Monday, April 26, 2010

Catching Our Breath

You gotta love irony. The High Mountain Lodge closed on Sunday, April 18th--the same day as Winter Park ski area. By the end of the week, we had had some of the best snow of the season. Alas! The snow was so good that CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) closed Berthoud Pass because of avalanche danger. The only way you could get to any of the ski areas still open was driving halfway to Salt Lake City before going south (I'm exaggerating, but not by much).

When confronted with the choice of doing laundry or driving through Kremmling to go skiing, you start washing sheets.

Then we had friends come in to spend a night. They had to wait half a day to get over the pass before CDOT opened it, but when they arrived, we had a good time. We made a lot of music, drank a lot of beer and wine, ate good food, and generally enjoyed each other's company.

Even with the ski area closed, it's pretty awesome around here. There's still snow on the high peaks on both sides of the Fraser valley. True, the mud does get pretty deep, and you can tell locals from visitors by the amount of splash-back on their vehicles. But in the Fraser valley right now, the views of the snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide or to the west of Byers Peak and the further peaks of the Gore Range are so jaw-dropping beautiful that if, while wandering about in thigh-deep mud, you fall into a ditch and die, at least your last images of life will be comparable with any museum experience.

Later this week, we're embarking on the first of two mini-vacations: one to Oklahoma to visit relatives, watch rodeo, and get reacquainted with high-school buddies; later in May, we're heading to North Carolina to see Julie's relatives. After a visit with them, we're heading down to the South Carolina low country. Of course, we're staying in Bed & Breakfasts. One of the places we're staying is outside of Charleston, and their B&B website boasts two Famous Recipes, both based on grits.

"Honey," asks my wife, "What are grits?"

"They're good stuff. They're awesome stuff."

"Then why have I never had any?"

"You never had any because your mother was a Yankee from Pennsylvania who, when she decided to learn how to cook, subscribed to Bon Appetit instead of Southern Living."

"But you never cook them either. Why not?"

"My mama was a Republican from Cincinnati. About the closest we ever came to grits was boiled canned hominy. I don't know how to cook them."

Julie gave me one of those disappointed looks; I'm not sure if she was disappointed because I didn't know how to cook grits or because I felt ashamed from my lack of knowledge.

"This will be an interesting vacation," she said.

Oh, yea.

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