Friday, October 11, 2019

Keeping Cool in Colorado!

A short path that took us to a waterfall in Grand Lake, Colorado

As I mentioned in my last post, we've been experiencing record-breaking heat in Louisiana. While sailing is a great way to keep cool, a trip to Colorado was just what we needed! Colorado provided us with gorgeous views and beautiful weather, but the best part ... our daughter, son-in-law and grandson now live there.

Since our "kids" moved away from us in July, this has been our second visit to see them. The first visit was in August, when we helped them load a U-Haul then followed them for two days in their vehicle to their new home in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Their place is located near downtown Ft. Collins, which has a really cool vibe and tons of boutiques, restaurants, and breweries.

The trip was quick and was more work than play. However, we did squeeze in a visit to a couple of cool areas during the evenings. We visited "The Exchange", which was a green space with corn hole games surrounded by restaurants. We enjoyed drinking a beer while watching our grandson run around! See the guy on the right with the orange backpack .. that's our son-in-law with our grandson. The guy to their right .. Ken.

We also visited one of the many breweries, "New Belgium". The brewery also had a nice green space with corn hole games, food trucks and of course ... great beer! Once again our grandson had a great time running around and putting the bean bags in the holes.

We spent one day exploring the mountains nearby .. so beautiful!

The second trip was just this past Friday morning, and we arrived back on Nirvana this past Tuesday afternoon. This trip was strictly for fun, and we flew from New Orleans to Denver with our son-in-law's parents. Since our kids have a small home, we rented a condo in Fraser where all seven of us could stay together. Fraser is located next to Winter Park and near the Rocky Mountain National Park, which allowed us to explore both areas.

When we stepped off of the airplane in Denver, we immediately noticed the change of weather. We left feel-like temps in the 100's and were now in the mid-70's with low humidity .. heaven! On the way from Denver to Fraser, we stopped in Golden for a tour of the Coors Brewery and some of the best pizza we've had in a long time. The brewery tour was fun, and we enjoyed the charming town.

On the way to Fraser, we enjoyed beautiful scenery, and even saw a moose and her baby!

The next morning we headed to Winter Park Resort, which isn't just for Winter! The resort was filled with mountain bikers, who took the gondola up the hills with their bikes then rode down on bike trails. Some of the trails were pretty steep, and we enjoyed watching the bikers ride down the hill. Next time we'd like to try one of the easier trails, or hike up the hill and ride the gondola down after drinks and a snack.

From Winter Park, we headed to Grand Lake, Colorado which was also gorgeous. There is indeed a lake, which is "grand" and is Colorado's largest natural body of water. The lake is surrounded by campgrounds, marinas and a quaint little town.

Our "kids" with their parents ...

After strolling through the town, we drove about a mile to a little trail with a waterfall at the end. The beginning of the trail was very welcoming. We loved all the beautiful fall foilage throughout our trip!

The trail was pretty easy, and our grandson insisted on walking the trail himself. There were a few challenges for him, and I'd say "Slow, Slow" as I held his hand. He was so cute, saying "Slow, Slow" every time he faced a challenge. At 20 months he's quite a trooper! The waterfall was really pretty, and the photo doesn't really capture it's beauty.


We hung out at the condo that night and soaked up our time with the kids. The next day, Sunday, we drove to another condo in Ft. Collins. On the way, we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park, where we saw lots of elk and yes .. more beautiful views! From there we drove through Estes Park, another cool town, to Ft Collins. Here's a map that kinda shows our route from Denver to Golden (between Denver & Boulder), to Fraser (next to Winter Park), to Grand Lake. Another day through the Rocky Mountains then through Estes Park to Ft. Collins .. such a great road trip!

We arrived in Ft. Collins just in time for dinner, then spent our last day (Monday) strolling through the town, which "Main Street" in Disneyland was mirrored after. I wish I would have gotten some photos of downtown Ft. Collins, as it really is a great town .. full of boutiques, cafes, art galleries and breweries. It's really pretty with flowers everywhere along the streets, and everything is so clean! As much as we hated our kids moving away, I think they're gonna love their new home town. Their home is just a bicycle ride away from everything!

We hated to leave our kids and this lil guy on Tuesday ... can you blame us? We don't know when we'll get to see them again, which made it really hard to leave. Our lil man is growing so fast, and we already miss him and his parents so much. Hopefully they'll come visit us somewhere on Nirvana!

It's hard to believe, but the weather quickly changed in Ft. Collins after we left. Yesterday, it snowed! Here's a photo of our kids' backyard. I hope they can handle driving in the work in the snow. We're not used to such things in Louisiana!

We're now back on Nirvana and although the weather isn't as nice as Colorado's was, we're no longer in brutal heat. We escaped just long enough and now temps are in the 80's .. perfect for getting some projects finally done.

We've already started working on some things, and we're geared up for sailing further South soon!

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Sailing Away From The Heat!

Keepin' cool on the water!

We wake up each day making excuses for not tackling our boat projects ... our solar panels need to be installed, our Mantus anchor needs to be mounted, and various other items need to be scratched off our list. Each day the heat sucks away our motivation. Damn, it's hot! 

We got a few things done in August, telling ourselves that we'd knock out the larger projects in September .. ya know, when the weather was cooler. Well, Mother Nature played a joke on us with the hottest September EVER recorded! It's now October, and we're still breaking heat records .. the "feel like" temperature yesterday was 100 degrees. We're not just sitting around, but the weeks are flying by and we're not as productive as we should be. 

It had been a couple of weeks since we sailed, so we figured we'd escape the heat by sailing Nirvana this past Sunday. We need all the practice we can get, and we want to keep barnacles off of our prop too! It'll be so nice when we're in water that's blue and clear .. and that we can scrub Nirvana in.

Lake Pontchartrain is shallow, so it was pretty choppy with winds at least 15 knots. Another project on our list ... add reefing lines. We only let our "deck sweeper" genoa out halfway, as any more caused us to heel more than was efficient .. or comfortable. I don't like our rail in the water! We do have a smaller head sail, which we'll try out soon. Nirvana has so little room aboard that we're not sure where to store our extra head sail. Right now it's in our storage shed. Wondering .. which sail do you think we'll use the most when sailing to the Bahamas from Louisiana .. a 150 genoa or the smaller jib (not sure of size ... maybe 100 or 90)?

You can see in this photo of Ken that we were heeling, but not too much. This is enough for me!

We had a good day on the water, and we didn't sweat. Sailing is a great way to escape the heat! We keep hearing that living at anchor is much more comfortable than living at a marina .. we hope so! It's hot in our slip, and as soon as Nirvana was docked .. we started sweating. We do have a portable a/c unit for now, but it struggles to keep us cool inside, and it doesn't help when we're out on the deck or in our cockpit. We've added this 10x13 waterproof sun shade, which does seem to help keep our interior cooler. It's polyester, is well made .. and I didn't have to sew it! It also provides coverage between our companionway and bimini, so when our companionway hatch is open we don't have to worry if there's a little rain. We'll be finding a place to store this sun shade on our boat when we leave the dock!

When we're not sailing, we look forward to escaping the heat by watching our Saints play football. We either watch the game on our salon's tv, or go to a local bar .. with air conditioning. We're so glad football season is here ...Who Dat!

The local weather forecast says we'll have our first cool front this coming Tuesday .. temps in the 80's! The forecast has us motivated to get working on our list next week. We've gotta get moving further South soon!

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!
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