SOS - what to do, stuck in Denver

mtnrdredux_gwJanuary 2, 2014

Hi everyone,

We were on our way from Jackson Hole to JFK via Denver, and the snow has led to our flight cancellation.

We have ensconced ourselves in a downtown Denver hotel. Rather than brave the throngs migrating back east tomorrow, we figured we would wait and leave Saturday morning, when all should be clear for sure.

So, we have a totally free day tomorrow. What to do? Most of the suggestions I see seem geared to summer. By the same token, I don't want to ski or snowmobile; had enough of that in WY! Happy to rent a car though. Kids are 10,11,14 and pretty easy going.

I was thinking of seeing Boulder maybe? IDK. We already saw Col Springs and the rock formations and stuff on a different trip a few years ago.

thanks in advance!

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You could get in line for the legal weed sales...

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 5:52PM
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You know, that's sounding pretty good for now. Maybe it'd get the kids out of my hair.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Personally, I'd head over to the Mythbusters exhibit at the Museum of Nature and Science, but I don't know if your family is into that show.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mythbusters

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 6:00PM
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We(DD and family)like taking the kids to see Christmas lights in the different areas of the city. With navigation/seri a map isn't necessary and makes everything easier to find, if you don't mind being a little adventurous. Having an early dinner then going 'on the hunt' would allow for time to get from neighborhood to neighborhood. Stop at Starbucks and get a hot chocolate beforehand.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Estes park??

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:16PM
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Hi ladies,

As it turns out, i bought tickets to the "Passport to Paris" impressionist show at the Art Museum, and we will also take in an Imax film on Meerkats at the DMNS. Should keep us pretty busy !

cool idea about the christmas lights, maybe tomorrow night

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:34PM
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There's a couple of free things that my kids enjoyed, one was the downtown library, it's an interesting design. Also the tour of the capitol. If you feel like renting a car, we actually liked the tour of Coors brewery in Goldern. Free soda at the end.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:53PM
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Head just north to Old Town Ft. Collins. Great pizzeria and shops. Very picturesque. Take a tour of the incredible, really amazing, beautiful (seriously) New Belgium Brewery right there in town. I was surprised at what a fun tour it was. Even our daughter enjoyed it and she was 16 then. It's the Google-esque place to work of breweries. They treat their employees wonderfully and even have a slide or fireman's pole for them to get from one level to the next. Anyone on the tour can try it, too. The kids on ours had a ball there.
Estes Park is gorgeous, but with all the snow that went through, I doubt that you could get to it, even if the road is open.
Enjoy your respite!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 8:05PM
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I was going to recommend the Denver Museum and Nature and Science. It's amazing. I hope you have time to see the exhibits I went as an art student and we were taken behind the scenes to see how things were made. It seems that everything that looked alive was man made and everything that appeared dead (such as grass) was real. The painted backgrounds in the wildlife exhibits were amazing. I'd love to go again someday. That was back in 1978, but by looking at their website those exhibits look as though they are still as magnificent.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Denver Museum and Nature and Science

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 10:31PM
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LOLing at hhireno. That's where I'd be!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 10:41PM
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I would be there too, Dedtired. Documenting history. I'm a photographer in my heart.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Mtn- did you enjoy JH? We're avid back country split boarders and skiers in my family. We landed on the 26th and catching up with good friends and favorite guides we learned of the avalanche that took a mans life on puckerface That very day It has put a sobering tinge on our time here. The slide was evident and sicken my stomach whenever I saw it. Weird trip for us. Mainly as we've all skied slack and back country on moderate days. However this snow pack is pretty sketchy. It's limited our snowmobiling and the family's skiing adventures. I planned to do all resort riding as my fitness isn't back to backcountry splitting condition, but I had family doing the same. Others ventured out further into the gntp and so far everyone is safe.

Sorry. Not related to the question. Sounds like you have found a way to make the unexpected detour fun. Enjoy yourself!

This post was edited by iheartgiantschnauzer on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 2:41

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:27AM
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Last time we were in Colorado we made an unplanned detour to the Buffalo Bill museum and grave site in Golden, Colorado. It's a surprisingly great combination of stunning views, old West kitsch and an interesting museum.

We never actually made it to Golden but I hear that's a good stop too.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Elraes Miller

Welcome to Denver. Please be careful on the roads, the weather can change in a flash and traffic is awful during the oddest times. At least school is out and gives some relief. There are some great, excellent food, laid back restaurants in the industrial area. Perhaps see what is of interest on your way back to the hotel.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:05AM
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Saw this and it reminded me of this thread.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 4:17PM
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Oh my Golddust!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 11:16PM
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Is your Colorado adventure over yet? I'm a weather channel junky and noticed that Denver weather has been a bit iffy for traveling.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Elraes Miller

Deee, 2" predicted, got 6. Typical CO, the sky is a beautiful blue and cold beyond. My street is an ice rink and live at the top of a hill. Rarely does this street have any attention. Tis' why I suggested being careful driving here.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:23AM
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Hi Deee, et al,

Oh goodness, I almost had a heart attack yesterday morning when we got up for our Denver flight, and the ground was white and icy! We really just made our flight, which is not easy with 5 people and tons of luggage/ski stuff. We were delayed some but got home last night, 2 days later then planned.

Kind of an interesting experience in re delays. I am a very experienced traveler, and I never had this happen to me before. We were flying Jetblue to and from Denver, then United into Jackson Hole. My kids strongly prefer Jetblue because of the TVs, which is something I don't think anyone else has even in first class, domestically. And we also get the extra legrom seats on Jetblue, and typically buy two rows of 3 seats for our family of five. End result, better than anyone's domestic first class unless you value airline food and free drinks. (blech)

Anyway, one little problem. If you are 5 people travelling one of the busiest times of the year, it is very hard to find 5 seats the day after storms have cancelled all the flights. Jetblue only has 2 flights a day from Denver (NYC and Boston). Our original plan was to fly into Boston and visit family there on our way back to CT. After the snowstorm, we were willing to fly into either airport.

Get this. When Jetblue cancelled our Thursday flight, they said they next time they had 5 empty seats to either BOS or JFK was Tuesday! Umm, lady, that means staying on vacation and EXTRA five nights ... How can that be acceptable?

We just dropped Jetblue altogether and asked Amex to find us the first five seats going to the Eastern Seaboard Saturday Morning. Those seats cost $1,300 each, or $6500 -- one way of course. We will get a refund for the unused Jetblue seats, but IIRC half of that fare is probably $400 or so?

So we spent $1300 each to fly coach for three hours. There happened to be one seat in 1st and i upgraded to that for like $50 bucks. Shows you how badly we were being ripped off for coach!

It just made me think ... if you fly an airline that has very few flights, you can get really stuck. ANd think of it, what does it cost to put up a family of five for 5 nights somewhere, plus food, etc. I can just imagine some poor family on a tight budget, saved for vacation all year ... what a mess!

Anyway, we were glad we ignored all the airline promises and left the airport early Thursday and got to enjoy 2 days in downtown Denver. The French exhibit at the DAM was great, and the kids liked the DMNS quite a lot too. We were disappointed they were booked solid and we could not get into Lucky Strike; I'd been to one in LA and thought it was great fun.

Right now I am in "I never want to travel anywhere ever again" mode.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:55PM
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We did enjoy JH. We were at a ski-in-ski-out resort in Teton Village. With a family, having a "ski concierge" really really cuts down on the hassle of all the gear and eqp!

I am chicken of speed in all forms (dating back to a very serious moped accident that permanently injured my right leg), so I am the world's slowest skiier. I was very afraid of JH"s slopes. Turns out I think it would be one of the easiest places I've seen for rank beginners, as the Teewinot lift was a few feet from our hotel and from it you could only do greens; no worries about a wrong turn. My girls did that the first day, after that they had instructors but still stuck to blues. My son and DH loved the mountain, but kept to single black diamonds. I got a bad cold the third day so only got in 3 days, mostly with my girls. The spa was excellent. Our best meal was La Couloir at the top of the gondola.

We did a snowmobile tour into Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful, etc. It was very pretty but too long (over 100 miles on those blasted machines).

Glad to hear you are well enough to ski and got to enjoy time with your family for the holidays!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:06PM
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Speaking of getting stuck - aren't you glad you weren't with the tourists who became icebound on the Russian research vessel in Antarctica? However your children would probably consider it a great adventure and it would give them an easy topic for "what I did on my winter break" essays.

Now if I remember correctly - isn't that something similar to what you've planned for next year?

Glad you made it back home safe and sound.

Here is a link that might be useful: icebound

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Glad you are home safe and sound, mtn, even if your flight home was cramped and way too expensive. We've been in similar situations where we had to get home and spent a ridiculous sum to get on a plane and play sardines for hours.

We love snowmobiling but not for an entire day, it is surprisingly tiring and really hard on the eyes, even with goggles. Once out we were out with friends in Utah and ended up lost-- briefly but unnervingly--- in Idaho. A couple of hours is enough for me!

Back in the day when I often traveled alone with children I would book non contiguous seats by design. The person assigned to that seat in the middle of ours usually gave it up as fast as humanly possible, lol. Now planes are much more crowded, but I still occasionally do it when flying with one other person on an empty flight if we're in coach. I am far too cheap to pay for the extra seat and in most first class cabins we don't need the extra room any more. A little curious though----you all fly together? The five of us have never flown on the same plane, ever. My parents didn't fly together until my brother and I were both in college. The Air France charter flight crash in 1962 made an indelible imprint on the Atlanta arts community and my parents flew separately from then until we were older. It was pretty awful, there were more than 100 people on that flight, many couples.... Lots of children growing up without their parents. :-( Living through that time changed our traveling habits forever.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:57PM
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Maire_cate, Yes, I saw that story. And yes, we have booked a fly/cruise to Antarctica next December. Let's hope we are spared any drama. Ironically, the place we visited last December, Cambodia, is now experiencing labor riots. I am not sure we would have included that stop on our trip if there had been rioting last year.

KSWL, Yes, 100 miles of snowmobiling is about 75 miles too much in my book! I thought it would feel like cross country skiiing with a seat and a motor. Maybe because we were on park roads criss crossed with all sorts of tracks, it was not very smooth at all!
As far as air travel, we always go as a family. I do see your point, but moreso if it were just DH and I.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:57PM
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kswl, if the whole family is going on vacation, why wouldn't you all fly together? I would rather the whole family unit die together than have half survive on another flight.

Not long after 9/11 my parents babysat our kids for a week and expected DH and I to take different flights. They did not want to have to raise their grandchildren alone. DH thought it was nuts, but we took different flights.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 12:12AM
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Glad you are home and safe. I've been traveling allot recently with my hubby and will not even comment on flying separately as now that I have that thought in my head I'll be a wreck next time we travel. I finally was finally overcoming my fear of something happening.
Back to therapy!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:20AM
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Chispa, we have family obligations to parents and a few elderly aunts and uncles. Our family is wider than the nuclear family. And, we own a business that employs people. Besides those responsibilities, I don't understand the preference for the entire family unit to die together. Surely you would rather at least one of you survive?

Sorry, justgotta, I did not mean to make flying harder for you.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:08AM
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We have always flown together as a family. I can't imagine the survivor's guilt my kids would feel if half of them survived while the other half didn't. And if I was the parent who survived with half of my children? I'd feel it was my fault somehow that I put some of my kids on a different plane. How do you choose? But honestly, since airline travel is safer than driving, and I drive in the car every single day with all of my kids, I simply can't worry about something that is much less likely to happen while flying. I simply don't have the option to drive my kids separately in the off chance we get in an accident. I can certainly understand why some parents might want to fly separately, but not splitting up the family.

Mtn-my friend's husband is a pilot for United so they fly standby everywhere they go. They flew out west to ski (can't remember where they went, I think Idaho) but flew back through Denver. I got an email from her on Friday night that they were stuck in Denver for the night. I don't know when they managed to fly out, but since they fly standby and are a family of five, they often get stuck. I haven't heard from her, but assume they got home by yesterday (I hope, kids started back to school today). Fortunately though, being in the DC area, they have several airports they can fly into and if necessary, split up. A few years ago, they got stuck coming back from Greece in the summer and it was such a nightmare for her that she swore off flying during height of the season. It took them about 5 days to get back..with several extra nights in Germany and London. She said the amount they spent on hotels and food they could have paid for airline tickets! Another time they got stuck coming back from Japan, but managed to divert to Hawaii along the way so it wasn't a bad stop!

Glad you made it home! Dh is flying out to L.A. next week then after his meetings are done, he goes from there to London but has to fly back this way of course first - going to make sure he schedules either nonstop from coast to coast or through a southern hub, though even that isn't a guarantee in this crazy winter weather!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:51AM
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I'm surprised someone would decide in advance that it would be better for a person, especially a child, to die than to live or grow up with survivor's guilt.

Did not mean to derail the thread though--- sorry mtn!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:23AM
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No worry, I mean I'm not stuck in Denver anymore so, derail away.

I suppose if I were really concerned, we would take different cars and not different planes. But my only nod to these risks is to make sure that our will is up to date.

Fourkids, That's eye opening about your friend's difficulties I guess I should be glad it has never happened to us before! I do dearly wish we did not have to travel at peak times, but with kids in school I think you are forced. I miss the days of planning travel a month or so in advance and having choices!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:44AM
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Thank you for that kswl. You had no idea of my fear as it's not come up before.
I started having trouble doing any driving/riding after one Christmas morning seeing a horrific auto accident on the interstate when going to my in laws. The whole front half of mini van had been smashed clear back to behind the front Captain's chairs making it quite obvious anyone, most likely the parents, where crushed beyond help, leaving anyone in the back half of the van more than likely alive to live with out them. Our children were young then. They are now grown and parents. Traveling longer distances became down right horrifying for me.
I started having full blown anxiety attacks before any road trip for a couple decades, not knowing how to stop them, other than prayer which did help, until I went through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy a couple years ago. I'll just get out my book and start working through this as I already have plans for a trip to Cali with hubby next month. Airline travel is a fact of life for us now that hubby works in Cali four days each week (I go with him now and then) and our daughter and her family (including 9 month old granddaughter) live in Hawaii. I have to deal with it.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:59AM
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But kswl, that is not what I said. I said I can't imagine the survivor's guilt half of the family would feel. I never said I'd rather them die than live. I was simply making an observation about how it would feel to be the surviving family members. However, it's a non-issue for us because we choose not to let the worry that something might happen to our plane dictate whether our family should divide up b/w planes. I think it would also send a message to my kids that would scare them - that there is a strong possibility that one of the planes could crash, so we should fly separately, and then they'd be worried the entire time that one plane might not get there safely. If we played into that type of worry about plane crashes, then my kids would be worried every time dh flies for work, which is frequently. Instead, we choose to point out to them the safety of flying. Plus, as I said previously, statistically it doesn't make sense to me anyway as a travel strategy, given that we spend way more time in our car every day together.

Mtn, I wouldn't worry about getting stuck like my friend does - they always fly standby so it's always a real possibility for them to get stuck somewhere. They are constantly checking the flight reports before they leave to try to make sure there will be enough open seats for their family. It works when they are leaving from home and have some leeway, but when they are vacationing it can be a problem and can get very stressful! They often have to split up - the time they stopped in Hawaii, there were two seats to head home. My friend and her son opted not to stay in HI as they were burnt out from traveling and just wanted to get home. The rest had a leisurely two days in Honolulu. And imagine this friends (who are from DC area) actually bumped into my MIL, BIL and SIL (all from San Francisco but vacationing in Maui) in the airport. My friends have met MIL many times when she has been here visiting, so they recognized each other in the airport. Small world.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:24AM
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justgotabme - I'm so sorry to read about your traveling fears! I didn't see your post until after I posted the second time. I'm glad to hear that therapy helped. I hope that you can work through it before your trip next month.

I think I posted here about my panic attack while crossing a local bridge here about 10 years ago. I'd be driving across that bridge for 25 years or so when it happened out of the blue. I'd never had a panic attack before and it scared the crap out of me - sheer willpower enabled me to get across the bridge as there was no place to stop on the bridge. Fortunately, I've been able to work through whatever fear it was that gripped me suddenly, which my doctor thinks might have been hormonal as I was pregnant at the time. It took a while but I'm fine now. Thankfully, b/c that is the only way to get to our beach house as well as a few other regular destinations, so I needed to be able to do it!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:35AM
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Justgotta, had a short term episode shortly after my first child was born and in a car seat in the back seat passenger's side. I was convinced--- and I mean, completely comvinced--- that people were coming over into my lane from the right side and were going to crash into us and kill my child. DH and my parents all told me it was irrational when I kept pointing out to them what I believed to be obvious instances of cars trying to get over into my lane. I thought they just did not realize the danger. Then I switched his car seat to the other side, behind me, and --- lo and behold, the cars were now trying to crowd into to my lane from the left side. It's not really the same etiology as your situation, but believe me, I understand the problem of fear and an over active imagination that can become debilitating. Luckily I was able to realize from my "experiment" that the problem was with me, but that did not make me one iota less careful, and it took me about a year and a half to get over that very specific phobia. I am not at all afraid of driving, and never was, but I still think some degree of wariness of other drivers is not at all irrational!

Oddly enough I guess, despite what looks like our odd traveling, I am not at all afraid of flying, I know historically, empirically and statistically that it is safe. But the memory of that awful crash changed our behavior forever.

Mtn, you are a good egg :-)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:37AM
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fourkids4us and kswl, isn't it amazing what being a mother can do to us? I had very little fear before I gave birth to our first child and it's never stopped and their 31 and 29 years old now. I remember the first time we drove into the mountains after I was a Mom. I was absolutely sure we were going to fall over the edge of the road down the side of the mountain. BC (before children) I'd sit on the edge of cliffs dangling my feet and bend over to look down! With the way I think now, it's a miracle I ever lived to become a Mom!
I had, and still have now with our grandchildren, that any child not in the middle of the back seat, which is where we put our oldest until his sister arrived, was destined to be injured by a side swipe or T-bone hit. My latest vehicle has a console in the middle of the back seat so I put our grandson's seat behind the drivers seat thinking he'd be safer from T-bone accidents. That worked until the first time I had him on a two lane highway and the fear of someone crossing the line occurred to me. Luckily we rarely go on the highway when he's with me.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Goodness gracious all you air-travelers!!

Wow! I can't begin to understand your Denver issues! What a PITA!
I've always wanted to snowmobile in Yellowstone! Haven't been on one for a couple brother has a ~10yr.-old BEAST sled, an Arctic-Cat 900cc Thundercat. It's not really a "high-altitude/deep-snow" sled, although it can be re-jetted.
* What kinda sleds did'ja get there?!??!
* Where did you stay? Or did I miss it in earlier posts here...?
* We walked thru the Four-Seasons Jackson-Hole this July. DW & I went to Yellowstone for 3 nites, & drove down to JH one day.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:12PM
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Hi Faron,

I know it was an ArcticCat, and that the seats and handlebars were heated, other than that I dunno!

We stayed at the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole. Location can't be beat and service terrific as always. But I thought their food was not quite up to their usual high standards. I also am very tired of the uninspired ski lodge decor. We have been to the 4S in Whistler and now JH, and to the Ritz Carlton in Bachelor Gulch and St Regis in Park City. They all have. the same. decor. We get it. We are in the mountains. It is testosterone country. But can't someone be a bit more imaginative?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:46PM
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LOL Mtd!!

I suppose there's only so much one can do with "Mountain/Woods Decor-themes"!
Being a Guy, I REALLY liked the FS-JH!
To seemed kinda "streamlinedmountainelegantwoodsy"...if that makes any sense?!

I also thought it was pretty DARK in there! Even AFTER my glasses lightened-up, lol! And it was mid-afternoon! We wandered down to the Ski-locker-room too. Lotsa people were out on those neat bike-paths in the Teton-Village area.

For those that haven't seen the place, link placed below. I LOVE their videos!


Here is a link that might be useful: 4S-JH video...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:23PM
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