So here we are, it is now week #2 in our new home here in Colorado, and we are still loving it!

Even though the past few afternoons we’ve had some brief storms, the weather here is amazing. Here’s a result of yesterday’s storm

Hail from Today

The hail didn’t appear to cause any damage to the cars thankfully, it was definitely interesting to see it all coming down, and then a result of the gutters. We were our furniture shopping yesterday, and while we almost bought something I quickly learned that getting a second mortgage instead of doing PMI hits your credit pretty hard. To be frank, my credit score dropped 50+ points in the past week! Oh well, I’ll just have to work harder to pay that portion of the mortgage off quickly. We were going to do no interest financing on the furniture, but I think we’ll just pay cash for it now, so hopefully by Friday we’ll have living room furniture!

We also stopped by the local mall, Park Meadows, holy cow that place is fancy! We hit the Borders to check out the computer book section, thankfully I found a copy of my book!

Tonight we figured out that a garbage disposal will not handle everything. So I had to clean out the pipes under the sink, lesson learned :) We also went skating for the first time in Colorado tonight. Natalie is not as comfortable on skates as I am, of course I’ve been skating for 18 or so years, so it' is understandable why. We went just over 7 miles tonight, if you look at the heart rate on the graphs you can see some data about the skate. We figured out it was mostly downhill the first 3.5 miles, then we turned around and boom, uphill into the wind. You can see my heart rate jumped and pretty much stayed up the whole way back.

On Sunday we got to meet the neighbors behind us, they also closed on their house on the 31st, but they’ve not fully moved in yet as they have a lease until the 24th of this month. They are a couple, around our age, no kids. I think we’re going to get a long great, we must of spend an hour or two talking to them on Sunday, it was nice. The house they purchased was one of the short sales we were bidding on, I think it worked out best for everyone right now, they got a great house, and so did we.

The rest of the weekend consisted of me driving around looking at furniture stores, electronics stores, and a VW car show! That was fun, nothing like the bug shows in California, but way better than any VW show I went to in Missouri. Here are a few photos from the show. I also got the Datsun 240z started up for a bit on Sunday. I’m hoping to get it to a muffler shop this week so I can get it quieted down and then maybe be able to run it a bit more frequently as I try to get it tuned up and drivable. Natalie spent most of the weekend at the barn watching a dressage clinic, though we did go out to dinner with a number of the people from the barn on Saturday night, that was great fun and a good time for Natalie to get to know some people.

This weekend coming up we have a lot planned. Saturday we’re going to go up to Leadville to watch the mountain bike race. A few of my fraternity brother’s are racing in it, as well as Lance Armstrong! That should be fun, we are looking forward to being up high in the mountains for a while. On Sunday I am going to head down to Colorado Springs to the SCCA Autocross down there. I’m thinking I might tow the 240z down there and see if I can’t drive it around on an empty space in the lot for a while to use the area to tune the car while driving, we’ll see if I can get everything together for that!

So that’s our update for now, hopefully everyone is doing well. We are really loving it here in Colorado, and look forward to lots of visitors this winter!

So Natalie and I headed south from Fort Collins this morning with the intention of getting to Parker and looking at dressage barns. Well it was my intention, but I found out that Natalie hadn’t looked up any barns! After stopping at the So All May Eat Cafe,, to say hello to my fraternity brother Brad (as much of a hello as my sick voice could muster) I started looking up barns in the Parker area with Samantha, our GPS.

I found a place called Trinity Sport Horse (I think) and headed that way, but just after getting off the highway in Parker I found a tack shop so I cut across 4 lanes and we went into the store to ask around for dressage barns in the area. The first place we tried ended up not existing, at least from what we could see. So then I looked up Stellar Stables using Google on my mobile phone, I plugged the address I found online into the GPS and we headed further south to see what we could find. We came across a big white barn on Daley road, at the place that the GPS told us that Stellar stables should be, but it wasn’t Stellar Stables, it was Saddle Up,

We stopped in there and met a lady named Sabrina who told us that Stellar was just up the road and that she boards there. She spends some time working at Saddle Up, which we found out is a therapeutic horsemanship barn.

We then headed up to Stellar Stables, home of the Dressage Dream team,, and ventured into the barn. It’s an amazing place. The trainer there is another aussie, and Natalie is excited about the potential learning opportunities that are available there at Stellar Stables. As of right now that is the barn of choice, so we started looking around Parker Colorado this afternoon for housing.

We ended up getting in touch with a Keller Williams agent, thanks Aunt Sandra for the connection! We got preapproval lined up through his mortgage guy and then spent a few hours driving around Parker looking at neighborhoods with the agent. We’re going to spend some time with him Wednesday looking at houses for sale and seeing what we can find in the area.

So far our opinions of Parker are that it is far more suiting for us than Fort Collins was. It is much more suburbia, like we are used to, with Denver only a short drive away. We haven’t stumbled on any trailer parks, which was something we couldn’t seem to get away from in Ft. Collins.

Our house hunting trip to Colorado is almost over, we’ll be back in St. Louis Wednesday at 10pm, barring any delays. We don’t expect to find a house in Parker just yet, so we will likely schedule another trip out here in April.

So Natalie and I have two days left here in Colorado, and we’re actually further from our goal than we were before we arrived last week.

After spending a couple of days driving around Ft. Collins we’re not convinced that FC is the place we want to move to anymore. It’s an interesting town, and there are some cool features, but we are not sure that those features outweigh some of the things that bug us.

We spent today driving around looking at Dressage barns near Longmont/Boulder, we found a few cool places. We’re going to head down south of Denver tomorrow and look around at some other barns down there. Based on what we find down there we will spend Wednesday either looking around there, or coming back up to the Longmont area. We want to spend some time driving around whatever area we think we will decide on and make sure we find out as much about the area as we can before making another trip out here in April to house hunt.

So far the Longmont/Bolder area a quick scan of doesn’t give me a good feeling of being able to find a house that will fit our desires. I only found a few houses that were under $350k, and I don’t think any of those had a 3 car garage.

So the biggest question we’ve had from other people since we decided that we are moving to Colorado has been what will you do for work?

Well my answer is an easy one. I will continue to work for Engage Software, I just simply be working out of a home office for a while, with the intention of expanding the business with a new office out west as we grow even more. That will require growing our business in the region and then looking for talented people to fit whatever needs arise.

Natalie on the other hand is sort of in an unknown position. Currently she has her own business out here doing Dressage training. She loves what she does, but it takes a LOT of time and energy to do what she does. She is looking forward to not having to work as much after we move. She’s not quite sure what she wants to do, but I imagine it will still involve Dressage Training out in Ft. Collins, just not on the same scale as she is doing here in St. Louis.

So, that answers one of the biggest questions we’ve had when people find out we’re moving.

Last day in Colorado

Chris Hammond

So today is our last day in Colorado. We actually are already headed home, we left Denver this evening around 9pm and shortly ago stopped in Limon Colorado for the night. It’s snowing here, and was the whole trip, so we’ll camp out here tonight and see what the roads are like in the morning.

We spent today looking around at three dressage barns south of Denver. We saw a few nice places and talked to some very good resources for Natalie. We haven’t narrowed any decisions down yet as to where we will end up, but we got a lot of good info from today’s visits.

We also went to the golf course at Bear Dance where my former boss (form 1995/1996) works as the head professional there. It was a beautiful course, though there were only two trucks in the lot due to the weather! From there we headed west, doing a little off-roading in the Envoy.

To cap off the night we went to dinner with three of my fraternity brothers, it was a great time catching up with the guys. I am looking forward to getting to spend more time hanging out with them over the next few visits to Colorado!

We’ll have some more photos and such posted tomorrow night or the next day. We’ll be getting up early in the morning and hopefully heading to St. Louis, assuming the weather is good!

Day 3 in Colorado

Chris Hammond
Natalie and I spent most of today looking around Ft. Collins. The first thing we did after breakfast and leaving the hotel was to head to Autozone to get the check engine light scanned on the Envoy. The code reported a problem with either the MAP or one of the hoses. I ended up resetting the code, and we drove the rest of the day, a couple hundred miles, without it coming back on. Perhaps it was just the altitude yesterday that caused a problem. After getting the Envoy squared away we started calling Dressage barns in the area and went and visited a few. We found one that I think Natalie really likes, Chatellen, I like it too, but mostly because of the beagle Joe. Well Joe and check out the view from their farm of the mountains.

Leaving on Tuesday

Chris Hammond
So Natalie and I are headed to Colorado Wednesday morning. As of right now the trip is pretty free formatted. Natalie has a list of barns we are going to try to see, though I don’t think she’s contacted any of them. We will leave here bright and early, more likely, Dark and Early, around 3am.

If you were moving to Colorado, where would you choose to live? Please be sure to post why you pick where you pick. If you don't tell us why, it will be hard to sell us on a specific location.

Here are some of the requirements for our hunting for a location in Colorado.

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