Welcome to Miami

We wrapped up an awesome time in PCB with Lauren's Grandparents on Sunday. We pretty much just lived the good life the whole time--walking the beach, laying out, eating, drinking. To offset all that eating and drinking, we managed to hit the gym every morning and then walk the beach afterward. That was definitely the first time I ever did that on vacation. But it was pretty great managing to pull that off then just relaxing on the beach the rest of the day.

Another unexpected highlight was going to the Hofbrauhaus in PCB. I, as the complete travel cynic, didn't have very high hopes for the place to be anything more than pure tourist chotchke. But my love for Hofbrau Dunkles gave me hope. It turned out to be pretty amazing and we stayed there for about 5 hours drinking and dancing. They had the craziest accordian player and tapped a keg of free beer at 6p. It was just free for everyone, and whoever got the last pint (not one of us...sad face) got to drink free the rest of the night. Ahh...Spring Break.

Miami has been awesome so far except for the drive in. The drive through Florida was actually pretty great, especially the 70 mile drive across the Everglades. Its a really amazing and bizzare landscape. In some places, as far as you can see it is perfectly flat marsh grasslands. Driving across landscapes like that often make me reflect about how it must have been to travel through that landscape a hundred years ago. Canoeing through water with grass over your head for as far as you could travel without any landmarks or any indication of travelling any distance at all. It really makes you appreciate travelling 80 mph. Then you hit Miami traffic and continue for the rest of your trip at 5-10mph. Please, if you're from Miami, take offense. In all my travelling I've never seen worse drivers in my life. And the billboards and radio ads for accident lawyers were endless, so it's not just me.

But we eventually made it here, and since getting into South Beach, we've just been amazed by the city. Its really one of those unique places that just seems vibrant and living. A random Tuesday night and there are people out everywhere--exercising, shopping, eating, partying. There's shops and restaurants in the middle of neighborhoods of unique 1940s and 1950s art decoy and bauhaus apartment buildings, some understated and some over the top. All that and theres a brewery 4 blocks up the road from us with some solid brews. We can't wait to for the rest of our time here. Its just going to be sun and sand and Cuban food, beer and sangria for the next 4 days for me. Mmmm...Cuban food...


The Beach!

We're back on the road again and how good it is. We had a great time in Kansas City for the weekend. It was great to see all of our friends at Green Room on Saturday night and see the family at Thai Place on Sunday night. We also had an awesome surprise on Monday--the Alabama Shakes show that had been sold out for ages was rescheduled from Sunday night to Monday night and they had tickets available again. So we got to go with Lauren's dad and Camino Kaitlin who was also in KC last weekend. Bonus!

As a side note, we also got all of our errands done too. What a pain it is, being back in the real world. Taxes, banking, doctors, car maintenance...I suppose its good to have to deal with stuff like this every once in a while to appreciate just how great it is to be free like we are right now.

On Tuesday we hit off for the east and made the long drive to Atlanta. Our friend, Katie Pope, was gracious enough to let us stay at her house there, and even made us an awesome dinner. I think we also convinced her to come visit us in Colorado once we get back. Then the next morning we were off to Panama City Beach to visit Lauren's grandparents. They rent a condo right off the beach--nine stories above the beach with an amazing ocean view. Its gonna be hard to beat, but I have a feeling that the Bahamas will give it a run for its money.

Another awesome thing about being at sea level is that we're like super people. We went to the condo gym this morning and I couldn't do a thing to get myself breathing heavy. No matter what we do, I never have to breath hard. Guess those months of dying for breath at 9000' is finally paying off. We also got a couple of miles in along the beach. We even saw a couple of jellyfish. Its the little things that excite me.

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Eastward Bound

All's been quiet on the Western Front since we last blogged. Seems like a long time ago, but I suppose it was just a week or so ago. Mostly we've been rocking out the snowshoes and skiing the powder (me), and attempting to sled the powder (Lauren, with limited success). We've had some beautiful weather here--after getting a couple solid snows over a couple weeks, its been sunny, calm, and warm.
Our first assault on the resort went horribly awry. The powder was so deep, and so fluffy, that it took us nearly 2 hours to climb 800'. At one point, I thought I was going to pass out since I could hardly catch my breath, and think I nearly threw up. If you want to imagine how it was, every time we took a step we had to step up about 2.5'-3', but then would sink about 2 feet down in the snow. It was like being on some sort of demonic elliptical machine at 10,000'. Also, it doesn't help being super hot and sweaty when the sun is out, then a cloud and breeze come up and you start freezing. However, as I remember from the pickup truck bumper stickers of my youth: No Pain, No Gain. The powder snow I skied down on was the stuff of legends. And I think I'm actually starting to get a feel for this powder skiing stuff. I hit up like 20 youtube videos of how to do it, so now I'm a pro. Sort of. Lauren's experience down was not quite so heavenly as mine. We have exhaustively shown that sleds do not work in powder.

Look closer, I'm not flipping you the bird.
Our second trip up was amazingly easy compared to the first. We blasted 1200' up the mountain in an hour and a half. If snowshoeing is your thing, this was the snowshoeing snow of legends. It had crusted over from the wind and sun, so for a 2'-3' base of snow, we were just cruising on top of it, rarely ever dropping more than 6" below the surface. Of course, this meant the snow wasn't quite as good for skiing. It was still pretty sick though. I had an epic faceplant at some point that knocked the wind out of me for a second because the snow was so much faster. Unfortunately, it was not caught on tape, and instead you will have to be satisfied with the video of Lauren's somersault off of her sled.

Other than all that, there hasn't been much else going on around here. We mostly haven't started any projects or anything because our days here are numbered. For the month of March anyway. In two days, we're heading out on our Most Excellent Adventure Eastward. First, we'll head back to Kansas City for a couple of days. Mostly, we want to drink some 1 Barrel Brews at the Green Room. I hear there's going to be a special tapping of English IPA on Saturday night... Also, Bonus!, it just happens that Kaitlin (Camino Sister) will be in KC at the same time as us. The Camino Coincidences just keep on coming. The real reason to be in KC, though, is to get our taxes done, pay for our car tags at the DMV, and do a bunch of other errands. Yes, even if you try to escape the world by quitting your job, packing all your possessions into a storage unit, and taking off across country, you never really get away from it all...

After KC, we're heading east to Atlanta to stay a night with a friend, then to Panama City Beach to spend a week with Lauren's grandparents. On to Miami for a week after that, of course, staying at a friend's condo in South Beach. (See how this works? I'm telling you, if you offer that we can come stay with you, we will!) From there, we fly to Exuma in the Bahamas for our official unofficial Camino Reunion Trip. There will be 7 of us there that walked the Camino together. I'm just hoping everyone is bringing their hiking boots! Hah.