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and a surprise goes off without a hitch. :D
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The bags are mostly packed, the boarding passes are printed, the vehicle is gassed up and ready for the six hour drive to the airport ... and there's a winter storm on the way ready to dump huge amounts of snow.

So... instead of leaving at 3 a.m., I'm leaving as soon as I can get out of work in hopes of out-driving the storm. Better to kill time at the airport than not be able to get there at all.


Apr. 13th, 2009 12:43 pm
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Last time I made the trek from Wyoming to Maryland was in December 2007. That travel was such a nightmare that I vowed never to make the trip in the winter ever again, planning instead for April of this year.

We're potentially getting up to four feet of snow this week. FML.
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At the end of February, Andrew was catastrophically bored. I say catastrophically, because when Andrew reaches a certain level of boredom, he tends to go off by himself and do stupid things with strange people. and as his closest friend, I feel it is my job to make sure that such things only occur when I can be a part of them too.

Andrew at work. Andrew is bored. See how bored Andrew is. Work, Andrew, Work.

That good thing about working for a hotel is that we can stay at other chain hotels at really cheap rates. So, we decided that it was a good time to take a weekend off and head out somewhere. In Wyoming, that usually means driving hundreds of miles. We've done this going south, but none of the other directions, so this time, we decided to head east to Casper, Wyoming.

Initially, I wanted to stay at Thermopolis, Wyoming the first night, and then Casper the next. However, the hotels in Thermopolis were sold out due to a sports tournament of some sort. So, Casper it was for the first night.

But most hotels in Casper were sold out as well. The chain hotel certainly was. But I managed to find a relatively inexpensive room at the Showboat Motel.

The drive to Casper was long and uneventful, but I was excited just to be on the road and going any where. We arrived at the hotel and checked in, only to find that the rollaway cot I had requested was unavailable. One of us would have to sleep on the floor, or we'd have to double up on the queen bed. I'm fine with that, but Andy prefers to sleep alone for various reasons, one being that he likes to sprawl.

We went for a drive, got lost, took the long way around town, found the movie theatre we'd be going to for the showing of Watchmen later that night, then went to Village Inn for dinner, a rare treat for us as Village Inn does not exist in our neck of the wilderness, but used to be a favored hangout when we lived in New Mexico.

The place was packed with basketball teams, which explained why I'd had so much trouble finding a room. We placed our order, but 20 minutes later the waitress returned to let us know that some of what we ordered wasn't available. We ordered something else, but it was not available either, and finally settled on burgers, I beleive.  We did get the last two pieces of pie in the restaurant for free, however, and I left the harried waitress what I hope was a generous tip.

We were right across the street from the Casper mall, so we decided to check it out while we were killing time before the movie. We managed to kill about 20 minutes. Once again, I was confronted by the fact that no store seems to carry button up shirts with a 22 inch neck. I also realized that my prime mall-walking days were long behind me; little was there to catch my interest. So we headed back to our hotel.

I was tired, as was Andy, and I found that the theatre was doing a matinee showing of Watchmen the next day; we decided to go to that one instead of staying up. We also decided to share the bed.

Turns out Andy snores louder than ever before. I woke him up twice to get him to shut up. What I didn't know was that apparently I snore as well, which surprises me as I never sleep on my back (I just can't.) Andy spent the night trying to sleep on the bed with my snoring, and I with his, interspersed with trying to sleep on the floor. I woke at one point with his jacket covering my head. He denies putting it there...

The next morning, I discovered that the shower didn't work properly. I made this discovery from listening closely to the cursing Andy was doing while attempting to use the shower. The water from the spigot seemed to be from a different pipe than the one that fed the shower; setting a temperature on the spigot did nothing to change the temperature of the ice-cold water comeing from the shower head. I decided against showering, and we went down to check out. I told the front desk clerk about the shower problems, and she went on and on about trouble with the water softner causing the shower heads to clog. We decided against having any of the wilted-looking pastries on hand for breakfast, and headed to a different Village Inn, where we enjoyed breakfast served by a young girl so perky and happy that I was convinced she had escaped from a cartoon.

After breakfast, we went back to the mall, to explore a little deeper. Andy found a leather coat on sale for $15; I continued to not find shirts in my size; we browsed a WaldenBooks, got some frozen lemonade, and headed to the theatre to watch the Watchmen, which we both enjoyed.

After the movie, it was time to head to Thermopolis. I discovered that I had left my maps behind in the Village Inn the night before, so we stopped for a quick lunch at Taco John's, and I bought a map from the service station next door.

Off we went, back on the highway to our next destination. More later.



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