I call it a “Day Off” but in reality, it was a busy day! I just didn’t see any baseball games, live, today. I was, however, up and out the door long before it became daylight so I could go drop Chuck off with Bob so they could go to Detroit. How did that all come about? Oh, yeah, let me give you some back story. When this trip was originally planned, today, April 22nd, was to be the day that Chuck would fly from Milwaukee to Phoenix for a game at Chase Field. A few days ago he had a flight cancelled in San Diego that was to take him to Cleveland so he could do a game there in the afternoon, then go to Baltimore for the night cap. Both of which he missed. Instead of taking a zero for the day, he adjusted his schedule to put the rescheduled game in Arlington on that day. Pushed his Cleveland game to April 25th with me and the Baltimore game to the 28th. Thus, he still had to do Detroit and today was the only day he could. Because he went to a game at Chase Field on April 6th, the day before the ‘Official’ streak started, he was able to retro his schedule to make that his 1st game, thus not having to fly out there today and being able to make it to Detroit. However, while planning this it appeared that I was going to have to drive him from Milwaukee to Detroit (373 miles, about 6.5 hours not including the hour time change) to have to drive back to Minneapolis (690 miles, about 12 hours driving) so I can make it to the Twins game on the 23rd. Then right after the game I would have to drive back to Detroit to hang out with friends and go to the Tigers vs Mariners game there on the 24th. INSANE! But then I got lucky! When Bob DeVries said he would be able to drive Chuck to the game in Detroit, unless I just wanted to do it, I jumped all over that! What that did create though was a situation where I had to get up freakin early to be able to drop the package off with Bob.
After the exchange was made, I was going to meet a friend for breakfast in Woodstock, IL. Since I wasn’t meeting her until 8:30am, this left me with plenty of time to do just nothing. I wondered around the oasis for a bit looking at things, talked to my wife on the phone when she called since she was still up at home, tried to get my gps working again so I wouldn’t have to use my phone until I could get to a Costco and just basically relaxed before making the drive to Woodstock.
The restaurant my friend chose to meet for breakfast was called “Angelo’s”. I had never heard of it, obviously, so I just set the gps on my phone and away I went. When I got to Woodstock, it was a cool little town with
a town square in the middle. Looked neat. I was pretty early, so I walked around a bit looking at things. If it weren’t so chilly this morning I would have liked to walk around a bit more. I eventually went inside, got a table and a cup of coffee. As I sat there looking around, I noticed several pictures on the walls of Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day”. Several of them were even signed by him. That’s cool. Eventually my friend showed up. Was good to see her as it’s been 4 years, almost to the day, since I had last seen her. As we sat there talking she asked me if I recognized where we were? I told her that I don’t believe we have ever been here before, so “No?” She then pointed to the pictures on the wall and told me that this was the restaurant from the movie “Groundhog Day”. Oh, how freakin cool… and that explains the pictures. As she went on to explain more about the town, it hit me. The big gazebo in the town square was where they had the festival at ‘Gobler’s Knob’. Very cool. I love seeing stuff like this from movies I reallylike and she knew this, hence why she chose Angelo’s for breakfast.
After breakfast and about another hour of just catching up on everything, it was time for me to go. Before I did though, we took a few minutes to walk through the town square where my friend pointed out some historical things to me that were cool. Wish I could have stayed longer, but it was time to hit the road for my 370 mile drive to Minneapolis. Not that I had a game to rush off to, but I was hoping to get to town, have some dinner and relax for a while before my long ass drive after the game tomorrow night. After showing her a copy of the book I co-wrote , I said “Later” to my friend, set the gps and I was off.
The drive to Minneapolis wasn’t a bad one at all honestly. A lot of what I drive, I have driven several times before, but I did get to see some new things and a few places that I can’t really remember being, but man it felt like I had been there before. As I was driving a long I saw a sign that said “Big Foot Cemetery” and I had to circle back to get a picture of it for my brother, and his son, who are Big Foot enthusiasts. When I pulled over and started to circle back I got this big feeling of deja vu coming over me. It was kinda crazy really. I truly felt that I had been there before yet thinking back to all of my trips back to the part of the country, I can not figure out a time I would have been in this part of Illinois. Either way, I got the picture I wanted and hit the road. Just a couple miles ahead, if that, was the Wisconsin state line. The rest of the drive was pretty routine. As I always do when I am through here, I make a stop at the Black River Falls oasis to fill up, use the restroom and to see the big mouse  and orange moose . I saw them on my first trip through here back in 2001 as I was driving home from Chicago after 9/11 and I have stopped every trip through since.
As I got closer to Minneapolis it was time to decide where I wanted to have dinner. Did I want to go somewhere that I have been before and I knew would be great, or try something new? That is, of course, the age old debate. If I try something new and it sucks, what a waste. Yet if its good, OMG! Well, I opted to go to a place I loved the last time I was through, Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge. I had seen the place on “Diners, Drive In’s & Dives” originally. I am a big fan/believer of shows like DDD or “Man vs Food”. Whenever I know I am going to be on the road, I like to check out and see if either of these places have been there and where they went. Over the last several years I have gone to way too many to count. I have yet to get one where I wonder why they went there. Most are really good, but some, like Psycho Suzi’s is just plain awesome!
When I made my choice, I launched my Yelp app on my iPhone, got the address and set my gps. As I pulled up to the place though, there was a big sign that read “CLOSED!” I was shocked! I couldn’t believe it! I did another search to see if maybe I had done something wrong. I know the place looked like the place I was 2 years ago, so how could it be closed for business. That made no sense to me. What I found in my search is that they moved! It was now located a couple blocks up the road and when I got there the parking lot was packed! I honestly expected nothing less.
As I walked in, I quickly realized why they moved… this place was HUGE! There is a full on restaurant up stairs, but the main action is down stairs in the bar, so that’s where I headed. As I grabbed me a seat at the counter and ordered up what would be the 1st of many beers, I started looking around. This place was so much bigger than the last place. There was more seating in that bar area alone than there was in the entire other place. This place also had seating outside overlooking the waters of the Mississippi River. On a hot, sunny summer afternoon/evening, I bet that is awesome seating. However, for April 22nd, inside at the bar is just fine with me.
What I learned when I was at Psycho Suzi’s 2 years ago is that they have incredibly awesome hot wings. Crazy enough, I prefer wings that are swimming in a great wing sauce, but these come out DRY! However, they come with an amazing tequila hot wing sauce to dip them in. They are crazy good! I also remembered that on DDD they talked about how good their pizza was and I was seeing them go out to table after table after table thinking maybe I should have got one instead of the wings.
As I sat there enjoying my wings, and a few more beers (Bell’s “2-Hearted Ale”), I started talking with a few locals. Before I knew it I was talking to this couple that worked at a tattoo parlor in town about tattoos and how I am too big of a wuss to get one. One of them explained to me that if I have ever been scratched by a cat, that would hurt far more than getting a tattoo would. I dunno if it was that logic or the many 2-Hearted Ales I had already had, but I started thinking about getting one. I pulled up the Boston “B” on my phone and asked how much she would charge me to do it. SHe told me she would give me a deal if I could come in the next day. Still not so sure about this and knowing that in the past my wife has always said she wanted to be there to see me getting one if I ever did, I texted her about it and she replied with: “DO IT!” Iw as actually kinda surprised at her reaction. Thought for sure she would say “No, since I’m not there.” We talked a bit longer about tattoos, had a few more beers, did a few shots and then it was time for me to go check into my hotel and get some sleep for tomorrow. Before I left though I ordered me a small pizza to take with me and holy cow, it was awesome!
Today was a day about feeling like I had done something before, between the diner from Groundhog Day, to the Big Foot Cemetery and then my hotel. I certainly don’t recall it by name, but when I pulled in, I knew I had been here before or at least I felt like I had. Things looked really familiar to me. I dunno, maybe I had been here before, then again, who really knows. Right now all I cared about was getting checked in and getting some sleep. I had a long, long… FREAKIN’ looooong day ahead of me tomorrow!