Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spokane, Washington

Last Thursday I met with Becky, Monica, McKenzie, Brenna, Shannon, Qrystal, and our fearless leader "Captain" Nickerson in the Library parking lot at 9AM. From here we piled into a suburban and headed down the freeway for Las Vegas. This was the start of our all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to present at the Western Regional Honors Conference.Kenzie, me and Becky in the suburban headed for Sin City

We went straight to the Las Vegas Airport where we waited and waited for our flight to Portland, Oregon.


When we were boarding Professor Nickerson said something about our plane being tiny, but unbeknownst to him the pilot was right behind him, and he got VERY defensive of his plane telling us how much it weighed and how fast it could go and stating, "your car couldn't do that!" and ending up with "it doesn't matter how big it is, it's how you fly it," (hahaha!) and on the plane he got on the intercom and told everyone about the wingspan and how it was classified by the something-or-other-association as a large plane. I still think it's kinda small.

The plane did stop first in Santa Rosa, located in northern California. It was so beautiful flying over the vast green expanse covered in the straight lines of the vineyards, and ending only with a thin strip of the ocean visible from our plane. We didn't even have to get off, though. We just waited for awhile there before taking off again and heading to Portland.

Chillin' on the plane in Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa from the air

In the Portland airport, while we were waiting and eating very overpriced sandwiches, we were greeted with a very welcome sight for 7 girls supervised only by El see, sometimes it feels a little more like we're supervising him. But anyway, there, pouring from the gate was the entire Oregon Ducks baseball team. Okay, quite honestly, I wasn't that impressed, (you know, I have Kelly!) but the rest of the girls were oogling and oohing and ahhing, and it was just a little fun to join in. And I couldn't help but notice when small groups of them in their matching maroon athletic suits would nod toward me in their conversations. Anyway, from Portland, we flew to Spokane, were picked up by the Davenport Hotel Shuttle driven by a nice guy in a suit who took our bags for us, and then on our merry way to our hotel.
Qrystal and Monica on the shuttle

And the hotel!!! Holy cow! Not exactly what I said upon driving up, but I'll edit. It was positively...swanky! We were awestruck through the lobby, crammed in the elevator, tired in the hallway, and positively jubilant upon opening our door. I can honestly say I've never ever stayed in a nicer place. The beds were gigantic--they had steps to get into them! And the bathroom was all marble and there was a shower so big it didn't need a door because the water still couldn't get out of it. And the shower head was literally about a foot in diameter. (Best two showers I've ever taken.) There were bathrobes and turn down service and it was awesome.

Our beds, the bathroom, and feeling fancy in our bathrobes

The Davenport Hotel lobby and mezzanine and Captain by the fireplace

Oh! And when we were still waiting at the front desk, who should appear but Jason Loveless! From North Ogden, Utah. He's the brother of my freshmen year roommate, Amy Loveless. Apparently he's in the Weber State University Honors Program.
Jason Loveless, Monica Stamm, McKenzie Romero, Me, Becky Nielsen, and Michael-from-WSU

The next we day registered. You'd think they could spell better at an Honors Conference--especially the shortest state name in the country. It's four freaking letters! How hard is that?

We had breakfast in a ballroom. With a Beauty-and-the-Beast-like chandelier. Then we started going to classes. I went to some really fascinating ones (and a few not-so-good ones). One girl had recorded hundreds of girls' conversations and transcribed them and studied the "rules" of female conversation. It was so cool. A group did a study on "Caring Because It's Cool" and how wearing clothes and having accessories that fund charities is now a fashion statement, like the (Red) campaign for AIDS, livestrong bracelets, or Save Darfur T-shirts. It was pretty interesting. Another presentation was on 42E and the rise of Viral Marketing. She showed us a lot of cool marketing campaigns, but never really gave us an answer to "so what?".
Where breakfast was served and where we ate it. Don't crush Becky!!!

Nickerson presented on Parners in the Parks, a national Honors program that SUU is partnered with, that has classes in national parks--a classroom without walls. Brenna presented on "Through the Looking Glass: From Homeschool to College", Qrystal and Shannon did a presentation on the comparative study they did on restaurant water in Cedar City, Utah and Guaymas, Mexico, and Monica, Kenzie, Becky, and I did an hour-long panel presentation called "Remixing Interdisciplinary Education Through Cooperative Learning" on an innovative class we took last year, speaking on the merits of Interdisciplinary courses, library economy, learning through seminar, and of course our PAM talks, focusing on Passion Academics and Media. It went very well, but not a whole lot of people showed up to it.

After our presentation--Kenzie, Monica, Me, and Becky

In the middle of the conference we had a break for lunch, so we walked a couple of blocks to the mall. It was so cool looking! And we ate delicious hamburgers and deep-fried onions from a place called D. Licious. Mmmm.

The Isabella room where Nickerson presented and escalators at the Spokane mall

That evening Captain treated us all to dinner at PF Changs. It was really good, but he gave the waitress a hard time about one of our dishes that was really hot (I didn't mind, I liked it) and wouldn't leave until someone who worked at the restaurant tried it. He wasn't even being mean, just...I don't know, Nickerson. It could be considered flirting more than it could be considered mean, the way he did it. It was actually kind of funny. I told you he takes supervision. Then we walked through the park to find the IMAX theatre, not to watch a movie, but to find the one souvenir penny stretching machine located in Spokane. (You guessed it, Nickerson needed a smashed penny.) But it was fun. Kenzie and I found the Batmobile, but when we went outside to find the rest after taking our pictures, Becky and Monica were just standing there, and Nickerson was nowhere to be seen. It was like losing a 5-year-old. We both said, "You let him out of your sight!?!?" But he was just behind an empty ice rink looking into the river. It was a such a lovely walk. Then we stopped into a cute little gift shop before we went back to the hotel.

Becky and me at PF Changs; me in the Batmobile; and Captain and his souvenir penny

McKenzie leads a VERY busy life working for the SUU Journal, a part-time job a Quiznos, and of course as a full-time student, so she was the very last one to get her part of the presentation together (as in, she finished it in one of the presentations before ours.) We knew she could pull it off, because she's Kenzie, but she still treated us to room service that night in return for our patience and confidence in her. Food will taste like that in Heaven.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake with a syrupy center and Apple Crumble

We had to wake up Monica to eat it. She told us she was a light sleeper, and that morning Kenzie barely jostled her and she woke up so we believed it. We called "Monica," but no reply. So we shook her leg and then started shoving her back trying to wake her up and she wasn't! I started wondering if she was even alive, when suddenly she rolled over and went "rawr!" I jumped. So we all dug into our desserts, and Monica grabbed one of the two piroutte cookies and bit off half of it in one bite, so we all protested and said that we had to share, and then sweet little quiet Monica roughly shoved the rest of it into her mouth like she hadn't eaten in days! We laughed so hard! Well, the next morning Monica asked if we actually got room service or if she had dreamt it, and she was nearly positive it had all been a dream! She hadn't been awake the night before! We were wondering where all the aggression came from in our sweet little Monica!

The next day we had breakfast in yet, another ballroom, and then went to a few more classes, (some of which I've already mentioned above, including Qrystal and Shannon's.) After that we packed up, checked out, and stashed our bags in an empty presentation room and went to the final luncheon with a keynote speaker. Delicious delicious delicious. I'll be like my Aunt Nanae and post pictures of beautiful food on my blog! (Of course, her's always looks better, but oh well.)

The Marie Antoinette Hall where the luncheon was held and our salad, salmon, and dessert

We had to cut out of the keynote speaker's presentation a little early, which I was a little sad about, first because his presentation was on sustainable energy and I was very interested, and second because his British accent was awesome to listen to. But we caught our shuttle back to the Spokane airport, were delayed by a random snowstorm, but were assigned a different flight into Seattle.
Waiting at the airport in Spokane--Nickerson's sleeping, Kenzie's got a paper,
Becky's on the phone, and I'm reading The Kite Runner

Our plane was touching down in Seattle as we were supposed to be boarding our flight to Las Vegas, so we ran from one side of the airport to the other and barely made it! Poor Becky had to limp really fast because she busted her toe last week and it's been bothering her a lot. (I kind of gave her a hard time about being a gimp all weekend, which wasn't very nice of me.) But we made our flight and the view from the plane over Seattle was amazing! It was so green, and we could see the harbor and oh, it was perfect. The sunset from the plane was equally stunning. I'm glad Becky was smart enough to get a picture of it. Becky, Kenzie, and Monica were all a lot better at taking pictures than I was. I'm glad we have Facebook to swap them!

When we flew into Las Vegas it was dark and it was another one of the most amazing sights I've ever seen. Becky put it as "it looks like we're about to land on a giant circut board!" When we got off the plane we managed to find our vehicle again and after a couple of wrong turns got to the right street to head home, but first we grabbed some Wendy's because we were "hungrier than a gromit dog" as Nickerson so eloquently put it.

And now we're back in Cedar City! Mission accomplished!
All of us from SUU: Qrystal, Shannon, Captain, Brenna, Becky, Monica, me, and Kenzie

1 comment:

Georgia said...

What an awesome post. I loved all the photos (including the food, yummmy!). The hotel was fab-u-lous!! Thanks for recording your trip so well, you will appreciate it more in a few years as the details of the adventure starts to wane.

I wish there had been computers, internet, blogging, digital cameras, etc. when I was taking 4-H trips and vacations with my families. My memories of them are pretty sketchy.

Love, Mom