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Merry Christmas 2017

  • Posted on December 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

We wish all of our friends and acquaintances a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2018.  Or at least a year that doesn’t have as much dismal national news as 2017.

Georgia and I have spent the year doing the usual things that retired people do; if you follow us on Facebook, you know probably more than we remember!  You can scroll down the posts here to see what some of our activities have included.   I’ve been riding my bike a lot (achieving a goal of 2000 miles this year) and working with my amateur radio (my call is KØGUZ). Terry also has a ham radio license (KEØHNW) and he has had a lot of fun packing it in to mountaintops and contacting other hams, using battery power.  I’m not into climbing a 14,000 foot peak, but if you can drive most of the way there, I’m game.  This is me, my radio and antenna and computer, on an unnamed peak in Utah:

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Georgia, with the help of  friends, has learned how to quilt, use her sewing machine and play the addictive and very complex game of Mah Jong.  She hosts regular games with three neighbors. 

And of course we’ve spent as much time as possible with our grandchildren – three live nearby in Grand Junction, and the youngest lives near Durban, South Africa.  Our oldest just started high school.

We took a couple of weeks to visit friends in North Carolina, and a week with Sue and Charlie Fienning and their friends in Pawley’s Island,

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and we went to Wyoming to view the solar eclipse.  Paula (Georgia’s sister) saw 90% of it from Cheyenne, but Paula’s husband Michael and I drove north about 75 miles to see the 100% eclipse.  It was awesome.

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Above:  Michael and me just before we we were abducted by space aliens during the total eclipse.

The population of Wyoming more than doubled as hundreds of thousands of Colorado residents streamed northward to view the event.  It was really worth it.

Our year is ending with a visit from our South African granddaughter and her mommy.   After a couple of days here, they flew to San Diego to be with Jackie.

Arrival from South AfricaEnjoying the beach

We hope that this is a sign that 2018 will be a good year.

Steve & Georgia

South Africa 2015

  • Posted on September 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

We left Hungary and flew overnight on a South African Airways 747 to Johannesburg, then on to Durban.  We stayed at Greg and Becky’s new home in Waterfall, KZN, visited friends and acquaintances from our last visit, spent a weekend holiday south of Durban on the Indian ocean,  but most of all were captivated by our granddaughter Felicity.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a small book.

 

 

 

Hungary

  • Posted on August 11, 2015 at 6:44 am

We first flew to Budapest to meet with Gabi Papp, who had stayed with us years ago as a Rotary exchange student when he went to Rifle High School.  The week after my niece’s wedding in Germany in June, 2006, we visited Gabi at home in Debrecen, Hungary.  It was a memorable experience, and when we left we told him that we’d come back either when he was elected Prime Minister of Hungary or got married.  Apparently, (and unfortunately for his country, but good for him) politics are not in his future, but Kitti Karakas was.

We arrived at the bustling and confusing Budapest airport at the same time as his younger brother Balint flew in from a trip to revisit old friends from his Rotary exchange experience in Mexico, and we connected at the baggage claim area.  The Papp family first took us to their vacation villa on the beautiful Lake Balaton, then after a couple of days recovering from jet lag, and touring the wine country, several ancient and historic areas, and a mineral spa, we went to Budapest for the wedding.  Which was remarkable:

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We won the prize for the guests who came the farthest to attend the wedding.

 

 

Gabi, his wife, and their families could not have been more gracious, and except for the heat and humidity in Budapest,  everything was perfect.  We were ready to travel overnight to South Africa.

 

Orchard Mesa

  • Posted on July 22, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Four of us left the new park between the Botanical Gardens and the brewpub about 9 o’clock this morning. A new member had joined us, so our group of retired people included a Grand Junction police officer, a Colorado State Patrolman, a parole officer and a judge. Thanks to the fact that I haven’t ridden in several years, and they had, they were faster than I was. That’s the spin. The fact is that they’re in better shape than me. But I’m working on it.

Here’s the route.  For those of you who have ridden in the Tour of the Valley, it should be familiar.

We rode across a newer bike bridge which crosses the Colorado River and leads up a very steep hill to the Orchard Mesa area. The peach harvest is underway, and the trees are heavy with fruit. Along the way, we passed several old and new vineyards and roadside fruit stands.  And tucked behind the trees is some truly remarkable sculpture, including one of a large fish made entirely out of license plates.  And coming back along the river in a state park, we came across several native birds taking advantage of the abundant moisture and lakes, including a family of ospreys.

The Palisade website  might entice you to visit.  Here’s their brief history of the area:

Palisade, Colorado is renowned for its ability to grow some of North America’s best fruit. Palisade has a rich history of raising all types of fruits and vegetables in a climate unique to this section of the Western Slope. As early as the 1890s, apple, cherry, peach, pear and plum trees were planted in the area. In 1909, the town celebrated the first Peach Day festival, with President Taft as the speaker. During harvest season, which runs from late June to early October, you’ll be able to find these great fruits and vegetables at stands and orchards throughout the town.

If you’re going to be here in September, you might enjoy the Palisade Winefest.  And you can follow our route, with stops at the vineyards along the way (and a free shower afterwards) at the aptly named Tour de Vineyards.

Garage Princess

  • Posted on July 6, 2015 at 4:32 pm

To replace my beloved Honda VTX, I started an obsessive web search for the only car I’ve ever actually wanted to buy: a Mazda Miata.  We found it at a dealer in Denver.

It’s a 2006 model convertible, and had less than 17000 miles when I bought it.  I think it was originally owned by Dr. Doug Yajko, a well-known Garfield County physician and surgeon; in any event, it’s been a lot of fun to drive, and almost as exciting as the motorcycle.  It’s fire engine red, and probably a magnet for the State Patrol, But it has a lot more sheet metal between us and other cars, and the added benefit of having an extra seat, and Georgia can – and loves to – drive it.  It has my ham radio plate, as did the first car I owned fifty years ago.

Old and NewA good friend, Ken Rahn, KBØHP, suggested that it was going to be a garage princess, never to be left outside.  I like that name.  So does the car.  The name is particularly appripriate, because the first call with my KØGUZ license plates was a Renault Dauphine.

Next idea: a road trip to fill in my McMenamin’s passport.

Road Trip?

Crash

  • Posted on April 3, 2015 at 7:47 am

It is said that there are only two types of motorcyclists: those who have crashed, and those who will.  I joined the former group on St. Patrick’s day, March 17, when I skidded off the Reeder Mesa road south of Grand Junction on a pleasant evening ride with Larry Johnson, someone I hoped to go riding with in the future.

We crested a hill with an unexpected turn to the right and gravel on the road.  I lost control, the bike skidded over on its right side and came to a halt part way down a ditch.  Fortunately, Larry was able to come back and make sure that I was OK, but I wasn’t, and my bike sure wasn’t.

This is my helmet afterwards.  I heard from two doctors and the State Patrol officer who investigated the accident that but for the helmet and the heavy jacket and gloves, I wouldn’t be here today.  We called 911 and the AAA; paramedics showed up promptly, and I rode to the emergency room in the back of an ambulance.  My bike got towed to a junkyard.  After much poking and prodding, the ER doctors said I was one very, very lucky person and had no permanent damage except for a cracked rib and abrasions on the elbow and ankle.  The worst damage was to my ego: this shouldn’t have happened!  Oh, and my motorcycle was totalled by GEICO.  They said that when the right-hand crash bar bent, it also bent the frame.

Motorcycling has been a big part of my life for several years, but this crash made me realize just how quickly a pleasantly exhilarating experience can become a near disaster.  It’s almost 3 weeks since it happened, and I’m still sore.  The insurance money is likely to go to buying a car, not another motorcycle.  It was a good run and I really enjoyed meeting a lot of good friends along the way.  I’ll miss it.  And you.

 

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