Mother’s Day

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day this past Sunday with my husband and both our children.  We were still camped at Horsetooth Reservoir and the weather couldn’t have been more agreeable.  Our son had flown in from Phoenix for a long weekend.  We had a lot to celebrate…..daughter’s graduation, Mother’s Day, and son’s birthday.

family photo

Not knowing when the next time the four of us will be in the same place together, I made it a top priority to take some family photos.  Shortly after our arrival at Horsetooth Reservoir, I went on a scouting drive in search of the perfect backdrop.  What I discovered was a multitude of potential locations.  The area just west of Fort Collins is lovely and just about any stop would work beautifully for a family portrait.  I decide on one particular overlook…..overlooking Horsetooth Reservoir.  Sunday morning the weather was clear and photo-op time it is.

As I arrange the family, I set the self-timer on the camera, and run to take my place.  Running in flip-flops near rock ledges, makes my husband extremely nervous.  I admit, it did present some challenges.  After an hour of fun and a change of shirts, we return to camp for lunch.

Lunch….for lunch today we will be having Bison burgers.  Yep, we’re having Buffalo.  Bison is extremely lean, thus I mix an egg in the ground Bison prior to patting into burgers.  Even with the aid of the egg, I flip the burgers minimally as I sense they may start to fall apart.  I grill the burgers to a medium – medium rare….perfect. I serve the Bison burgers on freshly baked rolls that I had purchased that morning.   The burgers are delicious and Al hopes Bison becomes a regular addition to our diet.

Bison burgers

When I purchased the ground Buffalo I also purchased some jerky.  The fact that my kids are in their twenties and on their own, does not stop the sibling rivalry.  We laugh as brother and sister jokingly fight over the jerky.  So, we will definitely be purchasing more meat from Black Forest Bison.  They offer five seasoned flavors of jerky.  I sampled all five flavors and purchased one package of the Teriyaki and one of the Pepper.

After lunch, we go for a hike and explore Lory State Park.

Lory State Park


Saturday was graduation day for our daughter from Colorado State University, Fort Collins.  She had an amazing four years in Fort Collins and is off to the “big city” of Denver to start a new chapter.

Fort Collins is located in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is an easy one hour drive north of Denver (45 minute drive south of Cheyenne, WY)  The town is full of charm and character with an abundance of parks and hike/bike trails.  At an elevation of 5000 feet above sea level, residents enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year.  The town offers every shopping convenience that a population of 144,000 would want.  In 2010 Money Magazine ranked Fort Collins sixth amongst “Best Places to Live”.

Horsetooth Reservoir and Lory State Park border Fort Collins and are part of Larimer County.  After the graduation commencement ceremony, we return to our campsite at Horsetooth for a celebration.  Pulled pork, chips, and smores with family and friends around a campfire….yum.

Colorado State University is a vital part to the community of Fort Collins.  The university is home to one of the leading Veterinary colleges in the country.  Fort Collins is probably the most pet friendly town I have ever visited.  There are dogs everywhere.  Last August while moving daughter, we had to stop in at Lowe’s and it was too hot to leave Bear in the truck.  So Bear enjoyed a shopping cart ride and plenty of attention at the Lowes in Fort Collins.

Outstanding university, safe community, great weather, gorgeous enviornment……I’m glad my daughter enjoyed her college years in Fort Collins.  Go Rams!

Go Rams!

New Belgium Brewery

plenty of samples – our guide, Marie

Time for a brewery tour.  Thursday afternoon, daughter scheduled a tour at the New Belgium Brewery Company.  The tour is free and provides plenty of samples along the way.  Colorado is home to lots of breweries and micro-breweries.  Even Governor John Hickenlooper is an entrepreneur in the brewery industry.

New Belgium Brewery started in a basement in Fort Collins, Colorado, in the early 90’s.  They remain headquartered in Fort Collins and are now building a second facility in Ashville, NC, allowing for expanded distribution.

We arrive a bit early for the tour and start the sampling in the “tasting room”.  This is their retail center and samples are $2 with the proceeds going to a local charitable cause.  The proceeds that day were going to help a local elderly gentleman whom had fallen on hard times.  The staff seems very knowledgable and passionate about this cause.

The tour takes about an hour with plenty of samples offered along the way.  Although I’m not much of a beer drinker, I prefer wine, I find myself sampling along with everyone else.  One of my favorites is in the Lips of Faith category…Tart Lychee.  It’s actually barrel-aged in old wine barrels collected

daughter and Al enjoy a sample of Tart Lychee

from around the world.  It’s on the citrus side….bit sweet, bit sour.  Our guide, Marie, is very knowledgeable about the company and about all the beer.

As a matter of fact, ALL the employees are extremely friendly, helpful, knowledgable and happy.  You get the feeling they want to be there and love what they do.  New Belgium Brewery has a corporate philosophy to have FUN and it shows.  They are environmentally conscious and community oriented.  I wish more corporations shared their values.

The tour ends in the retail “tasting room” and although I said the tour was free, we did not leave without dropping a ‘Ben Franklin’.  I’m a sucker for cute T-shirts.  We also purchase a couple of pints of beer sampled on the tour, as well as some old-fashioned bicycle bells for our bikes.

All in all, the tour was fun and worth doing.  It was low-keyed, informative, and enjoyable.  Oh, and it didn’t smell, which surprised me.

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir, CO

A few days ago, we arrive at Horsetooth Reservoir, just west of Fort Collins, and quickly set up camp. It is a gorgeous Colorado Day.  The Lake is as smooth as a mirror and reflects the landscape.  The drive was easy and uneventful….thank goodness.  Knowing Interstate 25 has some serious construction work in progress near Santa Fe Drive (not far from downtown Denver), we opt to go around Denver by taking I-470.  Although I hate paying tolls, in this case while pulling a Rig it made the drive less stressful and much more enjoyable.  So I gladly pay the tolls.  FYI… the system here does not work on a cash basis.  You never have to slow down to pay.  Your license plate is photographed at various check points, and you are mailed an invoice several weeks later.

Once settled in and all hooked up at Horsetooth Reservoir, daughter joins us for dinner and a campfire.  This will be a busy, fun-filled weekend.  Daughter graduates from Colorado State, it’s Mother’s Day weekend, and son’s birthday is in a couple of days.  Son will fly in from Phoenix and other family members will fly in from Chicago to share in the festivities.

Tomorrow daughter set up a Brewery tour in Fort Collins.