Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Mountain Adventures

On Friday morning, the three of us packed up and loaded up into the Eurovan and headed a little south and a good bit West to Winter Park, Colorado. It was just a one-night trip John had planned for a bit to go up and enjoy the show now that we weren't snowed in by it down here in the Front Range.

I don't much like altitude, and even more altitude never sits that well on me. Both Jet and I were nearly car sick by the time we got up into Winter Park, and when we just got onto the border, Jet made retching sounds that got us to stop the van for a bit, and he got out, took some good, cold, snow laden breaths, and felt a bit better. Part of our problem included Jet's choice of the Incredibles' Super Sticker book as his in-car entertainment, and he wanted me to read all the descriptions for the stickers while he tried to put them exactly on the lines indicated in a van that swayed a lot.

We learned, though.

We were also hungry by the time we actually arrived, and we happened upon The Lost Boys restaurant, which only did burgers and their sides. Jet wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, and it turned out to be an inside-out hamburger bun with cheese slapped in the middle. Yum. They had "sweeties" as a side, which turned out to be sweet potato fries, which I crave on a frequent basis. John got onion rings and burger with BBQ sauce, onion rings, and smoked cheddar. I had a lovely thing called a "Sloppy" with chili, veg, and American cheese. All the beef served there was All-Natural, and advertised as no hormones, no antibiotics, and an all-veg diet for the animals, which was good by me.

Jet also got a vanilla shake, which he latched onto and wouldn't let go of until his sandwich came. He ate a good portion of my sweet potato fries as well, liking them a lot. So that was good. Sneaky vegetables is good by me.

It did wonders for our moods. But I still had a headache and I was *tired* from coming up that fast. So we stopped by the hotel to see if we could leave the van there and take a shuttle to the very crowded ski area and John found out we could just check in. Originally, the boys were going to go skiing and leave me in the Starbuck's at the base. But with the possibility of a bed and blankets, I took the option of taking a nap while they hit the slopes. Sadly, the camera was forgotten in the exchange, and so Jet's first point-'em-straight-down-the-hill escapades are unrecorded. Not too terrible a thing, all in all. *grin*

He had fun. Jet was also light enough even pointing his skis straight down the hill illicited very little actual speed. The great good thing was that by going that slowly, he's naturally learning how to do parallel stops rather than being stuck in a permanent snowplow like his mother seems to when in that situation. He doesn't even know how to snow plow. Jet got his balance pretty quickly, and figured out keeping his skis parallel to each other quickly as well, and was soon doing the bunny slope happily by himself. And, within an hour and a half's work, he was pretty comfortable on the boards. I was impressed when I heard about it back at the hotel.

Jet cheerfully said, "We're going swimming now, right?" as soon as he walked into the door of the room. Sure enough, we then went swimming in the just warm enough kidney shaped pool for a good hour before hitting the very, very hot hot tub just until we were warm enough to get back to the room for some very loud, boisterous, and happy showers. Hee.

Winter Park's sole Cajun restaurant is Fontenot's, and we went there to check out the kid's menu. When Jet said that a corn dog was good enough for him, we sat down to study the menu. I got the pecan crusted catfish with a peach bourbon sauce that was nearly like melted jam. I love that deep concentration of sweet crunch on the combination of flaky and rubbery that is catfish. Hee. John got a lovely crawfish ettoufe which was the exact opposite of my dish as it was tangy, spicy hot, creamy, and savory on top of a risotto cake. They'd cooked the vegetable to just al dente, which I loved, and the garlic mashed were creamy and slightly chunky. I also had the chicken tortilla soup, which was thick and rich with tomato, chicken, and not at ALL spicy, which I had wanted. A bit of Tobascco helped, but it was surprising. The tortilla topping crackled when I ate it, which I enjoyed a lot.

When the dessert tray came, Jet pointed out the warm, coconut rice pudding, probably because of the whipped cream and toasted coconut on top. I got the relatively demure slice of Key Lime pie, as the bread pudding sat huge and lumped a big as a brick, and the others looked a bit too overblown for themselves. Luckily, I got the Key Lime pie, as soon as Jet finished off the lovely toasted cream on top of the pudding, he got into the pudding itself and started making faces and spitting out rice pieces. "But it's rice!" I cried. "I don't care! I don't like it!" said Jet, spitting furiously into a bit of napkin, "Can I try yours, Momma?"

He tried mine and got this euphoric look on his face. I ate pudding for a bit. *grin* But then I had to finish a few more bites of pie. The Key Lime pie sat on a graham cracker crust. The filling was opaque, the way it ought to be, and so tart it made everyone pucker a bit, as it should have if made with real Key Limes. The lacy frill of whipped cream calmed and complimented the really LOUD tartness of the key lime, and made it complete. Happiness on a fork. Jet, of course, refused to eat the graham cracker crust, and did his darnedest to just eat the super-tart filling.

Whatever Jet is, he's not a bland-food kid, and he definitely knows what he likes and what he does NOT like.

Since it was still light, we headed further down the road to Fraser, which has a Tubing Hill. It is not a sledding hill. It's a Tubing Hill, and when we approached the awesome heights of it, we saw folks on big inner tubes tip over the edge at the top and it looked like they were nearly falling right down this huge hill. It was so big, there were rope pull lifts on either side for the tubes, so that folks could get their tube hitched to the lift, and ride it up the hill. The first thing I said when I saw the speeds those folks were going at was, "I wish we'd brought Jet's helmet..." It was quite scary fast, but... wow... I had to think about this one a lot.

We also stopped for sun screen, as we'd forgotten ours at home, and both of the boys were a little toasted from just their hour and a half out today...

When we got back to the room, we watched the finale of Identity, with a very cool Penn and a girl that got to the whole half million! Woo.

I was on the verge of a migraine, and I was pretty sure that while it was the altitude causing the extra stress to bring it on, it wasn't a warning of altitude sickness. I took a couple of ibuprofen, and sure enough it went away. Whew.

Then we fell promptly asleep. I put all our wet towels and bathing suits in the bedroom with us to provide some humidity. At this altitude (9000 ft), anything helps and all the things I put out were bone dry by morning. I should have brought along Jet's humidifier, as both Jet and I had bloody noses when we woke up, but so it is.

In the morning we found The Base Camp Bakery, which was really, really busy at 7 in the morning, as all the skiiers came in to order their to-go breakfasts and lunches for skiing with, all to-go. We sat down at one of the six tables, and ordered breakfast there. Jet ate half of a half order of French toast, quite happily, and I had their home made Corned Beef hash which really was just large chunks of griddled corned beef not really a hash the way I think of hash. But the cook made my over medium eggs perfectly, a rare thing for me to get, where the whites are cooked through and the yolk all creamy. Yum... The three mugs of coffee helped rehydrate me considerably. Jet drank all of his orange juice, too, and looked sadly a his cup when he was done until the waitress refilled it for him. Nice waitress. Nice tip, too.

From there we headed further down the road to peer at a much less crowded ski area, not that much further away. I was okay if the boys wanted to ski, but we decided to head back to Fraser hill.

I'd thought a lot about it and thought I want to try it eventhough I was scared to death of it.

So we got there, found some relatively less muddy parking, slathered on the sun screen, put on the warm clothing, and headed over. Jet rode free because he had to ride on someone's lap, anyone 7 or under had to ride on someone else. The first time we went down, I went by myself. Jet was in John's lap. The hill seemed utterly immense, so I just didn't' look down at the lip. I let them push off first, and then I just didn't think about it anymore and dug my heels into the snow and pulled myself over the edge.

The sound the rubber makes whizzing over the icy snow took my breath away as the world whipped by when I really got going down that tremendous slope. The funniest part of it was that I felt like I couldn't fall 'out' as I was already falling just about as fast I could fall. I just hung onto the tube for dear life as I just didn't want to hit that hard ice without it during the fall. Gods. Then I hit a bump and I swore at the hill hitting my backside through the thin rubber at the bottom of the tube. Then, of course, since my head and shoulders are heavier than my legs, I turned backwards and could only look up the hill, and see just how QUICKLY I was going where I couldn't see.

Later, John and I talked about it, and the real saving grace of the whole thing is that there is no illusion of any controls whatsoever. Unlike skiing or snowboarding where I always have believed I *should* be able to control exactly where I am going with the boards strapped to my feet by using my body, with this I had absolutely no illusion that I was doing anything but falling down a hill.

I was shaking when I lined up for the lift. Shaking hard enough I couldn't even get my camera out of my pocket. Then Jet says he's going to ride in my lap on the next trip down and... it is so... the lift was easy in comparison. Just hand the guy the handle, step up to sit in the tube when the line goes by, and make sure Jet's in my lap and up we go. Keep my butt off the actual bottom of the tube, so I don't hit all the ice mogels formed by all the other tubes and butts on the way up, and I was good until the actual top of the lift, which had a good fall, so that the tube would come off the handle of the lift, and we could roll clear before the next tube was dumped into the ditch.

The next time, we nearly started backwards, and we started with the two tube connected by John just hanging onto our cord. This time I screamed the whole way down, with Jet happily screaming with me, and it helped a ton with all the adrenaline in my system. We then did about a dozen runs all together, and by the end it just didn't seem quite as fast any more.

I ended one run before the boys did. They did their last run on their bellies, with Jet lying on top of John and Jet hung onto the two handles attached to the tube. As John later put it, "It really brought the adrenaline levels again..." I was scared to death that they'd hit a bump and John's body would dislocate both of Jet's shoulders as Jet hung on or something, but remembering how smooth the other rides were it was highly unlikely. As it was, halfway through the ride, Jet yelled to John, "I can't hold on any longer." and John yelled back, "You better hang on!" and Jet did all the way through. The weight of their heads and shoulders kept them facing forwards for the whole ride, so that was to the good of it, and they did just fine together. I caught video of them dumping out in the ditch at the top of the lift, and Jet was very happy to know that we had a movie, now, of that. Hee.

Jet loved the tubing. He still talks about it.

We had lunch at the Hungry Bear at the base of the tubing hill, and then headed towards home. To break up the winding ride, I suggested stopping at the Railway Museum in Golden, and the boys agreed. It got hot in the van by the time we got down there, and it was really sunny and quite hot at the museum. Jet wouldn't take his snow pants off, though, so he went out into the railway yard in his snow pants.

It turns out that all the Denver area museums were doing a Free Day, so we got to go in for Free, when we were thinking of paying for just the two hours until closing. It was a complete zoo, full of kids, Scouts, and various parents. We got to see the wonderful HO model in the basement, and Jet wanted to just spend his whole allowance and time there. Eventually we dragged him away to climb into the real, full-sized old cars, engines, and maintenance equipment. He loved that there were so many other kids out there willing to play with him on just about everything. That was good.

Finally we all just got too hot and too dry. Jet used part of his allowance on a squished penny with the logo of the museum on it and a big diesel engine and that was all the money we spent while there. It's good to be lucky, though, admittedly, I'm sure we'll be there again. After a long drink of water, we headed out. He consented to changing into regular pants, and we got ice creams at the convenience store before heading home. Jet was surprisingly neat with his Drumstick. I happily ate up an ice cream sandwich.

Jet and I played Uno the whole ride home. I held both decks and my cards. We could see each others cards if we looked at all at each other, but that didn't matter. We just played happily the whole way home.

We spent the evening cleaning up, unloading, and unpacking. Sleep was a good thing after all of that.

Today's been quiet. No church, no one was up for it. But John made waffles and bacon for breakfast. I did a lot with my plants and our yard. I've been neglecting my boxes with most of my worry on the OUR center stuff. Sigh. But I weeded, watered, and planted the peas in my yard. Jet had planted two peas several weeks ago as part of a "Love is" lesson in Sunday School, and the sign he chose to make was "Love is Hppfl (Hopeful)" and the two plant have grown feet since then. Since it's past St. Patrick's Day out here, I put the peas out in the raised bed with plenty of compost. And I also planted a couple of feet of Suger Snap peas and regular shelling peas. We'll see what comes of it.

The onions are out. I still need to put out the carrots. My garlic chives have come out, the scallions from last year are going gangbusters, and my scallion seedlings are finally poking out. Still no sign of the spinach other than the one head from the Fall which the birds are now eating. I put a tomato cage around it just in case it was the rabbit, but it's still getting kind of ragged, so I might have to put up bird netting. Sigh.

John finished all the supports on the deck and did the first half of the decking itself. I helped a little. Jet alternated which parent he needed to be entertained by, so we both got some things done, but poor Jet really knew that we really wanted to be doing other things. He finally played out in the yard and contented himself with some help across his monkey bars, and with some help gluing bits of unneeded decking wood together into a marble track. I played some with him inside, with his tires and some other games. John helped Jet with the gluing, and did a few other things with him while I got around to planting what I wanted to plant.

I also helped for a bit with the screwing down of the decking. John and I had done a deck in Redmond, and the old rhythm came back pretty quickly. John cut the next planks while I worked along with the drill. Much faster with the two of us than just John by himself, but Jet asked for my time again when John had to stop to get more screws from Home Depot. So Jet and I spent some time in the basement with The Polar Express Game where Jet and I traded off which levels we'd each play, he's comfortable playing most of them now. We then did some swinging, running around, and zooming rather than just sitting.

When John finished what he could with the wood he had and the screws he had, he washed up and we went to Costco for toilet paper and a few other things, and then we got a Nick and Willy's pizza for dinner. Jet had some cheese pizza and we had an Aegean, which has olive oil glaze, mozzarella, fresh garlic & spinach, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and oregano. Very Greek and very good, especially with the bursts of heat from the fresh garlic. Whoof.

John and Jet are playing video games, now, while I finally take the time to write this up. *grin* So I'm thankful for my time.
Tags: jet, travel, winter

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