Golden Temple, Kinkakuji outside of Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Day 2

After a quick and over priced breakfast of weird ham, egg, and lettuce finger sandwiches, we all met at 9 AM for our full Kyoto day tour. Unfortunately, our guide Mika had gone to the wrong hotel, so we had a bit of a wait before she came running into the lobby. Mika was very friendly and bubbly as she walked us down to the subway stations for our connections to our first stop, the Palace gardens.

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We wanted to see cherry blossoms and Mika said there was a part of the garden with quite a few in bloom. She was so right! They were beautiful and my mom was super happy that we got to see some. We are right on the brink of all of them flowering so, every day, more and more are popping out.

The Emperor and Empress were actually residing in the palace we were at so we could not go look at the place itself. Instead, we walked to hop on a bus to get to the Golden Temple, Kinkakuji. There were tons of people but seeing the gold leaf temple reflecting in the pond below was so worth it. The gardens were also beautiful but the gold building stole the show.

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We enjoyed the gardens as much as we could while staying in line with the flow of tourists. Mika told us that this was a light day for traffic too since we hadn’t yet entered the peak season yet! I couldn’t even imagine how crowded that would be! At least Ryan, being 6’2, could see over everyone to find me when I got sidetracked.

After the Golden Pavilion, we stopped for lunch at a very traditional soba house. We had to take our shoes off downstairs and had a short table on the second floor to enjoy our food. I had tempura soba and it was quite good but a little over priced. Everyone else felt the same about their meal and we had to pay for our guides food and transport during the tour. I get paying for our own food and transport but you would think the tour cost would at least cover the guide.

After lunch we had a 30 minute bus ride to get to Kyoto station. Lunch must have had sleeping pills in it because I zonked out on Ryans shoulder. I kept waking up thinking we had missed our exit but all was good. We took a few subway connections and would up at the entrance to the famous Tori Gate shrine (Fushimi Inari Shrine). There are over one thousand gates of all heights within the property. It was also very crowded at the start and there were so many girls dressed in their kimonos and taking photos. It made it hard to navigate. We all decided to make a few poses of his own haha!

The crowds did open up eventually and the walk through the forrest because much more enjoyable. Japan is, overall, just so crowded it takes away from the magic a little bit.

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After the Tori Gates, it was back on the public transit and to Gion. We walked through some more temples and were getting pretty burnt out. We ended back at the main temple in Gion to check on the massive cherry tree and see if it has bloomed more before saying goodbye to Mika.

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My parents took off in one direction and Ryan, Julia and I decided to check out Nana’s Café for a drink and to relax. I had this AMAZING drink with sweet black bean at the bottom. It was by far the best latte of any kind I’ve ever had! It felt so good to just sit and reflect after so much go, go, go!

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Post-latte, we went back to the hotel to freshen up and meet my parents for a drink at the bar. Ryan needed some serious calories so he went to McDonalds for dinner and we took off to this famous gyoza place down the street. We waited about 20 minutes but it was so worth it! My sister and I tried an assortment of gyoza flavors from veggie to pork, curry, and shrimp.

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Post gyoza, Ryan met us up for another ice-cream crepe before heading back to the hotel for bed.

Kyoto, Day 1

To ensure we got to the train station on time, we had breakfast at the Hiroshima Washington Hotel. It was a mix of both Japanese and Western style dishes. I tried a whole host of dishes and was quickly filled up and ready for the day. We grabbed our luggage and were off to wait on our bus to the Hiroshima Station. We were waiting about 10 minutes before my sister and I realized that the bus didn’t start until 9:33 and it was only 8:55. We needed a different route so we quickly changed course to hop on the green line trolly. We had some difficulty figuring out how Pasmo cards, the preloaded public transit payment cards, worked to check in but figured it out after watching others for about 4 stops. I got stuck on the way out because I didn’t have enough money left! Oops!

I loaded up my card and we were off to JR line 13 to wait on our train. We got there about 20 minutes early to ensure Ryan, Julia, and I had seats in the unreserved section. My mom went to the bathroom as we were heading up to the platform and she came running back to us exclaiming she had lost dad! Oh no! I took her to the numbered area on the platform for her train car and told her to wait while I went to find my dad. After running around for 5 minutes, I found him patiently waiting right where she left him originally. When I told him we were all waiting for him he said “I thought she was taking a little longer in the loo than usual!”Phew! I brought dad back to the platform and told them to make sure to get off at the Shin-Osaka station for our train transfer to Kyoto. About 5 minutes later, we saw my parents attempt to get on the wrong train headed for Tokyo! Thankfully, they saw our panicked signals to abort and we all ended up getting on the right train. It is never easy!

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It took us about 2 hours to get to Kyoto by train. The station was only a quick subway ride away from the main area where the Cross Hotel was located. Our hotel was situated right in the main shopping district and only a few blocks from the Gion district. We were not able to fully check in so we dropped off our bags and took off to explore the shopping area.

There were two main streets parallel to one another that were lined with shops and restaurants. The streets were pretty packed but we made our way around. I found a cute skirt at a boutique and my sister found a few items at a thrift store. We were getting pretty peckish but, with our impending late-night food tour in a few hours, we opted for something a little lighter. We found a fried chicken place and had that with some pork and gyoza.

After lunch, we checked into our hotel. It was so luxurious and our rooms were much bigger than our other hotels. My sister and I decided to continue exploring the shops for another hour before we met up with everyone for a drink. There are not a lot of wine / sports / regular bars or just places to just have a drink in Japan. Even our hotel’s bar closed around 3 PM and didn’t open back up until 6 PM for dinner service. We were lucky to find this “Liquor Museum” right around the corner. It was a small bar with tons of old, cool looking alcohol bottles. When we walked in, one of the patrons looked at me surprised and told me, jokingly, that I did not look old enough to drink! I will take that as a complement!

We had a few gin and tonics before it was time to walk to a designated subway station exit by the Gion district to meet our guide, Mardi, for our night food tour. Mardi was actually from the Dallas area and extended her year long study abroad into 5+ years in Kyoto! She started the tour talking about how the Gion area was for entertaining and had us try some delicious rice cakes with a soy glaze as she talked about the Kabuki theater across the street.

We kept walking up the main road until we got to the Yasaka-Jinja Shrine Nishiromon Gate. The main hall is over 360 years old! Interestingly enough, Mardi told us a myth about a god who had 3 children. The first two, the goddess of the sun and god of thunder, were born from the god’s tears. The third and more meddlesome child was shot out of the god’s nose as a booger! No wonder that god felt he drew the short stick in life! Such a funny story.

We rang the bells of the shine for luck and to make a wish and then continued on through the grounds to a massive cherry tree almost in full blossom. It was beautiful in the evening light and there were a bunch of 20-something year olds picnicking around it and enjoying the evening.

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We left the Shrine grounds and continued through the narrow streets of Gion. In earlier parts of our trip, especially in Tokyo, we kept seeing these weird posters of very feminine looking men. Mardi explained and pointed out these high rises with floors and floors of for mainly men, but also women, where hostesses worked and served drinks. There is not supposed to be anything sexual going on at these clubs, more like the hostesses incessantly complement and listen to all of the woes of the patrons. The hostesses also make themselves look nothing like their patron’s spouses in real life, thus the male hostesses look super feminine and made up and the females wear prom-fancy level dresses with full hair and makeup. The patrons do not tip the hostesses in cash, but they do buy them very expensive luxury goods, so there are tons of thriving pawn shops close to the clubs filled with designer shoes, bags, and clothes that the hostesses sell for cash and the patrons buy to give away. Such a strange and unique way of doing things. Apparently this is the equivalent to doing business on golf courses in the US.

We continued to wind down the narrow passages and Mardi also explained that every house / restaurant has to have a bucket of water out front incase of fire. Considering many of the houses had paper walls, I don’t think those small buckets would help too much but it doesn’t hut to be prepared?

Eventually, we got back to the main area and walked to our first, tiny restaurant on the river side for tapas! We were the only people in the restaurant and we tried a whole bunch of seasonally delicious dishes and drank some beer.

After we had our fill, Mardi took us to more of a bar styled restaurant for tempura fries, fried chicken, and sashimi, again all totally delicious.

We were stuffed by the end of dinner and thanked Mardi for such a great welcome to Kyoto. Even though we were so full, we somehow found room for ice cream filled crepes before heading back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

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Miyajima Island, Japan

We met around 8:15 AM for our morning breakfast hunt. Since the tea at the café the night before was so good, we went back for some ham and egg sandwiches and coffee. It was so yummy!

My parents wanted to go back to the hotel and brush their teeth so Ryan and I split to go find some Advil and decongestant since my mom and Ryan were feeling under the weather. Ryan downloaded this insanely great app called Payke to help ID products at the drug store. He just scanned the bar code of each box and the app gave him a detailed description in English of the uses of the product and reviews from people who tired it. SO HELPFUL! We were able to find just what we needed outside of cough drops. I typed “do you have cough candies for sore throats” into my Google translate app and showed the Japanese text to the shop clerk. She quickly nodded and brought me to the cough drop area! It was so easy to communicate! With our meds in hand, we walked back to the hotel, met up with my family, and headed off to the ferry for Miyajama island.


We got a bit of a late start to the island and it took about an hour to get there via train and then ferry. Thankfully, all of that transport was covered by our JR Pass. While the 14 day pass cost us roughly $450 each, it was totally worth it. We were able to travel so easily and so far!

Miyajama Island is known for its giant Torii gate in the middle of the ocean. At high tide, it floats above the water. At low tide, you can walk out to it on the sand and get a full view of how massive it is. The locals believe that God resides in the island itself.

There is also a floating temple to walk through on the island. While slightly crowded with tourists, it was all very beautiful and serene. There were even a bunch of deer walking around and unabashedly taking food from all of the tourists – even digging through their bags when unsupervised!

It was pretty cold and about time for lunch so we found a little spot up on a side street and devoured some very tasty food. There are a ton of oyster farms all around the island so mom and Ryan both tired fried oysters in various forms that were scrumptious! I had beef udon with eel rice – again, so good and warming.

After lunch, it was time to hike up to the top peek. There was a 2 hour each way hike to the top of the mountain, but we opted to take the cable car up and then do the 30 minute hike from there. The views from the cable car were great…But just a preview of the views from the top!

The hike was pretty strenuous, especially since were were moving at a fast pace to ensure we made the last cable car back down the mountain.

About half way up, there are a few shines. One that had a flame, called the “Eternal Flame”, that has been going for over 1,200 years! It also used to light the Flame of Peace in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City. There were also some very cute little figures around the temple.

We continued upwards and got to this amazing rocky area. The views of Hiroshima from the peak were just unbelievable. The city is so huge!

The decent back down was much easier than up and we were back in 15 minutes. It took some time to get through the lines for the cable car since the number of people that can ride at a time is somewhat limited.

We finally got back down the mountain, walked to the ferry, got across the channel and to the train station, rode back to Hiroshima and then had to wait 20 minutes for the bus back to our hotel area. We finally arrived around 6:30 PM! What a long, but totally worth it, journey!

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Since it was relatively cold and only going to get colder throughout the rest of this trip, Ryan wanted to grab a matching puffer jacket to the one I got from Uniqlo in Tokyo. My mom had been wanting to shop for the past 1.5 days in Hiroshima and wasn’t too impressed that Ryan got to shop first! Ha!

After grabbing a jacket, we met my parents and sister at a sushi place for dinner. My parents had discovered it the night before and couldn’t stop raving about how delicious it was. We waited about 30 minutes (just enough time to run to Starbucks for a potty break) before being seated.

We tried somewhat successfully to order a bunch of sushi and tempura and boy, were my parents right about how good it was! The Unagi just melted in our mouths and the raw crab and tuna was the freshest I have ever had. It was the best sushi of my life and we just kept ordering more and more! What a dinner for the books.

Our waiter was in his early 20s and studying English. He was so helpful and nice! I tried to thank him by writing “thank you so much” on my napkin in Japanese letters based on Google’s translation. He said I did a pretty good job!

After dinner, Ryan and Julia wanted another crepe but, since it was a Sunday night and past 9PM, everything was closed. Instead, we opted to go to Don Quijote, the most overwhelming store I’ve ever been in, and get a bunch of snacks. There were some really odd snacks in there too, (like dried bugs and sea creatures), but we kept it safe with chocolates and gummy candy.

We went back to the hotel and enjoyed our haul while getting ready for bed.

Ridgway & Santa Fe Travel

Ridgway, CO & Santa Fe, NM

Trip to Ridgway, CO

The drive to Ridgway was about five hours from Colorado Springs and we left at 9 AM right after a quick walk with the dogs to soak up the last view of the Garden Of The Gods. On the road, we grabbed some Starbucks and were quite surprised! For the first time in months (since quarantine started), we was able to go to Starbucks without a line of 40 people wrapped around the corner of the building. We were in and out within 10 minutes! Maybe Coloradans are just not as into Starbucks as Texans willing to wait an hour for a cup of coffee?

The drive to Ridgway was beautiful and filled awesome views, deer, and bison. I almost hit a deer as three crossed the road right in front of my Jeep. Thankfully, I was able to stop in time!

The view from Ridgway, Colorado

Ridgway is nestled in between a whole bunch of mountains and we were very excited to call Ridgway home for the week. We ended up checking into our VRBO right on time at 3 PM. We were staying in the bottom half of a house that looked over the mountains in a tiny little neighborhood. The population of Ridgeway is just over a thousand and the town was very quite and quaint.

Since she can’t go on long, long walks, we left Dakota (our 13 year old pup) at the house with a bone and drove to the Ridgway reservoir area to walk some trails. Dixie was having fun playing in the streams and got super muddy but it was definitely worth the beautiful walk along the river side.

Ridgway Reservoir in Colorado

We walked for about an hour and then dropped Dixie back off at the house so we could grab groceries for the week. With masks on, we went to this tiny little market on the main road in town and it had everything we needed to make a southwestern veggie bake and pasta. We also grabbed some things for breakfast and for lunch. After that we headed back to the house and I made my southwestern bake with sweet potato, bell and poblano peppers, ground beef, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and cheese. It turned out really great! We ate dinner, watched the sunset over the mountains, and enjoyed dessert port out of some coffee mugs (wine glasses were MIA).

We ended up talking “up” to the couple that owned the house from their balcony and they were very nice! A few hours later, we got a knock on the door and our host came down and gave us freshly baked cookies. That was so nice! We had a great sleep and we’re ready to work in the morning.

Ridgway, Day 2:

I brought my monitor from home and set it up on the kitchen table to look out over the mountains while I worked. The dogs hung out in the house and Ryan worked in the bedroom with another beautiful view of the mountains. The Wi-Fi worked so we didn’t have any issues with attending meetings or anything like that (thank goodness)! Day one of working from the house went really well and we took the dogs a nice long walk after work.

There were a bunch of kids playing in the park area with Nerf guns right next to our fence. Ridgway is a very family friendly area. Our hosts told us that we would hear “howling” around 8 PM. Apparently, the town passed an ordinance prohibiting dogs from howling and so, in protest, every night at 8 PM the kids and parents howl from their balconies for about a minute! It was really funny, kind of strange, and we liked it!

Ridgway, Day 3 –

We woke up the next morning to a text from our hosts saying that there was construction on the transformer to the house and we may not have power or internet for two hours! When the whole point of our trip was to “work from someone else’s home” and we had to be on video conference calls, not having Internet for two hours was a huge deal! We were stressing like crazy. Thankfully, we were able to acquire the neighbors Wi-Fi password and we had enough charge on our batteries to last us. The two hour outage turned into 4 1/2! Talk about a bit of a stressful morning. Fortunately, our work was not impacted and we got everything done using the resources we had.

Our backyard in Ridgway, CO

After a bit of a stressful day we decided that we would take a walk into town with the dogs. It was only about a mile and there’s a beautiful park in the town. We opted to try Gnar Tacos for dinner and ordered at the window. We took the tacos over to the park and ate while our dogs chewed on grass (apparently they are cows, not dogs). The tacos were absolutely delicious! We tried the bulgogi, Phuket (like Thailand!), and Ahi tuna tacos. They were all really interesting with bursts of flavor. It was a great way to end our last night in Ridgeway. We walked back and enjoyed the views mountains and then relaxed and watch some Netflix the rest of the evening.

Ridgway, Day 4 –

Our last day in Ridgeway consisted of a dog walk in the morning, working from our VRBO until about 4 PM, and then the drive to Santa Fe. The drive was about five hours at the most beautiful views we have ever seen. We drove through Ouray, this town nestled in these mountains that was absolutely astonishing. It was probably the most beautiful town we’ve ever seen in our entire lives. We almost stayed in Ouray too but they didn’t have any dog friendly Airbnbs. We will definitely be returning there as the town was incredible.

The rest of the drive was mainly uphill, past mountains with waterfalls gushing down their sides as the snow melt ran down. It was, again, absolutely fabulous to watch. The views continued as the mountains turned into desert land with mesas as we drove from Colorado into New Mexico. It was starting to get dark and rainy. All of a sudden, huge rainbows appeared! It made me so happy to see the giant rainbows with such vibrant bursts of color. It was a really cool thing to behold as we went into the darkness of the night and drove into Santa Fe.

Double rainbow on the way to Santa Fe

Our Airbnb in Santa Fe was pretty cute. It was off of the main area, but it was still centrally located to all the things I wanted to do. We got in around 10 PM, quickly unpacked the bags and dogs, and called it a night. We almost died of heat, as the Airbnb didn’t have air-conditioning or a fan, but I guess Texas has trained us well!

Santa Fe, NM

We only had one day to enjoy Santa Fe. Thankfully, we had been to Santa Fe many times before to ski. This time, we were headed back to the Ski Santa Fe area, but to hike! We drove up, up, and up for 30 minutes or so to the ski area to the trail head for Nambe Lake. Dixie was all ready with her backpack and we headed up the trail. It was so, so steep! The higher we got, the more snow we saw. Towards the very top, there was so much snow that my leg fell through some parts all the way up to my leg! It was pretty fun to hike through that though. Dixie had no idea what was going on but could not have been happier.

Dixie on the hike to Nambe Lake in Santa Fe, NM

The hike was 7 miles and basically all uphill for a total of a 2K elevation gain! We were huffing and puffing but the view from the lake was 100% worth it. We had some snacks while enjoying the view of the lake and rested for about 20 minutes before going back down.

Nambe Lake in Santa Fe, NM

The downhill part of the hike was SO MUCH easier! Once we got back to the car, we drove back to the AirBNB to change and go out for lunch. We got some take out Mexican food and enjoyed our lunch on a park bench in the middle of the Santa Fe square.

After that, we took off to Canyon Road to visit the galleries. There are over one hundred galleries around Canyon Road and, lucky for us, they had just reopened days before we got to Santa Fe. We bought our first real piece of art on Canyon Road on our first ski trip there years ago. We had some serious nostalgia and were basically the only ones walking around with the galleries to ourselves.  We didn’t buy anything this time.

After Canyon Road, we were exhausted. We grabbed some gyros from a Mediterranean place and popped a bottle of wine to enjoy the rest of our night at the AirBnb.

The next morning, we were up early to drive back to Dallas. Not being able to travel during Covid-19 has been very stressful so having our little get-away week made a huge difference for our mental health and created some wonderful memories.

Dakota and Dixie napping on our road trip back to Dallas

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Social Distancing Road Trip

The Journey to Colorado Springs –

We had been working from home for two months due to COVID-19 and had to cancel five trips including one to Spain and Portugal. With that, the stress of work, and everything else going on, we decided we need a change of scenery.  If we had to work from home, why not work from somebody else’s home?

Deciding where to go took a little bit. We had to find an area drivable to Texas within a week that was dog friendly and had a lot of outdoor activities since many typical tourist destinations were closed (including many national and state parks). After quite a bit of research, we ended up picking Colorado as our destination as parks had just opened up and it wasn’t too far. Memorial Day weened just happened to be very next weekend so we decided to use the long weekend, meaning we only had five days to plan!

Dogs on the road trip to Colorado Springs

We quickly picked some Airbnb’s and got ready for our trip. It was very easy to pack because I was only going to wear activewear for the full week. With that, my hiking boots, and our dog’s stuff, we hopped into my Jeep on Thursday night after work and took off to Amarillo. We broke up the 11 hour drive to Colorado Springs with a 5-6 hour overnight in Amarillo and then a Friday morning to Colorado Springs. The drive to Amarillo is pretty boring we got some Chick-fil-A for dinner and arrived in one piece around 11 PM. We stayed at the Hilton Home2 Suites hotel on the way back from New Mexico one New Years Eve after driving through a blizzard. We knew the Home2 Suites was brand new, clean, cheap, and dog friendly, so we felt comfortable staying there one night. It was so weird seeing so many people at the hotel after not seeing very many at all for quite a while. We wore masks, dumped our stuff in the room, and passed out.

We tried to let our puppy, Dixie, sleep in the king bed with us since she’s usually in her crate at night. That did not go very well as every time we would move over the bed she would get on and off the bed. She also tried to protect us from some Chihuahuas that we’re making noise in the hallway and woke us up nice and early. We brought bagels  for quick breakfast and took off to Colorado Springs.

The drive was absolutely beautiful and there weren’t very many people on the road so we were able to get to Colorado Springs pretty quickly. The problem though was that we couldn’t check into our B&B until 4 PM and we got there around 2 PM. Little did we know that our Airbnb was right next to the Garden Of The Gods!

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The Garden Of The Gods is a beautiful park in Colorado Springs that has these massive red mountains of rock coming up out of the ground. We parked our car and were glad to stretch our legs after such a long drive. We got the puppies all suited up and took off on a hike around the Garden. It was stunning day and the dogs are loving every minute of it. We found a shady spot under a massive rock overhang and watched some rock climbers scurry up this huge portion of rock and hang out at the top of the rock.

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It was really cool to see and a great way to spend some time before checking into our AirBnb.

We packed up the dogs and drove to Airbnb which was just a few minutes away from the Garden Of The Gods. I was actually just across the street from the parking lot and so we had some perfect spots for a dog walks in the morning. Airbnb was really nice and was two stories. Dixie was running up and down the stairway from the basement to the main floor over and over and over again and it was so funny. We were pretty tired so we grabbed some pizza, paired it with some celebratory wine, and watched Selling Sunset on Netflix before calling it a night.

Colorado Springs – Day 2

Day two in Colorado Springs was hiking day and we were bringing Dixie for her first hike ever! We got her backpack all ready so she could carry her poop bags and her water bowl and drove to the park. We drove into Cheyenne Canyon and it was already getting crowded around 9 AM! Thankfully, we found a parking spot higher up on the mountain side about 1/2 a mile away from the trail head. We tried not to get hit by cars as we walked on the side of the road to the trailhead and then embarked on a beautiful hike.

The views were stunning and the trail was nice and wide. There were so many other dogs and people out walking. Dixie was in absolute heaven! We had a little trouble finding the Seven Bridges Trail because it wasn’t very well marked, but after some back-and-forth and a few conversations with fellow hikers, we finally found it. We followed a river up the mountain and passed many waterfalls along the way. We ended up going over seven different bridges, hence the trail name, to get to the top spot where the biggest waterfall was. It was wonderful and Dixie played in the stream as we went. She pounced on some rapids and hopped over rocks like a little mountain goat. It was adorable. Thankfully, she didn’t pull me down the mountain either!

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The hike took about three hours total and we were starving by the time we go back to our car. We drove back to AirBnb for some leftover pizza. Ryan took a nap and I decided to explore the ranch and park area across from our AirBnb.

The Rock Ledge Ranch historic site had some beautiful grass in front of an old house and I laid down in for a good while on a comfy patch to just enjoy the weather. Dixie was having a blast rolling around in the grass. It was really cute!

After about 30 minutes, we walked around and found horses, geese, sheep, pigs, and other farm animals. It was really cute introducing Dixie to all the animals and ended up being a really nice little walk. When I came back, we rested for a little while and then decided to get some to-go Greek food for dinner! It was absolutely delicious and was a nice cap to a long day. (Even though they forgot my pita bread).

Colorado Springs – Day 3

Today was white water rafting day! It was pretty cold in the morning compared to the other days that we had been in Colorado Springs as the clouds were out in the sun was hiding. It was about an hour drive to get to the rafting place and we waited in our cars for social distancing reasons until the leader came by and grabbed our info for wetsuits. We got suited up and we’re ready to roll. Being only their second day after reopening with the new Covid-19 protocols, it took an extra hour to get ready and onto the bus.

It took about half an hour to get to the rafting launch site. We were put into a group of 4 plus our guide, Ethan. Ethan had a great personality and was a fantastic lead for our level three and four rapids! The views were absolute beautiful and we started off with some pretty intense rapids. We floated for about 2 1/2 hours with a good number of rapids spread out in between themselves. It definitely made for a very minimal amount of downtime and a lot of fun time! Ryan almost fell out of the boat was going down the first set of rapids but, thankfully, he caught himself. You had to have really good core strength to stay in as you’re getting bounced around. It even started to rain and thunder and lightning in the canyon and was absolutely terrifying but really cool to watch the giant droplets of water river in front of us going through the rapids.

The only downside was I was absolutely freezing! There was no sun and the river water was from melted snow so it was literally just above freezing. Being in the front of the boat, I got completely drenched, so it was hard to enjoy the rapids when I was shivering it 100 miles an hour!

Overall it was a very worthwhile start to the day. When we got out of the rapids and back to base, they told us that they didn’t get any photos at all so this is the only one I have. Got to love memories!

We were starving after the rapids and the only thing between us and our our drive back to the Airbnb it was a Dairy Queen. We spent $30 at said Dairy Queen on chicken nuggets and blizzards. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but I guess you can’t have expectations for fast food! However, a cookie dough Blast was just what the doctor ordered.

We drove back to the Airbnb and changed and got ready for the rest of the day. We had quite a few plans but I got a phone call from VRBO canceling our reservation for the very next day in Ridgeway! We had a total freak out moment because we had two dogs were thousands of miles from home and may not have had a place to go within 12 hours.  They didn’t even have a back up plan for us and told us that it was a glitch in their system which is why we hadn’t been notified prior. I did call quite a few times prior to the trip just to triple check that all of our reservations were in order, but somehow, this slipped by. What a disaster! Fortunately I had already been texting our posts about a later check out I called them and explain the situation and they said there was a few other guess it’s the same thing that happened to you. They told us to come on down! What a relief!

Spending so much time and effort on the AirBnb situation resulted in a stressful afternoon. All of a sudden it was time for dinner. We wanted to go to a brewery somewhere and hang out on a patio but, unfortunately, everything was still shut down.

On the bright side, we had to make a quick stop to Walgreens to get something for Ryan and I ended up getting 5 free Walgreens hand sanitizer bottles from the checkout guys! It was really nice of them to give those to us. We ended up finding this really cute little restaurant with healthier food, after the Dairy Queen disaster, and picked-up to go salads to eat in a beautiful park. There’s actually quite a nice evening and I really enjoyed spending time with my hubs a the park bench eating dinner. It was a wonderful way to top off our relaxing time in Colorado Springs