Back to Cabo San Lucas

CIMG0478The last four years have literally flown, I can’t believe it’s already October 2013.

Where have I been what have I done? There have been good times and bad times since my last visit to Cabo San Lucas in December 2009, but I choose to just remember the good.

In August of 2010 we went to Rome. I have had a love affair with Italy since I was five and tasted my first Italian Ice Cream.  After many trips to various places in that magical romantic country, I still want more.

So the Spanish Steps get a little crowded sometimes, who cares, the atmosphere is unbeatable.

In 2011 we took a trip back to England, first time in quite a while. We visited old friends and old haunts.  I’d forgotten how green and beautiful it was. The poppies growing in the grounds at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire were gorgeous.

CIMG0124

Where was my next photo opportunity? I believe it was Thanksgiving in Vail in 2011.

CIMG0917

Whats this? Why a frozen fountain of course, its Vail, things like that happen.

In May 2012 we made a return trip to the gorgeous Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, where we were treated like royalty.  It is one of my favorite hotels.

CIMG0736

2012 was a good year, we also went to Steamboat Springs. Once in August and once in November. What a delightful mountain town.

CIMG0931

CIMG0943

CIMG1207

2013 has been busy, but we enjoyed a couple of days in Keystone.

DSC00496

A long weekend in San Francisco

And now, unexpectedly, I am going to relax for a week in Cabo San Lucas. I hope it’s as beautiful as i remember it.

Minolta DSC

 

Dead of July (Small)

Escape to the Mountains

 

I survived a long tiring week. A week with so much going on it was hard to keep up. It was my birthday on Thursday. I reached the ripe old age of 56. Hard to believe as I feel at least twenty years younger. Maybe I got the dates wrong. I had a lovely day, made special by friends and family. Beautiful roses from my daughter.

CIMG1204

The week ended with a relaxing day in Keystone. After riding two gondola’s to get to the highest mountain peak, we arrived at the AlpenGlow Stube, where we shared a very special lunch with friends and family. After sipping champagne, I felt my troubles slip away.Alpenglow Stube at Keystone

alpenglow_stube_600x600

We all enjoyed a gourmet meal in wonderful surroundings. You can’t beat a glass of Champagne at 12,000 feet.

CIMG1213

 

The views from the top of the mountain are breath-taking and I didn’t want to leave, but all good things have to come to and end.

CIMG1214

 

Next time I visit Keystone, I will take my snowboard and enjoy the beautiful mountain the way it should be enjoyed. I am NOT the fastest snowboarder on the mountain, but I certainly enjoy the ride.

Snowboarder

 

I wish this was me, but it’s not. I am NOT quite that agile.

Monday tomorrow! Not ready for it, but the money has to be earned so I can enjoy my little weekend trips. I intend to visit the mountains a lot more in 2013. We don’t have the Ocean here in Colorado, but I think the mountains are the next best thing.

Keystone Ski Resort |Colorado Ski Vacations | http://www …

Soup and Snowboarding

Seems like they should go together doesn’t it!  I just made a delicious pan of black eye pea soup from a recipe I found on a blog I follow.  The Cooking Bride : A Food and Cooking Blog This soup was delicious. Truly! I will make it again. I know it’s traditional to have black eye pea soup on New Years Day. So I missed the boat a little, maybe next year.

black-eyed-pea-soup-056-T-77940_300x200

There is absolutely nothing like a bowl of soup at the end of a long day on the mountain, whether it be skiing or snowboarding. Well maybe there is, an ice-cold beer is pretty good too. I had hoped to snowboard tomorrow, but unfortunately it is not to be. Just not feeling great. Maybe next weekend. Missing the mountains so badly.

Schoolmarm

Not an excellent fast, or very brave snowboarder, but I do enjoy the view. Who wouldn’t? I will rest today, because my body is telling me to, but the mountains are calling. Keystone, I will see you soon.

Check out my other blog – STOP TALKING TO ME for updates on my upcoming novel ‘Dead of July’ and my short story ‘Girl on the Beach’.

You can also Follow me on Facebook

Dead of July (Small)

Colorado State Patrol ‘Pacer Cars’ on Interstate 70 in Colorado – Do they work?

This is what being at the top of the mountain is all about. Look at it. Early in the morning the clouds part to reveal breath-taking views.

You have to stop and admire the beauty and majesty of it before you step into your bindings and set off down the mountain.

This morning at Keystone was beautiful. It was serene. Not too crowded, not too cold and a coating of fresh snow. What could be better?

Unfortunately the ride back is not serene. Interstate 70 cannot handle the traffic. The famous Ski Resorts in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado attract millions of tourists, so why is none of the money generated by tourism spent on this crucial mountain highway?

 

 

I am in my fifties, and traveling up to the mountains at the weekend to snowboard, and then driving back in the same day is exhausting for me. If the traffic weren’t so bad, I would make the trip every couple of weeks.

Every five or six weeks, I check into ‘The Keystone Lodge and Spa’ with my husband and we are able to snowboard for a couple of days without being stuck in a car on the Interstate. I purchase the ‘Epic Pass’, at the cost of over $500, which allows me to snowboard Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek, I would love to take advantage of each and every resort, the only thing that deters me is the dreadful Interstate 70. Traveling to and from Vail and Beaver Creek for the day is out of the question because the journey can take anything up to five hours and who wants to waste half of their weekend sitting in traffic?

Colorado Department of Transport and the State Patrol decided the cheap answer to fix the traffic problem on Interstate 70 was to have ‘Pacer Cars’. These cars are supposed to help the flow of traffic and reduce accidents. I don’t think they work.
Since these pacer cars were introduced, I have travelled to the mountains twice.

In January we traveled back from Keystone early on a Sunday afternoon and the traffic barely moved. When it did move the speeds were erratic. The pacer cars seemed to be making things worse. It was one of the worst journey’s I had ever experienced. Snow and bad weather conditions were not a factor. It was a clear sunny Sunday afternoon.

Today, we left Keystone at around 10:30 am. We could see the pacer car ahead of us. It was inhibiting the natural flow of the traffic. It was only 10:30am and the traffic wasn’t even that heavy so why would they need a pacer car?

Somewhere near Georgetown, for no apparent reason, the traffic came to a sudden halt. Why? Did the pacer car stop? I am not sure because I was too busy trying not to run into the car ahead of me, who was trying not to hit the car ahead of him. I glanced in my rear view mirror and knew the car behind me was going to hit me. I braced myself.

I was lucky! The driver behind me knew exactly what was doing and although he couldn’t avoid running in to me, he turned his wheel so he didn’t hit me full on. Instead he clipped the snowboard rack on the back of our car. We both found a spot to pull over and luckily for all of us, there was no damage.

This man was clearly shaken, as he had his wife and kids in the car, and we all thought about ‘what could of happened’.

When we established there was no damage, and everyone was OK he said.

“We set off early to avoid the pacer cars. They have made the traffic so much worse”

This is the very first accident I have ever had on Interstate 70 and I have been traveling up to the mountains for around 14 years. In my opinion the pacer car is not a solution to the problems on this Interstate. I believe it makes the journey worse and not better. 

I would love to hear other people’s experiences with this new system. I personally think it is a waste of time and money, but if you can prove me wrong, I would love to hear from you.

Riding the Mountain at Keystone

As you can see it was a cold, snowy, windy day at Keystone. So windy I got blown over twice within the first 100 yards of my ride down the mountain. It was a little more sheltered as I descended.

My second run of the day was probably my best ever. I picked up some good speed and relaxed. Glad I came!

Twice down the mountain was enough today, each run is four miles and in the wind and blowing snow, that was quite exhausting.

I rested for a while at the Spoon ‘Cafe/Bar’ at the base, and enjoyed an ice-cold beer before returning to The Keystone Lodge.

Now I am warm and relaxed and looking forward to dinner at the ‘Wolf Rock Steak House’ where it seems there are some really good brews and my husband can get his ‘Chicken Pot Pie’ fix.

Something for everyone here at Keystone. Don’t be discouraged you ‘old snowboarders’, you can still improve at 55, and enjoy the ride!

Oh to update my diet…….not getting on the scales again until Monday.

If you want a short amusing read whilst sitting by the fire in the lodge, check out my two books, which are currently on a ‘Free Amazon Promo’, or follow me on Facebook for updates on my new novel ‘Dead of July’ which will be released in late Spring.

Riding the Mountain at Keystone (Diet day 14)

Have you ever been sick, but just didn’t realize how sick you were? It happens. It just happened to me!

It helped my diet though, day 14 and seven pounds lighter.

Anyway it’s all behind me and I am feeling much better and looking forward to a weekend of snowboarding. It is snowing as we speak so Keystone here I come. Hope that Guardian Angel is watching out for me.

I wish I were this good

I wish I was thirty years younger (yes thirty) and could go down the mountain like this, but I am not. I take a leisurely ride down the mountain and enjoy the view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This view is just too beautiful to speed past without enjoying.

 

 

The Guardian Angel of Snowboarding visited Keystone.

I really would like to thank the Guardian Angel of Snowboarding because she did look out for me this weekend. I enjoyed my weekend on the slopes at Keystone.

I do feel that I may be the oldest snowboarder out there, at least this weekend I was. I enviously watched all of the young kids flying down the mountain, graceful and fearless.

I will never be able to board like that, but I do enjoy my time on the mountain, and my technique had definitely improved. Everyone should see views like this. I stop and take photos as often as I can. It is so beautiful


I made it down the mountain without hurting myself on Saturday, what more could I ask for? I went back to the lodge, got changed and went for a walk. It was worth it.

I am not a professional photographer, but with views like this, how could I get it wrong?

This is Colorado in all it’s magnificent, rugged beauty.
I was tired when I got off the Gondola at the top of the mountain in Keystone for my last day of snowboarding today, but I needed to take in the view for one more time. Snowboarding brings you close to nature.

I made my way down the mountain without ever having to stop and take a foot out of my bindings. I picked up enough speed to keep going across the long flat areas. I only fell a couple of times. I had a blast and I am glad I persevered with this sport. I am a fifty-five year old snowboarder and proud of it.

This is a photo of me at Arapahoe Basin when I first started. Look how stressed and uptight I look.

The photo on the right is how I look now. Older, but much more relaxed.

So don’t worry, be happy!

Hotels.com – Final Update – Never use them.

A couple of weeks ago I shared my experiences with you regarding attempting to book a trip through Hotels.com. The good news is, I did get a refund for the trip I booked. The bad news is I am still out-of-pocket because of the currency exchange fee. If you read my previous post you will remember that this inefficient company charged my credit card in GB Pounds, even though I live in Colorado and was booking a hotel in Colorado.

It’s useless trying to fight this as each time I make contact with them, I get a different customer service rep, who simply doesn’t understand why there is a problem. The customer service is a joke, as are there supposedly low prices.

I finally booked my weekend in Keystone, through Keystone reservations  (thanks Anastasia) and got a much better price. More importantly I got polite and helpful customer service.

TAKE MY ADVICE AND STAY WELL AWAY FROM HOTELS.COM

I was so happy with Keystone reservations that I booked two weekends through them. On both occasions, I am staying at the Keystone Lodge and Spa.

We stayed in this lovely cosy resort last April 2011 and loved it.  

The Bighorn Steakhouse is on-site at the Keystone Lodge and Spa, and is, in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view over the mountains, on a misty morning is unbelievable.

I love staying in Vail, but in January, February and March, Keystone is much more affordable.

A gondola takes you to the very top of the mountain, where there is a restaurant. There are wide open ski runs, which are well patrolled, so even nervous snowboarders like me, feel safe.

Keystone reservations thank you.

Keystone Colorado – My first trip of 2012

Yes, I ache.

It was my first snowboarding trip of the year and I enjoyed it.

The sky  was a beautiful shade of blue. The snow was not perfect, but it was nice at the top of the mountain. I relaxed a little and enjoyed the ride.

I stuck to the Green runs, after all, it was my first trip! I followed Schoolmarm from top to bottom.

So lucky to live in Colorado

I remembered to use my hips to move the board around.

As I said earlier, I ache, but not as much as I usually do on my first trip. Maybe, just maybe I am getting the hang of it at last.

Going back again in a couple of weeks to celebrate my 55th Birthday at the Keystone Lodge and Spa. Looking forward to it very much!

Hotels.com – The Saga Continues

So almost 24 hours later I got an email from Hotels.com who said they had been trying to contact me ALL DAY yesterday. I emailed them back and asked them to call me, which give therm their due, they did.

A young gentleman called Lloyd represented Hotels.com today and has been the only person there who seemed to have his act together. They had no record of my calling them yesterday. Hardly surprising as the only two times I got through I spoke to totally disinterested people who tried to pass me on to an elusive someone else.

Lloyd told me that the refund had been processed (it has not yet showed up on my credit card so why can’t they just CANCEL THE WHOLE THING) but I would still be charged a cancellation fee.

They still don’t get the problem, I was charged in GBP for a reservation I made in USD. Even if this was processed and refunded there would be a Foreign Currency fee. They don’t seem to understand that their customer service is the problem, a whole day and no one could talk to me.  By the end of the phone call I was told it would take seven days, but I would be refunded the cancellation fee. I am so happy I could throw a party (Please excuse my sarcasm, but really they made a mistake, not me)

If you are making a reservation through Hotels.com, make sure you check the hotel price too. This really wasn’t much cheaper than it would have been had I booked directly through the Hotel.

If you value customer service – book directly and avoid the likes of these people. It is definitely the first and last time for me. Now to call American Express to stop the charge at that end. What a total waste of my time.

 

 

Previous Older Entries