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Boulevard (technically highway) of Broken Dreams

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Now that we are in St. Louis, we might as well do some sightseeing. First up: The 630 foot Gateway Arch, the tallest monument in the United States. A real National treasure.

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Alright, kids…gather round the window. Yup, that’s how we roll; take an hour-long detour to visit Santa Claus, IN for a second time; yet refuse to walk the 2 blocks to visit an actual National Treasure for a second time. You gotta a problem with that? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Full disclosure: A)it is raining a bit outside and I certainly don’t want to mess up my hair and  b)why make the effort and fight the crowds when you have a view like this from the window, and c)we really have been here before…all up in that arch and although it was pretty cool, it was also crazy claustrophobic and I don’t think my already frayed nerves can take it today…plus, we have more exciting things to do. (yeah right).

Think of all the places you dreamed about traveling to when you were a child. Probably Hawaii and Paris. Maybe Fiji and Australia?

How ’bout Lincoln, Nebraska and  Laramie,Wyoming? Well, I for one did not even know those two shit holes existed, and definitely did not ever imagine myself in one…much less 2 of those places…much less 2 in the same 48 hours. But, I am a lucky girl;  guess what? We’ll be spending the next two nights in Lincoln, Nebraska and Laramie, Wyoming. What the fuck is up with that?? Where did things in this so-called life go so far off track? Oh well, at least there is no professional baseball team in either of these places. I’m thanking God for the little things these days.

As you may have guessed, there ain’t a lot to see in Lincoln, Nebraska in July (aside from a pretty kick ass Crossfit gym, which I know most of you couldn’t care less about, so for now will indulge you in non-Crossfit rhetoric).

We did find a brewery and I had some pretty delish strawberry beer, again, the little things

We did find a brewery and I had some pretty delish strawberry beer. Again, the little things.

Oh, and even though I promised not to talk about Crossfit; after I went to said Crossfit gym in the AM, look at this I saw walking through downtown Lincoln:

It's a lot to take in, look carefully...it is a blind woman, walking down a semi-crowded downtown street,by herself, with one of those blind people walking sticks, talking on her cell phone.

It’s a lot to take in, look carefully…it is a blind woman, walking down a semi-crowded downtown street,by herself, with one of those blind people walking sticks, talking on her cell phone.

I know I don’t know a lot about being blind, but I feel like she should have had some sort of chaperone, or if she was hell-bent on being Miss Independent (no doubt motivated by the catchy tune by Kelly Clarkson), she should take her independence more seriously and at least be concentrating on her surroundings and not talking on her phone discussing last night’s episode of America’s Got Talent (I made up that part, I wasn’t close enough to hear the convo, but my money is on AGT recap).  But again, what do I know? I will probably be driving a car with rap music blasting down I-40 when my vision starts to go…good point, my vision is already sketchy, and I already do drive down I-40 (among other places) with rap music blasting. And also, in looking back at this picture, why was I trying to be so discreet when I took it. I was kind of ducked behind a car…not like she could see me. Lesson learned, when taking pictures of blind people, get all up in their grill.

Of course we can’t go to a college town and not check out their sports crap. So, off we go to see The Nebraska football stadium; and some museum with a lot of big and shiny trophies chronicling the awesomeness of the Nebraska football team (whose awesomeness was news to me). I however was too busy to fully appreciate all the football bling, because I was mesmerized by the weight room and work outs going on in there. And really, looking back, had I been a grown man staring at college girls the way I was checking out the football players, I would have probably been arrested. Yikes. In my defense (why do I feel like I am on trial here? Innocent til proven guilty. Stop the witch hunt already.) I was not staring at them in a creepy, checking them out kinda way, I am looking enamoredly at all the sweet work out  equipment and trying to pick up some new moves.  I know, get a life.

Go Huskers?!!

Go Huskers?!! (PS, What a stupid team name!!)

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Am I the only one that thinks this is awesome?

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Awkward gawking done, it is time to get back on the road…before the cops are called.

As luck (jury is out on whether it is good luck or bad luck) would have it, my brother had just been out in Nebraska on a prairie dog hunt (yes, apparently there is some sort of “sport” in that…and you guys thought I was insane; who goes to Nebraska to hunt rodents?) Anyway, he suggested that we stop through for a little tour of his peeps’ ammunition factory. You know I love a good factory tour, right? I do prefer food or liquor, but I should probably broaden my horizons into firearms also. I will be such a fountain of knowledge (well, more of one than I already am). So we head over to Grand Island, Nebraska (another obvious example of “you can name a town whatever the fuck you want with out needing credentials to prove what your town name is promoting.” I would like to think that a place billed as “Grand Island” would actually be “Grand”… or, jesus, at the very least, be a friggin Island.  I picture yachts and cigarettes and bronzed bodies everywhere, maybe I am still caught up in my childhood dreams of jet setting to fab places, like Paris and Cannes; not cruising through the Midwest USA on I-80.  As you have probably figured out. Grand Island did not deliver in the Grandness. There is a Walmart and a Jimmy Johns and that is the extent of the finery that Grand Island has to offer. Oh, a Starbucks too). Off to the Hornady bullet maker place thingy. Can you tell, I do not know anything about ammo or hunting? Our tour guide throws out a lot of verbiage that is over my head, but I can take away from witnessing what is going down inside this factory and the way they are pumping out ammo, I would say that there are lots militia men and Rambo-in-training types out there. And for the record Hornady is all Made in the USA and a family business, so if you are looking to kill some innocent animals, I hope you are using Hornady bullets.

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Dead Animals Everywhere!! Yay!!!

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I think we have officially done everything that Nebraska has to offer, so now we settle in for the jaunt over to Wyoming. Laramie to be exact. That sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?

Remember how I thought we might be able to escape the heat by heading to Wyoming? Yeah...no.

Remember how I thought we might be able to escape the heat by heading to Wyoming? Yeah…no.

You know things are dicey when you are photo shooting at a rest stop.

You know things are dicey when you are photo shooting at a rest stop.

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Ho, Ho, Ho! No,no,no…not that kind of Ho (My apologies)

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Let me throw out a hypothetical question for you all to ponder:

If you were on a 30 hour road trip with your family and on day 1, around 9 (of 12) hours in and you happen to be (sort of) close to a place called Santa Claus, Indiana; which is:

a)12 miles off of the highway- or 24 miles round trip, b) someplace you have already visited once and (c)know from said previous visit that there is not jack shit in Santa Claus except for a few Santa Claus statues, a candy store,  and a post office (for this little hypothetical you do not,however,  have anything that needs to be mailed). Ok, what do you think? Yes or No? Would you stop?

Well, if you answered “Hell to the No” (or any version of “no”) to that, Danny would like to marry you and my kids would like for you to adopt them. Please contact them directly through Snapchat, Twitter or whatever other source of social media they are abusing during this trip that I prefer to be in denial over because they are not talking to me.  As you can probably guess, my non-hypothetical, in the moment answer was “Hell to the Yes” (followed by some version of “Shut your mouthes, I don’t really care what you assholes want to do, we are stopping in Santa Claus and you are going to smile for a few pictures and then, if you are good- we will get to St. Louis in time for the damn baseball game, that for the record, I have no interest in going to”- that was paraphrasing of course).

So, next stop Santa Claus!! Jingle all the way, brah! As we tear down through the 12 miles of corn fields in route to my beloved Santa Claus, I wonder if maybe I might be a little drunk from those shots at the Wild Turkey factory after all. This is a total waste of time. What a stupid idea. The things I let my kids and husband talk me into. Oooops, Ok, good point. I forgot this was my idea. This is awesome! And a once in a lifetime opportunity,right? Ooooops, Ok, good point again. We have already been here, so this is a twice in a lifetime opportunity? Almost as good…right, maybe? And I forgot to mention in the hypothetical, my desire  to pay homage to local legend Jay Cutler. He has been gracing the pages of many of my US Weeklys lately thanks to his (out-of-wedlock) baby and subsequent wedding to Kristen Cavalleri; so there is a chance (ok, very, very off-chance) that maybe they are in town and we could run into them at the local Holiday Foods and Grocery (that is no joke the name of the grocery store). I don’t really feel like I have a choice. There is a higher power at work here people!

Town Hall. So worth it right?

Town Hall. So worth it right?

Is that a smile I see? Surely not!!!

Is that a smile I see? Surely not!!!

Santa Calus is coming to town; or I guess we are coming to Santa Claus!!

Santa Calus is coming to town; or I guess we are coming to Santa Claus!!

And just to piss the kids off. They forbid me to climb on top of any (losers)

And just to piss the kids off… They forbid me to climb on top of any Kris Kringles(party poopers)

Did I mention also that it was 104 degrees? No joke. Just adds to the experience, right? Yep! Sadly, we didn’t see Kristin and Jay and baby Camden. But, we did have ice cream, so it’s all good in the hood!

Can anyone really argue that going to the Wild Turkey Factory and Santa Claus, Indiana in the same day is pretty damn sweet? My guess is that no one can really argue it, because there may not be any other peeps walking God’s green Earth who are ridic (read:awesome)  enough to do such a thing; but that is just a technicality, so I am firmly standing by my point that it cannot be educatedly argued. But now we need to stop the dilly dallying and bust a move to St. Louis, because remember we have a baseball game to make. (ugh) I would hate (read: love more than anything) to miss any (or hopefully ALL) of  this game.

To be fair, there are parts of baseball I love and other parts that I hate. And since we have some time to kill (I don’t, I am extremely busy; but you must if you are still reading this) let me air some of my baseball grievances. Starting with youth baseball. I have never in my life seen a sport that practices as much as these teams. I am all for some a little physical activity, but come on now. I am not shitting you, DJ just finished a 2 week period where we (read:he) practiced everyday. EVERY.SINGLE.DAMN.DAY. Oh I’m sorry, I’m mistaken, not EVERY.SINGLE.DAMN.DAY. We did have 2 days off- one day when we had a typhoon and about 13 inches of rain in Winston and another day/night where we had to attend a 16 hour All Star banquet with about 200 kids aged 7-13, their parents and an unbearable amount of chaos and nonsense; I think I would have rather of had practice (OMG,shut my mouth!!!) Now, as far as the positives of baseball, I do have total respect for the dudes in the big leagues who not only get paid shit tons of money for standing around and spitting all over each other, but they are also the biggest collective group of  professional athlete fat asses, which I can’t help but to admire! What’s not to love about morbidly obese pro athletes?

OK,  I’m going to use the power of positive thinking and have an open mind going into this game. Let’s analyze this Pros and Cons style. Shall we?

Reasons why I am going to have fun at the St. Louis Cardinals VS. Whoever the fuck they happen to be playing:

1)They serve beer.

2)They serve food.

3)It beats the shit out of driving for another 3-10 hours

4)I get to see Albert Pujols play and he’s one of my faves! I love him…not as much as CC Sabathia or Prince Fielder, because he is kind of athletic looking and not near the fat ass that those 2 are, but  he does seem like a nice (albeit skinny) guy.

Four positives,  I can make this work.  Play Ball, fellas! (Well, play ball after I get some beers and some nachos, bitches)

The only picture that I took at, during game...boredom in full effect

The only picture that I took at, during game…boredom in full effect. But hampered by mess of nachos.

God, baseball is stupid. I will spare you most of the deets of the damn game. But here is a list of what stood in the way of complete and total enjoyment (should be cross referenced with above list of positives):

1)They serve beer in plenty of other places too, like in any of the nicely air-conditioned restaurants we passed on our walk to Busch Stadium. [Also note, It is 95 degrees out (at 7:00 at night mind you). If you have not been to the Midwest in the Summer, well, don’t go. It is the hottest em effing place ever!!!(luckily I already have plenty of BO from the photo shoot in Santa Claus- where it was an even balmier, so might as well add to it at this point)]

2)See #1 and substitute food in for beer. Also, my excitement over my BBQ chicken nachos was short-lived due partly to the fact that I had BBQ sauce dripping off my leg (thanks DJ) which additionally helped me realize why BBQ sauce on Nachos hasn’t caught on like wildfire across the country- not only is it extremely messy,it is also not very good.

3)In the car I only had 4 boneheads to deal with; around Busch Stadium? Thousands.

4)Albert Pujols hasn’t played for the Cardinals in like 4 years. WTF? I have no idea where he plays now, but unless it is somewhere like Easter Bunny, North Dakota, I don’t have the time or the resources to I follow him all around this country. Stupid baseball!

5) I don’t know much about this game, but even I can tell that this team St. Louis is playing (aka the Houston Astros) sucks ass, most likely due to the fact that they do not have a lot of fat dudes on their team. Wow, I do know a lot about this game after all (not shocking though).

So in case you have scrolled all the way down this post and not taken the time to enjoy every boring detail, and/or missed my first post- lemme recap what today has entailed: waking up at 4:00 AM, driving 13 hours, touring the Wild Turkey factory, throwing back some Wild Turkey shots, visiting scenic Santa Claus, IN, and going to a professional baseball game. Hope you enjoyed your Real Housewives of _________(insert whichever franchise Bravo was running today) and that you feel like the lazy sack of shit you are!

It’s 5:00 Somewhere!

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Don’t get too excited. I mean 5:00 Ante Meridian. Do any of you dumb asses even know what that means? I doubt it. You probably just read that oh too cliché  “it’s 5:00 somewhere” and are hopeful that this is going to be a fabulous tale of heavy drinking starting way too early in the day and ending up in some degree of debauchery(which I can’t say I blame you for having high hopes like that). But Nah, Ante Meridian means AM, as in 5:00 in the friggin morning. And there is no drinking even taking place…yet (bummer, I know- but bear with me this vacay is just getting started; there is bound to be some sooner or later).

So, what could be going on at 5:00 AM (or Ante Meridian, to my brainier readers- all one or two of you)? Well, you guessed it (or maybe you didn’t because you are already overwhelmed by my extensive vocabulary and are having a hard time following along. If that’s the case hang in there, you can do it- don’t let me make you feel bad about yourself and how dumb you are…it is probably your parents’ fault for not telling you enough that they loved you when you were a child; you may wanna see someone about that, ps). Crap,FOCUS people (read:mostly me)- yes, we are hitting the road. It’s July after all and it is time to shove these ungrateful, no good kids in the car and subject them to some family “fun.”

I should start by mentioning that we are classing it up a little bit this year (don’t fret, not too much). I got a new ride so we will be enjoying some new car smell; at least when it is not overpowered by the BO, bad breath and nasty shoe/foot smell that is most prevalent when traveling with a bunch of boys; and more importantly, we are not bringing all the damn bikes- which does take away a certain white trash/Beverly Hillbillies element and saddens me; but on the plus side, I’m sure drastically reduces our fuel costs by not hauling all that extra weight! So aerodynamic. So fuel-efficient. You’re Welcome future generations! I got your back! Now let’s hit the road already!

We (read: I) decide to tackle a long leg for our first day as Gypsies and are going to bust it to the birthplace of some of my heroes, including, but not limited to:Nelly, Akon, Chingy, and J-Kwon. And while I have visions of cruising the East side seeing these dudes’ humble beginnings and avoiding stray bullets, the rest of my family insists on going to a baseball game. Yes,a baseball game. Any of you who have spent time with me over the past 2 months know how much I LOVE baseball. SOOOOO you can imagine my excitement at going to a professional game; one that you have to actually pay to go to; and not one that I am contractually obligated to attend due to some of my own flesh and blood playing in. Fab. (Oh, and for your totally uncool, unhip peeps who have no idea where we are going and/or have never heard of any of my previous mentioned heroes: 1)Get a life, 2)We’re going to St. Louis,and most importantly 3)Why are we friends?)

The bottom line is, we need our punk asses in St. Louis by 7:00 at night. It’s a 12 hour drive. Even the dumbest of you can probably do the math on that to calculate an approximate ETD (oh yeah, sorry, Estimated Time of Departure). Factor in food, sight seeing, bathroom, traffic, etc. Yep, It’s 5:00 somewhere- and that somewhere is here. Rise and shine mo fos!!

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Can you feel the joy?

Can you feel the joy?

Kids and Danny settled in, and guess who has volunteered to drive the early shift? Yep, yours truly. Thanks to my ever-present bouts of insomnia, I am used to being awake at these ridic hours, so no biggy to drive awhile, right? Ummmmmm, yeah…Note to self, do not EVER volunteer to drive early shift after  4 hours of sleep unless I have a death wish and am planning to go out in grand fashion like those suicide pioneers Thelma and Louise. There were some definite near misses on both the careening over the side of a mountain (gotta love West Virginia) and getting up close and personal with a tractor trailer fronts; not to mention, a lot of rumble strip riding action.  And not so much because I was super tired, I realized that I am just not that good of a driver. I have a total lack of regard for lanes, turn signals and/or speed limit. [Side note:to  those of you who have in the past and will possibly in the future be carpooling with me to various children’s functions, please disregard these confessions- I promise to pull it together when I have your little darlings in my car; not to mention I have riden with some of you and you’re not exactly perfect either; at least I can see the fault in my ways…kinda].Of course I did survive and make pretty darn good time- so, I take that back, I’m a good driver and should be driving always. Glad we worked through that.

Well, now that we’ve (barely) survived our journey through North Carolina, West Virginia and now are creeping into Kentucky, it’s time to get real. Guess what happens to be sort of on the way to St. Louis? The Wild Turkey Bourbon Factory. Should we stop? Duh, I didn’t get up at 3:45 AM to miss a chance for free bourbon.

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Well, the tour was pretty uneventful. Been there done that at Jim Beam. Mix up some  corn and water, ferment, age…blah, blah, blah. Enough with all the deets; let’s break it down over some shots, k? It is noon for goodness sakes and I am on vacay!  I was able to practice some serious self-control and stop at 2 shots…mostly because the only thing worse than missing a chance for free bourbon is being shit-faced in a car with your family for 12 hours (or at this point 5 more).

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Words to live by and never too young to learn some of life’s important lessons.

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Bottom’s Up!

I think bourbon shots is more than appropriate for ending this blog post. I hope you agree…not that I give a shit! 🙂

Frontin’ Some West Coast Swag (whatever that means, sounds cool though,right?)

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Sorry if you got the impression from that title (and of course my general gangsta-ness) that we were heading to Compton or LA or some place dangerous and bad ass like that. No brass knuckles or hollow tip bullets needed…just a rain jacket…we are headed to Washington and Oregon (about as ungangsta as one can get, right).

Just when you think you have us figured out as a bunch of road tripping freaks, we are actually taking to the sky this year. There will be no Surburban topped with a Skybox both filled to the brim with (mostly unnecessary) crap. This year  all unnecessary crap will have to be contained into an actual suitcase; or in our case 3 suitcases; or as I like to think of it in real terms- 150 pounds (3 suitcases X 50 pound weight limit= 150 pounds. PS- learn a little algebra why don’t you? You might need it in the real world). Also worth noting: as I write that little equation, 150 pounds sounds like a totally ridic amount of stuff needed for one simple Spring Break Trip; and as we collectively lugged that shit from our car to the airport and ultimately  to the hotel- it definitely felt like a ridic amount of crap- but really, I feel like I left a lot of good stuff at home and barely made it in under the cut off…anyway, enough about overpacking and algebra, and back to the Spring Break fun (if you insist on calling it that).

So, we get to the airport,  offload our 146 pounds of crap (for reals, 146 pounds.I added it up. Who even has that much stuff? I can’t even begin to calculate how many pounds of stuff I might own, a million? a trillion? it is mind-blowing) and jump on our little plane for a quick flight to DC. Hmmmm, this flying stuff ain’t so bad.  Icing on the cake (and you know how I love both cake and icing). Look who was sitting next to me:

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Yep, that’s a nun. And her friend (who I assume is also a nun, because I assume nuns aren’t allowed to have non-nun friends. Not sure why I assume that, but I do. I need to google it. I’ll keep you posted)  I’m sure this seating sitch  was some sort of divine intervention that I’m pretty sure did not “take” the way God intended…sorry God, I know you tried. Next time you are going to have to send in someone or something stronger than a sleepy nun, I’m that much of a lost cause. For the record, I will be counting sitting on the same row as said nun and her friend for an hour as my Easter Church Service, just in case you were wondering why I don’t mention it later on in the blog. Hallelujah y’all.

We make it to DC with barely enough time to pee, answer some urgent text messages and walk the 17 miles to our next flight,  not that I’m complaining. I enjoyed the short sprint and lack of QT  spent in this shit hole also known as Dulles International Airport. We take a deep breath and prepare  for a friggin 6 hour plane ride (who knew Seattle was so far away?? Yowza!!).  We make our way down the aisle, squeezing our way through all the dumb asses trying to shove their overstuffed bags under their seat or into the overhead compartment thingys. I scan the scene and notice a lot of kids up in here. Little kids. Like babies and toddlers. Hmmmmm. Who the hell takes a baby to friggin Seattle?? Losers. This could be a prob, but nothing I can do, I got my own bratty kids to worry about. And by worry about, I mean attempt to ignore.

I try to locate my row, and in process I spy a super cheery, super smiley broad with two vacant seats next to her. Damn it she’s in my row. I fake a little smile. Still grinning cheek to cheek, she practically screams: “Oh goody, I get to sit next to  you FUN (crazy inflection in her voice) people for the next 6 hours.” Ummmmmm,What??? I quickly try to shove DJ into the middle seat. He practically punches me in the face. So, I slide in next to Ms. Happy and immediately the chatter starts. I get a little glimpse into what it feels like to be a POW. As I try to shove my own overpacked crap under my seat (also, I should not have been so judgmental on the effort those poor peeps earlier were exerting as they attempted to do the same,)  the chatter keeps coming. WTF?  I thought my body language was definitely the “hey, sorry I am basically sitting in your lap for the next 6 hours, but please don’t look at me, talk to me, or accidentally touch me.” I mean it worked on Danny earlier, why not now?? The info just keeps pouring out. Her kids. Her job. Her idyllic life in Fairfax, VA. The snacks she brought on the plane.  Holy shit. Thank god I already went to church today (read: sat next to a nun), he’ll give me the strength to get through this. And where is the rest of my family in my time of crisis?

DJ is staring straight ahead hoping not to be dragged back into convo. He has already been interrogated about age, grade, favorite sport, favorite book, size shoe, etc., etc. Will and Charlie are settled in the row behind me oblivious to my troubles;  and Danny takes his seat on the other side of the aisle smirking at me knowing that I am in misery (also worth noting, that asshole is sitting next to an Indian couple who for reals did not speak or need to pee the entire trip). Blabbermouth continues on with her steady stream of questions, comments,and general nonsense. We haven’t even taken off yet. Then in events not worth trying to explain, a seat freed up in Charlie and Will’s row, Deej moved back and I at least got an empty seat to distance myself from this crazy bitch.

Of course she was not going to let a little empty seat stop the diarrhea of the mouth. She talked, and talked, and talked…until all of the sudden, during take off she stopped mid sentence looked at me with a straight (albeit stressed, face) and says “I’m sorry I just need to really concentrate on not getting air sick”; simultaneously  rifling though her seat pocket, panicing  and screaming that she has no barf bag. Now how this situation has gone for horribly bad to even worse, I do not know. She needs a barf bag?? Like to barf? Wuh-what?  I am petrified of throw up. My own… Dog’s…My kid’s… Other kid’s. It does not matter. Even writing about it in an abstract form makes me nauseous. I start searching desperately for a barf bag. Nada. I turn around to ask the kids…somehow they come up with 2. I turn to hand them to my new BFF and she is what appears to asleep. No joke. She may be dead. I don’t know or don’t care at this point. I just need a few minutes of silence. I toss puke bags on her lap, pull out my computer, book, and phone to ensure I have no reason to look up for the next 6 hours. Which was a moot point because she honestly slept for the next 5:45 minutes. Maybe she has narcolepsy or some other disease. It can’t be normal to go from full-out chatter to full-out REM sleep, but that is not something I can worry about; because her undiagnosed disease and/or narcolepsy was making for a pleasant little flight for me.

I have myself a little lunch.

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Check on the kids.

All good.

All good.

Snap some pictures of sleeping freak next to me.

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And get ready for my inflight entertainment. I had prepared for the 6 hour flight by downloading all of my unwatched episodes of “The Following” And “Zero Dark 30”; but, alas there was no wifi on the plane, so that ain’t going to happen. Oh well.  The good news, they are showing “The Life Of Pi”. I kind of wanted to see that movie. And in the event that Sleeping Beauty wakes up, at least I’ll have earphones on. This will work. I prepare to engage. Well, it is impossible to engage because “The Life of Pi” is fucking horrible. I could write about the absurdities of that movie for pages, but I’ll save it. All you need to know is that the movie sucks. A big one.  And the only thing that sucked more the movie was that the worst toddler ever created was sitting behind Danny. Well,  his seat was behind Danny, but he spent the majority of the flight running wind sprints up and down the aisle, screaming at the top of his lungs and  catapulting himself into the laps of strangers as he attempted to allude his parents and his eminent capture. OMG, I hate kids. And people. And flying.

It gets desperate. I read a little. Throw back some more beer and try to entertain myself. I even wish for a  second that blabbermouth would wake up to entertain me. It was fleeting though. Stay asleep you freak.

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Close up of her mole...I had hoped to capture her mustache, photo does not do justice. Take my word for it, I had a lot of time to examine.

Close up of her mole…I had hoped to capture her mustache better, the photo does not do it justice. Take my word for it, I had a lot of time to examine.

One of the barf bags that had slid off her lap while she was asleep. Also worth noting, I was practically peeing in my pants as I snapped pics.

One of the barf bags that had slid off her lap while she was asleep. Also worth noting, I was practically peeing in my pants as I snapped pics.

After 6 hours of craziness we finally land. Gather our 146 pounds of necessary provisions and as everyone makes way for the taxi line I guide them to the Light Rail. Yep, we are hauling all of this on a train, through train station and uphill two blocks to our hotel in downtown Seattle, in the rain. Spirits could be higher for sure. Not that I care. 🙂

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Can you feel the love?

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Let’s mess with Texas for just a lil longer!

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Picking up where we left off (4 months ago in real-time and yesterday in reedymania.wordpress.com time). We are on our way to enjoying some R&R at this masterpiece of aquatic engineering. But before we enjoy this awesomeness; we need to check in, get a room and see what else our Amarillo accommodations have to offer, not that the Texas shaped pool isn’t pa-len-ty. Shall we?

As we were entering into Amarillo, we passed exit after exit worth of what one might call acceptable road trip hotels: Hampton Inn, Hyatt Place, Double Tree, Holiday Inn. I admit I got a little apprehensive of our impending hotel choice, no chain hotels for us tonight, no free hot breakfast in the morning, no indoor pool. UGH. No tonight we’ll be supporting the locals and bunking at  The Big Texan Inn. Sounds quaint and idyllic right? Yeah, well, not so much. Much like the Cadillac Ranch, this “Inn” may be riding the coat tails of the “quaint” and “idyllic” “Inns” of the world and/ or relying on some serious false advertising to fill their beds. I mean, maybe… I don’t know…is there actually criteria about what is necessary to distinguish oneself as an “Inn” or a “Hotel” or a “Mote”l? I would certainly imagine so.  There must be at least a Senate subcommittee or some government agency with a fancy acronym that polices this stuff.  Anyway, I have faith that Barack has this under control; but I am fairly positive that the management at the Big Texan are way, way overstating their Inn-ness. As I mull this through in my mind, it is now a moot point, and none of it matters because this crosses into my vision:

Holy Shit!

I mean really? How boss is that? ( Answer: Totally Boss) And in case the picture does not do it justice, lemme fill in the blanks. This, my friends,  is an Inn (ok, motel)  outfitted/painted, etc. to look like an old Western town. It is beyond adorbs. I am frozen in awe and just stand and stare and take it all in.  I was hoping to get a room  in the super cute pink “Lily’s Hotel” part; but alas we will be rooming in the brown “Cattleman’s Hotel”  portion. You can’t have it all, right? So let’s venture inside to see what room 151 of the Big Texan Inn has to offer, because the outside has already beyond delivered. Beyond.

I do love a theme! Nicely done Big Texan. Also, please notice the cinderblock walls. How bout that for quality construction?

I do love a theme! Nicely done Big Texan. Also, please notice the cinderblock walls. How bout that for quality construction? I feel so safe.

Each room comes with it's own fly swatter, and a note explaining how flies are the taxes state bird. Ok, gross.

Each room comes with its own fly swatter, and a note asking for “understanding” to the fact that flies are a huge problem all through Texas. (ummmmmm, I’ve been to Texas several times and never have stayed somewhere that provided fly swatters, but let’s not split hairs over the “Texas fly Problemo”…I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, at this point, it seems the right thing to do)

And BY FAR my favorite touch. Saloon doors, yes...SALOON DOORS going into the bathroom.

And BY FAR my favorite touch. Saloon doors, yes…SALOON DOORS going into the bathroom.

Just because, they deserve 2 pictures. Saloon doors, again.

Just because, they deserve 2 pictures. Saloon doors, again.

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Can you stand the cuteness? Really, can you stand it??

Also, for all you cynics out there who might not ever consider staying in a motel based on cuteness of exterior and shape of swimming pool alone: Do you have any idea how easy it is to get your shit to your room when you stay in a place like this?  See where our car is? And that is our room’s door, right there, bottom left of the brown portion. You can pull up, right outside your friggin door and practically throw your stuff straight from your car window onto your bed. No pesky luggage carts or elevators or bell men.  Bad. Ass. Sooooo,  that is exactly what we do. Then we take in the exquisite decor for a sec and quickly get on our bathing suits, because remember, there is a Texas shaped pool that is calling our names.

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In case I haven’t mentioned it, this is a Texas shaped swimming pool. At our hotel (ok, motel). Pinch me.

Now, in keeping it real, the Texas shaped pool and surrounding lounge area did have a few downsides. For one, see that building in the back with the (non) authentic Mexican mural adorning it? Well, right behind that wall was what was billed as a “Horse Hotel”. Sounds cute; and additionally,  makes perfect sense taking into account that we are in fact in Texas and there have got to be tons and tons of cowboys who blow through town and want top notch lodging and need somewhere to park their horseys. Logistically speaking though; placing the fab Texas shaped pool next to the aforementioned Horse Hotel, especially when it is a hot, windy August day…well, let’s just say that our games of Marco Polo were compromised as my whereabouts  were periodically reveled due to my dry heaves brought on by the constantly swirling scents of horse dung. Which, ok, I get it. You have horses, it’s gonna smell, my point is just that it did kill the ambiance a little. As did sitting in a pile of bird shit on my lounge chair, but I guess that could happen anywhere. Swimming over, and time to move onto the other attractions. Yes, other attractions. The Big Texan is no one trick pony.

Part of the appeal of the Big Texan Inn is not only the luxury accommodations and the Texas shaped pool; but also the neighboring Big Texan Steakhouse. If you are a fan of the TV show Man vs. Food, then you may have seen this place featured on there. If you can down a 72 ounce steak, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad and roll with butter in an hour- your meal is free. What is not to love about an excessive food eating challenge? Sign me up. But that’s not all, there also happens to be a store, an arcade, a bar and as you can see from the below pictures, various tourist photo opts. Oh, Big Texan how I love thee??!!

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Yeah baby!

Yeah baby!

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Are you even the least bit surprised that this place also has mood music?? It just keeps getting better.

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And lots of dead animal heads for decorations.

Gigantic Boot Souvenit cups. They think of everything here.

Gigantic Boot souvenir cups. They think of everything here.

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So, if you decide to embark on the 72 oz challenge, you sit up on that stage, with that timer tick ticking away and get your eat game on. It kind of reminds me of Crossfit. Maybe I should give it a try?? But, big boy up there on the table-stage didn’t even come close, so I think I may be blindfully optimistic about my chances of finishing.

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And if the Old West look-alike hotel, and saloon doors and faux suede cowboy themed comforter and Texas shaped pool and Man vs. Food challenge restaurant wasn’t plenty for Amarillo to offer us, we are headed now to the Palo Duro Canyon and its outdoor amphitheater for a Musical production chronically the impact of the railroad to Texas history, appropriately named “Texas.” I shit you not, how could I even make this stuff up?? I wish I had some better pictures of the magic of the outdoor theater, but photography was not permitted and shockingly I am a huge rule follower and not going to roll the dice for something like this; oh, and I left my camera in the car.

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Deej and I settled in for Texas, the Musical!

Oh and look, we weren't the only people from North Carolina to visit, there were a handful of other dumb asses!

Oh and look, we weren’t the only people from North Carolina to visit, there were a handful of other dumb asses!

And although we did not have the time, nor necessity for chauffeur service during our visit, it is good to know that it is available is needed. The Big Texan had a fleet of these bad boys.

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Armed with his Big Texan hat and boot shaped cup, Will is psyched to be heading home.

Armed with his Big Texan hat and boot shaped cup, Will is psyched to be heading home.

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Moral is low as we limp through one of our last rest stops! Well, aside from Will who looks alarmingly happy!

And although it does not have anything to do with our trip back from Texas, it is worth pointing out that I am not even the biggest white trash in my immediate family. This monstrosity belongs to my brother and is now semi-permanently parked at some Deliverance-esque camp ground in Eastern North Carolina where his wife refuses to go. Just saying.

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Also worth noting, that friggin thing is parked in front of my house and is as long as our lot is wide. I’m sure the neighbors were happy this visit was brief.

Don’t mess with Texas. Or for that matter, me.

So, I was organizing some pictures and generally speaking trying to tie up some 2012 loose ends and found a few blog posts I had never quite finished. Go figure…I knew I was not cut out to be a blogger (or sadly, a professional bull rider, but that’s a whole different story). Anyway, forgive the typos, incomplete sentences and lack of general literary excellence as time is of the essence (and maybe I should have offered that up from the beginning, with out, of course, the “time is of the essence” piece). I think I know my readership and  I imagine a good number of you will be spending New Year’s Day in bed nursing hangovers and pissing away hours surfing the internet. So here’s some additional reading material. And let’s face it, the Kimye baby is old news at this point and The Fiscal Cliff? Well, I still don’t even know what that means and I am guessing you don’t either. So, let’s rewind back to August and our Summer 2012 shenanigans…

Adios New Mexico, we are finally headed back to the good ole USA! Muchos Gracias! It’s been real. 🙂

Ooooopsie, I forgot; New Mexico is in friggin America, isn’t it? Sooooo, scratch that. Well, keep the “adios New Mexico” part (because we really are leaving), but scratch the “back to America” part (because apparently we have been in the USA this whole time).

We are starting our ride home today which is long as a mo fo even under the best circumstances. But, as you well know by now, the “best circumstances” never apply to anything I am involved in. So we will be heading East by way of a little detour through Amarillo, Texas. Why Amarillo, you ask?? Ummmmmm, just keep reading and you will surely be making plans ASAP to visit, because Amarillo is da bomb.  You’ll see. Back on the road, bitches!

Official business first. I need to offer up a little apology to the state of Kansas. Last year I proclaimed with certainty that the drive through that state on the way to Colorado was the worst ever. Well, congrats to the horrendousness that is I-40 from Santa Fe through the Texas Panhandle. There is nothing. Nada, nada, nada damn thing. Throw in gale force winds and the fact that my bladder is about to explode and, let’s just say, tension is high in the hoopty right now. I can’t even find a bush to pee in/on/ around, nevermind a toilet. Oh, have I mentioned it is so flat and hot and windy and boring (ok, I may have already said that, but it cannot be said enough)? Why am I here again?

But all of this sacrifice and hard ship is worth it as arrive at our first destination. We are all ecstatic as we pull into the famous (term loosely used, ps) Cadillac Ranch. Now that sentence is most definitely going to cause you to conjure up a completely inappropriate picture of our whereabouts (hopefully not inappropriate like porn kind of inappropriate… just wrong…and not wrong like sick wrong…just not correct). I betcha I know what you are picturing. Let’s focus on the key words of the sentence and what you may have been envisioning:

“pull into”, “famous” ,“Cadillac”, and “Ranch”

If you aren’t already picturing something, please play along and do so now. Close your eyes and make your mental picture. Lemme guess what you are visualizing: Lush greenery and acres of perfect land surrounded by miles of those perfect white horse fences and the perfect entrance marked by one of those bad ass big Texas kind of gates like they have at on that show “Dallas” (the old one, you know that was on before Falconcrest on Friday nights back in the day. Not the new 2012 one that is on the CW…Man, I sure did love that show and all of the Ewing fam…JR and that cutie Bobby Ewing awwwwww 1980, life was so simple). Now, focus again… Then your vision continues as you see beautiful horses playfully galloping around the acres of land. You drive down the tree lined entry road and see a big, yet authentic lodge…ahhhhhhhhhh, The Cadillac Ranch.

Snap out of it…what the fuck is wrong with you people and what blog did you think you were reading? Did you accidentally skip that little entry about that shit hole wigwam we stayed in? (and if so, if you did miss the wigwam entry… sorry, I had no right to lash out at you; and additionally, please feel free to go back and enjoy that at your leisure…bad news, I have no idea how to attach the link right here which would make your life so much easier, but maybe I’ll learn that kind of skill up in 2013; yeah, you’re right prolly not)  Ok, let’s try this again. The Cadillac Ranch, close your eyes….now follow with me:  It is hot as shit, windy as shit and by “pulling into” the “ranch” we have exited (barely) off of I-40 and are chillin on a service road.

Ta da:

THE.CADILLAC.RANCH. No joke. Well, I guess it is kind of a joke.

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

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Not the “Cadillacy” or “Ranchy” you were thinking, right? When I hear the word Cadillac I think of pimped out pure luxury and comfort…Not a bunch of jalopies thrown down in the middle of nowhere. Ok, yes, they are actually Cadillacs, hence the name, but still.  And to be fair, I knew this when I was planning this stop, but I bet most of you didn’t (unless possibly you recognized it from part of the movie “Cars” or from Cage the Elephant’s music video for “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, which is maybe like 2 of you).

So why would one visit  this Cadillac Ranch? Well, that is the real bad ass part. The sole purpose for visiting is to deface the property by spray painting all over these Cadis. No joke. Sweet, right? Way better than sipping bourbon in front of a roaring fire at the previously pictured (in your mind) AAA 5 star rated Ranch right? Good point, shit no, not even close, but ok, for the sake of argument let’s not think about what we COULD be doing and focus on the fun to be had spray painting cars. Armed with spray paint purchased at the local K Mart we make our mark. We paint smiley faces, hearts, our names and  in the case of one unnamed Mensh child, a fair amount of profanity. Mostly misspelled, of course because Will, I mean unnamed Mensh child, ain’t so bright.  Maybe he’ll be able to get his GED in juvie.

Will going to town trying to spell something with most likely 4 letters

SHEET…close enough Willie.

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Shout out to the Dash

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That little experience is enough for make my day complete. But there is more, much more offered here in Amarillo. Like this, a TEXAS shaped pool, at our Motel. Yes, motel. Don’t tell Danny, he is going to be pissed.

I mean really…how bossified is this? How can you NOT stay here?? And the rest is just as amazing…as you’ll see in 8 months when I do another blog post…

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Question: Why am I STILL writing about New Mexico?? Why, oh, why?? (Addendum: And why are you still reading?)

Answer: Because I am a slack ass blogger (and person in general), but marginally committed to wrapping this trip’s blog up and I can see a faint, ever so slight light at the end of the tunnel.  (Addendum: I have no idea why you are still reading, but thanks…I am feeling nice today. You’re Welcs! I’ll refrain from my normal “you are only reading because you are all losers with no lives” ooooops, that just slipped out. I didn’t really mean it. Ok, I kinda did)

When I signed off last time we were calling it a day in the Santa Fe touristy realm and heading back to our hotel to just hang there for a while. We really are staring our trip back East tomorrow, so I figure we can all enjoy some space and some lounging and, well, I need to tighten up the state of affairs in my car, more specifically, the shit-all-over-the-place sitch. Additionally, I am willing to leave downtown Santa Fe now, because I have my eye on a restaurant down here and am betting I can get them back into town for dinner at least! 🙂 So, hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to the Bishop’s Lodge we go.

Oh shit, I forgot to tell you before as I was talking up our hotel and all of its luxury; the most important piece of info: a sweet little Hollywood connection. Remember a few years back that Oscar nominated (maybe, maybe not…forgot to wikipedia it) film Crazy Heart where Jeff Bridges plays a drunk/washed up/ aging country music singer? (sidenote: It was way better than it sounds in my summary right there. Really, it is… and I’m not just saying that because I slept in the same bed that he did when he was in town to film it…not at the same time you pervs, he was there in like 2008, I was there this year…come on). Yes, parts of the movie were filmed here at The Bishop’s Lodge and the cast and crew stayed here during the filming. (also, for the record, I have no actual proof that we stayed in the same room, and just based on the laws of probability, chances are that we did not; but it does make for a much better story, right?)

We take to exploring the grounds of the Bishop’s Lodge.  And believe it or not, there are some fairly interesting things to do and see around here. (not really near as interesting as the Jeff Bridges stuff, but still we have to make do).

I know there is some sort of storied history here; of more importance than the Crazy Heart filming; but here’s a little info. They are real proud of their garden (whatevs)… read it for yourselves.

Oh, and I forgot that hottie bad boy Colin Farrell. He was in the movie too. And you know what? He can actually kind of sing Country, and he’s Irish. And I think maybe a recovering drug addict and/or alcoholic so kudos to him for his performance and overcoming his obstacles. He should really have won an Oscar for that too. And maybe he was the one that stayed in the same we did?!! hmmmmmm.

We played some horse shoes (pictured here) and awaited the impending storm (also pictured in distance)…And most importantly, check out that wigwam (also pictured in the distance). You know how I feel about wigwams. I didn’t get to go in it, because it is part of the spa and, well, obviously I am too busy training for my MMA career and playing tour guide to my family to have time for what I imagine is a fabulous wigwam paraffin treatment.

We were going to ride horses again; but just like my foiled plans of sight-seeing; everyone was tired and not up for it. Which is fine, that shit is expensive, and I would rather spend that money on myself anyway. So this was as close as we got. Well, this and the game of horseshoes. Which is plenty close for me.

Theme of the day: Confessionals. Here’s yet another one. In the old ass church…apparently there was an actual Bishop who owned this land out here, hence the name. Here Will and I  stage a photo opt of his confession. That is him “crying” as he is confessing his deep dark secrets, and that is me laughing. Well, good thing I did not aim for a career as a Priest…I think that is not the appropriate reaction…but in my defense, in an actual confessional situation, I would be in an enclosed room and no one would be snapping pictures of me cracking up, I could do it in private…I know how this crap works, I grew up Catholic; I’ve done a confession or 2 in my time.

Deej, always an unwilling photography subject

And then we came across this: A croquet…well, what is it? Field? Pitch? Lawn? Whatever, we’re playing.

Awwwwwww, such fun.

Spirited competition still going OK…

So here we are in the lovely city of Santa Fe and all these kids want to do is play a back yard game that is about as un-New Mexican as it gets. Oh well, nothing wrong with a little spirited competition, right? Well, no….in theory spirited competition is a good thing…until the youngest participant in said spirited competition also proves to be (by far) the weakest croquet player in the family and starts losing (by really, an embarrassing amount, despite my efforts at evening the playing field by giving him 2 shots to everyone else’s one, making the other kids hit with their eyes closed, etc…in some ways it pays to be the baby of the family). And then I am not sure what the final straw was, but I see Willie pass the point of no return and is now swinging his croquet mallet with (what I would imagine is) the sole intention of crushing someone in the head. No, I did not get a picture of it (sadly). I had to put my camera down and sprint in to diffuse the madness. Santa Fe Regional Hospital is not a place I want to see while here (unless it is to visit the poor SOB that I beat the shit out of in Judo…I mean jiu jitsu).

The Bishop. I guess. Mostly I was just taking pictures to piss Will off and also in hope that he calmed down before we got back to the room where Danny was trying to work.

Remember how I said I could (unfortunately) top the picture of Will flipping off the camera? well, here he is wanting to go double bird and DJ and I just laughing in the corner. I am not proud of this moment. (read..yes I am)

The rest of our afternoon was spent not only soothing Willie back into a suitable state of mind; but also swimming and chilling on the old school playground. Until we saw this:

Really? I am soooooo over wildlife. What the hell could be worse than a carload of skunk nastified clothes…we are out of here.

I give up on my dreams of my luxury dining back down town…and we settle on dining on some of the treasures from the Bishop’s Lodge Garden…as referenced earlier.

I guess technically the fried ice cream did not come from the garden…it was damn good though. Wherever it came from.

A little meal time fun

Nothing like an old school playground to brighten the mood! Sans skunk, of course.

Alright, I think one more post and I can be done with this. And not to promise too much magic in the next post; but really we did a couple of very blog worthy things in the first day of our trip home…you really should stick with me a little longer! Seriously, there is a Texas shaped pool and some spray painting still to come. 🙂