Why TBEX is Extra Special this Year! (for me anyway) / by JD Andrews

For you that don't know, TBEX is a Travel Blogger conference or according to their website: "TBEX, the world's largest gathering [of] travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators" is being held in Keystone Colorado,  June 15th - 17th 2012.

In my opinion, the best part about any conference is meeting new friends IRL (In real Life) that I've chatted with on Social Media and catching up with old travels buds that I've meet on an adventure, press-trip or at another event.

So what makes this TBEX extra special? The location, Keystone Colorado, which is located in Summit County, where I grew up!

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Back in the day if you were from Summit, it was a big deal to have a bumper sticker that read: N A T I V E (that's me) :-)  

Summit County is about an hour drive West of Denver and is in the middle of Skiers paradise, with four major ski resorts: Arapahoe Basin (or as the locals call it - A-Basin), Breckenridge (Breck), Copper Mountain (Copper), and Keystone. If that wasn't enough, Vail, Beaver Creek, Loveland, Winter Park and Steamboat are all a little over an hour away.

So yes, I do ski, got on the sticks at three years old (unfortunately not so much anymore) - I did have a mountain wedding in Beaver Creek a few years ago, got hitched in a cabin in the middle of the mountain....Beautiful.

The sad part about 'going home' is no one I know lives there anymore. No family and very few friends remain in the County, just lots of memories.

Some of my fun history in Summit County:

  • There were NO street lights or street names for years growing up there.
  • My Mother must of ran 10 red lights the first month the traffic lights were installed.
  • Since I was a local, people would ask where something was and I knew how to get there, I just didn't know the 'new' street name.
  • Driving back and fourth to Denver took an extra hour, you woudl have to go across Loveland Pass (a very steep and scary road)
  • The Eisenhower tunnel was not built yet. (The tunnel carries Interstate 70 under the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. With a maximum elevation of 11,158 ft above sea level, it is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world) 
  • We had to drive to Denver to go to the grocery store or McDonalds.
  • A&W, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken were the first and for many years ONLY chain restaurants.
  • It would snow nine months out of the year so I'd put screws and nails in my bike tires so I could ride in it.
  • A-Basin was owned by my 3rd grade friend's Dad who sold it to Keystone (Purina Company back then).
  • Keysone Ranch was the home to another elementary school friend and is now a up-scale restaurant.
  • In Seventh grade, my friends Dad was VP of Copper Mtn.
  • I worked in Keystone my junior year of high school at a deli (glamorous!)
  • Speaking of high school, we had a lot of homecoming dances and Proms at Keystone.
  • I also worked at GOODS in Breck (fun store on Main St.)
  • My parents were married at Sapphire Point (a beautiful over-look, halfway between Keystone & Breckenridge - a must see)
  • ok, ok, enough... (just ask if you want more boring stories) 

So if you are a going to TBEX this weekend, please enjoy 'my childhood home' and the beauty of the surrounding mountains, the crisp fresh air, the miles and miles of bike paths that winds trough the forrests and create your own amazing memories.

"Live the Adventure" ~jd