Jan The Van + 6 Hours Later = Phoenix!

November 12, 2009

Previous blog entry:

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.

"Squeezing Don."

"Licking Don."

"Eating Don."

"Holding Don."

"Hydrating Don."

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.


What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas…

November 11, 2009

Therefore this is just a blog of nothingness to let you all know that I went to Vegas for a few days. Done and done.

Haha. No, just kidding. Kidding on sparing you the details, not kidding on the actual going to Vegas part. Ah, Vegas, where to begin?

Beer #1 at Harrahs

Sharing Beer #2 with the Blue Man Group at The Venetian

Hydrating our Lion friend with Beer #3 at Treasure Island

A few mates and I flew in a couple of hours before the next set of mates arrived, so we made it our mission to drink as many beers in the short time frame we had, at as many different casinos and hotels as possible. We caught the monorail down to Harrahs and began our beer-binge there with a wonderfully cheap bottle of Bud Lime. Mmmm delicious. While walking through and observing the casino, I chugged my beer as fast as possible, only stopping for air  in between every few chugs to ensure survival. I knew I only had a short amount of time remaining before our arrival at casino number two; The Venetian.

The Venetian is so beautiful. It is like a little piece of Italy, only in the middle of the desert. The ceilings are painted with a blue sky and clouds and there is a river that runs through the middle of the hotel with several gondolas passing by. It really is spectacular. After admiring the beauty that is The Venetian for a few minutes, it was time for Beer #2. This time is was my personal favourite, a Bud Light. It was my turn to buy and conveniently, it just so happened to be happy hour at the bar we wound up at. Sweet deal; $2.25 for a bottle of Bud Light. Please, tell me where I can get beer this cheap in Australia… ummm, that’s right… NO WHERE! Another reason to add to the list of ‘why I want to move to the U.S.A.’

Chug, chug, chug. We walked as fast as our legs could carry us to Treasure Island. This is where Beer #3 was purchased. I wish I knew the name of the beer we bought, but unfortunately I have no recollection. And no, this isn’t because I was drunk (yet), but because I’ve never seen this type of beer before in my life!  I was going off Nicole and Kelly’s recommendations and, needless to say, it tasted amazing haha. By this point, the rest of our tribe had called to tell us they had landed and were on the way to the MGM (our hotel) so we started walking back down the strip to meet them there.

View of part of the Vegas strip on the walk back to the MGM

While walking back, I guess you could say the beers started to ‘take affect‘ and we got a little sidetracked by the amazingness that is the Bellagio sound and water show. I’m not sure if this happens every half hour or every hour on the hour, but what ever time it was when we were passing by,  people were crowding around so we figured it was about to start and decided to stay and watch it.  Let me tell you, it really is something. One of the prettiest sights I think I’ve seen in my life. Watching the water move so gracefully to the music is extremely calming and relaxing. I could have sat there for hours waiting and admiring, but there was no time for that, we had to get back to the hotel to meet the others.

The sound and water show out the front of The Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Ugly Sticks for everyone!

We met up with the rest of the clan at the MGM and decided it was time for more wonderful alcoholic beverages… Off to New York, New York to get Ugly Sticks from Coyote Ugly! Mmmm, Ugly Stick, I have been longing for you since we first laid eyes on each other back in 2007. I’ve spent endless nights dreaming about the day we would meet again. Today would be that day and you did not disappoint! I ordered the slushy fruit punch Ugly Stick with Bacardi 151… Now, not sure if you know your alcohol, but Bacardi 151 Rum is a high proof (75.5% alc/volume) dark rum. It is a form of over-proof rum which is not available in several countries due to its excessive alcohol content. Haha. Needless to say that, along with the beers, this went down a treat and not before too long, we were all nicely buzzed and decided it would be a great idea to have a photo with the CSI promoters. Some how after this we ended up at Wendy’s and Subway which was rather epic, and that is all I remember! Haha.

Yay for CSI Promoters and Ugly Sticks in Vegas!

A new day and new arrival. Ick, sounds like we’re in the maternity ward at a hospital. Nooooo! Just a new day in Vegas and yet another mate arriving in. Today was the day we picked up our mini van, which we later named Jan; Jan the Van haha. Jan would be our wise accomplice for the next 48 hours, however, I prefered to think of her as more a best friend forever, and by forever, I mean only two days. Before heading back to the airport, we stopped to stuff our faces with In-N-Out which is a burger joint that is really only available in California and Nevada. We had to have a group photo taken out from of In-N-Out, because, I mean, who doesn’t do that? Haha.

Jess, Don, Me, Kelly, Nicole & Kristi at In-N-Out in Las Vegas.

The hallway that never ends at the MGM!

After picking Crys up from the airport, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the nights events. Sidenote: Did I mention how bloody long the hallway leading to our hotel room at the MGM was? From our end looking down, it appeared there was no ending! Of course it was just our luck that we were literally right down the end of it! Tonight was going to be super fun and I was soooooo pumped up for it. It started with a buffet dinner at the Bellagio. Oh My God. I have never seen a buffet so amazing before in my life. The meat was delectably superb, if you are a seafood fan, then you’ve just hit the jackpot and the dessert bar was out of this world! I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wanted to eat the entire place but my stomach wouldn’t allow it! I managed maybe three main servings then some fruit and chocolate covered strawberries and I was done. My poor belly looked like I was pregnant with quads on the way but I couldn’t care less! Best buffet ever to grace this planet! I’m drooling now just sitting here and thinking about it. Do yourself a favour and go and check it out; $36 for dinner, good deal. Included non-alcoholic beverages too.

Kelly Clarkson @ The Hard Rock Hotel

Next stop was The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel to see the one and only Miss. Kelly Clarkson perform on her All I Ever Wanted Tour. Just quietly, this was our reason for going to Vegas… but don’t tell anyone that *pinky swear*. I was beyond excited for this show. We weren’t too sure about our seats but upon checking them out, we realised they were amazing and a lot closer than what the seating chart made them seem to be. Excellent. We went and chatted to some other friends at the concert before getting told to go back to our seats, boooo. The lights went down and ACDC’s You Shook Me All Night Long started blasting over the sound system. It was time. EEEEEEEEEE! My GOD! She was AMAZING! Best I’ve heard her sound in a very, very long time! She blew me away and I fell in love all over again with her voice. She performed a cover of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes which left me speechless. It was phenominal. I could say the same words over and over again to describe how amazing this woman is, but they could never do her justice. You just have to see her live to appreciate what a talented artist Miss. Clarkson is.

And if you thought the night couldn’t get any better… you were wrong! Free entry and guest list to Studio 54 for Jess’ birthday! Wooohooo. We drank, we danced, we drank some more… I wish I could write more here but I really don’t remember much of the night hahaha. Here, maybe this photo can sum it up for you…

Extreme close up of my face. What am I doing? I will never know...

Drunk glassy eyes haha 🙂

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.

Stay tuned for our Phoenix adventures.


Phoenix rhymes with Kleenex!

October 1, 2009

Don’t mind the blog title, it’s 2:29am and I’m feeling rather creative yet sleep deprived from partying for the last two weeks straight!

I just booked my flight out from Phoenix and back to Orlando for November 8. I scored a non-stop flight for $152 flying US Airways. I wanted to eat my sock for not purchasing the $115 Delta flight the other day because tonight when I went to book, the price had taken a massive leap forward, however I felt some comfort in knowing that at least this flight was direct, rather than having a layover and making the total duration eight hours when it only needed to be four.

The closest I’ve ever come to being in Arizona was stepping over the state line at Hoover Damn back in 2006 so I’m kinda excited to be able to add Phoenix to the list of places that I’ve seen and been!

So far the itinerary is Las Vegas November 5 and 6 staying at the MGM Grand then driving from Vegas to Phoenix for the 7th and 8th to attend the Arizona State Fair. So excited, never been to a U.S. State Fair before! MMMMM fried food Oh, and I kinda failed to mention we’d be seeing the amazing Miss. Kelly Clarkson live on her “All I Ever Wanted” tour in both cities… she *cough* may *cough* be the reason for our four day vacation… or I may just want to get terribly drunk in Vegas and eat more fried food than my heart could ever desire at the Arizona State Fair… Guess you’ll never know 😛


Viva Las Vegas!

September 11, 2009

Just booked my flight out of Orlando to Las Vegas for November 5! SO EXCITED!

Flying up with American Airlines (Hooray, I can add to my miles with them!); scored the ticket for $155 US inc tax. Not too bad considering the same flight was $180 US yesterday.

Now to find a return flight out from Phoenix to Orlando, accommodation and… a MINI VAN! Yes, you read right, a mini van! More on that later.

Is it November yet? Going to be the best four days ever!

This time I am DEFINITELY getting a photo with this damn sign!

This time I am DEFINITELY getting a photo with this damn sign!