Review: The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I struggle to remember most books I’ve read recently, but this will linger. It’s rich and beautiful, with characters you can’t forget and plotting that’s nearly perfect. My only suggestion: buy it. I borrowed it from my library and spent the better part of two days trying to finish it before the Kindle gods consigned the bits and bytes inside its memory to random gibberish. I wish I’d had a chance to savor the ending.

Best novel I’ve read in quite some time.

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It’s harvest time in the Grand Valley.  Thanks to abundant rainfall and a warm June, the peach harvest is very good this year.  We bought a flat of organic peaches at the Grand Junction farmers’ market last week, and today, Georgia and I made peach jam and peach chutney:

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Not only does it taste good, we know what went in it.  No High Fructose Corn Syrup or mystery chemicals.  Nice.

Orchard Mesa

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.

In the Saddle Again

After a 5 year break, which started when I was on the on the wrong side of a collision with a high school soccer player while refereeing a game in Glenwood Springs, and continued with an obsession with my motorcycle (which ended badly) I have rediscoverd the enjoyment of riding my bike.  It helps that Grand Junction has a well developed system of bike trails and lanes, good, paved county roads and no fracking trucks.  It also helps that the valley is generally flat, which means that there is no long, miserable hill at the end of every ride as there was in Rifle.  My favorite rides are along the farm roads north of our house to Fruita.

I took a ride on Saturday with two friends – a retired state parole officer and a retired sergeant with the Grand Junction police department –  north and west, over the dreaded 16 Road Hill to Fruita,  and everybody’s favorite lunch stop in Fruita,  the Hot Tomato.  The weather was overcast with storms coming through, and we had a headwind going west, which shifted to a headwind coming back.  We were robbed!  But the scenery was beautiful and the traffic mild.  I discovered that it didn’t take long to remember how to ride longer distances, but I also discovered that it takes more than two weeks to get back in enough shape to keep up with more experienced riders.  Fortunately, they waited patiently for me to make my way to where they stopped.

Here’s the route.  If you click on the link to view the whole route, you’ll see some photos also.

Garage Princess

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?