I made it! After a long adventure across the country (with my brother for half the trip) I've finally made it to San Diego. This post is just going to be a lot of pictures and quick blurbs about what we did along the way!
My brother flew into Tampa and we spent a couple days just clearing everything out of my apartment, mailing boxes to San Diego, and packing my car to the brim--to the point where if you opened a door or window, it would spell disaster. Of course, this was the first thing my mom decided to do when we met her in Tulsa....
The plan was to drive from Tampa to Tulsa, where my cousin was getting married, attend the wedding, then continue on San Diego. My brother was going to go with me from Tampa to Tulsa, before he flew back to Virginia Tech to start work for the summer. We rolled out of Tampa on Tuesday morning and made our first stop in Atlanta.
We got there unloaded our stuff, and met up with one of my best friends, Matt, and his Kristina. Matt and I met when I spent a summer in college living outside of New York City, in Hoboken, and I lived in the Beta Theta Pi house at Stevens Institute of Technology where Matt lived and went to school. Since then, we've done a number of fun races together, like the Men's Health Urbanathlon, which we hope to do again this year! We went to an awesome, local, hidden treasure style bar with great food and a beer list that was literally a novel.
The next day, we grabbed a workout, packed up and headed out, en route to Nashville by the evening. Along the way though, we stopped at Ruby Falls, and amazing underground cave that ends with an incredible waterfall. Apparently, we had stopped here years ago when my family took a road trip from Houston to upstate New York (don't ask me why my parents wanted to make that drive...) Anyways, the falls cave was amazing and so worth going a but off the beaten path to make the stop!
We got back on the road, got an hour back thanks to the time zone change, and got into Nashville. We ended up at the wrong hotel--a much nicer Marriott that was downtown--but I talked our way into getting two discounts to get a cheaper room than the original hotel. Score. We met up with another good friend of mine, a renowned player in the fitness and personal training industry, JC Deen. JC is a trainer and writer and is frequently featured in Men's Health as well as other publications like Forbes. He suggested that we check out a really cool jazz/funk show that was only on Wednesday nights where some classic names in the jazz/funk genre, the Wooten brother, got together to play as the house band at a local bar. This was totally my brothers scene and I had a great time a well. These guys were amazing and I saw possibly the best drum solo and base solo that I'll ever see (according to Stewart--and he knows what's he's talking about, since he is a drummer in multiple bands).
Thursday morning was Stewart's birthday! He turned 22. As my present, I opted to not tickle his feet in the morning when I woke up and they were the only visible part of him sticking out of the blankets in the morning. From Nashville we drove to Memphis, but first we stopped in Graceland, the home of Elvis. Come on, we had to! It was actually pretty cool--having not grown up in any of the Elvis eras, it's hard to comprehend just how big his influence was and how many fans he had. Like, 35 years after his first song, he was still selling out Vegas 7 nights a week. We'd been to Graceland before too (on the same trip as aforementioned) but it was cool to go as an adult.
When we got to Memphis, our first stop was some barbecue! I had running Stewart into the ground with our morning workouts and so we were hungry and he was ready to celebrate his birthday with some grub! Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Beka, we went to Charles Vergos' Rendezvous! This place is known for ribs, so that's what we had! If you're gonna do it, do it big, right?
We then went out on Beale St. and celebrated his birthday... we'll leave it at that...
Oh yeah, and we saw this: the Memphis what??
When we could finally get out of bed the next morning, we started the final leg to Tulsa. We stopped in Little Rock, but then realized the only to do there in the daytime was to like go to the Clinton Library... so we passed on that.
The weekend wedding was a blast though! From the bachelor party golf outing to the rehearsal dinner at the Hard Rock followed by hitting the casino, we had a lot of fun. My cousin Erin is only a couple months younger than me, so we were always close growing up--her dad just sent me this picture:
Her new husband, Paul, is great guy as well, and their wedding was beautiful. It was outside and held at a mountain cabin overlooking a valley. They did a cowboy theme and so we all wore our boots. It was fun and I danced alllll night--I mean, somebody had to get the party started right?
It was amazing to spend a weekend with my entire family. My dad is flying back out here next month and we are going to go camping in the Grand Canyon for a week. This was also one of the best trips I've ever taken. My brother and I are close, but we've never really done something like this before and it was long overdue.
From there, I venture our alone. My first stop was en route to Albuquerque, and I of course stopped at the Big Texan Steak House. If I'd had an accomplice, perhaps I would have thought about the 72 oz. steak challenge... but it's on my bucket list, and I'll try someday! The "scenery: around there was wild though!
That night, I got into Albuquerque and found out from my brother (who was back in Virginia by then) that one of his friends and a kid we grew up with lived there. So, what the hell, I gave him a call and hung out with him for an hour while he rolled silverware after his shift at Applebee's haha.
The next morning I grabbed a workout and when I got on the road, I got a text from my mom (who on a road trip back to Virginia with my little sister). They were at a Starbucks in Memphis, where the Spurs were playing the Grizzlies in the NBA conference championships, and just happened to run into Boris Diaw. Kind of awesome
My adventure for the day was driving through the mountains of Arizona en route to Phoenix. I lifted in the morning, so I as I drove through canyons, I stopped in Sedona, which is a beautiful, small, mountain town. I found a small turnoff to stop, parked my car, stripped down, and went for an amazing trail run! It was some of the most beautiful scenery I'd seen in a long time and made me feel like a million dollars.
There wasn't much to do (alone) in Phoenix, BUT I did take an amazing midnight adventure! Remember the scene in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure when Napoleon takes the Ziggie Piggy Ice Challenge at the Ziggy Pig Restaurant? This is the Chuck E. Cheese that the scene was filmed at! Check out the scene here to refresh your memory. Gotta love the iPhone app that pointed that out to me.
The last stop on my journey, from Phoenix to Felicity, California, to The Official Center of the World. I still honestly have no idea what the f**k this place was, but I was the only one there and it was creepy as hell. It was like something straight out of the Da Vinci Code or some Illuminati stuff. Pretty awesome though--there was this small church at the top of this hill and weird triangular stone pillars that lined the land in front of it with the history of Arizona (yes, I was in California, so I have no explanation there), the history of the United States, and the history of the World:
I basically visited the place at a full sprint before running back to my truck and getting out of there! The rest of the trip was driving through incredible mountains and seeing deserts that I didn't even know existed in America
Now that San Diego is my home, let me know if you're nearby and want to meet up or train! Or just some visit!