From the sea…to the woods

Since arriving back on land, we’ve driven from Florida to Minnesota, visiting family on the way. We found a cute old farmhouse just East of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) on AirB&B and we will be staying here until the end of July when we drive to Colorado.

I couldn’t figure out what seemed so strange to me. Lately I’ve figured it out…the stillness. We are situated between 2 bluffs on the St. Croix River, in a heavily wooded area. So, it is very quiet, and STILL! Very tranquil. And after blowing winds almost constantly over the last 4 months, the (what I’ve discovered) stillness was just SO STILL. But I am getting my land legs back under me, and am enjoying this change.

Unfortunately it seems like since we’ve arrived in the U.S., we’ve had clouds and rain! I miss my sun! So we had plans to do some hiking and biking, but it’s been so rainy, it’s just not possible! Our “home” is close to a State Park, but we haven’t had a chance to get there because of the weather! And because of all of the recent rains, both the St. Croix and the Mississippi Rivers have flood warnings! They are really high!

We have experienced some great nature while here, we have resident does (deer) that we see at least once a day, and Greg saw a pair of fawn twins in our yard last week (sorry about the poor quality, he took it through the screen).

Mother doe and her twin fawns

We’ve also had some nice long walks as well bike rides despite the weather (dodging the rain showers), enjoying the nature on land.

Afton bike trail between Afton, MN and Hudson, WI
Canadian geese and their goslings, while on my daily walk
Summer butterfly on a flowering plant in our yard.


Hoping that we get more normal summer weather while here in Minnesota!





Colorado time comes to an end

So the end of our time in Colorado included this hike to Royal Arch. It was an amazing hike, with lots of “stairs”. It was pretty aggressive but was totally worth it! Royal Arch Trail link

Royal Arch, notice the people on top, who hiked up there! Not me!
The trails to the Royal Arch. It was pretty strenuous, so glad I had my hiking sticks (photo of me hiking down)! Totally saved my knees!

Also during the last part of our trip, we brought our grandson, Lane, to Bishops Castle. Bishops Castle link It’s a spot where we took our kids, Clint and Sheena, in the 1990s. Back then, there weren’t 3 floors like there are now. The story is that this guy, Jim Bishop, has been building this castle over the last 60 years, by hand, stone by stone. It is free, and accepts donations to continue the building of it. The next plan is to build a mote around the castle, providing they have the donations to do this. Jim is still alive, and when talking to the gift shop cashier, when Jim is no longer able to build the mote, his children plan on continuing this project.

Next on the list was to visit Pearl St. in Boulder. Pearl Street is a walking plaza with many restaurants, artists and musicians. After a hike, we stopped for a bit of lunch and found this musician, playing the piano, upside down. It’s an amazing plaza!

Upside down piano player.

We also took the cog train to Pikes Peak. This is the 2nd time for this trip (first time was with Clint and Ashley, my son and daughter-in law a few years ago). If we were lucky, we might see some bighorn sheep. Apparently, this cog train concept is used frequently in Switzerland, where most of these trains are located. This cog train, is the highest in the world, at 14,100 feet, also has a perfect safety record.

Photo outside the window of the cog train going up to the summit of Pikes Peak.

We are above tree line here (about 12,000 feet) hence, no trees to be seen! I THINK we may have seen the backsides of 2 bighorn sheep, but they were WAY FAR OFF!

Photo at the summit of Pikes Peak, 14,100 feet. Greg in the foreground.

Being in Colorado showed some amazing mountain sunrises (see below). I will miss these mountain sunrises, but am looking forward to seeing those Atlantic sunrises next week! It’s coming so fast!

One last beautiful snowfall and hot tub time was also experienced in Colorado. It made me miss the winter hot tub times. I guess the next “land home” we have just might have to have a “little” snowfall during the winter, with a hot tub. It’s so ethereal!

Snow fall, photo from in the hot tub.
Cozy winter day, snow falling, reading, tea.

Finally, the last hike in Colorado. My feet felt SO GOOD coming out of those hiking boots! So, the boots will be retired into storage until next summer. Colorado has been an awesome experience. We will miss it, and look forward to returning next year. After the hike, we found one of our favorite places in Boulder, the Daneshab Teahouse, and celebrate with wine outside-one of the last 80 F days we will probably see until we arrive in Martinique on Nov 17.

Oh my feet felt so good out of those hiking boots!
Great wine at the Teahouse, on a beautiful warm day in Boulder, after hiking.


Final hike in Colorado.

The week before we left Colorado, I was fortunate enough to discover that Freddy Cole, jazz musician, was to be playing in Denver! We got tickets and had an amazing time. The venue was in a restaurant and the tickets we got put us front and center of Freddy. Dinner was great! He is 87 years old, brother of Nat King Cole, and still has a great show!

Greg, Freddy Cole and I, signing the CD we bought.


Freddy Cole preforming

So, on to the next chapter. We’ve spent the last 2 weeks (since we got back to Minnesota on Nov 5), visiting family in Kansas City (on our way to Minnesota), visiting parents in Minnesota and Illinois, visiting kids and grandkids in Minnesota. We are “living” with my daughters family while we prepare for our trip to Martinique on Nov 17 (5 days from now).

While traveling, I also tried to find and visit as many Yoga studios as I could (considering I’m a Yoga Teacher, I needed my yoga fix!). While back in Minnesota, I was able to attend a yoga class this weekend at my local yoga studio, Urban Yoga. If anyone is in the Rochester MN area and want an awesome yoga studio, I highly recommend they check out Destiny at Urban Yoga MN . Unexpectedly, I saw TWO super good friends! What a blessing that was!

So, next blog will probably show 85 degree days and amazing sunrises and sunsets! Stay tuned my friends!


Winter Storm warning, hiking and Wild Animal Sanctuary

Right after the last blog post, we had a winter storm warning issued for our area here in Boulder. We woke that Monday morning to a beautiful snow-laden landscape! The roads were too warm to keep the snow, so they stayed just wet. We must have gotten about 4-6 inches on the grass, in this area, and I’m sure the mountains got more! I guess I got my snow fix! It was beautiful, but now we are back to 70-75 degrees F, beautiful weather for more walks and hikes.

The past 2 weeks we have hiked to Crater Lake near Nederland in the mountains (that was just before the snow!), Mount Sanitas west of Boulder, and the Enchanted Mesa trail of the Chautaugua in south Boulder. We’ve done babysitting with the grandkids (Jeni’s daughters), bike-riding and of course, being the foodies that we are, have found some great area eateries. I’ve walked almost every day, have seen some great amazing sunrises

and sunsets, and recently we visited the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, which is northeast of Denver.

So we had planned a hike up in the mountains and drove about an hour to get there. When we got there, the Lost Lake at the Hessie trailhead parking lot was full, and we needed to drive back to the  small town of Nederland, to take a shuttle back to the trailhead. We got back to town and visited the Information Center. The attendant there gave us other options and a map. So chose Crater Lakes Trail near the Moffit Tunnel. Didn’t look too bad on the map. So we ate some lunch and drove out to the trailhead. Well, we started at 9200 feet of elevation! And I was pretty short of breath the entire 2+ hours that we hiked up an additional 2000 feet of elevation over 3 miles. So the entire hike was 4 hours, and 6 miles. My body hurt! But the views were spectacular (below) when we got to the lakes. Apparently there is one more lake, a higher up climb, but we didn’t do that. This was enough for this weary ole’ body. But I’m glad we did it. I have an app called AllTrails, and we usually check that for level of difficulty “easy”, “moderate” or “hard”. Well, we didn’t check before we did this hike, but when we got back, I did, and AllTrails notes this trail as “hard”! Next time, I’ll pick the trail!

We also hiked to Mount Sanitas just west of Boulder (below). I chose this hike, because the level of difficulty was “moderate” on my AllTrails map.


Another hike we had, level of “easy” was the Enchanted Mesa trail at the Chautaugua trail (below). This trail is located where the Chautaugua park is. Still some elevation, but more of a nice hike. But my body still hurts! HAHA.

The Chautaugua movement was an adult education movement in the US. highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua (originated in New York) assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day. The popularity of the Chautauqua movement can be attributed in part to the social and geographic isolation of American farming and ranching communities. People in such areas would naturally be hungry for education, culture and entertainment, and the Chautauqua Movement was a timely response to that need in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Located at the base of Boulder’s Flatirons and one of only 25 National Historic Landmarks in the state of Colorado, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of only a few remaining chautauquas in the U.S. It is considered THE western representation of the cultural movement that swept the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is the only site west of the Mississippi that has been in continuous operation since its founding and with its original structures intact and used for their original purposes. It was a pretty impressive area to see.

We also visited the Wild Animal Sanctuary just north east of Denver, and east of Boulder. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the world dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores, providing them with a wonderful life for as long as they live, and educating about the tragic plight faced by an estimated 30,000 such animals in America today. Below, a couple prides of lions in their 20+ acre area. Here is their website:  Wild Animal Sanctuary

Above, the Welcome Center of The Sanctuary, which sits on 720 acres, and is located about 50 miles east of Boulder, near the town of Keenesburg. It shelters more than 450 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Leopards, Mountain Lions, Wolves and other large carnivores, it is the first sanctuary of its kind to create large acreage species-specific habitats for rescued animals. (Since January, 1980, The Wild Animal Sanctuary has responded to more than 1,000 requests from private citizens and government agencies to rescue animals from across the United States and around the world. The residents here, were abused, abandoned, illegally kept, or were victims of other terrible situations.). They recently rescued about 25 lions from Bolivia when the government made the circus’s illegal.

It is amazing to see these beautiful animals, enjoying the life of luxury after having been in such dire circumstances (plaques along the walkway describe how these animals lived, and how they were rescued).

The right side of this sign notes examples of Tiger rescues:

  • Two tigers were confiscated from a man that kept them in a horse trailer for nearly 5 years.
  • Five tigers were confiscated from a person that used them to breed and illegally sell their cubs as pets.
  • One tiger was purchased as a pet when he was only 3 days old, and was subsequently kept in a small cage in his owners back yard for over 7 years.
  • Two tigers were kept in a barn for many years by a man that was raising them on his fur farm in order to kill them and sell their skins.

About 1 1/2 years ago, they installed a 1.5 mile walkway above the sanctuary grounds, so you look below to watch the animals. You can leisurely walk to the other end, watching the animals in their own habitat, it was quite amazing.

Website (not this blog!!) to be inactivated

Well, my website has come up for renewal on Sept 28, 2017. I’ve decided that I’m going to let it lapse, and will not renew it. Therefore, this blog will be the place for people to stay in touch with us (not my website).

So it’ll remain live, until Sept 28, 2017. Just thought I should let everyone know. At that time, I will remove it as a link here on my blog, as well.

Grandchildren Vacations!

In August, we were blessed to be given the opportunity to go on 2 separate vacations, with 2 sets of grandkids! The first part of August took us to South Dakota (a road trip) with my 2 granddaughters, Tessa (age 9, almost 10), and Kendra (age 7). She is my daughters children and full of life and joy!

Out adventure included seeing Mount Rushmore…


Swimming and meeting Taylor, a favorite friend from back home!


Going on a Chuckwagon dinner ride, they even got to sit up front with the driver on the way back! And what appetites! Kendra downed TWO hot dogs AND a steak!


We went horseback riding! Tessa on YouToo and Kendra on TJ, and we panned for gold!



We climbed Devils Tower in Wyoming


and slid down into Devils Bathtub after hiking there.

IMG_4847IMG_4863We had some fabulous breakfasts and dinners on our deck at the units that we rented. We were in 2 different units over the course of 6 days.


The last part of the month, we flew to San Antonio, TX, to be with Gregs daughters children, Carmen (age 11) and Nick (age 9). Krisi had to attend a class in Kansas, so we watched the kids.

While there, we were busy swimming…


and visiting this great water theme park called Schlitterbahn. Even grandpa and grandma had a blast there! Unfortunately, because it was a water theme park, we didn’t get any photos.

Carmen and I went to 3 yoga classes,


and I took her to an Essential Oil “Make and Take” class! The class was going to be on the news that night (KENS5 from San Antonio), and after the class, the man videoing the class presentation, asked me for an interview! So Carmen asked if she could have my autograph since I was now “famous”! LOL!!!

We went to a “make your own” pizza bar!


Seems like we were busy every day while there.

We were so blessed to be able to spend this unforgettable time with the grandkids. What a precious, unforgettable experience! We had so much fun with both sets of grandkids, we just wish we could have gotten all 4 of them together, they would have had so much fun.

Next blog…what has been going on since our return home. We close the sale of the house on Sept 1, so ALOT has been happening! So stay tuned!


And so the adventure begins!

The last few months have been pretty quiet on here. What with preparing our home for sale, and keeping close to home in order to have it ready to show to potential buyers (everything put in it place and Toto needed to not be in the house!), it pretty much limited our ability to go anywhere without extensive planning. But this week, all that changed. We received an offer of our asking price on our home, and accepted it. It was a roller-coaster of a week, emotionally!


We will miss these sunsets on our front porch, but we will have many future sunsets to share!


So now what? Well, we’re off! Traveling that is! Near term, we are vacationing with grandkids, just us and them (no parents)! First, off to the Black Hills of South Dakota and then to San Antonio, TX. So stay tuned for blog updates on these exciting trips!

Returning after these vacations, we will be busy selling furniture and the rest of our possessions, deciding what goes in to storage, what stays with us in the Honda CRV as we travel, gypsy style, from place to place, and other logistics.

Additional photos of our home earlier this spring, and of course, Toto! Enjoy!