Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We've Got A Ticket to Ride

In that Melissa and I had some tickets, and a ride (see below)
We rented this bad boy, as currently, neither of us have one reliable enough to take us to Denver in a weekend. AND to Denver we had to go, because we had tickets to see BRANDI CARLILE and Ingrid Michaelson! 
We planned to leave right after work, but were delayed some hours. First by the rental car place that took FOREVER, but we finally got the thing, packed it up at Melissa's house, and took the standard start-of-our-journey pic (see above)......
...which was a trick,because we were delayed again to get something to eat. We took another start-of-our-journey pic (see above)......which was another trick, cause we stopped for a treat, and then we had to stop and get some towels. Then we headed out in the wrong direction! So it was after 9 o'clock when we were officially on the road....going the right way.
We had plans to camp out in Rawlings, which was half way. Because of the late start we got there at 1:00 in the morning. The campsites were SO close together that we didn't want to put up our tent for fear that we would wake everyone up. Melissa wanted to just sleep in the car, but I convinced her that we would sleep better outside.
So here were our lodgings for the night. Nice and cozy. The only bad thing is we were up with the sun. No sleeping in that day.
After a shower and breaking camp(?), we continued along our way.
We made it to the Welcome to Colorado sign and just had to stop for a photo op. We had some trouble setting up the self timer (see above)...... 
...but we kinda managed to get one. I actually think the reflection is pretty cool.
Here is a normal style picture.
We stopped in Fort Collins for a Snooze brunch. We happened upon this place when we were in Denver last time, and made it a priority for this trip.
Last time I had the pancakes, this time I had the french toast! I don't think you can go wrong in this place. It was AMAZING!
We thought the Apple Juice looked cool. Hence the picture.
After Snooze we made our way slowly to Denver. Our plan was to find a park and sleep/hang out until our dinner reservations. However we could not find a park! We found a park management place with a church next to it, that had a parking lot. So we took a nap there. 
Then we headed over to Bella Bistro, in Arvada. It is a favorite of Melissa's. We went there last time we were in town and it is a cozy little place. We made a reservation cause we wanted to make sure we got in right when they opened to make it to the concert in time. Turns out we didn't need one cause we were the first ones there and the only ones there for half of the meal! Melissa loves this place for the bread and oil (shown above). I think she would go there just for that.
I had some steak and Melissa had the duck. They were both very yummy!
Then we headed out to the concert which was at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, right outside of Denver. I highly recommend this venue. It was INCREDIBLE!
We walked through that tunnel to get there. Which is so cool.
The Amphitheater is between those two rocks and we are entering from above.
There it is from the top. There is Red Rock surrounding the whole place. It is huge too, it holds over 9,000 people. We have never been to a Brandi Carlile concert this big. Our first one had like 150 people. She is sure moving up in the world.
Here are a picture of her Uber Fans.
We got there at the end of the opening act, but just in time for Ingrid Michaelson. She was so good! I think she said it was her first time playing there, and she seemed to be pretty excited to be there. She put on a great show.
We took a picture break while they were setting up for Brandi
It was so cool with all the rocks lit up. Once again, that place was a Great Venue!
Then Brandi! IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!! She put on a great show as always! She had played here before, but never as the headliner. You could tell she was SO excited about it too, she would stop every once in a while and just take it all in. She also said that it was the greatest day of her life. 
It was so GREAT! Seriously! She played a bunch of favorites, she also played Bohemian Rhapsody (which I have a hard time thinking of anybody but Queen playing, but MAN they killed it), she played a bunch of new ones, and an AMAZING encore.
Brandi and Ingrid sang a song together in the encore that was pretty amazing.
Overall,  I had chills like the whole time. She is just so GREAT!
After the concert we headed right out on the road. Melissa drove a ways, while I slept, and when she got to tired to drive we stopped at a park-in-ride for a couple of hours. Then I took the helm. We drove for a while and about 2 in the morning. I drove across a bloody mess. I thought it was gross, but it didn't alarm me until suddenly I was driving over the cause of the bloody mess! It was a Huge Deer! I swear it was bigger than most. It scared the crap out of Melissa who was asleep in the back seat. We changed drivers quite a few times, and made another stop at a rest stop for a couple of hours of sleep. When we woke up it was light out and we were able to see if the deer did any damage. There were no dents. But there was this bar below the bumper that had part of its rib cage wrapped around it......We had a pretty good freak out after seeing that. We didn't do anything to it there we just drove the rest of the way home. The only other eventful thing was that we passed Brandi and Ingrid tour bus twice! I was still wearing my Brandi shirt so I pointed it out to them. I am pretty sure only the bus driver saw it. Oh well. 
We got to Melissa's house around 10 and unloaded the car and then went over to a car wash. We were hoping we could just spray the chuck of deer rib cage off, but sadly it didn't work. Luckily Melissa had the foresight to bring gloves so she had to pull it off. It took a lot of pulling and turning and gaging (by me) to get that thing off. I am almost positive that if anyone heard what was happening they would have called the police. There were some questionable things said, like "quick remove the evidence". It was gross.
Melissa managed to stop long enough for me to get a picture of the chunk, and that is as close as I would get to that thing. What a way to end the trip! We took the car back and Melissa took me home, where I promptly went to sleep. She however went to a family party and had....
...ribs.
Overall, Great Trip! Great Concert! Great Fun!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Surprise Visits

On night I got a call from my Dear Cousin Tierney, she called to inform me that she was coming to visit in a week! WAHOO! I was so very excited! Who doesn't love a good stay-cation.
When she first got here we went out for dinner and took a yeah-Tierney-is-here-type picture. This our first attempt. Not so successful......at least it is nice to know we are both retarded....
We managed a much better one here. After a couple more tries.....Dinner was great, and it fulfilled one of the items on Tierney's list of demands. I make her write one every visit, and it always includes Fry Sauce.....
......and Board Games. We spent large amounts of the time playing games, which I have to admit is my favorite part!
AND when Tierney is here we can always talk people into playing Clue. Which is a bonus! Usually my Dad is the only willing one, and you cannot play Clue with 2 people.....believe me.....we've tried.
One night we visited the local drive-in. We had some trouble finding a spot, because we went a little late, and I was in larger car than I was used to and had a hard time parking. BUT we did it! The movies were great.
One night we set off some fireworks, and they were the best home fireworks we have EVER had! Thank you Utah for selling aerial fireworks. 
A couple of pyromaniacs!
We had some strobe lights, to hide the poor dancing skills of the family. Sadly there is a hint of them in photo.
I just thought this looked cool.
 We played around a lot with the long exposure shots and the sparklers.
SO fun!
One day we spent some time at the Layton Park and played some more games.
Afterwards we headed over to Aunt Kay's house for a Birthday Party, it was so much fun that I didn't take any pictures. Whoops! It was great food and great company.
The next day we had planned another BBQ, and there were more surprise visitors. We didn't tell Uncle Ron and Aunt Kay and Uncle Bill, so when they came it was a fun shock. My Uncle John and Aunt Jeanne were visiting from Alaska, and they didn't know they were here. SO Surprise!! That was 4 of the 6 siblings. Not bad for a last minute party. And Bonus, they brought along cousin Julie and Co.
We had a lot of fun catching up with everyone.
Uncle Ron got the little one laughing quite a bit.
And Aunt Jeanne got US laughing quite a bit. She totally rocks the minion hat.

One day I got off of work early and we headed out to another item on Tiern's list. LAGOON! I only go there once a year and it is because of Tierney. I am not complaining at all, you have to squeeze in one good Lagoon day a year, do you not?
We had a great day there too! It was so hot and there was hardly anyone there, so we walked right onto most of the rides. Which means we had time for all of them....
Including the worst one of them all....The Ferris Wheel. I absolutely hate this ride! I have successfully avoided for a very long time. Curses to Tierney for getting me on this thing. 
Other than that it was a great day though. We went on every ride we wanted to, our favorites twice. AND I saw my Friend Natalie there while going riding the sky ride. It conveniently stopped just after we passed so we could talk about the fact that she was at Lagoon on her DUE DATE! She is so silly. That was a very strange coincidence!
 
Here is a cool picture of Tierney getting all wet right before the car ride home.
As for how we spent the rest of that evening. I bought some Webkinz for my Nieces and Nephew at a very discounted rate, and since it was, we decided that we needed to get some so that we could test it out and make sure that the kids would enjoy it. Well they are pretty awesome......I know that they are for kids but there are some really fun games on there. We stayed up kinda late figuring them out, and look how cute little Charles and Hector are? Needless to say I think the children will like them.
Thanks for the visit Tierney and Uncle Ron! It was quite fun, and I think you should do it again......SOON.....but next time bring the whole family!