Posted by: Travis | January 2, 2009

Back to the real world

Well, Christmas and New Years have come and gone and i hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I will be back at the office tomorrow (Friday, Jan 2), catching up after being away for almost 2 weeks. And what a lovely two weeks it was.

Christmas Travels

Rachel and i began our Christmas travels be flying to Denver on Saturday December 20 and getting picked up by Rachel’s brother, Tyler and his wife, Amber who live in Cheyenne, WY. On the way back to Cheyenne, we stopped at the Crown Pub in Ft. Collins for a round of beer and pub food. The next two days were spent in Cheyenne at Tyler and Amber’s place mostly trying to stay out of the cold. Hanging out, cooking delicious food, watching tv and reading under a blanket were a fantastic alternative to our normal busy schedules, but by the end of our stay, i was ready to get to Breckenridge, see our families and go skiing.

The following Tuesday we loaded up the car, threw in some blankets and MRE‘s in case we got stranded out in the snow, and drove down to Breckenridge. Even though the whole area got dumped on the night before, the drive was pleasantly uneventful. We arrived around lunch time and met up with Rachel’s folks for pizza and beer before having a walk around the town. After that we got checked into our condo, got our skis rented and settled in for the evening.

The next day (Christmas Eve), all of the skiers headed out for a day of skiing with the plan of doing greens in the morning, lunch on the mountain, and blues following. Tyler and Amber were a bit cold and decided to go back to the condo after lunch, leaving Rachel, Tyson, and me to ski blues in the afternoon. My parents and brother arrived in town in the afternoon. We returned thrilled but exhausted, cooked dinner, and then headed to the church across the street for a Christmas Eve service.

Christmas morning we woke up and opened stockings while Cathy made her famous biscuits and gravy. We got a late start, but a few of us made it up to the mountain for skiing in the afternoon. Unfortunately, on her second run of the trip, my Mom fell and partially tore her ACL and MCL. Luckily (i think) she also tore her nerve endings and was experiencing no pain what so ever. While it prevented her from skiing the rest of the trip, she was fairly mobile in her brace with no crutches and spend quite a bit of the rest of her time walking around downtown.

On Friday Rachel and i exchanged our skis for snowboards and spent the day learning how to snowboard from our friends the Glasers who moved from Houston to Breckenridge last fall. After a day of falling down the mountain, a hot tub session was definitely in order.

The next morning, after a night of heavy snowfall and pledges to wake up early to take advantage of the epic conditions, we woke up to a temperature of -16 degrees with a ‘real feel’ of -36. Holy crap! I was only able to recruit Rachel’s Dad, Tyson to go out with me and brave the elements. Her brother, Tyler came out and joined us after lunch. It was damn cold. The lifts were the worst, especially when the wind really started blowing. Eventually they shut the lifts down because of the wind and we moved over to another peak. At one point the guy in front of me in the lift line was instructed to go to the warming tent at the top of the lift because he was getting frostbite. I almost a week later, i still have these tiger looking bright red stripes on my face that are either frostbite of some really serious wind burn. It was far and away the coldest i’ve ever been. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t damn fun.

Sunday we all packed up, checked out of the condo, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. Rachel and I got a ride to Denver with Tyler and Amber where we rented a car and spent the afternoon in Boulder. I’d never been there, but had been wanting to go there for years, so it was nice to get there and finally experience how cool it is.  Though we did make our way over to the Celestial Seasonings headquarters (or favorite tea company), and stumble upon the headquarters of VeloNews (bike magazine) and Garmin-Slipstream (one of our favorite cycling teams, based in Boulder), we spent most of our time hanging out on Pearl Street.

We stumbled into a Latin Fusion place called Centro for dinner that was awesome. We got there during happy hour, so things got started with $2 Cuba Libres and $2 chips and salsa. After that we got into some blue crab and sweet corn fritters with salsa chiltomate that were ridiculously tasty. Next up we split a bowl of roasted pablano and tomato soup with a huge floating crouton topped with melted manchego cheese. Once again, awesome. Last up was an order of the habanero rotisserie pork tacos and i was on cloud nine. I’ve been having problems lately with looking at the dessert menu with no intention of getting anything, and then getting suckered into ordering something, so i passed on even looking at the dessert menu, though i’m sure it was packed full of great stuff. Though the term ‘fusion’ is now a dirty word after being over used during the last 15 years, and ‘latin fusion’ only trails ‘asian fusion’ in its ability to make foodies grimace, i’ve got to say that i’m a big fan. Or at the very least, i am a big fan on Centro’s take on it. I love the big, bold, and smoky flavors that aren’t afraid to bring the heat and leave you in its wake looking for the guy with the water pitcher to come refill your glass. If you’re into that sort of thing, and you find yourself in Boulder, give Centro a try.

After Centro we hit a coffee shop (‘Bookend’) attached to a book store for some coffee and to relax a bit. When we finished we hopped back in the car and drove to Golden, CO (southwest of Denver) to visit our friend from college, Beth who was home for Christmas, and her family. Beth is getting married to another friend of ours from college, Corey, in June, so a fair amount of the next few days was spent doing stuff pertaining to wedding planning. Honestly, except for being confused by over eager photographers, videographers, and flower shop girls as my friend Corey (despite being about 6 inches and 100lbs short of the guy Corey is), it wasn’t so bad.

On Christmas Day, Beth’s family got Christmas dinner prepared, put the turkey in the oven and went to go see a movie. Unfortunately, while at the movie, the power went out at their house and they returned to find the house absent of the delicious aroma of roasted turkey they were expecting. There was however, a half cooked but partially raw bird sitting in the oven. They decided to have mac and cheese instead and re-do Christmas dinner another day. Lucky for Rachel and i, that day was when we were staying there. So, even though we missed out on a traditional Christmas dinner in Breckenridge, we got one at Beth’s house complete with turkey, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, canned cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and dressing. Ah the dressing. Beth’s Dad is from Santa Fe, so the cornbread dressing this southern boy is accustomed to was replaced by a dressing loaded with green chilis, cheese, and a welcomed dose of heat that is usually missing on Thanksgiving. It was fantastic. Not only that, but its always fun to hang out with other families that truly enjoy each other’s company like Beth’s family (and our families), rather than families who just tolerate each other.

We uneventfully drove back to DIA, returned our car, got on a plane, flew to SFO and took public transportation home (mostly because we didn’t want to pay $200 to park at the airport for 10 days and we didn’t ant to trouble our friends with coming to pick us up).

Pictures from the trip can be found here in Album 1 and Album 2.

Pop Culture Note

The night we got back we went to see Slumdog Millionaire. It sounds like its in the same genre as Boyz in the Hood, but it’s not. It was good (not that Boyz in the Hood wasn’t). You should go see it.

New Years

New Year’s Eve day i was determined to get out for a bike ride, but Rachel and i slept in. After riding our bikes over to uptown (yes, Palo Alto, a quaint town of only 50,000 not only has a downtown, where we live, but a midtown and an uptown) for brunch. Insert joke about Rachel being an uptown girl here. Tired of riding my race bike around town and locking it up while Rachel rides her cool new city bike, i decided it was finally time to get my old Bianchi road bike up and running as a fixed gear for riding around town. So i made some calls and we drove up to San Francisco to get my bike finished by the good folks at American Cyclery while we hung out for a while in Golden Gate Park on a gorgeous afternoon. The Bianchi is now up and running (pictures coming soon). Needless to say, the bike ride i was determined to go on would have to wait another day.

Rachel got me the 2 cookbooks that Hudson’s on the Bend chef Jeff Blank has published for Christmas, as well as a box full of Hudson’s sauces, so we spent New Year’s Eve making rabbit and bacon stuffed ravioli with an ancho chili cream sauce topped with ginger snap crumbs (except that no place that sells rabbit was open on new years eve, so we settled for duck). It was super delicious. Start the count down on how long it takes me to try the hot and crunchy trout recipe, my all time favorite dish and my favorite restaurant. Rachel made a special recipe of sangria she found online that was fantastic. Somehow i managed to stay up until 2am, just hanging out at home surfing the internet.

New Years Day we slept in again. It was foggy and wet but i had to get out on my bike, so i checked the weather and headed out the door with a plan to go 50 miles, over Old La Honda, to the beach and back. I didn’t feel very good from the start. Not riding for 12 days will do that to you. The weather man said the sun was supposed to come out and that it would warm up, so i dressed accordingly. Unfortunately, as i slogged up Old La Honda it got colder, foggier, and it started to rain. At this point i was freezing and miserable. When i got to the top of Old La Honda visibility was about 20 feet and a trip to the beach would require me to ride some pretty busy roads. No thanks, i opted to cut this one short and not die today. The descent was brutally cold. My hands were numb and i had to stop several times to warm up. Convection is the real deal. Eventually i got home 2 hours ahead of schedule to a very confused and then worried girlfriend. After i downed some left over mac and cheese, a cup of tea, and had a hot shower i was feeling much better. It was the most miserable day i’ve had on the bike in a long time.

Bike Racing

First bike race of the season is on Sunday. Based upon how i felt out on the bike New Year’s Day and that i’ve ridden my bike once in the last two weeks, i’ll be happy to finish with the pack. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough. Maybe i’ll put Rachel on camera duty and get you guys some pictures.

I hope everyone had a great holiday.



  1. Great Recap! Also really informative info about where to go get great food!

    I am now inspired to make the trip to Colorado…Thanks.

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