What a holiday trip we had this year. I guess every year is quite something but this year didn’t keep us bored. From Phoenix to Taos to Telluride to Aspen we went without much of a break or breather in between. I had a great time and was grateful to get in a lot of skiing and quality time with the Millers.
Christmas Eve was a very early wakeup call for us to get up and out of Seattle. Starbucks helped perk us up in the airport and our direct flight to Phoenix was bumpy but quick. Lon and Trish greeted us in the airport and we all headed to get lunch at Si Senor for the first of many Mexican food. We caught the horrible game of the Seahawks vs. Cardinals before dressing up for church for the candlelit service and then coming home for some great spaghetti.
Christmas Day was sunny and merry. We opened up our stockings before all opening up the rest of the presents under the tree. We had a cinnamon roll and then Bryan and I were out for a (miserable for me) 6 mile run to his high school and back. Once back we cleaned up and had Trish’s amazing prime rib and some of the Novelty Hill reserve wine. Before we knew it Christmas Day was over and we were preparing for the next leg of the trip, the ski road trip.
The day after Christmas we piled our gear and ourselves into the Subaru and headed northeast to Taos, New Mexico. We had a few bathroom breaks and a stop for lunch at Tom and Suzy’s Diner in Holbrook, Arizona before completing the 9 hour drive and arriving at the Sagebrush to check in just before 8 pm. We got another great Mexican dinner at Guadalajara Grill where I shared some steak fajitas with Trish and nearly killed myself with a uber potent jalapeno before Lon came to the rescue with a diet coke. Bryan and I enjoyed the hot tub to warm up in the chilly 10 degree weather before hitting the hay before our first day skiing.
The 27th was our first day of skiing and our first at Taos Ski Valley. We were fortunate to be able to take the car to the resort and were on the slopes around 10 am. We skied by ourselves for the morning before meeting up with Bryan’s roommate in college, Collin, and his wife Chelsea at the lodge for lunch. We skied with their group (father and brother-in-law too) the rest of the afternoon and then Bryan and I dropped off our skis to get properly tuned and Collin invited us back to their families’ rental for a chili and cornbread dinner. It was great meeting those two and I’m glad I finally got to.
The 28th was our second day skiing at Taos and was a shorter day for us to get on the road. After the inn’s breakfast Bryan and I caught the free shuttle to the ski resort and skied hard until 1 pm when we found Lon and Trish enjoying the sun at the base of the lift. We loaded up the car and started our way to Ouray for our next stop. About 1 hour outside of Taos we found ourselves at a one-diner town that served up some spectacular food. Chili Line had fresh and delicious green chili cheeseburgers for the other three and some delicious and hearty posole for me. After fueled we continued the 6 hour drive to Ouray, driving through some of the flat Colorado terrain in the daytime and up and over the mountains in the darkness. We met up with a giant elk and plenty of deer on the road but fortunately missed them all. We got to the Victorian Inn in Ouray just before 9 pm. We checked into our two rooms and then set out for a small bite to eat. O’Brien’s Pub was empty but extra delicious. Bryan and I shared some fantastic hot wings and a salad and then a bread pudding to seal the deal. We were pretty wiped and crashed right after dinner.
The 29th was our first day ever skiing in Telluride. Bryan and I grabbed breakfast at the Inn and then were able to take the car again into Telluride. It was another super sunny and clear day and we could see forever at this resort. The scenery was the most beautiful at this resort in my opinion but the uppity clientele was slightly annoying. Bryan and explored most of the lower mountain and the very top and backside called Revelation Bowl before finding the best terrain off the Plunge Chair. We had a good time doing laps on that chair before the resort closed and we made our way back to the car. We drove the hour back to Ouray, hot-tubbed for a bit, and then cleaned up and headed out for Thai at Thai Chili. The portions were enormous and we only just managed splitting two plates of pad kee mao and one plate of shrimp fried rice. We went back to the hotel to all watch football in the “adults” room before we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore.
The 30th was our last day in Telluride and a shorter day again to get on the road before my game started. We all grabbed breakfast together and then checked out of the Inn and headed to Telluride. Lon and Trish explored the town of Telluride while we skied from 10-1 pm. We repacked the car with our gear and headed out. We drove an hour and a half to Montrose, Colorado before stopping for a Himalayan lunch buffet that was quick and delicious and certainly stuffed us all. From there it was only a 2 hour drive and with Starbucks to energize us we checked into our VRBO rental just after the start of my game at 6 pm. Unfortunately, the game did not go how I thought it would and despite ice cream for dinner (we were so stuffed) I was still a little bummed when we went to bed.
New Years Eve was our first day skiing at Aspen and we decided to go to the Aspen Highlands park which we had not been to before. We skied the entire day but the snow was kind of cruddy and by the start of the UW vs. Alabama game we were pretty much done so we had a nice and long lunch in the lodge to catch the 1st quarter. We skied just a bit after lunch before heading back to the house. We had plans to go to the Beer Works for their NYE party so we snacked on chips and salsa while watching OSU lose pretty bad. By the time we left the place was packed so we detoured to White House Pizza for a pizza dinner. The supreme pizza was huge and the crust was amazingly flaky and delicious. We were all pretty stuffed and it was now 10 pm and I was fading fast, no bar time for us. We headed home to essentially fall asleep to a movie. The other three were awakened by a very large firework outside the front door at 1:40 am but I didn’t know anything at all happened until the next morning.
New Years Day marked our last day skiing and our second day at the Aspen parks, however, we decided to go to Snowmass which we had been to once before. I like Snowmass a lot and we drove to the park and ride and caught the free shuttle to the lifts. This was our biggest day skiing in terms of elevation and I was feeling it by the end of the day. We made our way from one side of the mountain to the other and then ended the day with a 150 ft hike up to a 3.1 mile run called Longshot that burned our legs all the long way down. At that point we were kaput and decided to lunch and then head home. We found a Yelp check-in for free draft beer so we headed there and split a surprisingly different and delicious lunch of tuna poke, tomato soup and a korean short rib taco. We caught the shuttle back and arrived home exhausted. Trish made us a wonderful homemade dinner of chicken and dumplings that we enjoyed with our belated champagne toast. It was a very nice way to end our travels.
January 2nd we were packed up and in the car by 9 am. Our plan was to drive to Palisade, just outside of Grand Junction to get lunch with Trish’s cousin before we caught our flight and they drove home. However, about 30 minutes outside of Carbondale and it sounded like someone shot at us. A huge noise all scared us and we pulled over to diagnose the problem. It wasn’t the rental roof box that fell off or a flat tire. The sunroof had officially exploded. Knowing that we could keep drive we continued onto Grand Junction with Lon and Trish troubleshooting the situation. The entire way you could hear the loose glass breaking off and flying off just like you would ice. We got to the Glass Doctors in Grand Junction where we were able to get some plastic sheeting to seal the sunroof temporarily. Afterwards the four of us got lunch at Main Street Bagels for our last meal together. We were dropped off at the Grand Junction airport for our 3:20 pm flight that went without a hitch to Salt Lake and finally Seattle. Bryan and I got home just about 8 pm, unloaded the Jeep and made a quick dinner of potstickers and finished the night with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
I’m now back at work after such a long break and it’s not fun. To report on Lon and Trish’s travels home, the tape did not stick and they had to get more tape to seal the sunroof. That made for an awfully loud car ride home for them but they managed to get back to Chandler today and are scheduled to get the car sunroof replaced today as well.