Having arrived in Eagle on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday was the first of the two full days we'd get to spend there. It was also the second day of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo there.
We didn't go to the rodeo, but I did go to the rodeo grounds...
...to run the stairs. Yup. I did. I run stairs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so this worked out perfectly. After Marie drove Bob, Johnny, and me around to introduce us to the area, Bob and Johnny drove up into the mountain to look around further, and I went out for a run.
I've run a lot of places, but never in and around rodeo stands. The rodeo is in the evening, so, though there were folks milling about a bit, I pretty much had the arena to myself.
Well, except for these guys, who were the perfect audience.
The rodeo grounds are set along this gorgeous river,
and these Scottish-thistle-look-alikes caught my eye on my way back to the motel.
Marie had arranged group rates for us at the AmericInn, and it was great to stay at the same place with all the family. AND they had pretty decent breakfasts. Can't beat that.
After I was done running and Bob and Johnny got back, we met some of the family over at the Eagle Diner for a late afternoon lunch.
Susie and Carol (remember....Bob's cousins) and their families had already eaten when we arrived, but they sat and visited with us a bit. Well, first, they tried on the "cheaters" that Bob and I had carelessly left sitting on the table.
I don't think they could see us at this point, but we certainly could see them.
Aunt Pat joined in the fun, but there were no extra cheaters for her.
And Marie dropped by, too. Three sisters that clearly can't get enough of each other.
Later that afternoon, we all gathered in the lobby of the motel again so that we could carpool to Vail for an evening adventure. Pictured here, left to right, are Bob, Tami and Steve Mellem (Steve is Bob's cousin, the son of Bob's mom's brother), Carol, Susie, and Marie and Mason Torry.
And speaking of Mason, we took a little detour into Avon on the way to Vail to see some of his work.
He has finished painting the first two of four seasonal paintings on these huge walls in a downtown shopping area. You can read all about it here in an article that was in the local paper the next day.
We loved the murals, and additional family continued to arrive, like Sandy Waters, pictured below with Steve. She is Bob's niece, as she is his sister Linda's daughter, and she lives in Denver with her daughter Katy, who arrived a few hours later.
Awwww...two uncles and a niece, reunited in the Sports Authority parking lot.
Love this shot of Aunt Pat and Bob. He adores her, and I get the sense she adores him, too. I think they both have great taste.
Once everyone had investigated the murals, and the children had emerged from the inside of Sports Authority, where they'd bought a basketball...
...we took a family picture in front of the summer mural.
We then loaded back into our cars to continue on to Vail. Well, after taking a few snaps of this gorgeous bust that is also in the parking lot. Apparently, these Avon folks are quite the art lovers. Very, very cool.
In Vail, we walked around the village, and heard a little of a summer concert that was going on in the Gerald Ford Amphitheater. It's really a beautiful setting.
And it's right next to the Betty Ford Alpine Garden,
which highlights Alpine plants.
And was a lovely setting for another family photo. You've already been introduced to everyone in this picture except Uncle Bill, the handsome guy on the far left. Such a great group.
We learned a little about alpine plants, and found out that lettuce grows really well above 7000 feet. Who knew?
We wandered about a bit, and spent some time in the children's garden, too.
Then we walked back to the village to head to dinner, and Johnny played "Vanna" at some antique farm equipment on the way.
The evening was just lovely, and we saw a couple boys tubing the river as we walked by. We were plenty warm enough, but figured that water was a bit chilly.
We ate at a great pizza place, and the kids, who were wise enough to be too embarrassed to sit with the adults, had their own table.
It was a bit loud at the adults' table,
and the servings were BIG. And delicious.
No doubt Carol and husband Christian were asking artist Mason for his autograph.
Susie, Tami, and Steve were at the other end of the table, hoping Mason would give them one, too.
After dinner, we walked back through the village to our cars. There are a lot of sculptures about, and one of my faves was "Rock, Paper, Scissors."
We drove back to the motel in Eagle and were witness to an incredible lightning display that got closer and closer. Can't really beat falling asleep to the smell of fresh rain coming through an open window in the Rockies.
The next day would be our last full day there, and I'll post about that tomorrow.
There's no rain here in Fresno right now, unfortunately, but I have to go to sleep, nonetheless.