We get on the road at
Millstone, NJ. Nothing special happening, roads are clear and the weather is
great for traveling. We cross into Delaware and then Maryland and Virginia. We stop for the night in Rocky Mount, North Carolina at .
Day 2 – August 5
We leave Rocky Mount at and again nothing special is occurring, no
major tie ups or accidents. Surprisingly not a lot of
construction. We pass through what is left of North Carolina all the
time passing signs that say only so many miles to South of the Border. These
signs are annoying as they appear almost every 2 or 3 miles, until you hit one
that says you just passed south of the Border. We cross South Carolina and Georgia and arrive in St Augustine, Florida again at .
Day 3 – August 6
We got up late this
morning and leave at . We are
heading toward Miami and encounter our first real delay; a
thunderous downpour seems to slow traffic to a halt and really kills out time.
We stopped on the way to our hotel to pick up tickets for the Marlins/Brewers
game that evening and get tickets for $18.00 down the right field line between
1st and the outfielder. We were right next to the Brewers Bullpen.
The stadium was built for football and you can tell because you crane your neck
to see home plate. Also, outside the stadium are statues of Don Shula and Dan
Marino, nothing of Jeff Conine. The Marlins win the game in the bottom of the 9th,
but the stadium is nothing to speak about. Its location so far away from the
city is probably why they don’t draw much.
Day 4 – August 7
We leave the Miami area at and drive toward St Petersburg. If any of you don’t like bridges you won’t like this drive, first you
cross the bottom of the state through what is called Alligator Alley, which is
another word for swamp. Then you see signs that a rather long bridge is coming
so check your gas. Then you see it, it is several miles ahead and looks like it
touches the sky. Not only that but you are on a very low bridge for several
miles with nothing but water to either side until you start the climb up this
monster. Also, there are signs that say this road is closed when the weather is
bad, thank god it was not windy. After we arrived at our hotel we spoke to a
local and she told us that this bridge was recently rebuilt as it was hit by a
ship and collapsed and people were driving off the end of it like it was still
there. Anyway we stopped on the way to the hotel to pick up tickets for the
Devils Rays/Mariners game. This time $20.00 got us tickets on the first base
side between home and first and only about 15 rows from the field. The Mariners
win the game. This is a domed stadium but again nothing special.
Day 5 – August 8
Really get a late
start at 10:20am. We leave St
Petersburg and drive to Valdosta, Georgia. Nothing special about this drive except
for all the signs for Peanuts. Gas prices in Florida are higher by over 25cents then Georgia so we wait until we reach Georgia to fill up the tank. We get to Valdosta around 1:00pm and crash for the afternoon.
Day 6 – August 9
We leave Valdosta at 8:00am heading for the house of one of
the BCBLs shortest in terms of time members. This is a guy who showed up in Chicago for the draft and as soon as it was over
we never heard from him again. Most of you know I am talking about Vern Easley.
He and I are in several other leagues together and he offered to allow us to
stay with him while in Atlanta. He is a gracious host and his house is warm and friendly. We arrived
here around 1:00 and just relaxed for the afternoon. We took Vern and his wife
Peggy out to dinner at Outback and had a great meal. Again nothing special
about the drive.
Day 7 – August 10
We meet another ex
BCBLer for lunch. Jim Wagner and I go way back to sharing an office for
AT&T in 1990. He and his wife live in Columbus, Georgia and he comes up for lunch. We went to an
All you can Eat Chinese Buffet which had really good food. Lary Wesley would
have loved it. Vern is busy getting us tickets for the Braves game that evening
and he gets us tickets on-line that he actually prints on his computer printer.
It is almost like getting e-tickets. We get 4 tickets for $36.00 because the
section he picked had a 2 for 1 special. I know why as we are sitting in the highest
part of the park in the left field corner. The players look small. I did get to
see where the old stadium was as they have built a parking lot there but they
laid out the old stadium on it. If you arrive early enough you can go to what
was the pitchers mound and look out to an area that shows where Hank Aaron hit
his 715th home run. Most of you are old enough to remember that Al
Downing threw the pitch, but do you remember who caught the ball in the
Bullpen. This game also featured the Brewers and they won in the 10th
on a solo home run by Magruder.
Day 8 – August 11
Today we visited Stone MountainPark.Stone Mountain for those of
you who don’t know is a tribute to Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson and
Jefferson Davis, it is sort of the Mount Rushmore of
the South. There is a carving in the side of the mountain of the 3. There are
two rides included with admission. One is a Sky Ride to the top of the mountain
where the views are fantastic; the other is a Riverboat ride around a small
lake.There is also a 4D movie
presentation which was kind of neat. The 4th dimension is when there
is a splash on the screen you get wet, when there is a bumping your seat goes
up and down. The day was beautiful and the only negative was that since Atlanta schools were already in the session the
park closed at 6:00pm and that cancelled a Laser light show that now only plays
on Friday and Saturday.
Day 9 August 12
We get a late start
at 10:00am and are headed for Chattanooga. We encounter our first bad weather day as it is raining. We also see
our first and second major accidents. One in the same direction as us that
caused a 25 or so minute delay, the other was on the other side and it appears
to be either 2 Tractor trailers or one tractor trailer and a Pre Fab home. We arrived
in Chattanooga around 1:15pm and then visited something
called RubyFalls. These are an underground waterfall that you walk through a cave about
½ mile to find. It is a guided tour and along the way there are some
interesting formations. Tomorrow onto Nashville.
Day 10 August 13
Leaving Chattanooga around 9:30am we arrive in Nashville around Noon and go to a hotel. They have
rooms but none are ready so we go sightseeing. We went to the Grand Old Opry
and it is not what I expected. It is a building next to a huge shopping mall. I
guess I expected it to be a free standing rustic kind of place. We took some
photos of the outside because you can’t get in unless you are seeing a show.
There is a small country western museum that is free which was kind if neat if
you are into country music. We were told that we had to go into the Opryland
hotel just to see the lobby; however, it cost $8.00 just to park so we decided
to skip it. Now onto Memphis.
Day 11 August 14
We leave Nashville at 9:00am and arrive in Memphis around 12:45pm. We go directly to Graceland.The Graceland area is a complex of buildings including
Elvis’ home. There is a museum with some of his mementoes, an exhibit of 2 of
his jets, Graceland itself and a gaggle of souvenir shops.
They have a radio station that only plays Elvis songs 24/7.In the house you get to see several rooms
including a game room with a pool table. Elvis is buried on the grounds next to
his mother, father and grandmother. Unbeknownst to us we are there on the
anniversary of his mother’s death in 1958. There is also a hotel next to the
grounds named you guessed it “The Heartbreak Hotel”, it was booked. We left
Graceland around 4:30pm and drove until we got tired to a town called Blytheville in Arkansas. Next onto St. Louis.
Day 12 August 15
Leaving Blytheville around 8:55am we arrive in St. Louis around 12:45. Our hotel is walking
distance to both the Arch and Busch. We are veggin out the rest of the day and
will visit both Busch and the Arch on Monday. The drive north was really
uneventful as it is Sunday and nobody was on the road. In fact a lot of the
stores we passed along the way were closed.
Day 13 August 16
Today I was the most
scared of any day of my life. We visited the Arch in St. Louis and went to the top. You ride in a small
tram that only holds 5 people and you sway a little back and forth. You see
nothing until you get to the top and then you walk in an area that is not flat
but curved and it is only about 15 feet wide and 25 or 30 feet long. You look out
windows which are small and overlook Illinois and Missouri. I was crazy scared and could not wait to
get down.We then walked about 20 blocks
to Union Station. This is a converted Railway station and is now a shopping
mall. Just about every other store was a Cardinals store and sold only
Cardinals memorabilia.I did see one tee
shirt I enjoyed mocking the Cubs. Although as most of you know I am a big Cubs
fan. It had the Cubs logo up and down and the words Completely Useless
By September going across.
We moseyed over to
Busch Stadium and met with a fellow DMBer that some
of you know Rich Applegate. He had gotten us tickets to the game. We sat in the
LeftCenter Field bleachers and the Cards won the game 10 – 5.Reggie Sanders did get a hit so it was not a
total loss.They are building a new
stadium directly next to where this stadium is. The stadium itself was nothing
Day 14 August 17
We leave St. Louis at 8:00am and arrive in Illinois at 8:05am. It is just across the bridge.
We arrive in the Chicago area around 1:30pm and are awaiting a
meeting with Rick Michal and Jed Latkin as I write this. We are going to the
Sox game this evening. We are staying in a Renaissance Hotel and it is the
nicest place we have stayed so far. It is not totally out of the prices of all
the other places we have stayed. Sox game is supposed to start at 7:00pm but is
held up an hour due to rain. We are sitting on the first base side, first row
behind the Tiger dugout!! Jed was able to get us tickets through a friend. According
to Rick’s wife Julie, we did show up on TV quite a few times – too bad we
didn’t have it taped! There was a lot of action in the game, final score Tigers
11, Sox 8. Stadium featured pinwheels in center which lit up along with
fireworks after a Sox homerun, luckily there was at least one Sox homerun. The
pinwheels were carried over from old Comiskey,
distinguishing it as unique.
Day 15 August 18
We begin the day
meeting Rick and Jed for breakfast. After we part for the day, Jed to return
home, and Rick to go to work – we head for the Brookfield Zoo spending about 2 ½ hours there. Return
to the hotel to meet with Rick to play our series – he swept me!,then met his wife and girls for dinner at the
Cheesecake Factory which is right next to our hotel. Good food and good
company. Found out an interesting fact at dinner that you may not be aware of,
Rick likes country music.
Day 16 August 19
We bid farewell to Chicago at 7:30am and head off to New Richmond, Wisconsin. We are visiting with Sharon’s
mother. We arrived at 2:30pm. I found out my mother in law does not have long
distance service so I have to use a local library to get my email. New Richmond is a small town and they roll up the
sidewalks at 5:00pm. Sharon and I had to do some laundry and took a walk down
main street and everything was closed.
Day 17 August 20
Today is a veg out day. No driving planned and just hanging out with Sharon’s mother. I have an appointment at 5:30pm
at the library to check my email again. Hopefully you are not getting messages
from my mailbox that it is full. Tomorrow we leave for South Dakota. No more ballgames scheduled so no real
tight schedules to follow.
Day 18 August 21
Leaving New Richmond, Wisconsin
around 9:30am, I decide it is time to do something for the wife and we stop at
the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. We wander around the mall for a couple of
hours and then proceed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We arrive around 4:30pm. We are awakened
at 4:00am to a couple of people arguing outside our room. Fortunately it ended
fairly quickly and we go back to sleep.
Day 19 August 22
We leave Sioux Falls at 9:45am heading for Rapid City. Almost immediately we see signs like
those we saw in North
this time for a place called Wall. I believe it is short for the Hole in the
Wall used in the Butch Cassidy and Sundance stories. They start at only 300
miles to Wall. We actually stop there and it is a town that has many store
fronts and sell everything. We also took a short bypass to see the Badlands. It is amazing that it looks like the Grand Canyon of the North. Again these were used by
Butch and Sundance for hiding. It is also amazing that they just end as
abruptly as they started.
Day 20 August 23
We leave Rapid City and head for Mount Rushmore. It is about a 30 minute drive. We stop
along the way at a Christmas village shop because we want to delay our trip. It
is very foggy and we are afraid we won’t be able to see the carvings. We arrive
at Mount Rushmore and it is spectacular. We wander around
the area for awhile and watch a short movie about how the carvings were done.
In the gift shop there is a man who worked on the mountain and he tells us he
was paid 50 cents and hour for an 8 hour day and worked 6 days a week. On the
way back to the main road we stop in Deadwood. This was the town that Wild Bill
Hickok was killed in. Remember Aces and Eights are
dead mans hand. We continue on to BillingsMontana and arrive around 6:30pm. Tomorrow on to Missoula, Montana where we will spend the next several days.
Day 21 August 24
We get a real late
start for us anyway and leave Billings around 10:40am arriving at my brother in laws house around 4:30pm. The
drive is sprinkled with herds of cows, horses, antelopes, alpacas and bison.
Did you know that what most people call buffalo are not at all buffalo but
bison. A buffalo is the animal that we call the water buffalo that lives in Africa. At one point during the drive we climbed over 6000 feet and crossed
the Continental Divide. We also saw snow capped peaks in the distance.
Day 22 August 25
This day was spent
with me trying to figure out how to get my email since there is no local number
to dial. I spend a lot of the day on my brother in laws machine accessing my
internet version of my mail. I get so many messages a day that I have to clean
up my folders or you will all get Mailbox is full messages.We also went downtown and found a Hyundai
dealership so I can get my oil changed. Don’t want to blow my warranty.
Day 23 - 25 August 26 – 28
These 3 days were
used for my wife and her brother to catch up on things. We saw a lot of
downtown Missoula and even went to a chocolatier,
where I was able to get some No Sugar Candy. It did not taste too bad.
Day 26 August 29
We leave Missoula at 9:00am after a hearty breakfast
prepared jointly by my brother in law Tom and his wife Althea. I want to thank
them for their hospitality. We are in the home stretch and are headed today for
We arrive in Provo around 6:00pm. The drive here was highlighted
by us seeing more cows and horses than people. It is a rather nice drive
through parts of the Rockies. Also, if you are going to make this trip make
sure you have a full tank of gas and hope you are not boycotting Exxon. Exxon
was the only brand name gas available. Just about every exit said “No Services”
and only led to some ones ranch.
Day 27 August 30
We leave Provo around 8:30am and arrive in Vegas around
1:30pm. We check in to a rinky dink hotel just off
the strip and decide to walk around. We stop for lunch and walk for awhile. I
wanted to visit a place where I won about $1000.00 once before. We get there
only to find out they no longer offer the game I like – Let it Ride.
I decide to gamble at
Ballys and lose about $100.00. We then went down to
the Tropicana where upon entry my wife wins a 2 for one coupon for the sexy
show that evening. We cash the voucher and decide to wait to see about the
show. The tickets for one would be $54.00. Both of us sat down at a Let it Ride
table and on the second and fourth hands my wife hits a flush. Winning about
$300.00, we then decide to see the show as I was losing. The show features
about 24 half clad females and of course is a joy to watch. After the show I
decide to hit the table one more time and this time I hit and walk away about
$500.00 ahead. This amount will cover our gas for the entire trip. Not too
Day 28 August 31
Well this is the
final entry. We leave Vegas at 8:30am and arrive at our new home around 1:30pm.
The drive was similar to the one from Prove to Vegas. Not a lot to see except
mountains and cacti. That is until we are about 30 miles from Poway where there are numerous towns and all the exits have gas and food.
Well that was our journey, I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I
have living it.