To da Nort der, doon cha no?
Well this past weekend Andrea and I went to the Twin Cities, primarily to watch my team (the Vikings) play the (49ers). I was telling Andrea that I’m glad I have her around, because trips like this I would never convince myself to go on because it’s: too far, no time, expensive, or whatever until I talked myself out of it. Luckily she just orders tickets and says, “We’re going. Too late!” ha ha It really was a blast… and an adventure.
I don’t have any vacation time built up at work yet, so we had to take the trip in as few days as possible. I would loved to have been able to fly, but that wasn’t really in the budget and would just be a lot to spend on a football game considering the already healthy chunk of change for the tickets. So we decided to drive. When we went to Branson we rented a car because we didn’t really trust either of ours for super long hauls. But this time I figured, for the price of a rental car, we could get Andrea’s exhaust replaced and take her car, and rather than just throwing that money away on a one time use deal, we’d spend it on something that would actually last a few years. So the decision was made. We were taking her car.
Grandpa Wayne has been doing pretty bad with his emphysema and he probably doesn’t have much time left, so we detoured about an hour to go through Sabetha, KS to see Grandma and Grandpa for a short while. I like driving through that area of the country. Rolling hills and old barns make up the horizon, lots of old farm machinery parked here or there. Some of it still gets used, some of it has been just sitting for sale for years by the farmer who’s waiting for the right offer. There’s just something really rustic about the scenery and time’s erosion seems to work a little slower around those parts.
I was working late running the Great Bend HS football game until after midnight, so Andrea was sweet enough to drive the first leg to Sabetha. We hung out with Grandma and Grandpa for a while. Grandma has made so much progress since basically having a stroke over a year ago. Sadly Grandpa has gone the other direction. He was doing well enough to recognize us and recognize what we were talking about, but he kept drifting in and out. Like you’re talking to someone who’s half a sleep. It’s painful to watch someone who knows they are dying and it’s something I don’t have a lot of experience with. As I think over it, I hope to write more about it as I can make sense of my thoughts. For now, all I really know is that I for one hope my own death is swift.
From there we headed to St. Joesph, Missouri. I don’t think I’ve been to St. Joe since Mom lived there a few years back. It was very unique period of my life where EVERYTHING was changing. Mom and Dad were recently divorced and I was finishing high school getting ready to start the whole college thing. It was almost like a waterfall of experiences between what I was… and what I am. Just thinking about St. Joe brings back a flood of memories all at once that you have to stop and sort them out. The feelings were so jumbled at the time that the images pop in my head so randomly. I can remember so many seemingly insignificant things, but it’s hard to put it together in such linear was as I can so many other memories. I remember such insignificant things like using white bandage tape to hide the wires for Mom and Duane’s surround sound against their white walls, and I remember thinking that Duane’s 120MB SuperDisk drive was THE BOMB! It’s like I remember tons of little pieces, but they don’t really fit together to form a greater picture.
Wow, this post has taken a bigger detour than I expected. Okay, back to Minnesota. The one thing we did do at St. Joe was switch drivers. I took over and we turned north towards Iowa. I did most of the driving through Iowa and was pretty white knuckled through Des Moines traffic. I couldn’t handle that kind of stuff every day.
I had just gone to the eye doctor and got a new perscription, still waiting for my glasses to come in, but I got some contacts for the first time in probably at least 10 years. Not going to wear them all the time, just for things it would be nice to ditch the glasses. But the doc gave me some free ones and said to wear them for a few days and see how they feel. They feel just like they used too. Dry and sticky and a PITA to put in and take out. I got a 30 pack that will probably last me a year once my specs come in.
We ended up making pretty good time we rolled in just shortly after 9:00 PM. Our hotel was easy to find and right near the Mall of America. After a marathon drive like that it was nice to FINALLY reach our destination!
We didn’t do a whole lot Saturday night. We went to the MOA breifly before they closed so I could get a Vikings shirt for the game, but for a store that sells ONLY Vikings stuff, I was really disappointed with the selection. None of the shirts tickled my fancy and most of them were around $30. I found a polo shirt I really liked, but it was $75 freakin’ dollars! I found a nice pair of pajama pants though, which I’ve been wanting for years! We ended up just going to Wal-Mart down the road, and I found a t-shirt I really liked for $12. I guess I’m just a cheap bastard.
After the shopping we headed back to the hotel. We were hungry and there was an Outback Steakhouse in the hotel, so we decided that will work. I ate WAY too much and probably drank WAY too much too. They were having a special on Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest beer. Two for one. I guess I thought that just meant half price, but nope, they brought me two mugs! Ha ha.
So I fell asleep with a stomach ache thanks to the obnoxious quantity of food in my belly. And when we woke up, it was time to get rolling and ready for the game! Tail gating would have been fun, but there’s not a lot of parking around the Metrodome, and traffic wouldn’t be much fun either. We decided to take the “Light Rail” from the Mall of America up to the Metrodome. The whole trip was probably 30-45 minutes on a train packed with Vikings fans. I’d say it’s a lot like a subway ride, only not under ground… but I’ve never ridden the subway so I can’t say. It was a little uncomfortable with so many people packed in, but all in all it was probably be best way to go.
It was really cool walking up to the Metrodome. Here in Kansas you don’t see too many things that are THAT big. I love that gameday atmosphere, where everybody is pumped up for the game. Andrea was worried she’d be the only 49ers fan, but there were plenty of them around that she didn’t draw too much attention to herself. hehe
Our seats weren’t too bad. We were in the corner of the endzone in the upper deck. We weren’t close enough see the whites of their eyes, but we had a great view of the action.
The game itself was amazing. Both teams were undefeated coming into the game, and both teams really fought hard the whole game. It was just a great game to watch, and we couldn’t have picked a better one to go see in person. The San Fransico 49ers scored what looked like a game winning touch down with less than 2 minutes left in the game. A field goal wouldn’t be enough to tie, so the Vikings needed a touchdown in 90 seconds to win. Somehow Farve lead them down the field, and with TWO seconds to go, Farve through an amazing pass and Greg Lewis made an even MORE amazing catch. And after that it was over!
You just have to see it. To me it was all a blur, but the one thing I remember was the sound of the crowd. Listen to the roar when he makes the catch in the video below. It was an amazing moment to be a part of. I wanted to jump and hug Andrea…. but she’d have none of it. I’m sure in her mind they had already won the game and she was celebrating, only to have it abruptly ripped away. Couldn’t have been fun. Ha ha!
After that we were really beat. We road the train back to the MOA and did some shopping. By the time we got back to the room at about 8:00 I was content to just kick back on the bed and watch the Sunday Night football game on some fuzzy cable TV.
The next morning we slept in and decided to take a short detour on the way home. We’d been there once before but it was more just driving through. This time we decided to stop and check out Wabasha, Minnesota. A somewhat famous little town.
Last time we were hear was years ago when we had just gotten together. We stopped by Slippery’s tavern but they were closed and we didn’t really have any extra money anyway. THIS time they were open and we just HAD to try it out. Now this isn’t exactly what you see in the movie. There is a bar named Slippery’s in Wabasha, and it was there BEFORE the movie, but what you see in the movie isn’t the real Slippery’s. Which shouldn’t be a suprise to the keen observer (or those who have just watched the movie way too many times), because the Slippery’s in the first movie doesn’t even look anything like Slippery’s in the second movie. So visually there’s not a whole lot in common. But it was still a cool place to check out.
After that it was on with the long trek home. Which got even longer at around 11:00 at night. Andrea had run over something on the way to Kansas City. Neither one of us saw what it was so who knows what it could have been, but when we stopped for gas, Andrea noticed the right rear tire was really low. We tried to air it back up, but it was losing air too fast. So we dug her jack and spare out, and while jacking the car up, the jack stripped out and broke! So we had to limp to the nearest Wal-Mart and buy a new jack, then change the tire in the parking lot, and drive all the way home at 50 mph on an 18 year old spare tire! Come 4:30 AM we FINALLY pulled in the driveway. I got a couple hours of shut eye, then I headed back to work. Vacation over.
So despite the flat tire it was a really great trip, and I’m glad Andrea made the plans to go!