September 26, 2015 Mammoth Cave to Lexington Kentucky

I’m back!

I forgot to mention more about the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield Missouri. This BPS attracts more than 4 million visitors a year! The store started by John L. Morris in an 8 foot section of his father’s liquor store in 1972. In 1974 he began mailing out his first catalog. How many catalogs are produced each year? I don’t know, but I think we get one every two weeks!

We had breakfast at the Huddle House in Kuttawa. Huddle House is very similar to a Waffle House.

Steve was really happy because he had ordered a big breakfast. How big?

Now that is a big breakfast! Notice the circular bone in the ham steak? On many of the nights that I cooked dinner I would make a ham steak and boxed macaroni and cheese. I thought it was hysterical to cut out a piece of ham with the bone in it. I called it “the eye”. I would place the piece of meat (really just a piece of bone) on someone’s plate and say “Have the eye!” Well, I thought it was hysterical. Steve, not so much. He thought it was “stupid”, which it really is! Whenever we have one now, I take a picture of the eye and send it to our son Elliott. He enjoys the joke, our daughter not so much.

No meat for me, but I said “Yes!” To the Grits!

Next stop was Mammoth Cave National Park.

This is a three dimensional model of the cave system.

There were 13 different underground tours to chose from. We picked “Domes and Dripstones”. The description of the tour is as follows:

Wind down through deep pits and high domes via a 280 step staircase. Vertical cave gives way to large canyons and underground hill climbs. Visit the Frozen Niagara formation, then pass through one of the caves most decorative drip stone areas. Total stairs was 500, including 280 on the initial descent. The difficulty was considered moderate.

There were a number of strenuous tours available. Chest or hip measurements could not exceed 42 inches , if you are larger you can not physically pass through the crawl spaces. That’s not why we didn’t go on those tours though, by now you know that I don’t do strenuous anything! Not because neither my butt nor Steve’s butt is too big!

After our trip to the museum we had our briefing by the forest ranger.

Then we loaded into a bus to take a ten minute ride to the entrance of the cave. Looks like we had a few people who wanted to be photographed with us!

A short stroll through the woods.

I see the door! Almost there!

No, it is not an outhouse, but the entrance to the cave. Notice the park ranger, he will be important!

I turned around to take a picture of the outside in case we didn’t make it back out! Good bye world! Into the cave we go!

Down the stairs we went. Except we had to stop and let someone come back out. She had claustrophobia and needed to leave the tour. That is why there were two park rangers at the start of the tour. One ranger to lead the tour and one ranger to escort the people who didn’t want to go on the tour. It seemed to be pretty common, that people would panic and need to leave the tour.

Steve had to bend down quite a bit as he is so tall.

We saw all sorts of interesting formations, like these pillars.

Many sections we had to crawl over sharp boulders.

Some parts of the cave were very open.

Here you can see the stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites grow from the ceiling down. They stay “tight” to the ceiling. Stalagmites grow from the floor up. They “might” reach the top.

These rock formations are called rock draperies.

At one point of the tour the ranger extinguished his flash light and the lights on the wall around us so we could see how very dark it was in the cave. As if we didn’t already know how dark and quiet it would be!

The end of the tour was at the place where the original entrance of the cave was discovered.

It was very cool feeling the cool air rushing from the cave into the warm air outside.

More stairs? Yuck!

I looked exhausted, and Steve looked normal. Well as normal as he can look! You can tell how tired I was, no sucked in gut and my shoulders are schlumped. Wait a minute, that’s the way I always look!

After we reached the top of the stairs from the cave we had to walk on bio security mats to prevent the spread of white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects bats. No, the bats don’t get washed, only human feet. The fungus is in the cave and they don’t want it transported out of the cave via human feet that got wet in some of the puddles in the cave. The sick bats wake up when they should be hibernating. It leaves them weak, decreases their flying ability and they starve when they don’t get food during the winter, as none is available.

Then it was back in the van and off to Lexington!

Lexington Kentucky, calls itself the horse capital or the world. I believe it.

That’s a horse barn! There is a lot of money here!

After we checked in to the hotel we checked Yelp and the best reviews for dinner were for the Gratz Park Inn. It has since been bought by Hilton and it known as the Sire Hotel. (Sire as in father of a horse. Cute!) It was a very interesting old hotel, and there was an Pierce Arrow group holding an antique car show going on that weekend. The parking lot was full of very interesting cars.

These are what the cars look like. I was uncomfortable taking pictures of someone’s car. We were wondering if our van was going to get towed or even ticketed! Thankfully it wasn’t!

The restaurant was called Distilled. Since we were in Kentucky, you know that they were going to have a very fine bourbon menu. Here is just a sample of the brands and the prices. No Pappy Van Winkle! Of course back then we had never heard of Pappy Van Winkle!No bourbon for me, but a nice fruity bourbon drink! It was bourbon, lime, strawberry juice and topped with ginger beer. I don’t normally like my drinks with added fizz but went with the waiter’s selection. It was light and refreshing. I had a lovely Hibiscus poached pear and beet salad with Cambozola, walnut vinaigrette, maiche, and fried croissant croutons to start. Steve had the vanilla bourbon roasted parsnip soup with candied peanut, fifteen year old balsamic (!), celery leaf and lemon to start.With the corn bread and rolls we had fresh honey harvested that day from the apiary on the roof, jalapeño jelly and whipped sweet butter. The corn bread and rolls were eaten faster than I could take a picture! I had the pan seared duck breast with Calvados apple purée, cheddar Gougeres, pecan crumble blackberry marmalade and apple watercress salad. Steve had the pan seared Halibut with saffron cauliflower purée, caramelized cauliflower, chick pea country ham fritter, baby Kale salad and cilantro lime sauce verde.

This was the best restaurant of the trip. Others might have been more fun due to our dinner companions, or the people at neighboring tables, but this was serious dining! No dessert for us. I was stuffed, plus I hate paying for a dessert. If I would go back now, I would have picked the smoky chocolate ginger tart. That sounded really good! After dinner we hit the Liquor Barn to get some Bourbons for Steve. What else would you buy in Kentucky in a liquor store? Steve gets his picture outside the store, I get my picture inside it!

No, they weren’t selling cars. It was just for display!

I am not sure if we found any unique brands, but it was fun!

Then it was back to the hotel and lights out.

Have you ever had a bat land on you and then had your Grandmother catch the bat, pour boiling water on it in a coffee can, and then flush it down the toilet? Well Elliott did a very long time ago! He had to get Rabies shots. As a consolation prize I bought him Nintendo 64. I am a very nice Mom!

Who was your favorite villain or villainess in the original Bat Man tv show?

Are you cheap or do you order dessert in a restaurant?

Santa Fe Mexico to Kansas! September 23, 2015

Up for breakfast for our last night in New Mexico. No one else was up except for the waiter!

I had the French toast with berries. It was berry good!

Steve had the gloppy omelette. Or maybe it was an enchilada!

Then it was one last shut of the door and out the door we went!

We soon left New Mexico.

Good bye mountains!

With each mile the mountains got further and further away.

Soon we were in Texas and we found a grocery store to stop at in Amarillo Texas!

There were lots of wind turbines in the Texas panhandle.

So after Texas it was on to Oklahoma. Steve was fascinated by the signs for clean restrooms at the Sunoco station. I admit that I was so fascinated that I had to take a picture!

Sure enough they had clean restrooms, they just weren’t in working condition.

So the normally family restroom had to be shared. Good thing that they finally put up the sign to tell patrons to lock the door. I am sure there were a few “whoopsies!”

We found a small supermarket in Oklahoma.

They had big logs of ground beef. I am not sure how many hamburgers or meatloaves you could make with that much beef. I found it totally unappetizing and I love meat!

Where we are located the ground meat is sold in small trays, just like the packages on the upper left of the screen. About a pound and a third. I know this as many of my recipes call for 1.5 pounds of beef. This annoys me to no end. I don’t like to adjust my recipies, so my meatloaf is probably a little less tasty than it should be. I have noticed some of those big logs of beef in our area, but way back then in the dark ages of 2015 when we took this trip it didn’t seem to happen as often.

I did find it interesting how small the produce area was compared to the snack area.

I am sure that processed food is much cheaper here than fresh fruits and vegetables as all the crop land if any is for growing animals. I think the other land is for wind turbines and oil wells!

Oklahoma was flat and wet, but beautiful as every where we have seen in the United States.

Oklahoma has the nicest rest areas of any that we have been to. I made sure to tell the ladies at the information desk this. The ladies seemed to be quite happy about this!

Then it was on to Kansas! No, you are not seeing things, the window was a bit smeared because of all the rain, and the photo was enlarged to the state of distortion.

We had dinner at Firebirds which was very near to our hotel.

The Double Black Diamond Martini was so good! After having to lay off the booze while we were at higher elevations it was nice to have a fruity martini again. Of course you know how I like a fruity martini!

I got a little bit annoyed at the waitstaff who told me it was “okay” to skip the appetizers and just have an entree.

A small loaf of bread with butter.

Steak Salad for me.

Salmon for Steve.

Then they said it was “okay” that we didn’t want to share a slice of carrot cake or another dessert. Since when do I need the servers okay to not pad the bill?

Then it was back to Homewood Suites in Wichita.

What is your favorite fruity martini flavor?

Have you ever been to the rest areas on the Oklahoma interstates?

Should I take all my pictures of food before someone took a bite?

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos New Mexico Tuesday September 22, 2015

We told the cook that she didn’t need to stop by this morning to cook us breakfast. She had to travel at least 30 minutes for each meal that she prepared for us as she did not work full time at the lodge.

I was never so happy to leave any place that we stayed at . (At least that I can remember!)

Here is Steve letting us through the gate to leave.

And our van approaches the gate to leave!

Boom! One set of gates done. More to go!

Good bye Cow Creek! Not sorry to be gone!

This whole stay at Cow Creek was not quite pleasant, I find it cathartic to relive it’s end!

Good bye burned out forest!

Onto the dirt road.

Then it was onto a stone road.

Some parts of the road were really bumpy.

Then we got to the narrow section with blind spots ahead.

Where a truck always seemed to be approaching, with poor visibility of the road ahead.

The road was so uneven.

With steep drops offs on one side.

And a truck barreling down the road to look for downed wood in the forest.

I told you it was a bad road!

After an hour on the dirt/stone road we made it to pavement. Yay!

The car was a real mess from the dust and dirt!

Now would be a good time to recap Steve’s thoughts about Cow Creek.

A harrowing drive up the worst road I’ve ever seen, a burned over landscape and truly bad food will prevent a repeat visit, but I caught a lot of fish in our 2 days there. Cow Creek is a small high mountain (8800′) stream, about 10’wide and perhaps 20 CFS, that has been “improved” by digging deep holes every 30 yards or so over a 2 mile stretch. This section is divided into 12 beats. They have also dug 7 ponds. The work was done as tastefully as possible, but still feels artificial. The deep pools and ponds hold bookies, browns, cutbows, and rainbows, some 5-8 pounds. They are very wary and tentative due to the concentrated pressure, I enjoyed catching a few big ones of 4-6 pounds, one of which took a mouse against the bank near the inlet of Pond No. A. With a strike worthy of a lunker bass, but I most enjoyed the natural stretch upstream, which is tiny water full of small wild browns, bookies, and a few Rio Grande cutthroat. With stealth and accurate short casts, even bow and arrow casts, the fish rose to small dries, especially a Royal Wolff in size 18.

I found this place for breakfast on Yelp. Chocolate? Yes, please!

The bakery looked very promising.

We were told to sit anywhere, I plopped ourselves in front of the window so we could watch the bakers. “You looking at me?”

While we waited for our breakfast to be brought over, we enjoyed watching how some of the pastries were prepared.

First the dough needs to be run through the machine, several times to create the perfect flaky croissant.

Then it is placed on the slab, ready to be cut.

Here the baker is piping chocolate onto the dough.

On the right spinach croissants are being prepared.

Our breakfast were derived. I had the blue corn blueberry pancakes with piñon syrup. I probably should have had the strawberries and cream waffle. These were a bit dense and dry.

Steve had some kind of Mexican slop. If that isn’t a gloppy breakfast I don’t know what is!

Then it was time to find our hotel. We went from no stars to a five star American Express Fine Hotel with benefits!

We would be staying at The Inn of the Anasazi.

The hotel was right on the courthouse square. We went for a walk. Come along.

We checked out The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

The church was started in 1869 and is designed in the Romanesque Revival style.

It was lovely inside.

Nearby was the famous Loretto Chapel.

Inside is the miraculous staircase.

There is no newel or center pole. The staircase was built without nails. It is held together by pegs and glue. That is why it was called the “Miraculous Staircase.”

The Gothic Revival altar is made of wood painted to look like marble.

While in Santa Fe we also went to some museums. The Georgia O’Keeefe museum was going under renovations so they didn’t charge us to enter. We also went to the Historical Museum. No pictures allowed!

On the way back to the hotel we stopped to window shop at Lucchese boots. We only window shopped.

Our room was very inviting.

This was the special amenity we were given by the hotel. A handful of potato chips, a handful of popcorn and some nuts. We shared.

We had dinner at the hotel.

I love cornbread, as does Steve.

One of us had a salad.

I am not quite sure what this entree was.

This was definitely salmon!

Dessert was flan, ice cream and chocolate. All three of my favorite food groups!

Do you think I was too hard on Cow Creek?

Are you nuts?

Which one these food groups is your favorite? Flan, ice cream or chocolate?

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos New Mexico. Monday September 21, 2015

Good Morning to you! This is a fish caught on the ranch by a prior guest. That is some fish! And it looks like it was caught a long time ago.

While I waited for our cook to rustle up some breakfast for me I thought I would show you some of the main lodge.

The main dining area.

In the next room there were many animal heads.

Some animal skins.

There were plenty of spaces to sit and chat. However, we were the only guests for the week. Cow Creek has since ceased to exist as a public fishing lodge. Which we thought would happen. There was so much fire damage to the hills, that it was an unattractive place to fish or ride.

My scrambled eggs and bacon came out quickly.

Which were soon followed by berry pancakes.

Steve had already gone out to meet with with his guide for his day of fishing.

While Steve was fishing I hung out at the lodge. A bird watching group from Santa Fe came to search for birds. I was invited but had no energy at this elevation.

They were off for four hours, so I think it was a good decision not to go out with them.

The lodge must have been really something back in the day. It was too bad that there had been so many fires in the area.

A beautfiul fish that Steve caught.

Oopsy!

Nice recovery!

No he did not keep him. Steve realeses his fish that he catches back to the stream. Once in awhile he does keep a few trout when he fishes back home and we eat them, but that is rare.

Here is a closer view of the pond that Steve fished.

Fish in the net.

Sometimes the ending is not so happy!

Then it was time for dinner. More of the salad from a bag with tomatoes and shredded cheese.

Chicken. It’s whats for dinner! Very dry chicken.

For dessert we had pistachio pudding and that same chocolate cake!

After dinner I followed Steve to the pond.

For more fishing.

No, it is not the same fish!

I wanted him to catch me one of the palomino trout, but they were persnickety.

Steve caught 50 fish today. It would be his last day fishing on this trip. Tomorrow we leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico!

Then it was off to bed.

What animal heads are in your living room?

What is your favorite type of dry meat?

Have you ever seen a palomino trout?

Did you that LDR means Long Distance Release?

Are you happy about not seeing anymore fish pictures? Be honest!

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos New Mexico. Sunday September 20, 2015

After I published last night’s post Steve remarked that I did not embellish much about the road to Cow Creek. I told him that I blocked a lot of it out of my memory as it was such a bad, bad road. Steve said that the road was bed rock in many parts and that at times we couldn’t even tell where the road actually was. Yep. That is why I didn’t remember the road. It was bad!

Here I am at breakfast, reading the literature about the history of Cow Creek.

Please don’t quiz me! This is the view of the dining area from the opposite direction.

I can tell you that Cow Creek was founded in the 1800’s as a boarding ranch for wealthy English boys to learn Western ranching. Generally these would be second sons as only the first born son would inherit the estate. In the 1930’s Cow Creek was transformed into a guest ranch. It’s for sale now, if you want to buy it!

Breakfast!

I love my whipped cream on coffee!

Here is a view of Cow Creek and the valley.

After breakfast I wandered down to the horse barn for my scheduled ride.

Can you see the fish in the stream?

Here I am with one of the staff and Lanier one of the owners. This ranch had the first riding waiver that I had to sign that mentioned the possibility of death, I looked at Lanier and asked her how often that happened. I did not relish the thought of being their first casualty!

The creek at Cow Creek was very pretty.

Unfortunately there had been forest fires a few years ago and the hill sides were severely damaged.

This is some damage from a bear that was clawing on the tree!

Look how big the scars are from the bear claws!

My posture looked good, I was happy to be almost done with the ride! At one point in the ride my horse stumbled and I semi fell off it. No worries! I lived to tell the story!

Thank you for the ride Horse!

After my ride I walked back to the room where I rested for the rest of the day. The elevation really got to me and I was exhausted.

This is the living room where guests could hang out. I don’t even remember sitting here reading. I blocked out a lot about the stay at this ranch as I was so uncomfortable with everything about this place. The living room does look cozy though!

This is what one of the rooms looked like. I didn’t find any guest logs to find out if any famous people had stayed here before. Nor were there any other guests staying here to tell you any fun stories about them!

The bathroom.

This is where our meals were cooked.

This is one of the fish that Steve caught in the morning from one of the lower beats on Cow Creek.

Steve didn’t really like these lower beats as they were enhanced.

The fish was a real beauty, but Steve prefers less constructed streams. This fish was 21 inches.

So Steve and his guide moved upstream. This was one of the spots where Steve fished later in the day.

Isn’t this a beauty? He preferred the wild trout as opposed to the larger fish in the stocked ponds. This was his first Rio Grande cut throat.

Here is another area where he caught many wild trout.

I tried sitting here to read for a little bit while Steve was fishing. It got a bit too sunny for me so I went back inside.

I could see the horses gather near the gate while I read. You can see all the fire damage here.

This view is of one of the ponds that were created on Cow Creek.

The rooms were in a motel shape arrangement. They had a very bad fire that destroyed much of the landscape here. You can see how close the fire was to the lodge.

Steve came back from fishing to report that he caught 25 fish for the day, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, cutbow and a rio cutt.

Then it was time for dinner. We didn’t have the cook come for lunch as she had to drive about an hour each way to get to the ranch.

We had a somewhat green salad.

Dinner was pot roast. Followed by the cake from the previous night.

There were many hummingbird feeders under the eaves.

Here is a close up of one of the Hummingbirds. Aren’t they cute?

Off to bed!

What is your favorite type of bird?

Are you a second son?

Would you rather catch a large stocked fish or a small native fish?

Is this place too dull for you? No famous people, no interesting guests with interesting background stories! No pictures of good food! I might as well just hang up my blogging skills. Instead I will persevere, you never know when something exciting will happen!

Dunton Hot Springs to Cow Creek Ranch. Saturday September 19, 2015

We woke up on our last day at Dunton to frost on the ground! Yikes, it gets cold in the mountains in September!

Here is a close up of the frost on the ground.

Here is a close up of my breakfast!

No wonder my cholesterol got high!

This is what I wrote in the guest book! Steve can not stand my printing, he finds it very difficult to read. I agree!

We said goodbye to honeymooners Liz and Zack at breakfast and told them to think of us on their 36th anniversary. Unfortunately Steve and I would likely be dead! A little bit macabre but the truth. Then it was time to leave our little cabin. Since our stay five years ago Liz and Zach are parents of two beautiful children. Good job Liz and Zach!

Here you have a close up. We both need our sunglasses on! But isn’t the light beautiful?

The windshield needed to be scraped as the van was parked in the shade.

After we left the property, I took one last look at Dunton Hot Springs.

We stopped along the road for a few pictures.

Now is as good as time as any to give Steve’s report of the fishing.

The next stop on our trip was Dunton Hot Springs in the San Juan range in Colorado, where I fished the West Dolores. I fished a beaver meadow at the headwaters, a nice canyon stretch just downstream, and a big deep slow meadow section and fast canyon section about 4 miles downstream. Since the water was low and clear, the PMX,Morrish hopper and Copper John were good, but the fish were very wary in their small stream and I got many refusals. During a brief period of off-color water following a heavy storm, the SJW was excellent. The river is stocked each Spring with rainbows, and they grow well-I caught a 20 incher and lost 2 others at least as big, one on a 4′ vertical jump and the other after 2 amazing 8’lateral greyhounding jumps. That fish many have been the most acrobatic I’ve ever hooked. The one section that has the most fish-the big meadow, I enjoyed the least because the bottom is too silty to wade comfortably and the banks are too high to cast from, as well as being covered with thistle up to 8′ tall. I also tried some gorgeous water near the campgrounds but I did’t see a fish-I suspect they all went to the frying pan during the summer.

We stopped by at a grocery store in Durango,Colorado on our way to New Mexico. We didn’t have any time on the way to Dunton.

Then we also stopped at a grocery store when we drove to New Mexico. Notice all the pickup trucks. There will be a story about pickup trucks later!

Lots of interesting scenery. The picture would have looked a lot better if I had rolled down the window or stopped the van and gotten out. No time for stopping -we have a new place to stay tonight.

More interesting scenery. Our next few days would be spent at a ranch near Pecos, New Mexico.

It’s up into the mountains we shall go. Our gps stopped working but we had directions to the ranch. The last ten miles was supposed to take an hour. What kind of nonsense was this?

It was the truth. The road was narrow, with lots of switchbacks. It was not paved and extremely bumpy with lots of 4 X 4 pickup trucks that were bringing back downed trees that they would use for heat in homes that were many miles away. The backs of the trucks were filled with wood and people perched on top of the wood. It was an accident waiting to happen, but we actually never saw an accident. I guess these people were pros at it!

Finally after an hour we reached the final set of gates for the ranch. We were going to be the only guests that week. When Steve made the reservations they told him that they did not provide meals. You could either cook for yourself in the kitchen or hire someone to cook. Steve interviewed a cook who was Hispanic and cooked Mexican food. The only Mexican food I care for are taco chips, and churros. I consider everything else slop. I told Steve that I did not want to eat enchiladas. I would rather have what I considered regular food baked or grilled chicken, pork or beef.

Here is Steve getting ready to plate his dinner. Yes, there is a little bit of a smirk there.

This was our dinner. Salad from a bag, yummy potatoes, canned peas, rolls and really dry boneless pork chops. Perhaps I should have gone for the enchiladas after all!

Well, there was dessert. How can you screw up chocolate cake?

What is your total cholesterol?

Do you eat Mexican food?

Is it possible for a baker to screw up chocolate cake?

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. Friday September 18, 2015

Steve took the day off from fishing. We got to have breakfast together! Waffles, fruits and bacon! Three of my favorites.

We walked to the base of the falls.

Here is a video of the waterfall.

Aren’t we the cutest couple ever? Look! Steve is not wearing a plaid shirt!

We took a peak at the yoga studio.

This is the center of the camp. The fire pit where we would have s’mores at night. The dining hall is on the right, and the on the left was where they would hold large group dinners. The middle section was where they had a small gift shop.

Steve is checking out the river. If there is water and fish, he is usually checking it out.

Lunch!

Dessert! That is bread pudding and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

Omar and T went to Telluride for the day as their riding was cancelled.

Here is a picture of Steve and the waitstaff at the bar for our before dinner cheese and crackers.

What I should have done was started at the top of the list and tried one of the speciality drinks each night!

Here is a photo of Steve from his best angle. Ha Ha!

Normally dinner was at this table, but we were going to be a big group tonight, so we were going to be in a different room. We would also sit on the couches here before dinner also. You could also play pool in the room. Have I told you yet that Steve loves to play pool? He would love to put one in the bonus room at our Lake George house. I keep telling him NO!

This is a closeup of the bar. Supposedly Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were here and engraved their names in the bar. I think that is untrue, but Steve believes the story.

I guess Kay was one of Butch’s girlfriends.

I love the stamped ceiling.

As there were so many guests tonight all 26 of us sat at a long table in the dance hall.

Roasted parsnips and apples with pickled beech mushrooms, crispy Brussels graved quail eggs, and served with a Cliff-Lede 2013 Sauvignon Blanc.

Coffee rubbed Elk tenderloin with fire roasted tomato (some people had red, orange or yellow-very pretty!), root vegetable macedoine, and a coffee glaze. Our wine for this course was a Melville 2013 Syrah.

Dessert had us all scratching our heads. Rainbow carrot and parsnip financier, spiced walnuts, golden raisin purée, and cream cheese mousse. What is a financier? It means fancy little cake, so the dessert was really a deconstructed carrot cake.

After dinner we went to explore the teepee.

As you recall this is Dunton during the day time.

This is the hole in that you had to crawl into to get inside. Originally sleeping in the teepee was an option but as there were too many critters that could sneak inside, they cancelled that option.

Here are Steve and I in the tee-pee.

It was really tall!

Have you ever been in a tee-pee?

Improper bonus question so it doesn’t count: Have you ever peed in a tee-pee?

Did you know what a financier was?

Do you believe that Butch Cassidy and Sundance were actually at Dunton?

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. Thursday September 17, 2015

A view of magical Dunton Hot Springs . You can see the San Juan mountains in the distance, behind the resort which is a restored mining village. The place looks like a dump on the outside, but it is all five star inside!

One of the guests staying here was a big hiker. He got up way early and hiked to the top of the mountain in the picture! Energetic guy. To hike up and back you need to get up way early. Try 3 am early. Not only is it far, but there are bad thunderstorms in the mountains in the afternoons. You don’t want to get caught in that!

Steve had an omelette for breakfast.

I had the mixed berry pancakes. Doesn’t everything look better with confectioners sugar on it?

After breakfast I strolled to the library, lit a fire and read for awhile. Steve went off fishing.

Lunch started with a plate of mixed greens.

This was followed by grilled corn and then beef and pork ribs.

That was some “good eating”!

Here is another view of the bar and where we would gather for cocktails before dinner.

So after lunch I went for another soak in the main hot spring building. Do you see the big gray box in the background by my toes? That is the cold soak tub. After you soaked in the hot springs you were supposed to go in the cold tub. I did it once and did not enjoy it. Steve thought it was quite invigorating. I am not an invigorating type of gal.

This is another picture of the main building. The red sofa in the background is where I was sitting in the prior picture. You can see the cold plunge pool on the right of the picture. This picture is from the Dunton web site.

After my soak I wandered around to take a few pictures. Our little cabin.

The view of the hills.

The stream right behind our cabin where Steve caught many fish.

Later in the afternoon I went to the open kitchen to see what the chef was up to. Looks like a soup in gourds.

Steve came back from another successful day fishing. Today he caught 32 fish!

Before dinner we cuddled up for a cozy picture. We showed all the honey-mooners you can still have fun after 37 years!

Dinner was in fact great soup in mini pumpkins.

Our entree was lamb.

Another delicious dessert.

After dinner we made s’mores by the bonfire.

Someone had a night sky app so we had fun identifying all the satellites and stars above.

Now I suppose it is a good time to talk about two interesting guests at Dunton. O and T. O had a name that you might think was a Sheik or a tent maker, but he was neither. (Think Oscar, as Steve doesn’t want me to say real names!) It was the girlfriend T’s birthday, not a number ending in a zero, just a regular birthday. Instead of going to the Bahamas with friends (they live in the Miami area), O decided to surprise his girlfriend with a trip here. I gave him major props to decide on this romantic trip. A trip to the Bahamas is so last year! You are making an effort when you bring your girlfriend to a romantic ghost town with 5 star accommodations! O liked to hit the night clubs in Miami. I found it fascinating hearing about getting car services to take you out at night and drive you around. I live a sheltered life!

O’s business was real estate investments. Now it is just investments. (Sounds like my friend from Dubai who said he was “a trader”!) O went to college and then got his MBA. He started working for a mortgage broker and started to buy real estate. At his peak he had 5000 units (condos, apartments, multi family housing). His worth, not his net worth (I didn’t ask how much he was leveraged was $750 Million. The market turned from its peak and he had some big losses, but still has money. How do you become a millionaire? You start with being a hundred millionaire.

I never did find out O’s last name. I really would have loved to have googled it. I did try to google O’s first name and Miami Beach real estate but didn’t find out who he really was.

What’s your idea of a romantic birthday celebration?

Do you love s’mores?

How do I get these people to tell me all their stories?

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. Wednesday September 16, 2015

Waffles again for breakfast. Yum Yum.

Steve went off fishing while I hung out. Pretty soon it was time to eat again!

You can tell that I wasn’t crazy about the salad!

We had salmon for lunch.

Dessert was a berry crumble, and a berry bar!

So after lunch I went to the bath house to soak in the hot spring there and then went to soak in the spring outside. It is not really a general store, they just call the main indoor spring the Dunton Store!

This is the inside of the Dunton Store. I got the picture from their website.

With a view of the mountains, it can’t get much better than this! This spring was just outside of the cabin that the couple who owned the fancy Mercedes stayed in. They had left earlier in the morning so I might have actually soaked it in for a wee bit!

This is one of the places where Steve fished today. He caught 29 fish for the day!

Dunton’s elevation is 8600 feet. I celebrated no altitude sickness with a glass of champagne before dinner. And it was a raucous dinner! Two new guests came so I did my social duties and introduced the new comers to our two newlywed couples and our 10 year anniversary couple.

Dinner was a pretty micro green salad (you almost need a microscope to find the individual pieces, although it seems a close up from my iPhone works well!)

The entree was duck breast. The vegetarian option was panned by those who partook of that option.

Dessert was a fig and chocolate cake, I think. It was interesting.

After dinner we hung out and looked at stars!

Was today’s post too short?

Do you think my friend got her AIS at 8 am?

Were you surprised that I introduced all the couples?

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. Tuesday September 15, 2015

Good morning!

Tuesday started with a great breakfast.

At Lunch we had a great salad with a vegetarian stir fry that was so-so.

The cookies with hazelnut filling were spectacular, so I had a happy tummy! I didn’t particularly care for the peach cream pie.

We had a dip in the bath house, and then in the outside spring until we heard thunder. Then it was time to vacate the outside hot spring!

Steve fished most of the rest of the day on the Dolores River and I did some reading. As the elevation here was a little bit higher than Brush Creek I didn’t want to exert myself too much. Our cabin was also the closest to the dining hall in case I had problems breathing. Elevation here is 8600 feet. The elevation at Brush Creek was around 7400 feet. We were gradually increasing our elevation. Our next stop will be at an elevation over 9000 feet. We shall see how I will do in a few days at that higher elevation!

Dinner was most entertaining. (Not because of the food, but the people we met!) We started off with a great garden salad.

Our entree was Trout en papillote, chanterelles, wild leeks, and pine nuts. Served with manoomin roasted carrots and pine cone syrup. The twist was that the trout was baked in a corn husk! What a clever twist on the traditional paper papillotte.

I was not crazy for the rustic apple tart served for dessert. No chocolate!

So today’s crazy story is that there were two guests from Denver who owned many Mercedes-Benz cars. They were having a photo essay done on them for Mercedes- Benz magazine. The couple are avid MB classic car collectors. They own seven cars. ( I think they own three homes and are selling one-but I am digressing here, so back to the story!) One of the cars that they own is a green 1956 300 SL Gull-wing.

The doors open up just like the wings of a gull! The wife even had matching luggage! (Which I didn’t see, but I don’t think she would lie about that! )They stayed for a few days in Telluride and had pictures taken of them in the car tooling around. As the roads to Dunton were too bad the car was kept in an air plane hanger in Telluride so it wouldn’t get dusty until the couple was done with the photo shoot in Dunton!

They traveled with a young photographer. (I wasn’t sure at first what was going on, they appeared to be a threesome, but I couldn’t figure out who was with whom!) The couple were to be photographed in Dunton relaxing in the hot springs and fishing. I know not if they caught any fish! At meal time, the photographer, who always had his eyes looking out the window, would exclaim “The light, the light!” The couple would then dash out of the dining hall for pictures!

They were to leave at AIS 8 a.m. the next morning. This was a new expression to me, and it is something that Steve and I now use. AIS means Ass In Seat (of the car you are going to be driving in!). Now this lady spent a lot of time on hair and makeup, so I am sure that she required a lot of lead time to be AIS at 8! They were going to drive to Gateway Canyons (where I had wanted to stay near Grand Junction-but it was too far out of the way for us) for a continuation of their photo shoot. The photographer wanted to have a helicopter in the photo shoot but the management at Gateway nixed that idea! After that they were going to go to Aspen for more pictures. I was not quite sure how the car was going to get to Gateway, were they going to have someone else meet them or would they have to go back to Telluride and pick up the car?

Now for my curious readers, the car was worth $1.75 to 2 million dollars! I looked it up. There are certain questions that even I don’t ask! I did ask their life story, and here it is. The gentleman started out as an enlisted guy in the Army as a dog handler. After that he started an investment counseling business. Forty years later he owns many homes and vintage automobiles. His wife, who happens to be the original wife(!) was dripping in diamonds. Now ordinarily you always think that someone else’s diamonds are too big, but these were not. As far as I am concerned you can never have too many or diamonds that are too big! The couple were the most down to earth people that you could meet! Only in America, can you go from dog handler to vintage Mercedes-Benz owner!

Steve caught nine fish yesterday including three 17 inch trout! Today Steve caught 8 fish and an 18 inch trout!

Do you own a Mercedes-Benz?

Did you ever have a photo spread done on you or your significant other?

Are you dripping in diamonds?