Friday, August 15, 2014

Wagons East!

Before we embarked on our journey down to Miami, some friends arranged a Progressive Dinner (a.k.a. safari supper). If you've never heard of this, it's a dinner party across several houses, where each location hosts a different course. We had 5 houses spread across Fort Collins, and some great food.

Each house also provided some kind of alcohol. Eventually I got pretty drunk and started taking close up pictures of people's faces. Here's a good one of my officemate Gus:

There was also this gem:

The party was complete with a foosball game, with Steph giving the play-by-play.

Aside from all the festivities and goodbyes, we still had that looming responsibility of packing up all our sh*t! Moving is always hard and frustrating, but this move felt especially torturous. After moving my stuff into Andrea's apartment, we found out that we had messed up the move out date. So instead of staying there during July, we ended up staying with Andrea's parents. I felt bad intruding, but we ended up being glad tht it worked out that way.Aside from saving a little money, I also got to know Andrea's parents much better.

During most of July, we did not have a place to move into in Miami. When we finally found a place a signed the lease, we started to realize that we couldn't bring as much as we wanted. In order to decide what to leave behind we used a floor plan, like the one below, and made scale cut-outs of all our furniture. It was a tedious process, but it really helped us visualize how much space we had to work with. In the end, we ended up leaving our living room chairs and Andrea's dresser (which she was (and still is) not happy about).

To move our suff such a long way, we used a service called UPack. They offer a service kind of like PODS, but they also offer a service where a trator trailer is dropped off at your place, and you fill up however much space you need. You then put up a temporary wall (i.e. bulkhead), and they charge you based on how much space you take up. It saved us some money and was pretty convenient.

One last jog up to Horsetooth reservoir
After the trailer was gone, we said our goodbyes to Colorado, loaded up our cars and headed east towards Iowa. Andrea's family had planned a reunion in Fort Madison, so we stayed 3 nights at her uncle's house and I got to meet a lot of her dad's side of the family. Andrea's dad was one of eight kids, so the family is quite large. Andrea made me a Bartett-family-tree "cheat sheet" so I could keep all the names straight.

I've driven through Iowa before, but had only seen it from Interstate 80. This time I got to see a very different part of the state, and I was blown away by how nice it was. I always imagined it being a barren landscape of corn and soy bean fields, but to my surprise it was a lush paradise of rolling green hills. We spent most of one afternoon biking Fort Madison and got to see the huge prison that the town is based around, as well as some large houses and old factories. We even crossed the bridge into Illinois for a brief visit.

Another notable place we visited was a little place called Lost Duck Brewing. It looked like it might have some decent beer, however, I can confidently say that this place makes the worst beer I've ever had! We heard that the beer has always been terrible, but surprisingly, none of the yelp reviews mentioned the beer being bad. I righted this wrong by adding my own yelp review. I hate to say it, but it really plays into my personal stereotype of mid-westerners not knowing good beer (or food).

We left Iowa with several tearful goodbyes and headed to Nashville, TN to see some country music. The music doesn't stop in Nashville, and the musicians are some of the best I've ever seen. The next day we drove to Asheville, NC and did a mini brewery tour downtown. In many ways, Asheville reminded me of Fort Collins, CO. I could definitely see myself living there. We had originally planned to do some camping in the smokey mountains, but being in the car for so long was getting to our heads. So after Asheville, we decided to buckle down and head straight for Miami. Little did we know,  we would not receive a warm welcome..... (to be continued).

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