We have had a lot of winter fun in the last week or so. We have gone sledding several times. There is a pretty good hill right behind our house, which is super convenient. The day after Christmas we went ice skating at the Apex (indoors), which was really great. I want to thank my friend Daniel Reeves for teaching me how to roller blade. I think that my roller blading experience really made my first try at ice skating much easier. In fact, I found it easier than roller blading, especially since there are no hills! Thanks also to Ellen for suggesting it, and for Grace, who pushed us to go.
On the 29th, Spencer and I went skiing on Monarch mountain with our friends Rick and Tao. Spencer and I both took lessons. I skied once, about 11 years ago, with my friend Rachel Rose. I thought I had forgotten all of it, but apparently not. It was also a bit easier than I thought. I also feel like ice skating helped me prepare, since it uses some of the same muscles and concepts, like balancing, and leaning forward a bit. Thanks Rick for showing us the ropes at Monarch! And thanks to Ellen for getting me and Spencer snow pants, and Clare and Ellen, for getting me and Spencer nice down jackets.
On January 1st, Rob, Spencer, Dave, and Grace hiked up North Table mountain – a tradition we would like to continue in future years. Hopefully we can get more people to join. Spencer was pretty tired, but he managed to make it all the way to the top.
After promising to visit for about 5 years, the Soule-Reeves family finally made it out to Colorado to see us! We had a very nice visit, even though Danny and Bethany spent Saturday morning being interviewed on Fox News. Saturday we went swimming at the Apex, and then had a bunch of people over for dinner, including Greg & Mekayla, Chris & Sarah, and Grandpa Dibble.
Sunday Chris and Sarah joined us once again for a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. After the museum we went to the playground to enjoy the beautiful 60 degree sunny weather, and took advantage of the breeze to try out some new kites.
Dave and Ellen came out to visit this past weekend. We had a really great time. We bought a tree and decorated it, made cookies, and played a bunch with the kids. It was a sad farewell when they had to leave. Spencer gave Ellen and Dave each a car from the Cars set he had just gotten. I continue to be amazed by Spencer’s willingness to share.
Melanie came to visit us over labor day weekend, which was really nice. We had a fun time hanging out together. Melanie and Clare got massages on Saturday, then we spend most of the rest of the day just hanging out. In the evening we went over to Tao’s house for Smores.
Sunday we went down down to Colorado Springs with the hope of taking the train up to Pike’s Peak. Unfortunately it was packed on Labor Day weekend, and we couldn’t get on the train, and had a terrible time finding a parking spot to have lunch. We did see some of the Garden of the Gods. It was actually our first trip down to Colorado Springs. Now that we know our way around a bit better, we will have to try again on a weekend which isn’t so busy.
The grand Feltys came to visit us the last weekend in August. Phil and Betty came over to celebrate Fran’s birthday. Spencer was very excited about the cake we got from Das Meyer, and then proceeded to eat about one tiny bite. He seems very excited about the idea of cake lately, but doesn’t actually like eating it that much.
Saturday morning Clare flew out to Ohio for a bridal shower. The rest of us went to the Colorado Railroad Museum. We didn’t know it ahead of time, but they were laying new track that day. That was pretty exciting. We watched them work on the track for at least 30 minutes. They had some big dump trucks and front-loaders, which Spencer enjoyed very much. We also got to ride the steam engine twice!
We were fortunate that both kids took long naps Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the same time! This allowed me time to can some more salsa Saturday afternoon while the kids and the grandparents were napping. We got a bumper crop of tomatoes this year!
One of our adventures while Dave and Ellen were out visiting was to go to the zoo. We actually hadn’t been in several months. We had a very nice time. We got to see the Lorikeets and the elephants, ride the train and the carousel, and have some snacks too.
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After taking Dave and Ellen to see Red Rocks, we decided to head farther up the mountains, since Red Rocks was quite hot. We debated between Idaho Springs and Georgetown, and settled on Georgetown, because Clare and I wanted to look at some art studios there. We were successful in finding some nice pottery, and also found a nice place to eat lunch, which had a very nice patio facing Clear Creek.
While we were in Georgetown, it occurred to me that we had often thought about taking the Georgetown Loop train. We looked into it, and found out that there was a 1:35 train. We finished lunch at about 1:25, and arrived just in time to catch the train.
The train makes 2 stops – one at Silver Plume, and then one at a silver mine, where you can get a tour. We did not do the mine tour this time. We learned all sorts of facts about the train during the 60-90 minute ride. While it is only 2 miles from Georgetown to Silver Plume, there is an elevation gain of over 700 feet, which would be about a 6% grade, which is too steep for most trains. So they decided to have the train loop over itself. Even then, there are some sections which have a 4% grade, and which are very narrow. We also learned that the engine was an oil-fired steam engine, originally used in Hawaii at the sugar plantations, where they had more access to oil than coal. The track is 3 1/2 foot narrow gauge, which is cheaper to make, and allows for tighter curves, and is also narrower, which is useful in the mountains. The train currently carries about ten cars. It is actually too much load for the steam engine to handle by itself, so there is also a diesel “helper” engine, which is the largest narrow-gauge diesel engine built. Then there is the big bridge, which is not only around a curve, but also on a incline. It was an engineering marvel when it was built in the 1880s, and cost about a million dollars to build back then. They re-did the bridge with more modern methods in the 1980s.
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Much to my surprise, Dave and Ellen informed us in their recent visit that we had never taken them to Red Rocks. It seems like we take almost everyone to Red Rocks, sometimes multiple times. So we took Dave and Ellen to Red Rocks to remedy the situation. It turns out that we ended up going to Red Rocks again last weekend with some old grad school friends – Cati, Blake, and Pascal. Cati and Blake have been in Boulder at the Linguistics institute.