Tuesday, June 29, 2010

July has a Date to Remember - SO DO WE!

Photo of the Hot Springs Baths.... at Glenwood Springs, CO.

31 July Saturday: Incredible views to Aspen where a four hundred foot square house without utilities costs 2.5 million dollars. Lodging at the Aspen Inn was very pleasant; they include free shuttle service into the city but the Saturday desk staff was not best... Mitch... we needed you! We especially enjoyed the historicity of the Hotel Jerome and wonderful food served outdoors on the patio. Great service. The drive to Glenwood Springs proved to be uncomfortably warm. And the greatly touted hotel Colorado's service not the best. We were delayed an hour checking in because the rooms were not cleaned... and then they tried to give us a room without a mountain view... so they finally provided a suite with a Victorian parlor. Ambiance on the hotel's patio is very nice... but again... poor wait staff service. The recommendation of the Blue Finn Restaurant was a good one. Delightful waitress named Lisa.

29 July Thurs: The views en route to Vail were marvelous; the cooler mountain air is awesome. Vail is experiencing a building boom like we have not seen. We loved the food at the Ore House for lunch and Montauk Seafood for dinner... great lodging at the Gausthaus right downtown Vail.

28 July Wed: Falls Creek Trail. We were ambitious and excited to take this ten mile hike (RT) to Long Lake. But upon reaching the halfway point at 2.5 miles (1200 feet ascent) arriving at the upper falls... with storm clouds brewing we turned back. The top photo is the upper falls. The second photo is the view from close to the ridge top while the bottom photo is of the lower falls. We were thankful to return to Steamboat Springs just beating the showers. We scooted into Safeway for some fruit, fat free sour dough bread, fat free feta cheese and a lettuce salad to munch on in the room. We met the nicest people hiking today... but that is nothing new!

27 July Tues: NO hiking today! Instead it was catch up ball game on our computers. What a treat to receive so many affirmative wedding RSVPs! After lunch at the Egg n I repeating our breakfast... we rode across Rabbit Ears Pass on Highway 40... and then onto Hwy 129 to Columbine until the paved road stopped. Thetiny town boasts a small log store and possibly ten log cabins but they made the map! There were many quite magnificent homes nestled in the hills en route. The cloud formations were fun to observe. Sightings: two deer were on the side of the road, the result of motorist kill; a blue heron and a hawk were wonderful sights. If you plan a trip to Steamboat Springs... our restaurant recommendation is the Ore House: awesome fresh fish and a fabulous salad bar. Tomorrow's adventure will take us hiking once again if we can only get early morning starts!

26 July Mon: Eight mile hike on Mad Creek Trail (RT) was breathtaking and very enjoyable without the cyclists determined to kill us on their downhill roll. We had legs like jello when we finished. We saw a black snake... hummingbird... and lots of little children on the first leg of the trip.

Photo below is from Grand Lake, CO

25 July Sun: Trail Ridge Road is under construction in several places, and the ranger at the entrance gate suggested we avoid the construction by taking the Falls River Road, the graded dirt road to the top. Obviously that ranger lady has never riden a motorcycle. We took Fall River and enjoyed the climb, despite a few rutted corners and dumb motorists. The old Beemer performed admirably without complaint, although we did have to gear down a time or two; no problem with Cynthia on the back and a surplus of slow traffic ahead of us. We are now in Steamboat Springs for the next two days because we found nice lodging near the ski basin with great rates. Today we hiked uphill on the Spring Creek Trail for seven miles (RT) avoiding accidents from dumb out of control bicyclists using the same trail. The day was not too hot. Lovely trail with tall stands of Aspen, wildflowers, Rufus hummingbirds and a ground squirrel or two. We made it back into Steamboat for lunch before the Egg and I closed at two-thirty. Dinner reservations are at the Ore House tonight. The red mountain trout last night is worth a repeat.

23 July Sat: Packed up and out of Grand Lake by ten AM we began the trip to Steamboat Springs on Hwy 125... connecting to 14 and onto 4o. The city is crammed jammed with bicycles in preparation for a big bike race tomorrow. But we did find nice lodging at Ptarmigian Inn at the ski resort. We did not see wildlife but did view some amazing lakes, streams and mountain scapes. on this gorgeous sunny day. By the time we had arrived here we shed our outer gear. Dinner tonight at the Ore House Restaurant was highly recommended. The bike is working well pulling a lot more weight with a passenger and the U-Bag. All is working well.

y Thurs: Happy "Birthday Carol and Little Carol Ann who is a delightful one year old keeping her auntie young and trim. On this day... to celebrate their births and to have fun... we rode from Grand Lake back up to Alpine Summit Visitors Center - hiked west for an hour (RT) before venturing onto the Estes Park road where we hiked a half mile up with a 26o foot ascent to 13, 300 feet. It was indeed a windy blustery adventure. Returning to Grand Lake we had dinner at the Bear Den. From there we drove to the trailhead for Falls View and hiked about a half mile UP UP UP ... RT. We saw a herd of doe Elk and a yellow bellied Marmot.

storm clouds approaching

22 July Thurs: Zooma Zooma! Dry weather was forecast... but rain came en route to the Rocky Mountain National Park... light showers creating an eventful day. After seeing dark clouds we drove towards Grand Lake in rain and some hail. Three herds of elk... a baby marmot. What a time getting down the mountain with two stops for construction... lots of switchbacks.

21 July Wed: Colorado! Rocky Mountain High! The morning weather was magnificent - so was breakfast at Nicky's. The twists and turns into Rocky Mountain National Park were most enjoyable... and the temps... not too hot nor too cool. We turned around when we reached the construction area about ten miles up the mountain because it was loose gravel. A mountain trout lunch at the Trailhead restaurant on the balcony was another lovely treat. After buying post cards we drove to Bear Lake and back to the hotel barely beating the ominous clouds, lightning display and thunder behind us. The view of a hailstorm from within the dry room was delightful! After dinner at Nicky's we parked the bike and hiked back into town to mail our post cards... about four miles RT.

July Tues: Ahhh! Sleep. Breathe! Mountain air! Marvelous vistas outside our window. Continental breakfasts ... albeit free... are not in our diet. We were so inspired by last night's meal we biked back to Nicky's Resort Steakhouse to try the egg white omelets which were exceptionally good; we finished two tough Sudokus and appreciated the fine wait staff. If you travel to Estes Park remember our recommendation: Nicky's is a great place to dine. Here it is... the first day of this two month tour and the bike is in the shop! Hey, Dave!

Thanks to Walter for the book, BMW riders anonymous ... because we found a BMW dealer in Loveland. Several times yesterday the bike did not start without coasting downhill. Yet, today, (imagine that!) it started fine. The battery was replaced and the starter checked out OK.

The walk into town is three miles RT... ; walking in the rain meant three miles walking FAST! After a Walleye Pike dinner at Nicky's we rode up Thompson Canyon along side a magnifcent stream with lots of rapids.

19 July Mon: With only five hours of sleep last night...the bike is loaded for the drive to Boulder where we park the car in controlled storage for two months. It was a challege to get body armor, clothes and PILLS for two months in two bags on the bike. The new U Bag is filled with all of the camping gear including a new ultralight Therma Rest down sleeping bag and pillows. When we arrived in Boulder at the storage unit we were surprised to discover that the entire Lexus and trailer FIT into the garage after backing the trailer up and unhitching so the trailer could be moved into place manually. About one inch of space was left once the car backed up to the unhitched trailer. And the rains came down for about thirty minutes before the sun appeared and we were off to Estes Park. Our lodging has a magnificent view of the mountains. Dinner last night at Nicky's Steakhouse sitting beside a wide mountain streatm was a marvelous feast of fresh mountain trout.

18 July Sun: We enjoyed fine dining at the Salt Grass Steak House with friend Nancy and Brett on Friday night... with plans to depart on Saturday but the temps rose to 102 degrees....way way way too hot to ride on the flatlands with a wind blast of sixty miles an hour in that heat. So we spent Sat and Sun catching up on paper work and getting fed well at Pappadeaux too. YES! The save the date cards actually went into the mail Saturday morning.

July: Smooch Smooch celebrates a birthday MONTH!

13 July, Tues: Dinner at Pappadeaux in Westminster, CO with Cousin Carol and her delightful husband, Rich, to celebrate her 60th birthday month and Smooch Smooch's 53rd (she was 54 last year!). Carol had us on the edge of our seats... mesmerized by her horrific account of being held hostage in Sudan last winter.
12 July Mon: Dinner with Mr. Personality .. Brett... at Willie G's to celebrate his quarter century mark.
11 July Sun: Thanks to Janina for another photo of the Rambo family reunion below: Carol, Dean, Janina, Ron, Cynthia, Lawrence, Gene and Jerry...

10 July Saturday noon ... driving on to Denver... arrived about forty miles from Denver about eight PM.

9 July Fri: Arrived in Mankato, Kansas after driving through the night ... but did manage to get three hours of sleep before the food hunt began. Restaurants? What restaurants? Fortunately there was a food market to buy some supplies. On to Cawker, Kansas at the local genealogical society for two days.

8 July Thurs: Sandy prepared breakfast .... and the drive to Denver began. A stop in Atlantic, IA proved fruitful in the search for cousins who were early pioneers in Cass County, Iowa. Continuing on to Kansas City, KS arrival coincided with dinner time and just in time to take
Clarence and Cathy out for dinner before continuing the next phase onto Mankato, KS to try to locate the gravesites of Mecham ancestors.

6 - 7 July: Tues, Wed: We drove to West Des Moines following old Hwy 34 - noticing the Des Moines River was WAY out of its banks with a lot of debris floating in it. Dinner with cousin Sandy H. was most delightful.

5 July Mon - The only good restaurant in Fairfield is closed for a month. Oh well. George's Steakhouse was able to make us egg white veggie omelets that were fine.

2-4 July: Happy Independence Day from the Rambo Family Reunion in Keosauqua, Iowa.

Left Photo: Carol, Dean, Janina, Carolyn, Ron, Lawrence, Gene and Jerry

Brigette, Diane, Kay, Jerry and Tom

Paul J., widower of dad's sister; Janina, Dean and Scott R.

Aunt Elinor, Dad's sister -

Carol, Janina and Dean at "dinner?" in the Riverbend Restaurant, Keosauqua, Iowa.

Wednesday, Thursday - Maeystown, Illinois. Ya gotta go there! 35 miles south of St. Louis, Missouri is Corner George's Inn - a charming (awesome even) B&B operated by Dave (a German language prof) and his delightful wife Marsha (a music prof, choir director and stage director) in an old German village that once was home to 17 men named George Hoffman. Four of the Georges lived on one block. To simplify identification, one was named Fat George; another was known as plain George, while yet another was called short George. But the George who lived on the corner was called "Corner George, " who owned the old hotel, tavern and the rock house. Dave and Marsha bought the delapitated buildings 21 years ago and remodeled them to mint condition and furnished them with authentic antiques from area residents and their own families. Sixteen years ago, they purchased the rock buildings across the street, turning them into additional suites. The Piece de' resistance' is a portrait of Dave's very beautiful mother painted by Bertha Featherstone seventy years earlier when she had graduated from Wellesley and she had moved a hotel for single young ladies in New York City. The red and black dress, red and black hat shown in the painting are resplendent in the living room.

Dave gave us a tour of the city ... along with a group of young women from Camp Wartburg.
He is a long-time friend (sixth and seventh grade).

Following our departure we drove to Dick Erdmann's law office at Fairview Heights (another junior high friend who has stayed the course of friendship).

1 July-Thurs:

SAVE THE DATE : May 12th, 2011 to join us at our wedding celebrating our love at Gloria Dei "Old Swedes" Church on the Philadelphia waterfront. Enjoy the history of Philadelphia, PA (reflected in our 17th century attire) at the height of springtime.

RSVP to insure your seat indoors.

Love from Ron and Cynthia

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