Denver! 

Oh Denver, you are interesting. I think Brenna and I saw more of outside Denver than actually Denver. And that’s ok! 

Let’s start at the beginning. I left Omaha for Denver at 9am. Things were going great. 

After Car Henge I was on my way (an hour late) to grab Brenna from the airport. It’s ok. I let her know that I’d be late She’d had quite the adventure getting to the airport and said I was lucky to be picking someone up. 

A little over an hour outside of Denver and I get a flat. 

  Amazingly I didn’t flip out. I got on the phone with AAA while I started to pull all they stuff out I needed to change my tire. Turns out that the previous owner took the jack and the key I needed to unlock my wheel from my car. So I was shit out of luck. There was this nice man named Tracy from Wisconsin who stopped to help me. He was going out to hike the Continental Divide for two months. We chatted while a few officers stopped to see if they could help and we waited for AAA.

Jimmy from AAA came and decided that I needed be towed to the shop. He didn’t have the key to my wheel and there might be a tire there. 

It turns out that I hit some metal and it sliced my tire big time. . The nice shop owner stayed open late to replace my tire and gave me a key to my rims and a bill for $140 for a new tire. Finally I was on my way to pickup Brenna 3 hours late.  

I had planned for us to stay at this hostel. All the hostels were expensive but this one, and when I read the Google reviews while waiting for my car I found out that this place was terrifying. Brenna and I talked  it out and decided to just walk in and check it out. As we got out of the car and were cat called by some vagrants outside the place we turned around and immediately started lookin for hotels. 

Then my car battery died and we had to call AAA again.  L.O.L.

 
I’m really getting my money’s worth on that membership cost. 

On our way to the hotel  I went the wrong way twice down two different roads because they were not clearly marked. That started the hashtag #nononowrongway

Finally Brenna and I settled in at a motel on the north side of town and had a good sleep. This was only after I figured out that we missed our New Belgium tour on Friday because I thought it was Saturday but we decided to go up on Saturday anyway. 

Fort Collins

I loved Fort Collins! We had brunch at Snooze where I had the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had.  

 Then we checked into our hotel after exploring a bit. The elevator almost killed us so we took the stairs. Hotels are fun…

We went up to New Belgium. My co-worker’s husband hooked us up with merchandise, free beers, and a tour. Our tour guide, Marie was great and so was the atmosphere. If you’re ever in Denver, take the hour drive up to New Belgium and check it out. After our tour we walked through town and stopped at a new distillery call Mobb. The whiskey was good but the gin tasted like an ashtray. I did like the pretzels and mustard we had. Then Brenna and I walked (stumbled) through town checking out breweries. Finally made our way back to our hotel later in the evening.  

 Golden! 

The next day Brenna and I went to Golden while we waited for our hotel to be ready in Denver. We walked around and really like the town. It seemed a bit touristy but it was a good distraction from Denver. We had lunch at a biker bar and then got on our way to the Ramada/Super 8 that we booked solely for the shuttle to downtown.  

 Denver!

We went I the hotel pool while we waited for our room. Once in our room we realized that it was a smoking room at one time and they failed at cleaning it to get the smell out. We planned on catching the shuttle down to the city for dinner. It was supposed to come in the jour. we stopped by the from t desk to let them know we wanted to take the shuttle. Brenna and j waited and waited and finally the van shows up and the thing empties like a clown Carr full of kids. Apparently the hotel worker went and picked up her kids and their friends for a giant pool party. They all went inside and Brenna and I waited another 5 minutes before we started to walk.  We went and met Brenna’s friend Nathan downtown for dinner. We came up on a Chalk art festival and realized that we really hadn’t explored Denver proper at all. We are at Euclid for diner. It was really good. Nathan talked about things we should do in Monday before we headed out. After dinner Nathan took us toRio Grande for margaritas. They were the best margaritas I have ever had. And they were strong! So strong you could only have 3 Brenna got a little drunk and I just got tired. Something about elevation takes it out of you. 

Red Rocks

The next day we headed out to Red Rocks for a walk/hike. It was really beautiful and perfect for trail running. At one point in the trail we walked in a circle. Brenna and I were real confused about how to get the hell out of the trail. Finally we followed these people out.  

 After leaving Red Rocks I had to use the restroom and we missed the exit for the gas station. Next thing I know we are in the highway and the nearest bathroom was in the exit to Wild Buffalo Bill Cody’s gravesite and Museum on Lookout Mountain. I struggled with being excited about this little piece of history because I had to go to the bathroom so bad. We wound around roads for what seemed like 12 hrs until we came upon a park by his grave.  I found a latrine and did the thing you’re supposed to do in the place. 

Brenna saw a path that was to the historic site. We hiked it over,  saw the grave and went into the musuem.  

 Back to Denver to try out C Squared Cidery. The cider was so good and so was the food. I had the pickled eggs and chicharonnes. Brenna had a burger and duck fat fries. Check this place out if you’re ever in Denver. Food and drink were good!  We tried to go to another Cidery and winery but both were closed so we headed to Boulder  where we were planning to meet up with our friend Sam who was coming into town.  

 Boulder 

We had beers at Boulder Brewing while we waited. Soon we found out that flights were delayed so we decided to get on the road in a thunder storms. It sucked. There was thunder, lightning and hail that pelted my car. 

It took forever to get home. I won’t lie driving through the Rocky Mountains was beautiful. I loved every bit of it. However, I did not enjoy being so tired when we were near Salt Lake that I was hallucinating seeing things in the road. 

Finally 9 hrs later and one almost fall asleep at the wheel we were in Salt Lake! I was so happy to lay my head down on Brenna’s couch. 

 

West is Far.

I’m pretty sure I’m 2,000 miles into this trip. I’m also sure I’m gonna need an oil change by the time I get to San Diego. The West is far, guys. And for those of you who have road tripped with me, you know I struggle real hard at staying awake and generally being aware. While the struggle to stay awake has been absent, I’ve really had to hone in on my driving skills this trip. So far I’ve only suffered one flat and a dead battery, but we will get into that later.

I left Indy on Thursday, June 2nd at 10am. After going back to my house twice to get things I had forgotten, I got on the road to Omaha.

 My buddy Nate was so kind to let me crash at his place on my way out to Denver. I’m gonna be real honest with you. There isn’t much to see on your way to Omaha. It’s basically flat. Real flat and farmy. I was not totally impressed.

  
On my way out there I did stop at President Herbert Hoover’s childhood home. I did not go into his presidential library, but I did take the opportunity to walk around the little town and go in his house. It was neat.

After that little adventure I drove onto Omaha. I got there about 7pm and kind of just expected to chill out. Nate had other plans. He wanted to go out. I agreed. Who was I to tell my host, “no”. So, we had dinner and some beers, reminiced about bear fights, took a few shots, and called it a night around midnight. I had a full day of driving to do the next day. I had no intention of feeling like I had drank my face off the night before. Also I had this weird intention of drying out a bit on this trip. I’ve been extremely social lately between beautiful weather, the Indy 500 and school ending. My liver and kidneys could use a vacation. Heads up, they haven’t had that vacation yet.

  
 Nate gave me some ideas of things to see on my way to Denver. One of them was Car Henge. Some guy wanted to replicate Stone Henge in Alliance, Nebraska. He didn’t have any large slabs of rocks so he used a bunch of Ford cars. I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty good replica. That little road side attraction did take me out of the way and made me late to pick up Brenna at the airport….

  
I sent Brenna a text that said, “Don’t hate me, I will be late picking you up.” Little did I know that I would be super late. Once I got on I76 in Colorado and about an hour outside of Denver I got a flat. To my amazement I didn’t freak out. I had gotten a AAA membership the day before I left, so I felt oddly comfortable about his hiccup. While I was on the side of the highway trying to get through to AAA, a older man, Terry from Wisconsin who was on his way to hike the Continental Divide stopped to help me. As we went through all the tools that were in my trunk and his, and pulled out the donut and all that jazz, we realized that 1. I had no jack (thanks, previous owner) and 2. I had lug nuts that locked my rims on my car. (Is any of this making sense?). So, none of the thingys that pull the lug nuts off my wheels would fit. I needed a key that was missing (thanks again, previous owner. You suck!). Soon Terry, two state troopers, and myself were trying to problem solve as I waited for AAA. AAA Jimmy showed up and decided he couldn’t do anything and I had to be towed to his shop where he had a key and maybe even a tire (!). I was towed. I got a new $140 tire and the owner of the shop gifted me a key for my rims. Now all I needed was a jack and I’d be good to go in emergencies.

  
Finally, 4 hours late, I was on my way to pick up Brenna from the airport.

This concludes the first leg of the trip. The Denver Adventure is up next!

Family Time in Bristol

My grandma is from Bristol. She was born and raised there. She left when she was 19. She had met my grandfather, the G.I. Joe and moved to Montana where my mom was born. My grandma has been back, including living outside London when her second husband was stationed there in the Air Force. So, my mom also lived in England. It’s really cool to see them both come back to a place they lived.

We went to my great grandmother’s house, where my grandma grew up.

We went to the church where my grandma and grandpa were married, St. Lukes. We even saw the spot that they met.

We went to her mother’s old house where her aunt lives (her deceased uncle’s wife) and we got to meet her.

We went to cemeterys to see her mother’s memorial spot and her father’s grave. We couldn’t find it, but we are hoping to have a better location when we go back this week.

We stopped by Bath, but it was closed. I kept saying that everything is closed by 6. Especially on a Sunday.

So, we headed home and got Chinese takeout for the evening and relaxed.

The day was really good. The only thing that’s a little rough is driving on the wrong side other side of the road. It’s a bit stressful for the driver and the navigator. Ugh. No more, please.

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Packing

Man, packing is hard. I think I’ve been packing since February. I packed to leave my apartment that I lived in for over two years. I packed to live in a friend’s basement for about two weeks before I could get into my new, temporary place. I packed up that place, and moved again to live on an air mattress at a friends new apartment. I’ve been living out a suitcase for about 3 weeks and am getting ready to live out of another bag for 5 weeks. Is this what a vagabond feels like?

I’ve got this 85 liter pack that is already filled. 5 weeks in two different climates is not easy to pack. It’s been chilly and rainy in England and Ireland these past few weeks and completely gorgeous in Croatia. What do you pack? More importantly, how do you fit it all? I also have a wedding to pack for. That means 2 dresses and at lease one pair of heels. So much to plan for! Not to mention the work out clothes I’d like to bring.

I got an 85 liter pack from REI. (It’s only sold there). It has a detachable daypack that is 10 of the 85 liters.

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I’m not only packing that pack, I’m also moving home the last of my things clothes from Chicago. It seems a little stressful, but I’m sure it will all get done.

Where it all started.

I spent my sophomore year of college in Ireland. I lived with 4 other Irish ladies, but had me Saint Mary’s friends as neighbors. I spent that year making friends, learning about myself, and all around having a blast. Among all the fun, I did a lot of traveling. I’ve been to Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Monaco, Italy, Austria, and Germany. I have been so incredibly lucky to go overseas a few times and explore and learn something new each time. Thus, my love for travel and adventure.

My grandma is from Bristol, England. This year she said she wanted to take a girls’s trip back to her home. I immediately said yes. I got a second job to help support my time there and began to research (along with my mom). A few weeks after my grandma mentioned the trip, I was invited to a wedding in Ireland for a girl that I was good friends with while I lived there. I was lucky that the timing was right on!. Two girls I studied with would also be coming back to Ireland to celebrate our friend’s wedding as well. After giving it some thought, I wanted to keep traveling after the wedding. I wanted to go places I had missed the other times I went to Europe. I was lucky enough to get my friend Kirsten to jump on board. The funny thing is, that her and I spent 6 weeks traveling together when we were 19/20 years old and almost 10 years later, her and I were going to go on a 5 week adventure.

We picked Italy after Ireland because we missed the Sistine Chapel. Somehow in our planning of Italy, we mixed up days and missed some of the most important parts of the Vatican. We had to make it up!. Then we decided to go to Croatia. Croatia conveniently has day trips to beautiful Bosnia and Montenego. This part of the trip will be a little relaxed. My friend Jeremy flies into Dubrovnik from Chicago to take on part of Croatia with Kristen and I. After Dubrovnik, we head to the beaches of Korcula and Hvar for a week to get some needed R&R. After that, we head up to Split where my friend Jessie from home flies in, Zadar, where Jeremy leaves to go to Prague with our friend Mandy, Plitvice Lakes, and Zagreb. Kirsten leaves me at that point and I meet back up with Jeremy and my friend Mandy joins in Budapest.

It’s going to be a crazy, awesome summer, and I can’t wait!