Day 2 – in which the skiing begins


We got a late start, what with unloading, unpacking, settling in, and being worn out from our various travels.  While the guys went to Black Diamond to rent skis, ski boots, poles and helmets (no, Scott wasn’t going to mess with helmets, but the boys talked him into it), I got things somewhat organized at home, thawed our frozen Taco Soup, and dumped it into the crockpot for supper.

Then there were lunches to pack (because we are too cheap to buy lunch at the ski resort).  I had taken the bold step of asking the guys to make their own lunches.  I hate packing lunches and I do it all the time, so since this is my vacation, too, I wanted a break.  I don’t usually make those kinds of requests, but I’m working on being more confrontational and practicing dealing with conflict, so I did.  I was pleasantly surprised that they all said that sounded like a reasonable request.  = )

Gear had to located and loaded.  There were disagreements about how much covering would be required, who would carry (and how) what wasn’t being worn, etc.  Getting ready to ski is quite the process.  But eventually, we had it more or less all together and headed out, Scott driving.

I totally LOVE the I-70 drive from Georgetown to Loveland.  It’s 13 miles of stunningly gorgeous scenery, two-lanes, all uphill.  The mountains refresh my soul at any time, but when they are snow-covered, it’s even richer!  We have been to Loveland so many times (I think four for Andrew and me and five for Scott and Jo) that pulling into that snow-packed parking lot has a familiar comfortable feel.  This time, however, we were arriving at 10 AM on a Sunday (read: weekend) morning, and the lot was completely full.  In fact, it was closed, and they were directing people to park down at Loveland Valley and take the shuttle up.  Well, you might know that my husband was not about to do that!  He wedged the Durango illegally into a place right by the entrance (maximally far from the steps) where parking was clearly not allowed, told the boys to start hauling gear up, and began putting on his ski boots!

There are some things about skinks that defy explanation, and this was one of them.  I’m not a rule-breaker by any means, and although I was nervous about being parked where we were, I waited as patiently as I could. When one of the employees came by to tell us we couldn’t park there, Scott explained that we weren’t parking; that I was just dropping him off. The guy then said, “Oh, if you’re just dropping off, she can drive you right up to the stairs.”  Which I did.  Don’t ask me to describe how disgusted the boys, sitting on the stairs, waiting, looked.  They had hauled most all the stuff ALL the way across that lot, while their dad got curb service.

What made it worse was that Josiah was sick.  Unfortunately, the guy tends to get sick when he travels.  There was our wild west trip in 2010 involving a hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and back up) and a hike to the top of Gray’s (I think) peak just a few miles from here.  Josiah returned home with bronchitis and pneumonia.  There was a trip to China in (?) 2011.  Josiah returned home sick with bronchitis.  There was his recent Christmas break, in which he arrived home sick with bronchitis.  Do we see a pattern here?  When he got off the plane, he informed me that he thought he had bronchitis.

Bronchitis is no fun, but not generally life-threatening.  The deal is that for Jo, it never seems to clear up on its own.  It requires an antibiotic (Zithromax being the drug of choice) which requires a prescription which requires a doctor.  Actually, between Josiah and me, we are quite capable of producing the diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis; we just can’t write the prescription.

Although he was sick, weak, aching, feverish, and coughing like crazy, Josiah knew exactly what was expected of him.  Scott had given him this ski trip as his Christmas present, and his role was to ski for five days, no matter what.  (Scott’s not overly sympathetic to physical ailment stuff, especially when it comes to Jo and coughing.  He’s more of the “just tough up and G.O.I.” school.)  So the three of them went skiing.

After the third run, Josiah was completely wiped out.

Meanwhile, I began the trek down.  My goals were to find the Shell station in Idaho Springs and get ONLY ten gallons of gas (more on that in a moment),do our grocery shopping at Safeway, take the groceries home and put them away, and then have no family responsibilities till I left at 4:00 PM to pick up the guys.  The lifts close at 4:00 PM, but I knew that they would attempt to board at 3:59 and then stretch that last run as long as possible.  They’d also have to collect all their gear and haul it down to the foot of the steps, which would take a while, so I planned to retrieve them at 4:30.

I have had my own non-skiing plans for this trip.  There were some specific reading, writing, and processing tasks I have been determined to address, but for which I never seem to carve out time, and for weeks, I have been eagerly anticipating these five whole days ALONE.

Thankfully, all our local driving is freeway.  While Loveland (skiing) is 13 miles uphill from Georgetown (the ski area is built over the Eisenhower tunnel), Idaho Springs (grocery) is 12 miles downhill from Georgetown, but the drive is so breathtakingly beautiful that those 25 miles zip by in no time.

I would have liked to zip.  Unfortunately, that was not possible.  When I pulled onto I-70 at Loveland, the traffic downhill was intense.  This was surprising to me, as the road was dry.  Now, when that stretch of highway is snow or ice-covered, it’s truly treacherous and traffic crawls and we inch along, praying.  Traffic also slows when you’re going uphill, and you get behind some big trucks wheezing upward at 25 mph.  But what could cause all this congestion on the downhill on a sunny day?!?   I didn’t know, but there was nothing to do about it.  It’s not like there are alternate routes!  We plodded down the 25 miles at about 25 mph, two lanes, bumper-to-bumper, and occasionally almost stopping.

I chose to look at the bright side and be thankful that we were going slowly enough that I coud enjoy the scenery better than usual.  = )

I have been to Idaho Springs several times.  It’s a narrow little town of about 1000 folks, about three blocks wide, strung along I-70.  It has some quaint little houses and a several-block-long touristy section with all types of small shops, souvenir junk, and restaurants.  It’s a fun little town to stroll, but today was not a strolling day.  Today was a “find the Shell station” day.  There are three Idaho Springs exits, and although I was pretty sure I could picture the Shell station, I didn’t remember which exit to take.  However, I was so eager to get out of traffic that I took the first one, thinking that even if the Shell station were at the bottom of town, driving through town would have to be more efficient than staying on I-70 for a couple more miles!

Upper Idaho Springs is the nicer part of town, so I enjoyed that, and I found my station at the second exit, the road that takes you up to the Mt. Evans Road, the highest paved vehicular road in North America!   On the way, you go up to Echo Lake, which is truly gorgeous.  I drove myself up there the last time we were here in winter.  Amazing!  The Mt. Evans Road is closed in winter, but I got to up to the base of it, and loved that drive.  Then, on our Wild West Vacation, we four (Scott, boys, and I) did drive up the Mt. Evans Road.  Wow!!!

The reason for the seeking of the Shell station is this:  for a 10-gallon gas purchase, they will give you a BOGO lift ticket pass, good for – among other ski resorts – Loveland!  I think each day’s lift ticket costs about $40, so that is quite a savings.  Well, I think it is.  The Durango was getting 13.6 mph at home.  We re-set the gas mileage calculator when we left on this trip, and until we got to Georgetown, it was showing about 19 mpg.  Now, it’s down to 17.5, but I think if one were to calculate the actual mileage just during the week we’re here, it’s probably about 10.  = (

We’re driving 50 miles per day to the slopes.  Then on three days, we drive an extra 25 miles to go get the discount lift ticket deal.  That trip to Idaho Springs costs 25 miles x $3.69/gal x 10 mpg (est.) = $9.23, so we’re still saving $30 on the lift tickets.  And, it turns out (writing this several days later) that we went to Safeway three times, so the gas money was going to be spent anyway.

So I got the gas, I got the discount lift ticket, and in talking with the attendant I learned the cause of the heavy traffic.  It seems that all the folks skiing at the resorts to the west (Breckenridge, Vail, Aspen, etc.) are all heading home from their weekend of joy.  And the only way east is on I-70.  Those ski resorts must be making a killing, because it was an astounding amount of traffic.

I also got the first load of groceries at Safeway.  I like shopping in other grocery stores, so that was fun, but it did take quite a while, because I had to keep re-tracing my steps to find I all the stuff on our list.  Also, I didn’t have Andrew to load the goods onto the belt, load the sacks in the cart, unload it all into the Durango, and unload and put it all away at home.  That guy is a BIG help to me in a lot of ways.

By a little after noon, I did eventually accomplish all the above.  I pulled out my computer, grabbed some food, and started in on my projects.  And Scott texted me.  It seems that Josiah was not feeling well, and he didn’t have enough energy to ski, and he thought he had bronchitis.  Yes, yes, I knew all that, but what the heck could I do about any of it?  And besides, this was my time!!!

So I called and talked to Jo.  He sounded worse.  He knows his body pretty well, and he probably did have bronchitis, and it probably wouldn’t get better on its own – especially since he was already run down from mid-terms, and especially not at altitude; some 10,000 feet at the Loveland base, 8500 feet here in Georgetown.  If it didn’t get better fast, the bronchitis would completely ruin this entire vacation!  The only thing that would do that would be an antibiotic, but it was nearly 1:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon.  And Scott wanted to know what my plan was.

To be continued.


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