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Grateful Dead / Shakedown Street.

A little GD trivia to begin your day…

At what venue did the Grateful Dead first perfom ‘Shakedown Street?’

a. Madison Square Garden

b. Winterland Arena

c. Red Rocks Amphitheatre

ANSWER!!

–katie margrave

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SUNsational!

California is beautiful.  Last summer, Tym and I traveled part of the Gold Coast, exploring beaches and towns along the way. From the northern coast of Humboldt County to Venice Beach, west of LA… California has it all. One of our first adventures was to a beach in Trinidad, about 100 miles south of the Oregon border. Tucked away between two-story boulders and beneath a cliff of a few hundred feet, lies Luffenholtz Beach. A little gem, hidden along the coastline, full of marine life and mystic waves.

 

We arrived early in the morning. The weather was cold and moist. Dense fog lingered in the air. It was a day or so after the full moon, so the tides were much lower than usual. We made our way down the steep, narrow staircase carved into the Earth to the sand below. After hop-skipping across rocks to clear the Mad River, we found ourselves face to face with the Pacific Ocean. Waves crashed around us as we stood in awe, taking it all in.  We walked down the shore, played fetch with our dog and began to explore the beach.  I saw a purple starfish in the sand. Never having seen a purple starfish before, we wanted to get a closer look. As we approached it, we noticed hundreds of starfish and thousands of mussels attached to the undersides of the exposed boulders. It was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it.

…look closely and discover all the mussels and starfish!

 …exploring…

 …one last look…

After leaving Luffenholtz and visiting friends in the area, we headed south, toward San Francisco. I’ve been to San Fran a handful of times and I’ve come to really love it.  The hustle and bustle of city life, yet when you’re there you still feel intertwined with Mother Nature. The rolling hills offer million dollar views at every turn… the Pacific Ocean to the west, the San Francisco Bay to the east, the hills in the distance, and Golden Gate Park in the midst of it all. Tym and I decided to spend a couple of days in the city, to really get a true San Francisco experience. We ate seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf, cruised through Golden Gate Park on our bicycles, strolled through the Botanical Gardens, unleashed our inner hippies in the Haight-Ashbury district, visited China Town, and Golden Gate Bridge.

We could have spent days exploring the city, but we left San Francisco and headed south. We didn’t travel far though, just to Santa Cruz. Having always heard about the magnificent Coastal Redwoods, we set out on a mission to find these Gentle Giants. We found a State Park on the map and made our way to the trailhead. Redwood Trees are spectacular. They’re huge! Towering over the forest floor, the Redwoods live up to their reputation, they just keep going and going! We hiked through the woods, danced around like characters from FurnGully, and marveled at the creatures before us.

We saw a Banana Slug on our hike! Native to Santa Cruz, the Banana Slug feeds on mushrooms…. looks like someone’s hungry!

We finished our hike, said good-bye to the forest, and continued south toward Highway 1.

Now THIS is what I’m talking about! Growing up in Ohio, hours away from the nearest beach, I’ve always wanted to experience the California Coast. When I imagine traveling through the Bear Republic, I’m on Coastal Highway 1, the windows are rolled down, the music is turned up, a Grateful Dead tune, undoubtably. We found a great campsite, on a secluded beach. We pitched our tent in the sand, built a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and listened to the waves. Waking up to the Pacific Ocean in front of you is awesome.

In the morning we cooked breakfast over the fire, tossed frisbee, and built a sandcastle.

Once our sand castle was complete, and quickly washed away by the rising tide, we made our way to a more populated beach, Santa Monica. Glittered with colorful umbrellas, sun bathers, and smiling faces splashing in the water, Santa Monica was alive with activity. We were immediately attracted to the pier, bright colors, fun rides, and the arcade.

There was one more beach we wanted to see before the day ended. So we packed up our things and continued south to Venice Beach. The ‘Shakedown’ of beaches, Venice Beach was a ragin’ good time. Long boarders shredded the boardwalk, pianists tickled ivory keys for passer-bys, ladies sold handcrafted jewelry, $1 waters, hippies, muscles, Venice Beach was overflowing with eye-candy. We found a cafe on the boardwalk, requested a seat with a view, ordered dinner, and watched the sun set.

Muscle Beach… it does exist!

A beautiful sunset.

Once the sun had set, we were in the mood for an adventure. So we headed to Hollywood. And even though it’s not Vegas, we bought a few drinks and made our way to Hollywood Boulevard. We figured LA would be so busy no one would notice the beers in our hands. We were right.  We walked up and down the street gazing at the stars on the sidewalk, rather than those in the sky. No Jerry Garcia star, though… or even Grateful Dead star. We explored the Kodak Theater and El Capitan, sized up our hands to some of Hollywood’s Greatest, and took pictures with the animated characters performing on the street. We met a few other adventurous folks who were doing the same thing we were, so we introduced ourselves, exchanged high-fives, and toasted to our ‘good ideas and like-minded thinking.’

Al Pacino’s hands!

One of my other favorite bands… The Doors.

The next morning marked the beginning of our adventure back home. We headed north, leaving Hollywood and the beach behind us.  And although I expect I’ll be back to California someday, the experiences from this trip will last a lifetime.

A weather inversion over the California hillside.

–katie margrave

Spring Fever in Breckenridge.

We are in the midst of Spring Fever in Breckenridge. It’s awesome. Beginning a couple of weeks ago, on St. Patty’s Day, and continuing through closing day on April 15th, Breckenridge Ski Resort is hosting a slew of events including an on-mountain scavenger hunt, a beer festival featuring craft brews and free music, comedians on Thursday nights, terrain park happy hours on Fridays, and some big name musical acts on Saturdays and Sundays. I saw Julian Marley play this past Saturday, tomorrow Leftover Salmon takes the stage, and Sunday’s musical guest is Donavon Frankenreiter.

Julian Marley was quite the rage. A bluebird day at Breck, the combination of beautiful weather and promise of a jammin’ reggae show brought big crowds to the base of Peak 8. My fiancée, Tym, and I rode the gondola from town to the base area around 2pm. We made our way through the crowd to the bar, bought a round of drinks, and headed out to enjoy the music.

The stage was built on a ski run. Sounds of Jamaican-jam music greeted skiers and riders, while those who were finished riding had plenty of dancing room, at an incredible venue.

Jammin’ with Julian Marley!

Looking back toward One Ski Hill Place. I think it’s safe to say everyone was having a great time.

The SnowCats already hard at work!

Enjoying ourselves before the show.

BRECK!! I love this place.

Want to check out all the festivities?! Follow this link:

Breckenridge Spring Fever

–katie margrave

A Sweet Week for the Buckeye State.

What’s round on the ends and high in the middle?? OHIO! Nearly every time I tell someone I grew up in Ohio they respond with that joke. Truth is, it’s a great place to grow up, there are lots museums, good restaurants and fun bars, world-class amusement parks, and of course lots of sporting events. Nevermind the pros, it’s the college teams that have everyone buzzing. With March Madness in full swing, this weekend marks the beginning of the Sweet Sixteen.

Ohio has four teams in the Sweet Sixteen this year. That’s amazing. Never before, in the history of the NCAA March Madness tournament have four teams from the same state made it this far. That means there’s a 25% chance the tourney winner will be a team from Ohio. It will be a little short-lived since The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati play each other, but pretty spectacular nonetheless. The other two teams from the Buckeye State: the always tough Xavier University and celebrating its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1964, Ohio University.

Here’s this weekend’s full schedule:

03/22
Syracuse
vs
Wisconsin
‎-7:15 PM (ET)
03/22
Michigan State
vs
Louisville
‎-7:47 PM (ET)
03/22
Ohio State
vs
Cincinnati
‎-9:45 PM (ET)
03/22
Marquette
vs
Florida
‎-10:17 PM (ET)
03/23
Baylor
vs
Xavier
‎-7:15 PM (ET)
03/23
North Carolina
vs
Ohio
‎-7:47 PM (ET)
03/23
Kentucky
vs
Indiana
‎-9:45 PM (ET)
03/23
Kansas
vs
North Carolina State
‎-10:17 PM (ET)

Umm.. Could Someone Please Shake My Snowglobe?

Living in the high country, you’re fully prepared for a long, snowy winter. We have a popular saying, ‘you come for the winters, but stay for the summers.’ If you didn’t like cold weather, you probably wouldn’t be here. So when it’s March, and you live in Colorado, you expect it to be cold, you expect it to dump feet of snow. What you do not expect… temperatures near 60 degrees! I saw a lady in town today wearing a tank top…what!?! That’s just crazy. And while yes, it is very pleasant, blue skies and all, I can’t help but wish for some snow. Any snow…. just SNOW!

… the best view… right out my front door.

–katie margrave

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Wow! A new post….it’s been a while. After months of traveling, meeting new friends, and creating new memories I must say, it’s nice to be back in Colorado. There’s just something about those Rocky Mountains I absolutely love. Perhaps it’s the snow-capped peaks that tower overhead like skyscrapers, the endless bluebird days, or maybe it’s that clean, crisp ‘mountain air’ people always talk about when referring the Colorado high country. Whatever it is, I love it.

Even though I’m just returning, my days are still over flowing with excitement. Last weekend I was one of the lucky few who attended the WideSpread Panic  concerts at the intimate Fillmore Auditorium. Completely acoustic, and completely awesome, The Wood Tour is the last hoo-rah before an indefinite hiatus from one the longest, most popular touring jam bands around. Not the usual heavy hitting, in your face, and for lack of a better word, electrifying shows; rather, a softer, flowing, bohemian-blue grass infused jam session consumed listeners and dancers alike. Immediately, I was hooked. Songs I’ve heard dozens of times at previous shows were hardly recognizable as the band explored new ways to play old favorites. This weekend, the boys are in Aspen…. I’d looooove to go to the shows, but as they reminded me in Denver…. you can’t always get what you want.

Oh well, at least I’ll have Phil and Friends to keep me company! As for my other summer adventures, hopefully I’ll have a chance to sit, reflect, and write about them soon.

Want to check out all the Wood Tours shows?? Go to:  http://panicstream.com/

Enjoy!

—katie margrave

Friday Fun Fact #2

And yes, I know it’s Saturday, but I really wanted to post something. My reason for not posting yesterday is because I spent most of it snowboarding at Loveland Ski Resort. Which made me ponder, which state has the most ski resorts/areas? I thought surely Colorado would be near the top, and I was right. Currently Colorado ranks 6th among the 37  US states that have ski areas. What surprised me though, were the states ranked 1-5. Drum roll please….

New York has the most ski areas in the country. I’m as shocked as you. Most of them are relatively small, or private members-only ski areas, but still… I had no idea. Rounding out the top five: 2. Michigan, 3. Wisconsin, 4. Pennsylvania, and 5. California (the only state in the top five I kind of expected to be ranked near the top). Another interesting tidbit to note, Alabama has a ski area. I never knew. All this really says is that east coast, west coast, north, or even down south there are always spots to shred. So find a ski area near you and enjoy the snow before it’s all gone.

View from the top. Love, Loveland.

-katie margrave

I recently attended a magical music event, better known as Winter Carnival 2011, hosted by Colorado based jam band String Cheese Incident. A three night extravaganza, Winter Carnival marked the first time in nearly five months since the members of SCI have taken the stage together. Cheers erupted from the crowd as Nershi, Kang, Moseley, Hollingsworth, Hann, and Travis appeared. Everyone was wondering, ‘what would they open with?’ The answer, a warm, inviting, joyous “Smile.” And so, the sequins coated, neon colored love fest began.

Night one and night two seemed to belong to Nershi. He even sported a shaggy, silver, tinsel-inspired wig proclaiming “I’m Rick James, Bitch!” throughout the second set of the first night. An eclectic style of bluegrass jam tunes with hints of salsa, and trance filled the air. I loved it. Personal highlights from nights one and two included a seductive jig-like “Rivertrance,” an early appearance of “Little Hands” on Saturday, a super funkadelic “Sirens,” and a bluegrass pick to open the second set of night two.

Night three was a spectacle in and of itself. Showing off their diversity, String Cheese left much of the bluegrass influence from nights one and two behind in favor of funky, electronic, techno-ish jams. Needless to say, a dance party ensued. The second set was really the climax of the entire weekend.

Opening with “Howard,” a much-anticipated crowd favorite, one can’t help but to smile, laugh, and dance. Then came the theatrics for which String Cheese Incident has become so famous. Go-go dancers, confetti, beach balls, chicks on stilts hula hooping, ribbon dancers unraveling from the rafters, you name it. A parade of eye candy consumed the arena, overloading the senses.

The rest of the evening seemed to blur by as nothing could top the ‘Cirque du Soleil’ style performance I had  just witnessed. Before I knew it, the show was over. Reflecting now, a few weeks later, those three shows were pretty incredible. The band sounded great. Well rehearsed, tight, and in sync, it was obvious they were having just as much fun as the crowd. And with a few new songs introduced, including “Colorado Bluebird Sky,” “Rosie,” and “Let’s Go Outside,” it’s hard to imagine Cheese only plays a handful of shows throughout the entire year. As Winter Carnival came to an end, excitement and anticipation about future Incidents were already being expressed. Fourth of July road trips to the Electric Forest Festival were filling up the calendars of many dedicated fans. I, unfortunately, may not make it to Electric Forest, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a String Cheese Incident 2012 summer tour.

Anything’s possible, right?!

“Sirens”

-katie margrave

Gaper Day.

Might as well be a Colorado holiday. Yes, April 1st is widely known as ‘April Fool’s Day,’ however in many mountain towns throughout Colorado it’s the locals’ day to act ‘a fool.’ What’s a Gaper you ask? Well, to be honest, it’s our loving way to refer to some of the more mindless tourists we run into on a regular basis. I’m not talking about everyone, just those who ask us questions like: at what elevation do deer become elk? Really!? or how about… where are all the houses those roads go to? (aka the ski runs). So after an entire winter season of tourists asking random, crazy questions, falling off lifts, and having picnics in the middle of the ski runs, we need a day for the locals. Just one, that’s all we ask for. And it’s fucking fun.

Break out the Day-Glo onesies and fanny-packs because 1985 is being revisited. The wackier the better, really. You wanna rock a neon jacket, jeans, and a hat made of orange dreadlocks? Go ahead. You wanna ride those little ski blade thingys through the middle of the Super Pipe? Be my guest. Guys even grow out their mustaches competing in a ridiculous contest known as ‘Mustache March’ to make their look more authentic. And if they can’t grow a full ‘stache, they fill it in with their girlfriend’s mascara. I kid you not. Once you get to the Mountain, it’s game on.

Breckenridge, by far, has the best Gaper Day. Go big or go home, I think that’s pretty much the motto. Ski blades and onesies are sold out across the county. Kids who aren’t normally up before noon (unless it’s a powder day, of course) are mixing drinks at 8am. It’s like Halloween in April, and everyone has agreed to a theme. All of this just goes to show, old trends really do make come-backs… even if they are neon.

-katie margrave

Friday Fun Fact #1

So I’m pretty much obsessed with fun and interesting facts. I’m always learning new ones, so I thought… why not share a few.

Today’s interesting fact: Colorado is the highest state. And no, I’m not talking about rockin’ the Ganga (however we might be in a close contest for winning that title as well). Seriously though, Colorado’s average elevation is around 6800 feet, far surpassing nearly every other state. The Centennial State also claims the title for the most peaks over 14,000 feet. 14ers as we like to call ’em, and there are 54 of them. The eastern most 14er in the U.S. is Pikes Peak topping out at 14,110 feet. Made famous for being the inspiration for Katharine Lee Bates’ poem “America the Beautiful,” thousands of people travel from all over the world just to make the trek, my family included. It really is a sight to see. Just make sure to bundle up.

Our beautiful Earth. Thank you Mother Nature.

-katie margrave

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