Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Shrine to Coors

My friend and Coors pal, Larry Weaver has an amazing collection of Coors Memorabilia. When he and Betty moved into their current home in Golden, they created a shrine like to no other to the history of The Coors Brewing Company.
Betty, Genice & Larry
Betty and Genice were grumbling about having their photo taken.

On Friday, several of us who worked together gathered up at Larry & Betty's for a lunch hosted by Betty & Larry and it gave us a chance to visit and view the shrine.

As you can see, the room is filled with Coors 'stuff', very valuable Coors stuff.

Rick Paine was one of my teammates.
Phillip, Wanda Kaye, Larry and Mette
Phillip & Kaye both worked in Guest Relations at Coors.
Larry was a long time Malting / Grain Handling employee & Mette was in Quality Control Management.

Oh, Terry, wasn't looking, dang.
Terry and I started our friendship when I worked for him and then as my career progressed, we were on the same management team for a number of years.
It was a nice lunch and fun visit.

I left there and met up with good pal, Mark at The Old Capitol Grill in downtown Golden.
It felt good to be back in familiar places
and with familiar faces.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Packers & Wings

It has been hard to keep up on my Packers while traveling but last night a group of friends agreed to meet at a local wing joint for beers, wings and Packers football.  
So after a busy day spent with Roche going to breakfast, shopping and then getting my car serviced & washed, we met up for the game.

BW3 has the most huge TVs I've ever seen in a sports bar and the food was great.
We had a nice group to visit with and cheer on The Pack.
Jeannie, Sue, Wanda, LeAnna, Rochelle & Tom

The game made me nervous, but in the end my Packers did great.
And we watched the Cubs at the same time, it is nice when both of my teams come out on top.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Anniversary Plate

One of my favorite restaurants in the Denver metro is LaLoma.  
Excellent margaritas and tasty Mexican food.  
My favorite menu item,  
The Anniversary Plate,
 It is about the only thing I would ever order.  
Now the old restaurant is closing and a new location opening downtown Denver.  
Luckily,  my trip worked out for me to have one last visit to the Cantina in the Diamond Hill district of West Denver on Wednesday night,  just 6 days before the closing.
Tom, Wanda, Rochelle & LeAnna
Tom & I enjoyed 28 ounce margaritas and we all, Roche & LeAnna too, enjoyed the delicious food; of course,  I ordered The Anniversary Plate!

Finally at rest

My half sister Bonnie passed away on 10/17/2016 after a long fight with cancer and other illness.  She and I had a relationship that was complicated.  Her Mom was my Mom, but I was raised to know her as an aunt as my grandparents had adopted her when she was 4 years old.  Over the years, we Johansen kids were brought to realize that our real relationship with Bonnie was half sister.  Confusing, but family none the less.
A rose in Tom & Rochelle's garden. 10.19.2016

It is with sadness that we say farewell to Bonnie.  I'm thankful to have come to know her 3 children through the magic of Facebook, and I am very sad for their loss.  I won't be back home in time to attend her memorial, but my heart will be with the family as they say their goodbyes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I'm tuned up on mountain driving again now but very glad to be done with it.  It was a pretty drive on Tuesday, but Vail pass is a pull.  My little flatland car did okay,  but we traveled in the slow lane.  Finally seeing the Denver sprawl was a relief,  now my little car can rest for several days.
I arrived at Roche & Tom's to be greeted with a cold beverage,  guacamole, and much catching up.  It was good to be someplace familiar again.  LeAnna came over and we had a good evening of chatting & a delicious beef bourguignon meal.
Two cats live here but Moe is the greeter and talker.  He slept with me off and on during the night and then pressed my pj's for me once I was up this morning.  Camby is the downstairs cat.
Today was my sleep-in day, tomorrow I'm going to start catching up with my Colorado pals.

There is a downstairs attendant as well, but she snubs me.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Target 2

This trip was about 2 things,  visiting my Aunt Jeanne in Washington,  visiting friends & family in Colorado & visiting Aunt Johanne in Iowa.
I'm about to achieve target#2.

I'm in Colorado tonight,  Fruita is on the Western Slope.  Another long day at the wheel,  bit this time timidity night I'll be shooting in Roche & Tom's house having a cocktail.

In the meantime,  I walked over from the motel to have a refreshment to clear the miles out of my brain & some spicy food for my weary soul.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado!

Almost Colorado

I'm in Eastern Utah,  rest break and soon I'll be on I-70 headed into Colorado.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired.  Road Weary for sure, but still enjoying the adventure.

I learned that SLC drivers have a need for speed & no concept of a 70 mph speed limit.   I was glad to make it safely through that Indy 500-like drive.

I wondered if my mountain driving skills were rusty, and if they were,  they are not now.

This photo is at the stop in Horse Canyon, UT.  I'm hoping to see some horses now.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Big Trip Day 12

I arrived in Olympia after a rainy drive,  This big storm has the natives gathering up generators, gasoline and all the milk and bread they can carry.
After I checked into the Comfort Inn, the storm got going pretty good and I watched pine cones and branches fall to the parking lot where my car was parked.
I had some time before dinner, so iced down a beverage and watched it rain.

My friend Beth, who I know from my hospital work days in Wheatridge, CO, picked me up and we had a delicious dinner and great visit.

I had the fried oysters, very tasty.
I drove past many oyster beds driving along the water.

Great to see Amy and looking forward to our next visit.
Next stop Bend, OR and hopefully a trip away from this big storm.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Port Townsend is cool

I stayed 2 nights with friends Mark and Karen in the harbor town Port Townsend.  It's a busy town with a vibrant historic downtown and folks who are living a friendly & eclectic lifestyle.
I loved the PourHouse bar where dogs rule, Sirens restaurant and bar where the sun was shining on us as we ate lunch and watched a few hungry sparrows who were thieving any scraps possible.  We picked glass at the beach giving me what every girl loves, a chance to keep my big butt in the air as I searched for the little gems, and we watched a movie in a setting that was like a trip back in time to the 40's and was nothing short of a slice of heaven.  Throw in some great home cookin', cold beers and a great dog named Scooter and it was two days I'll not soon forget.
Karen, Scooter, Mark & Wanda
I'll add more photos later when I have more time and better wifi.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sunshine on my shoulders

Makes me happy

Ferry time

I'm waiting to see if I get on the next ferry to Port Townsend. If not I'll have a hour wait.

I'm thinking of changing into a short sleeved shirt,  but maybe after the ferry.

Bright sunshine,  a gray heron to watch.  All good.

The Big Trip Out West goes on.

Big view

The view off the deck at my Aunt & Uncle's house in Washington is really something.   I got to see Mt. Ranier today and took photos with my good camera and will post later.  
There was a slight rainbow in this panoramic shot on the left.
We've had a couple of good days of hashing over the family tree,  telling stories and avoiding politics as much as possible.
Tomorrow I leave for Port Townsend and cold beer.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


On Saturday morning I woke up in Missoula, MT.  
I had made arrangements to visit my second cousin and her husband for coffee.  
Neelna sets the most beautiful table!

Neela's grandmother, Mie, was a sister to my grandmother, Frederikke.  
Neelna is about 4 or 5 years older than I am but I remember her well.
I had only met Steve through Facebook so now it is nice to have a personal connection.

We enjoyed a short visit over much good coffee and danish dark rye bread & caraway cheese.
They also had beautiful pastries to offer, but I had to have the Danish classic.
And, so thoughtful of Neelna to package up some of the bread and cheese for my lunch and I'll have enough for breakfast on Sunday as well.

Second Cousins Wanda & Neelna

It was a really nice start to the day, and although I couldn't linger we did have a good visit.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Red Lodge

Visited friends Bonnie & Terry overnight Thursday. Fun catching up worth then after 20 years.

Bonnie took me up Bear Tooth Pass to where it was closed and there is s scenic overlook.

No joke on the scenic!

More to come on Red Lodge but now in off to Missoula.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Horsing around

Wednesday morning I left Murdo, SD and headed for Billings, MT.  
A long drive was planned, but the weather looked good and I was up for it.

I had hoped to stop at Mt. Rushmore, but the closer I got, I could see that I did not have time for that excursion, so I'll save that for another time.  
I have been there before, but am always awed by 'the faces'.

One of the people I'm reconnecting with on this trip is Bonnie, who was my roommate back in 1977 when I first started working at Coors.  She's a Winona native and we met through mutual friends back in those days.  She had given me a tip for a short cut for my trip to Billings.  So, from Spearfish, SD I headed off on a state highway and left the Interstate and 80mph behind.  
It turned out to be an excellent choice.
Most of the 'shutcut' was through reservation land, so there wasn't much for amenities out there.

  Once I got into the mountains, I started seeing a familiar fall sight, the aspens in their glory.

As I came down into a little town called Lame Deer, I was noticing a very small casino off to my left, ,when I suddenly saw quick movement to my right.
I was slowing down to 25mph, so stopping was not a problem.
This probably happens here often, but it was first for me.

 These horses did not pause, but ran right out across the road as their herder followed.

Since I was behind the wheel, I didn't have a chance to look through the viewfinder of the camera,
I just held it up and snapped away. 
I did catch those horses heading up into the hills,
a better place for them no doubt, less traffic.

I arrived in Billings safely after a scenic drive.
Dinner and refreshments with Steve and Tammy Rockhold.
It was so good to see those two.
Steve and I worked together for many years on many projects 
and I have to say I have missed seeing him. 
We have shared many conversations over a cold beer. 

Tammy and I became good friends over the years as well.

Getting to see their new Montana digs 
and a Facetime chat with Emily 
and I got to meet Allie the black lab,
and having a night cap was all good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oh Whatta beautiful morning

I spent last night with my niece in her new apartment.  We walked to supper at the Alma Hotel just up main street.    Good home made food in an old building that has some restoration.

Lora & I had a good visit and her place is nice.  It's a 2 bedroom on the second floor right on main street of this river town Alma.  I'm sitting here now with the door open to the lanai listening to the morning sounds of cars,  birds and now the train is coming through.   The tracks are about 30 feet behind this building,  the floor shakes and there is no missing the whistle.  I don't mind it.

Looks to be a good day for a long drive.  Weather in MT looks dicey,  but maybe by tomorrow it will be better, at the very least the roads should be fine.

Lora is off to work,  she's a teacher,  so I'm finishing a big cup of coffee and then I'll shower and get going.  Murdo, SD is my next stop.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An odd coincidence

Before I knew that Laila was coming for a visit in September, I had purchased a ticket to see Garrison Keillor at The State Theater in Eau Claire.  Much has been made of Garrison retiring from his weekly show A Prairie Home Companion and I have never seen him perform.  Once I knew Laila would be here, I was lucky enough to get the ticket next to mine, box seats, they're the best!

We enjoyed a meal of appetizers and margueritas before the show at Applebees.

Then we headed off to the show.

We are not that good at 'usies'.

The show opener was a folk singer / guitar player who was great, then Garrison took the stage.
He explained why he was there.

The son of Garrsion's cousin, tragically died in an accidental drowning in Lake Superior in the winter of 2014, and the money raised will continue the work that this young man had begun in Uganda.

The concert was great.  He entertained us in his typical style of limericks and song.
Instead of an intermission, he came down to the floor of the theater and invited those that needed to step out to do so, but the rest of us were invited to stand and sing along.
Garrison led us in about 20 minutes of song.
Hymns, patriotic ballads, songs by The Beatles, and more.
It was very enjoyable and the full theater of 1000 had a good sound.
When he led us in How Great Thou Art, is was truly breathtaking 
and both Laila & I got goosebumps!

This was Friday night.
Now, fast forward to Sunday night.
(I'll fill in the gap later.)

Laila and I arrived at Blue Fin Bay for a one night stay On The Big Lake!
This inn is made up of condos that are privately owned & rented, but the rentals are run like a hotel.
We were getting settled in, listening to the waves and started talking about how anyone accidentally downs in Lake Superior in the winter.
Well, we had Google, so we started looking to see what the rest of the story might be.

Menomonie man drowns in Lake Superior Tuesday

Dec 25, 2014

Amid flares dropping from a plane above to illuminate the dark, turbulent, fog-shrouded waters of Lake Superior, a U.S. Coast Guard boat crew battled the elements for hours on Tuesday night, searching for a man who had been swept from shore near Tofte.

They finally located the man, unresponsive, 400 yards from shore and a half-mile from where he had gone missing — ending a tragic day on the North Shore in which two lives were lost.

Authorities in Cook County on Wednesday identified the two men who drowned Tuesday as Evan Alexander Johnson, 40, of Menomonie, Wis., and Wayne Louis Hoffman, 66, of Spring Green, Wis.

According to information provided by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard, Johnson reportedly had gone swimming in Lake Superior at about 3 p.m. Tuesday, after being in a hot tub on shore near Bluefin Bay Resort, about 80 miles northeast of Duluth. After Johnson showed signs of distress in waves estimated at 4 to 6 feet, Hoffman tried to pull him from the 37-degree water but apparently was swept away by a large wave.

Johnson was pulled from the water by 3:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Cook County North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais. The search for Hoffman continued into the night, with 11 agencies taking part and the flare-lit scene visible to many residents and visitors along that stretch of the North Shore.

Thomas Spence lives on Springdale Road, about a half-mile from Tofte.
Throughout the evening, he watched a Canadian Coast Guard C-130 airplane drop flares in a large area offshore from Tofte and Taconite Harbor, turning an overcast and cloudy night into what looked like “a war zone,” said Spence, with multiple aircraft in the sky and at least one Coast Guard boat in the water.
“Flying so low through the smoke created by the flares, it was just an eerie and crazy atmosphere,” Spence said. “I had never seen anything like it over the lake; it was so out of place. They were dropping two and three flares at a time.”
The Coast Guard station in Duluth confirmed Spence’s account.

“With assistance from the C-130 utilizing flares for illumination we were able to find the person in the water” at about 10 p.m., Chief Petty Officer Garrett Kravitz said. “We spotted him from the Coast Guard small boat in the water. As soon as we sighted him we immediately got him on board and started CPR while we transported back to Taconite Harbor where we waited for EMS and they took control.”

Hoffman was pronounced dead by personnel on shore.
Spence said he knew it was a recovery effort, in search of a body.
He’d seen law enforcement officials in town before dark and suspected something was up. Facebook filled in the rest as posts informed him of the unfolding tragedy. By the time he witnessed the flares, he had driven to his parents’ house on the lake with what he called a “great vantage point” near Taconite Harbor. He brought a flashlight with him and did some searching himself along the shoreline.
“I kind of thought with the direction of the waves and the way they were searching, anything could happen,” said the 41-year-old Spence.
Kravitz described the conditions on Lake Superior as 6-foot rolling swells with winds out of the east.
“It was a moderately rough night,” said Kravitz, who was on the water aboard the 25-foot response boat based in Duluth.
Spence described the conditions along the shore.
“The waves were crashing pretty good,” he said. “A person unaided would not have been able to get in or out of the water. It was still rolling pretty good even at 9, 10 o’clock.”
Just after 10, as crews located Hoffman’s body, Spence watched the flares cease.
Additional information on what led up to the men going into the lake, and on whether they were related or otherwise knew each other, was not available from authorities on Wednesday.
While the Canadian Coast Guard plane reached the scene, attempts to bring U.S. Coast Guard and Minnesota State Patrol helicopters to the search area were unsuccessful because of icing conditions that kept the aircraft grounded.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Search and Rescue, Cook County Ambulance, Tofte Fire Department, Tofte Rescue Squad, Lutsen Fire Department and Grand Marais Fire Department also were involved in the search.
— Reprinted with permission from Forum News Service and Duluth News Tribune

We knew nothing of the story until Friday night at The State Theater when Garrison Keillor referenced the sad event.
On Sunday night, we were sitting in a room at Blue Fin Bay Inn & Resort.
Very odd, very sad, and something we won't soon forget.


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