Las Vegas!

In the car on the way back from the airport, a friend texted me, “Vegas? That’s not your style.”

I would counter that a little bit of everything alongside a big helping of adventure is my style, but I digress.

Last weekend, I traveled with some friends and my mom to Vegas to see George Strait in concert (with Lyle Lovett!!! and Robert Earl Keen). While seeing King George was the headlining event of our weekend, we had a lot of fun “doing Vegas.”

Amanda and I caught a flight out of GJ Thursday afternoon and started the party as soon as we got into the terminal. We even bought our tickets months apart and sat next to each other.  Once we landed and checked into our hotel, we immediately set out in search of food and then engaged in heavy duty people watching at the Cosmopolitan.

The next morning, my mom arrived and we headed out for brunch and some sight seeing. My friend Helen and her husband arrived mid afternoon and we had some celebratory “we’re all in Vegas” champagne at the hotel before heading to dinner and some after dinner drinks. While most of the crew headed to bed, Amanda and I went out for some dancing.

Saturday was more sight seeing but the big event was that evening. It was time to see George! There was a lot of “Do you think he’ll play this song?” talk and general excitement as we got ready for the show.

Our dinner before the show was actually one of my favorite moments in Vegas. The food was good (we ate at Tom’s Urban in NY-NY) and we might have discussed Pure Country a lot. Mom ordered ghost pepper wings and basically stared down the waitress when she was warned that they’re the hottest pepper in the world. And then, to top it all off, as we stood up after dinner Mom reminded me she wanted to ride the roller coaster at NY-NY before the concert. So we did. I might have laughed at her the entire time. I’m kind of a pro at laughing at people on roller coasters.

The show definitely did not disappoint. (Okay, well, maybe I could have listed to Lyle Lovett open for another hour and George play all night but reasonable expectations are important.)

I sang along to each and every song. When I grew up, George Strait was in the tape deck on the way to every camping trip (except when the Mariners were on) and the sound track to more than a few family gatherings. On top of that, he’s the best looking 65 year old I’ve ever seen. Anyway.

The next day, everyone other than Amanda and I had to catch early (or really really early) flights so the two of us enjoyed a lazy morning getting out of the hotel, hit up their (free) Sunday bloody mary and mimosa bar, had one last brunch on the Strip and then headed to the airport.

I had been sort of nervous about this trip: it was a motley group of people and the common denominator was … me. In the end, it was fantastic. I even get to tease my mom for the time she forgot to tip the Transformer for the rest of time: “Bumble Bee need tip.”

Vail GoPro Mountain Games

When Columbia Sportswear reached out to the #omniten several months ago to ask if we wanted to participate in the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, I actually took a pass. It was going to fall closely on the heels of school getting out and I wasn’t really sure what my plans were. After Amanda headed on to Denver and the airport on a Thursday, Sprocket and I found ourselves in Breckenridge with no real plans until Monday in De Beque. As I saw Tweets from Dave and Aleya about how excited they were for the games and realized that Vail really just was on my route, I decided that Sprocket and I needed to go join the fun.

Vail Mountain Games Bound

After another quick McDonald’s bathroom cleanup in West Vail, Sprocket and I started checking out the games. I occasionally tortured him with photo opportunities:

Sprocket and Bear statue

I’ve been to dog friendly events but this one really took the cake. Sprocket came everywhere with me. He met other dogs, which isn’t always his favorite as pictured here but is SO GOOD for him since most of the time it was people interaction (his favorite).

Dogs at GoPro Mountain Games

We checked out the rafting competition where SP was super sad that I wouldn’t let him swim. (Snowmelt season is a really hard time to be a lab in Colorado!) He made “friends” with this really cute photographer that I swear I wasn’t trying to take a photo of (no, really, I was trying for Sprocket and the water):

Watching the rafting competition. GoPro Mountain Games

Rafting competition

After the rafting competition, I met up with Dave and Shay. I’ve never met Shay in real life but we were both Stonewear Ambassadors at the same time and have been online friends for a couple of years. Dave and I were both #omniten Season 4 and have adventured in Park City and Jordan with Columbia plus he was part of the Ouray Ice Fest 3Up Party. Dave had signed up for the Citizen’s Bouldering Competition while Shay was his personal photographer (Check out Dave’s account of the games!). Sprocket and I were pretty much just along for the ride.

Photo: Shay Skinner, Skin Poetry Photography

After we all met up and did a bit of wandering, it was time for dinner. I doubt I’ll find myself in Vail all that often but the truffle oil tots and some super delicious margaritas at Bully Ranch did not disapoint. The restaurant (but mostly Dave and Shay) were super chill about us sitting outside in the rain so Sprocket could join. Then, because I’m an obnoxious dog mom, I kept Sprocket with us as we went to that evening’s concert. Sprocket was completely unconcerned about the commotion as long as he was safely in the circle between the three of us.

Vail Mountain Games Concert

Finally, it was bedtime and Sprocket and I headed off to the parking garage to cuddle in the Jeep:

Jeep cuddling

The next day, Sprocket and I were up early so we spent some time at Starbucks taking care of some blog stuff and catching up on Twitter before meeting up with Dave and Shay. We all headed to the climbing competition where we watched for awhile before hunting up breakfast.

Bouldering World Cup

Rain threatened but we were all having fun anyway:

#Tryingstuff #omniten

Playing in the rain

A bit later, I met up with Aleya and Tori and we all rendezvoued with Dave and Shay for Happy Hour in the VIP area and then headed off for pizza. That evening, we all headed down to the concert again (I let Sprocket head to sleep that time since I’m not sure he actually liked the experience.) The next day, Sprocket got to live out his dock jumping fantasy:

K9 Participant

He wasn’t really sure about that clear pool and didn’t quite live up to the showings he makes at lakes everywhere we go, but he certainly enjoyed himself. He even got so worked up waiting in line that he whined and barked with the best of the pros. Unfortunately, Dave and Shay were over at Dave’s climbing competition so I don’t have any photos of Sprocket and I in action but I really think he had a blast!

Sprocket in line for dock jumping

Hanging out with great friends is always fun and my #omniten friends are even more special. I can’t believe I almost passed up the chance to hang out and I’m so glad that I made it to hang out with this great crew:

Photo: Aleya Jean
Photo: Aleya Jean

GoPro Mountain Games wristband aftermath:

Aftermath of wrist bands

VIP entry was provided to me as part of Columbia’s #omniten program but as always, my experiences and opinions are my own!

Amanda Shires

Shortly after finding out I’d gotten the job in Ridgway, I found out Amanda Shires was playing at the Wright Opera House in Ouray. Shires plays the type of singer-songwriter alt-country music that I really love so I immediately bought a ticket.

Then, about four hours before showtime, things got even better when I learned that Jason Isbell, Shires husband, would be playing guitar. Isbell played in Telluride awhile ago and I was so bummed to miss out. (You should totally check out the Death, Sex & Money podcast Confessions of a Nashville Power Couple featuring Shires and Isbell; it’s awesome.)

Amanda Shires

The show was absolutely worth every penny and the really snowy drive home. Shires was so personable and entertaining and the venue was one of the most intimate I’ve ever attended a show at. (It almost reminded me of the Village Club Series at Bates.) Watching these two perform together was also amazing.

Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

If you ever get the chance to see Amanda be sure to go! The show will not disappoint.