26 June 2017

Snowflake Monday

I thought by giving readers two weeks to craft lid or button snowflakes, I'd be giving them enough time to save a few extra lids as well as giving myself time to unpack and unwind from Ride the Rockies. Apparently, though, two weeks is too long... Only two people entered the contest, but, oh, my, what stunning snowflakes they submitted!

Diane's #reflake2017june #recycledlids #buttoncraft

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First up, we have Diane's button and crochet motif snowflakes. Diane is co-moderator of the Sisters of the Snowflake group, which is free and open to anyone infatuated with snowflakes. Diane said she didn't have any lids, and she upped the ante by crocheting a few medallions to spruce up her pretty snowflakes. I really like the swirly one! What about you?

Diane wins some hand-dyed crochet thread or yarn, her choice.

My almost-8-year-old neighbor wanted to enter the recycled lids snowflake contest! #reflake2017june #recycledlids

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Next up is my no-longer seven-year-old neighbor. She has a standing date with me every week after work (if I can get off in time) to work on her ticker tape quilt. I've been teaching her to piece and quilt for a little more than a year now, and last week she decided to play with bottle caps instead, informing me that she is "very creative." I have to agree!

She was drawn to the black, blue and clear lids, and she was really into three-dimensional flakes. I think her rainbow flake is a winner, don't you?

Keira wins a much-coveted Eiffel Tower quilt panel because she's "always loved Paris my whole life!" and because her birthday was a couple of days later.

The nerve in my crochet arm will be tested tomorrow, so I expect to know what the future will hold by next Monday, but I don't expect to be crocheting at full strength by then. But don't worry; I have a few more non-crochet snowflake ideas up my sleeve. (With perhaps another contest to boot!) I leave you with my patriotic lid flake in honor of the upcoming holiday...

24 June 2017

Lost Week

Ride the Rockies, Day 7 – Gunnison to Salida via Monarch Pass

I'm back home, back at my laptop, in my own chair, and the whole week seems like a blur. I can't believe it's over, and I wasn't even a rider this time around!

I left just minutes after The Lizard this morning, hoping to stay ahead of the cyclists. I don't know if the cyclists were dreading the ascent of Monarch Pass or just ready to go home, but there sure were a LOT of cyclists out on the road before the sun came up this morning! I was passing cyclists for close to 30 miles! Of course, driving is the only way I get to pass that many cyclists...

So once again I didn't get any photos of the actual route. One photo I still kind of wish I had taken the time to pull over for was a recreational rider going up the pass from the opposite direction. He was sitting against a sign post with his townie bike leaning up against him, and he was thumbing for a ride. My first thought was not very many motorists would be able to fit his bike into their cars. My second thought was, "Wow, kudos for making it two miles up the mountain on a townie!"

I took a wrong turn in Salida, which allowed me to get a cool wildlife shot...

At closing venue, which was, well, next to the county detention facility, I discovered a parking spot set aside especially for me. (Not really; the position District Attorney just happens to have the same initials as me.)

At the finish line, I got to help the volunteers for a few minutes, and I found a surprise at the actual finish line and a cheerful robin in the grass nearby.

I found a silk moth literally ON the finish line. I moved him to safety, and he rested there for about an hour.

Olympic silver medalist Nelson Vails was one of the first riders to cross the finish line.

Not long after, My Lizard crossed the finish line.

I missed riding, but I'm glad I got to be in our favorite part of the state together for a whole week. I'm so happy to be done with driving for a good long time.

And I'm anxious to finish up the tests on my arm and neck, hopeful I might be able to ride again one day.


23 June 2017

Delta Dawn

Ride the Rockies, Day 6 – Montrose to Gunnison via Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit

Back in 2003, Ride the Rockies traversed the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for the first time. Now the tour has crossed that highway several times. That isn't today's Ride the Rockies route, but it was my route. I want to stay off the road where the cyclists will be, as much as I can, plus, I wanted a little trip down memory lane.

Some of my favorite memories from my first RtR are the messages "Agent Orange" would paint (in neon orange) onto the road to amuse weary cyclists. One such verse described a junkyard full of weathered vehicles as the place where SAG wagons go to retire. SAG wagons are the vehicles driven by volunteers to help cyclists along the route. SAG stands for Support And Gear.

In Delta, I discovered an open air sort of old vehicle museum, and I missed the sunrise, taking so many photos of the rusty old cars. Can you imagine any of these babies as SAG wagons in their heyday?!?

Then I passed a sign that pointed the way to "Gunnison Gorge." Sounded photogenic, so away I went. I never found the "Gorge" on that long, dirt road, but I saw a whole bunch of shy quail who wouldn't pose. The mourning doves were eager models, though...

I also found someone's idea of a remote picnic ground.

Outside of Crawford, I couldn't resist snapping a few reservoir photos.

My plan had been to drive to Delta for sunrise, then to Hotchkiss and Crawford, hitting the Blue Mesa ahead of the cyclists. I took too much time getting to the Blue Mesa, though, and couldn't watch any scenery while driving the length of the reservoir right alongside cyclists.

When I am The Lizard's private support vehicle during the Triple Bypass, most of my drive isn't quite as intimidating because much of the cycling route is bike path. No cars.

Driving alongside RtR riders is scary sometimes because the roads are so narrow. Some don't have much of a shoulder. I never want to do anything to endanger cyclists, so I don't have photos from any of the time I spent trying to drive carefully with the cyclists just a few feet from my car.

The north rim, however, had no cyclists and practically no other traffic. I had the canyon mostly to myself, and wildflowers were sensational. I couldn't stop taking pictures!


For the first time all week long, I was able to pull over safely and snap a couple of photos of My Lizard riding. Being able to snap this photo definitely is one of the highlights of my week!

22 June 2017

Take the Long Way Home

Ride the Rockies, Day 5 – Ridgway to Montrose via Government Springs

Today's route is 20 flat miles, plus an optional out and back with a little bit of a climb, and the next two days are filled with more grueling climbs and wind. So my Sweet Lizard opted to take the day off again and spend it with me. This way, he'd get a day of rest before finishing up the tour. Win/win!

We are right in the heart of our favorite part of the state. I'd thought about potential destinations just in case he did keep the bike in the car today. I thought a return to Mineral Creek, where I spent some time yesterday, would be fun, as would the Blue Lakes trailhead up Dallas Divide. Lizard liked both of those ideas, but he suggested a third option... Why not drive up Owl Creek Pass and circle back to Montrose, coming into town on the opposite side, avoiding cyclists and soaking up some of the best scenery in Colorado?

We turned a 20-mile day into a 67-mile adventure, crossing the very same paths we took 12 years ago when he proposed to me. We didn't have time for the same hike, unfortunately, but it was exhilarating to be back in the Cimarron Forks.

We hoped to see some wildlife and instead saw quite a few wildflowers. And dandelions!!! We enjoyed a picnic lunch above Silver Jack Reservoir and playing with lenses and camera exposures in one of our favorite autumn aspen destinations. Some of the shots we took might be fun to do as four-season series!

The wildflowers, not even at peak yet, were outstanding!

We went up the West Fork spur as far as we could. It doesn't get plowed, and winter had not completely melted away.

The most difficult part of the day was leaving Ridgway. We found an incredible hidden jewel in the B&B where we stayed, and we're anxious to go back one day. It will make a great basecamp for all our favorite hikes... Blue Lakes, Highland Mary Lakes and Ice Lakes. Middle Fork, where he proposed, might be a bit too far, but we can always catch that another time.

One of the best advantages to being on the RtR disabled list this year was having the soak tub to myself after the cyclists all left to pedal in the heat. The views were phenomenal!

21 June 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday

not my photo, but way cool

Ride the Rockies, Day 4 – Durango to Ridgway via Coal Bank Pass, Molas Pass and Red Mountain Pass

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