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Television – A Homemade Entertainment Solution

Posted Jun 19 2012 10:05pm
Main image
written by Charlie

Usually, after a race like the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day morning, I would write a race report. I will write a race report soon, but for now?

Entertainment, The Homemade Way!

Over 2 years ago, I stopped making major purchases in home entertainment. I dropped DirectTV and their programming packages. I did not subscribe to a cable service, or to another satellite serve.  I did not go cold turkey, either.

What I did do was to build a HTPC Home Theater Personal Computer. Originally, I would use it with some USB stick TV OTA (Over The Air) tuners. In the Denver area, we receive several television networks.

These antennas generally come with software that will allow you to ‘bring’ in the television signal and put the picture on your home television. The software works and will also provide a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) so that you can record shows so you can watch them when you want to. Isn’t that the heart of the matter, though? I really want to watch shows when I want to.

Do I use that software? No.  I bought commercial software. I had one from a previous project, SageTV. This software is really good but it is hard to fine-tune. I went looking for other. I found SnapStream’s Beyond TV http://www.snapstream.com/products/beyondtv/ . I found it to be easy to setup and use. It can take as many antenna tuners as you can provide.

The HTPC can also browse. I can go to TV websites, such as network sites, or pay services such as Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. I can also go to any website for vacation planning or exercise logging. It is a multi-purpose solution.

There are other options that I use now. I have an xBox game system that I bought for games. I do use it for games now, but mostly I use it for television viewing.

It would not be fair to say that I do not spend anything for TV. The HTPC and the xBox are paid for. But I do use 2 paid services. Both are VOD (Video on Demand). One is Netflix. The other is Amazon.

Netflix costs $7.99 per month for the streaming service. It is the primary service that I use.

I am also an Amazon Prime member. I order a lot through Amazon and the Prime membership gives members 2 day free shipping. There is a Kindle Lending Library, and the other service provided is Amazon Prime Instant Videos. The cost of the Prime membership is $79.00 per year. It is paid once per year. It is a cost of $6.60 per month.

So my monthly payment for television entertainment is $14.60 per month.

I watch both Netflix and Amazon Prime on my xBox now. Netflix has a baser quality. Amazon has a very nice HD picture. Well worth it for my entertainment dollar.

I did try other services such as Hulu, Crackle or Hulu Plus. I didn’t like them. Hulu alone can kill their own service with all of the commercials they put out during a show.

There is a downside. When I travel and stay somewhere, I really do not like the cable or satellite television services. Without a DVR or website access, you actually have to watch what is on at the time I am watching. What kind of entertainment is that?

Ok…  What is the purpose of all this?

The Television Networks are trying to outlaw DVR software. Not just from software developers, but from the big 3 in cable and satellite.

“Television networks are having a busy month trying to stamp out new TV-watching technology, including telling a court that skipping a commercial while watching a recorded show is illegal. Yesterday, Fox , NBC, and CBS all sued Dish Network over its digital video recorder with automatic commercial-skipping. The same networks, plus ABC, Univision, and PBS, are gearing up for a May 30 hearing in their cases against Aereo , a New York startup bringing local broadcast TV to the Internet.  EFF and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief supporting Aereo this week.”
–  As reported by https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/05/tv-networks-say-youre-breaking-law-when-you-skip-commercials .

We are stuck in the middle of this debate. Some excellent presentations are possible through the sponsors and through commercials as sold by local channels. Does that mean that If I choose to get a drink while a commercial plays, that I am breaking the law?

It is something that will effect all of us in the near future. I just wanted to provide some food for thought!

(Also thanks to Taylor Kent for cluing me into this situation!)

 

 

written by Charlie

Another duathlon? So, what is wrong with me?  I guess I did it once, liked it, and then did it again!

At least, I am consistent! I was last in my age group at the Priarie Punisher (notice the spelling) in Lamar, Colorado.  It was a great event and I had a lot of fun!

Priarie Punisher

There may have been a misprint on the shirt from my first event.

The Barking Dog Duathlon

A duathlon is a multi-sport event. I ran the short course in this event. That consisted of a 2K run, a 15K bike, and then another 5K run. In between these separate events, there is a transition. The transition is in a controlled area. You prepare for the next event there. For instance, getting your helmet on, changing to the bike shoes, getting gloves on, etc.

The duathlon grew out of triathlons. The tri is a multi-sport event in which you swim, bike, run.

I do not want to swim. I have no interest. That probably hails back to when I was a youngster, got water in my ear canal, and experienced my first cast of “Swimmer’s Ear.” That is an extremely painful malady in which the ear canal becomes infected due to water staying there.  There is swelling and pain. Did I mention Pain? Lots of pain.  Suffice it to say that I don’t want to swim! So, the duathlon seemed the way to go.

The weather, the weather…

You can register for an event of your choosing, but you cannot choose the weather during the event. The night before the event it rained. It was dark, cloudy and wet. If I sign up, I want to show up! Evening preparations included all of the usual gear plus cold weather gear plus rain gear.

I got up. It was early. It was way too early for an evening shift worker like me. First thing I did was go to the front door and look out.  The sidewalks were dry!  Great sign!

Made a quick cup of coffee, had some oatmeal and some juice, then loaded the bikes on the car. I grabbed my gear and headed for the car.

Getting there was a challenge. As the event is held in Cherry Creek State Park, I-225 runs right up to it. As we headed down I-25, we found out that I-225 was closed due to a pretty bad accident that happened over night. We had to take an alternate route, but arrived in plenty of time to get the bibs & the chip. The bibs? Yes, three of them. One for the bike, one for the bike helmet, and one for the shirt.

We got our packets. We? I have a friend. His name is Tom. He has a fascination with things athletic. I think that he thinks that I am an athlete, too. It was his idea. I blame him.

We took our bags, our bikes, our helmets and our packets to the transition area. We stored our gear in a bike rack next to each other. We set up our bibs and generally got ready for the challenge.

BDD CEW Transition 05122012

Notice the headband? “Combat your inner Couch Potato.”

I forgot that I chose that particular one to wear. I kept seeing people look at me intensely, then get a grin on their face. I finally figured out why. I got this and one other when I attended the expo at the Seattle Rock and Roll full marathon in 2010. I still wear them both. The other one? It says, “Shut up and run!”

BDD Tom Charlie

Feeling the cool weather prior to the start.

The event started late due to the same car accident that slowed us down coming to the event. Everything was delayed 15 minutes. I was in the “C” wave. We started at around 7:30 AM. It was a 1.2 mile run. It got the bones warmed up. I did the first run slow. When it is a multi-sport event, it is best to conserve your energy so that all of the events can be accomplished.

BDD Run 05122012

What a get up! Notice the Tri shorts…

On the way in to the transition area, a pit stop was necessary. There is a saying in athletic events, that if you see an empty Porta Potty without a line, use it!  I did. It was quick and I went to the transition area. I strapped on the helmet and buckled it.

I put on a glove so both were covered for the ride. Then I attempted to change shoes. The bike shoes refused to cooperate in any way. When I finally got them on, my Transition one time was 2 minutes and 41 seconds.

I mounted the bike at the right place and started my ride. The first thing that I noticed was that the bike computer was not reading. The sensor was off somewhat on the back tire. I should have checked that before the ride. I had been using the computer in practice as it gives me speed, distance, and cadence. I tried the ride as I thought it felt in practice. I did OK, passing some, and getting passed by a lot of others. It seemed as though the ride was facing into the wind all the way (and it was a loop trail).

BDD 05122012 Bike

 Riding the Tower Loop on the Motobecane bike!

It took much longer than I expected it to. I turned in toward the transition for transition 2. I got changed. Again, it took a long time. Transition 2 took 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

I was on the 5K run now (3.1 miles). It seemed that my legs were made of lead. I tried to pick up the pace and did alright. My second run was faster than my first. I got passed the whole way, but it was ok. The trail followed the reservoir water closely and was a joy to watch people and places along the run.

I crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 37 seconds.

The final stats?


Total participants in the short course: 113

My place?  75

Bib number: 475

Division: Clydesdale (Runners over 200 pounds)

Division place? 5 (there were 5 total now…)

Run 1 rank? 100, Run 1 time: 13:00, Run 1 pace? 10:50

Transition 1: 2:41

Bike rank: 50. Bike time: 38:44, Bike MPH: 14.4

Transition 2:10

Run 2 rank: 81, Run 2 time: 33:04, Run 2 pace: 10:40 (negative splits –  Yay!)

Total event time: 1:29:37

I came in last in my division. Thats OK, though, as if I had run in my age division, I would have come in last again. Like I said, I am consistent!  Remember, though, that I did beat all of those “Couch Potatoes” out there that choose not to exercise!

It was a fun event. I enjoyed it a lot. I learned a lot. Will I do it again? Most probably!

 

written by Charlie

A duathlon is a multisport event. They consist of a run, a bike ride, and a run.  I did the short course, so it was a 1.38 mile run, a 7.25 bike ride, and a 1.38 mile run. I did the event and completed it. I am a duathlete!

I want everyone to know right now that I rate this event as 5 stars out of 5 stars. It was great!

Was it fun? You bet! But for me? It was fun in so many ways more than just participating in an event.

The Prairie Punisher Duathlon was held in Lamar, Colorado on the morning of April 14, 2012. Now, if you did not know it, my birthday is April 14th.. Yes, that’s right –  The date that Abraham Lincoln was shot and the date that the Titanic struck an iceberg. A friend of mine bought my entry into the race as a birthday present.

We arrived in Lamar in the afternoon of Friday, April 13. Lamar is the county seat of Prowers county in Southeast Colorado.  Colorado ranching and melon growing country –  At least that was my perception.

We checked into the hotel, then went to get some supplies (water, coffee filters). While at the hotel, I asked the desk clerk if she had ever heard of the Prairie Punisher Duathlon. She hadn’t. I asked the grocery clerk if she had ever heard of the Prairie Punisher Duathlon. She hadn’t. Based on that information, we decided to go to the park it was being held at (thanks for the wonderful GPS systems we have available to us now). There was not a clue of anything happening the next morning. I began to have some trepidation regarding the event.

We discussed healthy options for Dinner.  There were many places that we could eat.  We decided on Pizza Hut. Pizza hut restaurants in smaller towns are a throwback to a great family restaurant. Every Pizza Hut in the Denver area seems to be ‘take out’ oriented. We’ve lost something. Both of us had salad bar and shared a medium pizza. It was great. So good, that I probably over ate.

We made it back to the hotel and settled down to all of the events that one engages in on the night before an event.  After that, a little TV viewing, then sleep.

5:30 AM comes earlier to a man that works the swing shift. I set the alarm to be loud and it was! I got up immediately, started the coffee and got dressed. As does happen with these events, the heart started to step it up a bit.  The hotel had a continental breakfast, so I went there to get something to provide the energy needed.  I was disappointed that this breakfast did not have oatmeal (the true breakfast of champions in my opinion). I had some Kashi cereal, some apple juice and a bagel with cream cheese instead.

When we could not find much information the night before, we went back to the website again. It said that the event would start at 8:00 AM. To be prepared, we got ready and got to the swimming pool parking lot by 7:30 AM.

I travel with my dog. She shares the car, the hotel, and sometimes events.

Sami Brown Chair

We planned on taking here and putting her in the back of the car as we competed. She is a good dog, good with people and patient with children. We let her out of the car with the leash on her, but soon it came off.  She was even watched as we ran.

As soon as the table was set up for registration, I was greeted by an older lady that really wanted to meet the guy that does this on his birthday. That is a fun start!

After I registered and got my number 70, I watched as others set up. Some duathlons are a lot like professional triathlon events. I was prepared with a towel to lay stuff on. I observed that most people just put their helmets on their bike shoes on the ground. Their bikes were hung on the bike rack.

For the first part of the event, I made sure my running belt was on with the number attached, with the cell phone and the car keys along with a pack of Peanut Butter GU in the pouch. I set up tracking software on my cell phone (There’s an app for that!) I was ready to go.

A crowd gathered of both participants and supporters. we were called together and were informed of the path for the runs and for the biking parts. By 8:05, everyone was registered. They called us over to the start line. The countdown started and we were off!

It was a small crowd. all were ready and looking forward to it. We laughed and joked, but you could feel the anticipation as an under current. The starter yelled, “Go!” and we were off!

We ran the perimeter of Willow Creek park for both run parts. Starting at the swimming pool parking lot, we ran South to start. With every run, people eventually their place in the pack. We did that, too.

Willow Creek Park

I made good time on the first run. I entered the transition area, and found other bikes still there. I felt optimistic.  I put my helmet on and was able to change shoes quickly. I grabbed the bike and walked it out to the street. I got on and headed North, starting the ride portion of this. The course was around the park again but clockwise this time. At the southern end, we headed south on Memorial. We rode that until the road turned to dit. We took a short jog to the west where we headed North on Main street. During the ride, I was able to pass 3 other riders.

At the ‘Taco John’ restaurant, we turned east on Memorial again. Soon, Willow Creek park was in sight. I headed up the West side of the park and got off the bike at the street next to the transition area. I walked it in, took off the helmet, changed shoes, and took off for the final run. I was starting to drag and felt it. But to my surprise, I was able to make good time. When I crossed the finish line, I completed it in 1 hour and 20 seconds.  That is just about where I trained to finish. I was very happy with the results.

My benefactor for this bit of fun was Tom. I found out that Tom finished the short course in 53 minutes.  He was at the finish line ringing a cow bell and encouraging other runners as they finished.

Both Tom and I were tired. We discussed leaving prior to the Long course finishing. I went to the judges table to say goodbye. I was informed that I just had to wait for the awards ceremony. They were not going to let us go early.  I like that kind of attitude.

It was good that we waited. It ended up that Tom took the short course men’s adult first place!  He was overjoyed.

Tom 1st

At the end of the ceremony, everyone sang happy birthday to me.  It was a great time and I would compete in this kind of a small town event again!

 

 

written by Charlie

Well, a Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called ‘Yam.’

Of course, they wanted the best for Yam. When it was time, they told her about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn’t get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like ‘Hot Potato,’ and end up with a bunch of tater tots.

Yam said not to worry, no spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her! But on the other hand she wouldn’t stay home and become a couch potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her shoestring cousins.

When she went off to Europe, Mr. And Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland.

And the greasy guys from France called the French Fries. And when she went out west, to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn’t get scalloped..

Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn’t associate with those high class yukon golds, or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say, ‘Frito Lay.’

Mr. And Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P. U. (that’s Potato University) so that when she graduated she’d really be in the chips. But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

Tom Brokaw!

Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn’t possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he’s just…….

A COMMONTATER!

written by admin

Still around, that is.

Maybe even posting soon…

Until then, I mught be ‘horsing’ around!
Navajo Horse

written by Charlie

I like this concept!

Theme Cookies…

StoryThat cookie looked good. I came in from a run hungry. It was just
sitting there. I knew it wasn’t mine, but I wanted it.

I pulled some stuff off of the table and let it fall to the floor.
Now, the dog should get blamed. I went over to her and scratched her
under her ears. I smiled at her.

I went back to the cookie. Still looked good, very tempting and the
stage was set. I reached for it when I heard the front door open.

“A dog almost got your cookie,” I yelled.

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 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!

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