During the last weekend of July, our very good friends, the Keiters, came to visit us at the Great Sand Dunes. This was the time we were going to celebrate their son’s eighteenth birthday and my eighteenth birthday, even though neither of us would be eighteen yet.
We were at the park a few days before they got there, but when they did arrive, the park seemed so totally different from when it had just been me.
During the week, we played several rounds of Ticket to Ride. We also played Endless Index, Apples to Apples, Hand and Foot, Deer in the Headlights, and we threw around a frisbee a couple of times.
Joel had gotten his hair cut recently (OMG, short hair on Joel? Yes, yes, short hair on Joel. It is rather shocking), and as a ‘consolation prize’, as he put it, he gave me a lock of it. I like to braid it now and again.
The Keiters had two hammocks that Joel strung up by the picnic table in their site. All of us spent some time out there, more or less giving each other equal turns in the hammocks. When we were out there, we played Would You Rather?
I also got to watch ‘The Force Awakens’ for the first. I am infatuated with BB-8. Just sayin’. The droids are so cute.
We went out to the Great Sand Dunes twice. I had never gone sand-boarding before. I teamed up with Emily the first few times I went down. We crashed once, but only once.
The first day we were out there, we practiced on a bunny slope. Joel goaded me into going down a bigger hill with him. That was fun.
The second day we were out, we went at night, instead of in the morning. We reached the hill we were going to set our base at, and Joel said, “Hey, I’m going to up there and go down that bigger hill. Do you want to go with me, Miranda?”
I looked up at the big hill he was talking about. It was very big by my standards, and I calculated that it would take me at least fifteen minutes to get to the top, all for a five second slide.
“Maybe,” I mumbled.
“The real question is,” Joel continued, “Are you going to regret not going up with me tonight?”
“Fine. I’ll go with you,” I agreed.
We walked up, him carrying the board like he had agreed to do. Since between all of us we only had three boards, Joel and I took the smaller one. He agreed to go down first and walk it back up to me, which was very nice, considering how hot it was and how long and steep the climb was.
Joel made it up before I did, but not by much. I was surprised at how quickly behind him I was.
To steer the sand-board, we were taught to drag our hands behind us, digging one into the sand farther if we wanted to turn that way. We had to wear gloves to go down this hill, because if we didn’t, we would get blisters on our fingers.
Joel went down first, and he made it all the way, just rolled off at the bottom. He carried the sand board back up to me, gave me a few pointers, and then I went down.
It was a great ride. I was wearing the GoPro, and as I went over a little hill at the end of the ride, it fell off, as did both of my gloves. I kind of crashed on that one, but Joel says it was at the end of the ride, so it doesn’t really count as crashing.
Joel ran down, realized he had forgotten his gloves, went back up for the THIRD time, and came down to me.
If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I would have gone up that hill for the five second ride. I might have moved the board over a little bit so I didn’t go over the little hill that caused me to fall off, but that’s it. It was so much fun.
Joel and I walked back down to the grownups. I boarded down a longer, smaller slope that led me to the base of the hill we were stationed on. The walk up was not too hard.
We stayed out for a while, hoping to stargaze, but it was too cloudy to see anything, so we trooped back.
To celebrate our birthdays, I gave Joel a build-on-brick mug, which is a mug with LEGO shaped balls on the outside, so you can build on the mug using LEGOs.
I got a green fountain pen from Joel, which I love. It is my favorite pen. Kristin gave me a drawing of a dragon that looks like me, and a painting of mermaids. Kristin and Emily teamed up to give me an art therapy journal, which is really cool, and a small notepad with the quote ‘Not all who wander are lost’ on it.
We had a ‘mixed-up dinner’, which is always fun. In a nutshell, a mixed-up dinner is where you get a menu and a course list. The menu does not have food on it. For example, our menu had ‘Ticket to Ride’, ‘Firefly’, ‘Would You Rather’, and other games on it. Each item stands for a different food, but you have no idea which is which. So you write down four items per course - there are three courses - and then you have to deal with what you have each course.
Emily got slices of zucchini, but no fork, so she carefully ate them by spearing them with the end of her knife.
I got a salad, complete with dressing, that I had to eat with my fingers.
Joel got dressing, but no salad. He dipped his watermelon into the ranch dressing, and said that it was ‘actually not too bad.’
Mixed-up dinners are always fun to do.
We watched ‘Zootopia’ that night. The girls had given it to Joel for his birthday.
I was sad to see them go the next day, but I knew I was going to be. It always happens. It just makes it that much better when we meet up together again.