Bill and Cathy McArthur Spring/Summer/Fall 2006: 7

   On Thursday, July 27, at 4:00 AM we drove the XTerra to Winners valet parking at the Philadelphia Airport. Our flight to Denver on United Airlines was an easy one. Bill had gotten a good deal on a Hertz economy rental car which we picked up at the airport and headed toward I70 West. We stopped for lunch at a German cafe in Genesee Park, where the food was good and the owners were extremely friendly. We continued west and got off on U.S. 6 to climb to Loveland Pass. Bill had printed a trail guide for a wildflower hike starting at Loveland Pass. We walked a little bit, but there were some dark clouds in the area and local wisdom dictates that summer hiking be done in the morning, not at 2:00 PM. We headed down to Keystone Resort at the bottom of the grade and checked-in to our studio apartment in the Silvermill Condos of the River Run Village. We wandered around the village for a while and discovered two good coffee shops and a comprehensive general store amidst the bars, restaurants, and sports shops. During the summer, the resort emphasizes mountain biking. We decided to get a seafood dinner at Summit Seafood Company and made a reservation for 7:30 PM. We walked about a mile to the restaurant and, upon entering, found that we had crashed the family meeting meal for the Ernakovich and Gilman families, whose children were to be wed on Saturday. So we got to meet the very friendly Gilman clan a day early. We had our own little table by the windows, but were close by the big banquet table of the wedding families. Bill had a good time watching hummingbirds and hawks through the windows. We had a novice waiter who redefined our notion of what an out-of-it server might do and say. He seemed to do and say random things during the meal, and after an extraordinarily long wait, brought us two of one of the meals that we had ordered, right after he removed Bill's fork and roll plate. Our two orders of Grilled Salmon Fra Diablo were OK, but we would have liked to sample the local Trout too. At the end of the meal, Bill ordered a Cappuccino. After a while, the waiter returned to note that the restaurant lacked an espresso machine. We had a good laugh over the whole experience. We both struggled trying to sleep in the rare air at 9,000 feet and woke often during the night. On Friday morning, Bill joined a group at 7:30 AM for whitewater rafting. Cathy planned some poolside lounging, shopping, and walking. Bill and 17 others took a bus to the Arkansas River to run The Numbers. We stopped at the BWR shop en route as we traveled about 50 miles in the High Rockies, past Copper Mountain and Leadville. This was a serious rafting adventure, not like the one described in Bill's presentation at his niece Erin's rehearsal dinner. Bill remembered that the Arkansas River flows through Royal Gorge, which he and Cathy had visited on the way to their rim-to-rim hike. We divided into 6 person rafts, each with a guide who steered and commanded the boat. Bill joined Megan and Donny Ernakovich and 3 friends of their brother Drew who was to be married the next day. Our guide Pattie did a great job guiding us down the raging river; only one of our paddlers "swam" during the trip. After pulling the rafts out of the river, we had a light lunch and then got back on the bus for the ride back to Keystone Resort. Later in the afternoon, Bill took a 6 mile walk along the base of the mountain. The sun was burning hot, but the air temperature was in the high 70s to low 80s and the humidity was very low. Overall, the climate was comfortable. On Friday night we attended (and were invited) the rehearsal dinner at the Gilmans' rental townhouse. The total number of people who got involved in any of the activities was about 50, so we got to know and talk to everyone. Everything was informal to casual, so Bill was comfortable getting barefoot whenever possible. We got to bed a bit later than we wanted by the time we walked back from the Gilmans' party. Bill decided that he would try to hike in the early mornings of Saturday and Sunday. Some of the party had slight cases of altitude sickness and had to use supplemental oxygen. Luckily, we did not have that problem, but we did get out of breath easily, especially climbing the 4 flights of stairs to our room. Bill talked Donny Ernakovich into a Saturday morning hike and called him at 5:30 AM to wake him and set up a meeting time and place. The two of them arrived at Loveland Pass at 6:15 AM and hiked the West Ridge Trail. The wildflowers and scenic views were outstanding. We saw a lot of Pikas, small gray rodents, and one Hoary Marmot. Bill and Donny hiked for about an hour and a half up the trail before heading back to the trailhead. The temperature had been 51 degrees when they started and had risen to the 70s by the time they were done. Bill got a latte at the Inx Spot, one of the coffee houses; he used Starbucks for afternoon cappuccinos and frappaccinos. We dressed in our wedding finery and walked to the ski lifts. The wedding participants loaded on gondolas at around 10:45 AM and rode to the top of the mountain. The wedding ceremony took place at the side of the summit that overlooked Dillon Lake and had a beautiful mountain backdrop. Sue, the minister, had been on the rafting trip on Friday and continued to impress us by conducting an informal, but very spiritual wedding. The congregation stood in a semicircle close to the couple and the minister. The wedding reception was held outside in a nearby restaurant. Afterward, Bill, Cathy, and Sue tried to walk the road down from the summit, but took a few wrong turns and just wandered around for an hour. We finally rode down with Bill choosing the open chair lift. We headed for the Great Northern Bar, where the post-reception festivities were commencing, and met with our daughter Katie's old (but still young) friend Jody Basehoar. Bill took a phone photo of Jody and Megan and emailed it to Katie. The over 40 crowd moved from the bar to the Gilmans' townhouse for another meal/party. We stayed up too late again. On Sunday morning, Bill had to hike alone. He headed up to Loveland Pass and started up the steeper East Ridge Trail. He loitered part way up the trail until another hiker appeared: a solo woman hiker with a large backpack. Once she had passed by, Bill continued to hike (and puff) up to a mini-summit where he took lots of photos and enjoyed the panorama. The hike down the steep trail was reminiscent of a Mexican Hike in the past, with lots of loose stones and dirt. Bill spent about 2 hours on the hike and grabbed a latte at Inx Spot when back in River Run Village. We packed our rental car, checked-out, and walked to Lakeside Village for a brunch at Edgewater Cafe. We had a good opportunity to say goodbye to all of the folks that we had met and enjoyed the wedding with. We had been warned that on weekends, most of Denver headed to the mountains and then returned on Sundays, causing traffic jams on I70, so we walked back to the car and headed east at around 1:00 PM. We did run into some stop and go traffic for 20 miles or so around Georgetown, but then the drive became easier and we dropped off the rental car off around 3:30 PM. We bought and read a New York Times and ate a leisurely dinner at a French Restaurant in the airport. Our flight to Philadelphia was delayed and didn't take off until 8:30 PM. Bill was able to sleep for about an hour and a half during the flight and was ready to drive when we arrived in Philadelphia around 2:00 AM. Our valet parking attendant delivered our car to us outside of the terminal and we had a traffic-free drive home via the AC Expressway and the Parkway. We arrived home at 4:00 AM and fell into bed shortly thereafter.

   We returned to Cape May Beach at the beginning of an intense heat wave. On Monday, July 31 we slept in a bit before slowly starting the day. Cathy went in to the bookstore and unpacked books for several hours. Bill went out fishing with our neighbor Tom and stayed cool by being on the water. The fun part of the fishing trip was when Bill managed to catch a couple of tiny Black Sea Bass on the Intracoastal Waterway behind Wildwood. When Cathy finally returned from the bookstore, we had WaWa hoagies for dinner while we caught up on "Deadwood" and "Entourage", two HBO shows from Sunday night. On Tuesday morning, we felt more rested. Cathy went to work at GED testing at the Vo-tech while Bill did a crossword puzzle and took a short, steamy run. Cathy returned at 11:00 AM and Bill dropped her off at the bookstore before driving to the Water's Edge Motel in Wildwood Crest to fix a customer software problem. On the drive home, the temperature gauge in the XTerra constantly read 100 degrees. Bill spent the rest of the afternoon working at his computer in air-conditioned comfort. We had a nice grilled dinner close to our AC ducts. The 100 degree afternoons continued for two more days, making it very hard to get out and do things. On Wednesday night we tried the Moonfish Cafe, on the site of the former Daniel's. We had an excellent dinner, but the next time we go we will request a table far away from any large group. On Thursday morning, Bill got up at 5:00 AM to run before the sun came up. He got in a three mile run, but the humidity was intense and the temperature was already in the 80s. Bill dropped Cathy at work at 3:00 PM and then drove to Cape May Point and walked into Cape May right at the water's edge. It was horribly hot and Bill had a hard time stopping sweating when he got to the bookstore. We ran errands on Friday. Katie and Rachel arrived at around 6:30 PM. Tom arrived around 7:00 PM on his new road bike. We enjoyed a grilled tuna dinner which we ate indoors in the air-conditioning. On Saturday morning, Bill ran the Coombs/Douglass race. The sun was burning hot, but the humidity was lower. Tom met Bill at the Town Bank firehouse after a bike ride. They walked and slowly rode back home together. Everyone went into Cape May for lunch at Louie's Pizza and a short walk around. Later, Bill and Tom rode bikes to Cape May Point while Katie dropped Cathy at work and then went for a walk with Rachel. Everyone but Cathy went for a good meal at Lucky Bones. Later, we viewed "Matador" on DVD - very enjoyable. Cathy was dropped off by Lauren as the movie was ending. We all got to bed a bit late. Sunday, August 6 was our 40th Anniversary, which had been royally celebrated back in June. We all had brunch at the Mad Batter in Cape May. Then, Katie, Tom, and Rachel headed home. We drove to Cape May Point and walked the beach in the afternoon heat. We spent the late afternoon chilling out at home. We went for a great meal at Tisha's. We had the table on the porch closest to the water. An almost full moon shone brightly on the water, leaving a golden path leading to us. The food and service were excellent as always. This anniversary dinner ranked up there with our 25th in Bora Bora and our 35th in Venice.

   Bill joined friends Jim Sosna and Linda Keech for a full moon paddle in and around the Cape May harbor on the night of Tuesday, August 8. Bill had practiced yoga and done a 3 mile run during the afternoon. We had an early grilled dinner and then Bill joined Jim and Linda for the evening. The paddle began at the new public boat ramp behind Lucky Bones with a 7:30 PM launch. They enjoyed the setting sun as they cruised down the harbor and entered the marsh, inundated by high tide, near Harbor View Marina. Bill led the way through the wetlands to the ICW. By this time the moon was casting its light on a very calm backwater area. They stopped at Two Mile Landing for a pit stop and then passed under the Fifty Cent Bridge into the harbor, which was like a mirror. They fought a bit of a current as they traversed the harbor and went by the Lobster House and South Jersey Marina. They were back at the boat ramp at around 10:30 PM. It was a beautiful trip in ideal conditions.On Wednesday, Bill rode his bike to Cape May Point and walked in to Cape May. In the evening, we went to a mediocre dinner at the Red Sky Cafe in Wildwood. On Thursday late afternoon, Alex, Phil, and the girls arrived from Long Beach Island to cap off a vacation week. Cathy was working, so the rest of us enjoyed take-out at the Lobster House. Friday was a beach day, and we all spent most of our time in Cape May. We picked up Louie's Pizza for dinner. Bill and Erin viewed "Zoom" (good kid movie with enough humor for adults) at the North Cape May cinemas while Phil viewed "World Trade Center" (recommended). On Saturday, we visited the Alpaca Farm near Cape May Point, shopped a bit, and ate lunch at Subway in Rio Grande. In mid-afternoon, the Stoops family headed back to Glen Mills and Cathy headed off to work at the bookstore. Sunday was a most beautiful day. We took a walk and Bill ran for 3.3 miles in comfortably low humidity. We enjoyed dinner at Godmother's Restaurant. Monday, August 14 was warmer and more humid. Bill sent his stuff to his brother Bob in Maine via the UPS Store in Rio Grande. He then took a fast-paced 6 mile walk while Cathy went off to the bookstore. Tim, our Western exterminator, came by in the afternoon to do routine spraying and to deal with a problem with "Little Black Ants" that surfaced over the weekend. We received our information letter from the revaluation company which had some errors in it. Bill sent an email to correct a couple of errors. They estimated our square footage a bit high, but that will require an on-site inspection to correct. When Cathy came home, we took at 4.5 mile walk, raising Bill's total for the day to over 10 miles. On Tuesday, the high humidity had really set in. Bill lifted weights and rode his bike for 18 sweaty miles. During and after dinner, we watched "Dead Calm" to set the tone for Bill's sailing adventure. On Wednesday, Bill dropped Cathy at the bookstore. He discovered a sore spot in his back, so he forwent his run. Bill had another difficult time trying to print his boarding pass and needed technical assistance to obtain the right confirmation number for the third trip in a row on three different airlines. Bill picked up Cathy at 3:00 PM. His back still hurt too much to walk with her along the Bay. The UPS Store tracking showed that Bill's package reached Bob at around 4:00 PM. We went to dinner at Lucky Bones on Bill's last "land night" for a while.

        Bill and Cathy