Category Archives: At Home

When not traveling in our coach we are at home in Loveland

A fun day spent with friends in Rocky Mountain National Park…..

Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park is always enjoyable; however when you are showing friends around that have never seen this beautiful national park before, it is even more fun.

 

Summer in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park
Summer in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park

Friends from Louisiana were visiting us and we drove up to Rocky to spend the day. I can remember seeing Rocky for the first time about 27 years ago when we moved from Louisiana to Colorado.

As most people do, I think our Louisiana friends fell in love with this Colorado national park, so much so, they just might be back for another visit. I hope so!

Seeing a place so gorgeous, for the first time, is a memory I think we all hold dear and one we usually never forget.

Tamias minimus - Chipmunk
Tamias minimus – Chipmunk

Love My Western Scrub-Jays…..

Western Scrub-Jay
Western Scrub-Jay

The Western Scrub-Jays are beautiful, bright and entertaining…..

They spend their spring and summers in my yard and for that I am grateful.

Every morning, when I go outside to put fresh water in the bird baths, they come gliding in, demostrating  just how graceful they are.

They also come with hopes of getting a peanut or two.

Baby - Western Scrub-Jay Not the best place to land, but he/she is still just a baby.
Baby – Western Scrub-Jay
Not the best place to land, but he/she is still just a baby. It has been fun watching this baby learn what and what not to eat!

Roll on Along…..

Vivid and bold shades of reds, blacks and silvers
Vivid and bold shades of reds, blacks and silvers

🎵 Roll on highway, roll on along

And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on🎵

Alabama

Dazzling, sparkling wheels turning washed and waxed to perfection. Vivid and bold shades of reds, blacks and silvers, glittering in the evening sunlight. All three left their western home, in northern Loveland, rolling south to downtown Loveland with precious cargo on board. 

🎵Roll on highway, roll on along

And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on  🎵

Alabama 

Gentle Giants – Majestic, Powerful and Beautiful…..

Groomed to perfection – bathed, brushed, braided and combed. They are pampered and spoiled and rightly so. It was a first for Loveland, it was exciting, it was a fun way to spend a Thursday evening.

Nancy, a friend visiting from the Lone Star State, and I heard about this event and decided we wanted to be a part of the fun. I longed to see them trotting down Fourth Street – the heart of downtown Loveland. However, we were a tad late arriving or they were a tad ahead of schedule. As we were trotting up Lincoln Street heading to Fourth Street they made the turn prancing in all their glory straight toward us.

What a magnificent sight, gold adornments flashing almost blinding in the sun. Eight majestic, powerful, beautiful, draft horses lovingly referred to as Gentle Giants entertaining the large crowds.

The Clydesdales…..

Matching, in their beautiful black collars and gold harnesses – mirror images of each other, bay in color with white markings on face and legs. Their muscled legs lifting in rhythm causing the feathering, on their lower legs, to flair up and out, symbolizing grace and power.

Can you imagine, eight Clydesdales, each weighting between 1,800 to 2,000 pounds and standing proudly  72 inches high, pulling their striking red wagon filled with Budweiser Beer.

Clop, Clop, Clop, the thunderous sound of their feet hitting pavement…..

In his green and white uniform, sitting tall and proud a top the traditional beer wagon, he expertly and commandingly drives his team. I will just call him – “The Driver” . 

At his side and also sitting tall and proud, wearing his own taylor made gold collar is the other four-legged symbol of the Budweiser team – the handsome black and white (gentle) Dalmatian. His tail wagging to express the crowds heartfelt affection. As he sits and watches I call him – “The Sentinel”. {I later learned, when I got a big hug, his name is Chip}

As the team continued north on Lincoln we trotted along side, wanting to observe these Gentle Giants up close. They pulled to a halt several blocks away, along side the huge, red eighteen-wheelers that would take them back home. 

Crowds gathered, young and old, standing in awe with cameras in hand. The Clydesdales thrilled the crowds, I know, because everyone was wearing a smile. 

 We talked to the caretakers of these beauties, again pride showing as they answered questions and spoke lovingly about their charges. One such young man, Will is his name, told us he has worked with draft horses since the age of five. We could tell he loved these horses!

The time passed quickly, they soon started unhitching the team – removing the gorgeous, black collars and gold harnesses, removing the leather leads and finally loading these amazing animals into their home on wheels.

Not wanting to leave just yet we watched until the two strongest and tallest, those just in front of the wagon, were loaded. All eight were wiped down, watered and feed. People continued to watch, peeking through the big doors as the horses rubbed their necks (spots needed scratching), throwing their heads up and down eager to be rolling and biting the poor horse stalled in front of them on the butt, I guess just for fun.

 Next came the red wagon – Chip was allowed down, had to jump onto the shoulders of his caretaker, to the applause of the crowd. The wagon was then loaded into one of the sparkling eighteen-wheelers.

As the sun was setting over the mountains, its last rays of light striking the vibrant colors of the eighteen-wheelers they and their precious cargo pulled back out onto Lincoln, leaving downtown Loveland heading north – back to the barn.

It was with deep emotion, mixed with pride, as we watched the three eighteen-wheelers rolling on along. Will, his duty now as driver, saw us watching and tooted his big, loud horn and with a final wave they rolled on out of site. 

We realized this event was special and that we had been graced with the presence of these symbols of strength and beauty.

 Their gentle spirit touched our hearts leaving a delightful memory to treasure…..

🎵 Roll on highway, roll on along

And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on 🎵

Alabama

May you roll this way again……..

Day Trip to Rocky…..

Small but vigilant scout
Small but vigilant scout

     Early Monday morning a friend and I left Loveland and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a short drive of about twenty miles and I always take the scenic route through the town of Glen Haven. It is a gorgeous drive.

     Traveling though the Big Thompson Canyon is always a special event, with its tall, jagged, cliffs jetting into the sky above you and the flowing waters of the Big Thompson River running below you. 

     Most times, driving this canyon, one will get a glimpse of a few Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep grazing on the sides of these steep, stone walls, but on this trip we did not spot any.

     As you drive through the canyon there are many places to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery and the smoothing sounds of the rapidly flowing river, especially this time of year with the spring snow melt raging downstream.

      It is relaxing to stand by the river, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the water as it searches it way over, around and even under boulders that are in its path as it traverses down the canyon.

      Fly fishers (men and women) {Smile} come to the waters of the Big Thompson from all over the world to cast their lines hoping to snag a Rainbow Trout. It seems so memorizing observing a person out in the middle of a stream, dressed in waders and all their waterproof clothing, casting their long lines back and forth, back and forth. I will have to try to photograph a fly fisher person.

     As we left the canyon having traveled through the little mountain town of Glen Haven we  crested the last hill and descended into the valley toward Estes Park. The Rocky Mountains, with their snow covered peaks, are what you see first. As your eyes adjust to seeing these magnificent mountains you can then and only then take in the beauty of the valley as it stretches out in front of you.

     Mountain Blue Birds call this area home in the spring and summer and you will usually see them sitting on a fence post or flying up to catch a bug. I did not get to take a photo of one, but next time….

     This year we had two late-spring snow storms that took a told on the Mountain Blue Bird population as they were migrating through the area. People were reporting large numbers of dead birds in their yards. One lady had twelve. My husband and I found two in our yard.

     Leaving the valley, heading to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, we had to make an immediate u-turn. We had spotted a huge, bull Elk along the side of the road and decided he would definitely be worth a photo or two. One can imagine, or maybe not, spending the winter at or near 12,000 feet. This poor guy was looking exactly like he had experienced a harsh winter – a little ragged with tuffs of fur hanging in clumps off his body; however he still was wearing his beautiful felt-covered antlers. He was having a mid-morning snack at a backyard bird feeder. Good for him.

     We finally entered the park. As we drove and hiked around experiencing the serenity and wonder of this national park, as on this day and with every visit, it did not fail to bring joy to my soul and deep appreciation for the beauty of nature.

     The highlight for me, this visit, were the two dueling male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds defending their territory. Each surveying their world from the high perch of their own pine tree. High into the air they would fly, soaring downward and then back up just as you think they are going to crash into the ground. Who is the bravest?

     We drove the twenty miles back home with wonderful memories and meaningful impressions of a successful and fun day visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.