A Tahosa Vista Summer

I arrived at the cabin in June this summer. I love it here. There is always so much to do to keep me at peace. I am balanced here, very Zen. This summer my nephew, Nathan, and a friend of mine, Nick, accompanied me. Nick drove his Harley out and stayed for the first couple weeks. There was a snafu with the internet service provider and we didn’t get internet until the evening before Nick left for his return trip. This wasn’t much of a problem because we took to focusing on more organic activities, like eating special pastries and traipsing through the woods in search of stove-worthy species.

There was much struggle on the journey. The van broke down 96 miles east of Sidney, Nebraska on I-80. Something electrical popped and the van shut off, leaving me to fail passing a trailer truck and coast off to the shoulder with almost no brakes and diminished steering control. Nick had went on ahead of us and made it to Loveland later that night. Luckily we got a phone signal and AAA gave us the free 100 mile flatbed tow into Sidney, NE to Sauders Inc., the AAA service station. They really had the opportunity to screw us because even after my thorough explanation of the events and the smell of burnt PCB or wiring, they were determined it sounded like the timing chain cut loose. We had no choice but to get a room at the Best Western in Sidney (the world headquarters of Cabela’s) and wait for Sauders to properly diagnose the issue the following day. We would have stayed at the Motel 6 but they reported they were all booked up. Having two dogs along limited our options.

Good fortune had smiled upon us. The damage was, in fact, the ECM computer that blew from a short with an injector. We discussed the options, called in monetary assistance, and got the wheels in motion for repair. Meanwhile, there was no way in Hell we were staying another night in Sidney. It was starting to feel like being in that movie U-Turn, where if we stayed any longer, we’d be involved in some catch 22 situations of severe misfortune. So as desperation gripped us, and since Nick already arrived in Estes Park, we took to Craigslist to find a transporter. We found an individual named Jim in Thornton that drove a Saturn View. We explained our predicament and Jim said he’d come get us and drive us to a Budget Car Rental in Fort Collins for $120. Good deal, all things considered. Jim turned out to be a retired biker complete with bitchin skull tattoos and several interesting stories. He really helped us out of a tight spot. He could have been the devil himself; it wouldn’t have mattered, there was no way we would stay another night in Sidney. We managed to stuff the essential luggage, myself, my mother, Nathan, and the two dogs into Jim’s Saturn View. It was an arduous journey through work zones and lowered speed limits but we finally arrived at Budget in Fort Collins and we paid Jim $140. We rented the car we reserved earlier. It turned out to be a fairly new Impala, very nice. We headed up to Estes Park, met up with Nick and arrived at the cabin with daylight to spare for opening the cabin. Finally, some much needed relaxation.

The very next morning, we are greeted by a moose wandering about the cabin. I took a lot of video I might make available but this photo will do for now.

Moose 6/05/2014

Days pass, and we decide to head up Trail Ridge Rd. to experience the view, the cold and the snow.

Trail Ridge 6/08/2014

And you just can’t beat the simple pleasure of good company with the great view of the cabin’s overlook.

Overlook 6/09/2014

There was an amusing incident at The Wheel Bar that merits notice. Nick and I had discussed earlier that Nathan, my 18 year-old nephew, could make for an excellent wing-man on a night out. Indeed the idea must be tested. By now we had driven the Impala out to Sidney to retrieve the van, so finally I’ve got access to a vehicle I’m insured to drive. So Nick, Nathan and I head into Estes. We find a damn good parking spot near the park behind and walk up to the backside of The Wheel Bar. It’s looking kind of dead downstairs in the game room, so we continue around to the front. The place is packed and definitely happening, as everyone is upstairs drinking at the bar. We walk in up to the bartender and Nick asks about a couple of beers. I notice Nick is shifting from side to side and the bartender does similarly and mouths some gibberish I cannot hear over the crowd. Nick then asks where we could get some decent food and the barman, quite rudely, points toward the door and replies “Out that way and to the left.” We leave and we’re headed off to find somewhere else and Nick exclaims to Nathan,
“You’re a shitty wingman, Nathan! The first fucking place we go and we’re kicked out.”
Apparently, Nick sensed the barman’s intent to gauge Nathan’s age so he was trying to obstruct his view. What I failed to hear the bartender say was he could serve the two of us but he (Nathan) has got to go. Nick explained Nathan would not be drinking, but the bastard wasn’t having it. Eh, to Hell with them. So we went to Chelito’s to have nachos and beer. Fuck the scene. We salvaged the night our own way. We didn’t return.

It’s easy to get spoiled when you wake up every day with the ability to view such monumental magnificence. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve photographed the same mountains in the same light, but something compels me to capture more. You just can’t harness the vastness of it all in a photograph.

Mountains 6/13/2014

The flood last summer must have severely damaged the other watering holes because we keep getting moose coming to our pond to drink. They also like eating the branches off the young aspen trees on the dam. This time it’s a big bastard of a moose with little to no fear of proximity to the cabin. I got some excellent video and photos. Here’s a decent photo of the beast.

Big Bastard 6/15/2014

By now, Nick had left to head back home and the cabin was humming with internet access. We decided to travel up to the Stanley Hotel one evening because Nathan had not been inside before. It’s a grand place, and quite haunted in the deep recesses of the upper floors. We walked inside to view the whiskey bar. It’s certainly a “World’s End” caliber of bar. An idea begins to form.

Stanley 6/20/2014

After Nick left I began to focus more time on making practical property improvements. Our method for clean water is taking a blue 6 gallon Igloo container to fill it up at the spring in Allenspark. We would then just set it on the kitchen counter with a hose that ran down inside of it and also hung over the side. We would siphon the water out into the glass or whatever when we needed it. This was a frustrating practice, as you had to maintain the proper nozzle level for the siphon to remain intact and the hose end had to be manually capped with the tapered top of a honey bottle. This just wouldn’t do anymore. I took a trip to a number of hardware stores and collected the items to fix this once and for all. Currently, the Igloo container resides on the second floor directly above the kitchen along the southwest wall. The tube is now much longer and runs through a small hole I drilled in the floor. I’m quite proud of this solution, and I like the rudimentary look of it. The trek up the stairs with 50 lbs. of water can be tiring but the result is far superior. The following is a photo of the current potable water tap.

Water 6/23/2014

I can easily get a drink of clean water without hassle. I’m now more likely to keep hydrated while working outdoors. I decided to tackle a more interesting job. I was in dire need of a new sawhorse. So I recorded the measurements of the current rotting sawhorse and translated those into what they’re supposed to be. But to build such a device, I would want a more precise construction tool. I found an ancient Stanley miter box in the attic, which no doubt was used by my grandfather in the creation of the window frames and other cuts more demanding of precision, so I decided to screw it to a plank and bolt it to an a-frame in order to keep myself from going crazy with free hand cutting angles. This is the beginning of a whole agenda of projects to come.

Miter Box 6/24/2014

Now that I got my cutting station set up, I went out to buy some lumber. I quickly discovered there wasn’t a decent place to keep the lumber. So I quickly crafted a spot to span lengths of eight footers.

Lumber 6/24/2014

I was feeling pretty accomplished with the outdoor efforts so I pitched an idea for upgrading the electrical entertainment capabilities of the cabin. I was informed of an ad on Craigslist for the exact same HDTV Vizio model I have back in South Carolina. It was the SV421XVT. This tele features a 240hz refresh rate that makes even the most expensive blockbusters seem like they were made by Sundance. I love this effect. The ad said it came with a sound bar and the total was $300. This is a damn fine deal. I emailed the guy, he called me back and he set a time to visit him the following day. He was in downtown Denver on East 11th Ave. He was a musician named Gerry living in nicely preserved old apartment housing. Wow, such a pleasant structure. He had a badass playful wise cat named Hemingway that was extremely interested in everything visitor related. Gerry also had a Roku he was willing to sell for an additional $30. Bought that too. The cat was not for sale. I had brought my Xbox 360 from SC in the hopes a television could be acquired for the cabin. So I wired and set it all up in the upstairs hallway. I also acquired a Netgear GS108 gigabit 8-port switch to uplink and wire us into the router. The WiFi on the CenturyLink DSL modem they’ve supplied us can be quite faulty and downright unreliable at times. Even after optimizing the channels and adjusting the signal strength, it still just sucks. But we’re all wired up good and proper now.

Entertainment 6/28/2014

And so I finally built the sawhorse. It’s pine construction and I’m going to wait a year for it to weather the mill glaze off before I finish it with the TWP 100 rustic stain. However, I have coated my cut ends of the construction with gorilla glue to seal them up. The internals of pine boards have a capillary action and I don’t want the feet or tops absorbing any excessive moisture. The guides of the sawhorse are the same artificial planks used on the back porch. They can take a beating and will outlast the rest of the design.

Sawhorse 7/01/2014

All things begin to fall into place and I feel at peace. I am the most complete while working outside to build up my environment. The satisfaction of working with my hands creating structure and tools is abundant. I went into Estes Park to eat at Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant and walk around a bit. I saw this cool miniature waterfall along the path. I love Estes Park, it’s a small town but it seems of my own design.

Waterfall 7/02/2014

BEARS! I finally saw my bear. Big furry bastards scavenging for human leftovers. This was early the next morning after my mother’s cousin, Sugeet, arrived from Oregon. Personally, I’m certain his luck brought the bears to greet his arrival. Bears are good fortune. Or perhaps he smuggled them into the Tahosa Valley in his Honda Fit. It was 3:45 am and I heard metal crashing that I at first thought was part of my dream. I woke upon determining it was external stimulus matching the sound of the aluminum trash can we use for recycling being struck. I knew no human would be on the porch making such noises at this early hour so I sat up to look out my window overlooking the back porch. It was very dark. I saw a black blob of unidentifiable form around the debris of the toppled trash can. The form began to dissipate as I heard patterned grunting sounds coming from the area of 320 (the tool shed transformed from an outhouse). The grunting was growing near and I knew it had to be something big, perhaps a moose. When the beast came into view, I was ecstatic. It was a bear! A great big bastard of a grunting bear. I quickly had the thought this great wise bear was not grunting, but laughing at the smaller bear that had made all the noise toppling the recyclables container over. The photographs didn’t take at that hour because of the lack of light and the screen between me and the target caught all of the flash but this is the aftermath of the event photographed in the light of that morning.

Bears 7/10/2014

I went to a talk at the Aspen Lodge today and listened to Master Chen speak of Taoism, the benefit of stillness, learning to hear the message of disasters, and finding the Yang for the Yin. I really like him. He is wise beyond his age and he doesn’t fear to show it. He will do a lot of good for Tahosa Valley and its people. As soon as I returned home from Aspen Lodge I decided to finish a project I have been working on for a week. I laid out two lengths of pine trunks over the stream supported by stones to prevent them sinking into the soil. This was to be a sturdy level platform for a step bridge over the stream south of the dam. It consists of eleven 1×6’s cut in 28″ lengths laid across the span between the two trunks and spaced 1/2″ apart. I sanded and stained the pine 1×6’s. I think it came out quite well. I must wait until next summer when it’s properly weathered to apply the finish coat. You’re not supposed to stain new wood, but the sanding helped clear the superheated pine glaze from the surface and the stain took acceptably. It’s a sturdy build and I think it looks good.

Bridge 7/13/2014

So that’s just about everything to catch you up to date. Now that I have a new sawhorse, I expect I’ll be cutting lots of firewood. I am at my most content of being walking through the forest collecting aspen. The simplicity of the task, knowing the land provides me such comforts, I cannot be saddened. It is a solitary gift. No one thing matters when I am striking wood with axe. And there is no sound finer than the tearing of the grain. I appreciate all that is given to the senses, unobstructed by cheap alteration. The interaction with the wild environment eclipses any electrical panel stimuli I’ve encountered. Few can be so lucky to find solace among nature. I lack the wisdom to explain my joy. I thank a history of restraint for such simple pleasures.

-Jeremy Edward Dion

Fourth of July

It’s important for moral people to remember why we fight, and why this nation was great for hundreds of years. We had it good for a while but tyranny has once again crept upon a nation of decadence. Our nation currently gives more aid and benefit to illegal immigrants than it does its veterans. The occupying government doesn’t hold moral interests. We are on the brink of totalitarianism. We have become a socialist nation too focused on false securities and public disarmament, meanwhile agents of our government trade guns to cartels which seek to undermine our laws. Americans are being cavity searched without warrant while unknowns are pouring through open borders. It has come to this because good people have done little to impede tyrannical “progress”. The options for freedom’s survival are limited. I believe the only way to disarm the totalitarian is to outlaw governmental law, because only those that seek to control others are corrupt enough to excel in their politics. Democracy is simply a milder flavor of collectivism. I have no taste for it.

Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

      Button Gwinnett
      Lyman Hall
      George Walton

North Carolina:
      William Hooper
      Joseph Hewes
      John Penn
South Carolina:
      Edward Rutledge
      Thomas Heyward, Jr.
      Thomas Lynch, Jr.
      Arthur Middleton

      John Hancock
      Samuel Chase
      William Paca
      Thomas Stone
      Charles Carroll of Carrollton
      George Wythe
      Richard Henry Lee
      Thomas Jefferson
      Benjamin Harrison
      Thomas Nelson, Jr.
      Francis Lightfoot Lee
      Carter Braxton

      Robert Morris
      Benjamin Rush
      Benjamin Franklin
      John Morton
      George Clymer
      James Smith
      George Taylor
      James Wilson
      George Ross
      Caesar Rodney
      George Read
      Thomas McKean

New York:
      William Floyd
      Philip Livingston
      Francis Lewis
      Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
      Richard Stockton
      John Witherspoon
      Francis Hopkinson
      John Hart
      Abraham Clark

New Hampshire:
      Josiah Bartlett
      William Whipple
      Samuel Adams
      John Adams
      Robert Treat Paine
      Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
      Stephen Hopkins
      William Ellery
      Roger Sherman
      Samuel Huntington
      William Williams
      Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
      Matthew Thornton

-Jeremy Edward Dion