Posts Tagged With: birthdays on the road

Back to Breck

If you have been following along for awhile, you might remember that we spent last winter (2019) skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. We loved it so much we returned for another ski season this year.

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We had a another fabulous season until it abruptly ended due to COVID-19. We are living in very strange times these days, right? I haven’t posted anything lately, and it has been hard to even motivate myself to post this because it’s difficult to see these pictures and not feel sad about how much things have changed in our world since then.

After spending the holidays with family back east, we headed out to Colorado to get back to one of our favorite places. Thankfully we had 2 good months of skiing before everything shut down.

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Home Sweet Home

In addition to Breckenridge we skied at Keystone and Beaver Creek. Arapahoe Basin was no longer included on our Epic Passes so we didn’t go there, and we had intended to ski at Vail but never made it there before everything closed.

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We found our “bear cave” from last year, which we now think we should call a “beer cave” due to all the beer cans we saw in there. 🙂

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Our first day back to skiing we had to take it easy and get used to it again, but it didn’t take long at all for these boys to get back to doing what they do best, the double-black diamond trails. They even talked me into doing The Windows once. Trust me, once was enough!

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Chris did the Needles Eye with them, but I refused. Later they told me I made the right choice. 😉

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At Beaver Creek the kids’ favorite run is 4 Get About It. We did that one a few times this year. I keep trying to tell them “forget about it, I’m not doing that!”, but they won’t take no for an answer. Somehow I manage to keep up with them. 😉

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4 Get About It

One day at Beaver Creek Chris had a bad fall just after we took this picture.

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Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t be going down trails for “Experts Only”?

Chris was out of commission for a couple of weeks due to his injury, so the boys and I had to ski without him while he recovered.

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In February we had some epic amounts of snow! Check out all that powder!

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One day Chris & Jake tried to take Fat Cat for a sleigh ride at the campground. She wasn’t amused.

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We love going to Keystone during the week for night skiing. The weekends are pretty crowded at Breck, but we’re usually working during the week so we have to just deal with the weekend crowds. Going skiing after work at night during the week is so much fun!

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Last year we celebrated my 50th birthday at a ski-in/ski-out resort at the base of one of the ski areas at Breck, which was definitely one of my best birthdays ever. We decided to do the same thing again this year for Chris’s 50th. Yes, he’s younger than me, lol! Our birthdays are 3 days apart so we are the same age for 3 days until I become the “older woman” again.

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View from the balcony of our vacation rental

For this year’s birthday celebration we got an amazing VRBO at the base of Peak 8.

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But that is not even the best part! My parents came out to spend the week with us, along with some of the Picariello family (life-long friends). My parents hadn’t skied in 12 years, and we were so super excited to show them and the Picariellos around Breckenridge.

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Meeting up with Mom and Dad at Breckenridge Station

Jake and Jesse showed Gramma and Grampa around town while we got everyone’s luggage moved into the condo. Then the boys brought the Grands for a ride up the gondola to get to the condo.

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Looking at these pictures reminds me of just how super excited we were for this vacation week, not giving much thought to the invisible enemy that was out there, about to change the world as we knew it.

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An epic day skiing with Mom and Dad and the Picariellos

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Grampa, Chris, Jesse & Jake

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My parents… still skiing in their 70s!

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We talked Lauren into trying Devil’s Crotch. I won’t go into details about how that went. Hint, hint… it wasn’t pretty, lol!

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We did much better on Imperial.

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Some of the gang enjoying the hot tub after skiing

Well, all good things must come to an end, right? The night before my birthday we found out that all the ski mountains had to close immediately due to coronavirus. I can’t even describe just how disappointed we were!

However, I am thankful that we at least had a few good days of skiing before that happened. We got to ski on Chris’s birthday, and the Picariellos got all of their skiing in before the closures. In fact, we had just dropped off some of the Picariellos at their shuttle to go back to the airport when we got the news.

My parents were still with us for a few more days, and we had planned to ski some more, but that was not meant to be. We made the best of it and used the empty ski mountain as a sledding hill.

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Sledding instead of skiing on my birthday

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Sitting on the chair lift, wishing it wasn’t closed

After Mom and Dad went home, the only thing left to do in Breckenridge was sledding, so we did that a few more times.

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Sledding with the Schott family, our good friends and next door neighbors for the season

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Eventually even the sledding hills closed, so it was time for us to go. The RV park in Breck is not cheap and it just wasn’t worth spending the money to stay there any longer when everything was closed.

So we headed to my friend Rachel’s campground in St. Louis to hunker down and wait things out. We had plans to spend the summer in Michigan, and St. Louis was close enough to continue on with those plans if things re-opened. However it doesn’t look like that will be a good place to go this year.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took at our RV park in Breckenridge before we left. It’s so beautiful there!

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I’m not gonna lie, it was really hard to leave this winter wonderland. We all love skiing and playing in the snow so much, it was so disappointing when it ended early.

I hope and pray that you are all staying safe & healthy. Let’s hope we can all get back to adventuring and exploring soon!

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Birthday Celebration in Park City, Utah

It was almost 3 years ago that we set out on this adventure of a lifetime. I started this blog 3 years ago this month with this post about why we are doing this. In that post I mentioned that the #1 reason we are doing this is because “blink and they are grown”. Truer words have never been spoken! It seems like just yesterday that my first child Jake was born, and the next thing I knew he became a teenager. How did that happen??

We were in Park City, Utah to celebrate his 13th birthday at the end of September where we spent the day at Park City Mountain riding alpine slides and coasters.

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Getting ready for our first ride down the alpine coaster.

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This was so much fun! We were able to ride it several times that day with little to no wait since it was a weekday and not crowded. On the alpine coaster you ride up the mountain in the coaster for about 5 minutes or so, enjoying the views, and then fly back down in much less time.

I took this picture on the way up, but I couldn’t take any pictures on the way down.

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We also rode up the scenic chairlift a few times to ride the alpine slide.

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Jake going down the alpine slide.

We purchased a day pass so we could have unlimited rides. The day pass also included the Legacy Launcher, gem mining and mini golf.

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Jake on the Legacy Launcher

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Gem mining.

After we closed the place down, we headed into the cute little mountain town of Park City to find some place to have a birthday dinner. We ended up having Mexican which seems to be what we go for most often.

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The shops on Main Street were so cute!

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We loved Park City Mountain and would really like to return there for skiing in the winter sometime.

We stayed at Jordanelle State Park that week which was gorgeous with the mountain views and beautiful fall colors. It was even snowing the day we got there but didn’t last very long as it warmed up slightly that week.

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Beautiful campsite at Jordanelle State Park

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I think this was a great place to spend Jake’s 13th birthday, and it’s definitely on the list to return again someday.

Categories: Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

North Cascades National Park

After we left Port Angeles we headed over to the little town of Concrete, Washington to visit North Cascades National Park.

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This park is known for mountains, glaciers and lakes. The glaciers are a beautiful turquoise green color like in this iconic view of Diablo Lake.

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Diablo Lake

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A park ranger explained to us that the glaciers moving against the rocks over time result in the stunning green color in the water. I was curious why the glacial melt in Glacier National Park results in blue water while this park’s glacial melt results in green. The ranger showed us how rubbing 2 rocks together from this area creates a fine green dust, while the rocks in Glacier must be somewhat different in the color resulting in a blue dust.

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We started the day at the Gorge Powerhouse, walking across the suspension bridge and then a short hike up to Ladder Creek Falls.

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Ladder Creek Falls

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Then we hiked the Thunder Knob Trail to see Diablo Lake. This hike was 3.6 miles round trip and to be honest it wasn’t really that interesting except for the end. There was not much to look at for the hike up, but once we got to the top we were rewarded with this view. This was an out and back hike so the hike back down was just as uninteresting, but easier of course as it was all downhill.

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If you’re short on time I wouldn’t bother with this hike. You can get a much better view of Diablo Lake from the Diablo Lake Overlook (the pictures from the beginning of this post were taken at the overlook). I don’t mean to sound negative about this hike, but my personal preference is to hike trails where you have amazing views throughout the hike, not just at the end.

Next we drove further down the scenic North Cascades Highway to hike the Rainy Lake Trail. This was a short 2 mile out and back hike to a beautiful lake. Again, the hike wasn’t all that interesting, but it was short and paved, and ended at this awesome view.

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Rainy Lake

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A few more miles down the road we stopped at the Washington Pass Overlook for some spectacular mountain views.

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Lastly, on the way out of the park we stopped at Cascadian Farms for some organic ice cream. I thought the blueberry ice cream was delicious!

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We stayed at the Grandy Creek Thousand Trails while we were in this area, and also celebrated Jesse’s 11th birthday that week. We had been so busy sightseeing and exploring while Gramma and Grampa visited, and I think everyone felt the need for a break. Jesse requested that we stay home for his birthday and not go anywhere. So that’s what we did. We spent the day at the campground, playing games and mini golf. I made his favorite ice cream cake and one of his favorite dinners — lasagna, meatballs and homemade bread. I bet you didn’t think we could bake all that in an RV, did you? 😉 Last Christmas my dad and Chris switched out our microwave oven with a combination convection/microwave and I love it! The standard oven that comes with an RV is pretty useless since hardly any pans even fit in it. The convection oven fits my lasagna pan and bread pan perfectly. And I cook meatballs in our Instant Pot, one of the best kitchen appliances for an RV.

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I wasn’t sure how we could possibly top his 10th birthday that was celebrated at Mall of America, but he said this birthday was just as fun. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life I guess. 🙂

Categories: National Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells is known as the Water Park Capital of the World.  When someone first told me that I thought they were crazy.  I mean seriously, Wisconsin that might only have a few weeks of summer, known for water parks?  Then I found out that many of the water parks are indoors and they really are amazing!

We passed through this area during the week of Jake’s 12th birthday.  Another fun birthday on the road!

We parked our house at a nearby RV park for the week, but spent a couple of nights at 2 different water park hotels.  Since it’s the off season we were able to get really great rates for the hotels and the cost of the hotel includes water park access.  It’s actually cheaper to do that than pay admission for 4 to a water park.

The first hotel we stayed at was Wilderness Resort.  This place is huge!  They have 4 indoor water parks and 4 outdoor, but the outdoor parks were closed for the season.  And only 2 of the indoor parks were open while we were there, but that was plenty.  That also may be why it’s so inexpensive at this time of the year.

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Klondike Kavern

Klondike Kavern has several slides, a large lazy river, an indoor/outdoor hot tub and our favorite the Hurricane slide.

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Wild WaterDome

Wild WaterDome has a giant wave pool and a fun family slide.

Wilderness Resort also has many other non-water indoor activities like a go cart track, mini golf, laser tag, a ropes course and a huge playground.  We did not spend the money on all of those extra activities, but I was impressed by how many fun things they have to do there.

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The other hotel we went to was the Great Wolf Lodge.

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This place has one indoor and one outdoor waterpark, but both parks are huge and all in one place instead of spread out around the resort like Wilderness.

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This was one of our favorites where all 4 of us could race on toboggan style mats.

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We enjoyed both of these resorts very much, it’s hard to say which one is better because they both had many fun things to do.

And again we had both places almost to ourselves with very short lines if any.  September birthdays are lots of fun, and Jake said this was his best birthday ever.  Jesse said the same thing about his birthday celebration 2 weeks earlier at Mall of America.  It looks like I have my work cut out for me to try to come up with something just as fun for each of them next year.

Categories: Wisconsin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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