Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Snowcation Recap 1 of 3

Snowcation started on Dec 19th.  We had lunch with Teh NY Chef + husband at a middle eastern place near the airport and it was a wise life choice on my part.  Everyone was stuffed when we left and the food was delicious.  After lunch, they dropped us off at the airport and the adventure started!

Wednesday - 19

Through security!


When we landed in Denver, we waited on our luggage then found the rental car.  After leaving the airport, we stopped by REI to acquire snow goggles and warm socks for me.  Then we were on the way.

Our Snowcation plan was to spend a few days in Steamboat Springs, then spend the rest of the trip in Denver, staying with GEGR friends of mine.  The day we arrived in Denver, we'd drive most of the way to Steamboat, then stay at a hotel about an hour away since it was significantly cheaper than staying at Steamboat, then finish the drive on Thursday.

I rented a car through Turo, which is essentially like Air BnB but for vehicles.  Going through a rental company would have been more expensive AND I wouldn't have been able to pick the exact car I wanted (something with snow tires and 4 wheel drive (4WD)/all wheel drive (AWD) since winter time in the mountains).

I selected a 2014 Subaru Outback since I knew it would have enough room for Teh German's snowboard and was AWD and it had snow tires.  This was a wise life choice for me since on the way up the mountain, we encountered this delight on I-70:

This is what I learned about snow driving:
-Good windshield wipers are essential.
-Lane boundaries are merely suggestions.
-Everyone is just trying to not die and to get where they are going.

We made it to Kremmling with minimal issues, if you don't count my white knuckle driving for the snowy portion of I-70 and the emergency stop we made at Walmart to replace the dry rotted windshield wipers.  I was pretty ragey at having to replace the windshield wipers because I felt like it was something the owner should have maintained.  He said it hadn't precipitated in a while in Denver, so he didn't think about it.  Uhhhhhhhh, well maybe you should have?  He did reimburse me for the cost, but it was inconvenient.

At the hotel, we were greeted by the smell of weed and that was it.  We rang the bell and a very stoned lady came to check us in.  We crashed in our room, skipping out on dinner since everything was already closed, finished an episode of The Ranch, and then it was bedtime.

Thursday- 20

When we woke up, we enjoyed the hotel's free continental breakfast, then we loaded up and headed to Steamboat Springs.  The roads were a fucking disaster and I fishtailed twice, once resulting in the car slowly skidding into a snowbank on the opposite side of the road.  Both times, we were extremely lucky that there was no oncoming traffic.  There was some drama (yelling) involved in the moment, but we were both ok, and that's what matters.  We did see an accident on the opposite side of the road and we were both grateful it wasn't us.

We arrived in Steamboat around 10:30 since it took us longer to drive there than we had anticipated.  We found parking for the slopes, changed into our snow bunny outfits, and took the shuttle to the slopes.  We found a place to rent a snowboard for me and we trudged to the snow.

1- Being NOT at sea level was extremely difficult.  Like, seriously.  I consider myself to be in moderately good shape, despite my dessert indulgences, but lawd walking up tiny hills with snowboots on, carrying a snowboard, in all these layers of clothes.. I wanted to die.  Additionally, getting myself up off the ground after falling was equally tedious.

2- Snowboarding is hard.  And also not for me.  I wanted to be cool, but I don't have the life skills to attach both my feet to a single board and not fall.  I mean, I did it once, but it was a fluke.  And then I had to detach my foot, lug everything back up this tiny ass mountain hill, and do it over.  That's called practicing and well, I needed to just be good at it or at least be good enough that I wasn't falling more than 50% of the time.

We stopped my training for lunch at a mexican place right beside the hill where Teh German had been giving me lessons.  After lunch, I told Teh German go to buy a lift pass and get his snowboarding on and I'd stay at the bottom and practice.  I did 2 attempts on my own after Teh German had left me and both times I fell and hit my head so hard that my hat flew off and I was fucking done with that shit.

And no, I did not rent a helmet because I figured I was going to be on a tiny hill all day (I'm, at least, aware of my limits) and I'd be ok.  Yes, I was wrong.

Teh German on his way.

After giving up the snowboard fight, I headed down to the actual base of the slope and found a table to people watch for a while.  I was going to buy a peppermint hot chocolate (a menu offering, so obviously I had found my people), butttttt I'd left my wallet in the car, so I had no way of paying.  I texted Teh German who made his way back down the mountain to give me his card so I could drink away my concussion.

People watching outside was kinda chilly, so I decided to go into one of the restaurants and sit at the bar and order my peppermint hot chocolate.  I ended up talking to 2 other injurees for a while until they decided to go back to their hotel and get stoned.  Closer to the time that Teh German and I had agreed to meet, I headed back to the rental place to return my board and boots.  After returning the gear, I sat at their bar and enjoyed a glass of water until I realized they had the Stiegel Radler, at which point I ordered that. 

Teh German ended up coming down the mountain earlier than anticipated because he was tired, which wasn't completely unexpected since he hadn't been snowboarding in over 5 years.  He helped me finish my Radler and then we headed to Walmart to pick up some breakfast things, snacks, and a possible dinner option.  We were feeling tired and agreed to hit up Subway for dinner and when we got there, there was a sign on the door that the location was closed.  Womp womp.  We noticed a Jimmy Johns across the parking lot, headed there, ordered dinner, then headed to the AirBnB, where we had some issues getting inside because I am a puny wimp and couldn't slide the door open.  Oops.

I no longer travel without my percussion massager (aka my vibrator) when there are going to be physical activities (like snowboarding or running) involved.  #NotSorry

After eating, we showered and then had screen time until bedtime.

Friday - 21

Teh German was headed for the slopes after breakfast and I opted to stay home and be lazy AF.  I also considered going to take photos, but I got side tracked planning for activities.  I made reservations for us to go Strawberry Park Hot Springs that evening and to go snowmobiling the next day.  Teh German and I had discussed meeting for late lunch so I also planned for that.  I found a brewery that was between a pizza place and a bbq place, called Storm Peak Brewing.  Teh German had anticipated us eating at the bottom of the slopes, oops.  I told him if he wanted, we could eat at the base of the mountain, but he agreed that a beer with pizza or bbq sounded good.  And he was also tired.

The view from our AirBnB..
At the bbq place I found LEGIT sweet tea.  There are few ways to ALWAYS to make this Southern Belle happy when it comes to beverages, so this was like +10 points for the bbq place and the brewery.

Reppin' CHS brewerys.


After we finished lunch, Teh German said that he was tired and opted to come back to the condo with me instead of having me drop him off at the slopes again.  He showered and we had some lazy time until the shuttle came to pick us up for our hot springs trip.

Strawberry Park has 3 different pools, hot (~102°F), hotter, hottest (~106°F), and the river, which is FUCKING cold, I think someone said it was below 40°F?  Teh German was crazy enough to get in the river and then come back into the hot spring, but that shit was not for me.  Several people were just SITTING in the river and I'm like.. HELL NO.  We mostly stayed in the medium-hot pool, just because there was a wall beside the river that made it not as hot and we were chatting with others nearby.  I opted for the sunset time since it was highly recommended.  Our driver gave us flashlights and plastic bags for our stuff (which was convenient since it started snowing).

Pics were hard to get because there is no artificial light near the springs.

Where you buy tickets if you don't go through a tour agency (aka if you drive yourself).

After we were delivered back to the condo from our hot springs dip, we opted to go out to the downtown area for dinner.  It had been snowing, so the roads weren't that great, but still drive-able.  By this point, Teh German had been approved to drive on the Turo app (the delay was his own fault for not reading the email he received, but we won't hold that against him).

We ended up at an Italian place for dinner that was pretty good.

After dinner, we did a short walk around the downtown area, then we headed back to the condo for bedtime.

The Rabbit Ears Motel is famous for being shady in the past, but now it's popular because of it's very obvious sign.
You can find pics of people taking selfies in front of the sign on instagram.

I also took a selfie, but it wasn't that great and you can't actually read the sign, so meh.  After stopping for a selfie with the sign, we headed back to the condo for some lazy time and then it was sleepy time since we actually had to set an alarm for the next morning.

Saturday - 22

I almost didn't make the snowmobiling reservation because it was kind of expensive.. and by kind of,  I mean, it was expensive.  Buuuttt, it was Snowcation and it seemed fun so dammit, we're doing it!

The shuttle driver called and asked if she could pick us up early since the roads were kinda bad and she wanted to make sure we got to the ranch when we should.  Teh German and I agreed and we kicked into high gear and the bus was there before we were even dressed.  Uhhh, ok, she just had to wait.  We still make it out 15 minutes early, so good on us.

The reservations I had made were at Saddleback Ranch for 3 hours of snowmobiling, then tubing.  The shuttle would pick us up and drop us off.  Not driving was totally worth it.

When we arrived, we signed liability forms, got a helmet, then went outside for a "this is the gas, this is the brake" instruction speech, then we were off!  I cannot give enough praise about how awesome the snowmobiling adventure was.  The vistas were of my dreams and driving a snowmobile is probably the most fun thing I've ever done.

There were 12 of us in the group and we had 2 guides with us.  We were led around the ranch, which was massive.  We stopped at 2 "playgrounds" where we were given the green light for going as fast as we wanted, as long as we didn't hurt ourselves or others.  The first playground was awesome because it was mostly flat.. The 2nd playground was less fun because it was on a hill and I ended up flipping my snowmobile over 3 different times and had to have someone come and help me flip the snowmobile upright in hip deep snow.  Nonetheless, IT WAS A FUCKING BLAST.

And fret not, Teh German also flipped his snowmobile over too, so it wasn't just a Megan problem.  HA.  When we got back to the barns, my toes were ice because hiking boots are NOT snow boots and Teh German had ice on his mustache.  Made me lol.

After we dropped off our helmets and gathered our stuff, we were shuttled to the tubing area for lunch and tubing.  I love tubing, but I was underwhelmed by the 3 tubing slopes they had.  There was a conveyor belt to carry tubers up, but you had to sit in the tube and it was a SUUUUPER slow conveyor.  Waiting in the line to get up the hill was too long for me and I was tired and my toes were painfully cold/numb, so I started to get whiny.  We ended up doing each slope once and then we were going to go sit inside and wait for the shuttle to come back.  When we went inside to grab our stuff, the employee at the counter yelled at us that the shuttle was waiting on us and we needed to essentially GTFO.  She was quite unpleasant.  We gathered our shit and headed to the bus and we were back to the condo within the hour.

After we got back, we showered and relaxed.  Around dinner time, we started making food plans.  I suggested to Teh German that we go by Mountain Tap Brewery to check it out and he agreed.  On the walk there, we discovered a book store that I had to stop in and check out.


Teh German had a beer, I had a hot chocolate.
Mountain Tap Brewery

We weren't really interested in the pizza that the brewery offered, so we opted to strike out and grab dinner somewhere else.  There is no photographic evidence of our dinner and I didn't even check in on Yelp, which is confusing for everyone.  I do know that we went to crepe place for dessert.  I ordered the smores crepe and there were ZERO regrets.


It was cold.

After our excursion, we headed back to the condo and it was sleepy time since we were both egggggghausted.

Sunday - 23

Sunday was complicated.  We checked the weather and discovered that it was supposed to start snowing during the night which was inconvenient for us since we were scheduled to depart on Monday.  This would mean battling treacherous road conditions to get back to Denver and neither of us was really interested in that.

Soooo, we agreed to get a slow start on Sunday and do some walking around town so I could get some photos, especially since I hadn't brought my camera with me during our snowmobiling tour (which was really for the best).  We'd finish up our time in Steamboat with lunch at a diner I had found on Yelp with awesome reviews.

Also, they had sweet tea, which would have been 5 stars for their review, even if the food had been meh.

After lunch, we hit the road for Denver.  I was pretty sad to leave Steamboat because we had really enjoyed the snow and the cold and the activities.  But, I was also excited for our Denver adventures because we were staying with GEGR friends of mine and I hadn't seen them in years.. AND they had 11 greyhounds for snuggling at their house, which was a nice salve to missing Meri and Pax.

Snowcation Recaps:

Steamboat Springs
Denver Things
New Year's Eve

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