Worst Dressed?

Spring is my favorite time of year.  It’s a time for new growth and the awakening of plants.  Time to get out the shorts and sandals, plant the garden, and have a backyard barbeque.

Spring in Colorado
This is what spring in Colorado looked like on May 1st

What’s not to love about this time of year?  How about another spring snowstorm in Colorado? Yep, more snow and freezing temperatures graced us on Wednesday.   I guess we’re on a once a week schedule for snowstorms this spring.  Oh, how I long for the flowers to bloom.  flower bloom

Al and I were planning on cleaning the garage during the week, but it was too cold and gloomy.  Instead I turn my lack of productivity to the computer.  I peruse the internet.

fashionWhat’s this?  Worst dressed…… really???  Colorado Springs ranked 2nd on a list of top 10 worst dressed cities in the country…. click here to read all about it.

Let’s face it, fashion is very subjective.  When putting an outfit together, one needs to consider climate (note top picture), environment, activity, is it appropriate, and of course WHERE one lives.

The article focuses on cost. How many high end clothing stores, shoe stores, and jewelry stores there are in a given city, as well as the proximity to fashion and design schools.

Does cost really determine whether a person is well dressed, or in this case worst dressed?  To compare Miami, Florida, to Wichita, Kansas, is like comparing apples to oranges.  No, it’s probably more like comparing apples to cucumbers.  They couldn’t possibly be more different.

Las Vegas won the distinction of having the largest number of high-end shoe stores per capita.  San Francisco and Miami have the largest amount of high-end clothing stores.  If I’m reading this correctly, then the article is basically saying San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Miami rank in the best dressed category versus Wichita, Colorado Springs, and El Paso rank amongst the worst dressed.

Hmm, the more you spend the better dressed you are?  You might see the above expensive shoes while running around Las Vegas and most folks wouldn’t think much of it in that city.  Wear those same shoes in Colorado,  I guarantee an audience, and not in a good way.  Best dressed in those shoes?  Perhaps for the annual Adult Film Festival/Convention held in Las Vegas each year.

A pair of $800 Jimmy Choo Shoes might look awesome and appropriate while meandering The Forum Shops at Ceasar’s Palace, but I question the realistic functionality of wearing such shoes in Colorado Springs let alone Wichita, Kansas.

Ok, I’ll admit those red ones sure are pretty, and when I was younger and living in Chicago, I would’ve wanted those red ones……..forget comfort.  Hmm, I wonder what the other RVer’s would think if I ran around the campground in one of these numbers?  Probably not appropriate for the environment.

I’m not sure I could ever justify the price of a Jimmy Choo Shoe.  And yes, I’ve been known to walk around a store or two trying on a few of these beauties.  Personally I think they are overrated and certainly overpriced.  I’ll stick with my Keen’s.  Although hubby would prefer to see me in one of those high-heeled Jimmy Choo Shoes, especially if price were no object.

Colorado fashion
The perfect Colorado Springs summer outfit.

Colorado Springs is also no stranger to designer labels.  It’s just our sense of fashion comes with labels such as; Columbia, North Face, or Patagonia instead of Prada, Versace, or Michael Kors.

There’s a saying around Colorado, “If you don’t like the weather, hang around for fifteen minutes”….. meaning our weather is ever changing.  Thus, dressing for the environment is crucial.  This isn’t New York City where you can just catch a cab if it starts snowing.   I wonder how those gorgeous red shoes would hold up in a wet, gravel parking lot……and snow?

And we don’t just have hills around here, we have mountains.

Was it fair to compare the various cities?  Does spending boocoo bucks on a pair of shoes or an outfit make you a well dressed individual?  I know I definitely don’t agree with the article.  Money does not translate into being well dressed.  What do you think?

Colorado Fashion
Colorado and Texas fashion? Guarantee these rags cost plenty!

It’s Only Stuff

disaster
Smoke from wildfire. My home bottom left. If you look close, the 5th wheel is on the side of our home.

It’s only stuff, but hey I like my stuff.  More importantly, I like the choice of deciding what to do with “my stuff” on my terms.  A year and a half ago we downsized houses.  What does one do with years of accumulation?

The move was difficult, overwhelming, exhausting, but surprisingly liberating…. BUT not easy.  Furnishings and decor were divided into different categories;  keep, son, daughter, consignment shop, donate.  Although I have had some regrets, I realize with another impending move in our near future, ALL this stuff will need to be moved, stored, or disposed of.

wildfire
smoke from the wildfire has turned the sky to an unrecognizable color

Less than 2 weeks ago, a wildfire was burning in the town of Wetmore, Colorado, a mere 35 miles away from our home.  As I stood outside with camera in hand, I felt ash falling on me, falling on the ground around me.  The air was thick with smoke making it difficult to breathe.  The sun was shaded with a dense layer of smoke, making the afternoon feel more like evening.  The always beautiful blue Colorado sky was unrecognizable.

Evacuations were ordered and other areas were put on standby for possible evacuation.  I look around my home.  I look at my photo albums, family portraits, art work, furnishings, nick naks…..”my stuff”.  If we have to evacuate, what do I pack?  What do I take?  What’s most important?

As I watch the news and see the remnants of “Sandy’s” aftermath, my heart goes out to those that have lost so much.  My heart goes out to the fourteen families in Wetmore, CO, whose homes were destroyed and animals lost.  The devastation of this summers  ravaging wildfire in Colorado Springs is still a fresh wound.

wildfire
devastating aftermath, Colorado Springs wildfire

I’m grateful I get to decide what to do with “my stuff”.  So many, many folks didn’t have that choice.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those that have lost so much…..

Fourteeners…

Several blogs I follow share their adventures of hiking.  I’ve been inspired by their stories.  Inspired by the photography.  I can’t wait to explore some of these trails myself.  I throughly enjoy hiking, but in the past I haven’t had time to hike more than an hour or so.    Therefore, I have never built up the endurance for much past a four to five mile hike, nor did I have the desire.

Pikes Peak
a snow-capped Pikes Peak behind Garden of the Gods

After reading the accomplishments of fellow bloggers, I am motivated to hike longer and further….motivated to increase my endurance…..motivated to push myself….motivated to explore beyond my dreams.  I actually have an interest in one day hiking a “Fourteener” and  it is now on the “bucket list”.  As I contemplate this goal, I am reminded of a post I did last spring.  A post about “Fourteeners”.

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If you live in Colorado, you obviously know what a Fourteener is.  For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a mountaineering term used to describe a mountain that exceeds fourteen thousand feet above sea level.  Climbing all of Colorado’s Fourteeners is a popular pastime among hikers, especially here in Colorado.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak,  Colorado Springs, Colorado

Alaska has the tallest Fourteener; Mount McKinley in Denali comes it at 20,320 feet in elevation.  Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, places 57th on the Fourteener list in the United States coming in at 14,110 feet above sea level.

Although I love to hike, I know my limitations.  Thus, hiking a Fourteener has eluded my repertoire of activities, as well as the bucket list.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for those whom have accomplished hiking all of Colorado’s Fourteeners.  I just won’t be one of them.

Grand Junction
Me with daughter and my brother at The Monument

I do enjoy a good hike.  Whenever we visit my brother and sister-in-law in Grand Junction, Colorado, we always manage to squeeze in a visit to The Monument, even if it’s only an easy one hour hike.  That being said, last year daughter and I were on such a hike with my brother and his wife.  The Monument is so beautiful, any hike is better than no hike and a trip to Grand Junction just would not be complete without this activity.

We hiked, we explored, we climbed rocks for photo-ops and that’s when it happened.  A sound escaped my brother…..”Hum, excuse me”. he says slightly embarrassed.  I comment, “No problem.  Consider yourself healthy and normal”.  I proceed to brief him on a recent Dr. Oz show….a show on flatulence, a show about passing gas.  Dr. Oz…. gotta love him.  According to Dr. Oz, the average, healthy person passes gas fourteen times per day.

AND THUS…..the new meaning of a FOURTEENER was born !  Have you accomplished a Fourteener?  🙂

The Monument
Really, Mother? Really???

Grand JunctionGrand Junction Colorado

Crested Butte, CO

We moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the mid 90’s.  With excitement and exuberance, we couldn’t wait to take our first trip as Colorado residents to the mountains.  I’m not sure why or how we picked Crested Butte as our first mountain destination, but Crested Butte it was.

We packed up the vehicle, two kids, and the dog and ventured into unknown territory.  Oh dear, out of the mouths of babes……  I’m not sure which kid said it first, but Crested Butte turned into Crusty Butt.  To dub such a beautiful, pristine place with such an unpleasant title is just wrong.  BUT to the four of us, Crested Butte was now known as Crusty Butt.

Mt. Crested Butte

Crested Butte holds special memories for me and remains a favorite of mine.  This recent trip allowed Al and me to reaquaint ourselves with the area, as well as explore the back country….a first for us.

Elk Avenue is the main shopping district in this beautiful mountain town.  During our three-day visit, we take the opportunity to stroll these shops and enjoy a few meals.  We ate breakfast twice at McGill’s.  The food was delicious but the coffee was amazing.  The coffee was soooo good we just had to ask, “what kind is it?”  Turns out it’s locally roasted…. Camp 4 Coffee.   McGill’s serves the Blue Mesa blend.

After breakfast we head on over to Camp 4 Coffee to take home some of these amazing beans.  Following our three-hour scenic loop drive, we stop in at The Last Steep Bar and Grill for lunch.  We sit on the deck enjoying a great meal and perfect weather.

Worth noting;  we found the prices overall in Crested Butte to be reasonable, especially for a tourist town.  I paid $35 for two T-shirts and about $30 for two people, breakfast/lunch.

Considering our lodging cost totalled $16, we felt we had extra cash to splurge on fun things.  It was always our plan to go out to eat a few times, which is why we left all the camp cooking gear behind.  This turned out to be a great decision, and I would plan it this way again in a heartbeat.

I purchased the T-shirts at Cottonwood Tees.  In a previous post I mentioned the young guy working the counter.  He was extremely helpful in sharing his passion and knowledge of the countryside.  Its because of his help, we explored and saw some amazing back country.

I look forward to future visits to try some of the other fun and interesting restaurants, and of course a little more retail therapy!

Fires

It’s been a tough month here in Colorado.  Our normally vivid blue sky is covered in an obscure haze.  The haze is caused from smoke from the numerous wildfires.  Sometimes the haze and smoke are so severe the mountains can’t be seen.

Colorado Springs – fire still a concern

The devastation in Colorado Springs is particularly difficult for me to absorb.  Entire neighborhoods have been wiped out.  Although our temperatures are still extremely hot, in the upper 90’s, the winds are thankfully calm.  Thus, firefighters have been successful in obtaining over 70% containment.

The Waldo Canyon Fire has destroyed over 345 homes, 2 lives lost, and thousands evacuated.  The fire is no longer an immediate threat in highly populated areas and is, for the most part, in the back country.  However, winds could pick up and once again pose a serious threat.

Folks are starting to return to their homes, providing they still have a home and the community is coming together to help one another.  Our prayers go out to those that have lost so much.  Our thanks go to all the courageous men and women who are still working so hard to keep us all safe.  Let’s pray for rain, but no lightning, please!!!!    FYI…unfortunately due to poor air quality, it was impossible for me to get clear photos through the lingering haze and smoke.

water being dropped on hot spots

Bison – part two

I am fascinated by buffalo and was super excited to see wild herds at Custer State Park while on a trip there a couple of years ago.  I had the opportunity to observe and photograph these interesting animals.

Tomorrow we will take the RV on a three-hour drive north to Fort Collins.  Our destination….Horsetooth Reservoir.  We have family from out of state joining us to celebrate the Mother’s Day weekend.  We will be hosting and entertaining at our campsite.  As I put together a tentative meal plan, I consult with husband and daughter.  The general consensus is to do something “Coloradoie”.

I’m not a fan of wild game.  The thought of eating Bambi just doesn’t sit well with me.  My daughter recommends Bison.  Hmmm……not sure how I feel about eating these guys.  I remember watching the Cooking Channel featuring a Bison Ranch in Black Forest, Colorado.  Time to Google!

I decide to at least visit the store and see how I feel….  Black Forest Bison.   As I enter the quaint shop, I’m drawn to a magnificent and huge photo hanging behind the counter.  I comment on the lovely photograph.  The gals’ response is, ” Yes, they live a wonderful life”.  The photo is of the Black Forest Bison Ranch herd with a snow-capped Pikes Peak in the background.  They are free ranging and grass-fed.  Does this make me feel better about eating them?

The gal offers me samples of their specially seasoned jerky.  I hesitate but try the samples….delicious.  After a few more samples, little more chatting, and wandering around the store, I leave with a shopping bag filled with Bison.  Yes, I will be serving Bison for Mother’s Day.  I’ll let ya know what everyone thinks……..

Lessons Learned…

This past weekend brought a steady stream of recreational traffic to the Lake Pueblo State Park.  This will be a pretty normal occurrence most weekends from now until fall.  The Pueblo Reservoir is a popular summer location with folks from Denver and Colorado Springs, as well as surrounding areas.

Pueblo Reservoir, Colorado

The weather in the Pueblo area is usually warmer and drier than our neighbors to the north, thus making it a very desirable attraction for campers and boaters alike.  The Pueblo State Park is rarely crowded, with the exception of major holidays.  A great time to visit is right after one of these holiday weekends.

I recall several years ago, my daughter and I took the wave runners out on July 5th.  We counted all of five boats on the lake, all of which were fishermen.  It was like having our own private lake…..fun 🙂

When we took our brand new Fifth Wheel on a test run, we stayed at the Northern Plains Campground, one of three campgrounds offered at the Pueblo State Park.

campsite 258

While taking delivery of our new Rig, we were informed of a warranty issue that required a part from the manufacturer.  The dealership recommended we take her out on a trial run and use everything to make sure there were no additional problems.  Therefore, when the part came in to be replaced they could also address any other problems we encountered. This was probably the best advice because we did indeed encounter a couple of additional issues.

The Northern Plains Campground is less than a 15 minute drive from our sticks n bricks home, which was extremely convenient since we forgot to pack numerous items. Al had just driven out to retrieve some items from home while I decided to walk the dog.  In my hast and Bear’s impatience, I failed to grab my keys or cell phone.  After a short walk, Bear and I returned to the Rig only to realize I managed to lock ourselves out.  I had no cell phone to call Al.  So I went to one of the neighbors (few and far between).  I borrow their cell phone and call Al.  He promptly informs me he left his RV keys on the dinnette, but he’ll turn around and head back. Fortunately the RV Gods were looking out for me and I just happen to ask for help from a guy from Phoenix who recently retired from twenty plus years in the RV industry.  He grabbed some tools and we headed over to our 5th wheel.  He cut seals, unscrewed screws, and pryed…….my brand new, never used toy…….oh, the pain of watching that first scratch.  Al arrived just as the door was being opened.  Getting locked out… Ah, yes…..lesson number one!

We camped here all of three fun and educational days.  On our drive out of the campground, it’s time to dump the tanks and make sure all works well in that department.  Al gets her lined up at the dump station and readys the hoses.  I supervise a safe distance away.  I ask my wonderful husband a couple of questions as he prepares.  His response, “This ain’t my first rodeo”.  This was followed by Al yelling “Oh, no !@&!!!** oh, no”, and hysterical laughter from me as we watch the tanks empty onto Al’s tennis shoes.  I literally cannot contain my laughter, and soon there after Al too is laughing while shaking his head. Fortunately, our stay had been short and we had used the public restroom from time to time.  AND no audience was present, unlike my post Trial Run with the boat.  Dumping….Ah….lesson number two!  (no pun intended 🙂 )  Trust me when I say, he has NEVER made any mistakes in that department since!

Local Attraction…

Alas, my friends, we have returned to Colorado.  It’s not quite two weeks since our return from the “adventure” and Al and I are antsy to get out and explore.  We wish we were still out on the road exploring in our RV.  The Rig is sitting on the side of the house, empty and locked.  She’s had a thorough cleaning inside.  The outside will need to wait for more cooperative weather.  Just as we anticipated, we had a snowstorm a few days after our arrival back in Colorado.  The moisture however was definitely welcome and very much-needed.

The snow has since melted at the lower elevations and this morning we were blanketed by fog.  The weather is expected to be in the upper 60’s and sunny.  Pikes Peak is gorgeous with a fresh coating of snow and I’d like to take some new photos of the mountain.  With that in mind, Al and I decide to take a short hike in Garden of the Gods and go out to lunch at one of our favorite Cafe’s in Colorado Springs.  Prepared for the day we head out, hoping the fog burns off, leaving us with an unobstructed view of Pikes Peak.

Snow capped Pikes Peak

Our first stop is my favorite scenic overlook on Mesa Dr. just north of the visitor center.  The mountain looks spectacular.  The sky is as blue as can be, and the wind, oh the lovely wind, will take anything not firmly latched to the ground, off to Kansas.  Just three miles east, it was as calm as could be.  The wind surprises us.  I’d like to use my tripod to capture a photo of Al and me, but the wind has other plans.  Since we were planning to hike, I brought my light weight tripod which is no match for these winds.  Not wanting my camera to eat dirt, we forgo the self-timer on the camera and I search for a willing tourist to assist in my photo-op quest.  Never mind, the winds are whipping my hair and I’m having trouble seeing.

With these ridiculous winds, we decide to forego the hike.  Al and I decide to stop in at the Trading Post for a look around, and a much-needed potty break.  This is a must see stop when visiting Garden of the Gods for the first time.  There’s a little cafe, coffee shop, and more tourist “stuff” to purchase than you can imagine.  Their book section also offers some comfy seating.  In addition to the Trading Post, I would highly recommend stopping at the visitor center.  The visitor center offers free maps and a ton of information on Garden of the Gods.  Definitely worth the stop.

Last year we hike to the Siamese Twins

Not far from the trading post is the parking lot for the hike to the Siamese Twins.  This is a hike we’ve taken numerous times in the past.  It’s super easy and the views are amazing.  The parking lot and trail are clearly marked on the maps handed out at the visitor center.  I guess we will just need to reschedule for a less windy day.  Another fun activity, one we did a few years back….horseback riding through Garden of the Gods.  The near by stable offers one to three-hour tours.  If you visit in the summer, be sure to go on a weekday.  Weekends are super busy and bustling with tourists from around the world.

It’s approaching lunch, an early lunch, and Al and I are anxious to savor some tasty Escargot.

Our favorite Cafe

LaBaguette has remained one of our more desirable places for lunch for the past five years. LaBaguetteFrenchBistro.com  They have delicious soups, especially French Onion, as well as some of the best Escargot Al and I have ever had.  They are located at 4440 N. Chestnut St. in Co. Springs.  The original location and still very much active, is located in Old Colorado CityThis is an old, historic part of Colorado Springs, located off Hwy 24 and just south of Garden of the Gods.

Parking at both locations can present a challenge.  Parking at the Chestnut location is easier but can sometimes be a problem as it’s a small lot.  However, on Chestnut down just a tad, parking can usually be found.  The area can also be congested, and thus I would not recommend big rigs.

After a lovely lunch, Al and I return to Garden of the Gods in hopes the winds may have died down.  At least enough to allow our hike to be enjoyable.  20-30 mph winds take the pleasure out of the ability to enjoy the surroundings.  Much to our dismay, the winds have only worsened.  The severe gusts….50 mph + are churning up dust and dirt and are obscuring the bright blue sky.  Oh well, we decide to head home knowing we are in a position to return another day.  Yes, we are lucky to have such beauty in our backyard.  I plan to do future posts on the area with more details on campgrounds, restaurants, and sites to see.  Until then, happy travels !

Las Vegan Moves to Colorado

Thank goodness for Motrin.  The last two days brought more snow than predicted, which required a bit of shoveling.  I shouldn’t complain.  This winter has been extremely mild and the snowstorms have been few and far between.  That being said, I am still longing to be amongst fellow RVers in the desert southwest.

Arkansas River, Pueblo, CO

In the ’90’s we lived in Las Vegas, Nevada.  That was during Vegas’ boom and it was tons of fun.  We witnessed old casinos being blown up and new ones built-in their place.  After a fun-filled four years, a job opportunity took us to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  My close friend and neighbor had just a few years earlier moved from Springs back to Vegas.  Upon our departure, she handed me this story, which can be appreciated by those of us familiar with living in the ‘North’.  Pls note to those sensitve…..offensive language used.

LAS VEGAN MOVES TO COLORADO            (Las Vegan can easily be replaced with Texan, Floridian, Arizonian…………you catch my drift)

Day 1 – 5:00 pm  It’s starting to snow.  The first of the season and the first one we’ve seen in years.  The wife and I took our hot buttered rums and sat by the picture window, watching the soft flakes drift down, clinging to the trees and covering the ground.  It was beautiful!

Snow Cat
Snow Cat (Photo credit: clickclique)

Day 2 – We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape.  What a fantastic sight.  Every tree and shrub covered with a beautiful white mantle.  I shoveled snow for the first time in years and loved it.  I did both our driveway and our sidewalk.  Later a city snowplow came along and accidentally covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street.  The driver smiled and waved.  I waved back and shoveled it again.

Day 3 – It snowed an additional five inches last night and the temperature has dropped to around eleven degrees.  Several limbs on the trees and shrubs snapped due to the weight of the snow.  I shoveled our driveway again; shortly afterwards, the snowplow came by and did his trick again.  Much of the snow is now brownish gray.

Day 4 – Warmed up during the day to create some slush, which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again.  Bought snow tires for both cars.  Fell on my a*s in the driveway, $145.00 for a chiropractor, but nothing was broken.  More snow and ice expected.

Day 5 – Still cold.  Sold the wife’s car and bought a 4×4 in order to get her to work.  Slid into a guard rail and did a considerable amount of damage to the right rear quarter panel.  Had another eight inches of the white sh*t last night.  Both vehicles covered in salt and crud.  More shoveling in store for me today.  That g*dd*mn snowplow came by twice today.

Day 6 – It’s two degrees outside.  More f*cking snow.  Not a tree or shrub on our property that hasn’t been damaged.  Power was off most of the night.  Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and kerosene heater, which tipped over and d*mned near burned the house down.  I managed to put the flames out, but suffered second degree burns on my hands and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows.  Car slid on ice on the way to the emergency room and was totaled.

Day 7 – G*ddamn mother-f*ck*ng white sh*t keeps on coming down.  Have to put on all the clothes we own just to get to the f*ck*ng mail box.  If I ever catch the s.o.b. that drives the snowplow, I’ll chew open his chest and rip out his heart.  I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then comes down the street about 100 mph and buries our driveway again.  Power still off, toilet froze and part of the roof has started to cave in.

Day 8 – Six G*dd*mn more f*ck*ng inches of the f*ck*ng snow and f*ck*ng sleet and f*ck*ng ice and who knows what other kind of white sh*t fell last night.  I wounded the f*ck*ing snowplow as*hole with an ice axe, but he got away.  Wife left me.  Car won’t start.  I think I’m going snow blind.  I can’t move my toes.  I haven’t seen the sun in weeks.  More snow predicted.  Wind chill factor minus 22 f*ck*ng degrees.  Screw this sh*t!  I’m moving back to Las Vegas!

A snowplow clearing snow from the North Americ...
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