100% Chance of Shower in Denver

As I shared in March's post my college roommate and one of my best gals is getting MARRIED in June. E & I headed to Denver to attend the coed wedding shower.

We left on Thursday after E got off work and had planned to stay at Jordanelle State Park in Utah.  What we didn't take into consideration was the time change..oops!  So once we hit Wendover we had to devise a contingency plan which was to sleep in the truck bed under the stars in the Uinta National Forests' Center Canyon.  It turned out to be one free, two a bit cold, and three beautiful.  It was dark when we arrived so we awoke to a little spot tucked in the canyon with a gorgeous stream.  It was right off the highway so it was easy to get back on the road. 

E and I love checking out anything and everything that seems even remotely interesting. We drove right by Dinosaur National Monument, so of course we had to stop and get our NPS Passport stamped! We both were as excited as a couple second graders on a field trip to the zoo (E probably more than me). According to Ranger Barbara we lucked out, the actual dinosaur fossil exhibit was closed for 5 years for repairs and just opened last October. So to keep a long story short, millions of years ago as dinosaurs crossed an ancient river some died on the way, and their bones sank to the bottom of the river bed. After the ground started to up-heave the fossils became buried in mounds and are almost in a vertical position today. On an expedition donkey's years ago, a gentleman from the Carnegie Museum came across a portion of a fossil sticking out of the ground. After much excavation, a large portion of the fossils were left exposed in the rock and are available for your viewing pleasure. Check it out!

After all the excitement, we continued on our journey down highway 40. On the way we were able to spot groups of North America's fastest land mammal, the pronghorn of course! After a quick stop in Steamboat Springs, CO we started our uphill battle to conquer the Continental Divide. The views from the top were amazing and there was plenty of snow on the ground. Once we reached Kremmling, we turned south on Colorado State Highway 9, on that stretch there were plenty of elk and beautiful scenery to enjoy. After merging onto Interstate 70 it was one last glimpse of wildlife with a couple of bighorn sheep standing on the cliffs. We took the plunge from Rocky Mountain high, streaking towards the valley floor and on into Denver.

Our Dinosaur National Monument stop put us a little behind schedule because since we were already there we had to take the quarry tour.  One of my favorite couples ever in life...Jessica and Michael were very flexible and agreed to meet us for a late dinner. Originally planned for Linger, that place D took me back in February, but it was packed so plan B was La Loma, a delicious Mexican joint.  The food was great but what was even better was the conversation and the opportunity to catch up with ol' friends.  Jess is amazing, she's about to graduate law school in less than a week and she'll rock the bar exam soon after that.  Mike works for a company that helps restaurants save $ by streamlining their supply chain (I hope I got that right).  He is equally as awesome and they both just have good energy.  The kind of energy that makes you want to be a better person and kick butt at life.  They just celebrated their 4 year wedding anniversary- so a big congratulations to them!!!

We had already made reservations at Cherry Creek State Park but thought the gates closed at 10pm so we hauled butt across town.  Turns out we didn't need to get there with such urgency but we set up our tent and cleaned up. The park has fabulous facilities I might add,  yes- they have quarter showers but I'll pay a $1.25 for a 7 minute HOT shower any day!

On Saturday E woke up early to go fishing- go figure.  He wasn't as successful as he had hoped but it was windier than he expected.  I took my sweet time getting up and showering then we drove all over Denver's southeast metro area looking for every candy bar imaginable for a shower game.  Nikki and Derek met us for dinner at Ya Ya's, and there in the parking lot Loaf was able to reunite with Mama Nik for the first time in like 5 years.
After Dinner E & I headed to Comedy Works South to enjoy my very first show after interning what seems and feels like forever ago.  I must say that I love the space, but a comedy show is a comedy show and your experience is more about the act than anything else.  John Heffron was hilarious- I am so glad that our trip overlapped with his performance.  His humor was clean nothing raunchy and it was just up E's alley.

Nik and Derek's wedding shower was on Sunday, it was a co-ed and bring your pet kinda shower.  There were so many dogs there including Loaf, a lot of little sweeties.  The shower was at Derek's parents' house, his mom definitely has the gift of hospitality.  I only had to contribute 3 games and the prizes at the shower- easy peasey lemon squeezey!  They are such romantic softies it makes me want to puke, but I'm able to hold back knowing she's my hopeless romantic friend who found her knight in shining armor.  Looking forward to their big day in June!

Sunday night after the shower I was able to reunite with the one and only Mr. Matt Smith, and his fabulous wife Molly.  To give you a little background on Matt, he is the man who sucked the evil corporate wannabe out of me and much like the wizard gave the tin man a heart, Matt (and Kellie Mieremet) gave me a heart.  A heart to want to volunteer, become a contributing member of a community, and want more out of life than money.  Most traditional college students have this really delusional vision of their future....Matt helped kick mine back into reality.  He was my big boss man at the Community Leadership Institute when I worked there while attending Johnson & Wales University. 

Any who....he's in an entirely different role working for The A Game, but still encouraging and instilling good work ethics in people. Molly started a relatively new gig with the University of Denver and is gearing up to start her doctorate (which she will dominate).  In addition to their professional lives, he and his wife are also rockstar triathletes.  To sum it up...they are pretty much amazing, they don't have kids, they are beautiful people inside and out, extremely intelligent....the kinda people E & I would like to model our relationship and lives after. 

The trip was a short trip that felt entirely too long for just a weekend.  Driving over 800 miles on Monday was a little much but we made it!  We stopped at a few different spots to stretch.  The Continental Divide being one and Steamboat Springs being the other.  Jess the pic of E below is for you....E in his very first pearl snap shirt!
Needless to say I loved going back to Denver...some of my best and definately most productive years were in Denver- so going back refueled my motivation and put a little more pep in my step.

We're heading to California next month for a wedding and it overlaps with Mother's Day so we'll get to spend time with Barbara too!

Until then- XOXO,
E, J & Loaf


Life Lately

Life has been a little more exciting since the last post.

Battle Mountain now has a MAVERIK!  Can you believe it?  We're doing it big here in Northern Nevada, I mean a Maverik, a Family Dollar, McDonald's, Wells Fargo....and a delicious Mexican restaurant.

E was very excited about the grand opening of the Maverik.  He was about to set up a tent and wait at the door!  It didn't get that carried away but we were in fact present at the grand opening- free samples galore- I didn't even have to cook dinner!

We volunteered to plant sagebrush seedlings to improve the winter habitat for mule deer and other species in a burn area- the BLM, Elko District partnered with Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and Nevada Muley’s for this initiative.  Click here to read the press release about all our good work.

I loved it- we were able to take in a new area, enjoy the fresh air, and met some new people. During the lunch break E & I explored a bit, as we were in a new area.  Much to my excitement I found my very first shed- it wasn't a monster, just a forker but exciting none the less.
Because I was so excited to find that shed- E&I decided that we ought to check out a new area in hopes of finding sheds the following weekend.  The Fish Creek Range was not so good to us when it came to sheds, in fact we didn't see much deer sign at all.  However, the eagles were out and gave us quite the show!!!! Golden Eagles are different than Bald Eagles but my summer at Voyageurs taught me that eagles do the whole courtship thing mid-air by locking talons and that's just what these crazy eagles did.  Speaking of eagles, there are 72 bald eagles in Voyageurs National Park this year....I encourage all my MN friends to check it out!  Make the drive- they are spectacular to watch!
As we were glassing the foothills, I spotted two masses that were pretty big but didn't fit the shape of a cow or deer- I did a double take and much to my surprise, I spotted two wild horses.  Very exciting...my first wild horse experience ever!  They must of separated from the herd because we were in a herd mgmt. area.  Wild horses are a pretty controversial issue around here. Click here to read an old article that shares a bit about the controversy.  The wild horses were pretty cool though, E thought it would be a good idea to get closer for a picture. Ummm....NO!  He about gave me an anxiety attack....I for real thought they were about to get up and trample him!  The one on the right looked a little homely, the ears look a bit off, and they both were super skinny...tear.  What's even worse is about a week later we actually ate horse and I actually like it!  Friend's of ours had us over for dinner and games and it's what was for dinner!  Pulled pony sandwiches....they even sent us home with some, hopefully I can hold myself together when I prepare it!
E had to check out Squaw Tit after the wild horse fiasco.  I was so over it by that time I hiked half way up and took a picture of E. 
Another fabulous part of living in Battle Mountain is the domestic goddess in me is coming out in full force!  I've always been pretty good about keeping a clean house (I still struggle with laundry- the whole start to finish thing-ugh).  But I am actually cooking edible deliciousness!  I must give my new very special friend, Mandi, the credit though because she shares her tried and true recipes with me!  So I've made homemade chicken pot pie which wasn't all salty & goo like the store bought ones, carrot & cucumber soup, a delicious Waldorf salad, strawberry chicken poppy seed salads, pork roast & pork tenderloin which is becoming a specialty, Greek salads, pulled chicken fajitas & tacos...the list is getting longer too.  E is pretty proud and surprised by my new found skills.  The fact that he is former military does work in my favor though...whatever is a bit bland or a complete failure he will politely ask for more condiments.  Throw a little ketchup or BBQ sauce and he's content!

I am saddened to share that www.picnik.com has closed up shop and has integrated itself with google+, super lame. I apologize for all of the individual pictures, the new photo editor I found does not offer collages quite yet, put is pretty easy to navigate, www.picmonkey.com.

Stay tuned for our next post about our Denver trip!