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.

 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?


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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Return to normalcy. Well, OK, to blogging anyway.

For the last three autumns, Drew and I have been so engrossed in coaching high school mountain biking...

Proof: Utah High School League Coach of the Year

that my blog has severely suffered from neglect.  I have missed blogging terribly.  I blog primarily to document the significant happenings of my life in a creative way. I like to look at my pictures and put them together to make a story about the trips, the work, and the projects Drew and I do.  It helps me to distill events down to what I really want to take away and remember about the events that shape my life. Most people do this in their minds, photo albums, or journals.  I do it on the internet. I am that way.

When I don't blog, it means I have either not had a significant happening or that life is too busy to afford time to record my observations and supplement those observations with pictures.  Either way is sad for me. Lately, life has been way too busy. But now, as Drew and I sit in a hotel room in Cabo San Lucas after a few days of utter relaxation and after a few weeks of untangling ourselves from some of the ties we've had to the rat race, I have some time to write.  I hope to catch up with a few posts that have been in my head for months.

I am glad to be back.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune article about work

Here is a link to a recent newspaper article that mentions the monitoring I do out in Snake Valley.  The pictures in the photo gallery were taken near springs I monitor and one shows some of the equipment I have in place.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Breck Epic Stage 6 Complete

The 2014 Breck Epic has come to a close!  After 6 stages of racing on some of the most incredible trails around Breckenridge CO it came to an end today.  240 miles and 40,000 feet of climbing was advertised, but it was closer to 230 miles and 32,000 feet of climbing.  My legs are pretty tired right now and I am looking forward to a few days off the bike.

Before the final stage this morning we used the inflatable legs to improve our circulation.  The owner of the business even brought us shots of espresso during our 20 minute session.

The weather for the final stage was Colorado picture perfect.  Temps were in the low 50's with only a few scattered clouds in the sky.  The mood was festive and we were all looking forward to the last 32 miles of racing.  Rain the night before made for slippery roots and mud puddles out on the course but that only made us smile even more.  The last day of a stage race is always bittersweet.  You wish it could continue since life is so simple when you are on the bike.  Eat, ride, eat, sleep, repeat!

The aid stations were full of festive refreshments.

It has been a long week, though and I miss my wife terribly.  Do you think she would serve espresso to me while I sit in a recliner ;)

Crossing the finish line after 6 days and 29 hours on the bike!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Breck Epic Stage 5 Race Report: major hump day.

Breck Epic Stage 5 was to be where we would reach our highest elevation of the race.   We climbed up Wheeler Passm just shy of 12,500 feet AMSL today.  The weather forecast called for isolated rain showers throughout the day so we dressed for the bad weather.  After a good night's sleep and the leg feeling better I was looking forward to this stage.

Smiles at the start line.

The real kicker of this leg was the fact that we climbed 3,000' in the first 7 miles.  We came out above the tree line around mile 4 with only 1,000 feet of climbing behind us.  I could not figure out how we were going to climb 2,000 feet in 3 miles.  Once I was above the trees though it became very obvious.  In front of me was a steady stream of multi-colored jerseys working their way up the pass.  The gradient was so steep that everyone was hiking their bikes and they were just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other as they ascended the mountain.

Picture 2:  Reaching the top of the pass the Breck' support crew was once again handing out racing supplements.  I heard a report at the end of the day that they handed out 12 lbs of bacon, 4 lbs of Skittles, and went through 2 bottles of whiskey.  I took a hand up of bacon and Skittles but the thought of doing a shot of whiskey at 12,500 feet with a 3,000-foot descent ahead of me kept me from reaching for the glass.

We reached the floor of the valley and hopped on a 6 mile paved bike path that took us out to the town of Frisco.  For the return to Breckenridge we climbed up Miners Pass.  Crazy steep and rocky ascent for 1,500 feet.  From there we joined up on the Peaks Trail.  This is a locals' favorite with technical roots, wooden bridges, and quick descents and climbs through the forest.  I was having a great stage and joined up on the wheels of a duo couple for the last 5 miles.  They had a lot of positive energy and we had fun zorching through the forest to the finish line.

A bit later I was able to catch this shot of my buddy Jim crossing the finish line. 

Today's stats:

28.2 miles
4 hr 19 min
Elevation Gain 4,639 feet
Garmin track here