Thursday, January 23, 2020

2020 Ely Bristlecone Birkebeiner plus Bonus Train Photos

 One of our favorite races of the year is the Bristlecone Birkebeiner in Ely, Nevada, put on by the Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts.  This is the longest running cross-country ski race in the state of Nevada. It has also expanded to include snowshoeing and fat tire mountain biking. We arrived about 8:35 am on Saturday morning, giving us enough time to attach our numbers. I was doing the long-course (4.1 miles), while the kids were doing the short course (1.5 miles), their first time at this new distance. In previous years, they had done the kids' race, but we had done a practice loop a month before on the short course and did great.

I took my phone with me, thinking I might take photos along the way, but I got a little competitive and didn't want the lady behind me to pass me. So I didn't get any photos until the end! Fortunately, a photographer was out on the course, and you can see some photos on their Facebook page.  Here are the ones of us (photo credit I believe to Jani Ahlvers):

I did see the first fat-tire mountain biker come in.

Then I went to find the kids. Desert Girl was making s'mores at the fire pit. She graciously made me one.

I got back to the finish line in time to see some friends arrive.

NDOT had a cool tent set up with the logo: "Preserving Nevada's Waters for Future Generations." Thank you, NDOT!

People hung out at the shelters, waiting for everyone to finish.

Then it was time for awards. About ten people did the short course. And Desert Girl came in second for women! (fourth overall). 

And Desert Boy came in first overall for the Short Course! What a difference from a few years ago, when he was in tears and falling down a lot. Goes to show that practice does pay off! (Of course getting a little bigger might have helped, too!)

In addition to the cool awards, the kids also won gift certificates to Sportsworld, which they really enjoyed spending.

I finished mid-pack for the long course and really enjoyed my ski. I guess I better start taking lessons from the kids if I want to place higher. :)

The Fire and Ice Winter Festival was being held that weekend in Ely, but we had another commitment back home. We did run over to the train yard to see the newly crafted wooden train engine. When we got there, we found they were getting ready to attach Engine 40 to the train cars.

It's so cool to see a coal-fired train engine on the move.

A film crew was there. They are making a documentary about White Pine County and will be in town for about a month.

A few other people were gathered. Later that day, they were planning to shoot off fireworks from the train.

The Nevada Northern Railway is not to be missed if you're in Ely.

Across from the new parking lot we found the wooden replica. We couldn't believe all the detail that had been put into it.

The plan was to burn it at the bonfire that night. 

First, though, the kids could climb on in!

It would be cool to have one of these around all the time, it was so cool!
Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts has a bunch of races throughout the year, so if you want some inspiration to go out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, check out their website!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Experience Escapes - Escape Room in Ely, Nevada

During Christmas Break we did an Escape Room and really enjoyed the experience of working as a team to get out of the room in 60 minutes. We had heard that an Escape Room had opened in nearby Ely, Nevada and decided to give it a try. Experience Escapes is located at 409 Murray St. in Ely. We had called ahead (775-296-3744) to reserve the room.

We had friends who wanted to join us, and the owner, Lori, told us it would be better if we split into two groups of four and have a friendly little competition. So Jenny went in first with the boys.

I hung out with the girls in the Virtual Reality area.

Before long, we were up in the special chairs with the goggles on, trying out some new experiences! It was pretty cool, but it did make me a little motion sick!

They have over 200 games to try.
We weren't exactly quiet trying out the games--some of the screams got so loud that we distracted the boys in the Escape Room!

When the boys and Jenny escaped (with 2.5 minutes to spare!), they were quick to get into the chairs.

Then it was our turn in the Escape Room. I don't want to spoil it, because so much of the fun is figuring out the problems presented. I will say that the Escape Room is very professional and had some really cool puzzles, some that I never would have dreamed up. Lori said she bought the idea from a company in Poland. Her husband is great at construction work, so he was able to do the necessary carpentry to make it all come together.

They plan on adding a second Escape Room in the near future. They also plan on rotating out different Escape Rooms about every year to keep it fresh.

At the end we took photos with some of the props.

The girls and I made it out with 7.5 minutes to spare, so we beat the boys!
It was super fun, and I highly recommend it. You can find more on the Experience Escapes website and Experience Escapes Facebook Page.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Happy 2020!

 Desert Girl and I enjoyed some cross-country skiing to kick off 2020! Here's to a great year with lots of outside time and fun adventures!

My computer crashed and I lost some files and photos, but hopefully I'll be really up and running soon. If not, I'll just have to spend more time outside, lol.

After a first successful ski trip, we went another time, this time with Desert Boy accompanying. He is a moody tween, but realizes he needs a break from screen time. This time the snow was quite icy, and we had trouble getting traction going up in Grey Cliffs Campground.

It was nice to find a flatter spot on the way to Loop B.

The edges of the snow were very thin, as the afternoons are warm. We're in need of another big snow (at least for the mountains!).

I'm hoping we can do lots of cross-country skiing this winter, it's such a lovely sport and makes being outside more fun. We are also looking forward to the Bristlecone Birkebeiner cross-country ski (and fat tire bike and snowshoe) race on January 18 in Ely!

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