Monday, October 13, 2008

Hookers and Hikers, Buttes and Bikers

I know you must be wondering what the strange title means. Well it’s an intro to my latest vacation of course. My boyfriend and I went on a 7-day epic journey covering 4 states and too many miles to count….even for an engineer.

It all started in Las Vegas, which is where the hooker comes in. I knew it was legal there but I was surprised at how much advertisement there was for it. We past a guy in an orange shirt that said “Direct to your Door in 30 minutes”. I decided it would be fun to take a picture with him since legally picking up a hook seemed so extreme due to my naïve upbringing. Well I didn’t realize that I was wearing an orange shirt too and so the picture looks like I am one of his “employees”. I better not let my mom see that picture! We decided our $40 would be better spent on an all you can eat buffet so we went to the Bellagio hotel for their world famous buffet. It was the best buffet I have ever had in both quantity and quality! We stayed for TWO hours. Six plates and eight desserts later we finally waddled out. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? Can someone please inform my hips of this! At the time I decided we were “training” for day two of the journey, which involved a hike down Grand Canyon so the carbs were necessary to prep. It sounded good at the time.

On day two we journeyed to the Grand Canyon and started our hike down. We didn’t prep except for eating bunches in Vegas and we didn’t know if what we were doing was commonplace or not. Being from Florida where the elevation is zero is sure seemed extreme. At least gravity was on our side but it still took 4 ½ hours to get down. Some of that was due to needing a picture every 10 feet. It was beautiful and we wanted to document it all. The best part was we didn’t finish the hike until after dark. The last two miles were in complete darkness with just a little flashlight to help us not fall off the trail and into the Colorado River. It worked and we made it to the ranch for the best dinner ever….or maybe I was just very hungry. After dinner I went to the girls camp to sleep with a bunch of women I didn’t know. I was a little nervous about this but my boyfriend informed me he did it all the time and it was easy. He didn’t earn any girlfriend points with that little comment. But I met the girls in the morning and they were awesome and we became instant friends.

Unfortunately what goes down must come up and on day three we journeyed up the canyon. As the signs all stated getting to the bottom was optional but getting up was mandatory so we were on our own. We were laughing in the morning how we made it through the heat and decent and the dark and the only thing missing was torrential rain. It was a joke at the time since it was totally sunny but by lunchtime it started to downpour. We just kept on hiking since there really wasn’t much else to do and as it turned out it probably helped us since it would have been too hot without the rain. We ran into one of those odd people we meet on every trip. You know the ones who like to act like they know it all and like to share their opinion even if you obviously aren’t interested. When we mentioned we were from Florida he said “well congratulations, most of MY people from Florida can’t make it” in a very derogatory tone. So I decided to mess with his head and said “really. This was easy. We have this ride at Disney World….except its air-conditioned”. That seemed to put him in his place or at least confuse him enough so we could get away. It really wasn’t too bad of a journey. We just went slow and steady and a mere 8 ½ hours later we were up! We had some soreness and blisters but we didn’t fall in the canyon so that makes it a total success in my mind.

The Buttes come into play on Day 4 when we went to monument valley Utah. There are huge rock formations called buttes and mesas just jutting out of the ground. It was spectacular to view. I found a rock that had the best echo I’ve ever heard. I could almost recite the preamble to the US Constitution and hear it all repeated back to me. We took some pictures, did some yoga poses and had a small snack while we soaked it all in. I only wish I could have done a full yoga class in that location.

Day 5 brings us to the biker part of my title since we mountain biked down a mountain at a ski/snowboard resort. I’ve done mountain biking before but usually you have to spend a lot of time biking up just to enjoy a quick downhill. Most bikers like to say “you have to earn it” when talking about the downhill but I figure if I pay for the lift ticket then “I earned it”! We used the ski lift to go up the mountain which felt odd without a board on my feet and then the bikes were hooked to the back of the next chairs. So we spent all day chair lifting up and biking down. All the fun without all the work and I am totally ok with that!

These were just a few of the many highlights from our epic journey to the West. I love vacations since they are a time of adventure and a time of living in the moment and they create lifelong memories. I hope you enjoyed my vacation as much as I did and that you get a chance to travel soon and make many wonderful memories to last a lifetime!

Cat “It’s a dry heat” Cathy

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