Yesterday marked my long ride ever, coming in at approximately 139 miles as a part of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. We headed out to the beach (Lincoln City) on Friday evening and stayed in a suite at the Inn at Spanish Head thanks to team president Jim who served as sugar daddy for the evening. [...]
Archive for December, 2008
- Every hotel has HBO, but it’s whether or not they have Comedy Central that makes the difference.
- Credit cards are anything but secure. Pretty much anyone can use anyone’s card.
- Trucks carrying bees are not supposed to stop for gas during the day.
- You don’t use the “J” key on your keyboard as much as you’d think.
- Parking large vehicles is a pain pretty much everywhere.
- Always listen to your instincts. You don’t have to act on them, but it’s usually a good idea.
- Finding new things to explore is much less about where you are, and much more the state of mind you’re in.
- The distance between coasts becomes shorter each time you drive it.
- If you act like you’re know what you’re doing, people will rarely question you.
- A negative split is when you run faster as the race progresses. This is good.
- It’s really easy to just talk to people.
- Someone needs to franchise Chop’t nationwide RIGHT NOW.
- Asking everyone a question about something you already know the answer to is lame.
- College was a long time ago. Last month was a long time ago. Last event was a long time ago.
- Close friends only become closer when you have to travel to visit them.
- I want a mountain bike.
- The whole “East Coast mentality” isn’t as pronounced as West Coasters make it seem.
- When driving a truck, reading every road sign is useful, if not absolutely necessary.
- The longer you travel, the less important “where” becomes.
- Keeping a blog can result in keeping sanity.
- It gets darker a full hour earlier on the eastern side of a time zone than it does on the western side of the same time zone. Duh.
- A job, a purpose, and financial security breeds self-confidence.
- I met a ton of people in college, but I got to know far too few of them.
- Happy is simply a state of mind. You don’t need a reason to be happy.
- I shop for clothes like a girl.
- The iPhone is the most useful tool I’ve ever owned.
- Unless you like burning a hole in your wallet, 2.5 star hotels are as high a ranking as you’ll ever really need. You go up to 3 stars and everything from food to internet costs extra.
- Avoid the 1 star hotels though.
- And the 5 star was pretty nice.
- Base part of your tip calculation on whether or not your server can keep up with the rate at which you consume water.
- Swimming is like other aerobic activities except you can’t breathe very well.
- Running is actually kind of fun.
- I’m incredibly lucky to have found and gotten this job.
In the past 5 months 11 days*,
- 35,000 miles driven
- 400 miles walked on foot
- 150 miles run
- 200 miles biked
- 1.5 miles swum
- 19 tour events worked
- 73 different stops along the way
- 56 cities visited
- 37 states visited
- 57.5 Million Subway Sandwich stops
- 18 thousand other fast food stops
- 9 times ate at Chop’t
- 4 times ate at Yumm
- Total food spending: $3,200
- Total other bill spending: $0
- 15 different public transit systems utilized (DC Metro takes the cake)
- 139 blog posts
- 2000 camera phone pictures
- 900 SLR pictures
- 9 Apple stores visited
- 3 truck break-downs
- 50+ weigh station stops
- 4 truck inspection warnings
- 3 parking tickets
- 0 other tickets
- 0 accidents
- 4 arguments with union workers
- 17 near-arguments with union workers
- 42 hours spent sitting around waiting on union workers
- 50 tons lifted
- 1 back injury
- 1 times overslept
- 12 VIP areas entered
- 4 race entries comped
- 164 times realized that I had an awesome job
*Many figures are accurate. Many others are estimates. Still others are completely made up.
While this blog is not over, the tour officially is as of today. The events are done, the trucks delivered to Crocs in Boulder after a washing and detailing…
Final reports are in, exit interviews taken, expense reports ready to be sent… now all that’s left is a night in Denver and a flight out to Portland tomorrow.
We dropped the trucks off at the Crocs truck graveyard, or at least what I was hoping would more resemble what I imagine a truck graveyard would be. I was thinking dark lighting, snow covered vehicles, and frowny faces on the trucks themselves. It would have been the perfect setting for the tagline “where good Crocs trucks go to die.” Instead, this is what we got:
Way too sunny, not enough snow, and the trucks don’t look very somber. Plus a bunch of the trucks aren’t there right now. Oh well, it’s what I’ve got to work with. Croc 1 and 2, I’ll miss you both for your great views and good turning radii and stupid breakdowns. But not that much.
Tonight is the last hotel night, tomorrow the last day on per diem. I’m headed to Portland for a long weekend to see some family and friends and to ace a job interview, and then from there it’s off to St. George for Christmas with the family – I still have a little while before I’ve officially been in the same location for more than a week for the first time since June.
There is still another tour-related blog post or two up my sleeve, but then this blog will certainly not cease to exist. It will be… something. I’m just not sure what yet. But never fear all you regular blog readers. You’ll be getting a fresh dose of something. It may well even be more creative and interesting than my posts of late.
A project I plan to tackle is to re-read the entire blog (138 posts) this weekend. I expect it may take the better part of 4-5 hours. I wonder how many hours I’ve spent writing…
I suppose it’s more like winter was already here and we’ve just arrived in it. Luckily, the trucks do surprisingly well in ice and snow. We didn’t even need the tire chains through the pass today.
All that salt and snow and ice and freezing rain really decorated the truck nicely.
But we made it all the way to Boulder, and we even washed the trucks on the way, so now they’re all nice and sparkly again.
Also of note, we went to Half Fast Subs, which was as amazing as it was last time I was in Boulder. We have arrived at our final destination. Tomorrow, we’ll leave behind the trucks that have been our home for the last 5+ months.
Our final race day brought cool weather and overcast skies, resulting in a spectacular sunrise.
It being our final event and final race day, it’s also hopefully the last time I have to wake up at 4AM in the near future. The race started off with a bang, as they shot off a full fireworks display at 6AM as the race started. I’m sure it was greatly appreciated by all those who were sleeping in nearby hotels (though who are we kidding, if you’ve gone to bed by 6AM in Vegas you must have called it an early night).
The race itself was populated with many more characters in costume than normal, including numerous Elvises. Stephen was one of them, and somehow or another he ended up running in a skirt that said “The King” on the back. Along the way, he and his other Elvis friends (specifically the Elite Racing girls) took numerous pictures and even watched a mid-race wedding take place.
This picture of Stephen’s is of particular note because it’s pretty much just awesome. It wasn’t posed, and he didn’t have to retake it 20 times to get it right. First try, and this was the result: Bekah flying through the air while rocking out.
After the race I made it a lazy afternoon. I got a few necessary tasks out of the way, including a nap. Then Molly and I went to see Mystere, the Circe du Soleil show playing at Treasure Island. It was excellent. It combined sheer athleticism with grace, beauty, showmanship, humor, and plenty of completely random moments as entertainment between acrobatic sets. For those who haven’t seen a show, I highly recommend it. While I had many favorite parts, my favorite had to be early on when a single male gymnast/acrobat/person capable of doing seemingly impossible things pretty much flew around over the audience holding on to a single cable.
After the show, we headed to Mandalay Bay to say goodbye to Stephen. We headed up to miX, a new lounge/bar at the top of The Hotel (Mandalay Bay’s newest addition). It’s 64 stories up, and provides a stunning view, complete with a balcony area overlooking the strip.
This morning we dropped all the shoes, apparel, and remaining merchandise at the Crocs outlet store storage space in Vegas.
It was a very, very large number of shoes, and the truck I drove today was pretty much empty after the shoes were taken out (all the marketing stuff is in the other truck). This made things interesting in the windy conditions on our way to Albaquerque. Instead of the normal scenario of feeling like you’re in a big truck getting blown around by gusts, with less weight in the back I felt like I was in a large truck with a sail attached to it. We drove through a tiny snowstorm, but we’re in the clear at the moment for our morning departure from Albaquerque. I’m curious to see what the weather will be driving into Colorado tomorrow.
Vegas so far has been filled with so much work, fun, and games there’s been no time to catch up, until now. Since my last post, we went for our final team dinner at an extremely nice restaurant called Mesa Grill at Ceasar’s Palace. It’s a Bobby Flay restaurant, and we made the decision with Nate very much in mind since it was originally his idea way back when to go there. So Mike (Q employee who worked the golf tour and is helping us out this weekend) and his girlfriend and Molly and I had an amazing dinner. I shared a wild mushroom quesadilla and an Anaheim Chile Relleno with Molly, and for an entree I had Ancho Chile Rubbed Chicken. I’m not going to go into details about the flavors, partly because I don’t really know where to start. Everything was a perfect blend of flavors that complemented each other to perfection. Simply an outstanding meal. I paired it with a Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale, which was one of the best beers I have ever had. A $60 meal, but worth every penny, especially since I didn’t have to pay for most of it.
After that, Mike and I went to play some poker. This was the plan, but playing at Ceasar’s Palace was not. The minimum buy-in was $100 with a maximum $500, so we bought in at $100 and found ourselves immediately being bullied by bigger stacks at the table held by some Vegas locals. I was all-in within the first 10 hands, and luckily won the hand, but the game started out extremely intense. I was really happy with how I played, and I was up $200 at one point after several good hands and several even better bluffs, but then I lost $80 on a hand after losing several smaller hands and decided to walk away up $100. Fun times. I had two different full houses and an Ace-10 stright after the flop. Plus I sucessfully bluffed a 10-2 with absolutely nothing to play off of on the table.
After the expo yesterday, we started off the evening with some rum and Coke at the hotel, and then we went out to explore and see what sorts of interesting gambling we could find. We played a wheel game (not sure of the name) that is a great game to play while drinking since it requires very little thought and even less skill. We played a few slots, and then went back to the wheel. I lost at every game, but somehow managed to only lose $15, which is mostly thanks to having won one bet of 40-1 on the wheel game.
Today’s expo was my final day of expo work, and it was nice to have the forklifts load our booth straight out to the finish line area, which saved one full round of loading and unloading compared to many weekends. However, because it was union labor it still took several hours longer than it needed to. Tonight is very low-key since we have to leave the hotel at 4:30 tomorrow morning, but tomorrow night should be fun. Molly and I are going to the Circe Du Soleil show Mystere which I expect to be blown away by, and then after that Mike and I have talked about going to find another poker table where I’ll play the rest of my winnings from the other night and either leave Vegas completely even or up even more.
Since I’ve been busy having fun, I haven’t taken many pictures while we’ve been out. Here are a few random ones.
So I’m not sure exactly what I did, but I had 150 unique visitors to the blog yesterday. I usually get 15-20. And there was no particular rhyme or reason from looking at analytics – people viewed all sorts of different posts and came from all sorts of states and countries. Cool beans.
So as I’m posting this, Molly has just posted her rendition of the same post. She’ll tell you it was her idea, but it was most definitely my idea. I only get to steal one of her ideas a day, and I already used it up copying her on a burrito purchase at Taco Bell. Plus, I was the one who pushed for the 5 star hotel in the first place. So my post will be way better anyway. I went to the effort of pulling out the nice camera just to make sure of that.
I was starting to wonder if there was really much of a difference between 4 and 5 star. Yes, there definitely is. That was apparent about two seconds after walking into the room.
So, we’re at the Trump Tower Vegas. They went as far as using real gold in the coating of the windows.
We arrived at our rooms on the 34th floor, only to find what looked like one room…
But no, it’s just semi-connected rooms that are removed from the hallway, likely to reduce noise of passer-by.
When you walk into the room, it’s a very pleasant sight and nice decor overall. It’s when you start to look at the details, however, that you get excited.
In the bathroom, you have about 18 different mirrors, including one above the jacuzzi tub.
A glass “stall” of sorts for the toilet, plus look closely and you’ll see the TV in the mirror!
A stone shower stall…
Nice cabinetry, a kitchen, LCD TV….
Tea kettle and blender. (margaritas anyone?)
Lit closets with plush bathrobes.
Small living area, where you can even pass the time by playing tic-tac-toe,
Standard abstract artwork to bolster the whole elitist feel…
And of course, the room’s other perks would be pointless without a TV remote cover.
There’s even a doorbell and electronic lights instead of door hangers for “Do Not Disturb”
With all this, it’s tempting to just not leave the room…
But this is Vegas. There will be lots of getting out of the room.
That’s it. The 1-5 star hotel ranking experience is now complete (at least until I make it to Dubai to try out the world’s first six star hotel).
…will you find a scene like this. Well, probably not just in Oregon, but this really defines Oregon weather. Driving South on I-5 yesterday, this was the view to the West:
And the view to the East at the same time:
The last two days have been very manageable days, and after a stop in Portland to pick up some stuff that needs to get to Crocs HQ, we’re now in Bakersfield, a mere 275 miles from our final event of the tour in Las Vegas. Molly and I just got back from seeing Australia (why not? After all these thousands of miles, it was a short hop across the pond!), which was enjoyable. I liked the sensationalized style of the film, and it’s long, but not quite too long.
Also of note, our hotel has some random decor that I think at one time or another may have been it’s fitness equipment. This exercise bike must be decades old…
and I got to see one of those fat shaker things for the first time in person. I have no idea what they’re actually called or what they were supposed to do (besides make you lose weight magically), but it’s still amusing. Hurray for passive fat loss!
I’ve looked it up and no one else seems to know what they were called either. Vibrating belt machine is about the best I’ve found. The sad part is that apparently people still get taken by this one today: