Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends,

Enjoying the holidays at home in Taos, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a fabulous new year!

Well, our 2018 started at the end of 2017 (we know, that’s cheating), when we visited Colin and his girlfriend Allegra in NYC.  Both of them are busy with their journalism careers, but we were able to enjoy a long weekend together. We took in a Broadway play, enjoyed some fine dining, and took in the holiday sights of Manhattan.  Colin and Chris also visited some of Brooklyn’s leading craft breweries (we’re part owners of Taos Mesa Brewing, a craft brewery, entertainment, and restaurant business in Taos, so lots of “learning” visits on our travels throughout the year). https://www.taosmesabrewing.com

After celebrating the new year in Taos, we spent a few weeks skiing at our home mountain, Taos Ski Valley, before heading out together in mid-January on Chris’ annual six-week ski tour.  This year Betsy joined for the start of his trip to enjoy a get-together with some of our old friends in Lake Tahoe. So, leaving Taos we skied at Aspen CO, Jackson WY, Sun Valley ID, Salt Lake City UT (oops, down with the flu there), then to the reunion at Lake Tahoe CA, where we skied Heavenly, Squaw Valley, and Kirkwood.  Betsy then flew back to NM while Chris continued with Bob Rozen, one of our longtime pals, to Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood OR. They then drove to Portland to visit another old friend and to celebrate the Super Bowl at McMenamins – a powerhouse craft brewer and hotelier among other concerns. Chris and Bob then moved on to Stevens Pass and Mt. Baker WA (where they learned what it’s like to ski in the rain), followed by Whistler/Blackcomb in Western BC.  Bob’s daughter Kaylie, who we’ve known since she was a little girl and who is a top-notch skier, joined them for several great days of skiing there. Chris continued solo to Revelstoke and Red Mountain BC, Bridger Bowl and Big Sky MT, arriving home in Taos in late February. At the invitation of friends on the heels of Chris’ return, we drove up to Telluride to get in some more skiing and enjoy a couple of nights on the town. We returned home to greet Colin and Allegra who helped us end the ski season in Taos.

In early April, a couple of weeks after our ski season ended, we decided to pack up our Sprinter van and head to Southern NM, first to El Malpais National Monument then to the Gila Mountains, America’s first “Wilderness Area,” to do some “glamping”, hiking, and visit some ancient Native American ruins.  We ended that phase of the trip in Silver City NM at the always fun “Little Toad Creek Brewing Co.” Splitting up from friends there, we continued to Austin TX where we hit the music clubs, on to Galveston Island to stroll the beaches, and then to New Orleans to visit the clubs on Frenchman St and join in the music and fun at the NOLA Jazz Fest.  While in New Orleans we were fortunate to have a coincidental and serendipitous encounter with friends from CT and NM that resulted in more good times. From NOLA we traveled up the Natchez Trace through MS and AL to Nashville where Chris participated with his colleagues in the Craft Brewers’ Convention. We continued on through KY, MO, and then to Macomb IL, where we first met, for a visit with our dear friends the DeRooses.  Here, we were pleasantly surprised with another impromptu reunion, this time with old college friends. We then visited with Betsy’s mom and some of her extended family members in the Quad Cities and Chris’ dad and his brother’s family in Fairmont MN, landing back in Taos in early May.

A week’s turn around found Chris off again in our Sprinter to Canyonlands UT to join a group organized by his old friend Brad Kaiser, where they rode the White Rim Trail, a stunning 100-mile mountain bike ride through the government managed Canyonlands of UT.

In June we drove up to Denver to participate in the annual “Summer Solstice Party,” a fun event thrown each year by our old friends Geri and Barb Saye.  Unfortunately, we arrived home to find that Betsy had been summoned to serve a three-month jury sentence, which unfortunately threw a monkey wrench into any more summer travel for her.  Chris however, never one to sit still for long, headed out on one of his motorcycles a couple of weeks later on a cross-country trip to the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. In route, he visited his Dad and brother’s family again, followed by visits with more friends and craft breweries in WI and MI.  Chris then continued east to spend a few more days with Colin and former colleagues and friends in NYC and CT. He successfully made it to Newport where he met friends from Boston and Taos, enjoying three days of fabulous music there. After a fast shot west, spending a night in Springfield IL visiting friends, he finally made it back to Taos in mid-August.

Around this time Betsy added two new members to the family, adopting two feral cats who can’t tolerate being around each other but like the idea of hanging out with her.  One has since taken ownership of our back deck, and the other lives on the roof, but both answer the breakfast and dinner bell daily.

In September we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary here in Taos and then set out in the Sprinter once again for some fall hiking and biking.  We visited Great Sand Dunes National Park and enjoyed the fall colors in Vail, Marble, and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison before stopping in Telluride, Mesa Verde National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, and The South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park for some hiking and biking.  We finished that trip getting pampered at the Poco Diablo Resort in Sedona AZ before sneaking in another day visiting craft brewing tap rooms and taking in some music in Albuquerque, finally making our way home in mid-October.

In November we continued the anniversary celebration because, well, we could.  So, we headed to Maui and spent three wonderful weeks enjoying the sun and surf, going for a daily swim in the ocean, eating lots of delicious seafood, reading by the pool, and seeing the sites.  We timed it right and returned to Taos with one day to spare before the start of the ‘18/’19 ski season, which started here on Thanksgiving Day with plenty of snow.

So, all in a wonderful and fulfilling year with lots of travel, great times with family and friends, music, adventure, and good times.  We’re very much in favor of this thing called “retirement.

OK, looking forward to visiting Morocco, Spain, and Portugal after the end of the ski season and cooking up some more adventures throughout 2019.  Again, wishing you and your families the very best in 2019, health, prosperity, and all the good things life has to offer. Until then, happy trails!

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Love and hugs,

Betsy & Chris