Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I love it here!

More in Tuesday's trip later.

It is so nice here. Our hotel room rocks! The only downside is that this appears to be the Minnesita fan hotel, so we are a little out-numbered. But this hotel us fabulous!! Tempe Mission Palms! Our room is huge with the most comfortable king bed ever, flat panel tv, and French doors that open to overlook the courtyard. The courtyard is full of palm trees and orange trees. Todd picked an orange to eat, but said it was a bit sour. The fitness center is unlike any other I've seen in a hotel.

We are right on the ASU campus. This place is beautiful. Why again did I stay in Illinois for school?? :) The stadium is just 3 blocks from our hotel and one block off the main campus eating/shopping strip. Green St and Kirkwood have nothing on this place. It is amazing. We ate pizza at a local brewery last night. It was the coolest place. I need to take more pictures.

I went for a 5-mile run on campus today. So beautiful. Running through palm trees with sun and 50 degree temps doesn't hurt either. Amazing! I didn't have any troubles with the elevation either. A little tight in the chest, but otherwise fine! It is funny because the locals all appear to be bundled up in ugg boots and coats while all the Minnesota and Iowa fans are laying out by the pool in swimming suits. Too funny! Supposed to be mid 60's today. We might have to go shopping for shorts - it is too warm fir jeans. :)

I told Todd I would gladly move here. Too bad one of his top competitors is actually at ASU. Boo!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday adventures

On Monday night, we stopped in Santa Fe, NM. Todd loves this city and we wanted a break from driving. We arrived and got a room at The LaFonda hotel downtown. The hotel is a historic one. The rooms were small and older, but definiely cool. The room numbers outside the door were hand-painted tiles (locally done, I'm sure), the bathroom was almost all tile, too. Everything matched the Indian/Southwest theme in the room. The headboard and wall paintings all had the same flower motif. We took some pics, but I'll have to post those later. The workout room was small but nice and Todd used the outdoor hot tub even though it was only 30!! The hotel gave us a deal on the room because we said we looked at prices on, which was awesome!

We did some research and picked a Mexican restaurant to eat at that had received tons of great reviews. It was horrible! The service was bad and very slow. The food was only average and pretty expensive. Plus, it was freezing in the place. Even Todd was cold, so that says it all! The worst part was the guacamole, or lack there of. I LOVE guac! Tons of the reviews went on and on about their amazing and fresh guac, which was another reason I was all for the place!! They ended up running out of it by the time we got our food (1.5 hours after ordering). The waitress offered to bring me some avacado. Seriously?!?! If you have avacado, make me some guac! Ugh! And this was a Monday night at the place, not even a weekend night! I felt bad for the family with kids as they waited a long time and were definitely restless. The only good thing this place had going (IMHO) was the live music. My negative review is already up on

Surprisingly, there is no 3G in Santa Fe even though it is the state capitol. Also, because of all the pubelo-type buildings with thick walls, a signal was hard to come by. But, it was better than the "no service" words that kept flashing on my phone as we drove the interstate across the entire Texas panhandle. Thanks AT&T.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On the road again

Spent the night in Tulsa last night. This place did get a lot of snow! Driving through Missouri there wasn't much snow, so we were thinking there was no way Oklahoma was pretty much shutdown over Christmas. But, there are huge piles of snow all around Tulsa. The hotel check-in lady said they got about 7 inches in 3 hours. Crazy!

They do not know how to plow roads here! The interstate only had one lane cleared with the second lane only partially cleared of ice and snow. The exit ramps were dangerous - snow piled in the lane and covered in ice. Seriously? This is two days after the storm moved out. Maybe they are low on salt and sand? Who knows. The good news is the roads to Oklahoma City are better.

We are back on the road headed west again. At least it is cold out. It is unbearable for me to travel in the summer! I sit in a windowless office all day, so to be in the car when it is so nice out is very hard for me. Definitely less difficult in the winter! We stayed in a Hampton Inn, which we are both fans of! Not too expensive, decent beds, free breakfast, and a workout room. Nothing fabulous but a good deal for the price!

I missed the photo op, but there was a sign on the tollroad for Free Restrooms 14 miles ahead. Too funny! Apparently, if you pass the free toliets you may have to pay. LOL

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heading south

We are definitely getting south. Just finished off some pulled pork, corn, and fries from Buckingham's in Springfield, MO. Somehow I got the spicy instead of the sweet sauce. My mouth is still in fire! Apparently, this place has the best BBQ in the area, including the Ozarks. Todd saw the billboard a few miles outside of town and was sold. He is a fan of trying the loacal places. It was good, but the best BBQ award (in my book) still goes to Smokin' Jack's Rib Shack in Bloomington! Awesome meat, cornbread, and mac n' cheese. Mmm. Now, I need to find us a hotel with some sort of fitness room...

Quote of the Day #1

There are a lot of Ohio State fans on the interstate going to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. My fav quote of the day so far:

CMR: I can't even imagine driving to Pasadena. That's like a whole day of driving paste Tempe.

TVR: Trust me, you'll know what it feels like by the time we get to Arizona.

LOL! He's probably right. I'm already bored.

The rental car let down

We are suffering from rental car let down! Had we been on time, we would have had one sweet ride! But, no such luck!! We lost our chance after a series of events.

We were home a whole 15 hours from Chicago before heading out to AZ. Just enough time to do laundry, re-pack, sleep, and rake the dogs to the boarding place. Of course we were running behind from being gone for four days and leaving again. Plus we overslept out of exhaustion from being gone (and probably eating too much food). We got to the airport to pick-up our one-way rental and leave our car to have when flying in. We parked in the long term lot and couldn't find the walkway to the terminal since neither of us had flown out of the new Indy airport. So we waited in the freezing cold for the bus to pick us up. Thank goodness for heaters in the shelters (see pic below). That featur rocks!! We got on the bus and the lady dropped off some people flying and said she would take us to rental cars. She missed the turn and ended up circling around and dropping us at the main terminal where she dropped the original people. Turns out the rentals weren't too far
and we should have gotten off to begin with.

Our rental time was set for noon, but we were about an hour late to pick-up the car. Originally we were told they were out of one-way rentals so we were getting a car typically used locally. We got everything loaded into a fully-loaded all leather interior with heated seats, onstar, and xm radio Buick lesverne. Who-hoo! The car was started and we were pulling away when someone in the garage flagged us down. Apparently, someone had just returned a one-way rental while we were loading our car and we needed to switch cars. Boo! So, we are on our way in a Chevy Malibu. Not horrible, but definitely a letdown from the original car. I can't complain. We ate renting through Alamo and everything has been smooth so far. Definitely better than some experiences with Enterprise!

Let the travels begin...

Today begins our trip to Arizona. This is Todd's trip. I get to pick the next one and it will definitely not involve this much travel!! We are driving one-way in a rental car to Pheonix and flying home one-way on Friday. Yup, 25 hours in the car sounds fun, right??

Iowa State is playing in the bowl game in NYE in Tempe. He was willing to skip Christmas for this game, that's how badly he wanted to go. I would like to point out that when I REALLY wanted to go to the Illinois Final Four game and then the Rose Bowl, I watched on TV. He owes me!!

For my friends and relatives in AZ, I am sorry to say we won't get to see you. We'll be traveling more days than we are actually there, which is not exactly my idea of fun. But, Todd HATES flying (I am not a huge fan) and this route was way cheaper than flying round trip. So, my week off work begins I'm the car. The good news is I have five movies downloaded to my iPhone, I set my blogger account for mobile access, and our rental car has two outlets to plug into, so I am good to go!! (Well, for at least a few hours. I am definitely one of those "are we there yet" kind of people.)

Christmas 2009

We where in the Chicago suburbs for Christmas. The weather and me having to work on my day off changed all of our driving plans, but we still had a good time. Lucy and Murphy ran around with cousin-dog Wrigley. They managed to stay out of trouble most of the time minus an ornament Murphy's tail got ahold of from the tree. Not too bad for three dogs all 50 lbs or more!

I was exhausted since I have been working so much lately. I spent most of my time watching Christmas movies (Four Christmases is my new fav), getting food ready, and eating food.

Todd got me a necklace for Christmas. It is small, but pretty. I am not much into jewelry, so it is perfect for me. After all of the eating, my brother and I went on a five mile run on Christmas day. The snow and ice were starting to melt, so it was the wettest run of my life. Some of the puddles were several inches deep. In many place is was an ice rink on the trail. My shoes and socks were soaked. My face was sore from the pelting rain/sleet. I already rotated those shoes to my backup pair (after they get done drying). But, it was good to get out since I'll have few workouts but lots of eating this holiday season!

We had a good te although we wished the weather had been been better to get out more and make the travels less stressful. We passed at least one major accident. I am hopeful everyone is okay and thankful we got there and back with no problems!