Eastern Time Zone, bitches!
...The Road Trip is almost over. I passed the line sometime last night in the featureless nothing of Western Indiana. I'll be making this one short, because I've got five hours of driving until the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Let's Do This!
1. Olympics on the Tee Vee. Soccer. The Netherlands took an early 1-0 lead, but Team USA struck back in the 2nd half, scoring two big goals. They're got the lead with 5 minutes to play, and if the US can hold on this will be something of an upset. U! S! A! U! S! A!
2. Yesterday was a good day. I started off with a tasty breakfast at the Blackstone Family Diner in Green Bay, and had an extended conversation with my breakfast buddy, Jim. I hadn't meant for it to be an extended conversation, but Jim is the sort of person who will not stop talking long enough for you to make a polite exit out of the conversation. He's also apparently not too fond of black people (which unfortunately, I've found is a fairly common failing among most of the otherwise-admirable, honest folks of Small Town, America). Jim's claim to fame is that at 4'-11", he was the shortest locomotive engineer (he worked for the Green Bay Railroad) in America. So, a celebrity, I guess. I'll take what I can get.
3. Speaking of celebrities, after finally getting some internet access, I found out who signed my football! My two new favorite football players (non-New England Patriot division) are #26, Safety/Speacial Teamer Charlie Peprah, and #44, rookie Tight End Evan Moore. Both are fine, upstanding young men (largely by merit of signing my football), and-
Netherlands just tied the game in stoppage time. the final result will be a tie. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I hate the fucking Dutch. Bunch of clog-wearing, tulip-snorting windmill huggers.
-Evan, a graduate of Stamford University, was even nice enough to have a conversation with me. It's a long one, but I'll include the transcript in its entirety below:
Evan (to some little kid who kept whoring out for an autograph by yelling, among other things, that he had came all the way from Maryland to get an autograph): "You know, I'm from California"
Me (holding out football and sharpie): "Hey, I'm from California"
Evan (signing my football): "Really?"
Me: "Yeah, San Francisco"
Evan (handing back now-signed ball): "Cool."
Ladies and gentleman, my new best friend, Evan Moore.
So Charlie is a third-year backup player, and Evan is a rookie free agent, so as you football fans know it's practically GUARANTEED that both will go on to become massive superstars. Probably. Or they were just nice enough to sign my crap because everyone else was busy screaming at Donald Driver and Ryan Grant for autographs. Either way, I'm happy.
4. In Manitowoc, Wisconsin, I visited the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Turns out the city has been a historic center of shipbuilding on the Great Lakes, among other things turning out a number of submarines that fought in the Pacific during WWII. The museum features a perfectly-maintained sub, the USS Cobia, which was built in the Electric Boat Yards in Groton, Connecticut (REPRESENT!), but otherwise is pretty much exactly the same type of sub that was built in Manitowoc. The museum features a full tour of the sub, so you can see first-hand just how cramped, claustrophobic, hot, and stinky these subs were. Those of us on the tour were in for a treat as one of the surviving veterans of the sub told us about his experience on the ship (he was a torpedo loader in the aft torpedo room), including a harrowing recounting of sitting in the completely quiet, darkened sub on the muddy floor of the sea as a Japanese destroyer rained down depth charges around the Cobia.
There's more to come here, but I want to get to the Hall of Fame before it closes tonight. So here's a quick outline of what you'll have to wait to read about:
*EDIT* I've finally gotten around to writing about the fun stuff from a few days ago. Here we go:
1. Indiana has some rather oddly-named roads. First up is an instant classic, "FANGBONER RD." But no matter how much fang or boner that can provide, it can't beat the elegant simplcity of "FAIL RD." Both are located somewhere west of South Bend along Route 20. I have decided that I need to own the "FAIL RD" sign. The next step: find a way to acquire it without doing anything illegal, Or without getting caught. Whichever is easier.
2. Indiana is a cripplingly boring state. I seriously think that the state was deliberately trying to get me out be being so horribly uninteresting. The only thing in the entire state that could even conceivably be considered an attraction would be its many fireworks stores, in particular "Krazy Kaplan's." Mr. Kaplan is so "krazy," apparently, that he offers an unprecedented "6-for-1" deal on select fireworks at his stores. And that's just special.
I found myself in Indiana because I was running from some particularly scary-looking thunderstorms, and didn't find a motel worth stopping at until I'd made it to South Bend. By this point, I had passed into the Eastern Time Zone (without knowing it; every other time I had passed to a new time zone on this trip a friendly sign was there to notify me. Not in Indiana. Yet one more way the state tried to make my trip as boring as possible), which is good. I'd been getting tired of having to do "time zone math" whenever I decided to call someone on the east coast. In any case, I had been running from the thunderstorms since I was in the state of Illinois, where I got to see the beautiful skyline of...
3. Chicago. I timed my drive perfectly, catching the Sears Tower, the Hancock Tower, and countless other skyscrapers against a backdrop of towering thunderheads, all illuminated by the setting sun. I found myself driving by (Whatever The Hell They Call It Now That It's Not Comiskey Park Anymore) Park, wondering who could be playing the White Sox that night. Turns out it was the Red Sox, as I learned when I got to a TV. Damn. At the very least, I drove past Chicago while playing Sufjan Steven's "Come on Feel the Illinoise" album, so I got to feel clever about something.
4. What time is it? MILLER TIME. While in Milwaukee, I made a point to visit the Miller brewery. I would like to stress before I continue that the brewery tour Miller offers is *FREE*, and includes free fair-sized tastings of their fine selection of beers. Emphasis here in "FREE." As opposed to "fine." But still -- "FREE." I got to see part of the Miller bottling facility, a magnificent state-of-the art conglomeration of equipment that spits out some half a million cases of beer every day. I also learned that Miller ships out forty rail cars full of beer each day, with a single rail car containing enough beer that if I were to drink one six pack of beer a day, would last me for 43 years. Clearly, I need to figure out how to get a rail car full of beer. The tour starts out with a wonderfully cheesy introductory movie, which takes every opportunity to remind you that the current time is Miller Time. My favorite scene:
(a happening-looking bar. Some dude is sitting there, enjoying a frosty bottle of Miller Lite)
Announcer: "There's a time that we like to call 'Miller Time.'"
(the guy looks over, and the camera pans to a beautiful woman, also enjoying a Miller Lite)
Announcer: "A time when the day goes from good..."
(the woman smiles at the dude)
Announcer: "...to great"
(the camera pans down to her cleavage)