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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

POINTS WEST–Two Old Farts and A Dog!

POINTS WEST–The Last Day Ft. Walton Beach to Gainesville

by on Jun.28, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

We were eager to get home and see just how high the lawn had grown during our trip, so we didn’t stop to take any photos along the way.  And since I’d been out on this stretch of coastline recently, I really didn’t need any.  We did notice a few changes along US98–Miss Brenda’s Restaurant in Carrabelle had closed, and the Donut Hole in Destin was as always, crowded.  In fact, I didn’t want to stand in line for what I consider to be the best donut on the Emerald Coast of Florida!

After talking with my friend Pam Portwood, at the Wakulla County Visitors’ Bureau, we decided to take US98 all the way to Perry.  Tropical Storm Debby had impacted her county, and we expected few delays.  Actually, the worst (and slowest) part of the trip was the trudge through Panama City.  It took a full hour–and we were not on the beach road, but on the main highway.  It’s busy there!

Surprisingly, we saw very little water on the roadway until we reached Panacea.  There, it was just a few inches over the road, but we were able to look into several driveways and subdivision entrances where the water looked to be several feet high.  The creeks and rivers were full, especially the creek near Posey’s Up The Creek Restaurant in Panacea.   As we headed east and then south on US19, we did see high water in the St. Marks, Wakulla, Aucilla, Steinhatchee and Suwannee Rivers, but never so high enough to cause alarm.  I suspected it was worse upstream on those rivers, where the land is lower.  We did see one new sinkhole west of Gainesville, in Tioga, but it was well off SR26.

Kirby was glad to be home after the long trip, and Mary found her lawn mowed and in good shape.  I found the office in good shape, thanks to my summer intern, Meaghan, with just about a half day of catching up in order to get back to speed.

A great trip ended.  No hitches or hassles.  The car ran well for the 4800 miles.  Great food and fun and seeing Maggie, our friends in Aspen and our cousins in Santa Fe!  We’re already planning the next trip–POINTS NORTH.

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Points West, Day Seventeen, Baton Rouge to Ft. Walton Beach

by on Jun.26, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Day Seventeen, Baton Rouge, LA to Ft. Walton Beach, FL

Snow Balls all over the south--but not in Gainesville!

What with the rage for snow balls?   I’ll bet that we saw a hundred snow ball (sno ball, snoball, snowball) stands on our trip from Baton Rouge to Ft. Walton Beach.  And why is it that every tiny town has one…and there’s not one in Gainesville?  A brain freeze can be a good thing.

Today’s drive took longer than we expected, mainly because we did our very best to stay off the Interstates.  But that allowed us to see the docks in Pascagoula and the shrimp fleet at Pass Christian.  And a special treat–the U.S.S. Alabama, docked just outside Mobile.

Busy shrimp docks at Pass Christian, MS

The U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile

All along the trip, we weaved inland from the beaches, but never very far.  The beaches in Mississippi and Alabama were clean and neat, but there were signs of life.  Those in Florida, especially at Navarre Beach, were undisturbed by humans.

Mississippi's Gulf Beaches are lonesome on Tuesdays.

We stopped several times to check up on some places that had changed since I wrote “The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Florida’s Big Bend and Emerald Coast” in 2009.  One major change is the new (it opened in 2010) fishing pier at Navarre Beach.  It replaces one destroyed in the storms of 2004 and 2005.

Don't get caught not paying at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier!

We ended the day with a walk in downtown Ft. Walton Beach.  A doll in a window reminded us how glad we were to be back in Florida, where “wierdness” usually prevails.

What would Florida be without native son Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubens from Sarasota)

Tomorrow, it’s home to Gainesville–if we can skirt Tropical Storm Debby on our route.

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Points West, Day Sixteen, Brenham, TX to “Red Stick”

by on Jun.25, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Day Sixteen, Brenham, TX to “Red Stick*”

*For those of you who don’t speak Francais, or Cajun, “Red Stick” means Baton Rouge.  That’s the capital of Louisiana and home to the arch rivals of the University of Florida, LSU.

Leaving Texas took more time than expected.  I’d forgotten just how big Houston’s urban sprawl extended to the north, and it was an ordeal getting through Conroe and all those small bedroom communities.  The big clue that we had reached the border in Louisiana was the vast expanses of piney woods, and lots of logging trucks.  We did miss the high speed limits in Texas and the Texans’ courtesy of pulling over onto the right of way of highways when a faster vehicle approaches from the rear.  Louisiana was slow and pokey at times.

Instead of driving on I-10, we took US190, the Acadiana Trail, towards Baton Rouge.  It’s a much more scenic trip, and to us, well worth the delays (some caused by photo opportunities). We did notice some rice fields, crawfish ponds, and at Eunice, the first of many cemeteries with raised burial vaults.  I hadn’t expected to see those this far north of New Orleans, but suspect that’s due to the fact that we finally reached sea level.

Yet another BBQ joint--this one in Montgomery, TX

Tender BBQ at Yo' Mama's?

At Redlick's in Basile, LA. You can get Cracklins, Tasso, Boudin and Beer!

Just waiting for the next "big one"...about a mile of FEMA trailers!

Don't let your 50 year old Ford Falcon die atop the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge

Mary, "creeped out" atop the Mississippi River Bridge in a traffic jam caused by the stalled Falcon. Old bridges shake and wobble!

Baton Rouge is a big river town, dotted with all sorts of restaurants, refineries and cut in two by the Mississippi.  We arrived about 5PM and spent the rest of the evening working on travel plans for Day Seventeen.  We figure we’ll look at the progress of TS Debby in the morning and head towards Ft. Walton Beach.  If the storm still continues to beat up our path home, we may stay an extra day on the Emerald Coast!

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Points West, Day Fifteen, Abilene to Brenham, TX

by on Jun.24, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Day Fifteen, Abilene to Brenham, TX

The drive southeast from Abilene brought a gradual greening of the scenery.  We still passed through and around some beautiful buttes south of Abilene, and continued seeing oil pumps (grasshoppers) all the way to Brenham, just northwest of Houston.  The heat was oppressive, and I suspect this hot, high pressure is what’s turning Tropical Storm Debby north into the Florida panhandle and away from New Orleans and the Texas Coast.

Every Texas county seems to have an elaborate courthouse. Lots of outlaws?

Was Little Lord Fauntleroy here in Coryell County, TX

Texas is full of art.  Some is small, like the details on old cars and buildings.  Some is large and oversized, like whole county courthouses and mercantile buildings.  Even small towns have done a great job of keeping themselves looking good.

more Texas yard art

Small town Texas art

Every Texas town has a star!

We couldn’t resist taking the 7-mile detour to drop in and see President George W. and Laura Bush in Crawford, just north of Waco.  However, they weren’t home.  I suspect they were both off on some sort of humanitarian expedition  :-)  It’s interesting that there are almost NO signs or references to the Bushes in Crawford!

Downtown Crawford, Texas--An example of urban renewal?

We didn’t eat BBQ for lunch, as we’d BBQ’ed out last night at Joe Allen’s.  We did find a great Mexican drive-thru in Waco and then parked under a nearby tree for a picnic (the car’s thermometer read 102 degrees outside!).  We did see some great BBQ art along the road

BBQ signs are great art!

The best BBQ sign of the trip!

Ranchito #5 in Waco, TX....fab food!

Sunday supper was simple.  Since we’d had tacos and chips for lunch at the Ranchito, we tried Nathan’s BBQ in Brenham.  A simple chopped beef sandwich was very good–and filling.  Hopefully we’ll find something like seafood tomorrow night in “red stick”.

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Points West, Day Fourteen, Roswell, NM to Abilene, TX

by on Jun.23, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Day Fourteen, Roswell, NM to Abilene, TX

Day Fourteen began just like any day would begin–if you shared your town with aliens!  We walked the downtown and window-shopped for alien artifacts, masks, t-shirts and all sorts of scholarly tomes relating to things extraterrestrial.  That took about a half hour, mainly waiting for the first of many souvenir stores  to open.

From a real perspective, Roswell is a nice farm town in the southeastern corner of New Mexico.  It’s busy, with lots of lodging and some great places to eat (see yesterday’s post about my yummy cheese steak sandwich).  It’s also a big dairy town, which, according to one souvenir store proprietor I questioned, is the “dairyland of the southwest”.  Maybe?

In Roswell, even the Interior Decorators have alien clients!

The mountains had begun to dwindle to hills as we reached Roswell from Capitan, and it got downright flat as we drove the last 80 miles towards Texas.  Once there, it was equally flat and rural, peppered with lots of oil pumps pulling crude from the Permian Basin.  I smelled oil a few times, and know that smell is one of “money” to the folks who live here.

Eastern NM or Western TX....both can be "pancake flat"

Oil and gas are important to the economies of eastern New Mexico and western Texas, but they’re serious about other potentials.  In the mountains of New Mexico we’d seen big solar arrays, and as we approached Abilene, huge wind farms covered the hillsides.

Huge wind farms near Snyder, TX

Small towns are the mainstay in Texas.  We even went to Tokio and to Polar–all on a 100-degree day!

Dr. Pepper is probably the "national drink" of Texas.

We arrived in Abilene just in time to check into the hotel (with about two hundred others in town for a wedding and a family reunion!).  We then took a quick trip by the McMurry University campus, where I’d done several jobs and then went downtown.  Downtown was deserted, but some of the architecture was stunning.  It almost seemed like the 1930s never ended here.

What exactly entails "Bible Hardware"? Arks, cubits, stones?

McKay's is an old fashioned downtown bakery in Abilene, TX

The Paramount Theater is a landmark in Abilene, TX

One stop I didn’t want to miss was Joe Allen’s BBQ.  It’s an award-winner with great brisket!  For dessert, we had chocolate eclairs we’d bought at McKay’s Bakery.

Try Joe Allen's for the best BBQ in Abilene

Tomorrow’s another easy day.  From here, we head east towards Bryan and College Station.  And hopefully more BBQ!

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Points West, Day Thirteen, Santa Fe to Roswell, NM

by on Jun.23, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Day Thirteen, Santa Fe to Roswell, NM

We left Santa Fe and headed south on our journey toward Albuquerque and Roswell with a short stop in the Tent Rocks area.  There’s a National Historic Site there, but since NO DOGS were allowed, we didn’t linger.  Great country and a chance to look at some of the irrigation systems that have allowed this area to flourish in an agricultural sense.

It’s been about 20 years since I last passed through Albuquerque, and the place has grown up.  Of course, Old Town, is still a destination for tourists.  Mary and I noted that the area wasn’t quite like the plaza there wasn’t quite the same as the one in Santa Fe.  Santa Fe seems to be more about art and antiques; Albuquerque has lots of souvenir shops.

More churches...Albuquerque Old Town

Old stuff and "sort of" old stuff on the plaza in Old Town, Albuquerque

Need a gift? This is the place for holy ones!

The trip from Albuquerque to Roswell was largely along the “Turquoise Trail”, which begins at about the intersection of famous Route 66 and I-40, east of town.  On interesting feature is a series of historic sites of old Pueblo sites and missions.  This wasn’t a busy trip.  The Park Ranger at one site said we were the third car of the day (at 2PM!) and on one 75 mile stretch of road we saw only 2 other cars.

All the churches in New Mexico are not new!

The “Turquoise Trail” took us to the east of famous places like Alamagordo, White Sands and the Trinity Site.  All were famous with regards to the first atomic bombs and their tests.  We also drove through Capitan and Lincoln.  Had we ventured on a 40 mile circular detour at Capitan we would have seen the famous rock face.  And had we been in Lincoln 140 years earlier, we might have seen Billy the Kid.

We kept seeing storm clouds on the horizon as we drove south.  Finally, as we approached the Jicarillo Mountains, we actually got wet–and cold.  As the rain and hail hit, the temperature bottomed out at 52 degrees, down from 89.  As we approached Roswell, an hour later, it was back to 99!

Storms over the Jicarilla mountains between Santa Fe and Roswell, NM

Everyone knows Roswell is “famous” for ALFs (Alien Life Forces).  We decided to save the experience of walking around downtown and looking for souvenirs until Saturday, but did get to drive around.  One interesting site in Roswell is the New Mexico Military Institute, which looks surprisingly much like Charleston’s Citadel, except it’s built of adobe.  We also did some looking around for a quick dinner and stumbled upon Big D’s Downtown Dive.  They make a fine cheese steak sandwich and add green chiles to give it some extra punch.

Stop at Big D's in Roswell, NM, for one of the best cheese steak sandwiches anywhere! It''s all about the green chiles!

Saturday’s going to be an easy day.  We hope to take a walk around downtown Roswell, speak with a few ALFs, and then head on to Abilene, TX–and do some laundry.

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Points West, Days Eleven and Twelve, Santa Fe, NM

by on Jun.22, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Days Eleven and Twelve, Santa Fe

The trip from Aspen to Twin Lakes was a spectacular re-run of the one we made on Monday—except this time I was on the “steep” side.  Mary wouldn’t let me drive, as I have a tendency to make racecar turns and she thinks we should be home in our own bed when we die.  We did make a pit stop at the top and found some great graffiti on the door of the Port-O-Let there.  “Taggers” paint more than railway cars.

Been There; Done That

The trip south towards New Mexico showed us a part of Colorado that we’d not seen before.  We took a detour off US285 and drove about 50 miles of rural agricultural road, passing the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  We didn’t drive over to the dunes but could easily see them in the distance.  The valley was flat and bordered by high mountains on the east and the west.

As we crossed the state line, we noticed a dramatic change in fuel prices.  The Aspen price for 85 octane gas was $4.89 per gallon.  Of course, that was a “resort price”, as my friend Bob put it.  Prices were down to $3.69 in southern Colorado, but got closer to what we’re used to, $3.29 for 87 octane, as we crossed into New Mexico.  Our VW Touareg is getting 21 MPG on this trip, which isn’t too bad for an AWD SUV—but every buck we can save on gas can be spent on wine and tamales!

We made one more detour on the way to Santa Fe.  It’s hard to avoid the trip into Taos via US64.  It’s that route that takes you over the Rio Grande Gorge, which is a miniature version of the Grand Canyon—with a great bridge.  Unless you know about it, the bridge can be a complete surprise.

Rio Grande Gorge at Taos, NM

From Taos, which as grown up so much that I don’t think Stieglitz or O’Keeffe would recognize it, we headed down a scenic route into Santa Fe, arriving at our hotel about 4PM.

The scenic drive from Taos to Santa Fe is lined with cemetaries. These folks have always taken death seriously!

We stayed at Las Palomas, a cozy B&B about 5 blocks from the central square.  After a short (and hot for Kirby) walk to the square, we decided to venture out in search of local food.  After a quick Google, we headed over to Posa’s, about 3 miles from Las Palomas.  Not only is this a restaurant, but it’s a tamale factory.  We bought pork tamales, chicken enchiladas, beef tacos and sopapillas, just to be sure we had enough food for dinner back at our suite.  The food was wonderful—and copious.  We had enough for lunch the next day, an advantage of the full kitchen in the suite.  One word of caution though—the tamales were hot.  Not “burn you a new one the next morning” hot, but tasty hot!

Thursday morning (after a great breakfast at Las Palomas) was about exploring Santa Fe by foot.  The highlight of the morning was the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and to me, the Halsman and Karsh photos of the artist.  In my humble opinion, they humbled the ones by Stieglitz, although the photos of his shown there were only of O’Keeffe.  Offset lithography of these photos in books can’t compare with silver gelatin prints made from the original negatives.

Santa Fe is full of old churches...

...and religious icons

Thursday night was time to visit with my cousins, Jeff and Mary Brannen.  Jeff’s an attorney in Santa Fe and a New Mexico native.  We first had a drink with them at their fabulous adobe home that overlooks the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Then, it was off for more tamales, these with green chiles and pork, at their favorite restaurant down in the old rail yard area of Santa Fe.

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Points West, Days Nine and Ten, Aspen, Colorado

by on Jun.19, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Days Nine and Ten, Aspen

Unfortunately, the trip west towards the road to Aspen involved driving on I-70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel.  Fortunately, by leaving Denver at 8AM, we avoided rush hour traffic and headed westward, turning south at the road to Leadville.  We’d never taken this route before, as previous trips to Aspen involved snow, and the road over Independence Pass is usually closed during the winter months.  The trip was easy and the sightseeing great.  We saw a few snow-capped peaks as we climbed towards 12,000 feet and the Continental Divide.  Colorado had a warm winter and there wasn’t much snow to melt, and the rivers and streams were low.  I suspect those traces of snow will be gone by June 28th and the beginning of the Aspen Music Festival.

What you see in the car mirror may be closer than you think!

The scenic lookout at Independence Pass was spectacular, but cold.  I also had to give Kirby the Schnauzer a lecture about peeing on the Continental Divide.  I told him if he peed on the east side, it would run to the Atlantic and if he peed on the west side, the Pacific.  He nodded his understanding.

Kirby at Independence Pass. Pee east or pee west?

We arrived at our friends’ home in Aspen in time for lunch and then headed downtown to get some exercise.  The Aspen Food and Wine Festival had just ended so the crowds were small.

The Elks Club Building is an Aspen landmark.

Bob and Marsha live in the West End neighborhood, and I always thought that choice was made with regards to free bus access (at the corner) or the five-minute walk to town and the main ski lifts to Aspen Mountain.  We were more than surprised to find that their house is only three blocks from the site of the Music Festival, the Aspen Institute and Aspen Meadows.

The Aspen Institute--great sculpture in the gardens.

Our walk to those locations was much more fun that window-shopping in town.  Of particular interest to Mary and me was the architecture at the Meadows.  Designed in the 1950s by celebrated architect Eero Saarinen and are amazing, nestled in the forest of aspens.  Every turn was a surprise, including seeing one of an original Geodesic Dome, designed by R. Buckminster Fuller.  Aspen is full of surprises—Bob’s even befriended his new neighbor and fellow cyclist, Lance Armstrong!

Early Tuesday meant another road trip, but luckily Bob was our tour guide and did the driving.  We left Aspen and headed up the road to the Maroon Bells National Park, probably the most photographed mountain area east of Yellowstone.  Bob’s an avid bicyclist and regularly climbs these steep roads on his road bike.  This is a tough route, and not for the faint of heart.  This time, his new Suburban did the job.  Mary, Marsha, the dogs (Kirby and Oscar, the Bearded Collie) and I were thankful.

A beautiful morning view at Maroon Bells National Park

Miles of trees, trees, and more trees!

After a hike and a tour at Maroon Bells and a good look at Pyramid Peaks, we headed up another of Bob’s cycling routes, Castle Creek Road, and ended up at Ashcroft.  This was an original settlement that’s now become a ghost town.  After that, it was a quick trip through Snowmass Village and Anderson Ranch, and then on to Basalt, for lunch at the Riverside Café.  Sitting aside the Roaring Fork River, this is a great place for a lunchtime beer and a smoked trout BLT.

Bob, Marsha and Mary at The Riverside Cafe in Basalt

Smoked trout BLT!

Since all we seem to do is eat, we rested after our visit to Basalt and headed just north of Aspen to Woody Creek, where we had a great “farewell” meal at the Woody Creek Tavern, one of our favorite places here.  What did I have?  More tamales—on my never-ending quest for “tamale perfection”.  These were great—pork, no lard, and a great, hot sauce.

There's nothing fancy at Woody Creek Tavern

Except the tamales! A great ending to a fun visit to Aspen.

Tomorrow, we’re off early for a trip back over Independence Pass and then to visit my New Mexican cousins in Santa Fe.  I can’t wait to see the high desert again!

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Points West, Weekend One, Denver, CO

by on Jun.17, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Weekend One, Denver, CO

It’s been nice to put up our feet and get out of the car for a few days in Denver.  On Friday and Saturday, the high humidity we’d been driving through continued and it was interesting to see thunderstorms form over the eastern side of the Rockies.  By Sunday, the air dried and the temperatures rose 20 degrees from the previous days.  Denver isn’t used to temperatures in the high 90s.

storms moving eastward over the Rockies towards Denver

Maggie’s house is over 100 years old and is a work in progress.  Mary can’t help but start a bunch of projects any time she gets here.  This trip, she and Maggie did and Ikea “run” and got a new sofa for the living room.

Maggie's Living Room in Denver

I worked on some wiring issues and on getting a new TV installed in her downstairs guest room.  The original plan was to run new coaxial cable, but we opted for an HD antenna and only 60 channels of broadcast digital TV.  I suspect we’d only get 3 or 4 channels in Gainesville.

Mary also spent some time working with Maggie on the new Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop building.  It’s pretty bare, and about 5000 square feet.  Maggie starts her job as the manager of the Salvagetti stores on Monday and they’re hoping to get moved in by August 1.    Luckily Mom is in the construction business and I know her advice will be helpful.  While they were doing construction drawings, I was indexing my next book—a thankless job I’d saved for the road.  I still need to do the Florida Sportsman Big Bend Fishing4Cast for next week and am waiting for reports from anglers and guides back home (hint, hint).

Maggie’s neighborhood is only about 2 miles from downtown Denver.  Her neighbors are a good ethnic mix of solid hard-working folks.  I was proud to be here when I heard the news about the President’s stand on rights for children brought here by their so-called “illegal” alien parents trying to find a better life.  I still can’t believe that some of these kids were still considered illegal even though they had served in our Armed Services.  My grandfather got his U.S. Citizenship by serving in the Army during World War I and I see no difference between that war and the two or three we’re fighting now.

Maggie’s neighbor, Pascual, is a professional landscaper, and the cherries were ripe this weekend.  Mary and Maggie picked a bunch and made some cherry preserves—in their spare time from building and cleaning and cooking for the party projects

Big cherry crop in Denver this summer!

Sunday was Father’s Day, and despite the fact that I had to buy the food, we had a fun time with a bunch of Maggie’s friends.  Fried catfish (Mississippi snapper), burgers and hot dogs topped the menu.  And Phil and Anna brought boiled peanuts.

Fried catfish...AKA Florida Snapper

97 degrees in Denver. Time to sit by the pool.

Monday morning we’re off to Aspen to spend a few days with good friends Bob and Marsha Cook.  Kirby the dog will be glad there’s only one dog there—Scout and Boo Radley have kept him busy while he’s been in Denver.

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Points West, Day Five, Dodge City to Denver

by on Jun.14, 2012, under POINTS WEST--Two Old Farts and A Dog!

Points West

Day Five, Dodge City, KS to Denver, CO

Leaving Dodge City was a relief…we weren’t too impressed with that.  Sort of like a Florida tourist trap gone sour.

However, almost as soon as we entered Colorado, there were interesting things to see.  On of the most interesting was the site at Amache, a one-square mile detention camp that housed 7500 internees of Japanese descent (men, women and children—mostly native-born American citizens) during World War II.  The War Relocation Authority operated several of these “camps” during the war and confined not only Japanese-Americans, but others of German and Italian ancestry.  It’s hard to imagine this sort of treatment of American citizens and heartwarming to read a quote from a letter written by Rev. Rufus Baker (Baptist Minister’s Assn.) to Colorado Governor Carr in April of 1942.

“We of America can bring no honor to ourselves no commend Democracy and the American way of life to others by surrendering to hysteria, or by persecuting the enemy within our gates, little less the loyal, American-born and law-abiding Japanese who consider America their home.”

My only thought is that every evangelical American “Christian” who speaks ill of American Muslims should visit this place and then do some heavy thinking!

On a lighter note, we did get a great explanation of the huge windmill blades we’d seen while driving.  At the Visitors’ Center in Lamar they had one of the 112-foot vanes on exhibit.  Three of these whoppers turning in an 8-knot wind will create enough electricity to run 400 homes.  The only problem is that the energy can’t be stored, but while the wind farms are expensive, they pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time, and are easily paid for by issuance of municipal bonds.

Mary and Kirby with a big windmill blade in Lamar, CO

Great displays at the Lamar, CO Visitors' Center

"Madonna of the Trail" in Lamar, CO

As we hit the end of US410 in Pueblo, we finally saw the mountains!  Then it was north to Denver, where we met up with Maggie (our 32-year old, who’s actually 8 because she’s a “leapster”) at her new job.  She’s starting to run a couple of bicycle shops in Denver.  Salvagetti’s is high end, and the perfect place for her.  She’s an avid cyclist and does lots of off-road riding in the mountains here.

Maggie's new bike--full suspension on a Kona Satori!

We’re in Denver until Monday.  Just doing some fixups at Maggie’s house and then a big cookout on Sunday.  I’m frying “Mississippi snapper” (catfish), hushpuppies and making all the fixin’s for Fathers’ Day.

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