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Madison, USA

Departure Friday, August 29, 2008
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Pre Trip - Expedia

I orginally booked this trip about 4 weeks out from the anticipated traviel time in mid August. While I had some problems with Expedia and trying to get a refund on a air ticket last year, I decided to give them another try. What a disaster. First they sent me paper tickets, which are useless (since you have to go to an airport or spend money on a package you have to track to send them back to Expedia). As it turns out, I had to rebook for a few weeks later, and not only was it a major hassle, but Expedia was very unhelpful.

Problems with Expedia

About a year ago Expedia put me within their premium booking system for high usage travelers. It's a joke. Not only is their premium service useless, but I actually preferred their older system. In any case, I needed to rebook. First I had to waste an afternoon going out to the airport to change the paper tickets at the United desk. They too wondered why Expedia issued paper tickets. Everything is E-tickets now, why use an older system ? Next, when I booked the resort in Mountain Village (above Telluride) called the Peaks, I found out that as soon as I booked, I could not change or cancel reservations - at all. So I wasted $1,200 immediately. Expedia tried to call the manager at The Peaks, but he refused to help. It turns out (of course it's in the fine print) that if you book within 4-5 weeks, there is a 100 percent cancelation fee. What Expedia does not tell you is that the resort had some questionable reviews, and it was not the 4 start rated resort they had claimed it to be. It was in fact, under new ownership and under re-construction.

Re-booking

I rebooked with Mountainside Lodge within Telluride. It wasn't exactly what I wanted but for the Labor Day weekend all the nicer resorts were booked for the Telluride Film Festival. When I went to rebook my air tickets, I had to fly into Montrose and take the shuttle from the airport to Telluride, but it resulted in the tickets being available at 50 percent off, so I got a couple of United coupons for about $450 each (they are useless because again, they are limited time vouchers that you have to book at the airport).

Everything is laid out on the table before packing.

I packed my smallest roll-aboard carry on.

This is Melissa's carry-on. It contains a full weekend of gear including a day backpack.

The United Express from Madison to Denver.

Flights from Madison to Denver and then to Montrose

United Express

The first flight out of Madison was on a United Express jet (coach only) and was on time to Denver. There was not NWA WorldClubs or Delta Royal Crown Room. The next flight was on a turboprop to Montrose. Since these were evening flights, the air was calm and the flights were ontime. Both flights were full. Arriving at Montrose, we took the Telluride Express for the ride to Telluride (just over an hour). The ride was quite bumpy, and the van was older, but we got there in good time.

(click to enlarge)

The Moutainside Lodge required a minimum 4 night stay, however they have a sign at the main office which welcomes walk-ins. Best to do just that and take your chance. Don't be forced to book more days than you need.

Bathroom

Shower

Bedroom. The overall room was very clean and well organized.

The kitchenette was nice for breakfast.

The gas fireplace kicked out alot of heat, and was nice for the cool evenings. There are fans, but no AC in the room - typical for Telluride.

View of the kitchenette.

Kitchenette.

End of Travel Day

While it was a long evening of travel, all the connections were made and we ended up at the hotel/condo just after 12:30 am. Many don't recommend late day travel, since flights get delayed, but we found that the commuter flights were on time. The only disappointment was not having the WorldClubs available to relax between flights. For this trip we packed carry-on luggage which allowed us to move between flights without any problems. We could have booked the luggage straight through, but it wasn't necessary.

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