Penny Black 12

Saturday already? That could only mean that it’s time for this week’s Penny Black Saturday Challenge and Challenge 12 is Stars & Stripes. As always it’s entirely up to what you make – card, atc, altered art, etc… as long as it features at least one Penny Black image.

This week the prize is sponsored by Funky Hand, it’s their latest download Minty Madness. To be in a chance to win just leave a comment over at PBSC Blog with a link to your work and your name will be added to the draw. The winner will be announced next Saturday on the PBSC Blog.

For this challenge I thought about making a red, white and blue card with stars and stripes… it just seems weird making an Independence Day card in August. In my stash I came across this CTMH Reflection Kit, Good Times, that contained designer paper with stripes and another with stars that coordinated… how great is that? The image is On a Star, from Penny Black. I stamped the star onto Buttercup cardstock, cut it out and then adhered it to the original stamped imaged… I wanted my yellow star to match the Buttercup stripes in the designer paper.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Jovi

Stamps: On a Star (Penny Black) ~ Ink: Colorbox Black Pigment Ink ~ Paper: Watercolor, Buttercup, Sweet Leaf, Chocolate, Good Times Reflection Kit (all CTMH) ~ Other: Clear Detail Embossing Powder, Tombow Markers, CTMH Markers, Tombow Colorless Blender, Gold Photo Hangers (CTMH), Twilight Grosgrain (CTMH), Gold Brads, Chipboard Corner (TAC)

20th Anniversary Mountain Ride

Bryan and I spent last week celebrating our 20th anniversary traveling by motorcycle throughout central Colorado. We rode 1246 miles, went over 16 mountain passes, and enjoyed spending time together, just the two of us. Bryan is already talking about doing it again, maybe next time in reverse... I'm all for it! We took so many pictures it was hard trying to decide which photos to post on my blog… I picked some of my favorites.

To keep me from getting frustrated with moving html codes around the body post, I’m going to post each day of our trip separately.

Day 1 ~ Destination: Pagosa Springs, CO
Day 2 ~ Destination: Delta, CO
Day 3 ~ Destination: Steamboat Springs, CO
Day 4 ~ Destination: Estes Park, CO
Day 5 ~ Destination: Breckenridge, CO
Day 6 ~ Destination: Home, Falcon, CO

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

Day 1

Destination: Pagosa Springs, CO
360 Miles (our longest riding day)

When we left Falcon on Sunday morning heading southwest, it was cool and foggy. By time we made it into Colorado Springs we had to pull over and put our rain gear on, the sky was covered in rain clouds. We ran into heavy rain with lightening outside Canyon City (US 50) and then heavy fog with snow showers on top of Monarch Pass. By time we made it down the other side of Monarch Pass the weather had cleared for the rest of our trip, except for the rain in Estes Park… more about that later.

We made a brief stop in Gunnison to pack up our rain gear and to eat lunch. With our bellies full we continued on US 50 until we reached CO 149 and headed south. CO 149 twists and turns all around Colorado’s largest mountain range, the San Juans. In my opinion CO 149 is one of the best routes that we took on this trip, the mountain views are GORGEOUS. We made our way onto US 160 which lead us over Wolf Creek Pass which was equally gorgeous and headed down into Pagosa Springs. We spent our first night at a beautiful hot springs resort. We had crossed 4 different passes today.

Mountain Pass & Elevation
Monarch 11,312
Slumgullion 11,361
Spring Creek 10,901
Wolf Creek 10,850

Monarch Pass ~ Heavy Fog and Snow

Trying to stay warm!

Taken from CO 149

Uncompahgre Peak ~ 14,3091
Taken from Windy Point Overlook ~ Slumgullion Pass ~ CO 149

A 700 year old mudslide ~ Taken from Windy Point Overlook
More of Colorado from CO 149

The Springs Resort ~ Pagosa Springs

Day 2

Destination: Delta, CO
193 Miles

As we left Pagosa Springs hot air balloons were floating across the clear blue sky. It was a cool morning which left dew on our motorcycles. We headed west to Durango (via US 160) and stopped in over at Durango Harley-Davidson, after all, we had to purchase our souvenir shirts from each Harley Davidson store along our route. We didn’t stay long – 3 more passes to tackle yet!

We then headed North on the San Juan Skyway (US 550) a.k.a. the Million Dollar Highway… which I read could possibly be one of the top ten motorcycle roads in the US… it was my third favorite route from our trip! The views are STUNNING, but the road from Silverton to Ouray is back and forth through tight, narrow switchbacks with no guardrails and steep drop offs… combined with tourist traffic, ugh! It was difficult to enjoy the view and the road at the same time. We stopped in Ouray for lunch and took some Post Office photos (the MSR Going Postal Contest).

Outside Ouray US 550 is straight and flat which brought us into Montrose for more souvenirs at Black Canyon Harley Davidson. While in Montrose we came across Jovis Coffee… darn it… I should have stopped for a cup coffee and a picture, but instead we kept motoring into the town of Delta for night number two.

Mountain Pass & Elevation
Coal Bank 10,640
Molas 10,910
Red Mountain 11,009

Wild Flowers ~ Taken at Coal Bank Pass CO 550

Molas Pass ~ San Juan Skyway (US 550)
a.k.a. the Million Dollar Highway


Day 3

Destination: Steamboat Springs, CO
270 Miles

Out of Delta we headed northeast, which put the morning sunshine in our eyes for the time this trip. After a few run-of-the-mill miles, we were back into some relatively mild twisties again. A nice fertile valley with fruit trees, vineyards and wineries, passed a small coal mining town (Somerset) and soon we were at a beautiful lake surrounded by steep cliffs along a twisted road. Of course we had to stop for more pictures. Between the two of us we took nearly 300 photos on this trip!

The road quickly called us back and we came upon a very quaint little village, Redstone. This was not your typical mountain town. It was tiny, but very well manicured and just plain beautiful! Yes, we stopped for pictures. Next stop more souvenirs at Aspen Valley Harley-Davidson in Glenwood Springs (and lunch). Since it was Bryan’s birthday he picked up some cycle bling, a Live to Ride, Ride to Live air cleaner cover.

Next we took our first turn of the ride onto an interstate - heading west. If you have to get onto the interstate, I-70 in this area is probably about as good as it gets, still mountains, but at 70 mph the smooth curves are pretty tame. Rolling north (and east) toward Craig through Rifle was a dramatic change in scenery and it represented the hottest, straightest, and most buggy stretch of our trip, so we took a picture of this unique high desert area. Just one pass for today, but a nice ride none-the-less. Aren’t they all?

Before long we could see the manicured slopes of Steamboat Springs Ski Resort, our destination for the 3rd night. Unfortunately, the resort gondola was already closed for rides that day, but our suite and the room service was excellent and it made up for all the bugs we ran into getting there.

Mountain Pass & Elevation
McClure 8,755

Mild Twisties near Paonia Reservoir, taken from CO 133
Coming up on McClure Pass (not a typical Colorado pass)

The quaint little village ~ Redstone

Taken from CO 13 / CO 789
Our hottest, straightest, and most buggy stretch

Day 4

Destination: Estes Park, CO
145 Miles

We were on the road each morning by 8:00 or 8:30 and today was no exception. It was quite cool so we both geared up in leathers and full face helmets. At our first pass, Rabbit Ears, we spotted a few deer. Surprisingly this was the first real wildlife we had seen. We had four more passes to hit on this day, and we hoped Rocky Mountain National Park would offer a glimpse of some elk grazing on meadow grass. Before we entered the park we happened through a beautiful rock canyon outside Kremmling, don’t recall the name, but we snapped a photo there. We passed a huge lake, Granby, before we entered Rocky Mountain National Park, which was STUNNING, and my second favorite stretch of road on this trip. The only negative: the pine beetles have turned much of the lush pine forests from a green to more of a brown-grey hue. We noticed this type of forest devastation often on this trip, but none as prominent in this area. Anyway, the skies began to threaten rain so we took the precaution early to put on our rain gear. Every other turn through the park brought alternating sunshine then very light rain, but we hardly noticed because the views here were so dramatic. The road, mostly without guardrails, was only slightly more dangerous when damp with rain.

By the time we were leaving, we had spotted those elk in the meadow, but with ever more threatening skies, we decided not to stop for pictures. It’s a good thing Bryan only planned 145 miles for this day, because the combination of weather, winding roads, scenery, and creeping tourist cages meant a slow go, with lots of photo stops overall. We spent our last 30 minutes of this day in a downpour! Bryan was riding lead as he did throughout our ride and had pulled into a covered area thinking we should wait out the rain, but I pressed on; and as he had done quite a few times on this trip, realized I wasn’t with him. He soon caught up to me waiting for him on the side of the road. I guess I should mention here that generally Bryan is a terrible follower. He says the reason is because he can’t set his cruise control and maintain a constant speed while following me. He thinks I should stop buying bike bling and have cruise installed some day. I’m considering it… or I could just buy a new bike with it (wink)!

We made it to our lodge fairly early, stripped off our wet gear, and enjoyed lunch while watching the last of the rain we’d see for this trip from the comfort of our covered patio. Mary’s Lake Lodge was majestic, but cozy. Our condo had a private hot tub which we enjoyed all the more due to the miles we had under us so far. We relaxed with a 4-star, 20th Anniversary meal in the elegant Chalet Room, right on the property.

Mountain Pass & Elevation
Rabbit Ears 9,426
Muddy 8,772
Milner 10,758
Fall River 11,796
Ice Berg 11,827

Lake Granby ~ Taken from CO 34

Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Park ~ Rain

Day 5

Destination: Breckenridge, CO
121 Miles

We headed out on a beautiful warm morning, still watching for wildlife. We headed South on CO 7, then onto the “Peak-to-Peak Highway,” CO 72. We met twisting roads all the way to the adjacent gambling towns of Blackhawk and Central City; and on this day, after all the miles so far, I was getting a bit sick of all the switchbacks, plus there was more traffic than expected in this area too! Outside Central City we met up with I-70 again and headed west. This was an even better stretch of I-70 than we had done a couple days earlier (as far as that goes). We saw the turn off for Mount Evans, but decided we’d save the highest paved road in the U.S. for another day. We climbed toward Loveland Pass, but opted to pass through the Eisenhower Tunnel instead. It was getting chilly and given the warmth of the morning at the start, we were not dressed for anything much cooler at the time. This was the only day we didn’t go over any passes.

We arrived at Breckenridge Grand Resort early. Early enough to have lunch at the Breckenridge Brewery, and spend the rest of the day shopping, enjoying each other’s company. We ate dinner at a favorite of mine, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. This restaurant was inspired by the movie Forest Gump. At dinner we talked about the great times and wonderful riding we had enjoyed, and we discussed some options for next year’s big ride. Since we’ve not done any big rides in other states we don’t know for sure, but we find it hard to believe any other trip could compare to the beauty this one provided us around every corner!

Mountain Pass & Elevation
No Passes

Longs Peak ~ Elev. 14,256 Taken from CO 7 leaving Estes Park


Breckenridge, Shops along CO 9 / Main St

Breckenridge ~ The view from our hotel balcony at sunset

Day 6

Destination: Home, Falcon, CO
157 Miles

Today would be the last of a fabulous trip, but we were both anxious to see our little kiddos again, so we hit the road at our usual time and dressed for the cool mountain temps. Today the roads were going to be very familiar. We had each traveled today’s path within the last month, and several other times in the past too, but we figured it was the most scenic and exciting way to get back to where we started. Since we only had a few short miles to go, we took our time, took pictures, and tried to look at the familiar landscape with fresh eyes. We headed South through Park County and the “South Park” area that the comedy central TV show references. Then northeast through our last three passes of the trip. We began to notice that these roads seemed a bit different simply because we hadn’t traveled them from this direction before.

We rolled down highway 67 and through the Hayman burn area, which is beginning to recover somewhat following a massive forest fire in the summer of 2002. While the actual burn area was close to 138,000 acres, about half of this either did not actually burn or burned in what the experts call a “beneficial low intensity fashion.” There’s still some pretty riding through this area, but no real switchbacks. After lunch in Woodland Park, CO, we steamed down Pikes Peak via Ute Pass (unofficial pass apparently) and rolled back into our driveway. Our bikes were filthy, covered with road grime and bugs. The important part was the new mileage we added to the odometers and the great time we had exploring Colorado together as we had never done before, but can hardly wait to do again.

Mountain Pass & Elevation
Hoosier 11,541
Red Hill 10,052
Kenosha 10,001

Hoosier Pass

Taken from Kenosha Pass
Almost Home, take from CO 126

Penny Black 11

This week’s Penny Black Saturday Challenge is… Challenge 11 ~ No Cards.

This was such a fun challenge... M&M’s - what could be better to snack on while stamping?! I’ve had a four pack of washed Starbuck Frappuccino Bottles that were waiting to be used for something creative and thought it would be perfect for this challenge.

Also, I just want to apologize for not visiting and commenting on all the PBSC participants’ blogs last week. Bryan and I just made it home from a week of celebrating our 20th anniversary… I’ll post more about that later.

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

Stamps: Shy Surprise from Critter Party Transparent (Penny Black) ~ Ink: Colorbox Black Pigment Ink ~ Paper: Watercolor, Chocolate (CTMH), Twilight (CTMH), Sweet Leaf (CTMH), Good Times (CTMH Reflection Kit) ~ Other: Washed Starbucks Frappuccino Bottle, Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder (SU), Oval / Scalloped Nestabilities, Round Punches, Fiskars Scalloped Cutting Blade, Twilight Designer Ribbon, CTMH Markers, Tombow Colorless Blender

New Lens

I have a new toy… I guess I shouldn’t call it a toy considering how much this lens cost me! I was tired of changing lenses when I wanted to zoom. It was such a hassle especially when I was out and about. I’ve been thinking about getting a new lens for some time now and I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay with a Canon or try Quantaray, Sigma, or Tamron. After reading a bunch of reviews and talking with the sales lady at Wolf Camera (my favorite camera store), I went with Quantaray and bought a 18-200 mm OS DI 3.5-6.3 Lens f. I’ve never used a lens with an Optical Stabilizer (OS)… I think I’m going to get spoiled with it!

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

Apple Delight

Today the first House Mouse Challenge will be posted and unfortunately my challenge card will be a week late… ugh! Since I can’t play until late this week I want to share a mouse card that I made last week.

The image is Apple Delight, which is Stamp of the Month for August. Since Riley and Austin prefer Granny Smith over Red Delicious I made the apple green. The patterned paper is very glittery, it’s from DCWV Glitter Stack and the image is colored using Prismacolor Pencils blended with Gamsol.

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

Stamps: Apple Delight (House Mouse), A Smile (House Mouse – inside card) ~ Ink: Noir (Palette) ~ Paper: White (Papertrey), Heavenly Blue (CTMH), Sunkiss Yellow (CTMH), The Glitter Stack (DCVW) ~ Other: Dashes, Dots & Dashes Ribbon, White Brads (CTMH), Prismacolor Pencils blended with Gamsol