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Colorado 2019 - Aspen and environs

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We spent our final day with Brendan and Maria White, our good friends who live in Gypsum, down valley from Vail.  We drove there to pick them.  Graciously and thankfully, Brendan offered to drive for the day which meant that I would be able to enjoy the scenery rather than focus on driving on unfamiliar roads.  Almost as soon as we left, I saw the wisdom in this since we drove through Glenwood Canyon on I-70.  It is spectacular.  As Brendan said, if there were not an interstate running through it, Glenwood Canyon would have long ago beeen designated as a National Park.

Brendan grew up in Buffalo and attended Miami University (Ohio) on a track scholarship.  Shortly after that, he moved to
Colorado and began working at Vail on the ski mountain and doing a lot of skiing, mountaineering and running as in marathons and extreme running events.  Eventually he took a job at a jewelry establishment and became a master jeweler specializing in Pave diamond setting.  His jewelery reflects a lif…

Colorado 2019 - Vail

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Sunday morning after breakfast with the BeadforLife group, we checked out of the lodge and spent the day exploring Vail.  We began with Ford Park which was adjacent to the lodge.  Named after President Ford and Betty, this park contains playing fields, playground, picnic areas, and an ampitheater name for the President.  But the jewel is an alpine garden named for Betty.  The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens " is an internationally acclaimed botanic gardens known for its alpine horticulture, education and conservation....[It] is the highest...botanical garden in the world situated at 8,200’ (2,700 m) in the central Rocky Mountains." (Quotation from website)  Spring is usually the best time to visit a garden and this one is particuarly beautiful at that time of year.  However, we were there in late fall (for the maountains.)  The aspen on the hillsides were mostly bare and the alpine plants had generally tucked themselves in for the winter.  Nevertheless, we found small splashes of …

Colorado October 2019 - Getting to Vail

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Every two years, we travel to Colorado for a meeting of the BeadforLife Community Partners.   These are people from all regions of the country who represent BeadforLife through selling the stunningly beautiful jewelry made from recycled paper by women in Uganda and who tell the BeadforLife story to groups, large and small.  We have been Community Partners for six years and it has become a major part of our personal social ministry.  In a later post, we will sahre more of its work and success in eliminating extreme poverty.

But for now, we want to share our time in Colorado.  The meetings lasted a day and half but we arrived a day early and stayed  three days after to enjoy some of what Colorado has to offer.  We arrived in Denver just as the first snow storm of the season was ending.  We had spent almost two hours on the ground waiting for the Denver airport to reopen.  It has closed due to snow, blowing snow, and only quarter mile visibility.  Our bags were delayed almost an hour due…

U. S. Youth Soccer Group Play

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Our final week was spent in Kansas City where thankfully the heat wave had also broken and the highs were now in the 80's rather than the 100's.  Brock plays for the Beadling Soccer Club.  Founded in 1898 it is the oldest continuously operating soccer club in the United States.  Brock joined the team last November and has played a key role in its journey to its third consecutive trip to the semi finals of the national championship.  Brendan and Eileen have been a key part of this journey since the club is located outside Pittsburgh and the Pickett family now lives in Bay Village OH, just outside Cleveland.

Brock is a center midfielder on the 16U team.  Beadling qualified for the national championships by winning both the National League and the Eastern Division championships.  A total of eight teams compete in two groups of four randomly selected teams.  Two teams from each group go through to the semifinals based on their group play.

All of these teams are very competitive an…

Three hot and fun days in Kansas

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It took us a day and a half to drive from Appleton WI to Maize KS, just outside Wichita.  While the temperature was a bit higher in Maize at 104, the heat index for Kansas City, three hours north and our next stop, was 127--later it reach 129.  Levels I had never seen or experienced.  Believe me it was quite hot enough around Wichita!

We were in Kansas to visit our wonderful cousins, Andy and Lois Sciolaro.  We try to visit them annually and they in turn typically visit us in the Finger Lakes annually as well.  They always have things for us to see and do in Kansas and Oklahoma.  We have learned a lot about the prairie and have come to have a deep and somewhat unanticipated love of the region.  As we review our options for this trip over dinner, we all reluctantly decided that the oppressive heat would not permit an enjoyable trip down into Oklahoma.  So we decided to stay closer to home, which is in Maize KS.

As usual, we got started in late morning, actually early afternoon with a …

Appleton Visit

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We spent the next three days in Appleton WI visiting our family there:  daughter Meg and her partner, Heather Hietpas, Meg's children, Harry and Bronwen, and Heather's son, Pierce.  Our welcome was as warm as the weather.

We began with a visit to Meg and Heather's new house which is on Little Lake.  It is lovely and very comfortable.  Of course, the lake view is outstanding and, facing to the west, provides colorful sunsets.  After relaxing with Meg, Heather after she finished work in the upstairs office, and Harry, we went to a nearby Little League field where 11 year old Pierce was playing a game.  Just before we left, Heather learned that Pierce would be the starting pitcher.  This always ramps up parental anxiety.  His usual position is catcher.  he comes by that naturally since Heather was catcher on his high school softball team.  She has been working with him on flipping his mask off on foul popups behind the plate and as you can see from the photo, he got the messa…

Mackinac Island

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We began our two week trip to the Midwest in the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan to the south and Lake Huron to the north.  Crossing the straits on the Mackinac Bridge brought us to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Saint Ignace where we spent two nights at the Sunset Motel.  Sunday morning we were up early to catch the first ferry to the island that also made a side trip under that very bridge.

The day was spectacular with temps in the seventies and rarely a cloud to be seen.  It could not have been a more perfect day to spend on the island.  No automobiles are permitted on the island.  Transportation is by carriage or bicycle.  We opted for a carriage tour to give us an overview of the island.  Fun Fact:  there are more horses--more than 500-- on Mackinac than permanent residents--fewer than 500.  Another Fun Fact:  The horses winter on the mainland because it is less expensive to do that than transport hay to the island all winter.

The carriage tour was filled with all the exp…