Thursday, May 30, 2013

Staycation, Day 5

Alternatively titled: Best. Day. Ever.

(Except for maybe our wedding day.)

While flipping through a tourist book on Memorial Day, I ran across one of "Colorado's Best Kept Secrets" and promptly decided that we were going to go visit.  Jay, bless him, was game, even though neither one of us really gave a thought as to how long it was going to take us to get there.  We kinda went, "Alamosa?  That's, what?, three-four hours from here?  Sure, let's go."

We got up way too early in the morning and headed south.  Six hours later, we reached one of our destinations, the Great Sand Dunes.

Neither of us had ever been there and weren't sure what to expect.  What I didn't expect was essentially the perfect beach.  Perfect, for a landlocked person like me.  Warm, soft sand and just enough water to cool off in.

There were lots of families there, settled in for the day, and I immediately wished that I'd taken the kids to visit when they were little.  Since our trip was so impromptu, we weren't really prepared, so we improvised and went for a wade.

At first, the water was shockingly cold, but since it's only a couple of inches deep, it didn't take long to acclimate.  We wandered through the water and back up the other side, stopping to play on a branch in the water.

After spending about an hour playing in the water and sand, we decided to go to our primary destination, Zapata Falls.  The Sand Dunes had been an afterthought, really, when we decided to load up and go.  I loved them and wish we'd planned to camp out, because there is so much to do.

Zapata Falls isn't far from the Sand Dunes, only about eight miles south. We'd actually passed the entrance on our way to the Dunes.  The directions were simple, turn off at the sign and follow the dirt road three miles to the parking lot.

3 miles of washboard roads, straight up.
From the parking lot, it's a "short, 1/2 mile hike" to the waterfall.  I agree, a half a mile isn't that far, but it is uphill.  More uphill.

Really, it's much steeper in real life.

The trail is well-groomed and super easy to follow, even though it goes up.  Now, I know I'm out of shape, but I didn't think I was *that* out of shape.  I was embarrassed as a native to be huffing and puffing as much as I was getting up that hill; you'd think that I was a flat-lander, not a mountain kid if you'd seen me trudging up the hill.

We made it, though, with only one stop to sit and rest our legs.  At the top of the trail, there is a nice seating area, where the less adventurous could just sit and watch the water (or wait their turn to enter the falls).

We had to wait a bit for our turn to climb up into the crevasse and I got a bit nervous seeing people struggling with the cable anchored into the rock wall.  After watching one poor lady, I realized that the people struggling were the ones depending on the cable and decided not to use it, to just use one hand on the rock wall for balance.

I felt like I was trying to imitate a mountain goat, sticking so close to the rock wall and trying to stay out of the water.  Boy, was that dumb.  When the guide book says you have to wade into the crevasse to get to the waterfall, they meant that you have to wade in the water.  I made it all the way to the entrance to the cave with dry feet and then promptly slipped off of a rock into the water.  At that point, I threw up my hands and said, "screw it", and slogged my way upstream, ignoring most of the stepping rocks.

I thought the water at the Sand Dunes was cold, but I was sorely mistaken.  This glacier run-off was frigid and it only took a few second for my toes to get very, very cold.  But it was so worth it.

Looking up at the waterfall, I almost forgot that my feet were frozen.  It's a small area and gets crowded very quickly, so I felt kind of rushed to get in, get the pictures, and get out.  On the way out, we both gave up on trying to tippy-toe our way along the rock wall and just walked downstream.

When my feet got too cold, I'd step up on a couple of rocks to let the water drain out of my shoes and warm my feet up.

I look constipated, but I'm really just trying to keep my balance.
Strangely, I ran into a lady who saw my BodyBugg on my arm and asked about it out of the blue.  Weird.  And totally random, but she was super excited about it and went on about how she wanted one.

Since our feet were already wet, I made Jay pose for some pictures before we headed back down to the car.

I really kind of love this picture.
We saw a cute little friend hoping for a handout just as we were getting ready to go back down to the car.

It was a great day, even if it meant that we spent twelve hours in the car.  Next time, we'll make plans to camp there so we don't feel so rushed.

I was so excited about it that I immediately told Nebalee she *had* to take the kids.  Really, I kind of hounded her until she agreed that they'd pack up the kids and go next week.  Other than gas, it's an inexpensive trip.  $3/adult to get into the Sand Dunes and Zapata Falls is free.  I'm so glad I was flipping through that tourist book and came across the "Best Kept Secrets" section.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Staycation, Day 4 (Memorial Day)

First, thank you to all of the servicemen and women who gave their lives.  Bless their friends and family.

Today is Estes' moving day.  Time to take her up the hill so she can "go to work".  Our lights weren't working on the horse trailer, so for Jay's birthday present, Mom and Bill got him temporary lights for the trailer.  He's generous enough to share them with me in order to get the trailer legal enough to haul Her Highness up the hill.

He was also kind enough to do the wiring on his truck required to hook up the lights.

Best horse husband ever?  I think so.
While Jay was doing the wiring, I was working on the frankentrailer.  Oh, the lights are ugly and the black electrical tape "sutures" really add something, don't you think?

The frankentrailer might not be pretty, but it is functional (and legal, which is most important).

Ripley got a bath, and then some TLC from Jay.  He designed a new stripe for the back gate a few months ago and has just been waiting for the perfect time to replace the old one.  Bright, beautiful sunny day? Check.  Clean Ripley? Check.  Time to get her new tattoo put on.

Molon labe = come and get 'em
After all of that work, we'd worked up quite an appetite, so over to Nebalee's for a family BBQ.  Lots of good food.  Lots of it.  Ate myself sick.  Will be hating myself come weigh in on Monday, I just know it.

I did actually dig into the veggies and watermelon.  Hopefully that will offset the chili dog and pepperjack cheeseburger I wolfed down.  Nah, probably not, but I can dream.

After eating myself sick, it was time to load up Her Highness to go to her summer home.  (Update: she's not liking her summer home much, as she's currently getting rained/snowed on.)

I'm going to miss her, but we'll have a good time up on the mountain.  Now that she's got a permanent home near us, this might really be her last summer at Mom's.

Staycation, Day 3

Darn it,  real-life chores intrude even on vacation!

We started our first day off together (remember, Jay had to work the first two days) doing laundry.

Yep.  Nothing more exciting than starting our four days off together with damn laundry.

As a reward for getting chores out of the way, I made Jay take me to see a movie.

I'm a sucker for the Fast and Furious franchise (except for Tokyo Drift - out of order and stupid).  I mean, really, hot cars?  Unbelievable plot lines and lousy acting?  What's not to love?

Truly, one of my favorite movie franchises (except for Tokyo Drift).

Lazy, lazy first day off together and absolutely perfect.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Staycation, Day 2

Jay's still working, so I was on my own again to entertain myself.

Not a problem; I just invited one of my friends who wanted to learn to shoot out to blow stuff up.

I loaded up the car with more guns than we needed, a couple of target stands, and a bleeding zombie.

We proceeded to spend the next four hours in gun powder therapy.

I mean, how can this not be fun?

See all the pieces of zombie flying through the air?
I think I'm liking this staycation business.

Jay's four days off start tomorrow and I have no idea what we're going to be doing, but based on the first two days, it's going to be awesome!

Staycation, Day 1

Jay and I had grand plans for our vacation time.

Only his work schedule changed and our time off decreased from about eight days to four, so our vacation became a staycation.

Day 1 was fairly productive.  Yesterday was Monster's 18th birthday (I know, I know, I don't look a day over 18 myself, how could I possibly have an 18 year old child?) and he didn't get his driving permit when he was younger.  He decided he would wait until he was 18 to get his permit, because then he could just take his drive test and not have to hold his permit for a full year like he would if he was under 18.  We would have liked for him to just get his license, but you have to have a permit to take a stupid drive test, and the drive tests are booked out until June, so permit it is for him for another couple of weeks.

Monster and I went to the DMV this morning and, after only two hours, he had his permit in his hands.  As we were getting in Ripley, we heard a car nearby honking.  I couldn't figure out who could be honking at us, there were several parking spaces and we weren't even in the car yet, so it couldn't be someone wanting our spot.  Then I located the source of the honking.

A car parked in front of us and just a couple of spots over was the source of the honking.  Rather, the young lady straddling who I can only assume was her boyfriend in the driver's seat of a car, got a little too rambunctious while getting her cowgirl on and bumped the horn.

Hey, at least they were keeping themselves entertained while waiting their turn, right?

I giggled.  While you certainly won't catch *me* getting it on in the middle of the day in the middle of a busy parking lot, to each their own, I guess.

Next on the to-do list was time with Her Highness.  She's going up the hill on Monday, so I only have a few more days before her life of leisure is over and she's back to being a working trail horse.  And by "working trail horse", I mean one day a week she's got to haul my butt around the mountain.

She's looking so good.  She's almost completely shed out and her summer coat is beautiful, about three shades lighter than her winter coat.  When I picked her up from Ida at the beginning of April, I started her on whole oats and she thinks that's about the best  stuff on the planet.  So do I, she's doing well on the oats and hay and has put on at least 50# (I'd like to think more); she'll be going up the hill in great shape.

Nebalee needed someone to babysit Asset for an hour while she was tied up.  I know Nebalee was desperate, because she asked me.  She doesn't do that.  'Cause Aunt GunDiva don't do the babysitting thing.  I'm not a big fan of other people's kids, not even my sister's.

Okay, that's a lie.  I like some other people's kids and Asset is pretty much the smartest 4 (almost 5) year old I know.  She's also the most active.  It was a given that she'd run my butt off and she did.  I picked her up from gymnastics and then walked her a half a mile to McDonald's for a happy meal and walked back.  An hour of gymnastics, a mile round-trip walk, and it didn't even take the edge off of her energy.

Took the edge off of my energy, but not hers, so I encouraged her to do somersaults down a hill.  Which she did a couple of times, giggling the whole way.  When she got tired of that, I encouraged her to log roll down the hill.  Which she did a couple of times.

But it looked really like  a lot of fun.  And I can't remember the last time I log rolled down a hill.  I let my inner 4 year old loose and started rolling down the hill with her.  After the first go-round, I don't know who was laughing harder: me or Asset.

It was the best laughter I'd had in a while.

So I did it again.

And again.

And when Nebalee showed up, we talked her into log rolling down the hill with us; all three of us laughing like crazy people.

Most. Fun. Ever.

Seriously, next time you're completely stressed out and want to kill someone, just go log roll down a hill a few times.  We obviously take ourselves far too seriously if we give up something as fun as that.

Heck, I might even go try a swing at some point on this staycation. :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Aaaaaaannnndddd, Heeeeeerrrrrreeeee's Summer!

We might have had Spring.


For a week in March.  You know, before winter came back with a vengeance.

The snow's finally gone (at least for us, there's still a good bit on the peaks - Yay!), and the heat has been turned on.

I'm sort of happy about this.  I say sort of, because I really, really hate the heat.  Like, more than I hate snow.  At least with snow you can keep adding layers, but with heat, you can only get so naked. YaknowhatImean?

Last week, Jay's maternal grandmother died.  While it was expected, it's still hard on everyone.  Listening to all of the stories about his grandma, I wish that I'd had the chance to meet her before she was stricken with Alzheimer's.

On our way out to Utah, his mom wanted to spend the night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  I was confused, as Jackson Hole is nowhere near on the way to our destination in Utah, but I'm glad we went that way.  Both Jay and I are very destination-oriented when we go on a road trip; we select our destination and choose the fastest way to get there.  His mom and sisters are not; they're more of the "let's go see what we can see while we're on the road" type of road trippers.  If we hadn't been caravaning with them, we would have missed out on some beautiful scenery.

The Tetons are amazing.  Can't believe I've lived this close and have never been.
 Once we were in Jackson Hole, we checked into our hotel and wandered around a bit.

I thought maybe Beel could use these for his next spring photo shoot.

Flinstones' Royal Order of Water Buffalos?

Mr. Daddy, thinking of you.

Rachel, thinking of you!

I can't tell you how excited I was to find 5.56 (ammo) at Sports Authority.  Even though there was a two box/customer maximum, I was very excited, as ammo is really hard to come by right now.  Some people bring back souvenirs,  I brought home 80 rounds of 5.56.
We had a great dinner at one of the local Italian restaurants as Jay's early birthday celebration and called it a night.

The next morning, we finished the trip to Utah, where I got to meet lots and lots of Jay's relatives.  We stayed at his aunt's house, and she's got the greatest front porch.  Jay and I decided that we were going to bring back the lost art of "porch sittin'".  First we need a porch worth sittin'.  Details, details.

Look at all that green!
The funeral was beautiful, as far as funerals go.  We even managed to get a sunburn at the graveside service.  Unfortunately, his mom and sisters had to head back home after we filled up with funeral ham at the reception.

Jay and I stayed another night and spent time with his cousins.  Of course, I didn't think to take pictures, because I was just enjoying the company and the spring weather.

We embraced our destination-orientation and made the trip home in just about seven hours, with only one stop.  The trip out to Utah was beautiful and I enjoyed the detour, but I just wanted to get home to my own bed.  Luckily, Jay's a driving machine and made it happen.

I was pleasantly surprised that in the few days we were gone, Colorado had also decided to join the rest of the country in spring/summer.  Finally, some green instead of snow and mud.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yet Another Reason Why I Shouldn't Be a Girl

This morning, I didn't feel like putting on scrubs.  It's hot out (well, it's supposed to be, anyway) and I'm not teaching a lab class, so I threw on a skirt and slipped my feet into some mules (wait...are they even called that anymore?  Crap, I think now they're slides.  Kinda like how thongs used to be footwear and now they're buttwear.).

Now, I've got enough estrogen to realize that the first pair of mules I put one were bad, bad, bad with my skirt, so I went digging in the closet until I found a less offensive pair of shoes to slip on.

Then I left for work, intending to feed Her Highness along the way.  It had obviously rained where she is, but not at our house, so I had to deal with mud.  Not a problem, I've pretty much mapped out where I can step in her mud bog without getting all gross and muddy.  My plan was going well, until Her Highness decided that she would rather eat the grass outside of her pen than the hay I had my arms loaded up with.

Long story short, I ended up stepping in the mud.  I finish up what I'm doing with Estes, knock off as much mud as I could and drive into work, thinking nothing about it.

Really.  Mud on my shoes, completely out of my brain.  I knocked off the mud and it was a done deal in my mind.

Luckily, one of my co-workers saw me and told me to go wash off my shoes before I embarrassed myself walking all over campus with dried mud all over my shoes.

Yep, I'm a failure as a girl.  I mean, really, who (besides me) doesn't think to wash the mud and horseshit and hay off of her shoes?