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What is there left to do on a road trip of epic proportions, except end with how it all began. No, not a motel in Idaho (although I feel like we secretly miss Trina). No no, I’m talking about the beautiful gift of karaoke.

After these two woke up from their naps our last night in Chicago, we climbed the subway (our first public transit moment of the trip), and decided to go show the city how it was done, shimmying right through the doors of Spin. Steve killed a little Meatloaf, hell, the guy directing the karaoke did the duet version impromptu with him, I annihilated a little Shania, we chuckled, we drank, we came, we conquered, we left. Did we bounce to a couple of bars from the night before? Sure. Was it eventful? Maybe….Steve let an ex-con know that he, in fact, was the one in the bad mood. That’s all. And scene.

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I realized that tomorrow, we hit our destination. It’s been a week. A full week in various cities and trapped in Beryl with two of my best friends and we still don’t hate each other. Last night I feel like we were all going through it a little, but like Steve said to me last night, it’s just so understandable for us to be absolutely exhausted at this point. You spend all day on the road, and then end up in a new city and feel the need to make the most of every minute, to do something as much as possible every second, and then you hit a wall and wonder why you’re such a crabby pants.

We did manage to have a hell of a lot of fun last night though. First stop in the Chicago scene in Lakeview was the ever popular Roscoe’s. Fantastic sprawling bar that felt like a cross of someone’s apartment and a modern saloon, the design of the place was fantastic from room to room, including a back dance floor and countless bars. The staff was phenomenal, and as I’m finding more and more with Chicago, the people are just effortlessly friendly.

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Today we got the hell out of Omaha as soon as humanly possible. We all pretty much woke up in a foul mood, scowled at each other, and hugged it out later. But we got the car, packed up our luggage, and drove as far away from the Econolodge as we could in the shortest possible time we could.

Let me explain something about Bruce the cat. He is a lovely mild tempered angel of a feline, and his only fault is, he is a runner and a jumper. No windows are to be left open, no doors are to be left ajar. I just think Omaha really got to him, as it did with all of us, and as we drove across our first bridge out of the city, I think he must have peeked over Steve’s shoulder to see that the window locks weren’t on, and decided it a good idea to just end it all and lean his tiny paw on the back window button. Down it went. His father’s first reaction behind the wheel was to swerve to the right, in “save the cat” mode. Faye, frozen in fear of pushing a bag towards him, in turn knocking him out said window, yelled obscenities, and I gingerly, heart racing, turned around and squashed him down with my hand like a spider under a bar coaster, grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and throwing him into the front seat. I’m not gonna say we didn’t pull over, I’m not gonna say we didn’t have a good cry after the previous day we had, I’m also not going to say that we didn’t make ourselves feel better by belting Heart’s Greatest Hits at the top of our lungs until Des Moines. I will say Bruce is happy and purring on a window sill as we speak. And I am half a bottle deep.

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If you’re reading this article, I’ve survived night 5.

Okay, let’s back up.

Breakfast this morning again was on the road. We left the comfort of the gorgeous Hotel Monaco Denver, packed up Bruce, tossed ourselves into trusty ol’ Beryl, and hit the interstate in our finest attire (it was a jogging pants day). Colorado turned into Nebraska today, and the scenery was. That’s all. The scenery just was. The weather has held out, it was actually very warm to tepid today, and we arrived in Omaha in nine and a half hours with a nice sheen, looking ripe as a plum in the sun.

Okay, let’s just back up a hot minute because I just said the word “Omaha”. The original plan everyone, was to hit Kansas City. The two cities have a similar population of  around 400,000, and driving to Omaha shaves off over an hour from Denver, and over an hour to our next destination. So Nebraska it was. And Nebraska it is. And. Here…..we are…..

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I don’t want to alarm anyone, those back home in Vancouver, or anyone looking forward to our arrival in Toronto, but we have an announcement to make. We’re not leaving Denver.

UGH! Okay we are but none of us are happy about it. We felt the love when we got in yesterday, but staying an extra day in this beautiful city was the best decision we made so far. The weather has been balmy, the streets are clean, the old architecture is amazing, and everyone is so nice it just makes you want to slap them and tell them to grow up!

This morning we had an absolutely delicious breakfast at the amazing Panzano in the Hotel Monaco Denver. Zagat rated, constantly put on top places to eat in Denver, Chef Elise Wiggins has made food so great it’s almost abnoxious. We had the Panzano “Eggs Benedict” which comes on sun-dried tomato polenta, topped with prosciutto, fontina cheese and Hollandaise on basil pestoI can’t even, still. And for the love of all that is good and holy, if you have a sweet tooth, please have the Pumpkin Almond Pancakes.

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The big guy in the sky was on our side all day today. Not only did we wake up in a beautiful hotel room to beautiful weather, but we had our scheiße together at the proper time of 9 this morning, got coffees in the lobby, breakfast on the road, and took off running/driving.

The Utah landscape outside of Salt Lake City is something straight out of Outrageous Fortune, and we spent the day with our eyes peeled for the four fingers, and I think quietly felt like both Steve and I wanted to be Shelly Long. With red sandy cliffs on either wide of us, and a sky as blue as I’ve ever seen, we really did feel like we were driving through the middle America today. As Utah turned into Wyoming, the cliffs turned a beautiful combination of beige and light blue green as the soil changed. And then that was that. The raw Brokeback beauty ended, no mans flat land took over once again. Yawnsville. Someone put on the Taylor Swift.

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Well I woke up an absolute gem this morning thanks to the Denny’s Lounge in Nampa, but woke up nonetheless, which is really what matters. We knew we had a short five and a half hour drive today and still managed to get some food and coffee in our guts before taking off at the prime time of 10:00am.

I will say this much: the road signs that say “Scenic Idaho” are lying a whole lot, but with a lot of flat, dry land behind us we arrived alive and well surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains in Utah at 3:30 in the afternoon, to check into the gorgeous Hotel Monaco in the heart of downtown Salt Lake, close to every theatre, shopping, and city attraction you would look for.

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For all of you that don’t know, I’m en route to Toronto. My Vancouver life has currently come to an end after a decade in the beautiful city that I’ve called home, and it’s time for broader horizons and greener pastures and blah blah blah. So I kissed some babies and shook some hands (in reality I bawled my eyes out for 48 hours off and on), and after 9 goodbye parties and some scathing Facebook updates on how I was never actually leaving and everyone was hungover and broke, I left.

Three of us sold all of our worldly belongings, save our clothing, packed a Ford Explorer I had purchased for a steal and named Beryl, and with two of my best friends and a cat (yup, his name is Bruce and he’s lovely) in tow, we were off yesterday morning with one goal in mind: first stop, Boise, Idaho.

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