Monday, April 14, 2014

Taxes are finally done

My taxes anyhow, someone else files an extension but it's probably more of programing vs. need. This is the first time in an unknown number of years I'm due a refund. I thought that was pretty kind of them since they took over $40,000.
The majority of my being can't stand that they take money from me without giving me a say in what happens with it. Sure, they pretend to give me a say every 2 years with a single vote but I know it's just a lie. I'm also fortunate that the higher the amount they take equals the more money I make and get to take home (not exactly but I get it).

But who will build the roads.....

Saturday morning I went for a run with a friend and the ranger was posted at a closed section and he reminded us the closed section was... well closed. We said thanks and watched dozens of bikes and hikers go up the closed route.

An article in the paper last week talked about the area, it  would remained closed. They are trying to get a $250,000 grant for the repairs before they work on it and that it was unstable and closed from the flooding last fall. This was a lie, it's been closed for almost 2 years, to motorized vehicles, and now it's closed to bikes and people as well.

During our run, we did see new signs (brand new tax money funded signs) that say "road closed to motor vehicles", and it's a good thing, you never know when a vehicle will smash down the large metal padlocked gates and drive up the road to view these signs and then turn around in fear.

This was a picture from Friday evening, Saturday was the same. We spent time doing some yard chores and house chores, everything is looking really good for so early in spring. My neighbors all have brown/no grass (or weeds) but for us a healthy yard is important to our sanity.

This is from Sunday when we told him no hiking during a blizzard. We sure do love his expressions. We spent the day cleaning guns and I finished one book and then read another. I wanted to watch game of thrones but wasn't in the mood. This morning I've already seen the spoilers, but whatever, I'm sure it will still be very good.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

911 call? Welcome to my life, a story.

I had a brilliant idea, I would drive to a spot where Rock and I can hike, and only have to deal with people and dogs for a distance of .65 miles (I know a lot of odd distances from running and needing to know how far from one trail to another).

This was a great idea. Those people who had off leash dogs responded to a simple whistle and point, we were in heaven. 2 creek crossings for Rock to splash in and drink out of, and we are miles from the nearest person.
Rock with his 'human' shadow overlooking the big 'city'
After a few miles we turned around for the downhill portion. You might think this is easy but I can only walk so fast and he has a lot of torque. We hit the home stretch, .75 miles to go when a gunshot echo's in the area. We stop, look around and as we take a few feet forward, rocks come crashing down around us. We haul butt back to a safe spot and I see 3 people on a slope above the trail:
They were tossing rocks down. One of them was halfway down trying to get down safely while his buddies tumbled rocks and snowballs down the slope. Several rocks tumbled by us, within 10 feet, before we had backed up.

The slope they were on is to the left in the picture, to the right is another slope that leads to a few houses. Guess where a lot of the rocks were going... yup, down into someones yard.
Impact marks from some of the rocks. Just think what would have happened if we had gotten hit. The one guy who was coming down (and not very gracefully) finally made it down and took off down the road. I was on the phone giving out descriptions of the perps to city and county dispatch at the same time (they weren't sure who should respond, so I h ad to fill them in on that too). Once the perps at the top stopped with the rocks, and climbed up and over the ridge Rock and I  hauled ass to catch the perp who had climbed/slid/tumbled down.
Rock and I see our target, hard to miss his pink shirt.
We had to run hard and fast to catch up, we were already exhausted and everyone made way for us without question. Maybe it was me, maybe Rock, for sure a big guy running with a big dog with a large handgun on his hip. Works like a charm. I was thankful for all the cardio, working out when I didn't want to and endurance training.
The guy in the hat ended up being the homeowner (who had fired his pistol into his backstop in hopes they would stop. I took this picture in case the kid got into a car and drove away. The sherifs office responded fast and it ended up being 8 kids in total that were involved. I only could pick out 2 that I saw actually tossing things and pink shirt guy ended up with no charges since I never saw him do anything but panic for his life.
As the deputy was walking back to me and the homeowner, I figured the kids learned the lesson and wouldn't do that kind of crap again. Then one of them, one who I picked out and described to the dispatcher as tossing rocks, looked over and smiled at me shaking his head. Foolish, there isn't anyone on this planet who can intimidate or scare me anymore.

The deputy told me that we would all go in front of the DA, my word against theirs (they were climbing up and the rocks just came lose...). I said good, I'll see them in court, I'm tired of people doing whatever they want without thought of the consequences. Reckless endangerment, class 3 misdemeanor, and while it might get dismissed it's proving a point. The DA might be surprised when I show him these, plus many more photo's. The deputy will interview all of the kids again, separately over the next 2 days (and since they were all apparently minors, in front of their parents) to see if the story changes. Then he will let me know when to be in court. I'll be there.

Those 11 or so rocks in the flat area weren't there when we walked up, and we watched/avoided them all come down. They knew people were down there, pink shirt guy yelled up telling them I was on the phone watching them (thats when they bailed out). I'm hoping they get community service at least.

Apparently anywhere I go (city to county to national forest in this case), trouble finds me. Situational awareness, patience and an aggressive demeanor. Thanks for teaching me that Dad.
Rock said zzzzzzzzzzzzzz, after all that.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Property scouting report, picture time!

Early to bed, early to rise and then go take care of the house and dog sitting before heading out to look over a few properties.

Fresh snow, especially the peaks. Property C is left 8 miles, property A is to the right 7 miles, property B is behind and right 3 miles.

Property A:
Positive: 17 acres, plenty of living space (the most of all 3), amazing views, plenty of sun, price range is near perfect.

Negative: Close to another house, 17 acres is mainly the small mountain and that's mainly unusable, not many tall trees, need new carpet, horrible soil quality (very high desert).
 The house is almost dead center in this picture.
Close up, the one we were thinking about is in the middle, the one to the lower right is a neighbor.
This is from the road (where the house photo's were taken), it's pretty amazing. Didn't bother calling the realtor to see if we could walk around the property, but damn... the view.

Property B:
Positive: 5 acres, we loved the muddy dirt road to get there, it's passive solar heating/cooling, lot's of tree's, didn't seem to need any work at all.

Negative: There is a large cabin 40 feet away (could be solved with a fence), soil quality is horrible, no view, not much sun (what good is passive solar), $40k more than property A.
 Blue door... I know, but everyone has their own idea of what looks good.
You can see it's a lot of bad soil, but that can be dealt with. This spot seemed to have the most sun although we don't know how the property is shaped. We called the realtor to see if we could walk around the property but didn't get an answer.

Property C:
Positive: Not 1 tire track or footprint for over a mile, 16 acres, tall tree's, a small view looking North, a few hundred feet south of the driveway there are huge fields and tree's all over ($600k+ properties if available at all), a wildlife preserve with tame elk, obviously plenty of water with the aspen tree's.

Negative: Can't clean up your place when you list it for sale huh.... The hole in the side with a rope and handwritten in marker: pull rope to ring bell, seemed junky on the property with all kinds of "art" (a 5 foot wooden cross with a horrible attempt at a crucified Jesus, and we think the property is a steep drop down the hillside. Also $40k more than property A (after it was 'reduced').
 Ok, it's taller than 5 feet, just left of center. Odd but whatever, the tree's are nice and you can see the roof of the 'artists shed'
 You enter the top of the A frame, and descend to the main level. The interior shots online were nice, it just needs a lot of cleanup. The artist shed would probably become a woodshed, the pine tree's would have to be cut down, way to close to the house.
This is the left side of the house, snow doesn't count but could have cleaned it up knowing it's for sale. The owners live an hour North of Denver. The realtor had her cell phone number on the sign and answered the phone, giving us permission to walk around. She never asked my name, nor asked if I was interested in the place.

That's 2 weeks of trying to get realtors to contact us, give us information via email and phone calls and we only had 1 real contact... she hung up before I could have a conversation. Had someone bothered to contact me before our trip, I would have scheduled showings at all 3 places. Instead we have to form opinions without all the information.

We both like property B, but for the same money we would rather get the solitude and location of property C if the lot isn't a large ravine.
The views make property A amazing, paying taxes on unusable and potentially rockslide ridden land made it fall almost completely off the radar.
We want to walk the property on all 3 (grants C would be hard for another month or more but it will probably be for sale still). If we can get a realtor to do something. We don't really want to build but in 6 months we will see how that might change.

 Blueberry muffins for the 'BBQ' group meeting and to snack on this week.
Handsome Rock checking for pesky mutant bicycle zombies.... he really goes bat-shit crazy when he see's one. It was overcast and cold, 5 miles without seeing anyone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Expectations set way too high

I've come to realize that we set our expectations way too high. Being a pessimist, I'm supposed to be pleasantly surprised all the time, that's what being a pessimist is all about... right?

I figured if I was an optimist, I would be disappointed all the time, so why set myself up for failure. I'm not even talking about big things. If I wasn't a pessimist, I would have been sad that my cupcakes got smashed in the front ATV bag.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised they didn't get smashed more, and happy still tasted like horrible sweet fake goodness. For the record, I still tried to eat the cake before the frosting but it was difficult.

Is the bar too high? I guess so, but I'm not sure how to lower it.

I think people should generally obey the law, especially when it comes to the possible safety of others, like:
Don't shoot in a city park, across the road
Don't hit your golf balls over the edge of cliffs, on a roadside, when there is another road below you as well as hiking trails
Don't keep your dog off leash in a city park
Stop texting and driving

How about things like:
The mail delivery person should be able to push the mail into the mail slot all the way so it can't be grabbed by anyone walking by the box.
Cashiers should be able to count my change back, correctly, and not drop a lump of change and the receipt in my hand all at once.
The vending machine at work should always be stocked with bottled water so employees don't take the free bottles reserved for the paying customers.

Apparently the expectation bar was set so high a 777 could fly under it.... oh wait...

The biggest pessimist mistake this week: Thinking a Real Estate agent would return an email about a property we are interested in possibly purchasing. Sure, there were a few questions in the email (gallons per minute and any restricted use on the well, heating system type and fuel source) but a simple: Looking into it, I'll get back with you shortly, thanks (for wanting to possibly business with me so I earn a lot of money for almost zero work).

I'm an optimist, and this explains everything. SONOFA!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Calling 911, spring time and cabin property.

I had the pleasure of calling 911 last night after being attacked by 2 different groups of dogs while out hiking. I didn't appreciate the scratches on my legs, hands and even arms... nor the blood oozing down my shin. I was told that if I shoot a dog that is attacking me, or my dog, I'll get in trouble for discharging a firearm within city limits. I asked if he was telling me that if I am attacked by a dog, I don't have the right to defend and protect myself or my property.... he repeated that I would get in trouble for discharging a firearm within city limits.

It's just another reminder that there is NO 'protect and serve', it's now 'show up when we can and do paperwork'. It's been almost 17 hours and still no phone call.
I tried out a new trail the other day and almost got knocked off the trail edge (only a 100 foot tumble to the bottom) by someone with 2 dogs off leash who decided it was ok to jam faces into my crotch as I tried to jog by.

We refuse to sit home and watch TV. Everywhere I go this crap happens, with or without our dog, I just want to be left alone to enjoy nature, hike with the dog or run some trails. 

Spring time in the Rockies, 70 degrees, spring in Rock's step at 5:00 pm!

Good morning, next day at 6 am!

Close to work, just wet heavy snow.
We are knee deep in property searches over the last few days. We have decided to move the timetable up a bit and are hoping to have a place by the fall. A few prospects are saved, and we might look at one this Sunday that has a nice 2br/2ba small house with 17 acres. Another favorite prospect is a 1br/1ba cabin with 2.5 acres but boxed in by national forest and has a year round large stream on the property. The price for the cabin is a lot higher than we would like, but you never know what a final price could be.

We are very excited and are looking forward to having a place to get away and a sort of retreat.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend range time

We decided to get some range time in, but with a hatred of structured shooting range we headed into the woods. Using my awesome skills, I made some target stands that were only 10% cock-eyed and crooked. Someone forgot to charge the battery for the skill saw (and that meant the saws-all) and I didn't feel like dragging the extension cord out. Good thing we have hand saws.
These target stands were nice, ended up not working out as planned, the selected location was sloped and soft causing the anchoring spikes to be short. We laid them sideways and they worked. The staple gun broke, then the packing tape somehow lost all it's stickiness. Masking tape holding targets on for the win.

After warming up we did quick draw drills on 3 targets, 2 rounds each. Speed and accuracy. I averaged about about 7 seconds from draw to last round out, all shots were on target. Distance was 35-40 feet, targets were spaced 20 feet apart in an arc.
Other drills were scanning and having someone call out what target to engage, misfires, reloads, etc. It was surprising to some how the anxiety level went up even before they started to shoot.

The AR's came out and we did the same type of drills, 5 rounds on target from a low ready or high ready position. From buzzer to last round I was around 8 seconds with an average of 14 hits out of 15 rounds fired. We did some move and shoot, untamed, and all of us were about 75% accurate here, 30 rounds (5 per target from left to right and back). Distance was 105-110 feet for the rifle shooting.

These type of drills are a lot more realistic vs. standing at a range table and being very controlled for accuracy. We are looking forward to some more range fun in a few weeks, with some harder drills already planned. Moving and shooting is the hardest, there are a lot more things to consider and try to deal with, especially when you sprint from cover to cover.

147gr 9mm JHP. This is our new carry ammo, it arrived on Saturday so we tested it out some. The kick is a little more noticeable in the M&P Shield, but the Xdm seemed the same. It's what we expected, we wanted something with a little more punch vs. the 115gr. (or lower grain) store shelf standard hollow points.
Prancing Rock, enjoying fetching, swimming and the occasional freak out when a bicycle went by. This is in reservoir one, dog swimming allowed.
Here is a view of the area where we call home. That's cheyenne mountain, home of NORAD. This photo is taken in between the two reservoirs.
Another view, this one includes the upper reservoir (taken from the north side), no entrance allowed. This is 1/4 mile away and up from the other reservoir it gets very little traffic around it so it's usually a lot more relaxing and enjoyable. I had a dog nip me while I was running on Saturday and we had an aggressive large standard poodle charge us while hiking on Sunday. The charge caused Rock to freak out and he slipped on a bank and landed on some sharp pointy sticks. Luckily no harm was done but I was beyond pissed off.
Why can't we be left alone to enjoy ourselves? Grrr.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moab, Utah adventure

It was a spur of the moment trip for April or even May that we just got back from. Sometimes just dropping everything and taking a few days for fun/adventure is the only way to go. It's also the only time work and house sitting schedules would permit the trip.

We rented a condo so we could cook, it's not only unhealthy to eat out for every meal, but it's really expensive in Moab. 2 half racks of ribs, 2 root beers = $45.00 expensive.

Flat tire #1 of 3 (low tire more like it although we had to clean a bead out on one stop). We finally realized the tire pressure we normally run was too low for the slick rock slope turns. Like good preppers, we had on board air and supplies. It felt nice to be prepared for what happened.

We also had a lot of wrenches and tools so we were able to help these cyclists who has a pedal fall out. It would have been a nasty walk out, we were really in the middle of nowhere and it would have sucked to push a bike around.

These are the typical flat rocks that the trails crossed over. We of course loved the scenery with the snow covered mountains in the distance.

Retro helmet at a snack and water break.


Looking over the city of Moab, a 3+ thousand foot drop in front of me. I may have dressed like batman but I didn't try to fly.

Scenery #1

Golden crack is normally a 6-7 hour drive with our big rigs. We made it there and back in 5, including a long lunch break.

I'm at the top of this hill, I have no fear. That would explain the wheelies and near roll overs I seemed to be doing on every trail. I blamed it on gravity not liking my 210 pound frame. I went over so far one time that I dented one of the bars that is under the rear of my seat. I'm not sure how it didn't go over (and then down the 8 foot rocky ledge I was teetering on).

More scenery, cliffs and ledges everywhere.

and more scenery with really cool rock surfaces

I wanted to watch some huge rocks crash down, but settled for a drive by instead. The rocks that did fall at other times would send shards out for hundreds of feet, it all seemed so amazing to just drive around and see it all.

even more scenery

spires (also landmarks

We had a great time, ran a total of 8 trails and never got lost. We made sure to bring plenty of water and enough food/snacks for 2 days. One important thing we packed on the ATV's each day were shoes. If you have never walked a distance in motorcycle riding boots, then you don't know misery. There wasn't water to be seen on the trails, but since it's spring we knew all we had to do was dig down in the sand and it would make a puddle, but obviously water is a big resource you have to bring or you would be in real trouble.

The weather was cool in the morning and 70 or so in the afternoon. Sort of like the week we are supposed to have now that we are at home.