- Thursday, March 14, 2002

It was so nice to finally get outside after being stuck hanging out sick in the Bunkhouse for 7 days. We saw the movie Gosford Park on Wednesday night and then went snowshoeing Thursday afternoon. The conditions were incredible with about a foot or more of new snow. The trail was empty, and we had to do a fair amount of trailblazing due to the new snow. Marisa did great (it was her first time), and I enjoyed getting back on snowshoes for the first time in several years.

Our first trip to the mountain was on Friday, after being holed up for too long indoors. Bert & Carole Cohen (Bert is Marisa's 2nd cousin on her mom's side and is retired here in Steamboat) gave us a guided tour of the mountain...a nice way to spend our first day on the slopes. Burt & Carole are members of the Over the Hill Gang, a resport-sponsored, free guide service for folks who are over the hill. They get free ski passes for the season for working (guiding) 1 day/week on the mountain. Pretty sweet deal... Seems like a great retirement gig! Anyway, we had a blast! Great skiing and we are totally exhausted. Hit the hot tub and had a few drinks. Fantastic day.... We also had very nice Italian dinner with Bert & Carole one night before leaving town. It's nice to know we have fun family members in Colorado!

Steamboat Springs (aka - Ski Town USA) is a town of just under 10k people in NW Colorado. Winter brings great downhill, xc, snowshoeing and other snowsports. Spring and Summer seems to offer great outdoorsy pursuits such as hiking, river rafting/kayaking, and backpacking. Fall would offer some amazing changing of the colors with all the Aspens, etc. It truly seems to be a 4 season paradise.

The rest of our Steamboat vacation was spent snow shoeing on the ranch and at a local park called Fish Creek Falls. Chuy is a great snow dog and provided comedy relief for us as we tredged through knee deep snow. Dave also found time to fly fish on the Yampa River - cold, frozen fingers, ice on the guides. I had fun trying out the local yoga studio which situated on the Yampa River facing the mountains. The strectching felt great after being cooped up in the house. While it's been fun hanging out in Colorado, I'm starting to feel a bit homesick for friends...

  - Saturday, March 09, 2002

Week of Mar. 4th:

On Monday the 4th, we took the scenic drive to Steamboat Springs dreaming of 2 weeks of skiing and relaxation. We were pleasantly suprised at how nice our rental cabin turned out to be (booked over the internet - http://10kvacationrentals.com/bunkhouse). Our dog Chuy is traveling along with us, and can make it difficult to arrange a vacation rental. The owners of "The Bunkhouse" have two dogs and encourage renters to bring their pooches along for their stay. Chuy has befriended Molly (a cattle dog) and Dempsey (appropriately a Boxer) and has spent more time outside the cabin in the snow than we have. The snow is flying sideways and Heimo (the van) is covered with snow! During the past 4 days in Steamboat Springs, we only left the cabin once due to both of us coming down with a seriou cold. We are pounding the O.J. and Puffs and hope to be skiing next week - with a little XC skiing and snowshoeing mixed in for fun. The conditions should be awesome as we received two overnight snowstorms this week.

  - Friday, March 08, 2002

Here is a quick summary of our trip so far:

Week of Feb. 25th:

Wednesday we departed Dallas for beautiful Dalhart, TX (don't ask) and ran into unseasonably cold North Texas weather with howling winds. Our VW van (Heimo) performed flawlessly, despite the winter weather. Had Heimo come with a sail installed to harness some of the wind power, we would have seen better than the abismal 9 mpg (normal 17-18 mpg!). As we found out during Heimos' maiden voyage, the bread box on wheels design (those crazy Germans) was not destined for 40 mph North Texas side winds. Either way, we have to admit nothing beats the all inclusive mini-home on wheels. It's great to be able to pull a soda or snack from kitchen while driving or pull over for lunch at eat off the table. We are looking forward to camping out extensively when the weather warms up.

Our stay in Dalhart was uneventful, as expected, and we continued our journey up to Colorado. Part of our journey in the US is figuring out where we might like to live after the trip. We drove up through New Mexico to Colorado Springs (CS), without any troubles even though we encountered a pretty vicious storm with extremely low temps and lots of snow (very unusual east of the Rockies in March). Unfortunately, we weren't able to camp out in our VW van (Heimo) due to the ridiculously low temps which were hovering around 0 degrees.

The first stop was Colorado Springs, where we enjoyed finest in late evening cuisine at "The Waffle House". The next day we toured around CS and went to the library to use the Internet and do a little research on CS as a place to live. Later that afternoon we traveled to our next stop in Colorado - Denver.

Thankfully, the second hotel we found in Denver had heat. Our first hotel choice seemed perfect due to it's prime location across from REI, with a great view of downtown. The problems started in the parking lot, when an overzealous hotel guest (an aging New Wave wannabee complete with the "Flock of Seagulls" haircut, who seemed to be a permanent hotel resident) decided to offer to park Heimo for us. After blowing him off, he seemed to appear out of thin air for a chat everytime we left the room. We decided to take a trip to our Mecca (REI), as we were confident that the sub-freezing temps in the room would warm up by getting the heater going. Little did we know that there was a water leak making for a nice sized ice skating rink in the bathroom area of the room (looks like the heater wasn't working after all). So we switched rooms (the guy at the hotel counter, much to his own amazement said, "That room was flooded too??). What a winner of a hotel!

It ends up the heater in our second room didn't work either, and Chuy had frost on her snout when we returned from dinner. After little deliberation, we made the move to another, much newer hotel complete with a kitchen. After again touring around town for a day, we decided that Denver was a little to big as a potential home city. We do like Colorado, but are looking for a smaller city??? Boulder, Ft. Collins, CS??

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