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The next morning we had to be up at 6:30 am to drive to Phoenix in Jan the Van. I thought I’d hate myself at that point but I was first up, first showered and super cheery that morning haha. Weird, I know. I guess it’s cause I learned my lesson of never mixing beer with liquor and just stuck to the beer… all seven of them haha.
So the idea to hire a mini van and road trip from Las Vegas to Phoenix to attend back-to-back Kelly Clarkson concerts came randomly over one too many beers at a Chili’s restaurant in Thackerville, Oklahoma back in September. Mini van? Chili’s? Thacker-what??? The whole idea was kind of a joke at the time, and a very random one at that, but some how, when it involves Kelly Clarkson, we make it happen… and make it happen we did!
We checked out of the MGM and left Vegas at around 8am. I was hang-over free, too bad our driver couldn’t say the same thing. Poor Crys. OK, so let me do you all a favour and cut a long drive, short. This is pretty much all we saw for six hours straight…
Desert, desert and more desert...
Interesting, I know. Oh, there was this one exciting moment where we got to drive over the Hoover Dam…
Hoover Dam; ooooo, ahhhhh.
I’d been there before but it was still exciting, because when you drive over the Hoover Dam, you are saddling the boarder of Nevada and Arizona. This also means once over that line, you lose an hour of your life that you will never get back. Just like that. Boom, gone. We are now on Vegas time +1. After the excitement of the Hoover Dam settled, it was pretty much back to this…
The vast desert lands that Jan the Van withstood.
There had to be some way to keep ourselves amused… six girls, one van… and did I fail to mention another mate, Don, was following right behind us… *light bulb turns on* ding, ding, ding… Don, the answer to six girls van boredom… Oh Don, I really do not know what we would have done without you because once that light bulb turned on in our amazing brains, you consumed sixty minutes of our life (that sixty minutes we lost crossing the boarder haha).
With Don trailing close behind us every minute of the way, we decided to embark on a Don Photo Shoot. This was the kind of photo shoot that didn’t require signings of any sort of release papers or any permissions granted. Little did Don know, he was the star of our Vegas to Phoenix Photo Shoot. He was working it for our camera out of his own time, and all for free; what a champ!
ADVISORY: No Don’s were harmed in the making of this photo shoot.
In all fairness though, Don really has no one to blame but himself. I mean, what do you expect when you decide to trail a mini van loaded with six ladies working off three hours of sleep on the way to Phoenix to see Kelly Clarkson play at the Arizona State Fair? One can only conclude that Don brought this on himself. I already took a vote and, sorry Don, but majority rules, your own fault.
If you will ever so kindly turn your head to the left and observe Exhibit 1. We titled this one ‘Squeezing Don.’ Although Kelly is clearly squeezing Don’s head while driving, he doesn’t seem to be in too much distress and can still handle his vehicle quite well (better than the average person whom squeezes while driving).
Exhibit 2 entails Kristi ‘Licking Don‘. Today is Don’s lucky day however, as it seems licking Don was not enough for Kristi, so she threw in a bonus head light wash too! Mmm, tasty.
‘Eating Don‘ is pretty self explanatory, although it seems as though Kelly got more than she could chew when she decided to guzzle down the road before munching on Don. Save some room for Don, Kel! I am marveled by the fact that Don hasn’t swerved off the road even though a giant mouth is coming straight towards him! Way to go, Don!
‘Holding Don’ in Exhibit 4 led to the re-vamp of an old favorite, and it went something like this… “I got the whole Don, in my hand, I’ve got the whole Don, in my hand…” You get the drift.
And last, but not least, please draw your attention to Exhibit 5 or as some of us would like to call is “Hydrating Don.” We thought after five hours on the road, Don was starting to get a little thirsty in the desert heat, so it was only fair that we shared our coke bottle candies with him, much to his (or at least we hope) delight.
Thank you for entertaining us for one hour, Don! You’re a star.
When we finally made it to our hotel we didn’t have too long before it was time to head out to the Arizona State Fair to, once again, see Miss. Kelly Clarkson perform live. I’d never been to a State Fair in the U.S.A. before so I was rather excited, especially after all the talk I’d heard of glorious fried fair foods in all shapes and forms. Our tummies were grumbling before the show started so we feasted on a pre-show snack of foot-long corn dogs!
Our foot-long corn dogs at the Arizona State Fair.
I’d never had a corn dog before. To be honest, I’m not quite sure we have them back home in Australia, so for anyone reading this that has no clue what a corn dog is, it is pretty much a hot dog on a stick. Instead of a hot dog bun though, there is corn bread battered around the frankfurt. Quite tasty. My stomach had finally stopped eating itself (for the time being) and was quite content with its first sampling of fair food. The concert was about to start so I informed my belly that a smorgasbord of fair delicacies would await it post-show.
Kelly Clarkson and my future husband, Cory, performing in Phoenix, Arizona.
After tonight’s show, Kelly and crew have an eight day gap before their next show, so she didn’t hold back on her voice. Girl went allllll out and it was absolutely, ridiculously, incredibly amazing! So I thought Vegas was the best I’d seen her in a long time, well take Vegas and multiply it by five and you have Phoenix. It was made that one bit sweeter because pre-show, Jess had a meet and greet with Kelly and requested she sing ‘Ready‘ for her birthday (Ready is one of Kelly’s songs not included on the concert set-list). When you request something like that, you never actually expect it to happen, but, low and behold, half way through the show Kelly announces that she needs to sing this song because Jess asked her too and it was her birthday… and sure enough, she starts singing Ready! Can you say, AMAZING!?! ♥
Kelly Clarkson singing ‘Ready’ for Jess’ birthday…
Upon stepping foot out of the concert venue, this is what awaited us…
Australia would never have anything like this!
Om nom nom, pepperoni pizza!
Where to begin? My eyes felt bigger than my stomach. I feel like I had died and gone to junk food heaven! The girls started by making a grab on a slice of chocolate fudge which, although extremely rich, was absolutely scrum- diddly-umptious. I treated myself to a hugeee slice of delicious pepperoni pizza. Sorry Australia, but the U.S.A. definitely does pizza better, especially of the deep-dish kind *picks jaw up*.
Really? Pizza on a stick, anyone?
I know what you're thinking, and yes, they did just put pizza on a stick.
Hmmm, still hungry. The smell of turkey legs barbecuing away were too good to pass up. I’ve seen turkey legs all over Disney while venturing through the parks, but I’ve never been brave enough to try one… mainly because, when you work at Disney, you hear horror stories from the other cast members in food and beverage about what the turkey legs are really made from and it kind of turns you off. However, this was not Disney and the smell was too good to say no to! Kelly and I decided to split one, and split one we did.
Hmm, you're soooo big... how do I fit you in? 😉
Ah-huh! Got ya!
After buying our turkey leg we both kind of just stood there looking at it, not entirely sure how we were going to tackle this. I was confused. I’ve never had to eat something this big before without a fork and knife… gahhh! Get in my belly!
This is ridiculous. You look so good and smell so good, so, what am I waiting for? Ah, screw it, I’m just going to sink my teeth into you and if my mouth just so happens to bite and chew, then so be it. Have a nice journey down to my belly Mr. Turkey Leg. And just like that, the first bite was taken. Mmm turkey-licious.
While the rest of the gang feasted on chocolate-coated frozen bananas, deep-fried Oreos, hamburgers and ice cream sundaes of sorts, my tummy was in two places at once; happy-ville and full-ville. That was it for me.
Belly: Belly to brain, belly to brain, come in brain.
Brain: Yes Miss. Belly, what can I do you for?
Belly: So full. Enough with the hunger signals already.
Brain: Alright, alright, quit your whinging will ya?
Belly: Cheers, mate.
Yeah, something like that. Haha. Everyone soon got full and tired so we grabbed a case of beer and headed back to our hotel, but not before we got our photo taken with our amazing Jan the Van whom we had to return in the morning. Bye Jan, you will be missed.
Jan The Van and her entourage!
We headed back to our hotel room, drank some, sang Jess happy birthday after midnight then all went to bed. Kristi, Jess, Crys and Don headed out early morning, but Nicole, Kelly and I had a later flight and scored a much-needed sleep in. That afternoon at the airport, again, while consuming Chili’s, we devised another crazy random travel plan… but will we succeed in our planning? No time to think about that now, my flight was about to board!
It’s always nice when you board your flight, sit down, buckle up and then the Captain comes over the intercom announcing that there will be a slight delay as there is rough weather over Texas so he’s requesting extra fuel in case we hit bad weather and have to circle a few times or make an emergency landing. How comforting. Glad he could share that with me. I would have preferred the simple, “We’ll be departing a few minutes behind schedule and are expecting some turbulence over Texas on this evenings flight.” Much better, but noooooo.
Well, it’s been nice, guys. No, really, it has. Back I go to work at Disney. In case you were wondering, this is what it looks like when flying out of Phoenix… Deserty goodness right there.
View from my window after taking off from Phoenix.