Road Trip 2007
Sun, 13
Off at last ...  
I finally did it, I'm off to explore.  To see things that only a few million eyes have seen before me.  So much for William Shatner...  Things kept popping up, making my departure much later than I had anticipated.
As familiar as I am with the route to and on  I-40 a few things captured my attention.  One was the name of some of the streets en route.  "Twenty Mule Team Road", Devil Dog Road to name a couple.  Also, the name of one town was peculiar:  Boron.  I don't know what the origin of this town's name was, but the first thing my mind associated it with was that it might be a combination of the words boring and moron.
This would be a contradiction of terms, however.  No matter your personal feelings as regards morons, they are certainly not boring.  If only due to their wacky antics, that make you wonder how they have been able to survive for so long without a helmet featuring as their first line of defense, they are rather entertaining in general. 
While going through Bakersfield I came accross a diner that I always pass by, but never stop in to try.  As it was late, I had only to pass by again.  If there is one thing that I find utterly distasteful it's that somewhere out there is a burger that has never graced my palate.  I may need to schedule another trip just to rectify this.
I slept in Barstow, which is a pretty cool town, especially along the old Route 66.  Much of the old Route 66 has lost its luster since the advent of the interstate corresponding to it's path.  Barstow has retained it's charming tackiness of glorious neon lights, and oddd diversions.  It demands a day of my time somewhere down the line.
Off to regions east, and to begin my battle with Texas.  They got some big roaches down there.



Sun, 13
9 Miles  
That was the reading on the odometer when I picked up my rental car.  9 miles.  The smell of new car was overpowering.  Already I have been to 4 states (including California), and the car is up into the 4 digit range.  The misfortune this car had to meet up with me so early in it's life!  I plan on returing it with at least 10,000 miles on it.  If I have to put it up on jacks, and place a brick on the accelerator, it's gong to have 5 digits when I'm done.
The focus of today was to hi Santa Fe with some light left over.  Have done, and I got a chance to explore the town some more, and get a pretty good meal in the old town as well.  A few notes on the last couple days.  Goodnight, Texas and the "It'll do Motel" in Clarendon, TX.  I also came to a business called "Bob's Guns", or something to that effect.  Texas is one strange place, and not a little humid.  I saw a game in Arlington today.  That's one of my favorite ballparks.  Sadly, you have to go through all sorts of hell to get there, and the you get to walk a mile from the parking lot, just to round things off.
I did manage to get some killer barbecue in Terrel, Texas as a place called Cole Mountain.  The massive amounts of meat and beans are playing some interesting notes on my stomach.  I had no idea the odors my body was capable of forming.  Not to mention that I've driven nearly 2000 miles without the benefit of a shower. 
The car is on it's third day of use.  The new car smell is no more.  It has been displaced by a smell that can only be described with phsychologists available to the reader to aid in the recovery processs.
Off to New Orleans... 

Sun, 13

My battle with Texas is over  
My battle with Texas is over, and I emerged the victor.  I took the easy route up through the panhandle, not the El Paso to Orange along 10 that inspires thoughts of suicide with every mile of torture that it brings.
Oh yeah, I forgot something before.  While going through Texas, I stopped in Amarillo to see a place called the Cadillac Ranch.  It's a place in the middle of a cow field in Amarillo where some eccentric fellow  half buried 6 Cadillacs business end up.  It's surrounded by a a fence that also holds a bunch of cows off in the distance a bit.  It's a good thing that I didn't have a grill around, I was getting kind of hungry.  They might have wanted some revenge on me as well, and I was outnumbered!
I drove out to New Orleans for the first time in years.  It looked pretty good for the most part.  I notice some missing tiles, and various bits of destruction, but in all candor, that's now it's always been more or less   It was so hot and humid in Louisiana that I was sweating with the AC on.  The food there was great, but it has wreaked further havoc on my gut, and it's a good thing that I don't have any passengers. 
I took the Causeway across Lake Pontchartrain.  It's about 25 miles end to end.  You get out there and all you can see in front or behind is water, (well the bridge too).  It's the closest thing to sailing you can do from a car.  Unless of course you drove the car into the lake, and it was somewhat buoyant....not recommended however.
One armadillo can ruin your whole day.  In the south that's the roadkill of choice, and it almost always has a torn up tire at it's side.  A kind of revenge, I suppose.  Don't hit armadillos.
The more miles I drive, the further my standards in coffee standards drop.  I got a cup at the Flying J in Bessemer, Alabama.  The sad thing was I almost liked it.  On the lid opening was written "Sip here if the lid's on".  Just a thought:  If you needed that to know where to drink the coffee from, you're too stupid to put the lid on in the first place.

I'm going to try to make DC by 6pm, we'll see.

Mon, 14
"Where is Waldo?"  
I got an early start out of Alabama, or I would have.  I went to grab a quick bite to eat, that turned into 30 minutes f waiting.  I would have been real ticked but for the internet connection.  I looked around for a place to crash on my way there, but I wasn't comfortable with the surroundings.  At one place I asked someone how it was, and they responded something like "It's safe hear, you'll hear some gunshots, but you'll be OK".  That was enough for me, I headed north!
In Tennesee I stopped in Chatanooga.  I hadn't been planning on it, but I saw a sign for the Chatanooga Choo Choo, and figured I might as well.  It was truly uninspiring.  I ddid manage to get a triple shot at Starbucks.  It made me realize that Starbucks really isn't that good.  After all the junk coffee I've imbibed at sundry truck stops, etc. I didn't notcie an appreciable improvement.
Virginia is gorgeous!  The hills, trees everywhere.  I could do that drive again, but with cruise control on next time.  Cops are all around, and there well hidden so it's almost like playing "Where's Waldo".  I didn't get a ticket, but still.  
This is the first time I've driven along the Appalachain's, and I have not seen any Hillbillies.  I got some chewing tobacco just in case one tried to gum me or something.  I figure I could throw it out the window, and when he went to chase after it, I could make my escape.

I think I can hear a banjo playing though, so I better get out of here... 

Tue, 15
Traffic Directions  
One of the interesting things you note when travelling along differrent regions is differences in traffic direction.  In Texas the on-ramps run along the frontage roads, and to get on the freeway you have to cross a lane of oncoming traffic (they have a yield sign) in order to turn onto the freeway.  It gives you a flying start.  In many of the eastern states there is no additional lane to exit or enter the freeway, just the turn offf marked by a dotted line.  It makes you scared to use the freeway.
It was good to see New Orleans again.  You could notice some damage still in the Quarter and other high profile areas, but it was limited for the most part to tiles blown off the roof, water marks on some of the buildings where the waters rose to.  Walking on Bourbon Street on a steamy New Orleans afternoon you could still smell the sweet aroma of the previous nights vomit, blissfully carressing your nose, letting you know everything is going to be allright.  Even after the storm, I could still see some of my favorite stains!  The memories.
While in New Orleans I stopped by some of my favorite haunts, including (but not limited to) Brennan's. where I got a Ramos Gin Fizz.  Also, I went to Cafe Du Monde for some coffee and Beignets,  as well as Acme Oyster House for a fried soft shell crab, and some char-grilled oysters.  Unbelieveable!  That was one of teh best meals I've ever had in my life.  What with the amount of food, I had to grab a broom, and jam it down my throat so I could pack the food down.
Having said that, I believe that gout is setting in. 
I went to a game in DC, that brings the total to 41 of different ballparks that I've graced.  Being food deprived since that afternoon, I bought a pizza and beer.  If I wasn't so hungry I would have looked for a Yankees fan to throw the pizza at, I could have found a better meal in the average Tenderloin garbage can.
So Annapolis waits for me, with even more fried foods there for the ravaging.  Oh well, I repent.   Here's some links to some of the restaurant's I've been to:
Buddy's Crabs and Ribs, Annapolis 
What I had: Ribs and fried soft shell crab.
Acme Oyster House, New Orleans 
What I had: Fried soft shell, Chargrilled oysters and gumbo.
Cole Mountain BBQ, Terrel, TX
What I had: BBQ, Ribs, Sausage, Brisket.

> Odometer report:  3776

Tue, 16
The gout spreads  
As beautiful as it was driving up through Virginia, one thing that stood out was that the highway patrol was all over the place, and hidden behind every crevice.  I managed to not get pulled over, and better yet not to attract the attention of wanton hillbillies.  I got to Annapolis later than I had hoped.
When I arrived in town, I was both exhausted, and very smelly.  I was in desperate need of a shower, and perhaps to hire one of the local ship hands to scrape barnacles off of me.  The first hotel I went to wanted $180 for the night.  And then it really got ridiculous. $250, $370 and I was ready to forget about Annapolis and dind a pleasant slum somewhere.  ThenI came to a hotel not far from downtown.  It was locked up, and the night janitorial staff was in charge of late night booking.  I spoke to a woman there, she quoted me at a much more modest $120 a night.
Then, I asked what time check out was, as I was half dead, and after responding it was at 11 am, she said "You checked in on the 16th, and leave on the 17th".  I didn't immediately grasp what she was saying, then she repeated herself, "You checked in on the 17th, and leave on the 18th".  Looking at the clock, and then my cell phon, I noticed it was not the 17th, but rather the 16th.  She gave me a free night!
Braving the snobs that infest Annapolis, I ventured out on the town the next morning, following a significant nigths sleep, and a scrubbing with bleach.  The town is incredible, with brick lined streets, and all sorts of cool shops and places to eat.  That was my downfall, however.  I went first to the Double T diner, where I got a Crab Cake Benedict, the crab cakes replacing the traditional Canadian Bacon.  Then for lunch, a soft shell crab sandwhich and crafish at Buddy's.  Not feeling disgusting enough, I returned to Budddy's for ribs and steamed snow crab.  Now my gut was really cooking. 
I walked through the town one last time, hazarding the thunder storms and the squadrons of snobs, and said a goodbye to it, if only a temporary one.  I returned to my hotel, this time on the free night, intending to head baack for DC in the morning.  After some soft shell crabss, that is.
I really need a heart stent....
Tue, 17
A bottle of baby aspirin  
I've purchased a bottle of baby aspirin, in an attempt to thin my blood sufficiently to ensure my survival.  Today I cut my hand, and out came some bacon and a side of toast.
I started heading east 50 to DC, when north 95 came into view.  I headed for Baltimore.  If there's one thing I've not had enough of during this trip, it's crab.  Off to Phillip's to correct this oversight.  I started off with some long necked clams, chilled in the half shell, followed by some of the steamed variety, off to the crab cakes. Looking over the inner harbor of Baltimore, and with a sizable local beer, they arrived.  In a concession to health, I got them broiled, in place of my usual fried. 
I walked around the inner harbor, and the Fell's Point area, and then it was off to Pittsburgh in search of new ways to harm my stomach.  This called for Primanti Bros.  Primanti Bros. is a relic of Pittsburgh lore.  They feature a sandwich that starts with the meat and cheese, and then as an affront to all that is holy adds a heaping serving of coleslaw, a fried egg, and just to be truly disgusting a serving of fries.  The first bite is the hardest, after your jaw readjusts itself, the sandwich has already fallen apart, and can safely be eaten by picking at the damage.
In the east, one of the fascinating things you note are the smoking sewers.  Seeing this on TV, I had assumed that it was due to the cold.  However, they smoke even when it's hot outside.  With no evidence of arsonists lurking within the brown canals below, there was only one other hypothesis I could fathom that would be reasonable:  it's the chili.  Everywhere you go in this region, they have a chili of there own devices.  I've only had chili from these areas on a fleeting basis.   Evidently, consuming these chili's over a sustained period of time causes gut rot of such an astouning measure, that the sewers belch forth this smoke in repulsion. 
Now the time has come for me to go to Ohio, the genesis of the planning of this trip.  That update will cover my entire stay there.  Oh yeah, I went to PNC Park.  The Pirates won, and I lost my car.

Phillips, Baltimore, MD
Primanti Bros, Pittsburgh, PA 
> Odometer report: 4260
Tue, 20
The Cleveland Marathon  
So now the time has come to do the thing that gave me the excuse to drive recklessly around the country attending baseball games and stuffing my face with foods that will likely result in my death one day:  The Cleveland Marathon.
Now, this would be my first marathon....  As a spectator, not a participant.  My motto is to run only when chased.  But as Stacie (My wife for those I've met along the way who don't know me otherwise) is running in it for her first marathon, I feel obligated to make an appearance.  More than that, I think it's pretty cool that she's doing it, and I want to be there for it, both for support and for the next time she'e ticked off at me so I can say "I drove xxxx thousand miles to see you run a marathon, so quit yelling at me and bring me a beer, I deserve it".  Of course, this is fantasy, and the next time I see her she will slap me.
When I was going to my hotel in Annapolis I noticed an excersise room.  I was hyped up as I wanted to get into a weight room.  As I was heading for Miami I wanted to get pumped up so I would look good in my thong.  Sadly, it was only a treadmill and some 10 pound barbells.  I would be totally ripped and sexy now if only they had a weight room.  Damn you Annapolis!!!
There were two things on my mind going to Ohio, the first being Stacie's marathon run.  The second the FA cup final between Manchester United (The good guys), and Chelsea, the b*****d's).  As for the marathon, there's not much to say.  Still this has been the highlight of my trip.  I'm thinking of a proper way to mention the reason for Stacie's decision to run this, and I hope to have found the words at some point, but for now I can only say that for all the times in my life that I choked back tears in the effort to appear manly - Ripken breaking Lou's record, the Sox winning the series, Ricardo Montalbon being so macho - it was pretty cool.  I'm very proud of her. 
So now onto the FA cup final.  As several of you know, I'm a United supporter.  I spent the evening before the match frantically calling pubs around Ohio in the attempt to find one that would be showing the match, the best reply being that due to the many calls regarding the match, the next year they were sure to order it.  This was all well and good, and depending where I am this time next year may be of pratical value, but I wanted to see the match THIS YEAR.  After around 50 calls (not an exageration), I gave up.  Then I received a call.  Just as I planned on spending 2 hours outside a home close to my mother in laws hose refreshing the connection on my stolen wireless conduit, a response to a message that I left came through.  One of the pubs I called gave me a number of someone that would likely be able to help me. 
Just after I gave up, and resigned myself to not seeing the game, I got a call.  This from the number that I got from the pub.  I was invited to a prviate showing at someone's home to see the FA cup final!  The number I was given was that of a local cop, and he was a big Chelsea supporter. a very nice guy, save for that.  The home I was invited to was full of Chelsea supporters, I being the only red, but they were incredible.  United lost, but it was a great match.  The memories of the circumstances, and the people I met, were much more, however.  I can only thank you for allowing a stranger in to see the game.
You can likely find the results of the marathon by searching th Cleveland Plain Dealer, or something to that.  I would post a link, but at this time I can't get internet, and will send this to my webmaster as able to. 
Time to run up that odometer some more.
Tue, 22
Going to Akron  
Going to Akron, I had some personal goals to meet.  Primary, of course, was seeing Stacie run the marathon, and of course there was the matter of attending my second game at Jacobs Field in Cleveland.  But as readers of this log may have surmised, these other goals consisted of foods I wanted to cram down my throat.  There were 3 places I had in mind: Crave, Swenson's and Dilly's.  Of these three, none were met.  While I did manage a trip to White Castle for some 8am burgers, mozzarella sticks and a triple shot of espresso from Starbucks just to keep my heart honest, my three culinary goals stand unfilfilled.
There's more to life than these, I'm told.  Now, as I make my way out of Ohio I drive to Maine for my maiden voyage.  As I stuffed myself with sundry crab dishes, I figued it was time to give myself a break.... time for lobster.  If at some point before I or the reader was disgusted by my chowing habits, now is the confirmation.  In Kittery, I had a lobster roll big enough to have claimed the lives of several lobsters in and of itself.  I drove up to the point of Bangor, and along the coast of Maine.  While the drive to Maine was born of an instinct to cross off a state from the list of those I haven't travelled to (remaining on the list Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota), it concluded with the intention to spend at least a solid week there. 
WIth sadness, I drove southward, heading into enemy territory to glory of the Red Sox fight against the tyrrany of the Yankees.  They prevailed 7-3, and it was quite the spectacle.  It was sad to say what will likely be a goodbye to Yankee Stadium, save for the fact that the Yankees call it home, it's quite a place.  May they never win again.
To this point I've driven nearly 6,000 miles.  Time conspires against me, and I must take a flight to Tampa to meet the Silver Fox.  We're going to drive from Tampa to Miami, tempting fate after my last attempt at tackling a game at the Florida Marlins home, Hurricane Francis.   
His Silverness awaits, and I am still hopeful of getting a couple hours sleep before my flight, so with that goodnight.  And Go Sox!
Fri, 25
To Miami and Back  
After watching many fights of drunk and angry Yankees fans, it was time to begin the non-car portion of my voyage.  I flew down to Tampa to meet the Silver Fox.  Larry (the Silver Fox for those that don't already know) met me at the airport, and we promptly got lost.  Finding the road we were looking for, we headed south.
Now, it's only about 250 miles to Miami from Tampa, but what a long drive it is.  Nothing but a straight line to Naples, and then a straight line to Miami.  Driving through the Everglades I was hoping to see the most respectable of roadkill, alligator.  It was not to be...  Fences blocked off the Everglades from the highway.  There were many fires visible from the road, and I was a little worried we might be routed away, it would not have been surprising given my penchant for finding catastrophe on my trips.
Miami is awesome.  From the ocean and the beaches everywhere you look, to the city itself, even the homeless in Miami Beach are cool.  They give travel advice, hang out and talk to you, and I probably smelled worse than them!  None of them asked for a handout, and there were many of them.  They all offered something, be it a car or shoe wash, or a bird or fish made out of a palm tree leaf. 
Finally attending a game in Miami, I thought that it would be a dumpy stadium, with paltry and uninterested fans.  Attendance was low at around 3,000, but the stadium was one of the best places to see a game, though built for football, and the fans were incredible.  They were mostly from the New York or Boston area, and they were into the game, yelling at the players in a most creative fashion and harassing the umps.  The atmoshere really compared to a game at Fenway, though with a lowered amount of attendees. 
Now it's down to one.  St. Louis awaits for me, and I'm off.  I got an earlier flight out of New York, as I wanted to have as much time as I could to get to St. Louis in time, some 970 miles away, and as it's a holiday weekend traffic was heavier than normal, even by New York standards.  Keep a close eye on the news.  What with my history of encountering tragedies and the like on my trips, who knows what will happen now.
Sun, 27
43, the number of Major League ballparks I've now attended.  I drove through Waco, Texas while listening to the stand-off between federal agents and David Koresh, listended to reports of a tornado ripping through Okalhoma City suburbs while a day and a half from driving throuh OKC.  Witnessed the immediate aftermath of the OKC building bombing as I was on my way there.  Joked with my family when I left for a road trip on September 10th, 2001 about the things that occur on my trips, only to return the next day from Utah, and I had to evacuate Florida before I could go to Miami as hurrrican Frances decided it didn't want me there.  This after driving through a couple hurricanes on my way to Tampa.  Now for the first time I can say that I've been to every ballpark in the major Leagues.
St. Louis has always been one of my favorite places to see a game.  The fans and the club are top notch.  The atmosphere at the old Busch Stadium was electric, the fans were loud, while at the same time respectful and not at all vulgar.  They like their beer, but I've never seen someone get out of control.
Monday I have a ticket to Wrigley Field, and have some time to kill.  I thought about going to Green Bay for a tour of Lambeau Field, but as there was a rain delay in St. Louis during the game (with one out left!), I ran out of time.  I thought about going  up to Chicago, as well as going to Indianapolis.  Veto those, I'm going back to Busch.
Tue, 29
Get out of Denver  
Having completed the non-sense of attending every Major League park, I set my sights on another of my roadtrip passions, gluttony.  And what better place to do this than Chicago, the land that perfected the massive coronary.  There were two places I wanted to go on either time of the ballgame at Wrigley Field, the cathedral of baseball.  The first was Gino's East for the best deep dish pizza in Chicago.  The second was Ed Debevic's, which happens to be right accross the street from Gino's.  This place is famous not only for the food, but for the fact that the waiters put on a dance on the counters to the tune of disco music.  It's very strange, but entertaining nonetheless.
At Wrigley Field it was a beautiful day.  Not too hot, and definately not 35 degrees with a strong wind off the lake like my last time there.  The Cubs lost, as they must, but the atmosphere was outstanding.  After the game I walked around the park, (you have to let the crowd thin out afterwards, or you'll be just standing there).  Across the street there are some well known apartments that have bleachers on top of them to watch the game.  I'd never been up there, so I went around the back and asked the guy in charge if I could get a look from the roof.  After requesting to see my drivers license to make sure that I was in fact from out of state, he let me up.  What a view they have!  Better than many of the seats in Wrigley, including the one I forked out for.
With sadness I left Chicago, and headed to Madison, Wisconsin.  It took me longer than I planned to get up there, and I didn't get as far toward Denver as I had hoped.  I headed for Denver the next morning with the anticipation of making it there at 4-5 pm.  I didn't count on the severe storm warnings, with tornado watches ongoing.  I white knuckled it through, looking for funnel clouds, and made it to Denver at 7:20.  The park is nice enough, the game uninspiring, so I bid farewell to the lasst ballpark on this tour, and headed for Cheyenne.  A few miles later, I dragged myself to a place to sleep, exhausted.
I now head back in earnest, dreading going through the nastiness of Nevada, about 1225 miles from home.  At least I got some good sleep.
> Odometer reading: 8,760.
Sat, 1st
The Scamp Returns  
I'm back!  After drving through a couple hundred miles of road under tornado warnings, I made it up to Cheyenne and over the pass to Laramie without incident.  This after my trip three years ago where the same pass nearly killed me!  There was an ice storm back then, and after receiving assurances from several truckers that I would be fine attempted to cross it only to find out that I wasn't.  It took me 6 hours to drive it then, 40 minutes this time.
As I planned on being back in San Mateo at 7pm Saturday I had time to kill.  So I scouted some towns along the way for a future trip.  Unfortuneately, these towns were in Nevada, so there is not much to report.
Updates will be coming soon, as I get pictures back from the trip I will be listing them along with the time that they covered on the travel log.  I may also add some text.  Also, some statistics will be input.
Thanks to my staff for their help along the way:  Stacie, mom, and the Ratman for helping me with things such as weather reports down the road, and ticket availability.  And a special thanks to my esteemed webmaster Joao for updloading my thoughts as I traversed the land.
> Final odometer reading: 10,114.


On the road, May 13th - odometer reading: 0 (dah!)
Back home, June 1st - odometer reading: 10,114

My staf
: Stacie, Mom, Ratman, Joao


Cadillac Ranch

Cafe Du Mondé