My 5.60 cent Flight to Paris for two.


Europe Christmas Markets Photo Credit Travel with T do not use without permission.

In my post about the German Christmas Markets I touched on points and travel.   Today I am going to delve a little deeper into the actual world of free and almost free travel.  So my husband “the man way guy” and I are catching a plane out of Salt Lake City on Wednesday and we are flying into Paris for a 2 week European trip which will include stops in France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, and Switzerland, and a quick stop in London for an overnight stay.

DSC_0612 photo credit do not use without permission


Most of our trip has been paid by points.  The first portion of our trip was procured using Delta points.  We booked it using 30,000 points total for two and of course the fee for taxes which came out to 5.60 when it was all said and done.  I used two 15,000 one way options on points when they were up for grab in July for a Thanksgiving trip to Paris to see some of Europe’s Christmas Markets.  So how did I earn those points?   Most are saying well I don’t fly that much how can I earn that many points it will take me a lifetime.


I earned the points with a little thing called a credit card bonus sign up.  Meaning I applied for a Delta Credit card which offered me a sign up bonus.  I received 30,000 points just for signing up for the program.  This gave me one flight to Europe round trip or as I used it two one way tickets to Paris.   The best thing was I did not have to fly anywhere to accumulate these miles I received them for signing up for American Express Credit card and then spending 1,000 dollars in one month on the card.  Which was easy for me being I used it to pay for my daily expenditures like food, gas, utilities and such.

There are plenty of blogs out there on how to do this and on how to do it to maximize it to fly basically free.  I am not here to go into all of that.  I can say if you email me though I can send you a link where you too can apply for a Delta Amex and you get 30,000 for doing it and I can earn a few miles if you are approved.  So if you are thinking about a Delta Amex at all and enjoyed my article just email me and I will send you a link.  This is called a friend referral.  It earns me about 5000 points for a referral.   Not too bad but they do cap it.  I am ok with that though.

The Delta Amex also gives me a luggage allowance which would normally cost 25.00 per checked bag.  I have used this for up to 4 people flying with me and it saved us 100.00 in checked bag fees.  So the yearly fee so far has paid for itself.  I am not sure how long I will carry it though being it has to be worth it.  If I don’t continue to fly Delta it won’t pay for itself.

A couple of tricks if you are not using points and trying to get the best fare.  Book on Tuesdays and checking in the afternoon is best.   For some reason the sales go out during this time.    Off season times are sometimes cheaper but not always.

Airline points programs and rewards change often so it is best to use them.  After all you applied so you could get them not just sit on them.  The longer you sit on them the easier it is for them to devalue.   The sky is the limit here folks.  Decide where you want to go make a plan and pick up a new card.  You will be on your way in no time at all.

Where will I be staying at?  Well I booked us a room at the Paris Opera Marriott!  Great property and if you are ever interested in booking a hotel please use my site as this is how I make a living in the blog world.    That is if you are not traveling on points.

All in all for my luxury minimalist lifestyle this option for travel appeals to me a lot.  I enjoy paying less but also experiencing more.  Let’s see a trip to Paris for 5.60 well I am pretty sure you can’t beat that for luxury on a minimalistic budget.  It also means I will have more money for wine and I always can use more money for wine.  I managed to learn one French phrase too “Une Bouteille de vin rouge sil vous plait”  A bottle of red wine please.

DSC_0026 Photo Credit

Traveling the Colorado Highways: Destination Mountain Spirit Winery

Mountain Spirit Winery 7

This remote quaint little winery can be located outside of Salida. Don’t blink though because you might miss it. It’s a little boutique winery that is well known for their blends of wine. They feature things like Blackberry Chardonnay, Raspberry Merlot, and Blackberry Cabernet Franc. They also have a tasting room in town but we did not make that.

Mountain Spirit Winery1

Nested in the picturesque country adjacent to the Upper Arkansas River Valley it’s on 5 acres of Colorado beauty and surrounded by 14,000 foot mountain vistas.

Mountain Spirit Winer 4

I had been driving from The Winery at Holy Cross Abby  when I stumbled across this Colorado beauty.   Colorado is not new to the wine industry as it’s been around for over 100 years. Unfortunately around Prohibition most of the vineyards were uprooted and replanted with orchards.   Yet building on Colorado’s fine tradition new winemakers, and vineyards have returned and blossomed into some of Colorado finest wineries.   Colorado is known for its majestic mountains and valley’s we are blessed with warm days (in the summer) and cool nights (in the summer) otherwise freezing. Of course you can’t forget our zero humidity being we are about 6800 ft elevation on average. So it’s with this climate and fertile soil new growers and winemakers like Mountain Spirit have emerged.

Mountain Spirit Winer 5

To drive to Mountain Spirit is an adventure in beauty itself as its situated as you travel along the Arkansas River. The drive down the dirt road to the winery is truly beautiful. The grounds are unassuming and the entrance tends to be on the minimalistic side. Upon entrance, the tasting area is just a small little area as you walk in.   Again very simplistic.   There is no charge for the wine tasting, which is always a nice treat and appeals to my luxury minimalist. The gentleman was very nice, and very knowledgeable not only about the product but wine itself.

Mountain Spirit Winery 3

I tried several varieties and most tend to be on the sweeter side. Especially of course those blended with various fruits all grown in Colorado. Bright, crisp, refreshing are some of the words I would use to describe these fruit blends. I chose to go home with the 2013 Angel blush, a nice slightly sweet wine with notes of apple, pear, and raspberry. I think it was close to a White Zinfandel. Pair it with my favorite Mexican food and you are well on your way to a delightful time. I mean really the destination is the journey and the journey is always better with wine. Right?

Mountain Spirit Winery2Mountain Spirit Winer 6

The man way the Women way Fishing

Cascade Creek 1

Ok I am the first to tell you I am not, nor ever have been a fishing woman. I don’t know the first thing about it.   I have been fishing but not a whole lot. My dad and my husband fish quite often and enjoy it.   I can tell you my husband’s idea of fishing spots and mine are totally different. Maybe that has to do with my concept of fishing.  Which is I have no concept.

Cascade Creek 2

I am looking for beautiful spots, picturesque, relaxing, peaceful, and serene. I think my husband’s idea is ease, fish, and him in the quiet box for a Sunday afternoon.   I get the feeling that not much more is needed for him. So being we are now on the relaxed lifestyle I thought I would tag along with him just to see and spend time with him.

Cascade Creek 3

Now my preference would up the Dolores River where I could sit on the rocks and enjoy the river passing by.

My husband’s preference where we ended up at first was off the side of the Lake next to construction and aspalt rock.


I immediately put an end to that choice and asked for “THE COMPROMISE”. It is not my idea of peace sitting on alphalt or a hot rock with no chairs casting a line into a not so pretty area.  So being we were both going I thought we needed to compromise and maybe get a little of both.  Something each of us could enjoy and still catch fish.  That is if they were biting.


So we are off to his second choice. Again at the lake as he say’s fishing is better there. So we end up by some ponds area of the lake with at least somewhat of a view.  Now so you understand my idea was the fishing of a “River Runs Through It” idea.

Cascade Creek 1

It’s like peaceful, you can hear the water running, which brings tranquility to the place.  I start to imagine the dancing of the fishing poles in and out of the water “INTERUPTION”…………………………   That was just so not happening.

So I settled or for you married folks we compromised for a little spot where I could sit in the back of the jeep and still enjoy the lake.

Just so you know there is a lot of that compromising stuff going on in a marriage.  No asphalt for him and no river run’s through it for me.

DSC_0258  (Now this is a spot I loved alas not where we went)

I opted not to fish as I did not have a license but to sit down and just enjoy the afternoon watching my husband cast his line into the lake.  All and all it was an enjoyable afternoon for the downsized, RV lifestyle, luxury minimalist.

Redwoods are for Boomers or anyone else really including a luxury minimalist

Dinette-Recliners             How do you choose a moving earthquake on wheels.   Well you look.  Then you look again.  Then you narrow it down and look again.  They you choose one you like.  Then you change your mind.  Then you look again.  Then you go back and start all over.   Then finally you decide on the features you need and the floor plan you like and if you are lucky you just might get it or you can order it.

Well, that is somewhat how are choice began.   We knew we needed something that would stand up to the cold of Colorado, after all  I did not want to freeze.  Again, I am a minimalist but a luxury minimalist.  I knew I wanted to live with less, so what ever fit’s in the 5th wheel that is less.  I knew I would maintain a small little storage area for family pics and such.  I also new that I am 50 plus make decent money and don’t want to suffer too much.  I know all of you travel free, with less stuff, people are cringing.  I admit it I did not want to go to the extreme.  I am a realist who likes heat, and comfort.  I especially like comfort, and wine I like wine, and nice hotel rooms I like nice hotel rooms.


Well when the decision was coming into fruition we had really narrowed it down to 2 styles.  One was the Landmark who I think is absolutely beautiful and then our choice the Redwood.  We were all set to pull the plug on a brand spanking new baby when we hit a little snag at Camping World in Arizona.  Nothing on the Redwood itself as we love it.

It was our experience at Camping World.  We went through everything paper work and everything at CW, and we were not ready to pick it up but wanted everything set for when we came back in a few weeks.  So we waited, then waited, then waited and days had passed and we were already home and still knew nothing.  Called finance manger who was the worst at calling back, called the sales manager again the worse.  Finally, when we did get them we heard several different stories from each.  You would think if someone is dropping that much money in today’s economy they might want to give them a little better service.  I mean I don’t expect any one to drop down and kiss my feet but an email or phone call letting us know how everything is progressing.  NOPE, NADA, NILTCH every single time it was me calling.

I figured out that if this is the way sales worked I surely did not want to have to deal with service (which most know with a new rv is inevitable).  My husband and I pulled the plug and stopped the transaction (not sure it had even started really).   The final straw was after we decided never again the assistant GM called and tried to smooth things over. He tried to be nice and understanding yet when we stated we weren’t interested and refund our deposit his tune changed.  Talk about never visiting a company again.  With employees like that it makes you wonder why they have any business at all.  We took our business elsewhere.  To La Mesa RV really nice folks who gave us impeccable service across the board.

So we ended up at LA Mesa RV in Arizona and we are truly happy with our choice.  The Redwood is definitely a nice rig (Rver slang).  It is completely a four season choice in the world of 5th wheels.  A heated undercarriage is completely important when the temperatures in your area can be below zero at times.  Two fireplaces and a 40,000 BTU furnace are also important to us.


Yet, what caught us is the elegance and beauty of the Redwood.  It’s products are made with high quality materials and construction.  It is labeled as a luxury residential 5th wheel and I believe it lives up to it’s advertising.  You know that word luxury would appeal to the luxury minimalist in me.   What appealed to me also is that I can purchase a residence that I can take anywhere and my front door can be anything from a barren but beautiful warm desert to a alpine setting in the mountains and it is luxurious.   The beauty is not only in the area I am visiting but the 5th wheel itself.


I simply love the kitchen with it’s beautiful and functional design.  The pantry is lovely and has plenty of storage.  The kitchen itself is filled with extra cabinet storage which is really important when you are full timing.  My husband refers to it as a two butt kitchen in that both of our derrières fit nicely in the space.  We have a gas stove and an oven and it has worked for us well.   We don’t have a full size refrigerator but it is pretty decent and seems to work for us with no issues.


Our bedroom is completely comfortable and has more than enough storage and space for us.  There are little drawers and spaces everywhere for you to place items.  Being we are full timing in it closet storage was important.   We still work and have work attire and play attire and we live in an area with four seasons.  We don’t have any issues what so ever.  I do however remove summer cloths in winter and winter cloths in summer.  This helps to have a more organized area and increases the ease of use in the closet area.  I just take what I am not using and place it in plastic bins in our under carriage area.  It is then neat and organized.

So we have scaled everything down to fit into less than 300 sq feet.  You really have to like each other in that amount of space and lucky for us we do.  The Redwood does not feel cramped or even small and we enjoy everything about it.  Our original idea and we had read all of the RV blogs was to go big.  Big enough to give you space you need but still able to fit into various places you might want to see like national parks and such.  At our first initial stop this is just what we intended and we were looking at a 41 footer.   After our initial issue with the above mentioned worst customer service ever place we located our new home at LA Mesa RV.   This is when we did our final search on the internet and our beauty came up she was basically 36′ inside and 38′ in exterior length.  I have to say we love it!   It is not too small at all and Redwood has taken care of everything as far as storage and placement of furniture to maximize every space.  We have storage we have yet to even use.  I have to say I was quite surprised at the efficiency of everything in the Redwood.  Very well planned out and a beautiful place to call home.  Especially for the Luxury Minimalist.  So if you happen to be in the market for a 300′ sq ft living space I would not hesitate to recommend a Redwood Fifth Wheel not only for comfort but luxury too.

Redwood RW36FBRedwood14_38RLII_frtext

Oh and I get nothing from this endorsement but if you want to send me a check I would not turn it away.  (smiling deviously)

The Wyman Hotel circa 1902

IMG_1156 (2)Set in the incredible back drop of some of the most spectacular mountains in Colorado you will find the sleepy little town of Silverton.  Left over from the bye gone mining days of Colorado’s history.  This little place was once on the way to become one of Colorado’s next ghost town until it’s incredible beauty was rediscovered.

It’s picturesque setting, towering backdrop, and fantastic outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for a weekend jaunt.  We have visited before but we both enjoy coming back to discover new adventures, trails, and we love to jump back in time if only for a minute.

So when the opportunity presented itself with a business trip for the husband, I took the opportunity for a visit midweek. Not wanting to make a return visit to the Grand Hotel and being I had heard great things about the Wyman we booked a room.


I was not disappointed.   The building itself is well over 100 years old the hotel not quite that.  It features authentic furnishings that represent the early 1900’s.   The Lady herself looks to have been quite a grand dame when she was originally built.   She was not a hotel in the beginning but more of a gathering place with a ballroom and meeting areas.


I can almost hear the music playing in what would have been ballrooms upstairs not because this Grand Dame is haunted, but because when you walk in you appreciate the history she represents.   In today’s throw away society it is nice to see an appreciation and care for a piece of history.


I can’t help but imagine what it would be like in the days of old the hustle and bustle of those coming and going in the little town.  The dust of the streets settling on everything as the buggy’s and mule teams ride by.  Miners coming with the promise of treasure and finding the alpine setting rugged and unforgiving of the slightest mistake.  Yet the beauty unparralled to anything.

The room we itself was cozy and comfortable.  A definite improvement from our previous stay in Silverton.   The room was nicely decorated in period style comfort and the bed was excellent.   It’s October so the mornings are brisk but the room maintained heat well for a 100 year old building.


Breakfast was wonderful and every detail was looked after.  After some of my meal experiences here in Silverton I was pleasantly surprised. The table was set beautifully and I loved the name plate touch.   For breakfast this morning the feature was wonderfully delicious quiche filled with green chili and just the right amount of seasonings.  The berry filled smoothie to start was delicious too.  Cecilia was a wonderful host in the breakfast area attending to our every request, even the ice tea request at 8 in the morning.  She was bright, happy, and took extra care of every guest present.  What a genuine smile and sense of warmth.


We were only able to spend one night here but we both are looking for our next opportunity to visit.  We would not hesitate to come and visit The Wyman again and she is a beautifully refined lady.  Her ages shows a little but it only adds to her warmth. For the luxury minimalist side I look forward to being able to spend the afternoon and enjoy tea and or wine in the evening hour.  As this grand damn provides afternoon tea and or wine with your room price.