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bike Colorado
With more gold and platinum-rated bicycle communities than any other state and exciting cycling events for amateurs to pros, Colorado is the place to visit for fun on two wheels.
The 2015 USA Pro Challenge (August 17-23) and the inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge (August 21-23) will welcome spectators to witness the world’s best professional road cyclists and iconic cycling routes through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and Front Range. For different cycling scenery and a group ride atmosphere, the 2015 Pedal The Plains Bicycle Tour returns to the plains of Northeastern Colorado September 18-20.
It is guaranteed the USA Pro Challenge will get spectators amped to do a bit of cycling themselves and participants in Pedal the Plains are sure to leave wanting more rides and views from Colorado’s plains. Below is a sampling of mountain, road and cruiser bike rides to be experienced in the host destinations of these two major cycling events.  For more information on cycling in Colorado, visit http://www.colorado.com/
USA Pro Challenge Host Destination Rides: 
Arapahoe Basin—The Argentine-North Fork and Lenawee trails allow mountain bikers to go up and over Arapahoe Basin into stunning views of wildflower fields. Road bikers can enjoy the 20-mile loop around Lake Dillon with rolling hills and a climb up Swan Mountain. For a scenic cruiser ride, the Summit County Recreational Pathway System (Rec Path) connects towns and resorts throughout Summit County.
Aspen—Top-rated mountain bike trails on Snowmass Mountain include the Cross Mountain Trail (intermediate), Wilderness Way (intermediate) and Banzai (expert only). The road to Maroon Bells offers road bikers some of the best scenery Aspen has to offer.  Although Aspen prides itself on its hardcore mountain and road bike rides, it is also a great place to take a cruiser bike ride. The Rio Grande Trail is a gently sloping, mostly paved surface that runs 40 miles from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.
Breckenridge—Mountain bikers can take advantage of a sprawling trail network of more than 50 miles found right in Breck’s backyard. Road bikers can check out the paved Blue River Recreation Path that follows the Blue River through town limits. Cruiser bikers can join the community for Breckenridge Cruisers every Thursday night in June, July and August for a themed bike crawl.
Copper Mountain—This ski resort offers riders an unlimited amount of bike hauls up the American Eagle chairlift for $15 per day. A wide range of beautiful high-country mountain trail rides lead cyclists of all skill levels through forest of pines and meadows. Road and cruiser cyclists can enjoy an exhilarating downhill descent when traveling from Copper to Frisco on the Rec Path or for those wanting more of a challenge, they can ride uphill in the opposite direction.
Denver—The Mile High City boasts more than 850 miles of paved off-road trails. Road bikers can’t miss the Cherry Creek Bike Path that begins where Denver was first founded at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. The path runs along the creek for more than 40 miles to Franktown. Cruisers can look forward to summer nights eachWednesday when Denver Cruiser Ride brings the party to downtown Denver with weekly wacky themes.
Fort Collins—With more than 280 miles of bike lanes and trails, Fort Collins caters to every kind of cyclist. Climb up into the foothills via various road rides that travel along Horsetooth Reservoir. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space offers several rides for mountain bikers who are looking for varied terrain and challenges. For paved winding trails that the whole family can enjoy, the Poudre River Trail and Spring Creek Trail both travel along river fronts.
Golden—Situated in between the plains and mountains, Golden provides a great combination of flatlands, gentle slopes and challenging mountain roads. The ultimate challenge for road bikers presents itself at Lookout Mountain. Tony Grampsas Park features the first purpose-built, mountain bike-only trails in Golden. Cruisers can look forward to the last Tuesday of the month until October when the city gets together for a family-friendly bike ride that takes riders through the town.
Loveland—Devil's Backbone, one of Loveland’s favorite mountain biking trails, is abundant with natural features such as grasslands carpeted with wildflowers that make this a beautiful and adventurous ride. Road cyclists can experience scenic views like Boyd Lake when they travel from Loveland to Drake and Estes Park through Big Thompson Canyon along US 34. For even more scenic landscapes that everyone can enjoy, cyclists can head to the South Shore or North Lake Park along Lake Loveland for a casual cruiser ride.
Steamboat Springs—Set against the western ridge of the Continental Divide this city has all three biking styles covered. Emerald Mountain hovers over downtown and is a local favorite for cross-country mountain bikers. For those looking for downhill thrills Steamboat Bike Park offers 2,200 vertical feet of descending flow trails. The Yampa Valley area provides spectacular scenery for those who are more inclined to road bike. The Yampa River Core Trail allows cruisers to travel alongside the Yampa River across town.
Pedal the Plains Host Destination Rides:
Holyoke—Traveling to Holyoke on Highway 6 or 385 allows riders to see the role that agriculture plays on this small town located 13 miles east of the Colorado/Nebraska border. Riders can expect to see rows of wheat, corn, sugar beets, millet and other fields that line the horizon. Cyclists will also see livestock on their ride across this area.
Julesburg—This gateway to Colorado is a rider’s first eastern greeting when traveling west toward the Rocky Mountains. What was once a city of the Wild West is now a quiet small town that welcomes cyclists who are traveling along the South Platte River. This town is perfect for bird watching and catching a glimpse of the abundant wildlife as you ride by.
Sterling—Located just off Interstate-76, this agricultural community is nestled next to the Overland Trail that runs along the South Platte River. Cyclists will enjoy the serene qualities of Sterling’s natural landscapes. Grasslands and rolling hills make for ideal views of the state’s frontier heritage.

travel troubles

Contemplating a family vacation? Don’t let concern about the challenges of travel keep you from taking off with the kids.

Remember, attitude is everything.

Here are tips for five common travel hassles.

1. Lost luggage: If you’ve stashed medical necessities, proper documents and perhaps a change of clothes into your carry-ons, it’s all good. Buy what might be crucial (and get reimbursed by your airline or through your travel insurance). Then focus on what you do have. You and the gang will quickly learn that less is more. With fewer choices and a lightened load, there will be more time to enjoy the adventures at hand.

Contact: medjetassist.com

2. You’re lost: With GPS and so many directionally savvy phone apps, it’s likely you’ll find your way back on track in no time. Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, interesting sites or a cozy diner that may exist on the road less traveled. It’s also a good time to talk with the kids about how mistakes happen and positive ways to recover.

Contact: maps.google.comroadsideamerica.com

3. Bad weather: When it rains on your beach vacation or the wind howls during a camping trip, it is a great time to look for the alternate adventure. Search for seashells without fear of a sunburn. Break out the board games or learn a new card trick. Campers can stow the tent in the back of the car and check into a hotel with a great indoor pool. Stay flexible. Be creative. And uncover what is possible.

4. Someone gets sick: It’s no fun to feel under the weather away from home. So it’s extra important to have the family’s support. Depending on the severity of the illness, consider the divide and conquer strategy. Take turns enjoying planned activities and staying in to cheer the sick one. If you bought travel insurance, review your options for medical care and reimbursement for canceled portions of the trip.

Contact: travelguard.com

5. The trip doesn’t unfold as expected: Some family members thrive on routine, and travel can mess with the order of things. But it’s also a good time to talk about how life will throw curveballs and it is good practice to learn how to respond to the unexpected. Embrace the serendipitous and know that when snafus occur it can make for a better story. Often, the pesky mishaps are the moments that become family lore and are cheerily recounted year after year.

Fly fishing for families FamilyTravel.com

During a recent outing I was reminded why they call one of my favorite sports “fishing”.

And not “catching”.

It was a beautiful day in the Vail Valley and my son Alex and I headed out for a morning of “Walk and Wade” fly-fishing with a guide from Gore Creek Fly Fishermen.

Scott picked us up at The Arrabelle where we were enjoying a family weekend, and we made our way to a lovely stretch of the Eagle River.  After gearing up we headed into the water, eager for that first, satisfying tug on our line.  Despite our enthusiasm, hours went by with only a few tangled lines to show for our effort.

With Scott’s help, we identified the bugs in the air and traded out flies.

Still no luck.

Despite our lack of “success” it was a beautiful day and we were able to enjoy the cool breezes off the water, the graceful bends in the river and the soothing sound of the luminescent ripples over the rocks.

We practiced our patience and were prepared to depart the river, closed out for the first time in a while.

“Some days are just like that,” we acknowledged.

And then it happened.

First, Alex pulled in a beautiful brown.  With luck now clearly on our side, I landed a rainbow of my own.

Thankfully, the fishing gods had rewarded our patience. And appropriately reminded us that fly-fishing is a total experience. It is immersion into natural beauty. It requires focus and intention.  It’s instructive and meditative.

And while “catching” is desirable, it is only the most highly publicized perk in a diversified program. 

 

You'll find more family fly fishing ideas here.

lynnmakingwineinfrance

“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel's immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way."

- Ralph Crawshaw

(US sociologist, 1864 - 1929)

How will your family stretch this summer? 

What new experiences are on the horizon? 

surfing adventure

Life is full of adventure!

If you are looking for a little inspiration, a few words to urge you into action, you've come to the right place.

Enjoy!

"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of shore." – Christopher Columbus

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” ~ Edward Abbey

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” - Anonymous

Find 49 other inspirational quotes here!

Abaco

Kids can help dad unplug and unwind this Father’s Day by taking him on a fun-filled adventure in the Out Islands of the Bahamas.

Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina is offering a “Father’s Day Adventure” package that will have them hooked.

It includes all the elements for a great weekend: boating, bone fishing and bonding time.

 

This $360 per person, per night, offer is valid - June 18-21, 2015, and includes:

•     Four-day/three-night, beachfront superior accommodation

•     A welcome cocktail

•     Breakfast daily

•     Round-trip airport transfers

•     A bone fishing excursion for up to two adults and two kids under 12, with box lunch included

•     A trip to historical Hope Town for a day of explorations

•     A $50 beverage credit per adult

 

Kids aged 12 years or younger stay and eat free when dining with an adult and ordering off the kids’ menu. 

Additional nights cost $202 per person, per night.  All packages are subject to availability, are based on double occupancy and include applicable taxes, energy surcharge and gratuities.

cycle florida

It's Bike Month. So make plans to cycle with your family in Florida.

Choose your view in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area of the Sunshine State. Roll past nature preserves, city skylines or endless beaches in Pinellas County. Consider the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 38-mile track built atop an abandoned railroad line. The route extends from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Bike rental shops plus water fountains and rest areas along the way make it easy to select one section or take on the entire span.

Contact: visitstpeteclearwater.com.

More family bike ideas here.

Kimpton bikes in Minneapolis

Enjoy a pedal and a picnic in Minneapolis with Kimpton Hotels.

Let the good times roll during National Bike Month. Here are five places to enjoy two-wheeled fun.  

1. Cycle Florida. 

Choose your view in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area of the Sunshine State. Roll past nature preserves, city skylines or endless beaches in Pinellas County. Consider the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 38-mile track built atop an abandoned railroad line. The route extends from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Bike rental shops plus water fountains and rest areas along the way make it easy to select one section or take on the entire span.

Contact: visitstpeteclearwater.com 

2. Mount Rushmore Family Tour, Rapid City, S.D. 

Ride past buffalo. Soak in a hot spring. Discover Bedrock City and learn about the Crazy Horse Memorial. Join an award-winning outfitter for this six-day family bike tour centered on the Mickelson Trail bike path. The “Big Mick” gives families easy two-wheeled access to national parks, active mammoth digs, water slides and rock climbing, with a grand finale in the town of Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane once caused a ruckus.

Contact: bicycleadventures.com.

3. Pedal and picnic, Minneapolis. 

Kimpton’s Grand Hotel Minneapolis offers guests the option to join in a 5-mile guided ride through this bike-friendly city. You’ll arrive at the historic Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls, and savor a picnic brunch prepared by your guide, hotel chef Kris Koch. The ride takes place now through the end of September on Sundays. Self-guided bike packages are also available.

Contact: grandhotelminneapolis.com.

4. Block Island, R.I. 

Ride through a scenery-rich island where more than 43 percent of the pristine natural environment is protected. You’ll explore more than 30 miles of scenic trails and 17 miles of beaches and learn about the plentiful wildlife on this bird migration route stopover. Mostly flat, smooth, paved roads make it possible for two-wheeling members of multiple generations to enjoy this wonderland. You’ll also sample fresh seafood and learn about local history.

Contact: greatfreedomadventures.com.

5. Spokane, Wash. 

Go with a guide or chart your own course as you explore the rail trails of eastern Washington, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and on to the Montana border. Level, paved and pristine pathways make for stress-free and scenic family cycling. Up the adventure quotient by mixing in a day of kayaking, rafting or fishing on local rivers. Stop by a hot spring or consider a side hike.

Contact: visitidaho.orgexperiencewa.com.

Family Travel outside

(Who knew camping could be so comfortable? Photo: KOA)

Modern campers are eager to reconnect with nature, spend more time with family and friends and explore new territory.

If you are inclined to camp, here are five ideas to consider.

1. Get in to the back country. For the purest connection to nature, make your way off the beaten path. Hike, paddle or float into a pristine location where your family can learn or hone wilderness skills. Choose a destination suitable for the ages and abilities of your crew. Encourage each person to take responsibility for the adventure, whether that be early research, carrying a small pack, collecting kindling or serving as master storyteller around the fire.

Contact: backcountry.comnps.gov

2. Connect at the campground. KOA, the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds, has evolved since its inception in 1962. Choose your camping style and destination from among 485 locations in North America and access tent sites, RV hookups, cabins, playgrounds and a range of recreational facilities. Then, let the fun begin.

Contact: koa.com

3. Go glamping. If staking a tent is not your idea of fun, glamping, or glamorous camping, might be for you. The walls may be canvas, but the experience is anything but ordinary. High-thread-count bedding, luxury furnishings, fine dining and uncommon outings often led by top-notch guides define the experience in locales around the world.

Contact: glamping.com

4. Sleep in a yurt. Snooze to the sound of the tumbling Trinity River as it winds its way past the resort near Big Flat, Calif. The 30-foot Pacific Yurt is set amid the Trinity Wilderness Area where bird-watching, fishing, hiking and canoeing await. Enjoy road and mountain biking or check out local music festivals. Learn about the organic coffee grown on-site and enjoy a fresh cup as the morning sun warms the day.

Contact: strawhouseresorts.com

5. There’s no place like home. Family camping can help stir a deep and lifelong interest in the natural world. Therefore, early, positive experiences matter. Discuss the details and set clear expectations. For the youngest set, consider an overnight in the backyard or nearby park. That way, if the weather or unforeseen forces create a kink in your plans, warm and dry shelter is nearby.

beach vacations

The Ultimate Family Beach Vacation is enhanced by teaching the family the connectedness of everything at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

The Eco Adventure Center offers fun things to do that inspire the whole family with Southern California’s unique ecosystems. Activities are led by expert naturalists and the Eco-Adventure Center is dedicated to showcasing Dana Point’s natural wonders.

Throughout these unique excursions, the local surroundings become a natural classroom and living laboratory. Adults, families and kids learn through experience, which instills them with deep appreciation and a respect for nature and the environment.

The Eco-Adventure Center was born out of the need to create unifying family activities that teach everyone about the importance of protecting our planet while creating unique memorable vacation experiences and a lot of fun!

Activities this summer include everything from whale watching to youth adventures and beyond. The Biggest Show on Earth will let you embrace your sea legs and see first-hand why Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West! Take a Sea Hike along Strand beach.

Write, direct and star in your own video while you give the earth a voice. Explore the resort’s organic garden during the day or search the final frontier after the sun goes down searching the night sky filled with stars. The center features different excursions each day and choices in three different age groups.

For more information on the Eco-Adventure center visit www.ritzcarlton.com/LagunaEcoAdventures

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