Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Day at Royal Gorge

Sunday Heather and I went to the Royal Gorge for the day.  The weather was beautiful and we had a great time.  Thanks Frankie for the idea.

This is at the entrance.  The clocks track the year, month, day and hour.  It's a great place to come and get your bearings if you do any time travel or fall asleep for 20 years.

First view of the bridge.  It spans 1,000 ft, and is over the same distance from the canyon floor.  It was built at the beginning of the Great Depression in just 6 months.  Today it would take longer to do the environmental assessment.

The Bridge offers awesome views of the Canyon.  The Arkansas river cuts through the middle of the canyon.  You can't see Arkansas from here, though.

This is what the bridge looked like at the time it was built in the 1929, when everything was black and white.

There's more to the park than just the bridge and gorge.  There is also wildlife.

Some is tamer than others.

If you've ever wanted to visit a real mining town, don't come here.  But if you want to experience the ambiance created by a small replica of an old west mining town, they have that covered.

There is also an incline railway to take you to the river's edge, and a suspended tram to take you across, if you get tired of travelling over the bridge. 

A train runs along the river.  The tracks are suspended at this point.

One last view and it was back home for us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Love L.A.

Ok, actually I don't.  Love L.A. that is.  The prices are high, the air is dirty, there are far too many people packed into far too small a space, half the radio channels are in Spanish, which I don't understand, since I only took 2 years of Spanish in High School, and my teacher wasn't hopped up on crack, so she didn't talk that fast, and the water is too cold to swim in, so what's the point of having an ocean?  But it's a line from an old 80's song, and I love 80's music, so there you have it.

For the last couple of days I have been in L.A.; coincidentally the season finale of American Idol was held there at the same time.  I would be bummed on missing out on that except for the fact that this year the show was pretty abysmal, so I watched very little of it.  Do I really want to see amateur singers hamming it up behind the scenes between each set for 5 minutes?  No, I don't.  The talent this year was lacking as well.  Some years the show finds diamonds in the rough, such as Kelly Clarkson, David Cook, and Carrie Underwood.  Other years, the best it has to offer are unworthy cubic zirconians like Fantasia and Taylor Hicks.  This year gave us a guy who manages to sing off-key for part of most songs, but at least he has great hair.

The one thing I enjoyed about my time in L.A. was driving on the freeway, an excruciatingly boring event when traffic is backed up, but time it right and it's like being in your own NASCAR race, without the rollbars and constant left turns.  There's just something about merging into a space only 1 foot larger than your car, while travelling at 75 miles an hour that let's you know you're alive. And the great thing is that everyone is so used to driving this way that no one honks their horn at you or gives you a dirty look.  If anything, they applaud your bravado. 

I also got to eat lunch with some co-workers down by the beach.  Our waitress was a Canadian girl who apparently thought that getting collagen injected into her lips would make them more appealing, which would be true, if large, misshapen lips that spill over the face in odd places that would never occur naturally were attractive.  Unfortunately her search for artificial beauty marred what was an otherwise decent face, from what I could see.  Of course, to be fair the majority of her face was obscured by sunglasses that would provide Gollum with full peripheral protection.  I'm pretty sure she had cheeks, but I'm only guessing based on my knowledge of human anatomy, since they were completely covered by the softball sized lenses she was wearing.  Fashion is a crazy thing.

When it came time to turn in my rental car I couldn't turn on the road that leads to the rental place due to construction, so I ended up touring some neighborhoods for 10 minutes trying to weave my way there.  Apparently the grid system with straight roads and intersections was unknow to the devlopers of the neighborhood I was in, as I kept finding myself curving around and coming back to the same side of the main drag that I had started on. 

Finally after a lot more driving than I wanted to do and an unsuccessful attempt to coax some gas out of a Valero pump that  didn't like me or my credit card, I found my way to the drop-off.  The kid behind the counter gave me a ride back to the hotel, and half of his Kit Kat, both of which I appreciated, although I held the Kit Kat in higher regard, since it required more personal sacrifice and is made of a delicious blend of cookie wafer and chocolate.  We chatted on the way and I learned that he had a general engineering degree from a local college, and that he wanted to get a specialty degree such as civil or electrical engineering, but his college didn't offer it and he couldn't transfer, as he was on the volleyball team.  So now he has some great volleyball memories, a general engineering degree and a job at Enterprise.  Proof that intelligence and smarts are not correlated.  At least he was nice.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Circle of Life

Last week my battery died on my motorcycle, and I have to thank my co-worker Rhett and a random stranger in the parking lot for helping me to get it jump started so I could get home.  Rhett received a thank-you hug, although the stranger just got  a handshake.  Rhett seemed a little uncomortable with the hug.   I don't know if it's because I'm a guy, or if it's because I was gently rubbing small circles in his back the whole 30 seconds.  Perhaps it was a little of both.  Luckily, Rhett is a Mormon, so he's not allowed to punch me.  Or is that the Amish?

Yesterday I got to repay the favor when another co-worker, Tory, also known in our office as "Pretty Tory", came to work with a flat tire.  Now I know you may be tempted to think that I only offered my assistance because she is "Pretty Tory", but I try to be nice to those around me, and I like to believe I would have offered to help even if she was "Lazy-eye Tory", or "Man-hands Tory" or even "Whoah, what do you mean she's not pregnant? Tory".  In any case it was a golden opportunity to "pay it forward", hopefully without me ending up in the parking lot with a fatal stab wound.  I figured as long as I didn't see Kevin Spacey I was safe.

Unfortunately Mondays are the worst possible day to get a flat at work, as they are the one day we are required to wear "business dress".  Short of replacing an air filter or windshield wipers, changing a tire is about as simple an operation that one can perform on their car (and in addition to changing the oil makes a complete list of maintenance activities I am qualified to perform), but doing so in slacks, a dress shirt and dress shoes is uncomfortable to say the least.  The fact that the wind was blowing 50 miles an hour did not make the task any easier, and as an aside, I learned that even a dry leaf, when travelling at those speeds, will hurt if it strikes you in the face.  By the time we were done Tory's shirt and arms looked like she had received a hug from a grease monkey.  I fared better, with only my hands getting greasy, since I never actually crawled under the car, nor did I hug the greasy monkey that ambled by.

Sadly Tory's bad luck only started with getting a flat tire on a Monday.  When I arrived she had already expended a can of "Fix-a-flat", which had decidedly not fixed her flat.  It would have been more aptly called "Leave a pool of white stuff on the ground", as this is all it accomplished.  Tory had already placed the jack under the car, and after cross-referencing the handy "where to place the jack" diagram on the bumper, right next to the "you can take my gun when you peel it out of my cold dead hands" bumper sticker, I lifted the car with one hand and the miraculous power of hydraulics, removed the tire, and replaced it with the spare.

Once I lowered the car we discovered that the spare apparently felt sorry for the tire it was replacing, as it was also flat.  Unfortunately, Tory did not have a can of "Fix-a-flat-spare" to use, so we were out of options.  Tory called her husband, also known as "the guy who smartly decided to marry Pretty Tory rather than become a priest", and he came out to take her and her two flat tires to the tire store to get them replaced.  My stint as a good but sadly useless Samaritan came to an end, and I made my way through the wind and back to work.  I would have liked to have gotten a hug, but Rhett was in no mood to give me one.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Tale of Two Days

Oh what a difference a few days can make.

Thursday started out as a pretty good day.  The weather was finally forcast to be sunny, warm, and dry, so I rode the bike to work.  I was eagerly looking forward to my ride home, and all seemed well as I headed to the parking lot to hop on and and go home.  The sky was a bright blue, with cumulus clouds dotting the sky like so many cotton balls in the bathroom of a house with an unattended 2 year old.  Things started sliding downhill as I inserted the key into the ignition.

I don't know who the genius was who designed the ignition system on motorcycles, but the switch is activated by inserting the key and rotating it about 15 degrees.  In the middle position, the key cannot be removed and the power is on.  In the down position, the key can be removed, and the power is off. So far, so good.  Some engineer somewhere, who probably also thought it would be a great idea to put the handbrake and clutch on the same side, but fortunately was overruled by clearer headed individuals, succeeded in creating a third position for the key.  In the up position, a mirror image of the off position, the key can also be removed, but power is left on for the headlight and taillights.  The down position is aptly called the "off" position, the middle is called "run", and the up position is "hope you have some jumper cables coiled up somewhere in that bike". 

Theoretically I suppose the idea is to allow one to remove the key and walk away, leaving the lights on temporarily so the bike is more visible if stranded on the side of the road.  In reality, this means that if you twist the key (located by your left ankle, where you are handling it via feel, not sight, 15 degrees up, rather than 15 degrees down, you can still remove the key, but you leave your lights on.  Also keep in mind that there is no "off" setting for the lights on a motorcycle, it is a toggle switch between dims and brights, and there is no dinging bell to let you know that the key has been removed and the lights are on (did I just discover an after market device that could make me a fortune?).

As you have probably already figured out, I made this simple mistake on Thursday, and realized it when I reinserted the key into the ignition and noticed it was angled up instead of down.  The battery was as dead as Tiger Woods' advertising career.  Being fairly new to the motorcycle scene, I don't know alot about the anatomy of a bike, but I seemed to remember that the battery was located under the seat.  Luckily I replaced the stock seat myself, so I am familiar with this simple operation that involves removing a single screw in the back.  It is operated via a hex, which I quickly located in my toolbox (yes, motorcycles come with a toolbox, although there is no glovebox, which makes it hard to store your gloves).  After removing the seat and poking around the wiring underneath I realized that the battery is not located there.  In fact, it is located near the bottom of the bike.  After replacing the seat, and with the help of a coworker and a random stranger with jumper cables, I was able to get the bike started.

While putting the seat on I noticed that I had threaded the screw at an angle, so once I was home I removed and replaced it.  This caused the metal bracket it seats in to be off-center for some reason.  Being a bit OCD, I couldn't let that be the case, so I grabbed my hammer and gently tapped it to the left a few times.  This worked perfectly, except for the fact that I accidentally tapped the bike in mid swing, removing a bit of paint.  A bad day was getting worse.

Once I got in the house my realtor called me to let me know that the house that I had finally decided to put a bid in on several days earlier, but had not gotten around to doing because he was out of town (although he had the paperwork ready to go and a co-worker who was willing to submit it) had gotten a bid from another buyer.  I could go higher or let it go.  I decided to do the latter, as there are plenty of other houses out there, but my mood was quickly sliding into the area where Keith Olbermann lives.  To put the final Coup de Gras on the day (I have no idea if I used that term correctly, but I like the way it sounds), I got a letter in the mail saying that I had failed to pay my property taxes on time, and was being penalized 1% of the total cost for my lateness.  This was a revelation, since I never received a notice in the mail that my taxes were due.  Of course, the letter informed me that not receiving proper notice was not an excuse for not paying on time.  So I called the Treasurer's office, which had just closed, and which is also conveniently closed on Fridays, meaning I can't get this taken care of until Monday.  All of which to say, Thursday sucked.

Compare that to yesterday.  I got to enjoy another beautiful day getting some yard work done, had a great conversation with a good friend from out of town for about an hour and a half, knocked out some reading for my "professional development" (ie, work-required studies), read over half of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, babysat my friends' kids so they could have a night out on the town which they seemed to really enjoy, and had a good time with the kids.  We even stayed up a bit late to watch Zathura (ok, so it's just Jumanji in space, but it was still entertaining).  The only thing that would have made the day better would have been if Heather and I could have done the hike I wanted to do, but Heather had a lunch date with a friend from out of town, so that got called off.  But we're going to the Royal Gorge today, so that wasn't a big deal either.  Thursday = awful, Saturday = Awesome!

It's Not You, It's Me

Yesterday my realtor, who is working with me to find an investment property, gave me a book.  It's called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and was written by a self-made millionaire who's father (poor dad) was highly educated, and preached the standard mantra of "get a good education, get a good job".  His rich dad is actually his friend's dad, who basically taught him how to have an entrepreneur's mindset.  It's a really good book about building wealth and making money work for you, rather than just working for money, to basically steal a phrase straight out of the book.

My realtor also gave me a survey to find out how to better help guide me into buying an investment property, as well as a pep talk.  I know he's got to be getting nervous that all the time he has spent on me will have been wasted (as he doesn't get paid if I don't buy a house), but I assured him that I will buy once I find the right property.  I don't rush into decisions, but once I make my mind up I generally follow through to the end with tenacity.  I appreciate the book, though, and the fact that he hasn't made the fatal mistake of trying to rush me into something I'm not ready for.  That would have the opposite effect with me. 

I've read a little over half the book, and am happy to find that most of what I have read I have already learned on my own, without a "rich dad" to enlighten me.  For that I am grateful, since I can't really pin down exactly how that happened.  I have to thank my parents for teaching me the value of buying with cash rather than credit I suppose.  I have a blue-collar (read slightly above poverty line) upbringing mixed with a natural easygoing disposition to credit for being satisfied with very little, and my tendency to save much more than I spend.  I'm glad those pieces fell into place but I need to work on being more generous with what the Lord has blessed me with.  If I can't be generous then I don't really want to build wealth.  That would only make me feel more self reliant and be more self serving.  I have to remember that I am a steward of what He has given me, and that ultimately it all belongs to Him.  Sounds good in theory, harder to do in practice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are You Limping? No, This is Just How I Walk

A few weeks ago I was cajoled into seeing a doctor for my back, which has caused me discomfort for many years now.  My doctor referred me to a physical therapist (who, for the record, does not find it amusing when you sing "Let's get physical" throughout your session).  She informed me that my hips were out of alignment.  I don't know how this happend.  Perhaps it was during one of my hard landings as a paratrooper in the Army.  Maybe it was while playing football and getting slammed into the ground on a tough tackle.  Possibly it was the result of hopping on my left foot too much during hopscotch.  Be sure and alternate your feet to even it out.

Whatever the case, 5 resistance stretches later, and I feel like a new man.  For the first time in as long as I can remember it doesn't feel like a tiny hand is pinching my muscles on my left hip flexor from the inside.  I now walk normally again, instead of with a limping gait.  I don't know how many times I have been asked if I hurt my leg, because it looked like I was limping.  Now I know why I walked so funny.  I just thought it was because I was weird, which I use to explain my other abnormalities, such as my propensity to collect and recite random useless facts, and how I sometimes leave the ends of my frenchfries uneaten.  Why didn't I see a physical therapist a long time ago?  I can't believe how good I feel.

It's strange how you can live with discomfort for so long that it becomes the new normal.  Until you experience normal again, you don't realize how uncomfortable the compromise you have accepted is.  What other abnormalities have I come to accept in my life?  I don't know, but it felt good to drive home without my back twisting slightly the whole way.  I'm looking forward to my next climb to see if it is any easier or at least less painful.  Could running be enjoyable again?  I don't know, but laying on my side is enjoyable again, at least.  Thanks, Paula.  You have improved my remaining days considerably.  I'm swearing off hopscotch for life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hiking The Incline and Mt Manitou

This Sunday's hiking adventure was a solo one, as the idea of spending several hours in my company is even less enticing than the idea of climbing 2000 steps, and putting the two together is a hard combination to overcome.  That's ok, because having no hiking partner does have its benefits, such as the ability to rock out to my favorite tunes on my Ipod.  The weather was sunny and beautiful, so I packed my gear in my saddlebags and hopped on the motorcycle for a ride to Manitou and a date with the Incline.

Parking was not easy to find, so I had to park down the hill a ways, then remove and stow my riding gear, and put on my camelbak to start my climb.  I put in my earbuds and started listening to my portable best friend.  Halfway through the first song on my playlist the battery went dead.  Not a good start.  Now I would only have the boring voice of myself to listen to for several hours.  Great.

The beginning isn't too steep.  That's the starting point at the bottom.
This is what's left to climb.

The town of Manitou is below.

As you go up, the trail gets steeper, and the number of guys with no shirts gets higher

As you continue higher, the view keeps getting better.  Assuming a really ugly person isn't following you.  I feel sorry for those people in front of me.

The Incline is based on what was once the tracks for a cog railway. 
This is the steepest section, with a grade of 68%, also
known as the point at which Thomas the train went from
"I think I can" to "Screw this".

It's best not to look back at this point, if you are prone to vertigo. Or if you're intoxicated.  Of course if you're drunk and you've made it this far, you deserve some kind of award.

The view from the top.  Not bad I must say.  I took this picture a couple hours later, on my way down, which is why it isn't as bright.  That's also why I was much more hungry, although you can't tell it from looking at the picture.

Once I conquered the Incline in a respectable 40 minutes, which was 12 minutes slower than my fastest time, but also less sweaty, it was on to Mt. Manitou, which I have never climbed before.

I soon found myself off the beaten path, as I followed the trail I had created on my GPS. 

Some Parts were easy.
Others were harder.    

Eventually Pikes Peak came into view.

Mt. Manitou, in all of its splendor.  Or, as the British would say it, in all of its splendour.  Either way, it's not quite as impressive as Pike's Peak.

Finally arriving at the top, I had my best friend, the rock, take my picture.  No, not Dwaye Johnson, The Rock, but a natural geological feature, the rock.  He didn't do a bad job.

The top afforded some nice views of The Garden of the Gods and Colorado Springs.

One last view of Pike's Peak before heading down. 

Overall, although a bit lonely it was an enjoyable hike, and I couldn't have asked for better weather.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Imagine There's No Walmart

I literally have nothing interesting in my life to write about, but my goal is to blog 3-4 times a week, so I have decided to expand your world with another new song.  This one is set to John Lennon's "Imagine", in which he envisions a better world.  I also have envisioned a better world, as described in my version.  Make sure you pause for Lennon's classic piano overture throughout the song.  I'm not sure if I captured it in the right places, but it's not the same without it.  Try to resist the temptation to rush throught it, and sing the song at normal speed in your head.  This is a song to be savored like a fine wine, not gulped down like beer from a funnel.  Now, without further adieu.

(somber yet catchy piano tune playing)

Imagine there's no Walmart
(doodle doo-de doo)
It's easy if you try
(doodle doo-de doo)

No long lines to stand in
(doodle doo-de doo)
No Christmas in July

Imagine all the people
Shopping less today...

Imagine no sweats or spandex
(doodle doo-de doo)
It isn't hard to do
(doodle doo-de doo)

No sales to kill or die for
(doodle doo-de doo)
And no rollbacks too

Imagine all the people
Living life debt-free...
(Oh -o)

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you will join us
At Target to get your shopping done

Imagine no store greeters
(doodle doo-de doo)
I wonder if you can
(doodle doo-de doo)

No smiley-faced stickers
(doodle doo-de doo)
Given by a disabled man

Imagine all the people
Not blocking all the doors...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you will join us
At Target to get your shopping done

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Playing Monopoly With Real Money

Homeownership is part of the American Dream.  And since doing things in excess is the American way, what could be more American than owning two homes?  A while ago I decided to pursue buying a second house due to several reasons: low interest rates, a fallen housing market, and an insatiable desire to have some place to stay if I accidentally run over the neighbor's dog, or they make the horrendous mistake of looking into my window as I'm walking to the laundry room for some underwear after taking my shower and finding my drawer empty.

I must say that having bought a house before the second time around is much less daunting.  It's kind of like having kids.  The first time there are so many questions.  Will I really love it?  Will it live up to its potential?  What if I'm not ready for this responsibility?  The second time around you just hope it comes out healthy and doesn't cost you too much.  I'm speaking of course mainly from my experience shopping for houses, as I have no children of my own.  I was a child once, however, and can say from experience as the third born that by the time child number three comes along there's nothing new or exciting any more.  It's like "Hey mom, look at me, I'm riding my bike with no hands!", and mom's like "That's nice, that stopped being new 7 years ago.  Let me know when you can ride standing on the seat."  Supercross was invented by younger siblings trying to find ways to get their parents' attention.

But back to the house buying.  I was really hoping to find a home on a street named Park Place, Boardwalk, or even Pennsylvania Avenue, as I figure I could charge higher rents there, but the potential home I found is on a more pedestrian street.  Heather and I will hopefully be taking a walk-through in the next couple of days.  Then we will have to make the big decision. 

The idea of having a rental property that is paid for by someone else seems enticing, but taking on tens of thousands of dollars of debt is a bit discomforting.  I can only hope that owning a rental property isn't as tiring as looking for one has been.  I have found you can be much more selective when buying an investment property that you don't really have to have compared with buying a home to move into.  When shopping for a house to live in, friends and family will only let you live in their basements for so long, forcing you into a decision.  When buying an investment property there's nothing forcing you to pull the trigger but sheer willpower.  You're left wondering whether you're making a good decision.  I'm not particularly attractive and have zero social skills, but I like to think of myself as fairly intelligent, as we all have to have one piece of driftwood to hang onto in the sea of life, but making a huge decision like this can make you question yourself even if you're fairly confident in your mental competence.  Hopefully 20 years from now I will look back on this time with the joy of a parent who's child has grown into a fine young adult, and not the regret of Lindsey Lohan's parents.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Longest 12 Miles

Saturday I hiked up Mt. Evans, which turned out to be a 12 mile round trip with 4,000 feet of elevation gain.  This was about 4 miles further than my body would have liked for this trip to have been.  Out of the four 14ers I have done, this one was the toughest.  I don't know that the climb itself was that bad, my body just wasn't cooperating. 

The day began at 2:00 am, which is by coincidence the exact same time that many people's Friday evening was ending, or what I like to refer to as the middle of the night.  After showering (yes, I shower before a day-long hike; I hate going without a morning shower) and eating, or more accurately, drinking, breakfast (Carnation instant style) I hit the road for the 1.5 hour drive to meet my hiking partner near Denver.  I don't like driving at 3 in the morning, partially because I have terrible night vision, and partially because all those people who's Friday evening just ended tend to be intoxicated, but I survived the drive and met up with Sandy, who drove the last hour to the mountain.  We started just before 6:00, summited at noon, and were back at the car at 4:00 pm.

We parked on the access road where it was closed and walked the last mile to the trailhead, which we passed so we could walk to the bathrooms, which probably added another mile overall to the hike.  In hindsight I don't think we would have done that again, considering how exhausted we were by the end and the number of times we had to find rock outcroppings for make-shift porta-potties throughout the day (any one who knows me knows that I pee more than a pregnant woman, and there's no way to make it 10 hours holding it, even if your bladder is normal, and not the size of a walnut like mine.

The road leading up to the trail head

Still feeling good.  This is just the beginning.

Mt. Bierstadt on the right, Mt. Spalding on the left, and the Sawtooth between the two.  About halfway between Mt. Spalding and the Sawtooth is the gulley we ascended on the way up. Coming down we went down a ridge on the left side to avoid the gulley.  I prefer the more direct approach.

The snow was well packed, and we didn't find snowshoes necessary until the last three miles on the way back, once it was warm enough that the snow was getting slushy.  A couple of wooden bridges were about all of the trail that we saw. 

Mt. Bierstadt, which will have to wait for another day.

Just before the gulley. We steered left, then ascended the upper portion of it.

Coming up the gulley.  Where we've been...

and where we're headed.

After the gulley we had some less intimidating moonscape to climb.  We mistook the false summit ahead for the actual summit, causing us to do a lot more climbing than necessary as we went up and down a lot of the top of the ridgeline instead of along the side.

A nice view of Mt. Bierstadt and the Sawtooth looking back and to the right.

Had we gone along the rockline below we would have been safer and saved a lot of energy.

This is a small portion of the ridgeline we travelled.
We did a lot of scrambling.  This was both Sandy and my favorite part, although it wore us out.

Some nice views from the top.

Sandy was a better poser than I am

This is how I like to think of myself, having conquered the mountain, standing on the summit.

This is how I felt: victorious but beaten down by the mountain.  Gathering my strength for the climb down.
Thankfully we left our packs at the beginning of the ridgeline, so we didn't have to carry the extra weight for what turned out to be much further than we anticipated.  However, by the time we got back to the packs about an hour later we were exhausted, famished and dehydrated.  We ate lunch and rested for about 20 minutes, then started back down with more energy.  We avoided the gulley and took the ridgeline opposite of Bierstadt.  This route was less steep than the gulley, but longer, and forced us to make our way through some dense bushes for several hundred yards before we got back to the bottom.

The descent down the ridgeline

The section of bushes is the brown swath below the rocks.  We descended from right to left as seen from this picture.

My right heel began hurting as we started climbing.  When I got home I found out why: a blister from my last climb had torn.  I'm glad it didn't hurt enough to force me to stop, although it made the climb fairly uncomfortable.  Definitely need to pack moleskin and medical tape.  The climb could have been much less uncomfortable had I used some.

The weather was good for a climb.  It started out sunny, then got cloudy midway through the day, and dropped a few snow flurries.  Temps were mid-thirties.  The wind was neglibible, except in the gulley and along the ridgeline. 

Sandy's camelbak started leaking on the way back, so she dumped it, then we shared my water.  We ran dry about a mile and a half from the finish, and were both dehydrated and exhausted by the time we were finished.  We were very happy to get back to the car, and I drove Sandy's car back to Morrison where my car was parked, as I'm better at avoiding potholes. 

I must say, Volkswagen has moved up my list of possible next cars.   If there's one thing Germans are good at, it is conquering large swaths of Europe only to lose it.  But if there's two things the Germans are good at, the second is building fine cars.  It drove very smoothly, although everything was arranged differently than in American and  Japanese cars.  German engineers refer to this as "verwirren nichteinleiblich bruder", or, roughly translated, "confuse non-Germans". 

After missing a turn (apparently a requirement on my 14er trips) I got to drive past the same cop giving two different people tickets (at least I knew where to find him on my way backtracking), got some noursihment at a Burger King (I love their funnel cake sticks), and finally made it home about 8:00 and layed on the couch with Heather for a while before crawling into bed and sleeping for 11 blissful hours.