‘Twas the Summer of 1994, the grass was green, the wind was hot, and there was a young man, we’ll just call him Beau, who was a strapping, single 21 year old waiter from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It was a wild summer for young Beau, who shared an apartment with 4 friends, sometimes 6, most of which worked at a new, upstart restaurant in Tulsa called, Zio’s. Beau’s manager was his roommate and best friend, so he pretty much got all the good shifts, and none of the bad ones. When it came to getting time off, that was not a problem for Beau, or any of his roommates.
One of the roomies, we’ll just call him, Jon, had a brother getting married Memorial Day weekend in Detroit, Michigan. Beau conjured up a plan, meticulously checked schedules, arranged transportation, and before you knew it, a Road Trip was born. This would not be just a road trip to a wedding….no, no, no, this would be a road trip, straight from the manual, How to do America, the Right Way.
The first step, was to secure transportation. No problem. Beau just called up mom. Mom had a brand new, 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante, just the perfect size for a trip of this caliber. For some reason, she said yes.
So, Beau and Jon, convinced another roomie and Zio’s employee and good friend, we’ll just call him, Macs, to accompany them on their journey, and they were off.
The course was set.
It’s 959 miles from Tulsa to Auburn Hills, Michigan, door to door, but this wouldn’t be a straight shot trip. After all, this was going to be epic. First stop, St. Louis, Mo., Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies.
It was a 7pm first pitch that night, but the action got started much sooner.
The Zio trio arrived in St. Louis by early afternoon, plenty of time to enjoy downtown St. Louis. They visited the Arch, had lunch at a deli, and had a gay old time.
Soon, it was time to head to the stadium, on the way, they hit up a Wendy’s in downtown St. Louis as they were walking to the stadium. Then, the boys would all learn a valuable lesson. It’s not as easy as you think, to keep your eye on the queen…a.k.a. homeless man swindles Jon out of 20 bucks, and Macs out of his burger. Jon would be quoted many years later as saying, “We were just so white and gullible.”
So, after losing their money and their dinner, the three embarrassed young men, finally made it into the stadium in time for batting practice. The guys had great seats, I mean GREAT seats at this game, a game the Cardinals would end up winning.
After the game, the boys, tails tucked firmly between legs, hopped in the Diamante and headed to Springfield, Illinois, where they would be staying the night at the house of a college friend. They arrived late and left early, a lot had to be done on this trip. Next stop, Chicago.
The boys traveled up I-55 from Springfield to Chicago. As they approached the sign that said, “Welcome to Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley”, one of them mused, “I can’t believe they elected a mayor named Dick em Dailey.” They all laughed.
They got into downtown Chicago with two priorities, Pizza and Sears Tower…ok three priorities, don’t get ripped off by street people. Mission accomplished on all 3.
The evening was already booked, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox at New Comiskey Park. Just a trio of white boys, blindly headed to the southside of Chicago.
They arrived in time for batting practice, then, the skies opened up. The boys were in danger of losing their opportunity to see a game at Comiskey.
The rain subsided, and the game went on. It was a onesided slugfest powered by White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, who belted two long balls. Again, the boys had great seats, 8 rows behind home plate. The only problem was, the netting above their heads eliminating the possibility of catching a foul ball. They tried moving to worse seats, but the ushers would have nothing of it, forcing the boys back to their good seats.
By the way, word to the wise, do NOT wear a Detroit Red Wings jersey to a sporting event in Chicago, Illinois. Trust me.
The game would end, and the boys would start a late night journey from the south side of Chicago to Auburn Hills, Michigan. They would cover that 292 miles in the darkness of night, arrive in time to get a little bit of sleep, but then it’s back up and at ’em, because this would be the last day they could catch a Detroit Tigers game at Historic Tiger Stadium, because the Tigers were about to hit the road.
So, barely awake, they made their journey to Downtown Detroit, to see the Detroit Tigers face the California Angels. First pitch, 1:35pm, a day game at Tiger Stadium. Beau is elated. 3 games, in 3 nights, in 3 different stadiums.
The Tigers starting pitcher that day was Oral Roberts University grad Mike Moore. He would be bested that day however, thanks to a living legend, and one of Beau’s heroes, Bo Jackson. This was not long after Jackson returned from hip replacement surgery. He wasn’t nearly the athlete he once was, but he was good enough this day to hit a 2 run opposite field home run to give the Angels a lead in the 5th they would never relinquish.
But the story was not on the field that day, it was in the ballpark. This old relic was beautiful, in a crappy, really small kind of way. Because of the sparse crowd, and general lack of concern by security, the boys got to experience many areas of this classic structure. And wow, there were some serious wackos in the stands, the people were more entertaining than the game.
That evening, the boys finally got the chance to rest. There would be no games on Friday or Saturday, they were there for a wedding after all. It was beautiful, the bride was beautiful, yadda yadda yadda.
For the next leg, Jon would have to stay behind, because, it was kind of the brotherly thing to do.
But for Beau and Macs, it was off to Rochester, NY. This leg of the trip was hatched out of looking at the map, and realizing that Detroit was only about 6 hours from Rochester, Macs’ hometown. So, it didn’t take much convincing, and the two of them hopped in the Diamante and traveled the unscheduled 339 miles from Auburn Hills to Rochester. They got there before nightfall, and made a surprise visit to another college friend, who shall remain nameless to protect his identity.
Macs made calls to all his high school buddies and it was a grand reunion for him, Beau tagged along and made nice, because he knew what the next day was, a Sunday trip to Toronto. You see, Beau studied the map, and after realizing how close Rochester was to Detroit, he then noticed how close Rochester was to Toronto, and lo and behold, the Toronto Blue Jays had a Sunday afternoon home game against the California Angels, and Toronto is only a little 3 hour drive around Lake Ontario.
So, that morning, the two said their good byes to the fine folks of Rochester, hopped in the Diamante and headed to Canada, but not before Beau receives a speeding ticket from a New York State Trooper. It should be noted, that to date, said ticket has not been paid.
The boys arrived in Toronto in time for the game, and a little trip to the top of the CN Tower.
So, in 5 days, the boys had been to 4 Major League Baseball Stadiums, and to the tops of 3 historic structures, not a bad week.
After the Toronto game, Beau and Macs headed back to Auburn Hills to pick up Jon, and begin their journey home.
But first, they’d spend Memorial Day in Chicago, at Wrigley Field.
They met up with another college friend who lived in Chicago, and she would accompany them to the game. Tickets were supposed to have been waiting for the 4 when they arrived, but no such luck. The 4 were forced to get some tickets from a scalper on this beautiful Holiday afternoon in the Windy City.
The game was 5 outs away from being historic, but with 1 out in the top of the 8th, Philadelphia 3B Kim Batiste hit a slow grounder between Steve Buechele and Shawon Dunston into left field, to break up Willie Banks’ no-hit bid. That would be the only hit of the day for the Phillies, and the Cubs would go on to win.
To this day, Beau swears up and down that Buechele was playing too shallow in on the grass at third, Batiste was not a threat to bunt, and sure enough he punched it just past the diving Buechele, who would have fielded it cleanly had he been at his normal 3B spot.
But we digress…
After the game, tired, the boys began their drive back to Tulsa.
Somewhere in Missouri, Beau was pulled over for speeding, to this day, that ticket, has not been paid.
The moral to this story for Beau, do NOT get pulled over again in the states of New York, or Missouri.
6 Days, 5 Ballparks, 4 states, 2 countries, 2 speeding tickets.
1 Diamante, 2,406 miles traveled.
The Ultimate Road Trip.