Being in the West, my team and I are constantly in cool cities and I never want to give up the chance to explore the new areas I’m in. However, when Medford, OR popped up on our schedule I took the opportunity to use my off days for a quick 36-hour visit to Wisconsin (the greatest state in this nation) to see my friends and family who I had been missing dearly.
Even though I had to use two sick days and give up my weekly stipend all for a quick visit, I knew the trip to K-Town (also known as Kenosha, the Nosh and The Dirty K) was 100% worth it from the time I saw my brother and our friend Zach at the airport. We grabbed lunch at bdubs — a local Wisco favorite — and then raced home so I could see my mom and, perhaps most importantly, my dogs! (just kidding Mom)
That night I also got to see two of my good high school friends, Marie and Nicole, for a quick catch up before a luxurious night’s sleep in my own bed. The next day my mom took off work and we headed downtown so I could visit all of my favorite hometown spots. Once the young prince (Tony) finally rose from the dead at the fresh hour of 1:00 p.m., the three of us headed to Lake Geneva where we hung out at the beach and got a delicious dinner together. I ended the night by destroying Tony, Zach and my mom in multiple games of Scrabble. Luckily, my best friend Maggie was also back home after living in Texas for the summer, and I got to spend my last day at home catching up with her after being apart for much too long.
My trip home was jam-packed with people and places that I had been missing, so naturally it flew by. Even though I love my job, it’s really hard to be away from everything and everyone I’ve ever known, and a trip home definitely reminded me of just how much I was missing. However, being around so many people that I love was exactly what I needed to feel refreshed and ready to get back on the hazelnut highways!
It should be noted that on my first night in Wisconsin, I received a frantic call from Elise (after only about 8 hours of separation) about the state of our hotel in Medford. “I don’t exactly know how to tell you this,” she said, “but our hotel is also a Denny’s. Also the room next to us got broken into last night and the police are here right now.” The worst part is that she wasn’t exaggerating at all. Our hotel was also home to a 24-hour Denny’s and it was indeed extremely sketchy. Each day spent there felt like we were putting our lives (and all of our possessions) at risk.
Despite our hotel situation, the Westies still managed to have a great time in Medford. We hiked the local Table Rocks three times, which gave me the perfect opportunity to use my new hammock (shoutout to Amanda) for the first time. I also had a surprise visitor at one of our events this week; one of my Uncle Glen’s brothers, Tim, who I had only ever met once lives in the area and drove out to see us. He ended up staying for over an hour and talking about our family, the area and the NUTmobile with me, and I had a great time getting to know him better. It’s really cool how traveling the country in a giant nut is literally a vehicle (see what I did there?) for making connections with people, even distant relatives who I otherwise might never have gotten to know.
Another cool person I met was a local artist who gave us three painted stones — my favorite had Pikachu on it — and asked us to take them with us on our travels and leave them somewhere for another person to find. We talked to her for a long time and found out that painting and hiding rocks is a trend in the Northwest and that the rocks can actually be tracked on Facebook. She also told us that even though it is cool to see where her art ends up, she does it to bring unexpected joy to their days. She certainly achieved that with us when she came back to our event a few hours later and gave us our very own rock with the NUTmobile painted on it, a souvenir that I still cherish and take with me everywhere.
Perhaps less moving, but certainly not less entertaining, was a very interesting man we met at one of our events. We hung out with him and his dog Leo for a long time and he told us that Leo had started out as a magical stick and simply morphed into a dog. Although Leo did possess the power to turn back into a stick, the man said he hoped he never would because he loved him in his dog form too much. Before leaving, after about an hour, he told us that we are the stars in Orion’s belt and that he would photosynthesize the upcoming solar eclipse through his eyes to make new life for us. The whole interaction was definitely one of the most memorable that I’ve had on the road to date.
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, for the month of August all three teams of Peanutters were in a cut-throat battle to see who could get the most media hits (which means coverage on TV, radio, print or social media). I was particularly invested in this challenge because I typically handle most of the media on our team, and on top of that I am ridiculously competitive. I was determined for Medford to be a media gold mine for us, and we ended up being on over a dozen radio and tv shows for a grand total of 50 media hits in one week. Medford definitely sealed us the media challenge win, and the victory brought us a lot closer as a team because we were officially killiNUT together.
Despite all the tiring travel, the time we had to spend on media and the crappy hotel (I mean we really were just happy to make it out of this week alive), Medford was another awesome stop. During this week I felt more than ever that I was finally starting to get the lifestyle of this nutty job down — I was keeping in touch with home, killing it at my job and still managing to have a great time and meet awesome people along the way.
Goodbye for now my goobers (I think this word has something to do with nuts?)!