Everyday there’s plenty of stories on the internet and television about what our governments doing or not doing for its people and who’s to blame. These days, its common for people to blame their personal inadequacies on the place they choose to live and for that matter on other people. I love my country, but sadly…Americans have an “Entitlement issue”. I hear it everyday….The blame game. But, rarely do you hear: what can I do as an individual to make a difference and when and where do I begin?
It wasn’t until I lost a very dear friend, one that taught me a lot about life, did I remember something he’d told me before heading to Costa Rica last year: “It’s not where you are that matters, it’s what you’re doing that does”. And, I’ve learned it’s the people who willingly service others that truly make a difference in the world.
Everyday, I smile at the 100-year-old briefcase my deceased friend gave me last year, a reminder that I’m grateful for what I do have, not for what I don’t and that it all starts from within.
On the way up to Belmont, Nevada to visit my dad, mom, sis, nephew El and I passed a military base (area 51), about one hour or so from Las Vegas. While officially there’s no primary purpose, it appears it’s a site used for experimental aircraft and weapons development and is also famous for various conspiracy theories and UFO sightings. Separate from Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, it’s within the United States Air Force vast Nevada Test and Training Range. The name area 51 is officially used by the CIA as well as other names such as Dreamland, Paradise Ranch and others. This isn’t a normal base since it’s used for highly classified military-defense programs which all are unacknowledged by the government. Everything that happens here is classified as TOP SECRET. This area isn’t even shown on government maps.
About an hour drive later there was snow on the ground. I took a photo of this alien cow looking thing and thought to myself, “Who in their right mind stops in the middle of nowhere in frigid conditions to take a photo of a cow? LOL
Anyway, when we arrived in the old Ghost town of Belmont a couple hours later, I just knew there was a story here and plenty of opportunity to take some fantastic photos! In Colorado Springs, we haven’t had a cold winter and no substantial amount of snowfall to speak of for years. It was so beautiful!
There’s only a dozen or so residents living in Belmont year round and Dads one of them.
My parents and I are similar in some ways, driven by challenge and thriving on adventure, givers of the heart. But, … I’m the black sheep, not one for the weak and timid and get bored easily. So… I keep on moving… Intrigued by the human condition and happy to be able to document life’s experiences…
Mom likes living in the big city and dad seems to like the hermit lifestyle devoid of electricity, gas stations, Mc-E-Dees, Snack-a-Bell or for that matter grocery stores. The people in Belmont get their power from the sun and propane, so there’s definitely a challenge living there. But, dad loves it and I’m happy for him.
There’s a nice B & B and a couple of bars for the wandering few during summer time but, that’s about it. It’s a barren place to be during the winter but, when you open your eyes, there’s so much to see…
And, I like my dads friend Mr. Stanley. He’s a character. After-all, there’s only a few other people living in Belmont during the winter and sometimes, it’s a tough place to be alone.
But, it’s a peaceful place in the mountains and, it’s easy to see why dad likes it so much.
My sister lives in the metropolis of Chicago where the elevations slightly above sea level but, Belmont’s located in the high country at over 7400 feet and takes a while to acclimate to the change.
And, boy did the elevation change affect my sister and El! They got a case of altitude sickness and were a little cranky being cooped up in the cabin in the frozen tundra for those few days!
None-the-less, you can see we were all having a great time!
We even built “Snowwoman & Alien Babies”! LOL
The next day, El took me on an adventure in the Polaris to see cool places I’d never been before. Like, Dirty Dicks Saloon!
I know he’s only 13 but, what a cool kid! After-all, we weren’t drinking in Dirty Dicks, we were only taking photos!
When sis and El use to live in Vegas, they’d hang out with mom and dad in Belmont.
El knows where all the cool places are!
Here’s a photo of dad and El making another run up the hill in the Polaris. El was super excited to go sledding!
And, there he goes down Mr. Stanley’s driveway
Even Mr. Stanley got in on the action!
The time in Belmont was an unforgettable experience of quality time with family and Mr. Stanley. And, spending it in a place that hasn’t been jaded by modern technology, something that most of us truly believe we can’t live without, is what made the trip even more memorable.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BELMONT, NEVADA, CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE BELOW…
Mardi Gras 2013 in Manitou Springs, Colorado was definitely a great time and so glad I made it! After being chased by wild animals and bad guys in the jungle of Costa Rica the past month or so, getting back to a place I use to call home and hanging out with friends is something that I missed dearly while being away.
It all started at The Stage Coach Restaurant with Trey and Kelly from New Orleans. Trey went to Saint Paul’s High School in Covington, Louisiana and graduated just a few years after I did. Trey was here to visit his girlfriend Kelly who lives in Colorado and to escape the craziness of New Orleans. But…
Trey couldn’t escape crazy Tony’s craziness! LOL
None of us missed a beat and we went all out for the Mardi Gras celebration! We’re from New Orleans and Mardi Gras has always been a big deal for us Bayou kids and Manitou was the perfect Mardi Gras!
If you don’t know the history of Mardi Gras, here’s some trivia: Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” as some call it is specific to that day. However, the party in New Orleans historically starts about two weeks before Mardi Gras and abruptly ends at Midnight on “Fat Tuesday”. Catholics party hard during this celebration and prepare to “fatten up” before the 40 days of Lent. Contrary to what you may have heard, the first Mardi Gras was actually held in Mobile, Alabama. But, since 1850 or so, New Orleans, Louisiana has taken this prized debacle to a new level and one that many love to partake year after year.
The exact dates of Mardi Gras vary year to year but, it can always be determined by calculating backwards from the date on which Easter falls on. Mardi Gras – “Fat Tuesday” is the day before Ash Wednesday which begins the 40 days of the Lenten Season.
There’s always lots of food, drink and music at Mardi Gras. And, the festivities in Manitou was no exception.
Thanks Manitou Springs, Colorado for providing a safe and wonderful Mardi Gras for us all!
This was a great time that my friends and I will never forget.