Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stadium Junkies-Day 3 Detroit

Third city, third stadium, third day, Detroit. 

We checked out of our Airbnb in Toronto around 6:30am. When we planned this trip, I'd totally overlooked the fact that it was Mother's Day weekend. I had been whining to Val that I was going to miss my breakfast in bed & being treated like a queen today. Well, when I woke up I found this card next to my bed with a Macy's gift card inside from Val. SUPER THOUGHTFUL! And unexpected. 
After a quick stop at Starbucks, we collected our rental car and headed back to the US, to Detroit. I have to say the drive was uneventful because I was asleep through most all of it and Val was awesome and drove the entire 4+ hours. I know we stopped once for gas (in Litres, not gallons) to try to spend the last of our Canadian money. 
And then stopped again at the US border. 
We weren't sure what we were going to do in Detroit besides the baseball game because we only had about an hour before and after to kill. 

Everyone we'd asked facetiously(we think) told us to see the game and then get out of the city as quickly as possible. We weren't sure how to take that advice. 

Naturally the first thing we set out to see was 8 Mile Road. 
 We found the trailer park featured in the movie 8 Mile pretty easily.
 There was a section of trailers that looked to be abandoned (no cars, no front steps, etc). I located the one that I thought looked as close as I remember to the one in the movie.
After this detour we headed straight over to Comerica Park Stadium for the Tigers vs. Texas Rangers game. 
Photo credit: Tigers.com
Val and I insisted on wearing our Dodger gear to all the stadiums we'd been to this weekend. We were insulted and yelled at in Cleveland and Toronto (it's ok, I would do the same), but I have to say, the fans in Detroit were incredibly friendly. The gentlemen in the seat next to me practically narrated the entire history of Detroit for me throughout the game. 

It may have been the gorgeous weather, but I think this stadium was the most beautiful and had the coolest non-baseball amenities of the three we visited. 
 Plus it was Mother's Day and everyone was wearing Pink, except for those of us wearing Dodger blue.
After the game, we headed straight to the airport to return the car and fly back home. We met up with those 300 of our closest friends, aka Pantone 294 (the Dodger fan club), at the airport. We were all going to be on the same flight. (Oh, boy--had I had enough Dodgers yet?)
Spirit Airlines. Not so bad once you know what to expect. 

After landing, the entire group of us sporting Dodger blue stood around the baggage claim together and as we each picked up our checked bags we waved good bye heartily to the group that was left....like we were all coming home from summer camp or something. 

This was a truly epic weekend that will be hard to top. Until September, that is, when we do it all over again in New York! I keep forgetting that I need to stop doing this to myself!!! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stadium Junkies-Day 2 Toronto

Three stadiums in three cities in three days. Day #2:

We woke up in Cleveland at the crack of dawn and checked out of the Airbnb house at 5:30am to drop Halina off at the airport. From there, Val and I made a quick stop at Starbucks and drove over to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for our 5k race.
 Our 2nd baseball game was still a 5hour drive away in Toronto and we found out too late that the 5K started at 8:30, which would make us late to the game.

The race coordinators were SUPER nice, gave us our bibs and let us start our own race an entire hour early. So, technically, it was just another 3.1 mile run for us, but the starting line had flamingos:
 And a lioness at the half mile mark.
 There were killer hills at this zoo. Without the adrenaline that comes from the energy of an actual race, I ended up walking most of the hills.
 Sloths....ha, I'm faster than YOU
 The ELEPHANTS: It was right about here that I started to feel really really really guilty about being in the zoo. I don't agree with the imprisonment of animals for the sake of exhibition/entertainment.  I don't take my kid to the zoo or the circus.
I didn't know when I signed up for the 5K that it was going to be at a zoo. As I started to run that morning, and because I hadn't been in a zoo in years, I was enthralled by seeing the animals so Up Close and Personal. Wow. 

We were running through the zoo before it opened to the public and before the race started. Tt was just the two of us and the animals, and it was actually quite peaceful. 

Until we came to the cheetahs. Their enclosure was no more than 50 yards in length. The ridiculous irony of my stupid slow ass shuffle alongside their CAGE hit me pretty hard. 
These creatures, the fastest animals on earth, are never allowed to "open it up" and run like they were meant to, it was heartbreaking. But me and my two skinny legs and corpulent body--I could run anywhere I wanted to, any time I wanted to and for as long as I wanted to. And I had just contributed my dollars to further the imprisonment of these poor cheetahs. UGH. 

After that, I couldn't even be excited that i was the first person to cross the finish line. 
It was a small comfort that Val had the time of his life running past all the animals. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to be burdened with thinking about the bigger picture when it comes to stuff like this. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Tulum in July. She's looking forward to swimming with dolphins while I've had to break it to my kid that we would not be doing that. 

Val and I each picked up a banana from the finish line spread and rushed off to start our drive to Canada. We took turns driving and changing in the car on the drive to Toronto. I changed in the US. 
 Val changed in Canada.
Stadium #2 Rogers Centre Theater

Our entire weekend was planned around Pantone294 (a Dodger fan club) 's road trip. When we finally got into Toronto and to the stadium, we had no trouble finding our group. Dodger fans 300 deep in Canada are quite a sight: 
photo credit: Pantone 294
We made a pact: We are ALL moving to Canada together after Trump is elected president. #Dodgernation

After the baseball game (DODGERS WON!) Val and I walked over to the CN Tower and toured all the floors. And shared a sky-high apple pie. 
After a couple of hours in the CN Tower, we headed out to find our next Airbnb and check in. 

 On the walk over to the Airbnb, Val spotted Wahlburgher's restaurant and he could not be dissuaded from making us eat here. I didn't mind too much, but I really was tired of not-so-healthy food choices by now.
 I don't watch the Wahlburger's show on A&E--one of the few shows I don't watch, ha ha. But I might have to binge it one of these weekends. Val really likes it.
After Wahlburger's we (again) went with Val's choice and found a movie theatre to watch Captain America: Civil War near our Airbnb. No spoilers, but it was REALLY GOOD.
After the movie, a little past midnight, we walked back to our Airbnb. We stopped by a hot dog cart and split a hot dog like the locals. This made me very happy.
Even though we were not in bed until close to 2 am, we planned on being up early and out the door by 6:30am. It was rough, and once again I was reminded that I ain't no spring chicken.

There was a night club across the street from our Airbnb and around 3:45am (California CANADA knows how to party!) the club got crazy and it seemed like a riot was about to break out. We watched the entire thing unfold from our 2nd story window.
That whole scene really took me back, and for a second I wished I had rallied to stay out a bit longer to party in Canada. This was my first ever trip into Canada and I had had an EPIC day. OH CANADA, I <3 YOU! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Stadium Junkies-Day 1

Three cities, three stadiums in three days. This past weekend was a complete blur, but an epic one.
The first leg of our baseball trip was to Cleveland. Val and I took a redeye to Cleveland and met up with his friend Halina at the airport. From there, the three of us beelined it to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Breakfast in Cleveland
 Outside, the HoF looks like the Louvre.

Guns & Roses (we're going to see these guys in August) and David Bowie:
I knew well ahead of time exactly what I wanted to see at the Hall of Fame, but I made the obligatory rounds through all the floors and saw all kinds of things I'm glad I didn't miss
 Michael Jackson's Glove and shoes.

Public Enemy and Biggie Smalls.
 Chrissie Hynde and Run DMC
 Prince, Prince, Prince & Prince:
 Beastie Boys: 
And finally, one of my FAVORITE bands of all time: Pink Floyd. 

 The Wall exhibit was pretty awesome.
 Roger Waters, musical genius:

And my Other Favorite Band of All Time, U2.
There was so much to see. Val, Halina and I kept splitting off into 3 different directions as we walked through the museum but  would end up meeting back up again at bands we liked in common. It was a lot of fun.

This was all I found of Lou Reed. He got me through some tough days in college:
 NWA, minus Easy.
Halina had been the one to suss out T'hings to See in Cleveland. She had found that the original house used in the movie A Christmas Story was in Cleveland, and we headed there after leaving the HofF. Val wasn't that excited about this initially, but he was out-voted.
 The house had fallen into disrepair but was purchased by a movie fan and restored to the way it appeared in the movie. It's now a museum and runs tours twice an hour!
 EV-ER-Y-THING is exactly like it was in the movie.
 The lamp. THE LAMP!
 They have bunny costumes for sale and just to try on--in adult sizes!
 The cast:
 The rifle that The Old Man had hidden behind the desk.
 The cupboard under the sink where the little brother hid. The boys bedroom:
 Me hanging out in the Parker's living room.
Halina and the Leg Lamp! Thanks for finding this place, Halina!!! 
After the museum tour and gift shop, we stopped in neighborhood tavern to eat pierogis. Halina is Polish and said they were pretty authentic. They were delicious! I ate a knish in NY and didn't like it at all, but pierogis get a thumbs up.
Actually, according to the tour, the people in the neighborhood played extras in the movie. And the owner of Ralphie's house used to hang out in this tavern all the time.

After the pierogis, we checked into our Airbnb and took a short nap before finally heading out to Progressive Field. 
Halina is as big a baseball fan as Val and I, so this entire day was just perfect for us. Don't you just LOVE a baseball park?
 Zero waste baseball treat:
 I WAS ON THE JUMBOTRON!!! And Val even got a picture!
 Halina's Happy Dog. What is a Happy Dog? Well, it's FRUIT LOOPS on top of macaroni & cheese on top of a hot dog, of course.
 Dodger stadium does not have mascots......thank goodness! Lol.
After the game, we went back to the Airbnb & called it a day. We had to have Halina back to the airport by 5:30am in the morning and Val and I were going to run a 5K before driving to Toronto for Stadium #2.