In Which I Learn to Enjoy Roughin’ It


Growing up, my family would go camping once or twice a year max. Generally our version of camping included staying by a lake in a rented trailer, eating peanut M&Ms and playing Skip-Bo until someone else (grandpa) prepares a legit BBQ dinner. Also, there was always enough Shasta Cream Soda floating around to hydrate a tiny nation. We aren’t exactly hard-core.

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Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely spent more than one night in a tent. It’s just that some of those nights the tent was in my backyard. And I may or may not have spent the time watching a movie on a TV hooked up to the house with a fifty foot extension cord. And crawled back into my bed at 3 am.


Basically this all boils down to me not exactly married to the idea that a tent is my best friend and that an air mattress is just as good as the real thing. I’d rather spend my nights away in a hotel. One with a fancy tub and cable so I can indulge in my Grey’s Anatomy obsession. Please and Thanks.

(In order to save face I will say that the rest of my family is actually pretty into camping. It’s just me that struggles. Go figure.)

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However, last week that all changed. Our friends talked us into a legit two night camping trip at the Union Valley Reservoir campgrounds in the Eldorado National Forest. We are talking tents, cooking our own food, outhouses…the whole shebang. Although I was a little skeptical we headed up Friday night right after work. Four hours of traffic-induced mania later, we made it. Crisp cool air, stars that weren’t covered by San Francisco pollution, a gleaming lake…I was sold.

IMG_3409 IMG_3424The next two days were filled with all sorts of camping goodies.  Tubing in the lake and managing to get mega-sunburned. A cute baby with dirt stained cheeks. Dutch-oven dinners compliments of the Beards, who rock outdoor cooking. Seriously. They are basically camping wizards.

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Saturday afternoon we hiked to Bassi Falls. Ashley and I dance-partied along the way, while the guys imitated The Office Parkour episode and 360-ed from rock to rock. Once there they braved the icy-cold water; I on the other hand was content to save my limbs from frostbite, thank you very much.

IMG_3602 IMG_3666Not to be forgotten was the keys-locked-in-the-truck episode. A few broken sticks, prayers, manipulated tent poles and a package of bandaids later we broke into that car ninja style.

Good food, good friends, lake water and pine trees all contributed to change my mind about camping. I am basically ready to head out into the middle of nowhere with only a moment’s notice. As long as there aren’t spiders. That changes everything.


In which we get the heck out of dodge.

Early last week I felt a little suffocated. Kind of like my insides weren’t quite at peace with my outsides and they needed a little time to escape the static normal and just chill. Oftentimes a good hard, meditation-inducing run will solve that problem, but I didn’t want to run. “What to do?” I wondered.

Then it hit me (ok, I’m lying, I already knew what I wanted to do but I had to add just a little dramatic flair): I needed to ditch my so-called responsibilities and leave for a weekend. Kind of like when you are sixteen-years-old and the thought of enduring an hour and fifteen minutes of algebra sounds like hell, so you ditch school, hit up the local Macey’s for a package of Mambas and swing on the library swings for all of sixth period.

I originally begged Ryan to take me to Disneyland where I could drown my woes with seventeen Dole whips and ride Peter Pan until I could not stand it anymore, but he shut that one down fast and hard. It’s hard to get the man to embrace the pure bliss that is Disney. It’s been a struggle our whole marriage and will probably continue to be. I kid, I kid.

Just when I thought all hope was lost my sanity-saving friend Peyton suggested Monterey and Carmel. Seeing as every bone in my body loves the ocean and that it was infinitely cheaper than Disneyland (Ryan’s requirement, not mine), I grabbed onto that idea like a drowning old woman to the local hunky lifeguard (wow my metaphors are getting ridiculous…ridiculously awesome). So we lost our Priceline virginity, scored an awesome and cheap hotel room and cruised on down south for the weekend.

Friday night included hitting up the Gilroy outlets where I bought these awesome pants that I am still drumming up the courage to wear, to die for guacamole and enchiladas, and a quick dip in the hot tub, after hours. Because when you are ditching your responsibilities it is mandatory that you thrown in a mix of rebellion, just for good measure.

Saturday morning the Joneses introduced us to the best waffle I have ever had in my life. Hands down. I’m 98% positive it was made with cake batter. The best part: I didn’t even feel remotely guilty for eating it, it was that good. Waffle for the win.



We then explored a few little shops where I chose to blend in to the candy factory like I had picked out my coat just for the occasion.



Next came the Monterey Aquarium. A bit spendy, but we scored because my aunt’s mom is a local and got us tickets for free. Even still, I probably would have made Ryan take me anyway; I have been dying to go forever. Our favorites: the jelly fish and the coral. Basically I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in the area.





We jetted down to Carmel for lunch and a little more exploratory shopping. Cutest thing about the area, supposedly some of the older houses don’t even have addresses…they just have names. That has always been a fantasy of mine, ever since I first learned of Netherfield Park in Pride and Prejudice.

While in Carmel, the beach is also an absolute must (is this beginning to sound like a travel brochure to anyone else?).




The Joneses have this friend whose grandma owns a house on Pebble Beach golf course. Not by the golf course…on the golf course. I mean this one time they met Josh Duhamel because he practically hit a ball onto their porch. Now that is my kind of address. But if you think I loved it, Ryan pretty much peed his pants over the whole thing. To this day his face is still frozen in a grin. Maybe if we save our pennies for ten years he will be able to afford to play one round of golf there. Scratch that, it will probably take fifteen.




If you survived this super long post I commend you. Even I had to take breaks while writing it. But it was a weekend to remember, that’s for certain.