Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Going About Our Business

The dental appointment was our highest priority on tax day. Good thing we didn't have to worry about taxes on dental day!

Jim went in bravely, came out a little worse for the wear, but doing pretty well considering 6 teeth had been yanked. He has temporaries for the next few weeks. Once his gums have healed up sufficiently and he's been fitted for the permament teeth, he'll go back and have them glued in. He said this first round was the hard part and is confident all will go much easier from here on.

Wind was howling by about 10 a.m. Unfortunately, it was also extremely dry, and a small wildfire directly west of us flared up into a major fire. The wind was blowing hard from the west. All day, the smoke got worse and worse. Finally, late in the afternoon, we were starting to feel the effects of it, and decided to get out for awhile and find some fresh air. We drove north on I-25 to the north side of the Air Force Academy, probably 20 miles or so from the campground. When we left last year, there was major construction being done to the interstate. They've finished most of it, and it's not a bad drive at all now.

Then we meandered around and ended up going west on Garden of the Gods Road which took us to 30th street, where the Garden of the Gods park is. We drove through the park and then down through Manitou Springs. We stopped at Sonic drive in to have a Java Chiller -- Jim's medication was wearing off a little, and the ice cream felt good. I had one too, just to keep him company!
Jim was the photographer for the day, even though he was under the effects of his pain medication. Here's a shot of some of the rocks in the Garden of the Gods. If you look closely, you can see the smoke from the fire in the background.
I liked the silhouette effect in this picture, showing the rocks, then the foothills, then the north flank of Pikes Peak.
The famous Kissing Camels from a slightly different angle than usually pictured.
Not all of the rocks in the Garden of the Gods are red. This is a white limestone rock.
On the way back home, we had a good view of the smoke from the fire, although we were not close enough to see the flames. Here is a theater with the smoke in the background.
Another shot of the smoke. If you could see it, our campground would be to the far left, right in the middle of the cloud of smoke.

While we were out, we had calls from friends and relatives who were concerned for us, knowing that we were in the path of the smoke from the wildfire. They offered us rooms, beds, a place to park if we wanted to move. It's nice to know they are concerned! We thanked them for their generosity and assured them that if we couldn't handle being at our place, we'd take them up on their offers.

We headed back home, hoping the wind had died down or changed direction. It had done neither, but we shut up the motor home and turned on the air conditioner until it got too cold, and then just left everything closed up. We did ok, although I could smell the smoke and feel my eyes watering a little far into the night. The wind finally died down and changed direction, and I remember at some point in the night, waking up relieved to breathe fresh air.

This particular fire had not damaged any structures, but a small plane crashed, killing the pilot. A far worse situation developed in Ordway, Colorado, where a wildfire killed 2 people and damaged several homes. The entire town was evacuated. Ordway is south east of here.

Today the air is a little hazy, but since the wind is down and blowing from a different direction, we've had much less effect from the fire. A cold front is moving through as well, and may bring some much needed moisture!
Our friend, Gary, stopped by today to visit. We chatted for quite a while and then took him to a little local diner for lunch.
We put a roast and veggies in the crockpot to share with family and friends this evening, which means I will probably miss yet another night in the RV-Dreams chatroom. I'm thinking about you guys, and should be back tomorrow night!

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