Boulder Creek Hometown Festival 2017

Two weeks ago, Labor Day Weekend in the United States, we went to the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival   Even though Labor Day marks the official end of summer, we love this festival.   First we headed to the Farmer’s Market.

Yum

Don’t these vegetables look enticing?   And, there is more.

Cheerful flowers

The flowers are beautiful.   Pappardelles, The Fine Art of Pasta, had many types of pasta available.

So many types of pasta

Makes us hungry just looking at them.   Next we saw the Big Taste Grill, a truck by Johnsonville.

Big Taste Grill by Johnsonville

This is the world’s largest touring grill.   It weighs 53,000 pounds, is 65 feet long and 6 feet wide. It can cook 750 Brats at a time, or 2,500 Brats per hour.   440,000 BTU’s are heat by propane fuel.   Since 1995 the Big Taste Grill has been raising money for charities.   The profits from this weekend are aiding victims of Hurricane Harvey that severely damaged Houston, Texas and surrounding areas.   We ducks are on the stairs, ready for Brats.   Festivals are great for kids to play.

Play area for small humans

Oh, sometimes we wish we were human.   Next we sampled ice cream.

Interesting place and delicious ice cream

We love ice cream.   What are these kids doing?

Bumper Balls

It looks like so much fun.   They can bump into each other.   Of course, it is called bumper balls. End of summer means all gardens have too many huge zucchinis.   What to do with them…  Decorate zucchinis.

Zucchini

Then race the decorated zucchinis.   You buy a zucchini and the decorations are there for you to decorate.   Wheels first.   After the zucchinis are decorated, let’s race.

And the race begins

Such fun.   Next to the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art we spotted this statue.

Near Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Just not sure how to describe it, but it certainly got our attention.   OK moms, let’s eat.   We love the Dushanbe Teahouse, also known as the Boulder Teahouse.

Let’s go in

This was a gift from Dushanbe, Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan.   The teahouse is serene, located on the banks of the Boulder Creek and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Flowers everywhere

While eating, you hardly hear any of the activities of the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival.   We ordered a Cuban sandwich and Indonesian Noodles with chicken.

Our lunch

So very tasty.   Since this is a tea house, we ordered a display tea.   This is Jasmine Bouquet, a hand tied green tea around yellow chrysanthemum and jasmine buds.

Jasmine Bouquet, a display tea

With the glass of hot water, we received the tea ball.   Drop the tea into the hot water, and soon it will sink to the bottom of the glass.   It was interesting to watch the tea ball open and the buds come into view.

Tea with buds coming into view

The display was fascinating and the tea tasted very nice.   We do like green tea, so we were very happy.   We also go to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse when there is no festival.   Isn’t the inside beautiful?

Indoor pool with Seven Beauties

When inside, don’t forget to look up.

Ceiling. Made by hand, no power tools.

We really enjoy visiting this tea house.  When in Boulder, Colorado, we hope you visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.   And don’t miss the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival the first weekend of September.

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Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Visit Roadside Attractions Near Canon City, Colorado

I, Zeb the Duck and Soapy Smith Duck, with our moms and a friend, drove southwest about 100 miles from Denver.   Visiting friends in Canon City was our purpose, but we want you to see some of what we found along the highway.   This old prison was along the side of the road.

Prospect Heights Jail 1906

Rather small.   Compare to what we saw a few miles down the road.

Supermax Prison, Colorado

This photo from Wikipedia is a federal prison in Colorado.   Often referred to SuperMax, it is believed to have the highest security of any U.S. prison.   It houses our most dangerous male prisoners.   Next we saw this giant chair.

Large rocking chair

The sign said it is 21 feet tall, 14 feet wide and weighs 9,100 pounds.   In 1990, when it was built, it was the world’s largest rocking chair.   That record no longer belongs to this chair.   The historic Apple Shed has closed, so we could not get closer to the chair.

Large rocking chair

We had to look through a fence.  We then pulled off the road at Col. Leo S. Boston War Memorial Park.

Col Leo S. Boston War Memorial Park

There are Vietnam era helicopters and jets here.    We stopped to see the Penny Project.

Penny Project

The big steel letters were made by students in the Canon City High School metal shop.   Attached to the letters are pennies.   The letters spelling “IN GOD WE TRUST” are covered with 58,272 glued on pennies, one for each American killed in the war.   Most of these pennies were minted during 1965-1971, the war’s deadliest years.

Covered with 58,272 pennies

There are plans to expand this War Memorial Park.  Our next, and last stop, was to see Herkimer, the World’s Largest Beetle.

Herkimer, The World’s Largest Beetle

Herkimer was built in the mid 1950’s and is a monster sized West Indian Hercules Beetle.   Herkimer’s purpose is to advertise the May Museum of the Tropics.

May Museum of the Tropics

The May Museum contains many preserved unusual and rare insects.   As you drive the roads of the United States watch for unusual things.   We learn of most items from http://www.RoadsideAmerica.com   You may find this site interesting also.   Please tell us if you know of other interesting roadside art.

Dogs in the Pubic Swimming Pool

We can’t believe it!   Dogs are in the swimming pool near us.

Young boy and dog in falling water

This swimming pool and park are near our house.   Usually we see many children in the pool, but today dogs are welcome here.   Our public school began classes on Thursday.   Friday was the last day for regular season swimming in the pool.   Saturday, the pool was open to humans and their dogs.   Dogs were allowed in the pool with a human, for two hours.

Lots of dogs in here

And many dogs enjoyed the pool.   We ducks did not go into the pool, but we did look through the fence.

Dogs of various sizes

See the dogs of all sizes and colors.   And they are going in the pool.   This fellow loves swimming with a frisbee.

Swimming with a pink frisbee

Maybe this dog needed a little persuasion to go in the water.

Hold me dad

He seems very happy with his human.   These two love to swim.

Born to swim

Maybe they were here last year.   When the two hours were finished, the dogs and families left the pool.

No problems when it is time to leave.

We saw many wet, happy dogs today.   Now the pool has been cleaned, drained and covered, waiting for next summer.

Solar Eclipse Today, August 21, 2017

Today is the much anticipated total solar eclipse across much of the United States.   In Denver we will have 92% of the sun blocked by the moon.   Many humans from Colorado are going to Casper, Wyoming and Lincoln, Nebraska to experience the total eclipse.   Our humans decided to stay home and view our 92% eclipse.   We ducks are ready.

Colorado Traveling Ducks ready to watch solar eclipse

While looking at the sun we are to wear special glasses.   If we don’t wear these glasses we risk permanent eye damage and even blindness.   When looking through these glasses, everything is black.   Except, looking at the sun, a yellow circle is visible.   It is really interesting to experiment with these glasses.   Our largest relative, Big Duck from Grand Lake, Colorado thought he was ready to watch the eclipse.

Big Duck cannot watch with normal sunglasses.

But, he is not ready.   Ordinary sun glasses do not offer enough eye protection.   We will watch the moon gradually cover most of the sun from our backyard.   We have invited a few human friends to join us and we will have food in crockpots to make the watching fun and more social. Also, to commemorate the total solar eclipse, the United States Post Office has issued a special postage stamp.   When the temperature is cooler, below 84.2 degrees F, or 29 degrees C, you see the total eclipse.  It was too hot outside when we took these photos, so this total eclipse was retaken at night, when it was cooler.

Postage stamp shows total solar eclipse

Warm the stamp, usually by putting your thumb on it, the picture changes from a solar eclipse to an image of the moon.

Postage stamp photo turns to image of moon

On the back of these sheet of stamps you can see the path of the total eclipse across the United States.

Path of total eclipse across the United States, August 21, 2017

The change occurs because of thermochromic ink.   This ink was developed and produced by Cromatic Technologies, Inc in nearby Colorado Springs, Colorado.   The ink is used for fun.   And we think that this stamp is fun.   It has been used by Coors Brewery, a local beer company. Coors has merger with Miller Brewery, so not so local now.   Cans of Coors Light use this ink to have the mountains on the can turn blue when the beer is cold.   In Denver the moon begins covering the sun, the beginning of the eclipse at 10:23 a.m., peak coverage at 11:47 a.m., and the moon has cleared the sun at 1:14 p.m.   If you live in the United States, we hope you have your eclipse glasses and watch the eclipse.   Of course, we do not want a cloudy sky.

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Travel to Salida, Colorado

We, Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck, convinced mom to get in the car and head to Salida, Colorado. Approaching Salida, we first saw a tower.   It is a smokestack from a smelter.   A truck just drove past.   There is a lot of dust now.

Smelter Smokestack by dusty road

Smelter Smokestack by dusty road

Smelting is a way to separate metal from its native ore, using heat.   This smelter smokestack is 365 feet tall.   The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is 179 feet tall.   The Colorado State Capitol Building is 272 feet tall.   This smokestack is taller, but shorter than the Washington Monument which is 555 feet tall.   This smokestack was placed on the National Register of Historic Places January 11, 1976.   This shovel is from the mining days also.

Old shovel previously used. We could not even reach the bottom.

Old shovel previously used. We could not even reach the bottom.

This building and equipment were also used in mining.

Used in previous mining expeditions

Used in previous mining operations

Salida, like many towns in Colorado,  was first settled by miners.   They found gold, silver, copper and iron ore.   The Arkansas River is important to Salida today, as it was years ago.   We visited the Riverside Park and Riverwalk.

Arkansas River

Arkansas River

There is an outdoor climbing wall here.

Our first climbing wall

Our first climbing wall

We ducks are climbing the wall, but it is hard for us.  We waited here to see a performance, but nothing was scheduled for the day we visited.

We are waiting, but no performance today

We are waiting, but no performance today

Near the river, we noticed the Boathouse Restaurant on the left.

Arkansas River

Arkansas River

Too bad we already ate, but next time we will know to wait and eat here.  Isn’t this a great location?   Here is an old, historic caboose.

Caboose formerly used in Salida

Caboose formerly used in Salida

Caboose 0576 was built in the late 1880s.   Donated to the City of Salida by Terry Gill and his family, this caboose was purchased at auction by his grandfather after World War II, when the narrow gauge railroad operations shut down in Salida.   For years, the caboose was in his backyard and used as the kids clubhouse.   This caboose was used for years on trains running through Salida.   Looking down main street, we liked the old brick buildings and the mountains behind the town.

Main street in Salida, Colorado

Main street in Salida, Colorado

We visited so many unusual shops.   This antique shop has a great window display.

Great window display

Great window display

We did do too much shopping at the Dragonfly Shop, but it made the humans smile.   A corner shop, with a large parking lot, featured these metal horses.

Metal Horses

Metal Horses

Nearby we tried sitting on some street art.

Street art. Decorated by Colorado Traveling Ducks

Street art. Decorated by Colorado Traveling Ducks

This is an interesting animal, but we small ducks did not want to sit on it.

He is looking at us and we are scared. Humans?

He is looking at us and we are scared. Humans?

The humans said we would be safe next to the animal.   Guess they were right, we are still together and not stepped on.   The Arkansas River is beautiful and many humans want to travel and play on the river.   Riverboat Works is the place to get boats.

Riverboat Works

Riverboat Works

There are so many kinds and such bright colors for the boats.  Sometimes we wish we were humans and could buy a river boat.   Our last view of Salida’s Arkansas River.

Arkansas River

Arkansas River

We definitely want to return to Salida, Colorado.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park’s South Rim with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Into the Black Canyon today.   Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck are eager.   Let’s go!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

We are just inside this national park.  The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is in western Colorado, near the towns of Montrose and Gunnison.   Today we are driving around the South Rim.   The first overlook is Tomichi Point.

Tomichi Point

Tomichi Point

This is a stunning first view.   We are going to like it here.   Let’s go to the Visitor’s Center.   We always do, but wait, from the Visitor’s Center we see something behind the building.

Let's walk on that path

Let’s walk on that path

Mom, let’s take that path, now. Look at these rock walls of the Black Canyon.

Very Steep

Very Steep

So, steep!   Looking behind us and up, but where is the Visitor’s Center?

Looking up to Visitor's Center

Looking up to Visitor’s Center

Here it is.

Looking up to Visitor's Center

Looking up to Visitor’s Center

As always, there was great information inside.   After browsing, and some purchasing, we return to the car, driving along the South Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.   The Gunnison is the name of the river that carved this canyon.   From Pulpit Rock Overlook, the first of many overlooks after the Visitor’s Center, we have a rare glimpse of the mighty Gunnison River, knifing its way through the canyon.

Pulpit Point with Gunnison River below

Pulpit Point with Gunnison River below

The Gunnison River cuts through the rock at a rate of 1 inch per century.   The Gunnison River has been carving this canyon for 2 million years.  And it is still carving. The river has a very steep gradient with an average fall of 95 feet per mile.   This gives the Gunnison River the energy needed to cut downward, deepening the canyon faster than any other kind of erosion can widen the canyon.  The next pull off is named Cross Fissures.

Cross Fissures Lookout

Cross Fissures Lookout

We love looking at this canyon.   We think these are all “Wow Views”.   Next stop is Rock Point Lookout.

Rock Point Lookout

Rock Point Lookout

From here there were so many more Wow Views.   Driving along the South Rim, we stopped at Devil’s Overlook.

Devil's Overlook

Devil’s Overlook

We wanted you to know that there are fences at these lookout points to prevent humans and ducks from falling.   Also there are many signs reminding us not to throw rocks into the canyon and river.   There are hiking trails below and we would not want to injure, or scare, any hikers.   This park is for adventure hiking and enjoying the magnificence of nature–not for getting hit with rocks.  Next stop was at Chasm View.   Here we are about 1,100 feet from the North Rim of the Black Canyon, but it is an 80 mile drive to get there.

Chasm View

Chasm View

Vehicles drive around the canyon and much of the entire area, ensuring the preservation of the area.   So, here the canyon is 1,100 feet wide and 1,800 feet deep.   The narrow slit in the earth, our canyon, does not receive much sunshine at the bottom.   But it sure makes for Wow Views and Wow Moments.   We love the effect.  The next, and last stop we will show you is the Painted Wall.

Painted Wall

Painted Wall

The US National Park Service describes it a “a 2,250 foot sheer cliff decorated with stripes and flourishes of pink and white crystalline pegmatite, an extrusion of magma that seeped into cracks and hardened.”  We love this.   Mom now says that if she were young again, she would be a geologist.   We think this stuff is fascinating.      A couple years ago we visited the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.   That post with photos was published November 17, 2014, if you care to see more of this canyon.   Seeing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison provides plenty of Wow Views.

Steep wall of the Black Canyon

Steep wall of the Black Canyon

You will love this National Park.   Hopefully you will visit soon.

 

Colorado National Monument–So Close to I-70

A few miles south of I-70 in Western Colorado, and we were in a canyon.   Today, Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck experienced Colorado National Monument.

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

We are on the Redlands Fault now.   Between 40 million and 70 million years ago, the earth moved.   Subsequent erosion produced this, the Colorado National Monument.   The canyon wall is gorgeous.

Canyon wall

Canyon wall

Nature is so powerful.   This balancing rock fascinates the Colorado Traveling Ducks.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

Around another curve and we stop to enjoy Fruita Canyon.

Fruita Canyon

Fruita Canyon

We admire these Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep as they stroll along the road.

Young Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Young Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

They are within a foot of our car.   Erosion has formed Independence Monument.

Independence Monument

Independence Monument

Amazing.   In this canyon we see the “Coke Ovens”.   Erosion shaped some of the rock into the domed shape of Coke Ovens.

Like Coke Ovens

Like Coke Ovens

Real Coke Ovens are used to transform coal into coke, a fuel that produces little or no gas when burned.   Colorado has coal mines, and coke ovens were frequently used.   Another beautiful view here in Monument Canyon.

Monument Canyon

Monument Canyon

Looking at a canyon wall, we ducks see so many places for nests and dens for animals.

So many possible homes for animals

So many possible homes for animals

Now, in the Upper Ute Canyon we stop to admire another wonderful view.

Upper Ute Canyon

Upper Ute Canyon

But wait—mom, where are we?   It seems that there is only air under our resting place.

What are we on?

What are we on?

The wind is calm now, but you know that wind comes up quickly in the mountains and canyons.   We think you should get us off this ledge.  OK, we are now safely back in our traveling bag.   Driving on this 23 mile road through Colorado National Monument, we went through three tunnels like this one.

Tunnel

Tunnel

We like tunnels, mountains and canyons.   There is so much more to see here and so many trails to hike.    We hope  you stop here when you are on Western Colorado’s I-70 near Grand Junction.   When you see the sign for Colorado National Monument, try to spend a couple hours or a couple days exploring here.   It is beautiful.