Hey everyone! It’s that time of year when things go bang in the night, animals get nervous, kids are excited. It’s the unofficial kick off to summer in my family! Usually involves lots of food, fun, swimming and this year, fireworks!
Hubby and I will be spending our 4th at the ball park. We both work for the Grand Junction Rockies; a pioneer league for the Colorado Rockies. These are the kids fresh out of high school or college and they play their hearts out. I plan on partaking in a hot dog or two, maybe even some cotton candy. But that doesn’t mean you all have to miss out on the fun: so I have collected some great ideas for your 4th of July celebration!
Almost everyone in our clan is on some kind of diet or another. Some don’t eat carbs, some have to cut down on salt, some don’t drink (wait… that’s not a diet!) and some are watching their sugar intake, so finding a happy medium for everyone, it’s gonna be tough….Actually, we all really work together to respect and encourage everyone’s likes, dislikes and food preferences. That’s why I’m going to the ball game!! LOL! Need my carbs, processed foods and sugar! Let’s see what we can find.
Little kids seem to get anxious and want something to do while they “patiently” waiting for fireworks, here are a few crafting or game ideas for them.
Glitter Bottles: What is better than confetti and glitter? It’s contained in a bottle, that’s better than just confetti and glitter! Easy Firework Crafts: Get out the paint and use those empty toilet paper rolls! Let’s get Painted!!
And just for some really cool fun! Painted Lawn Stars!
Here is a great veggie tray to start off the day right, everyone has something they can eat on this one.
Have you ever thought about what’s in your family history? Where did you come from? What was it like in the old days?
I started finding my family roots about two years ago, I wanted to find out info about my grandparents. I knew they grew up in Indiana, Kansas and Texas, what I didn’t know the troubles (and successes) they went through. I haven’t found all the answers, but I have found a few surprises. Things that make you go…What???
First step, plug in what you know, then wait for the hints to come in. I found lots of people I knew, knew of and some I had no idea about. Important dates, I didn’t know, I now know. Family who has passed, I found dates to.
My first challenge was my grandma. First of all, let me tell you about her. She was an amazing person, there was not a mean bone in her body. She was never judgmental, she was always happy and was always there for me when I was growing up. We found many years ago she was not the age she had claimed to be forever. I understand why, back in the day, it was a bit unacceptable for the woman to be older than the man in a relationship. First goal was to find & get her birth certificate, just as a piece of history and documentation for family (should anyone else besides me wanted to find out about the past). I knew all the important info of the family, but I didn’t know the name on the BC. I guess “Grandma” isn’t exactly correct when one is born, so I asked my family if they knew of any other names grandma would have been named. They agreed with me, “Grandma” would have been the only name she would have used and is the only name they have ever known her to be. Hmmmm….I called the Kansas vital record back and the gentleman I spoke with was very kind. I told him everything I knew about her. I knew all siblings dates of birth, parents dates of birth, where everyone was born, etc. I still didn’t know the name on the certificate. This gentleman could tell I knew my stuff, he could just tell. He tells me, well, I have the record right here in my hands (and I told him, “and you can’t tell me the name.”), my heart sank. I understand the rules. He said, no, You have all the information I need, just not the name on the BC. My heart started racing. I was going to find out!
He calmly states, the name on the certificate is John. SCREEECHHHH!!!!
Wait a minute…WHAT???? Then I started to laugh. The gentleman thought I had lost my marbles. I said, you don’t understand; my grandpa’s name was John, her father in law’s name was John and her son’s name is John!!! Oh grandma, you make me laugh! Goal completed!
Then I received a surprise.
My hubby had done his DNA test and I thought, sure, why not? I have nothing in my past to be ashamed, embarrassed or didn’t know about. My results came in and I had a “hint” pop up ranking as “Close Family–1st Cousin Shared DNA: 2,134 cM across 51 segments” and then I had my cousin match, I knew about that. I was confused. I asked my cousin if she knew who this person was, as she was also a close DNA match. She didn’t know either. So, I reached out to this person. Asked how we are related as our family trees were not even a close match with no similar ancestors. What I got back shook my world.
I know, you are thinking, “grandma” what have you done NOW? Cause that’s what I am thinking.
I received a wonderful message back. This person was looking for her birth parents (BP’s) as she had been adopted, that’s why our trees had no similar branches. She wanted to know if I would like to join her in her search for her BP’s, then she asked…Do you know “John ……..?” OMG!!!! I have a(nother) Sister! When the heck did that happen???? Once again, I laughed. I was (and am) so excited, we talked for days, getting to know more about each other. I didn’t know how dad would take it, (or my other sisters, or my mom) but I knew I had made a great find. It took about a week to talk to him about this, as it’s been a rough few years between the two of us, only recently (a year) had we started to “talk” again.
Got my nerve up, rang him on the phone and asked him. You know I’ve been working on this genealogy thing, right? Can you tell me what happened before you and mom got married? He’s like…HUH? OH! You mean the baby? and after that, I got a history listen. Many times, many different stories, many memories. He was excited to “meet” and talk to her, that night I connected them and now, I get to meet her later this summer! I am so excited!
I’ve had some other surprises and hurdles, but those are for other family members and it’s not my story to tell. Yet.
If you have ever thought about finding your past, I highly recommend it. Sure, there are things in history which aren’t pleasant, but they are part of history and it should be explored, learned about and given its place in history.
“When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…sometimes even physically.” ― Raquel Cepeda
Hubby and I have really been hitting some of the towns in western Colorado lately. The snow we got over the winter…spring…early summer, kind of slowed us down.
Just an hour east of us on the Grand Mesa, they received just 138″ (or 11′) of snow in just one month, January. Total overall snow was over 520″!!! Thank goodness all of Colorado’s mountain ranges received a BUNCH of snow this past season. It was so snowy, all parts of Colorado are now officially out of its 20 year drought! It is so amazing to see the green in the trees, the flowers blooming, the lakes filling and the rivers running. Speaking of, seems most rivers are running very fast and very high! We are at or above flood level here in Grand Junction so we stay away from the rivers…kind of.
But, anyway, back to Durango. We had three options to get there, take the long route through Moab, UT, take another long way through Gateway, CO or go over a very scary mountain pass, Red Mountain. Myself, I would have dared the pass, but hubby wasn’t fond of the snow conditions predicted for the afternoon, so we set out and headed south down through Gateway, Nucla, Delores, Mancos and then into Durango. Don’t worry, I didn’t know anything about those towns either, as they are very tiny! I don’t think I saw one fast food place from Grand Junction to Durango.
What I did see was a lot of beautiful red rocks in Disappointment Canyon, some amazing history along the river routes and HUGE (farming) fields. I also found a mountain that I have never heard of, but somehow, it seemed to follow me, to “haunt” me, to seem to say…”LOOK AT ME! You need to know more about me.” When mountains speak, you listen. I had no idea what the name of this mountain was or even if it was in Colorado or near by New Mexico. The mountains name is Sleeping Ute Mountain. There is a legend to that mountain and I will share that in another episode.
We arrived in Durango after a SIX hour drive! We were hungry and curious as to what our weekend may bring. We drove down Main Street and found the Strater (straighter) Hotel, outside sat an old horse and stagecoach. I wanted to go to dinner there, but we just drove on trying to find something else. We ended up at Applebee’s where many kiddos were dining for prom night and I was hangry, so I really didn’t care where we at, normally I wouldn’t agree to eating there. After dinner we drove from one end of Main St to the other, checked out a Walgreens for some drinks and snacks and then headed back to the hotel.
Off to the Diamond Belle Saloon!
Inside the Strater Hotel was a quaint old saloon serving an AMAZING brunch! I got the Southern Shrimp & Grits and hubby got the Prime Rib & Eggs, which both were exceptional! We were the first ones in the saloon and got to talk to the girls about the history of the hotel, the ghosts and were free to take pictures of anything and everything! Our saloon girl even suggested we ask the front desk for a tour of the hotel after brunch, so we did. We also found out the night before had a Texas Holdem tournament featuring “Doc Holiday”, hence the stagecoach outside and loud music!
Built in 1887, within the heart of the San Juan Mountains, is the historic Strater Hotel. A prominent downtown Durango, landmark located just two blocks north of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The hotel includes the Diamond Belle Saloon, The Mahogany Grille and the Office Spiritorium (happy hour is served here). There are 93 guest rooms including the Louis L’Amour room. Louis loved to hang out in Durango and always requested the room 222, the corner room located right about the saloon. He would sit in the room and the music and noise from below helped him write his novels and was designated as a National Literary Landmark.
Speak Easy Closed
Speak Easy Open
Our tour guide told us of “speak easy’s” (which were NOT what I thought they were), that were found in the hotel during it’s refurbishing; including one speak easy, in a guest room, that a guest had found a gun from the hay days in! Instead of keeping the gun and possibly ending up with a small fortune, they turned it over to the hotel. Speak easy’s were hiding places in which people would hide; weapons, drugs, alcohol, etc. He showed us the Spiritorium which was a pharmacy the original owner, Henry Strater built and lost to the current owners family. We went downstairs to the conference room, which had originally been part of the underground tunnels for the bank and a dining area which had been built to replicate a Pullman train car.
I asked both the Saloon Girl and the tour guide about ghosts. Both said they have heard stories, but never experienced anything themselves.
It’s a weekend of food, fun, 100’s of vendors, bands, Native American dancers, gold panning, old west traditions, rain and sun. It’s a lot of walking just to get to the event, it’s like the entire state of Colorado attend every year. If you have never been to Old Colorado City (OCC), this is a wonderful treat. Old Colorado City, in itself, is a throw back to the early life in Colorado. Let’s take a fun look at the history OCC holds.
Colorado City: established May 22, 1859 First Capitol of Colorado Territory: 1861 – 1863 Admitted to the Union as a State 1876 National Register of Historic Places: 1982
In 1859, during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, in the most westerly part of the Jefferson Territory, there was a small settlement named El Dorado, which would be renamed Colorado City and became the first permanent town in the Pikes Peak region and eventually established in November of 1861 in the Colorado Territory. The founders believed Colorado City could become a major supply hub for the new gold mines in South Park (yes, the place where the cartoon is set in) and the Blue River. The area was chosen due to the proximity to Ute Pass, which was the route to the western gold mines.
In 1886 the Colorado Midland Railroad was one of Colorado City’s largest employers. This included the railroad’s headquarter offices, terminals and repair yards. In 1887, Adolph Busch, Jerome Wheeler and General Adams founded Glass Works where Bohemian glass blowers, blew bottles made for the Manitou mineral water, liquor and wine. In 1891 gold was discovered in near by Cripple Creek during the Cripple Creek Gold Rush, which, in turn, helped open four ore reduction mills in Colorado City and with that came prosperity. However, the “wild west days” faded for Colorado City and in 1917, the town was annexed by Colorado Springs.
The first two decades, the town’s population decreased as many people chose to farm or ranch outside of the town limits and the town did not get the travelers it expected due to skirmishes with Native Americans along the Arkansas River. Colorado City was dubbed as a “watering hole”, due to the many saloons on the south side of Colorado Avenue. As you know, when saloons and gold mines are near, brothels, gambling rooms and opium dens (I think of a scene in Tombstone when I think of opium dens) seem to pop up as well, along with tunnels under Colorado Avenue which made sure men could enter and leave these businesses without being seen. General William Jackson Palmer purchased the land and “outlawed” the ability to partake in that of alcohol within the new town’s borders. The mayor also warned prostitutes they would need to leave Colorado City by 1908 or 1909, when most of the red-light district burned in two separate fires. Because of the unsavory businesses in Colorado City; 1896 through 1916, ordinances were passed that prohibited prostitution, opium dens, liquor and dance halls, however, brothels continued to be established and liquor was outlawed in Colorado City in 1916 and continued until the end of Prohibition in 1933 (and somewhere along the way, it seems my great grandfather was a bootlegger…yet to be confirmed and not sure if I will be able to find that out).
In the late 1880’s a fantastic tale of an Irishman from Kansas ensued; the tale of Thunder and Buttons. Mr. Prairie Dog O’Byrne came west with his family as the railroad kept pushing them west, his father was a supervisor of the rail layer work crews. Mr. O’Byrne loved the simple beauty of the area and the exquisite beauty of Colorado and its mountains, the Rockies. He became a tour guide to make money, taking passengers to the top of Pikes Peak in a four horse drawn stage or taking them to Crystal Park to check out the topaz, agates and crystals there. In 1888 Mr O’Byrne purchased a pair of orphaned elk at an auction in Denver and named them Thunder and Buttons. In order to try and domesticate the animals, he would hitch them up and run them up and down Colorado Ave with the Queen of the red light district, Laura Belle. Mr. O’Byrne needed to make more money to pay off his gambling debts so he became a brakeman for the railroad. He traveled many places, saw many things, however, in 1922 he came back to Colorado and wrote the book, Pikes Peak or Bust and then just seemed to disappear. Today, Colorado Springs holds the Pikes Peak or Bust rodeo in the summer, which starts off with a pancake street breakfast and parade.
As you can see, Colorado City, as well as, Colorado has a very lively history: everything from gold rushes and mining, gemstones and alcohol, railroads and fires and pancakes to rodeos. Beautiful mountains and more history to explore. Join me on the next adventure…Durango
“During the Gold Rush, most would-be miners lost money, but people who sold them picks, shovels, tents and blue-jeans (Levi Strauss) made a nice profit.” ~ Peter Lynch
Reposting this to start this weeks reports. We started down through Gateway and on to Durango. Stay tuned for our adventures.
Our summer day trips have arrived! After fulfilling family obligations this past month, we are headed to the little community (which originally had just a post office) of Gateway. Gateway is located in Mesa County, Colorado just a hop, skip and jump from the Utah border. They said “Go West Young Man”, so that is what we did, south & west. Temperatures were to be in the high 80’s, slight winds and low humidity are an awesome combination for the desert of Colorado. A late addition to the trip was the smoke from the 416 fire in Durango, CO and new one in Price, Utah, so makes for a bit of haze on the pictures.
You may be wondering why we are going to Gateway, since there is only a post office. Well, there happens to also be a general store including the best hot dogs within 40 miles, a fire/police station and a grand 5 star resort there; Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, the Palisade Ranch at Gateway Canyons Resort, world class dining, kayaking, off road tours, air tours, an auto museum and a whole lot more.
After hearing tales of the beautiful Colorado red rock country as a child, Mr. Hendricks decided to head to Gateway in 1995. Once he and the future Mrs. Hendricks settled into the area, they decided this would be home and they would share the beautiful location with the world. Built in the Unaweep Canyon (Native American word meaning, Canyon with two mouths) which just happens to be one of the most unique red rock canyons in the world (who knew…right here in Colorado?). The Canyon is also said to be the only Canyon in the world drained by two creeks; East and West Creek, which sends the water off in different locations.
The town of Gateway is rich in history of the Ancient Pueblo, Fremont and Ute Native American Tribes along with the gangs of cattle rustlers who hid out within the canyon walls from the law, gold miners searching to find their millions and ranchers who have raised their cattle in the Unaweep Canyon grasslands. In 1903 families started to homestead in the area and in 1904, the post office (there that infamous post office again) was established and the name of Gateway was given to the town since it is a “gateway” to Utah from Colorado.
The community became strongly based around ranching, farming and lumber mills. Uranium mining became the later economic leader for the community and now, the town has been revitalized with tourists from around the world who want to experience the great Canyon country in Western Colorado.
The canyon we traveled in had amazing rock formations, beautiful green trees and lots and lots of cows! And sadly, smoke. We oohed and awed at the canyon, stopped for dozens of pictures.
We arrived at Gateway just a bit before lunch, so we decided to do the auto museum first. I have to admit, I have seen old cars before, I wasn’t really thinking it would be all that. I was wrong! Boy was I wrong.
Enter the World of Autos! 20,000 sq ft of an air conditioned museum. With over 50 cars (pretty sure there were more, but I did take lots of pictures, so that may skew my counting ability). There were new cars, old cars, one of a kind car, motorcycles and even race cars. We started with the Ford GT 500. Just sayin, that’s one bada** car! A spunky green Nash Metropolitan. I have to say, this car has a back seat, but not sure who can sit in them. Max may even be too big, so when mom told me she and her sister used to sit in the back of their Metro, I found it hard to believe. Hard to believe they were anything other than uncomfortable!
This beauty is a one of a kind, $3.248 MILLION car! It’s a Goddess shimmering under the lights!
1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Convertible Concept Car
Next up (my favorite!)
After that, it was car after car after car.
Desoto’s, Chevy’s, Plymouth’s, Chrysler’s.
Deuesenberg’s, Convertibles, Cadillac’s.
After we finished up at the museum, we headed over to the Paradox Grille for some great grub! Menu
Mom ordered the turkey club and raspberry tea (which she said was amazing). The turkey is not sliced thin like most, nice thick slices. Applewood-smoked bacon, tomato, onion,
lettuce, fennel-chile aïoli (which mom said was hot), texas toast. Check out the cute fry basket.
Honey ordered the Paradox Reuben Sandwich and raspberry tea.
Same thing as the turkey, the pastrami was a nice thick cut with two slices. House-made sauerkraut, thousand island, thick-cut marble rye
I went out on a limb and chose Avocado Toast and a cherry Mr. Pibb
Herb & goat cheese spread, avocado, wild mushrooms, arugula, pickled fresno chile. I have to say, that bad boy was just delicious! Then, I came face to face with what I thought was a pickle. I have no idea what it was, but it was hotter than hot! Unfortunately, I got one of the seasonings stuck in my teeth and hours later I experienced the same heat.
Other than the service being a bit slow, the Paradox Grille sits at the base of the beautiful red rock peaks, in a hidden corner of the resort, is both beautiful and relaxing. The food is just amazing (except for that “pickle”). If you are looking some place to get away from the rest of the world, share a romantic getaway or even a great family vacation, you really should check out the Gateway Canyons Resort.
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day. Dalai Lama
*this post contains photos which are not mine, no copyright infringement meant*Disclaimer