Today is odd. I'm back from my trip to Colorado Springs with my improv troupe! Pictures eventually, although they're not really spectacular. The landscape was great but I mainly focused on people that none of you know, and even then took very few pictures.
Anyway, today is odd. I am back to normal life but I think I still want to be on vacation. I realize I just spent a weekend with a ton of people (and 20+ hours in a car with 2 of them) but it feels lonely in the apartment right now. Jay has gone back to playing Fallout 3, and the cat is asleep. I suppose I got used to being surrounded by 8 people at all times.
I also miss the water. The water in that area is delicious right out of the tap. Here, it tastes of fish and mud (and arsenic). I had a water bottle with me constantly there, cheaply refilled at the tap. Here I've got to run it through a filter and ice it down to be palatable. Yuck.
The trip itself was filled with many unintentional adventures, right from the start. The troupe took two cars to Colorado, since we had 9 people and one of those had a final he had to take in the morning. My team had 4 people and we didn't need to wait on anybody to take a final, so we decided to leave at 6am for the 10-11 hour drive. At this point, I think I'm just going to drop into bulleted points. I suck at narratives.
- Kenny was late in arriving to the departure point, as he decided to double-check the directions Sam gave him with Mapquest. Mapquest does not know that you can't actually get to Sam's house from the street it is addressed on. I talked him back on the right street.
- The windshield wipers on Sam's car were behaving anemically. Sam thought it might be battery trouble, but luckily we just had to tighten the nuts on the wiper arms. The Saturn has the same trouble, which was the only reason I knew what to do here.
- We had a low tire, so we decided to inflate it at the gas station, but the first station had a broken air pump. The second station we went to worked just fine, though.
- Sam made gorp, and I brought M&M's for it. This sustained us through most of the trip up. I also brought bottled water (also useful) and pb&j fixings for lunch, plus a smattering of other snacky foods.
- We make a slightly wrong turn in Wichita, and wind up in Emporia, KS. We had to double back west and north on some smaller highways before getting to I-70 in Junction City. This added about an hour onto our time and $5 onto our toll.
Sam had been making comments that the landscape didn't look that familiar to him, but we dismissed those comments until we started seeing signs about Topeka. We knew Topeka was not supposed to be on our route at all. Thankfully I had good cell phone coverage and Sam and I were able to use Google Maps on my phone to figure out where we were and how to get where we needed to be. Eastern Kansas is absolutely beautiful this time of year, however, so it was not a complete waste of time.
- Windmills are scary and beautiful and alien and breathtaking all at once.
- I discovered I left off the one CD I wanted to listen to when I drove on my compilation disc.
- Jay got a speeding ticket in a small town on the way down to Colorado Springs.
- All at once the mountains were upon us, and I was happy. Central Oklahoma is rather flat, and I miss the hills and trees of Eastern Oklahoma that I grew up with. The view outside our hotel room is of a hill that has trees on it, and this pleased me greatly.
- I found a yarn shop and a park with a great view to knit in while the players were in workshops that afternoon.
- Dinner was a conundrum. We'd all eaten a very late breakfast at a nice little diner, but we had no idea what to do about dinner. We wanted to try something local, and Kyle suggested the Moroccan place across the street from the hotel. It looked sketchy as sketchy could be, but my friends convinced me to let the health inspector rest for an evening and at least try it out.
It was spectacular! The food was simply amazing, and the atmosphere very mellow. We sat on the floor with cushions and ate with our hands. At the end of it, we had hands smelling of rosewater and orange oil and were very relaxed.
Getting an exceptionally delicious meal with great company when you're not expecting to have one is one of the better feelings in the world.
- We watched a bunch of improv troupes perform in the evening in a musty, dusty, theater. Kenny didn't feel well, and a few people were tired, so Kyle and Sam and Andrew took him back to the hotel for some rest. After the first block of troupes was done, I was too exhausted to stay awake any longer so Jay took me and Scott (who was also exhausted) back to the hotel. Jay then went back to the festival, wondering why Kyle's car wasn't at the hotel.
Nobody was in my hotel room, either, even though 2 out of the 4 people who left should have been there. I then spied a note from Sam. Even though it states that everything is OK, the fact that they've left to go to the hospital worries me. (Originally, that note simply read "AT ER" so kudos to Sam for knowing that would panic me.) I got a hold of Kenny, who had some asthma problems. Everything really was OK, but the adrenaline surge kept me awake. After they got back to the hotel, we realized everyone who had a key to the hotel room was at the hotel, and Kenny and I stayed up to wait for Jay.
- Kenny had a few prescriptions he needed filled, so Scott took him out in the morning. The pharmacy didn't open until 10am, so they came back. Kenny and I left after lunch and before our troupe's performance for the meds, thinking it would take 30 minutes or so max. We spent 30 minutes trying to find a non-existent Walgreen's that is supposed to be just a few minutes up the road from the theater before heading to the one we were certain we could find. Filling the prescription was speedy, but we got back to the theater with very little time to spare.
- During all the driving around to find the pharmacy, the car started to overheat. It apparently does not like to be driven at 25mph for extended periods of time. We drove around on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with the windows rolled down and the heat on full-blast to cool off the engine.
- The troupe did perform, and while it wasn't their best-ever performance, it was definitely enough to impress.
- After the performance, Jay, Caitlin, and I crashed at the hotel. One car had left to go back to Oklahoma that night, but four of us had no pressing need to be back so early or to drive through Kansas at night. Sam went to spend time with his relatives, but once the four of us were back together (and 3 of us caught up on naps) we had a great time talking in the hotel. Since the main event we'd come to Colorado for was over, I had a very heavy sense of waiting for the next leg of the journey, but talking to everyone kept my mind from it.
- We had a much less eventful drive back. At one point the Stabilitrak got confused over a low tire, but airing it up fixed that. Conversation during the trip back was much less frequent than on the way up, but what we had I enjoyed. I did a lot of knitting and thinking, and I think my life is going to get very complicated in the next year or so.
Would I do it all again? Definitely. I love road tripping with these people, and next year we'll try for Chicago.