Don't Tread on Me

As if the glider ride wasn't enough to make today exciting, Chloe and I had some company while walking Chamberlain on the trail next to our house this afternoon. Take a look.

Thankfully, he wasn't very active as we approached. The clouds mentioned in the Glider post kept things relatively cool here today. It was a little sunny as we walked by, so (s)he was probably warming up on the rocks. I started to agitate some rocks to get him moving off the trail, and eventually we heard the rattle go off and it moved off into the grass.

A Time to Soar

This morning, Chloe and I used up one of the gift certificates she received for Christmas last year: a 1 hour glider ride over the Boulder area!

When I woke up, the weather looked very promising... clear, sunny blue skies. Unfortunately, conditions changed over the next couple of hours and some cloud cover started coming in. When we arrived at the airport, there were still some patches of blue sky so we decided to give it a go.

Chloe was a trooper... the only time some anxiety crept in was when we were stepping into the glider. Because it only has one wheel under the fuselage, it doesn't rest level and can wobble easily . So when she stepped in, it wobbled and it gave her some pause. But once the tow rope was attached and the tow plane started pulling us down the runway - and despite the "cozy" conditions we enjoyed - she was clearly excited and all smiles as we lifted off. We were pulled by the tow plane for about 20 minutes to an altitude just above cloud cover. Sean, our pilot, then released the rope and we were on our own.

We were able to get a good aerial view of Boulder for most of the flight, but the clouds did prevent us from getting closer to or clear views of the mountains. Chloe had trouble picking things out, so I pointed out some items of interest to her: her school, where she played soccer, Folsom Field, our neighborhood and Haystack Mountain, to name a few.

We were aloft for about 40 minutes before touching down again on terra firma.

(Photos below. Click on photo for a larger version.)

A pre-glide photo.

Our tow plane and pilot.

All smiles aloft.

Soaring above the clouds.

A mid-flight photo.

A hazy view of
the mountains.

Central and Northern

CU's Folsom Field.

North Boulder (our
neighborhood is
in the middle of the

Another mid-flight photo.

Boulder's newest sky jockies.


Lemonade Aid

This morning Chloe and Peggy were able to check-off one of the things on Chloe's to-do list for the summer: put up a lemonade stand and raise money for local families in need. This was a project Chloe wanted to do for some time, and thanks to a free weekend as well as a cool lemonade stand given to her by her Aunt Diane, she was finally able to do it. So, with signs, chairs, lemonade stand, umbrella and a large cooler full of lemonade loaded in the car, they headed down to a local intersection at 9 this morning to entice runners, walkers, cyclists, drivers and all manner of passers-by for the next 3 hours.

And entice they did.

The report from Peggy was that there was a pretty steady stream of folks stopping by, many of them coming back to the stand after having seen it earlier on their run/walk/ride/drive, when they didn't have any money on them. One woman was driving along with her mother, who was visiting from Peru. The mother was curious as to what was going on, so the woman told her. The mother was amazed, so the woman stopped and bought some lemonade for herself and her mom. And when she learned the proceeds were going to a local NPO, the woman was amazed, and couldn't wait to pass that information along to her mom.

Shortly after noon, they broke down the stand and headed home to find out how much they raised. Once all the coins and bills were counted, the realized they raised $31.45.

Way to go Chloe and Peggy!

The Lemonade Ladies



Yesterday afternoon and evening, we took a trip up to Cheyenne, WY to check out the Cheyenne Frontier Days (read: a very, VERY big fair and rodeo that is about 90 minutes away.) We were interested in seeing the CFDs as a stand-alone event but an extra driving factor for us going last night was that Peggy and Chloe had tickets to see the Taylor Swift concert. We were accompanied by some friends, John and his son Evan (a classmate of Chloe's), as John is a native Cheyenner and could guide us around.

We got up there mid-afternoon with only about an hour left in the day's rodeo event. And with the kids seeing rides, games and fair food galore, we realized there was no way we'd be able to get them to sit for the next 60 minutes. So we strolled the fairgrounds and moseyed through the livestock stables for a while. One group of animals stood out - a team of Percheron horses that were brought in from Texas. I can't recall all of the specs on them, but here are some averages: weight of 1,800 lbs.; height of 6'2" at the withers (shoulders); drink about 20-30 gallons of water a day.

After Evan and Chloe did some rides and chugged down some cream soda, we made our way to the other side of the fairgrounds to take the "Behind the Chutes Tour." While waiting for the tour to begin, I checked out a wonderful bronze statue of a professional bull rider named Lane Frost. In 1989, he was riding a bull in the arena we were about to take a tour of. He got off the bull after a successful 8 second ride, only to be charged by the bull and knocked violently to the ground, and then charged again. It was suspected the bull broke some ribs, which in turn severed a major artery. He collapsed in the arena and died.

Once the tour started, we got a close up look of the "broncs" and bulls, steers and calves that the rodeo athletes were contending with, as well a walk across the rodeo arena and by and in the chutes themselves. A few things stood out on this tour:
1) The tour leader mentioned there were 1,800 athletes competing in the 12 day event.
2) The animals look a lot bigger in person then they do on TV... some bulls approach the 1 ton mark.
3) The bulls looked ticked off just standing in the corrals, so I could only imagine how unhappy they become when riders are their back and some ropes have tied around their torsos.
4) The ground in the arena is anything but soft... it has a little give. Very little.

After the tour, we made our way back to the food concessions for some dinner so Peggy and Chloe could go enjoy the concert in their new cowboy hats... when in Rome, eh? While Peggy and Chloe were toe-tappin' and boot-slappin' the night away, John, Evan, John's parents (who had come to join us) and I bided our time on the Midway and in the expo halls (I was particularly impressed by a pair of ostrich skin boots... not enough to buy them of course.)

At the start of the second encore, I got a call from Peg saying they were heading out... they were having a great time, but, since it was close to 11:00p, Chloe was running on empty. So they met up with us outside the arena, and we made our way back to our cars to begin the trek home... and make plans for going back next year.

(Pictures, top to bottom: Chloe and Evan doing some Elephant riding (x2); Chloe in the chutes; some of the bulls riders will get on during the rodeo (x2))


One Down!

Chloe lost her 1st tooth today!

And it couldn't have come sooner. For one, she's been talking and hoping for this event for weeks, largely because a lot of her classmates were coming into school with "1st Tooth" stories. (Some had second and third tooth stories.) Secondly, she woke up this morning and the thing was almost horizontal!

She's all excited to see what the Tooth Fairy brings her!


Goin' Up The Country

We took our first camping trip this weekend, a one-nighter about 50 minutes away. The occasion was to celebrate a friend's 40th Birthday... she didn't want something at fancy restaurant; rather, she wanted to hang out in the woods with some family and friends. And KnPnCnC were more than happy to RSVP to that.

And we're glad we did. A great time was had by all... KnP met a lot of great people and enjoyed the view of the night sky, C (human) played with other kids until she practically dropped, and C (dog) enjoyed the leash-free hike and nabbing half-eaten sandwiches out of the garbage.

It was also the first time we got to try out our new tent. Shortly before leaving PA, we returned our old tent to LL Bean because the zipper was shot. In its place, we got one that (we thought) was a little bigger, realizing that Chloe's only going to get bigger, and more gear and whatnot will need to be stored, preferably under some cover.

Well, when we laid the footprint out, we realized that the yet unseen tent is considerably bigger than what we had, so much so that I asked Peg, "What did we buy?" What we found, and remembered, is that we bought essentially a 4 person tent that has (for lack of a better phrase) a small screened-in porch attached... a place to sit with some chairs if its raining or buggy, or store gear. It took us a while to get used to the size, but at night, when it was time to get some shut-eye, we all appreciated the extra space!


Kicking Off the Weekend... by Getting my Butt Kicked

Now that I'm back on the bike, I'm slowly getting around to regaining some conditioning. I'm also getting around to checking out some of the "classic" Boulder climbs, and today's foray took me up Sunshine Canyon.

To get to it, I had to head downhill towards town, which, while probably better than starting right at the base, doesn't allow for much of a warm-up. But, one takes what one gets, so I did what I could in terms of warm-up in the first 4 miles. And then the climb began.

In a geographical-bait-and-switch, the first initial stretch is relatively gradual. But then the real climb reveals itself -- for the next 2.75 miles, the grade averages 7.5%. That by itself, though, doesn't completely describe the first section because during this first 2.75 miles, the further up I went, the average grade got steeper. For example, near the end of this section there were grades in the 10-15% range. To be sure, I was in my lowest gear, and thinking "perhaps I bit off more than I can chew at this point on my road back." But, I didn't pick this road to walk up it, so I had gave myself no other choice but to keep turning the pedals over.

At the end of this first section, there was time for some recovery... for about a quarter mile. Then the climb began to bite again: the next mile averaged a 6% grade. By this time, my legs were more than warmed-up, so things felt a little easier, all things equal. This middle stretch was followed by a half-mile opportunity to recover and refuel, before I made my final push up the .75 mile section at 6.25%. Well, my final section... the road turns to dirt and continues to climb, so I rode the dirt for a little bit before turning around and headed back home (I had a lunch date with Peggy!)

It was, in terms of mileage, a pretty short ride... right around 20 miles round-trip. But it was the 2,200 feet of elevation gain that made it some of the more challenging 90 minutes I've had on my bike.