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Roots -

Posted Aug 05 2011 11:12pm
Main image
written by Charlie

I know.  Someone else did it first.  That doesn’t mean that I am not going to explore my roots!

When family has a farm, even the extended family is needed at harvest time.  We went to Kansas every year for the wheat harvest.  The older brothers were involved in the harvest, but my sister and I were left at the farm house and yard.

Why Do This Thing?

The Dorrance, Kansas farm was taken by imminent public domain in 1961. 320 leased acres, farmhouse, barn, and other out buildings were included.

In 1961, I was 8 years old.  I remember the farm but in a dim, vague way. A sink in the kitchen with a hand pumped water faucet.  The outdoor privy, the barn, the windmill, the cows in the outer yard. I wondered how I could resolve my memories to what actually was.

Why, once upon a time, my sister and I climbed the windmill. We were happy with ourselves as it was a big, huge wooden structure.  We skirted the catch pool, we climbed the ladder! This thing was ours!  Then?  The cows came in.  Imagine 2 very young kids at the top of a windmill, not getting anyone’s attention and surrounded by large animals of the bovine influence.  It is a good thing that the two older brothers showed up (eventually) to rescue these two terrified children!

 

A Trip?

I talked to my brother, Clint, about it.  He made a similar trip about 20 years ago.  He asked if he could go with.  Suddenly, a suggestion, an idea, was now a reality.  We would go and look!

Clint flew in on the 20th of July.  I worked a split shift, so I could go and get him from the airport.  We got ready that night, and did some final preparations the next morning.  We were out for a relaxed trip, so no schedules (or real plans) were set.  We took off mid-morning.

A drive to Kansas from Denver is not an exciting thing to do.  One can see the fertile fields of the heartland spread out before you, and around you; and, it just stays that way for many miles and many hours.

Just over the Kansas border, there was a large welcome center. It was time for a break, so we stopped.  We got a good idea of where we needed to go, got in the car, and headed for Russell, Kansas.

Russell, Kansas

Home of Bob Dole

Yes, Russell, Kansas is the home of Bob Dole!

Clint has an iPhone and we used that for most of the on-the-road information that we sought out. We knew that there were a few hotels available, so we drove around the town, while we checked out locations.  We were also getting hungry, so we checked for restaurants, too.

It was a fun drive, checking out Russell.  We ended up back near the Interstate highway and the hotels there.  We decided to check out the Russell Inn. It seemed nice. We checked in and headed for the room.  I did check the bed and bedding for bed bugs. Bed bugs are approaching an epidemic condition in the US, so it takes only a few moments to check and make sure there will be no exposure.

IMG_6443

We asked about restaurants while we were at the office.  It was suggested that we try, “Meridys.”  Just across the street and down the block, it was easy to find.  They serve a buffet line dinner. It was popular and a the food was good.  Especially good was the freshly made mashed potatoes.  Other things on the buffet were fried chicken,pulled pork, vegetable soup, pasta, bread rolls, cream gravy, pork chops and a myriad of salad and other side items.

Meridy’s was not expensive, either, and was very good. After? Back to the hotel and a good night’s sleep!

Dorrance, Kansas

First of all…  Coffee. I love good coffee in the morning.  The problem was that there wasn’t good coffee at the continental breakfast. We drank what was there, but not a lot and it was not enjoyable. We went back to the room and found out about a coffee shop in town.  Excited, we packed for the day, and headed out the door.

We went to the door of the coffee shop only to find out that the air conditioning was not working and the shop was closed. We tried the door and it was locked. We went next door and asked about the shop. They said that the air had been fixed, but they didn’t think that any of the employees had been contacted or were coming in. We went back out on the street, found the Maundy’s bar and eatery.  We got a cup of coffee there.  It was OK…

We headed for Dorrance.  Dorrance is a small farming community about 14 miles East of Russell.  We got on I-70 and drove that short distance. We both agreed on how to get to the Dorrance cemetery. There was a listing for the plots, so it did not take us long to find the headstone for the grandparents on the father’s side.

Grandparents grave stone

We did get confused about another grave. Our Uncle Earl was listed on the directory but search as we would, we could not find anything.

Just up Taylor street from the cemetery, was the house that Aunt Mildred and Uncle Earl had in Dorrance.  Memories touched both of us.  It looked different, but things do change in a great deal of time.

Dorrance House

I saw the trees out front and the front porch brought back some Summer eve memories of cicadas and lightning bugs.

Clint went up to the front door to explain what we were doing.  The current owner said that he was going to come out and ask.  He said that the Mayor lived just down the street. 

We crossed the street to talk to a couple outside of another house. They were contractors working on a bathroom remodel.  They could not help but did verify the Mayor’s house. They also said that he was having a beer in the town’s single bar. We went to the Mayor’s house and knocked on the door.  No one answered.

We headed toward the high school. Or, at least, where the high school used to be.  The high school burned down a few years ago.  The field house and the auditorium/gymnasium is still there.  As is the sign. Grandfather White’s funeral service in 1963 (he was a Christmas death) was held in the gymnasium/auditorium and the entire town attended.

D HS Auditorium

While we were at the high school, a car pulled up. They didn’t say anything, just pulled over and parked watching us.  Small town people take care of each other. It is obvious.  I walked over and explained who we were and what we were doing. The people didn’t say anything, but nodded and took off.

D HS Sign

We got back in the car and drove a couple of blocks to the town bar. The Mayor was not there, although he was pointed out to us.  He was at the other ‘bar’ in town.  2 picnic tables, 3 coolers, and 3 people sitting in the shade.  We introduced ourselves and explained that we’d like some information about the cemetery. We talked for a bit, and then the Mayor went for some keys.

While he was gone, the other 2 people explained that they were there for the Summer, and sold beer out of one cooler, soft drinks out of another, and water out of the third. We declined a drink. The Mayor took us over to the city council building.

He showed us a map of the cemetery.  The map showed people actually buried in the cemetery. Our Uncle Earl was not on the map. The Mayor brought out an old registry book. It was a listing of people that owned lots in the cemetery. Uncle Earl Yarnell was listed on that as the owner of the lot next to the grandparents.  At least, that mystery was solved.

We headed toward the door thanking him for his help. When we got outside, we wondered if he knew where the old farm house might be. He said he did not. He looked down the street , then looked at us again. “I see Larry is at his shop,” he said, “He’ll know!”  He slapped the side of the nearest car and called out as loud as he could, “Larry!  Larry!”

A guy down the street glanced toward us. He waved, hopped in his pickup and came over.  The Mayor explained our situation.  Larry looked at us, then said that he thinks he knew where we wanted to go.  He gave us simple instructions and we parted ways.  We headed back out of town.

The Farm House (Or is it?)

We followed his instructions. We went out then under the interstate, and on to Homer Street. We followed that East to 200th Street. We turned and followed that a long block or 2 to a driveway.  There was an older farm house just a way off of the road.  We examined it and the surrounding area looking for things that we remembered. This is a list:

1. The farm house.

2. A barn.

3. An outdoor privy (vault toilet).

4. A windmill (ours was wooden).

5. A root cellar.

Keep in mind, that it has been 20 years since Clint has seen the place.  Longer than that for me.

The farmhouse that was not

We looked about, spent some time there, but it just didn’t look right, though. The house had a mansard roof, there wasn’t a root cellar, and a barn was on property and was complete. We took some pictures, trying to jog our memories.  Nothing was coming to either of us.  We decided to keep looking.

IMG_6531

We went back the way we came on 200th, then further East on Homer.  The next county road, we turned left and went as far as we could in the little car.  There was a windmill in the distance, so we got out to walk it.  Outside temperature was about 104 degrees by that time.  We walked a while, then checked it out. That wasn’t the right place either.

IMG_6537

So…  End of Day one in Dorrance.

We spent the night at the Russell Inn again.  We were also hoping the coffee shop would be open the next day.

After we visit Dorrance again, we were going to head for Colby, Kansas.  An Aunt and Uncle lived their last years in Colby and we wanted to see their graves.  We did some internet research and found out where they were buried.

 

Day Two – Dorrance (And other places)…

I run 5 days a week. To facilitate this weekend I ran 4 days in a row, so I’d only have to run one of the days we were out. Saturday morning was that morning.  I ran a total of 3.8 miles. I ran down Fossil street past Wichita Street, to 3rd street. I ran East of there (including a dog buzz by), until I reached a halfway point.  I headed West.  I passed Fossil but didn’t realize the mistake until I reached Main Street.  Well, it would be a longer run than I planned.  I did make it back to the hotel. It was hot before I even went out to run.  It was really hot when I finished.

I got back to the hotel.  I did some computer until Clint woke up. I showered and we went to breakfast.  We had a bit of coffee but didn’t want much as we were sure the coffee shop would be open today!

We packed up and packed the car.  We checked out and headed to the coffee shop!

Know what?  Still closed!  The owner must have taken advantage of some bad luck to get a weekend off!  Oh well!

Why visit Dorrance today? The original premise was to see the churches.  We were in the Bible Belt, and Dorrance always had at least 2 operating churches. Why, the Grandfather was a preacher and a deacon in the Methodist church.

Methodist Church

I remembered the Mercantile that was in the town’s largest building. We started there. Although, no longer a store, it is a historical site in the town and did contain some exhibits. As we took more main street pictures, we noticed that Larry was at his shop (he has an in-town shop for repairing farm equipment – his and others).  Clint decided to talk to him again about the farm house.  We explained what we found, and his thoughts were that we missed the farm house he was thinking that it was.  He offered to take us out there if we’d follow him in the car.  We jumped at the offer.

IMG_6578

We took the same route that we took the day before.  Where we turned to go to yesterday’s farm house, he kept going.  Both of us looked at this ruin and knew, in a round-about way, that we were once again ‘Home.’

There was no way to explain it, but the farmhouse that we knew was right in front of us.  Larry did an outstanding thing that we really appreciated.  Most of the Farm stead was gone or leveled.  The barn had foundation rocks, There was a ruin of a side building to the barn or perhaps a back part of the barn. There was the front yard fence and the backyard fence.  The limestone fence posts were still in place.  There was a flat spot where the windmill was. There was the cement floor and the seat post for the outdoor privy.  The root cellar was there. Most of all? There was the farm house!

This house was it. We were both sure. It had a gable roof. The root cellar was on the South side. We walked around the house lost in our own thoughts. The walls were built of quarried, large limestone bricks. The East side wall had fallen away from the frame of the house (part of it anyway). There was the bedroom addition.

It had been 50 years since the farm had been abandoned.  It was recognizable still. We recognized the parlor, the kitchen, the sitting room, and the 1st floor bedroom. We recognized the stairs to the second floor where the children would sleep in the heat when we visited. We could not see the bathroom (which was installed during the final years.

We could not go in. The floor was sure to be rotten wood. Plaster had fallen from all of the ceilings. We never stepped over the door thresholds to look inside. At every doorway and in every window, we experienced new memories. Clint talked of what he remembered and I spoke of my memories.

One of Clint’s memories was that my Grandmother would not have the older boys in her house with the dirty clothes from working in the fields.  They were required to strip to their underwear outside before they could come in. After a certain phase of their lives it was an uncomfortable thing to have to do.

My words are not eloquent enough to describe either the farm or the memories, so I’m going to show some pictures, instead.

Why we couldnt see the place

Charlie at the Kitchen door

Clint at the kitchen door

Clint in the back yard

Guess what this is

Gable end window

The collapsed wall

Semi collapsed window

Wall paper prints

View from the barn

The Farm House   <– A Farm House Video (Click on it)

 

Colby, Kansas

Time was up for this reminiscent period of reflection.  It was time to move on. We headed for Russell and a lunch at Meridy’s again.  After that, we filled up and returned West on I-70.

We knew that Aunt Mildred (Dad’s sister) and Uncle Earl were buried in the Beulah cemetery. We knew where it was and we found it easily.  There was a directory (with a book) and we were able to find their graves.

Aunt Mildred died in November 2010, so her grave was still fairly fresh. It is a good feeling to see their final resting place and to say a silent goodbye and thank them for spending some of their time in their life with us.

IMG_6663

 

We did a car tour of Colby.  We found a hotel.  We also found a grocery store with dark roast bean coffee. We got some of it, some coffee filters, and knew that tomorrow mornings coffee would be the best of the weekend!

Breakfast the next morning was much better fare than we had been having.  They even had a pancake machine, eggs, breakfast meats, and juices.  It was a great breakfast.  They were people to talk to and we did.

All too soon, our time to visit Kansas and explore our past was coming to an end.  We packed, loaded the car, and drove back to Denver. 

IMG_6428

The brother, Clint

 

Let’s End It With Some Fun!

I talk to turkeys!    <– Click this!

 

written by Charlie

I know.  Someone else did it first.  That doesn’t mean that I am not going to explore my roots!

When family has a farm, even the extended family is needed at harvest time.  We went to Kansas every year for the wheat harvest.  The older brothers were involved in the harvest, but my sister and I were left at the farm.

Why Do This Thing?

The Dorrance, Kansas farm was taken by imminent domain in 1961. 320 leased acres, farmhouse, barn, and other out buildings were included.

In 1961, I was 8 years old.  I remember the farm but in a dim, vague way. A sink in the kitchen with a hand pumped water faucet.  The outdoor privy, the barn, the windmill, the cows in the outer yard. I wondered how I could resolve my memories to what actually was.

Why, once upon a time, my sister and I climbed the windmill. We were happy with ourselves as it was a big, huge wooden structure.  We skirted the catch pool, we climbed the ladder! This thing was ours!  Then?  The cows came in.  Imagine 2 very young kids at the top of a windmill, not getting anyone’s attention and surrounded by large animals of the bovine influence.  It is a good thing that the two older brothers showed up (eventually) to rescue these two terrified children!

 

A Trip?

I talked to my brother, Clint, about it.  He made a similar trip about 20 years ago.  He asked if he could go with.  Suddenly, a suggestion, an idea, was now a reality.  We would go and look!

Clint flew in on the 20th of July.  I worked a split shift, so I could go and get him from the airport.  We got ready that night, and did some final preparations the next morning.  We were out for a relaxed trip, so no schedules (or real plans) were set.  We took off mid-morning.

A drive to Kansas from Denver is not an exciting thing to do.  One can see the fertile fields of the heartland spread out before you, and around you; and, it just stays that way for many miles and many hours.

Just over the Kansas border, there was a large welcome center. It was time for a break, so we stopped.  We got a good idea of where we needed to go, got in the car, and headed for Russell, Kansas.

Russell, Kansas

Home of Bob Dole

Yes, Russell, Kansas is the home of Bob Dole!

Clint has an iPhone and we used that for most of the on-the-road information that we sought out. We knew that there were a few hotels available, so we drove around the town, while we checked out locations.  We were also getting hungry, so we checked for restaurants, too.

It was a fun drive, checking out Russell.  We ended up back near the Interstate highway and the hotels there.  We decided to check out the Russell Inn. It seemed nice. We checked in and headed for the room.  I did check the bed and bedding for bed bugs. Bed bugs are approaching an epidemic condition in the US, so it takes only a few moments to check and make sure there will be no exposure.

IMG_6443

We asked about restaurants while we were at the office.  It was suggested that we try, “Meridys.”  Just across the street and down the block, it was easy to find.  They serve a buffet line dinner. It was popular and a the food was good.  Especially good was the freshly made mashed potatoes.  Other things on the buffet were fried chicken,pulled pork, vegetable soup, pasta, bread rolls, cream gravy, pork chops and a myriad of salad and other side items.

Meridy’s was not expensive, either, and was very good. After? Back to the hotel and a good night’s sleep!

Dorrance, Kansas

First of all…  Coffee. I love good coffee in the morning.  The problem was that there wasn’t good coffee at the continental breakfast. We drank what was there, but not a lot and it was not enjoyable. We went back to the room and found out about a coffee shop in town.  Excited, we packed for the day, and headed out the door.

We went to the door of the coffee shop only to find out that the air conditioning was not working and the shop was closed. We tried the door and it was locked. We went next door and asked about the shop. They said that the air had been fixed, but they didn’t think that any of the employees had been contacted or were coming in. We went back out on the street, found the Maundy’s bar and eatery.  We got a cup of coffee there.  It was OK…

We headed for Dorrance.  Dorrance is a small farming community about 14 miles East of Russell.  We got on I-70 and drove that short distance. We both agreed on how to get to the Dorrance cemetery. There was a listing for the plots, so it did not take us long to find the headstone for the grandparents on the father’s side.

Grandparents grave stone

We did get confused about another grave. Our Uncle Earl was listed on the directory but search as we would, we could not find anything.

Just up Taylor street from the cemetery, was the house that Aunt Mildred and Uncle Earl had in Dorrance.  Memories touched both of us.  It looked different, but things do change in a great deal of time.

Dorrance House

I saw the trees out front and the front porch brought back some Summer eve memories of cicadas and lightning bugs.

Clint went up to the front door to explain what we were doing.  The current owner said that he was going to come out and ask.  He said that the Mayor lived just down the street. 

We crossed the street to talk to a couple outside of another house. They were contractors working on a bathroom remodel.  They could not help but did verify the Mayor’s house. They also said that he was having a beer in the town’s single bar. We went to the Mayor’s house and knocked on the door.  No one answered.

We headed toward the high school. Or, at least, where the high school used to be.  The high school burned down a few years ago.  The field house and the auditorium/gymnasium is still there.  As is the sign. Grandfather White’s funeral service in 1963 (he was a Christmas death) was held in the gymnasium/auditorium and the entire town attended.

D HS Auditorium

While we were at the high school, a car pulled up. They didn’t say anything, just pulled over and parked watching us.  Small town people take care of each other. It is obvious.  I walked over and explained who we were and what we were doing. The people didn’t say anything, but nodded and took off.

D HS Sign

We got back in the car and drove a couple of blocks to the town bar. The Mayor was not there, although he was pointed out to us.  He was at the other ‘bar’ in town.  2 picnic tables, 3 coolers, and 3 people sitting in the shade.  We introduced ourselves and explained that we’d like some information about the cemetery. We talked for a bit, and then the Mayor went for some keys.

While he was gone, the other 2 people explained that they were there for the Summer, and sold beer out of one cooler, soft drinks out of another, and water out of the third. We declined a drink. The Mayor took us over to the city council building.

He showed us a map of the cemetery.  The map showed people actually buried in the cemetery. Our Uncle Earl was not on the map. The Mayor brought out an old registry book. It was a listing of people that owned lots in the cemetery. Uncle Earl Yarnell was listed on that as the owner of the lot next to the grandparents.  At least, that mystery was solved.

We headed toward the door thanking him for his help. When we got outside, we wondered if he knew where the old farm house might be. He said he did not. He looked down the street , then looked at us again. “I see Larry is at his shop,” he said, “He’ll know!”  He slapped the side of the nearest car and called out as loud as he could, “Larry!  Larry!”

A guy down the street glanced toward us. He waved, hopped in his pickup and came over.  The Mayor explained our situation.  Larry looked at us, then said that he thinks he knew where we wanted to go.  He gave us simple instructions and we parted ways.  We headed back out of town.

The Farm House (Or is it?)

We followed his instructions. We went out then under the interstate, and on to Homer Street. We followed that East to 200th Street. We turned and followed that a long block or 2 to a driveway.  There was an older farm house just a way off of the road.  We examined it and the surrounding area looking for things that we remembered. This is a list:

1. The farm house.

2. A barn.

3. An outdoor privy (vault toilet).

4. A windmill (ours was wooden).

5. A root cellar.

Keep in mind, that it has been 20 years since Clint has seen the place.  Longer than that for me.

The farmhouse that was not

We looked about, spent some time there, but it just didn’t look right, though. The house had a mansard roof, there wasn’t a root cellar, and a barn was on property and was complete. We took some pictures, trying to jog our memories.  Nothing was coming to either of us.  We decided to keep looking.

IMG_6531

We went back the way we came on 200th, then further East on Homer.  The next county road, we turned left and went as far as we could in the little car.  There was a windmill in the distance, so we got out to walk it.  Outside temperature was about 104 degrees by that time.  We walked a while, then checked it out. That wasn’t the right place either.

IMG_6537

So…  End of Day one in Dorrance.

We spent the night at the Russell Inn again.  We were also hoping the coffee shop would be open the next day.

After we visit Dorrance again, we were going to head for Colby, Kansas.  An Aunt and Uncle lived their last years in Colby and we wanted to see their graves.  We did some internet research and found out where they were buried.

 

Day Two – Dorrance (And other places)…

I run 5 days a week. To facilitate this weekend I ran 4 days in a row, so I’d only have to run one of the days we were out. Saturday morning was that morning.  I ran a total of 3.8 miles. I ran down Fossil street past Wichita Street, to 3rd street. I ran East of there (including a dog buzz by), until I reached a halfway point.  I headed West.  I passed Fossil but didn’t realize the mistake until I reached Main Street.  Well, it would be a longer run than I planned.  I did make it back to the hotel. It was hot before I even went out to run.  It was really hot when I finished.

I got back to the hotel.  I did some computer until Clint woke up. I showered and we went to breakfast.  We had a bit of coffee but didn’t want much as we were sure the coffee shop would be open today!

We packed up and packed the car.  We checked out and headed to the coffee shop!

Know what?  Still closed!  The owner must have taken advantage of some bad luck to get a weekend off!  Oh well!

Why visit Dorrance today? The original premise was to see the churches.  We were in the Bible Belt, and Dorrance always had at least 2 operating churches. Why, the Grandfather was a preacher and a deacon in the Methodist church.

Methodist Church

I remembered the Mercantile that was in the town’s largest building. We started there. Although, no longer a store, it is a historical site in the town and did contain some exhibits. As we took more main street pictures, we noticed that Larry was at his shop (he has an in-town shop for repairing farm equipment – his and others).  Clint decided to talk to him again about the farm house.  We explained what we found, and his thoughts were that we missed the farm house he was thinking that it was.  He offered to take us out there if we’d follow him in the car.  We jumped at the offer.

IMG_6578

We took the same route that we took the day before.  Where we turned to go to yesterday’s farm house, he kept going.  Both of us looked at this ruin and knew, in a round-about way, that we were once again ‘Home.’

There was no way to explain it, but the farmhouse that we knew was right in front of us.  Larry did an outstanding thing that we really appreciated.  Most of the Farm stead was gone or leveled.  The barn had foundation rocks, There was a ruin of a side building to the barn or perhaps a back part of the barn. There was the front yard fence and the backyard fence.  The limestone fence posts were still in place.  There was a flat spot where the windmill was. There was the cement floor and the seat post for the outdoor privy.  The root cellar was there. Most of all? There was the farm house!

This house was it. We were both sure. It had a gable roof. The root cellar was on the South side. We walked around the house lost in our own thoughts. The walls were built of quarried, large limestone bricks. The East side wall had fallen away from the frame of the house (part of it anyway). There was the bedroom addition.

It had been 50 years since the farm had been abandoned.  It was recognizable still. We recognized the parlor, the kitchen, the sitting room, and the 1st floor bedroom. We recognized the stairs to the second floor where the children would sleep in the heat when we visited. We could not see the bathroom (which was installed during the final years.

We could not go in. The floor was sure to be rotten wood. Plaster had fallen from all of the ceilings. We never stepped over the door thresholds to look inside. At every doorway and in every window, we experienced new memories. Clint talked of what he remembered and I spoke of my memories.

One of Clint’s memories was that my Grandmother would not have the older boys in her house with the dirty clothes from working in the fields.  They were required to strip to their underwear outside before they could come in. After a certain phase of their lives it was an uncomfortable thing to have to do.

My words are not eloquent enough to describe either the farm or the memories, so I’m going to show some pictures, instead.

Why we couldnt see the place

Charlie at the Kitchen door

Clint at the kitchen door

Clint in the back yard

Guess what this is

Gable end window

The collapsed wall

Semi collapsed window

Wall paper prints

View from the barn

The Farm House   <– A Farm House Video (Click on it)

 

Colby, Kansas

Time was up for this reminiscent period of reflection.  It was time to move on. We headed for Russell and a lunch at Meridy’s again.  After that, we filled up and returned West on I-70.

We knew that Aunt Mildred (Dad’s sister) and Uncle Earl were buried in the Beulah cemetery. We knew where it was and we found it easily.  There was a directory (with a book) and we were able to find their graves.

Aunt Mildred died in November 2010, so her grave was still fairly fresh. It is a good feeling to see their final resting place and to say a silent goodbye and thank them for spending some of their time in their life with us.

IMG_6663

 

We did a car tour of Colby.  We found a hotel.  We also found a grocery store with dark roast bean coffee. We got some of it, some coffee filters, and knew that tomorrow mornings coffee would be the best of the weekend!

Breakfast the next morning was much better fare than we had been having.  They even had a pancake machine, eggs, breakfast meats, and juices.  It was a great breakfast.  They were people to talk to and we did.

All too soon, our time to visit Kansas and explore our past was coming to an end.  We packed, loaded the car, and drove back to Denver. 

IMG_6428

The brother, Clint

 

Let’s End It With Some Fun!

I talk to turkeys!    <– Click this!

 

written by Charlie

I know.  Someone else did it first.  That doesn’t mean that I am not going to explore my roots!

When family has a farm, even the extended family is needed at harvest time.  We went to Kansas every year for the wheat harvest.  The older brothers were involved in the harvest, but my sister and I were left at the farm.

Why Do This Thing?

The Dorrance, Kansas farm was taken by imminent domain in 1961. 320 leased acres, farmhouse, barn, and other out buildings were included.

In 1961, I was 8 years old.  I remember the farm but in a dim, vague way. A sink in the kitchen with a hand pumped water faucet.  The outdoor privy, the barn, the windmill, the cows in the outer yard. I wondered how I could resolve my memories to what actually was.

Why, once upon a time, my sister and I climbed the windmill. We were happy with ourselves as it was a big, huge wooden structure.  We skirted the catch pool, we climbed the ladder! This thing was ours!  Then?  The cows came in.  Imagine 2 very young kids at the top of a windmill, not getting anyone’s attention and surrounded by large animals of the bovine influence.  It is a good thing that the two older brothers showed up (eventually) to rescue these two terrified children!

A Trip?

I talked to my brother, Clint, about it.  He made a similar trip about 20 years ago.  He asked if he could go with.  Suddenly, a suggestion, an idea, was now a reality.  We would go and look!

Clint flew in on the 20th of July.  I worked a split shift, so I could go and get him from the airport.  We got ready that night, and did some final preparations the next morning.  We were out for a relaxed trip, so no schedules (or real plans) were set.  We took off mid-morning.

A drive to Kansas from Denver is not an exciting thing to do.  One can see the fertile fields of the heartland spread out before you, and around you.  And , it just stays that way for many miles and many hours.

Just over the Kansas border, there was a large welcome center. It was time for a break, so we stopped.  We got a good idea of where we needed to go, got in the car, and headed for Russell, Kansas.

Russell, Kansas

Home of Bob Dole

Clint has an iPhone and we used that for most of the on-the-road information that we sought out. We knew that there were a few hotels available, so we drove around the town, while we checked out locations.  We were also getting hungry, so we checked for restaurants, too.

It was a fun drive, checking out Russell.  We ended up back near the Interstate highway and the hotels there.  We decided to check out the Russell Inn. It seemed nice. We checked in and headed for the room.  I did check the bed and bedding for bed bugs. Bed bugs are approaching an epidemic condition in the US, so it takes only a few moments to check and make sure there will be no exposure.

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We asked about restaurants while we were at the office.  It was suggested that we try, “Meridys.”  Just across the street and down the block, it was easy to find.  They serve a buffet line dinner. It was popular and a the food was good.  Especially good was the freshly made mashed potatoes.  Other things on the buffet were fried chicken,pulled pork, vegetable soup, pasta, bread rolls, cream gravy, pork chops and a myriad of salad and other side items.

Meridy’s was not expensive, either, and was very good. After? Back to the hotel and a good night’s sleep!

Dorrance, Kansas

First of all…  Coffee. I love good coffee in the morning.  The problem was that there wasn’t good coffee at the continental breakfast. We drank what was there, but not a lot and it was not enjoyable. We went back to the room and found out about a coffee shop in town.  Excited, we packed for the day, and headed out the door.

We went to the door of the coffee shop only to find out that the air conditioning was not working and the shop was closed. We tried the door and it was locked. We went next door and asked about the shop. They said that the air had been fixed, but they didn’t think that any of the employees had been contacted or were coming in. We went back out on the street, found the Maundy’s bar and eatery.  We got a cup of coffee there.  It was OK…

We headed for Dorrance.  Dorrance is a small farming community about 14 miles East of Russell.  We got on I-70 and drove that short distance. We both agreed on how to get to the Dorrance cemetery. There was a listing for the plots, so it did not take us long to find the headstone for the grandparents on the father’s side.

Grandparents grave stone

We did get confused about another grave. Our Uncle Earl was listed on the directory but search as we would, we could not find anything.

Just up Taylor street from the cemetery, was the house that Aunt Mildred and Uncle Earl had in Dorrance.  Memories touched both of us.  It looked different, but things do change in a great deal of time.

Dorrance House

I saw the trees out front and the front porch brought back some Summer eve memories of cicadas and lightning bugs.

Clint went up to the front door to explain what we were doing.  The current owner said that he was going to come out and ask.  He said that the Mayor lived just down the street. 

We crossed the street to talk to a couple outside of another house. They were contractors working on a bathroom remodel.  They could not help but did verify the Mayor’s house. They also said that he was having a beer in the town’s single bar. We went to the Mayor’s house and knocked on the door.  No one answered.

We headed toward the high school. Or, at least, where the high school used to be.  The high school burned down a few years ago.  The field house and the auditorium/gymnasium is still there.  As is the sign. Grandfather White’s funeral service in 1963 (he was a Christmas death) was held in the gymnasium/auditorium and the entire town attended.

D HS Auditorium

While we were at the high school, a car pulled up. They didn’t say anything, just pulled over and parked watching us.  Small town people take care of each other. It is obvious.  I walked over and explained who we were and what we were doing. The people didn’t say anything, but nodded and took off.

D HS Sign

We got back in the car and drove a couple of blocks to the town bar. The Mayor was not there, although he was pointed out to us.  He was at the other ‘bar’ in town.  2 picnic tables, 3 coolers, and 3 people sitting in the shade.  We introduced ourselves and explained that we’d like some information about the cemetery. We talked for a bit, and then the Mayor went for some keys.

While he was gone, the other 2 people explained that they were there for the Summer, and sold beer out of one cooler, soft drinks out of another, and water out of the third. We declined a drink. The Mayor took us over to the city council building.

He showed us a map of the cemetery.  The map showed people actually buried in the cemetery. Our Uncle Earl was not on the map. The Mayor brought out an old registry book. It was a listing of people that owned lots in the cemetery. Uncle Earl Yarnell was listed on that as the owner of the lot next to the grandparents.  At least, that mystery was solved.

We headed toward the door thanking him for his help. When we got outside, we wondered if he knew where the old farm house might be. He said he did not. He looked down the street , then looked at us again. “I see Larry is at his shop,” he said, “He’ll know!”  He slapped the side of the nearest car and called out as loud as he could, “Larry!  Larry!”

A guy down the street glanced toward us. He waved, hopped in his pickup and came over.  The Mayor explained our situation.  Larry looked at us, then said that he thinks he knew where we wanted to go.  He gave us simple instructions and we parted ways.  We headed back out of town.

The Farm House (Or is it?)

We followed his instructions. We went out then under the interstate, and on to Homer Street. We followed that East to 200th Street. We turned and followed that a long block or 2 to a driveway.  There was an older farm house just a way off of the road.  We examined it and the surrounding area looking for things that we remembered. This is a list:

1. The farm house.

2. A barn.

3. An outdoor privy (vault toilet).

4. A windmill (ours was wooden).

5. A root cellar.

Keep in mind, that it has been 20 years since Clint has seen the place.  Longer than that for me.

The farmhouse that was not

We looked about, spent some time there, but it just didn’t look right, though. The house had a mansard roof, there wasn’t a root cellar, and a barn was on property and was complete. We took some pictures, trying to jog our memories.  Nothing was coming to either of us.  We decided to keep looking.

IMG_6531

We went back the way we came on 200th, then further East on Homer.  The next county road, we turned left and went as far as we could in the little car.  There was a windmill in the distance, so we got out to walk it.  Outside temperature was about 104 degrees by that time.  We walked a while, then checked it out. That wasn’t the right place either.

IMG_6537

So…  End of Day one in Dorrance.

We spent the night at the Russell Inn again.  We were also hoping the coffee shop would be open the next day.

After we visit Dorrance again, we were going to head for Colby, Kansas.  An Aunt and Uncle lived their last years in Colby and we wanted to see their graves.  We did some internet research and found out where they were buried.

Day Two – Dorrance (And other places)…

I run 5 days a week. To facilitate this weekend I ran 4 days in a row, so I’d only have to run one of the days we were out. Saturday morning was that morning.  I ran a total of 3.8 miles. I ran down Fossil street past Wichita Street, to 3rd street. I ran East of there (including a dog buzz by), until I reached a halfway point.  I headed West.  I passed Fossil but didn’t realize the mistake until I reached Main Street.  Well, it would be a longer run than I planned.  I did make it back to the hotel. It was hot before I even went out to run.  It was really hot when I finished.

I got back to the hotel.  I did some computer until Clint woke up. I showered and we went to breakfast.  We had a bit of coffee but didn’t want much as we were sure the coffee shop would be open today!

We packed up and packed the car.  We checked out and headed to the coffee shop!

Know what?  Still closed!  The owner must have taken advantage of some bad luck to get a weekend off!  Oh well!

Why visit Dorrance today? The original premise was to see the churches.  We were in the Bible Belt, and Dorrance always had at least 2 operating churches. Why, the Grandfather was a preacher and a deacon in the Methodist church.

Methodist Church

I remembered the Mercantile that was in the town’s largest building. We started there. Although, no longer a store, it is a historical site in the town and did contain some exhibits. As we took more main street pictures, we noticed that Larry was at his shop (he has an in-town shop for repairing farm equipment – his and others).  Clint decided to talk to him again about the farm house.  We explained what we found, and his thoughts were that we missed the farm house he was thinking that it was.  He offered to take us out there if we’d follow him in the car.  We jumped at the offer.

IMG_6578

We took the same route that we took the day before.  Where we turned to go to yesterday’s farm house, he kept going.  Both of us looked at this ruin and knew, in a round-about way, that we were once again ‘Home.’

There was no way to explain it, but the farmhouse that we knew was right in front of us.  Larry did an outstanding thing that we really appreciated.  Most of the Farm stead was gone or leveled.  The barn had foundation rocks, There was a ruin of a side building to the barn or perhaps a back part of the barn. There was the front yard fence and the backyard fence.  The limestone fence posts were still in place.  There was a flat spot where the windmill was. There was the cement floor and the seat post for the outdoor privy.  The root cellar was there. Most of all? There was the farm house!

This house was it. We were both sure. It had a gable roof. The root cellar was on the South side. We walked around the house lost in our own thoughts. The walls were built of quarried, large limestone bricks. The East side wall had fallen away from the frame of the house (part of it anyway). There was the bedroom addition.

It had been 50 years since the farm had been abandoned.  It was recognizable still. We recognized the parlor, the kitchen, the sitting room, and the 1st floor bedroom. We recognized the stairs to the second floor where the children would sleep in the heat when we visited. We could not see the bathroom (which was installed during the final years.

We could not go in. The floor was sure to be rotten wood. Plaster had fallen from all of the ceilings. We never stepped over the door thresholds to look inside. At every doorway and in every window, we experienced new memories. Clint talked of what he remembered and I spoke of my memories.

One of Clint’s memories was that my Grandmother would not have the older boys in her house with the dirty clothes from working in the fields.  They were required to strip to their underwear outside before they could come in. After a certain phase of their lives it was an uncomfortable thing to have to do.

My words are not eloquent enough to describe either the farm or the memories, so I’m going to show some pictures, instead.

Why we couldnt see the place

Charlie at the Kitchen door

Clint at the kitchen door

Clint in the back yard

Guess what this is

Gable end window

The collapsed wall

Semi collapsed window

Wall paper prints

View from the barn

Colby, Kansas

Time was up for this reminiscent period of reflection.  It was time to move on. We headed for Russell and a lunch at Meridy’s again.  After that, we filled up and returned West on I-70.

We knew that Aunt Mildred (Dad’s sister) and Uncle Earl were buried in the Beulah cemetery. We knew where it was and we found it easily.  There was a directory (with a book) and we were able to find their graves.

Aunt Mildred died in November 2010, so her grave was still fairly fresh. It is a good feeling to see their final resting place and to say a silent goodbye and thank them for spending some of their time in their life with us.

AM & UE

We did a car tour of Colby.  We found a hotel.  We also found a grocery store with dark roast bean coffee. We got some of it, some coffee filters, and knew that tomorrow mornings coffee would be the best of the weekend!

Breakfast the next morning was much better fare than we had been having.  They even had a pancake machine, eggs, breakfast meats, and juices.  It was a great breakfast.  They were people to talk to and we did.

All too soon, our time to visit Kansas and explore our past was coming to an end.  We packed, loaded the car, and drove back to Denver.  

Let’s End It With Some Fun!

I talk to turkeys!    <– Click this!

 

written by Charlie

I woke up late. I never wake up late.  Most especially, I never wake up late for a run competition.

The 2 of us were scheduled to run 13.1 miles at The Slacker Half-Marathon in Georgetown, Colorado that morning.  The 2 of us?  Sami is my 2 year old yellow Labrador Retriever!

Sami has been approved by her Vet, gone through the training, and is ready to run the race.  She is a social creature She just doesn’t know that it will be the longest run of her life so far. 

As I prepared both Sami’s harness and my running gear the night before, I just had to get a cup of coffee, load the car and go!

Tom, my good friend, offered to drive us up and he also volunteered to help at the finish line. We got parked, got Sami out and harnessed, then headed for the racers bib table.  We got no further then a few feet when Sami decided it was time for a rest stop. I carry doody bags in my belt, so it only slowed us down a little.

I got our bib number.  I was told to wait in a certain line for a bus (the one that transports dogs). I was also told that this year’s race was dedicated to the director’s dog that passed away just 2 weeks earlier.

Although I had used Body Glide on my nipples at the house, I planned on combating upper thigh chafe just before the race.  Tom volunteered to go get it. While he was gone, the bus arrived and Sami and I were on our way to the start line.

Tom had seen us get on and go, so he returned to the car and then headed toward the finish line.

CEW The Slacker Course

The start line for this race was the parking area for the Loveland ski area.  My Garmin watch said we were at 10, 753 feet.  We went and got the chip and I fastened on my left ankle.  It was slowly warming up, so I checked my racing jacket.  Sami and I found the actual start line and waited for the race to begin.  Sami interacted with other dogs and, as usual, a lot of us runners talked nervously.  This is a great race and is getting more popular every year.

The race started lated due to a late shuttle run. But all too soon, we started. This race was on.

Although, the race drops in altitude 2,200 feet over the 13.1 miles, the first half mile was an uphill run.  Sami and I started out slow to allow other runner’s without dogs to get ahead of us.

CEW The Slacker elevation graph

The first 2 water stations had water only.  I got 2 cups. One for me and one for Sami. We both drank them down and then got going again!  The third water station (and all of the others) had doggy pools. Generally, Sami has never loved water contact.  She found the pool and drank from it.  I could not get her to put her feet in the pool, though. That certainly changed as the race progressed.

We talked to quite a few people as we ran.  A lot of runners were not used to running with dogs on the course.  It made for some fun conversations.  A lot of runners were impressed with Sami and her running skills (and responses to my commands).

This is a beautiful race course.  Mostly and asphalt surface, we ran on trails, through parking lots, some streets and some recreation trails.  Every where you look there was something to see.  We ran by the Georgetown/Silver Plume loop railroad station and storage lot in Silver Plume, then as we approached the town of Georgetown, the train was at the bottom. We waved at the train as it was starting up the hill.  The riders all waved back and pointed.

Tom and I agreed that when we were one mile out, I’d call him.  While I was talking to Tom, Sami found some shade and lay down.  I felt guilty as I got her up to finish our run.  Reluctantly, she got up and we went on.  At the mile 12 water station, Sami stood in the pool, drank from it, and then lay down in it.  Volunteers manning the station felt her pain (Sami can be a drama queen) and poured water over the rest of her.  I was able to get her once more and we ran the final 1/2 mile uphill to the finish line!

It was a slow race, but a great race!  Sami is a half-miler!!!

CEW Sami The Slacker

 

 

written by Charlie

I have run The Slacker twice now.  It was my very first half-marathon. I also ran the 4 mile race a year later.

Running with Sami

Once thing that impressed me about this particular race is that you can run it with your dog. Everyone that registers does know that dogs are allowed. The race benefits an animal clinic. There will be dog water stations with small pools along the way. There will also be water sprinkler for both runners and animals along the route.

There are shuttles that transport runners from Georgetown to the Loveland Ski Area.  Dogs will only be allowed on one shuttle bus.

I am not worried about the race and that dogs and runners are comfortable with the half.  I am more worried about my dog, Sami!

First of all, her Vet has passed her for the run.  She is current with her medical.

She has learned to drink her water from a sports bottle.  That is important as I run with an Amphipod Belt system.  It is an adjustable system that you can add to or subtract from.  I carry the same amount of water for her that I carry for me.

Why do I like a belt? It keeps my hands free.  I like that.  Which brings me to “Dog needs to be under owner’s control.”

I’ve been working on this control system for a while now.  How to keep my hands free, while keeping Ms. Muttly under control?

I knew she had a harness. I bought it to keep her in a seat belt in the car.  I went out to the car for it, but, of course, it was not there.  So, I searched every where else.  Nope. I still didn’t find it!

So, it became necessary to find/buy another one. Talking with some friends online, I found out about “ The Sporn .” This harness was designed to control a dog that pulls on the leash.  I ordered one.  It came, it was fit to the dog, and Sami and I started to run together using it.

The Sporn does not go around the neck. It goes on the chest and under the dog’s front legs. There is padding where the legs meet the body.  It is worn as a loose system for easy control.

I added an additional Water bottle ‘connector’ to my running belt. I ran a 5 foot 1 inch wide leash through that connector essentially making that a leash holder. I connect that to the harness leash connector, and “Voila!” I have a hands free system.

Sami and I have been running in this for a few weeks now.  It works and it works effortlessly. It feels to me that she is not leashed. She has some freedom and so do I! She knows we are going for a run when I get it from where it is kept and I approach her with it.  So excited at first, but she handles it much better now being patient with me as we put it on her.  You can see it in the picture above.

A friend asked me, “What if she runs after something, such as a tree sheep (squirrel) or a harebit (rabbit)?”  Well, she has.  After all, Sami is a dog!  She has great interest in things of that nature.  With one start from her, I found myself re-sewing my Amphipod belt.  I used a stretch stitch and the belt is holding up now.  I have to be somewhat attentive, and watch for/feel for her interests in her environment. Then, the quick command, “Leave it!” and things go runningly!

 HM Schedule

 My treadmill is broken now.  One day, I got on it like most other days, and nothing happened.  Well, that’s not entirely true as it will incline.  But the main tread belt is not moving!

There are wildfires in Arizona and Southwest Colorado now.  Weather conditions are hot and the smoky haze from those fires is funneling in to the front range of Colorado.  I’m trying to get out as early as I can, to beat the heat (and hopefully not breathe in too much of the hazy conditions.

Less than three weeks to go!  Will Sami be ready?

written by Charlie

Yes. I finally ran my first half-marathon of 2011.  I have also ran the Cherry Creek Sneak 5 mile race.

 

The Cherry Creek Sneak

I ran the Cherry Creek Sneak as Elvis this year.

I even PR’d (Personal Record), not so much because it was fast, but because it was my first 5 mile race.

Cherry Creek Sneak Elvis

Elvis is a popular figure at races like this one where costumes are encouraged (and even judged).  This picture shows me in the costume contest.

I ran it with a friend that was amazed when a young lady caught up to us just to say hi.  What he didn’t know is that she and I ran together for about a mile during the race.

It was a fun race. I really hammed it up for the spectators and for my fellow runners.  I got a kick at one point when a man said to me, “I never though that I would be passed by Elvis!” I commiserated by telling him, “and it is the fat, middle-aged Elvis at that!”

I like running new races.  You always get to see  a city, town, or environment in a new way!!

That left me 2 weeks to the KP Colfax Half-Marathon.

 

The Barking Dog Duathlon

Get it?  The Barking Dog Du is what it is referred by those who love it and run it.

Tom is a friend of mine that ran his first duathlon this year. He ran and biked the long course. It consisted of a 5K run, 30K bike ride, 5K run.

Tom BDD

3 of us went to experience this with Tom. Jeff, Tom and I arrived @ around 6:00 AM, as Tom had a beginner session he had to attend @ 6:20 AM. Cherry Creek Lake Park was supposed to have the entry station staffed by rangers, but they did not. It was pandemonium as competitors pushed to fill out hand-written entry permits. Cars were parking everywhere and people were pushing to get that entry stuff done.

We did get parked and Tom took his bike and transition stuff down to the registration table. Jeff and I casually strolled down to the lake and then met Tom near his place in the transition area. Tom headed for the start line in his wave. Soon after that, he was off on his new competition adventure.

While Tom was busy with that competition, I had my last long run for my half-marathon. He was busy, I might as well be busy, too. After Tom crossed the start line, Jeff and I headed up to the parking lot to get ready for a run.  We changed and I started a run.

I ran toward the road, but the competition was using the near trails and the road. So, I ran the parking lot. I ran 8 miles of figure 8’s. Jeff ran with me for 5 of those.  I started to feel a left upper leg quad muscle.  It got sore enough (and the figure 8’s were pretty boring) so that I stopped at 8 miles.

Tom did great! He finally crossed the finish line, and just before he collapsed (in a controlled manner), he stated that he had learned a lot, but also had a lot to learn for the next one.

Congratulations, Tom, on notching up the bar! 

 

The Kaiser Permanente Colfax Half-Marathon.

I must like running competitions.  

KP COLFAX MEDAL Mod

Tom and I ran the Kaiser Permanente Colfax Half-Marathon on Sunday, May 15th. Start time was 6:00 AM. Remember that I work the swing shift and didn’t really believe that a 4:00 AM was real or possible. Well, it is…

I was out the door at 4:30.  It was cold and, although not raining, there was a heavy mist in the air. Tom and I drove down to city park to find that the streets were already being closed. We found a way in and parked in the Denver Zoo parking lot.

We waited in the warm, comfortable car until 5:20.  We headed over to the start line. On the way over, we examined the weather and our dress. I knew that I’d be good with an under layer, a shirt and my running jacket (All made of wicking fabric – Get that water off and away). I wore my running shorts. Might end up somewhat cold, but I generally don’t get leg cold. Tom thought about it and changed into his tights.

I spent all day Saturday drinking water so I though I was good with most of a cup of coffee. Tom decided he would check our gear and get in line for a porta-potty. I went to my corral (starting area assigned by projected time completion).

I stood next to a young lady. She was nervous as it was her first Half.  We talked about it and many of the people around were running their first.  It was my tenth!  It didn’t take long for time to pass and the speakers started to announce preparations for the start.

I got a lot of questions that I was glad that I could answer. What is a start like? When will my time start? When do I start my watch? How do they let our corral start?

After the national anthem, the race slowly started, corral by corral, we were 4 or 5 back (With Tom being in a corral 2 ahead of us).  After the start, I pointed across the lake so that everyone could see the closely packed runners starting their event.  Then, it was our turn and we were off.

We ran through a lot of City Park, then out and onto East Colfax. On the way, we got wind, more mist and I even saw a few snow flakes.  At mile four, I had to stop at the porta-potties.  There was a line that cost me 8 minutes or so of my run. As soon as I could, I was off down the street again.

Two hills were on the way toward Havana Street, both gradual and the worst was at mile 4. At the same time it warmed us up internally, the wind cooled us back down. It was a relief to turn off Colfax and head north. The path took us into an impoverished neighborhood. It was sad to see. Then again, it climbed. Only for a block or two, but I could feel it, A couple of turns later and we were welcomed by the Aurora Fire House #1 as we ran through it; on our exit there was a huge USA flag draped from a ladder truck. Inspiring.

They took us back to City Park via 17th street.  This is a tree covered street all the way. The closer we got to City Park, the more opulent the houses became. About 3 miles out, I was running (about this time I was thinking, “One foot in front of the other..” when I came across one of the ladies that I started the race with. I found out that she was Susan and she learned my name. We ran all the way to the finish line together talking mostly about running and the consequences.

The last couple of years, the moment you enter the City Park again, you know that the finish line was only a figurative hop, skip and a jump! Not this year. We had about a mile and a half to go still.  That made it just a little bit tougher.  I was glad that Susan and I were running together.  We discussed pacing, watches and running in general. She mentioned that it is not a cheap sport.  I had to agree.

We could smell the Zoo again (don’t ask…). We knew that the finish line was not far now. Neither of us picked up speed until we saw it.  I told her that she is now, “Sue-soon!” I reminded Susan to show her biggest smile and to throw her hands in the air! I finished 1 second ahead of Susan.

I started down the goody line. I got water. I stepped up to a young lady and she placed my medal over my head. I asked if I could give her a hug and she let me. I have received a hug with every medal so far.  How cool is that?

I got another water, a sport bag, some bagel and a banana half.  About that time, Susan grabbed my arm and took me over to the side. “Is it normal to fell like you’re going to hurl?” she asked.  I assured her that was a pretty normal feeling after giving it your all and crossing that finish line.  I told her to hold it back and think of calming down.  We found her friend that she started with and I left her with. About that time Tom tapped my shoulder.  Tom finished in 2:09 or so. I finished 30 minutes after him. We didn’t spend much time there as Tom had a muscle pull and I developed a chafing sore.  It was also cold!  It never did get above 40 while we were running or there.  We decided to ditch the after-the-race BBQ and headed for home.  Another 13.1 mile race was in the bag.

That was my 3rd running of the Colfax half-marathon and my 10th half-marathon overall!


By the way, Tom is suggesting that one should not necessarily run a half-marathon the week after competing in a duathlon!

written by Charlie

Do you run with a dog?  I do.  Her name is Sami (Stupid/Smart am I – Depending on her circumstances). She is a 2+ year old yellow labrador.  Sami weighs in at 85 to 90 pounds.

The vet has approved the plan.  Sami is old enough and very willing to run.  She has run as far as 12 miles with me in the last year. She can do it and enjoys the runs seemingly more than I do! The only thing she does that tends to tick me off is at the end of a run.  The closer we get to the end, the more she turns around and stares at me, silently urging me to “Catch up to the pack!”

Last weekend we ran 7 miles, the week before 7 miles, 2 weeks ago 8 miles. I often run with Sami off leash. I do a belly wrap with the leash so she wears it, but it doesn’t drag on the ground, it is loose enough not to chafe her, and I have a ‘handle’ to hold her with should the need arrive.

Sami is trained to run off-leash!  She has some specific running commands that she is very good with.  Among them are, “Leave it,” C’mere” (Heel),  “wait” (handy at busy intersections), “Go” (release), and, of course, “Good girl!”

I wear an Amphipod belt with water bottles on it.  Each of us have the same number of water bottles (either 1 or 2 based on the length of the run).  She has learned to drink from a sports bottle and anticipates it when the time is right!

Lazy Sami

The Half-Marathon!

We will be running “ The Slacker ” as our half-marathon.  It is a dog-friendly high-altitude 13.1 miles that drops 2,200 feet with a really fun 1/2 mile uphill at the end.  Should be a fun thing to do!

It will be held on June 25th this year. That gives both Sami and I time to train and become acclimated to the altitude.

If you are familiar with Colorado, the race starts just below the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels where I-70 crosses the continental divide, and uses trail, roads and recreation paths as it makes the way to the finish at Georgetown, Colorado.

We do not have a training plan yet.  Both of us run between 20 to 25 miles per week.  The long runs have been 6 to 8 miles.  Another month or so and we’ll be able to step into the middle of a training plan.

Catch Up -

In January, I ran 22 times for a total distance of 104.23 miles.

In February, I ran 21 runs for a total of 104.23 miles.

So far this year, I have run 205.95 miles.

What?  Yes! Sami has run a similar amount!

 

written by Charlie

It ended up that I had 2 days of vacation left.  I can’t carry them over or get paid for them, so I was able to get them off.

So Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were off.  What to do?

I am lucky to live in the Denver area.  It puts me close to some great places to see and experience.  On the cheap, I went to Green River, Utah with a friend and a dog.  The first and last day of was travel. The middle day?  2 slot canyons near Goblin Valley State Park.

On that first day, we stopped to see Thompson Canyon and the rock art panels located there.  Some pretty amazing rock art to see. The panels are easy to get to and something to see!

Rock Art Panel

Rock Art Panel.

Ute rock art panel

The large Rock Art panel.

It was a cold day that started out with snow about.  We got out and started the drive out there.  I was driving and missed the destination road the first time out.  Not a bad thing to have happen.  If you have ever been to the San Rafael Swell, then you know that there are very beautiful, albeit desolate, vistas to behold.

We did find a camping couple (some people are far hardier than am I).  They clued us in to where the actual road was.  We wished them a wonderful Christmas.  We back-tracked and found the road.

One word…  Amazing!

 With the dog as the canyon walls get narrow...

Tom coming out of a close space

This is Sami and the man!

Out of one canyon then into the other!

Narrow walls

 

Narrow walls and a dog

Slot canyons trail (Google Earth)

It was a first time exploring the desert for Sami the yellow labrador (Stupid AM I).  Little Wild Horse canyon was not a problem, but Bell canyon had some 8 to 10 feet steps or waterfalls (most of the time dry).  So, between the 2 of us, we had to figure out how to move a flailing, non-understanding lump of dog flesh down them.  Some of the drops were 2 to 3 step transfers.

She made it, though – So did we!

written by Charlie

I am of for a quick vacation over the weekend.  I’m heading out with my firend, Tom, and the dog, Sami> to explore the Little Whild Horse slot canyon near to Green River, Utah!  Just four days – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

In the Holiday Spirit yet?  Then this might not help you out…

See you soon!

written by Charlie

I am now up to 1,313.70 miles for the year!

I have recently been honored.  Twice.  The first is from Randy & Andy @ the 2 Guys 1 Brain podcast.  In show 460, they mentioned me in a positive way.  I am humbled and honored.

I was also honored by a fellow runner.  He is John C out of Alabama!  He sent me a personal message thanking me for some running inspiration.  He started running last April, is up to 5 miles, and has a half-marathon scheduled in April of 2011.  I am sure that I was a very minor part of his inspiration, but he thanked me for my contributions to the 2 Guys 1 Brain podcast.  Thanks, John.  Again I was humbled and honored.  I really think that people like John are true inspirations to other runners.

Did someone say, “How about another PUNishment?”

The PUNishment started, more or less, as a joke.  I would send some very bad puns via voicemail to the good people at the Bear Crawling podcast after I was asked to do an impression of Yogi Bear © ® ™ on 2 Guys 1 Brain. I started to call Bearcrawling regularly after that.  The rest is history.  You can actively participate in the Bear Crawling podcast on Thursday evenings @ 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.

 

 

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