Road Trip: California

California Part One: San Diego

So folks, we’ve been in California for the past five days and we’re pretty much in love. The ocean, the beautiful weather, the endless exploration …what’s not to love? (Okay well maybe the traffic sucks but that’s an entirely different blog)

We started our trip off in San Diego. I found the perfect little Air B&B guest house in the South Park neighborhood and we settled down there for 3 days.

While in San Diego we checked out the zoo, the beaches, and Old Town. I’m not a huge zoo fan but the San Diego Zoo lives up to its reputation, it was beautiful. There was so much too see and it was prestigiously clean and well taken care of. We cover the majority of the park in about 4 hours.

After our zoo adventure we drove down to the beaches to decide where we wanted to spend the next day. We started with Imperial Beach which was gorgeous. I really enjoyed the small beach town as well but it was packed. The whole town was preparing for the annual Surf and Sun Festival the following day. We were able to see the beginning of the sand castle competition and walk along the pier.

Although Imperial Beach and Pier was awesome, we decided it would be too packed the following day. Our beach day was spent at Silver Strand Beach and it was perfect. We arrived pretty early, way before the crowds and spent about 3 hours enjoying the sun, sand, and ocean breeze.

Old Town was our last stop in San Diego. After doing a little research we learned all about the history of Old Town. It was the very first settlement in SD. You can walk around the historic park, enjoy the old buildings with their individual stories to tell, and learn about the history of Old Town with the many costumed employees.

Fun fact: Old Town is also the home of The Whaley House, which is known as one of the most haunted places in the US.

We had a spectacular time in San Diego and would definitely return. Three days went nearly enough time to visit everything the city had to offer!

*After leaving SD we drove up the coast and stopped at several beaches along the way. Beaches photo blog coming up next!

Road Trip: New Mexico-Arizona-California

Well ladies and gentlemen, we’ve covered quite some ground in the last 24 hours. We’ve seen the white sands in New Mexico, the organ pipe cacti in Arizona and we will arrive on the pacific coast of California this evening. We have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the beauty of nature on this trip and we’ve used every opportunity to stop and explore. An hour detour here, 30 minutes there, every extra minutes and mile was well worth it.

White Sands National Monument

We knew a little ahead of time we wanted to see the white sands in New Mexico and we couldn’t have picked a better day. When we arrived it was about 68 degrees and the views were stunning. While we explore all these places we always take the time to learn a little about the history. The white sands aren’t technically sand, they are white gypsum and they’ve been around for over 8,000 years. There are over 275 square miles of white gypsum dunes and a large portion of them are enjoyed by visitors from all over. I visited here as a child but I really didn’t remember much of it. As an adult, it’s completely mesmerizing and I’m still impressed by the park overall.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Our next stop was Tucson Arizona. We didn’t really do much in Tucson, except eat some bomb-ass pizza at a little place called Dry River Pizza and Beer. After that we spent the evening researching things to do in AZ. The Bearded One found Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and was determined to see these cacti. It was slightly out of the way but well worth it. The desert terrain is nothing like we’d imagined it would be. It’s full of unique vegetation, most of which we’ve never really seen before.

We’ve already seen quite a lot and can’t wait to explore California next. We will be in San Diego for the next few days and then up the coast from there!

Road Trip: Las Cruces

Well folks, it happened, my biggest travel dilemma. I, who plans, researches, checks and double checks everything booked a RANDOM hotel and it’s a little sketchy….well maybe sketchy isn’t the correct adjective but it is definitely out of my comfort zone. I told he Bearded One “let’s try something different” and I got exactly what I asked for. So let me explain. It’s a name brand hotel, nothing too off the wall, it’s just designed whacky. The lobby is dead center in the middle of the building and all be rooms are interior doors that look down into the lobby, restaurant, pools and shops. But check this out, the doors to the rooms are all glass French doors (super odd). Pretty awkward hotel room to say the least.

Our door on the left our view on he right

Enough about the hotel, day two on the road was eventful. We pretty much stopped at random scenic lookouts the whole way. We also visited the Fort Lancaster museum, in the middle of nowhere. After our rainy driving adventures we stopped in Las Cruces for the night. We gorged on some New Mexican food (I’ll stick with Tex-Mex) and then took a drive around the Organ Mountain Range to try to catch the sunset. We took lots of beautiful pictures and spend the night looking up the history of the surround areas in New Mexico.

Fort Lancaster Pictures

Las Cruces Pictures

Rio Grande in the Mesilla Valley

Organ Mountain Range

Once again, another successful day on the road.

Road Trip: 1st Stop

Fredericksburg

Our first overnight stop was yesterday in Fredericksburg and we had a pretty great time. If you’ve never been, Fredericksburg is a smaller hill country town known for its wineries, distilleries and German heritage. There are lots of historical sites and museums spread throughout the town, especially on Main Street.

We’ve only been to Fredericksburg one other time so we thought this would be be perfect little overnighter to kick off our trip. Once again I used Air B&B and actually found the perfect little inn (Fredericksburg Inn & Suites). The inn is located just a few blocks from Main Street and had ample amenities. We really enjoyed the pool and of course my Texas shaped waffle this morning.

Main Street is where all the ‘action’ takes place in Fredericksburg. It’s filled with little shops, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and historical sites. We kicked off our trip with a couple tastings from Texas wineries such as Becker Vineyards, Fiesta Winery, and Fat Ass Ranch and Winery. The Bearded One was not impressed with our fruity selections (coconut lime wine, watermelon, peaches) but it was an in good fun. One downside To Fredericksburg is that every thing pretty much closes early, like 5:00-5:30. We didn’t get to explore too many shops due the early closures but we were able to enjoy a couple of drinks, appetizers and live music at Silver Creek Beer Garden and Grill.

The Texas hill country is also known for Enchanted Rock (we’ve hiked it) and other outdoor activities that are just too hot to explore during July. We will have to come back during cooler weather to take full advantage of this beautiful area

Overall, we had a pretty successful first day on our road trip. Today we are headed out to…El Paso? Las Cruces? …..we will see!

Road Trip Ready

So anyone who knows me knows that I am a P-L-A-N-N-E-R. I love planning vacations, I am a natural organizer and my vacations are usually planned way in advance. Well folks, I am out of my comfort zone on this upcoming trip. Honestly I’m a little nervous but mostly I’m excited. Me and the Bearded One are headed out tomorrow on our 3,000+ mile (round trip) journey to California and back. We have a couple places planned and booked on the route but for the most part, we are winging it! Wish us luck! We will keep you posted. First stop, a quick little over night in Fredericksburg.

A few possible stops along the way

See You Next Year Colorado

Once again Colorado exceeded our expectations. Between the five of us on this trip we probably took a thousand photos (I’ll upload more in this post ). Honestly, pictures alone can’t capture the natural beauty Colorado has to offer. If you’ve never experienced the Rocky Mountains, put them on your list, there is something for everyone in the mountains.

From hiking, to shopping, to enjoying the small town festivities, we pretty much did it all this trip.

This time Hoosier Pass was my favorite hike, but you can’t beat the views of Kite Lake and Quandary Peak. I’m sure we will visit all three places again (maybe eventually I’ll join the 14ers club!)

Kite Lake

Kite Lake Trailhead

Hoosier Pass

My Favorite Views

Quandary Peak

Fairplay

Fairplay and Alma are still my favorite tiny towns. We went to the “TGIFairplay” free concert event and were impressed by not only the town, but the welcoming people and friendly atmosphere. If you’re in Fairplay you have to take an stroll down their streets to stop by all the little shops and admire the historical sites.

For all my adult beverage connoisseurs check out South Park Brewery in Fairplay. Grab a Cherry Blonde craft beer at 9,953 ft, you won’t be disappointed. And if you do decide to stroll down the streets of Fairplay, swing by the South Park Distilling Tasting Room and let Megan hook you up with a fabulous cocktail! Not only did she make Amanda and I great drinks, she remembered our names and made us feel welcome.

Cherry Blonde South Park Brewery

Go Visit Megan at South Park Distilling Tasting Room

Breckenridge

We also visited Breckenridge for their Sunday Market which included lots of artisan hand made goods. It was a fun event, and we were able to walk around the town, shop, and swing by the Gold Pan (a bar established in 1879 with a rich history). I know Breckenridge is famous for skiing in the winter months but it’s just as beautiful and lively during the summer.

This has once again been an amazing trip. Not once did I feel like there was nothing to do. Our trip was packed full of activities and relaxation. As long as I’m still impressed by Colorado we will continue to enjoy our Colorado Adventures! See you next year Rocky Mountains.

Next years goal:

  • Hike Wheeler Lake again
  • Visit Blue Lake by Quandary Peak
  • Zipline
  • Natural Hot Springs

Colorado: Quandary Peak

Quandary Peak

Well today we attempted to tackle our first 14er. For those of you don’t know, a 14er is a mountain peak that reaches 14000 feet elevation. Quandary Peak is 14,265 ft elevation, which is a pretty big deal.

Trail Head Sign- We should have read it better!

Last year in Colorado we hiked Hoosier Pass and made it to 11,500 feet elevation and this year we hiked it once again and made it to about 12,400 ft. So basically, Quandary Peak seemed like the perfect challenge. After doing our research it seemed like a pretty decent 6 mile hike. It’s a pretty popular peak because the trail is well maintained and labeled. It’s known as one of the less challenging 14ers, but apparently someone lied. This hike was ridiculous.

We started off pretty early and from the get-go I knew it was going to be tough. The mountain is pretty much a straight incline. There were no places that it flattened out and the terrain was pretty rough.

We began the trail straight through the trees. The trail was laid out well, but it was rough. Lots of rocks, and roots had to be climbed over and maneuver around as we began our ascent.

After about the first uphill mile I started to lose steam and had to slow down and pace myself. The boys decided to go ahead of us which was perfectly fine with me. Slowly and surely me and Amanda made our way further and further up the mountain. We were doing pretty well until we left the tree line and encountered the rocks. There are no word to describe the challenge these rocks gave us. For over a mile we climbed and climbed the rough, ridged rocks.

The Rocky Trail

We knew the boys were way ahead of us and we were even able to see them in the distance at times. There were several times we wanted to quit but we pushed through and continued on the path.

Well, we never quite made it to the top. By the time we hit 12,800 the Bearded One was starting his descent. He made it to 13,400. Two of our other buddies Josh and Joe pushed through and eventually made it to the full 14000 (whoohoo!).

Views during our climb

We tried our hardest!

I have to say, Quandary Peak was the most challenging physical activity I have ever encountered. After 6 hours on that dang mountain, I’m exhausted. Although I’m disappointed we didn’t all make it to the top, I’m really proud that we pushed ourselves up that strenuous mountain! The views and experience alone was totally worth the struggle. It was truly a once in a life time experience (I don’t plan on attempting it again anytime soon) and I’m glad I pushed myself.

Quandary Peak : 1

Messy Bun-Bearded One: 0

The Bearded One’s Pictures

Colorado: Good for the Soul

The drive in to Colorado was breath taking. From the plains of Texas, to the rocky hills of New Mexico, then the mountains of Colorado. It’s hard not to marvel at the mountains God created and appreciate the beauty of nature. This destination truly makes my heart happy and makes all the stressors in life seem so minuscule in comparison. There’s no one in the world I’d rather share this experience with than then the Bearded One and our best friends. I don’t even think there are word to describe the joy I feel when I travel. The pure, simple bliss of not only the adventure itself but the final destination.

Home away from home

Our first few days in Colorado have been pretty serene. No chaos, no drama, no stress. Our Air B&B is perfect, plenty of room, and a huge deck that overlooks the mountains. If you’ve never tried Air B&B for traveling, you are missing out. This property is perfect. Not only is it nestled in the trees but there are nearby hiking trails which we took full advantage of already.

Porch Views of Mount Silverheel

So far we’ve spent most of our time on the deck, hiking the neighborhood, cooking fabulous meals and catching up on our favorite novels.

We did venture out and explore the town of Fairplay. There are lots of little shops and ample photo ops in the quaint little town. We stopped by South Park Brewery which has my absolute favorite beer, a cherry blonde. We also walked around Alma, which is even smaller than Fairplay. Both are beautiful little picturesque mountain towns. Tonight, Friday night, Fairplay is having a free community concert we plan on attending, which I’m really looking forward to. We also plan on doing some mountian yoga today and hiking Mosquito Gulch, a 6 mike hike.

Beautiful flowers throughout Fairplay

So far this trip has not only been successful, it’s been rejuvenating for my body, mind, and soul.

***UPDATE: Amanda and I completed a yoga class and it was AMAZING. It was my first official yoga class and it was wonderful. My entire body was workout and I did things I didn’t know know my body was even capable of. If you’re in Fairplay stop by Open Sky Yoga for a drop in class with Jamie. She changed my whole perspective on yoga and I am bound and determined to give it a try at home ❤️

Colorado Adventures: Short but Sweet

966 miles

14 hours and 48 minutes

2 days in the car

Our Colorado Adventure has begun.

The gloomy summer storms didn’t stop us this AM as we began our the first day of our trek to Colorado.

After several rest stops, a picnic lunch in the middle of nowhere, we made it to our first destination, Amarillo.

I’m sure we could do this trip in a solid day, we did last year on the way back, but there’s just something about a good old fashioned road trip that really makes my heart happy.

I love being able to stop when we need to, flip through the radio stations, enjoy the tiny towns we drive through and just converse with my vacation buddies and the Bearded One. ❤️

Vacation makes my soul rejoice and I can’t wait to explore Colorado!

Day 1= Success