Sunday, September 23, 2012


It all started with this picture of my great grandparents, in front of their homestead in what is now the ghost town of Freeland, CO.  On a quest to see if we could find the location of the house in the photo, we took a detour on our way back from Georgetown.
To get to Freeland, you need to go through Idaho Springs - located in Clear Creek Canyon, approx. 30 miles west of Denver, and 13 miles to the north of Georgetown.  Founded in 1859 by prospectors during the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, Idaho Springs was at the center of the region's mining district throughout the late nineteenth century. The town today is squeezed along the north side of  I-70, with a historical downtown (there's a great little museum of local history in the heart of town) on its western end and a strip of tourist-related shops on its eastern end.  Travel under the highway, and the road will take you past mine-dotted hills, covered in aspen and pine, to what was once Freeland, CO.
Freeland was established in 1880, with some rich gold strikes nearby. It soon grew to a population of more than four hundred with some eighty cabins and frame houses, two stores, a saloon and a public school. My grandmother Hazel (on the far left, in front of my great-great Grandma Margaret Lory), and her siblings, were born there to immigrants from England (Elizabeth and William Nicholls).  It was a peaceful, industrious community - the perfect place for this young, hard-working family but, as with most mining towns of the day, Freeland depended upon the mines for its survival. When the mines faded, so did Freeland.
My mother could remember family picnics in a meadow when she was a child, long after the house was gone.  On a mission to find the sight, we stopped at a local residence and asked permission to do a little exploring (a friendly reminder – people are always a little more willing to let you tromp around if you ask first).  The bottom photo was the one original building left at that site...the one visible on the left of the upper photo is a newer addition.
We found what my Mom seemed to remember as the location, and even managed to snap a photo of a hillside that looks very similar to the angles of the one behind the house, albeit a little closer than the original photo...perhaps it is.  In my mind, at least, we found the exact spot!  It's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
On up the road, past Freeland (you will definitely want a 4-wheel, or off-road vehicle), sits the Lamartine Mine…we didn’t make the trek up that day – we knew our limitations and took the easy way out.  Originally prospected by 4 miners from Idaho Springs, a large fissure vein was discovered which produced several million dollars worth of gold, silver and lead, before closing in 1905.  My great-grandfather, and several other relatives worked the mine in it’s heyday.
As with any of these old mines, as tempting as it is, it is extremely dangerous to just walk into the openings.  Old, weak timbers, unseen deadly gases, HOLES, (not to mention jumping through a window of an opening and landing with your foot on a large rusty spike that emerged through the top of your shoe…not me, but someone with us in our younger/“should have known better” years).  DON'T DO IT!  Take the path we did this day, and seek out one of the mines with guided tours.  They are plentiful in the hills around Idaho Springs.  One of the best happens to be the one we took that day, on the road back down from Freeland – the PHOENIX GOLD MINE…stay's up next.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Just because I've been dancin' round my house to a kick-ass song on a Target commercial (of all things!) for a week or so now, I thought you should too.  Tonight, through the magical powers of looking things up on the internet, Jackie D. informs me that it's Connie Francis, from 1958.  Who knew?  I'll bet my dad would!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


FULL SPEED AHEAD!  I've been gone so long, they've changed the blog format on me! Missing in action these past few months, due to an extended, extended vacation - a new travelogue to follow in a day or so.  Hopefully I can provide some vacation ideas for you to catalog for a future trip of your own.  For now, a quick recap, before I work my way back to present times (yes, kind of like a time machine)...a mish mash of sorts, but something to get me out of the after vacation funk and back in blogging mode.
A trip to Denver with my husband's family...these are my delightful nieces (and a friend on the left), with my own daughter in the back...where the tall are made to stand for photos (she is not on her tiptoes - those cute girls in front are just that short).  We had a wonderful time with his family - I did post about that portion of the trip before I got distracted and took to traveling again, but this photo was worth posting again.
Left there, while my own little family traveled back to Vegas, to spend some quality time with my parents, across town.  Spent some time on both trips to Denver, searching for (and finding, on the second try) a long lost family plot with my parents (1880)...and cataloguing a little more family history for myself, along the way.
Traveled through the old home state of CO with them, on day trips, and then took a fabulous, meandering week driving back to Vegas (parents in tow) through the beautiful Southwest.
Went to Hawaii for 9 days after that, with my husband - he had been working there for 6 months and was a little lonely, so he brought me over.  I had never been, and was thoroughly enchanted.  I had a far different take on things than he did, living and working there - he's glad to be back now...
How could you not love Paradise?

Went BACK to Denver 5 days later, for a second round with my folks...took in a PERFECT Broadway play (my reason for traveling back - "Book of Mormon, the Musical", by the South Park boys)...did a little more traveling around the state and just enjoyed their company...
Even dragged my Dad, good sport that he was, to a concert at the beautiful Redrocks Amphitheater, on a windy evening (this was early in the evening - it was packed before it was over).  Mom got sick that day - I know we enjoyed ourselves much more than she did.
But she made up for it.  Mom usually spends a week here with us during CO hunting season, while the boys are off doing "boy things".  I got back from Denver, and she followed this year, 10 days later.  She just left on Saturday - we spent a winning week doing "girl things", shopping, and playing on The Strip, where I forced her to let me snap her picture after one of the shows we went to.  Yes, she noticed the size of his hand. 
All in all, a fabulous summer to tell you about, so pedal to the metal...full steam ahead - here goes.  But before I get out of the parking lot, two license plates we ran across that cracked me up - I admit, it doesn't take a whole lot...told you it was going to be a mish mash!
Not a fan of the teen vampire movies but this made me laugh, walking through the lot at The Bellagio...and then there was this:
I AM a fan of the old Mel Brooks movies...Young Frankenstein, in particular...
"Now that brain that you gave me. Was it Hans Delbruck's?"
"Ah! Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I DID put in?"
"Then you won't be angry?"
"I will NOT be angry."
"Abby someone."
"Abby someone? Abby who?"
"Abby... Normal."
"Abby Normal?"
"I'm almost sure that was the name."

And we're off...thanks for sticking around...

Monday, September 3, 2012


A wonderful few months, filled with music and much to share, but starting backwards from last night...

Billed as "One Night, Two Incredible Acts", it didn't fail to deliver!  Thanks to a very early birthday gift from my music loving friend, Jackie - the one friend that shares my love of good old, gut-wrenching, soulful blues - we were treated to an incredible evening (3 hours) of some of the very finest, starting with an hour with the legend; "The King of the Blues"; Mr. B. B. King, himself.
Confined to a chair during his performances now, the man never stopped smiling the entire time...and neither did we.  Such a joyful sound coming from Lucille and Mr. King.  Jackie leaned over at one point and asked that if he was this great still, at 86, could I imagine what it would have been like to see him in his prime?!  Beyond belief, I'm sure...and I am so thankful I got the chance to see him when I did.  Also very thankful for such a wonderful friend.  You ROCK, Chica - THANK YOU, AGAIN!
And, if I can sell just one album for this Grammy Award winning band (for their 2011 debut album - they've released a new album this year, "Tedeschi Trucks Band Live - Everybody's Talkin'") I've done my job here...their portion of the evening was a FULL 2 hour idyllic, musical extravaganza, which echoed so many great traditions - Delta blues and Memphis soul, sixties rock and seventies funk...left us both speechless, at points, during their performance.  I think Jackie may have even cried. The TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND is a SOLID 11-piece band, fronted by husband and wife team, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (Ta-de-skee).  Damn near perfect, if I do say so - turn up your sound and watch - then run out and buy (or hit up Amazon, since you're on here anyway)!