As I wrote in my previous journal, I took a nap at about 2:30 am and woke at 3:30 to get dressed and "pack". Basically, I gathered my sweater (like it gets cold in Arkansas, whatever, I wasn't being too intelligent, remember, I hadn't slept), also, a pillow, my cell phone, CDs and purse (with camera). My sister came at 4, we took a cooler with 4 waters and left immediately.
::Our First Problem::
So we are following directions from MapQuest and Rand McNally (they were the same, just the Rand McNally one had cute things like "take caution while merging".) We follow I-94 like it says, however, it didn't specify I-94/US-41, so we ended up in Indiana. Minor set back, within 30 minutes I had gotten us back to I-57 and we were on our way.
Obviously, the bulk of the drive was down the entire state of Illinois. It took us about 6 hours total, so it wasn't too bad. We stopped for breakfast at a Burger King in Effingham.
Stupid 4th of July. Cops were absolutely everywhere. No, actually, there were just 5 in the southern-most tip of Illinois that were just setting speed traps and catching people. I got caught. My first ticket. I've had my license for 6 and a half months and I already got my first ticket. Eww. In my defense, the speed limit everywhere but where I got caught was 70, this was 65. I would swear I was only going 75, he said I was going 78. Also, it was after coming down a huge hill (mind you, there are very few hills in the fruited plains, but this was a big hill), so the car naturally went the extra 3mph faster. 13 over and I got a ticket. Prick.
No more cops through Missouri, no cops through Arkansas. Stupid Illinois cops. About 2 hours before hitting Little Rock, we ate lunch at Denny's.
::Welcome to Little Rock::
Because it was my sister's job to pick up the film (and she didn't...dammit Chris!! Just kidding) we had to find us a Wal-Mart. Because we were in the south, we knew there would be one (no offense to southerners, but you know it's true). We got directions from a gas station lady (we're girls to we can ask for directions, unlike men who would just get lost). We found it easily and bought 2 4-packs of film, and because I'm vain and was looking really yucky, I got some make-up. I only wear concealer, foundation and powder, just to even out my skin tone. It helped. :o)
::War Memorial Stadium::
The stadium was, um, well, small. Not just that, but there was no real parking lot, so we were on grass and dirt. We got there around 4. After hiking from the car, we went to will call to pick up the tickets. We start getting pretty excited. Since we have two hours before they will let people in, we copp-a-squat in the grass, or lack of grass. It's hot. About 95 degrees, and humid, but we are in the shade and there's a little wind, so we feel okay. Soon, bunches of people start coming. We start making fun of the local yokels. Some people were really funny to watch. At first, we are annoyed because two different little boys threw their trash (bottles and cups, or whatever) onto the ground. They were also throwing a bunch of rocks. We thought it was just because they were kids, but when we got up to go in at about 6:20 (the lines weren't clearing up, so we just pushed our way through. I think they has the entire audience going through the same get, it was asinine) there was garbage everywhere. Absolutely no exaggeration, there were NO trash cans. Bottles, cups, paper, trash EVERYWHERE. It was disgusting, to the point that it's almost making me cry now. That is just so horrible for the environment. I'm no tree-hugger, but I don't liter. It's just wrong. Even when we were entering the stadium, and they confiscate bottles you have, they just put them on the ground. No trash cans anywhere. It was horrible.
The first thing we notice as we enter is that they are selling bottled drinks inside. They take yours when you are entering, but feel free to buy them inside. Again, we saw no trash cans. Bad. From there, it only gets better. We find our seats and OH MY GOD!! 21 rows from the front, 6 seats from Justin during Gone, I mean, the center walkway. Must've been a Freudian Slip (but I still like JC better.) We sit there and get totally excited. We are in the seats that in Chicago we were asking ourselves "who do you have to sleep with to get seats like those?" No one, we got them from Ticketmaster the day before at 2 pm. How totally awesome!!! The opening acts were all different. No more Tonia and Meredith (yea!!) or Dream and 3LW (I could careless either way) or *SNIFF* BBMak. I almost cried, although I knew they wouldn't be there. Their last night was July 17, the second concert in Chicago. Last night, they were in London. I would have flown to London to see them. I hear they are touring with Britney. I am actually considering getting tickets, just to see BBMak. I love them, they are so cute and they have accents and Mark Barry is one of the hottest men alive. *sigh* I don't know if I'd sit through Britney though. I have nothing against her, so I probably would. As long as I don't actually *like* it, and only *don't mind* it, I think I'm fine. There were only 3 warm-up bands. The first was Dante Thomas. He was very good, and I'd consider getting his CD. The second was Eden's Crush. They totally kick Dream's ass, and were very talented for being on Popstars. The last was Samantha Mumba (sp?). She was so cute! She had her little brother on tour with her. She was really great and she had the best Irish accent. I would buy her CD too.
::NSYNC takes the Stage::
As always, we watched the video of Joey dressed like a dork (he's so funny though), then turn to the pod instead of watching the monks. We took about a roll and a half of film on Pop alone. They used the walkway, so we have some really close and awesome pictures (our 11 rolls are currently at Wolf Camera, they will be done at 5. I soooo can't wait). The concert ROCKED! I mean, it always does, but, for example, in Chicago, Chris seemed distracted and unhappy, but last night he was back to his fun and entertaining self. They all were so energetic! I honestly can't wait for the pictures. My sister had a 300 mm lens (yes, illegal, but whatever) so we are going to have some killer close-ups! We decided before we even got there that we would duck out before Bye Bye Bye, because being stuck in the Soldier Field parking lot for two hours was fun, but would not get us home in time for Chris to go back to work at noon. (Poor Chris) The security people were crawling and constantly looking down aisles (for forbidden cameras and recording devices). So, in the black out before Game Over (not a quality song worth sticking around for), we slipped out without the people noticing. There have been stories that security people were confiscating film at some venues when they saw you had a telescopic lens. If we left while it was dark, they couldn't confiscate anything. On the way out, we were given free Chocolate Cream Oreos (I love Nabisco as a sponsor) and they were selling whole Papa John's Pizzas for $5. We got one for "dinner" and hiked back to the car. They had just started Bye Bye Bye as we got settled in. We exited the parking area with no problems and heard the song and saw some of the fireworks (Happy 4th of July) while leaving. We got on 630 and started our trip home, extremely excited and wired.
::The drive back::
Around 1:45, we stopped for gas in Missouri, after which I took a nap until 3:45 when my sister pulled in to a rest stop and said she couldn't drive anymore. She was tired (poor sister *frown*). I took the wheel, learned how to use cruise control, and we were on our way.
Chris' car has had some problems recently. Less than 2 months ago, there was a whole bunch of stuff wrong, and it all got fixed. A month later, one of the problems the CR valve (EPR? CRV? CPR? *laugh* something like that) was broken again, so they fixed it again. Last night/really early this morning, it broke. It was fine to drive with, it just meant we had to drive two footed so the engine wouldn't kill. I drove through bugs and rain and darkness, until about 5:30 when we needed gas again. We stopped off in Mattoon, IL. (My sister Fayanne goes to school at Eastern, which is in Charleston, about 9 miles east of Mattoon, so the area was very familiar for me, since I'd been down there to visit a couple times.) We got gas and decided to go to Stake 'n Shake for a really early breakfast. On our way out, at about 6:15, we got shakes to go. Too early for a chocolate shake? Hell no! That's the greatest part of vacations is eating a bunch of junk at random time (especially applies to road trips). Chris resumed driving, and I slept some more (I think total, I got about 11 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours, but I'm too wired currently to be tired. Wired, tired, they rhyme. I'm a poet and I didn't even know it...hee hee hee. Not too sleep deprived to be giddy though.)
::Welcome back to the Greater Chicagoland Area::
We decided, since Chris' car was all messed up, to pick up Mommy's car at her work, then drop Chris' at the shop. We did these two runs, then (we couldn't help ourselves) went to Wolf Camera to drop off the film. SO excited! After, we went to Chris' apartment so she could shower before work.
::Home at Last::
On her way to work, Chris dropped me at home. I took a half hour shower (impressive because I'm usually only in it for 10 minutes). It just felt so good. After the extremely long day with 95 degree weather and humidity, and sweating like a pig at the concert (so much body heat, right on top of each other. yucky.) I was totally revitalized. Then, I brushed my teeth (twice) for about five minutes each time. I felt so gross before, and so clean after. Nice clean clothes to get into, clean hair and teeth, clean face. Make-up that won't get messed up because of the humidity, because it's only 69 degrees here, with almost no humidity at all. It's so great. I don't think I could live anywhere south of Chicago. It just gets too hot. I mean, we have our days with temperatures in the 100s, and humidity that makes you feel like your lungs will collapse, but this summer has been mild and hot days very infrequent. (knock on wood). The first thing I did after my shower, was come here to update my journal. You should feel special. I was just so excited with so much to say, that I couldn't help putting it all down before I forgot it all.
Chris decided to call it a holiday, because it wasn't really a vacation. I mean, we didn't stay anywhere besides the car and the concert. It can't be considered a weekend, because we went on a Wednesday. We decided to adopt the BBMak (or British, but we prefer to give Mark, Ste and Christian all the credit) term "holiday". Our next holiday will be NSYNC in Indianapolis. I can't tell you how excited I am! I hope we get as good of seats as we did this time. Totally awesome.
*Someone Like You - NSYNC (bootleg mp3)
*See Right Through You - NSYNC (same)
*Up Against the Wall - NSYNC (ditto)
*Gone - NSYNC (ibis)
*Two of Us - NSYNC (I think you get the point...)
*Fallen - NSYNC (mostly Chris)
*Same songs in random order on repeat for the entire duration of my journal entry.
* Are ya kidding? I'm so freaking excited and content and thrilled and everything good.
*Also anxious to get the picture and impatient for Indiana. Why isn't it August yet?