Touristy Tuesday: Louisville, KY

I initially intended the Race for 50 States blog to take shape as race recaps, running updates, and pretty much all things related to my quest to see all 50 states from the view of a finish line. Since starting to blog, I’ve been doing a lot more running around the country and these Touristy Tuesday blogs have been a great way to chronicle those adventures.

This half of the job though has involved quite a bit more racing about, including a stint of traveling that involved seven different beds in seven days. (Let’s just say, I know how to pack these days!) While hopping from city to city should just give me more material for these Touristy Tuesday posts, I’ve gotten a little lax and I’m due an update!

Back in March Eliot and I loaded up the company car and headed to Louisville, Kentucky. Hurray! 10 weeks into my new half in the Midwest and this was the first new city to me. While in the Southwest almost everywhere Abe and I went was new, and while I’ve certainly had a slew of fresh adventures, none of the destinations up until this point have been uncharted territory.

After a drive the should have taken just four hours, but ended up an eight hour trek, Eliot and I finally pulled into our hotel in Louisville. It had been a day marked by Chicago traffic, hiding out in the back of the “bun” to take a conference call, a gas stop turned parade in a small town, and a crawl across the Kentucky state line during rush hour.

I try to get my picture at every state sign, but these bridge borders never work out. Traffic was so slow I just popped out the bun roof!

I try to get my picture at every state sign, but these bridge borders never work out. Traffic was so slow I just popped out the bun roof!

Exhausted and just ready for bed, Eliot and I started loading up the luggage cart. If there is one time that the peppy Hotdogger persona isn’t totally on, it’s after a long drive day. With only a few weeks left though, I’ve been committed to singing that jingle as many times as consumers want and finishing strong. So when we were swarmed at our hotel first thing I made my famous puns as I threw Eliot our suitcases and duffle bags.

As we finally made our way toward the hotel I saw one of the guys we were talking to head to his truck. It was wrapped in a giant Italian flag and said Steve-O’s Italian Kitchen on the back. I jokingly called out, “Hey Steve-O, ya making us dinner tonight? We could use a break from hot dogs!” Well, as it turned out, Steve-O was making dinner!

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We drove out to Buckner, KY, population 2,000, where Steve-O’s was the hottest restaurant in “town.” Not only was the food amazing (he let us try ALL of his different desserts, even cutting the pie into slim slices for me) but he was terrific.

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You could tell Steve-O was just a really nice guy and all his customers knew and loved him. There is definitely something to be said for small-town America! Even though we were clearly there with the Wienermobile, with hot dogs on every article of clothing Eliot and I had on, no one came up to us while we were eating and Steve-O implored us to just kick back and relax. What a great start to our time in Louisville!

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The rest of our first week in Louisville had its ups and downs. There was a state park half a mile from the hotel with a fitness loop, so I thought I would be able to get some good runs in. Unfortunately I was hit with the flu the second day in town. Again?! I took it easy after that so I would be ship-shape for spring break. We watched a LOT of Food Network on our off days that week.

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Even though it was low key, Eliot and I still managed to get out and see the Louisville Slugger museum downtown. (I know, I know – where is the photo of the Wienermobile next to the giant baseball bat? How did we miss that!) Eliot is a baseball aficionado and while I love games as an excuse to eat brats I’ve never been that passionate about the sport. Since being partners I’ve gotten my share of history though, from the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City (you’d know about that if I ever blogged) to this!

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The museum itself was really neat. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love seeing how stuff is made! All of their bats are made in that factory, which I think is pretty cool. Our tour guide was hilarious and hit a few home runs with his puns. Eliot and I were the only ones to laugh, and knowing the pain of a pun met with silence, I made sure to chuckle extra loud.

The tour ended and we got our mini slugger bats. That was good for me. Eliot actually had one personalized and I felt bad we didn’t have a ball that I could toss to him so he could put it to the test right away! There was also a small lego exhibit, with recreations of Wrigley Field and Miller Park. Wrigley is definitely my home stadium (ya know – because I’m SUCH a Cubs fan – haha, not really) and actually being a huge Brewer’s fan, Eliot loved the recreation of Miller Park. Not only were those awesome because they’re huge, life-like replicas of landmarks made entirely of Legos, but they also were littered with things to find, like Waldo, the Simpons, and the car from the Blues Brothers – which was obviously in the Wrigley Field display. I was a little disappointed they didn’t hide Ferris Bueller in the Chicago scene too!

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If Louisville is known first for their bats, this spring they are known second for basketball. We were in town at the peak of March Madness, which was really fun to experience. The city slowly started to become more and more covered in University of Louisville Cardinal red as the teams progressed. Our first week in town we did a morning show interview and it happened to work out that the Women’s Basketball Coach, Jeff Walz did his interview in the Wienermobile as well. Talk about a great guy. We nick-named him Jumbo Dog Jeff and Eliot and I decided we were Louisville fans until the end.

Click here to see that interview + plus another awkward interview with Deli Eliot & Cookout Kelly. 

Of course, we ended up leaving town at 6 p.m. on Saturday – the night of the Men’s Championship Game, but as we cross Kentucky and Indiana on our way to St. Louis I had Eliot checking the score left and right. It was almost like we were there … almost!

Our time in Louisville was split up, with a week off for our spring break. (I know, rough life, right?) I returned to Louisville a few days early to do the Run the Bluegrass half marathon in Lexington. While it is always fun to explore a city with your teammate, I honestly love solo adventuring just as much!

Easter Sunday I decided to check off a few things that I’ve been wanting to do lately. I had been running in the state park, but knew that the area had quite a few gorgeous parks perfect for hiking. Not wanting to end up stranded and lost in the woods alone, I looked up a local hiking group on the site MeetUp.com. (If you haven’t heard of it, check it out – it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and not really have to plan anything yourself – just show up!)

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The hike was wonderful! We did about 4-5 miles through Jefferson Memorial Forrest, which was a good stretch for my legs after the hilly half marathon the day before. I was really impressed to hear that Louisville is currently connecting all of these different parks with a 100 mile hiking/equestrian trail. The group was really diverse and it was a fun way to spend the afternoon, get outdoors, and get a little muddy.

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But it was Easter and I’m just as much a fan of getting dressed up and wearing pastels as anyone else. After spending winter bundled up in extra layers and boots I was craving a day to feel feminine again, even if it was just for dinner on my own. I mean, why not!

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I drove into downtown Louisville and had dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. (I would have loved something more local, but most places were closed for Easter.) Since it was a holiday and not too busy I scored a seat in the train car, which I’m not even embarrassed to admit was pretty fun. After that I headed to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to see this musical I had been hoping to see.

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The musical was called “Urinetown.” Ok, Ok, let me at least provide you with the show description before you start judging my taste. “In an attempt to regulate water consumption, Urinetown has outlawed the use of private toilets. The citizenry must use public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company, a malevolent corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell.”

I figured it would be pretty funny and I was right. It was a small theater, 100 seats and only 25 were filled, which made for a very intimate experience. As much as I love big Broadway performances, I like local theater just as much because you can tell how much fun the performers are having!

While I’m not particularly religious, I do get into the Easter spirit, even beyond wearing pastels. Since I made it into town before Eliot, and I knew he would be driving back in the middle of the night, I thought it would be fun to have a surprise waiting for him – Easter eggs! I created a make-shift Easter egg hunt for him, hiding eggs in the microwave, on the soap holder, and behind the blinds.

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He brought back an Easter surprise for me too, homemade snacky-snacks courtesy of his mom Carol. Yummo!

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On our next off day we decided to go underground ziplining. We had seen billboards advertising this place on that long drive into Louisville the week before. Billboard attractions are always hit or miss. The berry picking in Bakersfield that Abe and I did on a drive day – totally worth it. (Side note: I was so tan back then.) Little America, the nicest bathrooms in Wyoming – not so much. Leery, I looked into underground ziplining online and was met with rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

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It turned out to be awesome! They squeezed us in (I think something about a giant hot dog being parked out front helped) and we headed out to the cave. You might think, as we naturally did, that this place would be somewhere remote. Nope! There were signs that boasted, “You are now under K-Mart!” and “You are now under the interstate!” This cave is literally right below the Louisville Zoo!

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Ziplining was a blast. It was a lot of hurry-up-and-wait with all the hooking and unhooking of our 12 year old companions. (We landed a spot on the tour with a gaggle of middle school girls on spring break. I felt like I fit right in, Eliot didn’t share that sense of comfort unfortunately.) Even while we were waiting for our turns, the tour guides were hilarious and it was so much fun to watch these pre-teen girls running around.

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The last zipline is a very steep, racing zipline course. Eliot and I are both competitive by nature and the only skill this took was being the first to jump off the platform. Being the wuss I am, it took me a half a second longer than Eliot and he glided into a first place finish.

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That was it for Louisville. I never did get my big fancy Derby hat that was on my bucketlist for the city and we didn’t make it out to Churchill Downs. I’m OK with that though, because I would LOVE to go back to Louisville. Honestly, I think it’s a city I could easily live in. Very outdoorsy, yet also cosmopolitan, and the people and the weather are great! I never envisioned myself turning into a Kentucky girl, but who knows – I think I’d look pretty good for Derby each year!

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Touristy Tuesday: Susanville, Reno, & Salt Lake City Edition

This week we started out in the booming metropolis of Susanville, California! We knew it was going to be a … unique … place when we easily booked a room at the Apple Inn, the number one hotel on Trip Advisor, for $45/night. After checking in we asked Jay, the innkeeper, what there was to do in town. His recommendation was to walk to one of the two bars, two movie houses, the bowling alley, or the casino. At only 2 miles long end-to-end, the benefit of being stuck in small-town America Susanville was that everything (which was not much) was in walking distance!

As we walked down Main Street Abe and I started to feel a little bummed out. We’ve spent the last two months traveling in some of the coolest cities in the Southwest – the deserted streets left us feeling like Susanville was going to end up being a bit of a buzz kill. Trying to remain optimistic though, we headed to the Pioneer Cafe – a surprising local micro-brewery.

At the Pioneer we discovered the second benefit of Susanville – cheap drinks! We tried nine different local brews for just $7.50! When I say we tried these beers, I mean that I ordered the sampler, took baby sips, and then made Abe finish them off for me. Haha! Where can I find the margarita sampler – that’s something I might actually be able to finish!

Right before last call (which was at, believe it or not, 9:30 p.m.) a guy walked in who was clearly not a native Susanvillian. (The wild hair was the giveaway!) Turns out he was a 22 year old college kid taking a break to hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Coast Trail! Still Phil (his trail name) was about 100 days and 1,200 miles into his journey, having hiked an average of 30 miles each day.

It’s easy to feel adventurous doing all the traveling Abe and I do, but meeting someone like Phil is humbling. I mean, he lives out of a backpack and only carries enough food to make it to the next resupply point! By the end of our first round of drinks I think Abe was ready to ditch the Wienermobile and join him on the journey. I might have, but Still Phil lost me when he said that deodorant wasn’t worth the extra weight in his pack. I’ll stick to living in hotels. Talk about a cool kid though – he went to South Africa for the World Cup and went skydiving one day, followed by bungee jumping the next!

On our first day off in Susanville Abe and I headed up to Lake Almanor.

Talk about spectacular – Lake Almanor had stunning blue water, surrounded by a forest of green pines.There were wild fires close to the area though and so the lake was covered by a smoky haze, which made it that much more majestic!

After enjoying quality time soaking up some Vitamin D, we decided to take out a paddle boat. (One of these days we might eventually get a jet ski, but it wasn’t happening in Almanor!) We managed to make it a little further out on the lake than we did with the kayak in Lake Havasu, AZ! I realized while we were out on the water that at all the beaches, oceans, lakes, and rivers we’d been on during this trip, Abe and I had yet to actually get in open water. Dipped our feet perhaps, but we hadn’t actually gotten in. Once I realized that I promptly hopped off the boat and dove on in! Even though we had started to get the Lake Placid vibes, we both made it out fine!

Since we had already been to the best bar in Susanville, that night we decided to check out the Casino. The “casino” was two rooms with slot machines and two tables for blackjack. I had a $5 credit from the hotel and played $10 of my own.

Susanville surprised me again and I came out a winner – leaving with $23, happy to go home in the black! It even covered the margarita of the evening.

Our second day off was admittedly a bust. Abe had allergies and a series of other unfortunate events meant the trip to Lassen National Park was forgone. Although I missed my chance to get another stamp in the National Park Passport there was one exciting part of the day – when I looked out the Wienermobile windows to see two Lamborghinis blocking me in at the gas station.

I’ll admit it though – I wasn’t that impressed. The local high school girls were simply cooing over the owners, who were jerky middle-aged men from California, but the appeal was lost on me. Maybe because I also drive a car that gets honks, waves, whistles, and people stopping for pictures. It also has the Lambo-wienie doors, vanity plate, and is worth than most middle-class homes. And yeah, there might only be a handful of those 2012 Lamborghinis in the world, but there are even less Wienermobiles! Ok, that being said, I guess it was KIND OF cool. Haha!

Back in town I stopped in at the local bookstore – which was booming! I love to see local business thriving, and even more when it’s a book shop! David, the guy working, was absolutely awesome and had great recommendations for reads. Sorry Amazon, you just can’t compete with that!

Friday proved to be an adventure, but for a rather unconventional reason. I mentioned earlier that there was a wild fire near the lake, and Friday it took out the power supply for Susanville. Abe and I figured that if anywhere, the bars would be open and we could grab a drink and a bite to eat. Sure enough, the second bar in Susanville was open. Because it was cash-only, we had enough for one beer between the two of us. Probably for the best, because half a beer was about as long as I’d want to stay there. (Yikes!)

We heard that Safeway was open and with that decided to do a grocery store picnic back at the motel. Shopping was like being in the Twilight Zone. There was power, but it was very limited. A few lights were shining around the produce section, but if you had planned on doing any price comparisons, you better have a flashlight app on your cell phone! I know I can be over-the-top about finding experiences like that to be an absolute and total blast, but it was really really fun! The power-outage made the situation feel a bit like a natural disaster flick, and, true to the movies, it brought people together. While in line I met this guy named Danny who proved to be one of the nicest and most interesting people of Susanville! He was probably the only other person in the store who thought grocery shopping the dark was entertaining.

Abe and I went back and had a picnic on the gazebo at the hotel and read the books we picked up earlier in the week. It was a good opportunity to try an Oscar Mayer product that we probably should have awhile ago – Bologna! Danny, from Safeway, joined for a bit and we chatted running, the Paleo diet, and high school stories. For being a low-key night, it was a really good time!

That was enough of Susanville though and Saturday Abe and I floored it to Reno, Nevada – a new state for the Southwest team! They aren’t kidding when they say it’s a mini-Vegas. Although I had done my gambling for the week in Susanville, we still headed to the Eldorado Casino for their dueling piano bar! That was an absolute blast – it’s like the best karaoke songs and you don’t have to sing!

Although it wasn’t Vegas it still had some of the perks – including Kamikaze shots out of test tubes. Since I missed this experience in college I figured I better at least try it before I get too old that it’s awkward!

The night was complete with a stop by Z-Pie, a local non-profit pot pie place. Yeah, what?! Pot Pies?! Yes please! Talk about hitting the spot. Taco Bell has nothing on midnight homemade goodness.

We made the most of Reno with the one night in town we had and then were back on the road – Salt Lake City bound! We turned on Sue (the GPS) and plugged in our hotel. “Head East on I-80 for 515 miles.” Well, at least it would be pretty hard to get lost! Talk about a long drive!

Along the way we stopped for gas and when I came back to the company car Abe was chatting up a motorcyclist making plans for the evening in Salt Lake City. Looks like we were already making friends for the next city! Jesse, a coal miner from South Dakota, was riding his bike from Wyoming, through Glacier National Park, to the Redwoods, over to Lake Tahoe, and was on his way back home through Salt Lake. I couldn’t help but feel a stab of envy for all the National Park Passport stamps he could have been getting on his trip!

He obviously made better time than us, but eventually we all met up that evening for our first night out in Salt Lake City. We had a rough introduction to the town though and definitely didn’t experience any form of hospitality that evening. Looking back, perhaps Sunday night in Mormonville isn’t the best time to judge the Salt Lake nightlife scene. After being turned down at one bar, one Wendy’s, and three pizza places we finally found an open sports bar. Everything happens for a reason though, right? It was Karaoke Night and Abe and I had just the song – Sweet Caroline, which was the crowd (4 people) pleaser we had hoped it would be!

Maybe it was our excellent live singing skills or it could have been our extraordinary ability to find places that don’t want customers, but for some reason Jesse from South Dakota still wanted to hang out with us the next day. Although he had planned on hitting the road, he decided to stick around for a day of adventure.

So what do you do when you’re in Salt Lake City? (Clue: the answer is not go to bars.) Go to the Great Salt Lake! Or at least that’s what we thought. Once we showed up we realized there is not a whole heck of a lot going on at the lake. It just smells bad and is big. I couldn’t even get a stamp! (Yeah – get over it – I’m really into the stamp thing.)

While Abe and I only knew South Dakota for Mount Rushmore, it turns out it also is home to quite a few lakes and Jesse was a big water enthusiast. Since the Great Salt Lake was a bit of a bust, we decided to try a different route – river rafting!

That afternoon we took a two-hour guided rafting tour down the spectacular Provo River. Talk about relaxing! Not only was the afternoon fun, but we also met some pretty awesome people, including a couple that owns their own market research firm in Chicago. (I exchanged Wiener Whistles for their business cards! Nothing like networking on a river in a lifejacket!)

At the suggestion of our raft-mates, we traveled up the canyon to Sundance. Yes, as in the film festival! The Sundance Resort is where the festival used to be held before it became so massive. We had lunch at their cafe and walked around the grounds – which were unbelievable.

At one point we stumbled upon the property’s screening room. Of course I had to seize the opportunity to jump on the stage shared by famous directors, actors, and screenwriters over the years. (Sorry about the picture – I guess I didn’t spend enough time sunning at Lake Almanor earlier in the week! – haha!)

Early that evening we took the ski lift up the mountains, which was a really fun way to take in the views.

Abe made it, heights and all, but he wouldn’t let us shake the chair on the way up. When we got to the top we decided to climb up to the summit of the nearby hill.

Wearing strappy sandals and carrying a purse (no one told me we were going mountain climbing that day!) I eventually made it up behind the boys!

After riding around in the Wienermobile all day, Jesse was kind enough to repay the experience by taking me out for a spin on his motorcycle when we got back from the afternoon’s adventures.

That night we decided to go to downtown Salt Lake City. I looked up places on the app TVFoodMaps that I mentioned in my San Francisco blog post. We decided on the Red Iguana, which was also recommended to us by someone somewhere along the road.

It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I’ll be honest – Jesse had great food and the sauce almost tasted pumpkiny, but Abe and I have had so much Mexican recently that we’re certified connoisseurs, and the Red Iguana just didn’t impress us as much as the hole-in-the-wall taquerias from the road.

The chef came out and introduced himself – he was from Sicily, which might explain our lack-luster feeling on the food. (I guess I like my Mexican restaurant chefs to be from Mexico, but that’s just me!)

We went to Gracie’s after that, which was probably one of the coolest bars from the road yet. Being Monday, there wasn’t much of a crowd, but you could tell this was the place to be on the weekends. Whether you wanted to be inside, outside, upstairs, or downstairs, play pool, bean bags, or shuffleboard, this bar seriously had something for everyone. I’d definitely like to go back on a more lively night – if they have those in Salt Lake!

After a few drinks there and a few rounds of Jesse dominating at every game in the house (how can he be so good at pool AND bean bags?!) we called it a night!

Talk about a unique week. From little old Susanville, to rowdy Reno, to a rather laid back Salt Lake City experience, we definitely saw and did a lot this last week.

Up next: a whole week left in Salt Lake City! We’re planning on seeing the Tabernacle Choir and the organs, going to Temple Square, and catching an Iron & Wine performance. Other than that – any suggestions on where to go, what to eat, and who to meet while in town?

(If you’re wondering why I didn’t even mention running in this post it’s because I kind of decided to take an entire week off training. Yeah, what? I just needed a mental and physical break for a bit. Back on it this week though!)

Touristy Tuesday: Prescott, AZ Edition

Yee-haw! It’s been one hell of a week in Prescott, Arizona! Prescott, pronounced “Press-Kit” by the locals, is home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo – the Prescott Frontier Days, which were going on while we were in town!

The week was kickstarted Monday night with dinner downtown at a great local place called The Raven Cafe.

With a ton of farm-to-table food (which I just adore) and an upstairs patio with views to kill for, this place was just what we needed to relax from a day on the road.

When we got to the hotel we immediately jumped into the hot tub, which definitely hit the spot after a nine hour drive day!

Our place in Cali didn’t have a pool or tub, so I’ve been taking full advantage of it the past week. While down at the hot tub, Abe and I made friends with a handful of other guests who were passing through! Let me tell you, the Rodeo brings in some fun people!

Typically, whenever we get to a new city we get two days off. We spent our first day off visiting the Grand Canyon.

Now THAT was a fun trip! When I was younger I had a National Park Passport that my grandma got for me, filled with stamps from the Rocky Mountain National Park. Starting this job, I knew I’d see a few more parks and purchased another one while visiting the Central High School site in Little Rock, AK. Now I’ve officially added another stamp!

Our second day we spent catching up on things. We washed the company car at the local firehouse, which was a blast.

That evening we decided to venture into Downtown Prescott and stumbled across the Prescott Cloggers! What an unexpected delight that was.

The next few days could be characterized by working in the hot hot Arizona sun, going home to the pool, and then hitting the town with the locals!

Passing out poolside after 6 hours in 100 degree temps!

Friday night we went to the Rodeo, which was Abe’s first. I wanted to get a run in and he wanted a nap, so we ended up getting there at 8:30, when it started at 7:30. While we may have missed the beginning, we ended up getting in free!

After we got our fill of bull riding and hog tying, we headed down to Whisky Row. With more than 15 bars in just a few blocks, Whisky Row had endless options. What I found really interesting though, is that you could be at the same bar and feel like you’re in three different ones. For example, one bar we walked into had live country music in front and in their back room had a hip-hop DJ. That was actually awesome!

I love living on the road because you really stop caring about what people think about you. I probably went dancing a handful of times in college, but I’ve easily gone dancing twice as much in the month since starting this job!

The next morning we drove the car in to see the Prescott Rodeo Parade. We didn’t stay for the whole thing though because it lasted four hours! The parade was fun, but when you’re too big to get candy tossed your way and you’re not registered to vote in Arizona to glad-hand with politicians it’s just not the same!

Saturday night we headed to the Rodeo Dance. We went Saturday night because it was supposed to be 21+ night. Being around families so much with our job, we were looking forward to a night out with people our age. That is, until we got to the dance. I looked at Abe and said, “Wait, is it 41+ night?!” Haha! Prescott really is a retirement town at heart, so there were plenty of older couples tearing it up on the dance floor.

The rodeo dance was fun, but short lived, and we headed back to Whisky Row. There was one bar that we hadn’t made it to yet, which had been recommended to us by every local we asked – Coyote Joe’s. Holding true to the Prescott bar scene, Coyote Joe’s had three different levels and they were all totally different. Country on the downstairs patio, billiards and a more mellow tone on the lower level, and dancing on the second floor and upstairs patio! Even better than the scene were the $2.00 margaritas!

Somewhere along the night I was christened a bridesmaid! I didn’t have the sash long, and instead passed it along to the next girl who seemed worthy of the title!

Overall, Saturday night was a rootin’ tooting’ good time! All that fun though and the next morning I was up at 6:30, lacing up the running shoes to run with the Prescott Mountain Milers running club at Groom Creek!

On our final day in Prescott I ended up going on a hike to Granite Basin. Abe and I had met two grad students at Embry-Riddle who were both pilots and I got the local scoop on this hike!

Before the hike, a carbo-load was much deserved and I had the chance to try Two Mamma’s Pizza, in downtown Prescott. Holy Cow. Best. Deep. Dish. Ever. What is this – Chicago?

The Margherita Pizza was phenomenal! (Can you tell I love anything Margarita? haha!) The hike was beautiful, especially because it was close to sunset!

I don’t think there was a single day in Prescott that wasn’t memorable! I had never even heard of the place, and now I would be excited to be back!

Running with the Locals

Prescott, AZ is such a gorgeous area and I wanted to take full advantage of being in such a beautiful place. However, after those first few hot and hilly runs through the desert, I knew it was time for a change of pace and scenery, and I reached out to the local Prescott running club – the Mountain Milers. I shot them a message saying I was in town with the Wienermobile and would love to meat up with anyone interested in a run, drink, or a meal.

Talk about an overwhelming response of welcoming! It could be because having a 27″ long hot dog is pretty enticing, but the people of Prescott proved to be some of the most hospitable people I’ve met! Positively Midwestern!

Marlyn, a Mountain Miler, quickly got back to me with invitations to an early morning hike, girls night at the bar and movies, and the Saturday morning 10k run! My email was forwarded to the club list-serve and within the day I was also invited on the Sunday morning run. Talk about a friendly group!

Of course, I said sign me right up! 6:30 a.m. on a Friday for a 5 mile hike? Let’s do it!

Friday morning I hiked with Marlyn, Steve, and Gabby up Mingus Mountain on the Rick Tank Trail. To be honest, I didn’t even realize how close the mountains were to Prescott, but all of the sudden I was driving the company car up this absolutely gorgeous scenic route!

The hike was beautiful. It was a fur-children friendly route, and they all brought their dogs (I brought the BIG dog). It was great to be around new people and meet the locals! It was also nice to be around dogs – living in hotels you kind of miss having pets around!

When we stopped to take a break (it’s for the dogs!) Steve realized he was low on water. Maryln offered him some, and jokingly told him she’d only charge him the regular price this time. “Normally,” she said, “the higher up the mountain you go the steeper the fee!” Haha – I thought that was just too funny!

Abe and I were off to the rodeo Friday night so I wasn’t able to make girls night, and because of the rodeo Friday night, a Saturday morning 10k just wasn’t looking like a good idea. Even the rodeo dance though couldn’t keep me from the Sunday morning run in Groom Creek!

Running on about 4 hours of sleep, Sunday morning I grabbed the keys and maneuvered the company car through the winding dirt roads up to Groom Creek. If I was tired when I woke up, by the time I got to the meet-up I was bursting with excitement. The hills and views reminded me of when I lived in Colorado and was so glad I didn’t pass up this opportunity! Running with the locals, you get to experience new paths you never would have found on your own.

There were seven of us that morning and talk about a charming crowd! I love the running community because they are just cool people that constantly keep you inspired! And, they’re just plain nice! I ran with Cactus Jon, Noel, Tom, Margaret, Dina, Len, and Josh.

Having never run with a group before I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was that they push you harder and keep you motivated. When the people next to you are running 50 milers and working on double digit marathons, you can’t help but be impressed! They kept me going on those uphills (the entire first mile and a half I should mention! They didn’t warn me about that in the email! haha!) and walked with me when I took a short break.

I absolutely LOVED the run with the Mountain Milers! I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Brilliant company (smart, funny as hell, and inspiring) and unbelievable scenery!

I think I’ve landed on a new tradition – doing runs with the local running clubs in each city I’m in. Up next: Lake Havasu Hustlers.