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Friday Night Lights

football

A show that probably didn’t mean anything to anyone who wasn’t from Texas. Growing up down here changes the way you think about Friday night in the fall. Will the boys win? Will they lose? I know this is a travel blog, but travel is about experiencing other cultures, right? Texas football is a culture within a culture. Whether it is the high school game on Friday night that the whole town shows up to or the college game on Saturday that you budget money out of your paycheck to pay for as often as possible. Game day is holy. Game day means friends and family whether you are tailgating or having a watch party at home.

Friday Night Lights described how we felt during those months that the boys put on shoulder pads and helmets. We watched the weather go from steamy to frigid, and sometimes back to steamy, depending on how Mother Nature was feeling. We sit in the stands and grit our teeth, call plays, tell the defense something that the coaches have hopefully already told them. At halftime we listen to the band, we watch the dancers perform a kick routine, and then cheer the boys to victory or feel our hearts break for them as they lose.

Because that’s what happens when we lose. Our hearts break. We invest so much into the game, we believe so much in our boys, that we feel like we’re down on the field with them when the time runs out. No matter if they are our own or not.

Football in Texas is going back to your hometown on a Friday night and reliving it all. It’s gameday in Aggieland and wearing your finest maroon and boots. It’s tailgating in the backyard of the place mom and dad, and eventually you and your sisters went to college. It’s the fellowship with other fans, because it’s a holy day. Football in Texas is religion, and we believe.

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Travel is a spiritual thing. {why?}

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photo from technobuffalo.com

Why do we travel? Is it to experience other cultures? Is it to see things we have never seen before? On the surface, these are probably the main two reasons that people venture outside of their comfort zone and see new things. While snowboarding in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico the other day, a thought hit me that filled me to the brim with wanderlust: travel is a spiritual thing. It is a celebration of God’s creation and our roles within it. It is the most obvious joy in the quiet morning hours and the most raw realization in a desperate situation. We are marionettes on the strings of experience, waiting to be tugged hither and onward. We wake in the dead of night and see stars we have never seen before. We hear the sounds of a river that never ceases to flow past our tent door, on to the ocean. We feel the wind rush across our face that has blown past every mountain, every cliff, through every canyon and across every desert at one point in time. Our need and love for experience and enlightenment is eternal; we never get our fill. It is as much a biological component of us as is our DNA. We seek, we find, we cherish, we love. We embrace all that we don’t understand and carry it with us to new places so that maybe we can finally comprehend it. We take the memories of the Serengeti to the challenge of the Alps. We take the serenity of Aruba to the richness of Sydney. We enjoy food and wine in Italy and we enjoy solitude and quietness in India. We realize that the world is so large that we are insignificant but also so small that we owe the respect of our presence at every amazing creation.

The world is your oyster, friends. Seek the goodness of it.

{If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10}

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Angel Fire Resort and Red River Ski Area

 

photo from destination360.com

 

 

Recently I posted about our 15 hour car ride to northern New Mexico. Well, this is where we went. Our annual ski trip to this area was fantastic, although pretty exhausting. What else do you expect from a ski vacation? So, here are the ins and outs of these two lovely ski-town destinations.

The Skiing, Boarding, and Snow. 

While they are not as big as resorts like Breckenridge or Park City, these ski areas offer a lot more trail space per person than do the large resorts. The most I’ve ever waited in line at a lift at either of these resorts (which I should tell you are about a 30 minute drive from each other, so you can ski at both on a single trip) is about 15 minutes, and that was at peak time. Angel Fire is bigger and caters more to beginning skiers and all-level boarders as they have 2 terrain parks and more wide-open runs. Red River was difficult on a board (my husband and I snowboard, the rest of our family skis) but still fun. Red River seems to be more appropriate for slightly more advanced skiers.

photo from redriverskiarea.com

photo from redriverskiarea.com

We have seen years with too much snow (we got snowed in) and we have seen years where we wondered if there was snow on the mountain. However, there has ALWAYS been good enough snow at both of these places to have a great time. Red River generally gets more natural snow but Angel Fire keeps up by making a lot of snow. I have heard that the snow gets ‘iffy’ at Spring Break but it has always been great for us during the Christmas season. Best bet? Call ahead or download a snow-report app such as All Snow to get up-to-date reports on the snow.

The Accomodations

Angel Fire: stay within the resort system and book ASAP. Angel Fire Resort has tons of options for you from everything like a typical hotel room, condo, or chalet, to a home on Monte Verde Lake. The resort is ski-in and ski-out and the condos and chalets are all within walking distance. There are homes close by also. We stayed at Monte Verde Lake this time and had to drive but we booked late. BOOK EARLY!!

Red River: You can’t go wrong in this town. It is so small and centered around the ski area that everything is within walking distance. We have stayed basically everywhere and we have never had a bad experience. However, booking early gives you the most choice and won’t leave you with an accommodation that doesn’t fit your needs.

photo from angelfireresort.com

photo from angelfireresort.com

photo from redriverskiarea.com

photo from redriverskiarea.com

 

The Nightlife

Without a doubt, Red River has the most night life. We are usually there over New Years and we always take in a concert at The Motherlode. There are several bars and no trip is complete without a steak at Texas Red’s. There are a lot of specialty shops that sell every kind of t-shirt you can want to beautiful, hand-crafted boots, furniture, and jewelry. Red River has a heavy German influence so be ready to sip a few beers and munch on some wings at the Lost Love Saloon (connected to Texas Red’s) while taking in a BCS Bowl Game (this town is heavily influenced by us Texans, obviously.) Don’t forget the Cinnamon Roasted Pecans from the Nutty Bavarian! {cause extreme addiction}

photo from redriverskiarea.com

photo from redriverskiarea.com

 

If You Aren’t of the Skiing or Snowboarding Persuasion

This was our first trip with folks who didn’t ski the whole time. We boarded for 3 days and then went cross country skiing at Enchanted Forest in Red River. There are several snowmobile rental places between Angel Fire and Red River and either of these resorts can help you make reservations.

 

These are all tips and observations made by someone who has traveled there frequently and consistently. I am not affiliated with either of these resorts in any way. These are my humble opinions only.

Happy shredding!

 

 

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How to survive a Road trip: Car edition

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Whirlwind is the best way to describe this trip. While ski vacations are not usually known for their relaxing manner, ours seemed to kick into overdrive and not let up until we returned home. It was fantastic. We drove this time. The drive to northern NM from eastern TX is roughly 15 hours, a long time to be in a cramped vehicle. A few tips for survival:

1. Yoga pants have never been there for you more. Aside from being cute, yoga pants are extremely versatile. You can move around and adjust your position as needed while staying in complete comfort. I paired mine with a oversized sweater and short-topped boots. I am from Texas after all.

2. Stack your bags with care. My husband thinks I am completely OCD, and maybe I am because when we road trip anywhere I stack the luggage in the trunk or backseat (depending on which vehicle I take) with tremendous care. Your bottom layer should consist of the bulky luggage. In this case, it was my big suitcase and his big suitcase. Next layer is the things you should be able to extract with the car with relative ease (tire chains, tire tools, and your one-night-bag (more on that one shortly.) Your top layer is the quick-grab bag that you can get from the front seat with snacks, chargers, and water.

3. The one-night-bag and the quick-grab-bag. Two of the most important things to have in your car that will save your sanity and stomach. The one-night-bag contains pajamas, extra toiletries, and a change of clothes that you can slip out of the car quickly and take into the hotel for a stop on the road for some sleep. This prevents the pain of unpacking the entire car for one change of clothes. Makes things much simpler. The quick-grab-bag (mine is of the Vera Bradely kind) is essential in that this bag will contain your phone chargers, snacks (cliff bars and celery travel well), water, magazines, camera, tablets, etc. Basically, anything that can’t fit into your purse that you need in the car should go into the quick-grab-bag.

4. Stay hydrated and pack protein. I can’t say it enough: drink plenty of water. This May result in frequent bathroom stops but it will prevent a headache. Gatorade is also golden here, although less frequently (lots of sugar.) Cliff bars helped me survive some poor years in college and guess what? they are still there for me. I pack these, carrots, apple slices, and celery in small bags and put them into the quick-grab-bag.

5. Move around. You’re in a packed car, I get it. But doing a few arm circles, neck rolls, ankle rolls, and leg lifts can change your mood, give you some energy, and ward off sleepiness. Try for 5 minutes of movement for every hour in the car.

6. Bring a small pillow. This is a duh. This can help you sleep when needed and can provide lumbar support when your back feels like it’s about to fall off.

7. Keep those target bags! They are durable enough to handle trash duty. Also, this is an awesome opportunity to start recycling. I have a tub full at home and keep them in both vehicles. Have one for trash and one for water bottles (which can be refilled and reused.)

8. Fast food is not your friend. But sometimes it is necessary. Go for non-carbonated drinks (prevents awk gassy situations) and say ‘no’ to fries. The salt in the fries will dry you out and leave your feeling tired and groggy. Grilled chicken and vegetables are your best bet. Whaddup Chick-Fil-A!

9. Stop frequently. This may seem counterproductive but by stopping (at rest stops, historical markers, gas statins, etc) you get blood moving around the body, preventing soreness, fatigue, and even blood clots which can be potentially fatal. Make sure that the spot is well-light, far off of the road, and safe. Texas is notorious for these huge rest stops that have TV’s, nice restrooms, couches, etc. Aim for something like that.

10. Apps are your friend. Hotels.com, Priceline.com, and others have great traveling apps. I’ll do a blog soon on my favorites.

Happy road tripping!

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