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19 March 2007

the impromptu SLC/vegas mini-vacation

vegas from mandalay bay's MiX bar

it's been a while since i blogged, AND it's been a while since this happened (just shy of a month ago), but since i'm leaving for the NASCAR race in bristol, TN early tomorrow morning, i have to leave you with something. i'll be out of touch for about a week (lest i drunk blog from my smartphone). so...

jules invited me to go out to salt lake city, UT (SLC) to see her and meet her (female) friend TheJo. on friday, 23 february, i'd made arrangements to get there, and the cheapest flight went through atlanta. ironically, jules was flying to SLC from her job in atlanta, so we were able to meet up in an airport bar for a few drinks. we were gonna act like strangers because i REALLY need to work on my talking to people skills and not being shy, but we were so excited when we saw each other that went out the window quick. we had a few drinks and around 30 minutes before boarding, i decided it was time to leave, jules didn't concur. i've realized now that i'm the considerate at-the-gate-ontime traveler who knows how to get my stuff in the overhead bin or under the seat in one suave movement as i'm sitting down so as not to hold up the people behind me. jules gets there running and out of breath begging them not to close the doors, then has to run up and down the aisle trying to find a place for her bag because they are already completely full (love ya babe). well, she convinced me to wait a bit longer, and we left with about 10 minutes or so until take off. we get to the gate and it went something approximately like:
JULES: see they're not even boarding yet
GATE ATTENDANT: are you on this flight?
US: yes, we are.
GATE ATTENDANT: well, come on, we're waiting for you.
ME: (under my breath so as not to get slapped) TOLD YA SO!!!

so, we are on the plane. my flight arrangements were made after jules, so we weren't able to site together, AND since she was still on "business" travel, she sipped her champagne in business class while i was back with the livestock. she came back on occasion to "check on me" a.k.a. rub it in. other than that, the flight was rather uneventful.

TheJo let us crash in her bed that night while she slept on the couch on the condition that we were indentured to her to help her renovate her guest room. she was tearing the drywall from the beautiful brick walls of the room. it was 80% complete when we got there but that last 20% on saturday was a bitch. so saturday morning, with bandana masks covering our mouths (we were woefully wrong that they were protecting our lungs), we attacked the room with crowbars and hammers in hand. several hours and more than enough trips to the dumpster (from the third floor), we were done (enough) to go get a bed. just a bare bones bed and boxspring laid on the floor for now. and that was where we snoozed the rest of our time in SLC. i believe it was saturday night i met TheJo and jules' friends, TheAmi and TheChris. they are engineers working in SLC, they have a great house, and are just really cool people. i was really glad to meet them. at their place, it was brought up over drinks that maybe we should go to vegas for a day or two. they could take of work and it is only 4.5 hours or so drive. it was later dismissed by them, and by us only for a few days.

sunday, i watched NASCAR at an SLC bar. funny thing about utah bars, you have to be a member. if you're not, membership is cheap enough ($4 at this bar for a month) at the door. this bar allowed me to bring in 6 guests on this visit, 6 more the next visit, 6 more the next, and so on. i could have most of SLC in that bar by my 10th or 11th visit. craziness. i walked there since jules was taking a bit of time getting ready, and she came to meet me later. i concurrently got to watch the #1 OSU men's bball team beat... i think, #2 wisconsin; it was a nailbiter. that night, TheAmi and TheChris came over for Oscar night. i have never in my life ever watched the Oscars and had no desire to break that streak. i did my best to socialize (with some liquid courage) and ignore the TV the entire night. i don't remember anything about it besides forest whitaker winning best actor, and helen mirren winning best actress. i don't know why i remember those. at one point, though, i got ridiculed immensely. for all my deriding of the Oscars all night, waste of time watching it, etc., i knew that diane keaton had worn a tuxedo and bowler cap to the Oscars in the past. they wouldn't let that go.

i think it was monday the girls wanted to go skiing. i'm not a skiier, never done it, not sure the mountain can handle wrecks my size, but i was trying to convince myself that i would try it. still, the morning it was decided we were going to go, i didn't want to, it was early, i was tired, and i just wanted to stay in bed. most women would agree that men need help in expressing themselves. this was definitely a case of that. i didn't want to go skiing, so i blamed being tired for it, and not wanting to get out of bed. it took lots of convincing from jules to get me out of bed (then she was probably cranky with my cranky butt), when if i'd just have said that i didn't want to ski that day, things might've gone better. i think the lesson is learned. we drove to the mountain, and i'm in the back 1/2 convincing myself to try skiing and 1/2 pouting (i'm not too proud to admit it). i have a pseudo-inferiority complex where if i can't do something as good as someone else, i get really mad and don't want to try anymore. that was kinda the case. i wanted to take the ski training class, but i didn't want to fall down in front of the instructor, AND i didn't want little kids doing better than me (i know, i'm dumb). either way, we got to the resort around 10:30AM so we missed the morning class and the afternoon class wasn't until like 1:45PM. the girls went off, and i wandered around the lodge for 3+ hours until the time came for the class and i just couldn't do it. i was too proud. so instead, i walked to the other lodge and met the girls for lunch. i'm sure jules was disappointed angry, and TheJo certainly didn't get a good impression (jules' boyfriend is a puss, hah) but such is life. if it does come to that again, i'll try harder to try harder. anyways, it wasn't a bad day. i like cold and snow and i got a lot of exercise walking around to pass the day.

monday night we decided to go to vegas for a couple days before i had to fly home (TheJo had MORE guests coming and there wouldn't be room for me, so jules would stay with TheJo, and i'd have to go home). tuesday, we woke to a LOVELY blizzard. jules booked the hotel in vegas (THEhotel at mandalay bay), and i booked the rental car at SLC airport. TheJo drove me to the airport on her way to work. on the way, we saw a car behind us slide off the ramp into the wall. TheJo didn't like that, but she has a jeep, 4x4 baby. i got a hyundai piece-o'-crap at the rental place, and knew the drive was going to be exciting, but jules assured me we'd only have to drive in it 30-45 minutes from looking at the weather map. needless to say, we were in this blizzard for nrealy 4.5 hours. we had to stop for a restroom break and for me to kick the inch of ice of the grill of the car. here is a picture of the car antenna. that's more than 1.5" of ice buildup. it was a fun ride. i'm not scared to drive in that kind of weather. granted, i'd rather have 4 wheel drive, but i can live without it. jules has wrecked in weather similar to that with a tractor trailer bearing down on her. that makes for a very bad passenger. she was more than a little jumpy when visibility got low, when we'd see someone get loose (i saw one wreck behind me and a wrecked truck on it's side in the median), whenever i'd get out of the tracks of the vehicle on front of me, etc. i was only worried once the entire time for about 10 seconds, but got it under control. the drive ended up being more like a smidge over 6 hours, but when we got to vegas it was worth it.

the room at THEhotel was amazing. mandalay bay built an extension that is a really nice hotel with a bar called MiX near the top. we were only in vegas for 2 nights and 2 days so it blurs a lot but while we were there, we saw the blue man group the first night (it was my second time), and cirque du soleil's zumanity the second night ("O" was sold out sadly). both shows were absolutely amazing. i could blow so much money on the shows out there alone. jules and i checked out a few casinos (neither of us are big gamblers), rode the new (convoluted) tram lines there, and ate some great food at some of the hotel restaurants (sadly, jules doesn't have the appreciation for buffets that i do). our last day there, we went to see "old" vegas (if you watch any binions poker tourneys, we might be in the background somewhere... we were taking a shortcut, it was windy out that day). we got some pictures of the fremont street experience (in the day, still have to see it at night), and of course we got a picture of one of the most famous cowboys in history (of neon), vegas vic (you can click for bigger pictures). i like the flash and life of the strip, but old vegas DOES have a certain alure that i was glad jules got me to see and appreciate.

vegas was awesome, the trip back wasn't very exciting. when we got back, we stayed at TheAmi and TheChris's place for one night, then i left the next day and jules went back and stayed with TheJo and her guests where they skiied copiously. for reference on how bad the roads were, a few more photos:

the road on the way back to SLC, no snow is a quicker trip

going into the mountains from vegas to SLC

my faithful navigator and her car-induced narcolepsy


Blogger themom said...

and a good time was HAD by all!!! i'm so happy you had this adventure - only you canmake it so descriptive.


6:21 AM, March 20, 2007  

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