Yes, we're definitely due for a road trip blog. In this edition, that will be a good 95% of the blog if not more. Those are always easy for me to write, but the tough thing is to figure out what to include. Do I try to ramble on nonstop and mention all that I can? Or do I go with a few big stories and harp on that? As usual with a road trip post I make, I think everyone will at least be somewhat interested in parts of it, regardless if it's a trip they personally would want to make or not. I do a lot of Pirates baseball blogs in the summer and people who have no clue on baseball always find something that gets them laughing or surprised. I'll try to keep that style going. Strap up for a long edition.. And we begin!
First off, if anyone didn't read last week, the setting in question would be Buffalo, New York. If you're not good with geography or too lazy to look on Mapquest, it's in western New York, about 5 hours north or a bit more from my town. We rolled 10 deep in three cars that couldn't have been much worse on gas. We went with a Jeep Cherokee and two trucks. In attendance would be Matty Cakes, Ozzie, Spank, Big Hal, Grandpa Cakes, Ray, Claude, Scott, Donnie and myself. Cakes did the driving in his pimp Jeep Cherokee that I'm a huge fan of, it's all decked out with the works and has the suede interior. Ozzie took shotgun, while Spank and myself took the backseat. I was sure to take my car sick pills. As with most road trips, I go way overboard on junk food. Every stop we make, I'm loading up on something, with candy always being involved. I might be the champ when it comes to tearing up candy once I get started. Hot chocolate was consumed in bunches as well, even if it was warmer outside.
Along the way up, we listened to a lot of football scores and Cakes also brought along a good mixture of music that fit the ride. Unfortunately, as was true with Atlantic City, we didn't bring a copy of Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top so Ozzie could belt out the lyrics as the rest of us look on amazed. I guess you had to be there and I probably wrote about it at the time of that trip. What happened was that Ozzie heard Sharp Dressed Man on the radio and something in his mind got him to crank it way up and he was jamming away. It was just so unexpected that it made it 10 times funnier than it was, but I guess you had to be there.
We got to the Clarion that we stayed in and the room was huge. Big beds and they had internet hookups, so I was down with that. Also, it was good that we made it in time to see the 4th quarter of the Notre Dame loss to Michigan State. I'm normally calm during games and was for this one, but it was a good time seeing fellow Irish fans Ozzie and Spank screaming and jumping around the room during certain times of the game. The people on the trip that didn't know us probably wondered who the idiots were in Room 230 that had enough energy to bounce off the walls for a month straight. Who else is 30 years old and is going around the room trading spin kicks out of nowhere and whatever else like we're little kids? I of course took my laptop with me. I know I was only gone for one day, but for anyone that knows me, it's tough for me to be without it for even one day. That's my crack that I'm addicted to, whether that's a good thing or not. Anyways, while a few guys went to get a drink or two at the bar, I just chilled out in the hotel room online while watching college football. I was also talking to Shawna for a lot of that time too (yeah, call me whipped or whatever, you other guys are too), but that wasn't my reason for hitting up the bar. I'm just not a bar guy whatsoever since I never drink and I don't need to smell like an ashtray.
Let's focus on food for the trip. My only complaint on the trip probably and I think a few others can back me up on this would be the choice of restaurants. A lot of these other guys have been to Buffalo before, but I haven't. When I go to a new area, I at least want to try something local that the city is known for as far as food, not something I'd be able to get in my area at home from a chain. Our first place we hit up was Red Robin. I've seen them on commercials, but we don't have them near where I am. I actually liked my food here as I got a prime rib dip sandwich, but it was really loud in there and I had to scream to the guys next to me for a conversation. I ranked it a 6.5 out of 10, but Spank said his was so bad and salty that he didn't finish most of it and Spank can out eat just about anyone. To jump in time, on the way home, the rest of the crew decided on eating at Denny's, while some ate at McDonald's. Come on now. I'm not asking for a five star place, but if I'm out of town, I want something fairly different than normal.
When I'm away up north, I always like to see what they think when I ask if they have sweet tea. At Red Robin, the waitress was all "You're not from around here are you?" Imagine that, you must be a genius to know that we sound like hicks. Shut up you bum, you didn't even give good service, but I still gave a good tip just because that's how I am. At least she didn't get pissed when I asked, like the stuck up people in Atlantic City. They picked up on our accents easy, but we did on theirs too. They had the Canadian accents and I kinda got a kick out of hearing it. I'm big on hearing weird accents anyways.
To start the trip out, I went to bed on Friday night at 5:30 and woke up around 9:30. 4 hours there and no sleep on the ride up. I went to bed around 1:30 on Saturday night and wake up around 7:30 on Sunday morning. Before going to bed, me and Spank (forget the correct grammar, it sounds good that way to me) decided that we'd get in a run before breakfast. We accomplished that, so that got the day starting out on the right path. After running, we go to ask one of the workers for some extra towels. Spank is talking to this older woman and asks if we can pick up some bath towels. This is the dialogue:
Spank: Do you have any extra bath towels?
Spank: Bath towels.
Spank: Bath.. towels..
Woman: Whaaaattttt? (in the Canadian accent)
Meanwhile, I'm standing there trying not to laugh at the scene between those two. She finally figures out the accent we have and sends us down the hall in the right direction. "Down there on the right! Down there!!" It seems like she's screaming it and Spank is asking me if he talked slow enough to her or what the problem was. It was a running joke the whole trip of us screaming like the woman did. Again, I guess you had to be there.
The fitness room though was garbage. They had one really nice treadmill, while the other didn't work. I mixed in some bike action and then ran hard for a while on the treadmill after that. Then it was time to go downstairs for breakfast. Me and Spank were the only ones who were pumped about that for some reason. We go down and it's a help-your-self breakfast. They didn't even have bacon, eggs, or pancakes. You serious? They had cereal, crappy bagels, a waffle maker, and things like that. What a bummer. We needed real food after that, but it wouldn't be long till we did it up big with tailgate time.
Our hotel was only about a mile or so from the stadium, so that made things easy. We end up getting to the tailgate area around 9:30. The grill was started right away and Hal doesn't mess around when it comes to setting this up, so HUGE props to him there. We went with angus burgers that turned out great, hot dogs, chips, beer for whoever wanted that, and we tore the food up. I've never been to a NFL game before. For as many NBA (oh my, it really is starting soon!) and MLB games as I've been to, I'm not sure why I've never been to a NFL stadium. The tailgate setup in Buffalo I was blown away by. I wish I got more pics of that, but I failed on that end. Cornhole, people with huge RVs, flat screen TVs, football being played, all kinds of food, and you name it for I don't even know how long it stretched. Two people stood out to me when walking around the tailgate scene to check stuff out. One was Andre Reed, former Bills wideout stud. I was walking around with Spank at the time and we ran into Cakes and Donnie. They say they just were inches away from Andre Reed just hanging at a tailgate. We had to go check it out just because. I thought it was pretty neat that one of the better wideouts ever was hanging with the random bums. After all was said and done, Spank and Cakes both got their Bills hats signed by Andre. Outside of Dre Reed, the Ultimate Warrior was also in attendance. Not the real dude, but even better. We even got a pic with this one. The guy was near 7 foot tall and we ran him down for a pic and threw up some funny poses. He did the military pressing of his arms, shaking the ropes, had a belt on, you name it. He'd be walking around in character and talking about the Warrior Nation and how it was about to take down Raider Nation.
Ralph Wilson Stadium I liked a lot. From the area around the stadium, to inside the stadium, we all agreed that Buffalo is stuck in the 1980s. The area the stadium is in seemed like a town from back home. It had a country feel. I liked the atmosphere though. The seats we had, unbelievable. Cakes hooked us up big by jumping on that and our group was 2nd and 3rd row up from the field. The thing that immediately got me was how huge these guys were in person. Robert Gallery of the Raiders is someone you have to see in person to appreciate. What a monster that dude is, just a freak, even amongst the other giants out on the field. The game itself was quality, right down to the buzzer. Our crew of 10 was split from Bills and Raiders fans, while I was one of the lone neutral guys, so that made it fun to watch the arguments. Speaking of Andre Reed, he was there with the rest of the Bills legends to put Bruce Smith into the Bills Wall of Fame. He gave a good speech and ended it by saying he was the best ever at his position.
The crowd at this game was over the top. I've probably never been in a crowd that big that kept things so rowdy. The place was literally shaking and it gave me goosebumps. I'm not a fan of either team, but just being there when the fans were going insane was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. I'd be there staring around and soaking in the moment. I could only imagine how Cakes and Spank felt during all of that since they are big Bills guys. The weather was a mix. The high that day was supposed to be 61, so we wore t-shirts. The morning at the tailgate was perfect weather. Once in the stadium, around the 2nd quarter it started to rain lightly. Things started turning cold and it's another world up there. I'd still like to experience a game in Buffalo in frigid conditions, that's what football is all about.
One thing that got the guys talking was the Buffalo Jills, the cheerleaders for the team. One, why do pro teams even need chicks out there? On a small scale like high school with lower crowds, they might be able to pump the crowd up. Here, they're just eye candy and nothing else. They don't even do flips or any of that stuff. They stand there, make a few moves, and that's it. I wasn't the only one that thought so, basically our entire crew can back me up, but these girls overall were brutal. I'm talking 10 pounds of makeup that made them look even worse up close, it was bad times. Eventually we started coming up with nicknames for them such as Meth Girl (face all sunk in and looked like she was all mangled), Old Chick, Giant Chick (this girl was towering over the rest, a big thumbs down), and many others. Spank was saying they need to learn how to do some cardio. The other thing I argued on, they didn't have that great of bodies if you ask me. I mean, call me sexist or whatever, but you have to have something up top to fill out those outfits, not looking like a dude. Maybe I'm spoiled, but I know what I like anyways.
We're now beginning our way back to the mean streets of West Virginia. The ride back, in most cases is very tiring and can't compare to the ride up. This one, I will disagree on. We played sports trivia for the entire 5+ hours on the way home and rocked it out. To me, that's about as good as it gets. Boring to some I'm sure, but count me in. Give me a big crew of legit sports trivia guys and I'm all over that for as long as people want to play. On the trip, buying the trusty 2008 sports almanac paid it's price and then some. It's a purchase that is made every year, I'm just not sure why I waited so late this year to get it. I usually get it in January when they come out. Also on the book list this time for whatever that's worth, I picked up Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich. Being a huge old school basketball fan, I figure the Pistol Pete book has to be good. I got these at the biggest Borders (book store for those in a coma) I've been in. The one at home is your standard style Borders. This one was enormous and had a coffee shop inside to add to the touch. I finally get home that night around 1:30 and after a shower, I roll to bed at 2:00 and wake up at 6:00 to get to work the next morning. We were all dragging that next day, but proved to be champs and toughed it out. All in all, another excellent road trip with the guys, no complaints on my end. A big sign of appreciation goes out to the Cakes family and the others in attendance that made things so fun.
Bird's Dirty Thug Ho of the Week: You know when they show their face in just a few pics that it's not too quality. However, she still likes to show the rest of her deal off: http://www.myspace.com/graceshorty
Bird's Video Moment of the Week: Beast Mode! Yep, since it was a Buffalo blog, we're going with some Marshawn Lynch action on this. 10 minutes of goodness for the sports fans to a guy that is becoming one of my favorite players in the league. The dude is an idiot, but he still cracks me up. You get it all here. He does his Oakland thing, you see the classic clip of him driving the injury cart in college, talking about his Beast Mode grill, and the works. Matty Cakes, I'm definitely a fan now, hah.
3 Quick Thangs:
1. Birthdays are back in business. This time we'll go with Thursday, September 25th. Barbara Walters goes for 77, the woman is getting up there. Actor Michael Douglas with a hot wife, 64. Model Cheryl Tiegs, 61. I'm not a Star Wars dude at all, but Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is 57. Former NBA baller Bob McAdoo is also 57. Actress Heather Locklear, 47 and still gets it done. Another NBA baller, Scottie Pippen, 43. Happy 40th to actor Will Smith. Weirdly enough, Catherine Zeta-Jones shares her birthday with her husband that we mentioned, 39. Actress Bridgette Wilson, 35. Current NBA baller, Chauncey "Big Shot" Billups, 32. Now that's what I call one impressive list! That's a tough one to top.
2. I noticed something a few weeks back. When checking out the new season of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, it struck me. I feel like I'm so much older than these kids. Actually, I am, but it's still good drama and entertainment to check out on Wednesday nights on MTV. This will prepare me for the new season of Real World, located in Brooklyn, time to giddy up!
3. Want some facts on rats to end up on? Why rats? I have no idea, but that's what the staff here picked out for us this week. Male and female rats may have sex 20 times a day, dang. Rats also supposedly destroy a third of the world's food supply each year. 26% of all electric cable breaks and 18% of all phone cable disruptions are caused by rats.