An Encounter With Dinosaurs and an Old Buzzard

Putting our best feet forward

Day 1 of our epic cross country adventure- This trip we left from LA, heading East as I would eventually drop off Jenn in Chicago for a visit with her fam before I headed on to friends in Massachusetts. With previous trips that started out as a 4 day excursion but wound up with us still on the road 2 weeks later roaming and discovering where we might end up next, we were well prepped for these travels.

It’s so big

First up, the world’s tallest thermometer located in Baker, the Gateway to Death Valley, because if you can’t find a ball of string big enough in these parts a thermometer embodying all that is grand about Americana culture will do.

Next stop, Las Vegas. Leave it to us to treat Sin City as a pit stop and a place to “do lunch”, but we needed to refuel, which we did at The PBR Rockbar on the strip.

We took the bull by the horns at Rockbar

 

 

 

We didn’t need to dance ‘til dawn this time around- been there, done that a dozen times – although we did miss our usual poolside service with cocktails topped off with toasted coconut at The Cosmopolitan, but this day we dined outdoors, beneath its looming exterior, remembering its glistening chandeliers, at the appropriately named The Chandelier bar and morning-after recovery brunches at Wicked Spoon, which we were wickedly tempted to try again, but were more than satisfied by our bold bar food selections and our sidewalk patio setting, watching the variety of people Vegas has to offer on display passing by. We skipped drinking PBR’s and stuck with root beers as it was back on the road for us following our meal.

The next test for us was to pass through the Valley of Fire without being burned. No problem for these two pros as we safely entered Utah, but only temporarily were we secure, for next up was an unexpected encounter with dinosaurs!

 

 

 

 

Run, Sara, run!

The Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm in St. George. Containing some of the best preserved tracks and fossils, which were discovered during a real estate project to level some land, and dating back more than 195 million years, this gem is a true Jurassic Park to treasure, and just as much fun for us to be let loose in.

That dinosaur sure is lucky it was protected from Jenn by that glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaver would be where we would settle that first night, but not before we let off a little restless energy at Renegade Lounge.

What lies beyond the red door?

This one stoplight town, and one bar, thanks to some sort of grandfather clause, as told to us the last time we were there by the guy whose grandfather owned the place, is the local hot spot. That’s right, this wasn’t our first time in these parts and served as a familiar go-to drinking hole, as it did for the other patrons passing through or seasonal workers stationed there.  As soon as we arrived, Toto, we realized we weren’t in Los Angeles anymore. A group of friendly guys chatted us up, invited us to join them, bought us drinks and even offered up the delivery pizza they had at their table. (Those looking for a light bite can help themselves to the popcorn machine on the bar top.) Not one asked us if we were in the biz, or even what biz for that matter. There was simply actual human interaction and conversation taking place. And they were ever so much more interesting than any A-list celebs I’ve met.  These guys weren’t just delightfully social, turns out they were death defying. I’ve had my share of crappy day jobs, from working for a pent up office manager who wanted me to decorate all of her binders with pretty patterns of wallpaper cover sheets and stylish font styles when labeling them to a high powered portfolio manager with unmanaged anger, who couldn’t make eye contact but could scream at you from down the hall and an office away. His former assistant quit in tears. I stuck it out amused by his issues. But unlike our new acquaintances, I had never risked my life by going below ground, surrounded by deadly gas at a geothermal plant drilling for hot water. Cade, who had tempted us to their table with cheesy bread and dipping sauce accompanying the pizza, (yeah, we’re very high-end and hard-to-get when we’re on the road) showed us video of them on his camera phone suiting up in tactical gear and gas masks as they prepped for their next shift. And I thought my ill-fitting tuxedo pants I got at a thrift store for my uniform during my catering days were bad. I just had to make sure I had my comfortable shoes and a wine opener on hand versus hoping I didn’t inhale anything toxic in order to make it through a shift.

Old Buzzard and Funny Shit sharing a laugh

We shared tales of cheating death and our taste for adventure. The crew was as colorful as their job description. Hector and AJ restocked the rounds as I was introduced to their boss man they affectionately called “The Old Buzzard”. He in turn nicknamed me “Funny Shit” as I made him laugh. He then tried to make me dance. Boys on the road, especially in the West, sure do like and look for any opportunity to two-step.  We both soon learned I do not, and really can’t. The Old Buzzard who had suffered his share of challenges as a former bronco rider on the rodeo circuit, including a broken hip that caused him to limp, soon gave up on me declaring after a turn on the dance floor, “You keep leading. You don’t know how to follow!” Such is the curse, or benefit, depending on your dance partner, of being an independent woman. We returned to our stools and swapped stories of adrenaline rushing activities we enjoyed. I told him how I had jumped out of an airplane, he told me to top that I needed to ride a bull.

So you think you can dance?

He then took Jenn for a spin and got her to two-stepping after she had wrapped up a freestyle session blowing it out with Cade in a dance-off below the pulsating disco lights.

 

 

 

 

 

Swing your partner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tired from the day’s long drive we took our bows for the night and trekked back to our hotel, the Best Western Butch Cassidy Inn, where we had comfortable beds waiting and a complimentary breakfast the next day before hitting the road, well rested and refreshed for the journey ahead.

Vroom, vroom!
-Sara

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Hitting The Bean & the History Museum in Chicago

It took living in Los Angeles a few years to really appreciate my hometown, Chicago.

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Mom told me to take this picture cause it’s cool.

Parking is crazy expensive in Chicago (Thanks, Daley!!!!), so my Mom and I took a train Downtown.

 

We hung out in Millennium Park. This place was not around when I lived in Chicago, so I had not been..  Mom and I checked out The Bean,    IMG_0730                                                          which is a giant bean shaped mirror.  Hmmm.  Okay?                                            The website boasts of how the bean (sorry, “Cloud Gate”) reflects the beautiful Chicago skyline.  It sure does. But you can also see the skyline by simply turning around and looking right at it.  HA! Yet, I seemed to really dig this mirrored sculpture since Mom and I hung out in the park for a quite a while and took a trillion pictures. The park offers concerts, art, exercise and well, a park. It is nice to have places like this within a city.  Just watch out for coyotes!

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My Dad is the photographer.

The next day, my Mom, Dad, Brother and I high-tailed it to The Chicago History Museum. I hadn’t been

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Nope.

there since I was a child. It definitely changed a lot.  Was extremely happy that they still have train.  They have interactive exhibits, which I always LOVE.       IMG_15691                                                                                     Children learn something from these exhibits, but I just want the pictures!!

IMG_1591Imagine my dismay when I found out, months later, that I could have taken a picture lying IN the hotdog. It would have been called a dorkdog.

 

The museum is definitely more PC now, as it strives to show how different groups of people are an integral part of Chicago’s development.

They didn’t mention the serial killer that was around during the World’s Fair.

Ah, Chicago History…IMG_1573

 

 

 

People think it’s funny that I loathe red meat, but am from a city known for slaughterhouses. (Oh, and corrupt politicians and gangsters!!)

 

When we were done at the museum, we walked across the street and dined at IMG_1596The Fireplace Inn. That was some good eatin’s! They have a patio and the view across the street was AMAZING! Jenn-Chgo-911-037                                                           I loved that it started to rain right before we ate, but that we still scored a window seat. Eat there.

There are 80 million things to do in Chicago and I will eventually tell you all about all of them! In the meanwhile.. I leave you with this picturesque shack…My brother is so awesome that he drove around until we found it because his bratty little sister wanted photos.shack

 

Out for now… Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright