Friday, July 31, 2009

Colorado Day 7

Thursday, July 30, 2009: Today was another full one! We got up at 7:30am, got ready, and then went to the lobby for breakfast. They had some hot food and some cold. It was a good variety. We had reservations to ride up Pikes Peak on the 10:40 cog and we got there about 10:10. The weather was kind of cold and a little rainy and we all wore sweatshirts or jackets. We boarded our cog and headed up the mountain right on time. Our tour guide was good and very informative. I have been up Pikes Peak in the past but I think I enjoyed it more this time than any. I really listened to what she had to say and took note of the things to see on the way up. Once we were at the top, we went inside the gift shop and bought a few of the world famous Pikes Peak doughnuts. They were cake doughnuts with icing on top. B1 also had a bowl of chicken noodle soup (just like she did at Pikes Peak as a toddler at 18 months old!) and I had a bowl of chili. When we headed out of the gift shop to go back to the cog, it was actually snowing out there! Really, it was like a sleety kind of snow, but it was really coming down! So weird to be experiencing that on July 30, especially when you live in the Midwest where it is usually 100 degrees that time of the year! We rode back down, bought a couple things in the gift shop at the bottom, and then headed to the US Olympic Training Complex. Bruce wanted to go here and check it out. And let me tell ya, it’s a good thing we did because we ALL managed to find a shirt to buy in the gift shop (Bruce found 2!). We took the tour, which was free, and lasted about an hour. At the end of the tour, as we were walking back towards the main building, B2 claimed that she saw a fox run behind a building. We wondered if she knew what she was talking about. About that time, here comes the fox, running across the campus! Seriously, it scared me a little as I didn't know where he would go, but he just pretty much ran right through a group of people and into some bushes. So crazy! Athletes train here for several years in hopes of making the Olympic teams. After leaving there, we tried to eat dinner at a steakhouse (I am hungry for steak) but the first one we tried was closed down and the second one was too expensive. So we ended up at an Olive Garden. Usually when we are on vacation, we try to eat at places we wouldn’t be able to eat at when we are home. But even when we are at home, we don’t go to the Olive Garden much at all, so it was nice. Our last stop for the evening was at Seven Falls. This is a waterfall which basically has 7 different parts. At night, they light it up and it is pretty. Bruce and B2 climbed up all 224 stairs to the top. B1 and I opted for watching them! Now we are back at the hotel, packing up to leave tomorrow.

The famous Pikes Peak doughnut. This was even featured on the Food Network!

It was 32 degrees and sleeting on us!

Look at the cog tracks! That is totally fresh stuff!

Cool picture, huh? All we needed was Shinza inside the black ring!

This picture is kind of blurry, but this is Seven Falls.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Colorado Day 6

Wednesday, July 29, 2009: Bruce got up early this morning, showered, and headed to the casino down the hill. The girls and I went down there to meet him for breakfast around 9am. Breakfast was free when staying at our hotel and it was really good (hot breakfast). Afterwards, we all went back to the room, packed up, and checked out just before 11am. We headed downtown for a little while longer. Bruce and the girls went to the same place as last night so the girls could play some games. They first dropped me off at a casino where Bruce saw $3 blackjack last night and also “Deal or No Deal” penny slot machines. These two games are my favorites! I played for about 45 minutes and then Bruce went to play for a while and I stayed with the girls. We played pool. Before we left town (about 12:30), we all got a snack (ice cream for us girls, hot dog for Bruce). Our next destination was Colorado Springs. We headed to Garden of the Gods. I remember being at this place as a child and thinking that the “Balanced Rock” and the “Steamboat Rock” were really cool. We spent quite a bit of time at the welcome center and gift shop. We watched a 14-minute film about the forming of the rocks, etc. millions of years ago. And while we were in the gift shop, we ran into Eric Schmidt and his family! Small world! We live in the same town of 1000 and over 850 miles from home, we see each other! Eric is in Colorado Springs for meetings and the rest of his family tagged along. After that, we drove around the park ourselves. It was nice and I do remember some of the other things as well. We got done there just before 5pm and then headed to the Flying W Ranch for dinner. This is a chuck wagon dinner show type of thing. I was here as a child as well. My brother got lost when we were here (he was probably about 7 years old at the time) and I remember sitting on a bench with my grandmother, crying and praying together that we would be able to find him. I was really scared. Turns out, he and his friend (our families were vacationing together) had gone into the parking lot to play catch with a ball they had found. Freaked all of us out! Gees! I was also there 11 years ago with my parents, grandma, Bruce, and B1 as an 18-month old. I was sick at the time, however. I guess I had the flu because I remember vomiting in a trash can. My dad cannot stand it when one of his children or grandchildren is sick and he went and pleaded our case to the management. They in turn gave him his money back for the dinner and we left. So technically, this was the first time I have actually been able to enjoy the entire experience! And I really did enjoy it. Since we arrived 2 hours before dinner, we got a really good seat, up front close to the stage. We walked around the little shops and old-time buildings before dinner. We got to watch a horse being shoed. It was neat. I had seen this on TV but never live before. It was very interesting to watch and B2 loved it! Dinner consisted of either BBQ chicken or beef (the girls and I chose chicken, Bruce beef), baked beans, a foil-wrapped baked potato, chunky applesauce, a roll with butter, a piece of spice cake, and either lemonade, tea, or coffee. They serve dinner on tin plates and the drinks in tin cups. It was cool and the food was filling. The show consisted of cowboy music and lasted about an hour, which was perfect. After we left, we drove to tonight’s hotel (we are also staying here tomorrow night), a Comfort Inn. The room is nice and again, we have a microwave and fridge. Bruce took the girls to the pool for a short while yet this evening. We will be heading to bed here shortly!

Downtown Cripple Creek, Colorado. Aren't these buildings cool looking? Old western mining town......

Bruce and the girls trying to push the "Balanced Rock" over!

B2 and me next to "Steamboat Rock"

Our family before we headed in for dinner.

Inside the dining hall. They serve 1200 people here in just 30 minutes! Everyone sits at picnic tables with other people you don't know. Cool atmosphere!

Colorado Day 5

Tuesday, July 29, 2009: The alarm went off at 6:45 this morning. Ugh! We were out of the hotel by 7:50 and today we headed to McDonald’s for breakfast. The continental breakfast at the hotel didn’t look too great so we decided to splurge! Ha ha! Then we were on the road for about 3.5 hours on our way to Canon City and the Royal Gorge. We passed back through Salida on the way. The Royal Gorge has changed since I was last there 11 years ago. It was rather expensive to get in but once inside, you are able to take advantage of all of the attractions. We first rode the incline railway down to the bottom of the gorge. We took several pictures while down there and saw people white water rafting too. Once we were back on top, we opted to ride the aerial tram across the gorge. B1 wasn’t real sure about this at first but then once we got on (and across!), she was OK. On the other side, we could tell the weather was getting worse and rain was going to start falling any minute. Therefore, we hurried to get to a lunch spot under cover. We had hamburgers, chicken strips, etc. for lunch but it wasn’t until about 2:30pm. Next, we rode a trolley back across the bridge, looked in the gift shop for a little while, and ended our time there with a short train ride. We had a good time. Then we began driving to Cripple Creek, which is an old mining town turned gambling town. When I was here last (also 11 years ago), my dad took a very windy, narrow, scary road to get here and I was afraid that our GPS system might take us the same way this time, but it didn’t, thank God! All the roads we took to get here were paved! Whew! We are staying at the Gold King Mountain Inn and this has been the nicest hotel so far. The room is huge and we have 2 queen size beds but I seriously think we could fit another bed in here (either single or double size), or definitely a couch. We also have a microwave and fridge and the beds feel great! We are just up the hill from the biggest casino in Cripple Creek, the Wildwood. This is the only hotel in town with a pool, which is why I chose it. Once we got here, we checked in to the room and then drove uptown to check things out. Bruce and I took turns walking around with the girls and gambling. We found a bar & grill that had some pool tables, video games, and a slide bowling game. It was right in the heart of some of the casinos so one of us stayed there with the girls while the other gambled. We ended up eating dinner there and then headed back to our hotel area. Bruce dropped me off at the Wildwood about 8:30 and then came back to the hotel to let the girls swim. I came back to the room about 10:15 and now he is out gambling. We don’t have to get up too early tomorrow so it will be nice to sleep in!

I am using some of B1's pictures to post here because my camera is in the car and Bruce is still out on the town!

B1 and B2 on the way down the incline railway

Turn your head to the left to see this one! It was taken on the bottom of the royal gorge. That's me in green and B2 in pink going down the steps and Bruce at the far end of the walkway in a red sweatshirt. Train tracks are to the left and the Arkansas River to the right. I had trouble with her camera card, getting the picture turned the right way!

This is a view from the bottom of the gorge of the aerial tram that we later rode across the gorge! It's really high!

B1, B2 and Royal Gorge Bridge

They are supposedly being "gangstas".......whatever!

And FYI.....I know the weather all over is unseasonally cool, but tonight, here, it is just plain cold outside! I am so glad we brought jackets!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Colorado Day 4

Monday, July 27, 2009: We got an early start today, waking up at 7:00am. We made sure we were driving out of the hotel parking lot (after a small continental breakfast) by 8:15. We went back to the alpine slide this morning and got there when they opened at 9:00am. We did have to wait a little while because the slides were still wet from yesterday but by 9:30, they were open. So the 4 of us all rode halfway up the mountain on a ski lift and then got off to ride down the alpine slide. Although B2 has rode one in the past (in Gatlinburg in 2005), I really don’t think she remembered it all that well and she really liked it today! B1 does remember the last one and she too enjoyed this one. Bruce and I both thought this slide was longer than the ones we have been on in the past. It was a lot of fun! We left there in plenty of time to drive back to Durango (25 miles) and then headed to the train depot/bus stop. We chose to ride a bus to Silverton, CO and the bus left at 11:00am. It was a very interesting drive. The driver was full of knowledge and talked nonstop the entire way there. Once we saw the town of Silverton (from atop a mountain), it was as if someone dropped a handful of buildings in the middle of a bunch of mountains….. seriously, it was really cool! Our bus dropped us off at the Silverton train depot and we had 2 hours to eat and look around. There is only one paved road in Silverton; the rest are dirt/gravel. We ate lunch at Natalia’s restaurant and it was quick and good. Then we walked around and looked in several of the shops. After speaking to some of the townspeople, we found out that Silverton is an old mining town and they are trying to preserve it and not let it become too commercialized. When people who live there want to go to the grocery store, it is over an hour drive, through the mountains, to Durango. I think the nearest mall is in Durango as well. Therefore, when they do go grocery shopping, they stock up big time! The school has about 80 students in it and last year, there was ONE high school graduate! Amazing. It was a very neat little town. I would have liked to have been able to spend more time there. At 2:30, we boarded the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train to ride back to Durango. We were booked in an open air gondola, which meant that we did have a roof over our heads but the sides of the car were open to the air. We liked this better than we would have the closed sides. The scenery on the ride back was beautiful. We all took lots of pictures! At one point, the train was hugging the side of the mountain with the river and a gorge far below! Very neat! We managed to visit the concession car a couple of times during the 3.5 hour trip. We returned to Durango at 6:20pm, headed to the car, and began driving east. Our hotel for tonight is in Pagosa Springs, CO and is called the Oakridge Lodge. It is about 60 miles from Durango. On the way to the hotel, we stopped about halfway at a Long John Silver’s / A&W Root Beer for supper. Once we checked in (about 8:30), we all went to the indoor heated pool to swim. We also spent a little time in the hot tub, which felt really good. Now we are headed to bed and will get up early again tomorrow.

B2 at the end of the alpine slide

B1 at the end of the alpine slide

Silverton.....surrounded by mountains on every side!

Our family at lunch

A sign in the window of the place where we ate lunch!

Looking down the one paved street in Silverton.....
Our family ready to ride the train!

View on the way back to Durango

Part of the Arkansas River

This was taken from high atop a cliff while the train was moving. That's the river below!

Here is the train, winding through the mountaing!

This is a pretty cool picture.....see the train track on the left side, winding around the bend; see the river below; see the mountain in the background.

Colorado Day 3

Sunday, July 26, 2009: Today we were able to sleep a bit later. We got up at 8:00am and after getting ready, went to the Ute Coffee Shop for breakfast. As it turned out, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner 24 hours a day and they had a salad bar! So B1 and I got lunch food while Bruce and B2 got breakfast food. We then headed to Mesa Verde National Park. I mainly wanted to go there to show the girls the cliff dwellings that the Indians lived in a couple thousand years ago. I remember going to the Manitou Springs cliff dwellings as a kid. The park turned out to be much large than I had anticipated. A person could really spend an entire day there but we chose not to do that. After speaking with a park ranger, we decided to check out the Spruce Tree House dwelling on our own. Many people were there doing the same thing. The walk down to the dwelling was even hard because it was so steep, but coming back up was not fun for someone like me, who is NOT in shape! But I made it! The dwellings were really neat and have been very well preserved. When we were done there, we drove a 6-mile loop around 2 other dwellings, one of which was the biggest one there. We did not walk down to see that one close-up but we got some good pictures of it from afar. Also on this drive, we saw a coyote! He was pretty darn tame and just stood there basically posing for us! We also saw 5 wild horses who also posed. The girls thought the animals were pretty cool! We then drove to Durango in hopes of riding the alpine slide at the Durango ski resort. But… began raining as we drove there and once we got there, the slides were closed for the day. Bummer. So we came back and checked into our hotel (Travelodge), brought our bags in, and then headed to downtown Durango. We walked all up and down Main Street looking in the shops and ate dinner inside the Strater Hotel at the Diamond Belle Saloon. The waitresses and bartender were dressed in period clothing and the inside gave you the feeling of an old time saloon. The tables were small and there was a piano player. We ate upstairs, looking out at the bar room from a balcony. The food was good too. We continued walking about the remainder of the shops and finally had dessert about 8:30pm at Cold Stone Creamery. Now we are back at the hotel, watching TV and getting ready to go to bed soon.

This was taken at one of the lookout places in Mesa Verde National Park

B1 and B2 next to a cliff dwelling

Our family next to a cliff dwelling

The coyote!

B1 and B2 "bellied up" to the bar! I made them go down for this picture!

The girls in the balcony seating area

We saw this guy at Cold Stone and then watched him get his dog ready for a motorcycle ride! It was lik nothing we had ever seen before. The dog even has glasses on! He is connected to his owner at two spots. The owner said the dog really likes riding!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Colorado Day 2

Saturday, July 25, 2009: Today was a very, very full day. We began by waking up at 7:15am to get ready for a mountain jeep tour we had scheduled. After showering, etc., we ate breakfast at the hotel and then waited for the jeep people to pick us up there. We had to go in 2 jeeps because our party consisted of 4 people. But that was OK. Bruce and I switched around who rode with who the whole time. The tour was close to 3 hours and took us up on top of a 12,000 foot mountain, Mt. Taylor. We passed by a few old mining camps which still had some of the old buildings there, falling down. This was sort of like a “ghost town” and was pretty cool! We saw lots of different types of trees and also some fools gold as well as some quartz. At the highest point, B2, Bruce and one of the guides walked up high enough to be able to make a snowball! They thought that was pretty neat! We also saw a fawn and a deer along with some little chipmunks. The drivers returned us to the hotel where we stayed last night around noon. We then went to a little townie restaurant called “High Country Hogies” for lunch and it was really good! After that…..we were on the road again! We ended up driving all the way to the 4-corners! Yeah, that is pretty far (we have driven over 600 miles these past 2 days!). Bruce managed to get pulled over by a Colorado state trooper for speeding, but since Bruce is such a “nice guy,” the cop only gave him a warning. Whew! We drove through Cortez, CO and checked into tonight’s hotel (Econolodge) before actually heading to the 4 corners. Once we got there (around 6pm), there really wasn’t much there. But it was still really neat. There were vendors there selling mostly jewelry and some t-shirts. The monument itself is pretty simple. We took a picture of our family, each standing in a different state. And the people (tourists) were just coming and going constantly. Like I said, there really wasn’t much there yet it’s a popular place to go! And I am glad we did. I think the girls thought it was cool and I’ve never been there. I have always been curious about it, so now I know what it’s like! After that, we drove back to Cortez and finally ate dinner about 8:15pm at a place called The Mainstreet Brewery. It was good. There is a casino about 11 miles from here, on an Indian reservation and Bruce is there right now. He dropped us off back at the hotel and headed there for a little while. I am tired. This was a very full day (of mostly driving). Tomorrow won’t be quite as full and a bit more relaxing (I hope!).

In the doorway of one of the old buildings at a deserted mining camp.

These are the jeeps we rode in for our tour.

You gotta look close, but that is Bruce and B2 by the snow! There is a little stream of water next to them.

Almost on top of the mountain!
Bruce is in Colorado, B1 is in New Mexico, B2 is in Arizona, and I am in Utah. How cool!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Colorado Day 1

I copied and pasted this from Word (where I record our daily vacation happenings). I am not sure why it is all underlined and I can't get it to go away.

Friday, July 24, 2009 (our 16th wedding anniversary!): Today was a good day! We left the house this morning at 4:30am headed to St. Louis and Lambert International Airport. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7am and it was on time. We had to wait in line to get our boarding passes and then for security. Once it was time to board the plane, Bruce was able to go on first and since we were flying Southwest, we picked our own seats. He was able to get 2 window seats for the girls since this was their first ever airplane ride. We landed in Kansas City for about a half hour or so and then went on to Denver. We did not have to switch planes. We landed in Denver on time at 9:05am their time. We had not checked any bags (believe it or not!) so we were able to go straight to the Hertz place to get our rental car. We are driving a Mazda, which really isn’t big enough for us, but it will do! We began driving west, stopping for lunch at an outside mall just on the west side of Denver. Bruce and Brittany ate at Subway while Bailey and I ate at Qdoba. Our first stop was in Vail, where we spent some time shopping and taking pictures! The girls also played for awhile in a fountain area. We got a snack of popcorn while there. Then we went about 1 mile farther west and rode a gondola ride at Lionsgate. We took it to the top of the mountain and then looked around and took more pictures! It was a beautiful view and we could see all the ski slopes, etc. Then we rode back down and began driving towards Salida. Most of the drive was on a 2-lane highway and although curvy, the views were awesome. Bruce stopped once so we could look out at the scenery. We stopped along the way in Buena Vista and had dinner at a little “hole-in-the-wall” Mexican place called Pancho’s. It was good though! Those kind of places usually are! We finally arrived here at our hotel, a Great Western Lodge, around 9am. The room is pretty big and we have 2 queen size beds.

This was taken in Vail, right near the shopping area.

Playing in the fountain!

Taken on the top of a mountain after the gondola ride.

This was a bridge we crossed over somewhere around Leadville, CO on highway 24.

Also taken along the highway 24 route on the way to Salida.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Major Change in Plans!

We were supposed to go to South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Wall Drug, etc.) on vacation this year. This was going to be the first vacation EVER that I planned where we had NO reservations made, for anywhere. We were just going to "wing it" every day and every night. I had a general idea of where about we might end up each day, but if we didn't make it that far, or if we chose to go further, that would be fine. One of the reasons for this "careless" sort of trip is that our girls both play softball. And their playoffs might last a couple days or over a week. Last year, we ended up missing B1's last game of the playoffs, which her team lost 4-3. We wonder if she would have been there, would it have made a difference? Who knows. We simply didn't want to be in this same boat this year with either one of our daughters. Knowing that in previous years, the playoffs are usually over shortly after the St. Jacob Homecoming, we felt confident in saying that we would leave sometime this week, but preferably early in the week.

Well, that's not going to happen. Thier playoffs were supposed to begin last Wednesday. It rained that day, which pushed everything to Thursday. B1's team lost on Thursday; B2's team won. It's a double-elimination tournament. After Thursday, B1 played again on Sunday (won) while B2 played again on Saturday (lost). Now they both had one loss. Another would end the season for either one of them. Next games......both on Monday night (tonight). B1's team won tonight, knocking out a team that I thought might have a good chance to be champions. B2's team lost, knocking our team out and honestly, I thought we might have a good chance to be champions. Anyway.....we are still playing, B1 at least. And the next game is now Wednesday. If they win, they would have to turn around and play the same team again the following night. If they win then, they would be the champions. Whew! So.....this could take us all the way through Thursday night.

Knowing all of this, I determined that our big family summer vacation would continue to be pushed back more and more. And although we are both teachers and have the whole summer "off", we still need to be back by a certain date so that B1 can prepare for middle school softball tryouts. Also, Bruce and I have a concert to go to in Metropolis, IL on August 1. I saw it coming and began speaking to Bruce about what we might do. Do we just up and leave, and leave the girls' teams without them? Not that they couldn't survive without our girls in the least, but still, we are trying to teach some sort of teamwork and commitment here too. Tough decision.

What to do, what to do? So here's what we came up with: scratch South Dakota altogether. Instead, let's FLY to Colorado! Yeah, fly! The girls have never flown before and B2 is a little freaked about it. But she'll be OK. We are going to leave on Friday, fly to Denver, rent a car, and drive, drive, drive. We are going to see A LOT of the state in one week.....Vail, take a mountan jeep tour in Salida, go to the 4 Corners, see Mesa Verde National Park, ride an alpine slide in Durango, do the Durango/Silverton narrow gauge railroad trip, go to the Royal Gorge, gamble in Cripple Creek, see the Garden of the Gods, go to a chuckwagon dinner show, ride the cog to the top of Pikes Peak, see Seven Falls, and see the Air Force Academy. Some of these things may change and some others might be added, we'll just have to see.

Colorado had always been on my list of "vacations I want to take the girls on" so this change is completely fine with me. It's another that I will get to check off my list! In fact, I think I might be more excited about this trip than I was the South Dakota one......which, by the way, is now slated for 2010!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Kind of Week!

Guess what?!? Bruce and I are in FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep.....the home of Mickey Mouse! I didn't post anything about this prior to now because I didn't want a couple people to find out and I wasn't sure whether or not they would be reading my blog.

Anyway, about a month ago, we got an e-mail from Bruce's best friend's wife, inviting us (along with many other people) to a surprise 40th birthday party for him on July 15. We were included in the e-mail, even though we 4 states away, only because she sent it out to a whole lot of people all at once (I'm thinking everyone in her address book). So I casually mentioned it to Bruce......and then he came up with the idea that if we chose to try to go to the party, we could probably squeeze in a day at Disney. Gee, hmmmmm, you think that perked my ears up a little? Duh!

We left on Monday, flew down, and rented a car at Orlando Internaltional Airport. We checked into the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel and promptly headed to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Jiko. Then we went to the boardwalk and spent the rest of the evening walking around, watching the All-Star home run derby, and eating ice cream. I have definitely found the place where I want to stay next time we are at Disney: the Yacht and Beach Club! That place looks amazing! The pool there is to die for!

On Tuesday, we spent the entire day in Disney parks (except for the 45 minutes we took to come back, shower, and change). We visited Disney's Hollywood Studios, The Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. I won't go into details about all of that. The highlight of the day was surprising one of my best friends at Epcot. She is on her first Disney trip ever with some other members of her family and we showed up at the place where they were having dinner. She was shocked! I snuck up on her, put my hands over her eyes, and said "it's someone from home." She recognized my voice and said "you're kidding me!" We spent the remainder of the night with her and at one point, she said "I can't believe we are 17 hours from home and we are riding this ride together!" It was cool.

Today, we slept in (after staying at Epcot until midnight last night), went to Downtown Disney to shop (and we did pretty well with that!), ate lunch at Earl of Sandwich (my Caprese sandwich was superb!), and then headed towards Tampa. We managed to find a casino in which to spend a couple of hours, then shopped for a little while at a mall, and then went to Patrick's party. We walked into the restaurant and he looked towards us and then did a double-take. His wife jumped out of her chair and ran towards us screaming "no way!" It was cool!

Now we are at their house getting ready for bed. We will fly back home tomorrow. It's been nice to get away alone for a few days. The good news is that our girls' ball games got rained out tonight so we didn't miss anything there. We will be back home by game time tomorrow!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Rough Volunteer Job!

We got to do a cool little volunteer job yesterday at Busch Stadium.

The major league baseball all-star game is being played in St. Louis this year and they needed the help of random people. You see, we got to go down to the stadium and "stand in" for the all-stars. The stadium has to do several run-throughs of announcing the line-ups, among other pre-game festivities. So.....they needed bodies to take the place of the All-Stars.

B1 was Francisco Rodriguez of the New York Mets; I was Johan Santana of the New York Mets, and Bruce was Jason Marquis (former Cardinal) of the Colorado Rockies. We got to sit in the dugout and when it was time, go stand out on the first base line. Then they "introduced" us and we even got to be on the jumbotron! Pretty cool. They went through the entire pre-game ceremony, including President Obama's speech. We rehearsed this thing like 3 times. We were there for 2 hours! From what I understand, other random citizens are doing this same routine every day until Tuesday.

This picture was taken while we stood in the Cardinal dugout.

Here is Bruce in the dugout.

The 3 of us on the field (we even got to walk across the GRASS! (gasp!)).

Bruce on the jumbotron!

B1 and me on the jumbotron!

Bruce next to the Jack Buck statue outside the stadium afterwards.

And while the 3 of us were there (you had to be 12 years old to participate), B2 stayed at my parents' house and among other things, created this frog with Play-Doh. Pretty good, huh?