Monday, July 16, 2018

Revisiting St. Vrain Greenway to Sandstone Park after 4.8 years

Longmont's St. Vrain Greenway recently re-opened all the way east to Sandstone Ranch, after being closed for 4.8 years due to damage from the 2013 flood.  Finally got back out there on the bike today to check it out. 

Before the flood, the Greenway to Sandstone was a popular bike ride and hike, especially on weekends. But it's been fenced off first at County Road 1 right after the flood and then in 2015, it was extended 1/2 mile east of CR1 for a few more years.

This was the the previous eastern-most point.  The gate was closed and you can still see the leftover "No Trespassing" sign.   Gate is open now!

  
The wetland marsh still exists north of the Greenway as you go toward Sandstone:


The powerful 2013 flood created a new channel of the St. Vrain river out here.  It was decided by the engineers and planners just to leave it as nature carved it out in the flood vs. trying to put the river back in it's pre-2013 shape.  One reason I heard at a city open house was that wildlife had already adopted the new wetlands created by the river split.  A new double-bridge was added over the new channel, kind of hard to see in this picture:


The smaller 2009 bridge remains over the original flow of the river as you cross into Sandstone Ranch:


I saw some wild turkeys after crossing the bridge into the park:



The cliffs at Sandstone:


I was glad to see my old favorite gravel road still there, going in front of the cliffs to the east and then up the hill.  It's in rougher shape than I remember it with lots of loose sand.   I wouldn't try it on skinny bike tires:


The view from the lookout point situated on top of the cliffs:


Hard to believe it's been over 1768 days since I've been able to ride the Greenway to Sandstone.  Very glad it's back.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Dougherty Musem

Despite being just a few miles from where I live, and passing it everyday for twenty years, I had never visited the Dougherty Museum just south of Longmont.  Finally in August of last year (2017), I went inside.

Ray G. Dougherty was a Boulder County poultry farmer and began collecting musical keyboard instruments like organs and the pianos in the late 1920s, along with audio equipment (phonographs, radios, etc.).  In the 40s, he and his wife's interests expanded to vintage cars and farm equipment, with their first acquisition being a 1913  Ford Model T.  As their collection grew, it was stashed but safely preserved, in various storage sheds on their property.  In the 1970s, the Dougherty family decided that their collections had public interest and built a 29,000 square foot building to house a museum.  Ray died in 1988 but the museum continues to this day as a private foundation and is open part of the year in the summer months, June through August.

This is just a sampling of what's inside.  I liked seeing the history of these well-preserved vehicles, including from some manufacturers that I had never heard of.


First, a 1924 "Silver Ghost" Rolls Royce.  6000 of these were made, all hand-built.


One of the oldest bicycles in Longmont, an 1896 Cleveland.  Dougherty was way ahead of his time in collecting vintage stuff and some were even questioning his judgement. I kind of wish he had snapped up more of the early bicycles.


One of the many musical instruments in the Dougherty museum, this one an amazing 1895 foot pump Pianola player-piano, with me at the helm!  It's taken a lot of precision volunteer hours to keep these operating.





The Dougherty's found this 1918 Cadillac Model 57 in a Boulder garage. 



1917 Studebaker, originally owned by the John W. Goss family of Hygiene, Colorado:



Lozier was a short lived Detroit turn-of-the-century car company, started by a bicycle builder.  This 1913 model was made a year before they shut down.




A reminder that electric cars are not a new thing, here's a early 1900's Detroit Electric 84-Volt coupe, top speed 25 mph.  List price was $3300. 


1919 Locomobile, a Connecticut car company, known as the staff car of General Pershing during WWI.



1908 Packard Model 30, found in Basalt, Colorado.


Just one of the many tractors and farm implements at the museum, a 1936 Fordson, manufactured in Dagenhem, UK by Ford and originally purchased by Philip Travarton in 1936 from Cleveland Motors, Longmont.




Speaking of tractors, you can double up on visiting the museum and seeing vintage tractors outside by attending the Yesteryear Farm Show on the Dougherty property, usually at the end of August each year.  That's what I did.   Vintage tractors used to be on display at the annual Boulder County Fair but they now gather at Dougherty instead. The farm show is free and admission to the museum is $5, $3 for kids.









Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Revisited: The Ghost Town of Noland, Colorado

You may remember the sandstone-mining ghost town of Noland, Colorado from the early 1900's in the hills above Lyons, and the fact that today it is on private property with NO TRESPASSING signs on the steep 4WD road leading up to it.  Over the years, I made several attempts to get up there but none of them worked out.

That changed last summer (2017) when an interested party (I'll leave it at that) offered me a legal opportunity to  visit the Noland area!

What's mostly standing up there today are some old buildings in the sandstone quarry areas.  Remember that the town buildings themselves were built of wood and were deconstructed and hauled away via rail when the town faded away.








There were a few pools of standing water up there, this one even had some goldfish swimming around in it.  Lack of water was one of the reasons behind the demise of Noland but these little ponds even during wetter summers could not have sustained the town.


This other pool of water had no goldfish and thus was a foul-smelling mosquito haven:


Likely some old quarrying equipment:


More difficult to see but there are old food tin cans laying around:


And lots of large piles of sandstone scraps:



Had to be careful wandering around the brush up there in the middle of summer, as this is prime rattlesnake country.  Nearby Rabbit Mountain was formerly known as Rattlesnake Mountain for this very reason.   More detailed exploring of this area would best be done during the cooler months. 


Thanks again to the friendly "group" that arranged for me to be in the area legally.  Very glad I got to see some of Noland's remains.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Longmont 2017 Veterans Day Parade

It's been five years (!) since I've been able to attend the Veterans Day Parade in Longmont.  This year it fell on a Saturday, which always lets a lot more people attend.

Thanks to all veterans for your service!




Always like to see the marching bands participate!

Mead High School:



Longmont High School:



Lyons High School:


Niwot High School:



Frederick High School:



Erie High School:


Skyline High School:



Silver Creek High School:






Beautiful warm fall day for a parade.
 


Some previous Longmont Veterans Day parades: