Well it’s been a little over a week now that I’ve been in Vail Colorado, to be more precise the community of Eagle Vail where my niece lives. The Vail Valley from the Vail Pass Westward is about a mile wide and run some 50 miles along Highway’s Interstate 70. The communities that you past along the way, do not venture very far from the interstate. As you drive along the interstate you see these beautiful homes, condominiums and resorts built up both sides of the interstate. You go through little villages like East Vail, Vail, West Vail onto Eagle Vail and Avon. This time of the year it’s pretty quiet businesswise in this area, it’s between the ski season, and the summer season that has lots of outdoor activities, they call this the “mud season”. And I know why now every time Maxine comes in the RV she tracks in some more mud, with all the snow run off the grounds kind of soggy all the time.
I got into town on Thursday, May 19 found a spot to spend the night at the Walmart and headed over to my nieces. This is the first time I’ve got to see her place here in Vail. My niece Terry is always been a go-getter she owns property in Atlanta, Georgia that I visited before she’s got property here in the mountains and owns a condo in Denver. She’s been in the real estate game for many years living all over the country in areas like Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and in different parts of Colorado. After visiting for a while we took a ride back east towards town of East Vail where just outside the city limits on the edge of the White River National Forest is a great little campground called Gore Creek. It was already dark and the park had just opened for the season that day, and I was already settled in the parking lot at Walmart, so the plan was to wait till the next morning and then come get a campsite. So Friday morning about 9 o’clock I headed back to Gore Creek with the RV leaving my car in Walmart parking lot for the time being. The plan was to get a campsite for the next couple weeks and then my niece was going to meet me and we were going to go do some material shopping for the remodeling she wants to get done. The campground is just like 14 miles from my nieces’ condo and then I’d pick the car up later in the day. When I got the campground I was warmly greeted by the camp host Cindy. She is a sweet solo full-time about my age that has been doing this for the past five years or more. She told me she’s been doing her summers here in the Vail area the last five years and goes to Southern California in the winter. She takes a lot of pride in taking care of her little campground area. The campground consists of 25 campsites eight of which are for tents only. Of the 25 sites 19 can be reserved four RV sites and one tent site are on a first-come first-served basis and the camp host takes up one site.
I ended up choosing site number one, one of the first come first serve sites where I’ll be able to stay for the next 14 nights (this site is right across the road from the campground host site). There is no water, electric or dump sites at this park. There are four new and very well kept up, pick toilets in the campground Cindy takes a lot of pride in keeping things clean and orderly. I will end up taking care of my personal hygiene and doing most of my eating at Terry’s place, so if conserve things I should have plenty of water to get me through the next couple weeks. Here are some photos with the views from my campsite.
After the second night here I was greeted by Cindy in the morning and she asked me if I had seen the bear? My response was what bear? She went on to tell me at four in the morning she heard something just outside her window looking out to see the head of the bear, it had one of its paws pushing on her slide out looking in her bedroom window. To say the least she was a little taken back here’s a photo of the paw print, this was one good size bear.
After getting settled in on Friday my niece picked me up and we headed over to Lowe’s. Where we spent several hours discussing the project she wants to accomplish, looking at different materials and making some plans. After that we headed back to her condo to do some measuring and more precise calculating. The condo unit that she owns here consists of four stories the first two being single bedroom apartments and the upper two floors consist of a large great room area with a spiral staircase heading up to a lofted bedroom and large bath. It’s a very nice condo complex built into the hillside design so that each units has windows on all four sides looking out to the mountains and open courtyards. It was built about 40 some years ago and do that is in the need of some upgrading. The only downside for me is way too many stairs, but as Terry puts it the built-in Stairmaster and its good exercise. The first thing we needed to work on was the first floor bathroom. You see some of the tiles in the shower had started loosening up and were coming off. Is this is a rental unit I considered this the first priority and we got going on it right away on Saturday morning. The tenant is very understanding about the mess and was just looking forward to getting some new upgrades. Besides it gave him time to spend more time with his girlfriend. We decided on putting up a three wall surround rather than taking the extra time and money to do new tile. The tenant was very excited about this because it will be much easier to clean and maintain.Here’s a photo as I started tearing it apart, this is an outside wall in the insulation that was and it was pretty well deteriorated. So we ripped out all the old and put in new.Here’s a photo after ripping all the old.One after new insulation installed.One of as we start getting the new surround walls in.
We had to stop here on Saturday but I think we got quite a bit accomplished. On Sunday the plan was to get the rest of it installed and get the rest of the sheet rock up so I could start muddying. But we ran into a little bit of a snag. Because the walls were thicker than the old tile I had to find an adapter for the water knob so I did not have to put in all the plumbing. I ran into several different places but not much luck, but finally at Ace Hardware I found a new knob assembly that had the little plastic extension I needed. It costs $13 but was well worth it so we did not have to do all new plumbing. By now it was late in the day and Terry had to run the Denver to take care of some stuff Sunday evening and had an important meeting on Monday so she was going to be gone till late Monday night. So most of Sunday ended up to be a wasted day. On Monday I got up headed in and got the rest of the installation and dry walling done. I got the first coat of sheet rock muddying done.
On Tuesday morning I got the second coat up and had to wait for the mud the dry. While waiting on the mud, Terry and I did more measuring and planning in her unit, she’s got more projects in mind than we will ever be able to get done in the month that I’m in a be here. I told her will do one at a time and see what we can get done, if she had her way we’d start them all at once “LOL 🙂
Tuesday afternoon I got a third and final coat of mud where it was needed, this way on Wednesday after a light sanding Terry could get some priming done. The plan was to get the shower back working by Wednesday and we will do some more finishing work, final painting and trimming in a couple weeks when her tenant will be gone. He was real great about the inconvenience and totally understanding that there’s drying time involved which drags out the project. Here’s a couple shots of the finished bath so far. If I say so myself turned out pretty good.
And now for a more personal note. May is always kind of hard for me emotionally for a couple of reasons. You see May being the month of Mother’s Day and also Sonia’s birthday on May 21, this stirs lots of memories. The girls like to celebrate both mother’s day and her birthday in some way or another (me not so much so). This year Sonia’s birthday fell on the Saturday that I kept myself busy tearing out the bathroom, I did this to keep my mind busy in not linger on too many memories bringing sadness. It worked for me pretty good for that day. I found out later that the girls got together went out to dinner and spend time with each other and that’s nice. As most you know I do not linger on Sonia’s passing “I do miss her every day and wish she could be with us”, but whoever said life is fair. When we lose someone we love dearly all we can do is cherish them through our memories and the times we shared. So with that said I’d like to share sometimes with all of you through these photos.
Here are a couple of Sonia just after we met way back in 1974.One as we started to fall in love. It was less than six months from when we met till the day of our wedding.One of my child bride February 22, 1975 you see she was only 19 when we got married.The first trip we ever took together was our honeymoon to Hawaii we waited until mid-March of 1975.Here’s one of Sonia shortly after our wedding what a hottie.One with her first dog together as a couple Ginger.We purposely waited to have children for several years the reason being we had started her own business and wanted things to get settled but, after seven years Sonia couldn’t wait any longer and we had our first daughter Crystal followed shortly thereafter, 17 months later we had Jennifer. I always said that I didn’t need children, of my own but I was happy to have them if that’s what she wanted, and boy was I wrong there the best things in my life. Now here are a bunch of photos of different travels in no particular order that we did as a family and as a couple in memory of my “dear dear Sonia”. Over the years our most favorite thing to do was to travel to different parts Wisconsin and of the country.
First trip out west to Yellowstone with the kids.A trip to upper Michigan and Mackinac Island.One of Sonia at the Grand Canyon
Outside Acapulco Mexico
The Maryland Coast at Ocean City, with Crystal and Josh in the background this was before they got married.
Rhinelander Wisconsin home of the “Hodag”
Our second honeymoon and first cruise to the Caribbean.Fishing off the coast of Florida.
Another Caribbean cruise with the girls.
Sonia and the RV just after we got it from our neighbors. In October 2007, the plan being that when Jennifer got home from her senior year of college in November, we were going on a two-week family vacation to Florida. And Sonia and I along with both daughters and our new son-in-law Josh packed up and did so. This ended up being our last great adventure with Sonia, she passed away in August 2008.
Happy Birthday Sonia thinking of you and loving you always 🙂
On a more less emotional note. Wednesday while Terry was doing the painting, you see I told her that I don’t do any of that J , I took off and did some sightseeing. I headed south of Vail on Highway 24 towards the town of Leadville, Colorado. We headed south along the mountain roads taking in beautiful scenery of the surrounding mountains to let the photos do the talking.
One of my stops along the way was at Camp Hale, Camp Hale is the location of an old World War II military base used to train soldiers in mountaineering and skiing skills to fight in the mountains of Italy during World War II. There’s not much left except old foundations but it’s a beautiful location and there is a U.S. Forest Service campground called Camp Hale Memorial Campground, wanted to check this out because it has sites big enough for RVs and maybe staying here later this month it’s a little further out of Vail about 22 miles but still would be workable.
Here’s a photo of the views just by the campground.
And there’s a spot where Maxine can do her swimming she loves.
From there we continued south to Tennessee Pass and Continental Divide.
At an elevation of 10,424 feet there was still with a bit of snow
At the top of the summit of there’s a very nice memorial for the 10th Mountain Division.
This is also the county line between Eagle County to the north and Lake County to the south. Vail is located in the center of Eagle County to the north.
Skiing Cooper a ski hill was just down the road, it’s closed for the season but as you can see there’s still quite a bit snow on the hills.
From there we headed further south to Leadville the only incorporated city in Lake County and the county seat.
It’s a quaint little mining town and also home of the “Best Wild West Saloon in America” or so the sign says.
I didn’t get a chance to stop and check it out but I’m sure I’ll be back to do so. All through town there’s a bunch of these little quaint houses I’m not sure of the architectural design name is but I like. A lot of the town and so may around this area are getting kind of run down with the mining business on the decline.
The surrounding views just outside of town are spectacular.
And more of a happy note as I was just finishing up this, a Red Fox came by just outside my RV window I tried to get a photo but he was too quick for me. It sure is nice being able to sit back on a day like this and enjoy different parts of this country and all the beauty it has to offer. And just as I was about to post this like a miracle the red Fox came back in did pose for a couple photos, life is magical isn’t. Till next time safe travels to all 🙂
I’m so glad you posted pictures of Sonya and the girls. It was a beautiful tribute and she lives through you and them. The bathroom looks great!! And I am glad you made time for yourself to explore some!! It’s great following your adventures my friend !!
It was a little hard doing the part with Sonia I am glad you like it 🙂
Rick, I know it had to be very hard to take that walk down memory lane – but thanks so much for the great pics and for sharing those bits of your life! Sonia must have been one hell of a woman – I wish I could have met her!
Glad you are with family and doing well!
I am glad you liked the part with Sonia
And yes she was one great lady 🙂 you would have like her 🙂
Best to You