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  • Firewood October 9, 2017

    Chris was in Las Vegas for a conference at the Mandalay Bay. The night the conference was set to start, he met with clients and about to leave after just paying the bill. They started to head out around 10:15 pm. As they attempted to leave they were locked in by police. Everyone inside knew there was a gunman but no one knew how completely tragic the events would become.

    This is our second brush with an American tragedy that was too close for comfort. Kim was on 34th and 7th in New York on 9/11. Chris was in the Mandalay Bay in Vegas when 59 people were gunned down and hundreds of others were injured. We both have tales of the hours and hours we spent trying to get back to home base but we both know that these experiences was a pittance in comparison to what others endured. We have no explanation or reason why it happened. We know that we were damned lucky to be where we were during the time. Even being on the peripheral of these events, they are ever surreal.

    We have no words for this tragedy. We just need to carry on in some way. Regina Spektor has a lovely song called “Firewood” which kind of gets to the guts of it.

    The piano is not firewood yet
    They try to remember but still they forget
    That the heart beats in threes
    Just like a waltz
    And nothing can stop you from dancing
    Rise from your cold hospital bed
    I’ll tell you, you’re not dying
    Everyone knows you’re going to live
    So you might as well start trying
    Love what you have and you’ll have more love
    You’re not dying
    Everyone knows you’re going to love
    Though there’s still no cure for crying

    We have reservations in two very different locations for the winter. After the hurricanes in Florida we made reservations at Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort, just in case. We stayed at LVM for six months in 2015-2016 (our second winter). We still have reservations for Florida. There is a 75% chance that we’ll be going to Florida because Las Vegas is COLD in the winter (for people who like warmth). That said, the events in Las Vegas won’t deter us from going there again. The weather might, but the events won’t. We will keep traveling throughout this nation.

    One of the downsides of RVing is the amount of planning you need to do if you have a large RV and want to stay in a popular place. However, life then happens. Hurricanes happen. Our recommendation is if you plan on staying anywhere for a whole season, particularly somewhere there’s weather activity, make alternate plans elsewhere and cancel if you must. Big rigs are tough, particularly if you care to keep them in one piece. We will continue to travel and stay where we want, enjoying what this nation has to offer. That said, we can’t help but feel extreme sadness for all those whose only crime was being in a spot that a madman, or madmen, targeted. It is so tragic and yet so simple, thoughts and prayers don’t even begin to touch it. And during this time, we learned Tom Petty died. One of his songs happens to be the one we sing at the top of our lungs all the time (Free Fallin’). Sigh. Dance on, friends.
  • The Hills are Alive! September 11, 2017

    Sometimes when you retrace your steps and return to places you’ve been before, you have your eyes on doing things you meant to do the first time around but didn’t. For us, in returning to Central City for a quick stop. We liked the view from the KOA there (spots 1-10 only, if you’re looking) so decided to spend half our long weekend there. There was a path where we saw bikers and hikers the year before so decided to check it out.

    In…ter…est…ing.

    View from atop

    As we explored, we saw Mine Reclamation decals on capped mines and lots of interesting land formations. We continued to explore and then came upon two FOR SALE signs. Hmmmm. That was interesting as while the trails appeared to be publicly used the land wasn’t in fact public. We joked that we would eventually find Hillpeople.

    For sale

    Lots of interesting things, including train tracks buried along with items capped as part of the Colorado reclamation.

    Checking out the mine

    And that’s when we came upon the “protector of mines”. We actually don’t know his name, but he came upon us and tried, unsuccessfully, to scare us.

    “First I won’t tell you of the bears that inhabit this area. And then I won’t tell you about the cats. [We wondered: Are they tomcats? Mountain lions? Kittens? What cats is he talking about?] And then I won’t tell you about the hawks. [Are hawks people hunters?] You could die ten different ways here and each step you take is another step towards unsuspected death.” We fully expected him to whisper into a walkie talkie “Cue the bear.”

    We scanned him visually for weapons during his stories and saw nothing. We then thanked him and moved on. “Now geeks!”, you may say. “If you shouldn’t be on the land, why didn’t they put a No Trespassing sign?” Excellent question! It turns out, about a quarter mile left from the entrance of the trail, there’s this sign. It isn’t actually visible without technological assistance of the iPhone which was zoomed up all the way. Alrighty then. Why someone who doesn’t want trespassing doesn’t put the sign near the entrance where they’d most likely trespass is beyond our pay grade. “But wait”, you may ask, “what about the For Sale signs that were placed mid-path on the land itself, which wouldn’t ever be visible to anyone unless they took the trail?” Another excellent question. Also beyond our pay grade.

    No dogs allowed (that goes for birds….and humans).

    So we got to see some neat stuff, saw the mine equivalent of a Hillperson and lived to tell the tale. The only recommendation we have is to look extremely closely for No Trespassing signs.

  • Buh bye! September 1, 2017

    After spending 4 months in Breckenridge, CO, the time has come to leave to our long trek back to Florida for the winter. We’d love to stay, but there’s this thing called “snow” that we aren’t too fond of. And in the mountains, snow is abundant. It’s not you, Breckenridge, it’s us.

    We had no intent on visiting Breckenridge last year when friends we met in Red Bay, AL (Tiffin campground, where hopeful sad broken Tiffins go to get fixed) said, “Oh, you’re going to Colorado? You must do Tiger Run!” We were late to the game and only were able to book 5 days straight, but those 5 days were prolonged thanks to a cancellation of someone who was supposed to stay 6 weeks. We fell in love with Summit County and knew we would return.

    So first let’s get some bads out of the way: we were struggling with water pressure all summer. We at first blamed our filter so changed the filter. After a week, same issue. Even with the water pump on, it was abysmal. When we went to our new location, we told ourselves if it was the same issue we’d have to get it checked. We didn’t need to. It was Tiger Run and all Tiger Run. Their internet and cellular were also horrible, particularly considering the price they charge.

    Now, onto the goods which are more about the area than the campground.

    Right before Memorial Day as we arrived, we were met with snow! Hey there, snow. We don’t like you much. No offense. But it was kind of a laughable snow.

    Kind of a wet snow!

     

    We celebrated two national holidays.

    We crossed the Continental Divide (what a shockaroo!).

    Proof that we were here

    We had our friends Chloe, Brendan, Michael and Lehnanne visit us (not together).

    We attended many, many festivals. They were filled with surprisesbad-for-you food and many alcoholic drinks.

    Entrance to the BBQ festival

    We met furry friends. This was on the trails of Copper Mountain where we attended the Cider Festival (yes, another festival, and yes, it was mmm mmmmm good!).

    Going to town on that pinecone.

    We ate a lot of local fare, most of which was imported from elsewhere.

    Best non-New Haven pizza there is!

    We traded in our old bikes for new ones and went on many many bike rides on the trails here. One thing about biking in this area – there are always people who are much more experienced bikers and much less experienced. Being “average” isn’t a bad thing. This was our “typical” view which is pretty incredible. The most tiring ride was from Breckenridge to Copper Mountain – all uphill – where we attended the Cider Festival. After spending a couple hours attending that, we were happy the ride back to Breckenridge was all downhill.

    Typical bike trail. Doesn’t get old.

    We played Dirty Marbles, a game that is popular at Tiger Run. Think of it as “Sorry” where the goal is kind of being cutthroat against your opponent. As a result of playing, we met some great people.

    We broke rules. (Backstory: this is a large grassy area that is designated for a large fire pit, but no one follows the rule of no pets allowed. This is because it is a common area. After two months of fighting Piper who pulled towards the smells left by other dogs there, we stopped fighting it. Piper is a rule-breaker, technically, not us. Rebel.)

    REBEL

    We saw the eclipse in our own private field.

    Uber cool glasses

    We saw some things that made us feel like we were on an acid trip.

    Pterodactyls with weird face in the middle of downtown Breckenridge. Of course.

    We enjoyed the great outdoors. Breckenridge is perfection during the summer. No humidity. Doesn’t get over 79 degrees. Temperate. We used the fire pit often at night.

    So adieu, Breckenridge. Thank you for a great summer.

    Buh bye Summit County!