Saturday, March 1, 2008

Family Fun in Snow and Sun

The trip from Joshua Tree up to my Aunt Karen and Uncle Bob's house in Fairfield, CA was not very interesting or fun. We hopped from parking lot to road side rest stop for four days as I came down with the flu. Most of the time I spent huddled under the covers shivering and blowing my nose, or when we had to drive for a while, I wrapped up in Betsy's warm sleeping bag and sat in the copilots seat, trying to sleep. The most interesting part was coming through the passes in the sierras and seeing all the windmils. There were thousands of them. See, Californians are smart, they think, hmm. . . wind makes power, wind is free, wind is clean, wind doesn't cause cancer, we should have windmills and they do. Lots of 'em. The picture on the right is just one little section. When we finally arrived at Karen and Bob's it was very nice to have a non-moving bedroom in which to recover. That's pretty much all we did for the first few days we spent with them, for Betsy had come down with the dreaded Joshua Tree campers disease as well. Thus, there aren't really any pictures, cause we mostly layed around and watched golf. In the evenings we mustered up enough energy to eat one of the fabulous meals that Chef Bob created.

By the time Saturday rolled around, Betsy and I were on our feet again. Though still a bit sniffly, we were ready for the much anticipated trip up to Tahoe to meet my parents and brother for a week of skiing in the Sierras. We decided to do this trip instead of christmas presents this year, and none of us had ever skiied anywhere but New England before, so this was a special treat.

When Karen, Bob, Betsy and I arrived in Truckee in a very tightly packed car, it was beginning to lightly snow. By the time we had picked up my cousin Chris and his girlfriend Katie at the train station, gone grocery shopping, and waited for the house we were renting to be ready, there was at least a foot of white powder. Fortunately we only did one 180, and did not go off the road in the process. By the time my parents arrived in the Reno airport that night, a good three feet of snow had fallen. They wisely decided to stay in the airport motel until the next day. The next day it snowed all day as well and by the time the storm blew clear, I think four to five feet had come down. In Tahoe, they don't have plows, they have giant snowblowers.

So after the family all arrived safely and we weathered the storm, of course there was only one thing to do. . . hit the slopes. The mountains here are pretty awesome. I've never skiied places that are just so open, easily going across an entire mountain and back again before hitting the base. And that's just one mountain face out of nine at that resort. There were also a lot of bowls, which were alot of fun, and of course glade skiing is cool. Even the intermediate trails incorporated alot more trees to give you a more woodsy feel below the tree line. My only complaint was the sticky snow. It warmed up to the fifties after the storm and became quite sunny, so sometimes it was a little mash potatoey, and on one occasion, when jumping into powder, my skis stuck and I did a complete summersault, landing on my feet again. That is not an experience I've ever had in freezing cold New England. We also got to meet up with some more family. My cousin Mike just moved to Reno for a job as a resperitory therapist, and his folks were out for a visit at the same time as us, so we managed to catch up with them and do a few runs as well. Mike is a pretty extreme dude, having his own parachute and claiming domination of the mountains around him by saying, "I've done every chute here." FYI, chutes are scary, and if you mess up, you crash into rocks and then slide down a steep, icy cliff. I did one very mellow chute while in Tahoe, it was scary, but fun and I went very slow.

When we weren't skiing, because our legs would have fallen off if we skiied every day, we were finding other ways to play in the snow. Betsy, Kevin and I dug a twenty foot snow tunnel that doubled as an ice slide. Bob built snow sculptures and Chris, Dad and Kevin went on a very scenic snowmobiling trip. (does anyone else think hybrid snowmobiles are a good idea? very quiet so you don't scare wild life and fuel efficient for longer range in the woods). Anyways, I think it's safe to say we all had a blast and will remember this trip for a long time, plus we don't have a bunch of christmas junk to throw away now, and it was nice to see Kevin and the parents again. Here's some more pictures.

Track Our Journey

Track Our Journey
The journey continues. . . 5 years later