Monday, April 9, 2012

On to Denver

Do you remember our rental car snafoo? For those of you just checking in... go back several posts and read about our entrance to LA...

We rented a car there to return in Denver, must return car by 6:30PM or else we will be charged another $150+ -- Straight to the airport we go.

Thankfully my cousin Jessica, her husband Scott, and daughter Victoria picked us up at the Rental Car return and took us on our last culinary adventure of the week.

Thankfully, Jessica and I have been able to get together last minute several times over the last few months. I still remember when we used to play hide and seek at my grandparent's house growing up... and now we both have houses of our own.

We hit up a Lucky Pie Pizza for some local beers, yummy olives, beet hummus, and of course PIZZA!
And, what goes better with pizza than ice cream?

Good for us that the local ice cream shop was connected to Luky Pie. We went in for a tasty treet to end out our night. I very much enjoyed cuddling with Tori.

We spent the final hours hanging out with Jessica and Scott before getting on the red eye back to Raleigh, where life we would resume as normal. But what is normal anyways?

The Home Stretch

We had grand plans of enjoying a half day of skiing in the CO Rockies before getting on the plane, but that would have required us to wake up around 7AM and leave the hotel by 8/8:30... since I didn't even wake up until 8 and Matt was about an hour and half behind me... we decided to change our plans.

I think our pace was beginning to catch up with us.

But, it was our last day and I wanted to make sure that we didn't miss a thing. In efforts to let Matt sleep a little longer and to get out some of my pent up energy after being in the car for hours on end the day before, I went on a morning jog/exploration of Glenwood Springs.

Option two for the morning included a dip in the Hot Springs before heading down the road, but as I ran past the pool that morning, a waft of sulfer overcame me. I also learned that the "Hot" pool-- about the temperature of a hot tub, was large enough for about 100 people and the "warm" pool-- about the temp of bathwater, was large enough for 300.

Lets look at this objectively: Smelling disgusting in a warm pool with 300 other people? Do you want to do that? We decided against it and instead hit the road and worked our way towards Denver.

Good Bye Glenwood Springs

One day we will make it to Aspen, but time was not on our side, so around 11AM we rolled towards Vail.

For some reason Vail sounds sexy or glamorous in some way to me. I think I was imagining New York City as a ski town, but its nothing like that.
Here are the slopes (or at least one section of them).

Must take all pictures in front of life size statues. 

Matt was trying to get me to do a snow angel, but I declined. 

We made it to Vail Village by 12:50 signs on the parking deck said that 2 hours or less = FREE and anything over 2 hours was $15, so our goal, make it back to the car by 2:50... would 2 hours be enough time to explore and eat lunch?

If we were staying in Vail, this would be my top pick... outdoor firepit and cozy sofa.
Great place to relax after pretend skiing all afternoon. 

In and out of shops and then we found the German Gastro-pub for lunch. It was bright and sunny, so we sat outside and enjoyed our salad and schnitzle. It just so happened to be the day that NC State was playing UNC in the ACC tournament. I asked Matt if he wanted to sit inside, but he decided that it would be better not to watch.

So, we ended up in a great conversation with the owner of the pub and his friend. I love meeting friendly people.... only about 45 minutes left on the timer... lets go. Matt still wanted to do some shopping.

*If anyone knows my husband 45 minutes is not enough time to even buy socks, so I don't know what we were thinking :)

In and out of a few more stores, before my need for control and anxiety kicked in... its like I have a built in clock inside of me and it just ticks like a time bomb when we are on a deadline...

"Come on BABE!"
"(Sigh) Aren't we on VACATION?"

We headed back to the car, found it in the deck and exited= 4 minutes to spare. Deep breaths and sighs of relief mixed with laughter propelled us on to Denver.

**Unfortunately, we also found out that State lost. But, our attitudes still remained positive... we were on Vacation, right?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Out of Zion

Lodge Buffet= Check
Multiple Day Hikes= Check
Second Shower= Check
Check out my noon= Check
Traci's anxiety level drops= Check
Zion Gift Shop= Check

I don't know why its so hard for me to push the limits of check out times, but my heart races until we are out the door... and I need at least 10 minutes to spare... issues, I think just a few... but we managed and then jumped back in the Jetta to drive out of the park and into the vast open spaces of Southern Utah.

Can you see the small hole in the side of the mountain? That is part of the tunnell! Wow! We would soon be driving through that mountain. 

We had time for one more quick 'scenic route' before heading out of the park and 10 minutes of photo ops. Well worth it, but again, my anxiety level started rising... quick! Jump in the car... we need to make it past Grand Junction, CO tonight!

So, we headed out of Zion... through the tunnel. This tunnel was amazing! Built in the 1920 and still functioning beautifully and we were thankful for that!

We made it alive to the other side and out of the park! Good bye Zion.

The rest of our day's journey pretty much consisted of driving, quickly jutting into scenic overlooks, snapping a few pictures and scouting out places to hidrate and use the bathroom. 

We made it past Grand Juntion, CO by about 8PM and stopped into Palasade, CO for dinner. Nice little quaint sports bar with live music and then one more hour to Glenwood Springs to crash into our beds for the night. Only one more day to go. We savored every moment of it! 

Friday-- winding to a close

I know I have kept everyone waiting in anticipation for our next moves and the view from Zion National Park in the morning, but watching Avitar and finishing the 2 last books in the Hunger Games sequal have kept me severely busy!

So, lets go... onto the next marathon day of adventure. I would have to say this one was one of the tops. Actually, looking back on the trip, its hard to choose which adventure was my favorite, but this one was the most scenic.

Wake Up: 8AM (ish) -- here is our view from our cabin--

AMAZING!! I think this post might have to consist of a majority of photographs because words are hard to express the beauty and majesty of the cliffs surrounding us.

When we awoke it was still about 30 degrees outside, so we loaded up our layers of clothes and headed to the lodge from breakfast before a morning hike. We left the lodge around 9:30AM and needed to check out by noon... our aim was to do a mini hike. I checked out the guide books and looked for one that should have lasted us an hour. Emerald Pools trail... here we come!

Please notice that my full anticipation of whats ahead includes a ski band and sweatshirt...

We made it to the 'lower pools' in what seemed like 10 minutes, so the hour long hike was a little to amateur for our taste and we pushed ahead... shedding layers as we went. The new glorious views at every turn tempted us to continue even though we both left our phones in our room and had no concept how long this adventure was going to take us... we marched on.

More layers down... and more views conquered... new trails kept running into each other so we had to keep exploring...

I wanted to turn back way earlier, but we were thankful to find some other hikers to take a picture of us, and Matt needed to sit and take in the sights while is awas patiently soaking in the sights myself...

Once we made it back to the flat we started our jog back to the lodge to shower and move on to the next adventure. We made it back to our room by 11:15AM (2 hours of hiking and 4.5 miles down) We actually completed 3 separate hikes during our rampage through the forest... And I was nervous we were going to run out of time?

Can worry add any minutes to your life? I guess not!