Category Archives: Miscellaneous

We followed the Yellow Brick Road…


...and ended up in St. Louis, Missouri. Wow, what a beautiful place. We went up to the top of the Arch – all 630 ft! Do you know not a single person was killed during the building of the Arch, and there was no OSHA (i.e., no harnesses, no safety features at all)! My sister, Nancy, has lived in St. Louis for almost 17 years, and had never gone up. I guess she was embarrassed to wait at the bottom while we all rode the tram to the top, so she joined us. It was about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and it sways 18″. Stewart, of course, kept trying to make it sway more.

For any of you who have not yet been to the “Show Me” state, Ted Drewes is a local tradition. During the summer months, the line wraps around the block with customers clambering for a concrete (custard mixed with yummy ingredients). Tonight, however, it was f-f-f-freezing, and the only ones in line besides us were those there to pick up their Christmas trees. The picture is Stewart with my brother-in-law, Russ.

Our Chrysler 300M is now running smoothly on E85. So far, this is what we can report about the conversion experience: It was a bear to install because of the location under the hood; the car runs like a rocket ship! Acceleration is even more powerful than it was before; finding E85 stations has its own set of challenges; and cold starts (below 18 degrees F) require some patients. It turns out there are certain little tricks that we still need to learn. If you are interested in converting your car or truck, David Virtue is your guy. You can reach him at davidv@change2E85.com. His website is www.change2e85.com.

We didn’t bring Peregrine (the T@B) to St. Louis since we had to return to Fort Collins. This also gave us the opportunity to clock the mileage difference. There doesn’t really seem to be any. If anything, the car seems to have more zip for less money. Sarah, my niece, went with me to find a station in her neighborhood. I must admit it felt very cool to be doing something that was so very granola-ish.

On the way back through the heartland, we stopped in Topeka, KS, and came across Ted Drewe’s competition. Freddy’s Frozen Custard. Stewart didn’t even speak the entire time he was eating, and said if he could fit his head in the glass, he would to lick it! Try the Signature Turtle. Stewart said it was in the top ten things he had eaten in his life. So much for my cooking! 5 cornstalks.

One of our blog entries would not be complete without an entry on the state of world affairs. Please skip over this if our views make you cringe. Here goes…. Are we loving Obama’s cabinet picks, or what!? Hillary as Secretary of State will allow for intelligent debate at the highest levels, send a message to the world that we are serious about working WITH them toward peace through diplomacy when possible, and force when necessary, and as an added bonus, situate Clinton for a successful run in 2016. Also, the choice of Gen. James L. Jones, coupled with keeping on Robert Gates for another year certainly shows excellent judgement. Hopefully, the confirmation process will be a smooth one. The tragedy in Mumbai reminds us all that life is so fragile, and anything that can be done to bring people together instead of tearing them apart at least gives us a chance to find solutions that suit everyone – not just the few. We are loving Bill Richardson for Commerce Secretary, as well as Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security. Susan Rice is a natural bridge-builder, and Tom Daschle for Health and Human Services may actually get us the coverage for ALL Americans we so dearly need.

Have you noticed Obama already has that haggard Presidential look about him? I have never been able to figure out why “43” looks so tired. He took more vacation time than any Prez in my lifetime. Maybe being the most unpopular President in history takes it out if ya’.

On a lighter note, Jeffrey and Emma are really enjoying themselves. We stayed at the Crown Plaza in Clayton, MO, and the dogs lived the vita loca. Look how Jeffrey has his paw around Emma. Too cute. Everywhere we go, people stop us to ask the questions on everyone’s mind: Can they see? Do they shed? Are they siblings? How hard are they to groom?

On the way to and from St. Louis we stayed at the Americinn in Russell, KS. The people there were so nice, and they loved our dogs! Also, the continental breakfast was huge. So, assuming they would all be great, we booked the Americinn back in Ft. Collins. What a difference. Definitely not consistent across locations. So, 5 cornstalks for Russell, and 2 cornstalks for Ft Collins.

Tomorrow, we leave Colorado for New Mexico. First stop, Santa Fe, followed by Carlsbad. We cannot wait to go to Roswell and see the UFO museum, here we come! Dallas comes next, unless the wind blows us elsewhere. We’ll keep you posted.For now, signing off, Mara and Stewart

Happy Birthday, Prince Charles!

After much rushing around, we finally made it to the UK. Just in time, it seems, for the Queen’s eldest son to celebrate his 60th birthday. There is much speculation here as to whether HRH will step aside for Charles, but I’m afraid our stay here will be long over before that decision is made public.

Our reception here has been wonderful. Everyone seems sincerely relieved that Obama was elected. Many of us forget that the Brits have men and women in harms way in Iraq as well. In fact, two Royal Marines were killed this week. There does seem to be a hopefulness that is spreading around the world – even as the economy appears to be imploding. Of course, for the first time in years, the dollar is up against the pound, so we have a bit more buying power than usual on our trip. In other words, we can afford to buy the occasional round!


We’ll be renting a car next week, and taking a few day trips. Friday, we go to London for the weekend before flying home to … oops! Not sure where home is! Let me rephrase that, we fly back to Denver to pick up Jeffrey and Emma, then head for St. Louis. Sadly, my brother-in-law, Russ’s family suffered a tragedy this week, so celebrating Thanksgiving will be more about being together than about food and football. Life is so unpredictable.

On a lighter note, my favorite judge, John Creuzot, was re-elected to his 5th term in office. Some of you will remember that I ran John’s campaign in 1992. I consider it one of my proudest career highlights. John has done incredible things with his position, and has helped countless individuals with substance abuse problems turn their lives around. His website, http://www.judgecreuzot.com/, shows video testimonials to his good works. Yay, John!!

Hope all of you are well and safe. We will be back in touch once we are back over the pond. I already miss Ann and Tony, and we having even left. Cheerio and all that stuff!

President Obama!!

Stewart and I came back down to civilization in order to contribute in our own small way to the democratic process. We walked precincts up in Wellington knocking on doors making sure that those who said they’d vote, did. It was so exciting to listen to people, proudly wearing their “I voted” stickers, tell us they had stood in line to vote for Obama. We were so exhausted at the end of the day so we celebrated back at Peregrine [OK, so I am calling T@B that until otherwise instructed]. What a sweet victory.

When we got back to Fort Collins on Tuesday, the weather was mild and the sun was shining. Yesterday, the wind picked up, and this morning I awoke from a dream at sea. Believe me, 40 mile per hour winds in a 1200 lb trailer is REALLY windy. Instead of oatmeal, I wanted Dramamine. Stewart was able to do his magic, and we are no longer rocking with each gust. so now, I am a happy camper!

Our plans may require a quick trip back here after sharing Thanksgiving in Olivette, MO with my sister, Nancy and her family. We will know more about that in the coming days. Alas, I am not disappointed, because the point of this trip is to take things as they come. We’ll keep you posted. Besides, in the meantime, we are off to the UK on Sunday. We will be there for two weeks, so don’t be surprised if our posts have an accent!

Name Our T@B!!!!


Stewart and I have decided to name our little trailer. The problem is we can’t decide on a name. I like the name Peregrine, which means wanderer. Perry for short. My case for this name also invokes the image of Peregrine Took, or Pippin from Lord of the Rings, who was certainly a wanderer – and a faithful friend to Frodo Baggins. We certainly hope the T@B will be our friend (i.e. no flat tires, broken hitches, etc.). Stewart likes Tabatha, which means gazelle. Though it is cute – Tabatha, T@B – it is probably the name of a million other T@B’s. Gazelle is a lovely word, yet hardly expresses the spirit of our journey. In fairness to his choice, we would have a better chance of finding a key chain or coffee mug (or mini license plate) with Tabatha than Peregrine. OK, folks. It’s up to you. What would YOU name our T@B? We are taking suggestions, and will let you know the winning name soon.

Here is picture of Peregrine, I mean T@B, for inspiration.