Yep, that's right. It's road trip time again. This time, we're not driving, we did the flight route. Dirty Dirty style! Our blog this week will take you to scenic Memphis, Tennessee. Home of Elvis which I saw WAY too much of during the week, soul food, and overall some really good people. The south is always a great atmosphere as I always say, they're not punks like some of our stops up north. You can chat with random bums and almost always are guaranteed a good conversation out of it. Along for the trip as mentioned before was none other than Posey, the King of Tank Hill (Click here for Posey's Twitter). He runs things up there. Click here for my Twitter.
First off, and I'll bounce all over the place, was the accents. This is the first road trip in a while where I didn't get one single person asking if I was from the deep south or that they picked up on my redneck accent. Imagine that. Not that I mind that, but it's just a good change of pace. We roll out of Shinnston at 3:00 in the morning on Friday. I got about 4 hours of sleep that night and was ready to go. We drove to Pittsburgh because it would've been a lot more expensive flying out of Benedum in Bridgeport. I do want to go out of Bridgeport on a flight though, it'd be a whole lot more simpler than driving 2 hours to Pittsburgh. Not like that is a bad drive, but still.
At 6:41 AM, I get on a big plane for the first time in my life. Yes, I realize that's very lame considering I'm going to be 31 in a few short weeks. I've never been opposed to getting on a plane, just wasn't high on my list I guess. I'm one of few people I know who hadn't been on a plane before outside of my parents. We rolled with Delta and got on a 737. Luckily, the plane wasn't too full, so we got a lot of leg room to chill. I took my car sick pills because I'm pretty bad at getting sick with that type of thing, so better safe than not, right? I wasn't nervous one bit, but when the plane started going up and flattened out on top (I'm sure there's terms for all of this, but you're dealing with a total flight rookie and idiot), it reminded me of an amusement park ride with that sick feeling in my stomach. It was only for a few seconds though, so I made it through without puking. Posey told me go for a window seat since it was my first time and was definitely interesting to to check out the areas we went over, mostly in the middle of nowhere. I'm a wuss when it comes to being afraid of heights, I'll admit, but that part didn't seem to bother me that much when looking out. The success was that I didn't puke, chalk one up for the home team.
Before we boarded, taking care of the flight information and where to go, I was totally clueless. I mean, bad off. It would've been good video to watch me during this mess. If Posey wasn't with me, hard to tell when or where I would've ended up at. He compared me to his 2-year old son Kaiden in that he had to basically do everything for me associated with the flight. Good thing everyone else and their brother flies all the time other than me. I could see me flying a good bit more though, just gotta convince my buddies to make a road trip of it. It's easy for me I guess since I'm wingman and still live at home, can just go whenever. I can't complain about that one bit.
Ok, we get into Memphis and start things out. I said that this town reminded me of the 1970s with a Sanford & Son feel to it. I liked the setup, but the actual "city" wasn't nearly as big as I'd expect. It's a great atmosphere though and everyone is nice to you here, regardless of status. Even though I've said it a zillion times, the southern hospitality I'm a huge fan of when I go on trips down south. Rarely (ever?) do I see punks down here like you may up north some. To my north buddies, I know, that's not everyone, but you know the vibe I'm describing. I'm going to talk to randoms anywhere I go, you never know what kind of conversation you're going to find yourself in. This is the theme of most of my road trips. The town also had a grimey and dirty feel to it, but I felt comfortable in all areas.
How was Beale Street and the food situation? Both were top notch. Beale Street wasn't nearly as big as what I had expected either, a la the city in general. It has a nice old school feel though and you don't feel overcrowded. The interesting thing is that they actually block that street off for traffic, so that helps. It's a mixture of southern restaurants and bars. Mix in a few goofy Elvis shops and things of that nature that didn't interest us and that's your street. Outside of food, we didn't buy anything on Beale Street.
Two main food places I will recommend down there. The first is the Rum Boogie Cafe. This place has had basically most musical talent that you can think of, they've been inside. It's some true soul food and we wanted to treat ourselves to that. I always say on road trips, you can eat boring ol' chain restaurants anymore. I don't want that junk when I'm 12 hours from home. Give me what that area is known for. Here I ended up getting a BBQ chicken sandwich, fries, and coleslaw. The sauce on it was very good. Posey's meal was what I should have ordered. He got red beans and rice (something I'd never think of ordering) that was all sauced up to excellence, kielbasa, and cornbread that was out of this world. Here, they had a bum outside jamming on his trumpet. I had Notre Dame gear on that day and he started cranking the ND Fight Song. Come on now, that's worthy of a tip, even if I am a sucker. Other bums that just beg, not so much.. I also had enough sweet tea on this trip to water the country of Armenia. The other spot I enjoyed was the Blues City Cafe. This had an awesome setting and the staff seemed to actually like their job.
Blues City is where things got serious. I ordered cajun BBQ shrimp that came out in a skillet, new potatoes, garlic bread, and coleslaw. The shrimp was good times indeed, I could've had more of that. The topper though was my favorite munch food of the entire time I was there. Apple dumplin pie, yum yum yummy! If you haven't seen my Facebook pics of this, words won't do it justice. They bring out the dessert in a skillet that was so hot it was spitting out grease when they sat it on the table. The people sitting beside us were pumped that I got it and were salivating over it. I told some woman that she could have a bite of it, it wouldn't offend me. She didn't take the offer, but I was glad of that, more for me to eat. If you're in Memphis, this is one thing you have to do is eat this. No, not the Elvis stuff and everything else you hear about. It's all about the apple dumplin pie, with ice cream on top, crazy delicious.
Walkin' in Memphis. Yes, literally. Posey is great to have along for road trips. Why? He's not a slowpoke that is going to hold up pace. When I'm walking, I'm on the move and ready to rock. I can't stand to be behind people that walk like they are going to kill over. Plus, he's not one to complain about walking a far distance if need be. Spank is the same way on road trips as you remember from our Philly trip this summer. Anyways, one day we walked a good 6-8 miles just on the streets, hard to tell what else. The night of the NBA game, we didn't want to wait anymore on a taxi, so we ran 2 miles on the streets of Memphis in 35 degree weather to get there, got a nice run in, bonus points. Also got a good workout in on Saturday at the hotel. The taxi system in this town, I'm going to give a -10 on the 1-10 scale, it's that bad. We weren't even that far from where we needed to get all weekend, but these guys were bad off. We'd call for a cab, they'd say they would be there and wouldn't even show in most cases. After the games and UFC action, we literally had to sprint around the streets to call one down. The good thing is that we talked to a few cabbies that gave us some good chats on the way to our destinations. Like Posey and I are going to pass up a chance to talk to people we don't know from anything.
Friday afternoon and we were walking around town and ended up at the FedEx Arena, where we'd be both Friday and Saturday night. Friday was the NBA game, so we went to the ticket office early in the afternoon to check on prices. They were practically giving away tickets, no lie. We figured we'd get a seat up high and move down low since attendance wouldn't be that much. $18 was the top deck followed by $34 for the next level. We checked on if we'd be able to get $34 seats and the chick said they just happened to have a deal going on today for that level. She said they were $3. What, $3 for real, you're kidding me right? No, she wasn't. We looked at each other like she was from another planet. Then to play her game, we asked if she had any deals on the $99 club level seats. She said those were going for $33. What a joke. A huge advantage for us though, we jumped on those in about 0.4 seconds. You can't beat that with a stick. If I lived near an NBA arena, I'd go broke. I'd have season tickets, no questions asked. The game itself was a fun one, a plus since I got to see my boy Kevin Durant, the future of the NBA. I could chat about NBA till the end of time, but I'll spare you all in this post. For a Friday night, the crowd was way low. I didn't expect a ton, but we guessed 7000 probably that showed up, horrible. Marc Gasol is a monster in person too, big dude.
Several of the UFC guys were at the game that night. Chuck Lidell, Thiago Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Clay "The Carpenter" Guida to name a few. We kept an eye on these guys through the night to see any fan interaction. Lidell was on the front row and didn't really get approached, but got a nice reaction when put on the screen. Not many even knew Gonzaga or Silva. Guida was by far the most interactive of the bunch and didn't have one problem with fans going up to him. It didn't seem like a lot of the NBA crowd did, so at the end of the game, we figured we'd make our way down and try to hang for a bit and get a pic. We go chat it up with him and he was all about it. He wants to shake our hands before we offer ours to him. One of his boys was a Bears fan I guess and he made a point to start talking about my Bears hat (more on this hat in the next paragraph). A very good dude in person and didn't seem a bit bothered by people recognizing him, he enjoyed it. He's not human though I joked since he's all hyped up and wired 24/7. I thought Posey and I were nonstop energy guys who can't stay still, he has us beat. In the softball reports this summer, you'll remember when Posey told me I can't have anymore Venom Black Mamba energy drinks since it had me crazy bouncing off the walls. Like I need more energy.
For the trip, I had the Bears hat on that Cork gave me as one of the bachelor presents for the dinner before his wedding day. Usually in my area, that'd be no comment or I'd be the only one wearing one since they're terrible. Hey, still gotta wear your team's gear, even if they're nothing special. For some reason though, I got tons and tons of comments on the Bears stuff down there. It became a running joke with Posey and myself when someone would mention it. They were floored I'd even wear such a thing and I got some props for it. Who knew? Also along for the trip were a few TapOut shirts, which I have way too many of to begin with. More on that in a second. On one of our Friday night stops, we hit up Coyote Ugly for a bit just to say we had been there. For all that know me, I'm not a bar guy at all and usually feel fairly uncomfortable in most since I never drink. This however, was nothing like the movie. I'll be honest, 90% (I'm being generous) of these girls who get up there and dance like dirties on the bar have no reason to get up there. Not that I'm a fashion critic, but I play one on TV.
Speaking of Coyote Ugly, one of the highlights was this military guy and his wife. He ended up hanging around us and was a cool dude. Since he was military, he got a discount on drinks and hooked some people up, including Posey. He offered to hook me up and I said thanks man, but that I didn't drink. He didn't know what to think and thought I was messing with him. Anyways, his next comment was what had me laughing. He looks at my shirt that I had on that night, and since I don't drink, asked if I was training hard for MMA. I don't think that's the route for me, hah. Maybe I could cut a few pounds to the lightweight level of 155 pounds and face off with Guida and get my block knocked off. Back to the married couple. This chick was flirting with all kinds of guys at the bar and the husband acted like he didn't care. She was dancing around, strutting her stuff on the bar and going up and getting free drinks off of desperate guys. Soon, the husband started to get annoyed and we could tell. The next thing we know, when we were leaving, he walks out of the place all fired up, she's chasing behind him and it's all out drama. Plus, dude goes to Iraq in January. I can see this marriage working out greeeeeat. On a side note, they have a kid too. To each their own I guess. Maybe she'll get slapped around like Snooki on Jersey Shore, which is one amazing amazing show. Snooki is my favorite character on there so far, at least of the chicks. The married couple we just thought it was strange, but it was awesome entertainment for us, no doubt about that.
Let's just say I would've been completely lost without my internet. Of course I was going to take my laptop if I was gone for 3 days. I would've needed put in a straight jacket if not. For one delay we had in Memphis all day on Sunday, it was a lifesaver to have it nearby. That day I got to watch the Bears game and hangout online, the delay went way faster that way. Also, internet in the hotel. On the plane though, they wanted $9.99 an hour or $25 a day or something. You kidding me? After I gave those bums money for my ticket, they want me to pay for internet on 1-2 hour plane rides? Get out of here with that garbage. I know they want to make their money on everything, but geez. It's not the price that bothered me, but the whole principle. I'll compare it to people putting gratuity on my bills at restaurants which I've talked about a lot before. I know most won't tip good, but we don't need insulted. Also, at airports, people watching rocks. Plus, we're going to talk to randoms as usual there, whether they like it or not.
UFC 107 time. On Friday afternoon, we were 2 hours early in line to see the weigh-ins. By the time we waited more and they didn't open gates, Posey and I were in complete comas. We were almost falling asleep standing in line, so we trekked it back to the hotel instead of the weigh-ins and got a power nap. Our seats at Friday night's pay per view were rather good I thought. We had an awesome view and didn't have to look at the big screens that often. Plus, the crowd is amazing. It was in the same place we saw the NBA game the night before, but a totally different atmosphere. The price we paid for tickets are worth every penny and then some. I'm going to have to start putting all of these free Marines shirts I get from rocking the pullup contests on eBay or give them away to some bum on the street jamming his trumpet, no point of keeping them all.
We lucked out huge with the performance of the card. The only bad fight of the night in our opinion was the Jon Fitch/Mike Pierce battle. We got to watch 11 fights total and were there for every second of it. I never understood the richies who show up late. We're from West Virginia, we're going to get our price worth and watch every undercard match, it's part of the night, why not? Mir choking out Kongo out like a punk in Round 1 had the crowd going wild. Kongo didn't tap though, he passed out at least if that counts for anything different, not really. Our boy Guida got tapped out by the rear naked choke from Kenny "Ken-Flo" Florian. Florian doesn't look like much, but he's a legitimate stud at 155. Guida was #2 as far as crowd cheers went, he was over huge and a bloody mess afterwards. One of our favorite rounds of the night was Round 2 of Big Steven Struve (6'11" from The Netherlands) taking on haymaker throwing veteran Paul Buentello. Ricardo Funch is one weird looking dude, definitely doesn't look like a fighter. Alan Belcher, a Memphis native was mad he didn't get a TV match. Before the game at the place we ate at, we were next to his parents. They were cool and down to earth people.
Main event time and the place was rockin' like no other. BJ Penn is from Hawaii, remember that. Come all the way over to Memphis and you wouldn't think the reactions would be AS huge as they were. We were totally blown away by how much of a god this crowd made Penn. He always takes slack for not being as good with cardio as his opponents. He always shows he has that right with them and punishes them to let them know he's the man. I like Diego, although way cocky, but he just got mangled during this fight. Five rounds of total domination as BJ keeps his belt. I posted links of Diego's face after the fight on FB. He did what he planned, but it was no good. He tried many times to take Penn down, but nobody can do that. Also, there were a nice following of Hawaiians that made the journey out here, that surprised us too. Hands down, nobody is in Penn's league right now at 155, he's a bad bad man at that weight. Best little guy MMA fighter ever and I could see him being in the argument of greatest fighter ever. Dude is only 30 and seems like he's been around for ages, which he has. He's that good though folks, no joke. In route in the mail right now, I have the Penn X Frost Limited Edition tee that looks great, somewhat pumped about that. Hey, it's Christmas time, I spoil others a good bit at this time, but that's not going to stop me from spoiling myself too.
Sunday as I said, we had a long stay at the airport. We had to checkout of the hotel at 11:00 and got to the port at 11:30. We had crazy time to kill, so instead of going around the city, we'd find stuff to do there. That's where the laptop was handy. We were there from 11:30-7:30. One place we ate at was called Corky's Ribs & BBQ. I had to take a pic of that place and send it to Cork right away. Due to rain in the Dirty ATL, they backed our flight an hour later, no biggie. We thought for sure we'd be staying with Joe Johnson in Atlanta though since we also had the last flight out of ATL into Pittsburgh. Luckily, they delayed that flight right as we boarded so we had a tiny chance. They said we'd have to run like maniacs, Guida style, to even have a shot to get home that night. When we got off the plane, we took off, running through people, jumping over bags and the works. Again, slow people get out of our way, quit wasting valuable time and get into the truck lane. We made it home though. I got home at 3:15, went to bed at 4:00, woke up in a few hours, and champed it out at work. Beast. For about a week, I didn't get more than 5 hours sleep in a night, I get stupid like that.
Whew.. that was a long writeup, but hopefully you stuck around and waited a few extra days to get this one. Overall, an awesome trip. I'm always down for road trips definitely. Just let me know ahead of time. Flying wasn't expensive either I didn't think, so I'd do that again too. A flying trip we're going to start scheduling already. The first UFC show in Boston over the summer, I hope to be there as part of that madness. I wish UFC came closer to my area, just like the NBA doesn't either, but that's how it goes here in the middle of nowhere. It could be worse though, I love this area other than that. Ok, now time to wrap this baby up..
Bird's Dirty of the Week: We go to Florida this week and find a 21-year old who is the week's winner. Apparently, according to her, alcohol is her best friend and also worst enemy. The pics we get are a mix. You get regular stuff, you get weird ones, and she likes to bust out in a lot of pics too. That's something we never complain about here in blogland. www.myspace.com/idontbelieveyouforasecond
Bird's Video Moment of the Week: These guys were at the game. The infamous DerekHood said to look for them while I was down there. Not long after he texted, it was funny because they were at the Grizz game doing their thing. Pretty impressive we thought. Maybe it's just me, but this stuff I could watch over and over. The big dude isn't messing around either, gotta give em props. Beale Street Flippers.
3 Quick Thangs:
1. For what it's worth, a random fact.. Cigs were $8 a pack for Posey on Beale Street. Crazy. After UFC 107, before getting into the taxi, Posey throws his cig down. What happens? A bum comes up behind him, picks it up and keeps the remains for future use. That's classic. This was Posey's favorite moment of the trip possibly.
2. Too much Elvis stuff I had to see last weekend, but I might as well give a few Elvis facts for anyone who cares.. Elvis was a black belt in karate.. In 1960 in his military trim days, he was about 170 pounds. When he died in 1977, he was about 265.. Until his late teens, Elvis was blonde.. Elvis' favorite toothpaste was Colgate, his aftershave was Brut, and pop (soda for you weird talkers) was Pepsi.
3. For the gang that was on the annual Christmas card list, I sent those out today. If you're on the list and out of the country, I sent yours out on Wednesday. They should get there before Christmas, we'll see. Again, if you're just signing your name to a Christmas card, why even bother? Get in that truck lane and let life pass you by. Speaking of life, things are great here as usual, it's time to get pumped up for Christmas!