Runtrails' Rocky Mountain Journal
Previous          Journal Topics by Date            Next



"That's OUR second home!
- Jim (story below)


Two days ago (Friday) we moved the camper close to Leadville. Although we enjoyed the campground at Clear Creek Reservoir, we were putting a lot of miles on the truck to get into town and go to trail heads. That camping area is about eighteen miles from Leadville.

This is the fourth year we've had the opportunity to park our camper near our friend Jack Saunders' home building office at the end of Sixth Street West (photo farther down in this entry). This may be the last time he'll have room for us, as he's trying to get his seven acres of woods and meadow rezoned for several houses.

If you're in need of a new house in the Leadville-Twin Lakes vicinity, check with Jack. He designs and builds very beautiful homes from cozy bungalows to large, open structures.

Jack's almost finished with the large solar home below, located a couple miles down The Boulevard. Runners go by the driveway near the beginning and end of the LT100 race but the house is too far off the road to see it from there.

We drove out to see it this afternoon. The house is dried-in but not quite finished yet. The south side of the roof, above, is completely covered in solar panels. The inside is spacious and airy, with beautiful wood floors and cabinetry. Jack's houses are constructed with high-quality materials and the workmanship is superb. We toured another nearly-finished home he built last summer near Twin Lakes that was of similar size and quality.

Jim was talking to Jack about the energy-saving features of the house after we got back from our little excursion down The Boulevard. When Jack told him this is the second home of a family from Alexandria, VA, Jim shook his head in amazement. He pointed to our camper and joked, "That's our second home!" We couldn't afford this place as our main house. Don't kid yourself about the cost of housing in the Leadville area -- it's higher than you might think.


We're happy to have electricity and running water from Jack's house now. Jim's been getting 50 gallons of water in our mobile tank about every other day and draining it into the camper tanks. This will save him a lot of time. We won't need to run the generator while we're here, either. We still use our solar panels to power certain items, and propane for the stove, oven, and furnace (it gets into the 40s at night everywhere we've been this summer). We'll use electricity mainly for the microwave and coffee pot.

We have a TV signal for the first time since we got to Silverton. When I asked Jim how many channels we can get he quipped, "One and a half." Jim's happy because he's already watched all the shows he taped last spring for the VCR, knowing we wouldn't  have realiable TV reception when we're boondocking. I have mixed feelings. It doesn't bother me to play ostrich all summer and ignore what's going on in the world. About all I've paid attention to is the stock market this summer. Now I have to listen to politics, bad news, and weather reports (Grand Junction) that are totally irrelevant to where we are living.

We have a stronger cell phone signal (four bars instead of one) and are closer to the library, where we can get WiFi. Those are good things.

Our views are of Mt. Massive (above) and the mountains north of Leadville. We're close to the road that goes to Turquoise Lake, where there are several very nice lakeside campgrounds. It's fun to watch all the campers drive by. There were lots of campers and tents along Halfmoon Road yesterday. I'm happy to see so many people out enjoying the woods and trails around here.

While we were running errands today in Frisco and Leadville I caught several glimpses of Mt. Elbert. It's visible on the other side of Jack's house, from his driveway, from many places in town, and even up Hwy. 91 north. It's so cool to look at that pointed summit and know I was up there just yesterday! This photo of Mt. Elbert is from last year:

The view of Leadville is less prominent from the top of the mountain than the view of Elbert from town.

Perspective. Might be because I'd rather be on a mountain summit than in any town!


When we arrived on Friday we saw a coyote sauntering down the middle of the road about a hundred feet from our camper. We hadn't noticed them here before. Last evening a young one, probably not even a year old, cautiously traipsed back and forth through the grassy field and edge of the pine-aspen woods only fifteen to twenty feet from our camper. Every few feet (s)he'd either tense up or jump a little bit when the dogs barked or whined at him/her. They don't miss a thing.

Who are these intruders on my land? the coyote pup was probably thinking. And what are those four-legged creatures that look similar to me but sound different??

Isn't (s)he cute?

Cody and Tater were equally curious. I wonder if they know that's not a dog? I'll have to be very careful when I'm walking them around to do their business in the woods or they might chase the little fella. All they'd really want to do is play, but the coyote wouldn't know that.


When we were at the Clear Creek Reservoir we noticed several campers and RVs that had hummingbird feeders above windows where the occupants could watch the hyper little birds zoom in and out to feed. What a great idea! We have a hummingbird feeder at home that Jim maintains, but we've never thought about taking it with us on our camping trips.

Jim bought one today in hopes of attracting the birds to our new location and he's busy right now rigging it up outside one of the windows surrounding the computer desk. I can see the wheels turning in his head as he peers at the top of the camper, figuring out where to place the feeder and narrow board that will hold it. He's rigging up a pulley system so he can lower the feeder to fill it. Busy mind, busy hands. I used to be like that, too . . .

[Follow-up the next morning: the hummers have found the feeder! What fun it is to watch them hovering and flitting in and out. Now the challenge is getting a good picture of them.]


Jim has no desire to run The Boulevard, a dirt road on the LT100 course near the beginning and end of the race, but we drove it today to see the house Jack's building. Here are some photos on the way out and back, for the benefit of folks who are running the race. They are more in my "windshield series," so there is a bit of glare:




If you're in the race and walking back up this road on Sunday morning, trying desperately to beat the 10 AM finish cut-off a few miles away, try to remember how beautiful this #$%&@ road really is!

At least two of our friends are here in town acclimating and training for the race now, Joe Lugiano and Pete Stringer. We're looking forward to more of our friends' arrivals in town next week. Kathy Lang and Jim Ballard from Oregon will get here before the bike race (lots of cyclists in town this weekend to train for the 100-miler in two weeks) and Brent Craven from Utah is expected one of these days.

With almost 600 men and women allowed into this year's 25th anniversary run (and about a thousand in the bike race), we'll get to see many friends from all over the country. It's a major reason we enjoy coming here so often -- socializing. It will be fun to make more new friends, too. We'll be working the bike and run packet pick-ups, so please say hi to us and introduce yourself if we don't already know who you are.

Next entry: who knows? I can always find something to write about!

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

Previous       Next

2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil