Rokerthon 2 is now in the books and the Today Show’s weatherman, Al Roker has set his second Guinness Record- this time for the fastest time to report the weather from all 50 states. Last week Al Roker visited the Four Corners Monument which helped him check off 4 states at one location, and a few of us made the EARLY morning drive down to the Four Corners to be in the audience for the 7:00am EST (5:00am MST!!) broadcast.
Our office had been contacted about 3 weeks earlier as the Today Show was trying to plan the logistics of Rokerthon 2, so we knew about it for a while before it became public knowledge. When I first heard about it I though that it might be fun to drive down there to be in the audience but I didn’t seriously plan on going until I mentioned it to my friend Lynne, an employee at the Blanding Visitor Center, the Friday before and she texted me back on Sunday afternoon (which was the day before the broadcast) saying that she was on board and willing to go! Once it was official, we found another equally crazy friend- Lyndie who works for the Four Corners School/Canyon Country Discovery Center, who was up for an early morning ‘publicity stunt’, as she called it since we are all involved in tourism and/or education and all had something we wanted to make signs to promote.
The Four Corners Monument is about 1 hour 40 minutes from Monticello, but since we were driving in the dark, we planned on a 2 hour drive and decided to leave Monticello at 2:30am. Lyndie and I met at 2:30am (both of us with coffee in hand!) and made our way down to Blanding to pick up Lynne. The drive down to the Four Corners flew by as we talked and caught up with each other. Also, an unexpected bonus to being out and about at 2:30 am was that we got to see a couple meteors from the Leonid Meteor Shower! I always like to see astronomical events, but I’m not quite interested enough to wake up in the middle of the night to see them, so I was thrilled to be up and able to see a little bit of it!
Before we even made it to the Four Corners Monument, you could see a glow of light over the horizon from at least 4-5 miles away. When we got to the turn we realized that there were already TONS of people there! I have to stop here and acknowledge Navajo Parks & Recreation for doing an amazing job organizing everything. I had thought ahead of time that the parking that morning was probably going to be a nightmare, but it was so organized- we were really impressed!
We parked and made our way to the monument to join the huge crowd that had already formed. Right away we could see by everyone’s signs that the audience had divided up by state of residency with residents from each state standing in their corresponding corner of the monument. We found our corner and joined our fellow Utahans who, upon talking with a few, we found out had come from as far away as Salt Lake and St. George!
It was COLD out there, and since Al Roker was there to report the weather, I can tell you exactly how cold it was, 28 degrees! (And that’s straight from the weatherman’s mouth!) Brrr! But I think we were so excited that the temperature really didn’t bother us much for the first hour and a half or so.
We quickly learned that you had to have a wristband to be allowed down on the main level of the monument during the broadcast. We didn’t have wristbands at that time but as the Utah part of the forecast was about to start, someone from the Today Show came up and said that since we were holding signs, we could go down to the main level. Whoo hoo! We made it!
Each state had a group who were there to preform during the broadcast, and from Utah it was Noteworthy- a female a cappella group from BYU, who we ended up standing behind. While we didn’t make the front row and you could only see our faces a couple times, we were standing directly behind Al so our signs were in the entire shot, which I think was what was most important to us anyway.
Here are LINKS to two clips of the broadcast on the Today Show’s website…
- First 4 days of Rokerthon 2: Flat tire can’t stop Al from rolling on
- Al Roker forecasts the weather from 4 states at once
As the morning progressed, Al would broadcast live for a few minutes, then there would be a break for about 20 minutes or so. There was a huge tent set up with heaters inside (we got to go inside after it was over and have breakfast!) and as far as I saw, Al never left the monument to go warm up between broadcasts, which I was impressed with. During the breaks Al spent quite a bit of time talking to the audience, and I saw several people come up to him and give him gifts; a backpack from Osprey– a Cortez, CO based outdoor gear company, a turquoise necklace, and the blanket that he had wrapped around him in the photo above, to name a few.
At one point Al was near us taking photos with some of the audience and as he started to walk away I called him and asked if he’d take a photo with me. He said yes and we stood side by side for a photo, but unfortunately right as Lyndie was taking the photos, a couple people jumped in front of us to take a selfie with Al in the background, so none of the photos turned out. 😦
It was an extremely cold and early morning, but we were all so glad we made the trip down to the Four Corners Monument for Rokerthon 2! On top of getting to help welcome Al Roker to our area and getting our signs on national TV, we also got to catch a little bit of the Leonid Meteor Shower on the drive down and watch a beautiful sunrise from the Four Corners Monument. And all of this before 7:00am! Not a bad way to start the day in Utah’s Canyon Country!
Click HERE to read my previous blog entry on the Four Corners Monument.
For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386
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