2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But…

This has been a rough year. I was diagnosed with Atypical Migraines in June after four visits to the emergency room in May. Today, months later, we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of why this is happening although the frequency of full-blown migraines has gone down.

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Redstone Castle, Colorado

The good news is that I have a new appreciation and empathy for anyone suffering from chronic pain. 

While this year was marred by migraines, positive things happened too, as they always do.

In September we got Fritzi. Many of you remember Xena, HeidiTown Security for many years. In fact, she predated HeidiTown. She passed away in the summer of 2018 at the ripe old age of 15 1/2. By the fall of this year, we were ready for another dog.

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Fritzi in Frisco, Colorado in September 2019.

Despite puppyhood, which is a pain in the ass and don’t let anyone tell you differently, I am happily a dog-person with a dog again. Even the cat begrudgingly approves. Fritzi will play a much larger role in HeidiTown travels. She has already proven to be a wonderful travel dog and she’s been on five trips already. 

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (Steamboat Springs)
Mustang Roundup
AutoCross, Steamboat Springs

Although I was plagued with migraines this year, there were some standout travel moments. One was the Mustang Roundup in Steamboat Springs. We’re talking about cars, not horses. It was pure coincidence that AutoCross was happening within walking distance of our condo at Trailhead Lodge. I got to do the course with Mark Peterson in his 1966 Mustang Fastback. Something I wrote about in The Heidi Guide for Mountain Living

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (Steamboat Springs 1)
Driver Mark Peterson & his 1966 Fastback

Another memorable moment was seeing wild horses at Sand Wash Basin and watching the Great American Horse Drive in Maybell outside of Craig. Without a doubt, the horse drive is a piece of Americana that you should witness at least once. 

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Great American Horse Drive 2019
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I have a thing for draft horses. They are my favorite type of horse.

Ryan and I also spent several relaxing days in the San Luis Valley for our 17th wedding anniversary in May. There is something magical about this part of Colorado. It probably has something to do with the lack of population in the area. For instance, we had to drive through a herd of cattle being moved to an upper pasture for summer. I grew up in the country and this doesn’t happen just anywhere. Read about this and more.

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (San Luis Valley, Colorado)
Cow butts. Proof that we drove through the herd in the San Luis Valley.

Fritzi’s first road trip took place just a week after we got her. She went with us to Salida, Colorado, where we stayed at the pet-friendly Amigo Motor Lodge. This trip proved that Fritzi is a great automobile rider and an excellent road trip companion. 

On her last trip, to The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins (an experience I still need to write about), she graduated to sleeping on a dog bed in a hotel instead of her crate. This is a big deal, folks!

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (Fort Collins, CO)
The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins provides dog beds for your fur friend.

Each junket we take is special. Ryan laughs because every destination becomes my new “favorite place” and this is probably why I am a travel writer; I fall in love with a place easily.

I stayed in a castle this summer that I call the Downton Abbey of the Rocky Mountains. It’s Redstone Castle, and while I was on a magazine assignment for Colorado Life, I will write about it here in the future. 

One of the best trips this year, despite experiencing a migraine while there, was our stay in Pueblo. I attended the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival and did much more. I went on a farm tour, bought tons of vegetables and fruit at various produce stands and went home with a 30 lb bag of roasted green chiles. 

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (Pueblo, Colorado)
Musso Farms, Pueblo, Colorado

This will become an annual event to buy a bag of roasted green chiles from the source and to eat. Seriously, Pueblo is a food Mecca. I must go back to eat Italian, Croatian and Mexican food from restaurants that have been around for 50 plus years. 

I reached a huge milestone this year when HeidiTown turned 12 in October and I have a lot of people to thank for HeidiTown thriving for this long. The biggest thank you goes out to my readers and followers. I can’t do this without you, literally! 

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (Blue Mesa Reservoir 2019)
Blue Mesa Reservoir, June 2019, I have never seen this area so green!

This year, I have experienced excruciating pain and never-ending anxiety and anyone with a significant other knows that we do not experience these things alone. I owe a debt of gratitude to my husband, Ryan. Not only is he my partner on 99% of  HeidiTown trips, but he has also been there for me through one of the toughest years we’ve experienced as a couple. Without his support, there is no way I could have or would have continued HeidiTown. 

It’s during the hard times that a person finds out the true nature of their partner and I picked well. As in all things, as my mother says, this too shall pass, but I am forever thankful I am not going through this alone.

2019, A Year I’d Rather Forget, But… HeidiTown (Snowmass, Colorado)
Top of the world in Snowmass, Colorado.

I’ve missed a lot in this retrospective; throwing axes in Ouray, paddleboarding for the first time in Colorado Springs, a Nebraska getaway, pho in Durango, Oktoberfest in Keystone, a roller coaster in Snowmass, an amazing dog park at the YMCA of the Rockies, an epic road trip adventure to Vail and more. However, many of you have been through it all with me via Twitter, Facebook, and other various social media outlets.

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Walking the Gore Creek Trail in Vail, Colorado.

I do not know what 2020 holds, and haven’t made a lot of plans yet (which is unlike me), but I know that good stuff will happen because it always does.

I hope that your 2020 is full of road trip adventures inspired by HeidiTown, and I sincerely wish you a year full of happiness and harmony.


  1. Here’s to a renewing and wonderful 2020. I look forward to good things, fun times and much happiness with you next year!


    1. Wonderful read! Makes me want to jump on a jet and head to Colorado! Love how great Fritzi is growing into her job of heiditown security. Here’s to 2020 and many more adventures!


  2. Migraines. Ugh. I’ve been dealing with this too all of the sudden – vestibular migraines that make me see and experience everything like it’s a fun house. Maybe it’s something in the air. This is a great post with ideas that are new to me. I will have to check out the horse drive, for sure!


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