Liz has her first experience milking a cow
You don’t have to travel to far flung corners of the globe to have unique cultural experiences. A mere 2 hours from home we can attend the State Fair. This two week extravaganza contains plenty of kitsch, but also plenty of good lessons in differences of how people choose to live. We visited the fair on Fiesta Day so just for fun we got a little Mexican culture mixed in with our Farm Culture. Elizabeth enjoyed the dancers and music.
Andrew practices his cattle roping
My kids have lived their whole lives in a single family home in the suburbs. This environment is full of cars and houses with individual lawns. For a few months they lived in apartment buildings in bustling Chinese cities full of people and bicycles and subways. They have never spent much time on a farm though.
We once spent the night at a ranch owned by one of my friend’s parents and watched calves being branded. My friends were surprised at the frankness of my answers when the kids asked what happens to all the cows. Every year or two we visit the State Fair or the stock show and get up close and personal with the animals that produce and become our food. I think these experiences are just as important as any travel to see cultures in other countries.
Driving a tractor wearing Greece caps next to the Nija Beef stand - How multicultural can you get?
Now that we’re back home and both working locally our adventures aren’t quite so exotic, but we try to make do with weekend warrior trips. This weekend’s destination was Breckenridge, Colorado. Just over an hour from home and using credit card points for the hotel made for a quick and cheap weekend away.
Lily Pad Lake
We stayed at the Beaver Run Resort at the base of Peak 9 in a deluxe studio. Since our credit card uses the same number of points for a hotel room that cost $60 or one that cost $150 this was the best deal I could get for the points. The room was beautiful and the amenities were great. The deluxe studio with a kitchenette was perfect for making a quick oatmeal breakfast and storing our snacks in the mini fridge. The bed was super soft and comfy. The location would be perfect for the winter with a high speed lift right out the door (of course we couldn’t get a room for anywhere near the same price in the winter) presently surrounded by wildflowers instead of snow. With a couple of pools and several hot tubs around there was no shortage of water activities to be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. There is an arcade room with a mini-golf course in the middle. Souvenir golf balls are $2 each, so if you know your going to play it might be worth throwing in a couple of balls; putter use is complementary. It was a nice place and I actually felt myself contemplating the possibilities when noticing the real estate add on the back of the door. Hopefully we’ll be back in the winter.
Helping nature spread seeds
The first day we were up in the mountains we rode our bikes about three miles around Dillon Reservoir. This was Andrew’s first big bike trip on his own and racking up over 6 miles round trip did not come easy, but with the promise of ice cream at the end of the ride he persevered. Elizabeth was not too pleased at first to be upgraded from the trailer to the tag-a-long bike, but she got over it pretty quickly and actually helped pedal a bit. The tag-a-long fits in the car much better too.
On day two we hiked to Lily Pad Lake above Silverthorne. This trail was about 2.6 miles according to the sign at the trail head and that seems about right. This was a big trip for Elizabeth and is probably the longest she has ever hiked without being carried at all – not even a few steps. We managed to do the hike in about 2.25 hours, just under our usual mile/hour pace with the kids. There were a lot of races to the next tree and some hide-and-seek games to keep the kids motivated, but it was a very pleasant walk with the kids. At one point they were catching seed heads floating in the breeze. Andrew told me that these were fairies and if you caught one you could make a wish. Andrew wished for all the gold in the world and Elizabeth wished for wings to fly like a fairy herself (with nobody’s help!). The destination Lily Pad Lake was really beautiful, especially when a breeze caused the lily pads to flutter in the water. There is another lake right next to it with a beaver lodge in it too.
Unfortunately, this brings us to Sunday afternoon and the need to return home and get some sleep before the next week of school and work.