Monday, July 19, 2010

Bachelor Trip

Today, when I turn on the radio I get hit with some interesting messages. I learn that Ke$ha likes my beard, that California gurls will melt my Popsicle, and that you’re only gonna break my heart. Gone from the airwaves is the simple wisdom that accompanied the clean and clear melodies of 90’s rock. Right now I’m thinking specifically of the song Closing Time, by Semisonic, from which we learn that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Life is a one-way street and we’re racing from gate to gate as one chapter of our life closes in order to allow us to begin the next. In just a few days, my roommate and dear friend Jared will begin a new life as a married man. It will be a new beginning born from the end of single life and everything he’s known up to this point about this world.

In order to celebrate this step forward in his life, we spent the last weekend driving to Denver Colorado. Jared’s wife-to-be is one of the most wonderful young women I have had the chance to know, but she has one flaw (or strength depending on your point of view): that is she doesn’t share the same passion for sports that Jared and the rest of us men share. Thus the trip to Colorado was centered on attending a couple of Colorado Rockies games at beautiful Coors Field.

We left early Friday morning, an eight hour drive looming ahead of us. We headed east on I-70, following the canyons carved out by the Colorado River. We watched as the rocks covering the canyon walls slowly morphed into the green mountain meadows of Colorado. We drove past ski resorts, their slopes bare from the summer heat and watched men playing golf at the base.Denver appeared on the horizon as the mountains gradually leveled into prairie. We drove to our hotel, only to find that there had been a problem with the room I had reserved, and that we had been transferred to the sister hotel down the street. This was but a minor inconvenience, aside from the loss of the pull out couch the original hotel would have provided. Without the pull-out, we were forced to put the sleeping bags we had brought to good use as two of had to sleep on the floor. We grabbed a bite at a local place called “Taco Bell” and took off to go catch the first of our baseball games.

We arrived at the corner of 20th and Blake in Lower Downtown Denver after construction forced us to take the scenic tour of residential Denver. There was a small line already formed to buy rockpile tickets, the $4 bleacher seats above straight-a-way centerfield. We got to the end of the line only to learn that there was a much longer feeder line we had to wait through before we could get in the short line and buy the cheap seats. Through some inexplicable stroke of luck, we made it through both lines and bought the very last 7 tickets on literally the last row of the stadium. The game still didn’t start for another two hours, so we went inside to watch batting practice and take naps while lying down on the bleachers. We woke up from our naps to sound of fame calling our names. The pre-game broadcast had begun on FOX sports rocky mountain and the broadcast booth was right behind the bleachers where we had been laying. We stood on the top of the bleachers and waited for the red camera light to come on and etched our faces into the archives of history. Anyone watching FSRM that evening will recognize these faces for years to come.
As game time approached we headed up to the top of the stadium to enjoy the game from a bird’s-eye view. After watching 6 innings and spending some 4+ hours in the ball park, we were hungry and ready for a change of scenery, so we headed out to find a place to eat. We decided on a sports grill that looked pretty fun, but unfortunately one of us had lost his drivers license and therefore wasn’t granted admission. Rather than leaving Kendrick to sit by himself on the curb, we decided to go to a restaurant that wasn’t 21+. Unfortunately the nearest one was a good 5 blocks further down the street, a place called Old Chicago. So there we were, a few guys from Provo, in Denver, eating at Chicago. A pretty diverse evening. Inside we ordered food while a live band set up to play cover songs throughout the evening. While we waited for our chicago style pizza, Brad and i went and shot a little arcade basketball. Unfortunately the shuffleboard table was occupied because i consider myself a first rate shuffler. We ate our food as Hit List continued to play songs from every era imaginable, aside from maybe the baroque.
We finished our food and exited back to the streets of LoDo. Girls definitely not from Provo walked up and down the street past us as we made our way back toward the car. The energy of the street kept us moving as we passed people on the corner offering fortune readings, bike rides, and who knows what else. We drove back to the hotel and all collapsed from exhaustion.
We slept in the next morning, getting out of the hotel around noon. After the long lines for the previous night’s ball game, we decided that our first stop would be to buy tickets for that night’s game so we could have the full afternoon at our disposal. Soon we were on the road west, to Boulder, Colorado, the granola capitol of the free world.

As we arrived in Boulder, we found the tail end of that morning’s farmer’s market. In a city so enthralled by organic foods and home-made products, the Farmers market is the place to find locals. We hung around the stalls and sights of the market for its final half hour, sampling various foods and seeing the various products and services the people of Boulder have to offer. I tasted cheese that burned my mouth because of the mold content, had some of the best basalmic vinaigrette i have ever tasted (made with pure dark chocolate) and tried sweet and sour mustard which was remarkably delicious. Kendrick had an aching in his green thumb and ended purchasing a mint plant as his souvenir of the trip.

Once the market shut down, we wandered across the street to the Pearl Street Mall. In downtown boulder, there are 3 city blocks blocked off the motor traffic and turned into a walking outdoor mall. Though the shopping and food is good, the main attractions there are the street performers who make their livelihood wowing the groups of tourists and shoppers strolling down the street. We watched a couple of performances including a man from St Chris, an Island in the Caribbean, who folds himself into some of the strangest positions imaginable. This guy is a regular on Pearl Street, having done the same act for the past 18 years. I remember watching him fold into his 20 by 20 inch box some 10 years ago when i lived in Boulder.

After our fill of people watching and entertainment, we got in the car and headed back to Denver for the baseball game. Again the Rockies were up against the Padres and again they came out victorious. This time, we had planned ahead and entered the stadium with increased stamina and lasted until the final out. We filed out of the stadium towards the exit gates looming as gallows waiting to strangle Jared’s singlehood. We marched through and turned down the street, once again passing the bars and clubs of LoDo, making our way to the Wynkoop brewing company and chophouse. There we shared a final meal of buffalo meat and in-house brewed root beer. Very manly indeed. We drove back to the hotel and gave Jared our parting gifts. Due to the nature of these gifts, they will not be discussed in great detail, it will suffice to say that Mindy will be very pleased with our choices.

Sunday was the world cup final, which we had to watch. After going to a sacrament meeting in the morning we drove to Preston’s cousin’s house to watch the match. After 116 minutes of scoreless soccer, Spain was hoisting the trophy above their heads and we were back on the road west to Provo.

We arrived back at our apartment exhausted from the weekend’s travels. Jared quickly scampered off to Mindy’s, anxious to see the only person he had thought of the entire trip. For three days things had been how they once were: Jared was again one of the guys enjoying a game of baseball. Now with the future looming he was back in the world of white dresses and tuxedos, eager to step forward into a new beginning of a more beautiful, fulfilling life with the girl of his dreams.


Melissa said...

what a great trip... fun to see pearl street again! Best wishes to Jared this week!!!

Ie Ling Gail said...

That was a beautiful post. I'm glad you all had a wonderful time. I really enjoyed reading about it since you all can't tell me about it in person. I will return to Provo one day. Until then, keep blogging so I can be a part of your lives.

Preston Redd said...

Great Blog!

MissyJEE said...

what a manly weekend. good planning.

J.M. said...

Definitely a manly weekend. Oh the chains of marriage, how they enrapture one's soul to the depths of confinement... oh, we're doing positive, huh, so....I mean, Oh the joys of marriage! How they liberate one's heart to the heights of Joy!!