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The first thing I saw out my window was the sunshine. The second thing I saw was a heavy, large-flaked blizzard as I was ready to fix breakfast.
It truly is great to be back in Colorado, where snow mostly falls down, not sideways, as it almost always does in Wyoming and usually does in Arizona — when it does snow.
It was great to see a good couple of inches of snow on my Arizona car. I love the snow. It’s just the driving in it that I am leery of and I don’t like it when the wind blows it around and across the highways.
Good ol’ Colorado. I remember the adage when I was growing up on the Front Range: “Wait five minutes and the weather will change.” Apparently it is still true and not just for the Front Range.
Just as the snow was starting to fall on Friday afternoon, I made my way out to Meeker Airport to get a photo of the dirt work that has been going on there to prepare for the closure, removal, widening and total reconstruction of the runway and apron.
I wanted to get a look and a photo of most of the 1 million cubic yards of dirt that will be removed to make way for the project. All I saw was a huge mountain of dirt about a quarter-mile from the end of the existing runway and the huge area where much of the dirt had been removed to bring the surrounding surface to 25 feet below the current runway.
With the closure of the runway, the runway itself can be milled and the terrain lowered, adding what I expect will be a lot more dirt to the existing mountain.
It is truly impressive to see where nearly a mile and a quarter of dirt has been removed and now, having seen what has been done in preparation for the new runway, it isn’t tough to see where the $12 million will be spent.
With drainage under one end, along both sides of the runway and then compacting ground to a depth of 25 feet for more than a mile as well as re-laying the runway to a width of 100 feet and adding an expansive new apron is a tremendous undertaking. In scale, the entire project is wider that a side-by-side four-lane highway.
When the project is complete, expected sometime in October, Meeker Airport will look like a totally different place.
The rain and snow over the weekend certainly must have helped the snowpack in the mountains in and around Rio Blanco County.
In a brief conversation I had with Ken Coffin, the district ranger in Meeker for the White River National Forest, he mentioned the need for the snowpack to increase. He said that if we get a lot of snow in the spring, then conditions would improve for the forest and area ranchers and sportsmen.
He said he believed – without the figures in front of him – that snowfall for the year was below normal, even after this past weekend’s snow. That, following a below-normal year last winter, is not good news.
But at least four inches of very wet snow fell at my house and I would imagine much more fell at higher altitudes, paving the way for a wet spring, which would benefit all.
The new flags or pennants hanging from the decorative street lights that line Rangely’s Main Street look sharp.
I have not lived in Rio Blanco County long enough to know what the old seasonal flags looked like, but the new ones are impressive. I understand they are much sturdier than the previous flags, and that can be a good thing with the extremes in weather around here.
Use of the highway-side flags is a great way to make a claim about a community and the practice is catching on all over the country. I believe they give a town an identity, they make a visitor feel more welcome and they demonstrate that the town cares about something. The flags also have the ability to decorate an otherwise unattractive downtown area, from which some cities and towns — not Rangely — suffer.
It was fun this past weekend to watch the University of Colorado and Colorado State University in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
When I was a high school student in Boulder, it was nearly unheard of that CSU did much in the then-Western Athletic Conference and it wasn’t very common that CU did much more as a member of the Big 8.
I do remember watching great Big 8 basketball in Boulder, but, unfortunately, it was usually when some team like Kansas, with players like JoJo White, came visiting. It was nice to see a truly great player headed to stardom in the NBA, but it wasn’t usually a Buff.
Too bad the Buffs and the Rams didn’t get out of the second round, but it is good to see them in the tournament and making the field of 32.
And lastly, I can see out my window that one of the best things about moving back to Colorado is that I will be able to watch the Broncos.
I have been a fan of the Broncos since their first season in Denver.
Later, at roughly the age of 12, I saw my first NFL game ever. It was in the old Denver Bears stadium and pitted the Broncos, quarterbacked by Mickey Slaughter, against the Washington Redskins, quarterbacked by Sonny Jurgenson.
To make matters worse, where I lived in Arizona was near the Nevada and California state lines and the “local” AFC team was the San Diego Chargers. If you are a Broncos fan, you know why it was tough to be forced to watch the Chargers.
Anyway, I want to watch Peyton Manning play for the Broncos. I saw him plenty of times with the Colts, but with the success he had this past year, I look forward to watching him play in Colorado from my home in Colorado.
As John Denver sang, “Hey, it’s good to be back home again.”