You Only Live Once, This Is How I’m Doing It!

Tag: road trip

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.


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 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.


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.


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.

Oh so grand

Today was basically devoted to the Grand Canyon. How could it not be? One of the natural wonders of the world deserves at least a day. Of course we could have spent a week there and not seen and done everything. The day we spent there was definitely spectacular though.

The Grand Canyon was something I’ve wanted to see my whole life. I’ve been to Arizona and the vicinity more times than I can count and have never been. I’ve always thought that was beyond wrong. I have now officially corrected it. My life feels a bit more complete as a result.

I assume that if you grew up on planet earth you’ve seen a million pictures of this wonder. It doesn’t disappoint, it is every bit as breathtaking as it appears in pictures.

But I know what you really came here for is to see the pictures of us. Right?

Just say yes.

Well good because there are a bunch. And since this is my blog I’m posting my favorites. All of them. Be forewarned, there are a lot. But I saved the best for last.

Just after our first glimpse. Looking at this picture I can still feel the awe I felt as we came around the corner and the canyon came into view. My stomach dropped and all I could do was gasp. Absolutely stunning.

Just chilling on a rock. You know, at the Grand Canyon.

One thing I couldn’t get over was how close you’re allowed to get to the edge. No rails or bars prevent you from just walking off.

Or being an idiot and jumping off. I wonder how many tourists have plummeted to their death because they wanted to get a cool photo.

Not these idiots. At least not today.

Funny story about that picture. We clearly have not played with our camera enough because we could. not. get the timing down. What you don’t see are the 15 outtake photos of us in various stages of landing. Finally some dude came up and offered to take the picture for us. I think he was just tired of my sighs of exasperation.

Family photo.

Fact: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are more delicious at the Grand Canyon. Look it up.

Gratuitous close up of me.

And finally, the hands down best picture ever taken at the Grand Canyon.

Our love? A world wonder all its own.


More than OK

Remember how I mentioned we were making our own rules for this trip? Well shortly after we braved the sidewalk portion of Route 66 at dusk we decided to hop on the interstate and jump to Tulsa for the night. We then doubled back a bit this morning to visit The Blue Whale of Catoosa.

Because how can you miss a giant blue whale in the middle of Oklahoma?

I don’t know if you can tell by this picture but it was extremely windy. I originally just had the dress on but added the leggings after I stepped out of the car and promptly flashed my undies to Mr. Blue here. Maybe that’s why he’s smiling…

I may be cheesing it up but Phoebe’s hair doesn’t lie. It was windy.

There was so much to see between Catoosa and Oklahoma City that it took us almost 5 hours to make our way between the two cities. We just kept stopping to snap photos.*

At one point we stepped out of the car to take a picture of a bridge. I just walked along the side of the road like a normal human. Joel on the other hand was tired of sitting so he ran along the dirt beside me. He happened to look down just in time to awkwardly trip/jump over a giant fire ant hill.

Suddenly he decided that I had the right idea and walked along the side of the road, eyes on the ground.

Once we got a little ways outside of Oklahoma City the scenery was mostly this:

Or some slight varient.

The most excitement we had was the constant zig-zag game old Route 66 likes to play with I-40. Drive. Stop sign. Turn right. Bridge. Stop sign. Turn left. Drive. Stop sign. Turn left. Bridge. Stop sign. Turn right. Drive.


I’ve never seen so many dead end roads in my life.

It kept me, as the navigator, on my toes anyway.

After what felt like forever we finally made it to Texas. Our plan was to make it to Amarillo but since we had so much fun at the beginning of the day we didn’t get quite that far. When the sun started going down we decided to just find the nearest hotel and get an early start tomorrow. No point in driving if you can’t see anything.

Tomorrow we hope to make it to Albuquerque by night. If we don’t it means we had too much fun along the way.

And that is more than ok with me.

*In case anyone cares to get picky those photos may or may not have been taken in between Catoosa and Oklahoma City. I don’t remember exactly but they were some of my favorites so there.

It’s all about the journey

Hm, blogging… let’s see if I remember how to do this.

First of all, thank all of you for your kind comments here and on Twitter about my dad. Things could have been so much worse than what they were. He’s not all better yet but he is recovering and for that I’m so thankful.

So much else has happened since I fell off the blogging wagon I don’t even know where to start so I’m just going to skip to current time. I may eventually try to recap things but my current adventure is way too exciting to bother with that right now.

Yesterday Joel, Phoebe and I began Epic Road Trip 2011. We’re in the process of completing number 27 on my 30 by 30 list. Driving across the country on Route 66.

Or getting our kicks on Route 66 as they say.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been on more road trips than I can count. They’ve always been to get somewhere in particular, as most road trips tend to be. Because they’re destination focused it doesn’t leave time for the random things in between.

Like the word’s largest rocking chair.

Every time I’ve taken a road trip I’ve always said that someday I want to take a trip where I get to stop at every strange and stupid thing. Just for the heck of it.

This is that trip.

And it’s even better than I hoped it would be.

It’s unbelievable how true flexibility makes things so much more enjoyable. Any time-table? Ours. Any rules or guidelines? Ours. If we decide something looks cool, we stop. If not, we don’t. If there’s a particularly dull stretch of road we may hop on the interstate for a few miles to save a few minutes that we can later use on something interesting.

We stopped at that ridiculously large rocking chair.

I kissed Mater.*

We’ve laughed and talked and joked and dreamed out loud and just had the most amazing time ever.

There’s no rush to be anywhere because here is exactly where we’re going.

I often have a hard time living in the moment because I’m so focused on my goals and where I want to be in the future. This trip is exactly what I need to remind me that there’s really nothing more important than right now because right now is my life.

It’s all about the journey.

*Oh hi Disney/Pixar, obviously I meant a Mater-like tow truck. Don’t sue me.

And so the fun begins

We’re down in Indianapolis this weekend visiting our good friends Cecil and Rachel. We still haven’t convinced them to move to the far superior city of Chicago yet so we only get to see them every once in awhile. It’s always a blast when we do.

From where we live it usually takes around 3 hours or so to get to their house so we left not long after Joel got off work, 4:45pm Eastern. Of course traffic sucked. Really badly. We had the brilliant idea to take an alternate route… aaand everyone else had the same idea it seemed because it was just as bad going that way too. We didn’t end up getting to their house until a little after 10pm.

That’s right. It took over 5 hours for a 3 hour drive. Kill. Me. Now. Luckily most of the time Twitter worked and when it didn’t I had Joel to talk to.* There were also some pretty windmills to look at on the way down.

Reminds me of The Netherlands. Oh how I miss it.

I may or may not have stuck my arm directly in front of Joel’s face to get this picture. Yes, he was driving. The windmills were a nice break from the constant corn. Because Indiana? Pretty much nothing but corn in 90% of the state. Not that that’s a bad thing. If you really like corn.

I remember as a kid I actually loved driving past cornfields that were plowed perpendicular to the road. When I stared at the rows whizzing by there was almost a wave like motion to it. It fascinated me. Honestly, it still does.

Anyway, I expect we’ll have a fun weekend as usual. Tomorrow we’re just hanging out and Sunday we have plans for a Spanish brunch and fireworks. Epic Fourth of July weekend? I think so.

*That sounds so backward. I really need to try and curb my Twitter addiction. Sorry, Love.

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