We had a busy month in January. After Mike and I spent Christmas week in Albuquerque visiting my girls, my parents, Mike's son and various friends (Oh yeah, Mike got a few chores done at my Mom's house too), we had two very nice trips in January. So much for staying home and enjoying the ranch!! But actually both trips were VERY fun and the bottom line is we were together!
First trip was to Las Vegas for 4 days for the Alpacas of America auction. AOA is the largest ranch in the country (1000+ alpacas), and they host an auction each year to sell 80 or so female alpacas. We went last year, and had so much fun that we decided before we got home that we would go again this year. It's a great cheap vacation since they pay for your rooms and much of your food, and we can fly Southwest. This year most of our buddies from Wyoming joined us there, so it was like old home week. So great to see our friends, Great to preview and discuss the animals, and great educational seminars as well. We also unexpectedly got quite an education on auctions when we figured out the floor guys signals to each other, and were surprised that lots of alpacas did not sell even if they made you think they did. Not suprising in this economy, suprising that they felt they needed to be dis-honest about it. The good news is that Alpacas of America were not going to sell too low, indicating their faith in the alpaca industry to sustain itself through the recession.
4 Days in Vegas and LaNae is the only one of us who won cash-- 8 dollars off the rest of us in the pool we had going.
As a bonus some ex-Boise neighbors moved to Las Vegas last summer so we spent a day and an evening with them, just chatting and catching up, and they took us out to Hoover Dam to see the new highway bridge being built there, an engineering marvel to be sure.
This picture cracks me up... but because of the sun none (apparent here) none of the bridge photos turned out too good. See the official website (http://www.hooverdambypass.org/Construction_Activities.htm) for better photos and more information.
The other vacation we had this month was this past weekend when we joined my sister Monica and her husband David at their business partner's (Ginger's) condo in Winter Park. We got up there Friday evening just as the snow was beginning to seriously inpact the driving, and it snowed like crazy all night Friday and all day and night Saturday. Saturday we headed out for some shopping, but didn't venture far and ended up staying close to home and played some games, read, relaxed in our winter wonderland! There were supposed to be some festivities going on in town that day, but they were so disorganized that it was a bust! We did see a very short parade in the evening and had a good prime rib dinner though.. No complaints here.
We plannind to ski Sunday but only if the weather looked enjoyable. At $92/day we wanted to be comfortable... even if we did have a half price coupon. So when we got up Sunday it was sunny and nice and we headed for the slopes. The snow could not have been better!! We skied until about 1:30 when the storm had returned, and we decided we'd had enough and headed for home. For more detail on the trip you can see more photos and read Monica's blog at http://sunponyranch.blogspot.com/2009/01/happy-birthday-mary-jane.html.
Also January in Colorado means the National Western Stock Show. This is the first year they have had an alpaca show associated to the stock show and the local organization (Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies - or ABR) was all buzzed up about that! ABR has had an educational booth for the past few years and since last year has had a product sales booth. We volunteered to man the booths one day, and when they were short of volunteers we ended up volunteering for two other days. So three days driving up to Denver and helping out for a few hours and a 3 hour drive back, about rounded out the month. While at the stock show we saw and got interested in Yaks, but that is a story for another day ;-)