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Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas With The Whole Fam-Damly

It's been snowing, it's snowing now, and the forecast calls for buckets more snow throughout the week with highs in the teens. Bring it, Old Man—try to knock the Post Christmas smile my haggard face, the Humbug Chip off my shoulder—give me your best shot and we'll see who's wearing shorts when you're all said, done, and blown out.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Post-Holiday Hangover Of An Andropausal Male

Warning: At the risk of being labeled Mr. Grinch, I'm about to take a leak on the annual guilt-induced, corporate-shakedown madness known, ironically, as "The Holidays." I waited until after Christ's big Birthday Bash, in hopes I might avoid eternal damnation and hellfire. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stopping By Houses On Way To Woods On Snowy Morn

If you have real estate lust in your hearts like we do, the above Miss December "pin-up" should be enough to quicken your pulse, initiate slow, deep breaths, and a tingling sensation that ripples up and down your spine.  If only we could look so provocative on our 118th birthday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mea Culpa Faux Pas

It's been far too sunny and mild and dry since returning home to "La Crevice;" I've been cavorting around in shorts and long sleeve tee shirts, waiting for Old Man Winter to get off his tepid ass.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Yule Night At The Guide Garage on Main Street

Friends, Averill and Gary had a Yule Night Grand Opening of their new winter business endeavor, The Guide Garage. More than a tune-up shop for skis, it's a "Hang Out" for anyone who loves leaving tracks up in the snow-bowls on Red Mountain.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bald Eagle Walk Along The Uncompahgre River

Clouds broke up and temps soared into the 50's, so we decided to walk the bike path along the river, from Ridgway down to the reservoir.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just Another Nameless Canyon Hike

Two months can fly right off the calendar when you're having fun. We arrived back home to Lovely Ouray yesterday, and this morning I am wrapped in the loving arms of an overstuffed Lazy Boy rocker, fire blazing in the hearth, and watching snowflakes assemble on the deck. Bobbie is already up and out for her walk—one I couldn't yet face given the weather. Give me a day or two; some things take a little time to adjust…

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Hike To The Crags…A Retrospective

After a long morning of whittling down carefully prepared checklists, Dump,  Flush,  Winterize,  Pack Car,  Stow Bikes  … Take Goldie to the "pound," we spent yester-day driving east—my least favorite direction—and woke up in a suite big enough to fit three Goldie-sized RVs. The irony of spending our last night away from "home" at The Grand Vista Hotel... after spending a month in Capital Reef and a month in Zion... is befitting, don't you think? Henceforth, further posts from Utah are moist-eyed retrospectives (sniff).

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bolder Boulder, Part II…Always On The Road To Somewhere Else

Of all the natural processes on this speck of a planet, erosion is my favorite. Maybe that explains my fascination with the American Southwest. It begs the question: What kind of person would choose an often stark, prickly, bone dry desert over lush, verdant woods—cracked dry skin and twice your age wrinkles over a soft, supple age-spotless exterior?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Bolder Boulder

Eight long hours and what'da ya get
Bloodied and brused and soggy dog wet
All for a peek at a slot canyon tube
up a bouldered creek that'll alter your mood

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

How To Ruin a Perfectly Good Tan

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." 
Albert Einstein

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

On Obstacles: The Building Blocks Of Character, and "Losing My Religion"

On the heels of a precipitous, quad burning pilgrimage to lay hands on the alter of the East Temple, yesterday found the Gang slogging up and down a seemingly endless series of deep sand knolls—sand so fine that the next step in its evolutionary destiny is to become dust—a sand as fine as the air we breath, so fine that it filled our shoes and penetrated tightly woven socks. It's one discouraging matter to find it necessary to stop and pour sand from one's shoes, a more disheartening matter entirely to pour sand from one's socks. Searching for inspiration to endure, Suzanne and I invoked scripture. Finding legs no less on fire, I made the leap from Jesus to Zig Ziglar, "What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goal." Sometimes Mother Nature requires us to labor and toil in order to indulge her best kept secrets. What did you think, She was just going to serve them all up at a roadside turnout? Look what happened the the Grand Canyon. Is that what you want Grasshopper?  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another Pleasant Canyon Sun Day

Here we come, walkin'
Down the street.
We get the funniest looks from
Ev'ry one we meet.
Hey, hey, we're the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
But we're too busy playing
To put anybody down.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Now and Then, A Jumpin' Jack Flashback

There were reports of some pretty big gusts from the RV boondock camp down the road yesterday morning. Suzane had to pull in her slide, and door mats were swept away to the Big Abyss, while scarcely four miles east at the Five Star Luxury RV Resort, a guy could both spit and pee into into the wind and get nary a sprinkle on his Crocks. The closer one camps to Hurricane, the closer one gets to hurricanes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Doggie Hike to Hell Hole

Our number fewer, the "Gang" took their "kids" along on our hike into Hell Hole yesterday. Some needed to be hoisted up over obstacles…but the dogs did just fine :))

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh Lord, Let Me Be Silent So That I May See and Hear The Wisdom In Others

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."
Ansel Adams.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fire and Brimstone

Most of you know by now that I have a puppy love crush on Nature's "fire and brimstone" country in and around Zion National Park. Whether it's the stark color contrast of red on white against blue or the vivid eagle-eye focus dry air and elevation lends to this particular region, my "cup" runneth over but as yet, is never full. It sets my spirit free; it soars as I wander great heights and depths awash with the outlandish strokes of a frenetic artist.    

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On Falling Through the Ice of Golden Pond...

Discretion is the better part of valor when your single track turns into a shortcut to heaven (or the other place). Dismounting is an integral part of mountain biking, knowing when and where can be the difference between living to ride another day or taking a year off to heal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From Many Pools to Secret Slots In Zion

It took a while for introductions. BCB reader/friend John Q and wife Joallen (fifth and sixth from the right) met up with the RV Gang for a couple of hikes this past weekend, trading the snow/cold of Indianapolis for sun and fun in Zion. Like ankles in nursing homes, our ranks have swollen—might there be van in our future? I don't think so, as a few members will be chased south soon by a forecast that calls for mostly sunny skies and daytime temps dropping into the low 60's. That's ok…more sun for us :))

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Zion's Narrows, Part II: A Guide Noir Perspective

It was a cold, dark day in a canyon that knows how to keep its secrets. . . . But from the confines of an antique Lazy Daze RV, one man tries to find answers to life's persistent questions... Guide Noir, Explorer Man.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wading Into 46 Degrees and A Sea Of Estrogen, All The Way To Zion's Narrows

Five gals and little ole me took a wade yesterday, and guess who was the only one to fall in, dunk a camera, and get cold? Lordy…I've met my match.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Neither Rain nor Snow nor Darkness of Skies

It takes more than a cold, foreboding day to stymie hardy hikers. After an all night rain, we feared the clay gumbo around these parts might be too slick or sticky. But the soil was apparently thirsty enough to assimilate the moisture and was only lightly dampened, which aided traction, something we were going to need where we were headed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wandering All Alone In Zion's Outer Perimeters

The Rv Gang enjoyed a great group hike in the Chinle/Coal Pits portion of Zion yesterday; had it all to our lonesome selves. From left to right: Gayle, John, Ellen, Bobbie, Laurelee, Debbie, Suzanne, Jim (or at least half of him), and Lynne. I'm seldom in my photos, so you'll have to go to the individual Gang's blogs to see your's truly. Conspicuously AWOL is Boonie, who refuses to set foot in a National Park, even when assured that there will be no one else around.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Many Pools and Beyond: Part II…Feeding The Inner Caveman

Weather in canyons, over time, expose sedimentary layers formed long, long ago—thousands of millenniums—back when mankind was but a gleam in God's eye. Those colorful bands hold amazing stories to those who know how to speak and read Geology, which, unfortunately, I do not. But one doesn't need to know how things came about in order to appreciate their existence, any more than one needs to know the principles of internal combustion in order to drive a car. I may not be able to grasp the precise science—the geological "handwriting" on the walls, so to speak—of all the slot canyons we clamber through, but I do recognized and appreciate grace and grandeur when I see it, particularly when it's swirled with colors that dazzle the senses... grooved and smoothed and polished by Father Time into a work of art.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Many Pools" and Beyond, and Murder By Death In An Airbrushed National Postcard

On the heels of a solo mountain bike ascent up The Flying Monkey, on a day when the mercury topped out over 80, I was ready for a casual day, maybe take a little stroll up one of Zion's nameless canyons and photograph some blushing maples. I'm seeing a lot of red lately—rocks, canyons, leaves. Nothing like Nature in a little red dress to get one excited. Off we go, rubber legs and all.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spring Canyon Hike and Much Ado About Nothing: Un-wad Your Panties, People!

Let's flashback to Capitol Reef for a seemingly endless 13? mile hike up "groovy baby" Spring Canyon, featuring hikers Suzanne, Debbie, Jim, Gayle, Bobbie and your's truly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scrambling To The Depths of Hidden Canyon With The Gang and Lovely World Travelers, Nina and Chantel

What ever could a lovely young Canadian chef and Swiss nurse have in common with a bunch of old geezers? Not much, really…at their age they could well have been grandchildren. But Jim does not discriminate when it comes to a fairer sex "audience," they were trapped—like mice in a maze—forced to hike and listen to an old fart, and I mean that quite literally :). I was not as much at liberty to flirt amongst the gargantuan boulders in the depths of Hidden Canyon, as Bobbie was still managing to conquer said "boulders," leading our expedition beyond our deepest penetration ever. Gayle and the gang had invoked the "common sense rule" at one particularly difficult (dangerous) choke-stone impasse. Curious Jim would not be denied what lay beyond, nor new ears for his tales.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heaven's Gate

As Goldie slipstreamed behind Jim and Gayle into Zion Sunday, I realized that sometimes it's the little things that endear one to a person, place, or thing. For me, it's always been the sinuous red cinder pavement in Zion—improbably etched and tunneled through a canyon labyrinth—that warms my heart and tells me, "I'm Home."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bryce On Fire

Greetings! After nearly a month of boondocking bliss in the Capitol Reef area, the RV seekers-of-redrock gang has moved south to set up a new camp on BLM lands near Virgin. Lazy Dazer Laura Lee showed up yesterday (not sure of her Blog's name yet) and Jim and Gayle spotted a couple more L. D. rigs they recognized in our vicinity. Seems the desert is gets a little more crowded every year. I fear it won't be long before Govie steps in and starts legislating (restricting) our bliss if this RV boondocking-for-free craze keeps snowballing, especially since a good many of the campers have ATV's and such things that leave a bigger "footprint." Has the "golden age" peaked? Or am I just being a spoiled brat part-of-the-problem whiner? Time will tell...

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Million Freaking Mormons, Part II: The Apocalypse

I guess I misunderstood. Might as well get used to it because it's happening more and more the older I get. Bobbie says I don't listen. I'm beginning to think that maybe she's right, but that's another blog post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Little Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Us Away, But A Million Freaking Mormons? That's Another Story

Jumping ahead to current time: Sun-up, sitting in the car outside a Wi Fi bakery in Torrey, Utah—the most depraved, anorexic bandwidth capital of the world—trying to squeeze out a Postcard Post before moving on to yet another internet/cell phone vacuum known as Kodachrome (as in, "Momma please don't take it away"). Yes, today is moving day (sniff). Exhausted, sore footed, red dirt stains between toes, shoes still wet and muddy from wading the Fremont, the RV Gang is finally parting ways with Capitol Reef, and we do it under a cloud of sweet, sweet, sorrow. I will catch the BCB up eventually, as soon as we catch up with twenty-first century technology again. These Dial-up bandwidths are going to be the death of me, And if you think that's bad, poor Jim is in a comatose state of withdrawal.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Exploring A Very Cool Slot Canyon Down Pleasant Creek (Part II)

Pleasant creek was becoming more "pleasant" by the mile, slowly morphing from a run of the mill meandering stream, to a waterpark-like channel of grooved red slickrock. Note to self: Add inflatable flotation device and towel to backpack.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Exploring Pleasant Creek's Petroglyphs and a Very Cool Slot Canyon… Part I

Susan and Maikel assured us we would enjoy the petroglyphs along Pleasant Creek, and there was a "very cool" slot canyon to explore only four miles downstream. Let's see, four plus four equal eight freaking miles. I was tired as a tuckered out dog after chasing rabbits all day, feet sore as hell from too many hikes too many days in a row trying to keep up with Susan and her Capitol Reef bucket list. But, to semi-quote the lovely Ms Renee Zellweger in "Show Me The Money" (deep heartthrob sigh), she had me at "Hello slot canyon." It was only later, as in too late, as in locking the car and donning backpack too late, that I learned there would be no less than 13 stream crossings. Oh goody, multiple opportunities to pull a "Jim," ruin shoes, phone, camera, and take an unplanned dip in ice water.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Upper Muley Twist, Part II…A Surreal Semi-Slot Canyon Loop Hike

Some comings and goings around Camp Red Rock as of late. Boonie skeedadled AWOL under cover of dawn. Eight hours subsequent to Boonies desertion, "Take To The Highway" Suzanne rumbles in with a "Hi Ho" and a red cloud of dust—Tracker in tow behind her Winnie View, seemingly fully recovered from its recent heart transplant. Suzanne motored all the way from middle Texas, where bro "Doctor Don," an apparent Jack of all trades—including Chef—performed the meticulous and so-far-so-good procedure. Three Cheers, "Hip-hip..." Meanwhile, Allison and Jim are prepping to move their "Beaver(s)" south on Thursday. The remaining RV contingent will hold tight in Camp Red Rock, showing Suzanne some of the highlights, until the weather begins to require long pants, or blackwater tanks bulge... whichever comes first. 

A group hike to Golden Throne is on today's agenda, unless Little Adventures Jim is too hungover from last night's 3.2% "piss-water" beer. I guess I don't get it. In a state where talking heads look the other way regarding Polygamy and Prepubescent wives, Prohibition, of all things, is enforced with Sadam-like authority. Sadly, Utah's arbitrary, antiquated, and nonsensical liquor laws mandated us to wash down thick crust pizza with little more than carbonated water, which is totally unAmerican, if not downright dangerous (insert frown face here). 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Upper Muley Twist, Part 1

There are multiple outings warming up in the "Bull Pen," awaiting their turn on the BCB mound. But one bar at 1x = no uploads (sigh). I know, I know... what about the two wi fi goodie joints only three miles distant in Torrey? Well, I've gained 5 pounds using "free" hotspots... and lost damn near fifty bucks. I can attest that the pumpkin shakes at Slackers are to die for, and the muffins at Castlerock are just as lethal. Photo by photo, word by word, I will get you caught up. But first, let me wax poetic about about a curious wrinkle in the earth's crust known as The Waterpocket Fold.  Boonie devotees will want to exit here and now…

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sheets Canyon is one of many slot hikes on the Notem Road side of Capital Reef. Ms Ranger at the Park Headquarters information desk said we might encounter "ankle-deep water." What she didn't say was that the mud is much deeper than the water…and slippery, too! But these unexpected events are the building blocks of Adventure, right?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"Free" Wi Fi In Torrey, Utah…Gateway To Capital Reef

Sitting in a bakery/sandwich shop in sunny and mild Torrey, Utah, munching on a God-awful-good pumpkin muffin, and sucking down "free" wi-fi (ha ha) at 20 bucks per post. But the yummy in my tummy is worth every cent. Our boondock is down the road about three miles and the "gang's" all here, Wiseone's Susan and Maikel, Jim and Gayle, and Debbie, with lovable dogs Rupert and Elliot, with notable exceptions of Boonie, who assures us he's on his way, somewhere near Green River, and Suzanne... a "reluctant" new recruit to the "gang" that got blindsided by a blown motor in her Tacker Toad. Sadly, it required a trip to Texas to get a new/rebuilt engine installed by her brother, to whom her birthright will now be forever indebted. There may be a few more recruits showing up, time will tell. Let the "games" begin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One Last Fall Album, On The Eve of Departure

A curve missed between between Durango and Lovely Ouray is the last mistake some drivers make. Carry just a little too much speed into a switchback, maybe hit some loose gravel or a patch of black ice in the wrong spot and you're in big double trouble. I'm intrigued by the automobile carnage left to rust away at the bottom of un-guardrailed portions of The Million Dollar Highway.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Little Bit of Jesus Christ, and A Whole Lot of Jack Daniels

Storm clouds and Flash Flood warnings have lifted, and we are treated to a snowcapped mountain surround out the amphitheater-facing Imax Window this morning. Old Man Winter has sounded the first of three foreboding gongs... a sonic pall intended to frighten Ms Autumn on down the road, shake "flowers" from limbs of quaking aspen, and break the mental death-grip Crevice dwelling mountain folk have on their "Endless Indian Summer" fantasy. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Crystal Blue Persuasion, Yellow Submarine, and Lavender Mountain, and Why God Made RVs

On yet another fine fall day we found ourselves on the shores of Crystal Lake, a mere twenty minute scoot up Red Mountain from Lovely Ouray. I was persuaded to take photo-graphic advantage of Crystal's warm, calm, reflective mood; it won't be long till she's frozen over… frigid as a popsicle in a deepfreeze. I hope to be immersed in Utah's Red Rock country by then, taking thermal advantage of places where Old Man Winter's arrival is generally postponed till the holidays… the way it should be in a perfect world. But it isn't a "perfect world," is it? Nor is it always fair. And that, my dear friends, is why God made RVs—to wander comfortably around in the desert, looking for the Promised Land. Poor old Moses and his Israelites… living in makeshift tents, no port-a-potties or holding tanks, no solar power or generators; surly they hold a graveyard grudge.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

“Autumn… a second spring, when every leaf's a flower”

What can I say, it was simply a perfect day in the mountains. An after sex-like glow radiated undercover warmth like a '70's mood ring, and all was right and well in the two worlds that matter—the Here, and the Now.

Friday, September 26, 2014

"What About Bob?"

Even with Lovely Ouray's temps in the 70's, I'm here to tell you that unobstructed high altitude late-September sun can be brutally hot. It's almost like an infra-red kind of heat, one that cooks you from the inside out. So there I was, feeling like the flammable focal point under a magnifying glass, sweating out placements of the few remaining shingles on the roof of one of two new storage sheds Bobbie and I had just constructed—something to house our mountain bikes and other "stuff" that seems to multiply faster than wives and children at a polygamist commune, and up strolls "What-About-Bob." Bob's friendly and outgoing, yet somewhat of a pathetically forlorn character not unlike the one Bill Murray played in the movie… a lovable, offbeat, and entertaining kind of guy, but one who'd move into your spare bedroom in a heartbeat if you didn't watch out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Test Run For Goldie…Red Mountain, Silverton, and A Lake Camp At Little Molas

Short on time for words today… and short on internet speed here in Silverton, Colorado. We're going hiking so we'll catch up later. Here's a few thousand words in pictures to hold you over.
Peace Out,
Mark and Bobbie

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Days Of Waning Light and Warmth, Looking for Postcards Outside the Turnstiled Confines Of Our National Treasures

Gee, you would think I burned the flag or something. I thought that most readers would understand and forgive my overstated nature by now—that when I "pee" on something it is to be taken with a shaker of salt. Be it satire, sarcasm, and/or my tongue-in-cheek attempts at comedic drivel, it all relies on some elemental basis in fact in order for it to work. To exaggerate is human, if you don't believe take a look at your resume. We laugh at cartoons because they are an exaggeration of ourselves, and sometimes, it's not a giant leap.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"If You Want To Get To Heaven, You Got To (Risk) A Little Hell"

Maybe I'm finally getting through to him—or maybe there are other communal forces at work. Whatever the cause, I like the results. Lately, you see, I've waxed poetic from my email pulpit about the diverse and surreal Geology and Topography surrounding—as in, outside of—Capital Reef National Park. These sermons were an attempt to cajole the CEO of National Park Haters Anonymous into showing up despite it's proximity to the "No Go" zone. It appears my pal has taken the hook.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Where Have All The Flowers Gone...

A seasonal transition is underway. Bobbie wanders flowerless tundra, nipped yellow by frost and a settling sun. It was a lush alpine season, though, besotted by slow moving monsoons. We alternately gave thanks and cursed the weather gods, but in the end are grateful for every drop of rain. To everything a season, be it flora, fauna, or Life itself. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Looking Back, Moving Forward: "This little light is mine, I'm gonna to let it shine"

Disclaimer: If it's intellectual enlightenment you seek, you're at the wrong website. What you will find here are photos and opinions…some pretty, some pretty ugly…like the photographer/author. I disclaim to be an authority on anything except my own experience, lot's of failures, a few successes, and a couple of regrets…all of which I share with you in hopes that one person's experience might serve as a candle to light a path for others. Not so much that you should in any way follow my footsteps, more that you might learn from my mistakes. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sustaining RV Lust: The Open Road, A Happy Hearth, and Me—The Ultimate Ménage à trois

Another Monsoonal deluge here in soon to be Lake Lovely Ouray (sigh). Between Ms Monsoon's tantrums, Bobbie and I have been busy constructing two four by eight storage sheds that attach to the rear and side of the Imax Mine Shack. Seems our garage is maxed out and Bobbie's new Trek and my old 29'er needed a place to park out of the weather. But there will be no construction going on today in this ducky weather, so here's a potentially controversial post for BCB readers to chew on. Fasten your seat belts, folks, and you might want to cross your legs so as to avoid nasty "knee-jerk" reactions :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sweet Bliss

August, August…parting is such sweet bliss. Having babysat The Skol Fine Art Gallery  for the better part of Lovely Ouray's short, but oh-so-sweet summer, and this while RV friends are cavorting about North America like a bunch of newborn colts, I become mindful of the irony of my last day of work falling on Labor Day.