April 22, 2005

Snoop, Cottonwood, Dunes, Fishing and Hate Mail

Vail proved to be exciting and exhausting. The concert was huge, over 10,000 people attended and the aftermath was daunting. We worked from 7am to 3:30am (yes am) on Saturday alone.

This is our friend and co-worker Gina, aka Cookie, filling 90 water jugs to anchor tents for the show.

We think of ourselves as carnies, here is a circus tent we erected.

We stayed in Vail through Monday finishing up the event and putting everything back into the warehouse. This should be our last work for a bit. As difficult and challenging as working a giant event can be we are very thankful for the opportunities we have been presented with through this job. Once we figured out Canada was a no-go for us this winter we were at a loss for how to afford a winter of storm chasing and skiing at many different resorts. A big heartfelt thanks goes out to Highline, for the emplyment and the good times.

Here's the view from our room in Vail, they were having a street concert right below our balcony.

These folks are Peggy and O.C., our bosses.

Working these events is really tiring and we have come to identify the way we feel the day after as the Highline Hangover. Tuesday we had a doosey of a hangover so we decided a day at the hot springs was needed. There is a highway from Summit County and Denver back down to Durango that we must have driven a hundred times. Somehow, though we had never managed to stop at any of the various hot springs along rt. 285. Per a local’s advice we chose to visit Cottonwood Springs. A very rustic “resort”, the pools are beautiful and they seem to be making lots of improvements currently.

After our soak we felt better albeit very sun burnt, kids always wear sunscreen. Dan wanted to spend the night in the Sand Dunes, so we detoured a bit and enjoyed a night in our newest National Park (at least I think it is the newest.) The money that came along with the Park’s status upgrade is immediately noticeable. This is the nicest N.P. campground we have stayed in yet.

From there we headed over to Creede, Colorado to visit our friends Jason and Julie. Jason is a fly fishing guide and he decided to break in his new drift boat by taking us fishing. The stretch of the Rio Grande that runs through there is beautiful and fun fishing.

Dan and Jason.

Now we are once again in Durango, (does anyone else think that we are making woefully little progress leaving here?) We have completed the winter/summer gear swap, I have done some shopping for Eastern guide books and we are ready to hit the road once again as soon as we return from Costa Rica. I am really looking forward to heading south and east, this is new territory for us both.

We leave tomorrow for Costa Rica. I will not be posting from there so I would guess that our next post will be sometime around May 3rd. Until then feel free to send us any questions or comments, we’ll respond when we get back.

Warning below is a lengthy rant, some useful insight may be gained by reading it, but really you won’t miss out on too much if you just look at the pretty pictures

The day before yesterday we received our first bit of hate mail. Personally I feel this means we have really arrived. I think the definition of a successful blog is over 35,000 hits and at least one piece of hate mail, so congrats to us. Here is the “comment” we received:

I am tired of coming across your site when I am looking for real info in regards to travelling on a budget (RV). YOu two are a couple of posers - you are the must yuppie gypsies I have ever read about... lets review... telluride spas, vail condos, sno cat skiing, trips to Costa Rica, what a bunch of horses***!!!! - and the fact that you are begging your readers to click on your ads so you can get more money is frosting on your pathetic cake. Get a life, else quit posting your consumer promoting travels on the blog!

A couple quick phone calls to our more sarcastic friends convinced us this guy's for real. (If in fact the writer is female, please note I mean no disrespect when using the term guy, I am using it in its colloquial non-gender specific manner.)

I shall address this note phrase by phrase. First, we are the UNDERAGED RVers, not the Budget RVers. However, we do travel on a budget of sorts. We did budget for the better part of three years to be able to afford our trip, this was not easy, we are not wealthy, just frugal and goal oriented. Aside from the money part we saved up all the fun tickets and brownie points we could muster in order to redeem them along the way. Case in point we skied over 50 days this winter and paid for three. This was due to the generosity of friends, the work we picked up along the way and one well written letter that offered a review of an area in exchange for ½ priced lift ticket (which I believe I noted in the post and review of that area- see Snowbird, Utah).

Second, “YOu two are a couple of posers - you are the must yuppie gypsies I have ever read about...” . This too I have addressed in past posts, I believe I called us the Yuppie Clampets. Now are we yuppies, or posing as yuppies?? As to the examples listed…telluride spas, free thanks to our friend Pete Woods past marketing VP of Telluride Ski Resort. Vail condos, actually we stayed in condos in Park City and Breckenridge, as part of our employment with HighLine, in Vail our friend Dale hooked us up with a hotel room which six of us crammed into. Sno(w) Cat Skiing, we paid half price because we know the owner and our guide was Marc, our friend who visited us in Mexico, we used the money that our readers have helped us earn by clicking on the ads to pay for this. Costa Rica, admittedly a lavish excursion. The money for this trip was earned by picking up extra work see the 20.5 hour work day referenced above. As a side note we got a screaming deal airfare and hotel for our trip was less than$550 per person.

Begging our readers to click our ads…. Ahh yes. Well let’s see here. First off let me preface this by saying that I love maintaining this blog. I am amazed and overjoyed at the life it has taken on. Originally I never expected anyone but my Dad to read it, and if you all didn’t write me from time to time I might still believe that he was responsible for all 35,000 clicks. For many months I never earned a cent from the site, if the ads went away today I would still continue posting.

As of this post I have posted 45 times. On average it takes me two hours per post, this time is used writing, editing/ correcting and uploading the pictures. I am not counting the research involved previous to our various excursions or the time it takes me to take the pictures, etc. So a bit of simple math, a conservative estimate of two hours per post, times 45 posts, gets us 90 hours. To date we have earned almost $400 from the ads, this divided by just the hours put into the site gets me about $4.44 per hour. Camera cost $600, computer $2000, monthly Internet connection $30 and so on....

When I visit sites that I enjoy, I click their ads, it takes me but a moment, from those ads I have learned about RVing, about places we have visited along the way and various other useful info. From clicking I get the satisfaction of helping the person whose blog I find enjoyable or educational. When I had the opportunity to place similar ads on our site I did it. I appreciate that so many of you take the time to visit our sponsors; it helps us out and seems to me a win-win situation for all. If it feels in any way smarmy to any of you then please continue to read our site and ignore the ads. In an attempt to thank those who click we decided not to use the money for just gas, or for something mundane, but since it was money we never counted on we use it to do things we didn’t plan to do. I intend to continue placing the ads and using any profits to further add excitement to our trip and hopefully to your reading experience.

And finally “Get a life, else quit posting your consumer promoting travels on the blog!” This is my blog (well ours but everyone knows Dan just drives ;) I chose to write about our travels, the places and things, or even products that have enhanced our trip. I try very hard to show my appreciation for each of our experiences and above all for the chance we have been given, and have provided for ourselves, to take this leap of faith and go out on this adventure. I acknowledge that we are just about the luckiest people in the world to be able to do this.

I thank you, anonymous angry reader, for affording me the opportunity to further explain the way we do things and what our motivations are. I hope that I have addressed all of your issues here, and I am sure that our readers look forward to your next comment as much as I do. Que le vaya bien.

One last shot, Dan and I have an admittedly annoying habit of calling each other Bunny. So we couldn't resist this one.

April 10, 2005

Reader Appreciation Day

Thanks again to all of you who read and click. Saturday we enjoyed a challenging day of cat skiing with some of our closest friends. We had never managed to make it out with San Juan Ski Co. which is sad since they are based in our hometown of Durango. In February you all clicked away and we made almost $250 from the ads on our site. A day cat skiing cost us $240 after tip and the other $10 bought us beers afterwards. If you are ever planning a ski trip to SW Colorado than a trip with Bob Rule is a must. The terrain he can access is some of the most amazing I have ever seen and can challenge any ability of skier.

This is where we skied for most of the day.

Everyone picking thier lines.

Our crew, note that Brother Pat is the one with his back turned.

The ski terrain.

This van takes you up to where you meet the snow cat. It is a pretty fun ride.

While our day of cat skiing was fun, it was not ideal. It had been hot all week and then on Saturday a storm moved in freezing everything and making the terrain really challenging. So we have decided that we are done skiing for now and wanted to be warm again. This lead us to Fruita, Colorado, a Mecca for mountain biking. We have been blessed with two warm and sunny days of excellent single track riding. Our friend Eric Wienk has joined us and we have had a ball.

Dang and Eric

Rachel atop Joe's Ridge

Me smiling through the pain.

Eric brought his other "bikes" and the boys enjoyed a two-sport day, riding the dirt bike trails that lead up to the mountain biking area.

From here we are off for our last bought of employment for the foreseeable future. This one ought to be a blast. We are going to Vail to work a Snoop Dogg concert. Some of our Durango friends are working it too so we should be able to get ourselves into all kinds of trouble.

From Vail we return to Durango to begin the gear swapping process. You see in three weeks we are heading south and east and from there we do not know when we will be returning to Durango. It is time to trade snowboards for surf boards, skis for bikes and pants for shorts. But, before we head out east we are heading south, very south. To Central America in fact.

We have "earned" a vacation we think. Actually we had a few too many beers and Eric convinced us that we deserved a vacation, next thing I knew I had put two tickets to Costa Rica on the debit card and was searching online for a new bathing suit. So on April 23rd we, along with seven of our friends, are going to Costa Rica for an eight-day vacation. No camper, no budget, no ski pants or snowboard boots. I am so excited to be on a beach, surfing and sipping frou-frou drinks that I can hardly stand it. But I am getting ahead of myself. For now on to Vail.

As many of you know our plan for the winter was to live in Rossland, B.C. and settle into one town and one ski area for three months. Alas there was no snow there this year and Red Mountain was forced to close down in mid-March. Ironically enough all of the snow was hitting our home turf so we tucked tail and made circles around Colorado for most of the winter. Instead of one ski area, we got to travel the west and ski some of the great ski hills along the way, 20 in all. This photo shows what we did on our winter vacation.

April 08, 2005

Natural Bridges, Utah

Daniel Lawrence Goddard turned 32 this week. He had one simple birthday request, to be warm. So away we went to the desert. Specifically we went to Bridges National Monument. Bridges is south of Monticello and towards Lake Powell. It is less known than its cousin Arches National Monument. Arches are rocks that have been carved out by wind and the elements to make an arch or hole in the rock. Bridges on the other hand are carved by water and span a creek or river. The three Bridges here are magnificent, spanning the creeks that formed them and surrounded by Indian ruins and cliff dwellings.

Dan’s birthday was a day of warm temperatures, light breezes and cerulean skies. We hiked through the park to the first two bridges. Half of the fun was the trail, you decend down slick rock with steps cut out in some of the steeper spots and the paths down the very steepest spots are aided by lodge pole ladders.

You hike right up to and under the bridges and climb up into the cliff dwellings. The trail is dotted with pictographs and rocks smoothed by the Ancients for grain grinding.

We camped in the park’s campground, a very nice spot with all the normal park amenities. It is a popular spot, filling up each night by 5:00. We reveled in removing the insulation from our windows, for the first time in months actual sunlight lit our camper. We made a birthday feast complete with Dutch Oven cobbler and reveled in preparing it outside. After dinner I let Dan beat me at chess, it was his birthday after all.

The next day was even warmer. We strutted about in our flip flops and shorts, applied sunscreen to body parts made translucent over the dark winter months and traded beanies for visors. We completed the trail to the third bridge, my personal favorite.

Along the way we stopped for lunch at a small waterfall and craned our necks in all directions in search of more ruins. This park is a great place to spend a few days. The hikes are beautiful and fun to try and follow.

Back in camp last night we sat in our camp chair and read books feverishly. After dinner Dan beat me at Scrabble, (not a good trend I see forming). I finished my book “Hell or High Water”, about the first decent of the Tsangpo river in Tibet. Now I am ready for boating season.

Tomorrow is “Reader/ Ad Clicker Appreciation Day”, back to snowboard boots and snow for a couple of days. Sure was nice to be warm, but Cat Skiing isn’t half bad either.

High water signs.

April 01, 2005

Aspen Xtreme

On Tuesday we got to ski Aspen Highlands with our ski school friends.
From left to right, Bjorn, Kenny, Blades, Dang and Chris.

We had a great day on the mountain and that night the Wolf Creek boys arrived. The next day was the official Ski Patrol party. Basically you pay $55 for a lift ticket, meals, and all of the beer you can possibly consume between 9am and 2am. We had a blast, but somehow didn't get much skiing in. Everyone dresses up and generally makes fools of themselves.

This is the Wolf Creek crew. Note the vehicle, Tuesday night we lost one of the Wolf Creek boys, he showed up the next morning with this van, the Steamboat patrol's van. Nice work Micheal. The guy leaning against the van on the left in the grey jacket is High Speed Jon Reed, he made us all proud by winning the tranciever drill, he is the guy you want to go back country with.

Yesterday was rough for all involved. Today, however, we are fully recovered, save for a few moments where we remeber what we did and said that fateful night in Aspen.

Now we are in Breckenridge for a couple of days work. Sunday we'll head back down south for Wolf Creek's closing day and then we will head somewhere warmer to celebrate Dan's 32nd birthday.

Dan and Eric on one of their only runs of the day.