The family just got home last night from a six-day trip. We left early Friday morning to drive to Sea-Tac airport and fly to Denver, Colorado. From there we met my mother who took our son for the weekend while the wife and I rented a car and drove four hours east to North Platte, Nebraska.
The reason for going to North Platte was a birthday party for which I was hired to play piano. The party was Saturday night and we were invited to stay through the 4th of July. By the time we got in Friday it was getting pretty late. We drove out to the farm where the party was being held, had a fantastic buffet-style meal (a frequent occurrence on this trip) and discussed logistics for the party.
Saturday was the party and it was a grand event. 300 pounds of prime rib was being smoked as all the family, friends, church, and the entire town of Maxwell had been invited. We set up the stage and did a soundcheck and then people started rolling in. I don't know how many people actually showed up, but I would guess 400-500 would be in the ballpark. It took an hour and a half to get everyone through the food line. The party was a lot of fun and I did not end up playing very long at all as there were other entertainers booked to play as well.
Sunday we had the day off, so the wife and I explored the area. I posted about that in "On The Road: North Platte, Nebraska".
Monday we got up late and headed back out to the farm for the 4th. Despite there being a ton of leftovers, just about everybody brought food, so there was enough food to feed an army. There was still plenty of beer, as well. Everyone chatted while the kids played games, sprayed each other with water cannons, and lit off small fireworks. We ate more food than we should have (and there was still a lot left), had drinks, and socialized until the big fireworks show after dark. As the crowd began to thin out our host convinced me to play a song, which lead to another, and another, until we had a full-on piano bar going on in the barn until about 3am. It was a lot of fun.
Tuesday we checked out of our hotel and made the four-hour drive back to Denver. We had given ourselves a couple extra hours to meet my mother for lunch and get our son. My mother didn't make it to lunch as there was construction in Vail and then an accident near the airport. In fact, our son just made it to the airport in time to get through security and to the gate. Fortunately our flight was on Frontier. It was the first time I had flown on Frontier and by all appearances they are about as organized as a sock full of gerbils. Our gate had to be changed because of one flight being late and our own flight was delayed about 50 minutes as the first officer was a half-hour late.
By the time we finally got our baggage and picked up our car it was about an hour and a half later then we had expected. From there we drove to Portland. A close friend from Alabama was in town for a few days and we took the opportunity to visit. It was well after midnight PST by the time we arrived at my friend's place and we had been traveling for about sixteen hours.
Wednesday morning we had another feast for breakfast, visited for a while, went out to say hi to the cows, and then took advantage of the nice day by taking an historic and scenic drive around the area. I have spent many years in this area outside of Portland, but never really taken the time to view it from this perspective. It was really nice.
Eventually we had to say goodbye and make the three-hour drive north to home. We got home about 7pm to find the garden had grown quite a bit while we were away and the chickens were very happy to see us.
It was a fun trip, but I am glad to be home.