Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Things I Hate About Kansas City

I just received an email response regarding the sprinkler damage caused by the city:

"Per Robbie Hill-Wolfskill: If the sprinkler was in the right of way, it generally is not the City's responsibility to repair it,
but it is the responsibility of the home owner.

Office of the City Manager
3-1-1 Action Center
1st Floor - City Hall
414 East 12th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64106"

Unbelievable!!! The city destroys my property and at the same time is charging me to repair THEIR curb!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

You Can't Fight City Hall, or Can You?

The ordeal started several years ago, when our house was less than 4 years old. The curb in front of our house sunk, obviously due to shoddy workmanship (curbs last more than 4 years, don't they?). The builder said they turn the sidewalks and curbs over to the city after a year. We contacted the city and after a period of over two years, they finally determined our curb was hazardous and that it was our responsibility to pay for replacing it.

Last fall they finally came out and did the work, and in the process, tore up our sprinkler system. You can see the head at the bottom of the picture to the right.

They filled in the hole and left the sprinkler head sitting on the grass. The dirt got into our system and clogged at least two other heads. The city ignored our complaints so we hired someone to do the repairs.

Now we have a bill from the city for almost a thousand dollars. Included in the bill is an unspecified amount for sod. As you can see from the second photo, which I took today, they did not sod at all.

Now I need to decide how I want to pursue this matter.

1 - Should a homeowner bear the cost of replacing a curb that's less than 4 years old? The city obviously passed the curb in an inspection. What is the normal life of a curb?

2 - The city should definitely pay for the sprinkler repair. It's obvious they broke it and they should be responsible for fixing it.

3 - I should not be charged for sod that was never put down.

I think the city should pay for the curb AND reimburse me for the sprinkler repair. Is this too much to ask? Do I have a chance in small claims court?

I know the odds of beating city hall are slim, but I have to pursue this. I'll start by filing a claim with the city. I'm sure they will deny the claim. After that, I can decide how to pursue it further.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Senor Tequila

Mmmmmmm....Senor Tequila on North Oak has become my favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. The lunch fajitas (shown above) are great, but my favorite is the Enchiladas Rancheros. So often after finding a good restaurant, it goes downhill. I hope Senor Tequila escapes that fate!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


It's OK to look at all the guides and tourist magazines, but if you just follow the guides, you only get to see what every other visitor sees. We like to just take off on the back roads to see what we can find. The ranch above is just a few miles outside Steamboat Springs, but is on a rarely traveled dirt road. The cattle below were in the same area. What is the silver thing in it's mouth? I have no idea. We didn't do a lot of this type of travel on this trip, but the short drive on the last day convinced us that we need to go back and explore some more.

Friday, May 8, 2009

On the Way Home

We're near Kearny Nebraska and about 4 1/2 hours from home. The change of scenery taking this route was interesting, but we've been in horrendous wind all day. Wyoming was full of antelope, just as I remember it. Nebraska is still very flat.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just Hanging Out

Today is our last day in Steamboat Springs. After the long trip to Rocky Mountain NP yesterday, we were ready for a rest before the long trip home tomorrow. We did a little souvenir shopping downtown and took a short, but beautiful drive, in the hills around Steamboat. We decided to take the trip home through Wyoming and Nebraska for a change of scenery. It's almost exactly the same distance and time of travel. Now it's time to plan another trip!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rocky Mountain National Park

We looked everywhere for wildlife the first part of the week. We didn't see anything bigger than a chipmunk until we hit the city of Estes Park. Wouldn't you know, there was a herd of elk in front of the hardware store! The trails in RMNP were mostly covered with snow, but still passable. We took a few little hikes since we've never seen it at this time of year. It was absolutely beautiful!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Around Town

Today started out rainy so it was the perfect time to do laundry. After lunch the weather cleared up and we had a nice sunny afternoon. We walked through the Botanical Gardens and then followed the path along the Yampa River into town. We had dinner with Mike and Donna followed by another walk along the river. A beautiful sunset and a brief heavy shower ended the day.

Tomorrow should be our nicest weather so far and we will make the trip through Poudre Canyon to Ft Collins and then on to Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately the road to Grand Lake is closed until later this month, so we will have to return by the same route.

We haven't had many animal sightings this trip. Just chipmunks and birds. Hopefully we will at least see the elk around Estes Park tomorrow. Bear and Moose would really be nice!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Steamboat Lake

Today we headed north up around Steamboat Lake which is about 20 miles south of Wyoming. We had everything from sun to rain to snow. Beautiful drive though. We stopped at Fish Creek Falls on the way up.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Steamboat Springs

Today was our first full day in Steamboat Springs. It was mostly overcast with occasional rain, but not bad at all. We walked around downtown and we all got our cowboy hats. After a light lunch in the room we explored the various hot springs. We never did find the cave spring but we will try again later. It was pretty muddy looking for it. The weather should improve a bit each day with sunshine by Wednesday.

Into the Mountains

On our way from Denver to Steamboat Springs, we discovered the really cool old town of Silver Plume. We've buzzed by it countless times on the freeway in the past. Thanks to a nice lady at the Georgetown Visitor's Center, we didn't miss it this time. The ride to Steamboat Springs really got wet, but the scenery was fantastic. From expansive ranches to snow covered mountains. There was still a lot of snowmobiling going on at the higher elevations. We haven't seen much of Steamboat Springs yet since it was pouring when we got here.

The condo is OK. It's not nearly as big as the one in Ruidoso. The kitchen is small and there is no dining table, or should I say card playing table? Our friends needed a card table anyway, so we visited the local Walmart and picked one up. They call this a two bedroom unit, but it's actually a one bedroom and a studio with an adjoining door. You can't beat the price we paid, so we can't least not too much.

When we got to town, our Nuvi took us directly to Celebrity Resorts. It was very strange since there was not a single car in the parking lot and no one in the office. After a few minutes some people came by and said the complex was closed and directed us to another Celebrity Resort complex up on a hill. Maybe the original unit would have been better.

Friday, May 1, 2009


We arrived at our hotel around 4 pm. Not a bad drive at all, especially since Norine drove most the way. We had dinner with Scott at El Tapatio, which was very good, but way too much food. It's tough when you're traveling and can't take leftovers with you. You almost feel obligated to eat the whole thing. Norine was smart and gave some of hers to Scott to take home. I wasn't so smart and am paying for it now.

Scott had some bad news. The Denver branch where he works is closing down this month. He will have to move back to Kansas City. It's nice for us to have him closer, but sad for him since he loved living in Denver so much. He will continue to work for the same company. Hopefully everything will work out for the best.

Norine and I have been discussing how we want to spend the next 10 years. We have been going back and forth for some time on whether we should keep the house or find something easier to maintain. We really enjoy this traveling and the house does restrict us to some extent. We need to think and discuss this extensively before we do anything drastic. We need to make a decision before it's too late. This is our second long road trip in two months and although we know we don't want to travel constantly, we want to be free to travel much more frequently than we have the past couple of years.

We're going to meet our friends at 9:30 tomorrow for breakfast and then slowly work our way to Steamboat Springs. We've been to Colorado many times, but never to Steamboat, so we're looking forward to seeing something new.

Approaching State Line

We're about 30 minutes from the Colorado border. Norine decided she liked to drive and I am more than happy to let her! We have a little over 3 hours driving time left. With the time change, that will put us in Denver around 3:50. Not a bad drive at all! It's been cool the whole way. It's 47 degrees right now. Doesn't feel at all like May. It may be rainy and cold in the mountains, but who cares? We're already thinking about other trips. Southern Utah and all the National Parks would be fun. Why do we have a house? Travel is much more fun!

Flint Hills

Norine took over the driving for the next hour or so. We're in the Flint Hills and moving along nicely. It's overcast and dreary, but at least it's not raining....yet.

1st Stop

McDonalds, of course. We're a little early. Waiting for friends.

Colorado - Day 1

5:30 am is WAY too early for a retired person to get up! Who's idea was it to leave so early? It's dark outside!!! Oh well, we'll finish our coffee and hit the road. I don't hear any rain, but I'm sure it will start by the time we leave. We have a tradition of starting these road trips in the rain. But then again, we've had dry weather at our destination. Is this opposites week?