For sure one of the happiest times of my life, hanging out with rays in Grand Cayman. They are the neatest creatures!
Yes, it rains. It rained the last three days. But today, there is this. The most beautiful of blue skies and mountain views. It’s as if every rainy day is a layer of gift wrap, just a tear away from revealing the majestic peaks once again.
Costa Rica was amazing. I was with my sister, my best friends, in the most beautiful place on earth. And we made the most of every single day. ATV tour Tues, surfing & chef made dinner in house Weds, sailing & snorkeling Thurs and horseback riding, zip lining, mud bath and hot springs Friday. And we made it to the local beach every day!
One of the best moments though came when a few of us headed to another town to a popular local dance night. We were walking down the hill, wondering how we’d find a cab in our tiny town, when a car happened to drive by. I threw up a sort of flagging wave but he kept going. Someone hit me a few seconds later and I thought they were trying to prevent me from a bad step on the cobblestone road. Nope, the car had backed up! It was a cab. Lucky wave! We hopped in and headed to Las Brisas in Playa Potrero.
The cabbie was nice and as I sat in front, we chatted a bit. And then we hit a check point. Quite a few cops, lights flashing, what a scene! Soon a cop came over and flashed his light on each of us. This was Jen (courtesy of the Sand Draw app, how fitting!):
I was laughing the entire time. The poor cabbie had his smokes inspected then was asked to get out and be searched. Thankfully he had nothing on him and we went on our way. He said they were looking for guns. So glad he didn’t have one!
The party had yet to get started when we got there but we had a few drinks, watched a little dancing and hung out on the beach. Sometimes I’d rather watch than dance. This was one of those nights. And it was good watching. Sexy moves in CR.
The cabbie had said he’d be back now and then so we started walking thinking maybe we’d run into one. We never did. Miles of dark country road, lit only by the giant moon. We eventually reached the beach and took that the remainder of the journey. The moon had sunk by then but it was a perfect walk. Waves crashing, crabs scurrying. Heaven.
While Murph and I were walking in the park he stopped near this car. I happened to glance at the car and noticed a shirtless guy staring at me from the backseat. He said hi and explained it was easy to lose a key in there, especially since it was just one key (there appeared to be a lot in there). I suggested he get a really big key chain, wished him luck and continued on.
When we walked by again today his car was still there. Guess he hasn’t found it yet.
I feel like the luckiest gal in the world to have amassed so many wonderful friends. Lucky to have made life-long friends in school, just about every job I’ve had and some of my favorite hangouts. I wish I could have seen each and every one of you before I left town but I may have been avoiding goodbyes. It would have been awkward for anyone to see me get choked up and find out I really was born with a heart.
(In case you were wondering, I am listening to Buck Owens right now. I feel this is worth interrupting my post because you should find some Buck Owens quick, crank it up and it’ll be just like we’re hanging out!)
I’m extremely grateful for two of my long time friends, one bff from high school and another from the best job of my life during college, without them I’m not even sure how I’d be getting along right now. Probably couchsurfing or super cheap extended staying. Better for my dad’s health that those were not necessary.
Christina (from hs), her hubby Matt and their three boys all live on their farm in Ellensburg, WA, a hundred some miles east of Seattle. I stayed there the first few days of my trip, and then a few more after I came up to Seattle. And hopefully a few more soon if they stop getting snow in mountains between here. I don’t have chains for that beast of a van. (which I crawled on top of today to duct tape a particularly leaky spot of the sunroof. a guy who was designing a road while next to me at the bar suggested trying it. cross your fingers it works!) They’re wonderful hosts and the boys the biggest sweethearts. And their dog Bella a wonderful playmate for Murphy. And the roosters make sure I’m up early every day! You can read more about them and their farm here.
Cathy (one of my best bev cart pals!) lives in Greenwood, a neighborhood in Seattle that is growing on me a little too quickly. She is amazing! Works all day and trains for triathlons (she’s racing pro this year) much of the rest of the time. She too is a wonderful host, having to put up with me being around most of the time and with Murphy crawling into bed with her and chewing his bone while she tries to sleep. She was away all weekend and it was the first time I’ve stayed alone for more than a day or two in a really long time. So of course, I went to the bars up the block. (how could you not love a neighborhood with multiple bars up the block?!?!)
Every night. I had read that Bill’s had $2 Rainiers so I stopped in there after a very romantic solo Valentines’s Day dinner at Naked City. (bar, no naked people, such a bummer) There were only a couple of people in the bar area so it gave the bartender, Emily, plenty of time to chat with me. I had 3 beers and headed to the karaoke bar. I chatted with a very cute guy who really wanted me to stay but I left and spared him a broken heart. Besides, I’m not here to meet guys! (ha!) The next night I went straight to Bill’s and Emily was working again. She greeted me by name and again we chatted all night. The waitress from the night before sat down next to me after her shift, and the bar back joined in too. They were playing all kinds of sweet hip hop (lots of Luda!) on the jukebox so we were rapping along and dancing a little too. As I was leaving, Emily hugged me and let me know when she’d be working again. What a sweetheart! Sunday night I decided to hit up a bar I hadn’t been to as my new friends wouldn’t be working. There were only 4 people in there, and they randomly included me in their convos and showed me instagram pics. After 2 of them left, the one other woman in the bar asked me to come sit with them. Turned out her boyfriend was the bar’s owner. They were interested to hear about why I’m here and suggested places to hike, tube and trivia night at their bar on Thursday. One other guy rolled in and after the owner left I chatted with him and the bartender, Brett, the rest of the night. Brett suggested all kinds of things for me to see and do, shared his chips and hot sauce, and told me to ask $2000 for the van. The other guy bought me a shot of Fireball. (which I believe is awesome hangover prevention – the last night I had 4 beers I felt so crappy. 4 beers and a fireball last night and today I felt amazing! or it could have been that I was drinking a better beer, Veltins, a German pilsner. best beer i’ve had yet here!) Anyway, the point of this super long tale is that despite what I had heard/read, one can make friends in Seattle. Unfortunately you have to pay them. 🙂
Murphy is making friends too, Cathy’s condo seems to have an older crowd and they all think he’s cute. One lady said “We like Murphy! And you too.” Thanks lady.
Grab some fireball and let’s toast to friends, old and new. Minnesota friends (and family), I miss you!
Let’s see… back to the road trip…
Picked up the van at about noon and rolled out of town shortly after. So excited to be back at it after being stuck for a little over 24 hours! But Katie was going to have to make an expensive flight change and we were going to have to find one more hotel.
We hop back on the highway and are flying along when we hit packed snow and ice. For 100 miles. Cars in ditches everywhere, tracks in ditches everywhere yet everyone is passing us. I’m still not sure how we made it up some of those hills. We trudged along between 25 – 45 mph. Hit the county line and like magic, the roads were clear. (thanks Treasure County!!) The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Hit Butte (“Butt”, Katie called it) around 10 something pm and asked the dude in sunglasses at the gas station how the roads were to Missoula. He had heard they were pretty bad. Because I heed no warnings, we continued on, making it to Missoula around midnight. (the roads weren’t bad at all)
Crashed for 5 hours or so and drove off around 7. Once again a pretty uneventful drive though Idaho was gorgeous! It was snowing and covered in snow and completely beautiful. Once we got near a city, Katie started searching for donuts. We took a much needed pit stop in Coeur d’Alene and munched em down.
Perhaps the best part of this leg of the trip was our stop in Ellensburg to unload my mattress. I have a massive full size mattress that Ben somehow squeezed into the van. To any passerby (and there were so many!), I imagine it looked like Katie and I were trying to pull an adult from a lady’s baby hole. That’s what it seemed like to me anyway. Haha. It had to have taken a good 20 minutes of pushing and pulling, but finally the mattress was out and we were once again en route to Seattle.
This was Superbowl Sunday and I was so excited to find a local bar and watch the game with the cheering crowd. However, Murphy had been a pretty good sport the entire drive and we thought it was best to get him some exercise before settling in anywhere. We found a nice dog park where he ran around a bit and we got an awesome view of Mt. Rainier. I really wanted it to be clear so my dear sis could see the mountains and why I need to be here, and it was!
We attempted to go together to a bar near the hotel to watch the game but Murphy had other plans for us. He started whining after we left the room so Katie chose to stay back and I went to a bar for halftime and most of the 2nd half. It was definitely a happy crowd and fun to experience. After the game we went to grab some food and that’s when the real celebration began – people cheering and yelling in the streets and shooting fireworks. I understand it’s exciting but really, it’s just football. I was happy for the revelers anyway.
Katie left around 4am for the airport and so it was just me and Murphy and our new adventure.
This was something I posted in Facebook Notes during a sweet vacation that included a flight to LA, road trip up the PCH and then a few days in Yosemite. The trunk story is one of my favorite vacation memories.
Ohhhh, what a day. Got up a little later than planned because I figured not having a lot of time to kill in San Fran wasn’t that bad. Had my final buffet breakfast (really? eggs, sausage, cakes & cereal every day? mix it up Hotel Charlotte!) and went out to my rental car to get some things out of the trunk and into my suitcase.
I had a few bottles of water rolling around back there and a couple of them were wayyyyy far into the trunk, all the way at the back and impossible to reach by just reaching in. I was wearing a sun dress and tried putting one leg into the trunk to crawl in but decided it wasn’t really the best idea. I saw a kid on a bike and had a better idea! Ask the kid if he would get into the trunk of a stranger’s car to get a couple of water bottles for her!!! So I asked him and being a sweet kid he hopped right in my trunk and handed me the water bottles. I gave him a couple of bucks and as his eyes lit up as he hopped on his bike and told me that he’d have to go put it away at home because he didn’t have any pockets. So I made his day for at least a couple of minutes – when he got home and told his parents about getting into a stranger’s trunk, well, that might have been another story.
Shortly after getting out of Groveland I passed a massive reservoir that was so beautiful. I kind of regret not taking a few pics but I really just wanted to get on my way at that point. I saw quite a few very nice ski boats making their way there – I’d have to say that’d be my perfect Sunday, just cruising on a lake surrounded by huge hills/mountains. Maybe someday I’ll have that. Or a boat, at the very least.
One weird thing I noticed while driving these back Cali roads is that a lot of homes are gated. Just what is it that they are trying to keep out way out there?
Also, my love of Mexicans has returned. Not the really little ones though.
While beautiful, the ride to San Fran was mostly uneventful. I had planned to go straight to the Golden Gate but ending up on Embarcadero (the waterfront/pier area with all the shops and touristy attractions) on my way there I figured I’d stop there first for a bathroom break and something to eat. It took about 30 minutes to find a parking spot where I was (I later learned all the parking I could ever want could be found a little ways down – though it seemed like miles down on foot) and then I rushed to find a bathroom. I ended up at a public toilet at the same time as 6 kind of burly biker guys. I told them there was no way I was going in after them and we all laughed. Though they were in their 50’s – 60’s, one of them was way hot! I wish I had taken a picture of them, we had a good time waiting for the guy ahead of us to finish and then for the bathroom to finish cleaning itself. The guys let me go first, which I regretted as soon as I realized there was no toilet paper and then subsequently not knowing how to wash my hands in there. So I scrambled out of there, wishing them luck and hoping nothing was dripping out of my dress.
I saw another one a little while later and decided I’d go in to listen to the instructions to find out where I had gone wrong. Big mistake as this one didn’t appear to have cleaned itself recently. Since I was in there I pressed the instructions button anyway only to find I couldn’t understand a word of what the voice was saying. I think I’ll be fine never knowing and never using one of those again!
I made my way from Pier 1 to Pier 4000 (ok, maybe it was 39) very quickly knowing that I only had a few hours before I should be to the airport. I got a sourdough bowl full of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had and enjoyed some people watching before speed walking back the way I came. While I was being particularly conscious of what my dress was doing in the wind, I discovered I was wearing it inside out!!! This is becoming more and more of a problem for me lately – do people usually need others to dress them at 32?? I continued on and ran into the bikers again who yelled “There she is!!” They let me know they made it in and out of the crazy toilet just fine and we parted ways for the last time. Nice to have some friends in a city not your own!
And now I must apologize to all the visitors of San Fran that day for possibly showing them far too much of me for at one point I had yet another issue with my dress in that it seemed to be far too high up in the back. I’m sooooooo sorry!! And quite embarrassed.
I decided I’d skip the Golden Gate as it was now cloudy and I didn’t want to worry about traffic. So what do you do with a little extra time? Stop at a little patisserie and get yourself some coconut mousse cake and graham cookies. I took them to go and made my way back to my car.
I quickly put my dress on the right way and took off for the airport.
Returning my rental car was far less time consuming than I thought so I had a ton of time to spare even after venturing off into the city of Brisbane for 30 minutes to find gas. (cute city!) I had forgotten that there wasn’t much action in the Delta terminal at SFO so I didn’t see a ton of people but there were a few characters to amuse me in the couple of hours I was there. I grabbed a sandwich at the cafe there, turkey, cranberry mayo & stuffing on some kind of wheat bread. It was pretty good! I think I will try that with my Thanksgiving leftovers this year.
I landed in Mpls around midnight and that was the end of one of my best vacations yet.
While I wasn’t solo the entire time, (that reminds me, theme song of trip: “Ridin Solo”) it really is nice to get away alone once in awhile. Though with all that time to think I still haven’t figured anything out. 😛