sunlight

Once a week I drive to Grand Junction, Colorado for errands, appointments, etc.  I love leaving the house before the sun comes up, and watching it rise along the drive.  Between my house and the interstate, I typically do not encounter any other cars (about a 45 min drive)–just me, the rabbits, the crows, the eagles, the deer, and the prairie dogs.

Today there were some really interesting storms at the horizon.  Once the Sun came up, they made the normally very dramatic sunrise especially interesting.

Here’s how it looked:

grand-junction-colorado-sunrise

Grand Mesa

Yesterday, Beth and I drove through the Grand Mesa National Forest. The forest is 541 square miles of beauty on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies.

sean and beth grand mesa

The day started with an intense rain storm in Castle Valley. It’s been particularly dry this year, so I’m always happy when we get a stray thunderstorm (as much as the lightning makes me [and the dogs/cats] nervous).

castle valley rain

The rain would follow us west, looking particular scenic as we drove along I70, and as it approached the mountains we wound our way up, putting on a pretty amazing lightning show.

I70 Rain

It rained for most of the drive.

Along the way, we passed many mountain lakes–usually lined with pines or spruce or aspen. According to the United States Department of Agriculture site, this forest has over 300 lakes.

After the Forest

After we left the forest, we turned of Highway 65 for 45 1/2 road, which carried us back to I70.

This part of the drive was surprising, as it reminded us of the remote, rocky landscape similar to where we lived, but with less towering mesas and buttes. Technically listed as being in DE Beque, CO, the road twisted through well worn rocks, with homes hidden by standalone boulders and twisted junipers.

It had just finished raining, and everything everywhere sparked with the sunlight.

de beque

Before the Forest

One thing I really like doing is finding and exploring (or at least, driving slowly through) small towns in the middle of nowhere.

Cedaredge is a charming small town of ~2000 people beneath the slopes that contain Grand Mesa National Forest (fun fact, Grand Mesa is the largest flat-top mountain in the world). It has several orchards and vineyards, and we enjoyed stopping at a very lovely fruit stand that had fresh-picked apples, plums, and peaches.

cedaredge
photo src

We stocked up and hit the road.

I talked to a nice woman that worked at the fruit stand and she told me to come back in a week or two for freshly picked Honeycrisp Apples.

I’m there. Since the plan won’t include an hours-long drive through the national forest, I’ll have time to explore Cedaredge a bit more.

With apples. Mmmm.

sunflower-bee

sunflowerbee

When I went for a walk outside this morning, I saw the biggest bumblebee I’d ever seen before. It flew through the patch of sunflowers growing near the house, and dragged down each flower it visited. I didn’t get a pic of that bee (it moved on before I grabbed my camera), but I did stop and take several other pictures.

Here’s a hummingbird visiting the trumpet-like pink flowers of the red yucca (also called hummingbird yucca, fittingly) among the sunflowers:

hummingbird

And a bee on a flower set against the blue sky:

bee and sunflower

sadie

We got a new puppy on Saturday. Her name is Sadie.

sadie bed

Hi Sadie!

Why did we get a new puppy?

Well, why not? I’ve always adopted dogs that were a bit older, and wanted the experience of raising one from a pup. Also, our Basset hound Penny seems to get bored sometimes. She tries to play with Lucy, but Lucy doesn’t quite know how to play. She just stands there and wags her tail.

So, puppy.

It’s been a busy few days, integrating her into the house.

Training her to sit, getting her used to the kennel, trying to not stop working to pet her ridiculously soft puppy face every five minutes…

I filled out the adoption paperwork last Tuesday, and met her at Petco on Saturday to make sure she’d be a good fit. We both had a long day, and a long drive back to Castle Valley.

sadie sleeping
Sadie slept most of the 4.5 hour drive home.

She’s been amazing, though.

We’ve had her sleeping in the sun room, with the doors shut to keep her from the rest of the house, since we are still working on basic ground rules (including please ignore the cats) and she has not whined or barked once. She just goes to sleep and waits excitedly when I get up for me to come and visit.

She has not gone to the bathroom on the floor, either. Amazing, for a puppy.

Sadie is getting along really well with our other dogs, a basset hound and a basset/lab mix.

three dogs

We adopted her from the Utah Friends of Basset Hounds, which is a fantastic organization. 🙂

My cat has not quite gotten on board with this whole “let’s get a dog” idea, but she’ll come around, eventually.

Welcome home, Sadie.

dust devil

a dust devil forms in Utah
On Feb 29th, 2016 I was running some errands in Moab, UT (last minute getting the car registered before it expires–no surprises there for Last Minute Markey).

As I was leaving the nursery in Moab–picking up some wonderful herbs to plant in the backyard, I saw the wind kicking up dust. I watched for a minute and it looked like it was getting more and more organized. I grabbed my phone and started to recording. I was too worried about missing a moment of filming, I forgot to not film vertically, like a dope.

Oh well.

The video is still pretty awesome. This thing goes from an interesting to swirl of dust to a tightly organize funnel in a matter of seconds. Very cool to watch the formation and dissipation.

Watch it on full screen. It’s amazing.

grocery trip

One of my favorite things to do is take long car rides.

This works out fairly well, since it takes about 45 minutes to get to Moab for gas or groceries (or any other errand). Sometimes, though, I like to double the drive-time and head to Grand Junction, CO.  It’s 90 minutes each way, but half of the drive is up the Colorado River canyon, and it looks like this:

colorado river state road 128
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The other half of the drive is down no-man’s-land I70, which is pretty empty.  This stretch of highway runs between Grand Junction, CO and Green River, UT, with nothing in between.

castle valley to grand junction

Summer can be a bit unpleasant, as the tourists jam up the road a bit, but most of the year there are only a handful of other cars on the road until I get to the city.

Three hours to listen to audio books, catch up on podcasts, and sing until I lose my voice? It’s one of my favorite things.

Last night I was coming home and a super-bright meteorite lit up the sky briefly. I was listening to “When All We Have is Taken” by Edison Glass, and not another car on the road the whole drive home. I almost hit a lazy hawk, and an even lazier skunk, but it was otherwise uneventful.

lucy & penny

December 15th we woke up to an impressive amount of powdery snow in Castle Valley. All of Utah and Colorado were slammed by this big snow storm, but our valley is pretty tough on storm systems, and we don’t tend to get hit too hard, usually.

Lucy

This morning, though, we got more than I’d seen in the last year and a half of living here. So I grabbed the iPhone when I let the dogs out first thing in the morning. They had fun. Their tiny legs make it even funnier. I put the vid to some funk music (because why not?) and here’s the result. It’s pretty fantastic.

Turn up the volume and press “play.”

Snow Day

It doesn’t snow much in Castle Valley (especially compared to Salt Lake — where the lake effect snow really brought the valley a lot of snow.

The mountains that make up the southern valley-boundary get several inches of snow almost weekly, but down the geology of the mountains and cliffs and mesas that surround the valley aren’t very nice to approaching storms, and so a lot of the individual storms are broken up before they arrive.

Last night, it starting snowing at around 7p.m.  Beth and I hit the hot tub then, because it’s really pretty fun sitting in the hot tub outside while it snows on your face, and everything around you is white and brighter than usual.

Castle Valley Snow

This morning, a low ceiling + the sunrise made for some pretty dramatic pictures.  As always, it is so much more vivid in person, but the pics are petty spectacular as well, especially this pic of our house with Porcupine Ridge looming behind it all brightly lit and snow-covered.

Sun House Snow