My morning in “Breck”

I’m living like a local now.  Well, for 24 hours at least.

900a, dressed in layers (it got down to 34 degrees overnight) I walked up the street for my coffee fix. I bought a stainless steel thermal mug so most convenience stores only charge a dollar for refills AND I get to use my preferred creamer.

Next, I walked around exploring Main Street and a few side streets (the sunny side of the street). I ate my way back to the villa and scoped out my Happy Hour options. By the time I got checked in and got oriented last night I missed out on HH. I don’t plan to make that mistake again. My goal is to spend less on food and drink all day than I did for dinner last night (though it was worth every penny).

Breckenridge is one of the largest and most popular ski areas in the country, maybe even the world.  It is massive.

I am staying below the 9 on the map below. The big hotels are at the south end of Main Street left is south). It is a short walk from my particular hotel to the Quicksilver Super Chairlift.

I am making these posts with my phone. Breck has a strong 4G Verizon signal everywhere, even in the villa. 

Good news / Bad news

The good news is I have arrived at my next stop. I’ll be spending the next two nights in beautiful downtown Breckenridge, Colorado at the classy Marriott Mountain Valley Lodge.  My nice clean car is safely parked in the underground garage so I can walk to restaurants and drink!! Woo-hoo!!

But now the other shoe must drop. You probably know what’s coming…  As fancy as this place is (I was VERY lucky to reserve it before the price went way up) it doesn’t have secure wi-fi so I won’t connect my computer to it.  So that means no blog posts until I get to Denver on Friday.  Sorry.

I am posting this from my phone via regular internet access. I don’t even set up wi-fi on my phone if it isn’t secure.  


No means no

Evidently Rocky Mountain National Park (well, Mother Nature) just doesn’t want me to check off the final two things on my list.

I asked how long “temporarily” is and she said “oh, a couple of days…”.

So back to Estes Park and will take the Million Dollar Highway south to the dreaded interstate. Beautiful day for a drive, at least.  59 degrees at the East entrance (and for me, exit) at 1226pm local time.

Snow on the mountains

When I went out to get coffee this morning (yes, friends, I fell off the “I’m not drinking any more coffee” wagon about halfway through this trip) I saw this mountain off to my right.  It is Longs Peak, the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park (the east entrance of which isn’t that far away from where I’m staying) and it tops out at 14,259 feet.  I couldn’t see it when I arrived yesterday. In fact, I couldn’t see much of anything most of the day yesterday.  Visibility until I got up here was probably no more than a mile in any direction at any time, and often less than that.

I took this about an hour ago.


I’ve also looked at the RMNP website and discovered they have several webcams throughout the park.  This is the view from the Alpine Visitor Center which, at 11,796 feet, is the highest Visitor Center in the entire National Park System.  It is one of two points in the Park I hope to get to early afternoon tomorrow on my way to my next Airbnb stop.  I have two pieces of unfinished business in RMNP and something I hope to see at this place is one of them.


(Photo credit:  Webcam)

I should also mention that to see lots of great National Park photos from more vantage points than I’ll ever get to, and also many live webcams, you should go to the National Park Service website for the Park of your choice.

Gee, you may not need me any more…..

I’ve also been thinking about what Monday’s snow event brought to Pikes Peak, which didn’t have any snow on it the day before.  I checked a few webcams online and here’s what I found:

From on top of the mountain itself, looking down towards Colorado Springs:


(Photo credit:  Webcam)

And looking at the Visitor Center on top of the mountain:


(Photo credit:  Webcam)

And from down on Highway 24, looking at the mountain:


(Photo credit:  Webcam)


Oh, and I should mention that I was NOT required to buy chains for my car.  The rule out here is that passenger cars must have qualified snow tires with a certain amount of tread depth, or All-Season tires which have an “M+S” rating (for Mud and Snow), or a Snowflake symbol, on the sidewall to travel on interstates or over various mountain “passes” under certain weather conditions.  My new tires do have the M+S designation and are only about two weeks old, so tread depth wasn’t an issue.


Still only 43 degrees here at noon local time.  It was very foggy early this morning at the housing development where I’m staying but the sun is out and all that has burned off.  It is supposed to get up in to the mid 60’s and I’ll wait until mid-afternoon to clean the car.

CORRECTION – Now they’re saying only mid-50’s today.



Temperatures and Altitudes


I mentioned in another post that the winter storm here in Colorado is causing a major one-day drop in temperatures.

At 6pm local time it was just above freezing here in Loveland, which is at around 5,000 feet elevation.  When I started gathering information for this post at around 130am local time (yes, Matilda, call me crazy but I generally post my blog in the middle of the night…) it was 25 degrees.

Over in Breckenridge (at around 9,600 feet) it was 24 degrees at 6pm and is currently 17 degrees.

Back in Durham, NC (which is only at around 400 feet) it is currently 75 degrees (at the RDU airport, actually) at 330am Eastern time.  It’s not even that warm INSIDE the house I’m staying in out here!

In Albuquerque, New Mexico (see next post) it is currently 43 degrees (they are on Mountain Daylight time, as is Colorado).  ABQ is at around 5,300 feet elevation.


Other than altitude, the distance from the equator is also a factor in temperature.

Albuquerque is about the equivalent of Charlotte on the east coast.

Breckenridge is about the equivalent of Baltimore, Maryland.

Loveland is about the equivalent of Hagerstown, Maryland.


I’m getting back in my nice warm bed now….

I’ll post some more “close-ups” from earlier in this trip in the morning as I wait for it to get warm enough outside to clean my car.   Goodnight.


Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The 10-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is underway and will wrap up this coming weekend down in New Mexico.  As usual, they are having great weather for it.

When I added bonus time to this road trip I gave serious consideration to being in town for it but decided against it.  I have a friend who lives in Corona, NM and he told me things get really crazy in Albuquerque for Fiesta and there is gridlock on the roads daily.  These days I much prefer the laid back pace of my scenic roads and I don’t like gridlock (and ABQ is doing road work on a major artery in town and there was already gridlock three weeks ago).

At times Fiesta is gridlock in the air.  Some years they have as many as 500 participants! One of the reasons they hold this event there each year is something called the “Albuquerque Box” which is a repeating atmospheric condition of predictable wind currents which allow the balloon pilots to stay in the same basic area close to town by simply changing altitude.

While I was in Albuquerque a few weeks ago I did go to Fiesta HQ (near the Ballooning Museum which I went to a few years ago) and bought some nice notecards containing photographs of prior festivals.  I guess since I paid for them I can do whatever I want to with them so I took pictures of the pictures and they appear below.

Photo credit: These were all originally taken by photographer Sandra Layne







To see other Fiesta pictures taken by various photographers go to the Fiesta website at (I especially like the Yoda balloon!)