Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


This is Ranger.  The horse.

In the long ago before peoples I lived with the horses.  In Nee-va-da.  That was a good place.  There were horses and no people and sun and warm and cool.  Only a little water fell from the sky on some of the days.

It was good.

The came the BIG-SCARY-NOISEY-SKY-MONSTERS that chased us into the cages and the peoples took us away.  To live in Call-a-rah-dough.

Not so good.

After some time I met Beel and he telled me many things.  Like he would tell me to not be afraid of the BIG-SCARY-NOISEY-SKY-MONSTERS.  He sayed they were "Hell-e-coppers" and he would give me some food when one went in the sky.

Food is good. So they are good.

In the before time we had water fall from the sky only on some of the days.  In the lately time we have had water fall from the sky all of the time.  All of the days.  Too much water.  Beel sayed it was "fludding".

Not good.

Some days so much water fell out of the sky that when Waneeta bringed food for eating I would only look out at her from the scarey shed.  She would have to talk very nice to me to make me come out to eat.

And when the water finally stopped falling the hell-e-coppers were ALL OVER the sky.  BIG ones.  LOUD ones.  So many of them came that Beel finally sayed "Buddy, you're gunna get fat." and he stopped bringing me food.  I was sad but not scared.

On these last days the water only falls from the sky sometimes and only a little.  The hell-e-coppers have goed away and not comed back.  The peoples are showing their teeth like mean horses but that means they are happy.  And the mud has goed away from the ground so I can roll.

Very good.

On this day we wented for a walk with the peoples and Beel telled me the fludd was over.

This is very good.  I do not like fludds.

But I like when the hell-e-coppers made food happen.

Ranger.  The horse.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In the Dark

We've had a few distractions lately, so it's been a while since I checked the game camera (thanks again for the camera, GunDiva).  It had a couple hundred shots triggered, so I looked through them.  Most were pictures of blowing bushes, hopping crows and neighbor girls feeding the horses.

But a few were kinda cool.

On 8/27, a coyote was slinking around.

On 8/19, a buck was checking out the scrap hay.

On 8/8, a fox was following the neighbor hens' trail.

But back on 8/3... Is this a juvenile mountain lion?
It sure looks like a cat to me.

Probably just as well I didn't see the picture until a month and a half later.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Resilient Estes Park ....

What a difference a couple of days makes.  The first video was taken two days after 'the flood'.  Notice the water across the road and logs floating across that you got to dodge.  The church at St. Malo was high and dry in a much larger lake than normal.  It looked like a logger's work place.
Yesterday, SH7 was officially opened to the public, between us and Estes Park.  So today, we took a drive in and was amazed at the work that had been done in so short a time.  This video is the same stretch of road; no water on the road, a much smaller 'log pond' and - traffic!
The town's cleanup has been amazing, so we took some pics of downtown - just to let you all know that Estes Park is now inviting guests back!  Here are some of our favorite places:
The Estes Park Brewery (look at that blue sky!)
The Big Thompson River - full, but staying within its banks.
Sweet Basilico - a favorite pasta place.  It just kills me to see the empty parking lots, when they are usually so full this time of year.  I'm sure they will be full again soon!
Looking north, past the old theater.  The wet spot on the right lower road is a man hosing off the sidewalk.
A closeup of that intersection; this corner should be packed with cars and people, but this is the first day of having an open highway into town.
Around the corner, starting into downtown.  These photos were taken on our way back out of town, because of the sun, so they are in reverse order of what most people see entering town the 'normal' way.
Looking the other way.

The flowers at the main intersection into E.P. are proudly showing their heads.  The parks in town have already recovered nicely, and you can see 'Open' signs lit back up.  Hope this helps all of you see just how resilient these people are.  Yes, there is major damage to some, but the businesses are putting up a huge effort.  Let's help them:  come visit.

Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Animals Got Flooded Without An Ark

My heart is breaking watching all of the livestock that are being flooded out and I was trying to figure out how to help.  I don't have any property, so I can't take any in.  But I do have a book for sale, and I can donate the proceeds from that book to the people who can help the livestock who are displaced.  So, all proceeds from book sales running through the end of the month will be donated to Denkai Animal Sanctuary.  This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone: you can start buying stocking stuffers AND help animals who need it.

Click the book in the sidebar to order.

So, please spread the word far and wide.  Let's help the critters we all love.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the Dark

This afternoon, the power went out for a while.  But the phone still worked.  We got a call from the Ranchers' Daughter.

"Juanita?  Bill?  Can you guys do me a favor?  I have a friend with a couple cattle at the rodeo grounds in Estes, and they only have one days' worth of hay left.  I told them they could put them with my cattle near the town of Ward.  Only I can't get to Ward to check on my cattle.  I haven't seen them in weeks.  Can you guys see if you can find them?"

"Sure!  Beats sitting around here in the dark!"

So, Off we went in search of "Eleven or twelve of them."

Past the National Guard roadblock.
(We gave them cookies this morning)

And off to the mountain side the cattle were supposed to be on.

We parked by the catch pen, and climbed through the fence.

We hiked back into the area for nearly an hour.  Up and down the rocky terrain, through heavily forested areas looking for likely pastures.  A little bouldering to the high spots mixed with wading through bogs in low lying areas and fording new, small streams.  It got dark enough we couldn't see 20 feet away.  We gave it up and hiked back out.

It was jet black by the time I hit the barbed wire fence.  And yes, I hit it.


As I was untangling myself from the barbs,


Um, what was that?


That was not a horse.
I don't know if it was a cow.
What kind of sound does a p!ssed off moose make?


Juanita suggested we at least get the fence between us and "it".  Sounded like a plan to me.  We climbed through the fence and into the minivan and snapped on the headlights.

The damm cows had gone into the open back gate of the catch pen, and were waiting for us.
Right where we had started.

Sometimes, I feel I understand horses, at least a little.

But I just don't "get" cows.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Open Again!!!

We are only waiting on the National Guard to reopen the road to 'non-essential' personnel.  Rumor has it that they might be operating with a list to allow in and we are attempting to get our names on that list.  Wild Basin Lodge is resuming tomorrow (Tues.) with a scheduled wedding, and their guests are to be allowed in.  We intend to be open again Wed, and could be on Tues. if the need is there.  Today we are headed for supplies, so we can feed more people for longer periods of time between supply runs.

Call us and leave a message; we will call back when we return.  Thanks for all the support!!!
Juanita aka. Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We Have Phones!!!!

Yes, we can now call out, as of 7:50 p.m.  Tomorrow we will start contacting upcoming guests and let them know the status so they can make informed travel decisions.  Still raining, but more drizzle than rain; expected to end by Tues. morning.  Things will dry out quickly.  Looking forward to our normal Colorado sunshine.  Have a good Sunday evening.
Bionic Cowgirl

Checking Trail - A Few New Gorges

Bill and I decided to check the trails yesterday, just to see how far we could get and what water was still remaining.  We are effectively shut down for a while, at least until the road people start letting others come in, and the weather cleared for a few hours.  We saddled Ranger and Washoe, and took Jesse for a drag just to get all three out of the corral for a bit.
Well, no surprise here.
Some of the work going on was removing cliff walls that had sloughed off onto the roadway.
We started up the trail beside a small stream coming down.  The top of the hill looked pretty good; good solid footing and no washout.  Once we started down toward the meadow we started seeing small washouts.
This looks worse than it is; a little shovel work will remedy most of this, just like Spring run-off.
Now it's getting a little worse, but it is down to bedrock, so still possible to use.
Here's the first real chasm, at the meeting of the trails that circle the meadow.
Looks like a mini Royal Gorge.  This is probably three to four feet deep and goes for some distance.
We continued on toward the fallen cabin on the east side of the meadow, following water the whole way.  We opted to turn back before going down into the really marshy area; didn't want to cause any damage.
This is what the meadow was looking like.  Since our horses are barefoot, we tried to keep them to areas where we wouldn't do any trail damage.
We crossed toward the upper part of the meadow; what we thought looked to be the driest.  When we came to the next trail, both horses said, "Hey, is there supposed to be a creek here?"  It wasn't long after that that Jesse decided it was play day and started bouncing around Ranger in the mud.  Result:  one joyful mare and one grumpy, old man gelding.  It was going downhill from there, so we decided to head home.  Jesse had sunk to her back hocks in mud and decided to have a temper tantrum.  Suddenly, she stood stock-still, as did the other two, with ears and attention up the hill, "Yo, animal!"

Sure enough, they had seen/heard/smelled or somehow spotted a coyote scooting up the hill.  Play time over; let's chase the coyote.  That brought everybody back to their senses and we continued on home.
This is looking down on the switchback to the road.  Again we were told there was something 'out there'.
Five big dump trucks of dirt passed us.  We are very thankful for all the work the road crews are doing, and sending our prayers to all those places that did not fare as well as we did.  The Lodge is unscathed so far, even though it is raining heavily again.  This morning we started receiving phone calls; still can't call out, but pass the word that phone calls can come in.  We are closed until further notice.  Thanks to all for your kind thoughts and wishes.
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flood/Rain Update

For those of you wondering - we are still here, happy and dry (and with food!) on top of our mountain.  The most current problem for our guests is how to get off the mountain.  All roads leading down have been washed out - literally!!!  There are pavement breaks in Hwy 7 between us and Lyons, in Hwy 7 between us and Estes Park, in Hwy 72 to Nederland, in Hwy 34 from Estes Park to Loveland and in Hwy 36 from Estes Park to Lyons.  You can go from Estes Park over Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake (but we cannot get to Estes Park).  We are fine, but for people with flights out of Denver it is more than nerve-wracking.  We have a German contingency with an 8:00 a.m. flight tomorrow morning from DIA.

We currently have gorgeous skies and lots of blue showing; first non-rain sky in many days, so now the CDOT can maybe get a handle on how to tackle all the roads.  We brought a month's worth of hay up two days ago, so the horses get to eat.  Our crew stayed dry in their run-in shed and we loaned our second shed to a couple of the livery horses that had recently come in from AZ and weren't handling the weather well.

We, personally, are very fortunate in the fact we had purchased groceries the day before the storm hit; the local cafes don't have food or have run out and there is no way to get more here.  The Fawn Brook Inn is serving evening meals for those who want to pay the price.  We are offering an evening meal to our guests who want to eat with us.

Bill took this video this morning when he went out to do a road check.  This 'looks' like good road, until you realize the culvert is several feet below the pavement and there is a LOT of air between the top of the culvert and the roadway.  I wouldn't want to drive across that; which car is going to make it fall through?

Thanks to all of those who have checked up on us and offered prayers and help.

Recipe: Cheese Filled Pastry

Cheese Filled Pastry                                                                           375 degrees   25 min.
2 pastries         6 - 12 servings each

1 pkg dry yeast              \
1/4 c. lukewarm water    \   Mix & let stand 10 minutes
1 t. sugar                        /

2 - 8 oz. pkg cream cheese \
1 c. sugar                             \ Beat with mixer until creamy
1 t. lemon juice                   /

2 c. flour, sifted       \    Cut margarine into flour & salt.
1/4 t. salt                  \    Add yeast & egg mixture, lightly knead into dough.
3/4 c. margarine       /    Divide into 2 balls; roll ea. into 8" x 10" rectangle.

Spread ½ cream cheese mixture on each rectangle.  For each pastry:
fold ea. long side toward the middle, overlapping slightly.  Fold ea. end
up about 1 in.  Place on cookie sheet and bake until golden brown.  When cool,
sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with canned fruit, such as pie cherries or
apples - or drizzle with chocolate sauce.

½ of dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap & foil and refrigerated for up to
a week.  Only make cheese filling ½ at a time when ready to use.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

All Wet

You may have noticed the last couple posts have been about rain.

Lots of rain.

We have had close to 15 inches of rain in the last 3 days.  The mountains around us have gotten about the same amount.  Estes Park is flooded.  Water running into shops in the downtown area.  Several small towns South of us have had serious flooding and sadly, several fatalities.

There are videos all over the internet about the damage.  Roads being washed out.  Cars floating down rivers.  Buildings partway under water.

   Here is ours.

Sorry, that's all we got.


(Actually, I'm not sorry AT ALL!)

Stranded in Paradise

I'm posting because Mom and Bill don't have internet right now, but they're safe.  The town is completely cut off right now, but because of the nature of their business, they've got provision for themselves, their guests, and their horses.

They have no TV, cable, or internet right now.  But they do have firewood, food, and a generator, so the guests are in for a really "rustic" experience.

Highway 7, which is the most common way to get to the lodge has a wash-out below them.  Lyons, at the base of their mountain is completely isolated and has lost homes, businesses, and a fire truck.  There are reports of a fire crew being stranded above where a dam washed out.  They can't get any help in or out for Lyons.

Highway 34, through Estes Park has an area that is collapsed.  Highway 36, the alternative route into Estes Park from the Front Range is also closed.  They've started evacuations in Estes Park, but the only way out is over Trail Ridge Road.

It's ugly out there, but the Bionic Cowgirl and Beel are fine.  They've been digging out the ditch behind the lodge that we had almost forgotten was there.  The horses are refusing to leave the Scary Shed - they're not stupid, at least it's warm and dry in the Scary Shed.

The news is reporting 8.90" of rain in Allenspark in the last 24 hours and it's supposed to continue until tomorrow - at least 1.5" of rain still to come.  However, the good news is that I think we're out of our drought, especially if the meteorologist is right and we can expect 10" of snow for every 1" of rain.

Whew.  Stay safe and dry, folks.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Dark and Stormy Night/Day/Night/Day...

July fifteenth.  Almost two months ago, we had a pretty major hail storm.  They used the snow plows to clear the roads up here.

The roof in our "Sun Room" started leaking.  A lot.  Trash cans and buckets were installed and the insurance company was called.  It seems the leaks are not covered by this company.  I suspect they feel hail is an act of God.

Contractors were called, as we would like it fixed, even if it is against God's will.

Contractors were called again.

And again.

Must be the fear of God that is keeping them away.  Or it may be the stupid rain.  It has rained 6 days a week for the last two months.

I finally went to "Harbor Freight Tools" last week and bought a HUGE tarp that Juanita and I NAILED to the roof a couple days ago to slow the flow.  It is working quite well.  We have lost no more sheet rock.

 Red neck roofing at it's finest.

Now, the rain is not all bad.  Forest fire danger is very low.  Hay fields down the mountain are getting stream water to irrigate with (although when we bought hay today we had to tarp it for the drive up the mountain because, you guessed it, it was raining).  We even get the occasional couple that shows up here at the lodge looking for a dry place to sleep because they have been camping and nearly drowned.

Yesterday I got a phone call from the gal that runs the livery across the street from us.  "Bill!" she says, "It's raining!"     No feces.  She has lost 4 horses to colic in the last 2 months.  She had only lost 1 horse in the previous 2 years.  I don't know if rain has induced their gut problems, but it can't be helping.

The lightning that has come along with the storms has taken it's toll, too.  One credit card machine, one printer and EVERY D@MN surge suppressor in the building.  And one neighbor about half a mile from us lost a horse to lightning.

It's raining right now.

I think mushrooms may be our new state tree.

Gray is not my favorite color any more.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shutter Bugging

I now have two photographs published on book covers. (Well, kinda.  They didn't have to pay me, and I sort of begged).  

This is something of a surprise, as I am a poor photographer.

One of our daughters calls me the "papa-ratzi" 'cause when I am out on a ride the camera is always going.

I went to the "blind pig" school of photography.  As in even a blind pig will find an acorn sometime.

I will take 50 shots an hour, and find 1 or 2 decent shots after 2 or 3 hours of riding.

Some of the more typical  shots from today's ride.

I do weddings.