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Tag: Denver

The road trip that was more road than trip

The day before New Years Eve Joel and I were sitting around the house. We had talked on and off about going to Denver to see our favorite band Five Iron Frenzy play with Project 86 and Showbread. Normally getting to Denver is a piece of cake as it’s only a free, three hour flight thanks to my benefits. The issue with my benefits is the free ticket is standby. Trying to fly standby around the holidays is a giant, stressful, ridiculous headache at best and completely impossible at worst. It just wasn’t an option. Then, when we calculated the cost of gas, car rental and hotels for the several days we’d need to stay to make the drive worth it we really couldn’t afford the trip.

Except Sunday rolled around and Joel kept sighing and commenting about how Project 86 was filming a music video and how it would have been so cool to go. Sigh. Mope. Sigh.

(I may be exaggerating the sighing. A tad.)

And then I’d had it. I could tell he was super bummed about not going so I just said screw it. We can take our own car. We only have to get a hotel for one night. AND my mom had given us a gas card for Christmas. Plus, we’ve done last minute, crazy trips before (hello, flying to Australia to see a movie) and never once have we regretted it. In fact, those are always our favorite memories.

It took a few hours of back and forth, should we shouldn’t we, convincing before I got Joel on board. And then we threw a few things in a suitcase and walked out the door.

After dropping the dog off at puppy Disneyland Joel’s mom’s house we were on the road by about 8pm.

And by 8:40pm I was sound asleep. In theory I was going to take a quick nap so I could keep him up when he was tired later but other than bathroom breaks I basically slept through until 10am.

Sleeping

Road trip companion fail.

Well rested and perky I took over driving for about 2 hours and Joel dozed for about 30 minutes. I try not to take the fact that he can’t sleep while I drive personally. *side eye*

We finally rolled into town around 2:30pm and crashed in our amazingly comfortable king sized bed in the suite we paid $8 for (thank you Hotels.com credit!) in as much time as it took us to rip off our gross travel clothes.

Two hours later we were up and at the show, me quite well rested after a billion hours of sleep plus a nap and Joel… well he had lots of caffeine.

Joel Red Bull

The show was fantastic.

FIF NYE

Joel and me NYE

It’s a bit weird for me going to concerts pregnant since I have to hang back. Normal me is right down front in the crowd rocking out but pregnant me has to worry about accidentally getting bumped wrong and speaker volume. I still had a lot of fun and everyone at our table had the bonus of someone to watch their phones and coats while they jumped around. They even bought me a drink to thank me.

drink

And by drink I mean water in a Bud Light cup. But sipping on it with my big belly amused me.

Since Joel has worked with Five Iron I’ve gotten to know the band members and they are just such genuine, amazing people. I’m so glad I can consider them not just a great band but also friends.

Leanor and me

We finally got back to the hotel around 2:30am, immediately requested a late check out and passed. out.

The drive back I was a much better travel companion. I also discovered that driving through Iowa and Nebraska is only fun if you’re unconscious. Barely any phone signal, lousy radio… luckily Joel bought me Adventures in Odyssey CDs for Christmas and between that and conversation we kept each other pretty well entertained.

roadtrip Joel and me

Seven months pregnant, 23 hours in Denver, 39.5 hours of traveling, 2,000 miles, 8 gazillion potty breaks.

Worth it.

When we were debating going I posted about it on Facebook and lots of people said to go because soon you’ll have a baby and you’ll never do fun things ever again.

Or maybe they were slightly less dramatic but that was the idea.

I know that is the case for some people but we are lucky enough to have some role models in our lives that have shown us that our life does not have to be over just because we reproduced. Obviously I expect our life will change. I’m not completely naive. However, when Baby Boy is a bit older I plan to go back to flying full time. I also plan to have Joel and Baby Boy come with me as often as possible.

Life is as much of an adventure as you make it. I want to raise my son to love adventure and plan to show him the world his whole life. It’s a big world, it’ll take awhile, so I’ll need to start early.

Denver Pics: part three

Our last (real) day in Denver  we had a lot of free time to just wander around.

First on the agenda was coffee because, well, coffee is awesome. It’s also necessary when you get several short nights of sleep in a row.

After the coffee we wandered around Denver and explored some pretty cool spots.

Like this huge record store. We didn’t buy any records but we did find some Atari shot glasses. Atari shot glasses people! How nerdy awesome is that?! We think they’re pretty sweet anyway.

Along the way we encountered an extremely friendly squirrel.

Look how close he is to me! I’m pretty sure that’s not normal.

We kept backing up so I’m not sure how close he would have gotten. He had an adorable little face but his behavior made me nervous. I’m hoping he was just raised by humans or something and not actually sick or rabid.

That evening we had a cookout with several members of the band, people who helped with the DVD and a few fans. Unfortunately our camera (which I got in 2004) got dropped and was being a jerk about taking normal pictures.

See? What the heck? I can’t wait to get a decent camera.

Despite the crummy camera the cookout was a lot of fun.

Yum.

Thanks to Kevin and Sarah for this picture.

I can’t say enough times how much fun the weekend was. Besides getting there and back it was super relaxing. We also made a bunch of really neat friends. I can’t wait until our next adventure. Wonder where we’ll go next….

Denver Pics: Part Two

If you missed part one make sure you check it out first.

After we finished the Coors tour we headed over to Scum of the Earth Church to set up for the Five Iron Frenzy DVD screening.

Our new friend Michael vacuuming like a champ.

My job was the popcorn. What’s a movie screening without popcorn after all?

On a side note, this church building is incredible. It was owned by an artist before Scum bought it and I have never seen anything quite like it. Here is a little tour:

The best part though? The bathroom. No joke guys, check this out.

Amazing, right? I want a bathroom just like this. Now I just need to find someone who can do this. Make sure you click on the photos to enlarge although our crummy point and shoot camera doesn’t do it justice.

Anyway, back to the screening.

Joel was very excited to be there.

Members of the band introducing the film.

It was a fun documentary to watch. I’m a fan of the band (although not nearly to the extent of Joel or other invitees there that night) so it was really neat to see the ins and outs of their journey. There are so many good memories associated with Five Iron Frenzy for me. All of them include Joel. We went to several shows together and although we weren’t “together” I definitely had a crush on him back then. It’s fun for me to remember being a 17 year old and driving out to Denver from Chicago for Five Iron’s final show. Joel and I flirted the whole way there and back. There was even a point where I thought he might kiss me. Instead he shoved snow in my face. Years later he told me he thought about kissing me then but decided against it at the last second… *grin* We wouldn’t become anything more than friends for more than two years but I like to think Five Iron was a part of that initial spark that later led to me marrying the love of my life. Seven years later the fact that Five Iron broke up still makes me a little sad. I’m so happy that I’ve made so many neat friends out of it though.

On that happy note I’m going to end this post. More pictures to come tomorrow.

Denver Pics: Part one

Minus the standby fiascos Denver was a perfect trip. I seriously had so much fun and met some really amazing people. I of course took a ton of pictures so I’m going to break them up into a couple of posts.

Beautiful view of Red Rock with Denver off in the distance.

Here we are. It was a beautiful day.

The group walking back to the car.

Next up on the agenda was a tour of the Coors brewery.

Off we go!

Cheesin’!

The tours were self guided. That’s why we have the awesome phone things up to our ears in most of these pictures.

Joel’s a nerd. “Scanning” his first sample of Coors.

In line for our samples. Which should I get?

This is probably one of the very few times you will every see a beer in my hand. It was free, how could I say no?

This was the first half of our first day. More pictures to come tomorrow!

Teaser

I am still utterly exhausted from our trip. I slept like a rock last night. By this afternoon I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open so I took a two and half hour nap. I’m still so sleepy. I was going to edit all my Denver pictures and get together a post or two but I just don’t have the energy, sorry. Here is a little teaser and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be rested enough to edit and post the rest of my pictures. This is my favorite picture from the whole weekend.

Sometimes the amount that I love him takes my breath away.

Dorothy can keep Kansas

Ugh, today was another fun filled* day of standby. We woke up at 3am so we could catch a bus to Denver airport. Our flight didn’t actually leave until 8:15 but since it was a Sunday the bus options were very early or too late. We had breakfast and hung around the airport for the better part of three hours. We got on our first flight no problem and slept like rocks the whole time. Unfortunately, that was where our non-rev luck ran out.

All the direct flights from Denver to Chicago looked impossible. Any major city I could think of was equally overbooked. The most open flight was to Kansas City (MCI). That also seemed like a good option because my mom happened to be at a conference in Kansas City so we planned to meet up and fly home together. The flights were a couple people oversold but with a little luck it could have been a quick, easy day. Ha.

Flight after flight went out completely full with a list of standbys left sitting at the gate. Almost all the standbys were paying customers who were trying to get where they were going sooner. For obvious reasons they get priority over employees. While I understand the how and why it was frustrating to watch people walk up and immediately get handed a seat while I was left behind. To be fair, there were some paying customers that didn’t even make it on and they were just as discouraged.

I really think it wouldn’t have been as bad if we hadn’t been at MCI. That airport is ridiculous. There isn’t one security check point like at most airports. At MCI each group of three or four gates has their own enclosed area with individual security. The only thing on the gate side are chairs, restrooms and a little concession stand. Not even a drinking fountain. If you’re hungry or thirsty you’re forced to purchase insanely high priced food and drink. I’m talking $8 for a small, mediocre sandwich or $2.50 for a 20oz bottle of water or pop. There are restaurants on the other side of security but no liquids over 3oz are allowed back in the gate area.

This is what I liked to call the zoo.

There was one poor lady with several rowdy kids. She freaked out on the CSR because there was no way for her to get a cold glass of water without dragging her kids and loads of thing back through security. Not easy to do for anyone much less a lady with screaming kids. In the end I think she was forced to exit because TSA rules are what they are, CSRs can’t break them any more than passenger can.

I wish I could have just stretched out across several chairs and taken a nap but that wasn’t possible because of the armrests.

The skinniest of persons couldn’t fit under those. Just plain cruel.

We ended up spending a grand total of 9 hours in that itty bitty little airport. Finally, we were called for the very last flight of the day. I’ve never been so happy to get a boarding card in my life. The flight was so quick it was almost a joke. Up and down in just about an hour. We literally could have driven home in the time we waited. I love my travel benefits but I’m probably going to think really hard before I go anywhere any time soon unless the flights are wide open. We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto and boy am I glad.

*and by fun filled I mean exhausting

Another great day in Denver

Another fabulous day. It’s still going though so this is going to be another quick post. Today’s highlights:

• Shopping in a sweet, huge record store
• Photo ops downtown Denver
• BBQ with friends

Tomorrow we attempt to fly home. I say attempt because the flights are f.u.l.l. We’re going to try some round about ways to get back to ORD but I’m mentally preparing for another long day. At least I’m not alone. Joel and I will keep each other company and I’ll try and be far more chill than I was last time. I can’t wait to get home and sort through all our pictures. I’ll post them as soon as I can. *smile*

In Denver

Despite the rough start, this weekend is turning out to be a blast. We’ve met some really fun, nice people and have had a great time hanging out with old friends and new. If you’ve never heard of Five Iron Frenzy you’re really missing out. They were a great band and their fans are some of the best in the world (I’m defintely not biased*)

Highlights of the day:

• Our amazing hosts. Seriously some of the nicest people ever.
• Lunch downtown Denver
• Visiting Red Rocks amphitheater
• Coors tour
• Screening of the Five Iron Frenzy documentary

I’m having so much fun and I don’t want to waste much of the time I have here with my nose in my phone. I plan on doing small updates this weekend and once we get back on Monday I’ll post a real update with pictures and everything.

*yes I am

Back in the states

I am beyond exhausted. After almost 12 hours of traveling I am finally at my sister’s house in California. It was a fairly easy trip. I was worried after I got out of customs at Denver airport because I only had an hour until my flight to Fresno was scheduled to leave. That wouldn’t have been so bad but I had to go through security again. I made it just in time though and it was a fairly non eventful flight. Sorry for all the quick updates. Hopefully I’ll have time to put together a real post in the next day or two. Good night!

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