It’s always been a dream of mine to go to an NFL game, but growing up in Utah and trying to keep the Sabbath Day holy really made it difficult for my dream to become a reality, but yesterday the perfect situation presented itself, and I could not pass it up.
My friend Spencer Orr’s brother-in-law works for StubHub and offered us free tickets to any NFL game, anytime we wanted. We looked over the schedule and saw the Chargers were playing the Raiders a short 5 hours away from Las Vegas and the best part was the game was on a Thursday night.
Spencer and I worked until about 11:00 on Thursday morning and then headed off to San Diego. The road trip went by fast (probably because we didn’t stop even though our bladders wanted to) and we arrived at Qualcomm Stadium.
The game was awesome! It was so crazy to be that close to NFL action. NFL fans are a different breed. They cheer hard and drink a ton. One Chargers fan wearing a Dan Fouts jersey walked around the entire game holding a Chargers helmet high in the air. We definitely did not come dressed for an NFL game: 90% of the fans were wearing jerseys and the other 10% would have been wearing jerseys too but their chests were painted. I never knew the Chargers and Raiders were such fierce rivals. The rivalry made the game intense because fans were constantly yelling at each other and several fights occurred in the stands. There was even a stabbing in the parking lot after the game.
Right after the game we loaded up on Rockstar energy drinks and made the voyage back to Vegas. We got home at about 3:30 am. It was a long day but definitely one that I will never forget.
Happy birthday to my best friend, Kacie. She turned 21 years old today. I love her so much and am so grateful for her.
I love how happy she makes me. I love her golden smile. I love that we speak in our own language. If anyone heard us speak when it’s just the two of us, they would have no idea what we were talking about. I love that her favorite restaurant is Denny’s. I don’t love Denny’s but I love how excited she gets to eat a $4 meal. I love that her favorite color is gold and she’ll spray paint or add gold buttons to almost everything she owns. I love her cooking. She cooks me lunch and dinner every day. How lucky am I!? I love how funny she is. She makes me laugh so hard. I love that she makes up her own remixes to every song she hears on the radio. I love her impeccable memory. I love how caring she is. I love that she is careful with her money but doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to giving gifts to others. I love that she reads her scriptures every night. I love that she makes me want to be a better person. I love that she makes me get out of bed and go running every morning. I love that she is a hard worker. I love that she watches sports with me everyday and she is actually learning quite a bit whether she likes it or not. I love daydreaming with her about our future. I love how excited she gets about little things. I love going on vacation with her. I love that she tells me she loves me many times a day. I love spending as much time as possible with her. I love how gorgeous she is. I love that she has her own style. I love that we have a countless inside jokes. I love how thoughtful she is. I love that she is a good friend and sister. I love that she can’t keep secrets from me. I love that she is always up for anything. I love how grateful she is. I love waking up to her smiling face. I love it when she picks me up from work. I love how happy she is. I love that she is my wife and I am her’s forever.
Portland has been deemed the best cycling city in America so we had to make sure it lived up to the hype… and it did. We rented bikes on Sunday after church and cruised all over the city. We made a stop at my favorite restaurant on the trip: The Grilled Cheese Grill. We ate in a school bus with a spectacularly painted ceiling and played Trivial Pursuit as we ate. A close second as far as my favorite restaurant on the trip is concerned, goes to Little Big Burger. We knew Portland was our kind of city when we found an ice cream store called Tart Berry. It’s an entire store that sells the same ice cream that they sell at Maverik.
Our most visited location on our vacation was Powell’s City of Books. We went there at least once (sometimes twice) a day. It occupies an entire city block and has four stories. It is awesome!
On Monday we went to Seattle for the day. We went to Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Seattle is a unique city and it was fun to show Kacie another place she had never been before.
This afternoon we soaked up our last minutes in the City of Roses before we headed to the airport and back to the desert. The flight back to Vegas was entertaining because we sat next to a guy who had been sleeping in the park for 3 weeks as part of the “Occupy Portland” movement.
Our trip to the Pacific Northwest was a blast, but too short.
Way back in June Kacie and I stumbled upon a deal that we couldn’t pass up and bought plane tickets to one of my favorite cities: Portland, Oregon. The time has finally come and Friday afternoon Kacie and I flew in. I thought I had our route from the airport to our hotel planned out perfectly, but it definitely did not go according to my plan.
We took the train from the airport to downtown and I thought it was a really “slick operation” but things went downhill from there. We waited an hour for bus #54, but it turns out we could have taken any of the buses that had been stopping every 5 minutes. Once we boarded a bus, we missed our stop. When we finally got off, we had no idea where we were or which direction we were walking. To make matters worse it was dark and we were pulling our luggage. After many silent prayers, we found our hotel. Our hotel is super nice and right on the beautiful Willamette River.
By the time we finally found our hotel we were both famished and not in the best of spirits but that quickly changed when we found Pizza Schmizza and enjoyed a delicious dinner.
We woke up and ran a couple of miles along the river. The weather was great and so was the new scenery. After our run we ate breakfast and got a map so we wouldn’t get lost again. We headed to Portland State University’s Farmer’s Market. Kacie was in heaven! She loved taking pictures and imagining what meals she would make with all the fresh produce.
We walked all over the city making stops at another Farmer’s Market and a bunch of other stores. My favorite stop was VooDoo doughnuts. We waited in line for 30 minutes, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. I got a maple bar with two strips of bacon on it and another one with Froot Loops all over it. Kacie thought she got one that looked like an ice cream cone but it turns out it she was holding it wrong and it was supposed to be a blunt.
It was an awesome first day in Portland and having a map helped a ton. We walked so much; our legs feel like they are going to fall off.
My parents invited us to meet them in California for the weekend, and I’ve never been one to turn down a vacation, so we joined them. We had a blast. The weather was great and the company even better.
On Saturday morning, Kacie and I ran 5 miles. It really wasn’t too big of a deal but my parents would not stop talking about how far we ran.
We ate really great food over the weekend including Joe’s Crab Shack and Dad’s famous chocolate covered frozen bananas. Newport, Corona del Mar, and Laguna Beach were all super fun, but our favorite part of the weekend was our visit to Balboa Island.
This past weekend I went to Phoenix, Arizona with the Johnson boys. It was a fun-filled weekend which included two Diamondbacks vs Giants games, an air museum, the movie Moneyball, and an ASU vs USC football game. The highlight of the trip was either meeting the always freshly dressed TNT personality Craig Sager or when grandpa Johnson asked the waitress at the game to get all 7 of us baseballs from batting practice. She ended up getting him one; which he gave away to a little boy sitting behind us.
For many years it’s been a dream of mine to own a horse (that dream almost became a reality a couple of summer ago with Dave Carter but that’s a whole other story). There’s nothing quite like saddling up a pony and riding into the wind, so when Kacie told me we were going horseback riding for my birthday I was ecstatic. Even though I had to wait a week to go, due to the weather, it turned out to be even better than I imagined.
Sandy Valley Ranch which is on the border Nevada and California. Their motto is “45 Minutes and 100 Years from Las Vegas.” I cannot think of a better way to describe it. It is in the middle of nowhere and you really do feel like you stepped back in time when you go there. Our night consisted of a trail ride, penning cattle, and a cowboy meal.
Our trail guide was a funny, older guy from Scotland named Robert. He got married at SVR 7 years ago. Robert and his wife loved SVR so much that they come all the way from Scotland twice a year to work. They don’t get paid to work there, they just get to stay for free. A pretty good deal if you ask me. I felt like I was in the Wild, Wild West on our ride.
Penning the cattle was my favorite part. They released 10 cows into an arena and Kacie and I had to herd them into a little pen. The cows had huge horns and were pretty stubborn but we were eventually able to get them all in the pen.
The cowboy meal was perfect for me. Ribs, baked potato, pork and beans, and key lime pie. Kacie isn’t a big fan of ribs and claimed these ones were gross because they were “mushy”. Fall off the bone meat doesn’t appeal to everyone I guess, but I loved the meal.
We had the best night. The staff went above and beyond and treated us like royalty. I really hope that we will be able to go back again one day.
“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed, is you.” - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I’ve been to 23 different states but there is no greater than my home state: UTAH. We were fortunate to go back this weekend. As soon as we crossed the state line, Kacie was looking for a Maverik. We were pleasantly greeted by a new flavor, Huckleberry.
It was fun to see all of our family up there and we had a lot of fun with them. I’d never believe that a trip to see BYU lose by 40+ points would be a positive experience but it was a great trip.
I miss living in the Beehive State and hope it will be my home again one day.
Kacie took me to California for my birthday last weekend so I figured my actual birthday would be pretty low key but Kacie went out of her way to make it awesome.
She took me to her favorite restaurant, Denny’s for breakfast. It has become a tradition to go there on our birthdays because you get a free Grand Slam on your big day.
After work, we were supposed to go horseback riding but we got rained out, so Kacie picked me up and said she was taking me to dinner instead. She took me to the Cheesecake Factory. I figured it would just be the two of us. When we got there she went and put our name on the list and about 5 minutes later, the hostess said, “Kacie, party of six.” I started to stand up but when I heard six I sat back down and said that it was ironic that there were two Kacies waiting. Kacie said it was for us and I was super confused. It turned out that my friends Spencer, Rachel, Dave, and Megan joined us. Kacie was sneaky and set the whole thing up to surprise me. The Orr’s were overly kind and picked up our tab. We had a lot of fun and chatted longer than our waiter would have liked.
We came home to our door decorated with hearts and hand prints from our nieces Chloe and Aspen.
It was a great birthday. I’m so grateful for Kacie for going above and beyond to make my birthday so great and grateful for good family and friends for remembering me on my birthday.
Just when I thought Kacie couldn’t get any better, she surprised me like no one has ever surprised me before. On Thursday night she told me that she bought me Angels vs Yankees tickets and got us a hotel for my birthday. I was shocked!
We left early Saturday morning and drove straight to Newport Beach. It was so nice to be back at the beach.
We went to the game when the gates opened to soak up the whole experience. We watched batting practice and Kacie got one of the Angels coaches to throw us a ball again. We had great seats. We sat on the first row behind the Yankee’s bullpen. The game was a blast! C.C. Sabathia got rocked, Dan Haren pitched a gem, Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis both hit homeruns. I couldn’t have been happier about the final score: Angels 6, Yankees 0. It was a great birthday present!
After the game we met up with our friends Cory and Dani and got some ice cream. It was good to see them.
Sunday we went to one of the best sacrament meetings I’ve been to in awhile and then we walked on the beach a little bit more. When you are that close to the beach you have to take advantage of it.
We left after lunch and were home by 5:00. It’s nice living only 4 hours away from the beach. I still cannot believe that Kacie did that for me! It was a perfect weekend and an unbelievable birthday present.
Our Labor Day morning was spent riding our bikes down one of the most famous streets in America, Las Vegas Boulevard. The Strip is actually very pleasant if you go early enough. Half way down The Strip we stopped for breakfast at America’s (and Kacie’s) favorite diner, Denny’s.
It was a great day. I wish every Monday was Labor Day.
Most of Saturday was spent watching college football. It’s great to have it back, and the best part was BYU beating Ole Miss!
Saturday night we went to the Area 51’s game because the Bee’s were in town. I was surprised to find out that the cheapest ticket at Cashman Field was $14. As I stood in line to buy our tickets, I was debating whether it was really worth $28 to see the Bee’s play, when a very nice lady came up to me and handed me two tickets. I could not believe it! The seats turned out to be directly behind home plate, five rows up. We sat next to the couple that gave us the tickets. They could not have been nicer. Great seats, great company, and we even got free mesh Area 51 jerseys.
On Sunday, Kacie (Area 51’s new biggest fan) made my favorite dessert- cherry pie. It was so delicious. She is a great cook. Thank heavens tomorrow is Labor Day because I am definitely not ready for this weekend to end.
I came home to a nice surprise today; a nice package addressed to me. Inside I found two awesome BYU shirts. One for me and one for my wife. Thanks, Kacie! I can’t wait for the game tomorrow!