Road trip time! The road trip blogs are both easy and hard to write at the same time. What do I mean? The easy part is that it pretty much writes itself with the stories since things are always going on. The hard part is that it takes a long while to write up everything I need to fit in. Most of the time, there's stories that I leave out just so I won't have you reading for days. To some, I probably write too much the way it is, but hopefully I won't bore you away. Usually the road trip blogs people do enjoy, but as usual, it's time to check this bad boy out.
Where did we go? If you read last week's blog, this trip we took out to the midwest. South Bend, Indiana, home of the University of Notre Dame. We had cousin Ozzie doing the driving, Maria, Marc Anthony, and myself. To show how much of a world traveler I am, I've never been farther west than Cleveland, Ohio. This was my first excursion across Ohio and into the cornfields of Indiana. The first thing I noticed, is that when you cross the Ohio border from West Virginia or Pennsylvania, the hills and mountains are all but over with. It's fairly flat out there as most tell you and it's nothing but cornfields. I mean nothing for 75% of the drive at least. Nice scenery though and there wasn't much traffic, so that helped matters a lot. The total trip time was roughly 7 hours, it's not too bad of a deal if you ask me. If you're kind of shaky on this blog and thinking it's nothing but football for the week, you're wrong. I don't have too much football related talk in here as I think I hopefully have a way to get others interested. We'll see.
We rolled out on Friday morning at 6:00. Rise and shine, time to get things going. Around 6:45 we stop in Morgantown to tear into IHOP. We go to the door and they're closed. What?? On a Friday morning, apparently they don't open until 7:00. Most people are on their way to work by then, what purpose does that serve? They lost our business and a lot of others that were in the lot. We didn't want to fool around and wait on those bums to open the doors, so it was option 2. We drove 18 miles out of our way (up and back) on Route 68 for no reason other than IHOP. We turn around and get on I-79 and hit up Cracker Barrel ran by local legend Shakey Southern. I got some sort of apple drenched french toast which was awesome to go with some eggs, bacon, and OJ. I like the breakfasts a lot there, but no, their bacon can't even touch Waffle House.
We stopped at a rest stop near Dayton, Ohio. I was craving something as I ate junk through the trip. What's a road trip without that anyways? Ozzie always gets a kick out of the random things I get at gas stations. I came back with a Nathan's hot dog and the woman making it asked what I wanted on it. I didn't need anything special, so I just said chili and mustard. She loads it up and then puts it in a little cardboard box. I go out to eat it and it's actual dinner type chili with beans. Apparently that's popular everywhere but West Virginia? That's not hot dog chili at all to me, but I ate it anyways. It was way messy and Ozzie was outside pumping gas at the time. I go out and start to eat it, but the rain is pouring like crazy. I didn't want to make a mess in Maria's car, so I just stood outside in the cold rain with wind blowing and eating my food. I'm an idiot, but at least I saved the car's insides from getting filthy. I'm a neat freakk even when it's not my own property.
To show all of our dorkiness levels, we got hooked into the state license plate game. You've all played it on road trips, but we still do it when we're old. Surprisingly, it can be a good time. This is one of the best I've ever done, possibly ever. Ozzie once had 49 out of 50 states on a trek to Oklahoma back in the day, but we weren't able to beat that. We did impress fairly well though. Our final total? 43 of 50. Plus, add in a few Canadian provinces and Washington D.C. and we killed it. The weird part is that we only found one on the entire drive home. That means we found 42 of our 43 on the ride out, that was a little disappointing. We thought for sure we'd grab at least a few of what we needed on the way home, but only lucked into Wyoming out of nowhere at a rest stop. What'd we miss out on? Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Dakota is the list. RI was the only one remaining from east of the Mississippi. You know you're ate up when you see a plate from a distance and have to speed up when you think it's something you notice. Then you drive up to it and get bummed out when it's not the one you thought you needed. It's a good time killer though for sure.
Most when they came to read this post thought it'd be nothing but football talk. Not so fast my friends. I'll have some of that, but the majority will be road trip action as well as me talking about the campus of Notre Dame. First off, this now overtakes Wake Forest as the best campus I've personally ever been on, by far. It's not even close. I'm not just saying that as a biased Irish fan, but this is a total rich boy school and I can see how these little richies pay $35,000 a year to go there. I still can't fathom that price a year, that's just insanity upon more insanity. However, the scenery up there is beautiful. The place has a good old school/traditional atmosphere and the buildings are a sight to see. We got our worth of the trip just on Friday alone before gameday Saturday even hit.
Hockey is crazy in this area, that surprised me a little bit. I'm not from much of a hockey area, but like soccer, it's fairly big in the heart areas. They had a hockey game Friday night against Boston College and the place sold out. It was so wild that tickets were going for $300 and people were running around in a frenzy trying to find anyone that would sell. We did get to check out the rink area though and it's a nice setup. After checking out the hockey rink, at 6:15, it was pep rally time. The amount of people that show up for this would blow your mind and it's something you have to check out if you go to South Bend. We got real close to the stage to check out action. Golden Tate was pretty funny on stage when he talked and 3-time Heisman Trophy winner Ron Powlus (sarcastic joke the sports fans will pick up on) took a big part of it as well. Powlus is one big dude in person, I didn't realize. He still holds a lot of Notre Dame records, even though he didn't live up to Beano Cook's hype at the time. During this same time period, everyone also watches the band practice what they'll march through on Saturday. A huge crowd took part in that as well, busting out camcorders and whatever else.
Some are wanting to know what the chick scene is like out there. I thought it was nice indeed, nothing to complain about. You didn't see many trashy type girls out there at all. Why must they all feel the need to wear boots though? I know this has been around for a while, not that I know much on fashion, but I'm not a fan of the boot craze. The ones that really had me puzzled are the rubber rain type boots. I could see a 4-year old kid wearing these, but college girls? Eh. If that's all I complained about with them, then all is right in the world. You also didn't see hardly any people up there who smoked, always a plus in my book. One thing that we all picked up on, both guys and girls alike, was that there is far less of a problem with overweight people compared to West Virginia. Then again, West Virginia is always one of the leaders in obesity, heart disease, etc, so that shouldn't be a major surprise. People around here just don't care I guess about being halfway fit and have no motivation to better than themselves. Then they complain of how they look, imagine that. To each their own, but I won't go into that rant right now.
The Hammes Bookstore is an awesome stop to make if you're an Irish fan. This is a two-story building packed to the gills of gear and anything else you can imagine. An incredible setup and you can spend all day in there. Throw me in there with some money and it can get out of hand. I spent less than I thought, but still came out of there spending a boatload, but it's all worth it. I figure I work and don't have many major bills, so why not spend it on some gear in the store? On Saturday, it was so packed in there that you were constantly bumping into other people and trying to shove your way through. Between the four of us, when we'd split up in there, we actually had to call each others' phones to update where we were and the path we needed to take to meet up since it was utter chaos. I was 5 feet from Digger Phelps as he was doing a book singing in there.
We stopped and ate lunch at Legends, a local place on campus. Anyways, while in there, we saw this dude who wanted to go to the bathroom. This place had a $7 food voucher coupon you had to buy at the door, regardless if you were eating or not. Basically, you're going to spend $7 on food anyways, so it pays for itself, but not for this guy I'm about to mention. He wanted to go to the bathroom, right? Instead of hitting up a dirty port-a-potty or even going to some nice building and take care of your business for free, he comes in there for a bathroom break. He pays his $7 to get in, does his stuff, and then walks right out. If you walk out and decide to come back in, it's another $7. A $7 wizz, go figure. I spend money on stupid stuff at times, don't get me wrong, but I can find better things to do with $7 than that option.
How were the people out there? I talked about the chicks a bit, but overall, everyone out here was very very nice. I didn't run into any punks like I would sometimes going up north. Yes, I'm talking to you New Jersey. Unfortunately they didn't have a clue what sweet tea was out there, but we always like asking for that on road trips to see their reactions. You met people from all over the country as Notre Dame's fan base is one of the biggest out there as a whole. The crowd is also great to be around. You're not around obnoxious drunken idiots in the stadium who think they know all there is to know about football and really don't. This is a much more respectable crowd (at least in my opinion), super knowledgeable of their football history, and fun to be around. The accents you run into are great as well with my favorite on this trip being the Wisconsin accent. We went a day without people picking up on our accent (or at least they didn't say it that day), but Saturday some guys picked up on it and got a kick out of it. Yeah, I know we sound like hicks. I say that on every road trip.
Time for the game and I said I wouldn't bore you too much on that. Two hours before the game, the fans line around the stadium and await the player walk-through. First, the Boston College buses pull up and walk in right in front of us. As they walk out, you of course have the fans yelling at them and all of that action. Then, a short while later, you get the Irish players all walking down the path of fans, decked out in their suits and ties. It's still crazy to me to think that I'm a good 10 years older than most of these kids, yet we root for him like it's a life or death situation. I don't get starstruck too often, but I was at times on this trip. One example was when Marc Anthony and I were running around the concession stand area. Nobody else was around for some reason and we see Mike Golic of Mike & Mike fame of ESPN Radio. I was surprised by his height and he was with his family as his boys are on the team. He seems like a very approachable dude, but I didn't want to bug him with his family around and get a handshake out of the deal. Autographs never were my thing, I'd rather just shake your hand, maybe get a pic, and talk for a few. I'm not asking too much. Regis was in the stadium, but I'm sure he was in some pimped out glassed-in luxury box.
I don't delve into religion often in my blogs and never make that a point. I know many don't want to hear about that, but I will say, if you're Catholic or not, you have to visit the Basilica. This is easily the most spectacular church I've been into. Unfortunately, our schedules weren't able to work with a time that they had masses in there, but I'll be sure to hit that up on a future trip. Another thing I noticed on campus was the lack of security. It's a trusting area in that you can practically walk wherever you want without people caring. Take for example the baseball field. The gates were open, so we just strolled right in. Not a single person was around and we got to take pics of the field, check out the dugouts, etc. Even on Friday when you could walk down the tunnel of the football field and be right on grass, nobody was there supervising.
The game itself was just icing on the cake. In all honesty, the Irish should've been taken out by the Eagles. BC turned the ball over like crazy and still barely lost. Either way though, a win is a win, even if it's ugly. I tried not to get into being too much of a Notre Dame homer in my writings as I know you either hate or love them (no in between as goes the same with my Yankees), but I've even heard from Notre Dame haters who have made the trip out there how good of a time they had and that everyone needs to go at least once. Hate all you want, you don't have to like them, but you can't argue the atmosphere and tradition you get out in South Bend. Also here, ushers that do the seating for the games aren't punks at all. You can walk wherever you want. If you want to walk into some lower section and take pics or just hang out, so be it. They're not gonna be all high and mighty and act like they have power. Also, Charlie Weis is a big fatty in person, although that's no surprise, but I still like the dude. End the season strong Charlie, keep that job, and work on that health.
I counted it up and figured out my sleep hours. From Friday night through Sunday night, I slept a total of about 12 hours. You'd think on two nights of not much sleep that I'd want to go to bed early on Sunday and gear up for work. I ended up going around 2:00 that night like an idiot and waking up at 6:00. Then on Wednesday night, I was up till 2:30 and woke at 6:00 again. I never learn. Check this out I found today, apparently West Virginia is where people struggle on sleep the most and don't get enough: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091029/ap_on_he_me/us_med_sleepless_states. However, over the weekend in South Bend, I liked that I was always the first one awake and ready to rock. Maria did pretty well in waking up early too, but the other guys, not so much. Either way, we woke at 5:00 in the morning on Sunday and were out and driving by 5:30, so nice time management. You all know how much of a time stickler I am and can't stand people ever being late. This trip was pretty much timed perfectly as far as nobody goofing around and screwing it up for the rest of us. Ozzie, props to you for doing it up big on driving and Maria for using your car. The goal for me is to make this trip every year from now on, it's that good.
Ok, time to get in a little bit of news in that doesn't deal with the road trip. On Sunday, it was the annual A#BA fantasy NBA draft. This one features the legendary crew from #basketball, the best the internet has to offer. This league has 20 members in it, it's intense. This year if you want a rundown, I'll give it. If not, you get it free of charge anyways: Don-G, Vertigo, Walz, Neon, TheAnswer making his long awaited debut, Cork, EJ, Morello, TMac, Commish TyLaw, DerekHood, Blahah, Chiphead, Big Play Ray, Kasher, Chester Cheese, Uncle Wilbur, ManDingo, Trev, and myself. We used to run our drafts over mIRC which took us a crazy while to do, but I enjoyed that. This year we tried Yahoo's setup and it's very smooth. It even set our keepers before draft time. I feel I have the best keepers in the league. Draft wise, I go with my normal strategy of nothing but youth. We'll see the potential develop or not, the chance taking is always fun. Plus free StatTracker this year? Crazy. I won't spend too much time on this, but I will reveal this year's Memphis Sounds. Of course, ladies and gentlemen.....
1. Dwyane Wade - Miami (Keeper)
2. Danny Granger - Indiana (Keeper)
3. Carmelo Anthony - Denver (Keeper)
4. Andre Iguodala - Philadelphia (Keeper)
5. OJ Mayo - Memphis (Keeper)
6. DeMar DeRozan - Toronto
7. Marc Gasol - Memphis
8. Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee
9. Anthony Morrow - Golden State
10. David Andersen - Houston
11. Earl Clark - Phoenix
12. Eddie House - Boston
Bird's Dirty of the Week: We're hitting up Plano, Texas this time around. As usual, I like to post some actual quotes from these pages I find. How do I find the pages? I can't give out my dark secrets. Here's one: "It's not easy being awesome all the time. My name means "wealth" and it makes no sense at all, kind of like my life. (Where the hell is all my money?!)". Again, I can't make this up. You haven't even made it to the pics yet. We go with 12 different pic folders consisting of 363 total pics. That's a pic for each day of the year basically. One folder is "Down for my dawgs like a white lady at the vet" and another you get is "drunken photo session". www.myspace.com/pantera07
Bird's Video Moment of the Week: This isn't new, but it's going in anyways. For those who haven't seen much Pimpin' Money Mike skits (Katt Williams), it's time to throw one in for the sake of comedy. This is his skit he did on Shaq, plus some other things in there as well. His thoughts on Shaq when he had his stint as a "cop", babies mixing steroids and crack, and his gangsta baby. Enjoy:
3 Quick Thangs:
1. Early in the summer, I was rockin' out the movie scene. Lately, I've been slacking like no other. I'm not a soccer guy at all, but Invictus coming out on December 11th looks great. Why so? It has Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman in it. Those guys never make bad movies. Plus, Clint Eastwood is the director, that's a must see. I'm wanting to see Ninja Assassin for sure though, that's another on the radar. And who is going to see New Moon? Yeah, I admit I'd watch it, but I'm not gonna go with any of my boys, hah. You just don't do that.
2. Quick sports predictions.. World Series predictions (I'm typing this section up on Wednesday before Game 1), I'll go with the homer pick of the Yankees in 6 games. In the NBA, I have the Eastern Conference Finals as Boston over LeBron. The Western Conference Finals I'm going with Kobe over the Spurs. In the Finals, I'm picking the Lakers over my Celtics, 1980s style. Or actually, 2008 style if that's better for you. LeBron will be your season MVP and Ty Evans your Rookie of the Year (be on the watch for this kid, seriously). There ya go, book it.
3. Want a few things to focus on while you wait till the next blog? Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.. A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and can't find a mate.. A rat can last longer without water than a camel.