Friday, September 04, 2015

The Carnival comes to Town

Several businesses in Superior bring in stuff for kids and adults alike on a early fall Saturday. We came across it more by accident the first fall we lived here and have attended every year since. This year we rode our bikes down (about a 1 1/2 from the house), and we sure to arrive early since this fall day was more late summer and still pretty hot.
   First stop was the bouncy castles. I am not sure at what point the kids will not love these, but I am guessing it will only be when it stops being "cool" . (Or whatever vernacular the kids will be using by that time ) I personal would still play in them if given the opportunity and the assurance I would not hurt a kids, or more likely hurt myself.  But this is where we spent a good amount of time, just playing. It was great!

 Lauren in the blue t-shirt climbing up, and Cooper is in the green Shirt :)

Next was the petting zoo. This one had really great pets, and we were able to get some carrots to feed to them. I did see one toddler eating the carrots himself, which who can blame him, carrots are great. They had of course goats, but also a donkey, small horse, lamas, and sheep. I think I ever saw a baby cow. Lauren really enjoyed feeding them carrots.  The neatest animal was a large tortoise. He was really cool and moved through the bigger animals with great agility and speed you would not normally think a turtle could. Fun was had by all.

Lauren looking to see who needed to be petted next
 Cooper with the Tortoise
 Now Lauren's turn

We walked down to Chick Fil A and had a great lunch, and played even more. Still not to be done, when we walked back to get our bikes, we discovered that Anna and Elsa were visiting from Arendelle.  So of course we had to talk to them and get our face painted. 

 Happy Girl
Gotta play with some chalk
 Coop too
 Lauren's school had invited a group called Tot's Sports. They lead a small class on working with basketballs. The kids were really cute and enjoyed following the instructions.

We had a nice day and are grateful to live in a community that brings these thing in for kids. I think I will be sad when Cooper tells me he does not want to go anymore. I think that day is going to come sooner then I will be ready for.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

School's back!!!

      I remember thinking last spring, wow the summer is going to last forever with both kids home all day. About mid July, I was shocked how fast it was going. Now, summer is over. Kids are headed out the door, and sleeping in, is no longer an option.
    Cooper(7) started back on Thursday August 20. He has Mrs. Vallee as his teacher, and several friends from last year in his class. He was sad that Austin and Ethan are in different classes, but once we figured out we could still see them at lunch and recess, we were okay with everything.  Here are a few pics from our first day.

The big day
 With Mom
 With Sis and Dad
 With Sis and Mom (Sis was not real excited about taking pic with Mom when Dad was around : ) )
 So Cooper took another one with me 

        Cooper had a great day, and seems to really like school. Which is not surprising to me, since he is such a studious kid.

      Lauren (4) started Monday, and also was really ready to go. She is going to Primrose, the same Pre- school Cooper attended. I am a little concerned about her and the required quite time every afternoon. Her teacher Ms Nicole did note she struggled to stay still and quite on Monday. But we will keep working on it, and I will say that is also the one thing Cooper really did not like about Primrose.... so we will chalk this up as a lesson in doing things you do not want to do. 
Ren ready to go
 Big Smile
 Big Brother being silly
 Lauren starting school
 Mom, Cooper and Lauren
 Cooper, Dad and Lauren

      Lauren told me she wrote her name all by herself, and really enjoyed when the teacher read books.
     I hope this year is a good one, and I know mine will be so nice, since I have three whole days to myself :)!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

How did 7 years go by so fast

Cooper is 7. I am still trying to grasp that, and I know we will have to learn to live with the fact my little boy is gone. We are trying to enjoy the trip, but sometimes it is hard to remember to cherish the small stuff.  It just goes by so quick.

Cooper showing off his toothless grin (We have lost 3 teeth)

To start off his big boy birthday we went to downtown Denver to the new Splash pad they have built. It was really nice and huge.  The kids had a great time. 

Lauren Dodging the spray
 She is slowing down a little
 Cooper was much more difficult to get on film- he was just too fast
 A very happy birthday boy
 Both kids :)
After having our fill of splash pad, we headed to a restaurant on the 16th Street Mall to eat with Martha, Jack, Sarah and the  girls. We rode the bus, which may have been Lauren favorite part of the day. After lunch we headed home for a little quite time and then met everyone for dinner at Cooper's choice (Pei Wei) and then home for cake and the best part for Cooper - presents ;)
Cooper with his Cake
 Opening presents
 An Awesome Bug Book from Uncle J and Auntie K
 Keeping the streamer tradition for Birthdays
 He wanting some hanging from the ceiling -since he sleeps on the top bunk most night
We had a wonderful birthday weekend and were glad that Frumpy and Yak were able to come and celebrate with us. I know I will blink and we will be sending him to college, so I have got to slow down and enjoy these days. We start 1st grade in  a few weeks, and I know once school starts time will really fly by. I hope that I do a better job with blogs this fall, but I would not count on it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


This spring I had grand ideas that we be hiking and camping all summer, and then somehow it was the end of July. So I decided we would we head up to the mountains and camp at least one night. Hoping to get a spot in Brainard Lake, which is beautiful and very busy in the summer. We headed up, and stopped by the campground. It looked like several of the campgrounds were packing up, and a sign noted that you could pick a campsite at 1pm. So walked around the lake and had some lunch. 

Cooper wanted to take some photos - Lauren and I
 Cooper and Lauren eating lunch
 Of course we have to toss rocks and sticks into the lake
 And also wade in....
 We made  it to land
After playing around for a little, we headed back to the campground at 12:45 Getting there,we see several people setting up camp. Sadly it seems that the 1pm check in, is a guideline not a rule. Not to be deterred, we headed toward Nederland. Knowing there was a campground nearby we headed that way. Thankfully we made it to Gorden's Gulch and found a great place to stay. 

Again, Cooper wanted to take a few more pics, but it worked out since I have pics of the campground
 Lots of rocks to climb on.
 Cooper and Lauren helping me set up camp
After we set up camp, I asked the kids if they wanted to head back to the lake, or try a few local hikes that I knew about. But the kids just wanted to play around the campground. Worked out well for me to be able to sit and relax while they had a great time exploring. We headed into Nederland to ride the carousel, and meet Joel for dinner. After dinner headed back to the campground. We built a fire and just enjoyed the beautiful place. 

Carousel of Happiness - of course we have to ride the cow
 And the donkey

We had a great time, and were glad to get the chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Since we only have a few weeks until school starts it might be hard to get back out again, but I hope we can at least get one more night out under the stars. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Nederland to Winter Park and back again

Jill thinks I'm crazy to want to continuously find and push my limits. She doesn't have this internal desire to find out how hard or how far she can go, but it consumes me at times. I spend the winter months staring at maps, searching out routes, reading accounts of adventures and trading stories with my buddies about "that one ride".

One of the rides that I've been eyeing for several years was riding up from Nederland over Rollins Pass to Winter Park. I'd seen the pictures of the high mountain peaks in the background as a rider rolled across the twin trestles that remained from the days when a working railroad used this to go over the continental divide. Several of my friends had organized trips going over and back, but it never worked out for me to join.

Finally this year the stars aligned that had good weather, schedule availability and me with enough fitness. This isn't an easy day in the saddle despite most of the climbing being on railroad grades. Its all above 9,000 feet (up to 11,600 feet at the top), its exposed and there are few bail out points. So when Jill told me she didn't really want to mess with loading up the kids to pick me up in Winter Park, it was up to me. Could I go over and back in the same day?

Thankfully, I've been putting in the miles lately. I've drug myself out of bed and ridden to work lots of mornings, hit up the neighborhood group ride on Saturday mornings and I decided I could do it. Ride within yourself, don't try to go too fast and you'll be fine.

The plan was to meet up Saturday morning, bright and early at the base of the Eldora Ski Resort in Nederland, CO. Wheels down at 7am, to go over and back you gotta go early and keep moving as electrical storms above tree line are not to be taken lightly. I met up with "the other John" in Boulder and we headed up. On the road up to the ski area, we passed The Punisher who was riding from his house to get a few extra miles just because.

After ripping a sock while getting suited up, The Punisher bailed me out before we even started. He grabbed a spare pair of socks from his office and off we went. We started up and quickly made our way over to the Jenny Creek trail. After some up, some down, some singletrack, a shoe-soaking creek crossing and some doubletrack we popped out on Rollins Pass Rd and continued heading up.

Pictures courtesy of The Punisher....

Rolling up Rollins Pass, all going well.

We made good time as we rolled up the gentle grades, until all of the sudden I hit something in the road. My front tire hissed loudly and tubeless sealant sprayed out. I pointed the puncture towards the ground, but the sealant just couldn't seal up the hole. No big deal, throw a tube in and lets get rolling again.

Soon we hit the point where the 4x4s and ATVs had to turn around, and then the ride started getting more fun and interesting. We hit snow as we pushed on, but temps were great and sunshine was abundant.

Soon we found ourselves at the base of the Needle Eye Tunnel, which is now collapsed and serves as a roadblock for most types of transportation. Not bikes though, given you have the lungs and the will to push or carry your bike up the side of a steep, loose trail cut in the side of a mountain.

Once up top, we were treated to a short but awesome section of high alpine singletrack that lead us to big views and the big draw for me....a chance to ride the twin trestles. Big views, big exposure and big smiles as The Punisher told me to take the lead to get to soak it all in for the first time.

Getting to ride over the trestles and listen to the squeaks and moans and soak in the views was just outstanding. The views are huge, the exposure is real and it was amazing. Once past the trestles, its a short trip to the top. We kept rolling right over the top, hitting the peak at 10:30am.

We cruised down the backside of the pass taking in the views and talking about the day ahead. We took the Broken Thumb trail down and headed over to some familiar singletrack through an old, now defunct ski area. After a good, fast section of trails it happened again...Flat number 2 for the day. A sliced sidewall that once again wouldn't seal up on its own. Another tube...I've had no flats running tubeless in two years and now two in a matter of a few hours.

The good news is that we were getting faster at changing flats, the bad news is that we would get more practice before the day was over. After fixing the flat, we made our way into town and stopped to get some lunch. Smelling fantastic and covered in latex sealant, we triumphantly stomped into Subway in Winter Park as the Jazz Fest crowd gawked at us.

After we all inhaled lunch, I bought a few tubes and we started checking the radar as the skies were quickly darkening. We took a bit of a gamble and decided to start back up the bottom section of the looming 14 mile climb back up to the pass. And then about a mile from our lunch stop, I blew out another tube. Got a little over zealous with a compressor with no gauge and a 26" tube that was put into 29" tube duty. Yet another tube changed, more time lost but still ready to push forward we took off again.

The rains were light, but continued steadily. As we ticked miles off and started reaching the halfway point, we were starting to heat up from the effort and our clothes getting saturated from the rain and sweat. We stopped to take in some food and decided to take refuge in the woods to try to wait it out a bit.

After more food, some discussion and sky checking we hopped back on the bikes and started to final push to the top. As we passed the rickety, old trestles at Rifle Sight notch the rain let up, but the fog settled in. Visibility was about a hundred feet and it was cold and damp. Getting too hot wearing a jacket is a real danger as above tree line can be cold and windy, which can set you hypothermic quickly. We took a conservative approach and rode a slower pace so avoid getting to overheated.

As we climbed, we were rewarded with increasing sunshine and the clouds started to part. Things were looking up. We had found that narrow window between storms. Now was the time to press, and off we went.

The miles to the top clicked away, and soon we found ourselves approaching the fabled trestles again. We made our way off the top on a combination of "trail" (use that term loosely) and roads that we were given special access to (because The Punisher is a big deal), which cut out a lot of slow, winding roads on the way back.

Back at the car at 7pm, some 12 hours after we started we shared some hand shakes, couple stories and smiles then headed towards our respective homes to see the families. A big day by all accounts, and something that I was proud to have accomplished.

Get busy living or get busy dying...