Here we are already at the end of December! It was a pretty decent year for me as I finished my second bachelor’s degree, had good times with my friends and family and got to visit some of my favorite places. There were some stressful moments and I had a few doubts about being able to finish school, but it happened and I managed to have a few adventures while doing it.
In March I went to California for a few days to see my cousin and to experience my first WonderCon. We did a lot of new stuff; going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios for the first time, taking a WB Studio tour and exploring more of LA. All of it was amazing! It was such a fun trip and there is always something new to do in California. I definitely still have a bunch of things on my “to see in Cali” list!
In June I went to Las Vegas with my sisters, brother in-law, niece, her boyfriend and my two friends. It was my niece’s and friend’s first time so it was fun taking them to some of our favorite places and we managed to do a few new things as well. We stayed at the Paris, which is one of my favorite hotels on the strip, and although our weekend was plagued by plumbing problems in our bathroom, the hotel was still an amazing place to stay at. They have an amazing pool and the best brunch spot around at the Le Village Buffet. I like staying in the middle of the strip as some of my favorite casinos and things to see are close by, including the Bellagio and the Venetian. We went to the Titanic Exhibit at the Luxor, which not gonna lie was a little depressing, but pretty interesting and went to the Marvel Avengers Station at Treasure Island which is a cool interactive exhibit where you can see costumes and props from the Marvel movies. The Marvel exhibit is a must see for any fan and the fact that it was interactive made it pretty fun, plus there is a store with a ton of Marvel goodies to buy. Us girls had tickets to the Backstreet Boys show at Planet Hollywood our first night and it was such an amazing concert. The Axis at Planet Hollywood is a great venue and I loved the Vegas feel that the show had. On our last night we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris, which was scary as hell for me but had some amazing views!
Eating is basically my favorite thing to do in Vegas and I was glad to have travel companions that felt the same way! We wanted to try new places this time around, so we went to the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian and Hash House A Go Go at the Linq, which was amazing! I had heard good things about it and it definitely lived up to my expectations. We also made it to my East Coast favorites, Wahlburgers and Shake Shack at New York New York, both being just as good as their Boston and New York locations. So much good food, good company and doing new things made it another great Vegas trip!
In July my sister, nephew and I took a road trip to Montana for six days to attend a friend’s wedding. We spent a night in Missoula and a couple in Billings, attending all of the wedding festivities. We also went through Red Lodge, a neat little town with an amazing candy store and drove the Beartooth Highway to Silver Gate to spend our last night at a friend’s cabin. The highway was at times a little scary, but had some beautiful scenery. We had a fun time with friends we don’t get to see very often and managed to squeeze in some time at Yellowstone National Park. We had been once before with our parents when we were kids and it was even more amazing than I remembered it. We only had a day in the park and it was very busy so we didn’t get to see everything we wanted. We did manage to see Lamar Valley, Upper Falls, Canyon Village, the hot springs and a bunch of animals, including bears! We were talking about how cool it would be to see a bear and we ended up seeing five! It was exciting and definitely a highlight of the trip. I was also excited to find my Yellowstone Golden Ale! I had been searching for this beer since I had tried it a few years back on a different trip to Montana and there it was in the grocery store in Red Lodge! I love a good road trip and it was fun to spend time with my family and friends, plus taking my nephew to some very cool places.
My last trip of the year was to Denver to attend another wedding of some very good friends. This was my second time there and it was fun to go again with some of my best friends. There is a lot of fun stuff to do in Denver. Over the course of five days we managed to take the Coors Brewery tour where we got to sample some beer and learn how it is made, explored a little bit of Red Rocks and drove up to Estes Park to the Stanley Hotel where we had lunch. All must sees when in Denver! The wedding welcome dinner was held at Casa Bonita, famous because of South Park and it was such a fun experience. It seriously is just like everything South Park says it is with questionable Mexican food, an arcade, diving shows and Black Bart’s cave. The waiter even showed us Cartman’s table! My friends got married at a beautiful monastery and had an amazing reception with a ten course meal! It was one of the best weddings I have ever been to and it was such a wonderful weekend with friends.
Overall it was a good year and I am grateful for the places I got to go to. Now that I am done with school I am really excited to have more free time. The year is starting off with a week in Kauai and another trip to California in July, with hopefully checking off more of my Oregon bucket list items in between. Thank you to those who have read my stuff this year! Hoping for a happy, healthy and adventurous 2018!