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

Monday, June 20, 2011

CO: Various Vehicles & Vintage Buildings

Welcome to post #2 in a series featuring some of the sights and sounds from a recent vacation in Fort Collins and Boulder, CO!

Here are a few of the more unusual, fun and colorful ways people get around in Fort Collins...

Fort Collins is a very bike-friendly, bike-loving town where bikes and bike racks (some designed to look like artful sculptures) are ubiquitous, there are multiple bike shops and lots of bike lanes - and people wearing tshirts that say things like "MORE BIKE LANES!" There's even a bike library (you'll see it in an upcoming post), which I think is brilliant. Anyway, with all that bike mania, how could I neglect to take at least one bike photo? Especially since so many of the bikes were unique or pretty, like these two...

I like the funky patchwork design and colors on the blue bike (and figure you quilters out there - Jo, Daphne - will too!), as well as the old Soviet look of Cyrillic lettering and hammer & sickle graphics on the (appropriately colored) red one. :-) (Only now I can't get "Back in the USSR" to stop playing in my head!) If memory from my college Russian class serves, that word spells "cruiser," but in Cyrillic lettering.

If I couldn't bear to neglect photographing bikes in Fort Collins, you KNOW I couldn't neglect to ride one! So BW and I took advantage of the free bike loans available at The Armstrong and spent the gorgeous morning of his birthday cruising the old bungalow-filled neighborhoods around Old Town. Here's the birthday boy himself, posing with his spiffy red New Belgium Brewing (brewers of Fat Tire Ale) cruiser in front of the Armstrong before our ride...

As the designated photographer, I have no photo of my bike,
but it was the same fire engine red as BW's.
(Note the dog behind BW. The first of many you'll see,
since dogs are nearly as omnipresent in FC as bikes!)

There is no shortage of styles when it comes to human powered vehicles in Fort Collins. Here's a snazzy recumbent tricycle, complete with cardinal windsock...

Took this one for you, Spud, devoted lover of cardinals! ;-)

I loved this cheerful Prius taxi when I saw it go zipping by on busy College Ave and knew I wanted to get a photo of it at the first opportunity. I finally got my chance the next evening when I saw it parked near our hotel....

I thought the green-eyed eagle head ornament on this pretty blue Vespa-like scooter was snazzy, and couldn't help but wonder if his eyes light up (that would look cool!)...

And I thought this turquoise Harley was a hoot! Check out those fishtail exhaust pipes, the Hawaii license plate, and the "God Bless Johnny Cash" bumper sticker! (Though I can easily picture a "God Bless Elvis" bumper sticker on it instead, since I think it would look right at home parked at Graceland!)...

So choose your favorite set of wheels and let's cruise around Fort Collins and Boulder and see some of the pretty buildings...

This is another old hotel in Old Town called The Northern, built in 1837 and existing as The Agricultural and then The Commercial before it underwent extensive remodeling and was given its current name in 1905. Now being used for affordable senior housing, this beautiful stained glass ceiling looms over the lobby...

Very elegant! But the whole place was echoey-deserted.

Remember those tri-colored, coconut-flavored Brach's Neopolitan Coconut Sundae candies* from (for some of us) childhood? That's what the paint scheme on this house reminds me of...

But they do match this house, I'll give 'em that! :-)

We came across this house in an especially pretty neighborhood, and enjoyed a wonderful visit with a couple named Tim and Mary who were having to cut down a big cottonwood tree on their lot beside it. We had much in common and I'm sure if we lived in Fort Collins we'd all be buds! (Small world story - Mary is from the Penobscot Bay, Maine town of Bucksport and her daughter lives in Belfast, where we vacationed last year!)

You may recall a few photos I shared from Joanne and my Historic Homes Walking Tour around Boulder a couple of years ago. BW and I toured one of the same neighborhoods, Mapleton Hill, so here are two more of that beautiful area's stately old homes...

(You'll be seeing those pretty lupines again later!) ;-)

The whole house was handsome, but I especially admired this elegant architectural detail...

And Jo, in case you're wondering ~ we walked past Peggy and Joe's house but unfortunately no one was around to invite us in for a tour and a glass of wine! ;-) It still looks beautiful, of course.

And what's a fine house without an inviting gate or whimsical fence?

I have a love affair with enchanting gates,
like this one in Boulder.

Don't all you fans of felines wish you had a fun picket fence like this one?...

We must have passed this fence, which surrounded a lovely Fort Collins home on a busy corner, a hundred times on foot and by car. But either it was dark out, we were in a hurry, or I didn't have my camera with me. I was determined to get a photo of it, but the last and only chance I got was on our way out of town from the car window while we were at a red light that turned green much too quickly. So I got the fence, but not one of the fence with the house it surrounds! Oh well, next time!


  1. What a fun post! Fort Collins sounds a lot like Boulder. I'm still tempted to brave the winters and move there, but alas, I know that would most likely put a sour taste in my mouth for Colorado.

    The bikes are a lot of fun. Cruisers are so comfy to ride. I love mine, although it's not nearly as pretty as the ones you shot or the red ones you rode. I love that they have Prius taxis!

    How on earth do they navigate that Harley without breaking off one of those pipes?!? So cool, but wow! Very kitschy bike. I love it. :)

    The buildings are beautiful. They just don't make them like that anymore, which is sad. I adore that kitty post fence. <3

  2. Looks like you're having a fun time on vacation. I love all those bikes...and they're just bikes, not fancy multispeed bikes-I'd take the one with the USSR (thanks for inserting that tune in MY brains as well)lettering. Might need to put some playing cards in the spokes to make noise tho.
    Keep enjoying....and happy birthday to BW.

  3. Made my morning to see your pics...thanks mucho!

  4. Molly ~ Thanks, I was hoping everyone would think it's fun! :-) Wouldn't it be nice if you and Mike could have a little earthship retreat in the AZ or NM desert to stay in the winter, and a summer cottage in Boulder or Fort Collins? Hey, we can dream, can't we? :-)

    What kind of cruiser do you have? We want to get bikes when we move (whether to house or boat!) and have been researching and looking. I think the Townies are fun, that's what Robyn's got and she really likes it. But we've looked at others, too. I also love the Prius taxis! That's so smart!

    And I thought the same thing about those crazy tailpipes! I'd have snapped them off on my first day, I'm sure. :-) And it's kitschy indeed, which is why I can picture it parked at Graceland! Or, for that matter, at The House on the Rock!" LOL

    I agree about it being sad they don't create buildings like that anymore. Some of them were works of art. Though I am glad to see a resurgence in Craftsman-style bungalows. Most of the new homes being built around here are that style now, though not with the same actual craftsmanship or architectural details as the ones in days of yore.

    Knew you'd be one of my readers who loved that feline fence! :-)

    Sue ~ Oh, sadly we've been back home since the evening of June 7th and the vacation ended a week ago, but just as I did when creating and sharing the Maine vacation posts, I'm happily reliving the trip! :-) Of the two, I'd want the Russki bike too, and I'd play "Back in the USSR" in a continuous loop from a CD player mounted on it. Might as well have that playing in more heads than just thine and mine, right? LOL And I'm totally with you on the playing card in the bike spokes thing - I used to love to do that, and will do it again when I get a bike! :-)

    Thanks for BW's birthday wishes, I'll pass them along! Our 23rd wedding anniversary was Saturday too - June's a fun month for us!

    veganelder ~ Well yay! I'm so glad! And you're so welcome! :-)

  5. Oh, I meant to link to this bike, which the one you had in this post kind of reminded me of. :)

  6. Riding bikes around lovely neighborhoods in the sunshine sounds like a wonderful start to a birthday! Love all the bikes.

    The buildings are beautiful too, especially that stained glass. I remember those candies...I never liked little candies, but that house totally looks like them...the colors are just the same.

    The kitty fence is awesome! Fort Collins seems like a very pretty and relaxing place.

  7. Hey! Just a quick note before work. Loved your latest post. Ft. Collins looks like our kind of town! The lifestyle and architecture.....too cool. Thanks for the cardinal pic...just for me!! You're the best. AND....a belated Happy Birthday to BW. Looks like you two had a very nice time....and that's a good thing!

  8. Molly ~ Oh wow, Molly, isn't THAT something! LOL! Can you imagine having that come roaring up behind you on the freeway? Probably blind every other driver with the sunlight reflecting off the rhinestones! Makes the Hawaii Harley I saw look dreadfully dull in comparison, and definitely should be parked at Graceland... or ON the Hill House carousel! :-) Thanks for sharing that!

    Rose ~ It really was, we enjoyed it. BW hadn't been on a bike since 1998 when we rode them in The Netherlands (from our B&B through the woods to the North Sea to watch the sun set - that was fun!), and I hadn't ridden a bike since the last time I visited Joanne (geez, five years ago?). BW wasn't as excited about getting to ride again as I was, but he had a blast and now can't wait to get his own bike! We spent much of one morning in a Fort Collins bike shop (and part of another morning in the bike section at the REI store) learning about the various bikes. They've come a long way since the only decisions we had to make were 3 vs. 10 speeds, ram vs. regular handlebars, and whether you wanted a sissy bar and if so, how tall? :-)

    I wonder if those candies were the inspiration for their paint choices? Not the colors I'd have picked, but then... not the candy I'd have picked either! ;-)

    We loved the kitty fence. I can just picture it at Halloween, with orange and black mini lights twining through it and pumpkins arranged at its base.

    We found Fort Collins very relaxed and friendly and fun, and very pretty too. Old Town, with its abundance of bars, gets pretty rowdy on weekends, especially when college is in full swing. We found it very lively at night, but guess we were safely tucked away in our comfy Armstrong bed before anything got too wild.

    Spud ~ You guys would definitely like Fort Collins a lot, there's always plenty of fun stuff going on there (and in Boulder, too!) that you would enjoy! Ever since our first trip there in 1988, we've thought it would be a fun place to live, and we think that now more than ever.

    I'm glad you like the cardinal windsock picture! Can't see a cardinal without thinking of you! :-)

    We had a great time, it really helped make up for having to cancel our two week trip to Oregon we'd planned. Those little getaways can be as much fun as the bigger, more expensive ones, and we hope to get back to FC soon!

  9. There are so many cool things here! I love that blue bike '9for some reason I imagined that the bikes belong to a couple, ha!). That yellow taxi cab and cat fence are also so cool. What a quirky and cute place!

  10. Fort Collins looks like one cool place to live, and I can see why you have it on your radar. Why, we could retire there and live at The Northern. ;)

    I kept trying to see the fishtail exhaust pipes but I wasn't looking far enough away from the bike. Someone could trip over those!

    I love the houses on your tour — about the exact opposite of our little house. They just look so inviting and BIG, and so full of old character.

  11. Eva ~ I'm glad you enjoyed it, I thought that stuff was pretty cool too. And I think you're right that the blue and red bikes belong to a couple, since it appears they share a bike lock! :-)

    Andrea ~ LOL - what's this "we" stuff, woman?! (But yeah, the same thought had occurred to me!!) ;-)

    I agree that those fishtail pipes present a trip hazard! Probably help keep people from tailgating, though - assuming they can see them!

    And I agree with you about the houses. Wish I could see inside a bunch of them! Jo and I were lucky enough to get an impromptu tour of a few rooms in one of the prettiest houses in that neighborhood a couple of years ago, when we met the owner out walking her dogs. When we got to her house she invited us in (we hadn't KNOWN it was her house till that moment and I'm sure our jaws dropped, and stayed unhinged throughout our tour!) Definitely a house with character, history and amazing workmanship.

  12. Where or where to start. There was lots of great stuff here.

    As I'm sure you might have guessed, I'm took the blue bike with the funky patchwork design on tour with you.

    I'm a little confused about the New Belgium Brewing - I know it's the brewing co that makes Fat Tire and my wonderful post coaster - but is it also a brand of bycicle or was it BW's nickname for it?

    I'm not much into motorcycle but that Turquoise Harley was a hoot! I so see that with a Johnny Cash fan!!

    I would so have loved to see THe Norhtern's stainglassed ceiling in person - thanks for offering two photos of it.

    Your neighborhood tour brought back so many good memories - I'll never forget Peggy and Joe and that awfull rainstorm - what a memory. Glad you enjoyed Tim and Mary - Obviously you didn't say "I hope someone invites us in for tea" before you rounded the corner of their house!

    I'm not a fan of cats but that fence was too cute. I thought it was nice that the cats were subtle!

    Looking forward to more tomorrow but have to get back to work! This has been so much fun.

  13. Jo ~ I really like it when you're TDY in GA, you get lots more time to play on my blog! :-)

    Re: your preference for the blue patchwork bike, yep - I DID guess that's what you'd choose! ;-) As for BW's New Belgium Brewing bike, I'm glad you asked! New Belgium has been commissioning special edition bikes since 1999, and you can each year's model here. BW was riding the '04 model in gloss red (you can see the details if you click on the photo I posted). My favorite is the '05 in green and white! Which one's yours? I have no idea if or where they sell them, but you can trade your car in for one! ;-)

    I wish you could have seen that stained glass ceiling in person too, it was much bigger than I could capture on camera, but I'm glad I included the second photo of it for you.

    And those memories we have of Peggy and Joe's are such fun! I'll never forget that, it was magical. You'd have enjoyed Tim and Mary a lot too. When Mary's new house is completed and we go back by there someday, I'll have to remember to say those magic words before we turn her corner... "I wish someone would invite us in for tea!" LOL - I'd forgotten about that! That must be the reason Peggy and Joe weren't out in their yard when BW and I went by. ;-)

    I could imagine having a lot of fun decorating that cat fence at Halloween, winding those orange and dark purple lights through the pickets and putting pumpkins along its base and some black cat silhouettes here and there along the top rail...

    You're going to love the Colorado post that's next in line! Better eat before you look at it, and don't show up hot and thirsty, either! ;-)

  14. I showed Silas the Turquoise Harley. He loved it.

    My test is being graded so I leave in a minute.

    Jonesboro, GA, here I come!

  15. Jo ~ As I figured he would! :-) I'm so glad you got the chance to show it to him. And thanks for letting me know!

    Hope you aced your test and that Jonesboro was even better than you anticipated! Can't wait to hear about it!



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

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There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
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That Nature is a community to which we belong
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