Posts tagged Boulder
On the journey from Boulder, CO to Kansas City, MO Kately coined the new term “Car-ma” to describe the challenges we encountered on the road on what became an over 13 hour affair. We left Boulder at 7:30am, planning to make it to Kansas City by the evening to meet up with Katelyn’s friend named Pierce. Exhausted, we hit the road and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, we couldn’t escape our bad Car-ma. It was snowing in eastern Colorado and we had to take it slow (no more cruising at 75 mph), and knowing we had at least a 10 hour drive ahead of us it was far from encouraging. Slippery roads and spinning out on the highway kept us going at a good 35mph. We finally broke out of the snow and made some good time crossing into Kansas, but then our bad Car-ma kicked in again and Katelyn and I heard what we thought was a helicopter. After searching relentlessly for this elusive helicopter, I finally smelled burning and pulled over. Still hoping to find a helicopter, we only discovered that my rear right tire was entirely flat.
I do have AAA, so we made the call and waited on the highway already late and about to be even later for our dinner plans. Thankfully, Katelyn and I have been getting really good at healthily diffusing frustration. What started off as us screaming to relieve stress as we waited for our AAA man transformed into hysterical laughter when we considered the ridiculousness of our situation. Our repairman arrived very quickly and was incredibly pleasant, which made things a lot easier, except for the fact that to retrieve my spare tire, I had to excavate the contents of my trunk. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but I had my trunk packing down to a science– everything fit perfectly without an inch to spare. I purposefully packed my trunk before I left Seattle with all of my things that I wasn’t going to need on the trip with every intention of not touching them again until Pennsylvania, but I never considered having to access my spare tire. We created quite a site on the side of I-70, with me hauling the necessary bags and boxes onto the roadside to let our buddy dig out the spare tire.
Needless to say, I did not methodically repack my trunk, but only haphazardly threw things where they fit and threw the rest in the backseat, adding to the chaos of our day’s adventures. Once we had the spare on, we had to follow our repairman to Wal-Mart in Hays, Kansas to buy a new tire. Frustrated and annoyed, but trying to rally a positive outlook, we parked at the auto shop and went shopping in the store. Like a gift from the heavens, we stumbled upon two racks of discount clothing, $3 zipper sweatshirts and $1 (yes, really only $1) leopard print tights! Katelyn and I felt like we struck gold and jumped at the opportunity to garner some happiness out of our otherwise dismal day. Once my car was done, we eagerly got back on the road, and began planning our leopard tight debut (we’re still trying to figure that one out).
Katelyn knew just what I needed to brighten my day and offered to buy me a Dairy Queen blizzard if there was one the next time we stopped to get gas. My tank was too low to bypass the next rest area, so as we approached the road sign that tells you what food/gas/lodging options you have, I strained my eyes to see if there was that recognizable DQ logo. Katelyn didn’t see one at first, but I wasn’t about to lose hope. As we got closer, I made out the DQ sign and immediately screamed an excited, drawn-out “YES!” (It was an incredibly exciting moment for me).
Once I had my large Reese’s cup blizzard, things were pretty smooth for the next few hours, but about an hour or so outside of Kansas City, we hit more snow. Almost completely without wind in our sails, we begrudgingly pushed forward, already cautious after our morning snow driving issues and getting more and more exhausted. We were so close, yet so far away. Cue more stress-relieving screaming and making up song lyrics about not liking Kansas, its luck or its long stretch of I-70. As you can imagine by what I’ve told you thus far, this also often sparked laughing fits that motivated us even more to make it to Kansas City and make the best of the rest of our evening. Our persistence paid off and we finally crossed the border out of Kansas and into Missouri, taking a moment for high fives and applause before arriving to Pierce’s house a little after 9pm. Our cabin fever was almost oppressive by that point, so after a delicious meal and chatting, we decided that we’d all go out dancing (surprise surprise). Pierce really came through, taking us to an awesome bar in downtown Kansas City that played only music from the 80′s and 90′s. Katelyn and I once again owned the dance floor, and successfully redeemed our long, exhausting day.
This trip has been incredibly interesting in learning how to take everything in stride. Our compatibility as road trip companions definitely makes this easier, but it’s been a good lesson in not letting the little things get you down and to find the hilarity in otherwise unpleasant circumstances.
Arriving in Boulder meant reuniting with Geoff, one of our close friends from studying abroad in China in 2006 (where Katelyn and I met, for those of you who didn’t know). We arrived late Wednesday night after a grueling drive, but despite our exhaustion, it was still wonderful to be reunited.
Thursday was one of those days where you feel like nothing is quite going your way, but thankfully we had some redeeming moments that kept us sane. We planned lunch with Katelyn’s cousin who works in downtown Denver, but since we are GPS-less, we had to google map the directions beforehand. It wasn’t until we had “arrived at our destination” in Aurora, CO did we realize that Katelyn had mistyped the address and we were lost. As we neared the supposed destination, we couldn’t help but laugh as we realized that the nearly deserted area with scattered buildings was far from what Katelyn remembered of downtown Denver. Thankfully, we didn’t end up too far from our actual destination, made it downtown, and despite minor parking frustrations, had a nice meal with her cousin. We even tried to invigorate downtown Denver with some street dancing…
Disenchanted with navigating deep in a city, we decided to head back out towards Boulder after lunch in search of a cafe and shopping while we waited for Geoff to get off of work. The skills I’ve developed for finding WiFi proved useful because we had a hard time finding what we were looking for. Once we made it to a Starbucks, we realized that they don’t have free WiFi! Plus, it started snowing. Feeling a little defeated (and really cold), we did finally find a store and pick up some of the essentials we were looking for. We redeemed the frustrating afternoon by meeting up with Geoff and his girlfriend and their friends for a delicious fondue dinner and called it an early night and came back home to reminisce about our days in China and look at old pictures.
Reminiscing about our days in China (which was over 3 years ago now!) has been an awesome experience. Collaborative memories come out with much more detail than when you are left remembering all on your own. Despite the passage of time, it’s still so nice to see that some things (and people’s personalities) never change. Katelyn and I have both seen a LOT of friends on this trip and it’s been a similar experience, realizing how much we value the people who have impacted our lives at different points along the way.
On Friday, Katelyn and I took some time to regroup (and do laundry) and explore a bit of downtown Boulder. We wanted to minimize our chances of getting lost so we parked ourselves in an awesome cafe, had some wonderful coffee and caught up on various things. Once the evening came, we met back up with Geoff and his girlfriend and cooked a delicious dinner of fajitas as we danced around the kitchen and had a great time.
After dinner, we wanted to relive some of our fondest memories from China and went out in downtown Boulder to go dancing. We had an awesome night, dancing until we were completely exhausted.
We left Boulder this morning en route to our next destination: Kansas City, MO, but we had a great time in Colorado despite the bad weather