Monday, April 23, 2018

adventure is out there!

the bean was excited to hit up the hot cocoa bar again before we checked out of hotel monaco for the second (and most likely, last) time.

this is a perfect opportunity for me to mention how grateful i am that my husband is always so willing to put up with my shenanigans.  mind you, it's usually with an eyeroll or two, but still...he's usually cool with going out of our way to get the photo op i'm hankering for.

all that to say that we went slightly out of our way for a detour to herriman, utah just so i could see this:

if you've seen the disney/pixar movie "up," you'll recognize it immediately.  this is carl and ellie's house that had thousands of balloons attached to it and took carl and russell on their adventure to paradise falls.  it's called "the real up house," and the family who created it takes appointments for engagement photo shoots and proposals and things.  yes, i'm totally serious.  i think they've also got a lot of the interior done up because they used to offer tours of the home too, but they stopped those a few years ago.  i didn't think to take pictures of the neighborhood, but really if you didn't know it was there and weren't specifically looking for it, i don't think you'd ever just stumble across it.  it's located in a basic residential area full of simple tract homes. check out the rules posted right on their front gate:

around the corner it looks like a tangled-themed playground is in the back yard.  the bean was fascinated with it.

so we stuck to the guidelines and took a few quick pictures and then skedaddled outta there.

i couldn't help but snicker at this gas station.  because i'm 12.

it wasn't too long before we crossed the border back into arizona.


i of course managed to miss the "welcome to nevada" sign, but that's okay.  we'd been in the car so much over the previous 8 days that it kind of didn't even faze me anymore.  and because we were going to vegas, the hub decided to stop at the bank to grab some cash.  we found one with a drive-up ATM station and were super amused to see this man who either didn't realize it or couldn't figure out where the walk-up machine was.

back on the strip!

the hub had reserved us a night at the palazzo, which i'd never stayed at before so i was excited to see what our room would look like.

and it didn't disappoint.  the check-in process went smoothly and we were in our room in no time.  look at how pretty it was:

the bean was extra super duper excited when she spotted this across from the tub:

and then we headed downstairs to something fun before the hub headed out to relax and enjoy a cigar at his favorite lounge.

i knew the bean would love the gondola ride, and even though it's cheesy and overpriced the hub joined us for it (which also ensured that we wouldn't have to share the gondola with strangers, heh).

we ended up riding with him to caesar's palace so that he could head over to montecristo and we could walk around the shops.  we decided to meet up for sushi in a few hours and then the bean and i headed off to see the rest of the cheesy stuff like the statue show and the giant aquarium.

turns out that the hub randomly met up with some guy at the cigar lounge that he wanted to do business with, so the bean and i got started on dinner and then he joined us a little later.

when we were done, he went back to meet with the guy and the bean and i went to grab some dessert here:

and then we found a shop that sells bath bombs, which was perfect because she wanted to go back to the room and relax in the bathtub and watch the food channel.  hahahahahaha, she's such an old lady.

it was a really nice way to wrap up our spring break vacation.  the next day, all we had left was a short 3-hour drive from vegas to get home.  so crazy that our trip was already over!

this just means now we can start planning the next one.  come on, summer!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

eating waffles at the top of the world

as we checked out of hotel terra, i got the bean to take this:

and then we finally headed out to do something we'd been trying to catch over the last couple of days - the gondola that would take us up to the top of the mountain.

to be honest, rides like that actually scare the crap out of me - what if the cable snaps?  what if we get stuck?  what if king kong shows up and plucks us right off of there? - but i sucked it up and found a spot right in front.  we were surrounded by eager skiers and snowboarders who were in a rush to get up there and start heading down the mountain, and while i was kind of annoyed at these grown ass adults pushing and shoving to get on, i just tried to ignore them and relax.

when we got up to the top, we were again pushed around as we stepped out of the gondola and tried to stay out of the way.  while there isn't really anything to do for non-skiers up there, we were pretty happy to find that the little building was a rest stop with fresh waffles and hot chocolate.

the souvenir hound-slash-sucker in me really wanted one of these, but i restrained myself.

instead, i was super happy with a cup of hot chocolate and a nutella-filled waffle.

when we were done, we went back outside to take a look around now that the gaggle of eager beavers was gone.  it was frigid and windy and there wasn't much visibility because it was snowing on us, but we didn't care - we were loving being up there.

we headed back to the station to wait for the next gondola to take us back down to the base of the mountain.

it was a nice quiet ride back, since everyone was more interested in coming up and skiing down.

and then it was time to get back in the car to head out of wyoming, cut through a little corner of idaho and back into utah.  i kept missing the "welcome to" signs at the borders, but i managed to catch at least one.

we tried to stop for one of these "world famous" raspberry shakes, but all of the places were locked up tight.

in logan, we came across this little spot and decided to stop because we love historic holes-in-the-wall like this.

they had an old-fashioned candy counter and a soda fountain, and we chose to sit at the bar because it's always more fun than a boring old table.

and then just like that, we were back in salt lake city and checking into the hotel monaco again.

i really want one of these giant scrabble boards.  how fun is that?

because we'd had lunch so late, we weren't super hungry for dinner.  the hub opted to head down to the hotel bar to hang out and grab a drink while the bean and i chose to relax in our pajamas and order room service.  it was a nice way to unwind after another long drive, and it hit us all that our fantastic road trip was almost at its end.

one more stop - vegas!
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