Tag Archives: travel

Skiing in Beaver Creek, CO

Last week I took a few days off and went to Beaver Creek, CO which is right next to Vail. A buddy of mine had a house for a few days so it was a good opportunity to get in a little skiing. Even though Kay doesn’t ski she came along too for some R & R.

I got in Thursday afternoon we picked up ski’s and headed west on 70 to the mountains. We got to Beaver Creek just before dark made a stop at the grocery store and cranked up the hot tub, after adding a little water, and got ready for hitting the slopes in the morning. The picture on the right is sunset from the condo, a great start to a excellent trip.

Friday we were left around nine parked at the Bear lot and headed for the bus, unfortunately we were a little light. When packing the car we had forgot the ski polls so we headed back, luckily the house was only 10 minutes away. Back with everything in hand we headed to the Beaver Creek Lodge to get on the mountain.

It was a light day as there was a beginner in the group so after some teaching time we were off. We spent the day off the Centennial lift on runs like Cinch, Lagatigo, Gold Dust and and a few others. You can see the trail map on Beaver Creek’s site. We didn’t want to over due it the first day so we stopped about three and headed in for a beer.

Weather was excellent in the 20s, wind was light and snow was predicted that night. Back at the house we changed to head out for dinner at the Gore Range Brew Pub, a micro brewery in Edwards just a few miles away. We finished off the night with a dip in the hot tub before turning in.

Saturday we woke up to snow and it was a little cooler. On the mountain visibility was not good but the skiing was excellent again. We skied mostly on the Arrowhead mountain side on runs like Cabin Feaver, Springtooth, Little Brave and Golden Bear as it cleared up after lunch. Kay and a friend made it about 2pm as it was a slow drive on 70 due to the weather. We stayed in for dinner had pasta and another dip in the hot tub. Tomorrow is the NFL playoffs Bears vs Packers and Steelers vs Jets. No skiing Sunday we’d take a day off and get back out Monday before heading home Tuesday.

The weather on Monday was the best yet as was the skiing. We took a few runs up the Drink of Water lift, we hadn’t been there yet, hit Redtail a couple times and then made are way over to Arrowhead again . Some excellent runs over there where a few have short mogul sections, about 100 feet, that I took a stab at. It was a great day as the sun was out and temp was in the upper 20’s with a little wind.

It was my first trip to Beaver Creek and I’d recommend it to anyone. Snow was excellent, runs were great, people are friendly and prices reasonable. We did take advantage of a good deal on ski rental in Denver at Colorado Sports Rent. It was the first time I didn’t rent close to the mountain. Luckily there were no problems with equipment ski’s and boots were new for about half the price of demo’s at the mountain. Can’t wait to get to Breckenridge at the end of February, hopefully the weather is just as good.

Short trip to Chicago

Over the weekend Kay and I headed to Chicago for a wedding, a cousin of mine was getting married. We left Friday afternoon and came back late Sunday. It was good to see family, some it had been almost 10 years since I’d seen them. A few things that made me grin were;

  1. Mapping/navigation software isn’t always a good substitute for “knowing where your going”.
  2. I was young once and could go till the wee hours of the morning, now I just get to “hear” it from the room.
  3. Packing light, not checking bags, is the only way to go.

Even though I caught a cold it was good to see family. Their will be more of that with the holidays coming up.

San Fran to San Diego

Last week was vacation for us as we flew into San Francisco to start a week long visit in California. I guess with there budget problems it was our way of helping out … ha ha. The plan was to take a few days and head down Route 1 through Half Moon Bay, Monterey Bay, Carmel, Big Sur and Santa Barbara making it to San Diego on Wednesday afternoon. We have some friends there that we try to see ever couple years. Kay had lined up all the arrangements ahead of time so we knew how far to go and where to stop each day.

Saturday we got into San Francisco just after lunch and headed out deciding to jump on Route 1 as soon as we could. Traffic was a bit heavy on 92, that would be common as days went on, but we made it through and hooked up at Half Moon Bay. We stopped at the Davenport Roadhouse for lunch before making it to the Holiday Inn Express in Monterey Bay. That was our Saturday night stay, a block or two off Cannery Row. Nice place and excellent mattresses. We did a little sight seeing in the evening but not much more.

Sunday we headed to 17 mile drive though The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, and Spyglass Hill. It was $9.25 for the drive and worth it, who knows if we’ll ever go again. Beautiful scenery, calm and peaceful. There’s even a seal observation area that could be mistaken for driving down a resident’s driveway. We pulled off 17 mile drive early to go to Carmel and stopped for a while to wander through the shops, but it wasn’t our kind of “shopping”. If you looking for art or jewelry that’s your place, we moved on. On the way out of Carmel we stopped at Safeway to pick up some groceries, snacks, beverages, and a cooler to keep it all cold.

On the road we twisted our way down to Big Sur and the Lucia Lodge. Before getting there we did a stop for lunch at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn. This is a great place. Pay attention as the turn comes up quick, we had to double back as I missed it. Once on the side road you’ll come to a small hut that resembles a security guard shack where you have to “give your name” to pass. Just up the hill is a couple small parking lots and what appears to be an entrance to a large home. I say that cause it’s a single wood door and inside, which is the main desk / lobby, is no bigger that a large living room. From there it’s up some stairs, outside and up more stairs to the first building on your left. I recommend sitting outside as the view is sweet… even for those who are challenged by heights. !!! It’s a five star place so the service will be excellent, but not quick. I’d recommend it and if you can afford to stay the night even better.

Back on the road we made it to Lucia Lodge early afternoon. From the road the place doesn’t look like much but that’s not the point. No phone or TV in the room and no cell signal. The view from the room down to the ocean is excellent as well as from the top of the hill, just a short hike up the narrow path above the rooms. It was foggy so no sunset but we sat and had a beer or two with some snacks. The room came with a space heater as it gets kind of cool at night but not to worry as the bed was like sleeping on pillows and the down comforter was plenty warm.

Monday morning looking out the window the fog was thick, couldn’t see but maybe 25 feet out. We took our time getting things together as the fog burned off. The lodge provides a continental breakfast so we stopped in for before making our way out of town, next stop Pismo Beach. On the way to Pismo there were a few stops, one for the Hearst Castle. We didn’t take the tour, $24 per person, but wandered around the gift shop and donated 50 cents to look through the telescope. Shortly after that we were surprised by a California Parks elephant seal observation area that had a lot of visitors. Park personnel were on site to answer questions, got some decent pictures too. From there the road settled down as the terrain was flat. We cursed into Pismo Beach only to find our directions were slightly off to get to the Kon Tiki Inn. But it was vacation, we had time. Kay picked another excellent hotel as this one was right on the beach. The water was still cool but we walked along the beach down to a Pier about a 1/2 mile away and back. We saw a few surfers and walked through some shops. Back at the hotel we hung out at the pool for a while, I could only take an hour. Kay stayed a while longer and that gave me a chance to catch up on work. That wouldn’t last though as the laptop died, must have been a sign. Dinner would be at the Cracked Crab. Nice little joint where you can order a bucket of “stuff” and have it dumped on your table. We opted for something more traditional, it was excellent.

It’s Tuesday now and we’re heading down to Santa Barbara for our last night before meeting up with friends in San Diego. This is a short drive but what’s in between is Cold Spring Tavern, Wine and Neverland Ranch. Kay is the wine person and I was never that huge a MJ fan but none the less it was on the way. The stop at Cold Spring Tavern for lunch was a great choice. However the directions on the web are coming from Santa Barbara so if your coming the other way, as we were, you can still turn on Stagecoach road just make sure it’s after you go over the bridge. Turning (left) before the bridge it’s narrow and up and down for a bit. Of course we had to have the “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale” onion rings, Kay’s favorite beer. Well worth the stop.

With lunch out of the way it was off to Neverland for what I hoped would be quick. It is out in the middle of nowhere and all you could see is the gate the estate is off the road so far you can’t see it. Interesting when we pulled up someone had parked in the middle of the road, got out and left the car in park and running, priceless. Lots of flowers and notes, music was even playing. A few minutes later we were on our way with that one scratched off the “to do list”. It was on to wine and we found that many of the wineries only have tasting for certain hours, most in the afternoon. We were able to stop at three. I did not have much, haven’t acquired that taste yet, but Kay was all about it. Rolling in to Santa Barbara we were staying at the Inn at East Beach. A trendy place a block or two off the beach that still uses “real keys for the rooms”, a throw back to the old days. After unloading everything we set out for dinner and caught the Tuesday night farmers market down town, it was just wrapping up. Lots of people so we caught a beer with some chips-n-salsa and headed back for the night.

Wednesday morning we were up earlier than other days. Kay couldn’t talk me into running so we walked to the Pier and back, a mile and a half maybe more? We grabbed some continental breakfast and headed out. Not knowing what traffic would be like through L.A. we didn’t want to get caught there around rush hour. It got heavy on the 5 but not the “10 mph average” that it could have been. We did see a car on fire along the side of the road others were already stopped to help and the people were out. That was our excitement for the drive. With traffic light we got to San Diego early afternoon, our friends (Melanie and Dane) live in Oceanside close to the beach and not far from down town San Diego.

Thursday was heading down town San Diego with a stop at Hertz to return the car. Dane’s sister has an apartment near Little Italy that has a pool on the roof. With Melanie and Dane’s two little girls hanging out at the pool would be a fun afternoon. We realized after getting to down town it was Comic Con and that would make congestion a little heavier. But it was entertaining looking at all the people dressed up. Dinner would be at a trendy spot on India street called Buon Appetito. They have a small area outside we were lucky to get a table at and had an good dinner. Plenty of choices on India street for a few blocks there, many places have outside seating.

Friday was beach day as we headed down to Carlsbad. You could tell by it was the start of the weekend, tough to find a parking space and the beach was packed. A storm off the coast was kicking up some pretty good waves and the lifeguards where working hard keeping people out of the rip current. Where we sat was next to a pier and sometimes the waves were almost as high as it. We’d end the evening hanging out in the hot tub and grilling out back in Oceanside.

Saturday it was back to reality as our flight was at 3:45pm PST getting us back to Nashville at 11:30pm. But it didn’t work out that way. Coming back we went through Las Vegas and got delayed. That put us into Nashville after midnight. By the time we picked up luggage and got home it was 2:00am CST. Good thing we had Sunday to get back to normal. All in all the trip was excellent it was nice taking our time driving down from San Francisco. With it being cool there and warmer south that was the way to go. I know now why Route 1 gets a lot of traffic, especially motor cycles, it is a fun road to drive with lots to do. That is our California fix for a year or two, but we will be back I’m sure.

A few days in Steamboat Springs, CO

Day 1 (2/25)

Today is a travel day with a 6am flight. That wouldn’t be so bad but I had a hockey game at 10:15 last night, if I got a hours sleep I’m lucky. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time. It’s been a while since I’ve flown and the $15 bag check fee was slightly unexpected. Glad I decided not to bring the snow board I borrowed that would have been $75 since it was oversized. Seems like some airlines charge and some don’t, unfortunately Frontier did. I’ll think about Southwest next time.

The drive to Steamboat was 3hrs. We stopped in Dillon at the Village Inn for a late breakfast and made it to Steamboat early afternoon. The condo is across the highway from the mountain and we have a clear view of the slopes. It has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and sleeps 10 to 12. In addition it has a deck, 10 person hot tub, fireplace, two car garage and grill… very nice. After everyone was settled we gathered up coupons and headed to town to rent ski’s. We found a place away from the slopes called Straightline Sports. All three of their packages were less than $30 a day with the coupons that made the middle package $19, a great deal. With the skis taken care of it was across the street to the pub for a brew before stocking up on groceries.

Groceries for 10 for 4 days took a bit but once loaded up with the essentials it was back to the condo. I doubt that will be the only time we take a trip to the store.

Day 2 (2/26)

Today it was up early for some breakfast, biscuits and gravy, and then off to the slopes. One of the guys has a condo on the property so we parked in the garage for his units. It was a short walk to get lift tickets and I opted for 3 days instead of 4, that would turn out to be a good choice. Lift ticket in hand it was on to the Gondola and up the mountain. We skied the right side of the mountain in the morning, those of us that didn’t want to be on the blacks (expert) runs that is. Here is the map for reference. Conditions weren’t optimal and I thought my skis needed waxing since there was no glide in them. Lunch was at the Rendezvous Saddle, mid mountain just above the South Peak lift..

The afternoon was short as some of us headed down early and grabbed a table at the Gondola Pub for a brew. We stayed there an hour or so and then headed back. On the dinner menu was chili with pasta and turkey. After a dip in the hot tub and a few more brews we called it a night.

Day 3 (2/27)

Breakfast this morning was bacon, sausage and eggs with a brief moment of entertainment thrown in. A fox walked up on the deck, drawn by the smell of bacon I guess. It wasn’t there long enough to get picture but it was still cool. Skiing today was better as it snowed last night. The skis road better with the new snow which was a welcome change for me, it was to much work yesterday felt like they were covered in fur. We started the day going to the left side of the Gondola down Buddys Run, there are few blues and mostly black runs there. The weather wasn’t the best overcast, colder and windy. Wind was so bad I had to borrow a balaclava from another one in the group to keep my face from freezing.

After one run there it was back to where we were the day before and familiar territory. Once over there we found an area off Tomohawk called Ramrod that was fresh powder past your boots. We spent the rest of the morning there until lunch where we met up with the others at the Gondola restaurant. Lunch yesterday, today and tomorrow would be water with granola bars. I carried a back pack with me that was very convenient as prices at the restaurants are pretty high. One of the guys pulled a leg muscle just before lunch so a couple of us headed down with him and called it a day. For me that was a smart move for me as I was already fatigued, legs were sore and I still had tomorrow to go.

A few hours later the others showed up at the Gondola Pub, we had a couple pitchers there and went back to the condo. Dinner tonight was chicken with pasta. The day ended with another dip in the hot tub and a few more brews. It was going snow again and with the weekend crowd coming it would be good skiing tomorrow, we had yet to see a groomed run but that would change.

Day 4 (2/28)

We could see going up all the trails were groomed. After a few runs on Tomahawk we joined up with the more experienced guys for a run or two down some blue/black runs. That was a new experience and I only lasted for two runs. I could tell my day would end early as the legs were fatigued again. It was back to Rendezvous Saddle for lunch and from there the plan was to ski down instead of taking the Gondola. That proved to be the right choice as it was a ways to get there and I was spent by the time we got through Vagabond to Right O Way. Cruising in to the Gondola loading area shoes and a brew were calling. That would be it for me and skiing this trip no crashes and everything in tact, not to bad.

Day5 (3/1)

No skiing today for me and a few others, the rest were off for there last hurrah. I slept in and hung out at the condo till lunch time. Then me and one of the the other guys headed to town for a little shopping. I was able to find a few good deals a Columbia Titanium jacket and a pair of Keen sandals, both half off. We stopped there, which was a good idea, since the others at the condo wanted wings for the race (Sprint cup). We headed across the street to the Steamboat Smokehouse for takeout, and a brew while we waited of course. 20 minutes later the wings were ready and we were on our way back to the condo.

Tomorrow it’s back to the airport and reality. A great trip with a great group of guys. I hope to do it again next year.

Weekend in Vegas

This past weekend Kay and I took a quick trip to Vegas. Kay had earned this short vacation from a company she does business with. We left early Friday morning and got in about 10:30am. This was my first time in Vegas, Kay had been a few years ago with a friend. You hear and read “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” all the time and see news coverage of some amazing events but it’s a little different in person. On the ride in we flew over the Hoover Dam, that was one option were we considering for the afternoon. Doing a little sight seeing as we wait for her sister and boyfriend to get in. It was impressive from the air and even though we only got a glimpse in the end decided against going.

Day 1

We took a shuttle to the hotel that only took about 15 minutes, not bad. Check-in was a little slow, of course normally I’m not exposed to a dozen stations and a waiting area that could hold 30 people. Needless to say it won’t be the only time I’m caught off guard by size.

Kay got us an upgrade to the north tower, even though the rooms are older the view is better. We could see the Bellagio Fountains and part of the strip up to the Luxor that was nice. Once settled, which was all of about 10 minutes as we were starving, it was out for a walk to the Hofbrauhaus. On the way we passed Planet Hollywood and City Center which is currently under construction.

After a pint or two we walked back to the strip and headed up to MGM and New York New York. Along the way we stopped at the M&M Store. Speaking of M&M’s the store is a real treat especially if you have kids. Four floors of everything from hard to find colors of both regular and peanut to Nascar merchandise.

As we made it to the MGM and stepped in the casino we were immediately met with a wildlife display, holding lions. This was unexpected. You can see more details on their website, but it was interesting to see that in a casion. Moving across the street to New York New York the outside is made up of all the buildings prominent in the New York skyline… and a roller coaster.

By now we had spent enough time that Kay’s sister would be getting in so we headed back. We passed by the City Center a massive project with some beautifully designed buildings, big buildings. Did I mention the hotels are a hair larger in person than on TV ? They are. After Kay and her sister worked out where we’d meet we headed down to Toby Keith’s. Didn’t know Toby had a place there, it was a little hard to find as you had to go through Harrah’s and upstairs to get to it. But the food was good, atmosphere was nice and they had entertainment too.

From there we headed back and did a little gambling before turning in for the night. Kay actually did more than me I try not to do to much of what I’m not good at, gambling is one of those things.

Day 2

Plans for day two started with us heading across the street to the Bellagio to meet Kay’s sister. From there we headed north on the strip stopping along the way at a few places. We made it to the Venetian before turning around. Rather than listing links for the hotels I’ll let the Vegas tourism site help out. They have a nice map that takes you down the strip in both directions.

It was now lunch we had done enough walking so we started looking for a place to eat. Most were pretty crowded until we got to Monami Gabi in front of the Paris Casino next to Balleys and across from Bellagio. It’s a trendy French bistro where half the seating is outside but we settled on inside, no waiting and all. It was then back to the room, stopping for a little more gambling first, to rest up before going down town for the evening.

We had reservations at Binions an excellent steak house. Dinner was very good, I actually had lobster, and then it was off for a stroll down Freemont Street. That was the highlight of the trip for me. 52 ounce beers in plastic footballs and and daiquiris tall enough they give you a strap to put around your neck so you don’t have to hold it. Light shows put to music at the top of every hour on the roof above the street and not to mention the street performers, what a sight. We stopped in one of the casinos, Kay needed to play a little roulette and by 11:30pm we were ready to head back. We picked up a cab and made it to the Bellagio for the 12:00am water show. We stayed for a few, they run every 15 minutes, and then went back to Balleys. Kay hit the video poker for another donation and I called it a night. It wasn’t to long before she did to.

Day 3

It was Sunday and time to go home, our shuttle scheduled for 2:00pm. A short day so we slept in and had a early lunch with Kay’s sister and her boyfriend at one of the places between Balleys and Paris. My thoughts on Vegas is it’s a different world plain and simple. If your into gambling and have cash to burn not sure there’s any place like it. For me it’s a nice place to visit but not sure I’d want to live there. I would like to go back but think I’d take in more of the sights, travel outside the city maybe to Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. We did run into some neighbors on the plane back, small world I know. They were in town for a convention and had been to Zion State Park just a few hours away in Utah. They said the drive was excellent. So maybe next time we can do a few more of those things. Regardless we had an excellent time, didn’t donate to much to the casinos and didn’t get to crazy. Now just like everyone says when they get back from Vegas …. back to reality.

Cheers !!!