Monday, September 29, 2014

Back at the Reservoir

Another ride out at the reservoir this morning.  It was a beautiful day.


Look at that sky.  It's an amazing blue.


That was then, this is later.  We just brought the passenger side slides in because of the wind.  It's not producing that much rain, but the gusts are impressive.



Today's riding was difficult.  Laurence has lost his memory of when and how to shift gears on the bike.  Also lost is the ability to pump up a bicycle tire.  The Alzheimer's brain is tragically interesting to watch.  He'll acknowledge that if he gets a flat he won't be able to fix it, and in the same breath is adamant that he can ride by himself.  This after getting stuck on two up hills because he was changing gears in the wrong direction. At this point I am really hoping for an early winter so the bicycle will stay in the garage.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Historic Downtown Pueblo

Today we took a day off from riding.  We drove in to historic Pueblo, intending to do some urban hiking, but unfortunately a pair of walking shoes was missing from the truck.  We did check out the historic part of town, but didn't do the river walk.
This is the Pueblo Union Depot.   It is a spectacular building and is in good repair.  I have borrowed the photo and the text from the referenced website. 
Pueblo Union Depot was constructed in 1889 in the architectural style of Richardsonian Romanesque by the architect Frank V. Newell.  In 1892, the Depot handled 51 trains, 18,615 passengers and 164,718 pieces of baggage per day. During this year, there were 103,114 tickets sold, worth $568,639.  The Depot was built by Puebloans Henry Thatcher and Mahlon Thatcher and the following five railroads: The Denver & Rio Grande; Denver, Texas and Fort Worth (later the Colorado and Southern); Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific; Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe; and the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Passenger service ended in April of 1971.

Behind the depot, there is a small railroad museum.  This is the Santa Fe 2912.   She's a "Northern" 4-8-4 engine, meaning it has four lead trucks, eight drive wheels and four trailing wheels (under the firebox).  Originally built in 1944, she was retired in 1955.  This engine was always an oil burner - not a conversion from coal. Look at the size of it!


Jim reports that all of the engine instrumentation has been removed.


The depot has been converted to some retail and is used for special events.  It is just gorgeous inside.  The floor is made of those tiny octagonal tiles.


Look at the wood on that door.



Inside is just lovely.  The wood on the stalls is solid.


Above we see a beautiful painted tile picture of some romantic far off land.  The chandelier looks to be alabaster.


In the men's room they have a naked lady painting.  It was good to go on a Sunday, when the building was not in use.  Otherwise we could not have checked out the restrooms.


Do you see any cars on the street?  Nope. Downtown Pueblo is eerily deserted on a Sunday afternoon.  It's the county seat, and the area is largely populated by lawyers; so there's no reason for any retail to be open.  We had lunch in a cafe where the umbrellas are.  The setting was good, but the food was mediocre. 


The side of another building.  Most of the historic area dates from the late 1800s.


I love the gilt.


This is the county courthouse.  It's pretty dang impressive.



After leaving downtown and our short slow walk we had to hurry home.  Colorado can brew up a storm very quickly, and the mountain bikes were out, cabled to the picnic table.  We got them under the grill cover just as the rain started.  There was some very impressive lightning and thunder, and then it all went away, just like that.

Friday, September 26, 2014

More Riding in Lake Pueblo State Park

It's still hot.  Today it hit 94.  94!  It's the end of September, already.  Yesterday we went out to Lake Pueblo State Park again with the mountain bikes.  We failed to find the single track in the area, and ended up riding the dirt road network in the north end of the park.  It was good, lots of up down, and no willy inducing sidehill trails.
Last night there was a pretty good sunset.


Today was road riding.  Laurence (brother) bought a new carbon Trek.  He hasn't ridden in a couple years, so we did a short hilly ride in the park.


Laurence is on the right.  He's resting after a pretty good climb.


The dam.  It's part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.  It's one of a series of dams that control flooding and provide water for irrigation. There is a fish hatchery there, and many people come to catch the fish.  If you're interested in huge public works projects, click on the link.  It's pretty impressive.


Laurence coming up another hill.


The reservoir again.


It was a good day.  Laurence is very happy when he's on a bicycle, even when the road points up.  We're going back tomorrow for more of same.  Sunday the weather is supposed to tank for a couple of days, with hail in the forecast. Hail! I hate hail.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Doing Time in Pueblo West

We had a pretty good sunset last night.  It was hot. It was hot today.  Temperatures are running at least 15 degrees over normal.


 Today we went out and rode the mountain bikes on the trails in Lake Pueblo State Park.  This is the spillway for the dam.


Here we are at the beginning of the trail.  It was benign here.


And here we are further up the trail, where it had been less benign.  I did some walking. There were some very narrow side hill trails that were just giving me the willies.


Over all it was fun, except for the wretched biting flies.  I did not know flies have teeth.  My legs are all welted up from being bitten when we would stop to read the map, or when I was walking.   Tomorrow we need to go earlier.  I got too hot today.

Colorado is an interesting state.  The congressman who is trying to unseat Senator Udall wants to pass laws outlawing abortion for any reason and birth control.   The rebuttal ads to Udall's campaign discussing this topic feature women standing around in the kitchen talking about how they aren't single issue voters, and Udall should address what he's going to do about the cost of food and gas.   So you get this political climate, and then there is the whole marijuana thing.  There is a pot dispensary on just about every street corner.  It's just amazing.  I don't understand how legalizing pot ever passed in this state.

We've been spending time with my brother and after two days it's just sucking the marrow out of our bones.  Alzheimers can exacerbate a person's worst personality traits, and I have to say Laurence has become difficult to be around.  Since he is not going to change, we must cultivate our "good - fine, whatever" response.  He bought a new carbon fiber bicycle today, so I guess while we're here we'll ride with him and see how it goes.  I'd like to have him micro chipped in case he gets lost.