Saturday, August 07, 2010

Tillie 2 is launched!

It's true. There's more than one Tillie in our lives. John's new boat, a Tomcat named Tillie 2, sailed for the first time today!

It's especially exciting because John built the boat himself... the hard way, i.e. he used plans from a book and didn't build it from a kit. If that wasn't challenge enough, much of the lumber came from cousin John & Judy's trees. John & John cut down the tree and helped saw it into planks. Impressive to my way of thinking.

Exciting because John & Terry report it sails nicely - an unknown until today. (What? Me? Go out on that thing first thing? You must be nuts!)

Exciting because I made the sail (which proved to be the right size thank heavens!!!). I hope NEVER to make another! However, it does look impressive don't you think?

And best of all, the launching was exciting because the boat didn't sink!!! Admittedly there's a minor leak... somewhere, but nothing that will take it to the bottom. (You might remember that happened to a Comet sailboat we launched a few years ago.)

I know, you're still reading because you want to know the dirt. Didn't something go amiss that would make this launching really exciting? Well... it seems there's still a learning curve when it comes to docking. Coming straight in with the sail not completely down is not really recommended. John & Terry are down there now epoxying and screwing the nose back on.

For those of you who want to see more photos compliments of Bruce...
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tillie arrives!!!

Tillie has finally arrived in Seattle!!! We're happy! The truck driver is happy! Tillie is happy! Bridge is happy! And, of course, Roscoe the dog is very happy!!! Bridge only had to open the door a crack before Roscoe was in and had claimed his seat on the inside.

And, the best part, she started right up when Bridge got in to back her off the truck. (Of course there was the small issue of Bridge remembering where reverse was...)
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 09, 2010

News from Seattle...

Has Tillie finally arrived?
Bridge emailed to say her arrival has been postponed a few days. Tillie's "delivery truck" is in the shop for repairs... At least it's NOT Tillie this time!!!!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Last day in Seattle...

Seattle has so much to offer. This morning it was the Wooden Boat Show including a sailboat ride in one of the old wooden boats. I must admit it was the first time I've ever been in a boat on a lake that was also a landing area for planes - a whole new level of excitement... John went crazy snapping pictures of boats and rigging and such (most of you will thank me that I chose NOT to include them on this blog.) My favorite boat was "Joe". (Great name don't you think Joe?) Can you read my favorite sign of the day? "Close Enough Engineering" with the slogan "Probably OK". I thought the van had potential as a replacement for Tillie but John thought I'd had enough ice cream already. Tillie, by the way, is going to be in her glory out here. In all our travels with her we've seen more old VW buses this week than everywhere else combined. Tillie, by the way, arrives next week and delivered directly to Bridge's door. As you know, she occasionally likes to make grand entrances so will be in her glory.

This afternoon we strolled through beautiful Volunteer Park designed by Olmstead. By now you'll probably recognize everyone in the photo except perhaps Dean on the right (he was in NY when we first arrived). We all look fairly energetic there don't we? That was before we climbed the 100+ steps to the top of the old water tower for a fantastic view of the city. As you can tell from the last photo in the collage (taken at the top of that tower) we're about vacationed out. Tomorrow we head off for NY saying goodbye and thanks to the family and good friends, old & new, we've met along the way. And goodbye to all of you who were with us in spirit if not in person.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 02, 2010

More friends & adventures...

I love it when kids we know grow up to be such fun adults... and such good cooks.. and move to places we want to visit...!!! For those of you who knew the "twerps" from McDonough days, that's Daniel (chef extraordinaire) and just below him, his sister Jennifer (they're still twins but have outgrown their "twerpiness", thank heavens!) Daniel's wife, Maya, is upper left, and their daughter, Lily, front and center and a delight. Sammy is Jennifer's daughter and as sweet as can be. We had a wonderful time with them all last night.

But today was another day and Bridge had us up early to go to the one place John wanted to visit while we were in the Seattle area - Port Townsend. It's an absolutely great place to visit - something for everyone, not just boat enthusiasts. (Bridge & I were concerned about that so we took plenty of reading material just in case...)

Photos... 1. Rowing skiffs. The Northwest Maritime Center rents space in their gorgeous new facility right on the water - you would LOVE it Bruce. 2. Inside the center where plenty of boat building goes on (John LOVED it!). 3. Washington's smallest state park (what you see is about it...)
4. & 5. A real sail loft (instead of my dining room table where I had just finished a sail for John before we left - NEVER again!!!) These women deserve every cent they charge for their sails! 6. That's Kendell, their oldest employee (age & years of service). He started there in 1979. The great bag I'm holding and which I had just bought, is one he made out of sail scraps. (Bags I can relate to, sails? well that's another story...) 7. Big leaves. 8. Seeing what the locals are wearing here, we obviously need to work on John's outfits so he can make more of a fashion statement when he launches his boat... 9. Bridge "on the rocks" near the lighthouse at Fort Worden.

More boats tomorrow as it's the wooden boat show in Seattle...

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Vacation for me too...

I know what you're saying... "Where is the blog?" We went to Vashon Island (only a short ferry ride from Seattle) to spend a couple of days of relaxation (do we need another excuse?) and to visit our friend Sharon. Her daughter, Becca (who has spent Thanksgiving with us off and on for 40 years), offered us her vacation home on the island. A treat for all of us (plus it has no internet so even I got a vacation!!!)
Picking up a few provisions at the Pike Street Market. A bald eagle sitting on Paul's cat boat he designed and built himself (a bit bigger than the one John is building - trust John is not getting any ideas). A tree house only accessible by climbing the rope. Even Win, who was top of her class in rope climbing in the 4th grade, only got half way up. We're told it has a chandelier in it but you couldn't prove it by any of use. Jellyfish along the shore (just for Mary). And John & Bridge barbequeing one of those Copper River salmon in the first photo. (Not to make you hungry, but it was the best salmon I ever had.)

And the friends photo...
Yvonne & Garry, Win & Bridge, Sharon, Paul (who built that boat), the bald eagle still sitting on the mast even though he's a bit hard to see, John, and Moshe (Sharon's husband) who seems to be taking a picture of me (and I thought I had exclusive rights to the photo taking.) Unfortunately we just missed Becca who is somewhere between here and Pittsburgh and NOT in a VW bus so she may actually arrive before the summer is over...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Down under to over the top....

Up early and off for the underground tour of Seattle, a combination history tour and attempted comedy session (the "comedy" we could have done without! Far too many Crapper jokes.) Seattle in it's early life burned to the ground. Everyone agreed it was the perfect time to take the top of one of the hills to raise the level of the city above the "mud flat" level. The only thing was they didn't have money to do that and it would take too long. So, instead, the buildings were rebuilt with entrances on both the first and second floor levels. When tax revenues started coming in again, retaining walls were built around the buildings and the level of the streets raised to the second floor level. Fascinating! Of course this has nothing whatever to do with the photo on the left. That's the Seattle Public Library. (You would LOVE it Susan!) It's a beautiful building and, the best part, it was packed with folks USING the library, all 10 floors. There's a reason it's listed in the top ten things to see and do in Seattle.

Of course, nary a day goes by without great food. Bridge was not looking forward to taking the time to hand shred the cabbage when I mentioned I just happened to have a cabbage shredder packed in my suitcase (doesn't everyone travel with one?). Actually I'd found it at a thrift store in Boulder for $1 and thought it was too good to pass up. Worked like a charm too.

The bottom photo is Win cutting up the mangoes for the delicious mango bread pudding she made. Yum!
We'll have sweet dreams tonight...

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Having spent a "memorable" night crisscrossing the Washington desert by moonlight and staying in a "marginal" motel, we were all too ready to head west this morning. By pure happenstance we came upon Cave B Inn & Winery. Beautiful, beautiful place in every way. (We couldn't help imagining what if we had found them last night...) The upper left photo is the entrance to their tasting room (we were there too early to taste). Bottom left - the grape arbor that surrounds the croquet court (and we thought the one at TI Park was special...) The whole facility has the most incredible view over a gorge. Right next to Cave B is the Gorge Amphitheatre -bottom right shows the stage and the small grassy bit you see in the lower right is part of the seating. Spectacular to say the least. Upper right - looks like we somehow got transplanted to the Alps but it's Leavenworth, WA. German food on every corner - John was a happy boy!
Finally Seattle and Bridge (right) and Win (middle). John's so happy to be here (the martini may also have helped...) he's actually smiling for the photo as well as pointing (seems to be contagious). You will be happy to know, Bridge has lined up a VW guru (female I might add) to keep Tillie running like a top.

Bridge has a whirlwind week planned for us. I'll try to post through Saturday, then that's it for this trip.
Posted by Picasa

Tillie knows best...

All aboard and we were off Saturday morning heading north from Boise toward Coeur d'Alene. As opposed to the route that leads into Boise from the southeast (flat, desert, old lava, hot, relatively uninteresting to me - you saw the photos), the route north is fairly dramatic. Steep mountains, incredible scenery, a prairie, lakes. The photos on the left side of the collage are from the White Bird Grade. Both the new & old roads gain about 2900 feet in 14 miles. The old road had so many twists and turns and switchbacks that if you put them all together they would make 37 complete circles (that's what the sign says that John's throwing his hands up in the air about). John remembered coming up that road in a '48 Kaiser Frazer and his brother, Frank, in a '52 MG-TD. Garry remembered coming up it in a '47 Chevy and his mother getting car sick (I'm sure she wasn't the only one). The road is still there should anyone choose to take it. (We did not.)

So how is Tillie? Did she actually make this climb? As you might recall, Tillie's alternator light was back on Friday night. John tossed and turned and was up at the crack of dawn crawling under her to check for loose connections and whatever. (If he wasn't awake when he started he surely was after Garry & Yvonne's sprinkler system kicked on...) He couldn't find the problem so we took Tillie back to the shop for her daily "fix". (We'll have her shipped to Seattle - not as much fun but we'll know she'll arrive safely.) I must admit I had tears in my eyes when we said our goodbyes, but after going up White Bird Grade, there was absolutely NO question this latest "breakdown" was fortunate. Yvonne's PT Cruiser made a case for the modern... Air conditioning - yes! No wind noise, i.e. conversation possible - yes! Easily went up mountains - yes! Didn't overheat - yes! (You get the picture...)

Our plans were to spend the night in Coeur d'Alene but there was something called Ironman and also Hoopfest going on. Every place in town was booked full. We decided to have dinner there anyway because it's such a pleasant place and then drive on to Spokane and stay the night there. Every motel in Spokane was also booked. After several more hours of driving back and forth across eastern Washington in the dark but moonlit night (Tillie would NOT have been happy) we finally got the last room to be had in Moses Lake around midnight. (Was this "support Washington motels" weekend or something?!) Except for the small incident of accidentally setting off the PT's alarm/horn system after we got to our room, then having difficulty finding the key to stop it (I'm sure the other lodgers were happy we'd "arrived"!), it was our first day of stress free driving in quite some time.

To answer your question, "What is an Idaho Spud Bar?" - it's a marshmallow filling, coated in chocolate and sprinkled with tiny bits of coconut. Supposedly it resembles an Idaho potato but I'm not sure the potato growers would think much of that comparison.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Boise...

Photo 1 - Boise Boys = John, Steve & Garry who all grew up in Boise. Steve never met the other two until he was in the same VISTA Volunteer group as John & me in NC. Although Garry wasn't an official VISTA Volunteer, he did manage to attend many an "off duty" gathering and was known as the "ambassador". (Karol - the picture was taken under the Basque sign especially for you. Steve sends greetings to any other "old" VISTAs who might be reading this blog.)

Photo 2 - The Idaho Candy Co. is actually older than our Boise Boys. It was established in 1901 and still makes Idaho Spud Bars. (I doubt you'll find them anywhere outside of Idaho... Perhaps they're a taste you have to grow up with.)

Photo 3 - Tillie in front of Garry & Yvonne's. The shop who worked on her all day is actually a family of VW guru's. It was the wife who fixed Tillie's brakes and the son did something else on her. John & Garry picked Tillie up just about closing time. She ran a couple of blocks before the alternator light came on so it was back to the shop - blown fuse. Then it was off to the car wash. And now it's in the neighborhood but with the alternator light on again. John is NOT happy with her! However, we did pry him away from the repair book long enough to go to Boise's outdoor theater for a wonderful production of "Midsummer's Night Dream" with music from the Beatles and an old VW bug that rolled in and out of scenes in the woods. If you live anywhere near Boise it's worth trying to get tickets.

Tomorrow? We'd planned to start heading toward Seattle but we're playing it by ear. Your job? Stay tuned once again...
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A green day in Boise...

Good morning, Boise! Yvonne (a person of many talents not the least of which is baking) made us homemade croissants for breakfast, a 12 hour process. In fact, she was up at 4 a.m. preparing them for their final rise. Talk about making one feel special! The result (from our perspective - Yvonne said she'd never do that again) was well worth it as they were absolutely DE-licious!!! I've never had a fresher and tastier one (okay so it was two... scratch that, three and it took a LOT of will power to stop there!) Thank you, Yvonne!!!

My memories of Boise always involve the words "hot" and "dry". This year is an exception to the dry part. Lots of spring rains mean things here are green and flowers are everywhere. Boise is filled with beautiful city parks and Garry took us to several of them. The bottom right photo in the collage is a chunk of the oldest/largest ponderosa pine that ever lived. It was 379 years when it came down. The house photo? That's the boyhood home of John & Frank and looking pretty good these days I must say although they don't have a plaque saying "Frankie & Johnny lived here"...

The bottom photo is especially for Frank & Rita. For you folks who don't have a clue who they are, they're all from Boise. Garry, Bob, John (okay, he's not from Boise now but he grew up there), Yvonne, & Elinor. As you might expect, the dinner Elinor & Bob prepared for us was great. And we managed to polish off a sizable chunk of the chocolate cake Yvonne had made. Thank heavens for that after dinner walk to the new park going in near their home!

And where's Tillie? She's at the shop awaiting parts - something to do with brakes and boots this time. I ask you... just how many parts can a VW have?!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Was it curtains for Tillie?

Who would have thought there'd be so much suspense involving a trip across country by two old folks in a VW? Especially after yesterday's "cliffhanger". Would Tillie finally go to the scrap pile? You will, I hope, be happy to learn that Tillie is just fine. The massive spewing of oil over the engine and the back of the bus was simply due to the oil filter having rattled loose (some roads really aren't in the best of shape) and literally blown off. The VW gurus in Ogden (very nice and accommodating folks like the rest have been) had her cleaned up (no mean feat I'm sure) and re-oiled and filtered by ten this morning. In fact they were on the way over to pick us up at the hotel when they noticed Tillie was leaking gas so back on the lift she went. (For those of you in the betting mode I suspect you can count that repair as a separate incident.) Finally we were on the road, in the heat of the day I might add, and headed to Boise. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, this meant we didn't take advantage of the clever scenarios we had come up with including taking Garry (from Boise) up on his offer to come after us. John also checked into having Tillie shipped the rest of the way to Seattle (the best quote was $650 and VERY tempting I must say). But, no, we're determined to do it the hard way.

Today was HOT. The air was HOT, John was HOT, I was HOT, Tillie was HOT. John has gotten a bit more "sensitive" to Tillie's needs, so every time her oil temperature gauge would begin to go up, he's pull over, open the engine compartment, and we'd twiddle our thumbs while she cooled off. As some of you may know, I'm NOT a big fan of flat, dessert countryside. So I suppose Tillie was just trying to give us something to get stressed out rather than getting sleepy gazing at scenery that pretty much looked the same as it did half an hour ago. The last couple of stops John just decided to leave the engine cover up while we drove. Finally the worse part of the day has passed. We stopped for a final fill up before driving the last 150 miles. And, wouldn't you know, Tillie won't start. Once again I found myself snagging a guy getting into his pickup to help me push start her. Poor guy. He only stopped for an ice cream but his added push made Tillie start much easier.

Passing the lava bed scenery you see in the photo, I called the VW guru Tillie has "visited" before in Boise to tell him to expect her. It seemed like a much better plan to just drive her directly there and ask Garry to pick us up. Suddenly we were within 100 miles of Boise (a cause of great celebration since we get 100 miles of free towing if needed from AAA) so our stress levels greatly improved. Finally Tillie arrived safely at the repair shop where she'll be seen to tomorrow. And we arrived safely at Garry & Yvonne's where we'll have a couple of days of non-Tillie driving!!!! And John can sleep without waking up thinking about worse case scenarios. (I, on the other hand, slept like a log last night and plan to do so tonight.)
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"This is the place"

The kind folks at Meeker took Tillie in early this morning and, thanks to incredible overnight delivery from Denver of the needed parts, Tillie was back on the road by 10:00. The folks in Meeker were right about there not being a lot out there once you went west. A dinosaur, pink, in Vernal. Pink flamingos in Rangley. (What gives with this pink theme?) Finally Utah and another state added to Tillie's map. The welcome center was in Jensen (named, we're sure, for Sarah & Kenny & Bev & Orv). Lunch was at Betty's Cafe where everything is homemade and open for breakfast, lunch & dinner (a branch, we're sure, of Betty's in Norwich). And then it was back on the road heading toward Boise except...

Tillie must have heard Brigham Young saying "This is the place" and thought it meant her. That remote part of Utah (lower left in collage) has remarkable cell phone service. An hour or so later Tillie was checking out Salt Lake from an exalted height feeling fairly regal I suspect with the Mormon Temple in sight. John (as he has taken to doing) had made a list of VW shops on the way to Boise so we rode in air conditioned style (the most comfortable tow truck I've ever ridden in and you know I speak from experience) to Ogden where we are spending the night and where, hopefully we'll get a morning diagnosis. John is the nay sayer this time but my bets are with the tow truck driver who offered a more favorable outlook. The symptoms, for those of you who are interested in such things, were splatters of oil on the back windshield (the engine compartment is also covered in oil) and the oil light came on. (Okay, I admit that doesn't sound too good.) However, the engine was still running, John pulled over as soon as the light came on, and he turned the engine off with the key. The big question... What will tomorrow bring?

Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 21, 2010

And then there was Meeker...

5,000... 6,000... 7,000... (enjoy the view) 8,000... 9,000... (and more view) 10,000... 11,000... (if you think this was slow reading, going UP that high in Tillie gives "slow" a whole new meaning) Continental Divide and the Eisenhower Tunnel (thank you, thank you, thank you to the wonderful engineers who decided to go through rather than over!)

What goes up must come down, and so it was for us today. As we flew by the escapes for runaway trucks I did start to wonder if they would also work for Tillie. I also wondered if John had indeed checked those brake pads (but it was definitely NOT the time to ask). And I began to understand on some of those inclines how Sarah might have thought she'd seen a Madonna of the Mountains in her motorcycle days. (She kept thinking we'd find it in our outings with her but we never did...)

The west side of the Rockies looks very different than the other. The photo is of the Glenwood Canyon below Vale where you can go west by road, water (the Colorado) or railroad.

Finally we arrived in Rifle, filled Tillie with gas, and began our back country drive to Dinosaur, destination Salt Lake... which brings me to the next photo.

For those of you who bet Tillie was going to get off scott free in terms of repairs, you just lost. The alternator light began flickering (just before lunch of course). We decided perhaps we should make a stop in Meeker since the next mark on the map was 60 miles away. Everyone in Meeker (pop. 2,000) thinks we made the right decision. They just shake their heads when they think of breaking down in the back country of Utah. Tillie diagnosis - bad diodes (whatever they are) in the alternator. A new one has been ordered and should be there when the shop opens at 8 tomorrow. (I'm not sure how they're getting it since Meeker really is in the middle of nowhere, but I'm not going to argue.)

In the meantime Meeker has been a nice little town to visit. A wonderful museum (only closed 3 days a year so it was open for us to enjoy!), a great soda fountain, a nice place to stay just across the street from the repair shop (but then again everything is pretty close together here), very friendly folk. Meeker is home to the oldest annual rodeo in Colorado. This year is 125 so it's a really big deal when it happens over July 4th. Sheepdog trials in September that are, and I quote "the most prestigious in all sheepdogdom". (They sound like fun but hopefully we'll be on the road by then!)

The Meeker tourist info says it's 1,126 miles to Seattle. After all Tillie has been through it doesn't really seem that far away. We planned to make it to Boise tomorrow but...
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Say cheese...

First came the goats. Sarah is petting Claudia who was partly responsible for the milk we picked up at the dairy this morning. (Sarah had to sign her life away to verify the milk was for her very hungry cats...)
Then the kitchen was turned into the SarahLynn cheese making operation. First mozzarella and then ricotta - both wonderful! (I have all the instructions so can't wait to try it back in NY.)

While the women were bringing home the milk, the guys were in the backyard trying out the new tools by cutting a big hole in the door. (Thank you Habitat for the $5 door from the local Restore!) As soon as some beads or cloth is found, it's dogs in and out, flies out.

Showing their versatility the men proved their worth by making the pasta, then helping stuff the ravioli using, of course, the fresh ricotta plus herbs from their garden. Top the ravioli with Sarah's homemade sauce and even Italian grandmothers would be forced to give us high marks.

And the mozzarella you ask? Thin sliced between slices of local yellow & red tomatoes, a bit of basil & oregano straight from the garden, then a drizzle of olive oil. If you aren't hungry for your own Italian dinner after this, there is really no hope!

Tillie made two short outings today and Sarah & Kenny both said she ran like a top. Let's hope so. Tomorrow it's up and over the Rockies on our way to Utah.

The final photo? Let's just say we can say "meow" with the best of them...
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Loop de Loop

Saturday - a GREAT day for Farmers Markets and Boulder has one of the best. So good in fact that I got so caught up in seeing what they had to offer that I forgot to take more than two photos. Lower left was their mushroom vendor (Owen's mushrooms are much prettier!). Lower right was the knife sharpening guys who were doing a brisk business. (Bruce - you want to start a little business on the side with John?) Boulder's "push" this year is to encourage everyone to spend at least 10% of their food budget for locally grown items, to encourage restaurants to do the same, and to encourage the grocery stores to carry more local produce.

Great sales this weekend on tools, so John & Kenny happily shopped for a couple of new tools Kenny needed. (Sarah & I suffered through it...)

The other photos are of the Georgetown Loop Railroad where we took the steam engine train from Silver Plume to Georgetown & back. Beautiful weather again and lots of fun. The guy with John in the upper left photo is their hired "schmoozer" (he also takes the tickets). Nice guy and perfect for his job. John & he "bonded" right away - he used to have a 1968 VW camper. Drove it around Silver Plume until one day, while he was driving, a chinook wind came down the canyon and took the top right off. (A convertible is not exactly the type of vehicle you want in the mountains in winter.) His other claim to fame = he once arrested Joan Baez during a protest in another part of the state. She was laying over the tracks singing "I will not be moved". She was... and apparently looked the same as the other protesters in handcuffs.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

I know several of you have been fretting that we seem to be neglecting Tillie. Not true. John got dressed this morning and, before he'd even had his first cup of coffee, he was crawling under Tillie. On the way to Boulder she had developed a very noisy "rattle" around the gear shift especially in low gear. And, seeing the mountains that lay ahead of us, we doubt she'll being doing much 4th gear cruising. The problem appears to be a disintegrating gasket. John is optimistic that having now turned the gasket around it will last until Boise. (John refers to me on matters such as this as Ms. Negativity so you can probably guess what I think of this "fix"... ) Tillie already has an appointment to visit her favorite Boise VW guru she met when she was there 4 years ago so that gives me some comfort. Also Sarah has been out talking to Tillie to reassure her that she will do just fine.

Today Sarah & Kenny took us to our Rocky Mountain National Park on the route John had originally planned to take Tillie. Hard to believe you can go from flat Boulder at 5,000+ ft. to a park elevation of 12,000+ ft. in less than two hours. The old Stanley Hotel, upper left, was built by Freeland Stanley (you remember him - he built the Stanley steamer...) The scenery in the park is beautiful, rugged and a bit colder than Boulder down below, much of it above the treeline. At the bottom right is a "bachelor pack" of elk (take note George). Lower left is an elk/moose of a different breed (take note George?). We stopped because there were a bunch of young folks pointing up the bank. They were having a great time suckering folks into pulling over to see more wildlife. The young woman with the headgear was having a great time too. Having now seen the route through the park, I think Tillie was very lucky a less dramatic route is now planned.

Coming out of the park we took a back dirt road to go through the small mountain town of Gold Hill. When Kenny worked the "mountains" for the phone company he often stopped here for lunch where the food is "terrific". If you can see the sign in the window they also offer wireless. Worst luck - the store was closed by the time we got there. The second photo is thanks to Kenny who turned around (in spite of John's protests) and went back for me to take the shot... my first one with both a clothesline (have you put up yours yet?) and an outhouse (this little town is remote). If the air looks a bit hazy that's from the dust in the air from the dirt road. I'm not sure how much cleaner those pants will be at the end of the day.
Posted by Picasa


It was UP into the mountains headed to the small mining town of Central City. It continues to amaze me the stamina those miners must have had. Just to even get UP there on foot or mule with supplies must have been a feat. Many of the settlers were Welsh & Cornish, great lovers of opera, who built the opera house (lower left) in 1892. The theater has perfect acoustics and continues to offer a full summer opera season with performers from all over the world. We were fortunate to hear the orchestra rehearsing during our tour. The Opera House is original meaning no running water or heat. However, they own the old hotel next door which does have amenities. And a restaurant. And the famous "Face on the Bar Room Floor". (The face is spooky - rather dim in person but clear in photos.) The Opera House also owns 20 of the quaint little Victorian houses in town so performers stay in those. Not a bad gig if you can get it!

And, oh yes, Central City is also a gambling town with lots of casinos. John & Sarah "made me" put some quarters in the slots but I managed to come out ahead by $1.75 (but if you count what they put in...) After a short burro ride for Sarah it was on to the graves of Buffalo Bill Cody and his wife overlooking Denver in the distance. (Some "thoughtful" city planners allowed a huge communications tower to be built just down from the grave site effectively marring the view - go figure.)

Our last stop was Red Rocks, a spectacular theater built into the side of the mountains. Those are the seats with the stage just at the bottom. Sarah & Kenny went there Easter for sunrise service. Spectacular - the theater faces east, a beautiful clear morning, they were there before the sun came up. (No, I didn't climb UP all that way just to take the picture for the blog, I'm not that dedicated/nuts! There's parking at the top.)
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A bit of NY in Boulder

For years Chautaugua (near Buffalo) has been on our "places to go" list. Who would have guessed we'd visit it's sister facility in Boulder first. It also offers a fantastic classical summer music festival (unfortunately we're here a week too early to take advantage). But we did have lunch on the porch of their dining hall. Good food, good service (the waiter did everything on our "Tips for Tips" list - rare to find anyone who does that these days...) Sarah says they have beautiful trails behind the quaint cottages where folks stay. (Can't you hear our excuses... it's too hot, 88 degrees; we're not 20 anymore; it's UPhill - see those mountains in the background?; we're not yet accustomed to the altitude; aren't you supposed to wait at least an hour after eating before strenuous exercise?; I didn't wear my walking shoes...)

Back at Sarah & Kenny's, Lynne came to "tempt" us to think about another Tillie alternative. She calls it the Vargo (meaning gypsy van in Hungarian?). Lynne is so interesting. She graduates this week receiving her international certification as a permaculture instructor, a subject that is definitely on my list to learn more about.

The unphotographed hero of the day was Kenny who worked all day while we played and, yes I admit it, napped (the altitude you know). For dinner we enjoyed both the salmon and the ribs Kenny had spent hours smoking over the weekend. Wow! Were they DE-licious! (Auntie - have you eaten any of those they brought you? They are wonderful!!!!)

PS - A couple of you wrote suggesting adjusting Tillie's carburetor but she has fuel injection (perhaps the only modern part on her...)
Posted by Picasa