Tag Archives: outdoors

Traveling North by Plane, Car, Boat, Bike, Foot, and Hooves

us map

My husband, Danny, and I wrapped up a wild summer filled with travel by heading to Michigan for a wedding. Knowing this would entail a variety of transportation, our children opted out. They couldn’t take the vacation time. After an uneventful flight (Yeah!) from Denver to Detroit, we rented a car and drove up north to the top of the state.

Growing up in the sister state of Wisconsin, “up north,” was synonymous with vacation and cottages on lakes. Now that I think about it, since Madison is located in the southernmost part, almost everywhere in the state is north.

mackinac island

After a four-and-a-half hour drive, we arrived in Mackinaw City. We paid a toll then drove over the longest bridge in the western hemisphere, 8,614 feet long, to St. Ignace. The Mackinac Bridge links the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.

bridge

I learned something! Apparently, because Lake Michigan is on the west coast and Lake Huron on the east with the Straits of Mackinac between them, the entire state is a peninsula. The peninsula has a peninsula. I traveled there to ski Indianhead Mountain back in college. We fondly call the U.P. (upper peninsula) inhabitants, Upers which is pronounced – youpers. 

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Obligatory lighthouse photo. Continue reading

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On Top of the World! A Photo Essay

Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone can bring about personal growth and build confidence.

Peak 6

It can be scary. You may become hesitant and cautious.

Peak 6 1

There’s a point in the process when there’s no turning back.

to the top

 The last few steps are the hardest. That’s what separates the winners from the losers. Continue reading

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Roxy and Squirrel and the Contest

Our dog Roxy has a friend. Squirrel hangs out in our oak trees or on the roof and waits for her to come out into the yard. He chirps and chatters and makes a ruckus. He acts like this is HIS yard.  Roxy knows better. A showdown occurs every day. I wouldn’t mind except our petite 15 pound Bichon has an enormous set of lungs. When she starts barking, it echoes off the Rocky Mountains. It sets off car alarms. The coyotes start howling out in the open space. I can’t stand it! 

My yard

After a few years of this relationship, I’ve learned squirrel doesn’t like the smell of vinegar. I sprayed in his general direction a couple of times when I was trying to get Roxy’s attention. Now all I have to do is step outside and Squirrel bolts. He flies through the air from the roof or from the tops of our trees all the way to the ground. I’ve finally earned some respect.

I took these photos yesterday.

Roxy and Squirrel 1

Squirrel knows who owns this yard. ME!

Roxy I

“This bitch is ready to go!”

And now for a big announcement. Kippfu from A’A in Paradise won the caption contest!

You should check out my Hawaiian friend’s blog and be sure to click on his surfing video on the side bar. It is waaaay too cool! You’ll see a few sexy photos since he posted a picture of discretely (barely), covered boobs every day in October for breast cancer awareness. They are his top posts!

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My favorite Kippfu post is Yoga Fire. It is hilarious.

Thanks to everyone who played along and voted. I’ll hold another caption contest in March. Click here to see the results. It was close.

Roxy just ran through the house to her doggy door. It’s dark outside and the coyotes are howling. I shut it two hours ago. She’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see her furry friend.

Do you have any pests in your neighborhood?

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I Had a Little Adventure While You Were Dancing! A Photo Essay

Last week, my breast reconstruction doctor joined my radiologist in giving me the thumb’s up. I had been told I had no restrictions over the phone, but this appointment made it official. I won’t see either of them until next summer. Yeah baby. It’s all good! I just have to take a Tamoxifen pill every day.  I felt like celebrating so my husband Danny and I headed up to the mountains.

We left at 5:00 on Valentine’s Day and sailed up I-70. After Idaho Springs, we came to a halt and our progress could be measured in inches. I could have sworn I saw an elderly lady with a walker pass our car. Our two hour trip soon stretched to three. We worried that our 9:00 dinner reservation would be cancelled. Wet snowflakes flew and collected on the road. We suspected an accident had caused the jam. I used two of the hours stuck in traffic to hash out a screenplay I am working on. I figured out three plot lines, worked on casting it, finally decided on Robert Downey Jr., and we still crawled up the mountain highway.

Robert Downey Jr will be perfect for my screenplay

Image from Google+

At 8:30, I started cussing like the truck drivers crawling alongside us. We’d never make our dinner reservation. Approaching a curve in the road, we could see what happened. Idiots with front-wheel drive had spun out in the left lane tying up traffic for miles and miles! They had to be towed. I’ll never understand why Colorado stopped requiring chains for everyone without all-wheel drive. Once we got past the goofballs without chains or a clue, we drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel and flew down the mountain to Breckenridge. Continue reading

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Why I Love Colorado – A Photo Essay

Although Colorado has only been nicked by the Polar Vortex, it has been a record year for snow in Breckenridge. This has created deep powder conditions. I am under doctor’s orders not to fall, so it’s groomed runs for me. The snow is like soft vanilla ice cream. Breck 2- 14

Since the beginning of the year, 249 inches of snow has fallen.  By my expert calculations, 9 feet of snow fell in January alone. That my friend, is a lot of crazy good champagne powder! Continue reading

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Ice Castle Photos and an Interview with Its Creator Brent Christensen

After exploring Breckenridge’s breathtaking Ice Castle, I searched for the artist behind this magical place. I contacted Brent Christensen, the founder of Ice Castles, who also built them in New Hampshire and Utah this winter.

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Take it away Brent!

“I’m the artist and designer of the layout at each of our three locations, but I rely heavily on our many well-trained, hard working, dedicated employees. Each of our sites took about 4 weeks of working 12-16 (hour) days.  Our Breck site has about 10 full and part-time employees, New Hampshire about 15 and Midway (Utah), about 20.”

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Fire and ice. Continue reading

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Explore an Ice Castle

While growing up in Wisconsin, I had many opportunities to carve snow caves out of the snowy embankment at the entrance to our driveway. In leaner years, my sister and I built roofless forts to protect us from snowball missiles. Many years later, I watched James Bond’s Die Another Day and fell in love with the Ice Palace.

So when I drove back from skiing and glimpsed unusual lighting on some enormous walls of ice and snow, I had to check it out. Someone built an ice castle in Breckenridge!  I had to go.

Ice Castle 1

Each handmade icicle was combined with many others to build extraordinary archways, towers and meandering walls. Continue reading

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Favorite Photo Friday – Dancing in Paris

Dancing in Paris

While on a bike tour, we wound through the streets of Paris to the Louvre.  The City of Lights compelled us to stop and absorb the magic of the moment. The discord of modern and traditional architecture momentarily blended with the timelessness of dance.

Where would you like to travel in 2014?  

Click on photo to enlarge.

If you haven’t stopped by my blog party, it’ s not too late to Use Me and Abuse Me!

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Going for Gold – Fall Photos

Lower Mohawk Lake at the foot of Quandary Peak.

Fall mtn 2

A peek at a peak. Continue reading

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Storm Chasing During Boulder’s 100-Year Flood

Jessica Farris -Creekside 3Photo by Jessica Farris

Drenched by torrential rain over a period of four days, creeks swelled into forceful rivers, dams burst and walls of water cascaded from the foothills all along the Front Range in Colorado. 18.44 inches of rain fell in South Boulder alone, but surrounding areas recorded 14 to 16 inches. Thousands have been evacuated to shelters. 3 died in Boulder County. Nearly 200 are unaccounted for, but many are still being rescued and don’t have access to phones. Yesterday, National Guard helicopters rescued over 550 people and the thwapping of blades could be heard overhead early this morning. Many towns are still completely cut off. Our average rainfall for the month of September is 1.63 inches. This is insane!

Living in a semi-arid state, most expect the occasional forest fire and we’ve had our share. Much of Boulder is located in a one hundred-year flood plain. Our one hundred years are up! This tops any rainfall recorded since 1864. We live on a hill.

A friend of my daughter, Jessica Farris, took these photos in her neighborhood.

Jessica Farris - 1st and Bower

1st Street and Gower in Longmont – Jessica Farris

Jessica Farris - Creekside

A family canoes in a nearby park – Jessica Farris

Jessica Farris - Creekside 2

It has become a waterpark – Jessica Farris

At first, the welcomed rain seemed like fun to many, something that wouldn’t last and should be enjoyed. College kids played in the underground walkway as water rose to their knees. Click here for video. Others went down streets and the Boulder Creek in inner tubes, but the rivers continued to swell and became violent. Boulder Police began arresting anyone in the rushing water.

I had some fun in the beginning too.

I had to retweet this!

 

Soon roads closed as rivers overflowed their banks. By Wednesday night, Boulder, parts of Longmont, Lyons and Estes Park were cut off along with many other small towns. It took my son Kelly an hour and a half to drive from Longmont to Niwot which is normally a ten minute drive. The Saint Vrain River cut Longmont in half. He drove north and east before heading south to our house. Determined to find a way back to his home in Boulder, he consulted Coloradotrip.org and navigated frontage roads and side streets with higher topography to wind his way back. It took another 90 minutes for a 20 minute drive. Continue reading

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