Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Springs’

I am sitting downstairs with Harvey, enjoying a quiet night without Don or Murphy. What do I do when Don is gone?


He has some awesome ones. He was much busier with his camera than I was.

City of Rocks, Idaho

View from I-70 in Utah. Love the clouds!

Cactus shadows.

The Arkansas River from the Royal Gorge Bridge.

Rafters on the Arkansas River.

Kaci, Justin, Korinne’s stroller and me pausing to take in the view off of the Royal Gorge Bridge.

A very thirsty squirrel sneaking into the dog water.

“Oh, Hi Hooman! I just be gettin’ some waters to drink when those dumbo doggies isn’t lookin’. I be’s movin’ on now.”

I don’t know why I missed this lovely view point at Royal Gorge. Don, Levi and Justin walked over to it.


Pike’s Peak Cog Railway – waiting for the train.

At the summit.

The Colorado Rockies.

Hello Marmot!

Waldo Canyon fire from Pike’s Peak.

Somebody was bored out of his little toddler mind on the ride back down the mountain.

Love these boys!

Who is that mad woman?

Ely on fire! It was further from town than it appears. Notice the clouds forming at the top of the column of smoke? It was starting to create its own weather system.

The three of us: Me, Terry and Dad. Mom was probably there, too, but we couldn’t see her.

Dad’s last dance. Mom always said he had two left feet, but I think he finally perfected his dance moves.

(Thank you, Donald, for unknowingly allowing me to use your photographs. I give you all the credit. Love, your wife.)

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It was nice in Colorado Springs but everything was overshadowed by the fire.

It was growing by leaps and bounds al the while we were traveling. My last voice mail from Levi had evacuation numbers at 20,000, but the evening we drove into Colorado Springs, the fire was gaining momentum.

They eventually evacuated 36,000. We managed to drive in at the same time they were working on those last numbers. We couldn’t decide if the glow was from the sun beyond the smoke or flames. Either way, it was gut-wrenching to think of all the people and homes going up in smoke.

Ashes the size of Murphy’s paws fell into Levi’s backyard. We looked at those and thought of the house they must have come from and the asphalt shingles gone up in flames.

The smoke curled into the sky. The C-130’s flew overhead. You could taste it in the air.

In the end, it was just “stuff”. Belongings can be replaced. Memories are in the mind. You felt for the people, worried about the livestock and pets, and reflected on what you would do under the same circumstances.

Levi said several times, “It’s just STUFF.” Or something close to that. You have your life, let the rest go.

When we were waiting for the train at Pike’s Peak Cog Railway, I spoke with a woman working in the smaller gift shop, on the upper level. She told me that many of the Cog RR employees were also evacuees. She also told me that she had a friend who lived in the evacuation area but she had not been able to locate her friend. She’d heard that one person had been found dead, and she hoped it was not her friend.

I hoped so, too.

In the end, 346 home burned. 2 people died. 36,000 were evacuated. 29 square miles burned. Reverse 9-1-1 did not work as well as “it should have” but Colorado Springs certainly did work as well as it should have.

I can only imagine the nightmare of evacuating 36,000 people anywhere within the Portland metro area. We couldn’t do it. It would be mayhem, rioting, anger.

Colorado Springs maintained their sense of humor. They had minor traffic glitches (ha! It was like my DAILY commute). They lost two people. They herded cattle through downtown to safety.

The President of the United States came to speak while we were out sight-seeing. Kaci kept trying to find a video of his speech online. In the end, it was the same as every other past president in the face of a crisis: a day late and a dollar short. He impressed no one. He did appear “ready to work” in his rolled-up sleeves and casual white-collar look (thank you Michelle Obama for dressing your husband), but I don’t know if anyone really bought it. We didn’t.

But there have been very very few presidents who could step up to the plate in the time of crisis while looking like they are a part of the working class. I do not disparage him because of who he is but because of the office he holds. Just for once it would be nice to see a president cry. Or see a president covered in the ashes of the aftermath, working to remedy to situation. A president in a little white face mask pulling off lath from homes buried in the floods of Lake Pontchartrain. A president buried in the ash from Mount Saint Helens.

Our rig looked like we had driven through the ask of Mt. St. Helens.

Colorado Springs: we hope for your recovery and we pray for your people. I was amazed at the spirit and resilience of your people.

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But it is hotter than Hades in the loft where my computer sits, so I may not get around to blogging much for a few days. Not that I am complaining about the heat. I love it hot. I finally feel human. But hot has a way of driving me out-of-doors and away from the computer desk. Hot is for lounging in lawn chairs, reading a good book and watching my flowers grow.

We went on a two-week vacation. I covered the house with a house-sitter. I left Harvey here because he really doesn’t travel well. Last year’s drive to Nevada and home was a nightmare with him: he got car-sick, he hyper-ventilated, and he just plain hated the entire ride. This year’s drive to Colorado Springs was going to be a lot more miles on the car and confinement to a rear-facing dog carrier. Nope, not for Harvey.

Murphy endured it, but he’s an excellent traveler.

Our plan was to drive to Colorado Springs (which was on fire at the time) to see our son and his family, then to cut across to Reno to see my brother and pick up all the stuff I inherited from my dad. We were going to rent a U-Haul to bring it all home. I’d tell you how that turned out, but that’s a later post.

We didn’t map out our travel plans. Don had one place in mind to camp, but after that it was wherever we ended up when we got tired of driving. Definitely no motels: we were going camping.

We only had vague plans for Colorado Springs: see our son and daughter-in-law and hold our newest grandbaby, play with our grandboys. In short: get that grandbaby fix which is in short supply these days!

Miss Universe here. This little girl is going to take on the world, first class. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Kaci Presley (I think my daughter-in-law is a world-class photographer. She just needs a good camera on her at all times.)

Joe Cool. Fearless. Tan. I kid you not: this kid just got tanner when we were visiting. He had tan lines. 19 months and headed pell mell down the path of life.

Grandma’s Buddy. Three years old, moody, loving, and full of conversation. I thought he wouldn’t remember us, but he most certainly did  remember us. He’s working the system.

Oh, and the dogs.

Grand-dogs, Nicky and Midnight. According to Micah, all dogs are named “Midnight”. The funny thing is: Midnight actually answers to that name. He is the adopted English Setter-cross in front. Nicky is the Rottweiler-cross in back. They are as sweet as they look in the photo, and really good with the little people.

Hey, Murphy was really good with the Little People.

I didn’t catch them “kissing” which is too bad. Murphy licked Micah’s face right before I snapped this. Murphy loved the water slide. Micah loved that Murphy (er – “Midnight”) loved the water slide.

Micah stood on Murphy/Midnight’s toes and pulled his ears. Murphy was a little overwhelmed by the grandchild attention, but I think he secretly liked it. And he even secretly liked being called “Midnight” by a certain wee person.

As I find time, I’ll blog on the road trip to/from and the adventures during our visit. For tonight, I just want to say: I am home. I am so happy we got to Colorado. I am so happy my husband got to visit Colorado Springs, but I am sorry it was during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

And I am immensely sorry for the people who lost their homes. I haven’t searched to see if numbers have changed since we left The Springs, but the last I heard it was 346 homes and 2 deaths. I do know the fire altered a lot of our plans and a lot of people’s lives.

It’s just “stuff”, right?

We figured the ash that fell in Levi’s back yard was from someone’s home.

But more on all of that as I work my way through our adventures. I will probably post sporadically as the loft is much hotter than it is outside. And I hear outside beckoning me…

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