Florida sun and Merry Christmas from Minnesota!

Had a wonderful sunny time spent while in Florida. Spent many afternoons either at the beaches of the area, the community pool, or the lanai where there is a pool and hot tub. Temperatures were anywhere from 70-82degrees F for highs. We had a few 49degree F mornings, so those were pretty chilly. When it got that cool in the evening, it made great weather for the hot tub, under the stars. It was a good time.

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We had a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving with Minnesota friends, Lloyd and Carolyn. They also have a live aboard sailboat, located in Florida, and were able to join us for Thanksgiving, enjoyed the hot tub and stayed overnight. We had a good time. It was a treat for them to have nice hot showers and sleep in a real bed (since they “live” on their sailboat while in Florida).

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After Thanksgiving, Gregs brother Steve joined us for a week (this is his home we stay at). We bought tickets to Irving Berlins White Christmas and the three of us had a wonderful night.

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We also had the pleasure of having our grandson, Lane, join us for a few days from Denver. We made the most of beach time while he was there, and he totally enjoyed being buried in the sandy beaches on Naples!

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We took an Everglades airboat ride while he was there and saw Everglade raccoons among the mangroves! Didn’t think there was such a thing, but there is!

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We spent an afternoon with Lane before he left at the Community Center pool.

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There are numerous alligators in Florida, and while Lane was with us, we found a spot near a rest area type pull-off, and there were quite a few! Here is a photo of a big guy sunning himself across the water! Lane really enjoyed seeing these guys!

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One of the more interesting grocery stores that we found in Naples was “Lucky’s”, where they had a cafe to one side when you first walk in where you could buy a beer or a wine, then go shop for groceries! SWEET! We found this to be our favorite grocery store!

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We put up Steves Christmas tree while he was with us. It was just too weird while we were there, to get into the Christmas spirit! Being 80degrees F and sunny. So it wasn’t until I got to Minnesota a few days ago, before I felt like it is truly Christmas!

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So we are now back in Minnesota for Christmas with family and catching up with as many friends as we can. It IS good to be back in the cold for Christmas, but glad it’s a short stay since it’s been overcast, foggy and cold since we arrived. But I don’t think I could truly feel like it’s Christmas without experiencing this. Glad to be back in Minnesota, even if just for a short while! Looking forward to Christmas activities with family!

OH! One last thing! A few days before we left Florida we both decided to get MORE tattoos! Yep, we both got tattoo’d again! Those photos are coming, we will just keep you guessing for now! But let me warn you, they aren’t very small (don’t worry, they aren’t huge either).

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my blog followers! I love you all!

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From BC to Portland and back to MN

Since the last blog post, we spent much of our time in White Rock, BC, hiking and enjoying the outdoors, and to Portland, and some long driving days back to Minnesota and finally to Florida. We had beautiful weather much of our time in BC as well as in Portland.

So we follow a sailing couple, Malin and Johan, on YouTube (they make video blogs of their travels). They are from Sweden, and started their sailing adventures in January 2016 when they sailed from Sweden, south. We met them in Martinique last year. This past year, they sailed from the Caribbean, to the Panama Canal, to Hawaii and up to Alaska. If you get a chance, watch some of their videos on YouTube (link to their videos are below on the right). From Alaska, they sailed down the Canadian coast and were in Vancouver while we were in BC! So as we have been in communication with them through out this past year and we were able to meet them while they were in BC. We hiked with them to the 2nd peak for Chief Stawamus near Squamish, BC. We had a great hike and lunch at the top.

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Johan from RAN Sailing on top of Stawamus Chief trail.
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A view of Squamish, BC, from atop Stawamus Chief
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Malin and Johan from RAN Sailing at Shannon Falls Park, near Squamish, BC

Malin and Johan arranged a “meet and greet” at a local restaurant in Vancouver, where they invited their “Followers” of their YouTube channel. The way this all works, is when you have a “YouTube” channel, you get followers. And those followers can donate to them each month to support their endeavors (ie-$5 or $10/month), through a “Patreon” site, and then become a “Patron”. So, through their FaceBook and YouTube channel, they invited their Followers in the Vancouver area, to come meet them where they made a short presentation and answered questions. They must have had at least 80 Followers attend at this local restaurant! It was a good time for them.

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Malin and Johans “Meet and Greet” in Vancouver, BC

We spent the last days of our time in BC hiking and walking, and enjoying the exceptional beautiful weather that we had. Very abnormal for this time of year, but we were loving it!

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Crescent Beach, BC

Stanley Park is located in Vancouver, BC, and it’s a walking/biking path that borders Vancouver, pretty much all next to the waters edge. It was a nice bike ride on one of our last days in BC.

While in BC we also met a fellow sailor I met on Facebook, another steel sailboat owner! Ed, on Ocean Angel showed us a good time in Ladysmith, a good warm dinner in a quaint local English pub, despite a cold rainy day (one of the rare rainy days!).

We also met a new friend, Mira, the owner or the AirB&B we stayed at in White Rock. We had a very pleasant time visiting throughout the month, and she fell in love with Toto, as she had a Yorkie as well. She spent a few times “babysitting” him when we were out on some of the long days of activities. A new found friend we are so happy to have met!

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Stanley Park walking/biking path, Vancouver, BC

We typically stay at AirB&Bs during our “land” time, and on our way down to Portland, Greg found a house boat in a Marina in Brinnon, Washington. It was so nice being back on the water, if only for 2 nights!

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AirB&B in Brinnon, WA
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Inside our AirB&B in Brinnon, WA. Toto says “Say what? A fireplace? Seriously?”

While in this area, we visited Mt. Ranier, and the place where we scattered Geoffs ashes (Gregs brother). He passed away at a young age in 2012, and this is the place he wanted to be rested at. So every time we make it to the area, we visit Geoff.

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Pull off near Mount Ranier, where we visit Geoff
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A toast to Geoff

We also were interested in visiting Port Angeles, Squim and Port Townsend, Washington, as potential areas to purchase a home when that time comes. We really liked the area, but it was a very short stay. Perhaps another time, we will spend a month or two in this area, to see how it feels!

So we made it to Portland were able to do some hiking. One spot was the Mount Hood National Forest, and the Mirror Lake Trail. It was quite busy, which I’m glad of because this is cougar country, and just last month a woman was killed by a cougar in the Mount Hood area! SCARY! I was pretty apprehensive at first, but once we got on the trail, and were in the company of so many people, I relaxed. The views were amazing! We hiked up the Tom Dick and Harry trail, and at the top, on a clear day, can see 4 mountain peaks! This day was a bit hazy, but can still see some of those peaks!

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Mount Hood, Oregon

On our way down the trail, we hiked around Mirror Lake. It was just beautiful! Beautiful fall colors!

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Mirror Lake at Mount Hood, Oregon

During our time in Portland, we went to the Farmers Market both in Portland and in Vancouver, WA, we ate oyster shooters-they were amazing!

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Local Farmers Market
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Oyster Shooters

And of course, we couldn’t visit Portland and the Willamette Valley area without doing some wine tasting! In the middle of our wine tasting, I get a very opportune text from a friend, asking for some unique Oregon wines for gifts! Talk about timeliness! So, I got some great Willamette Pinot Noir wines for her, that she most likely won’t find any where else!

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Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 3 bottles for a friend.

Then the LONG trek back to Minnesota, and some long-driving days. The last day of driving we decided to tough it out and drove 12 hours to my daughters home, where we stayed. It really felt like a LONG day!

While back in Minnesota, we visited with family, although the time there was very short. We brought all our clothes out of the storage shed, and sorted through everything: Things that go to Florida with us, things that go to Aquataurus in January, and things that  will be donated to a charity! Yep, we downsized yet again, and had quite a nice little pile to be donated. It’s amazing what you really don’t need! AND things that go BACK in to the storage shed! It was a quick trip, and we were on the road again, to visit my mom, and then on to Gregs parents.

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Happy Halloween activities!

Last weekend when we visited with my mom she asks “So, Lynda Jo, how long are you going to do this?” Well, I answered, we can really only take one day, or week, or month at a time. We know circumstances and our desires can change at any time. So for now, this is what we are doing.

While visiting Gregs parents, we were able to spend a short visit and lunch with our good friends Dave and Carol. It was good to catch up, and we look forward to a longer stay in Minnesota in December when we fly back for Christmas, to catch up with our Minnesota friends!

But for now, we are enjoying the warm sunny Florida weather! We’ll stay until mid-December, then to Minnesota for Christmas, then to our Aquataurus in Martinique!

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A Florida sunrise
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…and Gulf coast seashells

Tattoos – and on the road again…destination BC, Canada

This weekend we left beautiful Colorado and are heading to British Columbia, Canada. We stopped in Ogden, Utah and are currently in Kennewick, Washington before spending tonight in Canada, and tomorrow on to our AirB&B in Canada.

The past few weeks have been packed with visiting kids and grandkids and friends (Quinn and Ben, and 3 month old Caleb from S/Y Wanderlust-met in Martinique, now living in Colorado-it’s a small world!), and exploring Golden, Boulder, Morrison and discovering Grand Lake, Colorado in the mountains. Grand Lake is the largest natural lake in Colorado. Keep in mind that there are numerous man-made large reservoirs in Colorado.

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Grand Lake, Colorado

After leaving Grand Lake we drove a longer route home through the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) on our way back to Golden that afternoon. The road is twisty and curvy, and rises to over 12,000 feet. Amazing views.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

We enjoyed sunsets over the mountains as well. Below is one taken at North Table Mesa trailhead outside of Golden:

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Sunset from North Table Mesa trailhead

There is a creek running through Golden, named Clear Creek. And a local tube renting business alongside it! So last Monday, on a hot 90F day, we rented a tube each and spent the afternoon floating down Clear Creek (twice). It was a lot of fun! But of course, I couldn’t bring my phone into the creek, so unfortunately couldn’t get any photos.  But here is photo of the creek. Made for a really enjoyable afternoon.

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Some of our favorite eating places include Barrels and Bottles Brewery in Golden. We’ve spent frequent evenings there, having a pint of home brewed beer or glass of wine, dinner and playing Mexican Train Dominoes. A fun place to hang out! Another favorite, beautifully classic restaurant is the Sherpa House Restaurant which is run by Sherpas of Nepal and the Himalayas. Take a tour through the photo gallery on that link, it was an amazing place, with amazing food.

But among all of our wonderful time spent here, we needed to deal with some medical issues as well. This time, it was Gregs turn. As previously posted, he had a skin cancer removed, and a tooth extracted by an oral surgeon. Both are healing nicely. We are hoping that will be the extent of any medical care we need this year!

While in Colorado, I was also able to finish Krisi’s knitted cowl that Mike had bought the yarn for. It turned out really nice!

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Cowl done!

Now that I’ve finished the cowl, I have restarted on the lap blanket that I began while in Minnesota (you know, I HAVE to have something to knit!). It’s a seed stitch pattern on the outside of a beautiful celtic cable stitch running down the middle of the blanket. My goal is to finish before we leave for Aquataurus in January 2019. A good project for those driving in the car days!

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Lap blanket-in progress

Also while we were in Colorado, Gregs daughter discovered that her mare was pregnant! She rescued her in about January this year, and a pregnancy test was negative. Yes, a FALSE negative, and while we were there, she discovered that she was going to have a baby in the next 2 weeks! Yep, one day she didn’t know her Annie was pregnant, the next day, she would be dropping a foal in the next 2 weeks! What a surprise! So we had the joy of meeting “August Surprise”, or “Gus” for short, a little colt, and here he is at 3 weeks old. What a cutie pie!

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Lastly, I can’t forget about the Tattoos! Here are mine (yes, plural):

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Left ankle: The lotus flower and sanskrit “Om Mani Padi Hum (compassion, in Sanskrit) are the old tattoos. The new is the silhouette and the sanskrit “OM”. Nice job Kidd!
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Right ankle: The “Mitak’ Oyas’in” is old (means “we are all connected” in the Lakotah language) and the Native Medicine Wheel is new.
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Left forearm

Because I cannot download the photos of Gregs tattoos, I will let him show and explain his, on his blog (link is on the right). So go there and see what he got, or just keep guessing :-).

 

 

Beautiful Colorado

Colorado has been full of adventures! Since arriving, we have experienced a damaging hailstorm right when we arrived, that totaled our son-in-laws car!!!!!!,

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Hail damage: car was totaled!

have had some amazing hikes, visited with kids and grandkids.

After first arriving in Colorado, we were in an AirB&B in Boulder. Gregs son and his girlfriend flew in from Minnesota, so we were able to visit with all 3 of Gregs kids and families, as the girls both live here. We rented cabins in a KOA campground and visited Royal Gorge with the whole family and grandkids.

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Royal Gorge at Canon City, Colorado
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Campground: KOA cabins at Royal Gorge

While Gregs son and his girlfriend were here, we also had a great 3 mile aggressive hike up to the Royal Arch at Chataqua outside of Boulder.

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Hike to the Royal Arch in Boulder, Colorado

My feet hurt so bad after that hike! But it was an amazing hike nevertheless. After hiking, I’m always wanting a foot massage but never get around to scheduling it!

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MY FEET HURT!

After a few days in the Boulder AirB&B, we moved to a Colorado Springs AirB&B. While there, we mostly visited with Gregs daughter, who lives there, and her family. I taught my 12 year old granddaughter how to knit! And bought her circular knitting needles and yarn, and she is off to knitting herself a headband! And Gregs daughters husband bought her yarn and a cowl pattern, knowing she doesn’t knit, but that I would make the cowl for her! So yes, I’ll probably have it finished for her before we leave here.

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Knitting a cowl for Gregs daughter

After Colorado Springs, we moved to our longer term AirB&B in Golden. A beautiful little home with a nice fenced in yard (so I can let Toto out without being on a leash). We will be here now until the end of August (we’ve been here over a week already).

Over the past week, we have done some hiking, drove up to Lookout Mountain and had dinner with the sun setting over the mountains.

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Sunset dinner at Lookout Mountain, Golden, Colorado

We’ve also found some amazing places to eat! Including a small brewery called Barrels and Bottles, a Nepalese restaurant owned and run by Sherpas from Nepal and the Himalaya area, amazing place with amazing food.

One day Greg wanted to hike, so I found that the Annual Colorado Springs Intertribal Powwow was taking place in Colorado Springs. I dropped Greg off at the hiking trail, and spent the next few hours at the Powwow. I’ve always loved these events, even when I lived in Minnesota, so this was a real treat for me.

Forthcoming plans include beach time at a local lake beach area with family (kids and grandkids), more hiking…and more tattoos!!!!

Unfortunately since we’ve been here, Greg has had a skin biopsy which showed basal cell    cancer, so he needs to have that removed next week, and he’s had a sensitive tooth, which needs to be extracted, probably next week as well. Better here than in the Caribbean! We leave for Canada (BC) on August 31, so we need to have all these medical issues taken care of before then.

And I’ve found a local Yoga studio, and have attended yoga classes 3 times this week, and will continue this until we leave. It has felt so good!

So…until next time…we will have new tattoos!

 

Our time in MN is coming to an end

Our time here has just flown! During our time, we were able to “race” the J30 sailboat (Winsome) that we raced years ago, in a “fun race” one Saturday, with our friends Lloyd and Carolyn. And get this, WE WON! Just like the old days when we won each race about 20 years ago. While on the docks in Lake City, we saw the previous boat we owned before Aquataurus, “Second Wind”. She is docked right next to Lloyd and Carolyns slip, so as we were coming in, I was able to get this shot of her.

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She is for sale again! Maybe we should buy her back? Naw–I don’t think so.

During our time in MN, we were able to enjoy my youngest granddaughters 8th birthday with a picnic in a park. It was a fun time, with my daughters family, Gregs son and girlfriend, my daughters husbands mom and her boyfriend, and the 2 grandkids, and the 2 dogs (Toto and Lily-Gregs sons).

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We’ve been able to get together with parents and have some good times. Here is a photo from a fun crazy Friday night with my mom and her good neighbors!

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And we were able to visit Gregs parents and grill out.

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While in Minnesota, I was able to get together with good friends…

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…and spend more quality time with my daughter and her husband out on the town in Minneapolis.

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We spent time hiking at Taylors Falls, Minnesota, and was able to spend a night in St. Cloud with Gregs son and girlfriend, working to get his house ready to put on the market to sell, and while there, after a day of manual labor, was able to enjoyed a night of jazz with them at a local cocktail bar called “The Veranda”.

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Our “home” has a fire pit, so we were able to spend some cooler evenings enjoying it, but the mosquitos were quite aggressive this year, so probably didn’t spend as much time at the bonfire as we would have liked.

I was also able to spend time with my oldest granddaughter for her 11th birthday (these kids are getting so big so fast!), taking her out to sushi and then saw the movie “Mama Mia; Here We Go Again” with her. We will miss her real birthday in August, so it was a very special time with just her and her Nana. A night to remember!

Afton has a nice little wine bar called “Swirl”, so we spent some quality time there, as well, over the past 2 months.

Despite the rain, mosquitoes and frequent storms, it has been a great 2 months visiting family and friends and getting to know this part of Minnesota. There hasn’t been a day that goes by that we don’t see Mrs. Doe and her 2 fawns. They are getting big!

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Hiking with Toto in Taylors Falls, MN
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A hot air balloon above our “home”
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Swirl Wine Bar

Tomorrow we start heading toward Colorado, where we will stay for the next month. While driving there, we will be staying with family each night until we arrive next Monday at an AirB&B in Boulder. A very special time indeed, being able to see family as much as we have.

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).

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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.

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

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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

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Royal Arch, notice the people on top, who hiked up there! Not me!
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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Snow fall, photo from in the hot tub.
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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.

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

 

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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!

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

 

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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!
Namaste!