• Category Archives day by day
  • This is the category closest to just being a plain diary. Places I go, things I do, people I see, what’s happening in my life.

  • Travelin’ Man

    Aye, and I’ve headed West (twice! — we just got back from Columbus, which was lovely) over the past month or so, as well as north once or twice on the D&L, and today we’re heading south to Philly for a brunch visit with Ben & Candace, and also maybe Russ & Mimi.

    I have things to say about Columbus, along with some pictures, and we bought a bunch of books there so I have some readings to talk about, and I’ve also been playing with a new GIS project, and there’s more to say there too, but we’re out the door in about 5 minutes.

    So… back with more posts, soon.

  • Back From Another Adventure

    We did a leaf-peeper trip “up country” over the weekend, biking the towpath to Jim Thorpe with Ed & Jan, Scott S, and Julie. We all camped at the lake on Friday night, met up Shari W and Sarah A for a ride to Buttermilk Falls on Saturday, then rode home (in the rain — ugh!) on Sunday. We spent yesterday cleaning and drying our stuff…

  • Greetings From Bethlehem!

    Well, we’re back — we got home Sunday evening, then went out for dinner and drinks with John & Dona, and also Kellyn & Eric. Yesterday was unpacking and some running around, and today we did a huge grocery mission.

    What now? I’m now playing catch-up with the cello, and with maintenance on the Iguana — as soon as I got the headset replaced, the crank developed a wobble because the bottom bracket bearings have gone south. I can’t get them out either, so it’s back in the shop. Hopefully it’ll be ready for our ride this weekend.

    Meantime, I got into putting together a list of rides, and associated points of interest, for the Road Scholar program. (More on this as time goes by.)

  • Photos: The Flatirons

    We stopped in Boulder on the way home from Estes Park, to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Laboratory. This is a lab and museum partway up a mountain outside of town, designed by I.M. Pei, and with a bunch of hiking trails out back that continue up into the Flatiron Mountains. We hiked about, then visited the museum before continuing home. Here are some pictures from our hike:

  • Photos: In The Rockies #2

    This was our second hike/exploring day in Rocky Mountain National park. We decided to start the day with a big breakfast, so Anne and I went into town to get donuts, but we were delayed on the way by some elk in the road. So here are some obligatory elk photos, taken abut 50 yards from our cabin:

    Our main event of the day was to go up to the Alpine Discovery Center, which was a long, uphill drive, through several layers of ecosystems. Some photos from a lookout along the drive:

    Finally we were in the alpine tundra, and then at the discovery center where we walked to the very top of the hill. Some hot chocolate at the center, then we hit the road again, stopping at another overlook for more tundra. Tundra photos:

    We stopped at another overlook, further down the hill:

    Our final destination was a place called Moraine Park, which was a wide valley where the elk could be found. There was also a creek — the Big Thompson River? — and some vegetation restoration areas, which were fenced off from the elk but accessible by gate. These were the last photos of the day:

  • Photos: In The Rockies #1

    Well, we’re staying another day, the snow and especially the ice being too much for us this morning — we packed and left, drove to the local bakery, and scared ourselves so much we went back to the hotel for another night. What that means is that I now have a bit of downtime, and can post some more of my photos, starting with our first day in Estes Park:

    On our first day in the park, we hiked from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake. No photo does justice to the spectacular beauty that surrounded us, but here are a bunch that seem to capture the light, and the beauty and the drama:

    Finally, some roadside pictures of rutting elk we passed on our way out. If you look you can see the bull (the one with the antlers) just left of center.

  • Bicycling Denver #2 & #3

    Yesterday was our road ride into Denver, and our chance to reconnoiter the regional bicycling infrastructure. The region is considered very bike-friendly — well, we are going to find out.

    The biggest difference from riding back home seems to be that, while everyone is theoretically supposed to ride with traffic on the roads (as at home), there are many roads where this doesn’t seem feasible, and everyone rides on the sidewalks. (This is especially true of the sprawling cities surrounding Denver proper, such as here in Lakewood.) Even the kitted-out Freds on their training rides are on the sidewalk on the busy roads. This isn’t such a big deal, since the sidewalks are wide, and they look almost exactly like — and eventually merge into — the cycleways and bike trails that connect the city. So when in Rome, we rode the sidewalks…

    Our trip downtown first took us way south, on the Kipling Street Parkway bike-path-cum-sidewalk, then we took the (paved) Bear Creek Trail to the (paved) South Platte River Trail, which took us to the Starbucks downtown. This was all very beautiful, and until the very end, it was hard to believe we were even in a city.

    But now we were in a city, in downtown Denver, so we did some city street riding — which worked well, like bicycling on city streets in just about any bike-friendly city — and stopped for lunch at Milk Market and a beer at Wynkoop Brewing Company. Then came our ride home:

    We took the Dry Gulch/Lakewood trail, which went west and eventually followed the light rail RR tracks we rode the other day; the trail then morphed into some residential street riding (with bike lanes) until we were back in the busy part of town, and back on the sidewalk, and then back at the hotel. (We went back to Milk Market for dinner with Emmi and Kyle last night.)

    Today we got up and did some mountain biking just outside Golden, at a place called North Table Mountain Park:

    This was more of the same beautiful terrain as Green Mountain, but somewhat rockier. There was a lot of climbing, but it all seemed less severe, even with the rocks, than the long slog at Green Mountain — we lucked out and went down the “long slog” here. This was not back-country, we passed by houses, and a development with its own access trail, and could see the roads and towns all around us from the top. Very civilized, and there were many other cyclists and runners out there with us. Our post-ride lunch was in Golden, which is a pretty town. Some photos:

    We’re resting and doing laundry right now, starting to pack and get ready to leave. Tonight is our last night out with Emmi & Kyle; it’s been sunny and warm in town, but the wind is picking up and the temperature will crash overnight. Tomorrow the snows come, and we’re out of here.

  • Photos: Denver Botanical Gardens

    Here are my photos of the Denver Botanical Gardens, which we visited last Wednesday, starting with some wildflower and similar gardens near the entrance:

    Then came some a water garden, a kitchen garden and a small desert landscape:

    We ended with the Asian-themed, English garden, and futuristic landscapes, ones more generally connected with art or architecture:

    We never did get to look at the indoor gardens and greenhouses — the day was so nice that we explored the outdoor gardens until the place closed.

  • Colorado Catch-up

    We’re sitting right now in the breakfast room of our hotel in Denver, the same one we stayed at last week when we first arrived. We had a few days last week to explore Denver, and we brought two bicycles each across the country with us, but it was cold and rainy during our free time so we basically explored the city (coffee shops, book stores, bicycle shops) by foot and public transit during the day, and met Emmi & Kyle for dinner and drinks each night. The last afternoon here in Denver, we went with Emmi to the Botanical Gardens, which were spectacular. The rain cleared up and the sky was a deep blue, and the gardens were just beautiful. (I have pictures, and will post a bunch when I get the chance.)

    Kyle and Emmi had the next few days off, and they’d booked us all a cabin — a huge, 3-bedroom, pine-wood “cabin” — at the YMCA Conference Center in Estes Park, which is like the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Conference Center was like a throwback to a different era: several huge “lodges” or public buildings, baseball fields and tennis courts, hiking and jogging trails, arts and crafts and other activities, and scattered all around were pine-wood cabins (each on about a quarter acre), plus a few condo-like places near the lodges. Since it was elk rutting season, they would come down out of the mountains in the evening, cows forming small, harem-like herds, and the bulls fighting with their antlers and trumpeting their high-pitched call, right there on the baseball field and among the cabins. (You could hear them trumpeting all night.) These were very much wild animals, running about half a ton each, and the males at least were fairly aggressive – you had to give them a wide berth and they were pretty much everywhere. It was pretty dramatic, and we weren’t even in the park yet!

    The park itself was amazing. Denver is at 5280 feet elevation, and our cabin was at about 8500 feet, but our first day’s hike took us up to about 10,000 feet. You could definitely feel the effects of the elevation, but the trail (and the lakes we visited) were beyond beautiful, with amazing mountains all around. (Again, I have plenty of photos, and will post them when I get the chance, but they really cannot do it justice.) We were all satisfied (and exhausted) with our relatively short hike, and came back down to a great meal in town.

    We got up the next morning, had a huge breakfast, and drove up to the Alpine Visitor’s Center — a long, exposed drive up, and up and up, through several ecosystems (aspens starting to turn color, conifer forests), past the treeline and into tundra — to the Center at the top. There was a trail there, but it was short, and the surface was either steps or paved — the tundra was delicate, like cryptobiotic soil in Utah, and you couldn’t walk on it. It ended at the very top of the hill, with a sign saying “Elev 12,005 ft.” It was freezing, with heavy winds, and we returned to the Center for hot chocolate before the drive down. We had more energy than the day before, so we also visited another section of the park, a valley with more elk and a lot of photographers. We parked and went for a short walk into a fenced-off plant restoration area, where the elk couldn’t go — the difference in vegetation across the fence line was stark. This was our last night in the cabin, and we had BBQ take-out.

    We stopped in Boulder yesterday on the drive back, and visited the National Center for Atmospheric Research, an I.M Pei building on a hill outside of town. More hiking ensued on the trails behind the Center, and then we went inside and checked out the exhibits. Got back to Denver, checked back into our hotel, and went out for fabulous pizza.

    The one thing we haven’t done yet is bicycle. Our free time was rainy for our first days in Denver, and high winds precluded the road riding we planned for Estes Park. Today is beautiful if cold (now), and we’ll break our streak within the hour, by riding the trails on Green Mountain Park just west of here.

  • Greetings From Kansas!

    From Hays , Kansas to be exact — a college town on I-70 in the western part of the state, some 50 miles north of Dodge City (where tonight’s bartender was from originally). It’s our third night out from home, on the way to Denver to visit Emmi & Kyle. We stopped in Yellow Springs (technically, Springfield) OH, and O’Fallon MO (just west of St Louis), and tomorrow night we should be in Denver. Woooo!