Friday, January 21, 2005

Back from Vermont

We had a lot of fun on our ski trip in Vermont! We left the DC area Saturday morning, after a tasty and satisfying breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. (Was that on our diet?) Kerry & Hugh and George (Kerry's dad) led the way and Joe & I followed. We drove north on I-95 through MD, to the NJ Turnpike, to the Garden State Parkway in NJ, to I-87 in NY, then several smaller roads to VT. It took 8 1/2 hours to get there, excluding a stop for gas and a stop for lunch and bathrooms. The drive was largely uneventful. I was appalled at how ugly and dead it looks in upstate NY at this time of year. I don't know how anyone could live there! I'm sure it's prettier in the summer, but I'd die if I had to live there in the winter.

A few minutes after we arrived Art, Mary, and Kelly arrived from Manchester. We all checked into our rooms at the B&B then went out to dinner. We ate at the Pasta Pot, an Italian place that was dark and cozy. The food was good, but expensive. Later we realized that all of the restaurants are expensive because you're near a major ski resort (Killington) and they know they've got you. When we returned from dinner, Diane & Mark from Boston were there. Our group was complete.

Everything was blanketed in snow and was as beautiful as you'd imagine a B&B in Vermont to look in the winter. The temperature was around 13 during the day and near zero at night, but we were all prepared, and dressed in layers.

Sunday Hugh & I went downhill skiing and Mark from Boston went cross-country skiing. The rest of the gang went exploring the area. Although I used to ski frequently when I was a JW and had lots of ski pals, I had not been skiing in over 10 years. I was excited to do it again, and hoped it would be like riding a bicycle: it just comes back to you. It did, and I enjoyed a few hours of skiing with Hugh. However, I neglected to eat lunch because I didn't feel hungry, which was a big mistake. My blood sugar level must have 'crashed' because all of the sudden I just felt exhausted. So there I was, trying to navigate my way down a black diamond (expert) slope and my energy level just plummeted. Hugh & I agreed we would head diagonally across the mountain so we could go back to the lodge. But we accidentally took the wrong slope and wound up on another challenging expert run. I got so tired I could hardly ski, and I fell a few times. Hugh & I got separated so I exited the expert slope and took an easy but long run back to the lodge, stopping several times to rest. When I got inside the lodge I was so exhausted I could hardly get up the stairs, and I started to feel like I would faint. Fortunately Hugh (who had been back at the lodge for quite a while) had bought me some french fries and a bottle of gator aid, which was just what I needed. After a few minutes I felt better and we took off our ski boots, loaded our gear into the truck, and headed back to the Inn. Then I ate a 1/2 of Kerry's sandwich, left-over from lunch and a banana. I couldn't believe how much better I felt after eating.

Between my falls on the slope and my over-worked muscles, it was time for a soothing soak in the hot tub. The Inn had an outdoor hot tub that was fabulous! Me, Joe, Kerry, and Mark got in and recounted the tales of our independent days. Joe & I got in the hot tub 2 more times on Monday too. It was pretty wild to be sitting in a tub of hot, bubbling water with only your head sticking out, as we gazed up at the stars in the night sky.

The inn had a gathering room with satellite TV and a VCR, so in the evenings we watched some TV, talked and laughed, and even did some karoke. Kelly had brought her karoke machine and CDs so we had a good time with that. Karoke became known as 'Scary-okey'. :-) Mary had brought some appletini mix and some fabulous citrus vodka by Three Olives. Yum......... There were no martini glasses, so we had to drink our appletinis out of tumblers. (Wink-wink at Kerry.)

Monday night it got noticeably colder and the wind picked up. Diane & Mark headed back to Boston that afternoon, and the rest of us went out to dinner at the Black Angus and it started snowing. It wasn't a big storm; more of a light dusting. Since the air is so dry there, the snow is dry and light. You can practically blow it off your car.

Tuesday morning Joe & I packed up our stuff and loaded it into the truck. The plan was that we'd all have breakfast together at a pancake place and then Joe & I would head home, and the others would head back to the Inn. It was bitter cold. The thermometer read -6 degrees. When we tried to start the truck the engine wouldn't turn over. It was just too cold. Hugh's battery pack jump starter didn't help. The innkeeper said he had a super-charged battery pack jumper, so he hooked it up and the truck started. We went to breakfast and the waitress said she heard on the radio that the windchill factor was -50. Although we hated to leave all the fun we'd been having with our friends, we were glad to be leaving that bitter cold.

Just by a stroke of luck, on our drive back home we missed the rush hour at all of the cities we passed! We were really glad about that. Ironically, the only traffic jam we encountered was about 10 miles from our house. I was glad to get home and out of that truck.

Last night we had dinner with Evelyn, and she asked us about our ski trip. Rather than being interested in any of the details of skiing or the Inn, she wanted to know if the ski lodge was nice. She, like many others who have never skied, are under the Hollywood misconception that ski lodges all have a large stone fireplace with a roaring fire, and people relaxing on overstuffed sofas, sipping hot toddies as they read books and tell ski tales. That is not true. I have been to at least a dozen ski lodges and none of them are like that. All of them have a large room with rows of banquet tables lined with chairs on either side, or they have rows of those picnic table style tables with the attached seats. I can only recall one ski lodge that had a fireplace, and it was near the door so that skiers could step in and warm up by standing next to it. There were no overstuffed sofas and no one sipping hot toddies and giggling over unbelievable ski stories. Evelyn was deflated to learn of this, and I think it drastically lowered her perception of how enjoyable the trip was for us. :-)

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