Monday, September 27


Well, my time in Tucson was pretty exceptional, though it already feels like it was a long time ago!

I drove up just in time for Beefers' performance at the Fall Equinox festival on Wednesday night (that's a now 9 days ago). Brittany is part of a hoop troop called Orbital Evolution and they are blinged out with LED hoops, which look super fantastic in the dark!

Hoop Trooper Zoey. Hoop Trooper Beefers making a force field.

And two other Troopers. Hoop, not Highway.)

Fire also looks super fantastic in the dark! There were several fire throwers and Beefers did the fire hoop.

There was also a drum circle, trapeze artist, and acro-balancers. All in all, an entertaining evening.

So I'm sorry this might be kind of a lame posting. It's my own dang fault for letting so much time pass. I'll do my best.

Beefer's parents were in town also which was a nice treat. We did a lot of fun things.

Like, go to Josh's coffee roastary. (Josh is Beefer's boyfriend and coffee roasting is what he and his family do.)

Different bags from different places. This old roaster went to the market.

And go to Saguaro National Park, where the saguaro's were huge and the landscape looks like the ocean floor. I also found a piece of cactus skeleton that looks like a gun. I might have taken it.

It's like I was the sheriff of the park. We're getting fake-poked!

We went to two different farmer's markets where josh and his family sell their roasted coffee.

Saturday market. You can't really see, but that's them: Adventure Roasting.

At the Glow Festival, Beefer's hoop troop performed again. This time it was out of town a little bit at this woman's ranch. She opens it up to artists and performers, all with glowing things. We decked ourselves out in glow sticks and I wore a little cape with shiny sequins. I didn't get a picture so you'll have to use your imagination for that one.

Somebody lit up that bull head. Legs sticking out of the ground!

Orbital Evolution at it again!

On Monday we drove up the mountain (I can't remember which one because Tucson is tucked between three different little ranges). It was, would you believe it, a beautiful drive. We stopped off along the way for some vistas and did a little hiking.

Eleanor Rigby, Josh, Beefers Little rocks in a row.

Jacque, Beefs, Josh, and Big D.

And one of the top highlights was, of course, meeting Christopher Winston III (or is it Winston Christopher III...). I think we became best friends and I think I want to get one because goats can wear bowties.

Eleanor and Winston.
I might have some competition.

But don't we look like we're meant to be together?

P.S. Beefer's is Brittany and we met in the fourth grade. We managed to become dear friends, laugh at everything, and put chocolate on our teeth at every inappropriate opportunity.

We like to say, "Go big or go home."

P.P.S. Here are all Tucson photos.

Thursday, September 23

mile 2326 - 3244

The drive from Denver to Tucson was a long one. But also the most beautiful. I would have driven 4 more hours just for the scenery. It was also a great opportunity to work on my left arm tan. I tried to screen, but that sun is relentless.

I left midmorning with the intention of staying the night in Moab. Brittany (Beefers) convinced me to take the slightly longer, but more scenic route. Man, was she right. It started in the mountains of Colorado, with little patches of yellow aspen among all the green and the naked ski slopes carved out of the mountains.

Western Colorado from I-70. Full disclosure: when I take pictures while driving, I just point and shoot without looking. I swear it's not dangerous.

I only made one stop, which was Dinosaur Hill. Anything with the word "dinosaur" in it automatically gets two thumbs up from me regardless of what it actually is. Anyway, I climbed this hill where they once dug up a giant dinosaur skeleton. That means I was walking where a dinosaur once walked. My feet were literally in the same spot that Mr. Dinosaurs were millions of years ago. Now that's cool.

The story. View from the top.

This guy stopped to say hi. His great great grandpa was probably a dinosaur.

After the mountains, I entered the canyon lands of Utah.

Not right away, but that is proof that I did indeed enter Utah.

I basically drove 50 miles with my jaw dropped open from the magnificence. Things like, "Oh my gosh! How are you real?" kept escaping my lips. I stuck my arm out the window and sang an operatic, "ahhhh" to try to express the wonder.

Me singing opera to the land.

One word: unbelievable.

From the car. Wilson's Arch.

Self photo attempt. (Not driving.)

I made one mistake and that was not refilling my gas tank before I left civilization for the secret nature road. I was so anxious about running out of gas that I was too afraid to stop for photos and up close admiration. I'm okay with that though, because now I just have to go back and if you want to believe what I'm telling you about how amazing it was, you, too, will have to go.

I coasted into the first gas station I came to in Moab. I was close. Phew. After driving through the main strip and stopping at about five hotels (all full), decided I was not destined to stay the night there. Another reason I'll have to go back.

I pushed on as long as I could until hunger took over. I stopped for a sandwich in one of those small towns where the highway turns two lanes and runs right through it. When I pulled out of the place, I started going fast. I forgot it was Sleepy Town, USA, speed limit 30. I was hoping that my NY driver's license, AR plates, and VA auto insurance would deter, but alas, my perfect driving record was soiled with a speeding ticket from nice guy police officer in Monticello, Utah. I think it was for the better because he told me not to drive too much further or I would get into reservation country, and that might not be the best idea for single white female Frost.

I heeded his advice and stayed the night in Blanding, UT. Nothing special, just a place with a pillow and wireless! I watched old episodes of The Nanny and then slept with the tv on because I was paranoid about every sound that I heard, and woke up to Dora the Explorer.

When I left in the morning, it was raining and I was in Arizona driving through the reservations in no time. It continued to rain (in the desert, mind you) for a significant portion of the day.

Through the rain splattered glass. Still real pretty though.

Luckily it stopped by the time I got here:

Another drive I'd recommend to anyone. I went through Apache National Forest and Navajo White Mountains.

And then there were cacti! Every single one waving it's funny arms as I drove by. I've seen cactus before, but something about them being on the side of the road and as tall as a house made them that much better.

They're so cheerful!

The last exciting note about the drive I have to share is this: There was a tarantula crossing the street and I had to spread my tires over him! I could see his long, hairy spider legs! If he didn't creep me out and I hadn't been going so fast I would've have stopped to play. Honest.

And here's the full set of photos from the two days of driving.

Tuesday, September 21

Denver is...

the Mile High City. It’s 5000 feet in the air!

I made a mistake when I said Nancy and I drove and got here on Friday. It was really Thursday. Oops. I don’t know what day it is, what date it is, and pretty soon I might not know what month it is.

The first few days were at Pam’s house. She’s is a cousin on my dad’s side for all of you who don’t know her. On Friday morning we went to breakfast at this super place called Snooze. Pam said, “It says on the internet that you can wear your pajamas!” Nancy and I respond, “Well, heck, why not? Who doesn’t like to eat a big breakfast while wearing their pajamas?” We wanted to get there early because it is known and it gets busy quick. After we all showered and put our pajamas back on, we went. [Note: approaching the restaurant we see a girl in those black, kind of work-out, kind of around-the-house pants and think okay, pj’s. Oh, contraire! As soon as we walk in the restaurant and the hostess comes to seat us, she says, “Is there a special occasion for the pajamas?” We look at Pam and around at all the normal clothed people, giggle sheepishly, and say no.

The food was delicious and we were probably the most comfortable ones there.

my pancakes. duh. pam's breakfast burrito nan's sandwich

Pam had to go to work for a little while in the afternoon so Nancy and I ventured out on our own.

We started with the Mile High Market in Henderson, where they boast tons of shops, antiques, fleas, and farmers. It was basically like an outdoor pop-up mall with most things you could ever not want. There was a pretty spectacular farmers market section. And the fleas/antiques section was basically a garage sale lot. Nancy did manage to find a cool bag and I found a really early edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (for One Dollar!)

We left and Justin led us to downtown. It was mostly just a walk around, check out a few places, eat lunch sort of time. I did have a really good homemade veggie burger. (It was not a Morning Star black bean burger.)

We walked around and checked out16th Street Mall, which is just a normal street but closed to traffic aside from a city bus that runs up and down it.

16th street mall

We went to this incredible bookstore called Tattered Cover. I am sorry I didn’t snap a photo of the inside because it was beautiful and made of wood and cozy. I browsed the kids section, missed my job and the people, then carried on.

That evening, we hung out at Pam’s place and just enjoyed each other’s company quite a bit.

On Saturday Pam and I dropped Nancy off at the airport in the morning and then went to climb a mountain. NBD. We are in Colorado and there are mountains everywhere. It’s what people do. People who live here.

It was hard. And it was incredible. We went up the 13,500-high Mount Parnassus

aspens! the crick down the mountain. nearly there. thank goodness.

The great thing about climbing a mountain is that it just keeps getting more beautiful the higher you get. And that while you’re hiking you forget to look up and when you do, it’s breathtaking. Partly because of the altitude-y workout and mostly because of the view.

top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top top

We were pretty proud of ourselves and rewarded us with a mountain pizza (that’s what it’s called) from BeauJo’s.

BeauJo's mountain pizza. look at that crust! Idaho Springs

That evening, the altitude headaches kicked in and we went to bed.

Sunday was another beautiful day (I hadn’t said that yet, but the weather just kept being perfect). Pam and I went to her church and then went for a bike ride on the Cherry Creek Trail. We took it from her house to where the Platte River meets up with downtown.

On the way home, Pam got a flat tire. She took my bike, rode ahead, and came back for me.

The Mile High City Part II

I moved to Matt and Naomi’s house on Sunday afternoon. They are cousins also, but on my mom’s side. I was greeted with warm hugs and big smiles by all, including Zenobia the dog.

Nila in the tree

We went to a little street fair almost right away to check out some hula hoops their friend was making and selling, then chilled with a glass of wine.

Matt made his grandpa’s famous spaghetti for dinner and their friend April came over with her mom’s (seemed famous to me) tres leches cake. Man, it was a good evening, company and otherwise.

Monday morning I had a big date at Lucille’s Creole Cafe. With Roxanne! My roommate from college! Who I hadn’t seen in over three years! We’re idiots for letting so much time pass. It was such a lovely catch-up and then we went to her house and I got to see her mother for a few minutes! I love old friends.

roomies and mates!

The rest of the day was spent at Bear Creek Lake with Naomi and the kids and Jenn and her son, Mason. The sun never really came out from behind the clouds, but it was still sunny and it was never a scorcher. Ideal in my book.

the kiddos!

Matt, Naomi, and I went out for an adult dinner that evening. There wasn’t really anything particularly adult about it aside from the lack of kids. The place was called Water Course and it was strictly vegetarian and my BBQ tofu was superb!

It was a great cap to a great stay in a great city with great people. Just great. Ha.

Full set of photos here.