Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When We Are Part of Nature




It has been a good year for feeling the wonders of nature. From our perch in the Cedar Rapids condo, we are often eye-to-eye with waterfowl, hawks, and occasional eagles. We had three fox kittens raised in our backyard last summer (link to that post), and of course herds of deer regularly cross the grounds of our condo.

Estes park gives us another dimension. We rarely see bighorn sheep, but this week we saw 3 herds in two days, more or less up close. The picture above was from about 20', the closest I have ever been to one of these in the wild. (If your browser has had enough time to download the full fidelity image, a click on the picture will enlarge it.) As one friend said "when my wife looks at me like that, I know I'm in trouble!).

Boxing day evening, I took Barbara to the Fawn Brook Inn (link), one of our all-time favorite restaurants. That night on the way back to Estes the roads were a Little icy, so we were going quite slow. What was clearly a large gray wolf, at least twice the size of a large coyote, crossed slowly right in front of us. They have been trying to re-establish the wolf population in small areas of Montana and Wyoming, but sightings in Colorado are extremely rare (map). Sorry, we didn't get any pictures of our own. Here is one I copied; ours looked just like this one:


I believe we are part of nature, and Barbara and I relish these opportunities to experience the awe that these encounters trigger within us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Migration Underway

The Motorhome and New Tow Car
In Catalina State Park, AZ


Here we are in AZ again, on our way to Palm Springs, where Barbara will enjoy the sunshine and from where I will commute.\

As last year we moved in stages, but this year we are doing it a little differently by getting out of Iowa before the snow and ice hit. In return for giving up a third+ of my income, now I get quite a bit of time off, so we left Cedar Rapids on Nov 17, just before the temp hit single digits and the snow came. Our first destination was again Catalina State Park in north Tucson (the same place we were trapped by the river last year: )

While Barbara visited with Anne/RC in Phoenix and Karen/Brian in Tucson, I flew back to work for a couple of weeks, and then returned to move the RV to our site in Outdoor Resorts Palm Springs. Last week we drove back through Phoenix where I caught a plane back to Iowa to work again, while Barbara continued on to Albuquerque.
Today Barbara, along with Anne/RC, Karen/Brian, and John Matthew/Rachael who had all flown to Albuquerque, celebrated Barbara's father's birthday with him. I hated to miss it, but then I'm underwriting the whole thing, so I did need to be here working.
We are doing our part to support Detroit. Last summer we gave up our 1996 Buick and 1998 Ford for 2008 Buick and Saturn SUVs. In view of GM's troubles, I feel good about buying American. Barbara's Buick Enclave is perhaps the best car we've ever owned, and the Saturn Vue (Pictured above) has worked out well. Both are quiet, smooth, loaded with features, and, so far, reliable with a "quality" feel. I think GM and Ford have the vehicles, and I hope they can restructure their overhead to allow them to be competitive once more.