Unfortunately, I couldn't avoid airfare completely. My significant other and I began our stretch of the journey in Milwaukee, WI. From there, we had to make a geographically ludicrous stop in Houston, TX before flying back up to Grand Junction, CO where our journey truly began.
Though Anne wasn't particularly impressed by the mountains surrounding us throughout Colorado and Utah, I spent hours of our ride awestruck. She has always lived among those mountains, whereas I hail from one of the flattest places in America. Wisconsin has its share of beauty, but never before had I passed through terrain such as what you see in the header image above -- which happens to have been taken in Arizona, not Colorado or Utah, but you get the picture. To someone from the flatlands of the United States, that stretch of the drive made me feel like the insignificant speck that I really am in the grand scale of things. It felt alien and bizarre, beautiful and inspiring. If you want to partake of some scenery shots from our drive, hit the gallery at the end of this post.
We spent a night in Utah, mere mortals in the shadow of a bright red mountain range, then began anew the following morning. After dining on elven pie, of course. That's where it started to get weird. Weird in the tourist sort of way. As far as I'm concerned, that's the best kind of weird.
As we drove, we counted down the miles. The signs didn't allow us to lose count. Every ten miles, another sign. 90 miles later, in Baker, CA we found our tourist Valhalla.
We made our next stop in Barstow, CA. While we made the stop for gasoline, something else caught our eye -- a McDonald's built in a row of train cars. We had to check out what it looked like inside, right? Boy, were we surprised. The interior was not simply a McDonald's but an entire shopping strip! The train cars served as dining rooms for the restaurants within. While we bought nothing there at tourist prices, we found what must have called us to Barstow: another fortune teller machine. This time, it was the better-known Zoltar. We talked to Ali-N, so we must talk to Zoltar, right? Right!
Our minds blown, we spent the following hours in relative silence, pulling into Anaheim in the late afternoon. We ran directly to the Anaheim Convention Center to take our celebratory picture of the BlizzCon signage out front and were surprised to find that the entire outdoor area directly in front of the convention center has been completely remodeled since 2011. No longer a death trap of traffic, beautiful statuary, fountains, and lighting have been installed. The picture we ended up with made all of the anticipation worth it, because with the proper angle, somehow a water fountain makes a convention center look like it's been set ablaze.