February 25, 2011

Arizona Adventures

I’ll admit, I’m no world traveler. My travels have been restricted to the Midwest and Florida. I did venture over to Europe in High School, but as part of a tour group, there wasn’t much time for exploration. I’m excited that my job is going to provide me the opportunity to venture outside of Indiana and Kentucky. My first trip was to Pittsburgh, but with 9 degree temperatures, I could hardly convince myself to leave the hotel. My most recent trip however, was to Arizona. In fact, as I write this, I am camped out in the Phoenix airport waiting for my flight home. I’m fairly certain that I have to be distantly related to Christopher Columbus or Sacagawea, because I love to explore new places. As soon as the cabbie dropped my off, I ditched my suitcase and set out on foot to explore Peoria, AZ. As I took off with only my room key and a $5 bill in hand, I thought back to my grandma’s comment right before I left home. “Oh my, you’re going to get lost in the desert and never come home” (she worries too much). I was too excited to care, and set off on my running adventure. I really have no idea how far I ventured, 25 songs worth according to my ipod, but it was one of the coolest runs I’ve been on. I managed to find the Mariners and Padres Spring Training facilities. Even more exciting, I found an open gate. Since the no trespassing sign was relatively small, I chose to ignore it and continue my adventure inside the gate. Cool Beans. I’m soo ready for baseball season. Mainly because baseball means summer, sunshine, and dollar beer night J Day 1 of the trip concluded with a beautiful sunset over the mountains and falling asleep at 9:00 – darn time difference.

Day 2 started with the new PPG Pittsburgh Paints Grand Opening Celebration. It was a super busy day. Since this was my first real project and a lot of corporate Big Wigs were flying in, I had my fingers crossed that all would go as planned. Not to toot my own horn or anything….but if this was kindergarten I would get a gold star! The posters looked great, the coupons were a success, and we sold a lot of paint! There was even a Mariachi Band to keep up entertained. After the event, my boss and I went to dinner at Firebirds. If you’re even in Peoria, check it out – it’s awesome! I even managed to get another run in before crashing (and I was worried that I wouldn’t find time to run). It was a long day, but totally worth it to watch another sunset over the mountains.

Day 3 started nice and early. Fine with me, I had plans after work and wanted the day to end nice and early. I’m not a coffee snob, but the hotel coffee was awful. I have never been more thankful for Starbucks. The day was actually pretty cool. The local management drove me around town to check out the market and look for potential marketing opportunities. We drove to all of the local locations, scouted billboard space, and talked about local radio show opportunities. We also drove past a few more ST locations J I have a friend in the area, and luckily he was willing to venture with me on my Phoenix adventure. I like exploring new places, but you can really only spend so much time by yourself before you start to go crazy (I was starting to talk to the walls at the hotel). If you ever go to Phoenix, check out Westgate. It’s a pretty cool place. We found a bar with over 130 different beers on tap. There are now three more choices I can add to my list of ‘beers Kim likes.’ I also managed to use chop sticks without embarrassing myself. Next stop was Margaritaville where we encountered a guy on stilts making balloon creations (note – not balloon animals. This guy was making Sesame Street and Disney characters!).  The final stop was Yogurtland. Now, I’m a Zesto snob so I have high dessert expectations. This place was great! If only they had locations in Southern Indiana...I had Red Velvet frozen yogurt piled on top of Cheesecake frozen yogurt, topped with about 5 different toppings (including sour gummy worms, score!).  Pretty sweet day 3.

Day 4 = hours and hours and hours in airports. The good thing is that I was up early enough to watch the sunrise (do you see a trend here? I love sunrises/sunsets). The bad thing about my travel: I have a later flight than my companions, but we all rode to the airport together. Could be worse, I guess. I had 4 hours to explore (this airport is huge). Plus – I found the perfect spot to sit and people watch in. I could seriously sit here all day and make up stories about the people rushing by (I guess that’s the writer in me coming out). It was a fun trip, but I’m glad to be heading home. (See grandma, no worries, I survived the desert). I’ll miss the sunshine and the mountains, but I can’t wait to cuddle up with my favorite blanket in my comfortable bed and let the rain lull me to sleep.  

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