August 1st, 2012: Day 3 on the Road (to Kansas City, MO)

Did you know that Kansas City is both in Kansas and Missouri? Until we went on this trip and was mapping it, I had no damn clue! Hahah 🙂

Alas, while we tried to get up early to leave (as it’d be about an 8 hour drive or so), it didn’t happen quite as we expected. Instead, we didn’t end up leaving The Quality Inn and Suites until around 8:30am. We grabbed breakfast, however, at The Moonlight Diner (Yelp Link) about half a mile down from the hotel (and right on the road to the freeway). Here, I have to admit that we actually drove by it TWICE before finding it; even though the night before we had seen it right away…possibly due to it having NEON lights all over the place. Hahaha.

Despite the 3 Star rating that Yelp gave, it was a pretty good place to eat. JM ordered Huevos Rancheros (pix) which were really good. We also got some delicious pancakes (pix), and an overall very american breakfast with Eggs and Hash (pix). Yum! 😀 And then, we were back on the road to hopefully meet up with maxisawesome from DQ (who was in KS) for BBQ Dinner.

It didn’t take us long to get into Kansas, but once we were past the state border line, oh boy was it a long, straight, drive. This (google maps link) is pretty much what it was the whole way; a good 6 or so hours! We ended up stopping, after about 2 hours, in the City of Goodland where we went to Dairy Queen. Up until now, I have never been to a Dairy Queen (pix) before; JM was quite appalled. Haha. We ended up getting some cones — which weren’t as delicious as they could have been, but then…could they really have been that good to begin with?

Here is Jacob’s Ice Cream Eating Progression (pix) as he starts to Nom at it slowly but surely. I just had a really difficult time (pix) finding out where to take the first bite. Haha. All good. I must say, it was decent…but that’s about it. The day before, when we’d originally stopped at a stop, an older gentleman and his wife had told us that we shouldn’t go very quickly through Kansas because Kansas police were rather prevalent. We did see this, however, we were able to stay at a steady 78 mph without any incidence. Quite a few hours later, we finally got in.
Unfortunately, as we were pulling closer to the city, we received a text from max whose car had just broken down! We were originally going to meet at Arthur Bryant’s,

July 31st 2012: Second Day on the Road (to Denver)

Tuesday morning rolls around and we pop out of bed, but not without first snapping this picture in bed (pix) which JM posted on reddit as: “They told us that since we’re in Salt Lake City, we could only have consensual sex in the missionary position”. Haha! ❤ We are out the door and on the road by 9:30am to head to Denver on the 80 again!

First, for breakfast though, we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some goodies. There was this awesome structure in the front of it (pix) that looked like it would be super fun to climb up and dawdle on. Don’t you think? Yeah! Don’t ask. But when we got in, we realized that we couldn’t really bring peaches, or cherries, or blueberries because (a) there was nowhere really to wash them, and (b) they would make such a mess in the car…what with the way I eat things. We eventually settled on some pre-packed Whole Foods Salad, Dumplings, Juices, etc. Of note and interest though, and what really caught my eye was this huge ass section of Dairy. Here it is for yogurt (pix)! And Milk! It keeps going on (pix)! 😀 Trololol! White people aren’t as lactose intolerant as us Asians. :< no fair!

We finally hop onto the 80, and as the old man at the hotel had said, it was indeed absolutely gorgeous. We were on our way to Denver and would hopefully meet up with AlbertV – one of my good friends from back in high school all the way until now. He is now attending U of Colorado’s Medical School and apparently would only live a few blocks from where the movie theater shootings occurred. He had just gone out to Denver (with his parents) a few days earlier and was still in a hotel awaiting his new apartment!

The drive from Salt Lake City, Utah to Denver took us through Wyoming. Yes yes, I know we could have very well stopped at Yellowstone or whatnot (but we really didn’t have the time!) Well, going from Utah to Wyoming was beautiful. Again, pictures will be uploaded later from JM’s DSLR; however, Wyoming — if you ever find yourself passing through — is by far one of the most uneventful places EVER (pix).

One thing to note: There are a ton of Firework shops (pix), literally everywhere. For a place that looks like it will go up in flames any minute, firework shops (and those proposing that they are bigger than their next-door-neighbor) don’t seem to be the best ideas. But okay. If that’s how it is.

Luckily, the whole drive was in 70 mph zones (well, there were a few spots of construction that did slow us down to 1 lane and 55 mph, but those seemed few and far between). The road would climb a bit, and the dip down into a valley (pix), and then continue flat for another 50 miles with bluffs all in the background (pix). Despite how I must sound flaming at Wyoming, I think most of our good DSLR pictures and videos actually came from Wyoming onwards…

In the event you didn’t get enough bluffs (pix)! Seriously though, the scenery, however boring was just breathtaking in it’s awesomeness and how nature could actually appear (pix) so…REAL? [I think this way of thinking may be from being in California…lol] But it literally stretched out for as far as the eye could see (pix).

On one hand, we saw that we had time, so we stopped by the Carbon County Museum (link). If you are ever driving through Wyoming, and happen to be on the road, I would highly suggest stopping by this Museum (pix). It’s small and again, in the middle of nowhere, and while it gave me the HeebyJeebie’s, it was also very insightful. Unlike other museums which make this huge space for a teeny little bit of everything; this museum (because it was run by the county, and again in the middle of nowhere) collected everything and all types of memorabilia in one very contained small space!

We talked with the curator and she told us the story about Big Nose George (link) who was a murderer and thief and part of an outlaw gang. He shot up and killed a Sheriff and while he at first eluded escape, was eventually caught when he boasted about his exploits whilst drunk at a saloon. He was arrested, and actually managed to escape quite a few times before he was finally captured. While awaiting execution, however, he was lynched by the local townspeople who were sick and tired of this fool escaping and shit. There is a cast of his head from right after he died (apparently it took 3 tries of stringing him up before he finally KO-ed) that shows he didn’t have any ears! What happened to his fucking ears? The think that the first two times when he tried to escape, and the third time when he was slipping down the pole which he clung to with the last remnants of strength, the chains on either side of him as he moved back and forth, must have shredded off his ears! Woah! Intense! This man was bent on self-preservation TTM. Haha.

Turns out, after he died, his BODY WENT MISSING FROM THE MORGUE! Two doctors ended up taking his body in the name of medicine (in those days, such acts weren’t allowed), dissected it, stuck it into a barrel of whiskey and later buried it. This wasn’t found until the early 50’s (I think?), and had to be post-dated. When they did find his skull, however, they realized the top half of his skullcap was missing!!! Turns out, one of the doctors (a female doctor, and the first female doctor in all of the West at the time) had taken the top part of his skull as a souvenir and it had sat in the house used as a doorstop, a flower vase, and all other manners of normal everyday usage! As the docent had said, “In the Wild West, everything was used and re-used to maximize the potential and benefits!”

Best crazy story ever.

The museum also has, in the very back, a huge section of antiques — I know, they’re all antiques — but like big vehicles: buggies, fire engines of the past, huge typewriters, communicator boards, pioneer wagons, hitches, safes/locks that weren’t ever crackable until recently, etc.

Overall, a very very good museum with so much interesting history that you wouldn’t find at most everyday museums or even textbooks! Definitely recommend. But man, those hibbiegibbies! 😛

Sidenote: JM has been growing quite a lot of hair (both on body and on face), and since he didn’t bring his razor with him, the entire trip revolved around him having to electrically discharge himself against any form of metal. Quite a painful, but hilarious experience as you can see.

Step 1 – the inevitable tapping of metal. See how he grimaces there? 😛 (pix)

Step 2 – okay, touched and backing away (pix)

Step 3 – pretend it didn’t happen, walking the walk! (pix)

Step 4 – still hurting 😛 DORK! (pix)

We eventually got back on the road (pix).

And after much more driving, we got to Denver! (that took long enough!) As we getting closer to the city, there was lightning EVERYWHERE! It was an absolutely gorgeous sunset where one half of the sky was lit with the setting sun, and the other half was dark-cloud covered with bright streaks of light flashing across.

We got dinner at ModMarket (Yelp Link) and if you ever have a chance, you should definitely try it out. The food is hella local and hella fresh! 😀 Awesome other note, the receipt showed the calorie and nutritional content (pix) of each of the foods ordered. How sweet is that?

We got to our hotel, Quality Inn and Suites @ Denver International Airport, and decided to go walk around outside as it was still warm and comfortable. We ended up deciding with Albert that we’d meet up for breakfast as dinner was unfeasible. However, he had originally suggested going to Ruby Tuesday for dinner (with his parents) of which neither JM nor I were very interested in. Hence, we ended up at ModMarket. As JM and I were walking — we were right across the street from Ruby Tuesday — I decided I wanted to grab a drink. Unfortunately, all they had, were lame beers and nothing good on tap! (Weird, considering Denver is supposed to have some damn good microbrews). We ended up seeing Albert there, afterall! Said “hi” and chatted. That was good; unfortunately, that was the last time we’d see him as we didn’t end up meeting for breakfast. :<

Ewww, there was this bug (pix) in our hotel room that scared the living crap out of me. :X Hahahaha. It was good to just roll around at night and hang out, that’s for sure!

Thus ended Day 2.

July 30th, 2012: First Day on the Road (to Salt Lake City)

We [JM and myself] left California bright and early (5am) on Monday, July 30th. The car was packed and heavy with just about everything I owned. (Rather, if the car was 1/2 a length bigger; it would have fit everything I owned. As is, some things are staying in California until a later time to move each box separately.)  On one hand, it was surprising to see that all my things fit into 1.5 cars, and on the other, I realized I had tossed out so many years of useless junk and *this* was the way one should travel, nay, live!

Our first stop, with JM nodding off in the driver’s seat, was to head up the 80 (never realized how far this route actually goes — it goes ACROSS COUNTRY — up to Reno (through Davis and Sacramento). Our first rest stop was about 20 miles out of Reno. To be honest, I was surprised we made it that far without having to go pee; but I really did need to go then and couldn’t wait any longer. Note to self: Wear Shoes when peeing in the bushes.

Either way, the view (pix) was gorgeous! And here is a cute smiling JM (pix)!

We grabbed breakfast, 4 hours later, at PJ’s Restraunt and Saloon (link) in Reno, Nevada where the first text observation JM sent me was, “Everyone is big/large!” Indeed, the entire trip across the United States was a lesson on how horrible and prevalent the obesity condition is within the United States; this is something that definitely must be tackled and hopefully can be worked on while I’m in graduate school, or afterwards.

The food, while appearing delicious (as corroborated by friends via text), was alas, no bueno. Here are some pictures of the food 🙂

We both ordered Egg Benedicts: JM ordered a California Benedict, and I ordered a Denver Benedict (pix). Looks pretty good on the outside, as it does on the inside (pix)! Mmmm~ Lookin’ good…sorta…

We finally got back on the road to begin our 8 hour trek to Salt Lake City, UTAH where we would be meeting up with some DQ Redditors. (Note: DQ is a private sub-reddit community on Reddit. Reddit is an online link-aggregation community.) The drive there was absolutely beautiful. As we were driving mostly through the mountains, the scenery changes after every ridge or crest was stunning. We passed by some structure that looked like an SCP holding block (pix). [NOTE: SCP = Secure. Contain. Protect. An online wiki with tons of fun-filled listings on the WhatIfThingsExisted. Worth a checking out!] The roads were very hilly (pix), but at least we could see mountain ranges (pix).There will also be a huge thing of more HQ pictures to be posted later. Overall, the drive was uneventful (pix); and good thing too! We crossed the Nevada/Utah border around 5pm (without realizing there was a time difference change) and drove right into the vibrantly cerulean blue and vast empty whiteness of the Salt Flats (pix). With the sun setting and casting shadows on the bluffs (pix) in the distance that was SLC, a storm brewing, and winds buffeting the car we drove into the block-ish Mormon city of Salt Lake City in awe.

Our hotel, The Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, was located in Downtown. We were high up and had a full view of downtown. At night, it was awesome to stand in the window  (pix) with a great view and be naked ON TOP OF THE WHOLE CITY! In terms of hotels, it was a very nice hotel with full mini-bar prep inside; well, mini-bar without the drinks portion — this is SLC, afterall. We had 2 Queen sized beds in our room; one designated for playing in (pix), the other for sleeping. Hehehe.

I felt rather awkward about even having sex — no we didn’t have sex — because well, we’re in Mormon country!! Iono, just felt like it’d be weird, y’know? Hahah~ Around 730pm, we hurried to get ready to meet our friends for the first time at Red Iguana (link). The walk there was awesome; SLC has, painted to the roads at every corner, a cute lil’ thing telling pedestrians to Look (pix)! They also have a very good bike system with a separate light for bikers! dtyt would enjoy that! 😀

According to Yelp reviews, Red Iguana (link: Yelp)  is the best place for Mexcian Food this side of the mountains! And holy shit, IT WAS! It was MistaWrek’s idea originally to go, and it completely blew our minds away! 🙂 It was more of the Cuban Mexican food (so everything was “cleaner” and not like in So-Cal with delicious border food). We met up with MistaWrek (as aforementioned), thewalrus, and dillo (real names excluded for privacy). [food pix to be inserted] They are super awesome and so much fun! We had a great night eating, laughing, and generally making a delicious fool of ourselves! We walked out of the restaurant at 10pm and it was still 80 degrees outside!! Apparently, it is so superbly warm because the wind will blow in from the canyons that had all the heat from the daytime! Nice to know. 🙂

Thus concluded our first day.

Pictures From Dinner – 

Guacamole and Chips ; this was surprisingly some of the best guac I’ve ever had. The chips were thick and legit.

dillo’s Delicious Food Item #1 

mistawrek’s Delicious Food Item #2

thewalrus’ Delicious Food Item #3

Delicious looking Flan that the HeadChef stopped at our table so I could take a pix of!

He also dropped off another dessert for me to pix!

What a bunch of good looking peoples here! 🙂