My longest circle route! A swing through the Southwest
(1st in a series covering my Odyssey of ’12-13 … 17/21+ and almost my last]
A “Great Circle Route”? A collage of experiences, meticulously designed to maximize time, space and activities while reducing expenses, minimizing hassles and eliminating grief. And this was to be my piece de resistance, my opus, my crowning achievement.
It was the 2012-13 ski season. Life was advancing, yes I was aging. Physically, not mentally. I had roughed up even jotted down my list of all the 1ker’s in the lower 48. Still not a “super-senior” of 70+, I was mindful of costs. But I would sacrifice, ’cause waiting to age 70 would cramp my time. And, all I needed was another excuse, or reason to undertake this journey.
My gateway city, one I’d enter from the air was Denver. an urban; home of my youngest now with beautiful wife Kinsey, a warm spot to launch from and a cozy base to return I envisioned. Perfect! But as I would soon learn at least in this case, a safe haven in which to retreat.
My oldest Nashville, son had given me a Christmas gift of selecting and attending a workshop of my choosing, he told me, and he would fund it I interpreted. Soon I found out he had told me, he clarified, “Just the tuition, Dad.” OK, OK it still was a generous gift.I found a two day Timber-Frame construction seminar in Las Vegas. Perfect! I had always dreamed of overseeing the construction of my own dream house. (And I lied. It was really a log home construction seminar.)
So I plotted my route from Denver, home to Kji, son #2. I could revisit Sunlight in Glenwood Springs then pioneer Powderhorn, CO before crossing into Utah to catch those two “tough to reach” outback areas of Brianhead and the former Elk Meadows now billed as Eagle Point. UT. Now the reaction to my insanity was, “Dad, I expected you to chose caning or flower arranging in Pigeon Forge with Mom. I ‘d didn’t intend Timber-Framing in Las Vegas!” (He didn’t even know I lied about the log construction theme!). “I’m retracting my gift.” Yea, my own son, an Indian-giver! (Oops!) I apologize Native Americans, It IS a dis-respectful, sloppy figure-of -speech!
Over nights in Las Vegas for the seminar to continue on to Arizona. Arizona Snowbowl and Sunrise would permit scratching AZ off my buck list. And then there was New Mexico. What Easterner would think there’s great skiing in the Southwest desert? ME! I had visited in my senior year at UB (That’s another story!) Thus I was familiar with and, ever longed to return to New Mexico and SKI!
New Mexico was the key! My daughter-in-law, born in Texas, actually came of age in the Albuquerque environs. Carolyn and I had been graciously hosted at our soon-to-be relatives’ “estate” in the Sangre de Christo Mountains over-looking the city two years prior, where the ritual of “meet- in-laws” was performed. No seriously, it is a high point in our memory bank. I am so proud of the kids, my “new” daughter and the new branch of the family tree. Love all you “guys”, even if you attempt to deny everything. A splendid wedding ensued the following June at the Bishop’s Lodge (talk about historic!). And just over a year later, we were further blessed in the birth of granddaughter # 2 (It’s #3 now, and still counting!).
New Mexico a sleeping giant of skiing. The incredible find of Sipapu offers a senior’s season pass with reciprocity with the NM areas of, (along with others) Angel Fire, Red River, Parjarito, and Ski Apache. I simply added Ski Santa Fe, Sandia Peak, and Taos Ski Valley to fulfill the NM quest.
“Circle” connotes returning to the start, so I included more Colorado skiing with Wolf Creek, Purgatory at Durango , and Telluride. Overnighting a few last times would permit me to add Winter Park and Sol Vista (Ski Granby Ranch) en route my Denver hub. Then I would meet my family in Silverthorne for our annual reunion in Summit County! Nice, huh?
They said it couldn’t be done. But I had plans. I was gonna do it! If all goes well, 26 areas in 31 days; over 3,500 miles. In theory this was to be the grandest escapade ever, the greatest of the “Great Circle Routes”! (But, plans can go awry. There’s more to my story.)
Come. SKi With Me!