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Success at A.R.E.; A BIG Rig; A Real Red-Wing; This Way, Class; Cats on Golden Pond; Bread on a Bike?

My Lovely Bride completed her conference presentation at A.R.E. in Virginia Beach today. Here she is with CEO Kevin Todeschi, and later with Dr. Eben Alexander. Her talk on The Meaning in the Messages was very well received, and she has another presentation tomorrow morning at the annual conference of the Academy of Spirituality and Consciousness Studies.

Back in Colorado, this unusual RV rig is across the road from us in the state park campground. The Peterbilt tractor has a 600 hp diesel engine, and gets 7-8 mpg in the flat. The fifth wheel is about 45 feet long, and probably very luxurious inside. The owners are from here in Colorado, but snowbird in Clermont, FL, just down the road from The Villages. They spend summers here to be with their kids and grandchildren. 

It was pelicans yesterday, and today our Bird of the Day is this Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) sitting on a fencepost near our campground. This bird is probably the most abundant bird in North America; they are certainly everywhere out here in Colorado. According to Wikipedia, “The Red-winged Blackbird is sexually dimorphic; the male is all black with a red shoulder and yellow wing bar, while the female is a nondescript dark brown.” This difference is generally attributed to a mating preference for more highly colored birds (e.g., pheasants, peacocks, Birds of Paradise), which allows the male to mate with multiple females, thereby ensuring the survival of the species. (It also makes the male easier to spot by predators, thus helping preserve the nesting female. What we guys do for our girls…) 

I couldn’t pass up a ride on the St. Vrain Greenway Trail, which runs right along the small river of the same name. I did pass up the riverside Left Hand Brewery halfway through the trip, since I thought “just a few” might impair my cycling abilities. The Greenway was finished in 2004, and is a beautiful paved path designed to go under traffic-laden roads in the Longmont area. 

You ride past farms and scattered houses until you reach town, where density increases, but the path is nicely separated from people as much as possible with lots of small parks and ball fields. I reached the end of the trail at Golden Pond, where I found this interesting sign warning of cats in the area… not feral tabbies, but big cats… mountain lions, AKA cougar, puma, panther or catamount (Puma concolor)... Its normal diet includes elk, deer, sheep, cattle and horses, but humans are occasionally on their menu as well. I think being on a bike helps, since cougars pick their prey based on size, but I’ll probably skip dawn and dusk rides in that area just to be prudent.  

Cougar are beautiful creatures, as this close-up shows. (This is not one of my photos… it wasn’t a “Here, kitty, kitty” moment. I do have some common sense.) They are about the same size as humans, with males 8-9 feet long weighing between 115 and 220 lbs, and females between 64 and 141 lbs. The largest cougar recorded weighed about 300 lbs. You would not want to mess with one that size. 

Back on the trail, the river was running quite high, since this is the time when higher elevation snows melt and raise stream levels. The water is also cold (let’s see, “snow melt” is “melted snow”, which must be pretty chilly, right?), which explains why the fishing isn’t that good. (Works for me.)

I was about to take a photo of part of the path under water when these two adult Canada Geese (Branta Canadensis) marched across the path… with 26 little goslings in tow. Since a female goose will average only 5 eggs per clutch, this group of apparently adopted goslings and 2 adults is called a crèche.  Geese are also known to attack humans, not for meals but to protect themselves or their young. A goose will normally warn you first by spreading its wings and hissing; if that doesn’t get you to move, they will charge and bite.  

On my way back to The Bus, I saw a familiar sign about a quarter mile off the trail. I didn’t have a backpack, but I asked the young lady at Panera to slice a baguette into thirds so I could carry it on my handlebars. (I got some funny looks from other cyclists, but it saved time and a long car drive, since my lunch was to be a platter of cheeses and French bread, perhaps with a nice glass of Pinot Noir as an accompaniment. (Hey, good food and wine are some of the great delights in life…  and as my sister-in-law Janice Clay confirms, “Life is too short to drink cheap wine!”) 


  • Jennifer
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Not a "Hello Kitty" moment? That's funny…

    That Black bird is adorable. Have never seen one
    like this.

    Must be a neat experience to be with Dr. Eblen. His interviews on Utube are quite interesting..

    Wonderful photos, Ty…

  • angeldust
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Hey Ty,
    Great shirt! You look like you're 17 in this picture. Is that really you?? Baguette, cheese and wine. Seems more like you should be visiting hostels in Europe, picnicking along the roadside… with a bottle of red as well. Boy, doesn't look like you're going to grow up any time soon;)

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Thanks for the nice comments. And why would I ever want to grow up? Life gets better every day! Love, Ty


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