Winter came to Northern Colorado

 

As Sunday night crept over the golf course alongside our home, the falling snow finally abated. On more than one occasion I had stepped outside to first clean snow off the roof of our ragtop Range Rover Evoque as concern mounted that two plus feet of snow might be too much to bear. It was then a case of knocking down the “flow of snow” building up on the entrance to our front door.

By “flow of snow” I meant that; the more snow that fell the more the snow began forming what looks like a small waterfall. All around us trees were sagging under the weight and close in to Ft Collins the big cottonwood trees began losing branches onto homes, cars and the sidewalks. Photos soon appeared of snowplows stuck in drifts along with news that the main interstate highway, I25 was closed just north of us all the way to the Wyoming border.


 As the news updates late last week informed us all to hunker down for a storm of historic performance, we elected to drive to Ft Collins for a Friday night out for dinner even as light rain was falling. It was a return visit to RARE, an Italian steakhouse we had visited the Sunday night before as part of an extended celebration of a major milestone – a birthday where everyone I knew was quick to remind me that it was just a number. However, numbers aside, this restaurant has become our go-to choice whenever we want to skip cooking dinner for ourselves.

As late as Saturday afternoon the skies continued looking ominous but the streets were only wet with rain. Snow was expected to fall so they were telling us and it was only minutes away. We took a drive anyway to wrap up some last minute chores and sure enough, on the way home, those first few innocent flakes began appearing on our windscreen. Safe to say, we cut short any further shopping to head on home. As evening descended upon us and as the sky became even gloomier, the wind picked up considerably and then it started. Not much at first but then it all changed with snow beginning to descend in earnest. 

Watching newscasts out of Denver, the story was all about a potential record snowstorm with snow levels surpassing those of the big storms in 2003 and 2006. As the numbers kept climbing it was hard for television stations to keep up but all they needed to do was to look out the window. Margo and I cannot recall the big snowstorm of 2003 and what transpired but we lived through the big one in 2006 albeit experiencing takes on what transpired. I had just picked up daughter Lisa from the airport, headed to the stores for some basics when the rain and snow mix began falling just as it did this past Saturday.

I immediately headed back to our home in Niwot telling Lisa that this could be a bad storm. Turned out it was just the first of three blizzards to hit the Boulder region and blocked us in with snow accumulations reaching past the garage doors all the way up to the roof line. Of course, being curious I did the last thing anyone should do faced with a similar situation; I opened a garage door. Immediate chaos as the snow fell into the garage covering the cars and preventing any possibility of closing the garage doors again.

Margo, on the other hand, sitting in Simi Valley, California, and watching as one after another flights to Denver were cancelled, took a big risk. She rented a car – a Chev Impala – and, chancing her hand, spent two days driving home. It was December with Christmas Eve fast approaching and being her Mom’s birthday there was no way she was going to miss it. Nor did she as she managed to traverse the Rockies in between storms.

Lisa and I were able to track her progress following each call she made as she stopped at rest sites for food and gas. Always remember that experience, she says. When she finally drive up the driveway, a path had been cleared and there was access to the garage. And with the skies clearing, our former home in Niwot looked like the perfect picture to send to friends and family for Christmas.

Well, this last weekend blizzard was actually measuring more accumulation of snow than that big one in 2006! One of the downsides to having more cars than garages is that there is always one car that draws the proverbial short straw. Being as it was the only 4 X 4 SUV that we have on this occasion it was the Range Rover Evoque. We have other AWD drive cars, mind you, but not with enough clearance to climb above the level of snow on the road.  

This situation is going to change, as we are about to return one car this week. All of our cars are leased – true, we can never make up our minds so there’s always changes taking place – but having made the decision to trim back to just three vehicles and with a new Corvette on order (and no, there would be no dogsleds added to the fleet), it was time for some serious discussion. What drew the short straw this time just happens to be our BMW M4 Competition. Having argued strongly for the Jaguar F Type to be returned with the M4 enjoying a stay of execution, we jointly reached the decision that Jaguar, Oui … BMW, Non!

At first light this morning, all was calm. What had once been the 17th green of our golf course was unrecognizable under the blanket of snow. The pin was still in the hole and the flag continued to fly although you really have to look hard to see it. On the other hand, the nature reserve that lies between our fence and the green appears to be a waterscape with whitecaps being whipped up by the wind. Watching as the clouds gave way to blue sky simply reminded us that these weather cycles will continue for some time and yes, there’s another smaller system expected to arrive later in the week. Sure hope we can drive that M4 back to the Boulder BMW dealership before the weather gets serious.

I have to say that it is at times like this that I truly miss living in Sydney. Even as its residents look for the arrival of fall telling me that it has been raining and perhaps a little snow would be a welcome change. It is also a time when Florida looks like the place to be and given how we really do need to visit clients at some point, who knows we may even take our first continental drive that includes visiting the Atlantic coast sometime soon. Then again, we did get to make the change to daylight savings time and Spring is now only a matter of days away.

Spending time together at home isn’t all that bad. Later this year will mark our fourth year in the township of Windsor and we have continued to fine-tune the layout to where it works well for us even as all around us is the chaos of winter. A splash of bright accent colors never goes astray. Having a semi professional photographer visiting us wasn’t all that bad, either. Turns out inspiration can be taken from many sources and he thought we gave our photographer, Brian Kenny, something to think about for a project he and wife Jan were currently pursuing.

Having the Kennys visit us is always a treat. It’s also a time spent in restaurants enjoying fine dining and on this occasion, there was no change to this expectation. Mid-week, before our guests arrived, it was an early dinner further south in nearby Denver where we ate lobster at the 801 Chophouse. This restaurant is modelled after a Chicago-style steakhouse but they just happen to serve the best 2 ¼ pound lobsters that we have come across.

Having the Kennys join us for the celebration meant trips to some of our favorite gathering holes. Not the least being the Greenbriar, the restaurant that was the venue for our celebratory dinner on the evening of our marriage all the way back in 1999. This was preceded by dinner in Longmont at the Martini Bistro before ending at the aforementioned RARE. When dining out with Brian and Jan, it’s almost always about the steaks and that weekend proved no exception. Then again, there were a few surprises install for us.

At the RARE Italian restaurant to better accommodate small groups dining with them they had set up tented dining tables that catered for groups up to six. Heated, as you would expect, they provided a much needed and yes, quite relaxing ambiance that set the tone for the evening. This restaurant also dry age their beef and it’s wonderful. In contrast to what followed this weekend the temperatures that weekend of Kennys visit climbed into the high 60s topping out at 70 on the Sunday. Little did we realize that of all the days in March to come join us to celebrate my passing this milestone, Brian and Jan couldn’t have picked a better weekend!


It is now the morning after the big snowstorm and already we are making plans for the rest of the week. The BMW will be returned, there will be shopping for basics needing our attention as well. A trip here and there for this and that all to remind us that as disruptive as this blizzard happened to be – and yes, it became a full-on blizzard late Sunday with warning texts reaching us all – we tend to move on.

We make adjustments and we shrug our shoulders even as we know this is the snowy-time of year. Spring snow is when we see the highest snowfalls registered and more often than not, April receives the most snowfall of all. Not surprises then that even in March we get clobbered by Mother Nature. Talk of surprises let me close with a reference to something I already mentioned – the surprises install for us when we turned up for dinner at RARE on Sunday night.

All wine would be discounted fifty percent – including the Penfolds Bin 389. Remember my reference to finding them at Costco back in the January 2021 post? Well, we paid just US$44 per bottle at the restaurant, a price well below what we paid at Costco. So it proved advantageous to step out for dinner and raising a glass to you all seemed a logical thing to do. Here’s our very best to all of you and to the onset of spring!



 

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