Thursday, July 31, 2014

07_18_to_20_2014 Courage Classic 2014

Dave and I had such a great time riding in the Courage Classic last year (see: that we were psyched to ride it again this year.

Even better this year is we were riding with a particular child who has benefited (and continues benefiting) from  Children's Hospital: Maya McQuade. Maya is my colleague Angela Gover's daughter. She has been dealing with the awfulness that is nephrotic syndrome - a kidney disease. Read more about it here:

Anyway, how cool to participate in this great cause and do so with a photo of Maya on our backs?

A monkey wrench was thrown in our plans however - as the last post noted, Pente ended up getting terribly sick days before we were to leave for Copper to do this ride. What to do? We ultimately decided that I'd head up alone and ride and Dave would stay behind with Pente. We were all disappointed, but it was the right thing to do.

So up I got on the first day of riding - the Copper Triangle. It's about 80 miles and summits Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass, Battle Mountain and finally Vail Pass. It's a fantastic ride. The weather was as perfect as any riding weather ever! No wind (unreal!!!) and cool temps...well until Vail's always hot on Vail Pass it seems.

Anyway, as the first photo shows, I got a photo of Maya and me at the top of Fremont Pass (elevation 11, 318).

Next stop was the summit of Tennessee Pass (elevation 10,424).  I was able to talk to Dave at the top of Battle Mountain to find out how he and Pente were. He was worried about her and she was still not eating and looking sick. But she's been released from the hospital!

Dave ultimately decided to load her into the pop-up and head to Copper so we could all be together. We would ride the next day, though go the shorter 50 mile ride so we could get Pente fed and her temp monitored.

I continued my ride. At a stop in Minturn, I got an email from Angela my colleague. Turns out she, her husband Ronnie and Maya were camped that weekend by our next rest stop! Very cool!  So, just as I headed up Vail Pass, I made a left turn to Gore campground and hung out with them for a little while.

I got to get a photo of Maya while there. Thanks for the great hospitality (and amazing fruit) while there!

Oddly, the top of Vail Pass has no sign, so not photo was taken. The elevation of this final pass is 10,662'.  I hit the summit and zoomed back down into Copper. 

I looked forward to Dave and Pente arriving a few hours later.
Dave got there and we enjoyed a nice dinner in the camper. He has been battling a nasty cough for weeks and wasn't 100% percent himself.  Fun for all of us to be together even if he and the cat were feeling crappy.

The next morning, I got the crud. Long story short, Dave rode day two and I stayed in the camper with the cat. The cat and I entered into comas or something...lots of needed sleep. I managed to feed her and it was clear Dave was far better at that than I was. She got a lot of food on her when I tried. :/

Dave was able to get some nice photos of him as he rode day two: Copper – Frisco – Dillon – Keystone – Swan Mountain – Frisco – Copper.  He was able to grab some nice photos of him time on the bike. 
It was nice to be together and even better...the cat started eating the evening of our team dinner in Breckenridge. We road the bus back to Copper, got in the camper, and the cat hopped down and ate a few bites.

It was the perfect end to a fun weekend! Next year we will try to do this again but hopefully we will have no monkey wrenches and no cruds among us all!

07_15_2014 Pente gets sick...goes to hospital. :(

Pente got sick. Really sick. I thought she'd been acting a little off, but with my mom and girls in the house and with Dave traveling, I thought she was just reacting to these differences in her environment.

Finally on Tuesday morning, I got up and found her and she looked like hell. Seriously, she looked like a homeless cat - one that had never been groomed or cared for.

I loaded her in the car and off to the vet we went. I had to go to Denver to work so I asked if they would just hold her until they had time to see her during the day.  Happily, after I dropped her off, they gave her a quick look-over to see if she could wait until later for a full exam.

I returned home to their call - totally unexpected!  They said she was sick. She had a temperature over 105 degrees and was terribly dehydrated. I told them to do what ever was needed to help her. I called Dave to let him know...he had been out of town climbing. I didn't want him to come home and not be able to find Pente and wonder what happened.

The vet drew blood and tested it. They gave her an IV for fluids and then we could only wait and hope her temp would come down. (normal cat temp is between 101.5 to 102.5 according to some sources).

As soon as Dave got home, we went to visit her. We ended up visiting her each day about 3 times. We hoped this would make her stay there less stressful. Not fun feeling terribly, having an IV and getting your temp taken a lot in the rump. She has dignity and the temp thing was not to her liking.

These first three photos are our our first visit. She actually looked better then than she would for the next couple of days. She's sitting up and her eyes don't look so glassy.
Her temperature did not want to come down. It stayed way too high for about three days. For the first day she did not urinate. She did not eat while at the vet either. No pooping. She just sat there and looked like she felt terrible.
We visited and brought toys, Dave's shirts (she loves to sit on them) and other things we hoped she'd feel comfortable with. We brought her favorite cat food hoping she'd eat. She didn't.
The gave her anti-nausea medication, appetite stimulation medicine, pain killers and I don't even remember what else.  
All the while she looked so sick and crappy feeling.
We offered her tons of types of cat foods. No luck.
A trip group photo.
Ultimately we had to feed her mushy cat food with a syringe. She took it pretty well and happily did not barf. This is good! Bad thing is that syringe feeding is not a long term sort of solution.
Still it got some calories in her. Ultimately her temp came down and stayed down. She was weaned off her IV fluids and released to Dave. The hope was that while at home she'd be more willing to eat. She didn't want to eat even there.  Seeing her at home, Dave could really see how sick she was. Nothing she did was normal.
He syringe fed her for a couple of days.  It was a messy affair for all of us. 
Mostly she continued to just exist.
Finally, she started looking at her food...but no eating. And finally, she ate! We were so relived. She didn't eat much at each stop, but she was eating. A few days later, she pooped which was also welcome. (I won't post that photo). :)

I don't even want to think of what we'd have to help her with if she didn't produce on her own!
A few days later, she was up and walking and acting a bit more like herself.  Today, almost 2.5 weeks later, we feel she is about 99%.  She is a little quieter than normal (she's not a noisy cat really) and she has no desire to go out and roll in dirt - something that she's always loved to do. Other than that, she seems to be feeling fine.

What happened to her? We will probably never know. Cats can be diagnosed with "Fever of Unknown Origin."  Sounds like I'm making it up, but it's real.  See:

Hopefully she doesn't do this again. Three days of hospitalization and lots of worry - not fun!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

07_09 to 10_2014 Leaving Carter Lake, Glitter Tattoos, Presenations and Awards

Last chance to enjoy our cairns before getting to bed
Here is mom waking up in the morning. I've slept hundreds of times in the back of my car. It's some of the best sleep ever. 
Hannah and Zoe slept really well. They were the last to wake up.  No animals ate them during their sleep.  
Morning lounging at the campsite
lounging.  We eventually packed up and headed home. We took a slightly different route (they are all about the same) (okay, I missed on minor turn)...but we got to see an Osprey on nest as a result!
Once home and unpacked, we got out our final craft of the trip: Glitter tattoos. We did not have enough glitter in the house with the magnets so this seemed to be the right thing to do.

Mom applied Zoe's tattoos.
Some great looking glitter!
Zoe and Hannah show up their badness.
Zoe applied both of mine. I think she has a future in this stuff. Her choice of glitter was superb.
Showing off our tatts.  Zoe is showing off her stink-eye. Quite impressive.
Zoe's work
Then it was time for last minute working on our presentation books.
Lots to catch up on. The presentations were to be held immediately after dinner.
Chef Hannah was in charge this evening. Her menus included bar-be-que chicken (drumsticks and breasts), spaghetti squash, and baked potatoes. Good stuff!
Before diving in.  Next up; Presentations!
Zoe presented first. Like last year, she had impecable organization, and attention to detail. She spoke clearly and had several illustrations to share with the audience.
Hannah went next (and also stood in proxy for mom). She also did an excellent job describing the week, what she liked best and what she learned.

This was starting to look like a pretty difficult job for Judge Dave.
Callie went third focusing on her illustrations since winning on organization and attention to detail would be difficult with what she'd seen with the previous contestants.
The contestants stood for a photo and the judge retired to score us....

A short time later, the winners were announced and it turned out we were all winners!
Zoe accepts the magic goose (the judge was was a magic swan) award!
And Hannah accepted her award of a fierce lizard from Judge Dave (it was an alligator really).
Mom accepted her award -scented soap for her colorful use of language in her presentation.

Here is a photo of me accepting may scented soap award from Judge Dave.
The judge - Dave.
Award recipient Zoe stands for a photo with her Big Prize.
Mom appears genuinely happy with her loot.
Hannah poses with her major award.
We had to take Hannah's photo twice....had a photo bomb incident. :)

Then it was over. Everyone went to bed. We got up the next morning having time for breakfast and a trip to the bus station. They got on their bus to the airport, and I crossed the street to get on my bus to  Denver. They don't know it, but I saw them drive by on the highway.

Until next year!