America the Beautiful and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

In honor of Election Day, I thought I’d write about what’s really great about America—aside from our great democratic process. I could list a lot, but here I’d like to report on our breathtaking scenery, our magnificent vistas. There’s so much of it from sea to shining sea and most definitely here in the Rocky Mountain West. It was indeed from atop Pikes Peak, the 14,115-foot mountain in Colorado’s Front Range, just ten miles from Colorado Springs, that thirty-six-year-old English professor Katherine Lee Bates found inspiration for the poem “Pikes Peak” in 1893. This work would eventually be modified a few times over to become “America the Beautiful,” our National Hymn.

more »

Bike Race Spectating, Colorado Touring, Book Promoting, Travel Adventures Galore Oh My

Taking a Break from Book Promoting Along the Barriers at the Vail Time Trial of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Taking a Break from Book Promoting Along the Barriers at the Vail Time Trial of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

“Have you decided what you’d like to order?” the server of Spencer’s, the signature restaurant of Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, asked me.

“I’ll have the snake,” I said.

When he looked at me in a bewildered manner, I realized my words weren’t matching my thoughts and then I corrected my order. “Oh, I meant to say steak.  Yes, steak. I’m sorry, I’m just so weary.”

“No problem,” he replied and seemingly just minutes later I was served one of the most succulent steaks ever. I gobbled it down along with a heap of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and a big gulp of red wine. I felt exhausted and much in need of sustenance and this unassuming restaurant delivered.

My Travel Memoir/Love Story that Features France and Highlights Colorado

My Travel Memoir/Love Story that Features France and Highlights Colorado

I had been on the road a few days by the time I reached Breckenridge and realized that following a major sporting event, especially one that changes locales daily required a lot of hustling about, but then adding a book promo tour to it was like doubling town. I had been busy much of the summer promoting my new book, A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, although I saved the biggest push for the end when I’d scheduled a number of events and publicity opportunities in conjunction with the USA Pro Challenge, a major bike race which was marking its third year in Colorado. It seemed like a good fit, so why not give it a go? My core audience seems to be made up of outdoor enthusiasts and discriminating travelers, just the kind of people you find showing up for this big cycling event, especially in Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail.

I set out in Misty, my old 1993 Subaru with over 250,000 miles to her credit, late Sunday, August 18, for Redstone, Colorado, a delightful little mountain town just under an hour from Aspen. From Telluride, the drive ranks as one of the finest in Colorado, punctuated by bucolic farmland scenery in and around Paonia and dramatic mountain vistas up and over McClure Pass. I arrived at the warm and cozy Redstone Inn to find its bar and restaurant bustling with Sunday evening diners. more »

Lovely Leadville

Leadville, Colorado

Leadville, Colorado

Biking Fun In and Around Leadville

Biking Fun In and Around Leadville

Delaware Hotel:  The Grande Dame of Leadville

Delaware Hotel: The Grande Dame of Leadville

While I’m enjoying some time with my parents in the Adirondacks, I’ve been marveling at the Facebook posts from friends and contacts in Colorado—an avalanche of images documenting the recent snowstorm across the Rockies. The first big snow always creates a stir, mostly since this indicates that ski season is only a handful of storms away.

From my viewpoint here in upstate New York alongside a glorious lake that I took a dip in just the other day (not intentionally mind you, but that’s another story), I shiver at the idea of snow. Yet when I think twice, the thought of it does excite me—even from afar—mostly because I do love to ski and also because there’s nothing like a crisp, white snowfall to top off an autumnal scene. The trees have barely begun to change in Colorado, so these sugar-coated panoramas will only intensify within the upcoming weeks.

To me, fall, a terrific season for hiking, biking and touring, may best be savored in a quaint town steeped in history, surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty. This describes a good number of destinations in Colorado, however, here I’m focusing on Leadville, an old mountain town I visited last summer and enjoyed immensely.

more »

Read and Listen to What I Say About A Tour of the Heart

A Tour of the Heart book cover

A Tour of the Heart book cover

I’ve been pounding the pavement this past week, promoting my book, A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France. It’s been great getting out there chatting with people at promotions I’ve done in conjunction with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge—it’s always nice to connect with like minded people that enjoy to read. The beautiful cover of this travel memoir/love story draws people in right away and then I take it from there. I tell some people a lot about my book; others just a little—whatever it takes for them to determine if this is a read for them. I’ve done readings, signings and press interviews and have even distributed flyers and postcards the old fashioned way. To me, it has all been important and best of all, it has afforded me the opportunity to chat with people that love cycling, France, Colorado, food and wine, adventure, romance and other components of my story.

more »

Play

The Bike Culture of Crested Butte

ski hill

Sailing Down the Ski Hill in Crested Butte

Fat tires, skinny tires, town cruisers, sleek road bikes, bouncy mountain bikes—you name it, everywhere you turn in this freewheeling mountain town in the summer, you see a cyclist, a bike, a bike part or a bike path popping into view. I’ve been to many mountain towns across the Rockies, yet never have I observed so many bike doings as here in Crested Butte, Colorado. A bike mecca for sure, perhaps largely due to its glorious network of trails (many single track) and the fact that mountain biking took off here in the 1970s after some locals began retrofitting old Schwinns with gears and took to the hills. Since then, the bike culture has done nothing but grow to the point that people of all ages and ability levels can’t help joining in on the fun when they land in this stunning mountain town.

This morning I went out for a little power hike on the ski mountain. Did I feel out of place not being on two wheels? Not at all. Instead, I enjoyed hoofing about at my own pace and observing the biking activities both up close and from afar. From the bike wash station to the easy bike loading setup at the gondola, I realized Crested Butte is a mountain resort destination that takes cycling seriously. I meandered up my own single track that accommodated two-way hikers and uphill bikers, a sinuous path bordered by fields of wildflowers, where I could take in the full expanse of CB’s alpine setting and still boost my heart rate and break a little sweat.

more »

More Mountainfilm 2013 Highlights: High & Hallowed and Running Blind

High & Hallowed:  Everest 1963

High & Hallowed: Everest 1963

Mountaineering and remarkable physical achievements have been a big part of  Mountainfilm, a world renowned festival in Telluride, Colorado, since its origin in 1979. In addition to watching films that raise social awareness, I love taking in adventure films that thrill and inspire me on many levels. This year was no different and the two that stood out for me the most were “High & Hallowed:  Everest 1963” and “Running Blind,” both of which made their world premiere at the festival.

High & Hallowed,” a visually stunning film, juxtaposes the first American summiting of Mt. Everest in 1963 with a recent attempt. Filmmakers David Morton and Jake Norton skillfully tell the story of Everest past and present by marrying old footage with new. It’s also the tale of the West Ridge route, an Everest ascent that has only been achieved once back in 1963 by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld, two members of the original American team. Jim Whittaker was the first to plant the American flag on Everest on the already then-established South Col route, yet even more remarkably, Hornbein and Unsoeld followed up on the same expedition with the West Ridge ascent. Some consider this to have been an even more astounding feat than putting a man on the moon; all acknowledge this as having been one of the most daring climbs in history. And it hasn’t been successfully repeated since.

more »

Mountainfilm, The Last Ocean and Travel to Antarctica

The Last Ocean Penguin

The Last Ocean Penguin

I’m grateful to live in Telluride, Colorado, a town that’s both environmentally aware and full of social consciousness. We’re far from perfect, although as I travel to other parts of the world, I realize how down-to-earth and forward-thinking most of us Telluriders are  and how that effects the way in which we live. From our desire to embrace the outdoors on a daily basis to championing a cause such as eliminating the use of plastic bags, most of us live more tuned in to our little slice of paradise—as well as the rest of the world—each and every day.

Mountainfilm, an important Telluride festival founded thirty-five years ago, is perhaps part of the reason for this awareness. Or, maybe it’s the reverse in that Mountainfilm is able to flourish in Telluride, a community that greatly values the outdoors and being a steward of your surroundings. Regardless, Mountainfilm and Telluride go hand-in-hand and whether here in T-ride or on the road, Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter both in Telluride, Colorado and all over the planet.

There’s so much to glean from Mountainfilm that it’s hard to zero in on one particular film, talk or art exhibit. I typically do, however, and this year “The Last Ocean,” a documentary about the last most pristine body of water on earth, touched me the most. From the opening scene of a penguin scampering across the blinding-white ice to glorious views of whales, seals and other remarkable creatures frolicking in crystal-clear water, I dove into this film with great enthusiasm. As the film played on, I became increasingly heartbroken about how man is impacting this seemingly unspoiled sea, known as the Ross Sea, located in the Southern Ocean. I learned that although Antarctica, the land mass that borders the Ross Sea, is protected by international accords, the water surrounding it is not. Sadly, commercial fishing has made its mark in recent years, so much so, in fact, that this remarkable marine ecosystem is now in peril.

more »

Play

Hawkeye Johnson: Guide, Hiker, Filmmaker and Telluride Adaptive Sports Program Fundraiser Extraordinaire

Hawkeye AKA Michael Johnson

Hawkeye AKA Michael Johnson

“Working as a prison guard makes you appreciate life’s freedoms even more,” says Michael AKA Hawkeye Johnson. Hawkeye’s job as a prison guard for over two decades drives him in both his work with TASP (Telluride Adaptive Sports Program) as well as in his creative and outdoor endeavors. Clearly, he’s a guy that’s determined to help people make the best use of their lives, no matter what’s thrown their way.

Is it possible to embrace the great outdoors after you’ve suffered a life-changing injury? Damn right it is and through Hawkeye’s work with TASP and his two films, “Off the Hook” and “Load Bearing,” we see that people can live fully regardless of their special needs. Hawkeye teamed up with fellow filmmaker and TASP volunteer Craig Stein for both films, shorts which premiered on separate occasions at Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado.

more »

Play
  • Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign Up Today for My E-mail Newsletter
    For Email Marketing you can trust
  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Ads









  • Meta

  • Disclosure

    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
  • Permission

    Please note that unless otherwise attributed to someone else, the content that appears on this Web site/blog is the property of the author, Maribeth Clemente. Written permission is required if you choose to use or excerpt any of this material.