Roadtrip!!! The last vacation weekend of the summer, and it was the best one ever.
So, we discovered this last week that when your friends surprise you by showing up to help you move there are side benefits. Like a free vacation day that you were going to use up to move, but you can now use to travel across the states and across the miles to relax all weekend with friends. And meeting the most wonderfully beautiful new friends that somehow feel like old friends after only three days of hanging out. And puppy-dog kisses.
We loaded up Ruby, and drove thirteen hours through Utah and to the desert in Arizona. So beautiful. I had never seen Utah or Arizona before. Mesas, red rock, and flowering cactus. We arrived at Norm and Carolyn's Oasis (well, that's what I call it) and were shown to our guestroom: a bunkroom designed, built, and decorated by Norm, Carolyn, and their daughters. Truly amazing!
The next two days were filled with sunshine, joy, laughter, playtime, and food and drink. Bacon, eggs, breakfast potatoes, and toast with coffee and hot chocolate. (Norm makes a mean breakfast, and Carolyn is Super Barista.) Then came the 2nd Annual Labor Day Paella. Yes, the real deal, cooked outside over an open fire in an authentic paella pan given to them by a lady from Valencia, Spain - the same lady that taught Norm the tricks of the trade. (Yes, I know the tricks now myself, but if I told you, I'd have to kill you.) Romaine salad with avocado. Crostini with goat cheese and pears. Chips and guacamole. Homemade artisan bread. A really tall three-tiered rich tower of a chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache. The best carrot cake I've ever eaten. S'Mores with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Wagging puppy-dog tails. Playing fetch in the pool. Birdhouses. Outdoor Ping-Pong Table Tennis Tournament. A little smacktalk. Topspin. A dip in the pool to cool off. Bug-A-Salt. (Look it up. Seriously. John says we're getting three of them: one for him and one for each of the boys.) Lots of smiles. Sweet conversations. American Girls Molly and Rebecca. (NOT Creepy Dolls!) Vintage hand-knit sweaters. A Space Shuttle tile. Coca-Cola. YouTube training videos. New friendships. Luigi's Mansion. A Chocolate Lab at my feet. The Lime Drink. Beach balls and a volleyball net. Diving sticks. Sporty silver convertibles. SuperTarget. (Yay!) Dragonflies. Minnie Mouse Lip Gloss. Minnie Mouse's pink convertible. Two pair of shoes for Rebecca. Cars. Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell ice-cream. (Nothing better.) Palisade peaches with blueberry vanilla syrup. Paul's band and Frozen Burrito. Alisha's macrame and yarn bombing. Art canvases and Sharpie pens. Keepsakes. Midnight Snack slices of carrot cake. Bedtime stories about little girls, bears, and berries. Bunks with reading lights and fabric-blade fans. Sweet, sweet dreams.
Emma cried over having to leave. I don't know if she realizes it or not, but I shed a few tears myself. Of course, we'll be back. We have a Table Tennis Tournament to win next year.
Thirteen hours back up north, the elevation rose 6000 feet and the temperature dropped 30 degrees. The browns turned to greens. We passed our county line in the evening, and I exhaled. Home Sweet Colorado.