What Will You Do There? NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota
Assuming I keep ND for last (which is the plan unless a concert pops up before then) I intend to join the “Best for Last” club at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor’s Center. As far as a stop for pennies, perhaps the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown may be a place to stop or one of their (many) Zoos.

What Will You Do There? OREGON

The Goonies is one of my favorite movies and it was filmed in Astoria – so I’d definitely want to go there to see Mikey’s house and Haystack Rock. There is also an Oregon Film Museum there that seems worth a visit.  Free Willy was also filmed partially in the Columbia River which is another one of my favorite movies. Astoria is about 2 hours from Portland.

What Will You Do There? ARIZONA

While I’ve technically been in Arizona very briefly on a trip to the Hoover Dam, it didn’t count. One thing I am looking to check out is the Four Corners Monument. Could be an easy way to knock out 3 states (I’ve already been to CO) but it does seem like cheating (and it’s not even in the right spot) – but it’ll have to fall into one of the states visits for sure. The monument is supposed to be the spot where the corner of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet. I’m not sure which state I’ll include this in but since Arizona was the first on the list, I figured I’d talk about it here.  An Arizona Diamondbacks game would also be on the list, maybe checking out the AZ portion of Rt 66 and of course the Grand Canyon. (Most of which I believe to have penny machines) And another fun stop might be to stand on the corner in Winslow, AZ and take it easy.

But What Will You Do There? ARKANSAS

A tentative trip to Arkansas is in the works.  Not 100% sure if it’ll end up happening… but here’s what I’m thinking… Be sure to check back in December to see if I went through with it.

A little birdie has told me that there may be some holiday themed Kris Allen shows with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  Sounds like a great way to knock another state off the list to me.  My research shows the symphony is based in Little Rock – which means I’d have to go to the Big Dam Bridge for name alone.  That’s also where Bill Clinton is from so his Presidential Library is there. Another interesting location (that also has a penny machine) that would be worth exploring and learning more about is the Little Rock Central High School.

What Will You Do There? IOWA

One of my “fun facts” about me in my online dating profiles is that I’m trying to get to all 50 states and am over halfway there.  The first follow up question is usually, which of the states you have left do you want to visit the most?  My answer is usually Alaska.  Then it turns into a “but what will you do once you get there?” and for some states I have a vague idea of some sort of touristy type thing to check out and others I have no clue. (See a Hanson concert there goes without saying, though I do need to go back to a few states to get my lists to sync up)  Since for the most part I am home and have far too much free time on my hands and a lot of wanderlust, I decided to do some googling to see a few fun things I can maybe check out when I finally get to visit these states.

This state is a GO for August… but here’s what I had come up with when I first started researching.  Be sure to come back in August to see where I actually ended up!

In 2020, MLB was going to be playing a game at the “Field of Dreams” Dyersville, IA location. I had thought about possibly going, but it ended up canceled, just like everything else.  Hanson also was going to be playing at the state fair in Des Moines not too long after.  It turns out both have been rescheduled for August 2021 – about 5 days apart. If I can figure out what to do in the interim, that might be a fun trip to pull off.  Either way, for Iowa I think a trip to the Field of Dreams set is a given. As far as penny locations, the Botanical Gardens looks interesting, the State Fair seems to have machines at times and one of the minor leagues of the Cubs has a team with a machine as well.

Leaky Con Boston

In early October, LeakyCon 10 made its return to Boston, MA. I had never done a leaky con before, but heard it was an absolute must do so my friend and I decided we would skip RICC this year and do Leaky instead.  As the event drew near, we weren’t sure if we made the right choice. (RICC had Luna, The Weasley Twins and Ginny Weasley added as guests.)  Leaky Con had Percy Weasley, Jacob Kowalski, Vicktor Krum, Lee Jordan and Blaise Zambini.  A lot of the panels seemed to be on fan theories which wasn’t really our cup of tea.  But we had made our decision and had to stick with it.  Our expectations were pretty low for the event.

Friday we weren’t sure what to expect with check in.  We had asked for our tickets to be mailed to us, but there was a mix up and they weren’t so our shipping fees were refunded and we had to pick them up instead.  There were only a couple people in line in front of us, so that worked out quite well.   Our first panel was Spotlight: Stanislav Yanevski.  I also did photo ops with Stan and Chris.  (Fun story – I was first for Chris and the camera wasn’t working.  Photo Ops usually are quick and you just get to say “hi and bye” but because they were trying to get the camera connected we had more time.  The photog said to hang tight while she fixed it and Chris said “Its ok we can stand here and cuddle” and we had a bit of a chat about where I lived and how he went through CT on the train on the way to/from NYC and that he’d be going to NYC on Sunday!  And Chris was a photo op I added at the last second because I’d be meeting so many other Weasleys at RICC… yeah. We’re going to that too.)   We missing the Louis Cordice panel because of the Chris photo op.  And opted to leave before the Wizard Rock Concert.

Saturday we had just about nothing planned.  We did the Spotlight: Wizarding World Actors panel which was supposed to only include the HP actors but Dan Fogler joined in on as well.  We hung out with Potterhead Running Club (and went to a meetup with them for dinner!) and wandered the marketplace looking for cool cosplay outfits! No photos for Saturday either – but Luke Youngblood (Lee Jordan) stopped by the running club booth! Too cool!

By Sunday we were exhausted! We did back to back panels – Spotlight: Luke Youngblood and MuggleCast Live! with Chris Rankin.  We missed Dan Fogler’s spotlight because by the time it was time to go to it, we didn’t want to move.  I did a photo with Dan and we did one last panel – Using Our Magic to Make the World Awesome which featured Brian from Potterhead Running Club as well as several others. It was very interesting and maybe we should have considered more fan panels – but maybe next time!

I think going in with no expectations left us pleasantly surprised – now we are trying to figure out how many other HP actors we are missing that go to cons… hmm. Seamus and Dean? Neville? (RICC, you ready for next year? lol)


When Hanson announced they were doing a show in Hawaii, I knew I had to go, even if I had to race back after the show for a personal commitment the following weekend. A few friends also were in on the trip so we booked an Airbnb and all were coming in and leaving on different days. I found a decently priced flight from JFK that was direct and about 10 hours. I opted for the cheaper economy seat, but wasn’t a fan of having my backpack under my feet the whole trip and decided to rethink that for the way home.

When I landed, I had to wait for my rollator (my first time traveling with it) and someone came with a wheelchair and then left when I said I was waiting for the walker. By the time it came, everyone else was long gone and I had no idea where I was going. Turns out they have shuttles but I completely missed that and started walking. I had plenty of time to kill as 2 friends were off on a tour and the other friend didn’t land for another couple of hours, so whenever I got to the Airbnb I got there. And then a guy came up and asked if he could help me. I told him no, I was fine (I had my backpack on and carry on sitting on the seat of the walker and was perfectly ok with that set up and had made it through JFK no problem that way earlier) but he insisted – and grabbed the bag off my walker to help me. Then tried telling me I needed to go with him to Kona. Fortunately he was walking at my pace and I was trying to figure out how to outsmart him because there was no way I’d physically be able to get my bag back from him. We wandered around for a bit – I kept telling him I was ok and he could go to security for his flight, but he kept saying no and asking me the same questions over and over “Where are you from?” “Do you live here?” his name was Joey and he was from Alaska and he was DRUNK. Which made me a little bit at ease because I could totally outsmart a drunk guy. Finally he asked security where there was an elevator and I must’ve had a look on my face that showed him that I was in distress because HE told the guy to give me my back and let me get on the elevator and that where he needed to go was elsewhere. We finally got out of the elevator and I started walking for a taxi only to find out Uber/Lyft were on the next level up, Joey saw me looking at a sign and came back out towards me but I booked it to the elevator and got away from him. My favorite was when he asked me if I had added him on Facebook yet. My phone has been hiding in my pocket this entire time and all I know is your first name and what state you are from – and now I am not getting to add my attempted kidnapper as a friend.

Tuesday another group of friends were coming in and the rest went to hike a waterfall, so I spent half the day getting acquainted with our AirBnB. I went to meet them to get added as a driver to the rental car – even though I wasn’t sure my plan to head off anywhere alone was going to happen because Joey had ruined that for me. We were hoping to head to a beach to see the sunset, but somehow a quick trip to the parking garage to drop the car off turned into a 2 hour saga that fortunately had a happy ending. We finished the day with birthday sushi – and I tried a couple pieces of tuna and enjoyed it. (But had rice for the majority of my meal)

Wednesday was our big day and when we woke up to see it was raining we were very concerned about our luau that evening. We headed off to breakfast of malasadas (if youre going to try a filled one – be very careful as they SQUIRT! We learned that one the hard way) which is a Portuguese donut. They weren’t bad but I’m not sure it was what we were expecting. (Fillings were a bit bland.) Then we got to Pearl Harbor where I fell in a puddle and the guy who helped me up felt the need to touch my butt. (This trip wasn’t shaping out to be very great so far) It was raining, but we were able to get on the boat and see the Arizona Memorial which had just re-opened earlier in the month. As soon as you entered you could smell the oil still leaking out of the ship. We googled and apparently it had been filled with 1.5 million gallons the day before the attack and leaks approximately 9 quarts a day – so 77 years later it is still leaking. I think that was just the most amazing/shocking thing. My (very tired) Math is telling me that it will leak for 1800 years following the attack.
Then it was time to get ready for our luau. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and was told the food is just so-so at any of them. The Paradise Cove luau we chose seemed to have a nice location, a lot of pre-show activities and the food was not bad either! It was just sooooooooooo hot! But eventually the sun went down, the pig got roasted and we were able to eat and enjoy the show. It was a lot of fun!
Thursday morning I went to the pool, the Hard Rock Café (and got my largest hard rock bear to date) and then a dole whip! I also splurged and bought myself a plumeria ring. I headed back to the room, showered and went to hang out in line for the Hanson show. The venue said they could hold 1200 and 500 tickets were sold – but I snagged a spot in the back by the soundboard and it definitely seemed a lot more packed than that! (Although many cleared out once they played MMMBop!) The venue even had special Hanson in Hawaii posters – they were just giving away! So cool! The show was a typical festival set, but it was high energy and a lot of fun. After the show Taylor had an after party – where we mostly just hung out on a couch and people watched. After we had an after after party and ate some pizza rolls we had bought on a Costco run. Best idea ever? Best idea ever.
The next day I had to leave – my flight took off at 3pm Hawaii time and landed at 7am NYC time – and then I had to be off to a benefit that started at 10am. (Which I was 2 hours later for but it’s all good because I made it) I also saw that Pete Alonso tied the rookie HR record just before I boarded the flight so that was exciting – even if there were no Mets hats to be found. (Lots of Yankees though. Ughh.)

Hanson Day Tulsa 2019

Last month I made my 11th trip to Tulsa for a Hanson Members Only Event.  This one was a little bit different from the rest because we would get FOUR consecutive nights of music and I’d also be hitting my 200th show while there. :-O

I opted to try Westchester airport this time to see how things went not for a work trip.  The way there was perfect – I had a layover in Chicago and got to Tulsa without any problems. My room was ready when I arrived and was facing Main St – but was too far down to actually be able to see the Hop Jam stage from it.  I met up with some friends and we grabbed lunch and then went to the “pop up” registration that ended up happening.

Thursday morning we got in line early for the store – but still had to wait 4 hours.  I started feeling like I was going to pass out minutes before it was time for us to pay (an hour after placing our order!) but fortunately my friends were around to help me out and things were ok after that.  We ordered some lunch, headed to our volunteer shift and then it was time for the “Storytellers” show. I’m not sure they quite understand what “storytellers” means as they don’t often tell stories – but they did theme it to the Underneath Acoustic/Underneath tours since it is the 15th anniversary of that album this year.  And in a rare and special treat, Isaac ended up playing the cello on Underneath!   After the show it was time for karaoke but with both of us feeling less than stellar we weren’t able to make it through the full event. (And it was a lot more fun last year with Mac co-hosting)

Friday morning we got in line for group photos and then had time to actually get a meal before our Edible Digital Pants listening session.  After that we went to painting.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the painting chosen for us this year, and I’m not sure I would have bought tickets if I knew what it was going to be ahead of time but ended up having a lot of fun (once again) with the whole painting process.  After painting we went to Buck Atom’s on Route 66 and got our String Theory Galactic Space Sandwiches that were very good but perhaps a little bit too big of a serving.  That evening was the String Theory show and also my 200th show. I even made myself a brag sash for the occasion.  After the show we hit up Hurts Donuts and got their Peanut Butter Cup stuffed donut as well as a few others.  The peanut butter stuffed was underwhelming but I did enjoy a couple of the others we had gotten. Then we hit up the after party with DJ Taylor.  They were handing out heads of each of the band members on the way in and the song list was requested to Taylor in advance and I guess that was all that was needed to have a really fun time – we made it all the way to the end of the event! Woo! Maybe we’re not so old after all 😉

Saturday it was absolutely pouring rain and storming so we opted to skip going to the gallery.  I didn’t end up making it inside at all, sadly.  We had our Street Team Leaders lunch and then I had a volunteer shift until the Members Only Concert started.  Before the show the guys had their “state of the band” where they announced what would be coming up in the future for HANSON.  The big excitement was that they are working on not one but TWO new albums and hope to release them in 2020 and 2021.  The first album will hopefully get some preview shows later this year and then kick off one of their most comprehensive world tours.  Now I’m not so sad I can’t make it to Disney anymore because hopefully I will get to hit a few shows on this tour (and maybe another new state or two?)  After the show we skipped the Firkin Feast and just went to sleep early as Hop Jam was the next day and is exhausting.

Sunday we did our volunteer thing for Hop Jam and I wanted to check out most of the performers, and that I did.  Unfortunately the ADA section got combined with Music VIP and then once Hanson took the stage everyone stood.  I either had to sit there and be claustrophobic (not something I wanted to do with the near passing out/potential panic attack a couple days before) or attempt to stand for most of the show (also not ideal)  So I ended up standing up, taking a couple close up photos and heading over to Mexicali’s to sit along the wall.  Apparently I should have been saving my spot all day and not volunteering to ensure I was in the front of ADA.  Oh well, I’ll try better next year. Anyway… Phantom Planet had a surprise guest – Darren Criss from Glee – I knew he was a Hanson fan but apparently he is an even bigger Phantom Planet fan and had to come in to see their reunion show.  I had never seen PP before but thoroughly enjoyed them!

It was on Sunday we were realizing that the weather on Monday for our flights home was going to be BAD with the possibility of many tornadoes coming through.  My flight out was 3pm so we were just hoping that we could get out before the storms hit.  Fortunately we were able to get out – but when we landed in Charlotte, we had to deplane via the stairs.  I waited until the end and it was terrifying, fortunately I had a friend on the flight ready and willing to help me out.  She also made sure I got to my next gate.  I then realized that we would have to do stairs – AGAIN!  With no one to help me I said I wouldn’t be able to do the stairs so they said they would put a ramp up after everyone boarded.  No pre-boarding perks but fortunately there was still room for my bag when I got on and when we landed back in NY the ramp was up for *everyone* (as it should be!)  But we weren’t at a gate and there was no wheelchair so I had to lug my way too heavy on the day after Hop Jam backpack back to the terminal.  Not sure that I’ll be flying out of Westchester again for fear of that happening again or I’ll just have to be more demanding for assistance.

And it took me so long to put this review together, RSVP is already up for Hanson Day 2020!  I’m hoping to attend once again 🙂



Australia ’19 – Travel Home

My flight home we all headed to the airport. While checking in the woman thought my carry on looked heavy and made us weigh it. It looked bulky because my travel pillow was in it, but i was super careful to weigh everything and stay below the limits. Then the woman decided to change all my seats and not tell me she did or why. (Seats i had paid extra to specifically choose) we got to the gate and got my long haul flight changed back to the seat by the restroom, where I would have the entire row to myself. I didnt realize she also changed my flight from Brisbane to Sydney to a middle aisle seat from my preferred window seat. Grrr.

Getting a wheelchair to swap from domestic to international was not a 30 minute wait and made getting to the other gate a breeze! Too bad i couldnt have done it on the way in as well. I was interviewed by security and they once again considered changing my seat. I protested because I wanted to be by the restroom only for the couple next to me to have to wife upgraded to first class. Ill never know if that would have been offered to me instead if I kept my mouth shut. (Also customs asked “what’s wrong with Australia?” When I said nothing but I had to go back to work he said “your wish is my command, you can go back to work”)

I had preordered dinner so they brought it to me early which was good, I hadnt fallen asleep yet! I watched a star is born but must’ve fell asleep several times as there were a lot of holes in the storyline as I continued watching.  I ended up making a lounger of sorts but was bummed when I realized the arm rests did not go up all the way so I couldn’t sleep across the seats as I had been envisioning. Still, leaning against the window with my legs across was much more comfortable than sleeping fully upright in a seat.

I made it to Dallas where I had a 7 hour layover. They brought me to terminal c which was a lot less exciting and a lot less outlets than the international terminal. Then my flight moved to A. I asked for help but was told to take the skyline but I didnt know if I couldnt handle that without help. But when every cart going by was full, I attempted the skyline and was fine on my own.

I asked for a wheelchair for when we landed and not only was it not there, the woman at the gate said if I couldn’t lift my bag (which looked “heavy”) they wouldnt help me. I assured her if I decided to put it overhead and not under my seat I’d have no problem lifting it. Do I look weak? Does the bag look that gigantic? Sheesh!


Oh also of note I took some PM pills to help me sleep… a few minutes after I started getting drowsy I *swear* a flight attendant told me to “put the shade down for sleepy time and if they need to go up they have robots” at the time I assumed theyd automatically go back up but now I’m not sure that was what he told me at all…

It was another long day of travel and I landed at 1am est… drove home without a problem and then had to figure out how to get myself back on a normal sleep schedule… which was not easy.


Australia ’19 – Queensland

Our last bit of trip was Queensland. Nat and I flew from Canberra to Brisbane where I got to take a lift off the plane instead of the stairs. Then we rode in a buggy (aka stretch golf cart wrapped in plastic that made it very hot). Catherine found us and we were off to Lone Pine koala sanctuary.

We did the koala photos first thing as koalas can only be out for about 30 mins a day and once they decide they are done with photos that is it. Since I once again did the photo sitting down we needed a special koala. They grabbed Sprocket… who pooped on me. I am now 2 for 2 with koala poo. We enjoyed lone pine a lot more that the australia zoo which is where we went last trip for all our koala needs.

After we had seen enough we headed to gold coast where we stopped at Yatala Pies for lunch. I had a steak and mushroom and a creaming soda which I had enjoyed last visit as well. (And on the way there I decided to change out of my poop shirt only to take it off right as we had driven under a toll camera!)

We got back to the casino and our favorite talking elevator and got ready for the show – these were the tickets i was in charge of buying and we ended up front row by Taylor. Near the end everyone rushed the stage. I stayed put but Taylor kept singing to me – probably to make sure I was doing ok with the rush of people. (I was.)

Of note… Zac caught the mic when Isaac nearly knocked it over after Siren Call. The next night in Brisbane he almost did it again, and Zac was once again prepared to catch it.

The next day we went to the mall and picked out our pandora charms for the tour. (I really need to find the charms I got last tour to add them!) We got an astronuat and were told brisbane had 11 of the other charm we wanted – we got there only to find they had 0! We got some krispy kreme and headed to the beach for a bit then to brisbane for the last show 🙁 we had 4th row this time.

After having no luck at the stage door we rode the Brisbane Eye which as most of these tend to do, went around just a few too many times for our liking. We did see Hansons photo at the end though!

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