Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dinner with an old friend and a great Sunset

A friend from my ROTC days in college was in Colorado on vacation.  He contacted me via FB and we made plans for him to come to the house for dinner tonight.

I've known Kevin since the early 80s, back in the day when things seemed simpler, life wasn't too onerous and responsibility was something to train for but not yet felt as a sometimes burden.

Kevin served as a Combat Medic with the 82nd Airborne during Operation Urgent Fury, the first one of our group to see combat.  After the Army, he served as a paramedic/fireman in Palm Beach County, FL; retiring recently as a captain.

Martha cooked us a great beef stir fry dinner and Kevin and I caught up and made possible plans for future meets.

As he had an early flight in the morning, Kevin said his goodbyes around 8:00 PM and headed back to his hotel.  I hope he'll be able to stay at Casa Chang in the Fall when he's back for a golf tournament.

This allowed me to hurry over to the usual sunset picture spot with Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the beemer engine.  Got there just in time to park her and get some pictures.

I'd hurried out of the house and had forgotten the Sony A5000 camera.  Damn, I thought, the iphone6 will have to made do.

I believe you'll agree with me, the iphone6's camera came through with flying colors.  That is, so long as you didn't use the zoom in the fading sunset's lighting...way too much pixelation.

And yes, post-processing was involved, but not as much as I thought would be needed.  The setting sun's lighting was that good you see.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day, 2017

A day set aside to remember all of our country's men and women who died while they served our country performing active military service.

It had been quite some time, I'm embarrassed to say, since I'd last visited Fort Logan National Cemetery.  So long in fact, it took me more than a few seconds to located the grave stone for SSgt Brian Joiner.  He's the son of a work friend of mine, who lost his life while on active duty with the US Air Force.

Brian Joiner is the only one I know who is buried at Fort Logan, and I always stop by to pay my respects.

 The view from a small rise overlooking section 44
(topmost section) where SSgt Joiner is buried
The tower in the distance belongs to Regis University

Part of Brian's row...

The cemetery was the most busy I'd seen in the several years that I've been doing this on Memorial Day.  Traffic was basically at a stand still for a while so I spent more time wandering about the nearby sections of the cemetery.

Fort Logan has 214 acres and a count of 122,000 + grave sites.  It is well maintained and the crowds were quiet and respectful as  folks split up to find their loved one's grave stone and visit with their loved one.

 Weather clouds moved in as the afternoon wore on.
I was finally able to make my way out shortly after 3:00 PM

The drive home was under rather overcast skies and I saw that apparently some areas had gotten a bit of pea-sized hail dumped on them.  You could see the hail piles along the side of the road and such.

As I neared my home neighborhood, the hail covering the roads got thicker and more widespread.  I must have just missed it as there were still tracks in the road where cars had gone through the hail before me.

As I took the above shot, I saw Martha scootering in.  Apparently
she'd been caught in the full hail downpour  near home and had elected
to park the scooter and await the end of the storm at home.

Hope you had a chance to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and give thanks perhaps to the men and women who died while in the service of their country.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Welcome Home Sunset

The sunset tonight was sort of like a welcome home for me from my trip to Cancun, Mexico for "work" and welcoming the new-to-us car to casa Chang.

We bought a 2014 Honda CR-V with a bit over 33K miles on it from a dealer in Colorado Springs.  Her name?  Undecided.  Input welcome for next 24 hours or so, especially if Patrick (my oldest son) can't come up with a name that pleases us.

Yes, I'm going to cause you to view the sunset pictures first and show you Martha's new ride last.

 Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol

 Denver Skyline

Martha and her "new to her" Honda CR-V

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sidecaring in Conzumel

Today, I woke early to get to the Commercial Ferry Station called Calica, just south of Playa del Carmen.  I'd reconned the route the evening before so it was a pretty smooth matter to line up the rig, go inside to pay and get one's "ticket".

Loading was a bit of a slow process and the motorcycles (two of us) were the last ones onboard, ending up tucked into corners.  It may have seemed slow due to us baking in the sun's heat while waiting our turn to board the ferry.

Still, we were finally onboard and an hour later we were in Conzumel, a small island across from Playa del Carmen.  There was a great breeze blowing on the top decks where I sat to take pictures.

 There was another ferry as we approached Cozumel's
Ferry Terminal, the ferry I was on is its twin.

Yes, a sad set of whiskers....unloading from
the ferry at Cozumel

I turned right onto the coastal main drag from the ferry terminal and slowly made my way out of the town of Cozumel to the open road south of it.  About 25 km later, I'd arrived at Punta Sur or South Point.  A park/nature preserve with beaches and crocs and iguanas.

The Royal Enfield 500cc Sidecar Rig I rented, which
I named Carmen for the trip.

Cool sign but apparently the crocs only come out at night,
can't say I blame them, it was hot!

 The only sizable Iguana I saw....perhaps three feet long

 Punta Sur's Lighthouse
One of the attendants took the picture of me
before I continued onwards to the end of the park

 The parking "attendant" guided me to this shady 
spot for "Carmen" to rest in while I walked around.

 Fresh Coconuts!

There were a few beaches but as I was not swimming, I bypassed them pretty quickly.  Soon I was headed out of the park:

 See, I don't just take pictures of my rig....

Continuing counter-clockwise around the island's rim road, there were multiple spots where one could stop and enjoy the beach/ocean views.

The narrow road closest to the water is restricted to folks on bicycles and scooters.
You can rent scooters on the island of course, as well as cars!

I stopped at a beachside series of vendor shacks and while I didn't buy anything, these skulls caught my eye.

The vendors were located at a spot with some neat rock formations that were being battered by the waves:

Soon, the road turns west towards Cozumel city.  Once I got to what I thought was the main drag, I turned north until the road ended in the Zona de Hoteles.  Not much there except the gate for a base for the Mexican Air Force:

As I had time before the 3PM arrival to the ferry, I had a late lunch near the ferry's terminal:

Still having time, I relaxed in the airconditioned (barely) lounge until such time I had to line up the rig and pay for the return ticket.  Loading was a sweltering affair again but at least this time my rig wasn't the last one boarded!  The had me park the rig between two rigs which worked out great for me.

I rested in the airconditioned (barely) lounge aboard the ferry for a few to recover from the heat, then it was time for pictures again.

 One last look at Cozumel

A shot of my ferry's sister ship, heading to Cozumel
as we headed to Calica.

Once I got back to Calica, getting off the ferry became a dusty ride out of the terminal area.  I tried riding to a beach site called Punta Esmeralda for sunset shots but the area proved crowded and besides, it was time to return the rig.

A great day of riding on a rental rig that proved quite fun to drive at times.  Sure, being a thumper, it was buzzy at the higher speeds but that's not what it's really designed to do is it?

I'd rented the rig from, run by Fredrik Andersonn.  Very pleased with the overall experience provided by Fredrik and I would recommended his outfit to you if you're in the Mayan Riviera/Yucatan area and wish to do some three-wheeled explorations!

Note: Roughly 250 kilometers ridden.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sidecaring in Mexico - Day 1

The company I work for, is comprised 100% of staff members who work from home.  No central HQ building, everyone is spread out across the USA.

To compensate a bit for this and to build team spirit and such, the boss has us gather on an annual basis at rather nice locations to talk about the company, do some team-building and training.  Since I've been with the company, I've been to Park City, UT, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA.  We've always been put up in really nice hotels and the food is of course excellent.

This year, we are meeting in Cancun, Mexico.  As I was being flown in already on the company dime, I took a couple of days off and flew in early so that I could take a bus down to the tourist town of Playa del Carmen just south of Cancun where Martha had told me of an outfit which rented sidecar rigs!  What a wife eh?

I flew down today, on a direct flight from Denver, and took the ADO bus down for less than $10; easily making my way to Playa del Carmen and finding the hostel I'd reserved near the tourist main drag.

Did some walking exploration of Playa del Carmen, basically a tourist trap town by the beach.  It was beastly hot and humid though which was a bit of a detractor for me.

 A beach side set of statues forming sort of an arch near
the ferry terminal for nearby Cozumel island.

Probably not authentic Mayan, a large head 
at the center of a traffic circle in town.

After the walking recon of "Quinta Avenida", their main tourist drag, I returned ot the hostel and heard from Fredrik, the gentleman who runs  He said he was nearby already and I could have the rig early if I wanted it.

Of course, I said yes and walked over to meet with him.  He was finishing some other business on the phone so I just checked out the rig in the meantime.

 I think I'll call her Carmen

She's a well-used 500cc Royal Enfield, and after some rather informal formalities with Fredrik, she was mine for the next 24 hours.

Took me a while to get used to her clutch handling, acceleration profile and rather buzzy engine but crawling through Playa del Carmen's afternoon traffic facilitated that quite well.

Soon I found my way onto Mexico Hwy 307, heading south towards Calica and the commercial ferry terminal there.  I will be trying to board the 8am ferry tomorrow to take Carmen over to Cozumel for some exploring.

After failing to find a good spot to capture what looked liked an incredible gorgeous sunset (drat!), I gased up Carmen and then after a few false turns, found my way to the secured parking lot near the hostel where I am staying the next two nights.

So, I can mark Mexico down as a country I've ridden a motorcycle in, it wasn't too bad, very much like Italy in a way.  More to follow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Last Western Sunset for this Week

Sunsetwx got it right this evening, predicting a pretty good sunset for our spot along the Colorado Front Range.

There will be, no more Western Sunset shots, for the rest of this week.  More on this later.

The light rains we'd gotten throughout the day cleared off in time for the sunset fortunately.  More rain forecasted for tomorrow.

 The Front Range Mountains and Denver Skyline

 The sun already behind the Front Range mountains, its
rays turned the clouds into some wonderful reds and golds