Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day One in Cheyenne

 This is the setting for the Cheyenne KOA. We looked back as we set out to tour the town and could see our 'house'. It's the one just in the center with the fir tree sticking out above it. We decided to have a quick drive-through in downtown Cheyenne so we might see places to investigate in detail during our summer here.

We chanced upon the park where the Frontier Days Rodeo is held yearly, and found the Botanical Gardens there as well. The grounds were not yet blooming, or even planted, but inside the greenhouse I was intrigued with this jade tree, a bonsai. I've had jades most of my life, and never saw such a healthy one with practically no room for roots! How do they do that?

A Bird of Paradise! How beautiful!

This is the majestic Wyoming State Capitol building. We photographed it from different angles and got pictures of some sculptures and statues outside. We will save an inside tour for another day. Can't wait!

In my advance reading about the town of Cheyenne I discovered that there are many sculptured cowboy boots in the downtown area. Here is one outside the old Railroad Depot. It's about 6 or 8 feet tall and there were several in the courtyard at the Depot. It looks like the Depot is used now mostly for a museum, gift shop, restaurant, etc. I'm not sure if it's still used for train business. There is a huge complex of tracks right below the street and I'm thinking there may be a newer building for passengers down there. We'll see! This is the first place we want to really visit and tour. Get ready for photos!

Right across the freeway from the KOA we found the Wyoming Hereford Ranch. I've read it's the oldest working cattle ranch in the U.S. We'll find out more about that later. We did see a herd of Herefords, red cattle with white faces. This is the lane leading up to the beautiful ranch house. This place is definitely on our list to tour later. I want to see this lane when all the trees are leafed out!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bittersweet Good-byes!

 I say 'Bittersweet' because even though we are very excited about starting work and seeing new places in Cheyenne, we are so sad to be leaving our wonderful friends in Strasburg. Noel, who makes yummy pizzas at the KOA, wanted to take us to dinner. Her choice was Mt. Fuji, a Japanese hibachi restaurant in Aurora. Do you think she ate all that rice? No, she took most of it home! Noel is dear to our hearts and we will miss her. We held back tears, (mostly unsuccessfully) when we hugged and said good-bye to Toni, Leah and Tom, Lucky, Audrey, Jennah, Jean and Karen, Kathleen and Mary. So many unforgettable people!

 More amazing friends, Tracie and Geoff with Keith. Tracie made us, as a parting gift,  a lovely bed cover, red and black, with ladybugs, a favorite collectible of mine. Tracie is a school bus driver and works part-time at the KOA. Geoff is an electrician. What a great couple. Wish we could take them with us!

 No one ever worked for better folks than Jeff and Tracy! Yes, they have the same names as the couple in the above photo, just spelled differently. Here they are with their daughter. We love them, and will highly recommend the Denver East/Strasburg KOA to anyone, to camp or to work. Five stars to Jeff and Tracy!

 We're pulling out of the campground, just going across the street to a truck and auto repair shop to have our tires checked. I always pray before we set out, that God will be with all 16 of our wheels, 6 on the trailer, 6 on BigTruk, and 4 on the Focus. Oh, yes, the two wheels we have our hands on, too!

Our prayer was literally answered immediately! When the man at Hank's checked the truck he discovered that an inner dually was flat! The valve stem needed replacing. We wouldn't have known that or been able to fix it had we tried to put air in the tires ourselves. All the tires were low after sitting for 8 months. He did a great job fixing the problem and in the process he bragged on BigTruk and said we'd better never move up to a newer truck because we had the very best already. Good to know!

 We took back roads north, thanks to Tracie who had drawn us a map with all the turns and road names. We were able to completely avoid the freeways till we got to I-80 at Cheyenne. I liked the look of the sky here. I think it's near Greeley Colorado. Rain's a-brewing!

We were greeted with "Welcome Home" by our new employers at the Cheyenne KOA. They made us feel very happy to be there. Here we had another answered prayer. The weather had been good till just outside Cheyenne, then it began to pour what looked like sleet. That lasted for about 4 miles. I said, "Please let it stop so we can get set up without getting soaked," About 1/2 mile from the KOA the skies closed up and we did indeed have great weather for getting completely set up in our new spot (for the next 6 months), Space 11. We are on the outer edge of the park, with the tallest tree, and our front door opens to an empty prairie field where we will be able to have a clear view of the sunrises every day. What could be better? We will be taking lots of trips to the local and not so local attractions, giving me fodder for blogging!

Friday, April 13, 2012


As I sat calmly at my computer in the KOA store I heard a ferocious yelling outside. Running to the door I spied my co-worker reaching under the pizza truck and grabbing something while at the same time trying to chase off a campground kitty. Her arms were full of campground supplies and...a baby bunny, which she put in my hands, rescued from the jaws of a hunter! Bunny was immobile from shock, and a little injured. We found a towel to wrap the little critter in. Minutes later the camp owner came in, saying the cat had just caught a bunny, the second one. That cat didn't waste any time! Other co-workers came in and admired and petted the baby. We all deplored the very natural instincts of our campground cats, our sympathies totally with the bunny, even though the owner said the cats do a service in keeping the rabbit population down. Part of our job description here is to pick up and dispose of the half-eaten carcasses, left at the office door, before the campers catch a glimpse of the small bodies.

In this photo we see one of our young campers, about 4 years old, thrilled to see and pet the bunny. Toni, the rescuer, a fervent animal lover, is keeping the bunny till it is big enough to escape the hunters. And, wonder of wonders, the owner asked another of our workampers to build Toni a little rabbit hutch so she could safely care for her charge. It was an exciting and hilarious morning! Never a dull moment at our campground!

A Few Last Shots

The KOA in Strasburg is turning green! We're beginning to see some grass, and some budding trees, mostly elms and cottonwoods.

  I love this beautiful tree, right outside the store. Not sure what it is. Crabapple? Flowering plum? It has a wonderful fragrance!

Friends and parents, all helping little John with his Easter eggs on the KOA playground.

And here's another shot of the prairie turning green, a relief from the winter browns. That may be a wheat field coming up, with last summer's crop for contrast.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Casa Bonita!

 One last fling in Denver! We had not planned on going into the big city again, since we are leaving Colorado in 2 1/2 weeks for our next workamping job, but wanted to take our friends out to lunch before that. We left the choice to them and this is what they chose, the Casa Bonita, in west Denver. Apparently it's quite a popular restaurant, one we hadn't heard about. To make our day even better, our friends are native Denverites and really knew where to go and what sights to see in the city. We got a wonderful drive-by tour of places we had visited on our own, but we hadn't heard the stories behind them. This lovely pink building has been operating since 1973 as a Mexican restaurant.

 What glorious weather, 80 degrees, we had for our last big outing! Here we are in front of a lovely fountain framed by blooming trees with exquisite fragrance, at the entrance to the Casa. After a long winter we loved seeing the spring flowering trees in the city. The loveliest creations were our friends Geoff and Tracie!.

 This amazing pink building has been operating since 1973 as a Mexican restaurant. The inside is huge, with seating for 1000 in all kinds of labyrinthian alcoves. Here are Geoff and Tracie posing at our table. There  was entertainment going on constantly to keep the diners fascinated.

 After a delicious dinner of  Mexican specialties followed by sopapillas for dessert, Tracie and Geoff gave us a tour of the building. Up an incline we found ourselves behind the waterfall which formed a gorgeous blue pool. We walked through cave tunnels, lava tubes, and many archways. There were tables and booths tucked into every conceivable space.

 Tracie led us to a scary looking monster whose mouth we entered and whose insides we walked through. It was dark in there! We almost felt like we were Jonah in the big fish!

 We found an artist who was doing caricatures for an affordable fee so Mr. Keith and I sat down to be drawn. I've never had anything like this done! How do we look? We gave the man a big tip for his talent. 

We visited the gift shop, too, where I bought a ceramic lotion bottle and a matching heart-shaped covered box with pine cones for decoration, and with "Colorado" painted onto the top.

One last shot of the pink tower with the spring blossoms framing it. So pretty! We completed our day by driving through downtown where Geoff told us the history behind some of the skyscrapers. We went through the old Lowry Air Force Base where Tracie had spent a lot of her childhood, and we learned some more history. It's been 12 years since the base was closed and it has been turned into a classy little "town" with shops, restaurants and apartments. We enjoyed visiting there previously on our own, but this time we learned much more about it. (See my post from November 17, 2010). All in all, we were treated to one of our most enjoyable days since we've been in the Denver area. What made it so much fun were the special friends who joined us on this day. We will miss the wonderful folks we've met here. It's always sad to leave the people, though it's exciting to go on to new adventures in a new place. Who knows — we may find ourselves back here someday!