The Green’s picked me up at 9am on Sunday morning with bagels and Snapple. Why? We were driving to Truckee to go sledding. Katherine often comes up with schemes like this, finding some immediate reason to take advantage of a random snowing somewhere 4 hours away. Having nothing better to do, I agreed.
Stopping 4 times to get Starbucks and pee (apparently, no one saw the correlation) we headed up to the snow, spending the last half hour in deadlocked traffic, amidst hundreds of other people who apparently had the same idea as Kat. We finally made it to the sledding place at 1:30, only to find it packed with an array of cranky, pushy, unattractive people and their less charming children.
I’m not outdoorsy. I like the idea of the outdoors, I like the outfits and they way men somehow have much more respect for you and the concept of appreciating trees and hills and shit. But when push comes to shove, I find being cold, wet and uncomfortable while pretending to have fun more trouble than it’s worth.
Shawn waited in line to buy day passes while I entered the “warming hut”, sidestepping the wet Fritos and spilled hot chocolate made from packets of half-stirred powder.
“Katherine, I can’t feel my fingers.”
We looked out the window and examined our options. There were two “runs”, one with big inflated tubes you sit in and a mechanical rope which then pulls you and your tube to the top of a hill. Another run required an awkward plastic disk which you lugged to the top of a hill yourself. Obviously, the tube run looked more fun. But the line for the tube run was a good half hour, and to tube down that hill took about 30 seconds. We looked at Shawn, still in line waiting to get passes.
Agreeing that this was in no way worth it, we pulled Shawn out of line and having driven 4 hours to experience snow, we dove into huge piles of powder and wrestled with each other. “Okay. I’m done. We’ve spent 15 minutes in the snow. Let’s go find some ski lodge and get a goddamn drink.”
Lo and behold, a few miles down the road we found my new favorite place, The Rainbow Lodge. Dragging snow in with us, we wound our way back to the bar and settled in for Snugglers, the perfect peppermint patty blend of Schnapps and hot cocoa. This is the whole point of skiing, if you ask me. Crackling fireplaces, Swiss ski posters, old snowshoes on the wall, loud bar…and I could finally feel my fingers. Deciding the journey is more important than the destination, we headed back on the road in search of food, our only requirement being “ambiance.”
For reasons unknown, we figured the place to find this ambiance was Colfax, California. Colfax is weird, and not just in an old railroad, funky statues, old men unmoving on sidewalks kind of way. Colfax has kind of a creepy, undercurrent of mystery, not to mention a Mexican restaurant featuring “prime rib fajitas.”
We peed and perused a old time candy shoppe, shocked that they didn’t have fudge, and split for beautiful, historic Auburn. It was dark by the time we pulled into Downtown Auburn, and I could not have been more thrilled with the site that greeted us. Bootleggers Old Town Tavern and Grill (friendly fun, food and spirits) glowed with cozy warmth and a huge wine list, candlelit tables and cute servers, all surrounding a fireplace in the middle. “We’re eating here.”
“Yeah, we’re definitely eating here.”
Over wine, fondue, salads and steak, we toasted our find. We spent 8 hours in the car and 15 minutes in the snow, but as far as I’m concerned, our adventure could not have been more successful. I found a fabulous ski lodge with lots of drunks in the bar, a creepy, fudge-less, railroad hovel and Bootleggers Old Town Tavern and Grill, which was both friendly AND fun. Screw sledding and bring me another Snuggler…