BACK AT 2013
By the time you read this we’ll be in
Tucson enjoying warm winter weather. It will be our second full winter
at Desert Trails RV Park and our fifth visit since discovering it in
2010. We regret leaving our good friends in Nederland for the winter,
though to tell the truth, several of those we spend time with are also
heading for their own winter retreats: Florida, Texas, and Arizona. One
couple got so tired of the snow and ice and wind they permanently moved
to southern California.
As much as we will miss our mountain neighbors, we
look forward to our second set of friends when we reach Desert Trails
just west of Tucson. We have kept in touch with many of them throughout
the eight months we’re in Nederland; several couples have paid visits
to us here, which gives us a chance to show them our beautiful area at
its best: in the summer and fall.
By now, you have had a chance to read our
newsletters about the first half of the year: our winter in Arizona and
the ups and downs of our spring—knee replacement and recovery; bringing
Bella back from the brink of a serious heart condition thanks to the
genius and careful diagnosis by the head cardiologist at CSU’s
veterinary school; Judy’s discovery of the joys of bicycling to replace
part of her passion for running which she had to curtail because of
injury. All this and our other routines and minutia are found in the winter
BUDDES COME CALLING
We finished the year with several exciting events.
We had the house and garage stained, the septic pumped, the deck off
the living room replaced (warranty issues with the decking material),
the windows washed, all in preparation for a rare visit from the Boston
family: Dan and Debra, grandchildren Griffin and Julia, and Natalia, a
college friend of Griffin’s. They had planned a week’s visit (it
actually turned out to be four and a half days) and we tried to cram as
much into the week as possible. In that short time,
our first outing a leisurely 4-mile stroll through the nearby Caribou
Ranch Open Space trails to the site of the Bluebird Mine complex and
the DeLonde Homestead. At 8600’ elevation, it is an excellent place to
acclimate to altitude before heading to 10,000’ or higher.
•We successfully recaptured a little of
our collective pasts by duplicating a family photo we had taken about
15 years ago: comparing then and now was an eye-opener to everyone. See
for yourself in the pair of photos.
to Isabelle Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area—two miles of
gentle ascent to discover this scenic glacier-fed lake was undergoing
repairs to its drainage system and was therefore, empty save for a few
feet of water covering the deepest point in the basin that remained.
(The “lake” is in fact a reservoir owned by the Left Hand Ditch Company
established in the 1860s by farmers in eastern Boulder County to
protect their water rights.) We were disappointed at the lack of water,
but the weather was bright and sunny and the mountains were glorious.
on a moose hunt in the Brainard Lake area where numerous moose had been
recently spotted. We were ultimately successful and felt the extra
effort and time were worth it, especially for easterners who don't have
them frequently wander through their backyards.
a horseback ride into the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park
near Allenspark. Dan’s brother Jim and his wife Lucy drove up from
Denver to join the line of horses through some beautiful forested
mountains and meadows. This was followed a day or so later by a group
ride on Nederland’s Carousel. No horses though: zebras, leopards, dogs,
•We walked Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall,
a wonder of retail and eating opportunities, a customary—almost
obligatory—and much anticipated
experience when visiting us. However, our special dining treat was
dinner at the historic Gold Hill Inn in the small mining town of Gold
Hill, a short half hour away.
rest periods, we played cards, read, scouted our woods for local moose,
and most everyone tried their hands at splitting some logs. We’re glad
we don’t count on them to keep our supply ready for cold weather.
and Cindy joined us on the last day of the visit to complete the family
picture, though we thoughtlessly let the opportunity for a full family
photo get away from us. We wonder when we’ll have another opportunity
to squeeze all the Moirs/Buddes into one photographic memory.
MOIRS VISIT ENGLAND
Last year we had planned an 11-day trip to Cornwall
and Devon that would begin in late August. We had plenty of time after
the Buddes’ visit to get ready for the trip. Hughes finished physical
therapy a week before leaving and was given the green light to walk the
English countryside and villages as much as he wanted. Our passports
were in order, the rental car, as well as the airline tickets, were
confirmed. We had reservations at a resort in Devon and two B&Bs,
the first night in Clovelley and the last night in St. Ives. We had
arranged for the dogs to visit other dogs while we were gone: Bella
spent the time with Gidget at Michael and Cindy’s, and Lucy visited
Maggie who lives with neighbors Rick and Pat. In short, all was ready
and nothing could go wrong.
thanks to both the Moirs and the Rudstrums for helping to make our trip
possible by providing a safe and comfortable home for Bella and Lucy.
We knew they were in good hands.]
Once we located the site of the
car rental agency and secured a map of that would get us out of London
we had smooth sailing. We were surrounded by charming villages, green
fields, historic buildings, and we saw just about
everything we’d hoped for and planned. We returned with lingering
pleasures and mental images of a beautiful part of the world. Our
special destination was the village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, where Doc
Martin has his modest surgery, situated above Mr. Large's seaside
restaurant, shown on the left. For a
detailed account and more pictorial proof of Cornwall’s scenic coastal
villages, we have posted an online
account of the trip.
TRIP THAT DID NOT HAPPEN
When we returned from England, we had planned
pack up the RV, which we hadn’t had on the road for nearly a year, and
head west, either to the northwest (Washington, BC, Oregon) or to the
west coast (California). There were, however, two factors on which we
had not counted: we felt “traveled out” after our sojourn to England
and the need for re-establishing ties to home were very strong. In
addition, the week of our return, our part of Colorado, especially
Boulder County, got hit with a storm of “biblical proportions” (this
from a very excited member of the US Weather Bureau) that flooded
dozens of state highways and washed out bridges in the area that
interrupted normal transportation habits, to say nothing of destroying
homes, businesses, in some cases whole towns, and causing loss of
lives. The storm facts:
1. We arrived home on September
9. From September 9–13, 14.62 inches of rain fell in Boulder, Colorado.
2. On September 12, 9.07 inches
of rain fell in Boulder. The previous one-day record in any month was
4.8" in July, 1919. The wettest September day was 3.05" in 1909.
3. The average rainfall in
September is 1.63" The previous record in any month in Boulder is 9.60
inches in May, 1995. (We remember that vividly. We had water rushing
down our road and leaving about 2" in our lower level.)
To be clear, we do not live in Boulder. We are 18
miles west and 3,000' higher than Boulder. We were fortunate to escape
damage, unlike the nearby mountain town of Jamestown and the foothills
town of Lyons, both of which will be months or years to recover to some
facsimile of their pre-flood existence. We were inconvenienced at most:
we had to use alternative routes to get to Boulder or Denver that cost
us an extra half hour of travel. For the few minor
inconveniences we are very grateful. Many people lost their homes,
their belongings, their pets, their livelihoods.
In addition to forcing us to reroute our travel, the
flood (dubbed by an excited media as the “1000-Year Flood”) did cause
one inconvenience for us. The ground around the house became so
saturated that water came into the lower level in two places: in the
corner behind the bar is a 2’x2’ area that is not part of the concrete
slab, a area where a water pipe comes up into the house. Water emerged
from that area at a rate that kept Hughes and our neighbor Rick
sucking it with a shop vacuum for over 15 hours. The problem was
alleviated by the loan of a neighbor’s sump pump that ran for several
days until the seepage stopped.
An additional “leak” sprung in a corner along the
west wall where the floor and stone wall meet. This leak did not flow
as quickly as the other one, but it did demand constant attention. Pat,
Rick’s wife, spent hours—including part of the night—attending to
sucking the water with a shop vac. Meanwhile, those not attending the
leaks were trying to get the water out of the carpeting using another
shop vac and our Bissell carpet cleaner to suck water. Rick and Pat
were insistent on being good neighbors above and beyond the call of
The final result is that the carpet is now dry and
without any lingering stains; we accumulated no mold (though a strange
and pervasive odor was detected and, after removing the refrigerator
next to the bar, we discovered the carcass of a fairly recent mouse who
decided to die in the back of the frig); and we spiked our well to rid
our water supply of suspected E. coli contamination (a common result of
flooding where folks have wells). And we bought a sump pump, which we
hope never to have to use. We are happy to loan it out to those who
desperately need one as we did.
In the end, we decided to put the RV “to bed” for
the winter, and look forward to a road trip next spring or summer.
DRAWS TO A CLOSE
Thanksgiving was a pleasant mixture of good
conversation, cribbage, football, and great food. In addition to
Michael and Cindy, we were joined by neighbor Tracy Nevin and college
friend David Delo (Antioch, ’62), along with two visiting dogs keeping
Bella and Lucy company. The problems with water in the rec room/bar
area are long forgotten and the road to Boulder is open and traffic is
back to normal.
Now, with only leftovers to remind us that
Thanksgiving has past, we have about a week to gather together our
clothes, meds, dog things, electronics and other toys for our trip to
Tucson and a winter of new adventures. There are still a bunch of
chores to get done: stop the newspaper, arrange for mail to be
forwarded, turn off the TV
service, get new drivers licenses, and shut the house down (heat,
electricity, water, etc.) for the winter ahead.
We are looking forward to sitting in the warm
Arizona sunshine. Below zero temperatures here are forecast during the
first week of December. We’ll endure this early deep freeze, and the
anticipation of sun
and shorts weather will pull us through.
Our plans for next year include a long road trip in
the summer and, we hope, a surprise trip to a new destination in the
spring. Whatever plans work out, we have much to be thankful for this
past year and to look forward to in 2014. We hope the same for you and
All good wishes for a very happy New Year!
Judy and Hughes
Many thanks to desert Trails friend Susan Carberry for taking our New
Year's picture this year. We were on a hike with her and Reve to the
DeLonde Homestead just a few miles from our house during their visit in