Bonnaroo Is My Neverland (Part One)

(I swear I clicked publish on this the other day, and it didn’t go anywhere! So since this draft is just sitting in my dashboard, I figured I may as well go ahead and share it now…at least the beginning.)

I know, I have been a horrible blogger in recent days, but in my defense I have absolutely been all over the place. So, you know how I’ve gone to several concerts lately? When I was at the Phoenix show back in May in Orlando, I made a new friend. I got his number because he wanted to buy my Postal Service ticket at Hard Rock a month later. We kept in touch over this time, becoming fast friends, an epic long phone conversation etc. One of the first things we talked about at House of Blues with people surrounding us in the crowd was Bonnaroo. At that time it was a distant dream, a someday bucket list check. (Because the original group I knew who wanted to go, then had a wedding to attend and bailed. And you know? I’ve planned all these other quick trips lately, and it didn’t seem as feasible anymore.) So, I would stare at the line-up online and we would discuss hypothetical, if you were going what would you see and compare scenarios. Then I went to Athens, and we were in this cool little bar and all of a sudden Bonnaroo came up. And we were drinking, so of course excitement escalated. One of the guys had been the previous year, so he was completely gung ho, and in joking I was like hey! tickets aren’t sold out yet, we could still go. So he started corralling people, and being like wanna go to Bonnaroo?! Of course, they thought we were crazy. Then a few more weeks passed, and it got closer and closer and the itch got stronger, and I was like hey! we could seriously still do this. I weighed the pros and cons of irresponsibility? How crazy was it, to up and go to Tennessee with like less than 48 hours notice? And some people spend a whole year prepping for this, and I was gonna do it in the window of time after work in two days? But I kept thinking of two Christmas breaks ago when I got invited to the Keys and I turned the offer down, thinking I can’t just run away from work like that (even though I had vacation time.) Then I sat at work with absolutely nothing going on during the holidays and got sent home early and I was kicking myself because I could’ve been on a boat in paradise! So, I vowed I wouldn’t let opportunities like that pass me by again. And here it was staring me right in the face. Plus, then James threw out the:

“You’ll never be in your 20s again! You’ll turn 30 next year if you don’t go to Bonnaroo!”

Which were like the magic words.  Hello, he’s right! I’d been saying the whole time, I wanna go while I’m young! The years are going by, and you’re not always at the place in life where you can just throw crap in a bag and road trip hours away on short notice to spend four days camping and concert watching on a farm in the middle of nowhere. (Think of all my married friends with babies?!) So. I posted a Facebook status inquiring about adventure partners, and one of my original adventure partners from growing up responded – Kaela. And she was in. So, she just had to work out the details but since I knew it was a giant possibility, I couldn’t sleep that night. I knew if we were going, we’d have to be prepared in some way so I started scouring the Bonnaroo Survival Blogs for tips and advice, and what to pack. Plus, James started passing on his Veteran knowledge, and a few other friends who’d attended in the past. That night, while I told my roommate there was a chance we’d go, but I didn’t wanna get my heart set on it – she was so super encouraging. So I had James with the you’re only in your twenties once spiel, and I had myself with my encouraging, no day but today story! Then Alex, who pulled out her photo album from the Woodstock anniversary concert, and her tales of awesomeness, and she was like YOU GUYS HAVE TO DO IT! So basically my heart was set on it, so there I was 4am, reading blogs on my phone while I couldn’t sleep. The next day Kae was like yeah, we need to do this – we have to do this. So, we bought tickets. Then that night, they sold out. So obviously, it was meant to be. That night, and the following day were a whirlwind of trying to pack and scrounge up items we would need (and I’ll probably do a blog post on a crash course of how to pack for Bonnaroo in 48 hours,) which included a zillion trips to Walmart/Target/Sams Club, lots of photo text messaging, and pure adrenaline that broke concentration on anything else.

Wednesday night, (I had returned to the house for a Voice watching break, and to scan the inventory) before I ran back out again. I sat surrounded by clothes and miscellaneous camping items, and food scattered throughout the living room, with re-runs of Freaks and Geeks playing in the background because why not? This was too exciting of a situation to be stressed, but there’s always an open door for some giggling in my life, and so what if I know that series by heart? Kae was driving from St.Augustine, and got there late. We hadn’t seen each other since November of 2010, so of course we needed a little catch up time! (Though we were gonna have a 7.5 hour drive to take care of that in a few hours.) But first things first – beast mode with the packing! Successfully threw four days worth of stuff in my car. Then we chatted, then we nodded off for about three hours, and then grabbed some last minute things from the house (including coffee of course,) and hit the road! We had a few stops, gas stations and bathrooms. A random exit in Georgia where we happened upon a Walmart, picked up some supplies, and later we stopped somewhere outside of Atlanta, (I think Marietta maybe who knows) and went to that Willy’s burrito place? One last hot meal in air conditioning! Yeahhh.

We were getting kind of anxious as we followed the live tweeting of #BonnarooTraffic and expecting to be sitting in the lines for hours. We might have played a little chinese fire-drill off some abandoned looking mountainous exit, so we could trade drivers and neither of us would throw up in the high altitude condition swap. Plus, we got mixed directions of driving to Coffee County High School to get our wristbands, or to just go to the tollbooth. I called customer service again, they sent us to the toll booth. We’d both read the warnings of not entering the grounds without a full tank of gas, but we were kind of out of luck on that note, not realizing exit after exit would be closed with cops guarding the ramps! So, all of a sudden there was the flashing sign and it was time to turn off! So, on we went with a half tank. And whoulda thought?

We got in, in like less twenty minutes! Though watching vehicle searches was definitely entertaining. (I have a feeling some of the people wandering the parking lot with vests on and no shirt weren’t actually volunteers, but just wanderers.) When it was our turn not much happened other than them throwing all the tampons out of my glove compartment everywhere, and some koozies from the console? Realll intense search, guys. Then we went to this trailer, got our wristbands and first they didn’t activate so we had to go back, THEN we got sent to park in the GA camping section! Dun dun dun! Since people had gotten there on Wednesday before the gates even opened we were thinking this parking situation could get interesting, but the Bonnaroo Guru was correct in telling us that it kind of works out for the later crowd because they get parked closer to Centeroo. We were thinking we were gonna be out miles away on that 50 minute walk (but next to the $1 grilled cheese.) Literally we were like a ten minute walk away in Pod 6 Camp Zoolander (holla!) right next to an RV lot. Our campsite neighbors were a couple from North Carolina who go to college in Boone, and then a crew of kids from Hudson, Florida (land of the youth soccer tournaments down in Central Florida near Tampa.) And a large group of southern kids behind us who were a constant source of amusement with their stories.

We started setting up our campsite, and of course in came rain. But we were smart and went ahead and got the canopy up, so we could work under it. Good thing Kaela is an expert outdoorswoman (first time setting up a tent,) or I would have been laying on a tarp on the ground with the tent in a pile. We got it all set up in less than thirty minutes, and bam! We were done. So we changed clothes, checked out our surroundings, and went on our way to check out Centeroo (where all the stages and tents are.)

Then the true adventure began. I don’t think we knew what we were in for, (and I mean that in the best way possible.)

Georgia Roads Bring Us Home

Passing somewhere through the middle of Georgia, after we finally found a rest stop. Bonnaroovians padded slowly down the same sidewalks, sleepy eyed and dazed after days of adventures. I watched a dark haired boy reach his tanned hand through the bars shielding the vending machine, attempting to retrieve some kind of snack. The moms dragging their toddlers across the slick restroom floors, didn’t know how odd it seemed to be using a bathroom with lights and flushing, and running water in the sink. We’d grown accustomed to the plastic box life of portapotties, and keeping a roll of toilet paper in your backpack, and following the path to a dusty street in early morning light. This early morning light was different. We were still alive with possibility, but sleep was battling for my brain waves and all my thoughts started to get hazy in the struggle to resist. I may have nodded off for a few minutes. I may have surrendered to the dreamy thoughts, not ready for all our beautiful moments to start the transformation into memories, a distance that can’t be crossed once it’s been created. I could only think of this land, a paradise carved out from the rest of the world where worries can’t reach you, and every stranger is a new friend to be made. The stories of these gorgeous people, and their journeys and their exquisite passion for life resounded in my ears lulling me to sleep. When I awake, my dreams weren’t real dreams, they were revisited thoughts of the same things I was pondering before I took that snooze. My mind is littered with the sensation of wet grass beneath your feet, moonlight bathing an open field in a soft glow, and the ease that accompanies life and the people you entwine yours with when you are absolutely, positively yourself. Love in its purest form because there’s no space for anything else.

Wanderlust Wednesday: Tennessee Edition

Remember when I promised I’d share a few pics from my trip to Tennessee? Well, I know I am a total slacker but here I am with photos to share!

I just love airports, so I had to snap a shot of the “Welcome to Knoxville” sign.

And my view from the adorable row of rocking chairs, located across from a Starbucks. I sat and drank coffee, and chatted with my mom, and skimmed Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like.

The title of my Facebook album was appropriately “Tennessee Stole My Heart.” Because my goodness, it did. Even the dog park was gorgeous!

Codey got to play with lots of other dogs.

One of my favorite parts was this gigantic used book warehouse called McKay’s.

Nerd heaven, I’m telling you.

This wine bar called Drink. is one of the coolest ideas ever.

Could we have asked for more beautiful scenery on the roadtrip to Nashville?

This angle makes it look like a short distance across, but that was not the case. The rock I landed on was not very sturdy and into the water I went.

Relaxing on the deck in the sun, airing out my shoe, munching on Dill Pickle pork rinds. (I recommend!)

Playing tourist in front of the Loveless Cafe sign.

These hot biscuits with homemade preserves? Worth the wait.

Southern Biscuit Sampler with hashbrown casserole. Ohmyword.

Goo Goo Cluster pie that I saved for a “midnight” (more like 3am ha) snack.

Your guess is as good as mine and what exactly this means? Dentist convention?

Happy hour at the hotel where we made new friends.

Love this pretty lady.

This is a classic Leah/Megs photo.

Canadian money from our new friends.

We decided it was a must to go to Jack in the Box since neither of us had ever been. Forget the fact that we had just eaten breakfast.

Someone needs to get Florida involved in this deliciousness. Mini churros!

Grand Ole Opry woo!

Shoutout to Blake!

Gorgeous flowers!

Delicious portobello eggplant sandwich at Fido.

Windy walk to explore Vanderbilt campus.

Seriously beautiful.

How cool is this bike rental system?

Mmm Whiskey Pecan and Salted Caramel icecream with a shot of espresso from Hot/Cold.

So there ya go! I am a little bit (and by that I mean a TON) in love with Tennessee now, and believe you me this will not be my last visit. I can’t tell you how many sweepstakes I’ve entered for country music festival/award show tickets in Nashville this past month, haha. Fingers crossed 😉

Trail Run Thursday

In lieu of Throwback Thursday, I’m making it Trail Run Thursday (even though I went trail running on Monday.) Also, Monday night’s location was Tom Brown Park so this post is just full of alliteration. I know people occasionally read this blog who are also runners, and if you live in Tallahassee I suggest you try out the Trailblazers group through Gulf Winds that meets on Monday nights each week up until June with a “graduation” run at the Great Potluck Bash 4-Mile Trail Run. (I’ve never run Potluck but it’s one of those where participants try and predict their times!) So, Monday night was the first meeting of this group. I was kind of nervous because my only trail running experience was when I did the Miller’s Madness last August, and a few trail runs out at the Greenway (which kick my butt every time!) I knew it required the ability to let your body adapt to the different terrain and granted I haven’t been out on the trails in a while. Sunday morning, following Saturday’s 10K I just did an easy 2.5 mile recovery run. Monday night I was planning on doing the 3ish miles with the beginning group because I knew it’d be a bit taxing. Tsigy one of my running buddies from the Springtime training group was like, hey! we’re already here, we’re already gonna get sweaty – let’s do the six! (She’s such an encourager.) So, I might’ve struggled some but we did the six miles out there (the most I’ve done on trail,) and oh my goodness I forget what an awesome feeling of empowerment trail running gives you. There’s something about jumping over limbs and pushing yourself up hills, and being surrounded by trees and rocks and leaves. I love being able to look over to my left or right and see this gorgeous swampy scene,  a sunset reflecting off the water (I’ll admit – this reminded me a bit of Central Florida/Home, and that made me smile on the inside.) Seriously, the views out on those trails are just breath taking. It was a tough run, but exhilarating. Completing a challenge like that without giving in, makes me feel so on fire about life. So thankful that my friend pushed me that extra length, and didn’t let up! It’s such a motivator! I’m looking forward to exploring other trails of Tallahassee over the coming months, and getting to know more people in this group. It was an awesome turn out and as always a fun experience and adventure. It takes a lot out of me at the time, but I know it’s only making me stronger. I was glad to trade the roads for the day, and I know I need to discipline myself to do it more often!

I did yoga on Tuesday and just a few reps of weights yesterday morning (the evening was spent getting new tires, running a last minute trip errand, and finalizing my packing.) I ran a four miler in the dark of the early morning today, it was about 60 degrees, and the neighborhood was pretty quiet. It was nice to just be me and the pavement. And it’s also been nice to give my body a break lately. I’m thinking it’s probably needed it more than I know.

Run the Edge Facebook shared this photo in my News Feed this morning from Paws and Pavement, and it’s so true:

“Running is like celebrating your soul. There is so much it can teach you.”

Springtime Tallahassee Recap

I know I’ve mentioned the Springtime Tallahassee 10K several times over the past few weeks, well Saturday it finally arrived! Let me just say, I think it was one of the most fun races I’ve participated in yet. First of all, we couldn’t have requested more gorgeous weather to run in. The sun was shining, but it was about 49 degrees at the start, and there was a nice breeze. From what I’ve read it seems there were about 1,500 people participating in the races (10k/5k/1mi) so I won’t lie – it was crowded, but people were good sports. There wasn’t any pushing or rudeness that I encountered. Of course, after the first turn there were cars parked along the street so you got to do some fun maneuvering around car mirrors, but all that just adds to the excitement. (My cousin said he saw someone ducking under the mirrors, clever!) I parked at Chili’s a few blocks away from the Courthouse, and actually got there around the same time as my cousin Tim and his running partner Buddy, so we were able to head over together. Tim is one of the people who really inspired me to start running, but this was the first event we’ve done together (which was really exciting!) We’d already done early packet pick-up, so we used the time to do some warm up jogging around downtown. We started near the front, (which looked a lot closer until about two minutes to go-time and the gaps and space quickly filled in!) The race itself was fun, I lost Tim and Buddy around mile 1.5 but that was to be expected with how crowded it was. I found myself smiling as people would pass by I’d recognize from Monday night group runs. I loved that! Also, a sense of calm fell over me as the familiarity of the course came into view. I knew what turns were coming up, the spot before the golf course the dog always barks at, the hill I dread at the turn by the golf course. But then there were fun things people had told me about before too, like the house that plays the Chariots of Fire song from the front yard, or the house that had a yard full of spectators in lawn chairs eating breakfast. Then there was a little girl on a morning walk with her mom and dog, dragging a baby girl by the hand standing with this awe-struck look on her face as a rainbow of runners filed by smiling and waving. The race itself was great, I felt strong and consistent. Though I’ll admit – no matter what my race morning meal is at about the last quarter mile of any distance I almost always get this weird nauseous feeling. Maybe it’s excitement about nearing the finish line and always wanting to push that last bit? I don’t know but eventually I’ll figure it out. I reached a new PR for this race (52:16) and I am hoping to break 52 minutes for a 10K at some point this year. No matter, this was progress, and a beautifully fun run so it was awesome all around. The “after-party” was fun, too. After passing the finish line the 10K runners were given a pretty medal that matched our tech singlets, and a towel as well! There was free beer, too. (The good stuff – an ice cold Stella for me, mmm!) And I got to mingle with so many people from Monday nights and friends in town, and meet some of my cousins friends as well. All around – GREAT morning. This was my first time running the Springtime Tallahassee race, but it definitely won’t be my last. I look forward to participating again in the future! The race directors and organizers as well as the training group facilitators did an amazing job putting everything together and creating a smooth, wonderful experience!

 

I love when my bib has “27” in the number!

Total dork, but whatever – that’s a happy face.

Woah sun, I know but yay! My cousin Tim and I after the race!

After the race I ran to New Leaf to pick up a few groceries, and Jamie texted me: “Hey! Are you busy today?” of course not. So, we met up downtown and watched the parade together and wandered through the arts & crafts and snack booths. We got some tasty cookies from one stand and looked at some really pretty prints by local artists. Then Larry and Brody met us over by the library (they were having a book sale out front,) and we wandered through the children’s park area where the Star Wars cast was hanging out. Eventually Larry and I wandered over to Kleman Plaza and had lunch outside 101 (where there was wonderful live music by the fountain.) Though the food is good there,  it is not worth an hour and a half wait – I mean honestly? Boo! But it was too nice outside to be worried about it.


I love when the baby Star Metro bus makes an appearance!

Jamie and I post-parade hanging out by the library.

Brody hamming it up, of course everyone loved him!


Brody meeting R2D2. How sweet is that robot?!

So on the front steps of First Baptist there was a steel drum band that reminded me of Sea World, and then later they were playing songs from Little Mermaid and there was this traveling marine-life cart! You could pet stingrays and see great stuff like this cool starfish and crabs and stuff. Very cool!

Look at that face! Brody just chillin’ in the shade during lunch.

Larry, Brody and I post lunch.

The rest of the afternoon I took pretty easy with a nap and some light reading, until I joined my roommate for a sunset stroll at the Greenway. Sure my legs were a little tired, but I couldn’t resist!

It’s obvious why this is a favorite spot right?!

With a view like that, of course “I’m just sittin’ out here, watchin’ airplanes…” got stuck in my head.

Alex took this fun shot of Satchel and I. Isn’t the lighting awesome?

Throwback Thursday Returns

Hey guys! Bet you didn’t expect to see a few flashback posts from me,  hmm? It’s been awhile and I scrounged up a few I figured I could share:

Sophomore year (I think?) we went to Outback in April to celebrate Buffy’s birthday. How fitting was that coaster? (And the fact that it’s April – FIVE YEARS LATER, now. What?!)

Andrew McMahon playing piano with his feet (like a boss.) This is from the Something Corporate Reunion Tour of 2010 at House of Blues Orlando. In SIXTEEN days I’ll hear that lovely voice once again.

2010 was a good year for concerts. That’s me and Lauren at the (FREE!) Weezer concert at the Civic Center. I GET TO GO VISIT HER IN CHICAGO IN A MONTH!

It shows up dark but I can’t tell you how filled up with light I am in this picture because my heart was probably about to explode. One of the first shots from study abroad in London. I was watching The Exotic Marigold Hotel last night and I got seriously heartsick for London.

Toga social sophomore year? Next week I get to frolic in Tennessee with this girl. Looooong awaited reunion. EEK!

This is from almost this time exactly, last year. (April 6th? which is Saturday haha.) It’s raining right now, but I can’t wait for pool days and sunshine.

Springtime Tallahassee is this weekend, and this photo is from a few years ago (ok more than a few like five.) AND I get to see this pretty girl (my big sister, Hailey) GET MARRIED at the end of May! ahhh

Okay that was a quick one, but obviously a few of these years have a lot in common with the next coming months for me: good concerts, great friends (reunions!), and fun in the sun with my great family! Looking forward to it. Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!

Friday Favorites

Just dropping in to share some of my favorites from this past week!

Watched Country Strong with my housemate on Wednesday night. Loved it.

The VMars Kickstarter campaign (because it means THE MOVIE IS COMING!) So, let me just share one of my favorite scenes of all time.

The Shamrock Scurry 5K last Saturday was probably one of my favorite races yet. (I got a new PR!) It was definitely a challenge, that hill in mile 2? Ouch! But awesome. And there was a free pancake breakfast with Bradley’s sausage afterwards, and so I hung out with some of my friends from the Springtime Training group. Also, it was down the street from my house so I could jog there for a warm-up and walked home. That was about the coolest thing ever.

My parents are dog sitting Brody while Larry is on spring break in Cali! We took him for his first trip to the beach. (I drove over to my parents after the race Saturday and my brother went too. We had a great day walking on the beach, eating good food, laughing and enjoying each others company. It was one of those days I wish I could freeze in time.)

This little one is always callin’ shotgun.

I took Monday off of work. A rainy, windy, cloudy day at the beach beats a day anywhere else!

Tonight I am seeing Lisa Loeb perform live for the first time! I’ve wanted to do this since like middle school. And I get to spend the weekend with one of my favorite friends since middle school, Beth. The weather is supposed to be good and we plan on brunching (and hopefully beaching?!) and we’ve signed up for a St.Patty’s Day 5k on Sunday! Looking forward to a fun weekend.