Rearview Mirror - Summary of the past week: Weekly highlights plus Jerry’s Snake Encounter!
Pups Across America! - Our latest canine encounters: Meet Logan and Sky
RV Gourmet - Jan shares her on-the-go culinary secrets: Sole Florentine with Almonds
Favorite Photographs - Pick pics, pointers, and ponderings: Tunnel Vision
Travel Tools & Toys - Gadgets for fun and productivity: GoogleMaps
Camper’s Corner - Thoughts on were we stayed and other RV topics: Chief Hosa Campground
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading

Start: Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground, Golden, CO
Stop: Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground, Golden, CO

Champagne Tradition
In the morning Grandma and Austie took a drive while I toiled away on the computer. Around noon we piled into the car and drove the 40 minutes to Austie’s parents. Putting the Little Man to bed (driving puts him to sleep :>>>), Jan and I took the Pups out for a couple-mile walk behind Aaron and Kelly’s house. Just a beautiful day and it was great to hang in their backyard, watch Jerry run in the grass, and sip on the mandatory Sunday champagne.

Close to the Coach
I worked in the morning, ending with my noon marketing call. While I was engaged, Jan and the Pups went exploring. They all came back excited about their morning trek, and when I finished up early afternoon, we got back in the car and re-traced their steps.

Scenic Drive
We drove past Evergreen for the day’s scenic tour. After lots of ups and downs, rights and lefts, oohs and aahs, we came to the base of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet high). Unfortunately it was early in the season and the Evans Mountain road had not yet opened. That’s too bad, as it was the first mountain road built in the U.S., and has a reputation of being one buena vista. However, we continued on the scenic path and U-turned our way to Idaho Springs, a handsome old mining town. We drove through the town admiring the simple yet handsome architecture. Then we jumped on to I-70 returning to camp.

On to Mouseville
Hitting the road early, Jan and the Little Ones drove me to the Denver airport and left me to start my flying voyage to Orlando, the land of the mouse.

Fire Engines on the Tarmac
Just as we were landing in Atlanta from Denver, the lead flight attendant announced that there were two fire engines approaching us and that normally that was a cause for concern, but not today. This was the last flight for our retiring captain, Tom Hayden. A customary ritual was to occur: a water cannon salute from the fire engines. I grabbed my point and shoot and was able to get a quick window picture of one of the fire engines in full spray. Upon hearing the lead flight attendant say in dismay that she regretted not having a camera to capture the moment, I took a couple good shots of Tom coming out of the cockpit and then Tom posing with the two attendants. Just as he was about to go to his station by the door to say goodbye to the passengers, I told the lead to give him a big kiss. She responded enthusiastically and laid one on the big guy before he could move another step. I hope you are pleased with the results. (Note that I e-mailed the pilot and got his permission to use the photos in the blog.) Now that was fun.

Family Time
After a non-eventful flight to Orlando and a Nathan’s cheese-and-onion hot dog for lunch, I rented a car and drove the 40 minutes to Moreen and Brad’s (Jan’s aunt and uncle) in Apopka. After a glass of wine, lots of catching up on family news, followed by a meatloaf dinner, we settled in and watched Invictus, a very well done, feel-good movie about a truly courageous individual and his impact on South Africa and the world. I recommend it.

After breakfast, I drove the 50 minutes to Celebration, Florida, near Kissimmee. Here I ran a public workshop at Stetson University designed to help services account managers enhance their skills. Nice group of people; we had a good day. As an aside, the new Thai restaurant a few blocks away was quite good.

Dinner and Desert
That evening I took Aunt and Unc out for dinner followed by a quick trip to some good friends of theirs, Anne and Pete. There we had a glass of wine, admired some of Anne’s photos (she is an accomplished photographer), and tasted some her homemade, gotta-love-it, peanut butter dark chocolate. Love high-quality chocolate? Then you have to check out Anne’s Web site, Chocolate Mountain of Vail www.chocolatemountain.com .

This was the second day of the services account management training and again it went well. I took some pics of participants and a very short video clip. Then it was back in the rental car, into the airport, and into the flying routine eventually ending up at Denver International. As always, I was given the conquerer’s welcome, my own water canon salute with tails a-wagging and canine kisses as soon as I opened the car door.

Out for a Hike
While I was working in the morning, Jan and the Pups were out exploring. In the afternoon they took me back to their main sites and we hiked a trail in Mount Falcon Park in Jefferson County, about 30 minutes from our campground. The weather was about perfect for hiking (low 70s) and we had a nice time along with lots of other dogs and their pet parents.

I was wandering around the old Walker Castle remains (it burned down 80 years ago) taking pictures, while Jan was exploring with both Pups on leashes. I came around the corner of the ruins just in time to see Jan simultaneously yank back on both leashes jump up six inches and leap back two feet. I knew immediately what had occurred. She said later that she heard “hissing” that turned out to be the warning alarm of a four-and-half-foot Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, the deadliest snake in North America. We were quite fortunate, as Jerry had moved within about a couple feet of this coiled creature before Jan reacted. Thinking of the possible outcome made me shutter...

As luck would have it, I had a 15mm fisheye lens on the camera and had brought no other lenses, so getting close enough for a nice tight shot was out of the question. Hence, I stayed a healthy dozen feet away, took a shot, and had to crop it on the computer a bunch to get anything worthwhile.

Cripes, first coyotes, and now rattlers!

Austin and Aaron
As the week before, Austin and AJ drove out to have our Friday evening meal. Jan cooked up baked chicken, scalloped potatoes, fresh asparagus, garlic bread, with smores for dessert (both traditional and Reeses Peanut Butter).

Then it was time for family movie time, and we sat down and watched the bestseller, Mickey’s Great Clubhouse Hunt. Soon the bed filled up and the five of us drifted off to sleep.

Windy Night
The wind picked up late in the evening. Since we were camped in a forest of pines, pine cones randomly fell on BALY’s roof sounding like bowling balls landing on plate glass. Like most other things, we quickly adjusted to the new sound and slept soundly.

Early Morning Quiet
My strategy of getting up early before the rest of the household worked well, sort of. At 6:30 I saw a three-foot shadow with bright blue eyes dragging a blanket in one hand and carrying a juice bottle in the other. “Good morning, Papa,” came out of the Little Man’s mouth. Soon Toy Story was playing on the TV, applesauce with strawberries was being consumed at (and around) the table, Spiderman was flying in his plane, and a multitude of questions were being posed and responded to.

When Jan got up and had her first cup of coffee, I took the Little Ones for a walk in the gusting winds. When I returned, Jan and the rest of her support crew headed off in the car to give me a couple hours at the computer before more family activities were planned.

Late afternoon we left the Little Ones at home (they watched us depart through the front window looking like destitute waifs from a Dicken’s novel) and headed for a playground. Our strategy was to wear Austie out, then put him to sleep on the ride home. He had a fun time scooting down the slide, walking over the bridge, swinging, and playing hide-and-seek with Grandpa in the tunnel. After a stop at Baskin Robbins for a cherry ice cream cone, we made our way back to the campground, had lunch, and eventually got Little Blue Eyes to nap.

We have finalized dates for our event with the city of Carslbad, California. It will run both days over Father’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 19 & 20. More to come very soon.

I’ve also included a couple pup shoot shots: the Yellow Lab male pup, Logan, and an old female yellow lab, Sky. Good lookers, don’t you think.

Schedule Your Pup Shoots
May 23 to May 27
We will remain in Golden, Colorado (NW of Denver) at the Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground until May 27.

May 28 through June 1
Durning this time we will be “camping out” at the Little Man’s home in Parker, Colorado (SE of Denver), for a babysitting gig while his mom and dad take a short vacation. We will be available for private pup shoots in the SE Denver area on May 28 through May 31 (Memorial Day).

June 2 till June 17
Heading toward Chaco Canyon, then work our way down to Southern California.

June 19 and June 20 (Father’s Day Weekend)
Two-day pup shoot in beautiful Carlsbad, California. Details to be available soon.

Please e-mail me at alex@PupsAcrossAmerica or call me at 239-671-0740 to set up a shoot, or if you have ideas or suggestions.

Pass the Word
Know other Pup Parents that might enjoy this blog and the Pups Across America event? Please spread the word.

RV GOURMET: Sole Florentine with Almonds
1/4 c almonds toasted
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t olive oil
1 10 oz. package shopped spinach, thawed and drained (I used fresh)
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
1 2 oz. jar sliced pimento, drained
1 t grated lemon rind
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t oregano
1/8 t white pepper
1 lb. fresh sole fillets
2 T butter, melted
2 T Lemon Juice

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Combine onion mixture, spinach, pimento, cheese, lemon rind, salt, oregano and pepper. Spread spinach mixture in an 8-inch baking dish, arrange fish over spinach. Combine butter and lemon juice, brush over fish add almonds and sprinkle with paprika.

Place dish in oven at 350 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

Jan also says adding whole grain wild rice would be another good option. This recipe is just wonderful. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to all of you who responded positively about the larger photos and the slide show. Take a look at this week’s fare, especially “Tunnel Vision,” my favorite for the week.

As I’ve stated before, I like to be pretty sure of things before lumbering our 30,000 pound motorhome, BALY, down the road. So along with the 2010 version of the big Rand McNally atlas, current state maps, and a GPS, the (normally) reliable GoogleMaps is great to have for quality control. If you have Internet access while you travel, you can pull it up on your iPad or smart phone and zoom in/out on your intended destination. Unlike our Garmin, you can also see the complete route to better plan ahead. Finally, it often gives you two or three options to consider, where alas, again, our Garmin does not. Finally, if you have a printer in your vehicle like we do, you can print it out--quite helpful if you lose your Internet connection and/or satellite signal. Yes, I know there are plenty of other similar services, and I doublecheck with MapQuest if I have some doubts, but all in all I prefer GoogleMaps, http://maps.google.com/.

How about you?

Chief Hosa campground is a Colorado-owned mountain campground and the oldest campground designated for motorized campers. It is 7,800 feet up, nestled among tall pines, with views of the mountains on two sides, it is restful to the eyes and peaceful to the soul. It has good AT&T and Verizon mobile services, plus the campground WiFi works well most of the time. Since the sites were designed among the trees before behemoth motor homes with multiple slides were invented, big rigs are limited and driving in and out takes a little skill. Furthermore, only two of the sites have sewer, and there are only three television stations available with roof top antennas (all educational). This is not an issue unless you are hosting young kids and you run out of videos! However, overall this is a wonderful place. I recommend it.

May 23 to May 27
We will remain in Golden, Colorado (NW of Denver), at the Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground until May 27.

May 28 through June 1
Durning this time we will be “camping out” at the Little Man’s home in Parker, Colorado (SE of Denver), for a babysitting gig while his mom and dad take a short vacation. We will be available for private pup shoots in the SE Denver area on May 28 through May 31 (Memorial Day).

June 2 till June 17
Heading toward Chaco Canyon then work our way down to Southern California.

June 19 and June 20 (Father’s Day Weekend)
Two day pup shoot in beautiful Carlsbad, California. Details to be available soon.

Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions? We are open. Know a Pup Parent in the vicinity? Pass on this Web site and have them give me a call to schedule a shooting of their best friend.