Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 4th Vacation Weekend

Okay, I know this is a little late, I had to wait on my brother for some photos he took over the weekend, plus I got a stomach ache yesterday and was unable to do anything other than sleep it off. So I'm going to try to document my family vacation in Grand Lake, Colorado as best as I can for those of you who do not know (though technically the only people who will know are my relatives from my dad's side of the family.

July 4th: First thing in the morning, we (me, my mom, and my dad) find out there's something wrong with the water heater, but because  we had to leave for a flight at around 11:30am we had to arrange an appointment to get it fixed on Tuesday morning (since we were coming back Monday evening). Getting through security, I forgot to take out my laptop out from my backpack, and was scolded by security for the mistake (though it was my first time bringing my laptop to an airport). Flight was on time, and we made it to Denver, Colorado in 2 hours, but the last bit where we had to land and fight against turbulence almost made me vomit. I was really hungry after the flight, but too sick from the motion sickness to be able to eat. My mom was sick as well from the flight, though my dad was fine
At the airport, we met up with my brother (who was also fine) and began our 3 hour car ride up to the Grand Lake Lodge. I was unsure whether it was motion sickness from the winding roads, increase in altitude, or a combination of everything that could make me sick, but I was not feeling well on the car trip as we climbed the mountains. We did stop on the way over to pick up food for breakfast at Safeway, and stopped for dinner at a place called Mavericks. There we got a little taste of Colorado food service (slow service, big portions).
We finally made it to the Grand Lake Lodge, which is a series of cabins up on a hill, where at the bottom is the Grand Lake Village along with the Grand Lake. Since it was my cousin Erin's 13th birthday, we celebrated that with a few games (though we were mostly siting around talking, drinking, and eventually eating red velvet cake), we also got to see the fireworks that night from the lake. After that, we all returned to our cabins and went to bed (at least some of us did).

July 5th: I was feeling better from the sickness the other day, though my mom got really sick so she had to rest that morning. Since a majority of the family was going swimming, me and my brother joined in for the fun. We played marco pollo for a bit, I made it through the whole game without getting caught. Afterwards, a few of us (me, my brother, my two cousins, my uncle, and one of my cousin's girlfriend) took a trail down to the Grand Lake Village just to get a look around the place. We saw plenty of ice cream shops, I noticed a quilt shop (which I thought about telling my mom since she is into quilting), we even went down to the lake to see a couple of interesting boats (one was a van on top of the bottom part of a boat, though I did not get a picture of it... sorry).
By the time we came back up to the cabins (which many of us dreaded doing), it was time for lunch, so my family went to the main lodge to have lunch (where service was a bit slow, and did not have good onion soup). After that, we thought about staying in the cabin since one of my cousins mentioned something about rain in the afternoon. Though I was concerned about my mom and suggested we find some medicine for her headaches. So we drove down to the village (just me, my dad, and my mom; my brother stayed behind and hung out with the others) and got some advil. I showed them both the village while down there, my mom stayed at the quilt shop where she found some nice patterns for her new quilt project, while I walked around with my dad to explore the area a bit more (my dad thought the place reminded him of Dr Seuss: where everybody looked the same and white). There we got rained on and had to run back to the car trying to avoid getting wet as much as possible.
For dinner, the four of us just drove down past the Grand Lake to find a place to eat. We stopped at a place called Bar & Grill, the food was good, but service was also slow in getting the food and giving us the check.
When we came back, my dad, my brother and I went to the main cabin to meet up with everybody. There I tried to do some actual sketching. Here's a failed attempt of my drawing my three aunts and cousin playing wisp, by the time I starting drawing, they were finished with their game so I had to try to draw from memory:
Finally giving up, I decided to drawing random items I found around me. First I did a book sitting on some pile of fire wood:
Next I noticed a beer bottom on a window sill, and drew that out like this:
After the beer bottle, below was the remaining pieces of the birthday cake on the floor, so I attempted to draw that out as well before joining the family in their crazy card games (I say this because there was a ton of screaming and threatening from the people playing them):
Though I did not actually play any of the games, I did get to chat a bit with one my cousins on our current situations, along with some of my relatives.
Much later that night, we were told about a satellite becoming visible in the night sky, so we journeyed out in the dark to try and find it. At first we thought we would not be able to see it because of some clouds and multiple sirens from the police cars in the distance, but it ended up shining bright enough for us to tell it was not just some airplane (I sadly did not get any pictures, though it would have probably would have done no good, you'd just have to try to find one yourselves and see in real life).

July 6th: This was a day one of my uncles planned a long hiking trip in the mountains. The deal was it was an hour long drive to get to the hiking path, and three hours total to reach the top of the mountain. Fearing of getting altitude sickness from the hike and motion sickness from the drive I stayed behind with my parents and two aunts (one of my cousins and her boyfriend stayed behind because of injuries, but I didn't get to spend much time with them). That morning I also made arrangements to do horseback riding in the afternoon (at was literally my first time riding a horse, but I have wanted to do horseback riding for a long time).
Before the big event of my day, I went walking around a bit with my two aunts, we got to see some arrangements for a wedding reception that day. Then my mom and dad met up with us and we all went down to the village for a little shopping and for lunch. We ate at a place called Miyauchi's Homemade Ice Cream and Snack Bar, the service was good as well as the food. After that, we stopped by Dairy King for some ice cream (yeah that's right, there's a real "Dairy King" out there that's not a Dairy Queen).
Finally it was time for horseback riding, and a part of me was happy it was not raining that part of the afternoon I was planning to ride for an hour and a half. Now these picture was actually taken after my horseback riding trip by my dad, but I felt like bring some live evidence of my adventure:
From left to right: Our guide for the trail riding was Tabitha, who knows her way around horses and is currently majoring in Animal studies; me on my horse Chip; Tabitha's father; and Tabitha's mother. So a fun small group, they were all nice people to go horseback riding with (Tabitha mentioned having a sister named Hannah, though she was not there on the trip).
 This just a close up picture of me with Chip
And here's a better picture of Chip being taken away by Tabitha. To summarize, it was an awesome experience that I hope I will never forget (it does a number on your butt if you are not used to it, but it is still worth it).
After my fun worthwhile riding trip, I found out the big group going hiking just made it to the top at 2pm (when my horseback riding trip started). The funny thing was the hiking trip took five hours to get through the whole thing, so instead of coming back around 1pm like planned, they managed to get back at around 5:30pm. Though they all seemed to have fun, so it must have been worth it.
When my brother finally got back from the long hiking trip, we left to Mustachio's for dinner, though it was the worst food service we ever had on this whole trip. Plus I was not really hungry for my vegetarian lasagna, just to pass the time I attempted to sketch out the pile of cheese:
I probably would have drawn it out a bit more, but my brother asked if he could try some, so without thinking, I grabbed the whole plate and placed it on top of his empty plate. He did give it back and just scooped a bite, but it was hard to tell how to draw it out in the current state it was in. Beforehand, my brother mentioned stuff about a mountain silhouette of Abraham Lincoln laying down. I was able to notice it firsthand, but it took a while for the others to see it and take a picture:
Sorry that it's a little hard to see, it was taken with an Ipod Touch camera my brother had, but if you look closely you can see Abe Lincoln laying down with his head and body in profile.
The rest of the night I spent at the cabin with my mom watching TV. Almost forgot the mention that earlier on before my brother came back, we saw the news about the 214 plan crashing in SFO, which was big news for us since a crash like that could easily cause delays on our trip home.

July 7th: Technically our last full day staying at the Grand Lake Lodge. In the morning, I went swimming with my two cousins, two aunts, and one of my cousin's girlfriend. My brother joined in later on, but accidentally got his cell phone in the hot tub, because of that I had to spend a bit of my time trying to dry out his phone and find a tiny screw driver to open up his phone (but since I could not find a small enough screw driver, there was no luck).
After swimming a little longer, I stopped by the main lodge to talk a little to a painter named Thomas Halt, mostly just to compliment on his painting. To all my art friends, look this guy up, he has awesome paintings.
Later that morning, a majority of us went to a place called Adams Falls, where we got to see a water fall and do a couple of random photo shots around the area.
Here's a picture of part of the falls taken by my dad.
After the hike, we went to the go kart track where six of raced in go karts. Sadly I came in dead last after sliding on water thrown on the track purposely by staff, bumping into one or two karts close to me, and crashing into the side of the track unable to turn around or back up because the karts had no reverse gear.
Having only my pride in racing hurt, we headed out for lunch, my family just stopped by Dairy King for sandwiches, while everyone else, from what I've heard, went to have ice cream for lunch. We had ice cream as well, just at Dairy King since my brother did not get a chance to try it the other day. While eating, we saw a little chipmunk coming in and out nibbling on any food crumbs it could eat. Here's a picture my brother took of it eating part of my ice cream cone I tour off for it to eat:
One almost ate a part of my ice cream, which I offered, but it ran off before my brother or my dad could get a picture.
Sadly afterwards, I began developing a headache on the right side of my head (I assumed it was a migraine headache). I spent the rest of the day trying to rest my head, in the middle I was called out to get a picture taken with all of my cousins. Before the picture, I had to wait, with my head throbbing, while listening to my cousins play a card game called quarters, which did not help me out since everybody was shouting and screaming. After the long photo shot, I dragged myself back to bed with a worser headache, I even felt like crying from the pain.
Because of the headache, I had no appetite to go to dinner with my dad and brother at the main lodge, my mom stayed behind with me to have slices of warm bread with cream cheese for dinner. My mom finally convinced me into taking advil to ease the pain, which led me to going outside for a little fresh air (though you can't expect much air from over 8,000 feet in altitude). While out, I ran into my dad and brother (who told me that dinner service was a lot faster and better due to less people being there), so we went for a little walk together and I showed them the art gallery done by Thomas Halt. While there, Thomas Halt came by and we managed to talk a bit more then. I learned that he spent his life painting for over 40 years and started as a drafts man in architecture in the 1960s. Today he mainly paints for entertain around the lodge, but anyone can buy his works for a good price. He told us that his paintings with windmills are the ones that get sold often. If any of you get the chance, you should try to look him up, I really recommend his work.
The rest of the night I stayed at the cabin again, still tired with a little headache, ready to go home as soon as possible.

July 8th: At around 8:30am, we said our good byes to the remaining people at the cabins (some already left last night or earlier in the morning). The trip down was easy since there was hardly any traffic, we even stopped by a mall on the way over to the airport (similar to the Great Mall in San Jose for those of you who have gone). We got our tickets and through security fine (though I step to side because they thought I had some piece of metal in my hair, which was really nothing). We had lunch at Wolfgang Pucks and ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. My brother's flight back to LA was on time, though our flight to SF was an hour and half delayed because of air traffic control (we were just happy it was not canceled or delayed even further). Thankfully I managed to get through the whole trip without getting sick at all, and we made it home without any further problems.
Funny thing, both me and my mom felt okay coming back home, but my dad got a headache from the trip, and my brother called telling us he got sick as well. For those of you who were following along, it's like the tables have turned.

Anyway, that concludes my story on my family vacation, so unless there's a plan to go to Orange County to see the Counting Crows Concert, I'm going to be in SF for probably the rest of the summer. I do still hope to get more drawings/updates in, so, yeah, expect something from me sometime...

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