Monthly Archives: July 2016

What a Trip

I’ve been too busy having fun on this “business” trip to write anything. There are few things more fun than hanging out with good folks and experiencing new things. Only one couple in the group has been here before, so all of us are seeing these sights for the first time together.

Yesterday we drove the Icefields Parkway and rode out onto the Athabasca Glacier in one of the giant Ice Explorer vehicles, then we went back to Banff and ate dinner at the top of a mountain (ski lift access only). We saw a mama bear with three cubs and a gigantic gray wolf. The wolf was next to a cycling path. Meals on wheels.

It was about 15 degrees. We didn’t stay out there for long.
A little warmer up here with the sunshine

Not surprisingly, it was cold both on the glacier and on top of the mountain. The scenery was astonishing. When we got off the ski lift they offered us champagne and mimosas. Our group of agents and spouses seemed to enjoy the day every bit as much as we did.

The Rockies are not as tall here as they are in Colorado, but they are much steeper. The plains and valleys near the mountains are at much lower elevation than in Colorado, so the mountains here are simply majestic.

We finished up the trip tonight with a cookout and shindig. I never thought of Canada as a place for barbecue, but the province of Alberta is basically the Texas of Canada. We had a live band playing for us tonight, and Peggy and I got to teach our Louisiana friends the “Cotton-eyed Joe” — once we got over the shock of discovering that not everyone in Louisiana knows how to do the Cotton-eyed Joe. Stepped in what?

We are going back to Louisiana tomorrow. We are not quite sure what we are going to find when we return because of the shootings that occurred there this week. But we are glad to be going home. And we are glad we were here!

Until next time, eh?

The only appropriate beer for our last evening

Lord, have mercy

Today the unthinkable happened in my city.

While folks were in church this morning, a gunman lured police officers to a convenience store right around the corner and then ambushed them. At least three officers have been killed responding to the call of duty, a phony call orchestrated to trap them. One of them apparently died trying to rescue a fellow officer who had been shot by this villain.

A villain who isn’t even from Baton Rouge; he just came here to kill cops.

He thought he had the right because of an incident that happened here a couple of weeks ago and has rightfully inflamed those who want racial equality and justice in our city. But none of those people set up a trap to take these men away from their families. In an alleged response to racial injustice, one of the officers this maniac killed is an African-American man. The hero who lost his life trying to save his brother officer. A brother officer who was not African-American.

I lived in this city as a boy, as a college student and now as a middle-aged man. I know this city has problems. I also know that this city has people in it who can solve those problems and are willing to work to do so.

Except a murderer came from outside this city and tried to make things worse.

God willing, I don’t think it’s going to work. Lord, please have mercy on Baton Rouge and send Your peace to our city. I pray that the incidents of July 5 and July 17, 2016 will never be the events that define Baton Rouge.

Amen.

O Canada!

I have never been to Canada before. Once I went from Detroit over into Windsor, Ontario, but that doesn’t really count. I fully realize Canada is larger than the United States and seeing one part of Canada is not seeing Canada, but what a beautiful place!

We flew into Calgary today and then rode from Calgary to Lake Louise in the rain. The mountains were beautiful, but we just came from Colorado so we were already in the Rockies. Then the car pulled up to the hotel at Lake Louise.

We walked to the front desk to check in, got our keys quickly and headed to our room. The first event of this business trip was taking place in a couple of hours so we wanted to get settled in as quickly as possible. When we got to the room the cleaning crew had left the curtains open. Good call…

The view from our hotel room

It looks like a postcard but that picture was taken from our room. We stepped out on the balcony and took this one for good measure.

I have never seen water that color. Anywhere. And I have seen some water.

We have to get ready to go to dinner. Then we will come back to our room and wait until daylight so we can look at this again. Then we’ll go exploring. But for now, wow.

Layover

We were in Colorado Springs until Thursday and then had to fly to Calgary on Saturday. It didn’t make any sense to me to fly back to Baton Rouge and then fly to Calgary, so we had a layover. We rented a car for a few days and drove to Keystone to spend two days with our friends. It doesn’t hurt that they have a washer and dryer, either.

We have been friends with Jim and Cindy for many years, and we stay in their place each summer when we come to Colorado for vacation. Sometimes fate intervenes and allows us to be up here when they are. We take advantage of that whenever we can.

Two days isn’t a lot of time for sightseeing, but that is the advantage of coming to a place we already know. We were able to jam everything that we wanted to do into these two days, especially since the weather was cooperative. We rode bikes, we hiked, but mostly we spent time with great friends that we just don’t get to see enough of since we moved away from Katy.

Our trip back to Keystone for vacation in a couple of weeks will be more complete because we got to see Jim and Cindy now.

I always say there is nothing better than being in a place you love with people you love. This layover was living proof of that.

Bike ride followed by a little lunch and live music
Kindred spirits

Head for the Mountains

Peggy and I go to the mountains each summer, but this year we are experiencing an embarrassment of riches. Our personal and work lives coincided to give us three (almost)consecutive weeks in the high country this year.

We are currently in Colorado Springs for a work event. This is followed by a trip to Lake Louise for another work outing. Then our traditional trip to Keystone for vacation. Through nothing other than kismet the three trips are back-to-back. We left Baton Rouge on Monday and will basically be back on August 5 — we will be home for a few days to wash clothes and pack before we leave for vacation.

Colorado Springs is beautiful and the weather is pretty hard to beat for July, especially compared to Louisiana at this time of year. We are attending a retreat for the Board of Directors of my company, so it is a work trip. We have meetings each morning and then events with the Board in the afternoon or evening. Before I joined the company spouses did not come along on this trip. I asked if Peggy could come with us as long as I paid for her to travel, and next thing you know spouses were invited on the trip. You never get anything unless you ask.

Last night we went to a dinner at Seven Falls, and tonight we finished up with a cookout at a dude ranch. Both places were amazing and totally different. We were with great folks in a beautiful setting. This is work?

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.

Girl knows how to wear a hat. Must be all that rodeo time in Houston…
Seven Falls

Family Affair

I have written before that Peggy and I go to Colorado every summer. We usually go right around our anniversary, but sometimes the calendar conspires to make us go a little earlier or a little later. Today, a memory popped up from a trip we made five years ago. That year we had to go early in July because of work obligations and because it was a very busy summer.

We have asked my brother and his wife to join us in Colorado at least twenty times over the years. One of the reasons this particular memory is meaningful is that is the year they finally took us up on the offer. And I am guessing they were pretty excited about it because they actually beat us to the condo on the day we arrived. Peggy and I walked around the corner and found them sitting outside in the sunshine and cool afternoon enjoying a beer. It was a great start to the trip.

We took them all the places we love to go when we are in Colorado. They aren’t particularly comfortable on bicycles, so Peggy and I did the downhill bike ride on the day they played golf. Since we were there earlier than usual there was a little more rain than we typically encounter, but the day they played golf was beautiful.

The two pictures we have to take every time we go to Colorado are at Sapphire Point and at the Continental Divide (we usually hit it on Loveland Pass, though sometimes the photo is at Hoosier Pass). That year we took one of my all-time favorite pictures. It is a favorite for a couple of different reasons. Here is the picture:

I really was there. I promise!

I laughed this morning when this memory came up, and I laugh every time I see this picture. Why? Because it looks like I was photoshopped into the photograph. It is a great picture of everyone, but it looks like I wasn’t really there. And Peggy and I have what she calls our witness protection look going since we forgot to take off our sunglasses.

The other reason I love this picture so much is the amount of snow still on the peaks. We rarely see this much snow when we make the trip, so this was a particular treat.

And on that same day Peggy and I got our obligatory Sapphire Point picture. We even had someone with us to take it — frequently you have to ask another visitor to take it for you.

On the wall instead of on the rocks

It was a great trip, and seeing the pictures this morning was a great memory.

Coincidentally, we are currently in Colorado Springs and will be heading over to Keystone for a couple of days later this week, so we may get to see some snow on the peaks again. 

And I will make sure it looks like I am actually in any pictures we take…