Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Vegas - Day One - Wed. Feb. 18th, 2009

Woke up late this morning - much later than I wanted to!! So it was a rush to get out of the house and on the way to the airport. Thankfully, I made it in time... Got parked, ended up waiting for the 5th shuttle bus to go by me to stop and pick me up. I was freezing, the wind was cold at about -15 C. Anyway the guy who did pick me up carried my luggage for me so I was thankful for that!! I made it through check-in, US Customs, and Security just fine, with 45 minutes to spare, before scheduled boarding. I was first to board the plane.

The flight was uneventful, which is a good thing in a flight. lol The only problem was it got really warm on the plane. I was sitting on the "sunny side" of the plane, so the window shades got really hot, even with the little overhead vent turned on. Oh, and it's been a whuoie since I flew WestJet. A pillow & blanket is now $7. Headphones are not free, and movies are pay-per-view. I thought I would save my money for chocolate.!! Anyway, flew over Hoover Dam when we came in for the landing. From the air, you can really see the draught of Lake Mead. Subdivisions that were once "lake front property" are, well, not so much anymore. Looking forward to going to the dam at some point during my visit.

Merri met me at the gate and we went to get my luggage. Then we were off to one of her chocolate lounges. mmmm I had the most amazing chocolate frappachino drink thing - Angel you
must try one next time you are here (there is an Ethel M Chocolate Lounge in Fashion Show Mall which would be handy if you stay on the Strip). I also had a piece of that wonderful chocolate stribboined peanut brittle, it was owesome (and I did think of Susan & Dave when I ate it)!! We came home and I met Merri's husband John, and Merri's mom Dollie. John made a great lunch (breakfast scramble thingy). I unpacked some stuff. Then we headed out to Red Rock Canyon.

Just about 20 miles out of the city, Red Rock Canyon is very pretty, and as you can guess from the name, the rock is... red!! We saw a lot if people rock climbing and repelling. Looked like fun! lol

Align CenterRock climbers

We took a lot of pictures. Merri has a new camera with some big lenses, so she was experimenting a bit, and is now playing with them on the computer.

We decided they (her cameras/lenses) were going to be very helpful at the races - she will be able to take some amazing pics, so looking forward to that!!

On the way back we stopped at of course - Walmart!! Now we're home again and looks like John has supper ready!! Yup. Very good! Shepard's pie thing, mmm mmm. So now, I'm about ready for bed. It's an hour difference here, which is not bad but I had a rough start today... I don't think I woke up till I was actually in the shower. lol

Friday, 9 November 2007

Ice Cream "Sale"

So I went in to 7-11 today to get a slurpee. I love the new Blueberry Watermelon Wisdom one by Frutopia. They also have it as a juice flavour in the frozen concentrated juices at the grocery. Yum! My other new favourite.

Anyway, as I’m getting my slurpee, I saw that Ben & Jerry’s is on sale. That’s right, on sale! For the bargain price of $9.99, you get two containers of Ben & Jerry’s. What a bargain!!

I was in Austin again last week, and they still sell Ben & Jerry’s in 7-11 for about $2.50… And the Canadian dollar closed today at 0.9428 cents per USD…

*grumble grumble grumble*

Friday, 14 September 2007

Strawberry Bubbalicious

So I recently purchased a new anti-perspirant. It's Lady Speed Stick Invisible Plus, and the scent is Strawberry Splash. And it smells just like Strawberry Bubblicious bubble gum.
I can't imagine that it tastes the same though. LOL And I don't intend to find out.

But if you see me sniffing my deodorant, pay no mind!! LOL

Friday, 31 August 2007

Ward Burton on Trackside - Fontana

Wawuhd clips from tonight's Trackside from Fontana, California:

Regarding him and Elliott both having grandstands named after them at SaowuhBawuhstuhn Speeway:

Uh gowa lil sumthin uhthere, uhthing they pu me induhcohwnuh

In regards to his day in the car today (even though not making the race) and coming back and running this car:

Ah've hadduhbawhul

Hammond asked about some of his qualifying efforts this year like at Indy…
Nouh, you're eggsacklayriuht....

Speaking about his team:
Ah tell you whut Ah’m reelluh prawduh aawlthos guyuhs an thankin Stayuht WawduhHeytuhs n Lewwcuss fuh everythin theyuhve dunnuhsupporddus. Anyud Lahree us - LahreeMclewuh issastanup guyuh. Ah’m telling yas he’suh good felluhan all dows guyuhs ondateam wourk sow hawuhdh anwe do ah thank aye lowt wituhliddle… anif ahwe hayuhd an opportoontee tagit uhliddl biuht mowuh feyenaychulbackin tado sogood thayunghs fowuha spawnsuhh onoff tha trayuk wecou - well uh know wecoube muchbedduh. Eeyuts tufftadaay ayunEeyuts tuffsittinheuh wituh smiuhl own muhfayce buddah ayuhm prawduh thos guyus an uhm prawduhthrayceteyum.

Elliott asks him about what he would do to make qualifying more fair for go-or-go-homers:
Thtemchure chayuhguhs so muuchuh tha greyup thawe git indeserayuhscaws theyuhnexthingyaknow somguyuh gows rellyfayus or rellyslow jusfruhm thdrawuh offa haat... Whevuh yew cayuhn masomeun fayuh, ya doih.

Talkin' about qualifying and how close it was qualifying at:

Talking about teams outside the top 35 making or not making the race:
Liuhk theyuhsuh deyuth indafayuhmly at thamowmen, ooore dersuhbiiruth. Tha's howsirius thateams oudduhtha tawuph thirddyfawvuh taykit.

I love Ward Burton! He has such experience and wisdom in racing - he's the last of a dying breed of racer!!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Texas - Day 6 - Tuesday, April 17

Dixie knew we were leaving.

Tuesday morning Susan and Dave both left for work very early. That’s the trouble with taking time off – you have to work twice as hard before you go and after you come back to ‘catch up’. Robin and I packed our stuff and Susan called us a cab. We stopped at her office downtown and said a quick goodbye, and then were off to the airport.

Robin & I checked in for our flights, and grabbed something to eat. Robin’s flight left before mine, so I walked her to her gate. Another not so much goodbye but see ya soon – heck you think I’m gonna let my scanner buddy go to too many races without me?! LOL She boarder her plane, woobie and pallow in hand. My flight wouldn’t leave for another hour or so, but soon I was on my way.

I had no problems getting through the Dallas and Denver airports, and back home to Edmonton. No problems getting through customs either – but I was the last one off the plane and the last one to go through Customs. I was exhausted. I got the shuttle back to the Valu-Park and got my car. In about 45 minutes I was home and collapsed in bed.

What a trip! What a time!! And all I could think about was, “When can I go again?!”

I don’t know how anyone could not enjoy Susan & Dave’s hospitality. They were so amazing to us the whole time – I can’t say enough about them. I can’t even fathom how anyone in his or her right mind could not have had fun on such a trip, not to mention insist they never want to go back, or say some of the things I’ve heard said about this fab couple. I can’t tell you how profusely grateful I am for everything they did for me, and for us, to ensure we had a fantastic experience. The only thing they asked of us in return was that we have fun. The words Thank You are just not enough!

Susan & Dave are remarkable people and I am so very blessed to know them!

Thank you to two great Texans!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Texas - Day 5 - Monday, April 16

Monday morning wake up call outside our hotel window.

Monday morning I tried to change my flight from DFW to Austin. It was going to cost me $1600+. I ended up just getting an additional flight (for $120!) from Austin to DFW Tuesday morning in time to catch my original flight to Denver and home. I was all set to take a quick tour of the legendary Weirdness in Austin, and finally meet The Helping Dog!!!

It was time for goodbyes – which always suck. Susan and Dave ran Merri and Alnee to DFW to get their flights home while Robin and I hung out at the hotel. When Susan and Dave came back, we had to pack everything into the Belt Sander. I didn’t want to doubt Dave’s packing abilities but let me tell you, I had a moment. That thing was full. We got everything in but there was barely enough room for us!

Robin & I had the flagpole between us, but we kept our priorities straight and had the sponge candy handy! LOL We decided to grab lunch before hitting the road. The restaurant we went to had the news on, where we first learned of the horror that had happened that morning at Virginia Tech. There were few details at that time, but we knew Alnee had friends there. We’d try to reach her later when she got home. We all said a prayer for the students and faculty there. Soon we were off to Austin.

I had been to Dallas before for a work conference about 5 years ago, but didn’t see any of the “sights”. At least this time I got to drive by some of them! Susan pointed out the Book Depository, the hospital where Kennedy died, and other interesting things (like a billboard with a waterfall built into it) as we flew by on the Interstate. Robin conked out and had a nap. Not me. Too many things to see! We even passed Waco where Susan said you could still see some of the burned out buildings of the Branch Davidian’s compound. That was weird after hearing all about it on the news.
Book Depository

Freeways. We don't build 'em like that in Canada. lol
These kinds of flyovers would not like the Canadian climate!

We stopped at this place on the side of the road that had an old restaurant that looked like the Starship Enterprise. No kidding! We took some pictures, and looked at the blooming Texas Bluebonnets covering the ditches like a blanket.


Those beautiful Blue Bonnets

Later we stopped for gas and saw a baby snake outside the gas station. Inside I noticed some Ken Schrader labels on the shelf with the Little Debbie snack cakes. Susan actually asked the lady in the gas station if she could have them for her friend from Canada because they don’t have Little Debbie there. At least I think she asked. LOL Well, they are an interesting addition to the scrapbook!!

We made our way to Susan & Dave’s home, Susan pointing out some Austin landmarks on the way like the UT Tower and the cheesecake building (Frank Erwin Center). We unloaded the Belt Sander and boy was the Helping Dog glad to see us! What a sweetie Dixie is! I would have stolen her and brought her home if I thought I could fit her in somewhere and get her past security and customs!

Dixie the Helping Dog

I was introduced to Flat Elliott with a coonskin cap &
Flat ("Confused") John Wayne.

I marvelled at the tire and sheet metal hanging on the living room wall. How cooul!

Susan had to go pick up son Will after work, so she took Robin and I on a quick (and I do mean quick!) tour of Austin. We drove across the “Bat bridge”. We went to the University of Texas campus, and went to the UT Tower. The mood there was very sombre, and there were news crews interviewing students, getting their reactions to the morning’s events at Virginia Tech. We were even interviewed… Susan explained that UT had just last year marked the 40th anniversary of the tower shooting there.

UT Tower

We went past the State Capitol. I now have pictures of the Tennessee and Texas State Capitols. Lol I missed that when I was in Virginia (though Suzi drove me past it), guess that just means I have to go back! Ha ha ha! And I won’t let my sour experiences with any one person from that state deter me from returning!!

Texas State Capitol

The famous "Hi How Are You" Frog by Daniel Johnston
on the side of Baja Fresh Restaurant
(previously Sound Exchange records)
at 21st and Guadalupe Streets.
Keepin' Austin Weird!

We went to the valet parking garage where we picked up Will after he was done work. Susan showed us the reason why it was a valet only garage – the “man lift”. None of our PARKADES have those to be sure. LOL

"Man Lift"

We then took a quick tour to the fan shrine of “Henry’s Wall” outside the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture where I lit a candle in honor of Janis, for my friend Tammy from work. We of course also lit candles in honor of Buck. When you look up and down that wall, you don’t realize how influential Texas musicians have been on the music scene.

Then it was a quick stop at the Broken Spoke where Susan made Will get out and take a picture of the bus for me. LOL

Last stop on the way back to Susan & Dave’s place was the 7-11 for what else? Ice cream!!! We each chose our flavor of Ben & Jerry’s. I was stunned that each of us was getting our own container – that’s some spendy stuff back home! In fact, for four of those things it would have cost us about $28!! This was around $10. I still can’t wrap my mind around it! LOL

We hit the house and ate our ice cream and all crashed into bed. Dixie decided she would like to sleep with me. I tried to get her to go onto the other couch but she wouldn’t, crazy animal! It didn’t matter. I was so tired I was out like a light in no time.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Texas - Day 4 - Sunday, April 15

Sunday was race day. We got up and got moving with excitement and anticipation.

Around 8am Dave came knocking at our hotel room door saying we had to get a move-on to beat the race day traffic. Dave had that Belt Sander on the fly - until we hit… that’s right, race day traffic. We could see the track, but couldn't move. Eventually we got in and found a parking spot.

We headed to the infield, and ended up at just the right place at the exactly right time. Talk about a God-ordained moment! I looked up and saw a group of men standing there talking. It was then I saw him - The King himself, Richard Petty. I said, “Susan!” and she turned and saw him too. I thought she was gonna have a coronary – after she realized she about walked into THEE Richard Petty! We asked for an autograph and picture. He was very gracious to oblige. What a blessing!

Susan realizes it's THEE Richard Petty!

I get my credential holder signed by Mr. Petty.

We went with Merri to the 38 pit and chatted with the guys there. Told them we missed them, they seemed to like that idea. I called my brother Gary from Dave’s cell, telling him the events of the weekend thus far, and that we got to see Richard Petty.

Big Ed

Then we headed down pit road to the 19 pit. We hung out there and took a few pics. Susan started chatting up one of the guys and asked him his name. He said, “Oh, I’m Ed.” We said, “Are you ‘Big Ed’?!” He said he was and we had a good laugh, explaining we had heard Josh talk about Big Ed on the scanner and wondered who he was.

Alnee poses for her traditional picture in the 19 pit area.

Susan had to take a picture of an "approved" deck lid bolt!

Me in the 19 Pit.

It was here we ran into Dean and Judy, another Texas couple who we knew from the SFC message board, and had met last September at the Barn Party in Emporia.

Robin, Dave, Alnee, Judy (with the sign), Dean, Mel & Susan

It was good to see them! After chit-chatting with them a bit we parted ways and went to the outside of the track where we did a little more shopping!

Michael Waltrip signing autographs at his souviner hauler.

It was along this trip down the shopping “mall” of merchandise trailers I was "abandoned" by my group. I thought we stopped to watch Hermie on Race Day at the Speed Stage, but I guess everyone else kept going long before I did! I bought a Speed t-shirt at the hauler next door and waited around thinking someone would come back for me. They didn’t! I had to pee so bad it hurt, had a headache and I was hot, hungry and thirsty. My stupid cell doesn’t work in the US. No payphones in site. What to do? I saw a rather brawny Ft. Worth Policeman standing by his cruiser near the entrance gate. He was talking on his cell phone and looked rather official. He got off the phone. I nervously approached him, and told him my predicament.


I was almost in tears. Well, it musta worked because he nodded and handed me the phone. I said, “It’s an Austin number, is that ok?” He said, “Sure”. I called Susan and praise God she answered! They were just getting down to the seats. She said she would come get me but I said no, I would just come in – I just didn’t know where everyone had gone. I thanked the man for letting me use his phone, asked God to bless him abundantly and headed on into the track.

I walked in the gate and there was a whole bank of payphones. GAH!!! The bathroom on my right, the concession on my left – all right there. First things first, gotta Truex! Then went and got a corn dawg and a couple cold drinks and headed down to our seats.

I found Robin and we got set up with the scanner. “Teyun-fowuh!” Since qualifying had been cancelled due to the “severe weather”, points determined the starting line-up. That meant Jeff Gordon was on the pole and Elliott was starting 15th.

Alnee took some great race photos with Robin’s swanky camera.

Pace car is off and the field comes around 4 to take the green flag.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had some problems.

Rookie David Ragan had a rough day.
There's a lotta duct tape on that car.

The track safety crew looking for debris after a wreck.
I'm sure I heard the guy in the back seat yell,
"Hey! Is that a WAFFLE?!?!"

Only in Texas...

My scanner buddy! Robin & me enjoying the day.

In the end Jeff Burton and the 31 team won the race.

We took our time leaving the grandstand, as post-race traffic is always crazy with 150,000+ people all trying to go home at the same time. We found we could exit out the end of the track without having to climb those dang stairs, thank you Merri for spying the way out!!!

We walked past the heli-pad and wondered who was on all those helichopters.

We finally got to the Belt Sander and hung out a while, chatting, resting… We talked to Phil as he was back at his RV but there was no way we could get through the traffic to go for one last visit.

Susan & Merri reviewed pictures. Robin rested. Later, Susan displayed a lug nut she scoffed from pit road while Alnee begged Susan not to abandon her!

We listened to the post race shows on the radio where we learned Dale Earnhardt Jr. had ran the last few laps of the race in the 5 car after both he and Kyle Busch had had problems and crashed out. Kyle had left the track. How monumental that would turn out to be, eh. What foreshadowing!

Dave listening to the radio.

In the distance, we saw smoke - a LOT of thick black smoke. It was a car fire. I don’t know how the fire truck got through the traffic but they got there and put it out. I said one for those people – what a horrible end to their race weekend that must have been.

We had parked at the corner of Victory and Burton. Who knew?!

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for dinner at one of my most favourite saouthern places to eat - Cracker Barrel. Mmmmm mmmmmm. Raspberry iced tea, fried chicken, mac & cheese, hash brown casserole… As my Gran would say, “Nothin’ finer!”

Alnee rocks on the front porch at Cracker Barrel

It was back to the hotel to crash, as Monday Merri and Alnee would be heading home, and Robin & I would go back to Austin with Susan and Dave.