ...  the goal is to write an essay a week for 52 weeks. She has completed #1 but sent it to her Kensett, Iowa friend and editor;  It is not yet posted.  Ron is smiling even bigger after a big DNA breakthrough.  We hit 18,500 steps today which equals 7.5 miles.  Woo hoo for us.

28 Sept, BMW Service in St. Louis, the headlight for the bike was  replaced, a five hour project.  Now to return coins to safety deposit box - woohoo - forgot the key to the box.  Sistah Carol showed up at Eric's with freshly made tomato juice. The Beatty siblings had dinner together with Eric's family.  Ron had dinner again at Agostino's Italian restaurant with the beloved Smooch Smooch.

27 Sept, Fairview Heights Hampton Inn.  Ron rode to Trenton to visit Don and Ann S.  They picked Cynthia up at the hotel for dinner where Don entertained Cynthia with stories of Ron, the basketball star coming off the bench his senior year dominating the court.

26 Sept, Watching the new Hampton Inn sign get erected over the past week was fascinating ...  but a cliff hanger, because we missed seeing the actual sign raised beforr we left at noon.   Litchfield in the morning and Fairview Heights an hour away by afternoon.  After lunch at RubyTuesday Ron rode into St. Louis to the BMW shop for bike service, arriving late because of construction and detour signs, driving twice as far as he needed to. A romantic dinner at Argostino’s Italian Restaurant led to a 3 mile round trip walk with a gorgeous harvest moon again tonight. Thanks to Denise A. for our photo.   Prayers uplifted for Brett Kavanaugh. Yes.

Silly and Sillier
5 Sept, Oh, what a beautiful morning... ! The usual stretches, exercise, oatmeal accomplished, we walked to Wally World followed by lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s Garden Bar.  Ron rode to Edwardsville for a late lunch with longtime friend Maxine from the Credit Union, mailed a box for Cynthia after forgetting the tape in the storage unit three times. At least he remembered to get the envelope he forgot yesterday at FedEx. The police (in an unmarked vehicle) turned on their red light,  checked out the drivers license which has no violations, and asked a variety of questions.  The reason for the stop is puzzling.  We ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday again,

24 Sept, Ron rode to Edwardsville to visit John and Susan, old friends from SIUE, enjoying a 4 hour lunch with John at Ruby Tuesday's. Shopping and errands were next:  Walmart, then the storage unit to Fedex boxes of puzzles to Sam in AZ, followed by a trip to the credit union and the bank to get coins out of the safety deposit box to gift to nephew Eric. Once the coins were delivered to Eric it was time to return to beloved Smooch Smooch.

23 Sept, Stretches, Oatmeal and Shopping for low sodium bread to go with low sodium breast of turkey was the morning agenda. We did pig out on veggies at Ruby Tuesday's before taking sandwiches to the eVILE older sistah for the afternoon event - meeting a new very close and very lovely relative. The warm, sunny afternoon was indeed pleasant for touring Carol's tree farm and visiting.

22 Sept is much cooler in Western Illinois, but the chiggers are fierce!  Ron's hide is covered with bites.  Cynthia has a few that may have passed from Ron’s clothing or from crossing a mown field while waking to Walmart.  Fels Naptha soap helps the itch. We lunched at Ruby Tuesday's, ever so grateful for the garden bar assortment of raw vegetables; it is too bad the croutons tempt Cynthia, 14 fat grams!  Wally World is a few blocks away allowing more steps to accrue.  Ron rode into Edwardsville to visit Connie McK returning home amidst a gorgeous hot pink sunset and a frigid temp of 64 degrees (54 at 60 MPH).  DNA is ever so compelling now that we are finding unknown ancestors.

21 Sept, Litchfield, Illinois is a cooler day. Ron became a tree and trail farmer again today. Cynthia opted out of cleaning trails after seeing chigger bites that have nearly devoured Ron.  We may lose all of our blogger fans without having exciting hiking and traveling news.  But it surely beats the main stream media. The pacemaker test was sent through the iPhone perfectly!  A good report followed.

20 Sept, In the wee, small hours of this day, Ron finally turned the computer off to sleep for a few hours before the energizer bunny woke him up. Today is another day just like our other days except Ron now has chigger bites.  Dinner with sister Carol at Ruby Tuesdays is always fun. We get to eat so much!

19 Sept,  After a thoroughly delightful breakfast with Bob A., a new motrcycycle afficianado/genealogist,  Ron spent the day at Carol’s tree farm cleaning trails.  We picked Cynthia up at 4 to meet nephew Eric and family In Edwardsville for dinner.

18 Sept, Edwardsville, Illinois home of the infamous Beatty storage locker packed with precious possessions, including an ancient Triumph motorcycle that is being gifted to be refurbished.

17 Sept,  Litchfield, Illinois;  Ron helped Carol tie pink ribbons on the boundaries of the expanded acreage of her tree farm.  Cynthia opted not to ride on gravel roads. We had dinner (spinach) at Jubelt's bakery followed by a meal at Ruby Tuesday's.  That bakery had a huge selection of delicious looking stuff we can't eat; but we stared really good.

16 Sept, 9:00 AM Jacksonville, Illinois and it is 70 degrees already with a promise of 87!  We are outta here to Litchfield,  Illinois, our home in a Hampton Inn for the next week.  After lunch at Ruby Tuesday's (hooray!) we rode to sister Carol's tree farm where Cynthia took photos of Ron's Smiles Through the Years.
Ron's Smiling Christmas Photo for Mom

Smiling Ron Childhood

Smiling Toddler Ron

15 Sept, it is still surprisingy hot.  From Ottumwa to Keosauqua, Iowa it got hotter. We passed through Eldon, Iowa, home of Ron’s great grandmother Julia Nicholson, and Selma, Iowa where his father was born, past the ancestral Forbes Cemetery as we entered Van Buren County, Iowa, where the Beattys and Rambos were early pioneers.  First Cousins Ken and Marvin joined us for lunch,  Ron and Marvin rode to visit the Farm.  Ron and Cynthia got going at four PM for the next leg of the trip, past a trillion zillion cornfields, across the wide Des Moines River, the WIDE Mississippi, and the sorta wide Illinois River, arriving at a Comfort Inn in Jacksonville, Illinois at 7ish.  If you are looking for a hotel, don’t choose this one.
Ron and Cousin Sandy

14 Sept, was hot  I thought we escaped heat once September arrived. We had a lovely visit with my second cousin Sandy in West Des Moines before getting going about 4 PM to beat the rush hour and made it to the Hampton Inn in Ottumwa without incident.  The wind still blew us around a bit, but far less than yesterday.  Again it was far hotter than we like - and I thought that this was supposed to be fall rather than more summer.  Tomorrow we ride to Keosauqua to visit my first cousins Marvin and Ken (also proud owners of Beatty blood through their mothers, my father's sisters).  Then off to Illinois.

13 Sept, From DesMoines, Iowa we made a side trip to Elk Horn, Iowa on IA 44 west for a lovely luncheon hosted by Cynthia’s friends.  SW Iowa is home to the largest Danish settlement outside Denmark.  The early part of IA 44 was very rough so we returned on a different but more crowded road. Iowa is boasting Freedom Rocks, a hand painted history in every county is most interesting.
Classmate Carol visited us at the hotel.

Cynthia's friend Carol, Ron and Cynthia

The Smooches in Elk Horn, Iowa

12 Sept, Northwood to Des Moines, a two hour trip turned into three hours because we took back roads instead of the interstate.  Despite a strong south wind, the ride was very pleasant passing one cornfield after another with a bean field here and there.  Lake Mills, Forest City, Garner, Belmond... towns Northwood played against during football and basketball season. But the most important part of sports was for the cheerleader who also marched in the band.  Our hotel is only four minutes from Ruby Tuesdays where we met cousin Sandy for dinner.

11 Sept, 9.1.1, Forever etched in our hearts. This was a good day to catch up on projects.  Dave, a Rambo cousin, and his wife Pat, joined us for dinner and great conversation.  Packing ensues.

10 Sept, Northwood, Iowa has poor Verizon and WiFi or I would be posting photos from our day hiking at Pilot Knob State Park near Forest City.  Annie and Connie hiked with us on the trail to the second highest point in the state, while Dave and Jim visited at the shelter. We had a great lunch together before visting a waterfall in Fertile, Iowa.  Annie hosted a feast for dinner with Norwegian treats like lefse, cod, vegetables and fruits from their farm. She made fat and salt free bread, cake, etc. Her home is like a museum filled with family treasures. She lit memorial Candles for those who have passed away.
Northwood Friends and Food!

Cynthia at Fertile, Iowa - The Top of Iowa

9 Sept, Elk Creek Lutheran Church was the congregation Cynthia’s great ancestors belonged to and are buried.  We attended the baptism of friends great granddaughter and joined their family for a great  brunch of sweet corn, and grapes. Cynthia did eat the contraband (Iowa beef), but only the patty without a bun. When we returned to the hotel we ate a big bowl of oatmeal.

8 Sept, The Smooch family bounded out of bed at the crack of daylight-thirty to participate in the Tailgate 5K Run.  Ron came in first place in his age group six years ago, despite being the very last person behind Cynthia and Ann.  This year The 5K did not have age groups, so there were no winners in our family. We toured the newly restored Stroheim Building and the 100 year old Miss Winifred hotel  now undergoing restoration. Cousin Ray M. joined us for lunch before we visited a courageous niece who has suffered through cancer of the jaw and tongue twice.

7 Sept,  Northwood, Iowa.  One word surfaced during the two hour ride from MPLS to northern Iowa Cynthia’s hometown: Order.  Farms are well kept, equipment is organized, or parked in machine sheds, farmhouses are well maintained. The same is true of twins with manicured lawns and tidy houses. Perhaps it comes from well ordered Scandinavian or Germanic influence. We arrived about three PM, surprised by a large bouquet of flowers and a basket of vegetables and fruit in our room from Annie and Dave.

6 Sept, Minneapolis, MN on a pleasant, cool, but sunny day.  The steel cut oatmeal was prepared with cinnamon and honey;  honey is a no-no sugar for this diabetic.  Ron is Rockin’ DNA.  Our room smells! What’s the smell in here?  Smells like shoe polish. Aha! It is Mink Oil for leather boots so they don’t dry out.  Ron met his riend/former boss Kurt K. this afternoon and walked across the Mississippi River.

5 Sept, Minneapolis, Hilton Garden Inn, Shoreview: It is a windy Wednesday in MN.  Ron is spending the day with his sister-in-law, Carolyn, treating her to an awesome dinner at McCormick and Schmitz.

4 Sept, Sioux Falls, SD:  Rising early, Ron checked and rechecked the color radar making the determination to go north to Brookings, SD ... immediately, at 9:00 AM to avoid the gully washer soon to hit this area. We turned east from Brookings into MN, with a pit stop in Tyler a Danish enclave famous for Danish pastries, managing to avoid rain until we were close to Fairfax, MN with an inviting cafe. Oh, my goodness. A guy with extreme Daisy Dukes, cowboy boots, pink hair, and covered in body tattoos was a hoot.  The cafe closed at two, so we opted to be Library patrons wait8ng for a break in the rain, which occurred at 3:00.  The rain break didn’t last long!  We got as far as Eden Prairie, MN at 4:00 when more intense rain and heavier traffic called a halt to the day’s ride. We opted to check in at a Hilton Garden Inn.  Cynthia ranted at the idiocy of the reservationist when she tried to book by phone standing in the rain.

3 Sept, Hope you are enjoying Labor Day!  7:30 AM and we were packing the bike!  Cynthia said, “This is one of those rare occasions we are leaving very early!”  Ron said, “It is the ONLY time we have left so early!”   We had an adventurous ride to Sioux Falls, SD through heavy, dense fog this morning. Pea soup.  SD 44 East is a back road with very little traffic, with no farm equipment or school busses on this day.  A pheasant flew up close and personal, a community of wild turkeys and about ten babies gathered alongside the road.  Two deer bounded across the road.  We crossed the Missouri River Lake.  The joy was arriving to find a Ruby Tuesday restaurant in perfect time for lunch!  Ron asked the hotel clerk for a hiking suggestion; we were both surprised when she said, “Yes, the Yankton Trails.”  We ventured forth from the hotel for a great walk on terrific bike and walking trails along the Big Sioux River. We will check weather early AM to see if we dare venture forth very early to arrive MPLS without drowning.  The weather looks clear until close to noon. 

2Sept, Prairie Wind Casino and Hotel:  Breakfast is deli and our only choice is oatmeal. No wonder there are so many unhealthy people!  The buffet offered scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy for an affordable price.  We walked through the smoke filled casino to the restaurant, which was almost empty except for a few elderly with oxygen tanks.  But, the hotel was a place to sleep.   The sun is shining, its a beautiful day, birds did an air show outside our window, and we are happy. Interesting to see the bike trails with overhead lighting. The ride through the agricultural Pine Ridge Reservation was most interesting with vast fields of  corn— sunflowers, alfalfa, sorghum, and pasture land with black angus cattle. An abrupt change of scenery occurred crossing into the Rosebud Reservation on 18 east;  the first 2/3 of the Rosebud Reservation were hilly and not good grazing land. An amusing contrast was seeing mostly Hereford cattle on the Rosebud side, while the Oglalla Sioux had only Black Angus. Also amusing was a doe standing by the roadside observing traffic. We were happy to arrive in Winner, SD at the Holiday Inn and discover we can eat cooked vegetables at the Mexican Restaurant across the street.  Congratulations to Granddaughter Lauren for her first full time salaried position as the outpatient therapist for a new psychiatric hospital.

1 Sept, Guernsey, Wyoming was a disappointing night in the Cobblestone Inn.   The scenic ride across pristine Wyoming grasslands turning from green to gold was mdeed pleasant. How fun to see advertising for Wall Drug!  At Lusk, Wyoming we learned about the Cheyenne to Deadwood Trail,  and at Hot Springs, SD we scarfed down an egg white veggie omelet and platter size pancakes with no butter at the Daily Bread Bakery not too far from the Black Hills, and we arrived at the Prairie Wind casino hotel on the Pine Ridge/Oglala Indian Reservation SD for the nights lodging.  This is At least the Cobblestone Inn was clean. Our room appears clean except for hairs on the bathtub. The halls smell like smoke. The elevator is not clean,  the stairs are gross.  Glad we had that big lunch. We have had great experiences staying at casino hotels, they have been clean. Today is the 20th anniversary of Cynthia’s son’s death from Leukemia. Anniversaries of deaths are difficult. The many faces of grief are endless. Tomorrow will be here soon. After all, tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Escaping August Heat

31 August and we are still trying to escape the heat.  Certainly the heat will disappear at midnight with the dawning of September?  Last night Ron, Dick and Fran, stayed up until the wee hours of today. After breakfast oatmeal, we ventured forth from Berthoud, CO to Guernsey, Wyoming to avoid the Kansas heat. A fierce wind tried to blow us back to CO.  A stop at the Virginia Dale Rest Area offered interesting history about the famous Overland Trail.  Such a ride we had ... under surreal skies and over a landscape that looked like the lunar surface.   Wild fires were occasionally visible in the distance, and what appeared to be rain off in the distance, but may have been smoke.  Our Guernsey restaurant choices are Mexican, cowboy and pizza. Ron marched to the market for fresh fruit, oatmeal and new red potatoes to cook in the microwave.  The Rollins Trail is right outside our hotel crossing over the North Platte River, under the bridge, and follows the river to the Oregon Trail Wagon Trail Ruts preserved in concrete.  The round trip walk was about 4.5 miles. Good Bye August.

30 Aug: We had a delicious, long, much needed sleep followed by a pleasant, short ride to Berthoud to visit a Mechem Cousin overnight. How fun to see a Prairie Dog out of his burrow along with a vast field dotted with burrow mounds    Dinner at the Mad Green Restaurant was delicious.

29 Aug:  Ron planned the ride east to the Midwest this morning,  and Cynthia booked the hotels after we arrived home from dinner with Brett’s family. The baby is adorable.  Brett and Jen adore the cake plate Cynthia designed and had painted by a rosemaling artist.  The dogs Entertained Ron.

Denver Botanical Gardens
28 Aug:  We are in Denver, Colorado, enjoying our three-week-old great grandson, Hudson.  We toured the Denver Botanical Gardens with the family while Hudson slept peacefully throughout the afternoon and missed our early dinner at Elway's.

Happy Great Grandparents
Delighted Great Grandmother

Winston the Dog with Hudson and Brett

27 Aug:  We began today at Estes Park, Colorado in the Inn on Fall River.  We stayed in Juniper Cabin, wonderfully remodeled with a hot tub on the porch, two fireplaces, a living room with a jacuzzi in the alcove, so shouldn’t we live here?  The girlie is happy, especially because the “hubsand,” who never discards anything, surprised her by producing oatmeal and blueberries that had been hidden in the luggage.  After packing we rode to the Egg and I for breakfast heading off to the Doubletree in Denver.  Today we rode from Estes Park south on Colorado 7 through beautiful scenery of mountain peaks, switched to Colorado 72 through Nederland to Colorado 119 south thorough more beautiful mountains and then re-entered the real world via the magnificent Clear Creek Canyon shared by that lovely stream and US Highway 6 for 13 miles into Golden, but constrained by traffic ahead and penned in by courteous traffic a discrete distance behind.  Then we were on lightly traveled four-laned Colorado 58 for five miles before being dumped unceremoniously into the frantic hordes on I-70 for fifteen miles until we could exit and find our way to the wrong Doubletree hotel on Quebec street.  (The correct Doubletree was two miles earlier on Quebec street.)  Oh, and we were cool in the mountains but pulled over to take off a couple of coats in the canyon as the heat increased.  The final ninety-three degree temperature fried my brain, but air conditioning is helping.  I may yet recover from the traumas of the traffic and the heat.  (Strange to think that we dropped four thousand feet to end up in the mile high city.)

Northwood escapees sighted in Estes Park !
Ron actually stopped riding at a scenic overlook and posed
One of those clouds that might have sprinkled us
26 Aug:  Today we rode east from Craig, Colorado to Estes Park on US Highway 40, switching to US 35 northeast at Granby, crossing the Rocky Mountain Mountain National Park despite cold and gusty winds associated with nearby scattered thunderstorms.  In Cynthia's words "bracing, fierce, chilly winds whooshing us around."  A threatening black cloud hovered over us the last few miles, but it only leaked on us a little after we stopped at the visitor center for a bathroom break.  Immediately after checking in to our cabin, we walked to Nicky’s Restaurant for dinner with Cynthia’s cousin Richard and his wife Becky, who drove from their Fort Collins home for the occasion.  As Cynthia walked to the restaurant, she passed a crowd with cameras gathered to watch and photograph a small black bear just a few hundred yards from our cabin.  As Ron walked by a  few minutes later, one of the spectators pointed to the bear so that Ron enjoyed watching him moving uphill away from the police who had shot into the air to scare the bear away from the residents and the road.  Cynthia likes the notion that we were the only wildlife we saw until we reached Estes Park.  We had a thoroughly enjoyable visit with Richard and Becky,and we thank them for treating us to dinner.
Not the kind of soft fuzzy place for a comfortable nap.

25 Aug:  In Vernal, UT we packed for today's ride to Craig, CO.  The plan in leaving Pagosa Springsa month ago was to escape the smoke from the 416 fire in Colorado.  It didn't work, smoke from the California wildfires have dogged us in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah.  Reports suggest the smoke has reached New York.  Because of the smoke, the sun turns blood red/orange at sunset, an interesting and colorful phenomenon.  Today’s ride began after a late breakfast at Denny’s, prepared to perfection without oil or even cooking spray.  The cook from last night cooked our breakfast again this morning and did an even better job the second time.  The views were marvelous as we rode through Dinosaur, turning southeast to Meeker, and then back northeast to Craig, taking advantage of every twisty turn Ron could find.  Clouds of every shape, including threatening rain clouds, hovered above.  A few times the threat of rain was realized, although not of great significance.  We didn’t get wet!  An Italian Restaurant fed us a lovely salmon, baked potato and smashed potato.  (The chef came out to explain that he had not yet added any butter or milk, that these potatoes had only just been mashed).  Sad that John McCain passed away.

24 Aug:  We escaped the ninety-degree heat forecast for today in Salt Lake City by riding on east on I-80 in heavy traffic up the Wasatch towards Denver.  The snow that fell on the mountains on Tuesday is gone, but the mountains are breathtaking.  Noon is not usually the best time to sightsee, but the mountains were quite lovely with patches and striations of straw, pale green, and green as well as several other colors.  We turned south on US 189 for a few miles, then east on Utah 248 for a few more miles into the berg of Kamas, where we switched to Utah 32 south and then left on Utah State Highway 35 east.  We stopped in Woodland at the Biscuit Company and could not decide if we've eaten there before or stopped to find them closed.  This time they were definitely open, and we both enjoyed a veggie sandwich.  Not much else there that fits our diet.   We continued on Utah 35 alongside a couple of nice streams and over Wolf Creek Pass into more bucolic pasturelands and peaceful valleys kept green with irrigation.  It was a very peaceful and pleasant day although we skirted one mass of clouds and received a few raindrops.  Utah 35 terminated at Utah 87, and Ron guessed that south was the correct direction.  Then we found ourselves heading directly towards a dark wedge of clouds expanding from the horizon towards our chosen path.  We soon recognized the scenery and arrived in Duchesne, Utah about the same time as the leading edge of that mass of storm clouds.  But we needed to make a pit stop, and filled the tank with gas, and were dismayed to watch the storm begin to pelt the pavement beside us.  After half a minute it slowed, and we sped off east on US 40 into variable light rain for about ten minutes.  We soon were back into dry air and enjoying the cloudscapes surrounding us.  It was awesome, and we saw a bonus herd of six or ten antelope within 100 yards of the roadway.   We stayed on US 191into Vernal and discovered the Comfort Inn, where we've stayed before, & Denny's, where we've eaten before.  this time the Harvest Bread Company  we enjoyed a four mile sunset walk as the rain clouds hovered over us, but we avoided more than a spit or two. Smoke from the California forest fires have accompanied us from CO to Montana to Idaho, Utah. was open, and Ron indulged for a half a loaf, but was disappointed that it tasted salty and wasn't as good as he had hoped.

23 Aug:  Thanks to Raquel and Stan L for cherry tomatoes and zucchini from their garden. Ron will have the Jones package completed by bedtime. Cynthia has the Lea DNA Subgroup combined with the Lay Project.  Our big surprise is that we are almost packed for an early morning departure towards Denver to see new grandson Hudson.  Cynthia is doing laundry again: the clothes were just washed last year!  Good night.

22 Aug: The cleaning crew arrived to clean the rooms, and we took off for the Library to photograph records. Cynthia walked back to the hotel to shower at two, Ron returned by 4:38 in light rain. At 4:44 we picked up a hotel umberella because of severe weather alerts; and for once the alerts were right on as hail pelted us for two or three minutes before turning to a heavy rain for another couple of minutes.  By the time we reached the restaurant at five, the rain stopped.  Dinner with Raquel and Stan L, out favorite genealogists, was delightful.  Raquel has done research for Cynthia since 2004 breaking through many brick walls.

21 Aug: Yesterday! The favorite wefee had a Girl day accompanied by her favorite hubsand.  Her hair is even shorter.  Ron walked her home and rode to spend the rest of the day with cousin Roy while Cynthia dived into DNA.

20 Aug: It is a windy Monday in Salt Lake City. We are amazed at the changes in downtown SLC from two years ago. The major construction projects are completed, with new construction creating chaos north of the Temple. The Temple Assn. purchased two city blocks of Main Street to add to the Temple’s landscaped grounds. The flowers are amazing.  Thursday night we may attend choir rehearsal  
The homeless are no longer so visible downtown, most of them have moved south six blocks to our Homewood Suites area. Many sleep in Pioneer Park across the street from the hotel. The city is building a soccer and recreation complex for them in the park, construction in progress. We met the whole community of 2,200 on our walk two nights ago as they relaxed on the grounds in front of Catholic Charities, having received the second meal of the day. Many have bicycles, some are in wheelchairs, and some use shopping carts piled with their possessions. One lucky fellow had a trailer pulled behind his bicycle. The Opioid use and schizophrenia are most apparent. A large medical complex is available for treatment. Sunday, we were walking to the Market Street Grill for brunch when one of the fellows started crossing the street with us; he asked if we  knew of another place for feeding, because he had missed breakfast at Catholic Charities. Ron’s patched shirt was sending a message!!.  Cousins we met for brunch said that homeless come from all over the country (US ) to SLC because of the food, shelters and medical care, etc..
Downtown SLC has motorized bikes and scooters with charging stations. Drop your money in, get on and go to other drop offs. The scooters and bikes have their own traffic lanes and travel very fast. We don’t plan to try them. 
The Family History Library has changed significantly. Now, with digitization the library is a media complex. Sign up and you are given an IPad.  We already have a lot of access to records on the Mac.  Maybe this will work. We are finding items of interest. 
The 24th we travel to Denver to meet Hudson  what fun. Brett said he is a very contented little man. Roxanne returned to Houston yesterday complaining Brett wants to hold him ALL of the time. She did hold him through a two hour nap; he woke up with hiccups and poopy pants so he turned him over for repairs.
The 30th we begin the trek towards Iowa. We travel back, scenic roads, and avoid heat and rain. I think this means we reach Iowa sometime the end of the first week in Sept.  We do not know if we are going through Elk Horn to DSM and see Carol C. en route or if we go directly to Northwood and travel south to EH and DSM. I will post here when the mystery is revealed.

19 Aug: Sunday brunch with Roy and Barbara was a delight. Barbara is such fun!  She recounted hilarious tales of ghosts at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. We walked to the Market Street Grill and home for. Computer afternoon. Of interest, a homeless guy with a bike asked Ron if he knew of any other feeding spots since he missed breakfast (presumably at Catholic Charities behind the hotel).   By evening it was time to hit the pavement again for a sunset walk that included touring the magnificently landscaped temple grounds.  Since our last tour, the temple purchased two city blocks at the end of Main Street, that are now incorporated into the landscaped grounds connecting the Joseph Smith building and Brigham Young’s home.  Thurs. night we plan to attend the choir practice.  We totaled six miles walking today.  Never seen before, downtown has motorized bikes and scooters that one hops on, drops money in to turn them on, and takes off racing down special lanes in the wide city streets. Evidently they have GPS systems built in so they can be picked up and returned to charging stations.

18 Aug: Ron spent the day with cousin Roy W. and his wife Barbara while Cynthia worked on DNA projects.  We enjoyed getting lost for forty hours/days/minutes while trying to walk to our favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City, the Market Grill. The split salmon and halibut on cedar plank was delicious!

17 Aug: Salt Lake City, Utah, downtown. Much has changed since our 2016 trip to SLC, heavy construction has shifted north of the temple now that downtown projects are completed.  Homeless have shifted away from downtown proper to Pioneer Park and the Rio Grande area, a block behind the south side of our hotel. Even the family history Library has had significant changes, with records and books digitized on computers.  The FHL is now a mega media complex, which is not intriguing to us. Even so, we found information to add to our records.  Our evening walk was, inadvertently, right through the middle of four or five blocks of tough looking homeless. It was surprising to see so many black homeless considering the whiteness of Salt Lake City. The opioid use and mental health issues were obvious. Such tragedy!

16 Aug: Flying Saddle Resort, Alpine Junction, Wyoming is nestled along the banks of the Snake River.  On this coolest morning we are getting the earliest start. By the end of the day when we arrived in  Salt Lake City, UT it was hot! The ride was pleasant and especially scenic; just as we crossed into Utah we rode past the the Bluebird Inn, a great B and B situated across from Bear Lake, its lovely blue color is due to minerals.  Several spectacular homes clustered the lakseshore for over a mile.  Logan Canyon was mesmerizing. So was a mile long cattle drive on the opposite side of highway 89! Thankfully, the cattle were not on our side of the highway; this was a first time ever sighting for us.  Lunch at the Old Grist Mill Bread Factory was a turkey sandwich and greens for Cynthia,   Ron won’t eat bread; they had little Ron would eat; by the time we left Logan we were shedding layers of clothing. The Homewood Suites had a vegetarian dinner,  except the vegetables were canned, loaded with sodium. After dinner we walked to the family history Library.  A large city park across from the hotel had many homeless and is unsafe at night.  We met a group of young adults dressed in fancy evening clothes,  evidently returning from an event. Upon meeting a trio of scantily clad young girls Cynthia said, “Its  hard to tell the nice girls from prostitutes today.”  Ron said, “They are prostitutes.”

15 Aug: Leaving Cody, Wyoming and riding onto Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons was an all day trip.  While haze from wildfires was a disappointment, the scenery was splendid, takes your breath away glorious.  The only wildlife we saw were water fowl,  a deer and fawn planning to cross the highway in front of us, but we startled them and they jumped back.  Beautiful blue lakes looked like glass.  Gravel, highway construction, plus areas of beetle infestation leaving devastation were downsides to a mostly perfect 75 degree day.  Lunch at the Jackson Lodge was a treaty We arrived at Alpine Junction Resort at 4:30 PM and ate wild, fresh caught Alaskan salmon for dinner, waddling along the Snake River for a brief walk. Now it is bedtime.

My handsome Smooch!
Grand Tetons visible through smoky haze
14 Aug:  Oh, no!  Oh, yes!  Cynthia's scheduling errors compounded.  She must have been looking at a different month on the calendar.  We missed our scheduled check-in at two hotels.  When we arrived in Cody Wyoming, Cynthia was shocked to discover that we were scheduled to have arrived at the Comfort Inn on Sunday night, two nights earlier ... and the hotel was sold out for tonight. Thankfully, the Holiday Inn next door had one room left.  The ride to Cody from Billings was breathtaking, crossing the peaceful, wide Yellowstone River twice and several forks of the placid Clark Fork River many times. Leaving a Rest Area, vast golden fields of newly baled hay presented against lavender hues of the Pryor Mountains.  An antelope played alongside the road.  A couple of black clouds hovered above us, spitting a few rain drops until we out rode them.  A most surreal sight was mist rising up from the hot concrete after the rain; shafts of sunlight were streaming through breaks in the clouds,  like spotlights dancing on the mountains. We arrived in Cody dry!  And hungry.  Ron described todays ride like this: The skies were awesome as we rode south for about 100 miles to Cody.  The forecast was for afternoon thundershowers, and we skirted slightly east of a massive plume of ominous and opaque sky.  We even ducked underneath a ribbon of cloud with tendrils dropping to earth but only got a few scattered raindrops.  With 40 miles yet to ride, we saw distant valleys seemingly full of cloud or fog.  The closer we got, the more it looked like rain until we rode over some wet pavement, and Ron realized that the heat from the pavement was evaporating the moisture creating the foggy appearance.  The rain wetted us ever so lightly one more time, but we rode into Cody warm and dry.  And it has remained dry since.

The Big Horn River canyon must be south of Cody on highway 72 because it wasn't north.  Actually it is south of Thermopolis.

13 Aug: Its a Mir-A-cle, A high today of 80 degrees means a trip to a hiking trail or at least to enjoy the view from the rim.  Cooler weather tomorrow means we leave early morning to begin the journey to Salt Lake City.

12 Aug: Sunday Offering:
Dear Lord, Its one of those Sundays! Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for your presence that comes in surprising ways: it is a Facebook post about gratitude for friends; it is fat, furry, bunnies bouncing on the patio; it is a beaming smile from the chef; it is a swaddled newborn; it is love from a spouse. Transform our hearts to radiate your presence to a hurting world; open our eyes to recognize your presence in others. Amen. P.S. Thank you for our blog friends.

11 Aug arrived on schedule. We woke up glad to be alive, continuing to enjoy a great life. Venturing forth to walk a couple of miles, at 80 plus degrees, we were surprised we weren’t fried.  Ron’s Jones family group sheet package ran into a glitch; after an entire afternoon it s seems like not a lot was accomplished.  Cynthia is upbeat after a DNA discovery confirmed Linda B’s 11th great grandfather was the Puritan Robert Coe who emigrated to the Colonies in1634.  We must be the most well known couple in the hotel as we walk the halls and stairs at after dinner unti it cools off enough to walk outside.  This is Saturday night,  bath and laundry time,  Cynthia boogied the laundry down a flight on the back stairs in her robe praying no one would see her. Yuk! Spotted! And the guy had the nerve to chuckle. Good night!

10 Aug: Our satirical blog title should be obvious: there is no escape from August heat. A 9:30 AM ride to the hair salon was pleasant, not yet hot.  Cynthia had a haircut, a new wife? What happened to my favorite wife?  By noontime, the heat had escalated, yet, it was quite pleasant having lunch on the shaded outdoor patio by the ponds.  Ron is keeping out of trouble working on Sudokus OKIE mailed to him! Hi Okie! The fitness center worked for afternoon exercise, and a long walk after dinner at the Rib Chop rounded out the day’s exercise except for hand feeding a couple of the fat, furry bunnies. Amazing these bunnies are so tame and seem safe from predators, except for the four wheeled ones.

9 Aug: A severe heat warning was issued for Billings so we walked early,  but we waited too long in the afternoon for the walk to lunch; it was beastly hot, but it helped to jig and jag from the shade of one small tree to the next.  Ron walked again in the evening. It was fun to talk to Mark, the owner of the Moto Guzzi motorcycle parked outside. And it was interesting to see a couple more Hells Angels at breakfast again.  Perhaps they are part of the Sturgis Rally that is just about over.   Ron is nearly finished with another Family Group package.

8 Aug: Brett and Jen had a beautiful baby boy last night. They are over the moon in love with this guy.
Hudson, newest addition to the family

7 Aug:  The heat is creeping up!  Ron completed his GEDcom and uploaded it to  He is delighted to find DNA matches to known ancestors.  Sistah Carol will be so pleased to find more chromosome matching to do when she returns from her trip to a reunion in Iowa.  We are interested in learning if she found takers for the four DNA test kits available to be passed out to cousins.  We walked early.  Cynthia is engrossed in texting family about her new great grandson expected to make an appearance today.

6 Aug: Billings, MT on a cooler than usual day: we forgot to blog. Imagine that.

5 Aug:  Sunday Offering: Find someone you disagree with, someone you think is wrong, and decide to love that person the way you want Jesus to love you. We might be thought well of for our opinions, but we will be remembered for our love.  Become love. 
(from Bob Goff, Everybody Always Becoming) —-

We walked, we ate and we slept the rainy afternoon away.  Now  it is time for Ron to go grocery shopping before the thousand year flood arrives.  The rain ceased and we walked for nearly six total miles today. 

4Aug: Yesterday’s rain cooled Billings a bit. The morning was quite pleasant for walking. A big surprise was seeing 4 Hell’s Angels in colors staying at a Hilton hotel. The two women looked pretty tough, covered in tattoos. Ron cleaned the bike’s Fareng. Email consumed our afternoon followed by a walk to an early dinner at the Rib Chop Restaurant and a later, and longer, walk. The sunset was glorious.

3 Aug: Happy Birthday Jon!  The smooches are in a Billings, Montana hotel, all cozy, during a deluge. After months traveling a very dry SW crying for rain, it is deeply pleasing to be inside watching a down pour outside.  The cleaning crew arrived earlier this morning, leaving the room fresh and enjoyable.  Our chores done for the day, we are relaxing after a noon walk to the Windmill Restaurant; the salad was yummy.    Last night we stayed awake almost to the rooster crowed, looking at weather options and routes for going to Salt Lake City.  The coming two weeks are forecast to be roaring hot no matter which route we take; we would burn up riding in the heat, so we opted to stay here until the 12th of August - departing very early AM to ride to Cody,WY.  From there we ride through Yellowstone on the 13th - repeating a very early AM  departure, arriving in Alpine, WY by evening.  The 14th, we have a  Grandaddy of a ride to Salt Lake City.  God willing, we arrive by evening after a long, hot day.

2 Aug: Bunny rabbits and prairie dogs are the story for Aug 2. Ron fed them carrots.  We walked to the Windmill for super sized salad in 88 degree weather.  Tonight we will walk in Walmart!

Terry the Prairie Dog

Bunny Eats From Hand

1 Aug, Billlings, Montana, Homewood Suites - we tried escaping the heat by riding to Montana, it didn’t work the first time we tried it either. The temperature was 92 degrees today.  Fat, furry bunnies on the hotel grounds are capturing our attention. Very cute.  Cynthia was pleased to find a tailor to alter too loose blue jeans in short order.  Nearby was a five story Hilton hotel that begged us to walk the carpeted floors; we amuse ourselves by walking the floors of hotels to we can stay cool.  Lunch at the Windmill Restaurant was very pleasant with nice grounds and lakes for walking. Our noses were buried in computers for the afternoon.  The hotel has free suppers besides free good breakfasts. And that was our day.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

July - Smooch Smooch is 18 AGAIN, AGAIN!

31 Jul: Hwy 120 from Riverton, WY to Billings, MT is called the “lonely and  scenic” route; it wasn’t lonely,  but it was very scenic.  Thermopolis impressed us when we stopped there for lunch at Nature’s Corner to ear serving bowl size salads.  The community obviously cares passionately about being vibrant even though it is a small town.  We were surprised to see many lakes despite the aridity. The best part of the ride was a canyon with three stone tunnels followed by the Big Horn River with the railroad visible on the opposite side of the river.  The state had few residents in the 1800’s, mostly ranchers.  The winter of 1887 was devastating to livestock creating the need for  irrigation to become necessary for agriculture to feed cattle during harsh winters. Ron saw evidence of more agriculture in WY than Cynthia did; she noticed ag changes by the time we approached Montana.  We didn’t stop at the oldest cowboy town of Meetetsee, WY, even though we heard it has a marvelous museum, because we encountered a road construction delay.  Exciting wildlife viewing was a  deer, an antelope and soft, furry rabbits.   Montana has more sheep than Wyoming.  About 6 PM we arrived in Billings; Ron rode to Walmart to shop.  Last night it became apparent that July 31 is the last day of Cynthia’s birthday month, with the help of the desk clerk, a recycled card, gold stars, red marking pen and glue, a surprise greeted her with bouquet of red roses and the recycled birthday card. She should like the card since she picked it out

Red Roses for da wee fee
30 Jul: Walking Riverton, CO was again a pleasant, albeit warmer, experience than yesterday. We hoofed nearly six miles.   The city has done a lot of work creating the Wyoming Trail, aka the Rail to Trail.  Tree planting along the trail was an outstanding idea in need of water. A few sections have sprinklers; most do not.  It is very arid. Genealogy and DNA was second on our list of to-do items. It is interesting that several descendants of Robert Rambo are coming out of the woodwork.  A new grandson is expected this week or the doctor will induce labor on Monday.

29 Jul: Riverton, CO where the livin’ is laid back. Cowboy town. We stay at many different hotel brands, but we often choose the Hilton properties because their breakfasts are not vendor fast food.  The guarantee is satisfaction or you don’t pay. This morning they were out of oatmeal at nine AM. Breakfast is served until ten.  Oatmeal is the healthiest, cheapest food on the buffet.  To run out on a Sunday morning means very inefficient kitchen management. Ron walked to Walmart and bought two small boxes of oatmeal and gave the manager the receipt saying he expected to be reimbursed. We received comp for one night.  Soooo today Cynthia received a DPT shot because she scratched her leg on rusty barb wire crossing the Trail to the hotel.  Her last TT was February of 2008 before her trip to Asia.  And the rest of the day was terrific. Guaranteed.  We were pleasantly surprised to learn more about Riverton's effort to inspire community betterment.  It was pleasing to walk the Wyoming Trail dubbed Rails to Trails; when the train tracks were removed an asphalt trail was laid along with a lovely tree planting effort.  Very nice.

28 Jul: Rawlins, WY, Hampton Inn; This is one of the rare times on our travels a TV in the breakfast room is turned to CNN.  Packed up, we rolled onto Riverton, Wyoming getting hit with a little bit of rain.  The scenery was like yesterday's ride. Lots of vast arid ranch land with cattle grazing in spots. The rest stop at Sweetwood Station was instructive; we were on the Oregon Trail!  Fascinating.  Leaving the rest stop we turned NW onto Wyoming 135 towards Riverton, Wyoming crossing over an amazing pass. The earth looked like the surface of the moon.  Riding into Riverton was not so scenic; trailer park city.  The city has one reputable restaurant: The Trailhead.  But they did a fine job of feeding us with a great salad bar and egg beater omelets apart from tak8ng an hour to be served because they were so busy.

27 Jul:  We crossed the state line from CO to Wyoming at 10:58 AM with little change in scenery. The Dr at the Medical Clinic described Walden as being like Wyoming instead of uppity CO. The ride across a plateau atop a Mesa of thousands of acres of barren ranch land was interesting; a very few ranches used irrigation and had green pastures and crops.  Cattle, horses and even antelope were spotted grazing.   After checking in at the Hampton Inn, we lunched on veggies and baked potato at Bucks Grill and Bar.   Tonight we walked 3 miles  round trip to dine at the Aspen House.  The steamed vegetables were excellent. On the way home we saw a curious sight, a deer was inside a chain link fence in someone’s front yard. A bit later another deer exited a parking lot in front of us and raced across the highway. By the time we reached our room, after climbing three flights of stairs, the key cards didn’t work. Down the stairs we went to get new key cards, and they didn’t work. Cynthis plopped down on the floor while Eon summoned the desk clerk The desk clerk made several attempts and finally figured out corrosion behind the batteries was the culprit. Down the stairs again, this time to see the beautiful blood moon. The photo does not capture the redness.

26 Jul:  Walden, Colorado enjoying cool weather.  Unfortunately we were only able to extend our stay one day, and we have to switch rooms, so we leave tomorrow for Rawlins, Wyoming where it will be warmer, forecast 84-degree high.  Then it should be another easy ride to a Hampton Inn at Riverton, Wyoming. Today we were treated to wildlife other than us: we saw a moose as we hoofed it when we were caught in the rain. The sunset tonight was incredible. And so is the moon.

25 Jul:  Walking Walden was the big event of our day, racking up 10,000 steps.  As we walked on the side streets we chanced to read the sign for the North Park Medical Clinic, so we stopped to see if they could examine Cynthia's ribs.  Yesterday when Ron gave her a close, comfortable hug, something went pop and immediately hurt, so we are nervous that she might have a broken rib.  The nurse showed us a photo of the bear that was in town last week dining on a neighbors garbage.  Cynthia took photos of stuffed wildlife in the Forest Service Office to send to granddaughter Fyn.  As we ate a late lunch at the River Rock, all the motorcyclists had on heavy clothing.  It is cool here this afternoon.  Big event of the day is that Cynthia was able to do laundry.  Nearly nothing makes her happier.

24 Jul:  We had a yummy breakfast with Pat outdoors at the Happy Cooker in Georgetown, Colorado.  Cynthia celebrated her birthday again with another eggs Benedict.  Deju Vu all over again.  We left Georgetown after filling with gas and rode old U.S. 40 from I-70 through Winter Park to Granby.  As we approached Granby, we saw signs for a restaurant at the Inn at Silvercreek.  Once we arrived at the front door, we recognized that we had stopped another year at the same resort and discovered (again) they open only for dinner.  They recommended Mavericks in town, and it was indeed good.  We rode out of town on Colorado highway 125 to Walden.  Part of the ride was very twisty, but after the town of Rand, the road straightened out and we rode between mountain ranges, marveling at the snow at higher elevations and the vast "flat" fields of brush, moose country.  In Walden we walked to find food and, as we approached the River Rock Cafe in the Antler Inn, we began to recognize it.  Once inside it was unmistakably familiar.  The curious part is that neither of us remembered ever being in Walden previous to walking into that restaurant.  They served us wonderful and humongous salads.  Our only disappointment with Walden is that the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge is not in the mountains and has no paved roads.  The valley here is apparently quite the wetlands with several rivers and streams meandering throughout, making it an angler's paradise and a lovely moose viewing center.  (We saw neither anglers nor mooses.)  Two of the rivers are named the Illinois River and the Michigan River.  While walking to the grocery after dinner, Ron saw a gaggle of geese at the Michigan River.

23 Jul:  Georgetown, Colorado.  We had an early start for our 25 mile ride down Interstate 70 from Silverthorne to Georgetown, so we arrived too early to check into our motel.  Instead we mailed another package off to sistah Carol and enjoyed breakfast at The Happy Cooker.  The delightful clerk in the post office was happy about the pleasant, cool weather and about the smell of fresh pine in the air.  We are visiting Ron's long time friend Pat A.

Lookie at the snow field in the background
22 Jul:  Important note!  Ron slept all through the night.  Today the ride from Carbondale to Silverthorne gave us Colorado Rocky Mountain High!  Oh, what a high.  We love our breathtaking rides through the Rockies.  Leaving Aspen, the narrow road was uncomfortable when the traffic backed up ahead of us.  Ron fixed them by passing.   Yikes! For a short distance, the road narrowed down to one lane.  We survived.  (Apparently one of us was uncomfortable.)  As we summited Independence Pass, snow was cradled in crevices below the craggy peaks.  Breathtaking.  When we reached Leadville, we were hungry!  We ate at the historic Silver Dollar Saloon, but the menu options had little little we could eat.  We didn’t remember this from earlier visits.  Cynthia ate in halfs;  half a berry and spinach salad, half a veggie/green chili sandwich, and half a baked Alaska.  (She splurged - her birthday month is drawing to a close.)  Ron enabled this behavior by finishing the other halfs.  (Although there was really only a quarter of the baked Alaska to finish.)  It was our first and last yummy baked Alaska.  We sat in Jimmy Buffet’s booth, walked past Buddy Holly’s guitar,  and Cynthia read a blog about the saloon by a motorcyclist.  Once we were again riding, ominous black clouds threatened and even delivered several drops of rain.  Regardless, we arrived at our hotel dry.  Woohoo!  Ruby Tuesday is in Silverthorne.

21 Jul:  We checked out at noon, followed by a luscious lunch at the Stone House, and we were on the road again. Roxanne sent us a text of Willie Nelson singing,”On the Road Again,” to cheer us on.  Cheering up was needed as the temperature was roasting hot.  By the time we reached the mountains it cooled off a bit but warmed again as we descended to the Comfort Inn at Carbondale, Colorado; the views and mountain stream were worth the heat.  We dined at the Goat House Restaurant across the street.  Ron walked to City Market, returning to have Cynthia dress to see the forest fire burning on the mountain outside the city.  After being under control the  fire increased two days ago.

20 Jul:  The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is magnificent.  And the painted wall is the most spectacular part of the canyon.  Were we ever surprised to find that Pam and Walt are also here in Montrose.  Dinner plans tonight.

19 Jul:  So today we stuffed everything onto the motorcycle and rode through (cool) Silverton and (cooler) Ouray to Montrose, Colorado to stay the night at the Hampton Inn (here) where the temperature is 100 degrees HOT.  Miss Smoochie, our traveling companion, didn’t complain. The motorcycle is a bit less top heavy after shipping Remembering Our Ancestors off to sistah Carol, mailing another few pages to cousin Tim, and depositing recycling.  It was nice to hear from Paul G. tonight. Deja Vu! As we pulled into the parking lot of The Stone House Restaurant, it looked familiar. We have eaten there several times in the past. Our romantic dinner was excellent, and so was a delightful 10 year old dining with her grandmother.  Good night.

18 Jul:  We are staying an extra night at the Blue Lake Ranch B and B. Dinner at Kennebecs tonight was a delightful experience due to a very lovely couple from Durango.  Everyone should be so charming.  Now we pack for our departure to Montrose, Colorado in the morning.  And Ron should be packing instead of blogging.

Thank goodness Cynthia didn't think to take the picture earlier
17 Jul:  After a morning appointment in Durango, we enjoyed a lovely lunch at Kennebec’s Restaurant.  Another adventure ensued as we left when a customer asked if the blue BMW was ours; it had fallen over.  That 800 pound bike could not be raised by Ron and the thoughtful fellow.  Ron returned to the restaurant and espied a couple of young men with their parents.  The five men managed to lift the bike easily.  Fortunately neither bike nor any of the heavy lifters were injured.  Cynthia thought about a picture after the bike was upright, so Ron is relieved that there is no evidence that this ever happened.  In Ron's never ending quest for shade, he parked the kickstand on pine duff that looked like solid ground but wasn't.  Here is a link to hikes in Mesa Verde:

16 Jul:  It was a memorable birthday!  We had quite the big adventure hiking the Petroglyph Trail, steep and rocky with too much exposure for Cynthia in several places.  She was terrified - and exhausted herself with fear !!  After 1.2 miles of this, we came to the petroglyphs, a single panel packed full of drawings.  Soon after that the trail ascended onto the mesa top and became a simple waltz in the woods.  Cynthia was greatly relieved until lighting began and one clap of thunder sounded very, very close, like a blast of dynamite.  A family had caught up to us and their two little girls were in the lead, their little feet boogieing as fast as possible, sheer terror evident on their faces.  The rain started as we descended the open rock towards the Mesa Museum, and then it poured.  We read most of the panels in the museum and waited and waited and waited for three hours until the rain finally stopped.  Unfortunately we ran into lots more rain as we drove down the mountain.  Fortunately at this late hour (7:30 pm) on a rainy day, the road was empty of traffic.  Surviving while living with Ron proves the existence of God.  We continue to survive.

15 Jul, The ride to Mesa Verde to hike was pleasant and cool. The Balcony House overlook hike was surprisingly warm. It was fun to see how much we  remembered  our Mesa Verde hikes  in the past. The Knife Edge Trail was fairly level with great views. Cynthis will post the photos tomorrow

Rain over 416 Forest Fire?
14 Jul: Jackie, the hostess/chef at the Blue Lake Ranch makes our mornings such a delight. We were surprised to learn she is married to the coach who remembered us.  He described the harrowing tale of having his foot run over by his van yesterday.  Once again we enjoyed conversing with the trio from Belgium.  Our morning hike was at the ranch's event center; the trail was not as well maintained nor as long as we remembered. Cynthia quizzed the gardener about why we are seeing so many purple plants in higher altitudes; the answer is timing. The yellow flowers bloom first followed by red ones then the purple flowers. Much has to do with rain and humidity. We rode into Durango to shop at the Nature's Oasis Market and enjoyed a salad lunch.  Upon our return, Ron enjoyed Casita porch time working through a new genealogy book he purchased about Shenck ancestors.  Cynthia had the same magnificent view of the mountains Ron did (shown in the photo below from inside the casita) staring at the back of Ron's head on occasion; she was reading a book on her iPad inside the house The rainfall was minimal. Our evening hike was not too long because the triangular flies are biting

13 Jul: Blue Lake Ranch B&B on Southern Ute Reservation is 200 acres of beautiful views. Our Sunset Casita is semi isolated; we awoke Mountain Views on the north and the sunset on the east.  It is a blessing to sleep with the windows open.  Our breakfast table companions were from Belgium and a bicycling coach, who remembered us from one of our previous visits.  We have lots of trails to hike and very little WiFi.  It seems the WiFi goes out every five minutes.  Updates will be sketchy!
Cynthia likes the headboard

12 Jul: We check out of our hotel at one PM followed by a one hour ride to Durango; Cynthia has a chest XRay at three. Good Results!  Plans are weather dependent . The Blue Lake Ranch B&B is home for the next week.  They serve marvelous breakfasts.

11 Jul:  We are in Pagosa Springs for the final day of packing before riding to the Blue Lake Ranch outside Durango tomorrow the 12th, God willing.  Our morning 4 mile hike was pleasant followed by brunch at Two Chicks. Ron, the recycling man,  walked the cardboard and paper around the corner to recycle and packed bags all afternoon.  By the time we go to sleep we will be ready to ride. Well, after the box gets shipped to Texas at UPS.

10 Jul:  Another day of organizing document photos for Ron.  We did go for a very short walk late this morning and saw our favorite nine bucks awaiting their bird food.  Then we ate brunch, and Cynthia went to Sue's Sizzors for a hair cut.  Ron rode the Beemer back to the motel from where it was parked yesterday afternoon.  Early evening we walked our usual route and again saw the nine bucks, this time strolling through the neighborhood and browsing leisurely.  Cynthia's breathing is a little easier today, and the skies are a crystal clear blue. It appears allergies and smoke may be responsible for breathing issues. Prayer works!   Cynthia will have a chest X Ray tomorrow.

The other side is a bench !!  Pretty ornate - or ornate and pretty
9 Jul:  Happy Birthday Granddaughter Rachel!  Since Ron had cards and letters ready to mail, we decided to hike on Reservoir Hill after negotiating postage at the Post Office across from the hot springs.  Our decision to hike at Reservoir Hill was serendipitous; we met a delightful, effervescent couple from Katy, Texas who shared their unique faith journey and prayed with us for B, C,  and K.  God is good!  The hill was more of a hill than Cynthia remembered, and although she is breathing easier, she was quickly winded by the hill.  Ron remembered (from another hike years ago) this most interesting bench carved from a tree.  The fact that Ron remembers these sorts of things is yet another unexplained miracle !!

8 Jul:  Being creatures of habit, we follow the same daily routine: exercise, oatmeal with fruit followed by a 4-5 mile hike; on the last lap homeward bound, we are seriously ready for brunch at Two Chicks.  Betsy, the owner, turns the order in to the chef, “ for the special couple.”  "Isn't that special," says the Church Lady. Last night’s rain was a blessing,  but not too noticeable this morning. We spotted 9-10 deer, including an injured buck, and one named Stumpy (due to a stump on his antlers).  A community of geese was happy to be photographed for granddaughter Fyn. Tonight,  loud crashing thunder and sharp cracks of lightning roared above us at Boss Hogg’s Restaurant.  We are it back to the hotel in between the rain showers.  Ron will hike in the rain alone tonight.  Cynthia's blister is healing nicely.
Geese in the lake at the end of our neighborhood walk

7 Jul: Every day we hike past 8-10 elegant buck deer ensconced in the same shady spot. The antlers are growing by the day; One has 10 points. The deer seem unafraid; they like this place because a  bird feeder is directly across the road. The fellow who feeds the birds said, "I can't help it if the deer eat the seed.  I am only feeding birds.“ We had a most interesting visit with a neighbor ( to the deer) who is in charge of managing manpower for the fire, search and rescue teams;  he was one of the team hiking up mountain to rescue the young woman with a broken ankle as we were hiking down from Four Mile Falls.  He said she had surgery and gave us a report on the Colorado fires.  Cynthia's blister is greatly improved thanks to Ron's medial expertise. It rained briefly tonight as we walked to dinner. Ron has had opportunity to tell his bear stories several times today. The guy in the restaurant had a very good bear story in return.
Lookie the velvet and all those tines on his antlers.

6 Jul:  Are we boring?  After explaining our lifestyle to a 13 year old who was helping her mom clean our hotel room, we wondered if our routine was boring.  For extreme exciting news: Ron fixed a mole skin cover for Cynthia's blister; the bad news is the blister is still to painful for hiking.  BUT, we did get to Two Chicks for lunch and hobbled home.  The extra good news is the room is clean!  Cynthia created Rambo and Bankston spreadsheets for  Ron continues working on the SCS projects.  It is pouring down rain in Pagosa Springs.  For how long, we don’t know, but it is mighty welcome to the firemen fighting forest fires. Yes! We are not boring or bored.
5 Jul:  Cynthia hiked just fine yesterday morning.  Attempting a second hike last night was her undoing because the blister worsened.  Ron hiked alone this morning, having a great time visiting with the deer feeder guy who said 10 bucks were ensconced across from his home last night.  Ron was introduced to his Texas neighbors who happen to winter on the north side of Lake Conroe, Texas.  We lived on the south side.

4 Jul:  Wishing our family and friends a Happy Independence Day - the Fourth of July!  To reflect on the meaning of Independence Day is to grasp the suffering paid by the signers of the Declaration of Independence and those who fought so valiantly for the freedoms we have today.  Our country is unique in providing more opportunity for more people than any other country ever has.  We salute our veterans and soldiers.  Thank you.  God Bless America!

3 Jul:  Blistered Cynthia sat out the walk today, so Ron used the opportunity to talk to a friend who enjoys long, long conversations and walked the entire circuit around the lake to Pagosa Road.  After brunch, he examined several of those files converted to Word and discovered a few more letters that need to be considered for Volume 7 of the Records of the Colonial Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania.  (Sorry Ken.)  At 8 PM punctually, he was out the door to walk to WallyWorld, gawk at the sunset, and converse with another friend via the miracle of telecommunication - remarkable even with an old flip phone. We assisted Brett with his blog posts:
That bright red dot above the trees is the sun !!

2 Jul:  Da hubsand failed in hubsandly duties by asking if (instead of insisting that) we turn around when my beloved SmoochSmooch confessed that she had started walking in her "comfortable" shoes instead of changing into her hiking Hokas.  Now she has a blister and is doctoring before we go to Two Chicks for brunch at 1pm.  (Brunch because we always order egg white omelets there.)  It was a hot walk with little shade this morning because we started late instead of early.  Fortunately, the smoke has been blown away by the strong north winds today.  Unfortuately the 416 fire is heading northward.  We need a southeasterly wind to blow it back into areas already burned.  Today the guy who feeds the birds was out, and we talked with him for a bit.  He cannot prevent the deer from eating that bird food.  One large buck has survived three hunting seasons so far.  Here is Ron's description copied from an email to a Little cousin, "We are safely ensconced in Pagosa Springs, Colorado breathing that lovely, fresh, high altitude smoke from the 416 fire 60 miles away and moving incredibly slowly on land, but not so slowly in air quality.  Cynthia tells me that I keep the room too cold and the air conditioned air is giving her sundry problems, so she has contrived to move us much, much closer to the fire on July 12th to the Blue Lake Ranch near Hesperus, Colorado.  I liked the idea so well that I bought her another bouquet of flowers yesterday and almost had them trimmed and en-vased before she noticed.  This is Cynthia's birthday month, so I wished her happy birthday, and the Blue Lake Ranch is one of her favorite accommodations hereabouts.  The beauty of Pagosa Springs (besides the brilliant smokey sunsets) is that the highs have been running in the mid-80s.  When we leave Durango around July 19th, we will probably tour through Colorado to get the most smoke possible en route to Montana for cooler temperatures (although that didn't work last time we tried it).  Route to be determined by the seat of my pants, recently mended.  We do genealogy 80% of our time, but most of it has to do with DNA or the Swedish Colonial Society.  (Tell Shelley that we are on her side.)  We hike for an hour or two every day and just today talked with the guy who feeds the deer via his bird feeder.  We've seen 9 bucks waiting their turn to his feeder."  Sunset tonight was blood red, smack on the horizon!  Awesome !!

1 Jul, Sunday in Pagosa Springs, Colorado:  Thank God.  Today is the first day of the birthday month.   SmoochSmooch.  I love you on your birthday month.  God was willing, we did wake up, and there was much less smoke in the air.  The temperature was 72 degrees when we began our morning hike. It felt like 85 degrees when we finished.  The smoke increased considerably during the day.  About 8:00 PM Ron walked to Wally World for groceries and phoned Cynthia twice to encourage her to look out the hallway window to see the marvelous coral sunset that preceded a sky full of brown wisps.  And he sneaked a gorgeous bouquet of pink roses into the room !!  Ron has finished for now changing Word Perfect files to Word.  Good job.  We are so very thankful, so richly blessed, and we Thank God big time.  Thank God for Cynthia.