Outdoors

Off-roading

I used to go off-roading in my GMC Sierra pickup truck, although I turned it in at the end of the lease… I had a 2005 Sierra SLT Crew Cab Long Bed with the 6.6L Duramax Turbo Diesel and Allison 5-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission, but I haven’t taken many pictures of it… It looked almost like the one below from the GMC brochure, although the one below is only a short bed.

Camping

We all enjoyed camping in the mountains in our Gulfstream Conquest fifth-wheel trailer. Since we didn’t have a truck for a while, we had the trailer stored at the Snowy Peaks RV Park in Buena Vista. They have a neat setup where they store the trailer on site, then they would move and setup the trailer for us when we come up to camp.

I know, many people will scoff, and say that this isn’t camping! After many years of camping in a tent, we came to the conclusion that camping is about what you do while you’re away, not about sleeping on the ground! We enjoy hiking, and sightseeing, taking pictures of wildlife and wild flowers, etc… We decided that it wasn’t necessary to sleep on the ground to do those things… Even though we “camp” in the comfort of our trailer, we still preferred to stay in “primitive” campgrounds in the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests, and other remote areas in the Colorado Rockies. We had the trailer at the Glen Echo Resort in the Poudre Canyon for a while, but are enjoying the area around Buena Vista where we have it now.

We have made a number of modifications to our trailer, mostly to better utilize the space. Click here to see the pictures of the work-in-progress. There was no storage space for small items in the main area of the trailer, and the medicine cabinet in the bathroom was too small, so we relocated the original medicine cabinet to the wall of the slide-out, and built a new, larger medicine cabinet from scratch. We also had seen that the FBHS28, the model that replaced the FBHS27 that we have, incorporated a “shirt wardrobe” in the bedroom. We removed the small corner cabinet above the TV stand, and framed in a small closet in its place. The original cabinet was later cut down in depth, and mounted in the corner of the slide-out above the couch (not shown in these pictures). Having a solid wall next to the door also allowed us to extend a shelf over the door, connecting with the top of the cabinets in the galley. The addition of a cup rail makes this a perfect place to store items like kites and fishing poles. We discovered an enormous amount of wasted space under the closet in the rear of the trailer, above the hydraulic pump for the slide-out. We opened this space for two large drawers, hidden by raised-panel cabinet doors. There was also wasted space above the microwave, that we made into a shelf with a cup rail to match the storage area above the refrigerator. Our friend Jim King made the cabinet doors from scratch, and did most of the cabinetry.

Both of these pictures were taken at Turquoise Lake, just outside of Leadville, Colorado, one of our favorite places to visit. It’s especially nice at the end of the summer, when its hot other places, since it’s much cooler at about 10,500′!

Another of our favorite places is Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Each year in mid-July they host a hot-air balloon festival called Rainbow Weekend. Click here for some of our photographs from the Rainbow Weekend in 2002.

We saw this moose up-close along Long Draw Road near the Poudre Canyon, just north of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rustic Wildfire

While camping in the Poudre Canyon, near Rustic, Colorado, we were able to witness a wildfire from start to finish! A lightning strike started a wildfire just across the Poudre River from our campsite on Saturday morning, 20 May 2006. We confirmed that the fire had already been called in to officials. Throughout the day, we were able to see the fire spread, and saw several “slurry drops” from a small plane. The local volunteer fire department and the Forest Service moved in several crews, and had a “line” below the fire before nightfall. While we were able to see the glow of the fire during the night, the firefighters must have been hard at work, because by daybreak on Sunday there was very little sign of smoke or fire. Click here for more pictures…

Bicycling

I have an old Cannondale road racing bike, built on an SR900 frameset. It was made so early in the production cycle that it doesn’t even have a serial number! These early framesets had a recall on the original Tange fork, so the paint color doesn’t quite match. When I assembled the bike when I was in high school, I used mostly Shimano 600 series components, as that was all that I could afford at the time. Over the years, I replaced most of the components with the Sun Tour Superbe line.

I worked as a bike mechanic during summers when I was in high school and college. I learned how to build wheels from scratch, starting with a hub and a rim, and a pile of spokes. Once you have the pattern down, its not too difficult to weave the spokes properly so that they are properly laced.

Jeannette and I also have a pair of Trek mountain bike, which we ride more frequently.