The day of travel. As any trip begins, unless you’re engaging in a “staycation,” the first day is one of travel. Some are longer, if you’re venturing to the other side of the world, some are a few mere minutes.
Ours began at 4am (4:20am to be specific for Nicole) preparing for the upcoming adventure. We arrived at the airport with more than enough time to spare and began the period of “hurry up and wait.”
I’m not going to bore you with details of our take off, which was mundane, or the majority of the flight, which was smooth. I will, however, point out that the movie industry editors might want to reconsider priorities when “toning down” movies for inflight entertainment. Nicole opened up Deadpool which had all of the vulgarity, most of the gore, but none of the sexual references or even brief nudity. Though it was definitively entertaining to watch Deadpool’s firey fight with a giant, blatant, blurry circle around his junk that did less to censor and more to call very specific attention to his nut-sack.
Our descent into Salt Lake City was not smooth. The last half-hour to 40 minutes was near nonstop turbulence. The plane bounced and bobbed, dove and wove through the air. While I’m certain that everything was under control up front, it certainly didn’t feel that way in the passenger compartment with the plane fishtailing (a first-time sensation for me). The turbulence was bad enough it even upset Nicole’s stomach, which is saying quite a lot as she’s usually the better flier of the two of us.
Once on the ground we made our way to the opposite end of the terminal and engaged in a thorough listening session with an elderly Marine Captain on his way home to NORAD and a six-month lockdown. He was quite talkative, telling us all about Denver and giving us a long list of things to be done in Beaver Creek, as well as a fairly comprehensive list of directions to get there.
Our ability to nod, smile, and chuckle was tested. I like to think we succeeded in our skill checks to play nice. The man was seated just behind us on the plane and we got to hear some of his stories over again as he shared them with his captive seat partner.
The second flight was far smoother, despite the pilot’s worry that we’d nail turbulence both taking off and landing. He gave warning which turned out to be unnecessary, whereas the first pilot gave none.
We landed in Denver a little bit behind schedule and went through the motions to claim our baggage (which went WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY faster than in Omaha) and grab our rental car. The lady was super nice and after showing us two “dirty” (I never saw the interior of the vehicles) sedans, upgraded us for free to a Subaru.
With our landing behind us we set out for the first hotel of our trip. Half an hour later and slight marveling at the Rockies to the west, we’d arrived in Lakewood and checked our bags with our hotel. My brother, Ben, and his girlfriend, Emma, caught up with us at this point. We had a joyful reunion, then walked down the street to grab lunch at an Italian joint that was closed. It turned out to be okay as it gave us the chance to wander the area and catch a few Pokemon that Nicole and I simply don’t see in Omaha. We retreated back toward the hotel and visited the 221b Baker Street Pub and Grill for lunch.
We played catch up with our visitors over lunch, then killed some more time with a couple games of pool. Ben won one, I won one (but only because he sank the 8 ball out of turn).
He’s the better pool player.
Time to check into the hotel came. We got a free upgrade to a king-sized suite, complete with a kitchen. The room’s gigantic and the kitchen almost makes me envious. We lounged around the space for a little bit before wandering back out into the area. First stop: Target to check for new Minecraft minis.
No luck on finding anything new for Nicole and I, though we did come across a cute little card game that would come in handy later in the evening. From Target we meandered around the area investigating the downtown-esque place and looking at the shops. It was nice to just walk and talk with my brother, as well as catch a few new Pokemon along the way. After a couple hours of wandering, slightly aimlessly, we came back to The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen for dinner. The restaurant is a rock’n’roll themed grill and pizza joint that serves alcohol in a bucket.
We ordered a deep-dish hamburger pizza for all four of us and a “Suzzie Q” for Nicole and I. The black bucket was filled with 4 different Skyy Vodka infusions (Raspberry, Passion Fruit, Citrus, and Dragon Fruit) with lemon, lime, cherries, and a Rockstar energy drink shoved down the middle. Was a tasty drink with tasty pizza. If you’re in the area, I recommend at least dropping by the place.
After dinner, we walked down the street to a Gelato café that Nicole had found on a map earlier and enjoyed quality Italian ice cream (compliments of Ben) for dessert.
After retreating back to the hotel we played Simon’s Cat card game (the game Nicole picked up earlier at Target) and chatted. Nicole, Ben, and I simultaneously won after leaving Emma with the blame (as cats are wont to do).
After the game finished, we saw Ben and Emma off and bid them to travel safely back home.
Nicole and I finished our first day out relaxing in the hotel room before retreating to bed.
Tomorrow: Bookstores and traveling up into the mountains. The meat of our honeymoon to begin.