Sunday, June 25, 2017

Steamboat Colorado

I almost forgot I had a blog. 

My schedule is always crazy hectic through tax season/dance recital each year. They both come at the same time, and I am a crazy person from February/March-May.  Dance recital was on May 13th this year so I've had over a month to catch my breath.

Although it's been awhile since we made the road trip to Colorado, I still wanted to blog about it.  I know the memories and stories aren't as fresh on my mind as they were four months ago, but something is better than nothing. 

So- rewind to last spring at Bill Hill.  (That's a hunting camp for those who do not know.)  Austin and I were there for a craw fish boil and we were hanging out by the fire with Jason, Justin and Madison Hurdle.  Brandi was working.  I started talking about vacationing to Madison, because I always talk about vacationing, and then the Hurdles started to tell me about a few Colorado ski trips they had been on.  Before long, Jason or Justin (I didn't know the difference at the time) went inside to ask Thomas if he would be down for a ski trip sometime in the near future. I don't even recall Thomas' response, only Jason remembering that his wife was with child and he would soon have a newborn at home.  End of discussion. 

Fast forward to October of last year, the ski trip discussion got brought up again.  I don't even remember how.  I just know that we were talking about going skiing and then one night we did a group call thingie where we could all hear each other and Brandi had prices.  I ran it by my boss thinking it may never actually happen.  You know those things that always sound like a fun idea, but deep down you don't really think they'll ever come to fruition?  In my mind, the chances of all eight of us getting off work at the same time and trekking it to Colorado sounded like way too much fun to really happen!  I was wrong. Within a few days after the phone call, we were all in and it was booked. I was so excited!

After booking the trip in October, Thomas and Jamie got engaged in December. 

Just whenever I thought I could not be more excited, they decided to get hitched in Colorado.  We added a few days to the trip to incorporate their WEDDING!

We started a group text where we counted down the days and rattled off about the anticipation.

On Thursday, February 16, we met up at Thomas' house around 10am and loaded down the 12 passenger.  And I do mean loaded down.  Have you ever seen a vehicle so funny looking?! 

In this picture, you can really tell how sick I felt!  I had a really bad cold and I blew my nose all the way to Colorado.

We were only about 5 minutes from home whenever Jamie asked Thomas if he had the ring.  Must have the essentials!  He pulled over, found it in the back after looking for a few minutes and got us back on the road!  With minimal stopping, we drove until relatively late and then stopped for supper at Chilli's. It took a sweet forever and then we were back on the road.  I was pretty sick at this stop. I can remember starting to lose my voice and not being able to taste my food.  Things were not looking well for my condition at the time!  After supper, the boys took turns driving through the night.  I slept relatively good and only really remember waking up whenever one of the boys spotted a "Make America Great Again" hat from the van and they all went inside to purchase one.  I think we were in Oklahoma at that point.  

We stopped to eat breakfast at iHop and let traffic die down that morning in Denver.  Then we were on the road to our final destination- Steamboat!  Whenever we made it into town, we went to the courthouse for the honeymooners to get their marriage licenses and explored downtown a little bit. I almost hacked up a lung in the bathroom of a coffee shop downtown.  I was sounding like a man. 

Whenever they had the license, we went back to the resort and found the ski rental shop so that the day after the wedding, we could start the morning skiing and not at the rental shop.  We all got fitted for our skis and ski boots and things started to get a little real.  The ski rental shop was near the wedding location (the Sheraton), so Jamie went in to see where it was all going down the next day!

After our fitting and seeing the wedding spot, we unload our things and then made a trip to the grocery store for the week's groceries.  We surprisingly did not eat out at all and I loved it.  Crockpot for the win! After we unloaded groceries, we took showers and got in the bed.  It had been a long trip and we needed to be well rested for the big day ahead!

Saturday morning, the girls got up and went to the spa for manicures and for Jamie to get her hair done for the wedding.  It was quite enjoyable.  Jamie and Brandi got their nails done first while Madison and I waited.  We switched up, and then we all watched Jamie get her hair fixed up.

After we got back to the room, we all left again to give Jamie and Thomas some time to get ready and exchange their gifts to each other without an audience.  That's what we told them anyway- we really went to get the cake we had ordered from the bakery weeks before! 

Here the boys are embarrassing me in their hats before we hopped on the bus to go into town.

Going to get the cake turned into a little fiasco and we were almost late to the wedding.  We got on the wrong bus back to the condo.  It kept going the wrong way and we eventually realized what was going on and got off!  We ran around downtown Steamboat with a cake and it made for a fun little memory. Whenever we got back to the condo, we took the bride and groom to the Sheraton and then took the van back to the condo to make sure it wasn't towed.  While they took pictures, we hung out in the room and then walked back down to the Sheraton. We stopped for some pictures with the slopes since we were dressed up!

After making it back to Thomas and Jamie, it wasn't long before they were gathering us up for the ceremony.  It was just as precious and beautiful as you would imagine and I even got a little teary.

Whenever it was done, the photographer took us outside at the base of the mountain for a group picture and all of the people around were cheering for the newlyweds.  It was cute.

We enjoyed hanging out on the patio at the Sheraton for a little bit, and then we went inside for dinner. 

It was super nice and yummy. One memory from the meal- I sat across from Brandi and she ordered "fingerlings" because Jason said that it was a fancy word for French fries.  I don't remember what fingerlings are, but they definitely aren't fries.  I think we all had steak and a side of some sort.  After dinner, we ate the cake and went back to the room with a married couple! Whoop whoop.

Whenever we got back, I practiced putting on my skis and boots.  Look at the confidence.  If I had only known how the next day would progress....

We got up early Sunday morning and started layering the clothes.  If I had known how the day would go down, I would have probably worn about half as much. After everybody got dressed, which seemed like a real accomplishment, we started making our way out of the condo, down stairs (in our ski boots), carrying our skis.  Quite the task. I was really feeling good about things and conquering the steps like it was my job.  It was early and the lifts weren't running yet.  (Good thing!)  I would guess that we walked about 100 yards to get to the slope where we were going to "learn" to ski.  We split up into pairs of skied before/never skied before.  Justin/Myself.  Jason/Austin.  Thomas/Jamie.  Madison and Brandi were just refreshing their memory!  I obviously busted it SEVERAL times, as did we all.  I had moments of uncontrollable laughter.  Sometimes whenever I am nervous, I laugh.  So I laughed a lot.  Some because I was nervous and some because seeing someone bust it is just really funny.  I would consider the 1st hour or so for me to be pretty decent.  I made it to the bottom before the other beginners and I wish that the 1st hour would have been a representation of what the rest of the trip was like for me!!  After we made it to the bottom, a few people were out and about at the base of the mountain.  We walked over to the carpet to spend some time there getting more comfortable with things.  The "magic carpet" is just a conveyor belt that takes you to the top of a small hill and you can ski down, repeat as many times as you'd like. 

I was gaining confidence and thought I may actually rock at skiing by this point.  I mean, I am a coordinated dancer, why shouldn't I?!  Later thought-- dancing has nothing to do with skiing.  

After the carpet started to be taken over by ski schoolers, we made our way to the ski lift to get on an actual slope.  I was terrified because the lift was my worst fear from the very beginning.  The ride was okay except there were no bars over us and I fell coming off of it.  No big deal.  I survived.  My feet were back on the ground.  My first lift did not kill me!  (Later, one almost did.) The name of the slope was PREVIEW that we were practicing on.  I did okay the first time down, but not great.  PREVIEW was obviously a lot more difficult than the magic carpet.  I didn't really keep up with Austin through all of this because I had to just worry about myself under these circumstances.  We were all semi-close together but not right on each other.  Justin was a super good and patient teacher and he helped me a lot!  After making it down PREVIEW once, I had the bright idea that I would just practice some more on PREVIEW by myself so that everybody could just do their own thing.  NOT a good idea.  At one point, I busted it and I was stuck.  I was on ice.  I couldn't get my skis off.  I knew if I stood up, it was going to do me no favors and I would be back on the ground in no time flat.  So I'm just hanging out in some awkward position on a slope, stuck, in ice and trying to look cool like I'm just catching my breath but really panicking because I have no idea how I'm going to get the ski off and get up.  I eventually got the ski off and walked back down to the carpet.  And that is where things started to go downhill for me.....  I eventually got in my head pretty bad and I was scared.  The first time Austin and I rode the lift together, I overthought it so much that I didn't get off until I realized that it was headed back down the mountain.  I fell off of it at that point.  It stopped and the lady sitting in the booth ran out to make sure I was okay.  Sure.  I am FINE.  And all Austin would say is, "You didn't get off!!"

The seasoned skiers thought that it would be less crowded and less icy on up the mountain.  So we made the not-so wise decision to take a lift on further up.  I didn't fall getting off of it and I was super pumped about that.  These slopes were less icy, but they were also more narrow.  It was sometime shortly after I fell about 10000 times that I took my skis off and it was over for me.  Jamie wasn't far behind me.  I remember stopping to take in the view and get a few pictures because I had already accepted the fact that I probably wouldn't be back up that far again in the duration of the trip. 

We stopped at a crossroads, just Jamie Thomas and I, and everybody else went on ahead.  We were at the top of a big hill and after much contemplation I decided sliding on my bottom down the hill looked like a good option since I was about to hike about 3 miles back to the room after that.  Several people asked if they could help me and I assured them that I was fine and I was close to my condo.  I thought I was.  They probably knew I was miles from any condo, but they didn't mention it.  So together, Jamie and I hiked back to the condo carrying our skis with Austin and Thomas skiing ahead of us and stopping to wait on us fairly often.  I was HOT.  Whenever we got back to the room, finally, I looked like I had been in the shower.  We both did!  I even took a picture to capture the momentous occasion that getting back to the room was for us.  We were somehow still smiling :)

We ate lunch and needless to say, Jamie and I did not go back to the slopes for more.  Austin kept up with the experienced skiers somehow, and I think he had fun.  While they skied, we napped and I was happy about it.  We cooked in that night and went to the hot tub. 

The next morning whenever we woke up, Thomas was sick.  So sick he didn't ski and Jamie took him to a nearby clinic where he was diagnosed with the flu.  Whenever I got up and saw that she had gotten out of ski day #2, I was a little hesitant about what to do!  I thought I would give it another try, so Austin stayed with me and we took it slow.  I made it down to the carpet and skied there for awhile.  I had just gotten so terrified that I was even scared on the carpet a little bit.  I had regressed instead of progressed.  Whenever the ski schoolers started making their way to the carpet on this morning, I decided I was done.  Austin walked with me (in ski boots) back to the room though the parking lots.  Bless him.  We got a bite to eat and he went back out after lunch with the boys.  Madison was ready for a break after lunch so the two of us got ready and went downtown to shop while everybody else skied.  Except Thomas and Jamie.  They were just laid up, bless their hearts.  Before we went downtown, I went out to the base of the mountain and people watched.  Watching people ski is a whole lot more fun than skiing.  A lot more relaxing, too.  Downtown was really cute and we got some good t-shirts and scoped out places to come back to whenever everybody was with us. 

After everybody got back to the room from skiing and ate, we headed back downtown with everybody except Thomas and Jamie.  

We found this shirt for Austin and thought it fit him well.

I think this is whenever we started to discuss going home the next evening instead of staying another night.  Since I was obviously not skiing all over the mountain, I didn't mind at all.  And even the skiers were tired.  The next morning I didn't even pretend like I was going to ski. Madison and I went back to town with Jamie since she hadn't been and then we took the gondola to meet the skiers on the top of the mountain for a group picture.  They tell me this wasn't the top.  But it's as high as I got!

We started the long trip home later than evening.  The trip home was a lot quieter than the trip to Steamboat.  We were all wiped out.  I had pretty much rid myself of the cold, but others were taking up my slack.  There was lots of nose blowing, harking, and coughing going on. 

We stopped as little as possible and only one time to really eat at a Subway!  I think we were all relieved to see Leake County. 

Thomas got sick and I was terrible at skiing, but this was still one of the best trips I've ever been on.  I hope there are more trips like this one in our future with this little crew that is growing rapidly!! And here we all are reunited at Thomas and Jamie's wedding reception in Philadelphia!  
I love these folks!