Catching up!

Oh hello there!

We have been BUSY BUSY BUSY! There is so much to tell you about! So, if all of a sudden you are inundated with AwesomeSauce Blogs, it’s because we finally had a chance to sit down, catch our breath, and do some writing.

Coming soon:

Come check out Santa Monica with the Duo, as they get to hang out at the End of the Road!

Thanks to a super friend of the Duo, we were able to go to COMIC CON!!! Follow us as we navigate our way through Nerd Mecca!

Of course there are card rooms to tell you about. Turns out SoCal (as the cool kids call it) is home to a couple of the best card rooms in the world! Did the Duo win all the Dollars? Find out!

We spent a day hiking through Hollywood! Horrors! Heroes! Hand prints! Hooray!

SoCal – Freeways, Highways and Byways, OH MY!

Keep your eyes out for invaluable Travel Tips! Such as, “Three Cats in a  Smart Car – A what not to do story.”

There will also be a couple of blogs about how we got to Vegas in the first place. What was Santa Fe like? How was Flagstaff? Is seeing a Giant Hole in the Ground worth it?

Finally, come with us to NoCal (Northern California, again, as the cool kids call it), as we check out a couple of breweries, and start adventuring in the City of Trees (and AMAZING HOUSES)!

All this and more coming soon from your favorite Adventure Duo!

 

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Lost in Las Vegas

Adventures hardly ever go according to plan. That is easily an understatement when it comes to ours, but lets not get into that here.

Due to circumstances (STILL looking at you, Thief. May you step in cat barf every morning…) beyond our control, we found new ways to adventure in Vegas! We found ourselves in a Casino Hotel on the Strip, which is fancy, AND expensive.

Adventure Pro Tip: If you are thinking of going to Vegas, and will have access to a car (which is a good idea and a bad idea), then it is best to stay OFF the strip. There are a plethora of other options, and some even have a shuttle service to the Strip.

When we go to Vegas, we usually stay in a Caesar’s Entertainment Property. We have had decent luck with comps, and they are familiar territory. What are comps, you ask? WELL! What a wonderful and weird world you are about to embark on! First off, whenever you go to a casino, make sure you get a Players Card. You can get one at any Customer Service Desk, or they can tell you where to go to get one. You will need a photo ID, so they know you are you. They will ask for a mailing address – you are welcome to decline – or you can give them one. We always give them a mailing address, because they will send fancy coupons in the mail! As far as we know they don’t sell your address to anyone, but don’t quote us. These fancy mail coupons will offer COMPS! Comp is a lingo way of saying complimentary, or comepleaseplayhere. Sorta. The fancy mail coupons usually have comps for free buffet, some free “slot play” where they give you fake money on slot machines that you can turn into real money, or table play, which works the same. Fake money to possibly earn real money. The best comps are when they offer you a free stay! These are becoming more and more scarce, but they do still happen.Total_Rewards_2.35162852_std

To earn these magic comp points, you use your players card at EVERY SINGLE THING in the casinos. Buying an overpriced coffee? Make sure to ask for points and give them your card. Eating dinner? Grab those points! Of course, the easiest way is to use your card whenever you play. You can put the card in all the slot machines, and leave it in during your play. You can also earn points (maybe?) playing table games and poker. Be sure to hand them your shiny new card so you get credit for your play. The card itself can also be used to redeem points at buffets, gift shops, and sometimes on your hotel stay.

WHEW! SO, after your not-so-brief comp tutorial, now you are ready to find a place to stay! As we mentioned, we usually stay at a Caesar’s Property, because of the magic comps, and what nottery. However, this year we had a CAR! Traffic can be mildly terrifying on the Strip, but the rest of Vegas is pretty easy to navigate, and opens up a whole new realm of places to go, places to stay, and ways to adventure. After we left the Strip, we went to our very first Air BnB, just a ways off the Strip. It was amazing! Well, it was different, and cheaper, and amazing in that we had never stayed at an Air BnB before.

Air BnB is a fancy new way to stay places. You can rent almost anything from a person, from a couch to crash on all the way to a penthouse suite. If a person has a space available for you to stay, they advertise on Air BnB. We found some interesting listings, to say the least. Luckily we found a place that allowed our Mews, was less expensive than a Casino Hotel, was a private space (not crashing on a couch or a spare bedroom), and was inside a gated community. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good for a week. (A coupon for you! A coupon for me! Hooray! www.airbnb.com/c/genevieves161)

With the freedom of our little tiny car, and the Air BnB all set up, we set out to adventure a wee bit! We were still a bit shaken, not stirred, about our recent defilination (Saucy G decrees that this is now a word. Defilination – When something has been defiled recently, in the past tense, to an extreme. You’re welcome), so we kept to places we were somewhat familiar with, or that seemed safe. We also stuck pretty close together, and not just because our car is the size of a Matchbox.

 

matchbox
Brand New From the Dealership

One of the things we were able to do was to check out Casinos NOT on the Strip! The Orleans is probably the closest to the Strip, and the nicest that we found. If you like slot machines, this place has A TON. There is also a decent sized poker room, LOTS of table games, and a who slew of other things to do! They have a bowling alley, movie theater, kids areas, and lots of different food options. We heard from a reliable source that their laundry service is also very reasonable. They DO NOT, however, allow pets. So, keep that in mind when traveling with your own pet crew. With the re-introduction of UBER to Las Vegas, you can also grab a quick ride from there to the Strip, if you were feeling so inclined. This really is a nice one-stop-shop if you are planning on a stay. Clean, nice, we give it a solid Flush (rating based on the fact that we did not actually stay there, and cannot speak for the rooms. Also, the whole No Mews for Yous policy is a bummer). (Here is an Uber Coupon for you, and one for me! Hooray!! https://www.uber.com/invite/genevieves489ue)

Another place we checked out was Arizona Charlies. This is a local favorite, so we had to see what there was to see. If you are a smoker, this is the place for you! Also, if you prefer low lighting, this will also be high on your list. The slot machines were ok, and the people were VERY nice. The poker area was…well…it left a lot to be desired. Poker, however, is not their main focus. If you want Bingo, then look no further! Charlies has the biggest, brightest, and wildest Bingo Hall Saucy G has seen in a while. It is very clean, well lit, seems to be smoke free, and there is a game every odd hour, so you never have to wait long to get into the action. The Bingo Hall is located on the second floor, next to the 24 Hour Buffet. If Bingo is your Bag, then Charlies is for you. The dining there also surprisingly spectacular! At Ron’s Steakhouse they have (or had, hopefully it is still there when you go), an incredible three course steak dinner deal for $27.99. You get an appetizer, then you get a starter of salad or soup of the day, then you can choose from a few different steak options. Sides can be added for an extra fee, that might be $2? THIS is a hidden steak gem, and is not to be missed. Reservations not necessary, however they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, opening for dinner at 4pm to 9pm the rest of the week. Ron’s Steakhouse gets a Flush with a Straight Flush Draw. Arizona Charlies (without rating Bingo, and Ron’s is a separate rating) gets a high Pair. The smoking, poker area, slots, and lighting left a lot to be desired. Like we said, though, the people are SUPER NICE, so they get the higher rating.

Finally, we decided to go to a place that was literally calling our name…the ADVENTUREDOME! The Adventure Dome is located inside Circus Circus,  which is a whole different world of entertainment. If you have kids, and don’t mind crazy crowds, Circus Circus might be worth a look. Above the main slots area is a whole area dedicated to kids. It is JAM PACKED with carnival games, arcades, a McDonalds, and everything a kid could want. It is very camping (camping = Where do you sleep, when you go camping? In Tents. Intense. Camping is the AwesomeSauce way of saying something is intense. Again, you’re welcome), and very loud. The arcade was pretty sweet, with a lot of different games. Most games were $1 to play, so keep that in mind. We didn’t play any carnival games, so we don’t know their prices. The most notable thing at Circus Circus, however, is the live circus acts that go on above the gaming area. They have high flying acrobats, jugglers, a hula hoop lady, and they all perform above your head as you play. Shows are generally every half hour, but worry not. They will announce when they next show will begin, so you won’t miss a thing. Now, lets get to the meat and taties part of this adventure, The. Adventure. Dome.

This place is AMAZING! Granted, it is not the largest theme park in the world, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in awesome. We highly recommend you get the All Day Pass. The All Day Pass covers most of the rides there, and if you plan on riding rides, it is the best deal. It pays for itself after three rides, basically. It does not cover mini golf, but we got a coupon for a substantial discount when we got our passes. It also does not cover the Sponge Bob experience, which we were ok with. Probably the best part about the Adventure Dome was that there were virtually no lines. At all. We went on a weekday, so that probably had something to do with it, but it even with school being out the lines were almost non existent.

The rides. Oh the rides. Turns out AwesomeK is a bit of a rollercoaster junkie, which is awesome. If you want to see a grown man light up like it’s Christmas and you just gave him a puppy, take AwesomeK to rollercoasters. The first ride we dared was the Canyon Blaster (spoiler video HERE). It is a wee whip-lashy for Saucy G tastes, but it was AWESOME! It took two late 30s somethings, and turned them into giggling, screaming kids again. That right there is worth the price of admission! The second coaster, which is conveniently located at the exit of the Canyon Blaster, was the EL LOCO! There are no words, really. It was, well, Loco. This is probably one of the best coasters Saucy G has been on! Not at all whip-lashy, and it has all the things you could want in a ride. Upsidedowns, corkscrews, screams, all the things. It was AMAZING!!! THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS! LOUD NOISES! *ahem* Anyway, El Loco is not to be missed. If you go, and only pay for one coaster, make it this one. Adventure Dome also has the “take you straight up in the air, then drop you like a silly” ride, which is always a favorite. The going up was scarier than the coming down, and the up is VERY high in the dome, which is pretty sweet. They have other standards, such as the swingy boat thingy, the ride that takes you up then flips you upside down a few times, the one that is all the spinny, on a spinny, which has more spinny (too much spinny for Saucy G), and a few others. There is also a great kid area, with less camping rides for smaller folks.

They have a couple of theater style adventure rides, which (we think) are also covered in the All Day Pass. One of which was the “Pacific Rim” attraction. Rarely will we ever give a very negative review. To each is own, and everyone likes different things. We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, so unless something is so awful and should be avoided at all costs, we do our best not to be negative. The Pacific Rim attraction is one of those rare exceptions. Please, please do not do this. Learn from our adventure. The “ride” is the only real wait we encountered at the Dome, which had us a little excited. Saucy G really enjoyed the film, so this was going to be, hopefully, a highlight of the day. No. NO! First you wait in line, and watch a clip from the movie. Cool. Gets you excited. Right on. When it is your turn, you get filed into a small dark room. OOOH! EXCITING! THEN! WITHOUT WARNING! Nothing. Nothing happens. One small TV, which is awkwardly placed so that only two people can really see it, plays the same clip of the movie you just watched while waiting in line. After the clip is over, you wait in awkward silence, in this closed off black room, for what feels like an eternity. Finally, when you are almost done contemplating all of life’s mistakes that got you to this point, you are ushered into another small room with seats. You buckle yourself in and wait. Finally a projector that is in much need of repair begins to play a scene from the movie. You are supposed to feel like you are in the giant machine, fighting a beast from the depths of the ocean – possibly another dimension – but instead you are assaulted on all angles. You view is not that of the cockpit, but rather you are just watching the movie. The platform you strapped yourself to starts to move and jerk in what, we can only assume, is supposed to be in time with the good guy’s machine. Instead it just jerks you around sort of willy nilly. The hectic jerking could make anyone nauseous, which is the only thrill of the ride. Will I barf everywhere? Will I get a migraine? Who knows!

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NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Turn back now!

After being tossed around like a rag doll, while a broken projector plays a scene from the movie, and the speakers crackle with the familiar sound of brokeness, the ride stops. You are then ushered out, and back into the world. You didn’t even save humanity from the beast! At all cost, please please please avoid the Pacific Rim attraction.

Other than the complete assault on the senses from Pacific WhyGodDidIRideThat, the Adventure Dome gets a SOLID Full House. SOLID. Almost Quads. Absolutely worth it. Great family fun, and not TOO pricey. They might even have a Groupon available, or other such coupon, so keep a keen eye out.

There you have it. Our Post RV Apocalypse Adventures in Las Vegas! Overall it was a lot of fun, and we didn’t die! We will, of course, be back to Vegas. Next time probably without the Mews, and hopefully with less loss up front. Hope you enjoyed! If we missed something, if you have adventure tips for fellow travelers, or want to let us know what you think – please comment!

Stay tuned for more posts from your favorite Duo!

UPDATE! Found and Lost, and What Now?

Today has been a crazy whirlwind day! This is on top of a crazy whirlwind week!

A couple of days ago we found out that the Worlds Greatest RV had been stolen from where we parked it behind Bally’s. We weren’t even supposed to have parked behind Bally’s, but due to A/C issues, and melting Mews’, we had to get a hotel room. So there we were. Us and the Mews’ in the hotel room, and the World’s Greatest RV in the East Parking Lot, under a light and a camera, with security driving periodically through the lot.

We reported our loss to Bally’s security. Metro PD. Most importantly we reported to you. The wonderful world of social networking! Thank you! Your sharing of our story, your keeping your eyes peeled and ears to the ground (not literally, it is 1000 degrees outside). A wonderful person out there FOUND our BABY! Metro was alerted, and officers responded. Without you, it might not have been found. Certainly not as quickly. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you!

It was found in what looks like a residential neighborhood close to the Sam’s Town Casino. I don’t think Metro asked around to any of the houses, but who knows. Maybe they did. IF they did, no one mentioned it to us. Anyhoo…Before we could get to it, the World’s Greatest RV was towed. At first we were upset, but it turns out that it is a LOT safer in the tow yard than it is anywhere else. The lot has barbed wire, electric fences, and 24/7 security. It LOOKS like RV jail, but it should be safe there.

So, we rallied ourselves together, and headed down to the tow yard to assess the damage. We were honored to have Michael Burton of Action News Las Vegas on scene with us, covering our story! Michael and his crew mate (who was amazingly nice, but we don’t remember his name) did a very good story on our blight for the evening news. It didn’t really have the happy ending they, or we, were hoping for.

Seeing the RV was terrifying, wonderful, and nerve-wracking. Going inside was sickening. Violating. We felt/feel defiled. Our home was destroyed. You hear about places getting “tossed,” but until you see it for yourself, you don’t really get the devastation. Every drawer was pulled out and emptied. Every cabinet thrown open. Literally thrown, some of the hinges were pulled off. What little furniture there was, was literally thrown around. A stranger, a “Bad Guy” literally touched, and destroyed everything we own. Most of the stuff was taken. Again, you hear anything not nailed down and don’t think about it, until you realize that most of the stuff wasn’t nailed down. If the couch wasn’t literally bolted to the floor, it probably would have been taken, too. Which would haven been fine, it’s not a comfortable couch.

A lot of the stuff we expected to be gone. The 400 DVD’s and Blu-Rays. The 100 or so video games. The PS2, PS3, and PS4, and original Nintendo were, of course, taken. The flat screen TV’s (the 32″, and the backup little 12″). Our printer/scanner/all in one fancy thingy was taken. Obviously, it was a fancy thingy. Jokes on them! That thing is nasty to connect to! HA! Take THAT BAD GUYS! *ahem* Anyway. They took our fancy new pots and pans that we had used only once. It was our first ever “big kid” set of pots and pans. They took dishes. They took shoes. Clothes. Our ottoman from Amazon. ALL of my fly-fishing stuff (four fly rods, some Abel fly reels ((one that was engraved with Saucy G’s name, and info from when she was on the Junior USA Fly Fishing Team)), flies – some that G’s Old Man had tied. They tossed books. They turned over the medicine cabinet. Everything was defiled.

The most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, disgusting part is that they torn open and ransacked our parents.

There were seven urns in the RV. Why? Why so many ashes? That seems morbid. Well. G’s great grandparents passed, and their ashes went to G’s grandparents. Then they passed before the ashes could be spread. The ashes went to G’s mother.
She was diagnosed with cancer, and passed before she could spread them. The ashes of five people were then passed to Saucy G to spread them.
She has her great grandparents, grandparents, her mother, and her cat, Secret Agent Sam. Awesome K has his father’s ashes.

One of our stops was to spread them in Catalina, CA, and Reno, NV. Looks like some of them are stuck in Vegas. Maybe some ashes got on the Bad Guys, and it freaked them out. Maybe now they will be haunted by a VERY angry Marine. Who knows? Mostly it hurts because we know they were looking for valuables, and the urns are boxes, but the urns are also clearly marked with their names, and their death dates. Now they are all over the RV. 

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After we found all the urns and tried to clean them up as best we could. 

The Bad Guys stole our home. They tossed it. They took everything we own (even some souvenirs, like crushed pennies from each of our stops), and what they didn’t take, they destroyed. The police treated this as a stolen vehicle, not as a robbed home. It’s true, it is a vehicle, but it was our lives. Our goals. Our dreams. Our family. Everything.

So here we are. We are staying at Bally’s until Saturday, then we don’t know where we are going. Next week is the 4th of July, which is a huge holiday. We won’t be able to be in the RV, so we have to find a place to stay in Vegas. We would take the RV, but the window was smashed, the ignition trashed, and who knows what else was damaged. We aren’t sure it is even driveable, and if it IS drivable it isn’t safe until we get things repaired. Even AFTER it is fixed, it still feels…wrong. Someone was in our home. Someone touched all our things. They sized us up and took what they wanted. They destroyed what they didn’t want and they destroyed our sense of safety; our sense of trust. People talk about feeling fear when they enter their home after it was robbed, and we feel fear. What if it happens again? What happened while they had it? There is so much uncertainty. There is so much missing. For goodness sakes they took socks. SOCKS!

sock thief

So that is where we are at. Insurance probably can’t cover the thousands and thousands of dollars (roughly 40k) worth of missing things. No one can replace the urns and the missing bits of our parents.

We will figure out what to do next, and keep you updated. Thank you for sticking with us, and for helping us getting our home back. Hopefully the Bad Guy gets caught, but we doubt it. This guy seemed to be a pro, or ballsy. He took our home at 10:45am. Either way.

So here we are. In shock. Tired. Confused. But we are safe. The Mews are safe (they even took the cat beds. CAT BEDS! WHO DOES THAT?!). For now we will wash the clothes we have, put some food in our bellies, and be thankful that no one was hurt.

Here is the story that 13 Action News ran on us:

“Couple heartbroken after RV stolen in Las Vegas”

AwesomeSauce Rating: 

This is a High Card. They say they worst hand is poker is 7, 2, two different suits. This is that hand. If there could be a worse hand, this would be it.

Thank you again to everyone who shared our story! You got our RV BACK! You got our story out there. Without you, we wouldn’t have even gotten our home back. Thank you. We are humbled and honored to be a part of such a wonderful community of people. Thank you for the love and support. We love you, too. 

AwesomeSauce Rating System

In our posts you will see us use a rating system that has terms like “Royal Flush,” or “High Card.” We are using the 10 kinds of winning hands of poker to help us rate experiences, places, foods, and everything else.

Here are the 10 hands of poker, and what they mean to us (as far as rating, not necessarily in playing);

High Card – 1 out of 10. This is abysmal, and literally (almost) anything beats this. This is bad, and you should feel bad. There are no kittens. Anywhere. Ever.

One Pair – 2 out of 10. Not great. Probably not going to be worth it, but if everything else sucks it might seem ok. There was a kitten here at one time. No longer. You missed it.

Two Pair –  3 out of 10. Meh.

Three of a Kind –  4 out of 10. Not bad, could be a winner. Maybe this is free coffee with decent creamer, or a coupon for tacos. Someone mentioned that there might be a kitten around.

Straight – 5 out of 10. A coupon for better tacos. A pleasant surprise, often a good hand. You saw a kitten when you got it, you were told that you could hang out with the kitten later if you played your cards right. Heh.

Flush – 6 out of 10. Not only is the coffee free, but they have the fancy creamer you like, which is awesome. Water pressure could be how you like it. Usually a win. Most often a good choice.

Full House – 7 out of 10. BAM! The free coffee is delicious! There might even be some free breakfast with real eggs – not weird powdered…… eggs. This is a win for sure. You got to play with the kittens, and give them kisses.

Quads (four of a kind) – 8 out of 10. OH SNAP! Things are getting serious now. The water pressures is perfect. Temperature is how you like it. The tacos are free and maybe some of the best tacos you’ve had in a while. There are kittens around, playing and being super cute. Sometimes they run over and give you love.

Straight Flush – 9 out of 10. It’s the best coffee you’ve ever had, and it’s free. There are kittens frolicking around, AND you can squeeze them. Tacos are all you can eat and they are amazing. Temperature? Perfect. Water pressure? Perfect. You don’t think it can get better!

Royal Flush – 10 out of 10. Impossible to beat. There is no better rating/hand, which makes it so rare. The rarest and highest of these would be the Royal Flush of Spades. Nothing in the world will ever beat this. Ever. This is like snuggling kittens while eating ice cream, drinking the most delicious of beverages, while also eating pasta and all the things, while not getting fat. There is a handsome/gorgeous person ready to cater to your every need. Perhaps with a fan. The temperature is a perfect 72 degrees. You don’t have to work tomorrow, your bills are paid, and you have all the money in the bank. The bed is the perfect firmness, the pillow is cool on both sides, and did I mention kittens?

Better safe than smelly

First off, the AwesomeSauce Team would like to congratulate Saucy G and Awesome K on their upcoming wedding! We couldn’t be happier (even our Mews Matilda seems OK with it!), and we look forward to many more adventures, and posts, from the happy couple.

Second…off….The AwesomeSauce Team is a pretty positive group (we like to think). Hardly ever shall we write a negative review, or blog, because negativity takes a lot of time and energy. Energy that could be used on more awesomeness! However, once in a while a negative review might pop in here and there – not because we are trying to be nasty – but because we feel you should know before you go.

WHEW! OK, now lets get to the blog post, shall we?

Recently the AwesomeSauce Duo took a quick trip to Las Vegas, you know, like they do. The two day trip was for a couple of batteries that needed some recharging, some smallish poker tournaments, and, most importantly, to do some recon on wedding chapels!

Awesome K has been working as a poker dealer in Blackhawk, Colorado, for about six months now. He LOVES his new job, getting to do exactly what he loves. Not only does he get to interact with people everyday, he is learning more and more about poker. The only downside of his job is that he can’t play any tournaments now – as his casino is basically the only one with any tournament action. He never gets to put his new tournament knowledge to use! His main goal of the mini adventure was to stretch his poker legs, and try out his “new game.” Saucy G was, of course, along for the tournaments and the action. She was fully ready to be K’s cheerleader as he “shipped” all the tournaments he could cram in to two days. G was ready for a few of her own, though, having studied all the material she could get her hands on. Well…she read a couple magazines, and part of a book…

The first stop was the Aria Poker Room, for the daily 1pm tournament. Both G and K entered, but only one made it to the final table…IT WAS SAUCY G! With over 120 entries, the tournament was one of the largest that Saucy G has participated in, and the second tournament she has cashed in! She played a solid game, made smart decisions, and was able to stay patient and wait for the cards when she needed to. Awesome K was an excellent cheerleader, and coach, keeping an eye on the game as best as he could from a safe distance away. Saucy G ended up coming in 9th! Congratulations on a great tournament G!

Later that evening, after eating the best burger in the world (part victory, part amazing food!) in the Paris casino, the duo headed over to the Flamingo for a midnight tournament. With a $50 buy in, the duo both entered. A much smaller tournament, with only two tables, but the competition was still fierce! The duo was on fire, with another final table and cash win! The 3rd place midnight tournament winner was…SAUCY G! That’s right, two tournament final tables/cashes in ONE DAY! YAY! Awesome K was, again, a wonderful coach and cheerleader, beaming with pride as his “protege” shipped it in Vegas. Nice work team!

Day 2 was all about wedding recon. Not surprisingly, the duo plan to wed in Las Vegas!

Earlier this year, with the help of Mama AwesomeSauce, the duo thought they had found the perfect little chapel for an intimate ceremony. The pictures on the website were stunning, and the whole team felt like it was going to be a perfect fit. A deposit was paid, and everyone thought they were ready to go! All from the amazing website!

Saucy G needed to see the space in person, just to be sure it was perfect. Boy is she glad they checked it out ahead of time! Whoever took the pictures for the website should get an award, because the reality of the space was VERY different in person. The chapel was not in a very nice part of town (wedding row, as the team lovingly calls it, really isn’t a safe neighborhood), with it being sketchy in daylight – there is no way you would catch G walking that sidewalk after dark. Next to the chapel is an abandoned lot, filled with trash and who knows whats. Inside, the space was very tight, uncomfortable, and uninviting. The space offered two options for a ceremony, the indoor hall, and the outdoor gazebo, both of which are stunning online. In person, the indoor chapel looked very neglected. The “silk” flowers were covered with dust and dirt, the “candles” looked like dollar store rejects, and there was a distinct odor to the space that did not invoke feelings of everlasting love. The “bridal suite” was nothing more than an electrical closet, painted to look like an outdoor garden – that looked as though it had also been neglected. The paint was peeling, and the odor was getting stronger.

Once outside, headed to the gazebo area (that the duo had reserved), our guide showed us the route the bride would take. The route backed to an alley, complete with homeless men, trash, and the strongest odor of cat urine G has ever smelled (and she has had cats her whole life). It was all G could do to not start crying – and not tears of joy. The guide must have taken as joy, because she pressed on. After winding her way over the cobbles, passing the dumpster and homeless man, the bride walks into the gazebo area. Rickety benches, full of splinters and sadness, adorn either side of the aisle – leading to the gazebo. Words escape us. The gazebo looked as though it was about to topple over, taking its fake dirt plants with it. Surrounded by the sounds of traffic, the smells of pee, underneath power lines and a fire hazard, the duo decided that this was NOT the place for them to start their lives together. The left as quickly as they could, canceling their reservation as soon as possible, happily fore-fitting their deposit if it meant never setting foot in there again.

The moral of this story? ALWAYS tour the venue first, no matter what the reviews say or the pictures look like. If you are getting married, renting or buying a house, or really any reason, please please PLEASE check it out in advance. You don’t want to be out $100, cause yourself undo stress, and potentially get married in an alley. Better safe than smelly, I say!

The Duo Does Deadwood

Awesome K and I were looking for something to watch. It was one of the rare nights we were home with nothing to do, and thought that loafing on the couch sounded like the best idea. So, we perused the usual places, Netflix, our DVR, and our extensive movie shelf. Nothing. Nada. Zilcho. What were we to do? Just then, A.K remembered a show he had seen, and loved. HBO’s Deadwood! I was skeptical, Westerns have never been a favorite of mine, but he was so enthusiastic, I couldn’t say no!

After a couple of episodes, I was hooked. Even though the show was not filmed on location, it was still filled with snippits of history. The death of Wild Bill Hickok! Calamity Jane! And, of course, Seth Bullock. Seth happens to be my favorite, by the way. Not just the character on the show, but the man himself. Mr. Bullock has such an interesting story! Last, but not least, the infamous Al Swearengen! Mr. Swearengen is particularly interesting, because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot known about him, and we all know how much I love a mystery! So, after watching the show for a little bit, I started to research the real Deadwood, South Dakota.

One thing led to another, and we decided we needed to see this piece of the wild west for ourselves. It just so happens that they have some casinos there, so not only could we get a rich lesson in history, we could also play some poker! A perfect combination! We were also able to find a brewery the A.K had heard about, so we knew this was the next adventure for us. We left for Deadwood on a Saturday morning, with me behind the wheel. We stopped for our (my) obligatory road Starbucks, then we were off!

We made a couple of minor pit-stops on our way to our first real stop in Rapid City, S.D. We stopped to see if we could see the Oregon Trail – as all the signs said we could – but we were unsuccessful. We drove around a little bit trying to find some of it, but quickly gave up. While it would have been neat to see, it was not our main focus. We had a brewery to get to! Onward!

Firehouse Brewing Co Hose Our first stop on our Deadwood Adventure was in Rapid City, S.D. To some this may not seem like a very exciting destination, but we couldn’t wait to get there. A.K had heard of a brewery there that had some pretty amazing food and brews, and I couldn’t wait to see it because of the growlers they sell! I had been saving my pennies in order to buy one of these magnificent beer vessels, and I was not disappointed. The Firehouse Brewing Company in Rapid City was everything we hoped it would be, and more!

A must have for any beer enthusiast.
A must have for any beer enthusiast

After filling up on food, beer, and hilarity, we hit the road. Rumor had it that it was going to snow, and snow a lot, so we had to hustle to Deadwood. An ominous sky hung over us while we scurried through Sturgis, and we made it to our hotel just as the first flakes began to fall. We arrived at Cadillac Jack’s Hotel and Casino just in time! Situated just outside of the main stretch, Cadillac Jack’s is a great place to stay. Comfortable, great gaming options, nice rooms, and you have two different hotels to choose from! Both are connected to the casino, so no matter what side of the house you stay on, you are still close to the games. We stayed in in the Cadillac Jack’s rooms, as opposed to the Marriott, and were very impressed. The room was very large, comfortable, and VERY affordable. If you are looking for a reasonable place to stay, I would check them out. If you are in it for the history, though, I might look at staying on Main Street. ((A handy tip when looking for a room, try Hotels.com. We have found incredible rates on a number of our adventures, but especially to Deadwood. If you have a specific hotel in mind, check their website, and especially their Facebook page. Often hotels will advertise special rates and deals on Facebook. If all else fails, call them and ask for a discount, especially if it during their “off season.”)) We settled into our room after a painless check in, then hit the casino! I have spent a fair amount of time in casinos, especially lately, and I have to say that I really enjoyed Cadillac Jack’s. Everything was spaced out nicely so that nothing felt cramped or scary, there was a good variety of games, and there were two separate areas dedicated to table games, one for poker only, and the other for Black Jack and what-not. The poker room seemed a little small, but I am used to the Ameristar that has a TON of tables, it seems, so seeing only a couple of tables seemed small to me. There was at least one table open for a cash game, though, and there was a rumor of some decent daily tournaments. We headed off to check out the slot machines and other table games, and to just relax after our drive.

Snow-pocalypse
Snow-pocalypse

The next morning we stepped outside to a mini Snow-pocalypse. The dreaded blizzard was in full force, and there was no going anywhere. While we were a little bummed, we made the best of it by checking out the previously mentioned poker tournament. A.K has played in tournaments before, and has even played at the World Series of Poker (a couple of times), I, however, had no tournament experience (other than video games). Needless to say I was a little nervous, and A.K was calm, cool, and ready to kick Deadwood booty! For my first ever live tournament, it was pretty stress free. The buy-in was only $13, with a $5 re-buy, so I didn’t need to worry that I was going to lose all our money in my first “big game.” Even with the blizzard, there ended up being a decent turn-out, with two full tables of players. Everyone playing seemed really nice (and obviously everyone knew one another, small town and all), and the game itself was pretty low key and fun. I didn’t do all that well, but I can say I was not the first knocked out, which is nice. A.K was a different story, however. He was ON FIRE! That little poker room didn’t know what hit it! Well, maybe not quite that dramatic…First he was doing well, then he made it to the final table, he made it “to the money”, then he ended up winning the tournament, winning $177! I was pretty impressed (although I know he is a phenomenal poker player), and I think everyone else was pretty impressed, too. Way to kick butt A.K!

Luck was definitely on our side that afternoon. After A.K won the tournament, we checked the weather outside and it had let up! There was even a little trolley running! We would get to see some of Deadwood after all! YAY! We bundled up and headed out.

Deadwood TrolleyWe decided to take the super cool trolley to upper Main Street, and walk back down. Deadwood is not a very big town, and when the weather is nice it would be easy to walk pretty much the whole place. If you wanted to, you could ride the trolley in a large loop around the town, and pick and choose where to get off at. There are multiple stops on the route, and the trolley runs into the wee hours of the night, so if you change your mind about all the walking, you can hop on the trolley to get you where you wanted to go. On our trip, we almost didn’t make it up the street, the roads were slick and the snow was pretty deep in some places. Luckily our trolley was pretty tough, and we made it to our stop.

We started meandering down Main Street, looking in at all the cool little shops and what-nots. There is so much history crammed into such a small town, I was afraid we would miss something! Luckily there are placards all over the place letting you know who was here, how something happened, and where you were standing. It was nice to see all the information was readily available. Despite some places were closed due to weather, or it being the wrong day of the week (turns out Monday’s are pretty dead, so bare that in mind. It’s always good to find out in advance what days most places are closed, if Monday’s are their off days, or Wednesdays. Be sure to plan ahead!), we were still able to see a lot of the things we had hoped for. One of our first stops was to check out the Historic Bullock Hotel. Built by Seth Bullock, it was originally a warehouse and (I think) hardware store. After a fire burnt down the warehouse, Seth built his hotel on the same site. While we were checking out the gorgeous hotel, we learned that Bullock was the father of two daughters and a son (nothing like the show said of his family), longtime friends with Teddy Roosevelt, and was appointed the first forest supervisor by Roosevelt, in addition to being Sheriff, and entrepreneur. We learned that Seth may even haunt his hotel, and that one of his favorite spots is the grand fireplace on the first level. It was said to be a favorite of his in life, and apparently still loves it after his death.

The GemAfter checking out some more of the buildings around town, we headed toward the infamous Gem Saloon! The Gem Steakhouse and Saloon is now part of the Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming, with the Gem as a restaurant on the second floor. On the site of the original Gem, built and run by the notorious Al Swearengen, the Gem Steakhouse and Saloon is a great place to stop and get a bite to eat. The prices are reasonable, with the menu following the Deadwood (show) theme. You can order the (Dan) Dority Black and Bleu Steak, Mr. Woo’s Pork Ribs, or Merrick’s Ribeye. They also offer Calamity Jane’s chicken and Joanie Stubbs Grilled Swordfish. I had the black and bleu, and A.K tried the garlic ribeye. Both were delicious, and well worth the stop.

One of the places we were really hoping to see, and didn’t get to because of the weather, was Mount Moriah Cemetery, the final resting place for Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, and a few other famous Deadwood residents. The snow was too nasty, unfortunately. If you are planning on going, make sure you wear good walking shoes, and plan for at least half an hour of looking around. We heard it is a bit of a hike to see Seth Bullock’s grave, so keep that in mind when planning your visit to the cemetery. Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are pretty easy to check out, we heard.

We walked back to our hotel and reveled in the little bit of history we were able to take in on that snowy Monday afternoon. While we didn’t get to see and do everything we had planned on, it was still a lot of fun to traipse through a snowy Deadwood.

Two-Headed Calf!
Two-Headed Calf!

The next morning, before heading back to AwesomeSauce Headquarters, we decided to try and check out the Adams Museum. It was closed the day before, which was a bummer, and we wanted to try to see it before we left. We were in luck as they were open and ready for visitors, so on our way out of town we made one last Deadwood stop. When you go to Deadwood, this is a must see location! While it looks small from the outside, the three level museum is packed to the gills with Deadwood history and items, as well as some rare and unusual items from all over! There was a whole section dedicated to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, which was really neat to see. It contained Hickok’s last letter to his wife (that they read on the HBO show), memorabilia from his show days, clothes, and so much more! We learned a lot more about Calamity Jane’s past, the woman who claimed to be her daughter (which turned out to be untrue), and were able to get a better idea of who the wild woman was. There was also a neat section in the museum dedicated to the Jewish founders, and the Chinese population of Deadwood. One of my favorite sections was the oddities section, with the not-to-be-missed two headed calf!

Stunning
Stunning

On the upper floor you can learn about the town’s history. Fires! Gambling! Brothels! Read the headlines from original newspapers, and learn all there is to know of Deadwood’s beginnings, and almost ends. There is also an area with some of the most intricate and beautifully wooden furniture! In the basement you find out more about the first schools, and how it was to be a learning child in a lawless town.

After a wonderful morning spent in a great little museum, we had to head home. Driving out we noticed a lot of land for sale, and “joked” about when we win the World Series of Poker, maybe we would buy some land and build a house in the Black Hills. It is a gorgeous area, and it would be easy to move in and relax. Maybe pan for gold in the streams while enjoying quiet nights with the stars, trees, and wildlife for company. Sounds pretty nice, when you think about it.

All in all it was a very fun adventure! I highly recommend going to Deadwood, via Rapid City. We are going to go back sometime when the weather is nice, and hopefully see more of what Deadwood has to offer. We might even try to make it to the town of Wall, and check out the Wall Drug store we saw so many signs for!

Thank you for joining us on our adventure! Is there someplace we missed that you think we should go? Want more information about one of our stops? Got a spot we should go on our next adventure? Tell us about it!

This post brought to you by G-Sauce. G-Sauce is a member of the AwesomeSauce Duo, and author in the Are You Ready? blog series. She works closely with the AwesomeSauce Duo P.R Manager – and Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot, with the Trip Coordinator – and Mews – Miss Matilda Pants, and with the Head of Logistics – and Mews – Secret Agent Sam. She loves a good cup of coffee, enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for all things nerdy.

 

Looking for Adventure!

Here at AwesomeSauce Headquarters, we are always plotting and planning our next adventure. Whether it be a trip to the local breweries, a jaunt to the far reaches of the state, or on a road-trip, we are always looking for things to see and do!

We gain inspiration for a variety of sources. One of G-Sauce’s favorite websites in particular, Roadside America, is a treasure trove of adventure ideas! Often while planning an excursion, G-Sauce will check there first, to see if there is anything worth finding, such as a giant Muffler Man, or the World’s Largest Pistachio Nut.

Do you have any recommendations? Any wacky, crazy, awesome, and perhaps little known pocket of awesome that you want to share? Tell us all about it!

Meandering Home

For the first time in my life, I was able to plan a road trip route, and drive it myself. This was a huge step for me! I was in total control of where we went, and how I got us there. It was so freeing, and exciting, and mildly terrifying, all at the same time! I was going to take us on an adventure!

Our first not-so-planned stop was at the Sandia Resort and Casino. We stopped in to see what they had to offer for dinner, and Awesome K (or A.K, as I like to call him) mentioned that the Poker Room was decent, so I thought it was worth checking out for myself. Sure enough, he was right! The poker room was set apart from the casino floor, enclosed in a half walled room towards the back of the casino. In it there was Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and live action Keno to be played. A.K and I got sat at the same poker table (which I normally don’t like to do), right next to each other. It worked out fine this time, which was nice. Being in a new casino, in a new state, it was nice to have a familiar face so close. I have no idea if there was alcohol served or not, as this was an Indian Reservation casino, and there was no smoking in the poker room, which was nice. They did, however, serve a delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream. Not my normal table drink, but it really hit the spot that night!

After one hand of Hold’em, we knew we had found a new favorite spot. The action was fast and loose, and there were a few people ready to give us all their chips if we let them. A.K took a couple of them up on their offers, and I even allowed a few chips to come my way. I don’t remember any of my hands, of course. I need to get better about taking notes at the table, without looking like I am taking notes at the table of course. I do remember getting quad 8’s, though, which made for a decent pot win. One thing I know I need to work on is raising, betting, and that sort of thing. A.K also pointed out a couple of my “tells” that I need to focus on. Easy fixes, I think. A.K and I both boosted our bank rolls a little bit, which was nice.

We left Albuquerque, NM, on President’s Day morning to head back home to Lakewood, CO, with a few carefully planned stops along the way. Ok, well, one carefully planned stop, and few “hey this sounds awesome” stops. After grabbing a Starbucks to go, we were off! Our first stop: Taos, NM.

I have been in love with Taos since my first visit there when I was about 10. My grandfather let me ride along with him on a business trip once, and sort of plopped me in the middle of the Taos Plaza – told me to not get into any trouble – and left me there for a few hours. It was my first memory of real independence (well…allowed independence). I remember the shops, the atmosphere, and the feeling of my first adventure alone. It was amazing! I had been a couple of times since, and I couldn’t wait to show Taos off to A.K! After a couple of hours in the car, we were there! I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited to finally be back in one of my favorite towns.

We stopped at a local brewery, Eske’s Brew Pub and Eatery, just outside of the Taos Plaza. I ordered a Buffalo Bacon Blu-Cheese burger and a pint of their red, and A.K ordered a cup of their famous green chili, and a regular bacon cheeseburger (I don’t remember his beer choice). The beer was OK, the burgers were pretty good, but the green chili blew me away! If you go to Eske’s, you HAVE to try the green chili, it is by far some of the best I have ever tasted. Ever. Ours had turkey in it, which I also recommend. If I could have taken a jar of that, I would have!

After our brief lunch, we hit the Plaza. It was a lot like I remembered it, but, of course, a lot has changed in the 20+ years I have been there! It was a gorgeous day to explore, and A.K was willing to let me walk around a bit, so that’s exactly what I did. He was a good sport and went into a lot of the little shops with me, and let me ogle some really great hand painted tiles in one spot. I ended up with one that had a kitty on it (surprise surprise) from Taos Mercantile Company. They had a few other great tiles, but we didn’t know where we would put them, so we left them behind. I might have to pick some of them up, though, on our next trip through.

After a lovely walk through the Plaza, A.K and I decided to head back into Colorado. Our next stop? Alamosa!

I have only ever ridden through Alamosa, and don’t remember ever stopping there for anything other than a tank of gas. This time, A.K and I stopped at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company, and then a tank of gas. In the short time we were at the brewery, I started to really like Alamosa.  It has a very homey feel to it, with a lot of local support, which you don’t run into everywhere. The beer was also pretty amazing! I had an Oatmeal Stout, and tasted a coffee beer that was phenomenal. I was brave, and tried their Green Chili Lager, and was impressed. It’s not something I could drink a lot of, but it was an interesting taste – in a good way. We also tried the artichoke dip, which was, of course, delicious. This is where I saw the Beer Drinkers Guide to Colorado map for the first time, too. I know A.K and I will be picking up on in the very near future. I recommend you pick one up, too, if you happen to love beer and be near Colorado.

Once we were on the road again, we decided to take the “Cosmic Highway” coming back, but by the time we got onto, it was pretty dark and overcast. We missed the UFO Watchtower, unfortunately, and we didn’t see any aliens. I did see a couple of sign posts warning that aliens might steal my cows, though, so that was cool. Not to worry, though, we will DEFINITELY be headed back down there sometime soon.

So, other than that, and stopping in Poncha Springs, Colorado, at the only gas station/bar I have ever seen (and missing Elevation Beer Company), our ride home was pretty uneventful. Which can be a good thing. A.K, however, did discover his new favorite satellite radio station – Backspin Old Skool Rap. That was a real treat, although not as entertaining as watching A.K sing along.

We arrived home safely, much to the rest of the AwesomeSauce Duo team’s great pleasure. They were not invited on this trip, and made it a point to tell us all about being left behind. Almost all the kibble was eaten out of one of the two bowls left behind, they could have starved. STARVED! (I might want to mention that the “trip coordinator” leans toward the dramatic at times).

Now to plan our next adventure! Where will the AwesomeSauce Duo end up next? Find out in a future installment of Are You Ready? to see where we end up, and what happens along the way!

This post brought to you by G-Sauce. G-Sauce is a member of the AwesomeSauce Duo, and author in the Are You Ready? blog series. She works closely with the AwesomeSauce Duo P.R Manager – and Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot, with the Trip Coordinator – and Mews – Miss Matilda Pants, and with the Head of Logistics – and Mews – Secret Agent Sam. She loves a good cup of coffee, enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for all things nerdy.