… A little bit of everything

What is a Heat Burst?

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Many people that live in the mid-west are familiar with sudden changes in air temperature, usually associated with a passing cold front or the cool downburst of a thunderstorm. However, on rare occasions, the air temperature can rapidly increase due to a phenomenon called a heat burst. Within a matter of minutes the wind speeds can exceed 65 mph and the air temperature can increase by 20°F or more. As strange as that sounds, these events almost always occur late at night or in the very early morning hours.

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2015 BMW 800GS Adventurer Review

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I’m back in the saddle again! After a 5-year hiatus (mostly due to events out of my control), I purchased a new 2015 BMW 800 GS Adventurer to quench my desire to hit the open road and fire-trails of the great Rocky Mountains. My last motorcycle was a 2005 BMW 650 GS Dakar, and while I was pleased with the bike, I had to sell it to buy a pop-up tent trailer, for this was the only way my wife would go camping with the kids and I.

Just so you all know, I’m not a hard-core rider either on-road or off-road. However, I do enjoy riding and love taking the bike on the fire-trails all throughout the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I also use it to commute to work so long as the temperature is above 32°F and there’s little chance of hail. With that in mind, here’s why I chose the 800 GS Adventurer and my likes/dislikes.

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Although Colorado is synonymous with beautiful Mountain vistas, the Great Planes have their beauty as well. Many of the old farms, now worn down and in shambles, bring back a haunting simplicity to the way life use to be. Desolate, arduous and lonely, they are relics of a time long past, yet captivate the modern day imagination of how things used to be.

IMG_0466_v1_sfw About 40 or so miles east of Colorado Springs on one of those unnamed roads is an old corral with what appears to be an worn down home in the background. The windmill is somewhat new (perhaps built in the last 50 years), so it appears the farm may still have some “functional” use. I can only imagine what the winters must have been like back then.
IMG_0476_v2_sfw This photo gives better insight into what life must have been like back in the day; lonesome! There was nothing within miles of this old building. Perhaps the rest of the homestead has deteriorated to the point it’s no longer visible. Or maybe this wasn’t a home at all, but rather a stopping point for a bit of rest on the trek westward.

The above photos were taken with my new Canon 6D. Big difference from my old Canon Rebel XTi.

Colorado has some of the most beautiful vistas in the country, especially in the Autumn when the Aspens leaves transform themselves into a shimmering gold blanket that coats the mountains. Some years are better than others, but rarely do they disappoint. If in Colorado Springs, it’s but a short drive into some great areas that yield fantastic results. Woodland Park isn’t too far away and Upper Gold Camp Road will never lead you astray. Mueller Park is just over an hour away and it too has some great Aspens groves.

IMG_3721_2_3_v1_sfw A few years back, the family and I took a drive into the Rocky Mountains and came across some great scenes. I took these with my older Canon Rebels XTi, but even still, they turned out pretty good. If I remember right, this was somewhere along Gold Camp Road about 45 minutes from Manitou Springs, CO.
IMG_3727_8_sfw This too was taken along the same road, but a little later in the day on our way back. The storm clouds were starting to build, which was a bit rare this late in the year, but it was a warm day.

How Much Money do I Need to Retire?

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Every time I search the internet looking for an answer to the ubiquitous question of “How much money do I need to retire?“, the answers are always just about the same; “It depends“. Yes, it does depend on many things, but very few articles give the details needed to even give a person a starting point. So, I’ll attempt to do just that.

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