Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2017. We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2017 🙂

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links … and just an FYI, all votes are anonymous, your name does not show up anywhere.

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2017 …

Sunset, American Girl Mine Road, California. Picture taken 4 January 2017

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Picture taken 21 March 2017.

Duck, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 4 May 2017.

Okanagan Lake, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 5 June 2017.

Pend Oreille River, Montana. Picture taken 25 September 2017.

Butterfly, Denver, Colorado. Picture taken 29 September 2017.

Close-up of Balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Picture taken 14 October 2017.

Balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Picture taken 14 October 2017.

Devil’s Bridge Hike, Sedona, Arizona. Picture taken 27 October 2017.

Snowy Landscape, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 20 December 2017.

Until next time …

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Another Beer Tour And On To Nebraska!

Somehow when we were driving back to the RV Park on Saturday the truck veered and we ended up at the Coors Factory … that’s a really nice way of saying hubby had had enough tea and wanted beer!

We arrived in the tour parking lot at 3:45 and were told that as long as we were in line for the bus by 4:00 pm we would we be able to get on a tour.

Tour parking lot on the right, back of the factory on the left

By 4:00 we were settled on the bus and on our way to the factory. The neat thing about this tour is you a get a little bus tour of Golden before your factory tour.  I took in so much information that day that I don’t remember most of what we were shown on our drive around Golden but I do remember that they have a city ordinance that says you can not smoke or vape in public in the City of Golden … way to go Golden!

At the factory we departed the bus, entered the factory, had our picture taken (so they could sell it back to us at the end … nope!), showed our ID, got our tasting wrist bands, picked up our audio tour box and we were on our way.

Kettle at the front of the factory.

Front of the factory

There are different stops along the way were you can listen to an explanation on your audio box and see the factory floor.  We learned that Coors is the worlds largest single site brewery in the US and at full capacity they bottle 3.2 million six packs of beer a day.

Each one of these kettles contains 30,000 six packs

The filtering room.

Packaging

Of course the best part of the tour is the tasting room and hands down this was the best one we have been in. With your wristband you get three tastings and Blue Moon is on tap since it is part of Molson Coors.

We each try a different beer but we went back to Blue Moon for our next two since neither of us is a Coors fan.

I’m sorry the picture is fuzzy but I wanted to show the size of the sample beers they gave out. And in my defense this was the first sample and I did take the above pictures of the front of the factory after this picture so I don’t think it’s the beer! … And yes K&K I see a Yaak and Back comment coming, we so wish you were with us!

If you are a Blue Moon fan this is probably the better tour to take because you are actually getting a tour of the factory as opposed to looking at displays. Plus you get free tastings and at the Blue Moon factory you sit in their restaurant and pay for flights, but you do get to taste many more varieties of Blue Moon Beer. Of course if you are a real fan like hubby you have to do both!

This morning we said goodbye to Denver and area and headed into Nebraska. There wasn’t much for scenery; most of the drive from Colorado to the Nebraska state line was through dry grasses and sagebrush.

The drive along I-76 through northeastern Colorado was that constant bump, bump, bump … almost as bad as I-15 from Temecula, CA to San Diego, CA 😦

Fortunately as soon as we hit the Nebraska state line both the road and the scenery improved. So far Nebraska is one pretty state!

Until next time …

Blue Moon Brewery, Denver CO

Yesterday we made a visit to the brewery of hubby’s favorite beer, Blue Moon in the US and Belgian Moon in Canada.

Downtown Denver … sis I was taking this picture when you called me back, sorry I missed your call 🙂

Blue Moon Brewery started brewing at the beginning of the 1995 baseball season at The SandLot Brewery in Coors Field, where they focused on brewing craft beer for fans. By the middle of their first season their roster of beers was ready to start pouring and included Slugger Stout, Rightfield Red, and the fan favorite, Bellyslide Wit.

A blue moon hangs over the glasses behind the bar ☺

As the baseball season continued they would keep hearing the same thing from fans, “Give me the Bellyslide” and they knew they had a special beer. They then realized they needed a name that could live outside the baseball stadium. One day, a group of staff was sitting around tasting beers when one of the admin staff called out “You know, a beer that tastes this good only comes around once in a blue moon”. With that phrase ringing in their ears the Blue Moon Brewing Company was born and Bellyslide became Blue Moon Belgian White.

The first thing we noticed when hubby ordered his first Blue Moon Belgian White many years ago in Omak, WA was the orange garnish. According to the brewery when they first started distributing the Belgium White across the country they noticed lemons, lot’s of them. The lemons were hanging off the sides of the glass, which is a common practice for traditional Belgian Wits that are tart, but Blue Moon Belgian White is slightly sweet. After a little thinking the brew master suggested garnishing the beer with an orange slice to heighten the citrus aroma and taste from the Valencia orange peel used to brew the beer.

They had the cleanest washrooms I have ever seen and the décor was neat!

From 1995 to 2005, the brew master and crew hit the road going from bar to bar, store to store, telling the story of the brewing company and their Belgian White. In 1997 they began dropping of bags of oranges to garnish the beers at the bars, but a funny thing happened … the brew master started getting calls from bar owners who had run out of oranges. The owners told him how people loved the beer garnished with an orange slice, but bars didn’t stock oranges as a drink garnish so would he please deliver more oranges!

We enjoyed a great lunch and a flight of tasty beer, the mango moon was the best, and then we took the self guided tour which was very interesting.

 

As we walked back to the truck in the parking lot we were swarmed with butterflies, I think they were attracted to the lavender bordering the lot.

  

After lunch we headed up to Red Rock Amphitheater to walk around but there was an event going on and we were only able to take a quick walk around the parking lot before we were encouraged to move on.

 

Our oldest grandson loves Sunflowers so I had to get pictures of these wild sunflowers for him.

 

Until next time …

Boulder, Colorado

Less than an hour after we left our RV Park this morning we arrived in Boulder, CO … finally! I have been waiting for this visit since we made our first trip south our first winter. As I mentioned in a previous blog I became interest in the town after reading a series of novels written by Stephen White. His books made Boulder sound like a beautiful small town with lots of character and places to see. It was a pretty town but definitely not the small town I was expecting, but we still had a good time.

Since hubby was able to tour his favorite drink factory yesterday I thought it was only fair that I get to tour my favorite drink factory today … tea! Our first stop in Boulder was at Celestial Seasonings, which you may know better as Celestial Tea.

As you walk in and sign up for a tour you are handed a small round tea mug and your tour ticket.

We had about twenty minutes before the tour started so we spend some time sampling different teas. There were some really good ones and it is much better when you can sample them instead of buying a full box of tea you don’t like!

Our tour started with a visit to the theater where we watched a short video about how Celestial Seasonings started. The video ended with the safety rules for the tour, we all had to wear hair nets, cell phones had to stay in pockets or purses, and sadly no pictures where allowed 😦

As we entered the factory you could immediately smell the different aromas. We walked down an aisle of shelves full of sacks of different tea seasonings. We were told, “if you don’t like the smell walk a little further and you will get a new smell” and it was so true. At one point we came up to a sealed room and once the garage door was open the peppermint smell wafted out. Most people were unable to stand in the room but hubby and I really enjoyed the smell and wow did it every clean out my sinuses!

Along the way we learned something I didn’t know about tea and, since I have been drinking tea since I was a young girl, I thought I knew everything about tea J Black tea is very high in caffeine which I knew, but if a tea is labeled Caffeine Free, which most of the tea I drink is, then there are no actual tea leaves in it! Caffeine free tea is made up of different seasonings but, since most people think anything in a tea bag and steeped in hot water is tea, it is called tea.

The sleepy time tea room in the tasting room, Sleepy Time Tea is their most popular tea. I thought you might need a picture break by now 🙂

When I drink black tea I do buy decaffeinated tea bags, which I know do contain a small amount of caffeine. By law, tea labeled as decaffeinated must have less than 2.5 percent of its original caffeine level, which usually equates to less than 2 mg per cup. So now you know the difference between decaffeinated tea and caffeine free tea 🙂

I did ask how tea was decaffeinated but with all the other information I took in I just can’t remember enough of the process to repeat it … but suffice to say I now know why I have to pay so much more for my decaf black tea bags.

One of the more interesting parts of the tour was walking through the packaging plant. Here we were able to watch as Lemon Zing was packaged from the end (boxes on pallets wrapped in plastic) to near the beginning (large rolls of tea bag paper being fed into machines to make the tea bags). This was the last stop of the tour and we were left with a few more tidbits of interesting information. The plant makes ten million tea bags a day and they have stopped using string, staples, and labels on their tea bags. They say that move has saved 3.5 billion pounds of garbage from the landfill every year!

I highly recommend this tour, which of course ends in the tea shop were I’m sure you will walk out with a least one box of tea.

After our tour of Celestial Seasonings we headed down to Pearl Street Mall.

  

We enjoyed three hours wandering around people watching and watching buskers perform.

Admiring the scenery.

The Boulder Court House

I can’t resist a flower picture 🙂

This fellow was pretty talented! He is making a picture, on the water falling over the rock, out of leaves … it really was amazing.

Having the best pizza ever for lunch … such a light tasty crust on their pizzas.

And finally, since we still had an hour of parking left, a stop at Starbucks which meant a latte for me and fast Wi-Fi for hubby 🙂

As we headed back to Maxx the truck somehow veered in Golden, CO and we ended up making another stop but I will save that for tomorrow.

Until next time …

Goodbye Wyoming

Our visit to Wyoming was to short! There was so much we would have liked to do such as the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park but we didn’t want to deal with snow. We will make a trip down to those areas in the summer when we can fully enjoy what they have to offer.

We left Casper early because we wanted to get into our RV Park in Denver before rush hour traffic hit. The first forty-five minutes of our drive was a continuation of the Wyoming topography we had yesterday.

 As we got closer to the southeastern part of the state we started to see more leafy trees and greener grass, which was a nice change from the dry boring topography we had been driving through.

We loved the red road sections of I-25, they were very smooth unlike the concrete sections of an interstate.

I-25 gets a lot of wind, which causes blowing snow in the winter, this was very evident by all the wind/snow fences along the sides of the highway. You can see a fence section in the picture below along with some newly planted trees. All along our travels through Wyoming there were new sections of planted trees, which we think are intended to grow up and be future wind/snow breaks.

So am I the only one that thinks this is the stupidest thing ever? We stopped at a rest stop along I-25, near mile marker 90, in Wyoming and they stated they had free Wi-Fi. Great! We had been without cell service since Wednesday morning and I really wanted to check my emails and make sure everything was okay at home, so I go to log in. It turns out they want all your personal information and to make sure they get it, you must enter your email address or cell phone number and they will email or text you the password …. Are you kidding me? If I had access to either of those I wouldn’t need your stupid Wi-Fi!!! Okay I’m over it, thanks for letting me vent 🙂

When we were a half hour from our chosen campground in Denver I called just to confirm they had room. We don’t like to make reservations in advance because we want the flexibility to change our mind. The only time we have made reservations in advance was for sites on the Florida Keys and the only time we got caught not having a reservation was in Napa, CA. So I was shocked when I called our chosen RV Park and was told there was “no room at the inn” and when I asked if they could recommend somewhere else the gentleman, very apologetically, told me he thought everywhere in the area would be fully booked!

Now that wasn’t good! The main reason I added Denver to our travels was because hubby wanted to tour the Blue Moon Brewing Co., at Coors Field and I really wanted to go to Boulder, CO. I became interested in Boulder after reading the Alan Gregory (who lived in Boulder) series by the author Stephen White.

Hubby turned off I-25 at the next exit where there was a large shopping mall. We were able to park at the back of the lot and found a restaurant, with Wi-Fi, where we could have lunch and start making phone calls to find an RV Park. We were not having any luck until hubby tripped across the Jefferson Country Fairgrounds. Success! They were able to put us into a 50 amp site tonight and tomorrow, as long as we were willing, we could move to a 30 amp site for two nights … yes we were willing!

When we were in Napa and unable to get into the RV Park we had originally chosen we lucked out and found an even better park for $20.00 less a night, and the same thing happened here. The original park I had chosen was $50.00 a night, and the Fairground was $40.00 for the first night and $30.00 for the next two nights. It is a very well maintained park, all the sites are paved and have strong free WiFi, but they are close together. That really didn’t matter to us since we are going to be out visiting the area not sitting outside the RV.

Until next time …