I’m baaaaaaack!!! And I didn’t blog while I was away so you know what that means…endless vacation recapping! I have a lot to talk about so gird your loins.
I left last Thursday morning and happened to bump into my pal Dawnald at the airport!
She was headed to San Francisco for a conference and I was meeting up with her for the second half of my trip, coincidentally our flights out there were at the same time. It was nice to see her for a quick romantic rendezvous.
I was headed to Sacramento, however, and while she had a direct flight to SF, I had quick stopovers in Chicago and Denver. I actually didn’t mind those too much — it took me 10 hours to get there but the stopping broke up the flight time. The Chicago airport was super fancy, too. They had automatic rotating seat covers on the toilets in the bathroom which I thought was pretty cool but also probably unnecessary. They also had personal deep dish pizzas which I totally missed and only noticed after I had already grabbed a sandwich. Stupid. I made the wrong decision!!!
Anyway, I was on my way to meet my long time internet friend Cely for the first time! We have followed each other’s blogs for years (I actually just had my six year blogging anniversary — CRAZY!), and over that time we have emailed and texted a bunch, and we are Facebook friends (so that means we’re real friends) but we have never actually hung out in person. Just on the internet.
Cely was picking me up from the Sacramento airport and on my flight from Denver to Sacramento I started to get just a litttttle bit nervous about meeting her for the first time. We would be spending several days together, what if we didn’t like each other or had nothing in common? But I needn’t have worried. As soon as I saw her I felt like I was meeting one of my best friends. There was never any awkwardness (this is why exchanging long crazy emails for years before meeting is key!), our conversation flowed naturally right away and we spent most of our three+ days together just laughing. At one point we also had a good 20 minute conversation trading stories of falling down the stairs so, I feel like we are awkward kindred spirits.
Someone commented that the two of us meeting up felt like a TV crossover episode, which made us laugh hard. Just like when Steve Urkel was on Full House!
I get to be Uncle Jesse, sorry Cely.
There was one must-eat place for me in California, In-N-Out Burger. I’ve been hearing about it for years but have never had the chance to try it so we headed there after Cely picked me up.
I have to say I was underwhelmed… My burger was good but I didn’t find it to be the most spectacular fast food burger I’ve ever eaten. It was pretty onion-y. However, I heard I didn’t order correctly and I should have asked for my burger to be ‘animal style’. Cely even warned me about this and I didn’t listen. Oh well, you live and you learn. I’d go again and do it right next time.
After our burgers we drove to South Lake Tahoe for a skiing adventure. Cely had warned me the day before that this part of our trip might get delayed since that area of California had been experiencing some extreme weather lately, namely landslides. Apparently the highway we needed to drive on had been closed due to a mudslide and had only reopened the afternoon before. There was also a snowstorm in the area that was supposed to cause some trouble, but thankfully that wasn’t as bad as expected so we didn’t have to postpone our trip. And now since leaving, part of that highway has collapsed into the river. I feel very lucky that we were able to get in and out okay. I joked that the weather out there hated me but it truly could have been much worse.
It was super awesome to be traveling to Lake Tahoe with someone who knew the area. I was totally lazy in my travel research because of this and just let Cely choose where to stay, where to eat, where to ski, etc. since she knew area so well. She also brought a bunch of ski accessories and snow boots for me to borrow, which was great since I was traveling with just a carry-on.
We checked into our hotel (Harvey’s, which I would definitely recommend — our room was cute and surprisingly inexpensive) and then hit up the Stateline restaurant and brewery for a cheese plate.
And some beers.
I wanted to try them all.
I was really excited that Cely was always on the same eating page as me. It’s so nice to travel with someone who is just as food-oriented as you are!
After the cheese and beer we headed back to our hotel and hit da sheets. It was about 3am my time at that point and I was tired after sitting on the plane all day (traveling will really do that to ya).
The next morning we got up early, grabbed a leisurely breakfast (I had breakfast nachos and they were delightful), rented our equipment (we reserved it online in advance which was a good call, saved 25%!) and then took the gondola up to Heavenly.
I’m glad there was this photo of the mountain because it was snowing so hard I couldn’t actually see the mountain and that was disorienting. I had to rely on Cely to tell me about the views I would normally see up there. The snow made it difficult to even see the hill in front of us so I never got to see the lake! That was sad because I hear it’s a spectacular view. I just tried to imagine it.
So this is actually the first mountain I’ve ever skied on. I’ve cross country skied on a mountain in Revelstoke (wrote about that experience here) but never downhill skied. We don’t have any mountains in Ontario so my skiing experiences up until this point have been on very large hills. The biggest difference I noticed was that it takes so much longer to get down a run! I really liked that. It’s been about 7 years since the last time I skied, but thankfully it’s just like riding a bike and I still got it.
I was so thankful to Cely for letting me borrow a water pouch, goggles and that skeleton buff for my face. I felt so badass.
It was a bit more difficult than I expected though because of the weather. We were having some serious depth perception issues — the ground just looked like flat whiteness but there were big snow drifts that we would ski into that would mess things up. There were some struggles, but neither of us had a yard sale (when you fall on the mountain and all your equipment goes everywhere) or fell at all, so that’s a win.
We stuck to mainly long leisurely blues, which are my favourite so I was happy Cely was on the same page about that. Since she knew all the runs I was content to let her take the lead and just follow her red jacket down the mountain.
Unfortunately we got separated at one point and another girl with a red jacket and black pants somehow got in front of me so I blindly followed her for a while. In my head I remember noticing that her ski outfit just got super sleek all of a sudden, but I was concentrating on not falling so I didn’t register that it wasn’t Cely. At one point there was a portion of hill that levelled out and we had to work a bit harder to get across it so I was yelling some snarky comments at her about that, trying to be funny. She glanced at me over her shoulder but didn’t have a reaction other than that which I thought was weird. Then we stopped at the crest of another hill and I pulled up beside her and realized she was not actually Cely. I turned around and saw Cely coming up behind me dying laughing. Whoops. We laughed for a good half an hour about that. Cely said she was worried I was going to blindly follow this lady down a double black diamond or something. Sure glad that didn’t happen. Fake Cely may have lead me to my death.
We skied for a few hours and then took a break for lunch when the snow started coming down harder and the wind increased.
Eating after physical activity is my favourite. That was some damn good chili.
After lunch we headed back out hoping the weather would be better, but unfortunately no, it had gotten worse. The wind picked up, making the lifts (which are quite long) a pretty crappy time because it felt like little daggers of ice were hitting your face. We did a few more runs and then decided we were done. I loved it though and was so glad we skied!
The next day when it stopped snowing I could finally see that yes, we indeed skied on a mountain!
But I still hadn’t seen the lake. I’ll get to that next week though ’cause somehow this got long. In the meantime, Cely recapped all our adventures really well so you can check that out on her blog.
Have a great weekend!