Thursday, March 10, 2022

Good-Bye Beaver Creek. Colorado

Of course my sleep was terrible worrying about a canceled flight due to all the snow . . . 10 inches to be exact. It sure looked pretty, but we were ready to get home!  Our shuttle arrived on time and we were off to the Eagle County Regional Airport which was super close and so much easier than if we had to go back to Denver.  It had to be the nicest airport I have waited in with all the luxury furnishing but then remembered it is near Vail and all the upscale ski resorts.  The views were not your typical airport runway views. . .

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Beaver Creek, Colorado day 3

Another day and another photo from our room. I sent Colin off to ski school (can you find him in the photo) . . .
. . . you can tell the Spring Break people are starting to show up as there is more action early in the morning but the crowds are still small. It was back to breakfast in a box, and I sat in the room determined to finish this online required HB-3 Reading Academy class . . . and I did!

Ignore that is says I made a 0. My cohort leader must verify that I made at least 80 on all quizzes, discussion posts, and artifacts. All I can say is D-O-N-E. I was determined and the views outside were nice but the snow had me concerned!
The mountain is gone! Of course ski resorts need snow but we also had a flight tomorrow. Colin returned from ski school. He said he had the best instructor ever! He was so excited about his day.
We relaxed before heading out to a nice dinner! I decided to make our last meal at a nice steak house, Beaver Creek Chophouse, and it did not disappoint! Steak is the way to Colin's heart so no objections from him. His only question, "was do they have a tomahawk?" To which I said not on the menu! As we were seated the menu had a special for the night. Yep a tomahawk! It was huge so he agreed to share with me. I celebrated with an espresso martini . . . 
. . . or two. We chatted and rated our trip. It was nice to just chat and laugh and talk about how ridiculously priced this trip was but we had fun so money well spent. Our meal arrived . . . 
. . . and in no time it was gone! He could not resist!
We took one final walk around the village before heading back to the room to pack.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Beaver Creek, Colorado day 2

 Another day and another beautiful view . . .
. . . the weather today is suppose to be fabulous with sunshine. Ski school was full so Colin decided he wanted to just ski by himself so we bought a one day lift pass. (Sticker shock but thanks to an amazing military discount it was not bad considering we bought it that day.) I am taking the day off too and headed out on a snow show adventure solo. How sad we are both solo today but as only children we know the drill! This also means we do not have a time to be anywhere so we ate breakfast in the restaurant this morning. I was so thrilled to see these on the morning buffet . . .
. . . they are called Blintzes and sooooo yummy! I think of it as a crepe meets cheesecake and throw some berries on top to make it healthy! We had a nice slow breakfast and chatted about our day ahead before heading off to separate lift areas. Lifts for snow shoeing? Oh yes I found out the snow shoe area was on top of one of the mountains which meant I had to ride an open ski lift while holding my snow shoes (not allowed to wear them) and not falling off the lift because my hands were so full I could not pull down the safety bar. I sort of had a bit of a panic attack just thinking about it! It was awful for me, but I managed to survive and then realized I had to ride it back down! So I find a bench and gear up . . .
. . . only to not find where the actual snow shoe trails were located. It took all I had to not be knocked down by skiers at they exited the lift and whizzed by me. I asked but no one seemed to know so I sort of just wandered around and finally found a sign. By this point I am out of breath, because I am at about 10,000 feet elevation which will zap your energy. Of course the start of the trails were uphill and quickly thought of turning back and quitting but the views were so nice . . . 
. . . so I kept going. Due to the extreme cold, my phone battery died in about 10 seconds but thankfully I had my old school point and shoot camera with me to capture some of the views.  I stopped often to catch my breath and enjoy the trees and snow hoping to see some sort of critters lurking in there . . .
I don't think I smiled much today but I really did enjoy myself and glad that I got outdoors and enjoyed the beauty . . .
My goal was to do Morning Star, Marmot Way, and Ermine's Trail before calling it a day. I managed to do the first two but when I hit Ermine's Trail I just kept going back down to the lift. 
I did stop for a sweet treat at the Candy Cabin . . 
. . . of course the candy was a least five times the normal cost but fun no less to grab a treat after working hard. I grabbed all my stuff and headed back to the ski lift back down. It was worse going down because I was tired and harder to focus on not falling off the lift. I was never so glad to be back at the village and knew that I would not be going on this adventure again. The best part of Colin not being in Ski School was we could meet for lunch and then head off in different directions. We grabbed a bowl of chili at the C Bar and it was yummy!
I headed back to the room to relax and watch mindless television shows since we don't have cable at home), and Colin hit the slopes . . . 
Two things about this photo . . . my snowshoes are in the background . . . and there are blurry spots on the photo because at some point I dropped my camera and it got wet.  I tell you I was a bit of a hot mess on the mountain trying to juggle all my stuff.  Colin racked up some good stats and really had a good day on his own . . .
I find it a bit sad he skied alone but it is part of being an only child. We only children get it; we are used to being alone and adapt. It really was a perfect weather day and of course we ended it at our favorite place . . .

Monday, March 7, 2022

Beaver Creek, Colorado day 1

It is a beautiful day . . .

. . . well maybe not exactly but it isn't horrible either. Colin is looking forward to hitting the slopes while I hit the computer. As part of my Hyatt status we get free breakfast. Trust me we will be taking advantage of it since it is valued at $38 per person and they even let you get it to go! I would prefer to eat at the restaurant but trying to get someone out the door on time is a bit difficult so I must adjust and lower my expectations. My breakfast in a box was yummy . . .
. . . but with my view it couldn't be bad. Even though Colin is a teen, he is in the adult ski class today, why? He is not vaccinated and in order to be in a youth class you must show proof of vaccination, however if you are over 15 you can join an adult class and opt out of showing proof of vaccination . . . go figure, right! They are still requiring a proof of vaccination to eat inside on the mountain dining restaurants but he can go inside to get his food but must eat outside. It was a trade off and will see how that works out for him. 
I returned to the room to do my work. The state of Texas passed a law (HB 3) in 2019 that all teachers in grades K-3 must take a Reading Academy to "learn" how to teach reading. It is a 60 hour online course that you have one year to finish. I started in mid-July of 2021. Now let me just complain for a bit. I teach math but since I am in a building with 3rd graders then I must take the class. I have not taught reading in over 20 years so you can imagine my excitement when I started this journey. As I started the class, I read every single slide, watched every single video, took notes, and stressed over every quiz question/discussion post. Oh yes there are quizzes and you must make an 80 to move to the next section. The class has 12 modules with 2 projects. As you can imagine this has been a huge task and required a lot of time. I am thankful I have a very flexible schedule but feel bad for regular classroom teachers trying to get this done. "They" said it would take sixty hours and let me tell you I spent that many hours on the first half so I don't know what genius did the entire course that fast but man it is a lot of work. I was determined to get the last project in Module 10 done today and that I did! I had already spent a ridiculous number of hours on the draft and fixing mistakes my cohort leader said needed attention, but it was submitted!
Anyway . . . Colin finished up his first day of ski school . . .
. . . and somehow he bypassed indoor dining restrictions at lunch and was able to eat inside with his group. He had a nice ski group of two moms one which was apparently a super cool surgeon. I picked him up from ski school and we headed out for dinner at Coyote Cafe.  I had some decent street tacos . . .
. . . and then to one of the best things about the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek . . .
  
. . . a fire pit and free s'mores kits. It was so fun, warm, and yummy. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Hello Colorado!

Well hello there travel . . . it's been such a loooooong time!  It seems like forever that we have been on a planned trip and well there are mixed feelings.  Don't get me wrong; I love to travel BUT . . . the packing, restrictions, cancellations, and all that sort of take the fun out of it but here we are!  Last year I promised Colin if he did not show chickens at a major livestock show (Houston), I would take him skiing on Spring Break.  I keep my promises and let me tell you showing chickens would have been way cheaper but a lot more work.  So here we are at my favorite overpriced airport hotel, Westin Denver Airport watching it snow and hoping that we get out of town before the roads become too bad.  Our shuttle departs at 9am so I am hopeful we are good.
There was no time for breakfast and we quickly met the shuttle driver and off we went.  Jerry had already made one run this morning and said it was getting bad in Denver so we needed to get loaded and on the road.  Thankfully the other 9 people in our group were not messing around and were ready to go too.  At this point I am thankful I am not driving because it is really not great outside but the traffic is moving and our driver, Jerry, is very cautious with his driving.  The weird thing is once we get out of Denver the roads were better.  It should have been about a two hour drive but today was closer to 3 hours which was fine with me as long as we arrived safely.  

Remember I do not ski, but Colin loves to ski.  I sort of dropped the ball on this trip thinking he would forget but no such luck.  So in the matter of a week, I planned and man was it tough to get it all confirmed.  My biggest obstacle was getting a shuttle from the hotel back to the airport and then once I finally confirmed a shuttle then one day of ski school was booked.  It was a no win situation but it all worked out.  I switched locations half a dozen times but finally managed to get most of what we wanted in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  Since we arrived before the guaranteed check-in at 4pm, our room was not ready so we dropped our bags and headed out for a late lunch.  We both wanted pizza so off we went to find Blue Moose Pizza . . .
. . . it wasn't anything special but when you are hungry it was good.  We saw a gelato place, Remini, and decided we needed a sweet treat . . .
Isn't it so pretty?  I had the dark chocolate and Colin had lemon . . . that set me back $20!  Yes, $20 for two really small cups . . .
It was okay but not $20 melt in my mouth heavenly.  At this point I am starting to see a pattern . . . this ski village town is super expensive!  I mean skiing is not cheap but this area was super crazy expensive.  We finally received a text that our room was ready so we stopped by to pick up all Colin's ski gear and headed to the room.  The biggest expense in always lodging so I wanted to use a free night certificate and points so that part of the trip would be free!  Let me just show you how much this room would have cost if not using points!
Absolutely insane and no way could I afford that or even think about paying that much for a standard room with two beds . . . I mean this is the room and would you pay that much?  
I reminded myself this is exactly why you hoard points so you can splurge and have trips to places that an average person can not afford. Oh but what is on the other side of those doors?  
Okay now I get why it is so expensive because I can literally throw a snowball at the ski lift.  Personally I still do not think the price is worth it but when you use points (that I got as a credit card bonus and yes, I pay the balance in full every month) and it is free; it is nice.  We unpacked and headed downstairs for an evening "snack" . . . 
. . . and chatted with the nicest bartender.  When we returned to the room we had another treat waiting for us . . .
. . . and this is exactly why the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is so nice, and I am really going to try hard to enjoy the next few days because it is free.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Fort Worth, Texas

Rise and shine!  I decided to take a quick overnight trip to a place that has been on my list forever!  I am trying to beat the Texas summer heat as I explore some of the highlights of Fort Worth, Texas.  I grabbed a quick snack at The Biscuit Bar.  Let me tell you it was amazing!  It was a hard decision but settled on the FABB biscuit with an iced tea.
It might not be a traditional biscuit but the figs, arugula, bacon, and brie were just so F.A.B.B.!  It was just what I needed to get my day started.  It was time to put my boots (okay sneakers) to walking around the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards. 
From 1766-1890 the Fort Worth Stockyards were the last civilized stop on the Chisolm Trail.  Since it was early, I wandered over the visit The Herd. 
It was pretty toasty outside, so went indoors to The Stockyard Museum.  It was packed full of historic artifacts from the days.  I loved all the old photos.  The one fascinating artifact on display is the 2nd oldest burning lightbulb.  It has been burning strong for 110 years and was originally in The Palace Theater.  I mean do they really know it has been burning that long?  What if it flickered?
It was nearing time for the one event that I really came to see, the daily Cattle Drive.  

The Old West comes to life before your eyes during the world's only twice-daily cattle drive presented by the Fort Worth Herd. Real Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down East Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District every day.

It was still early so I decided to hop in the car and explore other parts of the city.  My first stop was downtown at The Fort Worth Water Gardens . . .
. . . I was worried it would be crowded and hard to park but found parking across the street.  After a walk around it was back on the road to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.  You might be asking yourself how was the weather because it is late July and well it was H-O-T!  But I was hoping there would be good shade since it was a garden and there was.
It was just beautiful even in the Texas summer heat.  I loved the special display of the nature inspired Lego creations.
  
Just down the street was the Kimbrell Art Museum.  Not that I was into art, but it was free and inside . . . free air conditioning . . . and after all the walking at the botanical garden I needed to cool off.  I must admit it was a very nice museum.  I always try to find one display that is interesting and here it is . . .
 
The afternoon sun was unbearable so I jumped back in the car and headed to the hotel.  I was hoping that an afternoon swim would cool me off but the pool was rather warm but it was nice.  After a quick swim and short nap, it was time for dinner!  My hotel, Hyatt Place Fort Worth Historic Stockyards, was in the middle of many options for a hearty Texas dinner.  I settled on Horseshoe Hill for a little chicken friend steak cowboy way . . .
. . . yep, I could have shared it if I had a partner with me but well, I ate the whole thing!  Good thing I had to walk back to the hotel!  With a full belly, I called it a night and hoped for a great night sleep.  And just like that my 24 hours in Fort Worth was over.  Well, sort of . . . before I left I did officially wrap up the trip just like it started . . . with a visit to The Biscuit Bar to give their most popular biscuit, The HOSS, a try . . .
. . . southern fried chicken, crispy bacon, jack cheese, house-made gravy, honey butter . . . the honey butter was lick the plate yummy.  Yummy times ten.