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The Great Road Trip of 2019

I always do this, don't I. Start a new blog, get really excited, and then not post for a few weeks. I think I just need to accept this as my reality, and write when I can and stop apologizing when I can't. So...onward and upward!

So, where has Brandy been? Exploring! Last week Mike and I set off on our first official road trip (I guess technically our first one was to Oklahoma for his son's graduation, but this was our first one as a couple). Over the course of the week we explored parts of Colorado we had never been (plus a little dip into New Mexico).

Want to know more? Read on! (If not, check back later :) )

At first I was going to give you a play by play of our trip, but then I thought -- eh, that's boring. So here are some of the things I learned about US on this trip (and if you want restaurant names and hotel recs, just leave a comment and I'll respond!)

When we pulled into our first hotel in Monarch, Colorado, we learned our first lesson. Calling something an "adventure" covers a multitude of sins. We sat in the car for a moment, taking in the peeling paint, askew window screens and empty parking lot, and I turned to Mike and said "I am so sorry." He laughed and said "It's an adventure!"

Man, that one word reframed everything. We walked inside and were greeted by a dilapidated lobby and the friendliest staff. Our room was clean but sparse. We opened the window to clear the stuffiness and smiled as we heard the river rushing below us. The next day at breakfast we laughed at the hockey puck bagels and decided our next adventure would be finding breakfast in the next town.

Adventure. That word took us from a 1-star hotel to a character-filled lodge perched above the river. (Don't get me wrong, though...we won't stay there again. It's only an adventure the first time!)

We set our from Monarch, explored the continental divide, and set out for Ridgway. We had an adorable glamping spot, which is where we learned our second important lesson. My husband and I can't live without coffee. As we looked around our tent, we realized that while there was a mini-fridge and a microwave, there was no coffee pot. The next morning, Mike set out to find a coffee shop, and about 20 minutes later he called me.

"So. It's going to take me a little longer," he said. "I'm going to Target to buy a Keurig."

I burst out laughing. I had definitely married the right man. Around 30 minutes later Mike walked in with an adorable little Keurig, a box of coffee pods, two mugs and a bottle of creamer.

"At least the creamer was on sale," he said, shrugging.

I love being married to a man who knows me, knows himself, and knows how to get to the closest Target.

Over the next two days we explored Telluride and Ouray, hiking, eating and enjoying this part of Colorado that has been dubbed "The Switzerland of America." And it was there, nestled in a valley, surrounded by nature and beauty that we discovered another thing about ourselves. We should always carry snacks.

We discovered this particular life lesson on a hike in Telluride. It wasn't long or strenuous, but it was ill-timed. We started around 11, finishing a little after 2. You guys. I eat like every two hours. And that breakfast of coffee and pop tarts wasn't going to get me through the morning. At one point, I almost stole a banana right out of another hiker's hand. I wondered aloud if the berries on the bushes were edible. Would leaves taste like a salad? We started to sing songs to distract ourselves, but soon began changing the words to be about, you guessed it, food.

"I'm so already know...I'm in the fast lane...from LA to...GEEZ I'm STARVING."

Don't worry, we did eventually eat. And it was the best food either of us had ever tasted in our whole entire lives.

After Ridgway, we set our for Durango, where we stayed in an adorable bed and breakfast. It was there that we learned the crucial lesson that sometimes you just need to lay in bed and watch TV and eat pop tarts, even if, and maybe especially if, you're on vacation.

I think there's a part of me that feels guilty when I'm resting. Most of my vacations are filled with activities and exploration and THINGS. And a lot of our road trip was that. But when we arrived in Durango we were at the half way point, and once we got settled into our room we realized we just needed a quiet night in. And that's exactly what we had. No guilt over snuggling under a fluffy blanket and eating the fresh baked cookies that they had out for the guests. No shame in reading a book (me) or watching football (him). Just the freedom in saying "this is our vacation and we can do whatever we want to."

After a brief stop soaking in the hot springs in Pagosa Springs, we headed to the last stop on our road trip, Santa Fe. It was the only place on our itinerary that Mike and I had both visited, but not together. And it was here that we learned our final lesson. There is beauty in reclaiming something.

Before the trip, Mike and I had discussed this stop. I had been to Santa Fe once before and while I was there I came down with a horrible sinus infection. So it was tainted by sickness and fever and just general miserableness. For Mike, the emotions were different. He had been there with someone from his past, and we were careful in navigating. Where would we re-visit? Where would we avoid?

I'm so glad neither of us let the past prevent us from visiting Santa Fe together. So thrilled that we reclaimed it for US. There is beauty in laying the present over the past. In covering and blurring and remembering and forgetting.

I guess there is one final lesson I learned on Road Trip 2019. How fun it is being in a car for more than 17 hours with someone you truly enjoy being with. We sang Lizzo and Garth Brooks in equal measure. We whipped into pull-offs and gasped at the views. We traipsed through fields to find the perfect picture. We laughed until we couldn't breathe. We smiled until our faces hurt.

We road tripped so hard, you guys. And we can't wait until our next adventure!


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