Thursday, June 25, 2009

When it Rains it Pours

That saying is a good metaphor for life as well as literally. Afternoon storms are part of summer in Colorado, thunder, lighting and heavy rain quickly blowing through then replaced with sun and rainbows. It's not even monsoon season yet but every day we're getting our storms. And even though the weather report calls for isolated storms they always seem to find their way to me and my bike. Inevitably I find cover below a fir tree that provides shelter from most of the rain, I put all my extra layers on and cover that with my Gore-tex jacket, if I have my knee pads with me those go on too and provide excellent warmth and insulation. The rain can come down hard and the temperture drops suddenly, it can be very warm and then get very cold quick. The bike is stashed somewhere away from me just in case one of the bolts of lighting decides to seek out some aluminum. If I'm with another person we sit or crouch at least 6 feet away from each other, less chance of a multiple hit that way. Lighting scares me, especially when you can see it hitting all around you, it's a force that has incrible power and energy and I'm nothing more than a target, nature is not selective or values one life form over another. But it doesn't stop me from going, I know I can seek shelter until it passes and that I'm pretty safe, I have a healthy respect for it and truthfully I love being outside in the natural world and witnessing the different aspects of her nature, I feel truly alive. It reminds me that I can endure, I can sit and wait for things to pass, that I'm strong enough and solid enough to see things through. That even when it pours and looks bleak and I'm shouting at the sky to "Stop Already!" that I'll see the sun again soon enough and the rainbows that follow. The sky, the trees, the mountains all look so incredibly beautiful after a storm has moved through, the sun turning all things golden and clear. The saying, "Into each life a little rain must fall" is true, a little rain isn't going to stop me, it may wear on my spirit at times, piss me off, make me tired, cold and frustrated but that will pass too and I'll be smiling again soon enough. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger..hah, so many good sayings in this world. Come prepared, enjoy your own company or that of those you hang out with and I'll see you out there rain or shine!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lighting Storms..

Night Time Summer Lighting and Thunder Storm

I have very distinct memories of being a kid and sitting on the front porch of my Grandparent's house in New Kensington, PA, on Anderson Street to be exact. My Grandfather would sit in his chair on his front porch every night during the summer and watch the evening unfold into the night. When my Mother, sister and I visited which we did a lot, we'd do the same thing. We'd sit on the glider looking out into the night listening to my Grandfather hum a song or tell us stories while he smoked his cigar. Some nights a storm would slowly roll in and we'd curl up on the glider, our skin still hot from being in the sun all day and listen and watch as it came in, how the wind picked up, how the sound of thunder rolled across the sky like a huge bowling ball, the strikes of lighting that would make us flinch and the fresh smell of the rain hitting pavement and dirt. Those were simple times for me, being a kid in the summer. Looking back I see what a lovely way it is to spend your evening, on a porch listening,watching, just be there from one moment to the next as night creeps in. The video is something Craig took the other night when a storm moved through, this storm brought back those memories. Yes, Grandpa, we still have very excellent storms on summer nights.

Monday, June 22, 2009


A lovely first day of Summer in Colorado

Growing up we didn't take a lot of trips in the summer as my Mom was a single Mother and worked most of the time, but we did have trips to the eastern shore, time spent with the grandparents in Maryland and Western Pennsylvania and up at my cousins in New York State. My sister and I spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves, for me that meant playing in the trees behind the house or in our little yard, cruising around the neighborhood on my bike or by foot and seeing what kind of trouble I could get into before Mom got home. Life was simple and it moved very slowly in those days. Today life moves by too quickly, even more so once summer arrives, however I still spend much of my time outside if not more so, I have a very good life. It's almost July 1st and summer which just began yesterday seems to be flying by. We haven't really had warm, summer like weather here in Colorado, we've been lingering in Spring for what seems like months now with rain and cool temps. It's been nice though, everything is very green, lush and the flowers are amazing this year. There's been a lot of riding with long sleeve shirts, Gore-tex jackets and no sun screen but yesterday we got out for a long solstice ride and I wore a sleeveless jersey and I used sunscreen, that made my day! We rode some lovely trails that intertwine and connect in the mountains above Boulder with Kim and Craig's brother Randy. There was much climbing, descending and smiling.
Besides riding, I'm preparing for shows in July and August, balancing working in the studio with all my other activities. I've been crafty lately and modifying my clothes and that's been kinda fun. Taking pants that I don't wear and turning them into shorts that I will wear, taking clothes that I don't wear due to the color and dying them into colors that I will wear. All of a sudden I have new, fun things to wear and that has made me feel productive, no shopping involved and very little expense. I'm trying to be thrifty in some areas so I can save and spend in other areas. I haven't planted the amount of flowers like I have in years past, just can't afford it. I did plant a lot seeds though, Cosmos, Sunflower, Marigolds, Poppies, etc. No instant gratification, I'll have to wait for the seeds to grow and flower in August, patience is a good thing to practice. I'm enjoying the longer days, the easiness of warmer weather, the simplicity that comes with the summer months, getting out after work and riding up high, tending to my flowers, keeping track of the birds that have nests with babies around the house. We've got some more camping and riding plans coming up for the weekend of the 4th with friends, which for me is the pleasure of the warmer months.

Bikes resting along the trail.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Monkeying Around

Stormy weather over the mountains on Sunday. We got lucky and never got any weather, it swirled around us. Little did we know there were tornadoes east toward Denver.

Great weekend here! The sun shown on Saturday all day, warm and summer like finally. I've been demoing a Specialized Enduro for the last few days and I wanted to see how it handled the step downs on the property. It handled everything smoothly however I don't see this bike in my future for various reasons that I won't get into here, at least for today. I've been very fortunate to be able to demo a couple of 6" all mountain bikes lately and I'm beginning to understand the differences between the bikes in this category. Thanks to all who have helped me with the demos. Saturday evening we headed to Kim and Dan's for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, fun night with friends!

Demoing the!

Helllooo, nice to see youuuu! Coolest rock ever on the trail Sunday!

Sunday we met Jimijames and went for a fantastic, long, hard, fun, challenging ride that I hadn't ridden before. It was a lot of climbing, a lot of technical climbing, some exploring, some awesome, technical downhill, and a middle of nowhere feeling ride, perfect.

Craig on the trail.

Jimijames on the trail.

Finally at the top, sorta. The sun was shining on us for the time being. Time to eat some food.

Mi Gusta la Virgin de Guadalupe! A little trail protection, yes?

The boys taking a breather! Where's the trail?

We did some exploring as well but kept finding dead ends, it was exciting to see what we could find around the next corner, hill or valley. That's the thing with exploring, you never know what you might find, you could get lucky or shut down. Either way it's something I really enjoy, being somewhere I've not been before in back of beyond places, it brings out a sense of self reliance and adventure, good stuff!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dirt Holiday

This past weekend was Craig's birthday, we took a long weekend and headed down to the Arkansas Valley for some camping, riding and a little fly fishing for the birthday boy. It was fantastic and just what was needed for our dirt lusting souls. We haven't been able to get away as much as we normally do lately and we both have been feeling an extreme desire to get away and be outside. So we enthusiastically packed things up and drove out Thursday after business hours, heading just the two of us toward our resting place for the night along the Arkansas River above Buena Vista. This is one of my favorite areas because of it's beauty, energy and countless variety of things to do. It was great to be just the two of us and of course Josy and Ringo too.

Craig and Ringo on Craig's birthday morning. He was able to fly fish all day while I dropped off some artwork at Culture Clash and did a ride up on the trails behind the S in Salida. A shout out to local rider Travis for showing me around, sweet!

Late that afternoon we headed to Cottonwood Hot Springs for some soaking. It had gotten stormy and much cooler that afternoon so this felt great. Who are those two old folks?

Craig in the hottest tub, we had to keep alternating between this one and a cooler one. After our soak we headed back to Salida for some tasty food on the river and then back to camp for some birthday cookie bars.

To my amazement the next morning while out in the woods I stumbled upon a very uncommon site. A indigenous Colorado Orchid. This one is called Calypso Bulbosa or Fairy Slipper. These beauties take very specific growing conditions and apparently the mulchy, shady and damp spot next to the stream was perfect. I felt so fortunate to view one of these in its natural setting.

After having some breakfast we headed down the dirt road to meet up with Kim and Dan who had left bright and early from Boulder. We drove back to camp and geared up to ride the Rainbow Trail from Silver Creek. I didn't take many riding shots this weekend, but fun was had in large amounts. The views on this ride are out standing!

Craig and Dan on Rainbow.

After the ride we hung out at camp, Craig doing some fishing on Silver Creek and in its beaver ponds. He managed to catch a small 6" Brown Trout. A fire was built and we all sat around talking and sipping on some tasty tequila liquor which made me quite sleepy. The next morning dawned sunny and warm but weather was moving in as is the pattern. We were going to do a section of the Colorado Trail by Mt. Shavano but when we got to the TH it was dumping rain and cold with a very high Sogg factor. The weather does hold up against these mountains, so there was only one thing to do.

Dan waving through the rain, bummer!

We headed back to the southeastern side of Salida for a ride that Dan had done before. It was another section of the Rainbow trail to Methodist Mtn. I believe. A long and incredibly fun ride with more huge views, it reminded me of riding in Durango. We got a little wet but not too bad. I didn't want the weekend to end, just keep going, exploring and being outside. I'm glad that Kim and Dan were able to get out and meet us, it was a great time and I'm already dreaming of the next weekend mission!

Aspens in the Rain.