Tag Archives: pawn stars

The Vegas Chronicles

By: Travis E. Blythe

Viva Las Vegas!

Believe it or not, Vegas has to be one of the places I dread going to the most.  I have only been probably three times in my entire life and granted it was for work and conferences, but still I was never a big fan. You see I am not much of a gambler, in fact I really hate to lose my money. However, last year I met a fellow OCR guy and over the course of the six months we have become friends.  So when he said I should come out to Vegas and race the Spartan Super, it sounded like a good thing. I was able to get a free race and a dirt cheap plane ticket, so off I went.

Unfortunately this is not going to be my blog about the Spartan Super, I’ll save that for another time. What I will do though is tell you about my adventures that may have just changed my mind about Vegas. I started the trip by getting in real early in the week, I mean like Tuesday early.  But it was late Tuesday so I basically got in and went right to sleep.

Wednesday

One of the things I dislike the most is being sick. I started to get sick on Monday and now when I woke up on Wednesday, I was full blown in my yearly bronchitis. Dreadful day, but I ended up going and getting some drugs, and I worked most of the day after that. The highlight of the day was going to Camp Rhino after my buddy got off work and get to play for a few hours. I have heard about this place on Facebook and have been waiting to get there and play.  This is basically am adult jungle gym for OCR and ninja warrior type people. Sure they also do boot camps and crossfit there, but the obstacles are the fun part. With my hands still pretty tore up from Battlefrog, I wasn’t able to do the complete WOD, as a matter of fact, we did one round and had to quit because the classes get first priority.  So I spent the majority of my time learning one of the things that slowed me down, the rope climb. I learned the technique and now was rocking up the rope using my feet! Pretty stoked about that! I was even able to meet and talk a little with the owner Julie and she is a really nice and sweet person and way cool.

Thursday

Not much happening on Thursday, I was still feeling really sick and just worked and slept most of the day.  My buddy Jesse wanted to go on a trail run after work, but I wasn’t feeling it and I talked him into tapering his workout some just two day before the race, so we just went hiking where he usually runs. Went on about a 2 mile hike, up and down the hills and park. Got to watch the sun set behind the mountains and I didn’t have to run.

Friday

Up at the buttcrack of dawn to take Jesse to work, I was able to meet up with some of my Facebook friends with who I have never really met. So we had breakfast and talked about what we were going to be doing all day. That is when this EPIC day started taking shape. What started with a conversation around one reality TV show, turned into a full blown trek around town seeing every show we could think of. So in the end, here is what was on our list:

  • Tank’d
  • Pawn Stars
  • Bad Ink
  • Counts Kustoms
  • Stratosphere – do the rides
  • Las Vegas Sign

So of course my mind starts going 100 miles an hour and I thought it would be funny to make a video giving one of the most known Spartan Athletes some grief and try to pawn his spear at the pawn Stars location. So off we go!

Las Vegas Sign

First stop to take some pics in front of the famous welcome to Vegas sign. Luckily we are fast, because as we were pulling in to the parking lot a tour bus arrived and I said we had to move faster and sure enough about 40-50 people got off the bus. But we got there first and took a few pics goofing off and being silly. (I know Shocker) Plus we posed with Spartan Spears just for the hell of it!

Pawn Stars

I am sure you have heard of this show right? Pawn Stars is actually a place called gold and silver.  Sometimes I crack even myself up with the wacky ideas that come into my head. Our morning brainstorming started with me thinking of this place. Then it hit me, why not act like they do on the show, do an interview outside and talk about going in and pawning something.  But it had to be something good, something that they would say no, maybe have an expert look at and tell me it wasn’t authentic or just not worth the crazy amount of money I wanted. Then it hit me, I need to tie it into the Spartan Race we were doing, then it really hit me and the creative juices started flowing.  My friend had his spears in the car from the day before so I called him got the okay and set my plan in motion. Some of you may know, okay who are we kidding, most of you know Matt “The Bear” Novakovich  and that he sells his own autographed spears for like $80 or $100 or something.

So there it was just staring us down, I signed a spear based on his logo and off we went to Pawn Stars.  So we get there and we make the video outside prepping the whole thing.  Here you go:

11159509_10153311297097962_5283471119770058671_nUnfortunately they would not allow us to video inside so the rest of the joke could not take place.  We were able to get some still photos and they played along. The rest of the joke was played out on social media and I have to say, Matt was awesome and played along with it. I can’t wait to finally meet the guy in person. In case you are wondering, we said they told us it was a forgery and not worth a dollar!

Counts Kustoms

IMG_9811So our next stop was Counts Kustoms.  If you have not seen this TV show, you don’t know what you are missing. For the most part they build custom cars. They drive around Vegas and buy peoples old cars and restore them or give them the “Counts” personal touch. No tricks here, we just went in and visited.  They have a ton of cool cars in there, so if you are in the neighborhood, totally check it out, hey its free.

Bad Ink

IMG_9837Another TV show Bad Ink was next on the list. If you don’t know, these guys walk around Vegas and look at peoples tattoos and then they fix them. Most of the time they are cover ups, but all of the time the work is freaking awesome. The name of the shop is PussyKat Tattoo, yes I Taught I Taw a Putty Tat! Unfortunately Dirk and Ruckus were not in, but I was validated! Screenshot 2015-04-28 21.33.52

Tank’d

IMG_9881I have only watched this show once, but it was pretty cool.  These guys build fish tanks and nothing is too big or too small. You can see a lot of their work all over town and in the casinos.  It was cool, the main characters of the show were there and came outside to pose for pics with people.  That was really cool of them and shows they are still down to earth.

So there you have it, that was our epic morning.  We hit all of those place and yet we still had a ton of time left in our day. We actually did go by Stratosphere and we were going to ride the rides but it was way pricy and we all decided it was not worth it.  Maybe next time.

But our day was not done, because you see like any great day of adventure, there is always more. We looked the watch, looked at the map and off to Hoover Dam we went.

Hoover Dam

I had never been here so the 40 minute or so it took to get there was not that bad. What a beautiful place! It was obvious the water lever was down, but none the less, pretty cool.IMG_9937 I got in my gratuitous hardstand pics on both sides of the bridge, however I did have trouble landing on the side facing the bridge. Someone got in my head that I might flip over and I was rushed because we were blocking the sidewalk and I wanted my photographer to get further out in the street and she wouldn’t because of the cars…good grief taking pictures should not be this stressful!

During the car ride we found out we had scored some tickets to get up in the Eiffel Tower, so offer went chasing more adventure.

Eiffel Tower at Paris

IMG_9939I have to say this was a little disappointing. We went up to the top and yes you can see the strip, yes there are some ooh and ahh moments, but if I would have had to actually pay for this…I would have been pissed.  You are stuck inside a cage and it just wasn’t all that…Kinda felt like jail to me…

The only cool thing was watching the fountains.

IMG_9946

So the day is winding down ad we did get the munchies, you know all this tourist stuff is exhausting so we went to Cabo Wabo Cantina and we actually sat on the railing watching the street. This was by far the most entertaining time yet. Watching the bachelor and bachelorette parties stumble up and down the strip was nothing short of hilarious. I mean seriously it was not even 5:00PM yet. Then you have the locals sitting on the sidewalks just pounding beers or margaritas or whatever, throwing their empty cans in the bushes. You also have the people dressed in costumes and you have to pay them to take pictures with them, dang it, they got me twice! (more on that later) Also if you ever want to know where to go clubbing, just stand in one spot and you will get 100 cards in no time from dudes wanting you to come to their club! I love people watching and this was funny, and the sun was still out, I can only imagine what this place turns into when the sun sets.

IMG_9955So off we go, one last stop, we are heading to the New York, New York hotel to ride the roller coaster! But first I got stopped by the storm troopers. I tried to fight it, but they were all like “Mr. Battlefrog this” and “Mr. Battlefrog that”. So I told one of them, I will take a picture with you but I have to be on your back piggy back style and I want your gun. Well, then next thing the guy says is, “you can’t do that, I think my costume will fall apart!” ha ha, that was hysterical. But in the end I had them pic me up, I think we took like 4 different poses and then they wanted to make me a video. So here is my Stormtrooper video!

New York, New York

If there is one thing you need to know about me, I love roller coasters. I love sitting in the very first seat and waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care! It is pretty sad that I live like 20 minutes away from Six Flags and I have not been in like 8 years. But none the less, I feel some summer adventures coming on some roller coasters! Well we went to NY, NY for one reason only, end the day on the roller coaster. It was not a long as I would have liked, but it was fun, it cost $14 per ride in case you are wondering and you can buy your pictures 3-$30, needless to say I do not have pictures. Fun times though!

So that concludes my Friday adventures, after this I went back to my buddies home, we had Tacos and called it a night!

Saturday

The race was run, we went home and took naps…oh the life of masters racing! After the mid-day snooze, I was lucky enough to be invited to the OCR Grinders team dinner. A very cool experience as they honored a boy named Austin. They ran for him at this race and made him a spartan! Very cool.

So off we go on our “Entourage” night out in Vegas. After a little bit of a delay, we finally were able to get to “Old Downtown” and the first stop was container park. IMG_0316

This was a cool place, they have a fire breathing praying mantis out front. Then we walked down the strip, by the Golden Nugget and a few others…pretty cool, they had zip lines overhead and these color things on the ceilings. Not to mention this hair band from hell playing live music at one end.  Again we were treated to all that Vegas has to offer, you know grown men in diapers taking pics with IMG_9992[1]people for money…and this guy================>

Only in Las Vegas can you see this stuff. There was so much more and I could have taken pictures all day.  Needless to say we laughed hard at the people and I for one am grateful I do not live in this or have to see this everyday because I am not sure if I could hold my tongue.

So we end up going to this food truck, more importantly a hamburger food truck called FUKU Burger! Knowing a chef has its rewards and they rewarded us with a little bit of heaven. Next time you are in Vegas, find this truck and get the #1, you will not be disappointed!

After stuffing our grills with these awesome burgers, we round the corner and low and behold a brick traverse wall appears out of nowhere in this back alleyway. So we do what all OCR peeps do, we climb that bitch! After a few minutes of horseplay, we decide to get on the wall and take a group picture. Now here is where that phrase “only in Vegas” has to come from. You have 7-grown ass men climbing a brick wall in an alley and as we all get up on the wall for a picture out of nowhere comes this dude who jumps in front of, one of our guys and I guess his goal was to prove he could climb also. But here is the thing…he couldn’t, that asshat kept falling off the wall and getting back on, I mean even after we all got off and started walking away in disgust that he ruined our glorious photo op, this tool kept trying.  I wish video had been captured, because here is what is going on, you have six guys on the wall, some barely holding on for dear life waiting for the picture to be taken, me in my flip flops up higher than anyone else (yes photographic evidence) and I am yelling at the tool to get off the wall, yelling at our buddy to pull his ass off by his shirt, just yelling. You know stuff like, “hey fucker, get off the wall!” “I will cut you! get off the wall!” “hey asshole, I will beat your face in, get off the wall!”, okay so maybe the last two were my inside voice, but I thought it!  In the end it was okay, we went around the corner and found another wall, this one all in black, no stupid Vegas drunk people trying to photo bomb us. We got the pic, memories forever!

13678_10205474944745414_3153628430250300388_n

Sunday

So sunday we decided to attend the Camp Rhino post Spartan workout. Unfortunately my hamstring and foot issues prevented me from working out, so I did the next best thing…I took video of the poor souls getting their spirits crushed by miss Julie! Here is my video…

Monday

Monday Monday, Come Monday, Manic Monday, what ever song you equate with Monday or just having the case of the Monday’s, I am so ready to go home! At this point I just miss everything and everyone at home, I couldn’t wait to get back and tell everyone about my adventures, but when I actually did get home…no one wanted to know…story of my life.  But before I can go home, how about a workout first? Boy I give that idea two thumbs up! I can’t say no and look like a big puss, especially since I did nothing the day before and I am staying with all these freaking “elite”  workout monsters.  So I did the damn workout, didn’t die and I felt good, none of my injuries were harmed.

IMG_0319One last thing to do before I can blow this Popsicle stand is celebrate my awesome hosts anniversary with them. No complaints there! We went to the triple A affiliate for the NY Mets, the Las Vegas 51’s baseball game. They lost but $1 hotdogs (yes I had 5) were awesome! The picture is my little buddy Gio! Ever go to a baseball game with a 2-year old? Besides the fact that he is a parrot (repeats everything) he is also a barrel of laughs and never stops smiling! Okay one thing I don’t get, they are the Las Vegas 51’s and the logo is an alien on the hat, the mascot looks like a grey Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars and excuse me if I am wrong, but aren’t we in Vegas? I thought area 51 was in New Mexico? I distinctly remember going through Roswell, NM on my way home from my EPIC Ski trip (note to self…backlog that blog, that trip was freaking awesome!) and I thought that is where the aliens were? I’m so confused…

We left in the 8th inning as the visiting team just belted out another 3 run inning and they were up like 8-2. One my way to the airport I go! Exit stage left, Viva Las Vegas, leaving Las Vegas, whatever, I am outta here. Until we meet again sin city!

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

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Things I Think – Thursday – 4/23/15

By: Travis E. Blythe

Random thoughts after a week in Vegas!

Okay a few from Vegas and a couple others, because hey it’s random right? So typically I pick some topics and give my 2-cents on them, kind of ranting if you will. Since it has been about 5-years and I think I have matured a bit, I am going to give you my weeks top ten things going on in my mind. In no particular order other than how they popped into my head.

1.  After spending a week with world class chefs, getting a recipe out of them is like pulling teeth! Seriously though, the problem is they just tend to make stuff up and I can’t write fast enough! But I can tell you this, when you do get one, watch out that stuff is like gold! Plus when they are athletes, they make nothing but healthy food and it is awesome!

2. They don’t call me the “Road Captain” for nothing. Yes I like to have fun, yes sometimes I am still 12 and if you want to have adventure in your life – just add me. I had several messages from people who followed along just to see what I would do next. Never expected it, but it does make me happy to see others living vicariously through me and if it puts a smile on their face…I am happy. I am looking for a partner in crime, a Bonnie to my Clyde if you will. Although there maybe an asterisk by that statement, the jury is still out on that. But in the mean time I had such a blast with my friends exploring Vegas in the most unusual way.  That blog is coming out soon so be ready for a detailed account of our shenanigans!

3. I love the song Mirrors. My favorite version is this one.

4. It is snowing up north, in April, and I am laughing hard. It really sucks to be you and hence why I live in Texas, the greatest country…errr state in the world!

11159509_10153311297097962_5283471119770058671_n5. So I made this video while in Vegas poking fun at Matt “The Bear” Novakovich and his spears. See he sells them for $80/ea and autographed. You can make them yourself at Home Depot for $10. So while in Vegas I made a video saying I was going to pawn an original autographed spear at the famous Gold & Silver pawn Shop as seen on the TV show “Pawn Stars”.  Needless to say he has a great sense of humor and since we have been bantering in chat rooms every other day.  What a cool guy.

6. I think I am so grateful for all my friends. You know who you are, you have massive shoulders, you put up with my crap and I appreciate everything!

7. So what is the deal with Hummus and Blue Bell ice cream recalls? Its a good thing about ice cream because it is not on my diet! But I just started eating hummus and I kinda liked it…WTH?

8. So I am pretty sure Spartan race has jumped the shark for me. After two very grueling Battlefrog races, I traveled to do a Spartan Super, which is basically the same distance. All I can say is that it was easy. There was a ton of running and hardly any obstacles. Those they did have were really easy and I had no issues.  I even hit my spear throw for the first time ever.  So, I went burpee free, finished top 35 out of over 8,400 people and not to boast but I was also sick all week and day of the race and injured. Kinda makes me think how I would have done healthy. I’ll take it, but I really don’t need to do a bunch of these races this year.  I would rather travel to the Battlefrog races and battle to keep my wrist band.

9. I made it a week in Vegas and I did not gamble! I am so proud of myself. I also only had 1-beer and 1-drink the whole time. I really didn’t want those either, but sometimes peer pressure gets to you. Okay I take that back, I also had 2-beers after the race, but those don’t really count because I was so thirsty I just gobbled them up and that was really early in the day.

10. This is going to come as a shock, but after spending a week in Vegas one thing I was starting to dig was the mountains. I instantly became jealous of all the running they do in the mountains. So now I am very open to possibly moving or spending some time this summer in a place that has mountains so I can run up and down them. Who knows, the winter might not be so bad either as long as I can ski.

Bonus thoughts

Okay, I know I said the top ten, but there is apparently more in me so here are a couple more bonus things I think…

11. I am so grateful for getting into this sport I have come to love. I have met some amazing people and I continue to make new friends and acquaintances every week. Whether I am connecting with Facecrack friends in person that I have never met before or meeting total new people, they have been nothing short of awesome. Over the course of the past 2 weeks I have met some funny people. Sometimes it amazes me how different people are in person and once you crack that shell they are so funny. I have new friends from Colorado, Florida, Atlanta, BFE Georgia, Utah, California and Mexico (yes the country). So what do I think? I think I am blessed and I look forward to seeing more unicorn farts in my inbox!

12. Forks in the road can come in all shapes and sizes. I find myself standing at a new one. One direction leads to parts unknown, new adventures, new people and new possibilities.  The other leads to paradise, it leads to where I could call home, familiar faces, warm hearts and every one of those happy quotes you people post every day. This second path is also filled with new adventures, new responsibilities and endless possibilities. So the question is, where do you go? The decision is not mine alone, although it does feel like it is. So of course I have one side I am leaning to and where I want to go. Now don’t go getting all sappy on me, don’t read to much in to this, because I have not told you if this road was personal or professional or both? Hmmm…inquiring minds want to know I am sure. I guess you will have to stay tuned for this little nugget and see where I go.

13. I love coaching and motivating. I realize I post a bunch of stuff every week and I try to relate everything to my personal journey, but I want to thank every single one of you who take the time to read stuff like this. You message me privately and tell me I made a difference in your life and that means more to me than any medal I get at a race. This week I saw a friend ask for help, not from me, but just in general. She needed an accountability partner, someone to make her stay active and on track for her goal in two weeks. Sure I could have ignored it and just gone about my business. But you know what, I am not that type of person. So even though I had no sleep, catching a redeye flight home, getting in at 5:30am, staying awake all day, I still met her and walked step by step with her up and down hills. It didn’t matter to me, I was doing my job. Fast forward to the following day and I schedule a brutal workout, mostly for myself, but there she was doing it. I mean everything except for the dreaded monkey bars. So we finished and we made her do the monkey bars.  I could tell she had a ton of self doubt, but we pushed and she went. She did it, the whole length, without stopping! She finished and as I go to high five her, she busts out in tears. You see she had never done anything like that before, not even as a kid. That is what it is all about folks, that is why I help people and I have been my whole life. I get knocked because I sometimes give to much and get nothing in return. But it is not about me, so I am going to keep posting motivation and transformation stories and hopefully secretly inspiring others to live the life they want to live and that they can do anything they put their mind to.

14. Just throwing it out there, if anyone wants to sponsor me and help fund me to go to races, I would much appreciate it. And no I am not going to start a “Go Fund Me” account, I think that is just wrong to beg for money to go to races. Now if you wish to donate to me, that is something different all together.  I mean, hey I do have a birthday coming up and if you were to send me a card with money in it, who am I to refuse that?

15. So there is a special someone I need to thank. You see as much as I just said I like to motivate and inspire, sometimes the “Struggle is real” and it takes a lot to get me going. This year has been a bunch of ups and downs. The truth is, I rarely do anything after the Glen Rose Spartan race, that typically ends my year and then the cold winter and time change sets in. What that normally means to me is that I hibernate.  See you in March when it warms up is usually my M.O.  However, this year was much different. I met someone who changed me, inspired me and made me want to not be idol. Whether this person thinks so or not, they have had a direct impact on this years racing season.

You see, I started the year on fire in January. I was running, working out and I was the most active I have ever been in January. Then February came and laziness crept in. I had excuses and no matter how bad this person tried, I was an ass. I think this caused some serious damage in the friendship because I was just not feeling it, I had one excuse after the other.

  • it’s too cold outside
  • it’s raining
  • I don’t have a gym membership
  • I think I just sh!t my pants

I had a ton of excuses. March hit and the weather started changing and as usual so did my attitude. Unfortunately I wasn’t really prepared for my first race because I was lazy. Sure I did okay, I finished decent but I know I could have done better. So at the end of all this, there was a comment made to me which has stuck in my head since then. The comment was thrown so loosely I doubt they even remember saying it, however, the comment was:

quote“You know, if you trained harder, you could actually be a beast”

This person was absolutely right. So since then I have refocused on my training. I started running again and adding strength workouts to my day.  March was a stellar month, I put in a bunch of miles and I felt great! I even lost that winter weight I think I put on in February during my “comfy” stage.  So thank you, you know who you are and you need to know I am sorry for my stubbornness, you were right (damn that hurts to admit I was wrong!). So go ahead and do your “I was right” dance…you deserve it! See it was a win/win!

16. Okay so this week has two songs, well because I said so! This one I heard two weeks ago and it has stuck with me, I just love it. If you don’t well then you can suck it. Sam Smith and John Legend…come on man! Here is the video.

Until next time, my name is Travis and I talk to strangers.