Ten best places to visit when you’re in Crested Butte

Carly and ross Holbrook take a break at the top of West Maroon Pass near Crested Butte while hiking from Crested Butte to Aspen. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

Enjoy these pics from my last few days in Colorado. After three nights in the Crested Butte, I’m moving on today, to explore Great Sand Dunes National Park. Before I leave, I thought I’d share some of my favorite places to visit:

1. Secret Stash, http://www.secretstash.com: You can’t go to Crested Butte and not visit the Stash, where waiters wear T-shirts that say Pizza Kills. The decor is Indian (I have no idea), the crust is bubbly, the place is the bomb.

It’s chilly here in Crested Butte this week. Today’s morning temperature was 37. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

2. Dogwood, https://thedogwoodcb.wordpress.com: An old cabin on a sidestreet that serves up craft cocktails. Go get lost in there.

3. Sunflower: Try the charred carrots (seriously) and one of the charcuterie trays at this high-end dinner spot. Also, the lamb ravioli.

The leaves are starting to change around Crested Butte this week. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

4. Third Bowl Homemade Ice Cream, https://www.thirdbowl.com: I tried a scoop of carrot cake, but look for a rotating case of flavors like pineapple serrano or blackberry bergamot.

5. The Slogar Bar and Restaurant, https://slogar.com: Trays of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuits, served family style in an old 1880s-era house.

6. Montanya, http://www.montanyarum.com: Belly up to the bar and order the Kokomo, a blend of rum, lemon, lime, fresh mint, coconut and ginger beer.

7. Public House, http://publichousecb.com: They feature Colorado beers, and the best on tap (I think) come from Crested Butte’s Irwin Brewery. Sit at the bar and admire the cotton candy fur of the white goat mounted on the wall.

The Cristiana Guesthaus has a fleet of bikes out front for guest use. Pam LeBlanc/American-Stateman

8. Cristiana Guesthaus, https://cristianaguesthaus.com: I’ve got two favorite places to stay in Crested Butte now, and this cozy, European-vibe gets my vote for several reasons: Homemade pastries on the continental breakfast, fresh-baked cookies in the afternoon and complimentary red wine in the evening. Plus a fleet of bicycles out front for your use.

9. Elk Mountain Lodge, http://www.elkmountainlodge.com: This gets my other nod. I’m pretty sure things have changed since miners rented rooms here a century ago. Today guests can order drinks in the lobby, soak in a hot tub and enjoy french toast or homemade biscuits for breakfast. And it’s just two blocks off Elk Avenue. Comfy and cozy.

10. A bench on Elk Avenue: No need to get fancy. After you’ve finished hiking or skiing for the day, grab a seat on a bench and watch the people go by.

Starting a Colorado adventure at Denver’s Union Station

Union Station in Denver was renovated in 2012 and includes hotels, shops, restaurants and a train terminal. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

Don’t hate me, but I’m currently wrapped in a comforter, looking out the window of the Cristiana Guesthaus in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Temperatures are hovering in the 30s out there, with highs predicted in the 50s. I’ve got a few days of hiking on my agenda, plus some sand surfing and a burro race.

I started this year’s Colorado adventure in Denver, where my sister and her husband live. Before heading to the mountains, I spent half a day downtown, checking out the trendy LoDo area.

I stayed the night at The Born hotel, adjacent to Union Station. The first railyard was built here in 1881, but it burned in 1894. The existing terminal was finished in 1914 and renovated in 2012. It’s a great community space, with a splash pad outside, museums nearby and lots of activity day and night.

The station still serves as the city’s central transportation hub, with rail and bus service in addition to an assortment of hotels, shops, restaurants and bars. It’s located at the intersection of 17th and Wynkoop Streets.

The whole place feels European, and if you’d told me I’d somehow been transported to Switzerland, I’d probably have believed you, until I noticed that the trains weren’t all precisely on time.

The historic terminal is done just right, with wooden benches and huge hanging lights, brass detailing, leather couches, tile floors and a pair of shuffleboard tables. The Terminal bar serves up cocktails, and an ice cream joint sells milkshakes made with shots of booze.

Today, hiking around Crested Butte. Tomorrow, if the storms hold off, I’m walking from Crested Butte to Aspen, returning the following day.

Stay tuned.

Fit after 60: Austin 60 Strong reveals faces of 2019 calendar

Miriam Raviv was one of 12 people selected for the Austin 60 Strong calendar. Family photo

Congratulations to a dozen of Central Texas’ most fabulously fit older residents, who will be featured in an upcoming calendar.

Two local physician networks set out to find inspirational residents, ages 60 to 69, to feature in the 2019 Austin 60 Strong calendar. They’ve announced the winners, who include cancer survivors, pole vaulters, a former stuntman, a nurse and more.

A panel of judges – full confession here, I was one of them – selected winners based on their health, fitness, wellness, community involvement and volunteerism. We wanted to highlight people who exemplify that worn-out phrase “living life to the fullest.” We found plenty who inspired us.

Austin 60 Strong judges gather at the Eberly to review and select the Austin 60 Strong Ambassadors for the 2019 Austin 60 Strong Calendar, Wednesday Aug. 29,2018, in AUSTIN, Texas. (GonzoFotoz/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

In addition to appearing in the Austin 60 Strong calendar, winners will be honored with a kickoff party, a professional photo shoot and compensation for their modeling time.

Proceeds from calendar sales will benefit Capital City Village, a virtual community of seniors committed to aging in place and community while maintaining healthy and active lifestyles.

Without further ado, the winners are:

  • Ben Barlin, a cancer survivor, hiker and blackbelt in jiu jitsu.
  • Toni Bourke, a military veteran and nurse who walks daily.
  • Rev. Dave Corna, who lost more than 200 pounds and runs with Austin Fit.
  • Kim Cousins, a former educator who paddles, swims, cycles and more.
  • Shelley Friend, who volunteers with Faithworks and the Iron Butterflies Project and exercises daily.
  • Dan Garrett, who’s been running for nearly 40 years and volunteers as a coach.
  • Mike Gassaway, a former stunt man and motorcycle racer who does yoga and volunteers in dog rescue.
  • Lisa Kurek, a Crossfitter who volunteers at the Austin Center for Grief & Loss.
  • Susan Joiner, a cancer survivor who works out six days a week and follows a whole foods diet.
  • Susan Mobley, who started pole vaulting in her 60s and bakes cookies for local firefighters.
  • Grace Perez, a Meals on Wheels volunteer who walks daily.
  • Miriam Raviv, a longtime triathlete and swimmer, cyclist and runner.

Let’s play ‘Look where they parked that bike/scooter’!

Dockless bicycle going for a swim in Shoal Creek. Photo by Jim Berry


In yesterday’s blog, I posted a photograph of a Lime electric scooter that someone tossed in Shoal Creek along the hike and bike trail near Fifth Street. I spotted it while riding my bike to work yesterday morning.

Dockless bicycle taking a nap near the Lance Armstrong pedestrian bridge over Shoal Creek. Photo by Richard Zelade

That post prompted a flood of photographs taken by people who have spotted abandoned dockless scooters and bikes around Austin. (Thanks for the crowd sourcing, people!)

Dockless bicycle getting a closeup look at the pavement at the intersection of Seventh and Lavaca streets. Photo by Richard Zelade

Which now prompts me to post some of those pictures, and encourage everyone to send me pics of bikes and scooters buried in golf course sand traps, dangling from tree branches, clogging sidewalks, swimming in lakes, dismembered in dark alleys and what not.

Let’s see what we find!

Dockless bicycle climbing a tree in Seattle.

And no cheating. I don’t want more people contributing to the problem. Let the record show that I want you to park your scooters and bicycles responsibly.

Dockless scooter taking a sip of water in Shoal Creek near Fifth Street. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

How not to park a scooter …

An electric scooter from Lime lays half submerged in the creek alongside the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike trail this morning. Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

Check out this electric scooter I found abandoned in Shoal Creek near Fifth Street this morning.

I’m pretty sure half submerged and ditched in a creek alongside a hike-and-bike-trail doesn’t fit the recommended parking guidelines for dockless electric scooters, but there you have it.

I ride my bike to work three to five times a week, and my commute takes me up the Shoal Creek Hike-and-Bike Trail. I’ve seen a dozen or so scooters left on the trail in the last month or two, but this is the first I’ve spotted in the actual creek.

It looks like it’s from Lime, one of the companies that released a fleet of dockless scooters and bikes across the city.

Uncool, people. Uncool.

On your mark! Iram Leon and Elaine Chung tie knot at run-themed wedding

Chris McClung, center, officiated the ceremony at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Photo by Andrew Holmes

Invitations printed on race bibs. A group run the morning of the wedding. A ceremony in front of a race start line. Running shoes with formal attire.

Iram Leon and Elaine Chung, the president and vice president of Austin Runners Club, tied the knot Saturday in a ceremony themed around running, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows them. They met, after all, through the Austin Runners Club, while both were training for a marathon.

Wedding invites were printed on race bibs.

RELATED: Austin runner with brain cancer pushes daughter in stroller to marathon win

I met Leon in 2013, just after he’d won the overall title at the Gusher Marathon in Beaumont – while pushing his daughter in a stroller. He’d been diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2010, after collapsing at a birthday party.

A marble-sized tumor is entwined in the memory and language hub of his brain and has invisible “tentacles” that even doctors can’t detect. The average survival time for the disease is four years; only a third of patients live five years after diagnosis.

But Leon is 38. At his most recent checkup in June, doctors told him his tumor is stable. He’s still running regularly, and if you didn’t notice the scar that snakes across the side of his head you’d probably never guess he was sick.

Iram Leon, left, and Elaine Chung, right, tied the knot at a running-themed wedding on Aug. 18, 2018. Photo by Andrew Holmes

RELATED: Catching up with marathon runner and cancer survivor Iram Leon

Chris McClung, a running coach and co-owner of Rogue Running, officiated the ceremony, working in as many running puns as possible. He wrapped things up with this: “With the power vested in me by the state of Texas and getordained.org, I now pronounce you man and wife.”

Daughter Kiana, 11, pretended to forget the ring, then dashed off to get the family dog, who carried it in.

The accompanying bash featured both Chinese and Mexican food, to honor both the bride and groom. Guests played lawn games, worked puzzles, and at one point joined a group stroll through the gardens of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

“We wanted to show our guests a good time while showing them some of us,” Leon says. “I was marrying Elaine, not an idea or an institution.”

Elaine and Iram were married beneath a race start line set up at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Aug. 18, 2018. Photo by Andrew Holmes

Pedal all the way to Alaska? These students did – for a good cause

This year’s Texas 4000 riders will roll into Anchorage on Friday. Photo courtesy Texas 4000


Sixty-nine University of Texas students who pedaled out of Austin earlier this summer are expected to roll into Anchorage tomorrow, wrapping up their 70-day quest to raise awareness about cancer.

A documentary about their venture, “Texas 4000,” will air at 8 p.m. tonight on the Longhorn Network, Channel 677 on AT&T Universe and Channel 383 on Time Warner. The network will also livestream the documentary at http://www.espn.com/longhornnetwork/.

RELATED: For a fun day on a bike in Austin, try this

Each year for the past 15 years, a team of students has made the bicycle trek. They train, raise money, volunteer in the community and serve in leadership roles to help plan every aspect of the summer ride.

This year’s group started June 1 and broke into three groups, which made their way separately to Alaska. Along the way, the cyclists presented $450,000 in grants to cancer research and treatment centers and visited with patients.

Back in Austin, the community will honor the cyclists at the annual Tribute Gala Aug. 24 at the Hyatt Regency, 208 Barton Springs Road. The gala includes dinner, live music, silent and live auctions and more. Tickets are $200 per person. For more information or to sign up, go to https://asbidding.com/register/106.

Since 2004, 751 students have completed the ride, raising more than $8.4 million.

For more information about the 2018 Texas 4000 team, donate or read the riders’ blogs, go to www.texas4000.org orhttps://www.facebook.com/texas4000/.

How many days in a row have you run? Bill Schroeder’s logged 20 years

From left, Bill Schroeder, Jodi Ondrusek and Wing Ho run on a trail at Brushy Creek Park on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Bill Shroeder hasn’t missed a run in years.

He’ll celebrate 20 years worth of running – calculated by combining two separate running streaks – with an easy cruise through Williamson County Regional Park at 6 p.m. today.

Streak running is a thing, in case you didn’t know, and different people do it different ways. (It’s also completely different than streaking, as in running naked through a public place.) Some streak runners count any run over at least 1 mile. For Schroeder, a workout doesn’t officially count unless it lasts at least 25 minutes.

Bill Schroeder is celebrating two running streaks – and a combined 20 years of daily runs – with a run tonight. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Tonight, the public is invited to join Schroeder for a 25-minute run starting at the pavilion near the tennis courts. The group will run or walk out 12 and a half minutes, then turn around and come back. No matter what your pace, everyone should finish together.

RELATED: Streak runners get their daily run come rain, snow, heat or travel

The streak-iversary happens to coincide with Schroeder’s 56th birthday. Kona Ice will serve 100 free snow cones from 6:30-7:30 p.m. There will be cake, too. No glass containers are allowed at the park. Alcohol is permitted, but please drink responsibly.

To pre-register for the free event, go here.

Bid summer farewell with Splash Bash at YMCA

The YMCA TownLake will host a Splash Bash from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Photo courtesy YMCA

Bid summer goodbye with the annual Splash Bash at the TownLake YMCA this weekend.

The free community event is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Saturday and will include a pool party with free snacks, games, giveaways, music and a bouncy house. The Y is located at 1100 West Cesar Chavez Street.

The event will also highlight YMCA Camp Moody, which is being developed along Onion Creek, 15 miles south of downtown Austin. The project’s initial phase will include an eight-lane natatorium that the Y is building in partnership with the Hays Consolidated school district.

When the facility is complete, all district first-graders will participate in the Y’s Project SAFE program, which provides free swimming and water safety instruction.

Tired of trash at Mansfield Cut? Pitch in at Saturday’s cleanup

A cleanup of Port Mansfield Cut is set for Saturday. Photo courtesy Kathie and Miller Bassler

A few months ago, I spent a long weekend camping at Mansfield Cut along the Texas Coast.

We pitched tents in the sand, fished and surfed along the channel between North and South Padre Islands. I loved the place, but couldn’t believe the quantity of trash that littered the dunes and filled every crevice of the jetty.

So I’m happy to make note of an upcoming beach cleanup organized by Miller and Kathie Bassler of Rockdale.

Volunteers have hauled off as much as 25 tons of trash during the annual cleanup. Photo courtesy Kathie and Miller Bassler

The 10th annual Port Mansfield Beach & Cut Clean UP, rescheduled from March due to weather, is set for Aug. 11. In past years, volunteers have collected as much as 25 tons of trash at the event.

To participate, report to the Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce pavilion for signup at 6:30 a.m. After a safety briefing and breakfast, you’ll get your assignment for which area to clean. Volunteers get a free T-shirt, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Boats, captains and workers are needed, and out-of-town participants can get free lodging if they notify Kathie at kathieb@basslerenergyservices.com by Aug. 6.

Boats and volunteers are needed for the cleanup. Photo courtesy Miller and Kathie Bassler

The Basslers started the cleanup in 2009 after arriving at the usually pristine Padre Island National Seashore and finding it trashed in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ike and Dolly. Their efforts have earned recognition from Field & Stream Magazine, the Coastal Conservation Association and others.

“We have gathered as much as 25 tons, cleaned up to 5 miles of Padre Island National Shoreline and relieved the jetty trap of thousands of plastic bottles, while also picking up the banks of the Mansfield Channel on the 15-mile journey from port to the island,” Miller Bassler says.

Tons of trash collects on the beach and between the boulders at the jetty each year. Photo courtesy Miller and Kathie Bassler

For more information email miller@basslerenergyservices.com or kathieb@basslerenergyservices.com.