Hello everybody, just shacked up here in Gillette, Wyoming during a Biker Rally with nowhere to go when I typed this up, but then loading the pictures was a pain. So now I'm in Great Falls and I thought I'd catch you up on the first few days of the trip...so up until about a week ago. By the way, Happy Birthday to Bubbles today!!! Hope you enjoy. How do I start? Well, the night before starting this vacation, I was driving home from work when I got a text message from JL Clyde, who was hanging with her friend Esther. They asked if I had any plans, I didn't & offered them to come hang out for a while. "Do you have Klondike bars?" "As a matter of fact, I do. Peanut butter cup Klondike bars." A little odd of a request...but they came over and we played Rock Band. Yes, that's two RB parties on consecutive nights. After a few hours, the girls wanted to watch "a scary movie...but nothing gory or violent." Quite the request...especially for a scary movie made in the last, I don't know, 50 years...and we had already watched the black & white ones a few months back. Then I remembered a movie that wasn't violent...but pretty damn scary...and starred Coach. That's right, I'm talking about "Poltergeist" with Craig T. Nelson. By the way, is there a Craig A. Nelson who's famous that I don't know about...or is the T for Trustworthy or something, like Jack T. Colton? Anyway, it's a great flick, really scary (especially for being PG) if you get into it, and be the time it was over...the clock said 2:30 AM...and I had to be up around 7 AM to start my two-week journey...but it was worth it.
Day 1 - Slick City to Cheyenne to Denver
I woke up around 7:10 AM on my own. As I was thinking to myself, "Should I get up & get going?" The phone rang...and it was my mom telling me that she was about 45 minutes away. I guess that answered that. So I woke up, got ready, and we went off to get the rental car. My mom said that we had to go to Fox Rent-A-Car to pick it up. "Fox? I've never heard of them. Where are they? (Address) Ugh...that's by dad's house. Are you renting a car from a chop shop?" Okay, so I had never heard of them...but apparently they're a legitimate business that started April 1st, so just really new. They upgraded us to a Chrysler 300 (cuz I'm hot & charming, that's why) and we started our epic journey.
Along the drive, mom & I entertained ourselves by talking about this & that. She would tell stories about the first time she drove out to places like Evanston...and oddly enough, it was for her brother's wedding...and she was at his daughter's (her niece, my cousin) wedding earlier this week. Weird, right? I told her about the trips that I used to ride along with to get fireworks, high-point beer, & low-grade porn. Seriously, I don't think there's more reason for that city to be in existence besides that & the occasional rodeo. Great little town though. We stopped there & got some Mickey D's for breakfast (because Wendy's wasn't open yet). As the drive continued, we talked about gas prices, family, me moving to Vegas, her 50th birthday coming up, my brother's birthday coming up, road signs along the way, what we were going to do on the trip, songs on the radio, why country singers have to cover EVERY song, and just about anything else that came to mind. You know how you are with family & nothing better to do...so here are some pictures of the drive...
Not going to lie, this was the view most
of the way through Wyoming
P.S. There are going to be a lot of pictures taken at 80-90 MPH
during this trip. Please forgive the fogginess of it all...and bug stains
Not sure why my mom wanted me to take this picture
Wait, two round boulders with a tower-like rock in the middle?
We stopped in Laramie because my mom wanted to "rest her eyes" and pulled into the parking lot of Bart's Flea Market. By the way, in case you were wondering, it's basically impossible for me to take a nap when my mother's driving...because she'll randomly slam on the brakes for no reason...or one of the cataracts jumps on the road or something...so I keep her entertained...and Gawk Block her so that she keeps her eyes on the road. I went inside because I had to pee...but then I noticed there was some cool stuff in there. Mostly old Americana stuff and overpriced junk...but I did find a present for my niece Kairi. For those who don't know (or haven't seen my bedroom pictures), I like Winnie the Pooh...and have a few plush toys of them...and was even called Pooh Bear by the U of U women's basketball team for over a year (story I may tell you if you ask nicely) but I was walking around...and saw what looked like an old fuzzy plush of Pooh Bear himself. So I walked up, gave him a squeeze, and he started singing "Up, down, touch the ground..." and I basically jumped around with giddy joy (on the inside because I was in public) as he did a whole verse of the song. Tehehehe. I checked the price...five bucks. Headed for the register...and the checkout lady (maybe fifty?) gave him a squeeze...and she started dancing around with it a little bit. "Are you getting this for yourself or somebody special?" "Well, I was going to get it for my niece...but then it started singing, so it may be for when she visits MY house."
We made it to Cheyenne after getting a little lost trying to find the hotel. Well, let me elaborate on that a bit. I was under the impression that my mom knew where she was staying in Cheyenne (because she told me she did), so I didn't bother getting Mapquest directions like I did for everything else. So after we passed every exit along I-80 that went to Cheyenne, I called up her hotel & got directions for her. I checked her in...then we headed for Denver so that I could stay at the new Ritz-Carlton there. Oh...and before you judge me, I DID invite my mom to stay there too...but she had work business in Cheyenne at 6 AM & didn't want to deal with that...so she had her chance. Oddly enough, no Ritz-Carlton in Cheyenne. I know, right? Weird.
Anyway, the Ritz-Carlton, Denver staff was really nice checking me in, they gave me a room on the 14th (13th) floor, and this was what I was greeted with in the room...along with two goblets full of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups & York Peppermint Patties (repeat customer & they know what I like).
View from my room - Yes, that's Coors Field
The Legendary Ritz-Carlton Bed
It was at this point that I called JJ to let her know that I was in town...and then I called Bubbles to let her know that I made it safe...and then she informed me that I basically hadn't mentioned the trip to her at all (and she no longer reads my blog everyday) but I broke it to her as easy as I could that I was staying in a legendary Ritz-Carlton bed and hanging with our friend JJ. Then she made me jealous by saying that she was having some of Barbie's fantastic pork tacos...so we were even. Anyway, met up with JJ and JP (who's also a former coworker) and we walked around the 16th Street Mall and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (their choice). Good times.
After dinner, we parted ways...and I returned to my room because I was exhausted (odd because I was in a car all day...but on four hours sleep). I flipped through the channels a bit & stumbled upon the new episode of Venture Brothers ("What Goes Down Must Come Up") and while sitting there, thought to myself, "Wow, this would be so much better if I had somebody else to share it with." Don't get me wrong, I love going on vacations & seeing new things & trying out new experiences...but the only thing better than ME experiencing all that stuff...is to SEE other people experiencing it too. The smiles on their faces, the look of wonderment, "Oh my gosh, this is amazing!", glancing in every direction to soak it all in, basically taking in the moments that they'll remember for a lifetime, then a few years later "Hey, remember when we were in...", then you both share the experience again in your own living room, that's SO much better than sitting in an incredibly well-appointed luxury hotel room by yourself overlooking Coors Field...and enjoying a few peppermint patties. This is why I don't like to travel alone...and it's REALLY easy to convince me to go on a trip with others. Anyway, I went to bed around 10:30 and didn't wake up until...
Dream #1 - I was at a party. Not the usual affair. This was at somebody's mansion...or at least a very large house...and it was catered with ice swans, you know, that kind of thing. I was walking around...and didn't really know anybody. What the hell was I doing here? I was hanging out by the bartender, then decided to try to find a bathroom. I get a little lost near the kitchen...and a lovely older lady (in her late thirties/early forties) says, "Hello there, handsome. Haven't seen you at one of these things before." "Yeah, I'm not exactly sure why I'm here honestly. Coach invited me (ah-ha, a coach is involved) but I don't know anybody else here." "Well, I'm Ginger. Nice to meet you." "I'm $teve." So then we get to talking...and she's obviously flirting with me...and I'm not opposed to the idea. Like I said, she was quite gorgeous. We talked about music (both liked oldies) and going to see a play in a few days (she had an extra ticket & I had a suit and a friend involved with the play). Some not-so-subtle innuendo later, followed by "Well, I live just a few blocks from here if you'd like to walk with me" and we walk off (fade to black).
Next thing I know, we're lying back in bed, I have a huge grin on my face, she's breathing deep & caressing the sheets, "Oh my god, FIVE TIMES? We've been going at it for hours. You're like a stallion." "Pbpbpbpb (that's me neighing)" "My husband is usually a one-and-done man. That was amazing." My eyes widen up, "YOUR HUSBAND???" "Yeah...oh my God, you didn't know? Oh I'm sorry sweetie. I'm Ginger Jones, Coach Jones' wife." "Holy sh*t!!! What the...? Are you trying to get me killed? Are you some kind of robot sent back through time to destroy me? (Why do I always think that?)" "No, not at all. I'm sorry. I just...this hasn't been the first time that I've seduced players over the years. Just the first time that they didn't know who I was. I just thought...you know, you'd be cool with it." "Well, I'm not. You're married...to Coach." "I'm sorry. You're a sweet kid. I like you a lot...and not just for the multiple orgasms (giggidy). My offer still stands for the play if you wanna go. I'd hate to go alone...and my husband isn't going to go with me." "Well, I guess that'd be cool. Just as friends though." (Are you kidding me?)
A few days later, we're finding our seats at the opera, I'm in a suit, she's in a dress with a surprisingly low neckline...and surprisingly firm support (then again, it is my dream). As we approach our seat, I hear somebody say, "Hello there $teven." I turn to find, "Bishop Bishop (I really had a Bishop Bishop growing up), how are you?" "Fine, I just came with the wife to the theatre. She dragged me along. You?" "I came with Mrs. Jones (yes, I realize the "Me & Misses....Misses Joooooones", Billy Paul's hit irony at this point in the dream) because Coach Jones couldn't make it & she had an extra ticket. I've been wanting to see this play for a long time, just nobody I could do it with...er, I mean, go with." He looks at me weird, "Hmm, interesting. Well, enjoy the show." "You too Bishop Bishop." "Please stop calling me that."
After the play, I'm being driven home (how old am I in this dream?) and Mrs. Jones tells me, "$teve, I'm sorry about the other night." "Oh it's...no big deal...just please don't get me killed." "Hahahaha, no of course not. You're a great kid...and you've opened up the flood gates of Passion in me again (OH GOD, HERE IT COMES!!!) but I would never want to hurt you. Can we still be friends?" "Oh...yeah, sure, I guess." "Can we be friends...that f**k?" "NO!!! Absolutely not." "Are you...sure? (gently tugging on the dress revealing...well, revealing)" "YES!!! Absolutely sure." "Hahahaha, I'm just messing with you. I'm sorry. You're a sweet kid. Okay, friends it is."
A few days later, I'm at Coach Jones' house and we (me, him, some other teenagers) are tossing a football around the backyard during a barbecue. Apparently, he was my football coach (never played football...or had a Coach Jones). After a few minutes, somebody yells out "LIES!!! ALL LIES!!!" and Bishop Bishop's agitated about something. "THIS MAN IS A LIAR!!!" pointing at me. "I know the truth. I know what you've done. GOD knows what you've done." At this point, I'm scared. He's gonna blab and her husband's going to kill me...and my friends are gonna bury a hole in his flower garden for me...and roses & tulips are gonna grow using my nutrients and be some of the most beautiful flowers ever...but I'll be dead & that'll suck. "I know your secret. I always had my suspicions...but then I knew it when I say you at the theatre. God frowns upon your actions...your awful, sexual actions...and you should be ashamed." Okay, how can I play this off? He hasn't seen anything...nobody has. Unless the neighbors...no, they're pretty cool about that stuff...and they wouldn't have talked to Bishop Bishop. "I have no idea what you're talking about" nor did anybody else in the backyard except me & Mrs. Jones. "Oh yes you do. You and your hedonistic lovers." What? Lovers? Plural? "Abominations." Then it hit me.
"Wo wo, wait. What? As you saying...that you think I'm gay?" "He admits it." I'm laughing myself silly at this point, "Oh my gosh, you're a homophobe...and you think that I'm gay. Hahahaha!!! Dude, why would you even think that?" "Who else would go to a musical with a woman more than twice his age...just because? Who else would be playing grab-ass in somebody's backyard with other young men?" Everybody's laughing at this point. Coach Jones steps over to him, "Ray, I think you need to go home & sleep it off. You've been here since lunch with a wineglass in your hand. Oh...and it's called football, not grab-ass." This was about the time that I woke up and was literally laughing as I woke up. Not a bad way to start the day. Anyway, so what do you think? Weird movie of the week dream? Repressed teenage memory? You be the judge. The streak of sex-teased dreams has been...well, somewhat broken. Hope you liked it...and were surprised by the ending like I was. My storytelling methods kind of suck.
Day 2 - Denver
Woke up in a good mood around 8 AM because of that dream...and was fully refreshed, so I showered, got dressed, and walked around the 16th Street Mall to check it out, get some breakfast, and a few beverages for throughout the day (because hotels are expensive for that stuff...and there's a Walgreen's two blocks away). Then I went around the Civic Center to people watch, take pictures, and see some museum once it got too hot. Unfortunately, the Denver Art Museum (DAM!!!) is closed on Mondays...but it looked like it was going to be modern art anyway. So I went across the street to the Colorado Historical Museum...and here's some pictures of my journey...
Colorado State Capitol Building
Civic Center Park
The Romans were big on Hopscotch
Colorado History Museum
Did you know there were Beavers
the size of today's Bears during the Ice Age?
Check out the views from inside
Loves it - "GO FIGHTIN' WHITES!!!"
Mining is HUGE in the American West
Gotta love the Cowgirl exhibit too
(Disappointed there was no Mechanical Bull)
After that, I decided to go back to the room (too hot) and take a nap...by basically watching TV and kicking back for a few hours watching "Bickford Schmeckler's Cool Ideas" on Comedy Central. It wasn't really a funny movie per se...but it had it's moments. It's about a college kid who collects a bunch of his thoughts about existence & physical nature & philosophy & psychology and puts all of them into a book...or a journal or sorts. Then at a toga party, some super-high superhottie stumbled upon them, reads them, and basically has a mind-gasm about them...so steals the book because she's a nympho clepto (I know, hot right?). Obviously, Bickford wants his book back...but she gave it to a f**k buddy of hers...who threw it away to be picked up by a spaced-out young homeless man named Spaceman (Matthew Lillard) and the journey goes on from there as The Book is passed around campus. It was okay...but yeah, nothing major. Watch it if you have nothing better to do when it's hot outside. It was either that or watch continuing coverage of the Brangelina Twins, Knox & Vivienne.
That evening, I had dinner with JJ & JP again, this time at the Cheesecake Factory where I enjoyed some Jambalaya and a glass of Sangria. Delicious...and great company. After that, I went to the Club Lounge at the hotel for a drink & a snack. While there, I started what basically turned out to be the start of what I thought was an increase in my Mojo. I met a six-foot, skinny blonde girl (probably 16 or so) and her mom...and we talked about some of the items, like chocolate covered almonds dipped in cocoa...which seemed like a good way to stay up for a few hours. After a few minutes, they excused themselves...had been there for a while, so one of the Club attendants talked with me for a few seconds, asking where I was from, etc. Very nice...and she was cute...but yeah, after that, I sat there...by myself, overlooking downtown Denver at sunset sipping on a wonderful beverage thinking "Man, this is nice...but it'd be better if somebody else was here too." Finished my drink, went back to my room, watched some Sports Science show about a guy getting hit in the nuts with a tennis ball, and went to bed. No memorable dreams.
Day 3 - Denver to Lusk
Had a continental breakfast in the Club Lounge (fruit & a muffin) and another one of the attendents said, "How was your room last night?" "Lonely...but still fantastic." "Oh, I'm sorry about the lonely part. Traveling on business?" "Mmm, mix of business & pleasure, I guess. Always try to mix the two whenever possible." "Excellent. How long are you staying with us?" "About (check metaphorical watch) three more hours." "Well, good luck wherever your travels take you then." "Thank you." So I finished up my breakfast...and checked on a rumor about a Rolls-Royce Phantom that the Ritz-Carlton owns that they'll drive you around on a first-come, first-serve basis...and it was true. While waiting for the Phantom, Olympic basketball player Chauncey Billups pulled up in a Bentley, so I shook his hand and wish him luck in Beijing next month. Then the Phantom rolled up...and took me to the Denver Aquarium. Here are the pictures...
When you trust your camera to a valet...this is what you get
(Note the Captain Morgan pose)
My driver Rod is even giving me a salute
What it looks like inside a Rolls-Royce Phantom
What I look like inside a Phantom
"Excuse me Miss. Wanna go to the Aquarium?"
Denver Downtown Aquarium
Rocky Mountain Habitat with Trout, Salmon, etc.
Alligator Snapping Turtle
Mechanical Orangutan for B
Best picture I've ever had of a Poison Dart Frog
Usually the kids tap on the glass before I get to them
Moon Jellies - I want some for my house
Piranha - You should have seen them when I dripped
blood in their tank. It looked like a hot tub for like five minutes.
If there weren't kids getting their faces painted,
I'd have a slightly more interesting picture
Lots of kids at this place
"Dora! Dora! Dora!" - Finding Nemo has saved aquariums
I had lunch at the Aquarium's restaurant, which of course specializes in seafood...so I ordered some Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos while watching a giant aquarium...as if to say, "You're next if you don't ackrite, fishies." Good times.
More Mojo - I think this scuba diver's hitting on me
After lunch, I walked around the Riverside, down the 16th Street Mall, and down to the Denver Art Museum (open this day). Here are some pictures of that...
There's a giant Blue Bear at the Convention Center
and nobody knows why...
16th Street Mall
Hard Rock Cafe - "Love All. Serve All."
Denver Art Museum
Some great Northwestern Tribal Art
Made of Sand - Imagine sneezing ONCE while making it
After that, it started getting hot again, so I ducked into a Starbucks, ordered an Iced Caramel Macchiatto, and people watched for a little over an hour...and answered a lot of text messages. This happened to be my brother Kiel's 25th birthday so I called him up & sang him happy birthday. Also, his wife had texted me a few times about our Greatest Present Ever (that fell apart), Bubbles was in the hospital for a sinus infection in Nevada, my Wingman was in the hospital getting his last chemo treatment in Utah, my mom was working in Wyoming, and I was living la vida badass in Colorado. I almost felt a little bad for having so much fun...but quickly got over it. I sent them all my Love and wished them the best. JJ was kind enough to drive me back to Cheyenne to meet up with my mom...so big ups to her for a wonderful stay in Denver. I offered to take her out to dinner at Applebee's in Cheyenne...but she wasn't having it. Oh well, I tried.
I waited at Applebee's for an hour waiting for my mom...and again, the Mojo seemed to be working as a few of the hostesses were checking on me every so often...including one incredibly cute girl that asked me how the WNBA game that I was watching was going. "Pretty good. Care to have a seat? I can catch you up..." "Oh, I probably shouldn't, working and all. Tehehehe." "Well, if you have a break or something, I'll be here for about an hour." "Tehehe (walks off)" I just assume she was probably underage...so it's a good thing it didn't go any further than gentle, mild flirting. Anyway, after some appetizers, my mom eventually showed up, then she ate (so I was there for a few hours total), then she informed me that our plans for Minot, North Dakota have been cancelled. Cool. More time for the Black Hills...so we started driving towards there...but decided to pull up in the small town of Lusk, Wyoming at the Town House Motel. It actually wasn't a bad room based on the rate being half its competitors....and being in backwoods BFW. Here are some pictures...
You'll see this when entering Colorado
Town House Motel in Lusk, Wyoming
Anyway, the rest of the trip will be coming shortly...and it has been a LOT of fun. Can't wait to catch you up...but it'll take a while. Have a great day...and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Love y'all madly!!!