10 January, 2021

Million Dollar Highway and Telluride - A Travelogue

 Here is the Day #3 itinerary of our Colorado SouthWest trip. We visited Black Canyon of Gunnison on Day#1 and #2. 





Due to Covid, we stayed in the same hotel in Montrose all 3 days to cover the places around. Hampton Inn Hotel in Montrose made sure that they followed all safety procedures for Covid. Rooms are exceptionally clean, contactless check-in available and they provided to-go complimentary breakfast as well. 

We started to Telluride from Montrose in the morning after breakfast. On the way, we made a quick stop at Dennis Weaver Memorial Park in Ridgeway. Just to see this Giant Eagle up close. This park also has river access, so you can get your feet wet and relax.


Dennis Weaver Memorial park, Ridgeway


We reached Telluride by afternoon. The drive was scenic. We took the free telluride Gondola and had lunch in the downtown area. 

Biking paths from Telluride Gondola


Bridal Veil Falls (the tallest falls in Colorado) is not far from downtown. We could see the falls and the powerhouse from the parking area but didn't have enough time to hike to the falls. This seemed to be a busy area with parking lots full. Someday, we would love to drive on the dirt road to reach Powerhouse on Jeep / 4 wheel drive. 


Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride


I am not sure what these 2 blue lakes are. Seems like they got color from some mineral deposits. But, they looked cool!


Telluride

Our next destination was Ouray. We had to skip Box Canyon falls on the way, as we thought we need at least 2 hrs time to explore the falls.

The US route 550 between Ouray to Silverton is known as Million Dollar Highway. It indeed gives million-dollar views!


Ouray

The highway got its name as someone in a planning meeting mentioned that it will cost million dollars to construct the road between Ouray and Silverton.

The scenic drive starts after the Ouray lookout point. The first stop is Bear Creek falls which can be viewed by the parking lot.

Bear Creek Falls


Later, the road goes through several switchbacks, narrow roads without guard rails with 360-degree views of majestic mountains and valleys.

Million Dollar Highway




The Switchbacks

The next stop is Hayden lake on the highway. A beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. Then, we drove through the red mountain pass.

Hayden lake


A few more views


We could capture a few more beautiful scenery before reaching Silverton. Trees were just turning yellow, it was around Sep 20th.



No Gaurd rails



The beautiful Yellows

We couldn't drive to Durango as we had to reach Montrose back by night and we don't want to risk driving the Million dollar highway without daylight.

But, If you plan a trip, stay in Telluride / Ouray so that you can explore the beautiful mountain town, Durango, as well.

By the way, While returning, we had a great Mexican meal at a local restaurant (GNAR Tacos) near Ridgeway. I highly recommend this restaurant if you love Mexican food.

Side Trip Ideas :

Even though we didn't have enough time to cover all places, I made a list of places and Side trip ideas. Hope, these are useful!

  • Telluride - Try Lost dollar road (4 wheel drive required ) and snap a picture of the mountain you see on Coors Beer bottle :-D This is also best to visit during the fall season to enjoy the fall colors.
  • Ouray - Visit Box canyon falls on the way, expect to spend 1-2 hrs.
  • Durango - If you can spend a day in Durango, catch the Durango to Silverton Narrow gauge train / hike the Animas river trail. A dip in Durango hot springs would be relaxing too. 
  • Silverton - Try the gold mine tour
On Day #4, while returning to Colorado Springs, we drove through Crested Butte and covered 2 more scenic drives. Those details will be in my next travelogue. Stay tuned.

Until then,

Stay safe.






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Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne at everydaygyaan







28 December, 2020

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett - [Book Review]

Book Details:


Title : The Dutch House

Author: Ann Patchett

Genre: Women Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (September 24, 2019)

Print Length : 302 pages

Source: An e-copy from the local library




Blurb:


Lose yourself in the story of a lifetime – the unforgettable Sunday Times bestseller
'Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature' Guardian
Longlisted for the Women's Prize 2020


A STORY OF TWO SIBLINGS, THEIR CHILDHOOD HOME, AND A PAST THAT THEY CAN'T LET GO.


Like swallows, like salmon, we were the helpless captives of our migratory patterns. We pretended that what we had lost was the house, not our mother, not our father. We pretended that what we had lost had been taken from us by the person who still lived inside.


'The best book I've read in years' Rosamund Lupton
'Her finest novel yet' Sunday Times
'The buzz around The Dutch House is totally justified. Her best yet, which is saying something' John Boyne
'A masterpiece' Cathy Rentzenbrink
'Bliss' Nigella Lawson

Purchase Link:


My Review:


About relationships and letting them go

I loved the Dutch house for the characters and emotions. The story runs around the Dutch house where May and Danny spend their childhood. Even though they hate the house when their stepmother throws them out, with the return of their own mother, they learn to let things go and re-cherish their moments again from the Dutch house.

 It is medium-paced fiction with more weight on emotions than twists in the story. The brother-sister love is depicted very well. The story covers the life of Danny and May. It also covers the story of their parents and the lives of their nanny and caretakers. 

The major message at the end is to let things go, take their own course, leave grudges, forgive, and live for others. The last phase of the story is important with an interesting turn of events. I enjoyed reading these kinds of stories that are nearer to real lives highlighting the emotions and feelings of people.

My Rating : 5/5


About the Author:

Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.

She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."

Patchett attended high school at St. Bernard Academy, a private, non-parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy. Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with Allan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley. She later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she met longtime friend Elizabeth McCracken. It was also there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.

In 2010, when she found that her hometown of Nashville no longer had a good book store, she co-founded Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes; the store opened in November 2011. In 2012, Patchett was on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.

Until next time,



The Adventures of Rutherford, Canine Comic by John Madormo - [Book Review]

 Book Details:

Title: The Adventures of Rutherford, Canine Comic

Author: John V Madormo

Genre: Middle-grade fiction, Children's dog books, Children's book

Publisher: Zumaya Thresholds (September 11, 2020)

Print Length: 153 pages

Source: A free print copy from the author for review


The Adventures of RutherfordCanine Comic
(synopsis)


Some dogs fetch sticks.  Others roll over.  Some even play dead.  But have you ever heard of a dog who tells jokes?  Meet Rutherford—a bona fide stand-up comedian.  While other dogs spend their time drinking from the toilet, this one regales his cohorts at the local animal shelter. 

The Adventures of Rutherford, Canine Comic is a middle-grade novel told from the perspective of the title character.  It features the exploits of a basset hound whose only goal in life is to become a faithful and fearless family watchdog.  But when an accident leaves Rutherford with two broken rear legs, his dreams of protecting the hearth soon fade.

 
Rutherford, the basset hound who always had hopes of becoming a watchdog someday, and who was never able to fulfill his dream, single-handedly manages to break up an illegal dog fighting ring, saves the lives of several innocent dogs, and is reunited with his best friend.




Purchase Link:


My Review :


I never read a story told from a perspective of a dog and this is my first one. It really impressed me a lot with the way it's written.

I am not a person who loves to have pets, but still I loved the story. Rutherford's story is genuine and emotional. Whether we are a dog lover or not, it creates empathy in our hearts after reading this.

The concept and storyline are unique. The jokes are really cool and entertaining. The characters are wonderful - especially Marge and Adam's family. Here are some snippets from the story that I liked.





Even though this is middle-grade fiction, I felt the story is matured with some morals about life. 





I would give it full stars for the way it's written. I would recommend this book to high schoolers even if they are not dog lovers/pet owners.

My Rating: 5/5


About the Author:


John Madormo, a Chicago area screenwriter, author, and college professor, has created a body of work that has attracted the attention of motion picture producers and publishers. John has sold a family comedy screenplay to a Los Angeles production company, is the author of a mystery series with a major New York publisher, and was recently named the Grand Prize winner of a national writing competition.



Here are just a few of his accomplishments:

- John is the author of a four-book series with Penguin Books for Young Readers. The middle-grade mystery series, "Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire," is a tale about yours truly, a 12-year-old private detective, who sets up shop in his parents' garage and solves cases for fellow sixth-grade classmates. The debut novel, "The Homemade Stuffing Caper," was released in May, 2012. The sequel, "The Camp Phoenix Caper," was released in February, 2013. Book #3 in the series, "The Copy Cat Caper," hit bookstore shelves in September, 2013. And Book#4 debuted in 2017.


Until next time,


20 December, 2020

Word of the year 2021 #MondayMusings

I usually, don't make any resolutions for the new year as I believe anything good can be started any day of the year. But, I started this tradition of choosing a Word of the Year from other blogger friends. I choose a word, keep that in mind for the whole year as guidance.

My Word for this year 2020 is Self Care. Read this post to know why I set it. 





How did I follow this in 2020?

If I should rate myself, I followed it 7/10, and then I was carried away with work pressure and technical learning for the remaining 30% and completely ignored the Self-care part. Not bad though, I never expected myself to follow my word of the year 100% though it's an ideal case. 

Self-care to me means spending some time on myself which makes me feel happy. I love to travel, sleep, read books, learn new things, dance, blog, and so on.

Covid didn't allow us to travel as much as we wanted to, but I am grateful to have explored many local places instead. I kept blogging and book reading aside mostly to not stress myself more. I might not have spent more than a few hrs on painting. Most of my 2020 went to work, family, dance school, and nothing else. 

Increased my sleep time more than the earlier years and took care of my health. I could improve a bit on yoga which helped with my health too. But, I was not successful in removing my stress completely in daily life. This in turn impacts Self-care. 

So, as a continuation of this year's goals, I choose my word of the year for 2021 as Relax




The work, family, cooking, and all are a routine, but I am planning to take things easy, slow down, and not be more ambitious / be a perfectionist in whatever I do. 


I don't want to go by the plan as I usually do and go with the flow and situations. I want to make decisions on the fly, respond as per the situations. This is so unlike me as I always plan too much. I am thinking to enjoy my present instead of planning more for the future.





What are your plans for the new year? Any resolutions/goals / any word that you want to focus on? Do let me know in the comments. 

Until next time,




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Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne @ everydaygyaan






13 December, 2020

What 2020 has taught me? #MondayMusings

 2020 has been a great year for me both personally and professionally if I minus Covid 19. But, the Covid part has also taught many life lessons. So, of course, 2020 is special. 

Did you learn or experience anything new due to quarantines and social distancing in 2020?





Here are some life lessons that 2020 taught me:

Small things turn out to be BIG things 

Before 2020, did anyone think these are such a luxury?

  • Meeting friends without a mask 
  • Traveling to any place whenever we like without the fear of contacting covid
  • Arranging house parties with friends or attending dinners at restaurants with family
  • Children playing at schools and interacting with their friends instead of connecting them through online only

Maybe these are not small things anymore. 


More family time is possible in our busy lives

I realized that before Covid, I was running between work, kids, family, dance blah blah always without spending much time on what is worth for.

Forcibly, we are working from home, kids are learning online from home, no outside work like running between kids swimming lessons/drawing classes/library visits. We reduced grocery visits too fearing the spread of Corona Virus.

So, what are we left with? The family stuck together at home.

That means - More family movies, nice bedtime stories to kids, more free time in the mornings chatting with hubby, restful afternoon naps on weekends, time for yoga online classes on weekday evenings, time to try different recipes, and so on.  

This taught me one thing - It's ok not to run in our lives and slow down a bit. It's worth to spend more time with family instead. 





All you need is less

Due to Covid, our grocery visits have reduced to half from what it was before. Credit card bills were non-existent for a few months.

This made me realize that less is enough. In 2020, I might have purchased clothes just once, that too the comfort clothes for daily use. We all learned to lead lives with minimalism, which is a great lesson. Don't you agree?

Kindness is free. Sprinkle it everywhere.

With Covid, many small businesses have incurred losses and even shut down. Many people lost jobs across the world and many are trying hard to meet the ends.

This is the time to be kind and caring. I have learned to donate more from my earnings as I am thankful for my position to give to others. 

Even if we don't think about helping financially, this is the time where many need help and guidance. A positive word/greeting might light someone's day and keep them motivated in these uncertain times.





Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Hope is the only thing that's important nowadays. 

It's good to know that the Covid vaccine is coming soon and I hope, it will be available for everyone at least by mid of 2021. 

Let's hope for the best and stay safe at home meanwhile.

Until next time,


 



Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne at everydaygyaan






06 December, 2020

37 things that I am grateful for! #MondayMusings

 We are reaching the last few days of the year 2020. Such a fancy number, I thought this year would be really different from others when it started. It sure is different, though not so positive.

If there is one thing that 2020 taught us, it's to be thankful for what we have. Even Simple things seem to be a luxury when we compare with other years earlier. So, Let me list 37 things that I am grateful for :-)

Why 37? that's a secret :-)





I am grateful for 🙏

1. Family 👪- An important part of my life and a backbone.

2. Career - Of course, one way to earn money and another way to improve my technical skills 

3. Dance - A hobby turned to a dance school

4. Travel - I can give away any luxury that I have to see new places

5. Health - After Covid, we all know how important health is in our lives

6. Friends - Good or Bad, a friendly ear to share our experiences

7. Students - For believing in me and learning dance from me

8. Food - Keeping me alive and nourished

9. Phone - What I could have done without the world of information ready in my hand any minute I need

10. Photos - A way to treasure my memories and relive them





11. Painting - To bring my creativity alive

12. Books 📙 - A pass time which has become an important part of my life

13. Coffee  - the smell of coffee makes my mornings happy

14. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables - Keep me nutritious and energetic

15. Nature - Beautiful and peaceful

16. Social Media - The unlimited scrolling sometimes is relaxing :p and the best way to reach friends

17. Blogging - Writing which removes the stress away from the mind

18. Music - Good music for my happy soul

19. Canva.com - Able to create these cool graphics which enhance my blog posts

20. Hiking - Because it's relaxing to be nearer tot he nature and admire it



21. Home - A roof overhead and the most comforting place

22. Money - Without which many from the above list not possible

23. Sleep - To relax the body and mind every day

24. Art - To bring out my creativity and relax my mind

25. Self - Confidence - A must-have to achieve multiple things in life

26. Gratitude - A quality which brings happiness and satisfaction in my life

27. Love - Which ties the life like a base thread and supports

28. Car - Which makes our travels fun and helps us to reach beautiful places

29. Laptop - Happy place when I need to blog and research

30. Office - Diversion from home and a place to show my skills





31. Library - A paradise when I have some free time

32. Clothes - Fashionable clothes increase confidence

33. Earrings - I am crazy about earrings, love shopping them!

34. Mountains - I love mountains and happy to be residing in one mountain town

35. Kitchen Appliances - Which make cooking quick and not boring

36. TV - Oh my God, how can I forget Netflix :D

37. Yoga - Peace to the body, mind and Soul.

That' it from this list. What are you thankful for?

Do let me know in comments.

Until next time,





Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne.





05 December, 2020

Dream Cottage by Harriet J Kent - [Book Review]

 


Summary:


Newly married Greta Berkley's dream is to return to live on her beloved Isle of Wight, her birthplace.


During a weekend visit to her parents' house on the Island, Greta and her husband Max, discover a remote, rundown cottage. Having tracked down its owner, Rev. Oliphant, who agrees to show them around, Greta falls in love with the place. She persuades Max it's their dream home. The Reverend agrees a price and the sale is arranged.


Greenacres is in need of complete refurbishment. During the renovations, Greta accidentally falls through a hole in the kitchen floor, which she assumes to be an old well. It harbors a passageway and an underground room where Greta finds an old wooden box. She also discovers that Greenacres has an unwelcome occupant of the spiritual world. With the help of struggling celebrity medium, Nonie Spangler, Greta tries desperately to protect her home and combat the supernatural happenings.


Set against the Isle of Wight's rolling, breath-taking countryside, Dream Cottage charts the dissolution of a dream into a nightmare, as Greta Berkley battles with the unknown, with startling consequences. 


Information about the Book

Title: Dream Cottage

Author: Harriet J Kent

Release Date: 4th March 2015

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25027041-dream-cottage 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dream-Cottage-Harriet-J-Kent-ebook/dp/B00SQLLGNU 


My Review


Dream Cottage is a different type of horror. There is some comedy and suspense combined with horror. 

The storyline is quite unique. The story starts with the wedding of Max and Greta. Greta sure makes her wedding fun by making the guests and groom search for the Spider due to her phobia and at last faints. After marriage, Greta is impressed with the cottage that she finds during dinner with the family and asks Max if they can buy that cottage and live in the countryside of the beautiful island.

When they buy their dream cottage from Reverend Oli and start renovations, they experience paranormal activity inside the house and some mysterious incidents. What happens next is the remaining story.

I love Greta and Max, and their chemistry. Jeanne is an interesting character. The book cover is perfect. The narrative is fun and easy to follow. The climax is fantastic. Enjoyed reading this book!

My Rating: 5/5


I recommend this as an interesting read during this holiday season. A mix of mystery, horror, and fun.

PS: I have received this book for free from @Authoright in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion of the book.

12 Days of Clink Street


Tour Schedule




Tuesday 1st December

Tea Party Princess


Jazzy Book Reviews


Donna’s Book Blog


Wednesday 2nd December

Twirling Book Princess


Rambling Mads


Tursday 3rd December

Book, Blog and Candle


Stuck in the Book


Friday 4th December

Pen and Paper


Echoes in an Empty Room


Saturday 5th December

Bookworm and Theatre Mouse


Jazzy Book Reviews


Sunday 6th December

Fantastic Feathers


Novel Kicks


Twirling Book Princess



Monday 7th December

Marie’s Book Boutique


Rambling Mads





Tuesday 8th December

Stuck in the Book


Pen and Paper


Echoes in an Empty Room


Wednesday 9th December

Novel Kicks


Jazzy Book Reviews


Julz Reads


Thursday 10th December

Stuck in the Book


Donna’s Book Blog


Julz Reads


Friday 11th December

Echoes in an Empty Room


Julz Reads


Saturday 12th December

Novel Kicks


My Bookworm Life


Marie’s Book Boutique


Kraftireader






Until next time,








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