Touristy Tuesday: The Tale of Seven Cities in Seven Days

During the month of April Eliot and I were moving around. A LOT. This coming from someone who packs and unpacks their suitcase weekly, logs at least 700 miles on the road in a seven day period, and never has a zip code to call home for more than a few days. April was such a crazy month that at one point I was in seven different cities, over seven days. This is that story.

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City #1: Denver, Colorado
After our time in Louisville, KY Eliot and I criss-crossed the entire Midwest Region on our drive to Denver, CO. From our farthest East destination to our furthest destination to the West. The trip took two very long days of driving, which were more eventful than our actual two days off in Denver.

After the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon Eliot and I were Westward bound. There was just one highway separating us from Denver, I-70 and about 800 miles of it. Our first drive day was broken up by two fun visits. The first was at my Dad and Step Mom’s house in Kansas City. They live just two miles off of the interstate and every time Eliot and I drive through KC we stop to say hello. Although we couldn’t stay long, it was nice to get some quality time in with my parents. As we pulled the Wienermobile out of their driveway I said to Eliot, “It’s great – my parents are literally on the way to every city we go to in the Midwest!”

Home Sweet Hot Dog Home

Home Sweet Hot Dog Home

Three hours later I called my Dad and he tells me that in the time it took us to drive 180 miles that: a neighbor had told a friend my parents were interested in selling their house, the friends had come by to check it out, and that they wanted to buy it. That means that they’re officially retiring, they’re moving, and they better find the next place to live! (More on that later!) Maybe I jinxed it when I made that comment to Eliot – so much for home being on the way now!

As I let that news sink in Eliot and I made a quick detour in Topeka, Kansas to pay a surprise visit. We had an enthusiastic Wienermobile fan who blew up social media trying to see the 27′ long hot dog and since she was on our drive anyway we figured it would be fun stop and to take her around the block. Kate proved that even big kids can get excited about the Wienermobile, that’s for sure!

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By the time we made it to our hotel in Junction City, KS for the night we were wiped out. As we were waiting to check into our hotel rooms I started chatting up some of the other guests, one of whom turned out to be an amateur storm chaser! He was traveling over 1,000 miles in an attempt to catch tornados that were headed to SW Kansas – right where we were driving to the next day.

It turned out he would just be the first storm chaser of many we would see. The next day we saw a number of storm chasing vehicles pass us, with crazy gizmos attached to their cars and stickers proudly proclaiming their boldness.

Because we had been seeing storm chasers pass us the entire drive across Kansas I wasn’t exactly surprised when I saw a minivan pass us with a camera mounted to the top. I was surprised though when I looked in the side mirror to see the next vehicle, which looked like an armored tank approaching.

“Eliot – what the hell is that, a UFO?! Quick! Take a picture!” We knew it had to be some kind of storm chasing vehicle, but didn’t know what and quickly forgot about it.

That is, until I checked my phone later to see this:

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While we were taking their picture, they were taking ours! Turns out it was the crew from the actual show Storm Chasers from the Discovery Channel! A celebrity sighting and we didn’t even know it!

Even with the impending storms, Eliot and I wanted to stop at one roadside attraction. I feel bad even calling it that – it isn’t like the World’s Biggest Ball of Yarn or anything. It was the Eisenhower Presidential Library. If you follow this blog regularly you know that I’m REALLY into these Presidential Libraries, and am trying to see them all. I think I’ve gotten Eliot equally excited about them as well at this point.

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The Eisenhower Presidential Library is located two miles off of the interstate in Abilene, KS. As we drove down the main drag we noticed signs decorating downtown welcoming marathoners for the Eisenhower Marathon which was the day before. Shucks! Even though I did my own half marathon that weekend I still felt pangs of race envy swell up.

By the time we made it the two miles to the library the whole town of Abilene must have known the Wienermobile was in town, and before we even purchased tickets there was a local newspaper reporter there to interview us!

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The library itself was certainly a relic and honestly lacked the grandeur of some of the other libraries, like Nixon’s. It delivered on content though, with some really great timelines and displays of Eisenhower’s military experience. If anything, it was more than worth it to go to the museum because the volunteers told me if you become a member of any library you get into the other ones for free. WHAT?! This was the fifth library I had been to in the last year alone. I should have joined JFK’s from the start. Oh well. I am now a proud member of the Eisenhower Presidential Library. I also get a +1 to any of the libraries, so it looks like I’ll get to drag a friend to Carter’s when I’m down in Georgia.

After two long days on the road we finally pulled into Denver, only to be met with the absolute worst traffic. Worn out from the road and exhausted, I was getting squirmish – something that happens in traffic that both Abe and Eliot can attest to. In an attempt to placate me, Eliot tried to appeal to my two favorite things: running and frozen yogurt. “There are some nice trails around here!” he cheerfully pointed out as we crawled past a park. “I. NOTICED.” I probably growled back, staring at the miles left to our destination on the GPS. “I’ve been looking for some froyo – maybe we’ll pass a place on the way,” he tried to perk me up with next. “I’ve been looking too. There aren’t any. They’re miles away on Yelp. Let’s just get there.” And finally, after what seemed like eternity, we pulled into the hotel just as it started to snow. We made it! (And Eliot was still friends with me by the time we parked, so that was cool too.)

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Our days in Denver were substantially less exciting than our drive to Denver. The blizzard had us snowed in and we didn’t do much besides laundry and catch up on work. We decided to save our adventure for the weekend, when we made a trip to see a former Hotdogger, Tracy.

City #2: Boulder, Colorado
Friday night that week Eliot and I drove out to Boulder, where Tracy – a Hotdogger from last year – lives. We went out for Thai food with her and her boyfriend Sam in downtown. Eliot and I had won the Perfect Month Challenge at work and had $60 to spend on dinner. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to use it and figured it would be nice to treat Tracy and Sam to dinner since they would graciously be putting us up on their couch and air mattress for the night.

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After dinner we headed to the Pearl Street pedestrian mall to a basement bar called the Sundown Salloon, where we met some of Tracy’s new coworkers, played some darts, and had a great time all around. It was fun to talk to Tracy now, when I was about 10 months into the job, and compare notes from when I talked to her in September, when I was just four months in.

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The next morning I crawled out of bed, slightly dehydrated and slightly hungover – so basically in the best condition for a long run! I did 10 miles on the Boulder Creek Trail, enjoying the beautiful view of the mountains.

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City #3: Estes Park, Colorado
After our night in Boulder on Friday, Eliot and I returned to Denver on Saturday to work during the day. After we handed out that last whistle I didn’t stick around too long, and instead headed up into the mountains of Estes Park, to see my aunt and grandma. I was exhausted and honestly slept most of the drive into town, but it was fun to get to have dinner and (surprise surprise) frozen yogurt with them.

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In the morning we had breakfast in quaint little place in downtown Estes. There had been more snow and there were plenty of elk out to be seen on our way. That’s one thing I love about Estes – the wildlife might as well be town residents!

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It was great to spend some quality time, however brief, with family. That was been one big advantage of the Midwest – I’m always seeing friends or relatives!

City #4: Lexington, Nebraska
Sunday it was back to Denver for one more day of work. Typically we have dedicated drive days, where we just wake up and drive, but this day we actually had to log a few hours that night. Because of some last minute schedule changes Eliot and I just had a day and a half to make it to Chicago.

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This drive was substantially less exciting and marked mostly by bursts of song when the Pandora station came up with a karaoke-friendly selection.

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City #5: Chicago, Illinois
Monday we woke up and drove. And drove some more. And some more. Or rather, Eliot drove. This was Monday, April 15th – the day of the Boston Marathon bombings. It was a rough day for me and Eliot was a champ, tackling most of the miles. If I-70 was our best friend on the way out to Denver, I-80 was our best friend on the way back.

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In Chicago we were doing a video shoot for Kraft, Oscar Mayer’s parent company. We didn’t have to do too much, other than being our usual corndog selves, but we did get the opportunity to meet the CEO of Kraft. Now that was a cool day! Not many people can say they’ve done that!

City #6: Madison, Wisconsin
Promptly after the final “cut” was shouted from the video crew, Eliot and I hauled buns out of town. We continued to rack up the miles for the week with a drive to Madison. Eliot is a University of Wisconsin grad and was very active in WASB – the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board. WASB puts on a series of programs called “Dinners on Wisconsin” where UW grads buy dinner for current students and talk about what they do.

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Eliot and a Hotdogger from last year, Tyler, put together a program for the Wienermobile and we stopped in Madison to have dinner at the Roman Candle, a pizza place, with about 7 current badgers. Not only was the pizza to die for, but the company was great! Since we are both so passionate about the job, it was fun to share that with other interested students. You can’t help but hope they get equally excited!

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While Eliot and Tyler picked up the students in the Wienermobile I waited at the restaurant to hold the tables. While I was reading a book filled with Pizza Poems, I glanced up to see a familiar face.

I wasn't kidding. Pizza Poems are a real thing.

I wasn’t kidding. Pizza Poems are a real thing.

In walked Louise (–SPELLING–), a girl I went to high school with. Even though we didn’t really know each other too well I had to say hello! Talk about a small world!

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City #7: Oshkosh, Wisconsin aka OshVegas
While my parents live (or rather, lived) on the way to pretty much every city Eliot and I have visited in the Midwest, Eliot’s parents most certainly do not. He is from Oshkosh, WI which is pretty far North, near the Greenbay area. Luckily, Oshkosh showed up on our schedule and Eliot got to bring the Wienermobile home.

Oshkosh was our last city of the seven in seven days. Although we had two days off in town, it didn’t quite feel like it. Our first day off we had to drive from Madison to Oshkosh. Eliot’s family greeted us with a home-cooked meal, which hit the spot after the drive-thru diet that week. The next day the entire city of Oshkosh came over to Eliot’s house to see the Wienermobile. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, believe it or not. They did have a lot of friends over though, which was fun to meet every person who has ever met Eliot ever.

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To prepare for that event Eliot’s mom, Carol, and I created a Wienermobile centerpiece – a rice crispy masterpiece.

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The Wienermobile is made out of rice crispies, licorice, thin mint tires, and some marshmallow headlights. In case you’re wondering, it was just as much fun to eat as it was to make!

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Seven days later, we had covered quite a bit of ground. Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It was a long stretch, but worth it because of all the diverse experiences we had along the way – from friends and family, to future Hotdoggers and the CEO of Kraft!

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To finish up our travels in April, I’m just going to mention a few of our other stops along the way.

Once we made it out of Oshkosh, we headed to Milwaukee. We might as well have been in Eliot’s hometown still. He has more than 30 first cousins, so we continued to meet people left and right at work.

I was headed back to Kansas City on our off days that week to see my folks. Why would I fly back to KC after just seeing them just a few weeks prior? Well remember how I mentioned they decided to up and sell their house? Just as rapidly as they made that decision, they had to move out! By the time I would be back in KC in May, they would have to be out of the house. Luckily I had packed most of my belongings before I left to drive the Wienermobile, so I didn’t have too much work to do.

Once I packed up my few remaining boxes we went on a road trip to check out their new house, down at the Lake of the Ozarks. Let me first admit I was pretty leery at first. It is in the middle of nowhere. I don’t mean it’s kind of isolated. I mean, literally the middle of nowhere. As in 22 miles to the nearest grocery store. As in no cell phone service and dial up internet. Why would they want to move out to Edwards, MO!?

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Then I saw the view. HOLY. MOLY. You are greeted by floor-to-ceiling windows when you walk into the house, which overlook the lake and beautiful foliage. The house is spectacular and they have a ton of land to garden on. Since my parents don’t mind the whole living-in-the-boonies thing, this is perfect for them! I left KC very happy for them to start their new adventure, and slightly bitter that they wouldn’t be just two miles off the interstate any more for me to visit them.

After seeing my parents, I then got to see my sister in Milwaukee. She drove in from Madison one night and we did a little bit of bridal gown shopping and a little bit of celebrating for her birthday. In one month I got to see my aunt, grandma, dad, step mom, and sister. With the exception of my mom, who lives in Europe, that’s pretty much everyone! (A big shift from the SW region where I never saw anyone I knew!)

She didn't get this dress so I'm allowed to post this picture, right?

She didn’t get this dress so I’m allowed to post this picture, right?

We ended our time in Wisconsin the right way. First by working this event called Stein and Dine, which is a beer, sausage, and cheese sampling event in Milwaukee. Naturally I had to get my picture taken with the Brewer’s Racing Sausages after work.

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Our final stop was at the Cheese Castle, right before the Illinois border.

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After copious amounts of cheese sampling, I felt it was only fitting to get a good cheese head photo to mark the occasion.

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And that was pretty much all of April. I know I crammed it into one Touristy Tuesday post, but it seemed to move so fast that you could barely distinguish one week from the next. April, probably more so than any other month on the road yet, was when I felt the most like a road-warrior. I’m glad I had friends and family to see along the way, because that helped make it as enjoyable as it was. Packing and unpacking was almost fun, knowing we would get to see familiar faces at the each new destination!

Touristy Tuesday: Boulder, Colorado Edition (And a little LA adventures for good measure)

Finally – we had our long-awaited trip out to Colorado! I’m especially excited to write a recap of this last week for Touristy Tuesday because I got to spend it in the Boulder and Estes Park areas! Not only are those absolutely awesome cities, but that also means quality time with my family!

We made it to Boulder Sunday after quite the drive in from Salt Lake City. While we didn’t stop anywhere cool, like the Middle of Nowhere from last week, we did have a good time.

Abe and I played 20-questions (with no question limit – haha) but we played it with characters from the road. I write on this blog about all the new friends we’ve made, so you can tell that we have quite a few people who play with, but we also included literally every single person who has made an impression on us. Funny bartenders, quirky consumers – you name it, we made each other guess them! For TWO. HOURS. It was actually a great way to look back and reflect on all the cool people we’ve met on the road though!

 

Because we got into town so late I decided to stay in Boulder and leave the trip to Estes for the next day. So glad I did. Abe and I went to Pearl Street (it’s Boulder – of course!) and went to the Mountain Sun bar, which has live music every Sunday. It was packed! Not only was the music great, but the people were awesome too. Being Boulder, I knew the sundresses could probably stay packed, but even my jeans and tank top were dressier than most of the people in this place! Everyone was so laid back – such a nice break from California.

Naturally, Abe and I left with a cohort of new friends, including one guy who does market research for a Boulder company. Yep – that’s right – market research in Boulder. Basically my dream job! Of course I had to be best friends with this guy! When we swapped numbers at the end of the night I put him in my phone as “Future Co-CEO” so you know it’s going to be a promising friendship!

The next day, or rather 5 hours later, I got up and did a run, rounding out 50 miles for the week. Then after sweating out all the white wine from the night before, I hit the road and headed up to Estes Park to see my family!

My aunt and grandma both live in Estes and I was lucky enough to see them pretty recently when I came out for the Bolder Boulder in May. This trip though I took the company car and headed up the canyon where it fared quite well actually! When I got into Estes I took it right down Main Street to the arts and crafts fair that was going on downtown to meet my Aunt Karla. Talk about a warm welcome – the whole town was there to greet me!

My aunt, grandma, and I all headed to lunch at their favorite Estes establishment – the Mountain Home Cafe. If you ever find yourself in Estes make sure to check this place out – a really nice local family owns it and the food is great! The rest of the day we spent surprising various friends of theirs around town with the Wienermobile, which was a blast.

Of course one of the best parts of seeing family (besides of course seeing your awesome family) is the food! My aunt made all my favorites – granola and chips and salsa! (Not to be eaten together of course!) The next best thing – pets! My aunt got a little kitten in May and I got to see little Earnie again on this trip!

The rest of my time in Estes Park was low key and just hanging out – a much needed break! Before I left back to Boulder I had breakfast with my grandma (Mountain Home Cafe – I’m telling you, yumm!) and gave her a Facebooking 101 tutorial along with teaching a course on the Art of Copy and Paste.

Wednesday night I went out with the Future Co-CEO. I love seeing a town with the locals because they always know the best places to go! We went to this Pearl Street bar with Big Jenga. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – Jenga with enormous blocks.

The best part of Big Jenga though is that each block has been graffitied on so when they fall and you’re picking them up it’s basically like that magnetic poetry on the fridge – they form a story… a very drunk, vulgar, and incoherent story, but a story none the less!

 

After Jenga we picked up some paddles and played some ping-pong, only to be challenged by another couple. The Future Co-CEO had casually mentioned having won two tournaments in his day, so there was no saying no when they challenged us. Now, you think your odds are pretty good at winning when one of the two players on a team has won a ping-pong championship right? Well the guy on our opposing team was on his college team! What are the chances??

As the night went on it turned out that the couple we had been playing against met through Mensa. Yes, that’s the genius society. When it came to playing Big Jenga with them they certainly had an unfair advantage – actually commenting on the different properties of each block choice. WAY. TOO. SERIOUS. Just kidding though because they were actually absolutely awesome and a ton of fun to hang out with!

I imagine this is how they play Jenga at home…!

Eventually we decided we should probably actually get to work, so the extra-curricular fun slowed down a bit. I did do some running while in Boulder though. It’s crazy – there are just so many bike paths! They’re all connected too, which actually overwhelmed me. I like to just get on a trail and zone out, the options made me have to think too much about my route.

Friday we headed to Colorado Springs for an event at the Fort Carson military base. I was super excited about this trip, having lived in Colorado Springs when I was younger! After work we went and scoped out my old stomping grounds. What a trip down memory lane.

The company car in front of my old apartment building back in Colorado Springs!

Of course the number one thing I had to show Abe was Garden of the Gods. It was just as spectacular as I remember. I can’t believe I used to walk there every morning with my mom – how lucky we were!

We made it back to Boulder after a long drive, but it was Friday night and there was no calling it an early night. It’s the SW team – choose your own adventure, but always choose an adventure!

Abe and I met up with Traci (akaTaligatin’ Traci) a former Hotdogger, and her boyfriend. We had a total blast barhopping on Pearl Street with them! There was some deal going on in Boulder where if you wore a mask bars would give you certain specials. While we didn’t participate, the number of costumes and masquerade masks made for great people watching.

At one bar we got to chatting with the guy who was responsible for $7 worth of the jukebox  music. That led to us sticking around to give him the thumbs up/down for each song! He had 6/7 thumbs up – not bad!

We ended the evening the way a Hotdogger reunion should end – with hot dogs from a hot dog stand! Somehow I was convinced into ordering an Elk Dog, which was SPICY!!! When in Rome though… I mean, how do you not go to Colorado and get Elk? Haha!

We took off from Colorado on Sunday, California bound! After spending a few weeks out of the Golden State it was a little weird to go back, but we did, with 16+ hours of driving ahead of us. Day one of driving was a blast. Of course, Abe got a chili dog on the way, what is now becoming a drive day tradition for him!

We also made a stop along the way at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Featured on a majority of the Utah state license plates, this was one National Park that I HAD to see!

It lived up to its license plate infamy and was absolutely stunning. We were able to drive through almost the entire park, which was breathtaking.

Not only was I able to cross one more National Park off my bucketlist, but I was also able to proudly get another stamp IN my National Park Passport. That’s right, not FOR it, but actually IN it! I’ve got about 6 little slips of stamped paper just waiting to be cut and pasted into my passport because I always forget it. This time I actually remembered! It’s pretty ridiculous how much joy this $11 book brings me!

After our scenic detour we headed to Richfield, Utah – almost the exact halfway point between Denver and LA. The next day we were hoping to make another detour to the Hoover Dam outside Vegas, but after 15 hours of driving we just weren’t up to it. We will have to revisit that when we actually come out to Vegas next month.

We probably didn’t need to rush into town though, because when we finally did make it to San Bernardino we didn’t exactly receive the warmest of welcomes. First, while entering LA, we were cut off by this madman driver who was driving dangerously aggressively. I was so concerned I actually called the cops and it was sweet victory when we saw him pulled over 10 minutes later! Making magic, saving lives! Our second welcome came when we were approaching our hotel and at the street corner there were three cop cars and a fire truck simultaneously arresting/bandaging this guy. Oh California, it’s so good to be back!

Despite the cornerside commotion, we were undeterred and eagerly checked into our hotel for the week – the Route 66 Wigwam Motel. We were supposed to be staying in TeePees for the week! What an iconic place – Americana at its finest – I mean, it was featured in cars!

The motel itself was very charming and peaceful. Each room was a separate Wigwam and they were adorable. The area surrounding the hotel was another story. It was the absolute ghetto! So scary that I didn’t even want to leave the Wigwam compound on my own.

We made it one night in the TeePees, but after that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to last six more days. A fun novelty, but the unsafe neighborhood and sketchy Wigwam bathrooms were enough for me. Luckily, I managed to get rate at a Hilton Garden Inn. Hello hotel points, fluffy towels, and continental breakfast!

We washed off the long double-day drive with a few beers and margaritas at a local dive. That was pretty much the highlight of the week.

San Bernardino proved to be one of the calmer places we’ve been. That was fine though because with 100+ degree weather and the great hotel, we were fine just relaxing by the pool! Although we didn’t go out too much, I did make some good progress on the latest book I’m reading “When Everything Changed” which chronicles the women’s movement from 1960 to the present. My grandma got it for me while in Estes and now I’m on this big women’s liberation kick, having also just ordered a few more books, including “The Feminine Mystique.”

Our week in San Bernardino was spent at the Route 66 Rendevouz, which was actually a pretty fun place to work. We met a TON of crazies (one guy said that downloading images online would lead to people not buying groceries) and the corn-on-the-cob guy hooked me up with free corn every day, so the Iowa girl in me loved it!

While we were leaving the festival we did have one other fun story, which was when a fireman stopped us at the gas station and had us come take a picture at the station. Normally we relish these opportunities because it means a free carwash for the company car, but because we were putting it up for storage we knew we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it. Turned out to be worth it though – they gave us a great tour of their facility and let us explore the whole place! Our tour guide went to Nebraska, so, while I’m not a big fan of his school, he had that Midwestern charm and friendliness that I crave whenever we’re in California!

That’s about it for Boulder and San Bernardino! This last week we spent in Madison, WI for our Hotdogger Fall Staff Meeting and the 25th Class Reunion of Hotdoggers. Now THAT will be an exciting blog! As for now, we’re currently in sunny San Diego and as always, if you know anything to do, anyone to meet, or anywhere to go – make sure to let us know!

7 Days, 3 States and 50 MILES!!!

That’s right – GOAL. ACHIEVED! I finally had my first 50 mile week! Whoo!

The week started out in the great state of Idaho, where I did my 20 mile run before our drive that day. It was such a good run that I wanted to run my final mile sub 8:00. Didn’t quite make it, but I’ll take an 8:00 exact mile any day!

I did the 20 miles on the Greenbelt River Trail. I was only supposed to do 19 miles, but I just love that trail and was feeling good about it. Finished it off with a well-earned chocolate milk!

Work and Reward

That same day we drove into Salt Lake City, Utah –  we were back again for some absolutely stunning views!

Then, yesterday we rolled into Boulder, Colorado where I had the chance to finish out my miles for the week.

FIFTY FREAKING MILES!! Whoo!!

I celebrated with plenty of carbs throughout the week – both bread and beer! More on the rest of the adventures from the last seven days in tomorrow’s Touristy Tuesday post!

Touristy Tuesday

With only a few weeks off between the end of college and the beginning of my career as an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger driving the Wienermobile, I’ve been trying to cram as much fun in as possible when I’m not running. Being a tourist is a hazard of the job when you’re a Hotdogger, so I figured I would start a weekly post called Touristy Tuesday. I didn’t think of it until today though, but I figured who would hold it against me if I started it on a Wednesday!

On my trip back ‘home’ to Rockford, Illinois (simply put, it’s where I’ve had the longest return address) I was able to meet up for breakfast with some girls from my high school swim team. It was an absolute blast getting back together with them and hearing about what they’re doing now. Yale, studying abroad in Africa, high powered finance internships – I was just blown away by what incredible women they have become.

When it came time to order I went with some “egg-white omelet (no cheese please), fruit instead of hashbrowns, blah blah healthy healthy” concoction. That made everyone laugh because I used to order a STEAK FOR BREAKFAST before our out-of-town meets. A steak! Did I know what a carb consisted of? But then again, I used to eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so my carbo-load may have come from there.

While in Illinois I also drove into Chicago. Did I mention that was when the NATO summit was going on? Yeah – bad call. Traffic jams aside, I had a blast. My friend David and I had dinner downtown and then went to see a show at The Second City comedy club.

Chicago Pizza – of course!

If you haven’t heard of The Second City it has produced comedy greats including: Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Amy Poehler to name a few. The show was absolutely awesome, and if you’re ever in town it is definitely worth going to. Book early though because tickets sell out in advance!

Although I was home in KC for a few days after the Rockford trip, it wasn’t long before I hit the road again headed to Estes Park, Colorado with my friend Tarah. This wasn’t the first time I roped Tarah into this road trip.

Two summers ago she drove cross-country in a two-door Chevy Cavalier, with no cruise control, and most importantly no air conditioning from Kansas City to San Diego. With the promise of ice-cold air, she agreed to come along for the Bolder Boulder.

Much to our mutual delight, my Aunt Karla had adopted a kitten just two days earlier.

Ernie was absolutely adorable and just one little cuddle bug. He split up the nights spending half the evening curled up next to Tarah, and then half the evening tucked in bed with me. Sorry Karla – you get him when we’re gone!

While playing tourist, we drove up to Golden, Colorado for a tour of the Coors Brewery. While it didn’t hold a candle to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, TN, Coors did have one thing JD didn’t – alcohol. The distillery is actually in a dry county, so lemonade replaced any free Jack Daniels samples I was hoping for. Coors, however, keeps beer flowing.

After the tour you can try three full glasses of their different types of beer, including their Native beer you can only get in the state of Colorado. While Tarah took full advantage of all three, I only had one figuring someone had to drive us out of town!

The next morning we were up early for breakfast in the Rocky Mountain National Park!

My aunt and grandma happen to know the coolest people in town, so even though Tarah and I brought the median age down quite a bit we still enjoyed ourselves getting to know the group.

The following day also meant an early morning with a trip over Trail Ridge Road. If you’re ever in Colorado and want to experience true beauty, take this drive. The payoff at the end is the view of Grand Lake, a spectacular gem in the mountains.

It was 6 a.m. and 32 degrees! Understandably, we were looking a little rough.

We were rewarded with the 6 a.m. wakeup call to breakfast at the Fat Cat Cafe breakfast buffet. I don’t know what was better – the FIVE different types of pie I had or the Scottish egg. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and then deep fried. I made up for that healthy egg-white breakfast in Rockford with this one! De-licious!

I’d never had anything like that Scottish Egg! (The pies made an appearance on their own separate plate!)

The rest of the weekend I basically spent in a food coma from the eggs and bacon overload! Oh yeah, and we ran the Bolder Boulder on Monday!