Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interesting words....

This morning, a coworker of mine (Jean) and I started talking about new words we'd learned yesterday. Who knows how it came up in conversation? I try to not ponder on such things too long......

First word: Sesquipedalian. The definition is what rocks!!! 1) Given to or characterized by the use of long words 2) Long and ponderous; having many syllables 3) A long word.

The definition of this word, basically being the word itself. Now, that's pretty cool.

Second word: Mondegreen. The mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song.

So, you know the CCR or John Fogerty song Bad Moon Rising? "....there's a bad moon on the rise." Sometimes it is sung as "...there's a bathroom on the right" That's a mondegreen. :-)

Third word: Penultimate. Next to the last.

I learned this one last night. One of the groups performing at the fair before us, announced a song as their penultimate song. Good word!!!!!! (and, you should note...that penultimate is the penultimate word in my list of words we learned yesterday...hehehehe)

And, last but not least.....Minutia. I searched for it today, to see how to spell it. I spelled it Menusha in my search....and this is what told me what the definition to Menusha is...."An idiot trying to spell Minutia." I sh*t you not, that's what it said!!!! :-)

Anyway, the definition of Minutia is, a minor detail. So...if someone says your head is full of's not a reason to show them your right hook. It just means that you have a lot of weirdo information in your head. You remember the strangest little things. In my opinion (having my own mind of minutia), this is a good thing!!!! :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is he safe???

As I was getting ready to leave for work this morning, Tom was getting out of the shower. He actually got some sleep at work last night (that sounds so funny), and was awake and ready for the day. I asked him what he was going to be doing....he said he needed to mow. I asked him why he took a shower. He said that he had to meet his mom and grandmother first. They are shopping for a new computer for grandma.

Skip ahead a few hours...I get a call at work...from Tom's mom. She was running a little late, and wanted to let Tom know they were on their way into town. She wasn't able to get ahold of him..and asked if I'd pass on the message. I tried calling home and his answer either place. Oh well, he'll figure it out.

20 minutes later. "Were you able to get ahold of Tom...we're at the store, and have looked around for him, but he doesn't appear to be here. " I told her I'd try answer.

30 minutes later. "Have you talked to Tom?" Ugh!!! OK....where the heck is he? He's not answering his phone and he's late. I can see one or the other...but not both. Wonder what's up? I told her to call me when she found him...because I was now getting a little worried. It's like a's takes hold and spreads!!!! I told her to pretend he's a lost child, and have him paged. He may have been there all along, but since she was a few minutes later - he's walking around the big screen TV section. She laughs nervously, and hangs up.

15 minutes later....I've heard nothing from his mom. Thought I'd give her a call to make sure she found him. She hasn't...and she's sounding a little upset about it. You can hear that motherly worry in her voice.

10 minutes later.....she calls....she's heard nothing. Now she's going to actually have him paged...since she didn't before when we were joking around about it. :-) I told her that I was just going to run home really quick. It would make everyone feel better. Robin, my close friend here at work, said she'd tag along. There are three possible reason she wanted to go along....1)she wanted to be there in case I found him dead in the backyard 2) she wanted to be there in case I found him OK, so I wouldn't kill him and leave him in the backyard myself 3) she just wanted out of the office. Probably all of the above, she's a mind reader!! :-) :-)

Just as we are driving down the my street....the cell phone rings. It's Tom...and he's mad. Not happy at all. Here I am, happy to hear that he's OK...and he's p*ssed off!!! He continued rambling on about silly women, this....why did you, that. Blah, blah, yakity schmakity. Basically....all women are crazy silly idiots....and why the heck were you worried about me. Duh...didn't you know that I'd decided to mow the lawn???? Didn't you just know that instead of waiting for my mom's call like I said I would, I grew sick of waiting and mowed the lawn - without a phone on me? Of course, he didn't say those things exactly.....but I'm not really exaggerating too much. You ladies know what I mean.....they can say things with their mouths....but they can also say things without speaking. :-)

I no more than pulled into the driveway, when I pulled right back out and headed for work. I've got better things to do with my time then waste it worrying about this man. I mean really. He should feel great that he has people in his life that worry about him when he's an hour and a half late...and doesn't call. He SHOULD...but he doesn't. I knew that I'd get over it..but right then...I was seeing red!!!!

I walk back in to work. Jean, another co-worker who was starting to get worried along with me....took one look at my face, and said "uh oh! Did you find he safe????" She really didn't need an face said it all.

He has called me at work twice now. Trying to act as though nothing has happened and be all happy and crap. He actually asked me "So...besides the commotion at lunch, how has your day been?" I replied with the universal womanly response "fine" which means....I'm not fine, and you know it. He says "Besides the fact you're married to an a$$hole, right?"

Is he safe?? He may be alive....but he is definitely NOT safe!!! :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

What year is this again???

It's amazing how the actions of one person can mess up an evening of fun so quickly and thoroughly....isn't it??

In order to tell this story correctly, I really must take a leap back in time. Earlier this spring, the couple that organize the local Kayak Water Polo league in town (see my list of links for their website) organized another outdoor activity. The called it the Sloppy Mutt Steephill Chase. Basically, the premise of the whole thing is as follows......imagine you are in the woods, at a park, wherever....and your dog takes off chasing an animal. You find yourself trompsing around through the mud and muck looking for it....and the only way to track your animal is by it's poo. Except, in this activity...they use baking flour for the 'poo'. The two of them (Dan and Susan) spent hours in the woods outside of a state park near Omaha....creating a trail for people to follow. They placed 'dots' on the ground with baking flour every so often.....then, to mislead people (and make it more interesting), they would put an 'X' on the ground. From this 'X', the trail would branch off into three trails. All of which have dots of flour...until (on two of the trails) you come upon a marking - to show you that you are on the wrong trail..and you must go back and see which of the others is the actual correct way to go.

At 6:00 that evening, a large group of people met in the parking lot, and the 'chase' began. The overacheivers of the bunch, of course, decided to run the trail. The rest of us decided to stroll along at a leisurly pace...and let the runners find the right trail for us. I say it was a leisurely walk....but if you had seen us at the would disagree (as would I). Absolutely covered in mud and guck!!!! I was soaked to the bone on one arm - the arm I used to brace myself when I fell off of a tree branch. Yeah, you see...the branch was spanning the creek...and my dear sweet hubby talked me into following him across. Instead of walking through the creek...he walked across the branch. I, on the other hand, opted for the walk about two steps....then fall off of the branch because my shoes were covered in slick legs went to one side, my torso went to the other. Basically, the branch broke me in half...ugh! One arm went in the creek...and I ended up with the biggest, gnarliest bruise on my hip ever!!!!! Anyway...back to the reason for the post. There was a dude in our group....dude...yeah, I can't call him that. I only use that for decent people. Ok, there was this total and complete jerk, blow hard, pig in our group. He's the kind of guy that never shuts up...and the whole time, he's talking about himself. "I" this, and "I" that. I kept thinking that he would eventually have to take a breath....or he'd run out of stories about himself to tell. Nope - not gonna happen. true Weaver fashion...the two of us broke off from the group to escape him. In fact....we ran the trail for a while to do so. It was an emergency!!!!!! At the end of the trail, Dan and Susan had brats, dogs and a keg of beer. Everyone was going to hang out and have fun. (there were probably 40-50 people at the 'chase' that day) Our jerk and the rest of his group took forever to make it back...and when they one was really excited to see him. He walks into the middle of everyone and proclaims (and I mean PROCLAIMS!) "WE'RE HERE!!! We took longer than everyone else, because I decided that our ladies (he means the ladies that didn't abandon him) shouldn't walk in the mud. So I built bridges across all the water and mud for them!!!"

BFD!!! (big f*ckin' deal - in Jen speak)

Now, let's move on to the present day.....

Tom and I arrive at Lake Zorinsky here in Omaha on Wednesday night. It's about 6:30 in the evening. Kayak water polo league night!!!! There is an advanced player game at 6:00, newbies at 7:00, then advanced player game at 8:00. We were signed up for the 8:00 game, but wanted to get there and hang out a little. It's a fun bunch!!!

To our surprise...and dismay...guess who's there???? Yep....Mr. Look at Me!

Braggarts and chauvinists are ugly to you can only imagine how good looking this guy is to me.

For the first half hour we're there....he's being himself...but I can ignore it. I have to ignore it. Then....he does something that I still replay in my brain. This is how it all sets up.....the newbies have finished with their 'talk' (rules and such)...and Dan takes them all out on the water in boats. He tells them that they'll spend the first 15-20 minutes just paddling and getting used to things. Alot of these people have never kayaked, let alone played kayak water polo. After about 5 minutes of friend and yours steps up to the plate. Let me tell you...he knocks it out of the park. ok, ok, enough with the basement analogies!!!! Mr. Big Shot walks up to the shore line with a polo ball in his hand. In front over eveyone there (most of these people are the parents of the kids out playing for the first time right then)...he says "watch this, you really want me to confuse them?" In my experience with hanging around firemen....anything that starts with Watch This is usually not a good thing. He proceeds to take the ball, and throw it into the middle of the group on the water. The ones that see it are confused...they aren't supposed to be playing, they are learning...but now there's a ball. They think that they must have missed something, and start paddling over to it. Then others see them paddling, and they follow. Next thing we know...all the newbies who are supposed to be learning, and now playing. And they have NO CLUE what they are doing. All because of Mr. Joe Cool. All the while, he's watching them and laughing - very loudly of course - and shouting "look at's like moths to a flame" and laughing more.

The hairs on the back of my neck of standing up so straight, they seem as though they are trying to actually rip themselves from my neck. ARGH!!! Who the heck is this guy, and who does he think he is???? It was then that I had a thought....if I'm this upset....what is Tom thinking? I look over at him....both of his fists are balled up....his eyes are huge...and he has those little veins popping out on each side of his head at his temples. The man looks ready to explode. There's no one around, so I lean over and say "Honey, just ignore him....he's not worth it".....and he responds with "Jen, this is why I don't like going anywhere in public with're so condescending". OUCH!!!! Ok then....I'll just go over here and you can kiss my lily white condescending a**. Geez!!!!!!

8:00 comes (finally) and we all don our PFDs and helmets...grab paddles, boats...and head out.

Mr. High and Mighty ends up on the team opposite of Tom and I. (at first, I though it a good thing...but now, in hindsight...all of this could have been avoided, had we been on the same team).

The game starts out pretty good. It's pretty dark out, with all the storm clouds rolling in (yes, we play in any weather....we're already getting wet, what's a little rain?)...and the wind is playing havoc with keeping our boats in the playing field. If you stopped paddling for a few seconds, you would find yourself yards and yards out of the playing area. It was constant paddling, non stop for the entire hour. Good workout...but sheeeshh! :-)

Our games are aggressive...meaning, we can tackle. Tackling is knocking someone out of their boat or tipping them over. You can't make contact with helmets or body parts...but you can grabs boats and PFD's to knock people over. Our 'friend' spent the whole game talking about playing nice. No tackling, nothing. If that was the case, he needed to play at the beginner's game at 7:00...because the rest of us knew the rules. Tom tipped him over when he had the ball....and it was at that time, we realized why he didn't want tipped over. Mr. I'm in Training can't get back into his boat when knocked out. Now - neither can I...but I don't go around telling everyone how wonderful I am...and how in shape I am. This dude does. Argh! Anyway...when he came to the surface of the water, after being knocked over...he looked at Tom and said "oh...I see how it is...ok, game on!" WTF...this guy has issues!!!

Hitting each other with paddles is out....but, when you cram 12 boats onto a playing field...ramming each other and get hit by a paddle here and there. We're not slashing at each other...but if someone comes up behind you, and you don't know they are there...and you start get hit. It's the way it is. I figure, if you leave the game without bruises, you aren't playing. Tom and Mr. Big Shot were battling over a ball...and he (not Tom) got hit. He started yelling "play nice, how would you like it if you wife was out here getting hit by paddles". As luck would have it, I was right behind him...and I responded "his wife IS out here getting hit by paddles...and she's not whining about it like some people". Score 1 - Nej.

So....Tom was getting more and more angry at this guy. I could tell...but there was NO WAY I was going to calm him down as I usually do. No, that would be condescending. :-) :-) At one point...I see Tom trying to pass the ball. The dude is in his face....I can't hear what he's saying...but he isn't shutting up. And Tom finally passes the ball...right into his chest. Whether it was on purpose or not...I had no idea. But I was laughing. With those PFD's on, you can't feel a thing...and when you play, you are always getting pegged with the ball. Usually in the head. :-)

Play continues.....20 minutes go by with no scuffles...but Mr. I Like to Hear the Sound of my own Voice has yet to SHUT UP!!! The ball finally gets down to their end of the field (we're winning by quite a bit)....and a player on his team is hanging off the goal. Hello!!! You can't do that. But do we say anything? No...because IT'S JUST A GAME! But, after they score....he freaks out...cheering, screaming....yeah, they scored. BFD! When we score...we all say 'yeah', clap our hands a few times, and move on with life. You'd think he'd just won the lottery...then he starts yelling "that's right, finally some clean play!" As luck would have it, I was right behind him again. I paddled up close (and loud enough for everyone to hear - again), I said "clean play....versus the dirty play that we've been doing? I've seen no rule breaking on our side...what do you mean it's about time we play clean? Oh wait!!! You scored!!! Hanging on the goal isn't against the rules if you score.....clean play is when you score. I get it" And paddled away. Score 2 - Nej.

It was about that time, I noticed Mot was no where to be found. He's not in a boat...anywhere. Maybe he had to pee...maybe he hurt his thumb (the nail was completely ripped off playing polo the previous weekend - lake water in it couldn't feel good). Oh well....15 minutes of play left, I'll keep playing. He can take care of himself.

A member of my team throws me the ball...but the wind takes it (go figure...we weren't completing many passes that night). I go paddling up to it. It's 5 feet from me....and about 20 from Mr. My Mom Nursed me until I was 10 Years Old. He yells to his teammates....don't worry guys, I got this one. Like I can't get to's right there in front of me!!!! I hear what he says, and I kick it into gear. I'm not an expert paddler...but I can muscle my way across a lake pretty darn fast if need be. He's barreling towards the ball....convinced that I'm a woman and he'll beat me, because I'm weak. I get to the ball first, which totally surprises him (and ticks me was 5 feet away from me for crying out loud!)....but, since he's surprised...he rams me. T-Bone right in the side of my ribs...just as hard as possible. He has no control over that boat...he just paddles and because he's not sinking, he thinks he's a kayak god! :-(~ Then he says "Wow, you really kicked it in gear there." With this look of astonishment in his beady little eyes. I laughed "Heck, I wasn't even paddling hard. You wanna race?" Score 3 - Nej.

I also found out that he hasn't paid any money to the league...because he's supposed to be helping the organizers out. Unloading and loading boats and gear, etc. When play was over...who was loading boats?? Dan (the co-founder), a 50+ year old nurse, Tom and I. Mr. My Sh*t Smells Like Roses is no where to be found. Why isn't he up here helping now...I mean we might break a nail or something?????????? :-)

Chauvinism.....the guy is overly nice to women, and helps them out....not because he wants to help...but because women can't do anything. He helps so he looks cool. Women are weak, and unable to operate without 'manly' men like him around. What's with that? There's nothing that irritates me more than someone thinking that way. Now, if it's heavy, and I can't lift it, and need help, then help. Or, just offer because you're being nice. I offer to help people with things all the time. And.....if you help don't need to tell everyone you helped me...just so you look like the big man on campus. Do it to be nice, not for the pat on the back everyone else is expected to give you.

This guy probably hates that women wear pants and drive and vote. We should be barefoot, naked, and 'with child' at home right??? What year is this again????

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. The Friends of Wilson Island State Recreation Area asked me to take pictures of the riders coming to the park this weekend. As a tradition among the participants, they dip their back tire in the Missouri River at the beginning of the week, and their front tire in the Mississippi at the end of the week. Because Wilson Island is on the Missouri River, the Friends group decided to organize the tire dipping at this new location. I believe it's usually done just off Highway 30, under the bridge that goes over the Missouri into Nebraska....but personally, doing it at Wilson Island is a much better site. The place is gorgeous...and plenty large enough to handle any of the riders that want to come. It's quite a bit more scenic (and more bike friendly) than under the Blair bridge.

7:00 am
I finally get my rear out of bed...get showered and dressed...then sit down with my camera and laptop. Normally, a person would do this kind of prep stuff ahead of time....but I had a brainstorm in a dream last night. You see....I've been trying to figure out how to post these pictures online, and arrange them in such a way...that were I a rider, I wouldn't have to scroll through pages, and pages, and pages, and pages of pictures trying to find myself. I was thinking that I'd post them by times, 10:00 am to 11:00 am...and so forth. Makes great sense...but I couldn't figure out how to download them to my computer in such a way. Seems easy enough....but when you have hundreds of riders getting photos taken....things get hectic quick. In my sleep, I remembered something I saw when we were loading my camera software onto the laptop, and it might just be what I need. Long story short...IT WORKED!!!! So, I load up all my gear...and head out.

I arrived at the park around 9:00 am...and helped everyone out there already (they were camping) load up their gear, and we headed over to the riverfront to get set up. We set up the canopy, unloaded chairs and a table....hung the banner and got the camera ready. It wasn't very long before our first riders arrived. (they technically were not the first RAGBRAI riders to dip, as dad said he saw some riders showing up on Friday when they arrived in town). But OUR first group of riders to dip were from Colorado.

The first couple of hours, I was able to take photos at the river's edge, and spend time at the tent (in the shade) in between groups arriving. After noon though.....I didn't leave the boat ramp area (except for the ONE mad dash to the outhouse) until 8:00 that evening.

What a crazy day!!! It was really hot....the proverbial "fry an egg on the ground" hot. You know from my previous posts that I detest heat!!!! :-) I drank a million bottles of water, and went to the restroom once, all day. Craziness! There were riders of all shapes and sizes. There were people who looked like they were born on a bike, and those that I really wish I hadn't seen in spandex. 99.9% of them were happy and friendly. The ride from town to the river is roughly 12-13 they were all hot and tired when they arrived...but it didn't affect their spirits (I can only imagine that this will change as the week rolls on!). Most of them were truly excited to have someone taking their photo! Many had a camera of their own, and were equally excited that I was willing to take their photos with them as well. They were all only expecting to be able to lean over as they were on their bikes, and take a picture of their tire in the water. Telling them that I was going to take a full body/bike shot for'd think I'd handed them solid gold bars...and when they found out we weren't charging them to download...well....they were happy, let's just say that. Many of them asked if we were taking donations. I told them we had a place on our website for donations, if they chose to do so. I can't wait to hear what the Friends group makes from doing this. Could be exciting!!!!

There isn't a picture of it, that I know of...but I was wearing a buff on my head this weekend. You know, those things that the people on survivor wear....except there's no way in hell I'm able to wear one as a shirt or a skirt as they do. :-) I was wearing it down on my forehead a little...and the resulting sunburn is can only forehead is cut in half right across the and's pretty bad!! :-) I was spared any other sunburn action. My sunblock worked great...but it melted off of my face pretty early on. :-)

The Des Moines Register had a couple of columnists, correspondents (whatever you want to call them) show up at the River that afternoon. Every time I turned around...they were shooting footage of me taking photos. I avoided an official interview...but they got mom. :-) I stood and talked to them for quite a while they were standing down on the riverfront filming the people I was taking photos of. From what I could find see me in some of the footage they used....but luckily, there is other stuff going on to distract people from noticing I'm in the shot. :-)

There were riders from all over the country and the world. We had a large board for people to sign where they were from.....Switzerland, Germany, Iraq, France, Italy, etc....and most of the 50 states. One of the riders that really got my attention was a gentleman named Dean. I remember him, because he specifically asked me my name and shook my hand. He offered to bring me back food or something to drink (on his bike) to say thanks for what I was doing for these riders. What a great guy!!! He also had no bicycle seat. I asked him if it was tiring...riding all day without a seat to sit on?? He said, "it's better than having a sore a$$ after riding all day".....I guess I couldn't have put it better myself if I'd tried.

At some point in the afternoon, my camera (my baby) started giving me an error message. I replaced the battery, and it worked fine after that. That would have been bad!!!!

Numerous times over the course of the day, some campers brought their dog down to the boat ramp for a swim. He was an old, old, old half Newfoundland, half black lab...named Dudley. He could barely walk...but boy could he swim!!!!!

At about 7:30 pm, I hit a wall. The numbers of riders were dropping, and I finally got a chance to sit down at the tent. Once I was down, I was in trouble. Sunset is around 8:30, and it takes roughly an hour to bike to the park. So....the end of the riders should be around 8:00 at the latest. That's when we started taking everything down. There were a few riders coming into the park a little after 8:00, but I think we stopped at a good time. The bugs were starting to get bad, and we were all tired. The Friends group only advertised the tire dipping until 7:00, so we did good staying a little later for those last riders.

Cindy (my sister), my mom and I decided to head into town to catch some of the action there. The town is usually hopping with activity...but it was getting late. I was hoping to get some pics of the fields full of tents. There won't be many yards or green spaces in town NOT covered in tents!!! It's so pretty to see. I was pretty sure that it was going to be too late to get good pictures of it, as the sun was almost down. :-(

On the way from the park to Mo. Valley, we passed a group of bikers riding along the interstate. Technically, I don't think you can do that....but after seeing what group it was, I wasn't surprised. Team Bad, correct me if I'm wrong (this information was given to me by word of mouth)...but this team has an interesting story. They come from all the way to Iowa...then do RAGBRAI?? The first biker we passed had a HUGE marine cooler strapped the back of his bike. The next one had a HUGE box with shelves on it...the shelves held bottles of booze, he was carrying the bar. The next two we passed were overflowing with bags and such...they were obviously carrying all the clothes and supplies. And last but not least, the person at the front of the pack had a HUGE smoker/grill on the back of his bike. How they were able to balance all that weight and ride as far as they's beyond me. And it seems they do this every year. Can you imagine?????

We pulled into Mo. Valley, and the excitement level in the air increased exponentially. It's always amazing to drive through town when RAGBRAI is there. The energy is so fun and positive. Main street...which is also Highway 30 is almost shut down. Pedestrians have the right of way...and there are bikes everywhere. Not one yard is without tents!!! And the, they are everywhere. A ton of the bike teams have purchased old school buses...of which they've painted in crazy colors and their crazy names. Team Bad Monkey, Team On-Tap, Team Old School....the list goes on and on and on. I had my window rolled down and was trying to take pictures of the town...but that's when my camera officially quit for the day. It kept giving me a system error. I really hope it isn't busted for good. I haven't taken it anywhere to see what's wrong with it yet...and still need to get online and see what I can find out about this error message it's giving me. I was about in tears. I soooo wanted to try and capture the excitement with pictures. My sister let me use her camera...but I was so bummed about mine, I probably wasn't as gracious as I should have been. We drove all the way through town on Highway 30, and turned around near where we used to live. We were trying to figure out how to get back to the other side of town...but having no luck. The city had one way street signs everywhere....seems that once you got to the East end of town...that's where you had to stay. :-)

We did finally wind ourselves around and make it to the other side again. But took another street goin see what else was going on. About 1/4 of the way across town (for the second time), I started standing up in the passenger seat - out the sunroof to take pics. Everyone started honking and waving at us. It was pretty funny, really. At a stop sign, some very nice people asked if I was throwing candy and such. I promptly started doing the 'beauty queen wave'....which was met by cheers. Quite cool!!! One gentlemen (probably in his 40's) came up and asked where we were headed. I told him we were driving east, so we could go west. It seems they all knew exactly what I was talking about. He asked if we had room for 4 (him, his wife, and a couple they were with). Cindy said that if two of them could fit in the 2 foot space between the backseat and the back hatch...then we were good to go. The ladies asked us to pop the hatch and they climbed in. The two gentlemen got in the backseat with mom. It was a VERY tight fit...but we all made it. The 2 couples we picked up were from Tennessee (near Knoxville, I believe)...which made me think of a very close friend of mine. She would have been homesick just talking to them. What awesome people!!!! They were having a blast driving around with us....with me standing up out of the sunroof taking pictures. I did take one or two pictures while turned around in my get our guests on film....and to show people how squished everyone was. :-)

We finally made it to the soccer fields (near the football fields) back on the West side of town. Our hitchhikers tried to pay us for the trip...but we turned them down. We had a blast, isn't that what this event is all about?????

On our way around the soccer fields (trying to get out of town), we came upon a dude laying in the middle of the road, tangled up in his bike. By the time we drove up to him, he had gotten it off the road. We pulled over and asked if he was ok....he said (with a smile) "oh yeah, I'm fine.....I'm just drunk"...and off he went. What a happy dude. Bet he wonders where all the scrapes on his arms and legs came from when he wakes up!!!! :-)

By this time the weather is started to look, per tradition, pretty gnarly. Tons of lightning and funky looking clouds. After we dropped Cindy and mom back at their Wilson Island campsites..I drove out of town. The weather was looking worse and worse, in the distance, over Mo. Valley. I stopped my car and tried to get pictures of the clouds and lightning...but my big camera was down for the count...and my little point and shoot just couldn't capture it. The wall cloud (yes, a wall cloud) was HUGE!!!! I drove a little further, and just before getting on the interstate, I stopped again. The cloud had moved past Mo. Valley....but little mini tornadoes (2 of them) were spinning down out of the bottom of the cloud...then back up. Man, I really wish my camera could have taken some shots of that!!!!!!

All in was an awesome day!!! I was unable to walk for three days after....due to all the squatting while picture taking. But even that was worth it!!!! My sister and dad are trying to organize a team of us to participate in RAGBRAI next year. I might consider it, if they decide to take the route through Iowa there such a thing?? :-) :-)

Web links of the event....

Link to the RAGBRAI page,

Link to the Wilson Island SRA page,
(I don't know when the link to the pictures I took will be up and running.)

Also, I will be posting some misc shots of the day on my webshots soon as I get done working on the tire dipping pictures on the Friends site.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

False Alarm.....

I shifted in bed this morning and must have kicked a cat laying by my feet, because I woke up to a very.....well.....ticked off sounding meow. It wasn't a meow that said "ouch, that hurt!" was more like "hey, I'm sleeping here!" I apologized to the cat out loud - argh, why do I insist upon doing that? It's not like they can understand (or want to understand) a single word out of my mouth and look at the clock. 47 minutes after the hour. I roll over to go back to sleep...when it dawns on me. My alarm goes off at 6:01 (don't ask me why, it's just the time it's set to go off, there's no logical explanation for it). My alarm didn't go off.........crap!!!

Up and out of bed I fly, the already upset cat falls out of bed, tangled in the bedding I just threw on top of her. I stumble into the bathroom and participate in one of those marathon showers we all do when our alarm doesn't wake us up. You all know what I'm talking about!!!! Shampoo in, shampoo's not really even on the hair long enough to do any good, but you do it anyway. Now, with my hair, conditioner cannot be skipped. So, conditioner on, shave the legs quick, conditioner off. Then turn off the water, 'kinda' get dried off, and walk to the closet.

I stand there for a few minutes, just looking. I can't be the only that has this problem...can I???????? What problem, you ask? It's the "I have quite the selection of clothing in my closet...but I have nothing to wear" problem. It seems to be more common of an occurrence with women, than their male counterparts. But you CANNOT tell me that women are the only ones afflicted with this disorder!!!

This shirt is too tight, this one makes me look pregnant (even though it didn't when I wore it last week)....this skirt is too short (hmmmm, maybe that's not all so bad? nah...I don't feel like pushing the dress code envelope today) This one makes me look 83 1/2 years old....this shirt is waaaayyyy too pink. Do I really own pink??? How the heck did pink make it into my closet? These pants need ironed, this shirt makes my hair all static-y, and my favorite - half way through ironing when you notice the Coke stain (from spilling on myself on the way to Des Moines a few weeks ago) really didn't come out in the wash at all. And so on, and so forth.

As I come up the stairs (finally wearing something that doesn't make me want to hide at my desk and not come out until 5:00), I notice the clock on the stove in the kitchen. 10 after 6:00...well, that's not too bad...I did all of this in 20 minutes!!! WAIT ONE FRIGGIN' SECOND!!! 10 minutes after 6:00?? That clock says it's 6:10. Ugh. My alarm doesn't even go off until 6:01. For crying out loud, my alarm didn't wake me up, because it wasn't time for it to go off yet. I just busted my butt to get ready for work. Man, I hate it when that happens!!!!! Now I'm almost ready, and it's not even time for me to officially haul my rump out of bed???? My alarm may go off at 6:01, buuuutttttttt I hit the snooze three times and get up at 6:19.

At least it didn't happen on a Saturday. :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What exactly IS that smell???

So, who of you have ever tried sunless tanning lotion?? Raise your hands, don't be shy!!! :-)

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not kidding when I tell you that when I wear white can't tell where my socks end and my legs start. That's how pale skinned I am!!! It's crazy!!! When I was a kid, I merely had to look outside through a small window, and I was completely tan. What the heck happened???? It's bad enough that my metabolism is on permanent vacation, my hair is getting gray, and cashiers are starting to call me ma'am....but now my skin tanning ability is gone???

Because our family tree already has cancer flowing freely through it's branches, I'd really rather not tempt fate by roasting myself like a rotisserie chicken under tanning booth bulbs...or by scorching my self under Mother Nature's big heat lamp in the sky. So, I end up with one of two choices. #1 just stay as pale as the driven snow #2 sunless tanning products. I usually end up settling with option #1 (the snows of Canada)....but I'm currently in a #2 "I'd like SOME sort of color on my legs, so I don't blind everyone I come into contact with on a sunny day" phase.

I've tried the spray tanning route. It was a very messy, expensive and embarrassing process....and have ruled it out completely. (although, my hair salon is now offering the service, so who knows, I may be blogging about it some time in the future...but as of right now, it's still "not an option") ANYWAY.....back to what IS an option right now. I'm standing in the lotion aisle at my local Target store, it's a Monday evening after work. I only went in for milk....but I'm currently holding a new tank top, a bag of cat food, a package of 20 plastic hangers and a box of Lean Pockets (sausage and pepperoni) for supper. The milk is freezing my fingers, and the Lean Pockets are defrosting....I've been walking back and forth in the lotion aisle for what seems like hours now (realistically, 5 minutes). I'm plagued with questions....which one is better, which one won't turn me orange, is the cheaper store brand REALLY the same thing as the brand it's container says you can compare it to...and the most important question....Which one of these products stinks less?? Yes, you heard me...stink less. If you haven't ever used a sunless tanning product.....I invite you to go to your local drugstore, open a few containers, and take a whiff!!! Now, don't think I'm sending you to do something I wouldn't do myself. Because by now, I've set the milk and other products on the floor of the store...and have begun opening all the bottles and tubes....doing just that....smelling them. (when you try this sniff test...make sure you DON'T let the container touch the tip of your nose.....I'm terrified that I will do just that, and have this big brownish/orange spot on the tip of my nose for a week!!) :-)

Let's go back to the lotion aisle........I've basically scared off one lady also trying to buy lotion from this same aisle. Oh god....I'm that crazy lady with the milk, lean pockets...smelling all the lotion and mumbling to herself!! Oh well!!! :-) Surprisingly, this year's products seem to smell better than last year. how do I narrow down the search?? I decided to use the blindfold method....I selected three products that all had promise...put them side by side on the shelf (oh, I may not have mentioned this before, but I'm a habitual store re-organizer....I'm the reason you find a tube of toothpaste sitting in the middle of the picture frames on the other side of the store). I closed my eyes, turned around, and pointed at one. (In case you're wondering, yes, I have officially creeped out the other woman in the aisle, and am now totally by myself) The winner was Oil of Olay, Touch of Sun - or something like that - for fair skin. Decision made....I picked up my other purchases from the floor and headed to the register.

Now let's skip to Tuesday am. I'm out of the shower.....Oil of Olay in hand. I decide to apply it only to my legs for now. I'm not risking the orange factor on more visible parts of my body, until this stuff passes the test on my legs - which can be covered by not wearing skirts or shorts for a week. Product goes on well, not greasy....reduced smell compared to other products I've tried in the past. I make sure to wash my hands with soap and water so hot I'm really not sure how many layers of skin I removed...but I'm sure my hands won't be orange later that day!! At work, I notice a smell....."the" smell. It's that sunless tanner, no description for it, smell. But, it's not too bad. I can live with it.

Now, let's jump to today. I'm sitting here at my desk....and "the" smell is bugging the crap out of me. Yes, my legs actually look a little darker with two applications (probably just my imagination), but the smell is also two times as strong. We put people on the moon, but can't come up with a sunless tanner with a less obtrusive odor?? Come on Oil of can make wrinkles virtually disappear before the very eyes of women across the country, but you can't make this crap smell better??? I don't believe it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Laziness and Summer

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I hate summer. I'm more of a hermit when it's above 80 degrees, than I am when it's below Zero. You can always put more clothes on....but there comes a point when you can't take any more of them off. :-) :-)

I got home last night with good intentions. "I'm going to accomplish something today!" Well, I didn't. I got the pictures I have stored on my external hard drive loaded onto my laptop...but that's where the productivity stopped.

About 6 weeks ago, I tore three calf muscles walking down the stairs into our basement. My physical therapist seems to think that it was actually a hamstring injury that promoted the calf muscle revolt...but whatever it was, it hurt like heck!! I limped around like a goober first week, and by the second week, my leg felt fine. We went on vacation (as I've written in other blog entries) the third week, and I found it was not fine, at all. I went to the doctor when we got back, and ended up in physical therapy. After three weeks of therapy, it seems to be pretty good. It's still a little sore at times, but that's to be expected with the amount of damage that was done.

So, anyway.....last Wednesday I was cleared to go back to normal activities. I wasn't home in the evenings for the rest of the week....but was going to be home Friday. I could finally start working out again. Ugh!! I woke up Friday morning, and couldn't move my back. Couldn't bend over, couldn't sit down, couldn't get up if I did get sat down. I'm too young to be falling apart, aren't I?? I mean, I'm overweight, but I'm not gargantuan or anything!!!!! I need to lose a good 20 pounds, but not a good 200 pounds!!!!!! Argh! So, hurt all weekend, made things difficult. But when I woke up yesterday, it was fine. Yes, it left just as quick as it came. Then last night, I got up from supper, and everything from my waist down was tingling and felt weak. Strange, eh??? I put a heating pad on it and went to bed. So - nothing accomplished last night...again!!! When I woke up this morning, it's back to fine again. It's a mystery, that's for sure!!!

Back to needing to accomplish things when I'm not at work. The house is picked up, but it's not clean. Like it needs a good scrubbing, but I just don't feel like it when I get home. I need to start working out again, but don't feel like it when I get home. The simple answer is - get up in the am before work. It's the only time I have to get a routine going on a regular basis. But, when that alarm goes off - I just can't do it. I can't get up, because I just don't' have the energy...but I can't get the energy unless I get up and start working out. Damn chicken and the egg thing, isn't it??? :-) :-)

I signed up for an adventure boot camp that started the Monday after we got back from vacation. I went to the first day, and my calf muscles gave out on me again....honestly - that's what finally got me to go to the doctor!! So, they switched my registration to the next camp. It starts 08/04/08 - three weeks. I have three weeks to get my body used to working out again...and then the camp will get me into a habit of getting up before work. It's 5:30 - 6:30 every weekday morning for 4 weeks. I guess if that won't get me used to getting up early, nothing will....right!!!

I went camping with my sister this weekend. She's shorter than I am, by quite a bit....but she's down to my goal weight. Her goal is less, but her height is less. But just hearing her say that she weighed what my goal tore through me. She works at a gym, so of course it's easier for her to find time to work out. But it really made me jealous. We both gained our weight at about the same time....for the same reason. Birth control. We found out, the hard way, that the birth control we were given, has an adverse affect on us. For example, I went from a size 5 to a size 18 in under 9 months. It was like being pregnant, but the weight never went away, and I didn't have a kid to show for it. I have stretch marks from it and everything. Once they finally figured out what was causing the problem, the damage had been done. Now I'm in a constant fight to get rid of the weight. I kicked 30+ pounds of it a year ago...and I'm holding at that weight...but I want more gone. If I work out, it goes's that simple. And I feel good when I work why the heck don't I want to do it????? I'm just lazy I guess.

So whoever is reading this is thinking "Jen, quit your bitchin' and just do something about it, right???" :-) :-) :-) :-)

On a completely unrelated topic...Tom called me today. He was out in our veggie garden. We put up plastic chicken wire type fencing to keep the bunnies at bay. He said he found out why we weren't getting any green beans growing....he just chased 4 bunnies out of them. How the heck are they getting in??? Well, the garden is in the corner of our property, up against the neighbors fence. Seems those little critters can get through their fence. The only thing the fencing we put up is accomplishing, is making it hard for us to get into our own garden. And the creatures we're trying to keep out are waltzing right in. We're so funny!!! :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dog Days of....July??

I hate this hot weather crap!! Yes, admittedly, I love kayaking....but that's the only good thing that comes out of summer. Well, no, I take that back....the sun being out past 5:00 at night is always a good thing too.

Where can I move...that would provide 12 months of a mixture of spring and fall? Can I buy a place if I win the lottery?? I'd start playing if that was the case! :-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

2008, Camping in CO


Tom gets home from work at 7:00 am we head out. I'd spent the day before packing the car and cleaning the house for our week gone. Rowan (our diabetic, blind dog) is at the vet...and the family is going to stop by and check on the other animals while we're gone. we come!!! Well....we left town and immediately found ourselves in the middle of a HUGE thunderstorm. Like this area needs any more water...or any more severe weather. We decided it was best to stop for breakfast....and let the weather pass over us a little. I was pretty darned white knuckled by then....driving only 40 mph on the interstate...and hydroplaning like crazy. Not the safest weather! It was really, really deep on the road...there's no where for it to go anymore. :-( After we finished our Micky D's...we hit the road...again. we come!!!! Tom was asleep within seconds...and slept to almost North Platte. But we weren't stopping for more than lunch and fuel. We drove straight through...what an ugly, boring, long drive!!!!!!! (I know, I say that every year!) I LOVE that first turn on Highway 34 when you get the first glimpse of mountains. You can just barely see them on the horizon, and it takes my breath away!!!! We found a campsite in the same campground as last year...but a different site. #23 this year. After setting up the tent, we went into town for some food. Wapiti Bar and Grill....same place we meet the BMW couple last year. Meal wasn't too memorable...but what was, was the fact that what Tom ordered was too spicy for him. I'd never seen that happen before!!!! After dinner, to camp and to bed...we were both bushed!


We're in Colorado...and turkeys woke us up. Funny!!! We could hear a hen and a tom talking to each other from opposite ends of the campground. Awesome!!! We caught a glimpse of the Tom running frantically across the his woman. We got out of bed at 6:00 (Omaha time)....ate some oatmeal (ick!!!) and sat down to decide what we were going to do for the day. We decided on our hike...packed our packs with supplies, lunch, etc....and headed out. First stop - three guesses....Starbucks!!!! We drank coffee along the river that runs behind the shop...then head off to the Lumpy Ridge Trail head. To get there, you drive past the Stanley was where they filmed the remake of The Shining. Gorgeous hotel....white with a red tile roof. All the building around it match....perfect setting!!!! After that, you drive across some private property - the McGregor Ranch...I'm told all proceeds from the ranch go to charity and such...per the last living McGregor relative. Anyway, we got to the trail head to hike the Gem Lake trail. 2.1 miles to Gem Lake - past Paul Bunyon's boot. Gem Lake itself is small, but marvelous. We stopped there to eat lunch...and while we were eating...a local rodent of some sort (ground squirrel looking thing) came out and stole some nuts from our trail mix bag. Ballsy little sh* fear. It kept coming up to check us out...and I was able to touch it. How cool!!! We decided to continue on to Balanced Rock from there. This part of the hike (another 2.1 miles) was beautiful!!! I ran the battery in my camera to nothing!!! Balanced Rock was pretty cool. Not - for Mel's benefit - I feel I must mention that I officially used the "urinator" for the first time. Men have it so good!!! Anyway............the hike back wasn't so cool. I mean, it was beautiful and all....but Tom's boots were bugging him (yes - the SAME boots as last year!!! men!!!) He was also brewing a really good sinus infection. The three torn calf muscles in my right leg were not happy with me (and rightfully so). There was no stopping on the way back...and very little talking. It was all we could do to get back to the car. I was barely able to stand on that leg...and Tom couldn't breathe. When we got back to camp, I took a nap, and Tom read a little. Then we made our Dutch Oven pizza bake, did the dishes (walking down to the restrooms to wash dishes in the sink provided down there took forever....I could barely walk at not cool!!!)

Tom went to the tent to lay down...and it was then that I noticed fluids dripping out from under my car. *$&^(*$^%#&%#*%!!!!!!! I alerted Tom...and long story short...after emptying the trunk three times....we figured out the problem. Tom hadn't closed the valve on his camelback. It seems that if you set a cooler on top of a camelback with an open valve...all the water will come spilling out into your car...and then drains out of the car at the nearest possible weak spot. The foam of the back seat of my car (under the leather) was soaked!!!! So we loaded the trunk back up (again) and let out a couple sighs of relief. Water, we can deal with.

A fox visited our campsite today while we were making supper. He/she wandered right past us...really didn't seem to mind we were there. He/she walked back by with a big old mouse or something in it's mouth just after we finished loading the trunk of the car.


Today we were awakened by Alvin...or one of his brothers. In the tree right above our tent. By the sounds of it, he wasn't happy of our presence under his tree. I forgot to mention that we found our new favorite outdoors store here in Estes yesterday. I can't remember the name right now....but I have it written down at home. I'll have to post it, so we don't forget next time we come. It's right by the Estes Park Lake dam. We went because Tom realized he packed no shorts...well...he packed a pair, but they were mine. So he needed some. I bought a purchase yet. You know, those things that the Survivor people wear on TV? Between the weather, and the lack of daily's a must to wrangle my hair into submission!!! :-) After breakfast we decided to make today the driving day. I could barely wasn't good...and we thought we'd give my torn calf muscles a rest. First stop...Dad's for a much needed shower and laundry. We decided to bring only three changes of clothes each this trip...and just go laundry every third day when we do a shower. It worked perfectly! We played some cards and drank Starbucks (from the Safeway next door) while the laundry finished up. When it was done, we packed the car and headed for Grand Lake. Which after last year, we decided is NOT grand at all. But the jewelry store and brewery make it a.....necessary evil. About 10 minutes into the trip across, I realized my Starbucks was NOT getting along with my belly. We FINALLY made it to he visitor center on top...and all the pipes were frozen. Across the parking lot to the outhouses I ran...or tried to run. Between my belly and my was probably quite the sight! :-)

Once we got to Grand Lake, I was starting to feel much better..and actually hungry!! We went to Poncho and Lefty's to eat...on the recommendation of Paul, a co-worker. Good guacamole...good food in general...great choice!!! Tom had his beer at the brewery....and bought me a bracelet at our jewelry store. then we went back across. Grand Lake....we're just not excited about it.

At camp, we made hot dogs for dinner. Tom taught me how to play Gin Rummy. I see so many movies with people playing (most recently, The Bucket List)...and was excited to find out he knew how and would teach me!!!!!

We walked (hobbled) to the river flowing through the campground...and messed around with taking moving water pictures with my camera. And followed a 5x5 elk around for a while on our way back. My calf muscles are toast, and it scares me that we won't be able to do the hiking we want to on this trip. Argh!!!!

The bugs started biting, so we went into the tent....played some more cards until the lantern went out. Need to charge it back up tomorrow.


Woke up late today, but it felt great. Got some sleep last night finally. Let me just say the mummy style sleeping bags are NOT the friend of a claustrophobic. This year, I bought some silk sheets, and made sleeping bag liners for both of us. I can sleep in it (I made mine VERY roomie)...and use the sleeping bag as a blanket. Problem solved!!! (plus, we can take the liners to the laundry with us, and the tent doesn't smell of bug spray and BO at the end of the week - two birds, one stone!!!) We ate an oatmeal (ick!) breakfast, then got on our way. Safeway for groceries and then our new favorite outdoor store. Why this time you ask?? Well, you know those boots that caused the nasty, blooding, seeping wounds on Tom feet last year, that he's wearing this year (and are, again, hurting his feet badly)? Well....we're getting rid of them, and I'm throwing them away here in CO so they never made an appearance on his feet again!!! :-)

After purchasing his new shoes, we left for the Wild Basin area. Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls. Great hike!!! We would have gone further...but Tom's feet felt great, and my calfs were actually not doing so badly...we didn't want to press our luck. The trail follows the water the entire way. It's never too far away. Calypso Cascades were gorgeous. You just keeping looking up and up and up...and they just keep going. I tried taking pics, but none of them will do it justice, not even close!!!! We passed a gentleman on the trail with a prosthetic leg...and he was wearing Tom's new shoes. (no reason to mention it, except why not!!!) We ate lunch at the cascades...sharing a log with an older couple also on their way to Ouzel Falls. The falls were great! I wasn't standing all that close when I was taking pics...but had to move quite quickly....I was getting soaked. It's CRAZY how much water is flowing down this river....I just can't believe it!!!! It's ROARING by us...and it's not shallow! On the way down, you can see the normal storm clouds edging towards us...but we actually didn't get rained on this trip. We didn't know how to handle it. :-)

Last year, we took in a movie one afternoon. So, we thought maybe today would be a good day for that (as it WAS raining when we got back to town). "Don't Mess with the Zohan" SERIOUSLY...DON'T mess with the Zohan. Just don't. Horrible movie!! So bad, we were going to leave....but thought we'd give it a shot. Man, we should have left.....HORRIBLE!!!!!! :-(

After the torture session...we went back to camp and made chicken and rice with the Jetboil system. Yes, we actually used it for food. Tom was having a hard time with the idea of using it for anything other than boiling water. He's so silly sometimes. I finally convinced him that it's there to COOK we did. He's totally sold on it now. :-) After dinner, we did dishes, played some rummy (I won!), and then walked up to the entrance of the campground to buy ice cream. They have a little shack that they sell firewood and ice out of for a few hours a day. We heard a rumor that they also sold ice cream out of the ice freezer. The rumor was correct!!!

On a side should see the pollen on everything here. All of our gear that's outside, tables...tent...everything is yellow!! Completely coated with it. And you can wash it off, but it's covered again, in a 1/2 hour. No wonder Tom is miserable. Sinus infection...and then all this pollen. Poor guy!!!!

After eating ice cream, and watching a rather large elk walk past us...we decided to take a drive. It was dusk...and we hoped to see some more wildlife. We weren't let down...we saw a ton of elk...and one baby elk standing along side the road...just staring at cute!!!! We happened upon a place called the Alleuvial Fan. It's a ravine that runs down one of the mountains....with a mountain one time, it had flooded quite badly. The Fan was surrounded by downed trees and cleared ground....I can imagine how wild that must have been to see when it happened!! Anyway....we grabbed the camera and went to investigate. Neither of us were wearing shoes...just flip flops for me, and Keens for Tom. We had become the tourists we make fun of every year. Climbing mountains wearing flip flops. :-) :-) Tom played mountain goat again....I went as far as I flip flops carrying my camera. I did leave my shoes at one point, and climbed for a while barefoot...less slippery that way. What a cool spot!!!! At one point, I lost track of Tom. He finally came into view, at the top.....wwwwaaaaayyyy up there. He was looking around, trying to get could see "crap, how did I get up here" all over his face. He cracks me up!!!!!! After that, we saw one of the most gorgeous sunsets ever. It had this pinkish/purple hue to it....with mountains in the!!!!!

The people in the site across from us are a strange (but cool) group. They are from all over the country, but the driver (and his license plate) are from Polk County, IA. It seems his daughter and new son in law are on their honeymoon...and they invited a big group to spend the week with them. There are probably 6 or so people total - most of them are very granola. One guy is a big time backpacker....he introduced Tom to the Nalgene bottle coffee french press attachment. Actually....Tom went over and asked him about it - you know Tom!!! He said he'd bring coffee over for Tom in the am, so he can try it out. Very nice people....very granola. :-)


Up late again this morning. It's getting harder and harder to wake up and get moving. It rained on us really well last night. Temporarily washed all the pollen off of everything. Neither of us are in shape this year. Tom's sinuses, my leg, and then the fact that neither of us have been working out.....we're actually contemplating coming home early. After making 'mess' for breakfast, we decided to head into town. We wanted to see if we could find a tshirt for the year...and see what else we find.

A very large bull elk wandered right through the campground today. I was maybe 15 feet or so away from it...."hiding" behind a tree for the most part. I wasn't going to mess with him....and he walked up to us, not the other way around. We've had a fox, a deer, allot of elk and turkeys either in or right by our campsite this year....the only thing we're missing is a bear....but that's OK.

We wandered around Estes for a while, but our hearts just weren't into it. Tom called his brother and we let them know that we were leaving Estes early, and wanted to see if they were going to be home. Maybe we'll take these extra days and spend some time with them. We love this area to death...but we both need a change of scenery for vacation. We love seeing new things...and although this place has a ton of stuff we haven't's all at high elevations, and hiking just isn't working this year.

Erin was ecstatic to see Uncle Tom!!!!!! He took her out on the jet ski and I don't know how had a bigger grin!!!! Bob ended up having to deliver babies all night, so we stayed and watched Erin.


We got up and Bob had to go back to work. Deb, Erin, Tom and I ran some errands and then came back to spend all day on the lake. Tom spend almost the whole day on the jet ski, giving rides...entertaining himself, and the kids. Deb and I took the boat out...and made some wakes for them to jump with the jet ski. We came in to eat dinner at about 5:00, then headed for the Nebraskaland Days rodeo. After the rodeo, we went to their neighbor's house for drinks. INSANE house....huge!!!!!!!


We left about 9:00 for home. I love home!!!! My couch feels great....and I plan on seeing allot of it today and tomorrow. :-) Vacations are great!!!!

2007, Camping in CO


After getting my hair cut and packing the car - we're off!!!! Worst possible week @ work ever!!! This vacation couldn't come soon enough! We have no plans, except to drive west and find topography!!!!!! We stopped in North Platte to see the Weaver's. Deb was working, but Bob and Erin showed us around their new lake house. Very nice!!! We ate mallard, watched The Two Towers and went to bed. Oh wait - I forgot to tell you about Duck Dawg, the breeders where Bob and Deb got their hunting lab. One of their females is named Dottie...the coolest lab ever!!! She's huge, long legs...changes my mind about owning a lab. She's a 'Tom and Jen' dog. She has puppy named Tough Stuff "Toughy". If we didn't already have 3 dogs at home, and they'd give her up...we'd have taken her with us right then!!!! Now, I can't write about Duck Dawgs without mentioning Thomas the turkey. My Tom just laughed and laughed at Thomas. This is their pet wild turkey. He followed us around the whole time we were there. Goofy bird...wanted pets and everything. He thought he was a duck dog himself!!!!! :-) :-)


With bellies bull of elk crepes, we left North Platte (after a trip to WalMart - which is NOT located next door to Menards - long story!!!). We arrived in Estes about 5:00. After talking to someone from RMNP on the phone on the way in....we decided to try Aspenglen campground. Site #46 is where we ended up. (after, of course, the annual "fight with each other while choosing a spot tradition" that we have seemed to continue!!!) Anyway....the site we picked had a mountain river flowing right behind it. We have the sounds of rapids all night long!!! Yeah!!!!!

After setting up camp, we went into town to see what was going on. Tourists, but not too many really. Next weekend (Labor Day) will be much worse. We ate at a Chicago pizza place (yummy). We stopped at some of the stores downtown, and found a really cool bracelet for me at one of them. Holy heck - sticker shock. It was nice, but not THAT nice!!!! We acted like $551.00 for a bracelet without diamonds was totally normal...took their card...and promptly threw it away in the garbage can down the block. Ouch! We hit a few more shops, found a couple cool tshirts we didn't buy (Bring a compass...because it's awkward eating your friends.)....then went back to our camp. Tom beat me in cribbage...then we went to bed. I awoke at some point in the night to Tom's mountain lion sighting. False alarm...but now I"m supposed to walk to the bathroom in the dark without getting eaten...argh! Darn active imagination! :-)


First day of hiking in the mountains. A quick breakfast of Starbucks Double Shots - and we're ready to go. Our goal today, Sky Pond. What a hike!!! We left about 9:00 and finished about 5:00. How do you sum up a hike in these mountains? Hell if I know! Alberta Falls, The Loch, Timberline Falls, Lake of Glass, Sky Pond. Basically - the hike was wonderful - but climbing up Timberline Falls was insane. Yes - you heard me...climbing up the falls!!!! The trail to Lake of Glass requires one to climb alongside and sometimes IN the falls!! Going up was perfectly fine....coming down was insane!!!!! Plus, there are about 400 million 'stairs' just to get to that point in the trail. (Thank you Tisha....those step classes at the gym are paying off!!!!) But it was all totally worth it. Well....maybe not all. Tom wore his brand new hiking boots and you guessed, bloody, seeping blisters. Ewwwwww and Ouch!!!! :-)~ Gorgeous views the whole way there and back. There were some remnants of wildflowers...from earlier in the season. Didn't really meet up with too many people on the trail, which was nice! I took a million pictures on the way up...but there's no way the pictures can capture what you see. It's just amazing!! Have I mentioned how much I love the mountains???? :-) :-) Coming down those falls...I know that I mentioned how crazy it was...but oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!! I was about in tears. I'm not afraid of heights, I'm afraid of falling. I had my heavy camera....and am not a mountain my hubby seems to be. Holy crap!!!!!!!! I just sat on the edge...before starting down the sheer drop off....gripping onto the ground....shaking my head like a three year old. I could have sat there all d*mn day for all I cared right them!!!! Ugh!! But - with several mini heart attacks...I finally made it to the bottom. We got rained on most of the way down...but what's new really???? Our Frog Togs kept us totally dry as usual!!!! After the hike, we went into Estes looking for bandages and better socks for my mountain goat....we found what we were looking for at The Warming House. Our favorite little outdoors store. We then went back to home base and began surgery on Tom's feet. Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!!!!!! After finishing that, we made burgers...and then headed out for a drive. We'd heard people were spotting elk near the Morraine Park campground...and thought we'd see what we could find. They were there....tons of them in fact. If it hadn't been for all the......naive tourists....we would have stayed longer than we did. I just hate to watch wildlife while surrounded by idiots....makes me feel like one of them. Ugh!!!! There was one really nice 6x6 bull - and he was kind enough to bugle for us. Wow!!!!!

After that, we went back to camp, played some cribbage, and went to bed.


Gross, slimy, stinky - that's how I feel this morning. I needed a shower in the worst way...and so did Tom. So we're off to find one. There aren't any in the park, so we headed into town. The lady at Starbucks (first priority) pointed us in the direction of Dad's Maytag Laundry and Showers. $4.00 each. Clean, friendly establishment....and Safeway is right next door. After getting clean, we grabbed PBJ supplies at more supplies to fix the monster, bloody, seeping heels of my mountain goat. We decided to give Tom's feet some time to heal, so we made it a driving day. Across Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake. Gorgeous views along that never ending road!!! We stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center at the top, for some postcards for the kids...then continued on. Last time we were here, an ice storm made us turn we can now see all the things we couldn't see then. The trees are all dying on the west side of the park. Burrowing Pine Beetles, they tell us. Very depressing. Grand Lake is at the other end of the road....pretty much a bummer town in my opinion. It wants to be a tourist town so bad....but in the winter, unlike Estes, it's very cut off from the it just can't keep up. Tom bought me a gorgeous turquoise and opal barrel pendant and silver chain. I love it!!!! We didn't stay long on the west side. We did eat lunch at a little food place there on the outskirts of town. Very good burgers. While we were there, one of the workers was returning from a supply run. She dropped a 3 gallon glass container of pickles in the parking lot. I felt so bad for her...and there were pickles everywhere!!!! :-)

The drive back took forever because of construction and people who don't know how to drive in the mountains. Sweetie III did great...but I was very glad to get to our campsite. Driving that road once a year is good enough for me. My little car just isn't geared for it. There isn't enough compression in the motor to keep from having to use the brakes more than we'd like. But anyway!!!! Back at the campsite, we pulled out our camp chairs and read for a while. Nothing like reading in a chair...outside....with mountains as a view. I always have a hard time focusing on the book!!! :-)

With both of us craving chocolate....we went back into town - had a brief, but annoying, argument (we're married....we have a quota to meet!)...and came back to make supper. Did we ever get the chocolate...I don't even remember....we were pretty upset with each other there for a while. :-) We made Dutch Oven Chicken Enchiladas...then played some cribbage and went to bed.


The grasshoppers here are insanely loud. Little mini electric bug zapper sounding things! After 3 or 4 tries...Tom found a way to bandage his monster, bloody, seeping wounds enough to try some hiking. We considered Lake Haiyaha - a shorter 2 mile hike...low elevation gain (750 ft total)...but you all know Tom. He didn't want to 'hike with the geezers' we go. Deer Mountain here we come. Beautiful hike (but which one isn't?). Guess what we did right off the bat on this hike?? You guessed it....we argued - and this one was a good one. Do I remember what it was about....yeah, but I simply blame it on being so close to each other for so many days in a row...and nothing more. The hike was nice....tons and tons of switchbacks....but it was nice. The top was great! 360 degree view of mountains and Estes Park. We met a couple from Albany at the top....and talked to them while eating lunch. They took our picture for us (one of the few that exist with both of us in it!)....and it was about that time we noticed the really gnarly looking storm system heading our way....of course!!!!!! :-) Again - we were rained and hailed on, the whole way down. It's tradition...why fight it? Again - Frog Togs rock!! Once at the trail head....we went into town (again)...after stopping at the camp for dry clothes. I had a couple of postcards to mail to the kids. The postman we talked to went to school at Creighton. Everyone here used to live in Omaha...I swear!!! The laundry/shower people are from Omaha...the Starbucks people lived and went to school there...and now my postman. There are actually Husker gear stores's horrible!!!!!! We went back to camp and made some Dutch Oven Pizza Bake in the rain. Yes - it's raining again. Tom fashioned a rain hut for the dutch oven...and we retreated into the tent. 45 minutes later, it was still raining...really, really hard....the food was starting to burn (we could smell it)....but our tent was in the middle of a LAKE!!!!! (by the way, this is all Tom's fault....up on the mountain earlier that day, he said something about the thunder being weak here...yeah, it wasn't so weak sounding then!!!) :-) Anyway....back to the lake our tent was in the middle of....ugh!!! The rain was splashing off the water, and splashing into the was a good couple of inches deep...all the way around the tent. We finally got out of the tent, with minimal water getting inside...and used our big kitchen spoon to dig a trench...and help get the water away from the tent. Yes - you heard us...we dug a little trench. The parks' handbook specifically says not to do this....but we were under water...on the park's tent pad. Poor planning on the parks' part. :-) The food tasted wonderful - a little crispy on the bottom though. We set up our chairs under some pine trees and ate dinner out of the rain. After getting the camp bear proofed for the night (there was a bear sighting in the camp a week before we arrived, so the park officials were even more strict about people bear proofing their sites)...we hid in our tent from the next many storms that passed through. The tent, even with the small trench, was still surrounded by standing water....but we were dry and warm inside. This tent rocks!! (Mountain Hardware, Hammerhead 2)


The lake around the tent had receded and I woke up hungry. No oatmeal bars and double shots for me...I wanted breakfast food...real food. Our little furry friend woke us up again this morning. Our friend is a rodent of some sort...he/she lives in the tree right above our tent. He doesn't like us much, and lets us know regularly. He actually throws nuts at our tent most mornings...while he's yelling at us for being there. It's hilarious to wake up to!!!! :-) We ate at the Wapiti. The food was good (but they ran out of milk, and we didn't get any...bummer!!!!) We met a couple from Massachusetts eating there. We had seem them a couple days before, well...Tom had seen their motorcycles....he was actually drooling over them. BMW - don't ask me what model...but Tom would know if you ask him. They were sitting at the table next to us...and were the only other people eating in there at the time. I made Tom wait until they were done eating before he bugged them....but after that we talked to them for a good hour if not two. They were on the second leg of a motorcycle trip. (91,000 miles into the second part....I can't remember the exact mileage of the first trip...but it was insane)....they decided to take a year off, and drive around the country on matching BMW's. Very fun and interesting people to talk to. The guys talked about bikes...while Deb (his wife) and I just sat and politely listened to the boys. Impressive trip they were on!!!! We went back to camp, and hung out some clothes after washing them in the river running behind our site. We also hung out our tent rain let it and the tent air out a little. We pulled our chairs under the pine trees...and read while watching another weather system move in. The weather here is awesome...and it changes in a heartbeat!!!!!! :-)

I didn't write any more about this trip...just didn't ever get around to it. I know we did some more hiking. We were going to stop at North Platte on the way home so we could see his sister in law (who was working when we came through on our way to Colorado). We were an hour or so out of the park...and called them to tell them we were coming. They had decided to get tickets to the Husker game...and weren't going to be around. We didn't plan on driving all the way home in one day...but I guess we had no choice. That was one heck of a long ride. We got home late that afternoon (Saturday)...spent Sunday unpacking and such. Robin was due to arrive Monday (Labor Day). She was going to live with us a while, until they found a place to live. Aaric is coming back to Omaha in a month or so. Man, it will be nice to have her back!!!!!!!!!! And not going back to work with "Roger" was the best end of vacation gift ever. The mess that I came back to at work was no cool....but things were looking up!!!!! Welcome back Robin, you're never leaving again!!!!

Oh, I do remember some more of this trip. One day we picked a hike....but then, after talking to a park ranger at the trail head, we decided on a different hike altogether. Flattop Mountain. What a beautiful hike. Long and really, really rough. The elevation change was pretty high, making the hike difficult for my flat-lander lungs!!!!! It starts at the Bear Lake Trail head I believe. A million switchbacks through forest, then the trees start getting fewer and fewer. There is an awesome view of Emerald Lake (see the first year we went to Colorado for our hike to Emerald Lake) was absolutely straight down from where we were.....cliff....vertigo...but awesome to look down and see it from where we were!! Eventually, we moved above the treeline....and wouldn't you know....a gnarly looking mountain storm started towards us. Lightning, the works - and us above the treeline....never a good thing!!! We pressed on, until we met an older gentlemen...a local. He was making a beeline down the trail. Said the weather looked even worse on the other side. We asked him what he recommended....he said get below the tree line as quick as you can. After much debate...we finally did. Both storms missed us, and if we had kept going, we would have hit the summit of Flattop Mountain. As it were, we're going to have to do it again another year. We're both pretty bummed!!!!!! :-(

2004, Camping in Iowa


Yes, it's 2004! But don't worry, you haven't missed anything. This is just the first vacation we've had in a couple of years. Time flies when you're having fun. Doug, Cindy, Tom and I spent all last week refinishing mom and dad's Boston an early anniversary gift to them - so this week is very needed. We left this morning and headed east for a change. Money is tight this year, so we're staying in state. Ledges State Park was our destination. It's not really a 'destination' kind of park - but nice none the less. As we drove into the park, we noticed all the standing flood water in the lower sections of the park...this could be bad. (side note) We both agree that whoever thought out the placement of sites in this campground was actually thinking things out pretty well.

BUGS!!!! Mosquitoes!!! Everywhere!!!!! They are officially the welcoming committee here. Ugh! Mental note - camping in a park that floods regularly, and currently has standing water...probably not the brightest idea. Just don't do it!!!! After getting camp set up, relatively bug bite free....we hid in the camper reading and playing cards all night. Just a good, relaxing evening all in all.


Rain, rain, go away!!!! It started last night and besides a few breaks, really hasn't stopped. Tom thinks I'm crazy, but I swear the thunder sounds different here. We're not that far from it must be our surroundings that make it sound so much different. Everything outside was soaked. Even if it was covered, or under the camper awning, it's completely wet!! The rain really came down pretty hard and splashed off the ground. Oh well - who needs dry charcoal anyway? :-) Oh, I forgot to tell everyone about our visitor last night. We could hear something crashing around outside in our campsite. Big 'ole momma raccoon. She had a little turf war with a fellow coon. On her last trip into the camp, she was going for the coolers. The wet bag of charcoal on top of the cooler must have really p*ssed her off....well, that and the fact that rain came in again.

We decided to try some hiking today. MUDDY!!!! We both fell going down the first hill. Fall sounds so much more coordinated than what we actually did though. :-) I would have landed harder, had the mosquitoes not broken my fall. We came back up that hill and hit the showers. That hike last all of 30 minutes, and 25 of it was trying to get back up the hill to home base. Maybe we'll go ride bikes? Or maybe not, all 4 bike tires are flat. OK - I give up!!! Let's make some food and stay lazy....maybe that's what we're supposed to do this week?? Maybe we'll do something more active tomorrow....maybe! :-)

Oh, - I forgot to tell you of our breakfast experience could I forget. OK, with the rain, and the wet campsite...we decided to drive into town (Boone, IA) and find breakfast food. We stopped at the local fire department to ask for a good diner. Fireman eat, they should know the good places - or at least, that's what Tom thought. They said, "Go to the Oops." Down the street was a bar, called the Oops bar. Boy, was the name fitting. We were there an hour and never got food. Tom ordered a #3 omelet (menu says it has green onion, and some other was very specific)...waitress asks us what he wants in this omelet. OK - maybe she's new? I ordered biscuits and gravy. After our waitress walked by three times with a plate of biscuits and gravy, we thought maybe she was looking for us. She walked into the kitchen, and Tom followed her. She was throwing it away just as he entered. Argh! So he tells her that it was probably ours and we need a new one. She comes back to the table 10 minutes later - "we're out of biscuits and gravy".....well hello! If you throw it away, you'll probably run short!!! We finally just left some money on the table for our two glasses of milk and left. As they say 'every cloud has a silver lining'....after leaving the Oops, we found exactly what we were looking for. The Whistlestop Cafe. This place was great. Good food, good prices, good people...the local wind tunnel.


Well, it was the Cafe again this morning...mosquitoes are my enemy!!!! Perfect sleeping weather last night though, 49 degrees, clear skies!!! Windows open, wool blanket....bliss!!!!

06/23/04 - end of the week

OK, again, I didn't keep up with the journal for this trip. We left Ledges on 06/22/04 and tried to find another park. Ended up at Brushy Creek State Park. Great park...and really big. It's a horse friendly each site is huge...with it's own hitching rail and everything. We had perfect trees to tie the hammock to.....plenty of one around. We spent the rest of the week at the site....reading, reading, and reading. The park had a shooting range, so we did take the .17HMR out for some target practice...but mostly, reading and napping. Very relaxing, but very boring to read and write about. :-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

2002, Camping/Rafting in CO


Left for Colorado after work. Arrived in North Platte late to stay with Tom's brother and family.


Left North Platte and headed for Canon City, CO. Possibly the most boring drive ever!! Eastern Colorado is worse than driving across Nebraska...never thought I'd find anything more boring. :-) We finally arrived at the campground (KOA with trees) and set up camp. We then learned to make sure we park the camper close enough to the power pole to plug the camper in (yes, we purchased a camper after last year's wind storm, in NE Toadstool park...we wanted a bed on wheels, so we bought a pop-up camper. Love it!!) you can probably guess, we got stuff set up THEN realized the camper was too far away from the power to be plugged in. So, we put it all away, then moved the camper closer to the pole. Then....well....after getting stuff set up again, we found out the site they put us in has the wrong kind of power for our camper. (I'm not sure on the numbers, but we needed at 30 amp, and this was a regular site...or something like that) we had the campground switch us to the correct electrical site...and set everything up AGAIN. Ugh!!!! We went driving to see Royal Gorge bridge, $17.00 per person to drive across....hello!!! (or should I say, hell no!) We turned around. When we got back to camp, Tom looks up from the chairs we're sitting in. In the distance - the Royal Gorge bridge. Guess that's why this campground is called the Royal Gorge View Campground....ugh!!! Time for bed...what a day!!!


Hummingbirds - tons of them...everywhere!!! I could watch them all day and all night long! The campground has a shower and laundry building. As I was waiting for Tom to finish...I sat down in same chairs on a patio just outside the facilities. The hummingbirds were coming right up to my face. How wonderful!!!!!! I'm in love!!!!!!

Today we went whitewater rafting down the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge. Wow Wow Wow!!!!! The water level was really low this year, but it was still awesome. The waves and water weren't as the rapids were a lower 'class' this year...but there were tons of boulders and such that you normally raft right over...sticking up and making travel allot more technical than usual. We paid for a regular rafting trip. There needed to be 6 other people signed up, or the trip would be cancelled. As we're waiting for the trip in River Runner's parking lot...we noticed there weren't many cars. Well....we were the only ones that showed up that day...but they didn't cancel our trip...they upgraded it for free instead. We got a private raft ride with just us and a guide (Carlos) the 'adventure' raft. It's this tiny little raft...crazy!!!! He was a tall, thin, very tan dude...dressed head to toe in lightweight cool max material - he looked like he belonged in the Arabian dessert with a camel. He never put a helmet on and started the trip with a really fake "you're a tourist, I've done this trip a million times, so I'll fake laugh at everything" voice. Quite annoying...but it got better as the trip went on. I think he was upset that he had to do the trip, when so many people cancelled. By the end of the trip, I'd decided he was pretty cool...and would raft with him again any day!!!

We started the rafting trip with a small set of ripples/rapids. The outfitter had camera men posted along the trip in different spots, for photo ops. This was the first one. Well.....we got stuck...really, really stuck. In the middle of the rapids. In fact, if I hadn't been sitting right in front of Carlos...I would have been swimming right then. We hit hard...and I was on my way out of the boat...when he grabbed my PFD and pulled me back in. We finally got loose...and he started joking. In the office, he said they have a wall of shame. Where the photographer posts pics of them looking stupid, or doing dumb things. He said this would make the wall...for sure!!!! The other guides would never let him live it down! The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful - meaning, we didn't get stuck again....and had a really good time!!! At lunch, we stopped alongside the river, a group of two college aged girls met us there with lunch. Quite the spread really...wonderful lunch. It turns out that those two girls are guides in training and were also there to finish the trip with us. We couldn't handle the Royal Gorge section with only three people. At one point....because the river bottle-necks into some pretty gnarly rapids, we had to stop and tie the boat up along the river. There was a line of people waiting to run the rapids. Carlos walked us alongside the we could go down river and watch people shoot the rapids. 100% of the boats we watched go through lost a minimum of one person in the water...if not the entire boat full. Why am I doing this again? Why is someone who is terrified of the water doing this?!?!?!?!?! It was finally our turn. I would have been fine, had we not sat there and watched all those people go in the water. Our boat did awesome. We all stayed in the boat...and we actually got some applause from the other people watching us go through. At one point....we were in a spot...and he said that we're going diagonally across the river to the other side. So, off we went....well, when we got there....we got stuck. Not because we hit bottom...but because we were more powerful than he expected...we overshot the place he wanted to end up. We actually were sitting on a wave of sorts...surfing. No one was doing anything, the water was swirling, and we were standing still, riding the wave. At this time, I was still not aware that we overshot where he wanted us. What gave it away? Carlos, very calmly says behind me, "well...I've never been here before....hmmmm.....wonder how we get out of this?" The people alongside the river are cheering...because they think we're playing around and showing off.....while we're actually stuck, and wondering how the heck we get out of this spot in the middle of the river. We did finally get unstuck and proceeded through the rest of that set of rapids. We all made it through...with big grins on our faces!!!!! The rest of the trip was pretty mild...and my butt hurt horribly by the time we were finally done. Sunburned beyond belief, but had fun!!! As we were rafting through the gorge...we all noticed the sky way above us smokey..really smokey. One of the girls said there were wildfires to the north of us. That must explain the smoke. When we got back to the campsite....we found our camper moved...almost 45 degrees actually. The door was wide open...and our stuff was hanging out. One of the beds was off it's supports and just hanging there. Tom found out from the class A campers around us, that there was a horrible windstorm while we were gone...and now our camper is full of dust and dirt. The campers said that a number of them came out to see if the people in the pop up were OK. It's nice to see that someone was watching out for us, even if we weren't there!!! After getting the camper put back together, and a shower...we went out driving. We asked the rafting people how to get to the bridge without paying...and they drew us a very basic (and confusing) map through back roads and such. What a view!!! We sat with our feet dangling over the edge of the gorge, looking at the small little river that we had rafted earlier. OK, so that river isn't so small, we're a long ways up!!! The bridge was closed was basically on fire. That wildfire that was supposed to be north of us, was actually right on top of us. They had to close the bridge down, and we could barely see it from where we were sitting (which wasn't far away). The mountains here are really ugly. Well, maybe that's harsh. They are covered in scraggly trees and bushes, and there isn't any green to be seen. It's all kinda red and dessert-like. Tomorrow we leave to drive north to Estes Park...and MOUNTAINS...the mountains I want to see!!!!!


We made it to our next campground. Mom and Dad tell me that they were tracking our progress North. It seems there were wildfires all along the road on our way north, and mom and dad were laughing about it. But anyway....what a drive!!! Now these are mountains! Tall, snow capped...well, maybe not capped...but there is snow still up there!!! Most of it is looking pretty dirty, but it's June, and it's been a warm summer so far. Tall trees - not desert scrub. Hummingbirds here like we have black birds at home. You can hear them everywhere!!! We set up camp (and argued a little) at Estes Park Campground. Wonderful little private campground just outside an entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park. Once camp was set up, we took off for the park. Amazing!!!!!!! (you have to remember this is the first time I've seen mountains like these!)


Hiking today! Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. Killer!!!! And it's really one of the shorter, lower altitude hikes. Man, is this place beautiful! Slippery, rocky slopes...up, up and up. Boy am I out of shape...ugh! Dream Lake is gorgeous. When we arrived at Emerald Lake...well, what is supposed to be Emerald Lake....we just laughed. The fog was so thick, you couldn't see it, at all. We decided to find somewhere to sit and eat lunch, and wait to see if the fog would clear. We found the most awesome outcropping of rocks, and heated up our MRE. It started sleeting on us...but we were completely out of the weather...what a perfect spot to sit and eat lunch. The sleet broke for a while, and the fog cleared. Wow!!! They call it Emerald Lake because it's so green...but as cloudy as it was, we couldn't see the greenness....but the lake was still gorgeous without it!!! After eating, we changed into rain gear (it had started sleeting really hard again), and started back down. The trip down was slick and sloppier than the way up. We'll go do some more hiking in a day or so. Some of the trails that we'd like the hike are snowed in from a storm that hit last night. They had to close Trail Ridge Road (the road that goes from the east across to the west side of the park) due to a winter storm. Now those kinda snow capped mountains yesterday are totally snow capped with fresh white snow today!! It's great! Can't wait for it to stop sleeting and raining on us, so I can start taking pics.


It finally stopped raining!!!! Blue skies, upper 60's to lower 70's - perfect!!! My legs are suffering greatly from rafting and then hiking. We went today and played 9 holes of golf at the Lake Estes golf course. I started off playing well...but ended playing horrible, as usual. :-) We had fun though, and that's what we headed out to do. It was the two of us...and then a bunch of older groups. Retirement USA. :-) We had to sit at either the second or third hole and wait for an elk to make his way across the fairway. He just strolled through like he owned the place. Colorado, gotta love it!!!

Tom decided that the small peak in view from our campsite was way to he took off that afternoon to hike to the top. I could see him when he got to the top....but with our small camera lens, the picture I took makes him look like a little ant up there!!! :-)


Got up and went to the local hiking , etc outfitter in town. I took a pair of their hiking poles out for a spin. But we didn't get very far into the hike and we had to turn around. I had put insoles in my hiking shoes before we left for vacation and I was getting some serious blisters. Bummer and Ouch!!!! So, we did just like any adult should do on vacation....we came back, ate some hot dogs, played some cards, and then I took a nap while Tom read his book. Aren't we exciting!!! :-) Only 3 days left before we return to the working world. It's gone way too fast, but has been worth it!!!


Last night in Estes. :-( We went hiking again today. Either my allergies just kicked in today, or I have a pretty good sinus infection brewing. Whichever it was, it made out hike pretty miserable. I wouldn't let Tom turn us around though. I'm stubborn that way. I didn't feel good...but that was no reason to keep him from getting to our destination. Good thing we didn't stop...Mills Lake was great. We were there maybe 5 minutes and then turned around to go back down. I went through about 70 million Kleenexes and never stopped sneezing the entire time. This has got to be allergies...ugh!!!!! I felt so bad, sniffling and sneezing the whole trip. :-( As usual, some nasty storm clouds moved in...and we were rained on the entire way down. We're actually getting quite used to those afternoon showers. Every day...usually between 1 and 3 pm. :-)

Once down the mountain, we decided to drive up Trial Ridge Road. Got some pretty good pics of a couple of photographic woodchuck like creatures. Darn thing are so domesticated. My first glimpse of the first one, was of him eating a Cheetos. Darn tourists!!! :-)

We're driving home tomorrow. Will miss this beautiful weather. Back to the nasty Iowa summer weather.