Headless in Fruita

Colorado certainly has some unusual festivals. 

In Nederland every March, they celebrate “Frozen Dead Guy Days” with a weekend-long event honoring the dead guy who remains cryogenically frozen in town.

In the middle of July, Telluride celebrates their “Nothing Festival,” a weekend event celebrating absolutely nothing. 

Out here in Fruita, we have the annual “Mike the Headless Chicken Festival.”

The event celebrates the life of a young rooster that had its head cut off but refused to die.  The repentant farmer kept the bird, feeding the feathered survivor with an eyedropper. The rooster lived for 18 months in his headless state. 

[The story of Mike can be found at https://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/mike/page/history.]

Fruita’s noggin-knocking event features a pancake breakfast (we didn’t attend), a 5K run (we didn’t suit up), a disk golf tournament (we left our Frisbees at home) and a car show featuring some pretty attractive machinery (we didn’t enter our trailer-towing truck). 

There were vendors (mostly selling clothing items), food trucks, a beer tent and a grassy lawn with a stage featuring concerts by local musicians. 

We caught Stray Grass, our favorite local blue grass band along with Head for the Hills, a blue grass band from Fort Collins. 

Between sets, we slurped down brews from one of the local brew pubs.  Hitting the roach coaches for dinner, Dianne ordered a barbecue pork sandwich while I honored the festival’s origin with an order of chicken wings (chicken heads was not an option).

Finally!

We did a walk-through of our new house on Monday, May 2nd, and closed on May 3rd.  We’re missing a few pieces like the decorative front door window, the gate to the patio and the epoxy coatings on the garage and patio deck concrete, but we don’t care.  We’re finally in our new domicile!

On May 4th, we moved everything from our largest Fruita storage locker over to our new garage. On the 5th, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo by moving our trailer over to the Village RV storage lot. 

After the required Cinco de Mayo burritos and maggies at one of our favorite Fruita eateries, we spent our fist night in the new dwelling.  Lacking real furniture, we bunked down on our newest tent-camping investment – a large, inflatable air mattress. 

On Saturday, we made a drive over the hill to Gridlock City and bunked down in a La Quinta motel near our storage lockers.  On Monday, the movers arrived and began loading up two trucks with our furniture and boxed belongings. 

After saying goodbye to our longtime wine guy (we’ve been buying wine from Will since 1984) at the neighborhood liquor store, we put Denver behind us and drove back to the Grand Valley.

The movers showed up bright and early on Tuesday morning to unload the furniture, boxes and 300-pound log table.  We now had a bed on which to sleep. 

We also had a garage filled with boxes and more boxes in totally unsorted stacks.  I spent an entire day emptying everything out and repositioning the boxes by contents and destination.

Unboxing items has been an adventure in discovery.  Dianne found her REI (Really Expensive Items) down jacket that she feared had been stolen.  I found my missing ski clothes, which I had to replace here in Fruita so I could ski last winter. 

We also discovered that our wonderful Sony TV was not going to function after bouncing around in moving trucks.  No problem, we replaced that old 40-inch Sony with a new 65-inch model.  Wow, what a difference.

Of all the things we admire in our new house, the 40-bottle, dual-temperature wine cooler stands at the top of the list.  With a little careful shopping, we’ve managed to fill it with some nicely fermented grape products. 

We have a new rule in the house – other than finishing up opened boxes of camping wine, only bottled wine will be served in this house.

Look What We Got

We were scheduled to close on our new house yesterday, but that needed to be postponed because the gas company couldn’t find a meter to install. As a result, we had to pay for another week at the RV park.

We went out to visit the property this morning and found a brand new gas meter installed on the side. The last hurdle has finally been lept. It’s now a sprint to the finish.

Monday, we should be able to schedule a closing date and soon thereafter move into our new hovel. Dianne is pleased.

Disappointment

A week before we returned to Fruita, we were told that our scheduled closing date of April 22 might be delayed.  It seems that gas meters are in short supply.

After setting up the trailer in our old spot at the Monument RV Resort, we drove over to take a look at the house.  We were quite disappointed at what we found.

On the plus side, the siding is almost completed, the flooring and tile is mostly finished and the granite countertops, faucets, toilets, dishwasher and microwave have been installed.  And that’s about it. 

The rest of the appliances sit in the garage, presumably waiting for the gas to be hooked up.  Until the appliances are moved out, the epoxy coating on the garage floor can’t be done.

The electrical hasn’t been completed, the HVAC hasn’t been piped in, the cabinets haven’t been completed and the patio fence waits to be erected. 

The biggest disappointment is the granite countertops, an upgrade for which we paid a hefty upcharge.  There’s a huge defect in the granite right in front of the kitchen sink.  It’s gouged and looks as if it had been burned.  It will have to be replaced.

We’ll talk to the builder on Monday about some of these issues and try to find out when a gas meter might be coming.  Because of the delay, we’ll have to reschedule the movers, keep our storage units for yet another month ($560 per month) and continue renting a site at the RV park ($375 per week).

We’re not happy.

Time to leave

The neighborhood is getting a bit crowded. We’ve gone all winter without anybody even close to us at the RV Resort where we’re staying. A few days ago, another trailer took the spot two sites over.

Today, we got a next-door neighbor, who’s parked about three feet away.  The view out our dining room window now faces straight into one of their windows.  Dianne’s unhappy that she can’t see what’s happening around us.

Parking lot-style sites is why we’re not fond of RV parks.  Fortunately, we’ll be leaving here and heading south on March 1st. After bunking down in RV parks for 165 nights, we’re finally going to go “camping.”

Our destination for this camping escape is my old home state of Arizona.

We’ll start at Monument Valley and work our way down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Mexican border with stops at Petrified Forest, McDowell Mountain, Picacho Peak and Tucson along the way.

We will then end our 45-day Arizona vacation with two weeks of camping with friends at Lost Dutchman State Park east of Phoenix.

Look for a blow-by-blow account of our trip under “trips” elsewhere on this site.

More flooring, tile and siding

Jeff has the living room and kitchen floors pretty much completed. We’re liking the play of colors between the flooring and cabinets.

Bathroom and shower tiles are slowly coming along. This is the guest bath. The master bath was delayed a bit while Jeff waited for the shower seat platform piece to be delivered.

Outside, crews are putting up the siding, beginning with our neighbor’s front porch. Color appears to be gray with a slight bluish tint. It looks more blue in the photo because this was shot in the shade.

Next, the flooring

The cabinets are in now, which means Jeff, the floor guy, can get to work on the laminate flooring. He hopes to have it done by the end of the week. Cardboard from the cabinet boxes have been laid down to protect the fresh flooring.

This is the entertainment center in the living room. A 46-bottle wine cooler goes in the cavity to the left. CD storage drawers fill the cabinets on either side of the gas log fireplace. The cabinet on the right will hold the stereo gear. Bookcases will sit atop what is now Jeff’s tool bench.

Our TV will sit or hang between the bookcases above the fireplace. A brand new leather recliner will sit in the middle of the room, centered on the fireplace. Wine glasses, filled with a locally vinted beverage freed from the 46-bottle wine cooler, will occupy our hands.

We love our trailer, but we are so looking forward to moving into a real house.

Cabinets!

The cabinets came in Thursday and on Friday, Dave, the installer, was busy screwing them into place. The wood is maple. We chose to go with a lighter stain that wouldn’t dampen the airiness of the rooms. We’re pleased with the color.

All the drawers and cabinet doors are soft close. Dianne has a slide-out spice rack/cabinet built in. It’s cute, but it doesn’t look too practical for spices. I suspect she’ll fill it with her herbal teas (and if I’m lucky, my coffee). The spices will probably end up on a rack in the pantry.

Jeff, flooring guy was also busy. He had to get the bathroom tile down before Dave could install the cabinets. We’ve now got the floor tile laid in the bathrooms and the washer/dryer closet. I’m eager to see what the grout Dianne so painstakingly picked out will look like when he finishes the job.

With the floors done, Jeff’s now starting to tile the tub enclosures. The laminate hardwood flooring throughout the rest of the house comes next. Countertops apparently won’t arrive until next month.

We’ve ordered new dishes for the kitchen and have a new loveseat recliner reserved for the living room. We meet with a blind salesman tomorrow to give us a bid for our 11 windows. I hope he brings his seeing-eye dog.

Theatre Night

Rail fans that we are, last night we drove into the city to catch a Grand Funk Railroad concert at the Historic Avalon Theatre, which is located on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction.

The theater, built of bricks in the Romanesque Revival style, originally opened in 1923.  Over its early years, it hosted speakers and performers including John Phillip Sousa, Carl Sandburg, Ethel Barrymore, William Jennings Bryan and more.  In the late 1940s, it was renamed “The Cooper” and remodeled into a movie theater.  It continued showing films into the late 1980s.  The theater was then abandoned and fell into disrepair. 

A money-raising effort began in the ‘90s to restore the theater to its former glory.  Done in steps, the Avalon has become a modern, 1,096-seat performing arts venue with state-of-the-art acoustics and accoutrements.  As a travel journalist, I was given a private, backstage tour of the facility shortly before the theater reopened in 2014.

Performances at the Avalon range from orchestral symphonies to bubblegum pop concerts, with a healthy dose of geezer rock thrown in for old folks like us.  Grand Funk, who had maybe two or three memorable hits in the ‘70s, was one of those AARP-aged groups.  They put on an excellent performance with literally non-stop rock for a good 90 minutes.

We bought tickets near the front of the lower mezzanine. They were cheaper, offered a good view of the stage and were far enough away from the speakers that we could leave with our eardrums still intact.