The summer slipped by as quickly as my first cup of morning coffee. Ever do that? It’s so delicious, feels so good, you go back for more, and it’s gone? After dropping my big kid at the bus stop for the first day of school, I grabbed his little brother and brought him along with me to squeeze in just one more thing we hadn’t done, that we’d meant to do, during summer vacation. We headed to Northstar Resort and Earthly Delights for some java, jabber, and an adventure.

The resort was very serene, aspen leaves dancing in the morning sun, puddles from the previous day’s thunderstorms quickly evaporating while shopkeepers went about their business of setting up for the day. In Earthly Delights we were greeted by a bubbly and gracious barista who served us our goodies. We chose a small table at which to sit while we devoured our vegan raspberry bar and pumpkin cookie and observed the scene. Quiet. Not one person working at a laptop, in fact, just one or two customers came and ordered things ‘to go.’ Now, I have to say, I was very pleased not to find anyone with their nose to the grindstone in this resort setting. It gave me hope that people do actually take vacations. I, however, had work to do. I had to find out the scoop.

In a brief conversation with very busy owner, Kelly Bailey, I got it. While she has many consistent loyal locals in for their morning coffee, most of her business is take-out and catering. She provides a lot of picnic lunches for hikers and bikers and does great business during Northstar’s free summer movie nights. The roller skating rink also brings in a lot of hungry customers. She told me that her move to Northstar, a year and a half ago from West River Street in Truckee, was a very positive thing and that she loves her new space, especially her kitchen, which she was eager to get back to after our conversation – she was catering a big lunch. (By the way, they don’t have ‘wi-fi,’ hence the lack of hooked up, harried workers.)

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Onto our adventure – the free scenic lift ride to the top of the mountain. (To see what we could see, naturally.) One of the things we wanted to see was mountain bikers zooming down the mountain. I thought my little daredevil might find this sport intriguing. At the top of the gondola, he immediately spotted a ‘Ninja’ on a bicycle. Yes, the costume, er, ‘gear’ would be incentive enough to remove his training wheels from his bike.

The ‘Ninja’ turned out to be Patrol Supervisor, Jason Soleau, who offered to ride with us to the top of the mountain. (I found out Jason reads Moonshine Ink regularly at Jaliscos.) Jason was busy with clean-up from the rain, checking for erosion, fallen branches and other impediments. One of the bike paths, Livewire, was actually closed for safety purposes. Apparently, they’d had several lightning strikes and had accumulated 2 inches of rain during the storm. His job is ‘a good bunch of fun,’ he said, ‘Bike in the summer, ski in the winter.’ He had a big smile on his face and tiny splashes of mud, like freckles, drying on his cheeks and forehead. Sounds like a great bunch of fun to me.

I had a fleeting desire, as I rode up the chairlift, Martis Valley falling behind me, to be on skis, but I quickly came to my senses. On the ride down, we were able to see several bikers winding their way over boulders and tree stumps and racing down straight-aways. Jason beat us to the bottom, where he did a couple of jumps for us (fun is in his job description) and told us to come back. I think the training wheels will stay on until next year, but my little one will race down the dirt at the edge of our driveway in his Ninja costume.

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