What happens when you have some of the best friends around? You get two bachelor parties! Rob was working on a weekend “mancation” but, unfortunately, it didn’t work into everyone’s calendar so Moffett put together a bachelor party here in Chicago for those who couldn’t make it. He was rather coy about the plans for the night but gave me a rough timeline and a dress code – casual. All day, he had been walking around with a smile on his face – taunting me, he knew what we were doing and I didn’t – I was starting to get nervous that he had something wild planned but I tried not to show my fear. He, Teague, Ainsley, Chris and I left work on a Friday and headed north on the Red Line. We got off in Wriggleyville and headed to dinner at Rockit. We sat down to and awesome dinner with lots of laughs before heading to THE EVENT. This is what Moffett had been referring to all day but was still unknown to me. He was using all sorts of “code” words that eluded to widely interpretable things but I still had no idea was THE EVENT actually was – he could see me squirming and he loved it! We loaded ourselves into cabs and headed to THE EVENT which turned out to be the Golden Gloves Championships. Ahh, now it all made sense! We had awesome seats and, with a lot on the line, the action was furious! We finished the night at a local pub – it was a most fun and greatly appreciated evening!
For those who could make the weekend getaway, affectionately called Mancation, it took place the following weekend. I had a packing list and an airport arrival time – the rest was speculation on my part. I met Brian at the airport at 4:30AM on Friday and there he let me in on the details for the weekend. Moab, UT for jeeping, rafting, camping, biking and whatever else came up – sweet! I LOVE Moab and I’ve never been there in the spring! Brian and I picked up a rental car from the Grand Junction airport and headed to meet the rest of the crew at some trailhead off the highway (that’s how they do things in the west). Rob, Tom, Ben and Wyn were there with Rob’s jeep and a brand new rental jeep (it had less than 200 miles on it). After some very masculine hugs, we each picked out a mustache (Rob had brought costume staches because, afterall, what is more manly than a mustache?), I donned my wig, they pinned a sheriff’s badge on me and Sheriff Cotter was born. The day was gorgeous and having just come from the longest, crappiest 6 months of Chicago winter, it felt good to be baking in the warm desert sun! We rounded up the posse and hit the trails for an afternoon of rock crawlin’!. We did the 7-Mile trail just north of Moab – it offered the perfect mix of good views, challenging terrain, and variety of trail. After some bone jarring, dust eating and hair raising trails, we safely made it back to the highway just in time to return the rented jeep back in Moab. The trip was off to an awesome start.
From there, we dropped off one of the cars and took the scenic route to Deadhorse Point, a picturesque overlook where the Colorado river has carved a horseshoe shaped canyon – it was magnificent especially as the sun lowered and finally set in the sky. We ate like kings with wild caught smoked salmon, pulled pork sandwiches, beans, and a champagne toast. With the sun down, we enjoyed the evening for a while longer and then packed up and headed to Tom’s “tent”. Way up at the end of Castle Valley, Tom has a plot of land with a semi-permanent slice of heavy. Over the years, he has slowly added to the property and it had been a few years since I was last there but it was the perfect spot for our mancation. He built a two level wooden platform with the first level the size of a large room and the second level serving as the porch. They then erected a good sized hunting tent over the first level, complete with: a kitchen sink/counter (no running water but very handy with ported water), a propane stove, a utility table, some camp chairs, a wood burning stove, and some other conveniences. The final touch was “the bucket” which was placed just out of site from the tent and provide some of the most scenic views ever for taking care of your business. That night, we slept out under the stars on the porch.
Morning brought another gourmet meal with breakfast burritos, fresh fruit, juice and french press coffee. Next up, rafting on the Colorado river. We headed into Moab where we picked up our vessel for the trip and secured it to Tom’s truck with his and Wyn’s ingenious transporting apparatus, even the guy at the rental place was impressed. The day was warm and we were all itching to get wet. Most groups hire a guide but not this group, we got a map and some guidance from the lady at the store and headed out – it was going to be an awesome day. We drove to the point where we planned to end our trip and left a vehicle behind and then headed up river to the spot we intended to begin our trip. With gear loaded, we launched ourselves off the sandy bank and into the river. With Tom at the stern position, we practiced some maneuvers and away we went. Even though it was a little cold for a swim, the river wasn’t nearly as cold as I had expected.
We paddled, took in the views, snacked on gummy bears and drank cold beverages while letting the river do much of the work to carry us on our journey. Coincidentally, Bethany had a conference that weekend at a resort right on the river so when we got there, we paddled up to the dock and Rob and I ran up to see if we could say a quick hello to the LEWIS! family. The conference had wrapped up for the day and they had left for an adventure of their own so we didn’t get to see them after all. Back on the river, Brian spotted a beer floating passed and claimed it was unopened – I had my doubts but we paddled to catch up with it and before you know it, Tom was drinking a river chilled Tecate. For the most part the river felt pretty lazy but at a few different points, it offered up some white water and we eagerly headed toward the bumpiest parts. The day passed quickly and soon we reached our pull out spot. Wyn and I stayed with the raft while the others drove to get the vehicles we left at the starting point. After loading the gear, Rob, Brian and I headed back to the tent while Wyn and Tom returned the raft. We had set out the solar showers and the sun had done its work so we setup a spot off the end of the porch for an outdoor shower. Nothing feels quite as good as getting clean after a full day outside especially when your shower stall has no walls and the sun is beating down on you. The boys had thought of everything on this trip including a hand-cranked blender and it was Mexican night at Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Rob mixed up margaritas and we ate chips with salsa and guac while Tom got a fire going. Everything was delicious, a little too delicious and it didn’t take long before the combination of my inexperience and a relatively empty stomach joined forces against me and I had to call it an early evening. The boys were quite understanding and didn’t pick on me (much). The morning was supposed to be our biking adventure but I wasn’t feeling up to it so we lounged around camp and took a little walk around Tom’s property. It is a rugged and beautiful place.
The weekend went by way too fast and it was hard to say goodbye but with a fresh shower and lunch in our bellies, we headed to the airport. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for the friends I have. The guys did an amazing job organizing, not one but two, very fitting (and totally awesome) tributes to the end of bachelorhood – thank you gentlemen!