Tuesday June 27, 2017
After dinner, we took Loki out for his 4th birthday. We went to his favorite ice cream stand ever, White Farms Ice Cream in Ipswich, MA. Full disclosure- they're all his favorite; he LOVES ice cream. He gets the special treatment at White Farms, though. His cup full of soft serve vanilla comes with a couple of doggy treats. Plus, he gets all kinds of lovely compliments on his stunning good looks. From his perspective, it's an all-around awesome time. After we pestered him for enough portraits, we hopped back in the car to go for a ride, which is his other favorite activity. We got him inside just before a torrent of rain fell, which was perfect timing, because he hates rain. The sad part is we were leaving him with a sitter. The happy part is we were hitting the road. Er, the skies
Wednesday June 28, 2017
Kelly and I first met when we both ventured to Bozeman, MT in 2009 to complete a summer internship at Montana State University in the chemistry department. We became good friends and kept in touch through the years. Rob and I each met Lawson during our road trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2013. And now we're on our way to their wedding! Our alarms went off at 3am today, as scheduled. Everything was mostly packed but this allowed us time to get up, eat, shower, and gather last minute items. At 4:01am we had the car loaded and were leaving the driveway. Rob drove my car to our friend Ryan's house in Revere. We utilized the free street parking and took an Uber from there to the airport which cost about $14.
I had already pre-checked us into our flight so when we arrived at the airport at 5am we proceeded straight to security. Accidentally, we found ourselves in the TSA pre-check area. Although we had pre-checked in, this was apparently wrong. The TSA agent told us to get in the other line. As we were turning to make our way into the other line, another woman approached the TSA pre-check line and the TSA agent redirected her as well. The woman asked the agent "What is TSA pre-check?" Again, she was told curtly to join the other line. So the question went unanswered. The other line was longer and moved pretty slowly but we had time to spare. Once we approached the security checkpoint we asked if we had to remove shoes today. Yes. I always ask if we're "doing shoes today?" when we get to the staging area for the security theater. It varies and I don't like to take my shoes off if I don't have to. Belts too, even though Rob's was all plastic. We made it through security and to our gate with 15 minutes to spare.
We flew to, and landed somewhere in Texas. After crossing the entire airport we made it to Gate D37 with about 20 minutes to spare. There is a lady here with the most amazingly feathery, super-stylish and 70s haircut waiting for the same flight to Bozeman. The boarding process for this flight went smoothly. Oddly, the seat next to us remained empty so we got a little extra stretching space for this leg of the trip. A rare bonus! I gave Rob the window seat again because I'm so nice to him. Our takeoff time for this flight was 11:10 am CDT. I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on this flight. It was pretty good but I think I fell asleep at the very end. Typical. We arrived in Bozeman at 12:54 pm MDT.
As we were taxiing to the gate I turned on my phone and received a message from Kelly. It said that her parents, Kevin and Janet, were going to pick us up at the airport. This was so much simpler than our plan, which was to take a cab from the airport to downtown Bozeman, catch a free bus from there to Livingston, and then walk about a half hour from the bus stop to our Airbnb. We found Kelly's parents outside the airport and chatted with them as they drove us to Livingston. Thanks again to Kevin and Janet!
We arrived at our Airbnb and followed our host's instructions for how to get into the house. The long trip had made us exhausted but also very hungry. We unloaded our luggage and I freshened up a bit while Rob laid down for a few minutes. Kelly had called while we were en route to Livingston and asked if we wanted to get food with her and Marissa (her maid of honor). Rob and I were more than happy to join them. After we got our things situated at the house, we gave Kelly a call and they promptly came to pick us up. Kelly said she knew some good lunch spots and she took us to Feedlot 49 at the Popstand. I ordered an Asian chicken salad, Rob did as well, and he also ordered a Cuban sandwich because he's a growing boy. All of the food was delicious. Rob ordered a hefeweizen to drink. I think it was El Hefe, from Neptune's Brewery. It was okay but I didn't love it.
We felt fully recharged after this late lunch (keep in mind, our bodies were under the impression it was about dinnertime, due to the time change). Kelly continued driving away from Livingston and took us past her wedding venue. "It's somewhere over that way," as she pointed vaguely out the car window from the highway, "I don't know". We continued on further into Paradise Valley where Kelly's family was renting a lodge and to stop in and say hi. Here, we met several of Kelly's aunts and uncles, her grandparents, and her nephew. Kelly's family was very friendly and we enjoyed a short visit with them before heading back into Livingston. Kelly was kind enough to chauffeur us to Albertson's so that we could get some groceries for our stay. All four of us then decided that coffee was in order so we stopped at Coffee Creek before heading to Kelly and Lawson's house. We were trying to stay up as late as possible in order to force ourselves into the mountain time zone schedule. We got a grand tour of their lovely home and got to sat hi to Abel (their puppy!). We didn't stay long as we wanted to get the groceries back to the house. Rob was kind enough to take care of all the ironing in the evening while I got to relax. We finally made it to bed at 9 pm MDT after being awake for 22 hours.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
We woke up at 6:30 am and showered. We got to sleep in! The house rules said that we weren't allowed to cook bacon, so breakfast was eggs, sausage, and coffee. Rob also had a yogurt. Around 8:30 am we ventured out of the house and made the ~10 minute walk to Kelly and Lawson's. Kelly let us borrow her car (and her puppy!) so that we could go for a hike. She gave us directions to the Hogback Ridge trailhead. Mandy drove, and we headed out of Livingston going south on 89, following Kelly's hodgepodge directions. We watched for the sign for Trail Creek Road which was somewhere near the "three blue silos". Not far out of town we saw the sign for Trail Creek Road, we turned right off 89 onto Divide Creek Road. We continued down dirt roads following signs for Trail Creek Road which stated 4.5 miles from the first, until finally we found the start of Trail Creek Road. We cruised down Trail Creek Road for a ways before we began to wonder if this is where Kelly intended to send us. We had been given the impression the previous day that Hogback Trail was right near the blue silos, when we drove past the "somewhere out there" wedding venue. But she definitely mentioned Trail Creek Road. We decided to turn around and backtrack because we didn't have cell service this far in the foothills but we wanted to ask Kelly if we were going the right way.
After driving back out the way we came, we finally made it back to Divide Creek Road. We decided to turn left, which was the option we didn't take the last time we were at this intersection, and about 10 seconds later we found the dirt parking lot and trailhead. Abel (Kelly's dog) was very excited to be hiking with us and bolted to the trailhead. She knew where to go already because she's done this hike a time or two. We began the hike with minimal fanfare. Abel likes to stay nearby, even without a leash. We crossed a creek, (I assume Trail Creek? or maybe Divide creek?) on a couple wooden planks. The trail proceeded to get quite steep right from the start, but we managed. We hiked up to perhaps the second or third ridge. It's hard to say really; we were quite busy with taking in the amazing view the entire time. We passed by a picnic table in a small clearing. Eventually, the trail became more aggressive, and we were plagued with the thought that we had to return Kelly's car to her by 1 pm. A bride's got business to attend, or something. We turned around, much to Abel's disappointment. When we got back to the flat area near the picnic table we decided to stop and do some stretching and yoga. The view here was amazing. Feeling relaxed, we made our way back to the bottom of the trail in short time. The ride back to Kelly's house was short and direct with no missed turns.
We stopped at Kelly's and returned her car and her dog. It was a short visit again as we were hungry, so we walked back to our Airbnb to start making lunch. Beers were also in order, so we cracked open a couple Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. Prickly Pear Ales that we had picked up at the grocery store. They were okay. We were expecting more pear flavor because we don't know how to read. Prickly pear is a cactus. There was nothing to do with a pear fruit involved. I have to finish hers for her. Too bitter for my taste. Our temporary housemates (Dan and Sarah) arrived while Rob was making some chickens for lunch. Sarah left shortly afterwards to get her nails done with Kelly. We invited Dan to head out and explore downtown with us but he decided to stick around the house and relax from their long day of traveling from Vermont.
Our first stop was Tom's Jewelers. We had walked by here earlier on the way to Kelly's and wanted to stop back in to see if I could find a wedding band. There were a couple that were on sale but I didn't love them. I think the man that we spoke to makes them, though, which was cool. And he was able to tell us the sources of the metals in the rings, which were local. Also cool. We told him that we wanted to think on it and set out to continue exploring the town. The next stop was at Livingston Bodega and Bakery. But we took a really roundabout way to get there. Not quite knowing what we wanted to do, we stopped to get a coffee and gather our thoughts to formulate a plan. I got a pour-over which I learned is basically a fancy drip. Mandy got the same. They were pretty good. We chatted with the barista about how we didn't have a plan. We mentioned that we had thought about getting tattoos. The barista told us of a shop across town. He also pointed out that there are 25 bars in this tiny town. It was odd that he made no mention of the tattoo shop that was literally downstairs from our conversation. But that seemed to be a pretty obvious sign to avoid it.
At the suggestion of the barista, we made our way across town to find that this tattoo shop, 617, generally didn't accept walk-ins. Oh well. We turned towards Sacagawea Park, but by the time we got there we were so tired of walking that we pretty much turned around at the entrance and went back home. We sat for a little while and relaxed until Sarah returned. It was around dinner time at this point so we set out as a group of four to find food. Kelly had recommended Neptune's on more than one occasion so we all made our way there. Neptune's is a brewery/bar/restaurant/sushi bar. The sushi was reportedly the best, so I got the chef's choice roll. I don't know what it was but it had jalapenos on it. It was pretty good, but not the "best ever" like I was told. I got a bourbon aged Scottish ale that was pretty good although a bit heavy towards the end of it. I also ate a pulled pork sammy that was decent; I thought it could be greatly improved if the bun was toasted. The sandwich came with fries that were amazing. Mandy got a latte stout which we both enjoyed. She ate a crispy chicken sandwich and more amazing fries. Seriously, get the fries. Definitely the highlight.
After we were all satisfied we wandered around town trying to find the next bar. Dan had said earlier that his goal was to stay awake until 8 pm, so we were doing our best to keep him out until then. We ended up at The Mint and got a round of vodka lemonades, the drink special. These were great, everyone enjoyed theirs. And cheap! There were a few "mint" innuendos at this place. The floor was all pennies. There was mint in the lemonade. There were Playboys all over the walls of the bathroom, which was pretty mint, too. After we paid and walked out, we intended to go to another bar, but then we decided to just go back home. We were all pretty exhausted. Mandy and I watched Chef and Dan and Sarah went to sleep. The movie ended around 10:30 and we decided to call it a night.
Friday June 30, 2017
I woke up at 5 am. I did some research on batteries for our trailer until Mandy woke up at 6 am. We had breakfast and coffee and then took showers. We woke up Kelly to steal her dog at 8:25 am to go for another hike. We = Sarah, let's be clear. Sarah woke up Kelly. We did a quick tour of Kelly and Lawson's house for Dan and Sarah, then we grabbed Abel and her water dish, and left for the hike. We headed back to Hogback Trail. We hiked up about 45 minutes, not quite as far as yesterday. We called it early because Kelly and Lawson had given us a tip for another hike that we were all eager to do. So we wound our way back down the hill toward the car. Once there, we piled in. Dan and Sarah rented an Impreza for their trip, and today they were driving. Then we shot across the highway. While winding up a big hill, we were reminded of the road down to San Marcos la Laguna in Guatemala, though there weren't nearly as many switchbacks here. Dan followed signs to Pine Creek campground, with Mandy's backseat navigation assistance. Our destination trailhead was in the campground. We eventually found it nestled way in the back.
We parked the car, hopped out, and started walking. This trail is very different from Hogback, which is very exposed and quite steep. The Pine Creek Falls Trail is heavily wooded, generally pretty flat, and the air stays cool and damp as the trail follows a creek (Pine Creek, we assume) most of the way. We hiked in about a mile and a quarter, which took us a little over a half hour. There are a few random places where the trees overhead part just enough to provide a small window to the sheer rock faces far overhead. These mountains are always awe-inspiring, so we stopped briefly to gaze up. When we reached our goal (which is not the end of the trail), we found a spectacular waterfall. It was particularly impressive because the area had received good rainfall yesterday. The waters were flowing powerfully.
After we soaked in the views a while, snacked and quenched our thirsts, and of course took several pictures, we headed back down the trail. We passed several groups along the way, most of which had dogs with them. Abel was somewhat shy around the others, but she was a fantastic hiking buddy. When we got back to the car, we all agreed that we were past due for some lunch. We dropped off Abel quickly and then circled back to The Hungry Mexican, a few blocks from Kelly's house.
The restaurant has room enough for only a handful of people to stand in while they order food. I got what I assume was a special called the Jack taco. And I also got a steak taco. The waitress told us she only had 5 Jack tacos left, when I ordered 1. Confused, I said, "ok." Mandy ordered 1 pork and 1 chicken taco. We grabbed a table outside to wait for the food. We were planning ahead to some adult beverages, and we decided we should get some soda or juice to mix in the nips we already had. There was gas station across the parking lot, so I went to go get Mandy and myself a drink. Except when I opened the door to the convenience store, it was empty inside but for a desk with two people working at it. My confused instinct kicked in and I immediately turned around and left. I saw across the road Yellowstone Gifts and Sports. It looked like the type of place that might sell drinks by the cash register. They did, but not any drinks that either of us wanted. So I went to the store next door, Shopko. They had a warm can of lemonade and a warm bottle of diet Pepsi. Good enough. In the amount of time it took to check out, I learned about the cashier's son's wife's rescue effort of a baby pitbull found on the roadside and that he had grown to 130 lbs. And the kids in the neighborhood ride him around. Great. I made it back across the highway somehow before the food even arrived. When it did come out, the Jack taco was...whelming. It was about a tablespoon of chorizo and ground beef with a slice of American cheese in a deep fried tortilla. The regular beef taco was a little bigger and better, but neither could hold a candle to the tacos we ate in Guatemala. But we anticipated that anyway, so we were not disappointed. After we ate, we drove the few minutes back home. There I set to work on pan frying some chickens while Mandy made me a salad. I ate second lunch while everyone else worked on getting cleaned up for the rehearsal for the wedding. I went last.
After we all got changed and ready, we drove back out south on 89 towards the wedding venue, for the rehearsal. We were in the vicinity of the waterfall hike, though I'm not exactly sure where. I wasn't paying attention. The venue is beautiful, with outstanding views all around. We ate dinner first, and did some event setup. Then the wedding party went up the hill to practice the ceremony. Dan and I stayed by the reception hall to guard the beverages and practice ladderball. We were soon called upon to bring the grandparents some chairs which we happily obliged. Once up the hill, we stuck around to watch the practice. After a few run-throughs, the couple were content, so we went back to the hall to work on more event setup. By we, I mean the wedding party. I just had to watch. Mandy and Sarah made boutonnieres and other decorations. The wedding party set tables and arranged all the decor and accessories. It was very busy and fun to watch. So much went together so quickly!
After the setup was complete, we drove a short way to Pine Creek Lodge. We went around the left side to the will call table because we already had tickets. We got bracelets and beers, and finally a spot in the crowd. We were just in time to watch the opening act finish before the main act, Hot Buttered Rum, took stage. This was a cool bluegrass band recommended to us by Kelly. The venue was so awesome, outside on the foothills of these majestic mountains. It was by no means the biggest venue, or well-organized. But the setting was absolutely phenomenal. We enjoyed the show until about 10pm. Sarah (who is a physical therapist) had agreed to manipulate Kelly's neck to relieve some pre-wedding tension at her house so we went there. After that, we retired to home, and bed.
Saturday July 1, 2017
We woke up at about 5 am. Mandy had a very sore throat. She had some water and we slept a while longer after I checked that there were no white spots. I was afraid I had strep throat. Eventually, leisurely, we got up. Precisely when we felt like it. We ate breakfast and Mandy had some tea, which helped. We showered and steamed the wrinkles out of her bridesmaid dress. Eventually, it was time for her and Sarah to head over to Kelly's to prepare for the main event at 9 am.
Sarah and I showed up fashionably late to Kelly's house at 9:15 am. We quickly dropped the things that we had brought with us and I started to get beautified. I was up first for makeup. There were three hairdressers simultaneously doing hair. Kelly had asked me to bring my steamer for her dress. So, after my makeup was done, I quickly steamed her dress with the help of Taylor, the groom's sister. After steaming, which didn't take long, I got my hair done. I wanted a high updo, but the hairdresser talked me into a pull through braid at the base of my skull. It was fine. Finally, my hair was done and all I had left to do was put on my dress. Suddenly, one of the hairdressers exclaimed that Abel was here. Before that moment, she was not. She was supposed to be at a house several blocks away where some friends were watching her. I volunteered to walk her back to their house, and Sarah came with me. We walked Abel to S. D Street, which was the same street our Airbnb was on. We stopped by there first to get sunblock and recruit the boys to drive us back to Kelly's; the walk would have been less than ideal for our hairdos. I walked Abel back to where she was supposed to be. The people at the house kept calling her Mabel. It was so weird. I left her in their company and returned to meet Sarah and the boys who drove us back to Kelly's house. We quickly changed into our bridesmaid dresses and brought all of our other clothes and belongings to the boys patiently waiting in the car. Rob and Dan left to go get some lunch, while we began helping Kelly get ready and the picture-taking began. We did a few pictures with the bridesmaids at the house and then loaded in vehicles to head to the ceremony and reception venue, Deep Creek Range.
Once at the venue, Sarah and I secured seats for ourselves and Rob and Dan at one of the tables. Shortly after we arrived at the venue, it was time to make our way to the ceremony spot. The ceremony was set to begin at 2 pm. This was the hottest day of our stay in Montana, and the sun was intense. Luckily, I had applied sunblock before the ceremony. Unfortunately, I may have gotten burned anyway.
While all that was happening, Dan and I got lunch after we dropped off the girls at Kelly's. We went to a place called Murray. Or Murry's? THE Murray? Maybe it was Murray Cafe. I dunno. The awning over the entrance said "HOTEL FINE DINING", which we pondered a bit. Was that the name of the hotel? We took a corner of the bar and got an IPA apiece, and we decided to split a buffalo chicken pizza. We each commented on how incredibly thin the crust was. It had a really satisfying crunch to it, though, and it was a really tasty pizza. The beers were awesome, too. Though the pizza had great flavor, it was not at all filling. That was perfect because we were headed to dinner at the reception anyways. After we ate, we had a little more time to kill, so we stopped back by the house and dropped the girls' stuff off and had a little bit of downtime mixed with silence.
When it was time, we made our way back over to the wedding venue, our turns marked by clusters of white balloons on the side of the dirt roads. We parked to the side of the driveway, and got good seats for the outdoor ceremony. We felt like we were being cooked alive just sitting there because the sun was so bright, so we sunblocked. The sunblock ended up getting passed around to some other guests who didn't have the foresight we did. It's a good thing we're so generous! The ceremony was lovely and the views, of course, were fantastic. After it was over, we chatted with the girls and newlyweds briefly. Knowing they'd be busy for a while with pictures and the receiving line, Dan and I found an open space to throw the frisbee. It was fun for a bit, but we quickly were uncomfortably hot, and rather thirsty too. The drinks were free, so heading to the bar was a no-brainer. Adjacent to the bar was a table with the most impressive cheese, meat, and crackers spread I've ever seen. The food was all delicious, and the signature drink, a mint lemonade, was also quite good (although not quite as good as the ones we had at The Mint). I knew Mandy would be starving after the photo session, so I got her a drink and built a food plate. Dan and I found our names that the girls had written at our place settings and so took our respective seats. The reprieve from the sun was much needed, as was the consumption of more food and drink. Eventually (finally!) Mandy and Sarah were able to join us after the fanfare of formal introductions. Mandy was so pleased to have food and drink ready. Sarah was unimpressed (sorry Dan). It was kind of funny because during picture taking, I had mentioned to Sarah that I hoped Rob had gotten me food and a drink for when I came back. Thanks Rob! We were starving because we hadn't really eaten lunch that day although we did snack on some fruit and granola throughout the getting-ready process.
Sarah and I shoved food into our mouths promptly after arriving at the table. We then decided it was time to take the boys outside so we could get some photos with them at the beautiful venue. Rob and Dan complied with all of our requests. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't great for picture taking at this time of day, so we said that we would like to get some additional pictures later. Once the photo session was complete we mingled with the other guests. Finally, it was time for the guests to be seated and the bridal party to be introduced, and most importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Moorman. Following introductions, the DJ began releasing tables of guests for the buffet line. The tables were named after peaks that Kelly and Lawson have summitted together, which was really cute. The menu consisted of grilled steak, wild rice with figs, salad with arugula, peaches, berries, and goat cheese, roasted baby potatoes, and a roasted pig. All of it was absolutely delicious. But especially the pig. After the last table was called, I had to sneak back for more. The butcher said, "Hey, didn't I see you before?" I panicked. I was caught! After my brain scrambled trying to figure out the best response, I fessed up, "...yes..?" He cracked a smile, "Good!" I was so relieved! I explained that I just had to have more because it was so good. He was very pleased to hear it and I was happy to eat more!
Then, it was time for abridged parental dances. Each parent spun around on the dance floor with their child for about a minute or so, which was nice because it reduced a lot of the awkward. For everyone. Next, close friends and family wanted to give speeches. First, Lawson's brother Clark spoke. Then Lawson's best friend, another Lawson, had everyone laughing hysterically. Kelly's maid of honor spoke next. And then her father. Lastly, Lawson's mother gave an unplanned, impromptu speech. They were each lovely. And short. Which was great.
Throughout the evening, I felt like something of a celebrity. I don't know how or why. But multiple people that I did not recognize approached me and asked if I was Rob, Mandy's fiance? And then introduced themselves. Perhaps she is the celebrity, I don't know. Dan felt like a ghost because no one acknowledged him. We spend the time after dinner milling about the premises. I was enjoying the awesome grass on my bare feet. Eventually, it was just Dan and I again. The girls may have been off dancing or something. We started tossing the frisbee again. Kelly's dad Kevin joined in for a few throws as he was nearby. After he got pulled into a conversation, Dan and I were getting a bit cocky, throwing curves and such. I took it too far on one throw, though, and landed the frisbee on the roof of the reception hall. Just then, Mandy and Sarah came out to play with us. Worst timing. After everyone had their turn ribbing me, and we had exhausted all manner of wacky plans to recover the disc, we gave up. We moved on to a game of cornhole. But not before Sarah had some of her beloved Tito's vodka. Luckily for me and Mandy, the Tito's made her accuracy pitiful, so we only lost by....a lot. Dan was basically the only one of us playing the game. But we all had fun. Especially Sarah, she was hysterical. The final score was 12 or 13 to 21. After some dancing, drinks, wandering, and chatting, we found ourselves by the bonfire. Here we learned that actor Jeff Bridges lives just down the street from where we were standing. This was a funny coincidence because Dan had been actively trying to insert as many Big Lebowski references as possible all weekend. Just 'cause. We continued to enjoy the reception even as some of the guests left. The hardcore remained, as is typical. You know us.
My back was hurting, so I was not up for dancing at this point. Or much of anything. I was feeling boring, so I stepped outside so I could sit on the ground. Lay down. Sit. Stand. During the process of trying to find comfort, I noticed that there was an awesome lightning display on the horizon, so I watched that a while until Mandy found me. We walked up the driveway a bit to a better vantage point and quietly watched a while, away from the festivities. Eventually, we started to get chilly, so we went back inside. I sat at our table with Dan and we watched the the remainder of the party-goers dance it off. A few of them were actually quite good! Around 11:30pm, the DJ said he was playing the last song, and then the music had to end. He packed up while some event tear down happened. Trying to round up everyone that had to get into the car to head back home was something like herding kittens, but eventually we pulled it off! We got home before midnight and went straight to sleep.
Sunday July 2, 2017
We woke up at 7 before our alarms were set to go off. We got showered, ate breakfast, and took care of packing last minute items. We said our goodbyes to our new friends and temporary roommates, Dan and Sarah, assuring that we'd meet again soon back on the east coast. We were very grateful to have another ride courtesy of Janet, back to the airport in Bozeman. She picked us up with Marissa just outside Kelly's house. We had walked over there to make things easier for Janet. We loaded up our things, and gazed out the windows as the scenery whipped by down the highway. It truly never gets boring to look at. Once at the airport, we wound our way through the security maze, again removing shoes and belts. We got dressed again on the inside, and found we had a good amount of time to kill. Figuring that we would probably not have a good opportunity again to eat, we seized it. We went to Copper Horse Restaurant for brunch, I guess. I got a burger with blue cheese. Mandy got a taco salad. When we first sat down, there was plenty of time. But by the time our orders were taken, we had to request that the food come out in to-go containers. I inhaled my burger at the table, because I wasn't really interested in eating it inside a plane.
We got back to the gate just in time to join the line of passengers boarding. We were flying United Airlines and immediately we decided we would pay a little more in the future to use a different airline. The plane was fairly dirty which was unimpressive. It just felt old. The flight took off on time at 12:20pm in fair weather, and took us to Newark, NJ. We weren't sure where our next gate was. Well, we had the number, but the signage was severely lacking. It was totally unclear how to get to the next gate. We called Ryan for some clarification, because he flies all the time. All he could offer was that he too hates this airport. And that we should use caution when taking the shuttle or the train, because one of them may take us to the wrong side of security and we'd have to go through all that again. So we tracked down an airport employee, and she sent us outside down some stairs to a bus. The bus took us down a short stretch of highway and dumped us at another terminal. We went up some permanent temporary ramps that were enclosed, and about 100F inside to get back into the airport.
We found our gate with time to kill so we wandered and found a coffee stand. I got one, thinking that I might need some assistance with staying awake as we made our way closer to home. I didn't consider that I was 2 hours behind the clock, and my sleep schedule would be way off anyways, so in hind sight this was probably a bad move. Oh well. The flight into Logan was uneventful and got us into Boston around 9:45pm EDT. We caught another Uber just outside. It was on this ride that we learned that the Nissan Xterra was available with a 6-speed manual transmission. And far more than we ever realized that we wanted to know about Uber driver culture. She was quite talkative, but very friendly and funny. We laughed most of the way back to Mandy's car where we discovered that someone left the passenger's side interior light on all weekend. Oops! It's a great thing that I had previously swapped out the interior filament bulbs for LEDs, as there was still plenty of battery to start the car and we had no issues. We thanked our driver for waiting to make sure we didn't need a jump, and we began the final leg of our journey. We hit a little bit of rain on the way. Isn't that always the case that you get home and the weather is dumpy? We were ecstatic to climb into a bed with fresh sheets, and pass out.