Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Depths of winter in Taos

Meet....
Frick and Frack...or....Yin and Yang.....or....Heckel and Jeckel......their names are actually Jack and Lily--brother and sister.  One of our big (and hairy) responsibilities while house-sitting here in Taos, NM.  They are two of the most lovable cats I've ever met....
there's never enough lap-time for their liking.....and Lily will often take the shoulders when there is no lap.  Black clothing becomes hairy-white....and white clothing becomes hairy-black.  Ya gotta love 'em....it's not a choice.




Frodo and Pippin--looking for the ring?
We left the boat (on the Florida brokerage dock) at sea-level in mid-December and returned to the icy-snowy depths of Taos at 8000ft, it was like Frodo crossing from his homeland in the Shire to Caradharas (snowy mountain-pass of Lord of the Rings).  

We celebrated our first family Xmas together in 2 years with Krista in from Vermont. 





It snowed....and snowed....and then some more.
Orcs? or dwarves?


And we loved it. Afterall, this was home for 25 years. It made for lots of shoveling....but really awesome skiing.  And since we work up at the Taos Ski Valley---it's called job security.  It's the first time we had crossed over from the recreational skiing to actually working on the mountain. We are part of the crew of 40 in the Guest Services department ----the friendly greeters, ticket checkers  and tour guides on the mountain.  We carry radios, so we can communicate around the mountain and/or call for ski patrol-medical assistance as well.  It's actually a lot more skiing than we had originally thought.  We hit the floor running at 5:30am to commute 1/2 hour up the mountain and don't stop until we get back home around 6pm..... dragging our butts....wiping out our footprints.  
Thank god for the star-lit hot tub here 😅





Ya gotta understand---we haven't worked for 2.5 years--and now we're standing on our feet (or skiing) for 9 hours a day (4 days/week) in the snow and cold temps....for $10/hour....yep, it's good to be humble.  (I can hear the groans coming off the Snook Bar at the marina...yeah, have another sunset beer for me Ron and Brian---miss you salty guys)


1/30 of Taos Ski Valley

Malia hunting for dud bomb ~~~ 😟




We also get to work around Malia, our oldest daughter--28 yrs.  She is in her 3rd year on the ski patrol---one of 3 women out of 40 patrol.  She loves her job----with avalanche bombing her personal fav.  
On our mountain radios, we can hear patrol say,  "Fire in the hole!"  followed by a huge kaboom!!  One guest skier said to me...."sounds like the boys are having fun"  and I proudly say, "yep, that was my daughter."

Avalanche rescue dogs, Hattie and June ready for duty





















Injury rescue out of big steep bump terrain--Malia on left

















Leslie has tele-ski-luv :)  Free-heeling fun!!  




Three years ago the Taos Ski Valley was bought by an environmentally minded billionaire (who also owns several islands in the Bahamas that we visited last winter on Fiesta), and he immediately added a new lift up to a previously 'hike-to' only terrain called Kachina Peak.  It has added a lot more lift-service terrain to our backyard playground---and we love it.
New Kachina Peak chairlift


Riding up to heaven...up to 12,481ft
(thanks to Alain at Cold Smoke Photography for this  action photo of me)











Tim capturing Roswell-UFO cloud on video 

Dos Amigos
One of the best stories to come out of the season, is a small-world tale.  Part of our job is to scan lift tickets before skiers can take the chair lift up.  It's not one of our higher purposes in life, but it can be fun.....or monotonous.  One day, Tim was scanning a season pass card and the last name read Mutchler.  He asked the young woman if she knew of a Dwight Mutchler---and she pointed to the fatherly figure standing next to her.  
"Dwight!  It's Tim Reeves!!!"  
Holy guacamole.  These two had not seen or talked for over 40 years...since they travelled together as young men in South America in the '70's.  Dwight is where Tim had originally learned about the skiing in Taos, NM.  
Long lost traveling friends reunited.  
(note Tim's hat---hand-painted by Malia---they're popular, so she's back-logged on orders)












Long lost friend found us again---JT!!
Throughout the last 4 months we had old friends from the past drop back into our lives....as well as crazy nephews to remind us not to take it all too seriously----thanks guys for 3 days of deep belly laughter----it will cure anything that ails. 



Loco relatives (nephews) to prove our own insanity....
Tim's trademark---who needs ski poles?


Tim's video production creativity has continued from the warm water world into our winter world.  Here's a link to his latest----an imagined perspective from Ernie Blake, the founder of the Taos Ski Valley, revisiting the massive changes to his beloved ski valley.  It's 4 1/2 min.









We have had so much snow, that our season has been extended an extra week---closing date set at April 9th----one more week on the clock and then it's into our next phase.....which is ???   We still don't know.  We're tired of worrying about it, so we will just take it as it comes.  Ya know.....it just always seems to work out for us anyway.  
After all, who needs ski poles?

Little guys are baaaaack!!!
So......friends and family and lovable blog followers.....hang in there with us, as we continue our mid-life wandering and wondering.  


And remember.....we're all here....cause.....
we're not all there.   Cheers!!    



Paid to smile----and ski :)
Laundry day.....is this the north pole?
















Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's a new world....



And so the story begins....again, after 4 months gone.

Before we left Florida in early July.....
Me and "it's me Al"



.......we rendezvoused one more time with my first college roommate, Alison....aka "it's me Al!"  That was her nickname as college freshmen in 1977, and mine was...... "Wally."  Don't ask.





This is the last palm tree this car will ever see...




What happens in Nawlins, stays in Nawlins....








...we bought a 4-wheel drive car (in Florida-- hard to find actually) and then ventured for 5 days back across the southern US--via New Orleans... to Dallas for time with relatives and old friends.....


Big D....

More great old college buds @ the Burgins

Wyly laughter










.....to the dusty plains of west Texas to visit Leslie's brother, Roger, fiancé Vicki and son Dylan Wyly in Lubbock.


Housesitting jobs suck....wink*










Then it was on to the mountains of northern New Mexico where we have a housesitting (and cat-sitting) job for some friends.  It was a beautiful summer at 8,000ft.  

Jack and Lily---double love---double hairy clothes

New Mexico sunsets forever in my heart
Over the 4 months, we worked a variety of odd jobs.  One memorable one was working security for a crowd of 7,000+ fans at an Alabama Shakes concert in our local park (7,000 people is larger than our town population).  
Fried Wyly girls---with niece Stacy :)








We also volunteered for another 3 day music festival, and then we ventured to Santa Fe to help our niece and husband work their fried food wagon at the annual Renaissance Festival. Have you ever tried a Pickle Dog?  You should.  It's their personal savory invention and simply amazing.





Rusty and red leaves





"If I ain't happy here, I ain't happy nowhere..."
We were also hired to clean up and winterize several fall gardens.  And what a beautiful fall it was.  We love the changing of the seasons and had missed this the last 2 years while down in Florida.  



While in Taos, Tim produced 3 more videos—-all 3 can be found on youtube.com—-just search for TimReevesVideos or try this link:          https://www.youtube.com/user/TimReevesVideo

He currently has a total of 54 self produced videos on his channel.  Some serious, some….not….so….serious, like “Zorro’s Treasure Hunt” featuring a local eccentric Taos artist and crazy thespian friends.



Leslie pulled the beads and jewelry supplies out of storage and fired back up her Etsy shop—free shipping for the holidays!!!


This right brain creativity is just what we needed to balance out the left brain survival programing that a 35ft sailboat takes.  Balance is always good. 



I also took some of your encouraging comments to heart, and starting writing a story.  Forever Blue is actually more like episodes, like an hour long TV series.  I drew my ideas and inspiration from the many colorful alternative minded characters that populate Taos, NM—an unforgettable and quirky town.  I’ve thought about this written portrayal for years.  When I arrived back in town in July, I unleashed my satirical view of what Taos is like….in my mind anyway.  Quirky it is.  That’s why we all love Taos so much.  I’ve got 2 episodes written and mostly edited, with more coming.  I might let them go public….and then again, I might not. 
**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

And then it was time to come back to Fiesta for a month.  A time that we were both looking forward to…..and yet, a time to make a decision….a big decision. 
Keep her?  or sell her?

It was a warm Saturday night when our friends, Mike and Patti picked us up at the Tampa airport and drove us to the marina, where Fiesta sat glowing under a near full moon in her slip.  They had cleaned & polished the whole enchilada——all 35ft+ of her.  They stocked the fridge with yummy tastes and favorite sailor beverages….and set the table with dazzling beautiful yellow sunflowers.  Wow.  I was so in love with our sailboat and friends…love you guys.  

Where art thou--C-dock?
We settled into our life on the water on C-dock in the marina.  But soon realized….C-dock feels like a ghost town.  Where’s the dock camaraderie we were so famous for??   Alas, that’s what you can do with a mobile condo on the water.  Change neighborhoods.  Change is good, though often difficult.  Time to move on.





Which brings us to our life change. For 2 years, we have boldly created and accomplished a personal dream I held for 42 years   Tim and I have had a short but exciting adventure of life aboard a sailboat.  Two voyages across open oceans actually felt more like a lifetime and we celebrate the accomplishment of an experience that most will never know, but will live with us forever.   Traveling to turquoise waters and sandy white beaches was part of it, though, in reality, not everyday was a day at the beach.  Boats are tenuous and temperamental...and demanding.  In this second half of our lives, we have adapted to a whole new lifestyle of survival, like the overwhelming learning curve of a 35HP diesel engine and brain taxing navigational instruments for example. 


Highlights----the cruising friends....invaluable, love you salty buggers!  Mother ocean and smiling dolphins....unsurpassed.  Life on wooden docks and white mooring balls....unique.  Living by the weather and winds....exciting! 
Wouldn’t change ANY of if for anything else in the world.  Best 2.5 years of my life. 


Our decision to sell Fiesta has been one of the most difficult in our life.  But for a variety of logical and complicated reasons, we will let her go. 
There is a large financial responsibility to a boat for it's co-operation and health. 
  A boat is a luxury item that soaks up lots of $$$—while depreciating. 
That being said, we also want to say there's much more to our decision as well. Not only do we miss the mountains and friends in our hometown, we want to also be closer to family.  Though a boat represents freedom on one level, it does hold you captive on others. We have an exciting desire to focus on another new type of adventure that includes more travel and other personal interests.  


Bones says--"hello Beastie"
But dry yer eye’s mates and fret not all Ye blog followers!!!!  Arrrrgh…..

It’s not to say that we are done with sailing or adventuring or pirating or hangovers.  Quite the contrary!! There are charters and crews awaiting us, without the stress of throwing another thou$and into the bilge.  
If we can personally accept this decision and wash it down with a shot (or bottle) of rum——then so can you too!!  The Reeves will go onward—forward—swashbuckling down the steep slopes of yonder Taos Ski Valley for this winter.  Our new job is to ski around (oh darn) and pick up forlorn and misguided beginner skiers and drown them (just kidding) in mugs of hot coco.  I’m only trading in my Yo-Ho rum for those traditional “little guys” (schnapps or wild turkey) hiding behind the trees across the vast snowy mountain that we reverently consider close to God.  I realize it sounds like we have turned into alcoholics, but if you all know us, it’s all in good fun and/or.... drowning of political sorrows....it's a new world. 

So dear friends….ditch us or join us….as we adventure on to the next open door in life…back on dirt (and/or snow—just another form of water after all).
When one door closes, another one opens.  

Yo-ho-ho!  Happy Holidays to one and all!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sea Monkeys to C-dock

Ok.....remember these adds about
Sea-Monkeys all over comic books and 
MAD magazine?

"Own a bowlful of happiness---Instant Pets!"

"So eager to please.  They can even be trained"

"Always clowning around, these frolicsome pets swim, stunt and play games with each other."


Well.....here's the fun fact truth about these critters (isn't google wonderful for explaining these childhood questions)


They are actually brine shrimp.  That "frolicsome" activity is either the males fighting or a male/female having some "mommy & daddy" fun that can last for....days.  Yep....days.  Males have beards....females do not.
 They don't have smiling human faces or cute little pot bellies....they don't even have crowns on their heads.  
They are itty bitty shrimp....that's it.

They breathe through their feet....and are born with one eye, but grow two more upon maturity.  The "train your pets" part is that they naturally gravitate towards your finger and/or a flashlight.  So.....you're wondering what this all has to do with Tim and Leslie's great adventure?  

Another skunked metal detecting trip to the beach
 We had arrived the end of April back from the Bahamas to Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Florida Keys.  It had gotten very....very....very warm the last 2 weeks .....uncomfortably muggy and sticky.  Even a dinghy trip to the beach and a dip in the ocean was like bath water.  The sultry night air made for sweaty sleeping.....sweat and wet was the tropical look of the daily existence. 




After a month of sitting on a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor, the growth on the bottom of the boat was ASTOUNDING.....fuzzy, hairy things and small barnacles the size of thumbtacks. 
Typical Boot Key Harbor dinghy---our's wasn't this bad
 In many cases, months of unchecked growth leads to very large gnarly dreadlocked beards hanging underneath.....which actually resemble some of the salty-bearded boat owners of Boot Key Harbor life.....love this laid back harbor.  Anyway......two days before departing we dove in the water with fins, mask and snorkels to shave the crud off....water was murky, dense and dark green.... 
Bahamas waters---see anchor 12ft down





(miss that blue clear water of the Bahamas). 
 We went at it with plastic scrapers.  After an hour, we emerged to find some of that "crud" stuck on and inside our swimsuits.....and then I noticed some of the particles were itchy and wiggling......yup, you guessed it....Sea Monkeys.  Eeeuuuwww.  A shower rinse on the swim platform left a bunch of 'em dry and stuck dead everywhere.  
Learn something new everyday.


Here's a short video of a pot-luck "Dinghy Drift" in the middle of 
Boot Key Harbor one night....



C-dock mates reunion in the Keys
On the fun side of things, we had a great time and rendezvous in Boot Key Harbor with several of our C-dock friends from our marina...5 other boats to be exact.  We're all on a life path of filling dreams and making memories.

More C-dock crazy







After checking several weather resources, we happily departed Marathon on Tuesday morning May 24th with one of our C-dock friends, Kacy and Larry on S/V Providence..... heading 215nm north
Sailing with Providence--Kacy and Larry
back to Regatta Pointe Marina.  It would take 2-3 days traveling an average of 5mph.  We buddy-boated for a day and a night across the Florida Bay--notoriously known as crab-trap-hell---but easy now with the crab season over....and further up the west coast of southern Florida.  It was a banner day with beautiful cloud formations, dolphins and flying fish.  A manageable rain shower followed a beautiful sunset as we sailed on through the pearl moon-lit darkness of the night off the Everglades. 
Tim loves and does better than me on these overnight sails......my beauty becomes the beast without sleep.  Nonetheless, we take shifts of 2-3 hours each.   All night long we watched a spectacular lightening storm dancing through the gigantic cumulus clouds to the south.....as Scorpio chased Mars across the sky westward. 

About 3am, we communicated via VHF radio to our buddy-boat, Providence, as they peeled off towards Ft Meyers anchorage for the next night, while we sailed Fiesta on further north to stop in one of our favorite anchorages in Pelican Bay, near Charlotte Harbor, mid way up Florida west coast.  In bed and conked out by 8:30pm....up at 6am to start the final 70 mile leg of our 6 month journey.  It was another picture perfect day of sailing Fiesta....feeling confident and loving this life.....until....the last 7 miles up and around Anna Maria Island into Tampa Bay.  It was the 3 hour jaunt from hell with 19kt winds on the nose and waves smashing and bashing us backwards.  Fiesta and our amazing Yanmar engine rode that wild hobby horse with determination. Welcome back to reality.  It's in these tough times that Tim takes the helm with strength and perseverance and I tend to whine and curl up in the cockpit corner wishing it over.....or wishing I was a dolphin under water watching from a another realm.   We joke about me being the "Captain" and he the "Admiral"....either way, it's really good to have back-ups and onboard support. 

Back home on C-dock in Regatta Pt Marina
It's been 6 months since we left the marina docks the 28th of November.....4.5 months of it spent wandering around the Bahamas. 

 Ya know, it's all about the journey, not the destination....and where one journey seems to end, another one begins...starting all over again.  
Phases and stages.

We have decided to dock the boat in Regatta Pointe Marina in Palmetto, FL instead of St Petersburg City marina---where we are still on a wait list anyway.  We will be fixing onboard projects for a month....plugged into the dock for air conditioning, thank god.  Around the first of July we will return to Taos for the next 4 months (or longer) to housesit for some friends leaving for Thailand.  We also will be looking for jobs......anyone got one?  

Stay tuned....as we continue looking for "what's next?"

Happy sails and trails!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sailing Angels

"Sailing Angels"

Tim's latest video
Song written and sung by our good friend 
Shake Russell


TimReevesVideo on youtube.com