Monday, November 30, 2009

Colorado Bound!

Well, I made it.

On Wednesday November 18th, I packed up my new Subaru loaded with all my clothes and gear for a winter in CO, said my goodbyes and was on my way. 3700 miles later, I now find myself sitting in the employee lodge at Copper Mountain wondering what awaits me when I start work next week. But for now, I'll try to highlight what happened between mile 1 and 3700 and the fun and crazy stops along the way.
First stop was Lauren's house in MA, to pick her up and hopefully be able to fit all her stuff in an already packed car. To my surprise, she packed rather lightly and we made everything fit with full visibility out of every window. We hit the road just before 5 PM with hopes of making it to Syracuse, NY to my friends house for a place to crash for the night (thanks again Suzie). We had dinner at an Irish pub in Albany where the food was decent, but they had Yuengling on tap which made my night.

Thursday morning we hit the road early to visit some family friends in Ithaca, NY. We took a tour of Ithaca and Cornell, saw some really cool gorges, grabbed some breakfast, and hung out with one of the coolest dogs I have ever seen. Then it was on to Niagara Falls, with a pit stop along the way at the Goose Watch Winery. Who can pass up 8 wine samples for only $2? We made it to Niagara Falls amidst the fog and spitting rain, but it was still quite a sight to be seen. We walked around for an hour or so checking out the different views and learning that there are actually 2 different 'falls' sections in Niagara Falls. Who knew?

Once we left Niagara we were on a mission to find the cheapest hotel/motel in the Cleveland area. The AAA guidebooks turned out to be very helpful as we called each hotel listed and made our decision based on price and expected shadiness of the hotel. But lets be honest, I'm going to be a poor ski bum, so usually the bottom line price won, with the exception being Sundance, WY (more on that at another time). We ended up at the Travelodge, and learned one very interesting fact about Cleveland: the liquor stores close early, but they sell 'beer to go' at some of the bars in town. So while I went to pick up the car, Lauren went in the local bowling alley and bought a 6 pack to go. Crazy.

The next morning we found a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We had stopped the night before at one in Albany and got a map of all 580 Cracker Barrel locations across the US so we would never go hungry. We played the classic golf tee game which proved that I was "just plain dumb" and Lauren was "just plain eg-no-ra-moose".

Next stop: Chicago. But with a few fun stops in between. I haven't mentioned it until now, but I wanted to get pictures with each state sign that we drove past. We entered NY, PA, and OH at night so the pictures didn't come out that great, but Indiana gave us a nice warm sunny welcome.

Somewhere along I-90 in Indiana I remembered something from a road trip Laur and I had been on a few months ago: a whiteboard. We had forgot a whiteboard. So we pulled over at the first stop we found with a dollar store and picked one up. To explain a little, we had been stuck in traffic in NY a few months ago when we passed a car that had a whiteboard in the window that said "honk if you like (use your imagination). So clearly I honked and for the next 20 minutes in traffic they kept writing us new notes that were hilarious and helped pass the time. So this trip, it was our turn to pass on the tradition.

It's amazing what a simple "Hi !" to a random stranger in another car can do to put a huge smile on their face. Not to mention it really helps to pass the time. Not long after buying the white board we said "Hi" to a car from RI as it passed. They slowed down and proceeded to show me the UConn football jersey the passenger was wearing. We went back and forth for a few minutes exchanging messages about skiing and UConn. Turns out, they were headed to the UConn vs. Notre Dame football game and had driven all the way from CT. And what a game they ended up seeing, a double overtime win.

We made it to Chicago in time to walk around town as the sun set, and grabbed dinner at a place Laur's friend recommended. Turns out, the pizza there is rated the 4th best in the entire country. Not sure who the official pizza rating organization is, but it was phenomenal pizza.

More on the rest of the trip at another time. I'm sure if you have read this far you are getting tired already and I need to head out to the village to grab a bite to eat.


  1. Nice inaugural post, welcome to the blogosphere. Love the pics and the white board thing is awesome. Glad to see you're shin deep in powder and can't wait to see how this adventure continues.