Friday, March 5, 2010

Hold that thought

I know I promised a craft bomb oh-so-long ago, but I'm going to have to keep you waiting with bated breath just a little longer. Sorry.

Get excited! I am about to tell you about my 19 day tour of the Greater Southwest by plane, train, and automobile! Technically the trains were the ones inside the Las Vegas and Denver airports, but I had to ride them to get where I was going so I am counting them as a mode of transportation essential to my story. Once again, I am disappointed in my lack of photographs from the trip. You'll have to use your imagination....

Before I begin though, I should mention that I was traveling for work. I had a meeting to attend one week in California, followed by a training to attend the next week in Phoenix. If you have ever tried to fly into Montana - which if you have recently and you didn't come to see me I'm going to be hurt - you might have noticed the ridiculous price tag on the flight. We aren't one of those well populated states (974,989 residents, to be exact) and we certainly do not have a bustling metropolitan area that could serve more than three airline carriers. With the price of plane tickets, and the fact that I had a place to go if I didn't go back to Miles City between trips, it just made fiscal sense for me to stay in the Southwest over the weekend between my meetings. It also made sense for me to go the weekend before the meeting, and stay the weekend after the last training...are you convinced? Good. Now we can begin.

Stop One: Miles City to Las Vegas to Death Valley
Have you ever ridden in a plane with 4 people? How about one with room for only 19 people? Fly to or from Miles City, and I guarantee you too can have the pleasure of riding in a sardine can with propellers. Fly to Denver for the added sensation of feeling like the contents of a soda can! As soon as you arrive in Denver, hop on another plane 400x the size, remain queasy, sit next to an extremely smelly AND talkative man, and fly around Las Vegas for 45 minutes while the President lands his much better plane and you too can have the flight experience that I had!

The consolation for such a long day in the air was getting to see Sister. I haven't seen her since Dad's 50th birthday surprise in October. We stayed the evening in Vegas. All photos, stories, and memories of said evening in Vegas were left there, as was instructed by all of the billboards and t-shirts available for purchase in the hotel lobby, and consequently will not be discussed in this particular forum. ;-)

We went to Death Valley the next afternoon for some good old fashioned sister time. Much to the chagrin of Mom, we borrowed clothes and argued over the bathroom. But we also did some....

Crafting! With glitter!
Hiking to amazing places!



BBQing!

And driving through snow right outside Las Vegas!

Stop Two: Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Monterey to San Francisco
I can't say that there was anything particularly exciting about my trip into Monterey. I got to sit on the side of the plane overlooking the ocean, and I am pretty sure I was seeing schools of fish. There were blobs of sparkles in the water...

The first thing I did when I got to Monterey - got in a cab and went to Pacific Grove to the Asilomar Conference Grounds at Asilomar State Beach. I dropped off my bags in the hotel, and immediately skedaddled to the beach. There is a beautiful boardwalk in the dunes that momentarily sidetracked me...

...but I eventually made it to the beach.


It rained like crazy my second day at the meeting, which put a damper on getting to the beach. I suppose I could have gone, but let's be honest...I've had enough bad weather for this year and there wasn't any point in me going outside in crappy weather. But the next day, the clouds cleared off, making for some beautiful photos.

The last day of the meeting, we got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Presidio of San Francisco by members of the Presidio staff - namely the archaeologist and the historic preservationist. It was amazing. I have never been to San Francisco before, and living in Montana for 2 years has made me feel a bit like I just fell off the turnip truck any time I got to a populated area. And my fashion sense leaves much to be desired when visiting such a fashionable place as San Francisco. I do wear my Chacos with everything, you know. Anyway, I got a little excited about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, even if it was just sort of a tiny part of the landscape from my vantage point.
Unfortunately, I took no photos of the tour (I was the only one with a camera, I felt dorky). I did, however, take photos of houses as we drove from the Presidio to the airport. They were alllll blurry.

Stop Three: San Francisco to Tucson to Phoenix
The next leg of my trip was to see Lizzie, Rob, and their baby bump, as well as Barney, Mitch and their baby bump. Once again, my lack of pictures is disappointing. I will tell you that Lizzie and Barney are two of the most adorable pregnant ladies I have ever seen. Barney's baby is due any time now, and Lizzie's baby is due in June.

Lizzie and I did a little bit of shopping while I was there (okay, a lot of shopping...I don't have any stores in MC!) It was fun to buy little bitty clothes that fit Lizzie's belly.

Ohh...and here's a hint of the gift I made for Barney's baby...
And here is a ridiculously cute photo.
The best part of the whole trip was getting to go with Lizzie to her doctor's appointment. I heard the baby's heartbeat and heard her kick the microphone. Seriously, of all the fun I had, that was the very best part.

On Sunday, we made a quick little trip to Phoenix. I had to be dropped off at my hotel, but we also had to make a stop at Ikea...where Lizzie and Rob went cuckoo for the kid's corner. (Maybe I did too a little).
I was sad to leave Lizzie and Rob, but I will be back to Tucson at the beginning of April.

Stop Four: Phoenix to Lake Havasu to Las Vegas (to Denver to Gillette to Miles City)
I spent an entire week in Phoenix at the National Training Center learning how to be a better archaeologist. I made a number of new friends and generally had a good time....despite being in a sketchy-ass part of Phoenix. I was able to catch up with Erica one night for dinner (she cooked!) and see her new apartment and spend some time with her new husband (who I have actually known longer than I've known Erica)! We took some cute photos....with her camera of course. I also ran into my friends John and Kim, and the Kidlet. This is a photo of John and me waaaay back in the day on a survey in El Malpais National Park.
My parents picked me up in Phoenix and I got to spend the weekend at home in Havasu. I had big plans to sit in the sun, maybe do some fishing...but it rained. A lot. Once again, it made for a great photo.
Regardless, I was able to see my dad preach, which was cool.
I arrived back in Miles City on Monday, once again in a small plane. And without my luggage. Oh well. If you are going to lose your luggage at any point during a 19 trip, the best place to do so is in your own town.