Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three Months Later

Hey everybody. Looky here - I'm posting again! I thought I'd share photos from the glorious vacation I took with Stella back in the first week of August. First - some background.

This summer was terrible. Truly. My summers have seemed to get worse and worse. LAST summer D. and I broke up and I still think this summer was worse. Part of it was being completely overworked, but mostly it was the rift that developed between Stella and me. We had an awful fight as we were preparing to take her to take her driver's test. We never even made it out the door before the fight escalated into something truly horrible. She left and didn't come back for a month. A WHOLE MONTH. I don't even like to talk about it because it was so painful and sad. She stayed gone for so long, I think, to show me that she could and because it was the one thing she had power over...the power to be gone and hurt me with her absence. I get that.

The good news is that we're much better. We saw a counselor who helped us communicate. The counselor even said that he doesn't see many mother/daughter pairs who openly love each other as much as Stella and I do. That made me feel better. I was worried that we wouldn't get to take this trip together but she moved back a few days before we took off on an epic road trip to Colorado.

You may remember three years ago when D. and I went for my oldest friend Ginny's wedding. This trip we took a different route - we went the northern route, going to Denver first to visit our dear friend Abbey and her roommates. Then we drove from Denver down to Durango to visit Ginny and her sweet family. We finished the trip with a jaunt over to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Here are some of my favorite photos. Click on them to see them bigger and better.  I haven't even tweaked these in a photo editor so they're rough and raw and beautiful in their natural state:
Sunrise from our one hotel splurge in Wichita KS on our way there
Dinner with a beloved group of friends at the delicious and very recommended Cuba Cuba in Denver
One day we drove from Denver up into the mountains and came back around through Estes Park and Boulder.  We stopped at this picturesque and sweet little town called Jamestown.  Here is my girl overlooking the creek that runs through town. 
Very fancy looking stone chapel of some sort
Stella, Craig, Jude, and Abbey at Lily Lake. What I wouldn't give to be back there.
After we left Denver we drove down scenic Hwy 285 (avoiding the interstate) and were blessed with some incredible views
We just had to stop and take a ton of photos at Wolf Creek Pass - I couldn't NOT Instagram it!
Wolf Creek Pass, looking down from the overlook
Stella's cute seafoam green (remember that color name from the 80s?) toes and stenciled art at the Wolf Creek Pass overlook
No Colorado vacation is complete without feeding the super tame chipmunks.  I remember feeding chipmunks on the one road trip my family took to Colorado when we were little kids.  They stuffed their cheeks until they couldn't eat one more plantain chip.  Then they'd always take one more!
Our favorite day was the day Ginny took us driving from Durango all over the San Juan Mountains.  She patiently allowed us to tourist ourselves to death, stopping for photo ops whenever we asked her to.  Here is touristy cute little old mining town Silverton with its dirt roads
Overlooking Molas Pass
Ginny and Stella at Molas Pass
Reunited and it feels so good!  :)
Inseparable from ages 8-15.  We grew up together in so many ways.  I love this woman like I love my sisters.
This was a thrilling drive up to Yankee Boy Basin from Ouray.  See how scary this is?  No guard rail, room for only one vehicle, just one long, long drop off.
Abandoned mine
Ridgway, Colorado. Famous for being the home to Ralph Lauren's huge ranch.
And of course no trip to CO is complete with out the obligatory Aspens photo - love those silvery white trunks!
Downtown Telluride, where we stopped for dinner, roamed around and went thrifting. 
Sunset outside Telluride.
Ginny took us to this semi-private hot spring off the road somewhere near Rico.  Years ago someone stuck an old hot tub in the ground and rigged a pipe from the hot spring source to fill up the hot tub.  Over the years it's gotten completely covered in lumpy mineral deposits, making it slippery with metallic silt.
Next to the homemade natural hot tub is a cold flowing river.  NOTHING in this world feels better than jumping from the hot, milky tub into that freezing, swift river.  Makes you feel alive!
I didn't take my camera on our biggest adventure day - when we went tubing down the Animas River and I fell off my inner tube and thought the rapids might take me under.  But I survived (obviously) and when we were getting out of the river Stella spotted a baby black bear!  Just hanging out by itself right next to this river that is practically in the middle of the town!  This photo bookends our trip - another sunrise.  This was as we were leaving Durango...hearts heavy. 
I wasn't sure if I was on the correct road because you drive and drive and it looks like this....
....and then suddenly you see the sand dunes rising up!
My girl...walking ahead.  Wearing the skirt she got for free in the big giveaway bins located in downtown Telluride.  I love this idea - just putting big cubby holes downtown with instructions to only leave clean items in good condition. 
CRAZY COINCIDENCE HERE!  On our way to the Great Sand Dunes I randomly stopped to use the restroom in the visitors' center.  Mind you, this was a Monday morning at like 9:30am.  Coming out of the visitors' center I saw two people wearing Arkansas Razorback shirts so of course I took a closer look and saw that it was MY MOTHER'S FIRST COUSIN AND HIS DAUGHTER!  I grew up playing with Beth, my second cousin once removed or something like that.  The crazy random forces at work that put us there at the same time blows my feeble little mind!  We'll see Sanford and Beth again at Thanksgiving. 
I look road weary because I am.  Thanks for the flattering pic, Stella!  I lost my new sunglasses to the Animas River so I had to wear my cheapo grocery store back up sunglasses.  This is somewhere in the northeastern tip of New Mexico...on our way home. 
Hours upon hours of this view through Oklahoma

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Oh my god. I've been gone almost a year and Blogger up and changed big time on me. It's like a whole new world out here! Big stuff happening, guys. I wanted to travel more for work and so now I'm going to Kazakhstan for ten days! What?! Yes, I leave on Nov. 10. Crazy. Stella is in her senior year of high school. We're working on college applications like crazy. I have a bazillion pictures to share. Keep checking back. I promise to write regularly again. I love and missed you!!