I had to visit the big city, and it was to a part that I don’t normally go past. I usually come to the city for a specific reason: the airport is there, perhaps I’ve come to buy fabric, books or food, or I’m there for a hockey game. But on this day, there I was at a former military base and I realized that the last time I was there was in 1976 (how is it even possible that this was 44 years ago?). I had come to the city for a professional meeting, and my brother was stationed there for a school.
My brother lived in a barracks just like this one (if not this very one). It is currently in use as offices, and is being overshadowed by the massive construction going on nearby.
The higher the rank, the better the house. My brother started out as your average private, and ended up a Master Sergeant.
But the base was de-commissioned in 1999, and is now a medical hub for the area. And of course the building continues.
As soon as one section is up, they add another bit.
I do love to capture reflections, all the wonky lines mirrored against the rigid forms of modern construction. And I hope this area retains something of the spirit of the wonky ghost lines of soldiers who trained here in the long ago past.
I had gone across town to an actual meeting and was wending my way home, when I noticed that there was one of the last farmer’s markets of the year going on. There wasn’t much in the way of produce, but there were the essentials: coffee, butter and dairy, bread and baked goods, all from local tiny businesses. It wasn’t very late, but the sun was already setting, reminding us that summer is going fast.
And of course there was a bit of the local music scene there as well. As long as one plays for free, there is always a place to perform. But enough of this, I had to rush home.
Because I had left my car in a parking lot as the new key didn’t work, and I was in race to pick it up before the night set in. I was hiking across the park as a shortcut to my destination (which is a fairly bad idea except on the trails). Yet it was a beautiful night. One can see the line of cottonwoods and mountain ash that grow along a stream changing into their fall colors. This gives one yet another sign, summer is really over.
When I go to the pub, as it is imported from England, everything is quaint and vintage (even the new bits). But on this night I was not off to the pub, it was ’round to the bar with some like minded friends to talk politics. And a proper bar needs some neon signs (sadly, bar stools have been outlawed).
I loved that they had hung these two signs together, Coors, a Colorado beer, with it’s triangular indication of mountains and a triangular piece of neon pizza. And the pizza from this bar is freshly made to order and quite good so it’s an appropriate indicator.
I suppose this sign appeals to the patriot opposed to them there foreign beers. I was born in the shadow of their brewery, and have perhaps drank my share of this product when I was younger, but I can’t say that this is my favorite today. (I do like me a foreign beer).
Any bar has to have sports memorabilia, because presumably beer is the beverage of choice for sports fans. I am not a football fan (or a Bud Light fan), but this is a rather attractive bit of neon.
So one of the other breweries made in the state had this lighted sign supporting the ice hockey team. It’s readable, but doesn’t have the minimalist charm of the neon signs. I don’t suppose that any of these signs influence a person to try their wares, but it wouldn’t be a proper bar without them.
The equinox is here, even though it hardly seems like there was a proper summer. It’s the official birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins (and others), so a Happy Hobbit Day to you all. And here are the first signs of fall.
The first of the scrub oak leaves are turning, next, those traitors will exit the trees and fall in the driveway, just waiting for me to tidy up (it might be a long wait).
There are Virginia creeper vines by the front sidewalk. And they live up to their name by their gradual attempt to take over everything. These ones by the rocks have turned yellow, a sure harbinger of what’s to come.
This bit of creeper has climbed up into the pine where it makes a nice contrast to the green (I did mention that this stuff is unstoppable).
The trees across the street are losing their leaves and soon the wind will bring them to my driveway also. I suppose that it is comforting that the season is changing, perhaps this year will be over before we know it. And we can move on to the uncertainty of next year.
I like the variety of signs shopkeepers choose to advertise their business. Who wouldn’t want to eat at a place frequented by a sheep (or is it a goat?). The hand-written notice on the window lets one know that they are open.
I also like inadvertent signs, like this bit of graffitti. Perhaps “Tents” is a band, or is it just an enigmatic sticker someone made? I don’t know, but someone else with a marker was compelled to answer.
Then there are the ancient signs, faded, but faintly visible still. I have no idea when this business was here, it’s been a bar for the past 30 years or so.
This sign was a lovely invitation to enter (or at least it was those many years ago when it was first put up). Gadgets! Gizmos! and Electronics! Just the sort of place to offer a vision of the future, now it seems incredibly quaint. But it is still here to remind us of another time.
That brings us to the present, and the Alien in the shop window. Safely behind glass, one hopes that this is not a sign of the times. Or maybe it is.
I had been invited out for tea on Sunday, and as luck would have it, it was right across the street from a city park. I had heard about the wondrous new structure that the city had added, so I decided to check it out.
Yes, the city (really the taxpayers) spent some large sum of money to install a state of the art, self cleaning, public toilet. And it has apparently become a trending item on instagram (people really spend their time looking at such things?). I will admit that this is probably as attractive a structure as possible, and it is certainly a useful addition to the park.
It makes a nice place to put one’s collection of old photos.
This building was one of the very first buildings erected in the area, but this sort of building failed to catch on, so most of the surrounding ones are brick.
There is also a bandstand in the park, and there was a dj creating music at the time. The local hippies (apparently it is still a thing) were enraptured, but not enough to start dancing.
In former times, there would be car show on this weekend, with an opportunity to admire the rides, and chat with the owners. But this year it was held as a cruising event, most of the cars just drove up and down the main drag, so one couldn’t really get a close look at all the tiny details that the owners had added. This one had parked, so I was able to run an eyeball over it’s customization. It’s a nice job (and perhaps the owner has had a little too much time on his hands).
Ultimately, I suppose the park shows that while some things change, bits of it stay the same.
It was supposed to be a hot and sunny day, perhaps the sort of day for one to stay in near an air conditioner, but it was also the start of a shop hop. (One goes to each of the shops on the list to collect a stamp, and possibly win a prize packet, but mostly it is an excuse to go shopping.) So me and my friends decided that it was a good day to head up to the shops in the north.
And the first shop on the list was in this town, which is named for the large rock formation that looms over the town like the ruins of an ancient fortress.
Later, after we had gone to three shops in the big city (spent money) and had lunch, it was time to turn around and head back home. And there on the horizon, appearing as a small blue bump is the mountain.
There is still areas of open space with farms and ranches between the cities, and now the mountain is more fully in view. (Those are fake storm clouds in the sky, it never did rain).
We’re almost home, and there is the mountain, in all it’s familiar glory.
And what exactly were we shopping for? Why quilting fabric of course, because one can never have too much fabric. These are just small bits because I plan on turning these into more face masks, some for my friends, but mostly for me. Because after all, one can’t wear the same thing day after day.
Well I had an errand that took me across town, so I thought “why not pop ’round the pub.” I hadn’t been there since Christmastime, I think. And there was a space in the tiny parking lot, surely this was a sign it was meant to be on this day.
If nothing else, the flowers are much better than the ones they have at Christmas. (Although they do spend weeks putting up a bazillion lights).
This place is a genuine pub, imported from the destruction of some neighborhood London pub. Although, in all fairness, it has been in this spot for over 50 years and it has been preserved so far from its origin.
Decorations about the place include this ancient political cartoon. My favorite of the dancing slogans is “Peace and Mealy Potatoes” which is a suitable sentiment for almost any occasion (even today).
Of course the main reason that I stop in at this place is to add to my massive collection of embroidered bees that the pub employees fling at their customers. If one is a local, one can get the special bees that they have made up for various holidays. The pub had to close on St. Patrick’s Day, so there were lots of these bees left over. There was no Space Symposium or Independence Day bees this year, but hopefully (fingers crossed) I shall be able to collect still more special bees later this year. And enjoy a pint while I’m at it.
One tends to think of one’s own neighborhood as unchanging, as change is usually bad. But unless one owns the property in question, change is almost inevitable. So here is what’s happening nearby.
Here is the just opened gas station on the corner. Besides gasoline they also sell a wide variety of snacks, some of these snacks are even healthy for one, (but not too many).
This rather fuzzy picture is from Google maps, as I never thought to document this place. It had a hot tub store on the corner, a neighborhood bar, and a tax preparation place that was only open during tax season. I don’t know if hot tubs are still popular, bars are all currently closed, and tax season is over, so I guess it had to go.
This nearby thing is going to be a giant car wash, which I suppose will be handy for keeping one’s car tidy. (Often a hopeless cause).
Also from Google maps, is this fuzzy photo of a restaurant that stood empty on this site for many years. It was originally a restaurant that sold pies, then it was an Asian buffet, then it was nothing. Someone was going to open another Asian buffet on the site, but never got around to finishing it. So this beautiful empty space was razed. Such is the path of creative destruction, as the familiar is replaced with the next new thing.
I was out and about, driving around town, when I noticed how splendid the clouds were against the blue, blue sky. So as I was somewhat nearby, I decided to drive to the overlook in one of the city parks. This land was useless for any practical purpose, so the town founder (an abolitionist, please leave his statue alone) donated this spot to the city for this park.
I love looking at clouds, but perhaps I should look more at the roads. 😉
To the north, that tiny blue bump on the horizon is Castle Rock, the next major city up the road.
The north of town. The lighter area in the middle of this picture on the mountain is a quarry.
The south end of town. This mountain has a secret (well it’s not exactly a secret) military base inside of it, that goes back a mile into the rock. There are lots of television transmitters, etc. on the top. At the foot of the mountain is an army base. The light colored blob on the right hand side of this photo is our beautiful downtown, which is the hip new place to be (depending on who one asks). In between all of these shots are the places that people live and work and go about their business. And it is actually a great place to live.