Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Fright Night...


Tis the season to drop a spooky post.  I just went into a Halloween Spirit store (one of those enormous seasonal popup costume stores that exclusively hires emo goth kids that celebrate Halloween on Christmas) this past weekend and I did not see one single costume that spoke to my soul.  We got little Millie (my step dogg-ter) a kilt for a Scottish Festival in Estes Park which we later found did not allow dogs.  So I'm not sure if we all go as Braveheart characters?  I don't know.  The verdict is still out.  Drop me a comment on what you think my costume should be this year!

So, last month, my boyfriend worked hard to plan a spectacular end of summer getaway in the teardrop camper.  We had been scouting dispersed camping Leadville and really wanted to eat at this place that boasts Colorado's BEST CUBAN SANDWICH!  My boyfriend is really great at finding host apps and BLM (Bureau of Land Management...my mom seriously thought we were camping on Black Lives Matter property...giggles) camping spots...but mostly dispersed camping with incredible views.  I joke that he should really be the one with the blog or the YouTube channel.  

Well, our trip kinda last minute fell through when a neighbor, who is from Leadville, explained that the town was hosting a huge road biking event and that traffic and camping and EVERYTHING would be insanely crazy...which seems to be the norm everywhere in Colorado on the weekends these days.  Bottom line, we don't do crowds.  Everyone is now trying to get their hobby and outdoor fixes in before snowfall.  Especially if you're not a retard and spend thousands of dollars skiing each year.  To put it in prospective, I don't ski and I live in Colorado and explore a lot more than sitting in hours of traffic and ski lift lines.

A last minute change of plans was a total surprise for me.  My boyfriend found a camp site on a host app for campers/RV's/teardrops that we had previously used and had a FANTASTIC stay on an alpaca farm.  I promise to drop this blog soon.  Specifically regarding the alpaca named Tina (yes, from Napoleon Dynomite) that kept making out with my boyfriend and spitting at me.

We packed up and hit the road and 1 hour later rolled into a wildlife refuge (not to be confused with a wildlife refugee, which I kept calling it).  To tell you that the site was nothing like what we had envisioned is the understatement of the century, but in a good way.  I took plenty of photos to document this rare one night camping adventure.

We arrived at the campsite around noon and found our camping pad (usually in a campsite, the different areas have numbers and there is a flat area to be able to back the camper and level it.)  Scoping out the site, we were right across from an amazing mountain view completely obstructed with two large yellow abandoned shipping container homes.  Since we appeared, at the time, to be the only campers in the entire wildlife refuge, I joked to my boyfriend that the scene reminded me of a Rob Zombie film (House of 1,000 Corpses) and that a killer clown could jump out at any moment.  

We later learned from the owner that the shipping containers were actually historic turn of the century railroad cars documented with the Golden Colorado Railroad Museum.  They both have the historic numbers  and the cars were used by the repair crew for endgame and line repairs and housed the bunk beds and the kitchen.  One day the nonprofit hopes to restore both train cars and the super creepy garage barn by the marsh to create a visitors center and meeting hall to host environmental speakers and host future year long fundraisers. 

I love this shot of my favorite little ginger in front of the creepy shipping containers.

To our left we had an incredible view of a wildlife marsh.  The entire land area is private property with the purpose of a sanctuary for all of Colorado's native wildlife.  There is zero state or county signage to find this property, so you have to go by directions on the app (which you'll want to screen shot since there is zero cell reception around).  All around the marshy pond are private trails with an old mining outhouse, some abandoned cabins, and an abandoned motor home that looks like the one from American Horror Story: Freak Show, the one with the Clown in the abandoned motor home!

Interestingly enough this wildlife refuge, owned by a small non-profit, is not a state or national park, but rather a quaint area on a mining parcel (roughly 13.2 acres created in Colorado's mining district).  And we were the ONLY ones there.  Spooky, no?  Noone would hear us scream.  Think about this in the pitch dark and keep reading.  The refuge is rustic and completely underdeveloped and there are deserted buildings and junk, as well as mining equipment and supplies strewn about the property.  However, the area still gives off vibes of a true Colorado mountain experience and is tranquil and healing.  Oh, did I mention the vintage excavator/bulldozer?  This guy dug the Panama Canal and was featured in a box office hit film, which I can't remember the name of to save my life.  And, to think you thought the only bulldozer in Colorado was in Granby, CO - "Killdozer" - BY THE WAY, I wrote a blog on this guy that you'll want to read.  The moral of the story is to make sure you're checking up on your muffler shop friends who live in small Colorado mafia ran towns.  They deserved it.  There is also a great Netflix documentary on this guy.

Okay quick current events trivia:  Did you know that currently the Panama Canal is only allowing up to 38 ships a day to pass?  This went from hundreds a day!!  Not only this, but the ships now have to cut back on their allotted cargo by 60%!  If the water level in the canal drops by another 3 feet, the Panama Canal will officially close!  Which means Americans will need to stock up on anything we have shipped from overseas.  

Another Trivia:  What is the cost to traverse the Panama Canal and how long is it? (Answer at the end of the post)

Me playing with grownup toys...

After we explored the refuge a bit, we began unpacking, setting up the canopy over our kitchen area.  After unpacking the last bit of equipment, the skies suddenly opened up and it started pouring rain.  For high desert, we have a suspicious amount of rain.  And, I see chemtrails and cloud seeding daily.  

So, since camping  in the rain sucks, we unhitched the Jeep and went for a drive.  As we were driving toward downtown Black Hawk, we spotted this biker bar and decided to pop in until the rain subsided.  The place was called "Last Shot" and it has the Guinness Book of  World Record claim for the most shot glasses under one roof!  They were everywhere!  

When I first walked in I went right to the payphone and turned around and loudly shouted, "CAN EVERYONE PLEASE HOLD IT DOWN?  SHHHHHHHHHHHH!  I'M TRYING TO USE THE PHONE!"  Just kidding, I didn't, but RIP Pee Wee...and, lucky for me, this wasn't the private club for Satan's Helpers.


The bar was SO cool.  It had different rooms with great views.  The owner took a liking to my boyfriend and comped our food and drinks.  The place was full of unique art, paintings, all for sale, except the shot glasses.  The service is top notch and they loved Millie and gave her some complimentary bacon.   Millie would make the best biker bar dog.  She loves her a good biker.  Bikers are good people.  She enjoyed walking table to table greeting all the patrons.

He kept telling me I was awful pretty

After the rain stopped, we decided to head back to camp.  One thing we did not know is that moose are the most common visitors at this wildlife refuge!  Also, sitings of black bears, coyotes, fox, bobcats, small herd deer, and elk have been verified by previous campers and the owner.  We were told that we would most likely hear active beavers around the pond/marsh.  Thus, we expected these little guys to be splashing around at night.  

  As I was setting up for dinner, an old pickup truck randomly came through and then we heard gun shots and then it left.  We are still not sure what happened and never found any remnants of a true crime.  However, if a missing person comes up on Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours, Forensic Files or Unsolved Mysteries in Black Hawk, hit me up, and I'll guide you to this place.

One of my favorite parts of camping is dinner.  I love cooking on this propane camping grill.  For dinner, I made my world famous salmon patties.  They're a Southern take on New England crab cakes.  I paired these patties with sweet potatoes.  My boyfriend said I nailed it.  But, I could have burned them, and he still would have told me it was the best thing he's ever eaten.

Before we knew it, the sky turned pitch black and then a sky full of stars popped out in 3D.  This is what I love about Colorado!  Also, I was amazed my iPhone captured these shots:

My boyfriend has balls of titanium because he set the john up next to the marsh and this is a photo of his lantern while he's seeing a man about a horse.

Dropping a song here in honor of the sky that night:

Scene: Pitch-dark campsite, sitting around our campfire, and Millie starts going NUTS!
We suddenly heard immense splashing in the marsh, and my boyfriend and I looked at each other, because we KNEW that ain't beavers.  It sounded like a bear!  I had to put Milie in the teardrop and she was not happy.  Her breed is "ride or die" and she would give her life trying to protect us.  My boyfriend and I suddenly saw wide set green eyes in the marsh!  And, then TWO sets of them.  We are standing there frozen.  I whispered a suggestion that we get in the camper, but my boyfriend was overcome with curiousity.  The eyes started moving and two enormous creatures emerged from the marsh!  It was two gigantic black moose!  We had a short Mexican stand-off where they stared intently at us and we at them.  And, then they got bored and mosied off into the woods.  By the way, these guys weight over 800 pounds a piece, charge people in an aggressive manner, and run quicly at an alarming rate.  So I consider us lucky they got bored with us.  A bull moose can weigh up to 1500 POUNDS!

Now about the Perseid Meteor Shower!  That night, a meteor shower was on the books.  It was slated to begin at 3 a.m. and, all I remember from the event was my boyfriend trying to wake me up to witness it.  He was unsuccessful, because it's hard to get me up once I'm cozy and warm.  But, from his recount of events, it was absolutely spectacular.

Waking up the next morning not murdered was a great feeling.  I'm joking.  We pack heat because we are not stupid.  And, I'm trained to hit twice center mass and one between the eyes while laying on my back.  It's all about the yoga breath.  
Millie thinks my toothbrush is a treat...

There is nothing more liberating on this entire planet than waking up and brushing your teeth in the brisk mountain air in your sports bra.

The next day we dropped into downtown Black Hawk and walked around checking out the shops and casinos.

Take me hooooome, country roooaaaads, to the place I beloooonnggg....

Millie my flower power wolf...

Answer to the trivia question:  The Panama Canal is roughly 50 miles and it costs $1600 for a small yacht to traverse it!  And, up to $188,000 for a transit/cargo ship!

Thanks for stopping in!  Don't forget to drop me a comment with your costume suggestion!  And, may your Fall be spooky and full of fright nights.  Wink...



Sunday, August 27, 2023

Hey, You Guys!

Hello!  And, Happy August (what's left of it)!

My boyfriend and I got to spend some time together in a romantic get-a-away back in July and beat the Colorado heat.  We stayed at an Air B&B in Sunnyside, Portland Oregon.  We packed in SO much in the 5 days we were in Oregon that it seemed like 2 weeks.  One of the most memorable parts of the trip was our day trip to the coast to spend the day in Astoria Oregon.  I've waited my whole life to visit the Oregon coast, so bucket list checked!

Astoria, Oregon was the setting for where a lot of my favorite childhood movies were filmed!  Such as, Goonies (hence the title of this blog), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kindergarten Cop, Short Circuit, The Ring, Stand By Me, and Free Willy.  Which leads me into some theme music for this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMydOQEqhqE (such an epic MJ song).

Is this not the most adorable retired Merchant Marine??

Angora bunny wabbit!

When we first arrived in Astoria we took a walk to the piers and the trollytrack along the water before deciding to walk through the local farmer's market.  This is one of the best farmer's markets I have attended, and living in Colorado, I've been to the greatest!  I bought an Astoria, Oregon ringer shirt in the font of the Goonies movie.  It's the softest and I've already worn it 100 times.  We bought some farm fresh eggs, which would later make some of the best omelets we've ever had.  And, we met the cutest retired merchant sailor/author and bought one of his many books for 25% off his Amazon pricing.  My boyfriend was enthralled with the book on the flight home so it was one of the best $10 I've spent!  And, we got a bag of cinnamon glazed cashews that were out of this world!  We ended our shopping excursion at a hotel on the pier that had some Adirondack chairs and we rested and took in some salty ocean air.  Here are a few pics of our market adventures.

Ukuleles made of cigar boxes

Last known siting of my water bottle, a very expensive hydro flask!

We took a short hike to the top of a cliff which overlooked the naughtiest view of the Oregon coast.  We saw one of many lovely lighthouses located 1.2 miles offshore and nicknamed "Terrible Tilly" due to its exposure to the merciless ocean.  The lighthouse is since been retired and closed off to the public since it's now privately owned.  Terrible Tilly now serves as a columbarium, which is a storage house for the ashes of the deceased!

Next we mozied down to the beach which did not disappoint.  The weather was perrrrfect - a light jacket was nice.  Kids were flying kites, and I grounded my feet in the sand and felt immediate peace.  There were these huge rocks that looked like islands.  A local seabird called Puffins inhabitated these large rocks.  The Tufted Puffins feed their ravenous chicks with a beak full of anchovies.  We sat and watched the Puffins and the tide roll in and out.  We made some sand art and played soccer.  I found the bluest shell and tucked it away in my pocket to make a necklace to always remember this day.  Playing on the beach makes one very hungry.  As my boyfriend and I got up from the towel I had laid down, we realized the wet sand had soaked through to his shorts and my denim mini skirt, so we looked like we were the Soggy Bottom Boys.  

The Puffins!

Next, we found this awesome restaurant called Wayfarer and sat on the back deck overlooking the beach and the ocean.  Seagulls flew all around us as we enjoyed great conversation, THE best clam chowder I've ever put in my mouth with fresh sour dough bread.  And, we washed it all down with a local refreshing blackberry cider.  My boyfriend and I BOTH left our water bottles at the restaurant.  Seriously we were that distracted by a wonderful time.  Also, check out the cool car of my dreams out front!

While driving down the coast, we pulled over on the side of the road to grab some more pictures of the ocean, and our friend flew his drone over the area and captured some really breathtaking videos.  It really makes me wanna invest in a drone for our camping ventures!

I was a wee bit disappointed I never saw a sea lion, and I suppose they were out fishing during the day and you either have to catch them at sunrise and sunset, perhaps.  All the more reason to visit this quaint lovely town again!  Astoria, you have my heart.  FYI, in the winter and Spring you can catch a glimpse the migrating gray whales!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and are enjoying a few adventures this summer yourself!



Friday, August 11, 2023

Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People - 

They're everywhere!  You simply can't avoid them.  Don't try to change them, speaking from experience.  It'll be a huge waste of your time. 

Instead practice self-awareness and emotional intelligence daily to help you deal with difficult people.  There are mainly three things that affect your feelings about others:

  • Temperament
  • Personality
  • Style

For me, it's mostly personality types that affect my feelings towards others, particularly difficult people.  So that’s what this article will mainly address.

There are mainly four personality types of Difficult People:

Dominant/Controlling Types - Act bold and assertive and can be bullies, often.

Analytical/Obsessive Types - Act very methodical and logical.  Are very detail oriented and often times "perfectionists"

Expressive/Impulsive Types - Act enthusiastic, optimistic, and social.  Can make very rash decisions without thinking things through or considering how their actions affect others.

Skeptical/Negative Types - Act like victims and seem to present a problem for every solution.  Complain and wine about everything and often times pull people down.

Dealing with difficult people takes practice, just like an other skill set!

1) Work on your own Perspective:

First acknowledge and accept that shitty people exist.  Also, realize that the way you are currently viewing or looking at a shitty person isn't the only way.  Stay calm and manage your emotions by maintaining an emotional distance and setting boundaries.  Examine your own temperament.  In other words, focus on solutions and how you can handle the difficult person better.

2) Manage Yourself and Know Your Triggers:

The opposite of managing yourself and your triggers are: INITMIDATION, ANNOYED, FRUSTRATED!

So, slowww down and take notes of self.  Ask yourself, "Why am I responding this way to this person?"  Examine those feelings without judgement.  Now, you can create a space to move from reactive to a more thoughtful reasonable response.  Unmanaged emotions can cause negative self-talk, can be defeating, and worse yet, cause stress.  Stress kills!


Emotional fitness includes self awareness of how you respond to difficult people.  Time your day for reflection and meditation.  Transform negative and toxic reactions into productive outcomes.  Name the emotion you are feeling without any reacting to it or judging yoruself.  Stay in the present and in control.  These skills can cleanse you to become more creative, positive, productive, and successful!

3) Work on your Meditative Approach -

Self management skills are everything!  Work on calming and meditative techniques.  It's easier to guide feelings towards a relaxed state than come down from an emotional breakdown.  How can you quickly recover when you realize you've allowed yourself to be emotionally hijacked?  Calm breathing is key.  Practice muscle relaxation.  And, work on visualitzation.

4) Self Management:

Practicing your thinking techniques will strengthen your emotional intelligence.  Mainly, you avoid acting on raw emotion.  First, change your self-talk.  Self talk happens 24/7, even when you don't even realize it.  How can you correct negative self talk?  First, become aware of the negative self talk, and then talk BACK to your negative self talk.

In order to practice self managmeent, work on goal intentions every single day.  Set goals while using intentions.

Use logic to reframe, recalibrate, and neutralize negative emotions.

Rememeber practice makes perfect.  These are skills well worth investing in.  I hope these tips helped!

Have a lovely weekend!


Fright Night...

FRIGHT NIGHT...   Tis the season to drop a spooky post.  I just went into a Halloween Spirit store (one of those enormous seasonal popup cos...