Breckenridge, CO: 3/1 – 3/16/19

The first of March began with a winter storm.  There had been only a few inches/dusting during our first two weeks here in Breckenridge.  We were very excited as skiing in powder has become our favorite skiing condition!  Here we are in the truck on our way to the gondola for a day of powder skiing.

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We got to the parking lot and Scott realized that he had forgotten his goggles.  We are now one for one on forgetting essential ski equipment.  The snow fell at a constant rate, which quickly changed the surface conditions from hard, packed powder to soft, deep mounds of white snow.  At the summit, visibility was minimal, and it was difficult to get your bearings with everything being so white.  So, we chose to ski lower down so that we could better navigate the varying terrain.  On our last run, I tweaked my left knee (AGAIN).  Is there such a thing as too much powder???  I do not really know how I fell, but there I was covered in snow.  Neither one of us took out our phone today to take pictures.  There was just too much snow.

The snow forecasts are varying and not always accurate.  It was predicted to snow all day Saturday, March 2, but there were breaks during the day when the snow stopped and the sun tried to peak out.  We decided to not ski with the crowds today, and Scott took this opportunity to clean off the top of the trailer.

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This view quickly changed by the next morning.  It snowed heavily all night long, and Breck recorded the overnight total to be 13”, but I think it was more.  Now look at our driveway.

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We were so excited about skiing in powder again, that we made record time getting on the road to the mountain.

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The snow was still falling steadily as we drove up Highway 9 towards Beaver Run parking lot.  Our goal today was to be one of the first riders on the chairlift.

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We were actually one of the last vehicles to get into Beaver Run Parking lot.  It was jammed packed.  Unfortunately, it was slow going at first.  We took the Quicksilver Chair to the Falcon Chair to ski Peak 10.  The lift had stopped running, leaving hundreds of skiers on a non-moving line.  We decided not to wait it out, and made our way to the Peak 8 SuperConnect.  We started on Callies Alley and Scott wanted to video me skiing.  So impressive!  Make sure you watch it until the end.

 

 

Scott and I did our best to find lifts with short lines that were running.  I had been wanting to ski Tiger, a double black run on Peak 8, but was waiting for powder conditions.  Today was the day!  Scott did not like it as much as I did.  He lost one ski close to the top and had to walk uphill, which was not an easy task.  We will wait until tomorrow to try this run again.  Time to head back to Peak 9.

The C Lift (a double chair on Peak 9) doesn’t operate during the week, so we spent some time there today enjoying trails that we couldn’t get to without a working chairlift during the weekdays.

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I took the opporutnity to video Scott coming down Peerless, a black diamond run.

 

This was the BEST ski day yet!  There was little wind today and we never got cold (until I filmed this video).  And, it never stopped snowing!  On our last run, Scott wanted to try following me with his camera rolling.  I didn’t follow directions very well.

 

Time to call it a day.  It was still snowing at the base of the mountain.

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It snowed all night but the sun came out Monday morning.  We lasted about two hours until I realized that the deep powder and my sore knee were not a good match.  If I don’t rest it, I may not be able to enjoy skiing with our friends that arrive this weekend.

We drove to Estes Park on March 5 to visit with Mama and to help her with a few projects around the house.  They have also had quite a bit of snow in the past few weeks.  There was a lot of snow to be shoveled around the property as well as on the top deck.   Mama was happy to have the company and we were glad to be able to help out.  Mama was sharing old photos with us, and I just had to post this one.  Papa was a very handsome man in his day, and there is something special about the old black and white photos that were slightly color enhanced.

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The following day was Papa’s birthday.  We went out to lunch in his honor, and we even shared a piece of his favorite cake, chocolate-chocolate.  Ok, so I ate most of it only because Scott and Mama didn’t want much.  On our way out, we drove to the trailhead for Long’s Peak, where we got married back on 7/7/14.  Maybe we will hike it again on our 10th anniversary.

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The snow has not let up much.  On Thursday, March 7, we awoke to yet more snow.  This is a peek from our RV door.   You can see the height of the snow on the roof of our shed, and the pile up of shoveled snow separating us from our neighbor, Steve.

 

I took the following video Thursday morning as the snow started to fall again.

 

Breckenridge Ski Resort reported a total of 30” over the last two days.  There were several avalanches on I-70 and Hwy 91.  Fortunately, no one has been injured but the avalanche warning is at High/Extreme.  Parts of I-70 were closed until they cleaned up the mess.  Loveland Pass as well as Hoosier Pass were both closed for safety reasons.  A-Basin Ski Mountain was closed for two days due to “too much snow” coupled with the danger of avalanches.  I can’t believe that we are NOT skiing!  I have to rest my knee if I want to ski with our friends next week, our last week in Breck.  It snowed all day Thursday, and we woke up Friday morning to another 13”.

Friday morning, the sun decided to come out and melt some of the snow away (ha-ha, not very much).  Scott finally had the chance to work on the truck.  He wanted to make a sliding storage drawer in the bed just like he had made in the Tacoma.  Here he is at the beginning of his project.

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About an hour later, it looked like this.

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Then, you will never guess what happened.  It started to snow.  The forecast was for rain to begin around 1:00 p.m. and change over to snow by 4:00 p.m.  We never did get any rain.  It started as a wet snow.  This project was put on hold until warmer, dryer weather returns. The snow bank in our driveway is now taller than 5’4” me.

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That evening we headed over to The Brown and Fox’s Den to see Terry and Art’s son, Matt, play the bass with his band, Tula.  I can’t remember when I went out at 9:30 p.m. to see a band start playing at 10:15 p.m.  We didn’t leave until after midnight, well past our bedtime.

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In the video below, Matt is in the center with the white guitar.  Check out the guy dancing in front of my camera at the end of the video.  LOL

 

On Saturday, the sun came out again and Scott was able to just about finish his project on the truck.  When we get to a warmer climate, he will add dividers to the drawer to tidy up the storage area.  For now, he will just load our supplies in as neatly as he can.

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We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our friends, Brendan and Denise, for a week of skiing.  It is hard to believe that today is the start of our last week here in Breck.  They got in late afternoon, and we joined them at Terry and Art’s condo for dinner.  After Scott shoveled out the back deck, Brendan took his post at the grill.

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It wasn’t long before another friend came along to entertain us.

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Art and Terry were not skiing this trip so the next few days it was just Brendan, Denise, Scott and I out on the slopes.  We had a mixture of weather conditions this week, including a “bomb cyclone” that hit the Denver area midweek.  Here are Denise and I just before we took the Imperial Chair up to the summit.  As you can see, it was snowing!

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Later that afternoon, we took the only group selfie.  It as pretty cold all day, and nobody really wanted to stop to take their camera out.  At this point, the sun had come out again but it was still pretty chilly.

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Overnight, another winter storm warning went into effect.  On our way to the mountain Wednesday morning, I snapped a picture of Hwy 9, which was snow covered.

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It snowed all day and all night.   Route 70 was closed at various locations due to avalanches.  Parts of Colorado experienced a bomb cyclone, a powerful late winter storm picking hurricane-force winds and blizzards.  We were very lucky to be near the Ski Resort and not have to worry about getting anywhere.  Friends and family members reached out to us to make sure that we were okay.  We really had no idea how serious the storm actually was.  We were just psyched to be getting some more powder!  The snow did come to an end after dumping another 14” on the mountain.  Apparently, Summit County got over six feet of snow since March began, and it is not over yet.

On Thursday, Scott decided to get some things done on the truck/trailer for our departure Friday morning.  So, it was just Brendan, Denise and I out on the slopes again.  After we finished skiing, Art and Terry picked the three of us up and we drove to Tiger Run so that they could see our home on wheels.   Scott had a busy day shoveling more snow off the top of the trailer.  Here is a view from that standpoint.

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Here are the girls trying to hide behind the unending snow piled up behind the trailer.

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Scott welcomed us all in for a little hot buttered rum and hot apple cider, which is incredibly warming  after a cold day on the slopes.

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Fortunately, Scott found six cups to share our hot beverage treat.  We were all able to fit inside and enjoy some hot toddies.

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Afterwards, we went back to Art and Terry’s condo for some hot tub relaxation and another delicious dinner.  It was too difficult to get everyone in a group shot, so we split up the boys and the girls.

 

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Given the cold weather and large amount of snow, Scott decided to extend our stay in Tiger Run one more day.  The forecast called for the sun to finally come out for a few days which would help melt some snow on the roads for our exit.

On Friday, March 15, Terry and Art had a flight out of Denver, and Brendan, Denise and I went for one last day of skiing in Breckenridge.  This was a bonus for me since we were supposed to be leaving this morning.  We had hoped to ski at some of the other Epic Pass resorts, but the weather this past week made it difficult given the crazy, snowy weather.  It didn’t matter because we LOVE Breckenridge!  We started on the Colorado Chair on Peak 8 and made our way to a spot where Scott and I had gone mountain biking last summer.  Here is a look at the two very different seasons.

 

Today we spent some time skiing on Peak 6.  It’s summit offers a different view of the majestic mountainside.  And, just look at that bluebird sky!  Most of this peak is exposed which makes it susceptible to high winds, and it is often closed.  We had one of the best runs of the entire week, but the freezing cold winds made us savor that one run and make our way onto another peak.

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Finally, the day had come for us to pack up and leave.  Although the sun was shining brightly this morning, we awoke to a temperature of zero degrees at 7:00 a.m.  It was two degrees by 8:30.  Time to break out the hairdryer to warm things up under the trailer.  All went well until we went to put the slide in.  I heard a terrible scraping noise, and Scott quickly told me to STOP!  This is what the top left of the slide looked like outside.  That baby was NOT sliding in.

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Of course, I started thinking that we would be stuck here in Breck since you cannot legally drive on the road with the slide sticking out.  Since we first got the trailer, Scott noticed a small crack beginning to form just underneath the lower right side of the slide.  He said that the crack has gradually been expanding.

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Scott was able to get the slide in and a maintenance check is in our future.  I must say that we did pretty good having spent 30 days and nights in below freezing, single digit temperatures most evenings.  Take the very cold weather, coupled with over six feet of snow in 2 weeks, I’d say that our winter ski bum excursion was a success!  The pictures below show our site on the day we arrived on February 13th compared to our last day on March 16th.  When we arrived, there was a few feet of snow and even more by the time we left.

 

 

 

Now we are heading south to warmer climate.  Goodbye, Tiger Run.  It’s been a great ride.

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Breckenridge, CO: 2/12 – 2/28/19

It was hard to believe that our month in Breck finally arrived.  We had talked about being ski bums, but we didn’t book a month at Tiger Run until last July.  At the time, we thought that Breckenridge would be our first winter RVing experience, not knowing that we would sneak in nine days at Mountain Valley Resort in Utah first.

We were fortunate that the weather was quiet during our two-day drive from Heber City, Utah, to Tiger Run Resort, which is located just outside of the town of Breckenridge.

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When we arrived there was snow on the ground, but it wasn’t a fresh snowfall.  Scott had to do a little shoveling and ice-chopping before we backed the trailer into our site and unhooked the truck.

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While Tiger Run is a year-round RV park, there seeems to be more cabins here than RV’s.  All of the cabins/sites are privately owned and managed by Tiger Run Resort.  The first site that we booked was located directly across front the Club House where there are mostly RV’s.  About a month ago, we learned that the site was sold and the new owner wasn’t going to rent it.  We were relocated to Site 211, which is about a five-minute walk to the Club House.  The Club House has a pool, hot tub, showers, game room, tv room and a party room where they have various events.  Every Wednesday evening is a Wine/Cheese gathering, and every Saturday is Grill Night.

The Swan River is just behind us, and most of our neighbors live in cabins.

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Directly next to us is another RV site that is occupied by a man named Steve and his black lab, Amy.

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We met them on our first day here.  Steve is a nice, friendly guy who lives here eight months out of the year and then leaves for the summer months as the property owner stays then.  He’s been doing this for years.

While our plan was to ski as much as possible with a choice of five different ski resorts on our Epic Pass (Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Vail, Keystone, and A-Basin), I couldn’t spend a month in Breck without going to the Rec Center.  I enjoy swimming laps and attending yoga classes, so I purchased a monthly pass.

About 200 yards from our site is the entrance to a part of the Colorado Trail.

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A few hundred feet up the trail to the right will lead you to the Colorado Trail.  Today we stayed straight on the path which led us deep into the woods behind the resort.  At one point this man-made path ended, and we needed our snowshoes, which we didn’t bring, to continue on.

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Behind Scott in the background above is a glimpse of Breckenridge Ski area.  Below is an overhead view of Tiger Run RV Park.  Our trailer is hidden behind the large tree on the far right.

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On Friday, February 15, we decided to ski at Arapaho Basin since they reported the most overnight snow of seven inches.  A-Basin is located about a 30-minute drive from Tiger Run up over Loveland Pass.  I had skied there back in 1987, however, my memory of it was not a good one.  All I remember was a cold, windy day with icy conditions.  I recall sliding over an icy ridge and wanted to get off the mountain immediately.  I don’t believe that we stayed very long as most of us were not prepared for the horrible conditions.  Today, 31 years later, it is covered in snow with fresh powder conditions.

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The sun was shining on and off today, and they had about seven inches of fresh powder last night.  Scott is skiing really well in the powder, and I somehow lost my powder rhythm.  As a result, I tweaked my left knee due to poor form.  Instead of just the outside of that knee being stiff and swollen since I slipped out of the new truck two weeks ago, now the inside of the same knee is not talking nice to me.  Time to rest it again.

Over the President’s Day Weekend, we drove up to Estes Park to spread Scott’s dad’s ashes in Rocky Mountain National Park with family and friends.  This was the first time that I have ever experienced spreading someone’s ashes.  It was actually a beautiful way of remembering a life and sending them back to the earth.  It makes me wonder if that could be what I want.

On Tuesday, February 19, we skied for the first time this trip at Breck.  It was a cold day with temps in the low teens.  We took the Gondola to Peak 7 and skied Peak 7 and 6 for a few hours.

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The snow began to intensify and visibility became sketchy so I chose to take a break.  Scott was determined to continue skiing, so off he went on a few more runs alone, while I chatted with three young Brazilian men in the lodge.  Below is a view from the inside window of the weather outside.  Can you blame me???

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On Wednesday, we headed out to Breck again.  Today was even colder than yesterday, and the wind was howling.  We stayed on Peak 7 until our faces got so cold from the howling wind that we quit for the day.  The nice thing about having an Epic Pass, along with being retired, is that you have the flexibility to ski or not without feeling like you are throwing your money away.  Tomorrow is just a day away!

That evening we met up with some old Oradell friends at the Breckenridge Brewery.  They are here for a long ski weekend and we hope to see them on the mountain, too, before their mini-vacation is over.

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We got a very late start Thursday morning.  It started out as a bright, sunny day with temps in the 20’s.  It felt so much warmer than the day before!  Today we took the Gondola to Peak 8 and made our way to the summit via the Imperial Chair.  The snowfall had been minimal even though the snow on Tuesday felt like a blizzard at times.  I think the storm only dropped about three inches that afternoon.  On Wednesday, maybe another one to two inches fell in the afternoon, but there has been no decent overnight snowfall since we arrived.  The conditions today were packed powder and primarily wind-blown/skied off terrain.  We did two runs in the bowls and then headed over to Peak 9 for a little while.  It began to lightly snow, and we soon decided that we no longer were enjoying the conditions.  Ever since we experienced fluffy, soft powder conditions in Utah, that is all we want.  We are spoiled but we don’t care.  It is what it is.  That night, we enjoyed our first ever game of Scrabble together.  I won!  This game is for retired people, right?

TGIF.  Today I took Scott over to Peak 10, which has all black and double black diamond trails. It began to snow on and off but with little accumulation, and the conditions were primarily packed powder.  We stayed on the single blacks.  We attempted Corsair, a black mogul run, but the moguls were big and hard.  My knee was not responding well to the pounding on hard surfaces.  So, we decided to call it a day as we headed over to the SuperConnect 8 chair in order to catch the gondola on Peak 8.  Somehow, Scott ended up on the chair ahead of me.  I took the opportunity to take a photo of him.  In the picture below, you can see to the left an upside down V.  We believe that is Tiger, a double black trail that I want to ski.  We are waiting, however, for some more powder.

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Afterward, we headed to 9600 Kitchen, a bar/restaurant in the Doubletree Hilton Hotel near Peak 9.  They offer half-priced drinks and appetizers from 3-5 p.m.  Delicious!!  Even though we didn’t get to ski with our Oradell friends, they joined us for Happy Hour!

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We had made the decision not to ski on the weekends due to the crowds, unless they got a lot of snow.  We spent Saturday in Boulder running errands.  On Sunday, we went snowshoeing on the Colorado/Continental Divide Trail.  It was a beautiful, blue-sky sunny day.

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Part of the hike is in the wide open, and sometimes we are under cover by the beautiful evergreen trees.

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There was a trail that we could easily follow for the first mile into the hike.  Then it began to become narrower and eventually disappear.  That didn’t stop my guy.  He led the way through varying depths of two to four feet of snow.

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At about the two-mile mark, the view of Breckenridge Ski Resort was quite vivid.  You can see all five peaks, although there seems to be more than five mountain tops.  If you zoom in on the picture below, all the way to the top right you can see a hut and T-Bar near Peak 6.

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We stopped to eat and enjoy the view.

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We turned around since my knee was beginning to hurt from getting stuck in the deep snow.  I know that Scott would have liked to continue up to the ridge, but my knee was not up for much more.  We headed back enjoying the tranquil silence of the day.  We didn’t see any wildlife, but we did encounter a number of dogs with their owners as we got closer to the beginning of the trail.  Below is one more picture with Breckenridge in the distance.

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After having dinner and showering, I wanted to watch the Oscars.  Scott was not too keen  on my idea, but he came along with his kindle.  It wasn’t long before he left the TV/game room to find a quieter spot to read.  About an hour into the show, a family of four arrived to play Monopoly on the floor.  Then, a game of hide-and-seek ensued with about ten kids  (without adult supervision) running in and out of the TV room, hiding in corners next to furniture and behind the couch I was resting on.  I just turned the volume up and everybody was happy.  As soon as Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sang the Oscar winning song, Shallow, we left the boisterous club house.

On Monday, I decided to rest my knee and take it easy.  Scott took off with his camera and went on a solo snow shoeing adventure along the Colorado Trail in the opposite direction from yesterday.  You will see in the photos below another look at Breckinridge Ski Mountain, and Scott climbed high enough to get a shot of our parked trailer.

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Our home on wheels
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Panning to the left
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Closer view of Breckenridge Ski Mountain
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Capturing the beauty of the clouds

On Tuesday, Scott took off on a solo ski adventure.  He was proud to report to me that he had skied at least one run on all FIVE peaks!  And, he took the T-Bar on Peak 8 not one, not two, but THREE times!  My man is skiing double black diamonds!!  In the picture below, he had just gotten off the Imperial Chair which takes you to the highest point on the mountain via a lift.  You can climb higher if you so dare.

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While Scott burned off calories, I took a stroll through the town.  It is not so bad hanging out with yourself, as long as you do things that bring you pleasure.

On the last day in February, Scott took off for a challenging solo hike to Quandry Summit at 14,265’.  A few days earlier, I had taken a picture of him near the entrance to the trail.  I knew that he would forget to take a picture of the trail map as I always do.

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This arduous hike was seven-miles roundtrip with approximately 4,000’ elevation gain.  Now you know why I didn’t join him.  It was a partly cloudy, very windy day, and he took off around 7:00 a.m.  Below is a picture of the Summit Ridge.

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Here are three pictures from Scott’s viewpoint on the Summit, including a selfie.

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On the way down, the weather began to change.  You can see the clouds forming around the surrounding peaks.

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When he arrived home a little before 4:00 p.m., he was one tired puppy.  He hydrated, showered and took me out to dinner.  What a guy!  It is hard to believe that we are halfway through our stay in Breckenridge and that tomorrow is March 1st.

Home Visits/Colorado/New Jersey: 10/29 – 12/11/18

Our adventure together went into a holding pattern from the end of October into early December.  Scott stayed in Colorado to help his dad in Estes Park, while I flew home to spend time with my mom.  We stayed busy, but we both agreed that almost six weeks is way too long to spend apart.

While not cooking and hanging with his dad, Scott was able to take some hikes, and he even did some early season skiing!  Here are some highlights from his month in Rocky Mountain National Park without me.

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Fern Lake
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View from Flattop Peak
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View of Long’s Peak from Lake Estes
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Long’s Peak Trail
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Making a snow-shoe trail near Lake Helene
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View of Lake Helene
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Rest Stop in Utah

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I, on the other hand, traveled to the East Coast.  It was the first time I had ever been in an airport on Halloween.  Not only did Southwest Airline decorate the terminal, but they provided a free cocktail once on board.  Happy Halloween!

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Southwest Airline’s Terminal 10/31/18

Before arriving in New Jersey, I took a slight detour to Fort Lauderdale, FL, to visit with my sister and her family.  The sunshine was quite inviting, and it was great to see my Florida Family!  From beach to bar, to visiting with her grand puppy, Teddy, and his parents, it was fun to spend time with Dean, Rose, Cody, Paige, Alex, and Teddy.

Beach Day…Dinner Date

University of Miami Football Game

Teddy Love

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Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

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One of my favorite sounds:

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On 11/6/18, I flew to New Jersey to spend time with family and friends.  I have to say that there were many that I didn’t get to see.  Hopefully, I will do better the next time I am in Jersey.

My visit began with impromptu visits with friends.

Next, came the Thanksgiving weekend activities.

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Crashing the Thanksgiving Eve Pie Baking Tradition
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Thanksgiving Day Dinner
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The Best Part of the East Coast!

Then, we spent an afternoon with my grand nephew!  He is one smart little boy.

Of course, there was the annual Thanksgiving weekend JETS football game at MetLife Stadium.  Win or lose, we always have a fun time.

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JETS Game

It was great to see my friend, Liz, and celebrate her birthday actually ON HER BIRTHDAY!

Celebrating Danielle’s “Golden” Birthday:

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A Golden Star for a Golden Girl

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53703AF4-B8E0-4D8A-A9CF-5A0A2644A0D3
Blow Out Shop
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NYC Speak Easy
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Great Food, Great Friends

Next, came a “Toys For Tots” Speeder Trip in Pennsylvania with my brother-in-law, Gary.

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My Inaugural Speeder Trip
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Third Place
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Co-Pilot Sue and Pilot Gary

I lost a number of “visiting” days due to the unexpected need for some dental work.  What a lovely picture!  I can’t believe that I am sharing this photo!

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Surprise Double Crown Event

Having survived that surprise episode, it was a privilege to join my mom at her Woman’s Club Annual Performing Arts Event.

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Mama and Me
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Mom with Judy Brendel, our neighbor growing up.

I hope you enjoy a little bit of Christmas cheer!

Finally, my last hurrah…a day trip to NYC with dear friends!!

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Bryant Park Pond and Christmas Tree
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Fifth Avenue Coach Store “Rex” Display
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St. Patrick’s Cathedral Nativity Display (complete with a dog)
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DeRosa Family at Rockefeller Center

Time to rejoin my husband on the West Coast.  We won’t be living in our RV until the end of January, but our journey will continue in the state of Washington.

Colorado National Monument/Canyon Rim Trail: 10/1 – 10/3/18

We left Glenwood Springs and headed west on 70 to Fruita.  Scott had read that that there are some good mountain biking trails in this area.  We found a site at Monument RV Resort.

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1CD7E70D-F749-4CD0-9239-A42B76153BBEHurricane Rosa had begun to make her mark in western Colorado.  It was early afternoon with more rain in the forecast, so we decided to take a drive to Colorado National Monument, knowing that we would be in and out of the car.

8EC923AD-4A3C-45E5-A699-2CC3C445323D

3A85F77C-F989-4DC6-819A-9E8DEF0FAEC1It it was only a short hike to see some incredible views.   It was drizzling on and off but with relatively mild temperatures.

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6221CE74-AB69-47E7-954B-21EA102268A2These photos don’t really reveal the actual depth of the canyon.  You have to stand there to see for yourself.

50432D42-362F-415D-AA88-04A74A596FD5I took a moment to collect my thoughts. Then, I followed my favorite photographer to catch him in action.  He loves standing close to the edge.

CBCB0BDC-ED7E-425A-B586-15700595E4B7Time for a selfie!

0B558AE5-0925-4ED0-A0C8-EFED4EC7E703I also am amazed at the beauty of the unusual desert plants and flowers.

The following day we took our chances with the weather and went for a bike ride at Kokopelli’s Trailhead in Fruita.

F212CA83-C685-4E44-AD0B-2E005435D48BMolly had told us that there were some good beginner trails where I could have fun perfecting my riding.  She was right!

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A487E663-7591-456B-9E53-A3BE6FE12EC5Hello Colorado River!

 

 

 

 

Hiking & Biking Near Glenwood Springs, CO: 9/28 – 10/1/18

Our next stop was a campground outside of Glenwood Springs called Ami’s Acres.

87102F5F-8DF7-41F7-8806-1B848D329D49It is next to Highway 70, and you can here the cars and trucks zipping by at night.  🙄

DE973BB5-B647-4B58-A3E6-3BA7BCBE9108It looks peaceful from the picture above but the highway is between the trees and the mountain.  Ami’s Campground was built on a hill.  It has a lovely restroom with showers at the top of the hill.  I got out of breath every time I walked up to it.

069B4DE5-81C4-49F7-B503-3CCAB7F98732Not sure if you can get a feel for the incline of this walkway.  Trust me, it’s a challenge!  The good news is that the Women’s Room was clean and decorated. Someone shared their artistic talent on the stall doors.

Love the squirrel with his toy!

On Saturday, September 29, we woke up at 4:30 a.m. to drive about an hour to Aspen.  We were hoping to hike Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in the world according to my husband.  Unfortunately, we were not early enough and all the parking lots were full. Our only option was to take a bus that we would have to wait an hour for.  We chose instead to take a drive along Route 82, a winding, scenic road to Independence Pass.  The foliage was spectacular!  Here is a clip from early morning.

Our first stop on the way was North Star Nature Preserve Beach.

7B1D73C3-FBFC-41D8-9F94-B65F21C9BAF8Once again, we saw a warning sign for wildlife.

09F9355A-D674-4DE6-9583-A11BCFA91572It was very quiet and peaceful and our presence didn’t seem to bother the only wildlife we saw.

1C15863E-8B26-4659-8AA4-E0B433E8534EC84DA3D6-1153-4372-85A4-073D3287A18FOur next stop was Weller Lake Trail.

76B80D66-8855-479A-A1B2-EDA147E3D1EFIt was a pretty green forest, colored in yellow from changing Aspen trees and fallen leaves.

It was a short hike with many switchbacks that brought you to Weller Lake.  When we reached the lake, there were many rocks that once were most likely under water.  The water level in this natural lake was low, and you could see there had not been any water coming in or flowing out of it for some time.  Notice the beautiful sky reflection on the water.

342E1D3B-78AE-4E3A-8AA1-8DB0286250C0As we started back to the car, I couldn’t help but notice how the evergreen trees were decorated with fallen golden aspen leaves, and, it reminded me of a decorated Christmas tree!  Don’t you agree?

31123A47-DA1C-40E2-934C-A3EE0F31AA72Our next stop was off another winding dirt road through a BLM campsite.

BB73DF29-BBBD-4F31-893B-21911592156DWe drove for a while thinking that we might come back here to camp with our tent.  The road was a bit too rugged for the trailer though.  There were several trailheads along the road, and we decided to try New York No. 2182.

2370576A-782B-4C01-A3CE-38A5C4900334We were the only car in the parking lot. 🤔 We had to walk over a stream, and Scott reminded me that this was Moose territory.  Thanks honey.

9A835AD2-1832-47F6-88FF-852ED12E4998We did not bring our backpacks because we decided it would be just be a short hike.  About 20 minutes into the hike, Scott asked if “we” locked the truck. “We” did not have keys with which to lock the truck.  Wondering if he did?  “He” did NOT lock it, but everything was intact…his wallet and phone… my wallet and purse.   Yikes!

The next day we took a drive on Transfer Trail High Country 4 Wheelers.

8B9A335B-56B4-4A08-BE39-F97AD95C520AIt was was strictly a trail for 4-wheel vehicles.   We drove along a steep area and I noticed something unusual that didn’t quite fit.   It was white and somehow hiding in the brush.   It wasn’t until our way back down that Scott saw it, too.

We parked the truck near the top and got out to look around and take a few photos.

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20A7BDB4-2A9C-4F5C-A6C8-C1019325457DOn the way back down, Scott got out of the truck to get a better look at the white spec.   It was a white SUV on its side nestled amongst the trees and brush.  I called the ranger station to report it.  I was nervous that people could still be in the vehicle.  When we got back down to the entrance, we told a couple entering the trail what we had seen, and they said it was an accident from years ago.  I can’t even imagine rolling off that trail in our truck!

Estes Park, CO, Lake Trail and Estes Cone Trail: 9/25 – 9/28/18

We have three more full days in Estes until we hit the road again.  Back in June when we were here, Scott dropped me off by Estes Park Lake, and I walked around half of it.  I was determined to walk around the entire lake before we exited the area again.  Scott agreed to come with me this time as he had NEVER walked around this lake before.  Here is another wildlife warning sign.

F4150913-6502-4CA4-B137-203711A4133BOn the northeastern side of Estes Lake there is a dam that controls the flow of water into the Big Thompson River.  We had to go around it in order to get to the other side of the lake.  Here is a look at the part of the dam that regulates the flow of water.

C92E0CAC-EAFD-49EA-B0CC-AF190743F56EAt regular intervals around the lake trail, there are work out stations designed for different parts of the body.  I’ve never seen anybody use them, but what a cool idea!

98137B10-776D-4C06-8DE9-C183D66B0E7CThe marina is located on the north side of the lake and was still in full swing even though it was late September.   Scott took my picture so you can see the view of the lake looking across at Highway 36.

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50F567B3-CF80-46CF-8F85-7DC00203AFEDWe continued on the trail and met a man who was photographing birds.  He gave us some tips for places to see the changing Aspen leaves.  Here is a shot of the western edge of Estes Lake where the water flows in from Big Thomson River.

208949B3-0F96-4A39-959E-A07E408208BBFinally, we are back on the western side of Lake Estes, a popular spot for Elk ruts.

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The next day, we headed over to Lily Lake to hike to Estes Cone.  This was a 3.4 mile one-way hike.

 

 

8398F56A-6EC6-4B87-AA7F-46749DED9F4114636472-05CA-4078-A471-0F0E033F8D112816DBBD-66A9-4860-8A8A-F055FC47C8D7I wasn’t in the best of moods today, and this hike was uphill the entire way.  I stopped more than normal, and was a bit cranky.  Scott offered to turn around, but I wanted to continue. I was happy when we saw the sign indicating that the peak was only .7 mile more.

7A7257B1-00B8-48E8-9B17-41D999448CE0The last half mile was the steepest section with rocky switchbacks, but I actually enjoyed this part more that the first three miles.  As we got closer to the top, there was more than one way to get to the peak.  Since there were other people scattered about, Scott and I took another route up along large rocks.   We got to the top and enjoyed the view and our lunch.

AB2AC6A3-E825-4146-919A-C646BF26B93ECE407030-64A8-4E47-A882-26B935594683C9DB540B-BA01-4CDA-8F19-5709F8EBF8A7

Trouble began on our initial descent.   I was behind Scott climbing down the same large rocks we had climbed up, and I was facing forward.  In hindsight, I should have gone down backwards.  My left arm extended back farther than it should have, and I felt a pull on my bad shoulder…again.  😦   At this point, I wasn’t cranky, I was hurting.  It felt like 7 miles back down vs. a mere 3.4.  We did not take anymore pictures today.

The next day was a day of rest.  I dropped off Scott at his dad’s house late morning, and I went to the Recreation Center for a swim and a long shower.  I spent two hours after the shower catching up on my Blog.  It’s getting more challenging to find good WIFI which is needed in order to upload pictures and add to the sight.  I had to redo one blog recently as it somehow got erased.  I became so frustrated that I almost quit this process altogether.  But, alas, I am still at it!

On Friday, September 28th, we had to say our goodbyes to Mama and Papa.  We are heading south to Southern Utah and then to the Grand Canyon.

 

The Elk Rut and Yellow Aspen Leaves for My 59th Birthday: 9/24/18

Copied and pasted from my Facebook Page:

Today I turned 59 and will begin my 60th year. Hard to believe how many years and experiences that number encompasses. I was a tad homesick when I got up this morning , but the day unfolded with a lot of firsts:

1. Hearing and seeing bull elk fight for their harem.

2. Candle on a pancake

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3. Catching snowflakes on my tongue on my “September” birthday


4. Driving through a snowstorm on my “September” birthday


5. Hiking on a part of the Continental Divide Trail

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6. Having a raven mimic me


7. Drinking a white chocolate caramel cappuccino…yummy!

Todays adventure began at 5 am with the goal of sighting animals and aspens. For the record, we spotted:
Elks (see video/watch till end)
Cows(thousands)
Deer
Horses (lots)
Chipmunks
Llama
Alpacas
Sheep
Antelope
Pony
Plus…magpies, black birds, turkey vultures, hawk, raven, ducks, AND we smelled a skunk and heard several squirrels.
As far as the aspens…beautiful yellows, oranges and reds.

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0F08C556-0988-40AB-BD57-40EBB054E540

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After the hike, we drove until we found a spot by the river to eat lunch.

280D09E9-34BA-48E9-ADB2-898E4BD17A03

When we arrived back in Estes, we stopped for a birthday drink.  The weather turned colder again, but I had my heart set on sitting outside.

027AC0A7-3B31-4AC4-A219-F7878EECA439

Back at the campsite we enjoyed a fire and a nice view of the almost full moon!

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Rocky Mountain National Park: 9/17 – 9/23/18

It was a long travel day from Glenwood Springs to Estes, but the scenery while traveling east on 70 was pleasing to the eyes.  This is my first time in Colorado during the fall, and the foliage is just spectacular!  I am in awe of the aspens and how some change from green to yellow, yet only a few change from green to orange or red.  There are multiple shades of green as the cottonwood, elm, and aspen trees nestle together.

6B4F71CB-6FD3-4DB4-8FF5-6C17B1EDFCDEThis photo doesn’t do justice to the captivating beauty.

We passed several ski resorts:  Arrowhead, Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper, Keystone, and Arapaho Basin.  I don’t recall which two resorts I took pictures of, but I am going to share anyway.  They look so different without snow all over.

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F74D01BF-B062-46A4-8BCD-05E71FB89B65The next two weeks we spent primarily in Estes.  We saw Papa and Mama almost every afternoon.  We didn’t do a lot of hiking, but we did drive around in Rocky Mountain National Park for different excursions.  For the first time EVER, I walked around the town of Estes and went in just about every store.  Estes Park is a tourist town which slows down considerably once the snow season arrives.  Most of the campgrounds in the area shut down by October 1st.

We spent one night at Elk Meadow Lodge so we could do some laundry.  The next day we moved to our favorite campground, Hermit Park, to our fifth different site, B4.

67C55857-892D-416F-AA36-36C749C5C42BOn Thursday, September 20, we set out on our first hike in a while to Chapin Pass in RMNP for a hike to Chiquita Peak.  The only way to get to this trail head is via Fall River Road, a one-way, winding dirt road with narrow switch backs.  This road is closed off season.  The hike was only about 2.5 miles one way to Chiquita Peak.  Starting elevation was 10,640’ and the peak was 13,269’.  That is an elevation gain of 2,629’ in only a short distance, which translates to steep terrain.  At the beginning of the hike the weather was sunny with comfortable temperatures.

 

We reached a point where the skies clouded over and a snow squall began.

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We quickly added layers of clothing before continuing on.  We ran into four guys who were discussing whether to continue going forward or to descend.  They were all in shorts and didn’t appear to have more layers to put on.  Two went on ahead of us and two retreated. We continued along alpine tundra (above tree line) with blowing winds of about 30 to 40 mph with gusts at 60 that were blowing me around.  I kept asking myself why I like this so much.

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I stopped several times on the final, steepest ascent, and Scott would say that we had gone far enough and should turn around.  But I am competitive, and I wanted another peak.  So we trudged farther up. There is a feeling of accomplishment for me when I reach a peak, especially when I want to quit multiple times.  The views are always breathtaking, and you feel as if you are on top of the world!

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E59E8A61-C0E9-49AB-9411-4A0ED7118F80We found a little wind break made of rocks and ate our lunch.  We took a selfie to prove our successful quest of another peak, and Scott couldn’t resist taking a short video.  I guess he wanted to share the wind with you.

790CD6A2-7C06-45E0-BC51-FC0507907B18

 

We had our lunch and rested but not for too long as the wind was still kicking in and we need to start the descent.  We put on more layers, and I opened a pack of hand warmers since my gloves were not providing enough warmth.

For the next hour or two, the howling wind was not exactly music to my ears.  It reminded me of those cold weather, wind blowing ski days when you have just gotten off a gondola and you wished you were down in the lodge.   You take off as quickly as possible just to get out of the freezing cold.  Unfortunately, I can ski a lot faster down a mountain than I can walk.  As we got closer to tree line, the sun was shining and the wind had somehow magically disappeared.  We started to strip layers of clothing off, and it felt like a warm, summer day again.  Colorado weather at its finest!

3B5DC6D2-01CB-4B58-BE74-58BB411524EFScott felt that this hike was a good experience for me because it was more like mountaineering with the challenging  conditions of high winds and cold air.  I don’t think it’s the first time we’ve hiked in high winds, but I wish I had had my ski goggles with me.  Next time.  On the drive back to camp, I took a picture of the mountain we had just hiked. Chiquita is the one second from the left.

83722021-6AAA-4FA8-ABE8-82EA726CC946We stopped to take a better picture.  Can you pick out Chiquita in the picture below?

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On Friday, we had to move out of Hermit Park since EVERY weekend was booked since summer began. We headed back to expensive, full hook up Elk Meadow Lodge for the weekend.  On Sunday, we moved back to more affordable Hermit Park, and were quite pleased with our sixth new site, B24.  This was the biggest site so far, and our new favorite!  It had a really long driveway, and we had to back the trailer in.  It was the last site in the campground.

FAC71F10-B792-437A-B756-E3C82B686B03

There was enough room for several more cars and multiple tents!  We could have hosted a party!!

BE4AAFED-AC87-42DD-9E21-C695EF674935

Here is a view from our own rock climbing playground.

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Deep Creek Campground, CO: 9/15 – 9/17/18

After we left Dinosaur Monument, we crossed over the Utah border and found a place to boondock for the night at Deep Creek Campground in Colorado.  It had been a long day of driving and I could tell that Scott was getting tired.

9F57D4EC-3033-4D42-9CEB-5D0D9AB0441022528647-CCA4-4E9B-87E4-155597B6CC40Deep Creek was about 100 feet down below where we parked our trailer on the dirt road.

14A5ACCE-A669-4228-9675-851DD357467CAt the end of the path, you find this.

90B386A5-0D7E-4B6E-A493-48E4DFCD1FD98F12E450-8683-46C4-93EC-58A5586717F3This water flows from the melted snow on the mountains to the Colorado River.

Scott had read about a geological crater in the area, so we took off in the Tacoma early Sunday morning to explore.  There weren’t any signs directing us to it, but we believe we found it.

45F4271D-5FF5-476D-98AB-8FEFA802E7C9 We got out of the car, and walked along this trail that was directly above the crater.

477B65C3-90D0-4B3C-A8BB-B7D4A066601DOn the way back down, we drove past what may have been an Indian Reservation. 

1C5C1B0A-48E9-470B-826F-116EC8A0A821Scott said he had seen a reservation like that once before, however we are not 100% sure that’s what it actually was.

Late morning, we took a drive into Glenwood Springs to find a sports bar to watch the Jets “home” opener against the Dolphins. The canyon roads are winding with spectacular views. 

A05414D5-D630-4F67-A5DE-DCC8090EFD30We parked in town, and I had to take a picture of this.   Can you tell, besides a plant, what it is?

883952B2-DDD4-439B-917A-8B4A8508CBD0Okay, how about this?

50F5CF82-675E-4493-8E54-17BF9E818427We found a Jamaican Pub, CJ’s Wings, in Glenwood Springs that had enough tv’s for every televised game.  And, we had sound!!

B7CB08D1-028C-4C3C-8B22-59C0BFA8CA6DThis game was not as exciting for JETS fans as last week’s game, but we must keep the faith. It’s still early in the season, and this young team can hopefully only get better.

After the game, we drove back to our trailer and brought our chairs and hammocks down by the creek to just chill out and read, and to maybe take a nap, too.  Skies were sunny with temps in the high 80’s.  In the shade, it felt like the low 70’s.  The water was pretty chilly so it was a quick in and out until your feet started to feel numb.  I enjoyed swinging in my hammock and listening to the flowing creek.  Scott enjoyed his book on tape.  

CB96DAF8-A3A3-4361-A6BD-12C11B3D39F07D86D348-BBF6-4C18-A34D-DEBAAA9E1ED0Doesn’t it sound majestic?