Finishing Colorado

So life without the internet can be a little rough but it just shows how dependent our lives are on technology (says the girl tethering her phone at a hostel so I can finally update this).

Anyways, I just finished a 5 day work week of 56 hours so we though we deserved to go on a trip! Although I am currently in Utah, I will finish last week’s trip in Colorado. Also, I apologize that all  you get so far is Instagram pictures. I left my cable for my dSLR at home and I’ll post those + Lauren’s pictures later…

Anyways, to end our Colorado trip last week, we headed to the Great Sand Dunes National park where we went SAND SLEDDING!!!!

Omg, climbing those dunes are so tiring but so fun. Tip, lean back so the sled doesn’t dig into the ground and stop. Because an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outer force… so when the sled stops and you don’t you will eat it and roll down which I did a couple of times. Note – if you scream on the way down you will get a mouthful of sand.

NEXT – down the road was Zapata Falls. The ride up is only about three miles but it took FOREVER since its so rocky. The hike up there is less than a mile and when you climb up, you really can’t see the actual waterfall unless you walk in there and get your feet wet, which we did of course.

Like, you literally had to turn the corner and enter this little valley way and the temperature drops like 20 degrees and the water is freezing.

AND THERE WAS A GLACIER ON TOP still melting. OH man, it was sooo beautiful.

But then we finally had to go back… I love the ever changing scenery in Colorado. Mountains, sand, snow, green everything! I think our peak elevation of the drive was 10,000 feet.

But side note, we tried to go to this beer house thing that we found on roadside america but it was fail. Creepy, couldn’t get in.

OKAY going repelling tomorrow! BYE

This part of the United States is underrated

I am loving my rotation/vacation. Just this whole day, both Lauren and I had this huge smirk/smile on our faces. Not only is our site awesome but our vacation is equally as awesome.

So Durango is SO CUTE. And so hip.

So we ate crepes at Michel’s Corner who is literally a French man who had to “close down” his shop for 15 minutes to go grab fresh basil and then proceeded to let us smell his wonderful basil.

Lemee tell ya, that pulled pork and goat cheese crepe was bomb.

The town is full of bikers, cute houses, and cute thrift stores.

Srsly, this ad.

And the view from the town is so nice.

They also have this nice trail that runs along the river, I think the Animas River/Trail and its such a nice walk and lots of bikers. I think we might come back to Durango for a day trip and some rafting or tubing. And then we went to a bakery called Bread and bought some bread. And off to the road again.

As we were driving from Durango to Alamosa, we seriously had the hugest smile on our faces. While everyone else is on rotation, we were driving through this.

and this

and then we stopped at the side of the road to hike a little bit on this trail – supposedly the longest trail in the US

and I couldn’t believe my eyes – snow in May

ohmyygooshhh all you suckers out there on rotation, ya missed out for not applying to this one

I mean, no matter what, the view is incredible

We even stopped by a Wildlife Refuge and had a snack and watched some birds. No pics until Lauren uploads them though.

Anyways, we just spent most of our day loitering, exclaiming at the beautiful sites, and driving. Though we did end up watching Dark Shadows at the DRIVE IN THEATER.


NBD, just a drive in theater and some mountains.

And as we waited for our movie to start, Lauren and I had a romantic moment while watching the sunset.

Life is beautiful.

FIRST WEEK DONE! Back to vacation! mode!

So my first week of rotation has been awesome. My preceptor is great, the site is great, I’m learning things and I can answer questions! I got to witness some intense stuff in the OR yesterday and answered a drug ID question to make a recommendation to a doctor. WE MADE A RECOMMENDATION!! WE KNOW THINGS.

The best bonus is the schedule – since we work 12 hour days (which go by surprisingly fast) we get four days off this week which means VAACATTIONNN! AND INTERNET!!

So the first thing we did was drive from Shiprock, NM to Durango, CO. I got pulled over for speeding but only got a warning (phew, that would’ve been my third speeding ticket this year…) to hop onto the STEAM ENGINE TRAIN that goes through the mountains to a little mining town Silverton.

You know those scenes in the movies where the train cuts through the mountain and its beautiful and like green everywhere yet snow on top of the mountain? Yeah, it was exactly like that.


Like it went right to the edge and it was so pretty.

Which led us to a small, quaint town called Silverton. Tbh, I can’t tell if some of these are original buildings or is it just some big cute tourist trap.

The one cool thing about this town is the history and if you read about it, you can see like what part of the town was designated for the “whores” and what line they couldn’t cross. Even the cemetery is separated and the prostitutes have their own section – we wanted to go to this but the walk was too far.

Then we ate at Silverton Brewery and ate the worse yet most delicious lunch ever. My stomach hated me that day. Poutine fries with a twist (green chili added), beer battered onion rings, a bowl of green chili and a bowl of red chili.

And we each had a port which was delicious.

We only had two hours in Silverton before the train took us back so we just walked around and enjoy the weather – since the town is nestled between two mountains, the view is amazing. One side the mountain is all green, the other has a snow cap, it was just like the movies and my brain couldn’t process.

Overall – it was a cute train ride and town but I’m not sure if it was $90 fun. It does last the whole day (we left at 9:15, didn’t get back till almost 6:30) though you have the option of taking the bus back if you want to get back faster. But its also because we were pretty much driving through the mountains in NM to get to Shiprock and I felt like that view was just breathtaking and this didn’t amount to it. Although, maybe if it was winter and there was snow, it would’ve been cooler.

Then it would look like this

And I could pretend I was on the Hogwarts Express in the wintertime going to Hogsmeade to get some butter beer…

BUT speaking of HP, the highlight of my work week was when I answered a question right and the pharmacist nearby (not my preceptor) yelled out, TEN POINT FOR GRYFFINDOR. I felt smart.

Anyways, we spent the rest of the evening just going to different breweries in Durango since we both love beer (TY LAUREN FOR BEING COOL). NEXT on the agenda – SAND SLEDDING IN THE GREAT SAND DUNES.

Day trip to Mesa Verde

So Monday was our first day at the IHS. Since it is a government site, there is TONS of paperwork involved so that’s all we did from 8 till 4. Little did we know that we would have the next two days off so we decided to take a day trip with the other students from VCU that are doing their ambulatory care here.

So little did I know, Colorado is just like 15 miles away from here -the nearest town being Cortez, CO right by Mesa Verde National Park.


Not very colorful – and my cheerleader pose is me mocking the VCU girls

MAY 22, 2012
The drive to the entrance of the park takes about an hour than its another 30 minutes or so of curvy roads until you reach the visitors center.


The drive up is always nice

From there, you can see the different trails you can hike throughout the park (like the Petrified Forest) and there are two tours you can pay – Cliff Palace and Balcony House which are only $3 each.

So what this place is famous for are all the architecture that remain intact. These houses date back from 900 AD and remain in great condition today. The two tours we took allowed us to walk among the villages that are strategically placed among the cliffs which create a natural shelter to cool and protect them. Each place requires you to take some steep stairs, narrow passageways, and climb some tall ladders in order to get there.

The first place we went to was Cliff Palace. This was the less difficult of the two and it is nestled right in a cliff.


Cliff Palace

Balcony House was the more difficult one, which you have to climb a 32 foot ladder (shorter than it sounds) and a bit longer of a hike. Our tour guide for this one was fantastic though. His name was David Franks and he was part Indian and was just so knowledgeable about the history of the place and was just full of jokes. He was just so passionate about the history and connecting with people in the past and it was just awesome. Did you know corn is a man made plant? That it wouldn’t exist without man since it was cross pollinated? I haven’t looked this up yet to see it was true (by look up, I mean Google) but I don’t care, I’m going to believe it anyways.

But keep in mind, you’re at an elevation of 7000+ feet so those short climbs got us WINDED. I wasn’t sure if I was super out of shape, but I’m going to blame the elevation instead.

The drive up was really nice and the tours were worth it – so cheap! We decided to head home after that but stopped by a local winery right outside Cortez – Guy’s Winery.

So this Winery is about 4 miles from the main road and then you have to drive up a bumpy dirt road and a man made bridge of wood over a creek to get there. We weren’t too sure how legit this was, but as we entered the house, there was this sweet little old lady pouring wine for 2 other couples. Pretty sure this was her house and they operate the tasting right outside the kitchen. Anyways, it was wonderful – we got to taste every single wine she had and left happy. Each of us bought a couple bottles each. The group’s favorite was the Sweet Merlot, the Port, Chardonny and the Rose. I think all four of us bought a bottle of the Sweet Merlot.

Anyways, tomorrow is FINALLY our first day over at IHS. Four days in a row, 12 hours each. Our next trip includes Durango, the Great Sand Dunes (SAND SURFING!!!!!!), hike to Zapata Waterfall, Aztec Ruins.

Not too many pictures this time – no internet is hard. Expect a large photo dump later.

From Amarillo to Santa Fe to Shiprock

Alas! We made it to Shiprock, NM and its a lot different that I thought it would be. I guess I secretly imagined it’ll be a hospital in the middle of some sand right next to a giant rock but its actually a little town with fast food restaurants and grocery stores so its not exactly out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe just a little bit.

MAY 19, 2012 –
Anyways, last time I checked in here, we ended with horse back riding at Palo Duro Canyon which was just alright. The next morning we took a jeep tour of Palo Duro that lasted about an hour and a half. Due to the rain, none of the other trails were available so we didn’t get to go on the longer tours, but it was still worth it. One of the reviews gave this place (Elkins Ranch) a one star exclaiming “The roads are so bumpy! These trails are not meant to be ridden on – they seem so dangerous and close to the edge!” Uhm. That sounds AWESOME. So we went and it was awesome. The parts of the canyon we saw from this tour went up to 800 feet and the tour guide was pretty great with all her stories.

Elkins Ranch had the jeep tours

Palo Duro Canyon

In conclusion about extra things to do at Palo Duro Canyon:

jeep tour > horse back riding

The parts of the canyon you see with the horse back riding (the one outside the national park at least) was only about 200 feet deep so it wasn’t too awesome. Someone mentioned horse back riding within the park but I’m not too sure about that. We also didn’t drive into the park, but its suppose to be pretty spectacular.

After that, we finally headed to New Mexico

As we were in New Mexico, we would go off the freeway to go see some parts of the historic route 66. Its pretty cool to see all the old signs back from the day it was poppin’. Its hard to imagine that it was only over a little 50 years ago that this place was a hustlin’ and bustlin’ yet its so dilapidated now. This was probably our longest stretch of continuous driving though we did stop in Tucamcari to eat at Rockin Ys and it was delicious. Lauren got the chicken fried steak and I got the chicken fried chicken and they were both divine. But next stop was Madrid, NM.

So apparently this use to be a ghost town but local artists decided to take over. So now its considered a local arts community squeezed up in the mountains right on Turquoise Trail. (Turquoise discovered, lots of towns popped up, once turquoise was gone, lots of ghost towns). I mean, it was cute and worth a stop for most people, but everything was sorely over priced and not all original artists. The only good thing that came out of this place was I bought some really awesome boots.

Then we went to Santa Fe which is home of the oldest Catholic church and some famous staircase built by St. Joseph. Cute town with a nice downtown square, nice weather, and has a microbrewery. Very short stop, but its just another cute town with stuff to take pictures of[\. Speaking of which, we found this cool sculpture art thing and of course we had to stop.

MAY 20, 2012

Functional art – that is one of my new goals in life. I mean EVERYBODY needs a mailbox, right?

I look so happy…

Giant Lizards! Not so functional

And that was the start of day 3 – more weird sculpture picture taking.

Then we went to the Shidoni Foundry which was just a nice, outdoor sculpture gallery. On Saturdays you can see them pour metal so that would be worth a stop.

And off we went to the Flea Market which was about 10 minutes outside of Santa Fe. So there we met this cool guy who goes by the name of Jimmy Hornfeather. READ THIS PART OF THE STORY.

So Jimmy is nomad who hails from California. One day Jimmy was fishing and pulled out to what he believes is some type of horn that is kinda in a shape of a feather. So he finds something sharp and kinda defines it more and shapes it to a feather. One day someone sees his feather necklace he is wearing and asks him to make him one. Jimmy said no, how in the world am I going to get more horn. So this guy comes back with a whole rack of horn and tells him if he carves him a feather, he can have the whole rack. And this is how he started his feather carving business. Now Jimmy travels all around the states, no cell phone, no website, and teaches people how to carve these feathers. And of course Lauren asks if he’ll teach her and soon she walked away with a half made feather and a file for her to finish on her spiritual journey. And there’s a song about him! That we found! That I can’t get to right now because there’s no internet…

We then headed to Chimayo which is known as the Lourdes of America. Note – remember to take the scenic route because the view is amazing. The internet isn’t working right now, but from what I remember, I believe a priest discovered a cross in the dirt then this dirt had healing powers. So people all over come to be healed, either physically or spiritually. There’s a little spot where people have left their crutches and casts that they didn’t need anymore and also a wall of pictures of loved ones that you want to be prayed for. They also let you bring containers or baggies to take some of the dirt back home (like bringing water home from Lourdes) so I brought some home for my mom! Right when we got there, mass was about to start so we stayed and it was beautiful. I mean, look at this place – this is where mass is held over there.

So after that, we took a slighter longer route to go find the Echo Amphitheater which is off 54 N, right above Abiquiu. The drive was worth it – this part of the drive, including getting to Chimayo was just breath taking. So for those going to Shiprock, head 54 N and take the long way! But don’t go to CO, you have to head west at some point too. I mean, check this out.

Anyways, the Echo Amphitheather – its this beautiful, natural amphitheater and a great pit stop. You just stop by and take some stairs up to it. You can also take the off beaten path to the side which is we did to take those pictures of us.

Echo Amphitheater

The off beaten path led us to this side of it

And then we FINALLY headed to Shiprock, our final destination. We will eventually visit the actual Shiprock later. Internet is horrible so as I post this, I actually just got back from a day trip in Colorado so expect more soon :)

DAY TWO

So, traveling through north Texas isn’t exactly the world’s most exciting trip but you can always find cool things when you look for them. So we ended last night in Wichita Falls which actually no longer has real waterfalls. I mean, they use to have real waterfalls, but since people complained they didn’t have a waterfall they decided to make a fake one. But that’s not the cool part of the city – the coolest thing about this city is that they are home of the world’s smallest sky scraper.


So why is this considered the world’s smallest sky scraper?  In 1919, this dude was paid to design a 40 story building. He drew up plans/prints, got them approved, and they were sent to a construction company. Well, I guess the construction company actually read the blue prints because they happen to notice the decimal point that showed it was a 4.0 story building rather than 40.  Also, the design were in inches rather than feet so the stories are actually a lot smaller than most stories. The city tried to sue, but alas, it did not work since it was clearly stated in the design. Instead, people followed the con artist around to make sure his other plans would not succeed. The city tried to tear the building down, but some lady made her rich husband buy the building just because it was so darn cute. Also, according to the sign on the door, they have guided tours Mon – Sat 10:30 till 5:30 for those interested.

As Lauren puts it, Con artist unknowingly becomes an artist. Awesome.

So while driving along, our handy dandy smart phones told us we were about to pass a ghost town named Sunshine Hill. We Googled mapped it and it said it was on an unknown road so of course we had to go find it. So we were just driving happily along, found ourselves pretty much out in the middle of nowhere with fields and fields of oil rigs. As we arrived to our destination (according to Google maps) there was nothing there. So fail.

We kept driving but couldn’t find it so we decided to chug along to Electra, Tx (population – just over 3000)  to go visit their Electric Plant tour (not exactly sure what Lauren intended..) but when we got there we found it was stripped down. But never give up! So we went to the Chamber of Commerce and soon got a private tour of their run down theater that they were trying to renovate.

We got to hear how the city grew, history of the building, and how they were trying to renovate it. We even got to hear how the neighboring town got built and how people had oil rigs in their backyard because someone forgot to buy the mineral rights of the town.  Maybe I’m a nerd, but I kinda loved it. I love hearing history straight from the source, how she went to the theater and who owned it and who everyone was scared of. We got to walk on stage of the theater and see the work in progress even though it was closed. Moral of the story? Talking to strangers is awesome.

More of the theater

Next was to take a detour to the Devil’s Rope Museum which is off of historic Route 66 (Google it if you don’t know what it is!).


It was actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be! This place is probably only entertaining for those who think everything is cool.

And finally we arrive in Amarillo, Tx.  Just know there’s this rich, eccentric millionaire named Stanley Marsh who paid to have AWESOME art installations and signs through out the city.

Like these Cadillacs in the ground that you can spray paint. Then they wipe them clean (replace the hoods, spray them white idk) every once in awhile so everyone gets to play on it.

Cadillac Ranch

Or you know, these giant legs. (that we had to jump over the gate for…)

And finally, we made it over to Palo Duro Canyon which claims to be the second largest canyon in Texas. We had some guided horse rides that lasted about an hour and a half ($40) and it was pretty neat. I’ll decide how much I like it after we go on our jeep tour tomorrow. Also just realized I don’t have anything to upload my pictures from my dSLR but maybe that’s a good thing…

And then our night ended with home made food at our friend/classmate’s Jessica’s house + not having to pay for a hotel. SWEET! TY Jessica and southern hospitality.

Speaking of hotels, if you plan on doing a road trip this summer, use the hotels from choicehotels.com because with every two night stay, you get a $50 gift card for gas or shopping!

DAY ONE – Bubble Boy Exhibit and the Texas State Prison Museum

It hasn’t actually really hit me that I’m done with classes and people’s lives may or may not be at my very own hands soon. I think to myself, have I really learned a lot these past three years? Do I  really know what I’m doing? Will I be able to regurgitate all these guidelines I once had memorized for tests and will I really be able to make a sound, clinical judgement?

It probably hasn’t hit me yet because right now I’m in VACATION! mode! So today ends day one of our road trip and very long day. Starting with orientation bright and early at 8 am and now sitting in my hotel room in lil ole Wichita Falls, Lauren and I have lots of fun plans ahead of us. But anyways, what did we do so far?

First, we decided to visit the fifth ward of Houston and this fancy lil place

The Fifth Ward Jam – Houston, Tx


The Fifth Ward Jam is a public art installation by the Houston artistic team of Dan Havel and Dean Ruck. Pretty cool – Houston has cool stuff too.

Shenandoah, Texas: Boy in the Plastic Bubble Exhibit

Although we thought it would be a bigger exhibit, it was actually just in the Shenadoah welcome center. So everyone knows the story of bubble boy from the movie, so here I actually got to read a little bit more about the real bubble boy, aka David. There, we got to watch a short tear jerker video that his mother made talking about his life. A very somber start to our trip.

NEXT

The TexasState Prion Museum – Huntsville, Tx

This was actually really, really, really cool. There was lots of interesting stories and neat things from the prison. Take really, really, really cool very loosely because we’re the two girls who are super excited to see THE TINIEST SKY SCRAPER EVER tomorrow.


Hipster prisoner


Its a saw blade! Its ginormous.


Drawn by a schizophrenic inmate who claimed had no artistic ability


Prisonopoly made secretly by an inmate


Chess set made of soap!

Anyways, there wasn’t much stuff after that besides little brown signs that said Historical Marker.

WAIT ….historical marker?? I wonder whats so…. historic?

We read the word cemetery and looked around and couldn’t find it. The grass was pretty long so we both put on our boots to go walk in the grass… Lauren was pretty amused because there were TONS AND TONS of crickets so when you walked they just jumped everywhere. But then we realized the cemetery was nowhere near and saw a train rush by instead.

But Lauren said it the best. Its awesome that somewhere out there, someone felt the need to say – hey, this his history/important – lets make this plaque to honor person/family or what not. Like, how does one become a historical marker? I think its Lauren’s secret goal in life.

So whats next? How bout the world’s smallest skyscraper? Horse back riding into the sunset? Jeeping it at Palo Duro Canyon? Blue Grass Festival? How bout ALL OF THE ABOVE – (side note, I hate type K questions)