Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Rockies in August

31 Aug. Mon: We worked... with the notion we would hike in Bandolier. But, by the time we left the hotel the clouds in the west were dark and ominous so we rode the bike to Janie's and walked four miles (RT) to Mark V's house. One more address updated: he is still living in Santa Fe but not home; we left a note tucked inside the front door with an invitation to the wedding. After Janie finished her afternoon class we went to the very trendy El Farol's for dinner and had the most adventurous time: photographers and male models drove up in a BMW convertible and SUV; they told us they were doing a story of life in Santa Fe for coastal circulation - and they asked if they could use the motorcycle and Janie's Scooter as props for the photo shoot. it seemed a good idea to suggest they use the OWNERS of the bikes for the best story of life in Santa Fe. A blonde, very tall, leggy photographer dressed very avant garde played interceptor. But at that moment the two male models (on Janie's bike) started kissing. OH OH - they have a different viewer audience intended. After dinner we drove to Stewart and Judy's for a brief visit with plans to take them to dinner tomorrow night. Judy was not home but we did get to look at her artwork.

30 Aug. Sun: - We missed breakfast with Norma and Bob but made up for it by treating them to dinner at a popular spot for locals that used to be "Dave's Not Here" but is now called "The Tune-Up. " They have a hamburger called "Dave Was Here!" But first we hiked the Aspen Vistas trail with Norma, a retired librarian, hiking and scrabble partner. Bob is a retired engineer from Los Alamos turned symphony composer.

EXCITEMENT OF THE EVENING: Nina was in the restaurant. She is our new friend from Ristra's Restaurant. We have exchanged Email addresses and we have plans to see her studio 2 September.

A strikingly beautiful woman named Sharyn sat next to Smooch Smooch. She creates documentaries. Her charming brother Arne sat next to Norma and made the conversation very lively. She was so captivated by our wedding plans she wants to be invited to film it as a story of interest. We have an interview scheduled with them for Thursday morning.

OH. The food was good, too!

29 Aug. Sat: Tia Sophia's is the place to eat breakfast in Santa Fe; the burrito is a bountiful feast and NOT to be left uneaten because of anyone's diet. Three sisters manage the restaurant - - LONG-TIME friends that go back to the hometown of Trenton, Illinois. Marie was happy to meet Smooch Smooch and glad to receive a wedding invitation in person.

We had a lovely walk around downtown Santa Fe - over to the Supreme Court Building and across the Santa Fe River which surprisinly had some water flowing; it must have rained. An enjoyable memory working for the Supreme Court of New Mexico was to run outdoors when it rained hard to see the river overflow its (creek-like) banks. Fifteen minutes later another check and the river was down to its little trickle again. The best part of working for the Supreme Court was traveling throughout New Mexico visiting its thirty courthouses and meeting the chief judges.

A highlight of the morning was attending the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and a photography exhibit. From there we drove along Arroyo Tremorio to see the houses I owned - three blocks from the state capitol - that still to this day are on dirt roads. It was only a two block walk to work at the Supreme Court Building.

We were fed REALLY GOOD at Linda's birthday party; and what a fun time was had by all of the survivors. Lots of Linda's colleagues and friends from rafting adventures and some family were present to enjoy her special day. Friends serenaded her with touching songs of friendship and caring.

Despite being very full - we met another good friend Janie for dinner at Ristra's and had another good meal.

28 Aug. Fri: We had a terrific hike (after not such a great breakfast) up to the top of Chimney Rock for some good photos. Linda suggested Buffalo Thunder Casino for the first few nights in Santa Fe. The best part of the Santa Fe years is the deep friendships that have endured for decades. It is always so good to return to this home. After checking into the hotel we drove onto Santa Fe to visit John and Linda. They gave us a tour of the old adobe houses they have purchased on Alto Street that adjoin the house Ron purchased in 1978. Smooch Smooch was impressed with the house: it was built in the late 1800's and its original hand hewn beams (axe marks present that I bleached - and seeing the restoration work I did.

Linda and John were busy in preparation for her party tomorrow so we walked to Ristra's Restaurant for a delicious meal; we met a lovely couple who toasted us - "because we enjoyed watching your expressed tenderness." We bought them a glass of wine and they bought us a glass of champagne (ONLY ONE - we share only ONE). She is a poet and artist - he is a remarkable man we liked instantly. They, too, enjoy a tender and loving relationship. We joined them and we enjoyed the camaraderie so much that we paid for their dinner (unbeknownst to them). After walking to Borders Bookstore we were very surprised to see David and Nina walking across the parking lot to the bookstore entrance. And they were happyl to thank us for the meal. (The STORY continues to unfold - stay tune!)

Thurs Evening continued: En route to Ghost Ranch we encountered a wonderful rainbow and panoramic views that were MARVELOUS! The sunset was a glorious display of color preparing us for the retreat time at Ghost Ranch. We arrived after dark - about nine-thirty - and found the key and a note that we were in Coyote 9; it was VERY DARK but we found our way to the Coyote lodge and room nine - only to find it inhabited. No PHONES! NO CELL SERVICE! After locating an emergency phone attempts to find some live person failed - we met the guests who were in room nine - who were supposed to be in rooms nine and ten but found ten occupied. They suggested we just grab an empty room - which we did. The room was sparse but comfy. It was great to have the windows and door open with fresh air blowing in. And the stars were magnificent. Other campers had a nice large blazing campfire going - fun to watch but we did not participate.

27 Aug. Thurs: The views of red rock south of Moab are awesome. See photo of "Wilson Arch" left. We made it to the Cortez for lunch - dining at the delightful Shiloh Restaurant (hard to locate - on the corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot). The dining area is an outdoor covered patio with waterfalls and koi ponds. Great food.

We had another delicious meal in Pagosa Springs at JJ's Down Under Seafood Restaurant. Dining was on an outdoor overlook of the river. Fabulous view and great food too. After three phone calls we connected with Ghost Ranch near Abiqui for reservations tonight.

26 Aug. Wed: Moab, UT. We had a nice visit with a long-time friend Lance from Santa Fe who retired here;he joined us for dinner at the Moab Brewery, It was a delight to have his company at one of Moab's eclectic restaurants for breakfast. Moab has changed: it has grown greatly.

25 Aug. Tues: We worked hard hardly working. We had a good day at the library with a two mile jaunt to our favorite restaurant. Tonight's dinner promises to be most engaging with Roy and Barbara because they are feeling well again. Roy has atrial fibrillation issues but you cannot keep a good man down. We leave tomorrow mid-morning for Moab, UT to visit friends before we arrive in Santa Fe on Friday to help Linda celebrate her big day. We hope to do some serious hiking in New Mexico with long-time friends. Updates will be coming from Santa Fe... and from there we will go to Sedona, AZ for a month. Progress has been satisfying on all counts: the bike is fixed, the research is caught up. When we get to Sedona plans are to start arising at four AM hoping to complete the last two volumes.

24 Aug. - Mon: Thanks to Walt and Pam we are happy with the Tourmaster purchases: Renegade Classics in SLC carried the Flex II jacket (black) in a size small; it fits nicely - three zip out layers is a good idea and the price is reasonable. They ordered the matching pants in a size extra small and will call us when they arrive. "Cute Shoes" are high on the agenda although ugly warm ones might look very cute when the temps become frigid in the Rockies late fall. The day at the library was productive, too, and the food at the Market Street Grill remains delicious.

23 Aug. - Sun: After a late and great sleep this morning we were en route to Salt Lake City. Smooch Smooch has an appointment with a realtor early tomorrow AM; and she plans to look at Tourmaster gear while Ron will happily spend the day in the library. Arriving in SLC tonight about 7:15 PM - Ron maneuvered the trailer into the parking lot behind the hotel - managing to turn it around and BACK into the narrow alley parking space while Smooch Smooch stayed in the lobby unable to watch the process. Thanks to the hotel concierge for great guidance. The Orange Roughy at the Market Street Grill was terrific. We forgot to mention the construction boom in downtown Salt Lake City: we counted 15 huge cranes in two city blocks. The old Masonic building across from the restaurant has been up on wheels for a month - but when we arrived at the restaurant tonight we were mighty surprised to see that it had been turned around and moved across the street (next door to the restaurant) and slid sideways into place. It is still up on hoists and scores of wheels but it is readied now to be lowered onto giant beams while they build a basement foundation under it: amazing. A new FHL is under construction: 30 floors of library!!!

Ed P. suggests we write romance novels as our next calling. But Ed... we have so MANY THINGS yet to accomplish while we LIVE one out. We are amazed that about a year ago we thought we were only going to take a short research trip together; many miles, months and much joy have brought us to the State of Romantic Bliss. And thanks to Mary and Cheryl, we are planning a wedding May 12, 2011 at Gloria Dei "Old Swedes Church" in downtown Philadelphia - in 17th century garb. It will take a year to update all of the addresses of friends who have waited long years for this day (like you Ed). Everyone has been promised a year's notice but there is too much preparation to schedule for next spring - hence the 2011 date (a birthday so anniversaries can be remembered). "Save the date" cards will go out this coming winter and a wedding website will be created to keep you informed. Smooch Smooch will have to obtain a Canon 19 dispensation from the EPCUSA bishop ( a very lengthy process) to be married in the Episcopal/Anglican denomination. Our common ancestor, Peter Gunnarson Rambo, was one of the founders of Gloria Dei; it was originally Swedish Lutheran but it became Anglican about the time of the Revolutionary War. The "new" building, completed in 1702 shortly after the venerable Peter's death, is now an historical landmark. It will hold 300 people (squished). Prepare to be squished and have a great time.

22 Aug. - Sat.: We left Spokane early AM on I-90 for a surprisingly scenic drive and MARVELLED at the views. This Interstate is one of the few that has great views. Interesting sign (left) begged a photo. There was a great rest stop with a hiking and biking trail that stretches all the way from Spokane to Couer d' Alene We hiked for a half an hour. Arriving in Missoula, Montana for lunch we were disappointed the Blue Canyon restaurant did not open on Sat. until five PM. Instead we had a fine lunch at the Stone of the Accord Irish Pub and Grill. We arrived in Butte, MT in time for an hour walk before dinner at the Derby Restaurant recommended to us by a congenial fireman. The Halibut Florentine was outstanding.

21 Aug.- Friday: The bike is ready, loaded into the trailer. After another great breakfast at the White Spot with our favorite waitress Lindsey (she had to birth twins who died in utero a month ago and is grieving) we headed south of Vernon to the Can./US border for an uneventful crossing. We had a lovely drive to Spokane for an overnight at the Hampston Inn and a magnificent dinner at the Milford Fish House (719 North Monroe Street - don't miss this place). We were surprised and quite delighted with Spokane, too; it is a lovely city.

20 Aug.- Thurs: The FL bike was smoking so rings were replaced. It is a sweet bike according to Dave. We enjoyed dinner at Earl's with Joanic (pronounced Yahnik) Gene, his wife Tonya and their son Colton. Joanic,, a handsome 27 year old with a lot on the ball, is quite shy but very enamored of the very cute waitress named Christine. Ron introduced him to her and offered to pay for their meal on their first date (if he gets up the courage to ask her out). We changed from the Sandman hotel to the Prestige Inn because it was so uncomfortably hot.

19Aug - Wed: Ron made a quick rount trip to the border and registered both bikes with customs to be able to transfer title of the SC bike to Dave.The border crossing was not without incident as the customs agent could not grasp that the second bike was listed as a two hundred dollar value -- and that we would drive all the way from South Carolina with a two hundred dollar bike plus the other vintage bike just to leave the less expensive one. Finally after a thorough inspection of the bikes, the car and contents they were satisfied we had no illegal immigrants in the hubcaps nor drugs, alcohol, etc.

18 Aug - Tues: The day has been busy, busy busy! The bike needed a new battery which fixed ta turn signal problem. We are working on the E-mail updates for a mailing list - but the room has been mighty hot because the A/C isn't working well. We had lunch at Earl's and tonight we had a delightful dinner with Dave, his lovely wife Deb and their three beautiful, talented daughters for the second night in a row. This makes OUR THIRD night at Earl's. We do like this Canadian restaurant. Hanna taught Smooch Smooch how to use Chop Sticks!

17 Aug - Mon: We arrived in Vernon, BC last night in time for a delicious dinner at Earl's to enjoy a yummy spinach salad with strawberries, almonds, avocado slices and feta cheese, but we opted out of the tasty champagne vinaigrette dressing. Breakfast this morning was a treat at the White Spot (egg white garden omelet (no cheese) and our favorite sourdough bread toasted dry (sugar and fat free pancake syrup make this an ideal french toast treat).

Afterward we walked two miles to and fro Dave's Garage to check on the bikes. They refurbished his old BMW out of the South Carolina duplicate instead of vice versa and it looks mighty sweet. We have to take the SC bike back to the US side to go through customs since the title is being transferred to Dave to rebuild the SC bike as a sale to him. This means a full day's trip back to the border south of Kelowna and back to Vernon hauling both bikes. But the travel is scenic through Canada's wine country.

We are also searching for Pam's highly recommended Tourmaster riding gear for Smooch Smooch - but find the manufacturer's website worthless. Few dealers stock extra small jackets or petite pants. Our turnaround time in BC is short: we have an important date 28 August in Santa Fe to celebrate Linda's admission to the Septuagenarian Club at her Gigantic Medium-sized party.

16 Aug. - Sun: One of the best parts of traveling is the companions one meets on the journey. We enjoyed a breakfast conversation with a sweet young pastor's wife who is originally from Georgia (friend and helper of the owner's mother at the Riverstone Lodge). Her husband is pastor of a 24 hour prayer ministry for a non-denominational congregation in Kansas City, KS on State Line. Very recently he and their son were released from a prison in China for preaching in an underground Chinese church.

Fully fed and Ron has edited for a couple of hours we have time for a morning hike before heading onto Vernon, BC. After a brief walk instead we crossed the US/Canadian border only to discover that Smooch Smooch's passport has expired (a few days ago). They let us through anyway.

15 Aug - Sat. - Smooch is exhausted after packing up in preparation for today's trip.

The phone call from Jim, Joanie, Pam and the gang was a really good one! Ron connected with most friends by phone while driving. It is very comforting to hear from Auntie Carol that Little Carol Ann is behaving herself; although she was in need of some sandals - seems she lost her steel toed boots en route. Smooch is traumatized she is gone (see photo left).

We arrived in Kalispell, MT, after a scenic drive from Missoula, hungrily searching for a nice restaurant but we only saw fast foodies until we stopped to inquire at the Red Lion Hotel. They did have one but it had only one customer despite advertising the best Bison in Montana. WARILY we sat down to order. If you go to Kalispell - TRY this restaurant ONLY because of the delightful and charming waitress named Teri. She is one sweetie who charmed us with tales of her romance with Brian while lovingly help us stick to dietary restrictions. After dinner Ron ran to the car to give her our bottle of wine (we cannot take it into Canada and forget to drink it) she exclaimed, "This is the nicest thing any customer has ever done for me!" To which he replied, "But you haven't seen your tip yet!"

We found great lodging at the Riverstone Lodge just a few miles from the US Canada border entrance: the individual log cabins are quite delightful - new - very comfortable - with a great view of the mountains. Breakfast is included for only $92.50 a night.

14 Aug: Imagine a beautiful view from a huge room in a new Hawthorne Hotel in Missoula, Montana. That is what we are enjoying as we work to get our projects in order before proceeding back to British Columbia to recover the refurbished motorcycle. Busy, busy, busy day.

13 Aug - Thurs PM - Walt called early AM with warm words of comfort. THANKS, Walt; we will all miss Lee. We are too far away westward with too tight a schedule to afford the luxury of attending the Irish Wake held in his honor on Sunday and seeing all those people who also loved Lee. The drive was a pretty one, on the Interstate from Salt Lake City into southern Idaho, then on Highways 26 and 93 through the eastern Idaho arid plains, through several canyons, and over the Continental Divide into the mountains to Missoula, Montana.

12 AUGUST 2009: 12: 40 AM - LEE B. PASSED AWAY, a sad day in some ways, but a blessing in others. A tree is planted today in memory of Lee (tree in German is Baum) so substitute Lee in place of tree in the poem by Joyce Kilmer:I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

(Joyce Kilmer)

11 Aug - Tues: Ron is one happy camper at this library finding citations and resources he was missing. We tore ourselves away from the library at six PM because the car was ready; the dealer found an acorn in the A/C unit but it is covered by warranty.

10 Aug - Mon: We had a productive meeting with Raquel and George about brick walls, and all met with Raquel's husband, Stan, for lunch at the Garden Room on the tenth floor of the old 5-star Hotel Utah [now a professional building] located on Temple Square. Great food and nominally priced. Mondays the library closes early, at five, so we headed to the Market Street Grill for a shared meal of tour favorite Orange Roughy. The car repairs were not yet complete, so we will spend another day at the library tomorrow.
9 Aug - Sun: Cousin Roy's mother passed away in Texas: our condolences! We hiked the Solitude Lake Trail (a harder trail) and the Interpretive Lake Trail (easy) east of Cottonwood Canyon in Brighton. The combined hike was about five miles taking three hours. The easy trail was very crowded in places because of a moose sighting. The moose crossed the lake water to charge just a few yards in front of us.

8 Aug - The Smooch Smooches are back in the library working industriously; we enjoyed a delightful dinner at Sweet Tomato with Cousin Roy and his lovely wife, Barbara.

Kevin's (Preacher Boy) blog is just amazing. This outstanding young man recently bought a bus ticket to LA with barely any money left in his pockets to start a ministry to the poor. His journey to LA describing the LA bus system, ending up in the Uplands and Watts, days spent on the streets nursing a badly sunburned and blistered forehead and head (because of a new buzz cut) is fascinating. We can only imagine the family's concerns as they follow his blog.

4-7 Aug - Edit, Edit, Edit! Ron had a successful week working without disruption. Auntie Carol says that Little Carol Ann arrived safely and she will should be herding chickens in no time. On the other hand, Smooch the Frog is throwing tantrums because she misses her. We had a phone call from "Kat" with glowing reports of her new job working at the Carlsbad Caverns.

3 Aug - Mon: Ron had a good day: he took the car in for work early and accomplished lots of hard work "hardly working!"

2 Aug-Sunday: Roy beat Ron at "Go" the first time; then Ron beat Roy the second and third "Go" Rounds!" Ron's stack of Sudokus were nearly finished until Roy gave Ron a whole new stack of them along with 9000 piece puzzles! On the working side: a third volume is ready for a thumbs up to the printer; the finances are finished except for mailing Lee two Canadian pennies in a Thinking of You card (we are!), and it is time to work on Rambo bibliographies while we worry about Little Carol Ann. We put stamps on Little Carol Ann's forehead and sent her by postal mail to Auntie Carol Ann but we have not heard if she arrived OK. It is the weekend so she is likely languishing in some overheated post office until Monday morning.