Great Full

We’re thankful for healthy dinners by crackling fires. We’re grateful to play in beautiful places and meet new people. But two weeks ago during our nation’s annual turkey massacre we gave thanks to reunite with two incredible, awesome friends from Lake Tahoe, Chris and Sherry. Jonny and Carmen planned to reunite with us but ended up having family requirements and had to reroute their drive to Colorado.

photo courtesy of Chris

Photo courtesy of Chris

You know you have great friends when every time you see them you find them more and more interesting. Hanging out this time was no exception. They keenly understand the joys and frustrations of long-term travel with a significant other in a tiny vehicle. Last year they spent eight months exploring the west coast from San Francisco to Alaska while living out of a hybrid Honda Civic.

“So, you still like each other, that’s a good sign,” said Sherry, while heating up delicious homemade vegan lentil loaf and biscuits. Fortunately, when fulfilling the gluttonous urge on vegan food in Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, there are plenty of rocks to play on to counteract the holiday love handles.

Photo courtesy of Chris

Sherry, like Tyler, climbs things that appear to most people like stucco walls. Chris, like me, is all too keen of the fact that while holding on to said stucco “holds” my life depends on a piece of rope about the thickness of my forefinger (and I have very small hands)! My left side brain tends to go mute rather than focusing on the fact that climbing is actually very safe.

Thank Gaia that Red Rock Canyon appeals to my climbing style, which is to say, large things to hold onto at frequent intervals. Sherry and Tyler set up tons of climbs over the four day weekend that, pardon the surfer slang, got me STOKED!

Saturday night Sherry introduced us to Lotus of Siam, the Las Vegas Thai food legend. Who would guess that the little nondescript restaurant in a strip mall off Las Vegas Blvd would have a line of 35 people out the door at 5pm? Sherry did, as did 2,763 other yelp reviewers, which is why we happily gave our name and waited an hour for the renowned cuisine.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

When experienced sober, the Las Vegas Strip makes you feel famous, slightly nervous, and simultaneously disgusted with humanity. Tyler and I passed through the week before, and ogled the giant TV screens, glass sculptures, and massive fountains outside shimmering mega mansion hotels. We saw more neon and bright light in four hours than we had in the previous three months. This time, we were able to focus on the funny nuances, like the fact that the people on the street passing out flyers for Hot XXX Sex don’t care if you have your arm around your girlfriend, or if you are the girlfriend. Cigarette smoke will make your contacts instantly dry and induce headaches, and every show on Vegas is rated #1.

The Code-meister

The Code-meister

Sunday morning we sang happy birthday to Sherry, adorned with her slightly ironic Burger King crown (considering the vegan fare). After a few more climbs, they took off towards the Sierra Nevada while we chugged to LA with 30,000 other people. Now, I’m grateful to be spending a few weeks catching up with family and friends in LA. We’re elated to sleep in a bed, have access to a shower, an oven, and even a sink to do dishes!

The Christmas tree has ornaments on the top two thirds of it, thanks to my Dad and Elyse’s adorable new two-year old Golden Retriever Cody whose ferocious tale makes glass ornaments shatter in fear. I’m in love, and am trying to figure out a way to smuggle him to New Zealand without customs or my parents finding out. Please let me know if you come up with any ideas.

Happy holidays everyone!

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