IMAX film at the Wildlife Experience on our cold day was just right

Still boggles my mind that we were running around in shorts yesterday, and driving through slush today. It was one of the days where you get some twists and turns, and adjust on the fly. The guys have been friends long enough that they fall into rhythm quickly. After picking up the guys we headed to Lamars for our morning coffee. I think it was needed. We all perked up a bit and enjoyed our conversation. As you might imagine, a lot of it centered on the storm. We definitely enjoyed watching the snow blow from inside with a warm coffee. We got there and it was nice and quiet, gave us a good chance to get caught up. Our conversation was everywhere. We talked family, football, dogs, all the usual topics. Both B and D were in good spirits. They both started a bit slow, but once we were able to relax and talk, they both sharpened up. We braved the snow and loaded up the car and headed over to the Museum of Natural History. We had tickets for the planetarium, but after only 10-15 minutes in the museum, kids just came out of the woodwork. You could tell it was too much stimulation, so as I was trying to figure a graceful exit, B looked at me and said “I think this is too much, I’m gonna knock one of these kids over on accident”. That was all I need to here, we left and went to get some lunch.

We had a nice lunch at Annie’s on Colfax. We had a super server, (in fact Brian brought her up several times later in the afternoon.)  We decided to go to Wings over the Rockies after lunch  and look at some of their space displays. Well, it was closed for a private party. Luckily, Mary is working on updating her outing book and was able to offer a few suggestions. We went to the C.U. Wildlife Experience to see an IMAX on space exploration. At least we were able to keep the planetarium theme going. We had a few minutes so we were able to get a small coffee and talk some more. I thought it was great that Brian and Dave were able to get some quality time with each other, and they really seemed to enjoy it. The movie was about our mission planning to go to Mars. Needless to say that dominated the conversation on the way home. The first group of Mars astronauts are going to have to go on a three year mission, and NASA expects it to be by 2030. They also mixed in some actual footage of Mars taken by the rovers sent there. We couldn’t understand why anyone would even want to go. Desolate and rocky. While we had a obstacle or two today, I felt it was more about the company than the activity.

today an interesting tour at the U.S. Postal Distribution Center and lunch at the Olive Garden at Northfield

U.S. Post Office Distribution Center

U.S. Post Office Distribution Center

Our new friend at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Our new friend at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

 

What an interesting day !!  The 3 carpools met at our usual coffee shop, got caught up with each other, and headed north to the US Postal Service Distribution Center.  We were split into two groups for a really interesting tour that lastedabout an hour.  We were given tons of information…
It really was very cool.  Everyone  interacted with our guides, asking how long they worked there, thanking them for their work, asking appropriate questions.  D shared that she has a family member who works as a carrier,  when the guide talked about a processing plant there.  B commented on  how clean the Center is, and that he expected it to be grimy and smell of diesel. J was really checking out the various conveyor belt systems and asked specifically about a 3 step system that cut open bundles of bulk mailing for sorting.  And D talked about the people aspect…how much more social it seemed to be to work at the hand sorting centers vs. keeping an eye on the automated machines, as well as the mechanics that rode 3 wheel bicycles to various problems spots around the plant.Lunch was at the Olive Garden. Everyone was pretty pleased with their meals. As you know they bring out lots of salad and bread sticks. Everyone had multiple helpings of salad, R commented a couple of times how great it was.  I did notice that about half the table doesn’t each black olives though !

Mary met us at the restaurant  and left with one carpool after lunch.  The rest of us had a little time before returning so we took a drive through The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. D  apparently has been there before, he pointed out a grouping of trees that had multiple nests in them, he knew about the bison and birding, and was pleased to be back. The refuge is about 16,000 acres and was designated a wildlife refuge in 1992. There are 330 species of wildlife there, but we saw Bison !  I am guessing there were 20 or so off in the distance but then we came across a couple of big boys right next to the road!  Fantastic!  These beast sre-energized everyone after our big lunch, as  we made out way back home.

lunch at DWs 285 Diner, one of our favs, and thanks to a volunteer we learned some geology today!

Er, J, and I started out day with a long walk on the Stone House Trail along Bear Creek in Lakewood.  The entire length of the trail is 2.3 miles and I’ll bet we did three quarters of it in about 50 minutes.  It is a lovely dirt trail which parallels the creek, both J and E were game to continue after about 30 minutes and did terrific.  We came across a small inlet of water that was a fairly wide step, E said oh, not a problemand literally hopped over, then put her hand out to help J across! I wish I had my camera ready.

When we got back to the parking area Mary arrived within a few minutes with D, L, and a few snacks.  Mary and L left and the 3 ladies and I had our refreshments next to the the historic stone house which was built around 1860.  The conversation was very easy, mostly about we were all ready for the election to be over and that none of us were really paying attention to the noise of it anymore.

 

From there we headed to Conifer for lunch at DW’s 285 Diner followed by a scenic drive over Pleasant Park Road toward Deer Creek Canyon Road with a side trip up Kuehster Road.  At the top of Keuhster Rd there are is a very good view of Lower North Fork Fire burn area.  The fire was 4 years ago and it is amazing to see how the land and people have recovered.  There are also beautiful views of Sphinx Park and beyond.  As we got closer to town we had about 20 minutes to stretch our legs so we pulled in to the South Valley Open Space Park.  This park is noted for is beautiful big red sandstone spires that are part of the geologic formation that runs from Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, up to the Boulder Flat Irons, and include Roxbourogh Park and Red Rocks.  We were going to walk a bit when a Jeffco Open Space volunteer asked if we had any questions. E asked about the rock formations and we quickly found out that  geology is this guys passion!  We didn’t get to walk but we got a thorough education! Did you know that the Andes in South America are still growing taller!  As we walked away, D commented that it was really nice of him to talk with us and we all agreed.
This was a laid back, e
asy, and very pleasant day. I very much enjoyed my day with with everyone.

.

Colorado Freedom Memorial today

Colorado Freedom Memorial

Colorado Freedom Memorial

Happy Veterans Day!
Our way of expressing gratitude today was to visit the  Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora. The memorial is made up of glass panels that have the names of nearly 6000 Colorado men and women killed in action dating back to the Spanish American War. It was a beautiful day to visit and we were able talk, linger, and learn. There was one name that we were hoping to find listed.  D’s Uncle
.  There is a computer kiosk at the memorial site that has information about the memorial itself as well as listing of all names and where they are located on the panels.  With some patience, we were able to locate his name exactly where his name was on the memorial. D, of course,was thrilled and quite moved.  As we made our way back to the car I heardmany comments about how really nice the memoral is and that it is a wonderful tribute.

For lunch we went to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. They were busy (free entree for Vets today) but we had called ahead and were able to get seated quickly for a terrific lunch. The brusselsprouts were enjoyed by everyone…well, almost everyone!

After lunch we went to Cherry Creek State Park for a 45 minute walk in the Wetland Preserve along Pipeline and Wetlands Loop Trails.  Part of the trail parallels Cherry Creek, which had a surprising amount of water in it ! The area is a really nice wooded area and the light and temperatures this afternoon were practically perfect. As usual, we spread out along the path, talking individually, and two by two. It was a peaceful and relaxing way to way to end another great day together.

 

Rambler Ranch – wow! – what a great place to visit

Rambler Ranch

Rambler Ranch

Hello Everyone,
Wow, what a cool day we had. After coffee and donuts the guys and I  headed to the Rambler Ranch!

All of our guys had been there before, but it had been quite a while, over a year, and yet when we were talking about it on the drive, everyone had specific memories of their last visit there. Dave  told us about seeing one of his wife’s first cars, while B was able to tell us all about an RTD bus filled with mannequins, and  Dave  remembered the funky AMC cars that they have. It’s a huge property out east of Elizabeth. They have several large garages filled with Ramblers, and some other old brands like the Hudson, and my favorite, the AMC cars. They have all been either restored, or are  original and in wonderful shape. The mechanic was our tour guide for our visit today. He was great. We could touch, get in, just about anything but drive them. They do all run, and they all had the keys in them. Being as we are all kind of car geeks, it was perfect for us. We even enjoyed their display of vintage appliances  called Kelvanator, which were built by Renault, which owned Rambler. Our tour guide let us go at our own pace, linger where we wanted, and had great stories to tell. We might still be there if our stomachs hadn’t started to growl. Lucky for us, Mary had set us up with a nice picnic lunch to eat in the sun at the ranch. The ranch does not do tours this late in the year, (yet fortunately they did for Out&About Colorado) so we had the big picnic area to ourselves. As you can imagine the conversation revolved around cars. We were able to enjoy the sunshine, friendship, and some fond memories of cars past. We finished up and hit the road for the beautiful drive back into town.

Great Day, good to see everyone have fun and enjoy the camaraderie.

Morrison Inn for lunch and a visit to the Music Hall of Fame at Red Rocks

november 8 at red rocks
What a beautiful Election Day Outing !  There was very little discussion about the election except that everyone was glad that it just about over !

Our carpools met as usual at the Java Cafe at St Johns and we got caught up with each a bit over refreshments. This is a good  mid morning

break for those who have been in the car the longest, and a relaxing way start our day together. There is always a lot of chatter and ribbing
, and we get to watch the preschoolers on the playground next door which they all seem to enjoy.  We had noticed a couple of towheaded girls in the playground and Bearded Brian said “what is towheaded anyway.“?  I told him it is that very blonde almost white colored hair and D said, almost instantly, yea, like the color Jennifer tries to dye hair now!  
As I said a lot of ribbing and all in good fun!  Love it!
We headed straight to Red Rocks after that and I’m sure glad we did, as it was such a beautiful day to be in that park.  We went to the top of the amphitheater first taking in the views of the theater and the city for a few minutes,  then into the Visitors Center. After we all wandered back outside we lingered there for sometime talking about the rock formations, watching people exercise on the stairs, wondering how many rows of seats there are (70),talked about concerts we have seen there, and D shared that he was married at Red Rocks!
We lunched on the roof top of the Morrison Inn, where everyone seemed very satisfied with their meals, especially J with her giant fajita salad…. !!
So much fun with such wonderful friends today.november 8 red rocks  three

coffee stop at Wash Park, and the IMAX Mummies film today

Hi Everyone,
What a beautiful day we got to share today. Although the calendar says November 1, I think it felt more like May 1. We have been so fortunate with the fall weather, we need to enjoy it while we can.

Our carpools met up at the Java Café in St. John’s Church Wash Park. We caught up while enjoying our morning beverages. We had a full group today and the energy was high. We spent some time discussing Halloween then and now.; our general consensus was that it is nothing like when we were kids. We had an 11:30 IMAX to get to, so we scurried out of the cafe. The IMAX was on the “Valley of the Kings in Egypt”, and the mummification process.  There were some stunning recreations of Egypt, and an interesting story on how it was discovered. There still isn’t much know about the process, but they have figured out how to extract DNA from mummified remains. After the film we headed to the Mummy display in the museum. They have actual mummies that were purchased in Egypt in the 40’s. It was legal until 1946 to purchase a mummie and bring it back to the states. Both of the specimens were over 3000 years old.  Interesting stuff, but a little creepy.

The perfect antidote to the creepiness was to head outside and take a nice walk around City Park. We looped the lake, and talked about our recent zoo visit as we passed it, even spying an elephant at one point. We checked out the pavilion, and  saw a lone Herron. It was terrific out. Nice breeze, leaves rustling, and lots of sunshine. Our walks are so informal, that everyone walks at their own pace, and people move from group to group. We share lots of laughter, appreciation for where we live, and really enjoy each other’s company. After expending all that energy, it was time for lunch and we headed to Annie’s on Colfax. As usual the food was good, and the service sassy. We did not have one box of leftovers leave with us. Everyone ate everything, which says it all.   Very satisfying day. The mood was light, and we enjoyed the moments that made up the day.

.november 1 City Park

Forney Transportation Museum will become a regular place for us to visit

Brian said to me at the end of the day, “Man do those guys have fun together.” I agree, this group really gels.
I took my carpool for a walk and out for a morning snack, we settled in at Spinellis, where R had lots of memories and stories to tell us of being there with his Dad. Brian and his group went to their “clubhouse” (LaMars Donuts). Funny thing is, apparently they didn’t eat any! All I know is that after lunch later today I said, “I think we could split a few pieces of pie, right? Did you guys have donuts this morning?” They swore they didn’t! One of them even told me they all “split one”. Yeah, right.
The two groups met at 11:00 this morning at Forney Transportation Museum. What a perfect place for these guys. We had the entire massive space almost completely to ourselves, we wandered and pointed and talked  and laughed and completely  enjoyed our time there. At the onset, each of them made a comment or observation  which inspired  me to grab a piece of paper out of my purse and quickly jot down…
The signature item in the museum is “Big Boy”, (the world’s largest steam locomotive). When we were checking it out I noticed A walking the length of it counting his steps, so intent on measuring it. I told the group it was called “Big Boy” just as L was approaching our group and when T saw him he said, “well here he is!” R was  looking at the train and said,” this would be so hard to build”, L pointed many things out to me including the way the coal is delivered to the engine, and was pleased I noticed a spittoon!,  B stood back and took it all in  and said, “isn’t this beautiful”.
We saw many many classic cars, R knew about many of them, A shared with us his memories of his first car (did he tell me a 27 Model A?), he remembered very clearly what color it was so I got a picture of us standing in front of a car of that color. L told us when we were looking at a light weight aircraft about his brother’s career in aeronauatics, and all sorts of memories came up for these guys.
Great place for us to visit, they all appreciated it, and I told them this should be a stop for us a few times a year.

Longhopes Donkey Shelter, what a very special place

Longhopes Donkey Rescue

Longhopes Donkey Rescue

Longhopes

Longhopes

We met Jennifer’s carpool at the Donkey Shelter  which certainly is a special place. Those animals are so calm and affectionate. A bunch of them were following D around and I heard him say, “One at a time. Please.” We were able to leisurely pet and brush and enjoy basically hanging out with over 30 of these friendly creatures, while the staff person answered our questions and taught us about donkeys and the mission of the preserve.

J told me about how when he was a young man his uncle lived near him and had horses, B commented on how his dogs  will be jealous when he gets home  which was a good thought! T made me laugh – at myself – when I said a corny joke/pun about a horse of a different color; When he heard that he said he wasn’t so sure he wanted to be in this Tuesday group anymore… “I don’t know about you guys”.

The Donkey Shelter  is welcoming and a terrific place to visit. I brought a picnic lunch for us and they had a large room all set up for us, with tables and chairs and all we needed. A couple of adjoining bathrooms and a visiting cat and I started thinking what a great spot it could be for a large event sometime. Certainly unique! Jennifer said:

It was so much fun to watch how everyone connected differently. D was just giddy with the one donkey that followed her around, C and J were so captivated, a word I would use with J would be delighted, and I thought the rest of the guys seemed so happy to have such a different experience. Loved it!

 

Awkward Family Photo exhibit at History Colorado

Hi Everyone,
What a busy fun day we had.

We met at Higher Grounds Coffee House  in Golden. We were able to enjoy our beverages on the patio with a terrific view of both north and south Table Mesa.  M and L left after that, then  the rest of the ladies and I  walked the Historic 12th Street  District in Golden,  a 3-4 block long row of beautiful homes from the late 1800’s, when Golden was just starting to boom. The houses are a mix of old Victorians, simple family homes, and the occasional mansion. All the houses are kept up with beautiful landscaping. One of the houses is “The Morrison House”. It was built by the founder of Morrison. Funny how he chose to live in Golden, rather than in the town he founded.  We did more walking in this historic area, then drove to Denver for lunch at Governors Park. It had something for everyone.  We then headed to History Colorado Museum. They have an exhibit called Awkward Family Photos. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. There were a few grimace worthy ones, but it was just as fun to see some of the fashions that people were wearing. We couldn’t figure what the people could have been thinking as they posed. From there we headed home.
The ladies were sharp and really fun today. We were able to not only enjoy the beauty in which we live, but we also laughed a lot, and I mean a lot.