From mountains to desert!


Snowboarding + a ghost town + Vegas in one vacation…why not! I am a mulit-tasker and overachiever, so when I find myself mere hours away from various adventures I want to explore them all!

Hillary flew in from Texas to join in on this hodge-podge trip, and we accomplished it all in a four day time frame. Life is short and unexpected so I want to seize every opportunity when I can! At least that is my motto for now. 🙂

The trip originated simply…we wanted to go to Big Bear to snowboard. Hillary is an old pro at snowboarding, and I am the newbie. I have never snowboarded or skied (well except that one time when I was three years old but since I don’t remember it doesn’t count), and I was eager to try out snowboarding. Well thank goodness we only went for a couple hours at night at Snow Summit the first day, which was less crowded and cheaper, because my first attempt at snowboarding was not how I imagined. Being a perfectionist, I thought I would pick up snowboarding rather quickly. Not the case. Day 1 was not a success, but at least I got my breakdown out of my system and the next day would prove to be much better. So all you perfectionists out there, don’t overestimate your abilities like I did and be let down by your expectations. As Hillary told me, “Expectation is just a planned disappointment.” Some things take time to learn and that is ok! But once you do learn how to do something, you will be proud of yourself and what you accomplished! Everything works out!


Day 1, defeated.

The next day we snowboarded at Bear Mountain, and to get over my feeling of defeat and fear, Hillary convinced me to just get on the lift (to the bunny slope) and just do it. And you know what, that worked! I was able to (slowly) ride down the mountain and build my confidence. For me I needed more motivation then just trying to stand up at the bottom of the hill where there was no consequence or reward for me standing up on the board (as I had attempted the night before)…I needed to be up on the mountain facing my fears and just go! And the feeling when I reached the bottom was a great emotional boost! After a couple more runs on the bunny slope, Hillary convinced me to ride the greens with her (and bless her for taking it slow with me, the patience of a saint!) and my first real day of snowboarding wound up being really fun and fairly successful. I still fell a lot (mostly because I struggled with turning and stopping) but with more practice I think I could become a decent intermediate snowboarder. Also hopefully the next time I go there will be real snow! Big Bear does an awesome job of making snow and ensuring the slopes are well maintained (kudos to them with this year’s unusual warm winter at Big Bear), but I still would love to feel the plush of real snow under my butt when I fall haha.


Day 2 we snowboarded at Bear Mountain. They have lots of space and slopes for beginners and low intermediates which is awesome for people like me!


It was a crowded weekend, so I would like to go back during the week when there are less people on the mountain. And also hopefully when there is real snow !


I’m ready to go down the bunny slope for the first time! Eeeek!


I’m riding the lift to a green slope! (Note: this picture cost Hillary one of her gloves. 😦 RIP glove)


My first fall on the greens


Hillary kindly sat down to join me


Hillary rocked this blue slope before we left!

After a couple days in Big Bear Lake, California, we thought “why not also go to Vegas?!” it’s only a couple hours away! So we left behind the forests and mountains and hit the road for the desert. We made a stop at Calico Ghost Town on our way to Las Vegas and it was a pretty charming and interesting adventure.

Calico wagon

Calico is just a few miles outside of Barstow, California.

Calico Entrance

Walter Knott, of Knott’s Berry Farm, purchased Calico in the 1950s and restored most of the structures as they would have been in the 1880s.


Welcome to the Mojave Desert!

Since we were on a tight schedule, we didn’t spend long at Calico, but from what I saw it seems like a fun way to spend a day.  Calico is an old  mining town that was established in 1881 during the largest silver rush in California.  But when the value of silver declined in the mid-1890′s, Calico accelerated down the path to becoming a ghost town.

Calico Restaurant

I love the rocking chairs on the big porch…sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon 🙂

Calico Town Hall

We arrived on the last day of Calico’s Civil War Re-enactment weekend.

Calico Main Street

What Calico looked like in the late 1880s (minus the paved road of course)

View of Calico Hotel

And I thought our hotel in Big Bear was bad… 😉


Posing on the steps of a reconstructed Calico home.


There was a real blacksmith working in the shop…it was cool to watch.


During Calico’s height of silver production between 1883 and 1885, the town had over 500 mines and a population of about 1,200 people.

Calico Fire Hall

1880s Fire Engine


President Lincoln was in town for the Civil War Re-enactment so of course we got a picture with him!

Kayla at Calico

In the 1890s borate mines opened in the mountains, which helped supplement Calico’s profits from the silver mines for a short while until 1907 when the town was completely abandoned.

After Calico we continued our drive to Las Vegas and arrived in the afternoon. Vegas is Vegas…doesn’t really need much of an explanation. We walked the strip and gawked at all the huge hotels and fancy casinos. It was fun!


Whew, Las Vegas Blvd aka The Strip is reeeeeeally long if you walk the whole thing, btw!


Beautiful sunset!


It’s fun to see the real looking faux cities these hotels create.


The massive complex of Caesar’s Palace


The bright lights of Vegas


M&M World!


Stereotypical tourist picture!

Alien Fresh Jerky

Of course we would end our road trip with a visit to Alien Fresh Jerky! It was really good also!


The beauty of road trips is finding the weird along the way!

Hopefully the next Winter season I can trek back to Big Bear or somewhere new to try another go at snowboarding! I’m not sure how many more good years my knees have in them! 😉 Until my next adventure, have a good week everyone!

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