March 20, 2015
As much as we enjoy living aboard Shear Madness at sea level, we do miss seeing the mountains. So this year we planned to spend a little time in the Colorado Rockies to enjoy some winter sports and to visit friends and family.
Before I get to that, I realize that I forgot to post a couple important photos from our stay in Deltaville. Just before we left there in December, our good friends Milt and Judy along with the faithful Schipperke Katy, stopped by in their new American Tug. Milt and Judy own a Nordhavn that they have cruised extensively, but wanted a smaller boat to base in Florida, while keeping their Nordhavn in the Northeast US. We had a wonderful visit and a tour of their very nice new boat!
In February, we traveled back to Northern Virginia and visited some friends and family. I was FINALLY able to pry grandson Tyler away from his trains, Wei, and other important games to teach him to play some cards. He learned War, Go Fish, and Concentration, and soon was playing with Grandpa Bradley and claiming to beat him.
I also visited with our good friend Jean who we had not seen in way too long. And I was invited to an “intimate” lunch with Governor Chris Christie – along with 100 other people! But that provided a great opportunity to catch up with many past business associates. And no, it wasn’t a fundraiser!
I have a high school reunion coming up this year, so many of my classmates have been re-connecting in anticipation of that event. While in the area, I was able to meet a couple classmates for a wonderful dinner. Becky attended Oxon Hill High School and I last saw her 20 years ago at our 20th reunion. Mike and I were among the 28 people who started first grade together at Thomas Addison Elementary School and progressed through 12 years together, culminating at Oxon Hill High School. It was great to see them and to meet Mike’s wife Barbara.
Then it was off to Denver for more visiting and some fun in the snow. And upon our arrival we were treated to 8 inches of fresh snow in Denver. This allowed me to try out my Valentine’s gift from Bradley – a set of beautiful new snowshoes! They were wonderful! After a couple nights at my stepson’s Mike’s, we headed up to Copper Mountain for ten days. The conditions were great and we enjoyed our first downhill skiing in many years. I signed up for a free snowshoe tour, led by a volunteer ambassador. Turns out I was the only one signed up that day so I had a private tour with a guide who was 77 years old. I could not keep up with him! So the next day I decided to take a group ski lesson. Starting with a group of four, I was soon assigned for the morning by myself to Dick, who had just celebrated his 85th birthday! I could not keep up with him either.
Our friend Ken from Maryland flew out to join us for a few days and he had great fun wearing Bradley out while I was taking my lesson and cross-country skiing on my own. We were also joined by good friends Alan and Kathleen who live in Golden and we spent a day at the nearby Nordic Center where we cross-country skied. It was an awesome day!
Then it was off for some family visiting. While Bradley headed to Golden with Alan and Kathleen, I set off for Sidney, Nebraska to visit my niece Robin, her husband Eric, and my soon-to-be-great nephew who is scheduled to arrive in June. I had met Eric only once at their wedding in 2013, so it was great to spend some time with them and get to know him. He made a great first impression, cooking wonderful chili rellenos the first night and perfect steaks the second night. We also played some 3-way cribbage and I attended both rural churches where Eric is a pastor. I was also able to enjoy some great local hiking.
From there it was back to Erie, CO (near Boulder) to visit my other niece Vicky and great-niece Sophie. I had agreed to stay overnight with Sophie so that Vicky could have a mom’s night out at a local hotel. Despite some initial skepticism, Sophie turned out to be a complete angel and we had great fun watching Paw Patrol and Spongebob Squarepants, reading stories, going to the playground, and going for a very long hike. On the way back from the hike, we came across a fire truck parked on the side of the road. One of the firefighters emerged with a fire hat for Sophie. She was delighted, though later when she tried to tell her Daddy about it, Fire Truck came out sounding like, well, use your imagination. A few letters got lost there.
It was then time for some more classmate reunions. Joel, another of my elementary school comrades, lives near Denver so we got together for dinner at a local BBQ place. We had not seen each other since high school 40 years ago. It turns out that Joel, like me, spent most of his career in the Software/IT field. Now retired from that, he and his wife Sheryl are opening the first Hungry Howie’s pizza franchise in Colorado. So anyone in the Denver area, keep an eye out for that!
We returned to Copper Mountain for a few more days. The weather had turned spring like, so we decided to practice our cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. This gave us plenty of good exercise and a chance to explore the local area.
Then it was time to re-unite with one of my best friends from high school, Cheryl. She is now a pathologist and has been in Denver for many years. Our good friend Cyndy had invited us to her house for St. Patrick’s Day and welcomed Cheryl and Dan to join the party. It was a wonderful night. Cyndy is a great cook and wonderful entertainer. Cheryl and I have not seen each other in 40 years, but it was as if we had never stopped being friends. I really felt that if I had just met Cheryl for the first time, she and I would become friends – we still seemed to have that connection all these years later. It was great to meet her husband Dan as well and I can promise it will not be 40 years until the next time we see each other.
Our month in the mountains seemed to fly by and suddenly it was time to head to the airport for a flight back to the east coast and a return to the boat. We enjoyed our mountain fix, but are looking forward to being back on the water!
We spent a few days back in Virginia, visiting friends and family. Bradley also had a chance to re-connect with old high school friends Martha and Buddy. We will have a few weeks to finish up our maintenance tasks and test everything out with some sea trials in April before heading off for some water adventures.