My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Thursday, June 16, 2011

CO: The Drive Down

Welcome to post #1 in a series featuring some of the sights and sounds from a recent vacation in Fort Collins and Boulder, CO!

Getting my Colorado posts done has been a slow and much-interrupted process, but I decided I simply must buckle down and get them finished soon because not only have I been eager to share them, other share-worthy photos I've been taking lately are piling up!

I'm doing this series of vacation posts a bit differently than in the past, since except for this first one they won't be in any chronological order, but instead will be arranged by subject. I have lots of photos but with little anecdotal narrative, so I thought that would be the easiest and most fun way to do it. Hope you will agree. :-)

But for this first post I wanted to take you with us on the trip down. I didn't get as many photos of the scenery as I'd have liked... BW did all of the driving till we got to Cheyenne, and though he was great about pulling over for a requested photo op when he could, at 75mph it wasn't always possible! And in a couple of cases I was unable to get a good enough view of the subject without taking a major detour. For one or both of those reasons, I missed a beautiful scene of an old windmill with a black angus calf napping beneath it on a lovely green hillside (awww!), and two photos of a different kind of windmill: wind farms near Casper and Cheyenne, one providing a backdrop to a coal-fired power plant and the other to an oil refinery. I thought the contrasts (new/old, graceful/ugly, clean/dirty, and hopefully future/past) would make for really interesting compositions, but alas - they were both a no go. But here are some photos I did manage to get... hope you enjoy!

Here's our starting point. Thought I'd throw in this photo of our house, since a) I just took it the other day and love how green the surroundings are, and b) it's for sale (the house, not the photo, lol), and in this lame-o housing market, any extra exposure can't hurt!) ;-) ...

Here are the Big Horn Mountains, taken just outside of Sheridan at a scenic lookout on I-90. There's a lot of snow in them thar hills - 327% of normal when we left!...

This one, also taken from the I-90 scenic lookout, shows the road up and over the mountains that also takes you to our house, if you know where to turn ~ so I've provided the pink arrow to help you out. :-) ...

This (sandstone?) rock formation was south of Casper and looked a lot bigger, more interesting and photogenic in real life than it does in this photo. But I had to include it because I was smitten with what looks like the profile of a face on the far left. See it?...

Bet you do now!...

It seemed like poor BW had barely gotten our car back up to highway speed when I spied this sundog and had him pull over again so I could photograph it...

I was really tickled to get this shot because not only have I rarely seen a sundog ~ and never when I've had my camera with me ~ it also makes for another SkyWatch Friday entry! :-)

So here's where we'll be staying for the next four nights, the historic Art Deco Armstrong Hotel in Old Town, Fort Collins...

We love staying at The Armstrong, it's a really cool old hotel within walking/biking distance to everything (they'll even loan you the bike!) They have pet-friendly rooms, too, and next time we go we plan to take Willow with us. And don't you love the cheerful, citrusy colors of our room?

Stay tuned for some fun sights, food, flowers, and critters in Fort Collins and Boulder!


  1. I love this post and the beautiful photos. Nice to find this after yesterday's sinus surgery. Anyway, I'm a bit slow, but you live in Sheridan, Wyoming? Where they are running the Bighorn 100 mile endurance run? Which my son Eric is running in tomorrow, Friday and Saturday? He may not care, but I like knowing you are in the area! I gather the snow is making the trail a problem. Over and out for now!

  2. You have no idea how enticing the pics are of the snow...oh wow. It's approaching 100 degrees daily here, we're having july/august in june. I look forward to following your journey. Your house looks fab, how can you leave that beautiful place?..and Punky...

  3. Daphne ~ I hope your surgery was a success and that you're not uncomfortable! I'm glad to see you're feeling up to browsing blogs, at least, and that you enjoyed this post!

    We live in Big Horn, about 6 miles south of Sheridan, and they're doing the Bighorn Mountain Wild & Scenic Trails Run out of Dayton, which is a few miles north of Sheridan. But wow, Eric will be in yodeling distance from our place for sure when he gets up that trail! :-) Too bad they're not doing the run up Red Grade (the road in the photo with the pink arrow), I'd go stand out there with a big sign that said, "Good luck Daphne's Eric!" :-) What a small world! I'm not surprised to hear that snow could be a problem on some of the route. It's supposed to rain tomorrow morning but then be nice tomorrow afternoon and Saturday, sunny but not too hot, so he should have a pleasant time! Well, as pleasant as running 100 miles up and down a mountain CAN be! That's just crazy, you don't mind my sayin'. LOL I hope he does well and enjoys his stay in the Sheridan area!

    P.S. Thanks for the adorable picture of Josie, and yup - I sure do know where! :-)

    veganelder ~ Speaking of crazy... those temps sure qualify! I hope you get some relief soon! It's currently 45ยบ and raining hard here. Wish I could send this nice cool air your way, I'd sure do it!

    I know, there are many things about living here I'll miss (Punky not the least of them for sure! Though she doesn't give us the time of day now that there's plenty out there to eat, lol). But there are things I won't miss, too, like BW's commute (he's working till at least 9 tonight, so it would be nice if our house were in town!) and having such a big place to maintain and clean for just the two of us. Doesn't look like I'll be having to say goodbye to Punky or our home anytime soon, though... nothing at all is happening in real estate around here right now. For anyone. *sigh*

    Stay out of that horrid heat, and I'll blow Punky a kiss from you next time I see her sauntering by! (Should be seeing fawns around pretty soon!)

  4. Well, somehow I feel better knowing you are at least within yodeling distance! Glad to know that the weather is at least moderately cooperative and yes, I agree that running 100 miles is insanity of the highest order, but he apparently loves it. His wife and daughter will be crewing at an aid station while he runs. I think the sinus surgery will help and I am doing better than anticipated. If I'm feeling up to it I get to meet a cocker in need of a home who is the same age and coloring as my Poosa (black and white) and we are excited. His name is Oliver and his picture is adorable. I hope to feel good enough tomorrow to ask for the meet and greet! I'd then have 3 dogs to match the 3 cats! That's it on this end!

  5. Hurray! I'm definitely ready for a vacation! We probably won't be getting away until September at the earliest, so I'm happy to travel vicariously along with your photos. What lovely pics of your house and the mountains...I love to ride in the car and watch the scenery and daydream...something I haven't done in quite a while. Traveling is so exciting.

    Sorry you couldn't get a pic of the windmill, but I can imagine it. :)

    Oh, and I do see the profile face...he looks like a dormant rock monster ready to come to life...there's a lot of potential in that formation for seeing different forms and things.

    So that's a sun dog eh? I've never heard of them's the sort of rainbow cloud right? Magic!

    Your hotel room does look lovely! Can't wait for more installments.

    Here's wishing you a speedy house sale too!

  6. Your road shots are so much better than mine; I never get to stop and take photos of the great scenes we pass. Never heard of a sundog but it's terrific — like a baby rainbow. And your descriptions of the things you didn't photograph are wonderful. I love the setting of your house. Who wouldn't want to live there. Surely someone will buy it.

  7. I've seen quite a few sundogs but I must say this one is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. The color is stunning!

  8. Your house is in such a beautiful location. I love the hills & mountains! So much snow left on them, too. Wow!

    I've never seen a sundog. How cool! The hotel looks really nice- I love that the floors aren't carpeted. Oh, and I totally see the face profile. I can just imagine how pretty the entire ride down was. I loved going from Wyoming down into Colorado on a few of our trips. <3

  9. Pretty pictures! And that hotel looks like such a neat place to stay! Filing it away in the memory banks.

  10. I love the clear blue sky above the mountains.
    That sundog is a great catch.

  11. Laloofah -- Your home is lovely and in a fantastic setting. I have never seen a sundog before -- will do a little bit of research about them online. Old historic hotels are such fun places to stay at -- good looking vintage neon sign! Fun post -- barbara

  12. Daphne ~ We had rain in the night, but none this morning - bright, cool, sunny day! Should be ideal for Eric's run. And I'll keep my ears peeled for any yodels from on high. ;-)

    Good luck with Oliver! I hope that works out!

    Rose ~ I'm delighted to have you along for the journey! :-)

    Love your interpretation of the Rock Man Face! :-) It can be fun to pick out images in rock formations, just like in clouds. Speaking of which, I'd only heard of sundogs for the first time fairly recently, and BW hadn't heard of them before. They can look like a rainbow ("rainbow cloud" is a great description!), but aren't rainbows. They're more of an ice crystal halo.

    Thanks for the speedy house sale wishes! It's been bleak, sure hope we can get something going before the 4th of July!

    I hope to have the next installment up on Monday. We were supposed to have a cold, rainy morning and I was going to work on it, but as I told Daphne, the day is bright and sunny. And now I've got the realtor coming out to take fresh photos for our Visual Tour so it'll show what this place looks like when it's all green, leafy and blooming! It's just gorgeous right now, wish I could take all of you with me on a hike among the wildflowers this afternoon! :-)

    Andrea ~ I know, it can be quite frustrating, especially when traveling on the Interstate! Someday I'd love to take a long trip on the backroads, camera at the ready.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the sundog! It is like a baby rainbow! Or a rainbow blob. No, baby rainbow or rainbow cloud sound much better. I'll let you and Rose nickname it. LOL I'm glad you enjoyed my descriptions of the missed photos, hopefully you were able to see them just fine in your mind's eye! And thank you for your compliments on our property. I hope you're right! And I hope that someone will appreciate the same things about it that we do, and not just see it as a place to ride 4-wheelers (which has been the trend among the newest neighbors, grrr!)

    Carletta ~ Thank you so much, for both your visit and your kind comment! I love your photos and am now following your blog. :-)

  13. Molly ~ Thanks, we think so too! We'd have built something different and in a different spot (an earth-bermed house on the south side of the ravine just below our house would have been ideal!), but we've taken what we were able to buy at the time and tried to make it blend in better with its surroundings and be really comfortable and nice.

    I'm always happy when I can share something that's new to people, and it sounds like sundogs aren't well known! I'm glad to have introduced you to them, maybe you'll spy some now on your outings! You'd love The Armstrong, they even offer "alternative bedding" for people with allergies, and none of the rooms are carpeted (the hallways are, though). You can see photos of all their rooms on their website, each one is different... some modern like ours, some vintage, and in a variety of colors. And you'll see another reason you'd love the Armstrong in a future post! Tease, tease! ;-)

    The drive down was lovely, everything was very green. It won't stay that way for long in those southern areas (from Casper down it gets so brown!), but it was lovely now thanks to all the snow and rain.

    Jamie ~ Yes it was, and if I may say - you ain't seen nuthin' yet! :-) I think I got some good photos and a fun variety. I think of all of you as I'm taking photos!

    Georgia ~ Thank you, and do file The Armstrong away! It's within walking distance of pretty neighborhoods, fun shops, and best of all - lots of vegan food! :-)

    afanja ~ The skies out here are usually that deep shade of blue. Montana is called "Big Sky Country" but that could just as easily apply to Wyoming. Your stunning photos of the seagull and beautiful beaches on that island had a gorgeous blue sky too! Thank you for visiting!

    Barbara ~ Thank you! We love the setting too. Have fun researching sundogs! In looking for the link I used, I learned a lot about optical sky phenomena I didn't know! I mostly just knew about rainbows, but there is so much more going on up there!

    The Armstrong is the perfect place to stay, it's "our" hotel there. :-) And yes, they've got a great neon sign, love the art deco look of it. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

  14. Heisann!

    Thank you for visiting my blog some time ago.
    Sorry for my late feedback!
    The landscape on your photos reminds me of my own country.
    Have a nice weekend ;:OD)

  15. If we ever stay in Ft. Collins, it'll definitely be at the Armstrong!

    I was always amazed at the difference between the beginning of summer & end of it when we would travel around that area. It does get quite dry!

  16. Vilt og vakkert ~ "Wild and Wonderful," great blog name!

    Thank you for visiting my blog! I haven't had the chance to visit Norway, but know from photographs how stunningly beautiful it is, so if my landscape photos remind you of it then that is quite a compliment for Wyoming's scenery!

    Happy fredag! And I hope you have a lovely weekend too! :-)

    Molly ~ I know you're fan of Boulder, but I think you'd enjoy Fort Collins a lot too. They have a fun sustainable living fair in September, maybe you guys could make it there for that! When you stay at the Armstrong, I recommend a room in the center. The streets it faces are very busy all the time, and it can get loud and rowdy out there! Fun if you're a night owl, but if you're use to quiet like we are, the interior rooms are better. If we want to hear all the action, we'll just go out there and join in. :-)

    I'm hoping our area will stay green and moist all summer, since there's so much fuel with all the rain we had - it wouldn't be good if it all dried out!

  17. Great pics, TW!...can't wait for even more. Maybe someday I can send you my sundog pics amd we can compare, if I can find them ;-).
    Also...loved the late lilac pics from your earlier post from Sheridan. Man, you ARE late out there. Our lilacs have been gone for several weeks, along with the jonquils.
    So, you might move into Sheridan now? Hope you can get your place sold before you find another place, because......we carried two mortgages and took care of two properties for four months back in 2006. Wouldn't wish that on anyone!! Your hard work will be rewarded, I'm sure ;-)).
    Miss you!

  18. Spud ~ Thanks, Spudly Do-Right! :-) They're coming soon, I promise! (Please see my remark in tonight's post, LOL!) Hey, you've got sundog pics? Cool! I hope you can find them, I'd love to see 'em!

    I know, we are behind. They're still getting snow in Jackson, at least we seem to have that behind us now! Our jonquils and daffs have gone by the board, but the lilacs are still gorgeous in town! And now our blue flax is starting to bloom. Irises and peonies should be next! And of course the wildflowers are going apeshit-crazy after all that rain!

    Oh, did I fail to tell you of our latest plan?! I don't doubt it, things have been in a state of delirium for a while. Yes, assuming we sell this place this summer and find a suitable place in Sheridan, Plan A is to buy it and camp out there for the next 5 years till BW retires. If there ISN'T a suitable place for sale, then Plan B is for BW to take deferred retirement, sell most of our stuff and store the rest, and load up the dogs and mice and be liveaboards, sailing the Great Loop for a year or two with forays to the Bahamas and Nova Scotia. (After that, I don't know. Divorce, perhaps? ROTFL!) Of course, we'd need to take sailing lessons first! Oh, it would be a grand and crazy adventure! We've considered other scenarios (like building a house), but rejected them. We decided to not even have our realtor show us any more houses till we have a solid contract on this place. Your cautionary tale is a wise one to heed! I imagine that was terribly stressful, and I'm sure glad it didn't drag on any longer than four months! BW's boss is in that pickle... they closed on a new house today, but don't even have any prospects on their old one so they're going to rent it. We thought about that too (renting this one out or buying one of the houses in town we like and renting it out till we sell this one), but don't want to be landlords and have two places to support and maintain! UGH. I want a simpler life, and that wouldn't qualify!

    So I'll let you know what it'll be one of these days... a set of new house keys or a life jacket! ;-)

  19. Oh gosh, I've forgotten everything I wanted to comment on already, ha! I've never heard of a sundog before! I... DO see the face! That room IS really nice and cheerful! And the more I see of America, the more beautiful I realize it can be and that I need to go back - clearly I lived in the most boring place of the country!

  20. Eva ~ Yes, you DO need to come back and see more of the US! :-)

  21. I finally made it to your first travel post. Great photos and thanks for the information ont he sun dog - i had never heard of them. I might have seen one but not that I can remember since it wouldn't have made an impression like seeing one would now.

    Although you didn't get a photo of it, I'm glad you told us about the black angus calf. I can almost picture it myself!

    The hotel looks so quaint and I did like your citrusy room. I so often forget to photograph the room - glad you didn't!

    Looking forward to the next installment but first i'm going to go back to an older post.

  22. Jo ~ I wonder why sun dogs (and almost all of the other "sky optics") are unfamiliar to so many of us? Why don't they teach about them in school? I think they're interesting, as well as pretty. So thank goodness for the internet, at least, where we can still learn about these things when we're old! LOL

    I'm glad you were able to describe the sweet calf dozing under the old windmill. (Still wishing I could have gotten that photo, though!)

    I always forget to take a photo of my hotel rooms (assuming there's anything special about them) until after I've garped them up with all my gear. That almost happened this time, too, and I'm glad it didn't!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

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