Saturday, December 21, 2013

Family, Floods and Fun

This past week Barb & I took a few days off and traveled to our neighbor to the west, Colorado. Like usual we combined several missions into one trip.

First off we visited one of Barb's cousins in Fort Collins, more specifically he is a first cousin to her mother. Dick is the youngest of his generation and so is only about 15 years older than we are. Dick retired from John Deere after a career in sales. Dick and his wife Lee lived in many communities around the United States and Austrailia.

Dick & wife Lee hosted us, along with Gus and Zoey, their two German Shepherds. They built their retirement house on an acreage above Fort Collins. Beautiful home and view. Our bedroom was in the basement complete with a king-sized bed and private bathroom.

Wednesday they took us up to Estes Park to view the damage the floods did to the roads and homes along the way. It is amazing how fast they were able to reopen both US 36 through Lyons and US 34 through the Big Thompson canyon. Much has been accomplished, but the crews were still busy cleaning up and trying to get the streams back into the old channels. We could see where stretches of road had been completely rebuilt after the entire roadbed had been washed away. 
 Most disturbing was the damage to homes and other private property. Many homes were no longer habitable due to missing foundations or walls. Water and sewer lines were washed out. Access roads and driveways are just gone. I lost count how many cars we saw that were parked, but no way to move them any more since there was no road left.

Some of the hardest hit areas are still not open to the public. Dick & Lee have two daughters who live in Jamestown with their husbands. Both couples had to be airlifted to safety via helicopter days after the flash flood through town. One daughter and husband still don't know if their home can be saved. It had 5-6 feet of water, mud and sand through the house. 

The other daughter's house fared better, but the damage to the village is immense. The main road to Jamestown is still heavily damaged. An alternate route is open for an hour each morning and evening for the residents to get in and out, but only those who live there can pass through.

On a happier note we were able to progress on some genealogical research. Both Barb and Dick are descended from the Ferdinand Wollschlager family. Ferdinand and Caroline immigrated to the United States from West Prussia in 1889. Six children accompanied them and they had five more in Wayne County, Nebraska. Barb is a granddaughter of Agnes, third youngest; Dick is a son of Lydia, the second youngest.

One of my hobbies is genealogy. I have an account with and with their help we found many census documents for their family and even found the ship manifest so we know where and when they arrived in the United States. Now I just need to get everything entered into my database.

Thursday saw us on the move again, but not very far. We traveled eastward to Greeley, Colorado. One of Cicely's high school classmates plays basketball for the Southern Utah (SUU) Thunderbirds. SUU played Northern Colorado in Greeley Thursday night and it was too good of an opportunity to miss. We enjoyed watching Hailey and her teammates go 1-0 in conference. We got to know many of them last year when we went to a couple of games in Cedar City, Utah.

Friday we headed home to finish preparations for Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

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