Georgetown Loop

Spencer and Rob take a closer look at the oil-fired steam engine
Spencer and Rob take a closer look at the oil-fired steam engine
After taking Dave and Ellen to see Red Rocks, we decided to head farther up the mountains, since Red Rocks was quite hot. We debated between Idaho Springs and Georgetown, and settled on Georgetown, because Clare and I wanted to look at some art studios there. We were successful in finding some nice pottery, and also found a nice place to eat lunch, which had a very nice patio facing Clear Creek.
Ellen, Meg, and Clare
Ellen, Meg, and Clare

While we were in Georgetown, it occurred to me that we had often thought about taking the Georgetown Loop train. We looked into it, and found out that there was a 1:35 train. We finished lunch at about 1:25, and arrived just in time to catch the train.
Spencer and Dave on the Georgetown train
Spencer and Dave on the Georgetown train

The train makes 2 stops – one at Silver Plume, and then one at a silver mine, where you can get a tour. We did not do the mine tour this time. We learned all sorts of facts about the train during the 60-90 minute ride. While it is only 2 miles from Georgetown to Silver Plume, there is an elevation gain of over 700 feet, which would be about a 6% grade, which is too steep for most trains. So they decided to have the train loop over itself. Even then, there are some sections which have a 4% grade, and which are very narrow. We also learned that the engine was an oil-fired steam engine, originally used in Hawaii at the sugar plantations, where they had more access to oil than coal. The track is 3 1/2 foot narrow gauge, which is cheaper to make, and allows for tighter curves, and is also narrower, which is useful in the mountains. The train currently carries about ten cars. It is actually too much load for the steam engine to handle by itself, so there is also a diesel “helper” engine, which is the largest narrow-gauge diesel engine built. Then there is the big bridge, which is not only around a curve, but also on a incline. It was an engineering marvel when it was built in the 1880s, and cost about a million dollars to build back then. They re-did the bridge with more modern methods in the 1980s.
more pictures follow

Red Rocks with Dave and Ellen

Ellen and Meg
Ellen and Meg
Much to my surprise, Dave and Ellen informed us in their recent visit that we had never taken them to Red Rocks. It seems like we take almost everyone to Red Rocks, sometimes multiple times. So we took Dave and Ellen to Red Rocks to remedy the situation. It turns out that we ended up going to Red Rocks again last weekend with some old grad school friends – Cati, Blake, and Pascal. Cati and Blake have been in Boulder at the Linguistics institute.

Gramma Grampa

Dave playing with Meg
Dave playing with Meg
Spencer really loves his grandparents. He refers to them as Gramma Grampa, though it sounds more like just “gramma gramma”. We’re getting there. Needless to say, he was very excited to see them recently, when Dave happened to go to a conference nearby. Ellen came out for the weekend and we all hung out. It was short, but we had lots of fun. Dave and Ellen brought Spencer and Meg some new toys. We got to hang out and do some sightseeing, and Phil and Betty happened to stop by for a little bit Saturday afternoon as well. Here are some pictures around the house.
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Four Fedibbletys

The Fedibbletys
The Fedibbletys
Spencer and Meg getting ready for a photo
Spencer and Meg getting ready for a photo
There have been 4 Fedibbletys for nearly 5 months now, but we still have very few good pictures of the 4 of us all together. We tried to remedy that this weekend when Dave and Ellen were out visiting. We got closer, but the elusive good picture of all four of us still continues to evade us. I know it’s possible, because there are plenty of other good pictures of 2 or 3 of us with other people. We’ll keep trying. In the mean time, here is approximately what we look like at Red Rocks last Saturday.
Rob, Meg, Spencer, and Clare
Rob, Meg, Spencer, and Clare

Bikes and dinosaurs

Spencer touching a fossil at Dinosaur Ridge
Spencer touching a fossil at Dinosaur Ridge
Here are two totally unrelated topics. Several weeks ago we went to Dinosaur Ridge to see some dinosaur fossils. It was lots of fun. Spencer seemed to really enjoy it. Here is a picture of him with a fossil.

In other news, Spencer continues to ride his Strider bike almost every day, and likes it very much. He is also getting quite fast, so I bought him a helmet several weeks ago. The day we bought the helmet, he was very excited to try it on, but then it was nap time. After his nap, he kept asking for his “elmo”, and was getting very upset. We eventually figured out he was asking for his “helmet”. We’re still working on the pronunciation of that one a bit.
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Spencer exersaucing

exersaucing!
exersaucing!
As I was posting pictures of Meg exersaucing, I was surprised to discover that I could not find any pictures of Spencer exersaucing, even though I was certain I had posted them. Well, apparently I took the pictures, but never posted them. So here are some pictures of Spencer exersaucing from almost two years ago, almost exactly the same age as Meg in her recent pictures. Better late than never I suppose.
Oh my! I like to exersauce
Oh my! I like to exersauce
Spencer exersaucing -7/11/2009
Spencer exersaucing -7/11/2009