The Great Big Ramsey Spring Break Adventure 2015 – Part 2

March 2015

So…good news! We made our flight to Denver on Tuesday and Zach and I both agreed that this airport would have been really fun to be stuck in for 5 1/2 hours! There was an upper level that was just a bunch of empty space for people to walk or run around and the airport was virtually empty – especially when compared to Chicago! Plus they had a TCBY – remember that place?

This was a cool plane hanging from the ceiling…

Thankfully we got into SLC without a hitch this time and were happily reunited with our luggage!


By the time we got our rental car and arrived at the hotel it was 5pm. Les Mis started at 7:30pm and we were to be at will call at 7pm to get our tickets. Did I also mention that the theater was an hour away?? So in record breaking speed we took showers and jumped in the car. We grabbed something to eat quick in a drive-through (I’m embarrassed to admit that it was McDonalds!), and arrived at the theater. The building was very small and unassuming. If you didn’t know it was a theater you would have no idea from the outside, save from the large Les Mis sign, of course.


The theater was small and set in the round with about 250 seats. I had never seen a show in that format so I was excited to see it. I was also so hoping that Mike and Zach would like it!

You can see here the entrance to the backstage area.

There was seating around 3 sides of the stage.

Our seats were not together, but that didn’t matter for a theater this small. Before the show started they requested that everyone stay in their seats for the duration of each act because actors and large pieces of scenery would be coming down the aisles. I had wondered how they would do that! They did it seamlessly, however, and stayed in character the entire time. Well, the show was amazing. We felt like we were a part of the show with the actors being like 25 feet away. They were so talented and had gorgeous voices. Plus I just love the music in Les Mis. At intermission I was anxious to hear how Z and M liked it so far and they said they liked it! The second act was equally awesome and as we exited past the actors I could barely look at them (I have a problem with being star struck), but managed to say “good job”. Mike was having full conversations with some of them! I was cracking up! We talked about the show almost the entire way back to the hotel. I was pleased as punch that the boys enjoyed it so much!! For me, the trip was well worth it already! Mike read that the season tickets for this theater were $30/piece…for like 6 shows! What a bargain! Note to self: find a theater in the round in Cleveland.


After we dropped Mike off at the office, Zach and I headed out to go hiking. I had done some research about popular trails, but, of course, the pictures on the websites were all taken during the summer! Zach randomly picked one called “Donut Falls” and so I set the GPS for that one. According to the website that trail was considered “moderate”. As we drove to our destination I quickly figured out that we were going to be driving up the mountain…like straight up! We made out last turn and we still had 9 miles to go to get to the trailhead! I was very glad to be driving because I think I would have been nauseous if I was a passenger. It was a beautiful drive up the mountain – what I could notice beyond watching the road and my white knuckles gripping the steering wheel! We finally got there and took in the view!






I cut our mountain hike a little bit short because I just felt like we were unprepared for a snowy hike (read: Zach was unprepared with shorts and basketball shoes on with no tread). Plus it seemed pretty steep and icy in places and I just felt irresponsible going forward like that and not knowing the area. So we set out to find a trail that was a little bit further down the mountain.

We stopped at a place with a really beautiful waterfall and explored a bit…


There were some people who had just finished rappelling the mountain…

An old mine…

This trail also looked a little too treacherous for amateur hikers like us so I looked up an “easy” trail and we went there (much to Zach’s chagrin).

Ensign Peak – actually was set up against a residential neighborhood behind the capital building in Salt Lake City.

Our destination!

Cool monument


The view from the top

The monument from the top…proof we got there!

The Salt Lake in the distance


Zachary far ahead of me

Beautiful area – the hike was designated as “easy”, but it was a great workout. Somehow I think “easy” in Ohio is different than “easy” in the SLC area!


After our hike we had lunch near the City Center at the Lion House (home built by Brigham Young) and then shopped a bit at the City Center. We finished our afternoon at the pool at the hotel before picking Mike up from the office. That night we just had pizza and went to bed early. Just a half day more and then time to fly home!

Zach and I had a short time on Thursday as we had to catch our cab to the airport at 1:45pm. So, we took public transportation to the city for lunch so Mike could take the car. They do food trucks on Thursdays so I thought that would be fun to do.


Zach was really tempted with this one, but ultimately decided on grilled cheese instead…it had to be cheese!


Apparently this was the truck to go to! The line started forming before 11am! We didn’t have tons of time or else I would have waited to try it. It was some sort of asian noodle bowls.

Plain Jane grilled cheese

I got mine with bacon – why not, I’m on vacation!

After lunch we hopped back on the train and went to Temple Square for the free tabernacle organ recital. I went to it last time I was in SLC and it is phenomenal. It is just 30 minutes, but gives you a flavor of the range of the instrument. Amazing! It was built in the 1860’s and has 11,623 pipes. It shook the seats!


Then we just walked around the square a bit and took some pictures from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith building:


The temple – this particular building is reserved for Mormon’s only, but there is a model of it with a cutaway in the visitor center to get an idea of what it is like inside.


Beautiful floral arrangement in the lobby of the building

Family sculpture in the city center

We got our cab to the airport and arrived home very late, but safely. We had a near miss in Baltimore when we literally had 10 minutes to get to our gate and on our plane to Cleveland. Oh, and Zach’s phone was dead so he didn’t have access to his boarding pass! Ugh. Luckily we made it – just a few gates away and the staff printed off another boarding pass for Zach and all was well. We just had to have a little stress to round out our trip home! Even though it was disappointing to have about 1 day and a half cut short from our trip, all in all we had a great time just being together. So there ends another Ramsey style adventure!!!

The Great Big Ramsey Spring Break Adventure 2015: Part 1

March 2015
Well, our story all started towards the end of February with Mike announcing that his trip to Salt Lake City had been finalized for the week of Zach’s spring break in March. After my initial panic a plan began to form in my mind. Rather than figure out what to do to keep Zach occupied while I went to work for that week, why don’t we all go?! Mike had a free ticket to use so soon it became a done deal. We would all travel together on Monday and Zach and I would return late Thursday night and Mike would return on Saturday.

We had an early flight on Monday morning so we were up at 3am. After an uneventful flight to Chicago we had to circle the airport a bit because they were clearing the runway of snow (that should have been our first clue to the adventures that awaited us!). We landed to find out that our flight to SLC was delayed for an hour (9:30am). I was actually okay with that because I wanted to use the yoga room that I found at the airport. Pretty cool! They had yoga mats and wipes for travelers to get their namaste on before or after flights. I spent about 30 minutes in there.



Almost right after I got back to the terminal the announcement was made that our flight was now delayed until 11:40am. They explained that our plane was diverted to Dayton (of all places) because it could not land because of extremely low visibility due to snow and they hoped it could get to us by that time. At this point Mike was getting a little frustrated. He and Chicago have a history. A few years ago he was stuck in the city for 2 days due to airline cancellations. We took turns walking up and down the people mover throughout the people mover just for something to do. The airport started getting really crowded at this point as many flights were delayed. The adventure was started to get old, but the worst was yet to come…




Close to when we have should started boarding, the next announcement came saying the plane was delayed until 2pm. At this point Mike was ready to go home. I tried to stay positive and suggested we go have lunch. I have never seen an airport so crowded – people all lined up and down the people movers and every seat taken. Not only were we bored and frustrated, but we were just plain old tired! Mike and I had made the poor decision of staying up to watch our show the night before thinking “we can sleep on the plane”. Ha! The next two announcements came close together. First, they said the plane would depart at 2:40pm and then about 20 minutes later made the final announcement that the flight was CANCELLED. Crud. They told people to come up the desk or call the 800 number to reschedule the flight. Since the line at the desk was extremely long already, Mike got on the phone with Southwest and I started calling hotels. The hotel was the easy part. There were no other flights going to SLC on Monday so we had to stay the night. The first flight out to SLC on Tuesday was at 6:40am, but as we were on the phone with them it got booked up! Mike was telling me there were no flights available at all except one that would get into SLC at 11:30pm the next day. He asked if I wanted to just go home. Heck no! I was really upset. I was bound and determined to get there! We had tickets to see Les Mis at 7:30pm so that was my benchmark. If we could just make that time I would still want to make the trip. Miraculously, a flight became available that was going to Denver at 10:40am and would land in SLC 4:15pm on Tuesday. SOLD! We booked that flight and headed up to ticketing to get new boarding passes. It was only then that I realized/learned that our checked luggage was not available to us. The ticketing agent said it was “in the bowels” of the airport and would be sent on the next flight to our destination. She saw my mouth drop open and said, “do you need something from your luggage”? The difference between want and need became clearer as she explained that we could get the luggage, but it would take between 1 and 3 hours for them to retrieve it for us (in the bowels). Um, no thanks. Oh, and remember how your mother always tells you to pack an extra pair of underwear in your carry-on? Yeah, about that. No such luck. Not only had we been wearing these clothes since 3am, but we would be wearing them until probably 3pm the next day AND did I mention I did a short yoga session in the airport? Yeah.

The good news was that we checked into a nice hotel and they were so nice to provide us with all sorts of toiletries. After a nice dinner I did my best to wash out some of my clothing in the sink and hoped it would be dry by morning. My jammies that night were a bath towel and a fleece sweatshirt. The boys didn’t seem phased by having to wear dirty clothes the next day. Well, for Zach such is life, right?! We turned the TV off at 8pm, thankful for full bellies and comfy beds and fell asleep hoping our luck would change the next day…

To be continued…

Reading Challenge – February 2015

I truly enjoyed the three books I read in February – all very different!

#5 – Category: Mystery or Thriller
Title: Mean Streak, by Sandra Brown
Completed: Feb 11, 2015
This book was a definite page turner. It was about a marathon runner who was attacked and left for dead on a trail in the woods during a long run. She is nursed back to health by a “dangerous” stranger, and just wants to get back to her husband, but soon realizes she doesn’t know who she can trust. This book is written with each chapter focusing on a different character so it keeps you on the edge of your seat!


#6 – Category: Book set in a different country
Title: The Things We Cherished, by Pam Jenoff
Completed: Feb 17, 2015
This book was mostly set in Germany and Poland and was about crimes that occurred during the Holocaust. This tragic love story was discovered and uncovered as two lawyers investigated and made the case to defend a gentleman in his nineties who was accused of crimes during this time period. The story was written with different voices and alternating between the past and present throughout the book. Very well written and another page turner and sad! I will for sure read this author again!


#7 – Category: Book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
Title: Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson
Completed: Feb 26, 2015
This book was so interesting! This book is a memoir of this wonderful chef, born in Ethiopia and then adopted by Swedish parents. It was so fun to read all about his life growing up as a boy in Sweden, cooking with his grandma, Mormor and being inspired by his grandma to love cooking early in life in a little village in Sweden! Throughout his career he traveled through Europe, Africa and really all over the world, before he settled in Harlem, NY where he still lives today. Not a page turner, but interesting and I’m glad I chose this one set in the place I want to visit someday – Sweden!


15 Races for 2015: Race #3: Flirt with Dirt 10K

Saturday, Feb 28
9am, -7 degrees at the start
Race 3: Flirt with Dirt 10K
Western Reserve Racing
Oak Hill Trail Head (Cuyahoga Valley National Park)

Race #3 was the toughest one yet! Another trail race in the snow! This was the longest trail race I’ve done to date and boy was I pooped! I think it was tough because I’ve been running so much on the treadmill these days because we have had such chilly weather. Plus, at lunch it is just more convenient to rip off some TM miles rather than spend 10 minutes just getting dressed properly for the weather! But my legs could really feel it during the race and my feet can feel it the day after! It is such a great workout because it feels like you are running in sand and you have to constantly balance and watch your step. I was just thankful it wasn’t icy!

Before race selfie

My run was okay. We got there about 5 minutes before the race started, but that actually worked in our favor because we didn’t have to wait in the freezing temps very long! Marilyn and I started out together, but thankfully she passed me a mile in because she is much faster and I wanted her to run her best race (more on that later!) The first part was really tough because I had forgotten how hard it was and I had to get used to running in snow again. At the beginning I felt like everyone and their brother passed me and I got a bit discouraged about that, I’m not gonna lie. “On your left, on your left”, was all I heard. I did find myself thinking “never again” during the race – in terms of running a trail race, but eventually I found my flow. There was one gigantic hill that was nearly impossible to run so I totally walked up that. Then there were a few other times when I decided to walk for a few seconds. Trails are not treadmills – for sure!

At around the half-way point and right about the time to walk up the big hill, I noticed I was seeing white around my eyes and I figured my eyelashes were frozen with icicles. So I had to stop and take a picture! That was very strange and had never happened before! I had to document!


There were also very beautiful parts of the course so I gave permission to take it all in and stop very briefly to snap a picture. I mean, why not, right?

Breathtaking long line of evergreens!



Finished! With our new running friend, Julie!

Bib and Swag

We got a cool smart wool cap. It is pretty thin, but is deceptively warm, I think. I have some other smart wool stuff that I love, so it is a good giveaway.

I got my race time results text just then and I was floored! I ran the race in 1 hour and 27 minutes! It usually takes me between 60-62 minutes to run 6 miles. Did I mention trails are different than treads or streets?! After we talked for a few minutes with Julie I was ready to go. The post-race chill-down was happening quickly given the balmy temp of 17 degrees. I am probably more chilly after the race in those cases because of the sweat/wet factor. So we took off since both Marilyn and I still had full days ahead. Well, it turns out we should have stayed! I learned later that afternoon that my fast friend, Marilyn, won first place in her age-group!!!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!!! They will most certainly mail her her medal and gift card, but I felt badly not being there for her to accept it and cheer for her – not to mention the pic with the medal! We will just have to do a reenactment later!

Me and “fast legs” Valencia!

So, another race in the books. Now to decide on race #4…