Friday, January 27, 2017

Cabin #10 Improvements

The cabins at Thunder Mountain Lodge are each unique.  Each one has it's own personality.  They have had these personalities since before we bought them.  Our goal is to add to the character that is already there, and make each cabin great!  Cabin #10 needs a little more attention than the others.  I like to say that the garden walk wall paper is so bad it's awesome!  But there is also this pink wall paper in there that just does not belong in a cabin in the woods.  So I am undertaking the goal of putting up pallet board walls on top of the pink wall paper.  At first glance it looks like wall paper, but when you look closely you notice that it is paneling with texture in the pink flowers.  Kind of cool, but it still doesn't belong in a cabin...
Here are the steps I took:

1.  Prep the area

2.  Rip apart pallets

3.  Cut to size

4.  Sand

5.  Stain

6.  Polyurethane
Look at that shine!

7.  Paint the background wall brown
This is a very important step when working with pallet wood!  Pallets are not exact, and by painting the wall behind the pallets, it is much more forgiving.  You can see the texture on the panels now.

8.  Nail gun time!  I employed Jeff to come help with the big tools.
A few cuts were required as we were putting the pallets up.  I had decided that since the pallets are not really exact, that we would wait until this stage to cut the holes for the outlets.  

9.  Finished product

The other thing we addressed was the fact that Cabin #10 does not have a closet, rack, or shelf.  There was no way to hang anything or store extra blankets and pillows.  We had an old armoire that we moved in to solve the issue!  Sadly it blocks a lot of the beautiful new wall... but functionality wins here.

Also, if you look closely at the futon, we have two futon pads.  Cabin #10 has a lot of floor space.  So when we need to, we can pull one pad on the floor, put sheets on, and you can sleep more people now!  

This photo was taken Saturday 1/21/2017.  A little note here about the shovel.  Notice that it's on a hook by the door?  In the spring time we will find a red and black shovel that is buried somewhere under all of the snow....  Keep the shovels on the hooks, then when it snows 2 feet overnight, you can find your shovel!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Winter has arrived in a fury!  Today we are getting our first major snow storm of the season.  Last year by November 17th we already had a three foot base of snow.  Winter is getting a late start this year, but his storm is making up for it.  It has been hammering hard for 4 hours now, and we have about 7+ inches of snow in the parking lot.  

The snow camera is live on our website now!  Check it out here.  Today has been windy, so it only shows that we have 5 1/2 inches.  When we get more snow, we will be able to put up the snow screen.  Then it'll be more accurate.  

If you are on snapchat, you should be following me for live updates:  @venusfairies ~ of course I mix in snaps of our cat Otto and cooking...  Life on the Mesa!  

Our summer and fall went by quickly!  We have been working hard on upgrading the cabins.  A few cabins now have new(er) mattresses.  We painted some exteriors, interiors, and added some new quilts and blankets.  Have you ever bought 150+ new towels?  It is expensive!  Even with a discount. But it is a nice amenity for our cabin guests to have all new fluffy towels!  Also somewhat new is supplying our guests with soaps and shampoos.  We used to tell people to bring their own personal soaps, but now we have some!  We are trying to make it so that the only thing you need to bring is groceries.  

Here you can see how we painted the bathroom in cabin 6.

In cabin 8, I redid the bathroom with pallets.  It turned out so amazing!  I pulled apart pallets, cut, sanded, stained, and polyurethaned the wood before putting it up on the walls.  The texture is great, and each piece of wood soaked in the stain differently, so even though each piece had the same stain, it turned out so varied.  

The next project is to use pallets in cabin number 10.  If you have stayed in cabin 10, you know that it needs a little updating.  We plan on putting pallet wood on the walls where the terrible pink wall paper is.  The terrible green garden wall paper is safe.  It's so bad that it is great!  At least for now....  

Here's your before picture.  Keep posted for an after picture!

We are filling up with reservations for the winter!  Make sure to book your cabin and snowmobile tour soon.  We are already sold out for New Year's Eve and a few weekends in February.  Hope to see you this winter!!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Winter 15-16

Well it's March, and we have been having quite a winter!  December through February it snowed about 3 feet a week.  We were constantly digging out.  This winter we have had over 360" so far!

This is the road leading up to the cabins!  They do a great job plowing, but when it's coming down in buckets, it's hard to keep up.
The sunsets this winter have not disappointed!

I got to operate big red!  I am now a master snow blower.

Jeff pushes snow around with the snow cat. 

At the beginning of the winter we decided to keep the center pavilion open to guests for the grill and a fire pit area.  It got used quite a bit too!  We save all of our cardboard and then use it to burn a big bright fire!  On New Year's Eve, we invited all the guests to a pot luck and fire.  It turned out really great!!

We dug a snow bench into the hUge snow pile Jeff had made with the snow cat.

This year we got our permit snowmobiling.  Jeff has been guiding groups with their own snowmobiles and also people who come up for the day that rent our snowmobiles.  The Grand Mesa has 800+ square miles of terrain.  Most groups take a guide for the first day, get some good ideas, and then ride the rest of the week on their own.

This is the winter of El Nino.  The meteorologists named this El Nino cycle Bruce Lee.  We jumped on board with that and put a little Bruce Lee figure on our snow stake and got a life size card board cut out!  There was a meteorologist from Denver 7 news that came and interviewed Jeff for a story on El Nino.  They ran a story the other night and plugged us as "Thunder Ridge Mountain".  So if you're wondering where that is, it's here, it's us!  Some of the footage they used was from a customer that stayed with us, he had a drone!


We also had a friend move out from Chicago to live with us.  Cameron is taking on some of our carpentry projects.  If you have stayed with us before, you know that some of the cabins were remodeled before we bought them.  They have built in bunk beds, but there were no ladders.  Now each bunk bed has a ladder!  I had to figure out how to pull the mattress down, make the bed, and put it back up, because I was not about to climb up there to make the beds!  Tricky tricky.

In Cabin 7 we put a lofted bed in the bedroom.  Just another way to maximize the space a bit.

More projects coming this summer!

Cameron and I have been exploring the cross country ski trails quite a bit (Ok he has explored much more than I have).  There are some trails right across the street from us in a non motorized zone.  The trails are kept up nicely, and they are very well marked.  The Grand Mesa Nordic Council has a great trail system throughout the Mesa.  We are trying to reach out to more of the cross country skiers in the area to make sure that they know they can stay with us!  Since we are right on the border of the motorized and non motorized zones, there's no reason that both groups cannot get along!  And we don't currently have a large lodge, so most groups hang out in their cabins.  Just sayin, come stay with us!

It's the end of March, and we have been getting hit with some spring snow.  The conditions are still great!  So come visit all through April!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Well, as you could see from the last post, we have been working hard on our cabins.  We have a friend helping us with our website, but it probably won't be ready until the fall.  In the meantime, you can visit our Facebook page to see photo albums of each cabin.  Click here.

We have a lot of ideas for the cabins and the property.  First of all, we are getting married here in September.  An old post may have said June, but that was wishful thinking.  We have our date set and we are making sure our event area is ready.  So far, I have added in our hammock sanctuary around the large fire pit.  There are solar powered twinkle lights that are so cute!  I found some tiki torches up in the attic and added them to the fun hang out area.  It looks so awesome!

We got a cat!  It's my first pet since moving to Colorado!  We named him Otto.  For Otto Mears and John Otto, both pioneers and environmentalists in Colorado history.  Mostly we got a cat because we have mice.  If we keep our lil Otto happy he is going to kill all the rodents.  Did you know how much cats kill!?

Here are some of my goals:
 Long term:  I want to see about adding lofts.  Every cabin has a dropped ceiling.  It would be so awesome to open them up and add a loft.  The loft will most likely be very small, but small can be cool and cozy.  It might come down to just opening them up and having an open cabin showing the rafters instead of closed off.  
These are both such cool ideas!  Check out my pinterest page!

There is this show called Tiny Houses.  I don't remember what network it's on, but they should come help us.  They have so many cool projects!  We have 12 tiny houses.  It would be amazing if we could make them into space saving, optimized, little cabins!  I think our customers would love it!

Short term:  reinstall the hot tubs!!  Yeah!  The whole area where the hot tubs used to be is this cool tree island, and it could easily be a fun community hang out year round.  On one side of the pavilion are some charcoal grills.  Eventually it could have a larger grill for people to use.  We can add some more picnic tables.  Then add in more twinkle lights!  That would make two community areas on the property.  The picnic/hot tub area and the hammock/fire pit area.  We also are thinking of simply getting some lawn games. 

The community pavilion is a nice central area with a beautiful view of Deep Ward Lake.

We have a volleyball net.  We just need to set it up.  Then get some horseshoes and other lawn games.  Even if we don't get around to remodeling the cabins, people want to hang out.  I think people come up here to enjoy the weather and the outdoors.  By having really awesome hang out areas, our customers won't care if we end up having lofts or not.  That's why this is the best short term goal.  Our property is quiet and beautiful.  We need to expand on the assets we already have.

We recently finished another goal.  The old owner took out wood stove heaters and put in super efficient electric heaters.  But when he did, he left some holes in the walls....  So I already fixed up cabin #3 with pallet boards.  Jeff fixed the other cabins.  And we just finished the last cabin with more pallet board.  


There's always work to be done around here!  But we are mixing in some fun.  We have gone on many hikes and explorations.  This is a new area for us.  We need to keep exploring to make sure to be knowledgeable for our guests.  The best hike so far has been the Crag Crest Trail.  It is so amazing.  It's a ridge that you hike up to, and then you can hike along the ridge.  There are steep drops to either side of the trail, so be careful!

 Had to take a selfie!
Such a cool hike!

Well we hope to see you soon!