My First Wild Adventure In Seven Weeks Was Uber!

I-70 parking lotAfter 7 weeks of sitting home recuperating after surgery, I was ready for adventure. My husband, Danny, went skiing with work buddies, so I decided to drive up Friday night and meet him in the mountains. We have a home on Baldy Mountain just above the town of Breckenridge opposite the ski resort. I just about gave up packing my car since I was so exhausted, but forced myself to keep going.  I HAD TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! On my way up, I hit a snowstorm, but love driving in snowy conditions even though it added an hour to my drive. I’m a Wild Driver.

As promised by my surgeon, I woke up Saturday morning with unbelievable energy after a steroid shot the Monday before. I decided to make a breakFEAST. While running to the grocery store, I pulled over next to a gnarly snowboarder dude with some pretty cool dreads waiting at the bus stop.

“Want a ride?” I asked, “I’m headed to City Market.”

“That would be great!” said the Dude. “I’ve been waiting a long time for the bus. I was afraid I’d be late. My buddies and I want to make first tracks at A-Basin.”

He told me he spends half his time in Breck and the other half in Maui. I dropped him in town at Starbucks where he worked and would meet his friends.

“Next time you come to Starbucks, coffee’s on me!” he said and hopped out.

“Ski a run for me!” I shouted.

I bought groceries and went home to make said feast. My daughter and her friend drove my husband, Danny, to the mountain to ski and I found myself stuck inside once again. I got a call thirty minutes later. For the first time ever, they couldn’t find parking. All the lots were full. It was dumping bucket-loads of snow and everyone wanted to get on the mountain. There was a huge line at the Gondola in town too. They returned home so I could drive them.

As we made our way down Baldy, we noticed the bus stops were packed with people. I passed a throng at the first stop and then passed by a snowboarder standing at the next one down the road. I stopped and threw my car in reverse. While I backed up about three hundred feet, my husband asked, “What are you doing?”

“Giving him a ride. We have room.” I rolled down my window.

“Hey! We’re headed to Peak 7. Want a ride?” The snowboarder was very grateful. We picked up his friend hiking down the road and then headed to the resort.

After I dropped them off, I drove back home and noticed the bus stops were still full. My guess was everyone and their grandmother wanted to go skiing since we had a pretty long dry spell and the flakes were flying. I formulated a theory. I bet the busses are filling up before making it to the top of Baldy.  When I noticed three snowboarders waiting at that lower stop, I had a Eureka moment.

I rolled down my window. “You want a ride?”Wild driver

They jumped inside and one guy said, “Thanks! The bus is really late.”
I dropped them off at Peak 8 and told them, “Take a run for me.” They gave me a thumbs up and high-tailed it to the lift.

Returning home, I saw a young woman at the lower bus stop. “You need a ride?”

She worked on Main Street and was going to be late. She was from Arkansas and had graduated from the University of Northern Colorado. “I decided to spend one winter in the mountains before getting a real job,” she said I dropped her off at Bubba Gump’s.

I drove back up Baldy and returned with another carload then headed back up Baldy again. A bus had come by and four people remained at the top bus stop. “You want a ride to the mountain?”

The couple piped up first. “Sure! You can drop us in town.” The older ladies who held skis glanced at each other and didn’t move.

“I know. I look pretty sketchy.” I said jokingly, “You can wait for the bus.”

They followed the couple, threw their skis in the back of my car, and jumped inside. The couple was from Denver. They were late in meeting their son at the Marriott where he worked. The hotel was my first stop. The Ladies were from Nashville.

“We always bring the snow with us,” they said and giggled. We’d love a ride to Peak 8, if it’s not too much trouble.

“No trouble at all,” I said. As I passed three skiers at the bus stop less than a mile away from the resort, I shook my head. They would be better off walking.

I parked in the skier drop-off and the Ladies said, “Can we give you anything?”
“Just ski a run for me,” I said like I had told everyone else that day.

Those same three skiers waited at the bus stop. I pulled over and rolled down my window. “You’ve been waiting a long time. “You want a ride to Peak 8?”

They looked at each other and then nodded. I made a U-turn and picked them up. “I’ve been driving stranded skiers and boarders all day. The busses are running behind schedule today.”

“Why are you doing this?” one of the guys asked.

“I had knee surgery seven weeks ago. I can’t ski, but I thought I’d help you out.” I pulled into the drop-off.

“You should get your Uber license and make some money.” he said.

“Just ski a run for me.”

They were amused and really thankful like everyone else. They hopped out of the car and promised they would keep me in mind while taking their first run.

By the time I got home, the busses had caught up. My work was done for the day.
Would I do it again?

The next morning, my husband said, “I’ll take the bus.”

I laughed. “I drove strangers all day yesterday. I can drive you.”

As I passed the empty bus stop, I was disappointed. I thought about all the people I helped out the day before and how they skied a run for me. I got a lot of virtual vertical feet in! It’s never hard for a Wild Rider to find adventure and it was about dang time…

Have you ever picked up random strangers? Would you like to be a cab driver for a day?

Clarification: Breckenridge is a resort town. I would NEVER pick up random strangers in Boulder. But then again, see post below… 

Related post: The time I hitchhiked a ride on a plane.

Travel Tips from a Colorado Wild Rider

barn flag

If you’re like me, you take time to prepare for a trip. I check the weather and plan accordingly. Okay. Obsessively. But just like the weather forecasters in your area, they all have trouble predicting too much in advance.  (The one on my iPhone is way off.) The temperatures soar when it’s supposed to be cool or storms roll in when you plan to camp on the beach.

If you’re coming to Colorado, I’ll make it easy for you. No matter how warm it gets, the dry air will feel cooler. I can never complain about the same 90 degree temperatures to my mother who may be experiencing the same heat in Wisconsin. Remember, it’s never the heat, it’s the humidity. Continue reading

On Top of the World! A Photo Essay

Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone can bring about personal growth and build confidence.

Peak 6

It can be scary. You may become hesitant and cautious.

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There’s a point in the process when there’s no turning back.

to the top

 The last few steps are the hardest. That’s what separates the winners from the losers. Continue reading

Snowshoeing Photo Essay – Get Featured!

After my big adventure, I had to take Danny snowshoeing. Roxy raced ahead.

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Danny followed my lead down to the Sally Barber Road.

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Once we hit the mining trail, we cruised on the hard-packed snow.

snowshoeing the Sally Barber

We ran into a runner who suggested trekking to the mine or looping around by taking Nightmare on Bald Mountain Trail. We couldn’t find the trail, so we made our own tracks up old Baldy.

The slow and steady climb through heavy snow proved to be too much for Roxy.

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We found the trail back home and Roxy sprinted ahead.

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Our little outing took more than two hours, but the exercise while taking in Colorado’s beauty was worth every minute.

Come up with a caption for “backpacking Roxy” and get featured on the Wild Ride!

snowshoeing with RoxyLeave your caption in the comment section below. The winner will be featured on my sidebar until next month’s contest! My kids, Kelly and Courtney, will choose the finalists.  Good luck!

Happy first day of spring!

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

I Had a Little Adventure While You Were Dancing! A Photo Essay

Last week, my breast reconstruction doctor joined my radiologist in giving me the thumb’s up. I had been told I had no restrictions over the phone, but this appointment made it official. I won’t see either of them until next summer. Yeah baby. It’s all good! I just have to take a Tamoxifen pill every day.  I felt like celebrating so my husband Danny and I headed up to the mountains.

We left at 5:00 on Valentine’s Day and sailed up I-70. After Idaho Springs, we came to a halt and our progress could be measured in inches. I could have sworn I saw an elderly lady with a walker pass our car. Our two hour trip soon stretched to three. We worried that our 9:00 dinner reservation would be cancelled. Wet snowflakes flew and collected on the road. We suspected an accident had caused the jam. I used two of the hours stuck in traffic to hash out a screenplay I am working on. I figured out three plot lines, worked on casting it, finally decided on Robert Downey Jr., and we still crawled up the mountain highway.

Robert Downey Jr will be perfect for my screenplay

Image from Google+

At 8:30, I started cussing like the truck drivers crawling alongside us. We’d never make our dinner reservation. Approaching a curve in the road, we could see what happened. Idiots with front-wheel drive had spun out in the left lane tying up traffic for miles and miles! They had to be towed. I’ll never understand why Colorado stopped requiring chains for everyone without all-wheel drive. Once we got past the goofballs without chains or a clue, we drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel and flew down the mountain to Breckenridge. Continue reading

Why I Love Colorado – A Photo Essay

Although Colorado has only been nicked by the Polar Vortex, it has been a record year for snow in Breckenridge. This has created deep powder conditions. I am under doctor’s orders not to fall, so it’s groomed runs for me. The snow is like soft vanilla ice cream. Breck 2- 14

Since the beginning of the year, 249 inches of snow has fallen.  By my expert calculations, 9 feet of snow fell in January alone. That my friend, is a lot of crazy good champagne powder! Continue reading

Ice Castle Photos and an Interview with Its Creator Brent Christensen

After exploring Breckenridge’s breathtaking Ice Castle, I searched for the artist behind this magical place. I contacted Brent Christensen, the founder of Ice Castles, who also built them in New Hampshire and Utah this winter.

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Take it away Brent!

“I’m the artist and designer of the layout at each of our three locations, but I rely heavily on our many well-trained, hard working, dedicated employees. Each of our sites took about 4 weeks of working 12-16 (hour) days.  Our Breck site has about 10 full and part-time employees, New Hampshire about 15 and Midway (Utah), about 20.”

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Fire and ice. Continue reading