Rocky Mountain High – DAY 1: The Departure

I’m finally getting around to writing the blog from my trip to Colorado for my best bud Tippin’s bachelor party. I wanted to get the video uploaded to YouTube before I posted the blog. Tippin has already written his, and you can check that puppy out right here. To avoid leaving too much out, I’ve decided to break my blogs in to days. From the day I left to the day I came back. I will wrap up with the final blog consisting of my video of the trip.

I’m still catching up on the time zone change and the early mornings that we had there, but a week passed, and I finally have time to reflect on the amazing experience.

Let me start off by saying that this trip had me all sorts of anxious. Not because I thought things were going to get crazy or out of control, but because it was going to involve me figuring out a lot of stuff. We’ll go day-by-day.

I have not flown on a plane in something close to eleven years. I think the last time I did fly, it was from Kansas City to St. Louis, which I believe lasted a brief 30 minutes. I did not have to worry about parking or anything. This trip is when I had to do everything and learn some lessons along the way.

I worked a half-day at Centurylink because I figured it’s easier to leave from work, then from the house, and I could tie up any loose ends at work before heading to the airport. St. Louis’s airport is only about 20 minutes from my work, so it gave me plenty of time to get there and figure out how to get my butt on a plane.

The first thing I quickly learned is that there is no such thing as “free parking” at the airport. If I would’ve given it a bit more thought, then I probably would have had somebody drop me off, but it was too late for that, so I embarked on finding a place to park. I learned about the parking fee from the first place I pulled up to. I asked the tenant if this was free parking. He laugh and told me it was $39 a night. Holy cow, I was preparing myself to build up a hefty bill. I asked, if there were any places cheaper, and he pointed me in the direction about a mile down the road that was $9 a night. I really wan’t too excited about paying per night, but this was the first lesson I learned.

I finally found a parking spot, and stumbled my way to the shuttle area to take me to the airport. Luckily I made note of where I parked, or that would have been a struggle when I got home trying to find my car. My flight was about 2:15, and I had made it to the airport shortly after 1pm. Maybe even around 12:50ish.

I went to the ticket counter to get my boarding pass. I had purchased my ticket online, and downloaded the Frontier app, but was not confident enough in my airport etiquette to try and check in using it. The line was short and I got my boarding pass and was directed to where security was. Security is a beast in and of itself for someone who hasn’t been on a plane in years and years. I tried to study the folks in front of me to see what I needed to do. I ready the sign stating you must take your shoes off and your laptop out of your bag. This was pretty easy, but it was the slew of other items I probably didn’t take in to account that I needed to place in the little check bins. I had coins in my pocket, my keys, my belt, a hat, sunglasses, I even asked the security guard if my wedding ring needs to come off. He very seriously, said, sir you never take that off. He followed up with a joke about different scenarios including divorce. His delivery was great, but I was in no mood to express my appreciation for him making a joke at my expense. I needed to get to the terminal before my nerves would ease.

I made it through security, with very little issues, and felt like it was smooth sailing. I knew what my terminal was, and took a seat to wait for my flight. My next bit of anxiety came when it was time to board. Keep in mind, that I get anxious over probably the most mundane things. This next item was how you board a plane. They call people in zones. I was zone 4, but when they announced the initial boarding item I could not hear what was said. I just saw a ton of people standing up. In my head I’m thinking, do I just get in line? Do I wait? What do I do?! I finally heard the next call for zone 2. Okay, I was back in the swing of things and knew when I should go to the gate. Zone 4 was finally called and I was ready to board the plane.

My next lesson came in learning how the seating is set up on the plane. I was seat 8F. I figured the 8 was easy enough, but in my span of stress, it did not occur to me that the right side of the plane had ABC seats, and the left side was DEF. I walked a good 5 or 6 rows past my seat before asking the flight attendant where my seat was. After it clicked in my head, I felt pretty dumb, but I got to my seat next to the window and took up shop for the proceeding flight.

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Lesson #3 or whichever number we’re on for my random counting. You have no cell service flying on a plane. You actually put your phone in airplane mode. I definitely did not plan my entertainment for the flight. Sure it was only about an hour and a half or so, but I immediately became envious of the gentlemen next to me playing Monopoly on his iPad. I only had a handful of songs saved to listen to. This would be remembered for my flight back.

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Jumping ahead to my arrival in Denver. The stress was easing a bit because I knew I was meeting Tippin at the airport and he is a much more versed traveler so I was in good hands. This was in fact the case, and we met up with Kevin fairly quickly. He was picking Tippin and I up at the airport.

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We traveled into the city of Denver and got set up in our hotel for the evening. We were going to stay the remaining days at an AirBnB, but this was just for the night. It was one of the nicer hotels I’ve stayed in, and I greatly appreciated the Starbucks in the main lobby the following morning.

Once all of the guys (5 of us total) met up at the hotel, we decided to go get some food. We walked through Denver to a cool little pizza place a few blocks down. Maybe a few is an understatement, but I actually really enjoyed the walk to it. I enjoyed me a New York style cheese pizza.

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After we devoured our dinner, we went walking back to find some more entertainment. We walked back the way we came, and came across a really cool plaza or outside mall I guess you would call it. We walked along there looking for a bowling alley we planned to hangout at.

Fun side note, while we walked through the outdoor mall, I saw St. Louis Blues’ hall of fame Bernie Federko enjoying some kind of seafood dinner at a table along the strip. I wanted to fanboy out, but I was the sole hockey fan taking it all in.

Anyway, we found the bowling alley and played a couple of games. We probably could have settled for just the one, as with 5 people bowling, there was a lot of sitting around. I didn’t perform great, and my bowling would win no honors, but it was still fun. After bowling we made our way back to the hotel and called it a night.

It was a stressful, but adventurous first day. Much of the stress came from my inexperience of flying and making my way to and through the airport, but once I got to Denver, it was amazing taking in all of the sights.

I’ll post day 2 tomorrow, which involves, big rocks, an escape room and an early look at our big challenge of the trip…..hiking a mountain.

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