Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Eve in Tahoe

Since Christmas fell on a Wednesday this year, my boss announced without much warning ( early December) that he was going to give everyone two extra days off of work -- to be used either the Monday/Tuesday before or the Thursday/Friday after Christmas.  But since I work in Operations and not all of us can be gone at once, my department got some leeway with when those could be used.  So instead of time off around Christmas -- when I wasn't going anywhere anyways - I totally lucked out and got the following Monday/Tuesday off before New Years Eve!  

So off to Tahoe I went...for a 5 night vacation in my favorite spot!

Leaving KC Friday afternoon
I left work early on Friday, rushed to the airport...and found out my flight was delayed.  And then delayed again from Phoenix.  I got in about an hour late in Reno and Shannon was there to pick me up curb-side.

First stop in Reno?  Wal-Mart.  HA!  She loathes that place, but there were some bulk things they needed at the condo in Incline -- and an air mattress for me since there were some unexpected extra family members there.  Costco was closed, and let's be honest, everything is just cheap at Wal-Mart!  Plus I got to get what I needed for morning smoothies much cheaper than paying the jacked up prices for everything around the lake.

As soon as we walked inside the store, Shannon found these ridiculous Duck Dynasty Happy New Year hats that she insisted on buying for her parents...

It was late by the time we got in, so we blew up the air mattress in the family room and went to bed.  Apparently it gets really hot in the downstairs bedrooms, so they turn the heat waaaaay down (like, 50 degrees) when they go to sleep.  Shannon tried to warn me and told me I was going to need lots of blankets, but I only took two and laid down.  Big mistake.  I woke up freezing a few hours later and had to get up and increase my pile of blankets to 5!

The alarm went off early since Shannon had to be at work at Northstar on Saturday.  Not wanting to be stuck at the house without her or a car, I hopped in with her for the early morning drive, and then she graciously let me take her car for the day.

I was so giddy when we started driving towards the lake...I might of broke out with applause at my first glimpse of the shimmering blue between all the picture snapping!  



I'm surprised every year when I got back to Northstar at home much it has changed and grown.  

Shannon and I sat in a parking lot, ate our breakfast and people-watched for awhile (that skier drop off area is entertaining) before Shannon reluctantly decided she better get moving...


As soon as I got back to town, I went straight to the lake in Kings Beach and ran down to the water.  I seriously love mornings in Tahoe.  

Who am I kidding...I love ANY time in Tahoe!

I took an absurd amount of photos (and selfies) that morning, but I'll just leave two here.  I really over did it with the sunset pictures over the next few days so I can't start with the lake over-kill just yet...

Anyways, I drove along the shore for awhile, went to Raileys for a toothbrush (somehow managed to forget mine in KC), and walked around a couple of other little shops in Incline before heading back to the condo.  

Everyone was up and moving by that point.  And by everyone, I mean her mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, baby, another cousin, and her cousin's daughter.  All in a 3 bedroom condo!  

I pretty much had nothing on the agenda for Satuday.  Certainly not skiing because there is hardly any snow in Tahoe this winter.  Worst drought in like 5o years I think!   So I hung out at the house, chatted with everyone, played on my new iPaid, and had Shannon's mom teach me how to use Pinterest!

After a glorious afternoon nap, I went for a short run along the water with Shannon's sister, then took Iyanna (her cousin) with me out to Nothstar for some ice skating!  

After a few melt-downs (she's a perfectionist and hadn't ever ice skated before.  And didn't want to wear ski pants...) she got the hang of it and we ended up having a great time!  We skated for over an hour...around and around and around that little rink.




Thanks, Christa, for my cute new ear warmer!

Shannon got done teaching late afternoon, and we decided to go up to the Ritz at mid-mountain for a drink.  The Ritz wasn't even built yet when I lived in Tahoe, and I hadn't ever made my way up there since.



Shannon's whole family joined us for appetizers and Smoretinis!

I was still hungry fro dinner after that, so we decided to head in to Kings Beach and get a healthy salad...and watch the K-State bowl game.

And wouldn't you know it.  The bar tender in Jason's Grille was a KSU alum!  Free drinks and cheap food all night for us!

On our way home, we hit the local grocery store for some more bananas...and this is what we found:

Not one banana in the whole place!

That night, after freezing on the air mattress the night before, I opted for the couch.  Much better decision.

Sunday morning, I got up and drove with Shannon to drop her off at work again so I could have a car.

After my morning smoothie back at the house and some relaxing, I decided to head out for the afternoon.  I took Shannon's car through a car wash and vacuumed it out, looked at some more shops, and then went for a long (almost 5 miles!) run along the lake.  It was just gorgeous.  I think I could run all day long if I had something like this to look at every day!


Back at the house, I didn't have much time to shower and clean up before going to pick up Shannon from work.  I finally got to wear my new leg warmers my sister-in-law made for me and everyone  loved them!  

We did a little shopping at the stores in the village at Northstar and I found a new backpack at Patagonia that I just had to have.  My old pink Adidas one has been through a lot of countries with me.  The zipper is broken, one strap is already sewn together from a puppy chewing on it... It was just time for a new one!


(Leaving Northstar early evening)

I rushed Shannon out of there because I was dying to see the sunset behind the mountains around the lake.   It's seriously two of my favorite things:  sunsets and Lake Tahoe.  I die.

(Warning:  There are an absurd amount of sunset pictures coming up...)








Back at the house, Punkin' had obviously had a rough day...

Shan and I decided to just grab some "quick" take out from Raileys for dinner that night.  
It.  Took. For.  Ever.
And when we went to check out with our carrot cake for one was there.  So, tired of waiting and irritated at how long the whole event took...Shannon just walked out with it!  Hahaha!  Free carrot cake for us I guess!


Some of Shannon's family left on Sunday, so we moved up the loft bedroom and got actual beds!  My nights just kept getting better: air mattress to couch to bed! ;)

The next day (Monday), I decided I really just needed to suck it up and ski, regardless of the lack of snow.  Shannon took the day off, and we went out to Northstar bright and early.

Shannons was nice enough to use one of her free ski passes on me (she gets so many for being an instructor).  Not paying for that $100 lift ticket was a nice surprise!


Of course the firs thing we saw was a kid being air lifted out of the middle of the resort on a helicopter.  That really set the mood for the day.  Yikes!



For as bad as Shannon was making the snow out to be, I still thought it was great.  I was so glad she convinced me to just ski.  I love it out there...powder or not.  I was having a blast...clapping and yelling down the runs!  

(Except for the very first run she took me down...which I swear was a black.  It's been a year since I skied and she threw me right in to the deep end!)





Now, I may have just ran a marathon 2.5 months ago, but let me tell you, skiing is a whole-nother-story!  We had to take lots of breaks.  My legs were burning!

Our last long break of the day was up top at Zephyr lodge.  The views are unbeatable!



While we were sitting outside just taking all the beauty in, this group-text with Shannon and her boyfriend happened:

RUDE! ;)  But I died laughing... :)

After our "long day" of skiing (we really didn't ski all that much!), it was off to the lake for more sunset pictures!!  Sorry. (But not really.)  I can't help myself!


Still LOVE my purple Helly Hanson pants I bought 5 years ago when I lived there!


I had decided I'd had enough of that spot, and that the sunet wasn't going to get any better.  Even with Shannon prompting me to just stay and watch, I got back in the car and said we could go.

Should have listened to her.  Aobut 5 minutes later, as we were driving along...sure enough, it just kept getting better.  I finally had to tell her I needed to pull over again in Incline Village...for this:

There was another group of people down there taking pictures, and one of the girls was nice enough to take a picture of the two of us together:

On our way home, we stopped at one of Shannon's neighbors house to watch a football bowl game...but really we just sat around and snacked in the other room.  Taco/nacho bar...and lots of cookies!

Once we finally got back to the house, we exchanged our Christmas gifts.  I got her a gift bag from Thistle Farms, and she got me this awesome USA Ski Team Top -- perfect for the upcoming Winter Olympics!


Every night, EpicMix sends you an email detailing how far you skied that day.  Somehow, even though I skied right next to Shannon all day, she skiied 2,641 more vertical feet than me!?  Explain that one to me!?  (I think since I had my pass in my pants pocket it missed getting scanned a few times...)


I had so much fun skiing on Monday that I decided to do it again Tuesday!  Shannon was booked on two private lessons for the day, but I tagged along with them for part of the time, and skied by myself for a little while.  (And did some shopping in my down time!)

Her morning lesson was two grade school aged kids who had no personality and no interest in skiing.  But her afternoon lesson, a three year old, was about the cutest thing I had ever seen...



As soon as Shannon was done teaching, we took off to Squaw Valley (another ski resort near by) for some New Years Eve activities.

No sunset on the lake that night, but the sun going down as we drove through the cute little town of Truckee was still pretty nice!




I had been to Squaw once before, but it was years ago and I didn't really remember it.  It's much bigger than of course we had to walk around and look in some of the shops!


With the last of my cash I had left ($5, I think), Shannon convinced me I had to try these waffle things for sale in the village.  I don't know what they were, but they were super sweet and warm and delicious!  And probably extremely unhealthy.

We found a warm spot to sit inside a bar while we waited for the torch run down the mountain to begin.  I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was kind of disappointed once it started that they kept everyone back so far from the action.


So, being the crazy girls we are, we decided to just see how close we could get before someone stopped us.  And sure enough, we just crawled under the rope and kept on going...right out to the fire with all of the people skiing down!  HA!  No one even looked twice at us!  We asked one of the skiers if we could have his torch and he said yes!  It was much more exciting when we were part of the fun!



Since we were already down there, we had the perfect spot for watching the fireworks on the mountain, which started just a few minutes after all the torches were put in the bonfire.  

Fireworks are also up there with my favorite things (sunsets and Lake Tahoe), so this was extra awesome for me!



As soon as the fireworks ended, we high-tailed it out of there to beat the traffic, and called in a pick-up order at Lanza's in Kings Beach.  

We got home, changed in to comfy clothes, and enjoyed our delicious Italian food from the comfort of the couch.  And no, we didn't make it up until midnight to watch the ball drop.  We barely made it to 10pm...and that's the perfect Near Years Eve for me!

Enjoying Lanza's on the couch!

New Year's Day was my last day in Tahoe, so I had to get some more ski time in.  I had coordinated with Shannon's neighbors (the dad and son) to ski with them for part of the morning.  And man, they hit it hard!  I easily skied  more with the few hours with them than I did either of the two full previous days!

Shannon was teaching her cute little 3 year old again, so I caught up with them to see how the lesson was going.  And much to my surprise, she was ripping down the mountain by herself already! And it was Shannon on the ground, hahaha! 

One last pic on the mountain!

We raced back to the condo around 1 to pack up my stuff and get over the mountain to Reno for my flight home. 

As soon as we got in the car to leave, some weird light came on and we were racing to google what was wrong with it.  I had to make it to Reno for my flight, so we decided to drive on...and hope for the best.  With some weird noises from the car and a scary patch of black ice on Mount Rose...we eventually made it to Reno.   

And after a debacle at Wal-Mart trying to return the air mattress...I made it to the airport and to my gate just in time to watch Shannon's boyfriend walk off the plane I was about to get on!  

The flights home (layove in Phoenix) weren't bad at all...especially with my new iPad Air and wifi on the plane!  


Back in KC, it was colder AND we had more fresh snow than Tahoe.  That's just not right!


The brutal temps were a rude awakening.  I think I'll take the 50's and gorgeous mountains/lake in Tahoe over this any day...

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