Wednesday, September 14, 2005
  Four Bare Walls and the Rem Dawg
All settled in, sorta, in Milwaukee.

The apartment is bare, save for the air mattress (which could double nicely as a hovercraft) , the stereo, and the framed "Best Wishes, Jerry Remy" 5x7 promo photo.

Headed out last night with an old friend from Rhode Island (check!) and was successful in finding a good mexican place (no el pelon, but c'mon...really...what is?) and a few good beer places. I'm beginning to notice a trend here with the beer places. Akin to swinging a dead cat in Rhody and hitting a Dunkin Donuts, you can't whip a deceased feline around by its tail out here without connecting with some drinking/eating/drinking establishment. Martha sez "that's a good thing."
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But I wouldn't have gotten here without a few stops along the way and I've noticed that I hadn't updated the trip since the 10th, so without further ado...

Sept. 11
Living in New York for as long as I did - including on 9/11/01 - the day was always a somber one, especially in light of losing a friend on UA 175. But, as they say, time heals all wounds. The fact that as each tick of the year column on the dateline progressed, dealing with the day has gotten easier to bare.

That being said, when I got on the road early from Harrisburg, PA to Pittsburgh, where I picked up Habs, iPod karma took over close to quarter-to-nine...close to the time of first impact at the World Trade Center.

The shuffle play on the iPod ranged from all kinds of good music and then switched gears. It was JFK's 1961 inaugural speech. And to listen to the words of, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest speeches ever crafted, and try to imagine those words being spoken now, it crosses the many lines of time, ideology, and world history. Click on the above link and read the first few paragraphs. The "world is very different" now, all because of the events of the worst Tuesday morning in the history of the world.

The drive from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh was only about two and a half hours, but it seemed like it took forever. The stretch of road - I 76 - seemed like it was the opossum roadkill capital of the world. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a dead opossum. And no, they weren't just playing opossum. They really dead.

There were also several tunnels through mountains and a four mile stretch of road curvier that a room of 100 Minnie Driver clones. Every couple of miles, those annoying trailers with a digital readout of "Your Speed" would tell me what my speed was. Guess what Pennsylvania State Police? I know what my speed is. My car comes with this thing called a "speedometer" and a "gas pedal." I can make the red line go whereever I want it to with a push of my right foot. Save the taxpayers money with the jugs guns on the side of the interstate, mmm'kay?

Aside from all that, the drive through what my good friend TP calls "Pennsyltucky" was fine. A few too many Pittsburgh Steeler faithful at the Blue Mtn. rest stop, but other than that, it was uneventful. Except for the lack of Dunkin Donuts. That was troubling.

I grabbed Habs a little before noon and proceeded to lunch at Brighton Hot Dogs. If you're ever in Coraopolis, PA, not far from Moon Township, stop by and order up two all the way (no relish) and a loaded burger. I did. And I did not regret it.

Around 1:00, just like the Tin Soldiers and Nixon coming, we were finally on our own in O-hi-o. We got to Cleveland around 2:00, checked into the hotel and set a plan for later - something to sandwich in before Indians/Twins.

The hotel - which was a nice place in 2001 when I stayed there last - was upgraded. The 32 inch flat screen plasma was a nice touch. It was also the road hotel for the Minnesota Twins and I searched around the many doors on my floor to see if Kyle Lohse happened to "knock" on manager Ron Gardenhire's room. No bat marks anywhere.

After a stop at the Great Lakes Brewery for dinner and drinks, we headed Jacobs Field way. The Browns and Bengals played earlier in the day, so the establishments were loaded with people who were loaded. This one group of four heavily intoxicated and highly annoying couples all but sat on our table. One of the girls - a Sarah Silverman clone - had a really loud and shrill speaking voice and she was situated right by my left ear. That sucked. Her boyfriend had the wherewithal to apologize and ask me if she was getting annoying. I didn't have the heart to say yes because I knew he had to chaperone the group, make sure lovey got home safe, and eventually would have to hold her hair as she vomited into the toilet.

The game was extremely uneventful. And it wouldn't have even sold out if the Indians didn't sell tickets for 5 bucks. An ESPN2 game with 20,000 tickets unsold would've looked bad, especially since the Indians are poised to make their first playoff run since Manny Ramirez batted sixth in their lineup.

After going up 10-0 in the second, we walked arouind the park and ended up in dead center, chatting with a longtime usher and security guard. Tim was good people. I would've enjoyed a Miller Lite or two, but the Browns fans ruined it for everyone. The head of security at the park had to deal with so many alcohol-related incidents from people wearing Kelly Holcomb replicas that they cut off beer sales.

So that was that. Back to the crib, to sleep, early to rise, and get on the road.

Sept. 12
Denny's. Meat lover's skillet. If those darned things didn't take seven years off your life, I'd eat one everyday. Bacon. Sausage. Homefries. Scrambled eggs. Cheese. Buttered toast. All mixed into one. Delish.

Since the ride to Chi-town was a long one, I killed time by playing a few standup shows, first by Mitch Hedberg, then by Lewis Black. Despite all the laughs, Habs astutely pointed out that "Man, Ohio sucks." He was right, but we still hadn't gotten to Indiana yet. And man, Indiana sucked, too.

But as we were cruising through Ohio at a high rate of speed, I did see Sandusky and was tempted to stop by Callahan Auto Parts. It was right off the Fangboner Rd. exit (titter, titter, I said "fangboner").

And like its neighbor to the East, Ohio had no Dunkin Donuts. Neither did Indiana. But it did have an a.m. station that was playing "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure. Thankfully I was able to find an ESPN radio affiliate and the Dan Patrick show before I got hooked on mono new wave 80's tunes.

Into Chicago and to the hotel was a harrowing process, as my directions sucked and it's kind of a busy major world city. But cool, nonetheless. After dumping the bags, we headed toward Wrigleyville - the neighborhood behind the Friendly Confines. On the walk to the L, there were two Dunkin Donuts. It was nice to be back in a civilized place again... One large, light with skim, and one sugar, please...

Wrigleyville reminded me a lot of the area around Fenway. And once, getting into the park, so did Wrigley. Except, and I know this is blasphemy because lots of Red Sox (check!) fan friends cried out such a word when I said, "I think I like this better than..."

I won't even finish the sentence because I think, in hind sight, that it is blasphemy. But the hot dogs were better than... (sinner!)

After the ballgame, it was straight to Murphy's Bleachers and then home. On the L ride back, we met a Red Sox fan from Rhody (E.G. to be exact). We are taking over, one major U.S. city at a time, people.

The next morning, Habs caught a shuttle to O'Hare and I headed out for the final one hour of the trip - up 94 to Milwaukee.

It only took about an hour, but it seemed like five minutes. And after crossing the state line into Wisconsin, passing the exits for Sheboygan and Green Bay, I saw the Catholic Knights building - my new home. It sticks out very much like the Pru building in Boston, so that should help for me not getting too lost in my new town.

And besides, two blocks down, there's a Dunkin Donuts...
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Ok, have to get cracking on getting me some cable t.v. for the deluxe apartment in the sky.

Have a good one.

One.
 
Comments:
Lovely post...I felt like I was almost there myself

Monika from Murphy's
 
Glad you made it out safe. I've got Feb. 8th on the calendar already. Maybe even Feb. 1 if you are lucky.
 
Indeed, Feb. 8 is a stone-cold lock. I will pencil in Feb. 1. And there may be several days in late October.
 
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