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Ski Trip

Went to Kirkwood to go skiing the day after Christmas... spent the night in a cheap motel, then skiied some more and drove home.

Only it was much more fun than that...

The day before, we had partied from late evening until into the night. As a consequence the planned 4am wake up didn't happen, due in no small part to the presence of Bicardi 151 and other, uh, beverages. Combined with some chaos in the morning dropping off a girl (Cathy? Kathy?) back home and we didn't get underway until 7:30am.

Once loaded into the car and minivan, we got underway pretty uneventfully. From 5 to 4 in Stockton, we then hit massive amounts of fog as soon as we hit 49 and then 88... fun, fun, fun. And scary. Jimmy, Barry, my sister Gina and I were leading, and as we passed into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and a town called Jackson we were playing a game called "Categories." We ignored the right turn that highway 88 made and kept going straight on to 49. Oops! We lost about half an hour or so on that error...pc261172.jpgpc261182.jpg but pulling into gas station in Jackson to ask for directions, we discovered a large chunk had been taken out of the sidewall of Hannah's tire. Crap... a tire store about 200 feet away replaced the tire in about 20 minutes and $70 later, and we were on our way again. They did ask how all of us fit into the Accord though, not knowing the minivan parked on the other side of the lot! hehehe...

Ended up at Kirkwood around noonish, changed in the car and headed for the slopes after renting ski equipment for the newbies (me!), intermediaties, well, everyone else except Barry. We split into two groups, because Hannah, Jenny, Wallace and Tom (Jenny's friends riding in the Accord) didn't want to ski for only half a day at first. Barry led Jimmy, Gina, and I up a beginner slope which promptly worried Jimmy and I. Upon reaching the top, everyone either remembed how to ski or took to it pretty well except me! :-) I could mostly balance just fine, but stopping completly eluded me. My primary method of stopping the first day consided of falling and leaving the biggest cloud of snow and skis behind me as possible! Barry probably got pretty bored watching us and I proved to be a mostly impossible student, but I could get down the hill without crashing... provided I didn't get nervous about going too fast (which happened at least three times while going down once). hehe. Back at the car, it turns out Jenny and her friends went snowboarding... we then packed up and drove to the motel in South Lake Tahoe and pondered dinner.

The drivers didn't want to drive anymore, after driving for more than 4 hours... pc261219.jpgpc261221.jpg but somehow the message that the casinos and their related buffets were very close by got through from Thomas (or was it Wallace?), and the desire of Barry and Brian for buffets was met. We ended up going just a dozen or so blocks from the Sizzler's we had thought about going to down to Caesar's, who had a $13 prime rib buffet! Mmmmm.............. We all crammed back in to the minivan and stopped at a grocery store on the way back to pick up cold medicines and Tylenol. As a side note, for some stupid reason when we all crammed into the minivan, Barry didn't put his skis in the motel room, so we couldn't fold down the back seats. Stupid! hehe...

The night was a story in itself. The couple next door was busy all night. Somewhere along the line, the toilet clogged and people kept flushing it-- not a good thing. We mostly sorted out the fact that we only had 2 bath towels and figured out how to share a couple sleeping bags and the two beds when the couple next door kept just about everyone awake. Jimmy was sound asleep and down in the corner by the closet, away from the noise generated next door, I was sound asleep too. About 2am someone caused the toilet to overflow. Shit! More commotion ensured and everyone was awake. Uh. The couple next door had finally stopped going at things, but by this time Barry was pissed from the lack of sleep and called upon his backup plan; after much talking that amounted to heading over to visit some other UCLA'ers who had a cabin in Lake Tahoe to use the bathroom there. Groggy and not expecting more than a sleeping bag on the floor like I had at the motel, I didn't go-- just my sister and Barry went. Turns out aside from a working heater and toilet, they had futons to sleep on!!! ARGH!!!! I woke up in the morning with no bathroom and water beginning to seep into my corner of the carpet. Ewwwwww...

The logic "it's cold, I'm tired, and there's no bathroom to use" meant that getting up in the morning was impossible. pc271233.jpg pc271240.jpg We managed, had breakfast at McDonald's and Jenny and friends headed off to Kirkwood. We picked up Barry's friend Andi (who had the cabin) and then went off to Kirkwood. Gina and I disappeared off to ski lessons, where I promptly exhausted myself just trying to stand up and move around in the snow. Gina vanished off with the intermediate group while I spent an hour in the beginner group explaining that yes I could use a chair lift but now I can't stop so yes I should be in this group. I really have no idea what else happened since I was off by myself in my ski lesson, but I did make it down the slope twice while only falling twice-- the trees at the end of the run got awfully intimidating the first time while the second time I decided I wanted to go fast. heh.

I completely missed the planned lunchtime with the rest of the group while trying to learn to ski, but eventually I met up with my sister and we had a late lunch. Went back to the same slope we were at yesterday and somehow made it down myself, only falling to stop myself a couple of times. I still don't understand this stopping thing once I've built up any appreciable speed at all. *scratches head* pc271243.jpgAndi and Barry set a goal of doing 20 runs that day while everyone else played on their snowboards, or in Jimmy's case, I think he tried to follow Andi and Barry on one of their runs and ended up going "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh look out!!!!!!" as a white streak flying down the slope, as Barry and Andi played in the snow on a diamond slope wait for Jimmy (and someone else?) to catch up... probably had a lot more fun than I did, but whatever!

At the end of the day we took pictures outside of lift 11 and two people continued to play in the snow... pc271247.jpg pc271255.jpg I never did realize how much of a dork I looked like while skiing, but since I think the main image people have of me is a white cloud of snow and flying skis, it doesn't bother me. :-) I don't quite know where everyone was, because our group pictures at lift 11 weren't complete.

pc271258.jpgAnyway, by 4pm the lifts had closed and we packed up. Attacking a passer-by with our cameras, he took a couple of group photos for us, then Jenny and her friends headed home.pc271279.jpg We had to drop Andi back off at her cabin, which meant an extra hour of driving for us... back at the cabin, a funny-acting toilet scared us again. Toilet-repair-genius Andi had to fix it for Gina, while the rest of us were able to understand how to fix it after we had used it-- the rest of us being college students who obviously had picked up something useful in college! hah. Riiiiiiiiight. Anyway. We said good-byes and headed back down highways 50 and 88 back home. Highway 88 at night seems about 4x longer than it does in the day. A hundred mile long series of climbs, descents, and curves just sucked. Combined with dense patches of fog and things sucked even more. After more than two hours, we switched off drivers in downtown Stockton. My body made interesting aches and pains as I climbed in the drivers's seat and ended up facing 10 miles of traffic in Tracy as we tried to get home. And, well, the interesting part of the story ends there...

As a final note, skiing is one damn expensive sport. It's not too bad, but daily costs increase as you lengthen your trip and skiing for just one day is awfully silly, so it gets pretty expensive. This month's credit card bill should suck.

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