Rushed research in rich retreat.

16 Sep

This is me conducting research for “Thrown” in front of the Silver Queen gondola in Aspen, playground of the rich and famous and snow-addicted. Tom and I went this past Sunday, but since then I have been stumped by my blog because it was misbehaving. I figured it out, and I thank you for your patience. We went up for the day, which is foolish, as it’s a four-hour drive from Denver. I always kid myself into thinking it’s only three, but believe me, it’s four. We would have preferred to have stayed overnight, but our schedules wouldn’t permit it.

We had lunch at the Ajax Tavern (at the base of the mountain, near where I’m standing), which is part of the Little Nell hotel. Some of my characters are staying at the Little Nell.

After lunch we took a gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain (a.k.a. Ajax Mountain). This is me on the Sundeck, where you can enjoy a meal and the spectacular scenery all year ‘round. Note my “Lost” hair (see previous post for details). Full disclosure time: The gondola ride was scary, at least at first. I’m not so good with heights, and um, sometimes the gondola would stop and sway in the wind (aaaaaahhhhh!! Try not to hyperventilate!). But it was fun, ultimately, and we didn’t even come close to dying. Which was good. I’m putting a gondola ride in the book, but my heroine will be quite brave about it all. That’s the beauty of writing fiction—your characters can be perfectly brave during activities that cause you to practically have a coronary.

We wandered around after the gondola ride and ended up at the Hotel Jerome. This is me in the Garden Terrace restaurant, making notes from our day. Tom took great pictures and put up with me saying things like, “Quick! Take a picture of that bench! They have to sit on a bench!” As though the bench was going to move.

Yes we were only there for a few hours, but it was great fun. Aspen is an interesting collection of contradictions—its local paper is in a tiny, old-fashioned storefront that looks as authentic as all get-out, and yet, Chanel and Dior are there too. There’s a McDonald’s, but you’d never know it. No big golden arches, no sirree. And several of the people were frighteningly fit—those folks who run twenty miles before breakfast as a warm up. Makes you think twice before going into that McDonald’s! Not that they stopped me from getting the famous double cheeseburger and house-made fries at the Ajax Tavern. It was, after all, in the name of research.

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