This past week I played hookey on Thursday and Friday. It was well-earned time off. Of the five weeks of vacation that I ‘technically’ get each year I usually take about a week or two of it spread out over ‘long weekends.’ Someone’s gotta keep the trains running on time.

The basic plan to head over Independence Pass to Aspen and then to totally play things by ear. My wife and son are both great road-trippers and so that sort of thing really works out well with them.

Anyway, we set off around 11 on Thursday with a plan to get to Aspen about 2 and to get Riis his nap on the way. This was the first real road trip in the new Subaru, and I have to say that I love that car. For one, the driver’s seat is one of the most comfortable I have ever sat in – far better than the Saab and Toyota that I had previous. It’s just a great car, and I much prefer driving it to the cumbersome Highlander Hybrid that I traded for it.

The drive from Leadville to Aspen is one of my absolute favorites, so I just let Carol and Riis konk out and enjoyed the scenery.

The stop in Aspen was only long enough to buy a pair of sunglasses for Riis and have a picnic on the Rugby pitch in town. From there we foolishly got into rush-hour traffic headed for Glenwood Springs. My wife is a hot-springs crack-addict. The chance to soak in Glenwood was all she needed and my son was pretty easy to convince as well – he has his mother’s addiction also.

The next morning we decided to bail out early on the trip rather than to head on up to Steamboat Springs for another soak and probably a quick visit to Kent Eriksen to say hi to him and Katy. For some reason we were feeling the urge to head home.

After a good night’s sleep in our own wonderful bed, we woke up Saturday with a bug to head to Salida. Actually I did. Carol got on board and a couple hours later we were all in the car again headed South.

Once we turned off 285 to 291 (the road that heads into Salida) I finally relaxed for the first time in months. We met Dave Hill and his wife Victoria to see his shop (Dave makes Victoria Cycles) and grab a bite for dinner. Then off to some more hot springs for a soak and a night in the Simple Hotel and Hostel back in town (highly recommend it).

The next morning we headed off to BV and then Leadville to complete our loop, then back to Boulder. It was a great weekend, and with almost 1200 miles on the Outback over the last 10 days, I can say for sure that the car is a champ. Now I just need to get the bike racks on top… And maybe a mountain bike…