Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cabo: Just what the doctor ordered

We read about how we need to reduce stress and get enough sleep in our daily routine to be healthy.  Drew and I had been living on borrowed time with our schedules for the past few months.  Between coaching high school mountain biking, selling our condo in Moab, and lots of field work (for me) and house and car projects (for Drew), we were strung out!  The doctor (Drew) ordered an easy, stress free vacation. The nurse (me) said it needed to be warm, so we went to Cabo San Lucas last week.

The Thursday before Drew's week of vacation, he requested lodging at an all inclusive resort in Cabo through a travel agency for people in the travel industry. Monday we heard it had been accepted so Drew listed us as Southwest non-revenue passengers on a flights to and from Orange County, California. Tuesday at 6 AM we boarded the light rail train for the Salt Lake airport to make our way to Orange County for the international flight.

 The last bit of cold for a few days.

 Here we go!

Flights were easy and the taxi to the hotel was smooth. We looked out our windows at a desert landscape that, except for some saguaro cacti on their sides and many ragged palm trees, had fared OK in the Sept 14 hurricane. The buildings and infrastructure along the coast in San Jose del Cabo, about 15 miles east of Cabo San Lucas were still hurting, but there were few signs of any stalling of the economy. For the most part, buildings were being repaired and the tourists were coming back.

And the next thing we know,...
THIS! Drinks on our private veranda!

Yup, this place was swank.We chose to stay at the Riu Palace all-inclusive hotel. 

 View from the main entrance looking out over town.

 The main entrance hall.


 One of six restaurants on the premises, two of which were open courtyards.

Main level bar with pool tables and a killer view.

 Gardens
 Beautiful blooming plants and hunky men.

 A view looking back at Riu Palace from the beach.  Its like a dream.

The 6 restaurants, 5 bars, beautiful grounds are nice but how about the pools?

Spectacular!




There was a long reflecting pool that cascaded down to the swimming pool on the other side of this plexiglass wall.






Infinity pool is just cool

We came for the warm weather and sunshine. We didn't expect to get a room that was so nice we wanted to hang out in it all day.

 Drew's finger is pointing to our choice room. When we checked in they must have upgraded us because we were "in the travel industry".  However we got it, we took it.


Jean Luc Picard could not get over the view from our veranda.


The room was a junior suite so it had a couch in a sunken lounge area.

All hotels should do this.



But Drew would be in trouble if all hotels did this!  An in-room liquor dispenser and mini fridge stocked with "beer" (Tacate is all they had in the whole resort; that and the lack of espresso were the only moderately negative things about this place).

The veranda was perfect for relaxing.


So we had a nice place to be for the next few days. What would we do with it.  First up, after that drink on the veranda, some dinner.

First dinner at the buffet. I don't look sick, but I am.

I had a rough first night.  Toward the end of the flight from Orange County, I felt some stomach pain.  By dinner, I had full on cramps, but I tried to eat.  It didn't work.  Dinner would not stay down.  When we retired to our room, I laid on bed in agony.  Then, at 10 PM the discotecha (disco dance club) started thumping right below us.  It was loud enough to have to put ear plugs in. :-(  Combined with my nausea and cramps, I was quite worried about the fate of this vacation!

By breakfast the next morning I was feeling slightly better, but eating was out of the question.  Because I felt a little better, I surmise my distress was due to the chickpea-laden tacos I had in Orange County.  Drew ate one too, so it wasn't poisoning.  I guess chickpeas and my stomach just don't play well together.

Day 2 feeling better

By mid morning of our first full day, I felt good enough to sit by the pool. 
By late morning, I was feeling good enough to do water aerobics.

By early afternoon, I was back to normal and went with Drew to work out in the gym overlooking the ocean.  Whew, I was never so happy to work out.

But that wore me out so I sat in the pool.

A sunset walk on the beach.

Followed by fruity drinks at the bar.

 Day 3. Time to get serious.

On our second full day, I decided to take it up a notch.

I read a book,

had fun with Drew in the swim up bar with infinity pool,


enjoyed the hammocks on the beach, 

and the biggest adventure; I swam in the ocean.  Drew is actually the shark bait in this photo but I really was out there before coming in, too.




Rough day: had to top it off with some good food at the Mexican restaurant on premises.

A truly divine view from our room.

Day 4: more of the same but that's OK. 

 We started Day 4 with a sunrise walk on the beach. 
We were tickled to see a seal in the water (to the right on this photo about 20 feet out from shore) who obviously was checking out the people walking on the beach. He/she probably wanted food, but it was cute.

The rest of the day we just repeated Days 2 and 3.  It didn't get old. 

Breakfast at the buffet was always fantastic.


We worked out again. Swam in the ocean again. Read more books. Drank more chocolate martinis. Ate some more.
That afternoon as we sat by the pool, we watched two people get married. Awww.

Another beautiful sunset from our room.

Day 5: Time to say goodbye

We had to catch a taxi at 11 so we had just enough time to watch sunrise from the beach again, eat again, and sit by the pool again for an hour or so to soak up that last bit of sun before returning to winter. The routine wasn't old yet, but it was time to go back to reality.


The flight out of Mexico was fine but we barely made the flight to SLC. I secretly wished we had been stranded in Mexico.  Good bye, Cabo; we'll be back.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Combining work and play in May

In May of this year, I was able to go to the National Groundwater Association (NGWA) annual Summit in Denver: a professional meeting to discuss new research in my field.  My employer sent me, but I went a couple of days early to spend time with my sister and brother in law.  Drew was able to arrange to fly into Denver after a trip to join us.  

What do we do as soon as we land? Go hike!

Di and Tod took us north to Boulder to hike the Flatirons at Chautauqua Park. The Flatirons are a famous formation that was tilted when the Rocky Mountains were uplifted.

The Flatirons are the five slabs of smooth rock tilted at a 45 degree angle in this picture. Classic front range geology!


Front range hikers.

Lying flat on a Flatiron!

Monkey in a tree.


Rugged terrain off the trail.
Quite the view of Boulder from the trail.

I'm happy about the geology. It must have rubbed off on them.

After a day of hiking I spent the next gorgeous spring day in a conference room in a downtown Denver hotel learning about ways to quantify recharge.  Woot woot. 



My lodging for the week of the conference was my sister's high rise condo in downtown Denver.

The view from the condo is spectacular.

Thanks to Facebook, I realized that Judy, my old friend from college, and her boyfriend were in town for a separate conference.  We got to spend a fun evening together in LoDo. The next few days were filled with more conferencing and a visit with a high school classmate who lives in Denver, which broke up the conference nicely.



After the conference I jetted off on Southwest to Vegas.


Before Drew arrived I got in a nice solo ride on the Blue Diamond area trails.


May is beautiful in the desert.

Work conferences all around: Drew's little brother was in Vegas for a trade show so we stole him away to show him the Hoover Dam.



The Hoover Dam from the new bridge.

Dikes of dark basalt cut through light Tertiary-aged andesite or dacite on the walls of Black Canyon downstream from the dam.

One of the giant spillways. You could almost fly one of Drew's planes through here.

All told, a fun week of work and play.