So Mary has been on kick lately with trying to get our status with various airline and hotel rewards programs upgraded. Most of these programs have pretty nice perks and freebies if you get status with them. My favorite one is the free bottle of wine in the room on check-in. You can’t beat that with a stick.  Though it does raise a problem months or years later when I’ll find a strange bottle of wine down in the wine cellar.* We’ll then play twenty questions with it like “did we get it from the hotel in Washington D.C? Or is this a gift from those people we see only once or twice a year and feel obligated to invite to dinner, even though we find their views on archaeology absurd?” Yeah, we’re hard-core dinner hosts as we demand guests keep up on the latest developments from at least three scientific academic disciplines. Tough but fair – we don’t question a guest’s personal opinion on the soft sciences like sociology or psychology, because let’s face it, they’re immaterial cause they are, after all, soft sciences.

Anyway, we were just a couple of days short on upgrading to enhanced status with one major hotel chain and a spare weekend was just sitting there, so we went for it. Actually, it wasn’t technically a weekend as we started out on Sunday, but that’s because we aren’t tied to a slavish commitment of dividing days into weekdays and weekends and can pretty much come and go as we please. So we went. To Telluride. This continues a little mini-trend we’ve come up with where we go and check out various ski resort towns in the off-off-off season. One can get amazingly good deals, which are really only amazing when you compare them to the rack rate the hotels get during the tippy-tippy-top season. They can still be a little pricey even during the summer. But Gold or Platinum or Niobium reward level status beckoned, and besides, ski towns in the off-season are pretty awesome.

We did our usual off-season ski town stuff. Mary got a massage, swam and read a couple or three books. Some even had fictional passages in them. I huffed and puffed and wheezed myself to the top of a couple of small hills that don’t even have names and are probably regarded by the locals as small humps in the terrain. Then we repaired to a nice restaurant or three and gorged on mountain delicacies like arctic char and sushi. We discovered a wonderful bakery, and a new and delicious Colorado microbrew. And we scored Uranium status with the hotel chain and so we can continue to garner mysterious bottles of wine, and occasionally, chocolates.

* I use the term ‘wine cellar’ to impress you the reader, family members, guests, and strangers I meet on the street that I desire to make an impact on for obscure and undoubtedly delusional reasons. Mary refers to my grandly titled wine cellar as the wine closet, or the wine walk-in closet when she’s feeling generous. She has an off-hand, yet masterful way of taking a baseball bat to my attempts at pretentiousness.


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