"You should write a blog about that ski trip your super cool dad took you on." - Dad
20.08.2016 - 28.02.2017
Per my father's request, here is recap of my travels since I last wrote.
Brews before the I do's in Breck:
In August, I took a quick weekend trip to Breck for my college friend Megan's bachelorette party. Of course, Megan's idea of an awesome girls weekend included breweries, mountains, and a viewing of a classic 2000s movie (Bring It On, this time), and I could not agree more! Unfortunately, a delayed flight Friday night made this weekend trip even shorter than originally planned. Three other Houstonians and I had the misfortune of having our flight delayed, resulting in a late night drive through the mountains(shout out to Jenny for taking one for the team and chauffeuring us to Breck!) and a 3 am arrival to a house full of sleeping girls.
Somehow we rallied and woke up a few hours later to make breakfast tacos before heading to the base of the mountain. I have gone skiing in Breck before, and it was crazy to see the transformation in the summer. Our condo from our last Breck trip in 2015 overlooked the area where the summer alpine slide is located. We learned that the alpine slide is there year round. During ski season, it is covered with snow. Who knew? We did the alpine slide, went to Breckenridge Brewery (a must do on all my trips to Breck), and overall enjoyed the mountain air!
An Aptly Named Canyon:
After staying in Houston for two of the three holiday weekends over the summer, I was determined to take advantage of the three day Labor Day weekend and cross the Grand Canyon off my bucket list. My family went a few years ago without consulting my schedule because I am the middle child. Since they forgot the middle child on that trip, I had to take matters into my own hands and plan my own Grand Canyon trip. I convinced my boyfriend Marshall to join me and off we went.
We flew to Phoenix and drove three hours to Flagstaff. Saturday, we drove an hour to the Grand Canyon Airport outside of Tusayan. We did the 45 minute Imperial Ecostar helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. The soundtrack of the helicopter ride was appropriately curated and included gems, such as the Rocky theme song and "Fly like an Eagle." After the helicopter ride, we drove to the South Rim, somehow found parking amongst all the holiday weekend traffic, and ate at the El Tovar Lodge for lunch. When in a national park, I always must check out the historic lodge there.
The El Tovar has been a running joke in the family since my family visited without me (I promise I am not bitter). Apparently, when they visited my dad told my siblings and mom to wait in the lobby for him. They wandered outdoors to the flagpole right outside the entrance. Dad didn't see them and freaked out on them. From that day on, anytime dad gets mad at us, we say "don't go El Tovar on us." Thus, I was happy I finally got to see the legendary spot. Unfortunately, the El Tovar Lodge ranks low on my list of favorite NPS lodges. Who on earth builds a restaurant in the Grand Canyon without a ton of windows showing off the Grand Canyon?
We walked along the Rim Trail before heading to the South Kaibab Trail. By this time, it was afternoon and pretty hot outside so we opted for a short hike down the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point. It was a quick hike and fairly easy. Another bone to pick with the Grand Canyon, where are the guard rails or safety precautions along the South Kaibab Trail? It was a fairly narrow trail with steep drop offs.
After the Grand Canyon, we headed back to Flagstaff and explored the surprisingly cute downtown area of Flagstaff. Flagstaff has tons of breweries. We visited Lumberyard Brewery and Mother Road Brewing before calling it a day.
Sunday, after a brunch at the Toasted Owl where everything- food, drinks and eclectic furniture- is for sale, we drove to Sedona (approximately 2 hours south of Flagstaff). If you have never been to Sedona, go now, immediately. It is gorgeous! You can see pink rocks at every angle! We did an easy hike at Fay Canyon and then stumbled across another trail. There are trailheads all over this town, so hiking is easy to access! Marshall had put up with me for the whole weekend an didn't complain about my hiking requests or itinerary that he had little input in, so when he requested a visit to the spa for a massage (apparently normal people like to relax on vacations....), I gave in and put massages on the itinerary to conclude our trip.
Mile High Matrimony:
Megan (from the Breck bachelorette party above) got married in Denver in October. A group of ten of us rented a house in the super cool, up and coming Tennyson Street area. We didn't even know we were being trendy. We just thought we were being cheap because this house was only $250 per night and slept ten! It was an Airbnb jackpot, at least until we checked out (more to come on that in the following paragraphs).
On Friday, we ventured an hour to Boulder and did a leisurely hike. We "hiked" for approximately 15 minutes before finding a boulder in Boulder, and we opted to sit on said boulder and catch up. When we got back to our cars a couple hours later, we realized how lazy we had been and decided to stop at the Flatirons and walk around there for a while before heading to Avery Brewing for lunch.
The rest of the weekend consisted of wedding festivities, including an epic wedding reception playlist that led to a fun night on the dance floor. Shout out to Suzanne for her epic countdown to the beat drop during "Mr. Brightside." The weekend ended with lunch at Avanti, an impromptu game of Pig, and a stop at Prost Brewing Company.
Now back to the Airbnb. We were so excited to all be able to stay together under one roof. It was a cute duplex in a hipster neighborhood. It was October, and the backyard had awesome foliage. Overall, we loved our lodging choice, and I was prepared to leave a lovely review at the end of our trip.
When we arrived late on Thursday, we noticed some clothes left out on a couch. Two of our friends were already there and were asleep so we assumed they had left their clothes out and would pick them up in the morning. The dishwasher had not been unloaded which seemed a little weird, but it was late at night so we unloaded it and didn't think about it again. In the room that I stayed in, I noticed bundled up sheets on top of the dresser. Again, I thought it was weird the owner didn't pick up, but I was too tired and went to bed. We also noticed the owner left his car in the garage which was odd since they told us we could park in the garage.
Fast forward to Sunday when I am waiting at the airport: I receive a call from the lady who rented the house to us. I thought she was calling to tell us the neighbors complained about us for being too noisy. When I answered, she started apologizing profusely. I was relieved she wasn't complaining about us and going to give me a bad Airbnb review. Then I heard what she was saying. She manages the property on Airbnb but is not the owner. The owner had stayed in the house the night before we checked in and promised to do the list of chores required before a guest checks in; however, he did not do the chores. Those sheets on the dresser were the clean sheets he was supposed to put on the bed before leaving. In summary, I slept on dirty sheets that a stranger slept on for THREE NIGHTS! I am still disgusted and now skeptical of Airbnb. At least, we got our cleaning fee refunded.
That ski trip with my "super cool dad":
The annual family ski trip was scheduled for February this year, and since I quit my former job in external audit, I was able to attend. Note: if you enjoy spring skiing, don't be an auditor. Busy season will crush your soul every year when you get calls and texts from your family and friends who are skiing while you are sitting in a tiny audit room for 80 hours a week. We headed to our favorite ski destination- Park City, Utah. The trip included our favorites: staying in the Canyon Village, making fun of dad for missing the turn to the hotel every single time we came back from town, mass at St. Mary's, and meals at Fletcher's, Sushi Blue, and Zoom.
We had fantastic bluebird days during our trip, yet it was still pretty cold. Much to our dismay, we discovered the heater on the Orange Bubble chair was disconnected this season. We have been spoiled over the last couple of years skiing at the Canyons when the lift was heated, and we would have really appreciated the heated chairlift in between runs. This year, I realized speed is inversely related to age. Dad who used to zoom pass us on the slopes has decided to slow it down and be more cautious as he approaches 60 years old. Joseph (teenage brother) bragged about being faster than dad the whole time until dad informed him that Joseph had fallen multiple times while he had remained upright the whole trip.
I had one epic wipe out where I slid at least 15 feet down the mountain while lying on my back and spinning in circles. Miraculously, I did not fall off the mountain or lose any of my equipment. Another miracle: Joseph didn't have time to film the fall on his phone which is surprising because I thought his phone was permanently attached to his hand.
That was a much longer recap than expected, but I always get carried away when blogging from my iPhone.