Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Longest BLOG yet...sorry:-(

Rainbow Trout Fishing
Just a representation :-)

After returning home LATE Wednesday night, we both wanted to go fishing, instead of crash into bed after putting the groceries away.  Fish we did, and I caught my 1st Rainbow Trout (an 18 incher no less) Bill got to do a lot of star gazing.  Another night it will be his turn and I will get skunked.  We released the little guy back into the water to become someone else's sport another day.

Thursday morning arrived with the reminder that Kay was picking me up at 9am for water aerobics.  I always thought of water aerobics as a kind of cushy way to work out.  Still, I figured every bit would help with the WW (Weight Watchers).  I hereby grovel at my feet…we had a GOOD workout and my muscles are telling me!  Tomorrow we begin “Bands & weights, and my level of dread is in direct correalation to my level of NON-fitness.

On a more positive note:  Kelly
is coming to Lake Zurich Sept. 6th to aid us in removing 
most of the debris (precious valued items) from the storage unit.  These things would be those items we couldn’t possibly give-away a year ago, and have since begun to rethink our REAL needs.  Fair enough that Kelly is coming , since a goodly percentage of it is HER stuff.  But what’s REALLY important is that we get to see and HUG her.  On a side note: Michael is traveling with her to provide the muscle, so we will get to meet him.  By all accounts he is a GREAT guy, and we are also very much looking forward to seeing Michael!  Tacos El Norte on Friday night, Sept. 6th, @ 6:30 PM will be the 1st order of business… for old tyme sake (Kelly’s personal request).

The left knee has made its decision…
full replacement.   The knee brace was unsuccessful.
Going to see and do a surgical consult with an Ortho in Salida next week.  I did not feel like going all the way to Denver, and Bill had been so happy with this hospital in Salida, that he has made arrangements for me to see a doc there.  Will keep you posted.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but NO the West Fork trio of fires has not affected us.  That said, we did have smoke overrun our area Thursday night, enough to sting the eyes.  It cleared away in the span of an hour.

After the pain of the water aerobics class I was on high alert when Kay picked me up for the “bands & weights” class, and rightly so.  I was really hurting after that, but it felt so good to be active again!

Bill certainly been getting his fill of fish,  breakfast, lunch and dinner….no, we haven’t caught that many, but word is out amongst the long timers (2-3 weeks) that Bill loves fish, and more filets than he can possibly eat have been showing up at our door every morning and evening. 

                                               I say filets, but           sometimes 
                            the whole fish shows up, 
                           and then he gets 
                             to go to the fish cleaning 
                              station and create his own filets.

In the “I never thought I’d see the day” category…last week Bill bought us a new chainsaw.  It’s a 10 inch, battery driven model.  Just right for us and our storage space, and for cutting up firewood (which is about all it is used for these days).

I used it first! 
Gone are the days when Bill and I cut up and bring home to split 48 inch Oak logs.  Now we fill the back of our new Silverado with piles of driftwood that line the banks of this amazing, Gunnison River fishery.  Every day a fresh stock of more wood than we could burn in a year drifts ashore.

Friend report:  Louise and Hank (friends from The Cradle of Forestry)
have landed a gig at the LBJ NHS for January 1st thru April 30th!!!  It will be so much fun to work (and play) with them again.

The sun has set in the west beyond the Blue Mesa, leaving the low slung, blue-grey clouds overhead with soft pink underbellies, reminding us that days end has come.

If you think this is the PERFECT life, you would be wrong, it is not, and though we are having the time of our lives, this week we were reminded in graphic word pictures of the downside of our adventures:
TEXT from Katie…Mother extraordinaire of our two youngest grandchildren…

So last night as I lotioned and jammified Teagan after her tub she says to me, "I love Papa."  So I said he loves you too and I bet he misses you tons.  She then says, "Papa goes to work."  I told her yes he does, just like daddy and grammie (my mom) go to work.  Then she says, "No, grammie and daddin come home."  I almost started crying.  I gave her hug and told her Papa loves her and misses her too.  Needless to say, we are looking forward to September.” 

They were glad to hear we will see them for a weekend in July

Another phenominal sunset tonight which followed a day of mud guard installation and garage organization.  Tonneau cover (retractable, weatherproof cover for the 8 foot bed of the new pick-up truck) delivery tomorrow….anybody want to volunteer to help with its installation???  Bill has no reservations about he and I putting it in in no time…Quote  “it’ll be a walk in the park”  (Bill’s world)…more on this to follow.

We were able to talk to our friend Lydia today.  So good to hear her voice.  Glad to hear they are volunteering again, even if it’s for just a short period of time.  3 months here, 3 months there etc etc etc and you have a LIFE!!!!  Please keep Jim in your prayers…much appreciated!

Final word is in…we’re moving to Ponderosa CG on Wednesday, can’t wait!

Bill has his post op checkup tomorrow…FINALLY!!!!  Pray for a good outcome.
In ALL things, with prayer and supplication!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013: today’s drama…as Bill was driving along to see his doctor in Salida, he noticed an oncoming car rolling along…then, 2 small, sparrow like birds took off from the side of the road, one taking a track straight up, one tracking right in front of the oncoming car and meeting his/her fate, landing in the middle of Bill’s lane.  Bill drove over the bird (over, not on) and in his rearview mirror he observed the other bird light onto the side of the road near their partner.  The surviving bird then walked into the middle of the road to check their fellow, now motionless, winged friend as Bill & I drove on into our very average day.

We have settled in at Ponderosa Campground, enjoying the sensational skies,

wildlife sightings and (now that July 4th has come & gone) quiet.  We walked our rounds twice this week (exercise) and discovered a little waterfall near the edge of the middle loop.     
Can’t imagine how beautiful it would be with the water at full pool.  
Also discovered a mother deer with 2 VERY young fawn…smaller than Molly and all spotted.  

They seem to be residents here.

Dodged a bullet this week when a large caravan of vehicles bearing young adults (mid 30’s to early 40’s), kids (4 to 17), dogs, and 4 wheelers pulled into the campsite next to us on the upper loop (we have 3 loops:  UPPER, MIDDLE and LOWER with a mile of road between each and an elevation change of 800 feet). 
I was walking the trash down toward that campsite at the time and was approached by the lead female of the group.  After a few questions from her, I ascertained her main purpose was to be near the water.  I neatly steered her toward campsite #25, which by sheer coincidence is right on the water AND, the furthest campsite from oursJ  Time proved me right when their parties turned out to be so large, we had trouble getting our little work truck through on the road in that loop.  Still, they were VERY cooperative and friendly with us, so it worked out OK and everything seemed to settle down around 9 or 10  the evening. 

As I promised, the FINAL update (Lord willing) on the “bullethole” that has been in Bill’s chest (open and leaking) for 2.5 years.  The surgery came off with flying colors, and the surgeon (the 1st in 2.5 years to suggest cleaning it out and CLOSING it up) was as happy and perplexed as we were to see the pathology report.  AS it turned out, the complications began as a result of an inverted hair follicle.  Go figure!  The surgeon was pleased with the healing, and Bill has been freed from this little irritation.

(HOLD THAT THOUGHT.....July is noticed the hole has reopened slightly....PRAY!)

The move to Ponderosa CG was uneventful unless you count horses In the roadway 
On the road to Ponderosa
and complete exhaustion setting In soon after our arrival, forcing us to set chairs up by the campfire and listen to the evening breeze thru the pines. 
Settled in at Ponderosa
  We feel like we have died and gone to heaven.  Since our arrival we have seen the resident fawn (very young),

a cow having just lost a baby in the field 
and an immature Bald Eagle, just getting the hang of his flight wings .       

We have also run into Denver to share in the Padula family’s joy when picking up their BEAUTIFUl , new, custom Airstream.

THIS was no ordinary “run” in to Denver, but the end result was SPECTACULAR!  At the base of Monarch Pass (over 11,000 feet alt.)  we encountered a roadblock (caused by a semi that had tipped over on a sharp curve coming down the Western slope) and were told “the pass is closed” ….a not uncommon occurrence In the mountains, but one that would dramatically affect our time of arrival.  Then, a miracle!!  The guy talking to Bill says “I like you" (not the miracle to which I refer) so I’m going to send you over “Old Monarch Pass”  (That's the  miracle)...This truck can handle it”.  Off we go, down a road we had traveled a few weeks
previously, just not as far, until we see small wooden sign directing us to “Old Monarch Pass”, which is really not much more than a logging trail,
 BUT, what a beautiful logging trail it is.  We still took an hour longer to make the trip, but the extra 12 or 13 miles, loaded with amazing skyline panoramas all along the way, made it all worthwhile! 

The experiment with the left knee brace failed PIX, and we are heading back from Lake Zurch, IL now to catch a CT scan for me tomorrow.  It will take 3 weeks to make my new knee and then the surgeon In Salida will put it in.  I knew I was ready (after 10 years of waiting) when I found myself wishing the surgery was tomorrow (that has been going on for a month now).


Now we await the Wednesday arrival of Cyndy (Bill’s youngest daughter) and her 3 kids (Johnny, Christine & Kate), coming for a week-long visit.  The kids had a prepared list of questions for us at the ready when we arrived for dinner at their house last night.  We will be acting as official tour guides for them.   As we were pumped for information about the area they are going to visit, I think the kids wanted to assess our qualifications for the job.  This will be our 2nd summer of volunteering, and Cyndy & company  have visited us at both of our summer assignments:  the Cradle of Forestry in The Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina,
and now, The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  We feel honored to have the responsibility of introducing our grands to our National Parks.

Before you know it, Labor Day will be upon us.  We will head back to Lake Zurich when our assignment in Curecanti is completed on Sept. 3rd, meet up with Kelly (and Michael) to celebrate it being Friday night at Tacos El Norte on Sept. 6th at 6:30 PM (be there or be square…if you are joining us, RSVP at the  Facebook event please).  We will round out the weekend by attacking the storage unit on Saturday, Sept. 7  and going until it is completed...(well, all except Kelly, who has to return to work and leaves on Sunday. Depending on how long it takes us to complete this task, our hope is to make it up to Starrett Lake,
Sayner, WI for a week (this will be up in the air until the last moment). 
September 20th will find us heading back to Monument, CO for Bill’s participation in the Certified RV Technician/Certified RV Inspector Training which begins on September 23rd and ends on September 27.  

We will then be off and running to Joshua Tree NP, where this year we are assigned to be CG hosts at the Black Rock CG.  We will actually have phone, internet, potable water and a NEARBY laundry this year.

Christmas is still an undecided for us, as we cannot
(I will not) put Molly in a kennel again (she became VERY sick last year when we went to Vegas for 2 days)…..BUT we do know where we will be on December 27th….. heading towards the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historic Site where we will serve the winter as Interpretive Guides on the late Presidents beloved ranch in Johnson City, TX.

We are excited for the potential to see Bill’s sister Jane and her husband Tim, while working in such close proximity to San Antonio, where they live (this is approximately and hour & a half drive).

On  April 30th we will complete our assignment there, and have decided to take the summer of 2014 off to hang with our peeps, and get some real camping time In at Starrett Lake
 We hope to circulate the idea of a family reunion in 2014 at Starrett Lake for those family members who might have an interest in doing so.  Lord willing, it will most likely take place towards the end of that summer, before the school year resumes.

Of course ALL of this is dependant upon God’s plan for us.  We can only wait and see how it evolves…Remember…if you want to see God laugh, plan out your life!

All glory to Him who makes this possible!

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