Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 10- the extra one in Cincy

May 24, 2013
Cincinnati: extra Innings of the BBT

     We decided to switch our plans at the beginning of the tour.  Originally Garrett and I were going to take a long time traveling from Chicago to Detroit, stopping in South Bend, Ann Arbor, and just take our good ole time getting to Detroit on Wednesday, then we would go to the Tigers game on Thursday, and Niagara and Toronto today.  We decided instead to stay with Taylor and Hayley, foregoing the trips to ND and Michigan stadiums, but keeping us all together.  I had wanted to do the other leg in order to catch those stadiums and Niagara, but we figured out a way to make that trip to Niagara work just as well by going to Toronto first, and it wasn’t worth splitting up just to see 2 stadiums at that point.  This was all decided after I had my flight plans, so we had an extra day to kill today since the games were over a day earlier than planned.  So Garrett and I followed Taylor and Hayley down to Cincinnati (where his parents live) for what I like to refer to as extra innings of the BBT.  Just like a baseball game has nine innings but goes into extras after a tie, we decided to go to an extra game at the end of our tour that wasn’t originally planned!
TJ examining the ball he just caught,
wearing his Bronson Arroyo wig
     It worked out that we got in at 4am because of the late game in Detroit and I slept until noon!  Haha it was a pretty lazy day.  We went and hit some batting practice in a batting cage around the corner from the Jensen home, hit on a field, and took a few ground balls.  That was a lot of fun once again.  We went home and showered and took our time getting ready before heading to downtown Cincy for dinner and the game around 5:00.  We went straight to the ballpark where we got standing room only tickets (the game was long sold out and stubhub’s tickets were out of budget…).  We went inside for the tail end of Cubs batting practice and camped in left field.  Taylor caught one of the last balls hit!  He leaned a little over the fence, looking straight into the sun and made the catch, with his catcher’s mitt and all!!  Garrett brought his Cubs hat to the park, but it didn’t work!  He almost had one of the ball shaggers toss him a ball, but it ended up going to a young cubs fan next to us! Haha  but he still stuck by his hat and pretended to be a cubs fan the rest of the game.
Hayley isn't a fan of the service at Skyline!
     We then stepped out of the stadium and headed to the legendary skyline chili.  The people of Cincinnati love their skyline.  Taylor is in love with it, atleast.  Earlier in the trip (in Minnesota at Matt and Camie’s), I explained my feelings about skyline and asked Matt for an amen to my evaluation.  He did not agree. Haha he has been converted.  But my feelings are this: Skyline is very good (It’s Chili, how could it not be?!), but it is not the best chili I have ever had.  It is unique enough that I can totally understand why people have such fond ties to it though, and I could even see it growing on me.  I call it the In-n-out effect- a lot of the liking of the food is because it really is great, but a good chunk is also because it means you are home.  It’s a little bit of goodwill and nostalgia, if you will.  So we had our Skyline (I got a couple dogs as well as the pasta with chili- both great) and headed back to the ballpark.
My coneys and pasta and Garrett with his chili cheese fries
Garrett pretending to be a Cubs fan....
     We got back in just in time for the first pitch. We spent the first couple innings behind home plate standing on the concourse and eventually found our way to seats way up in right field.  Garrett and I hung out on the back fence next to a group of coaches who had brought their team to the park.  Those coaches were crazy! Haha they must have each downed more than a half dozen beers, and probably were gonna drive the team home after the game, and ironically give the team a message on being responsible citizens later this week during practice!  Haha.  The game was a good one.  The Reds ended up winning, 5-4, I believe.  After the game, there was a home run derby on the field while they set up for Friday night fireworks beyond the centerfield wall.  A bunch of fellas were competing in the state championship softball home run derby.  They had kicked us out of the outfield seats for firework safety, which was too bad, but we stuck around and tried to catch some foul balls anyways, but to no avail.  We all decided we would rather get in the hot tub and eat ice cream at home rather than watch fireworks, so we headed out as soon as the HR derby was complete, seeing some fireworks on the way out.  We got home, ate some ice cream while the hot tub heated up, spent some time in the tub, then got to bed.  Simple day.  Good extra innings.
beautiful view of the stadium

Miles Traveled today: 50
Hours in the car today: 1
Miles traveled total: 3250
Hours in the car total: 49
Narcotic searches: 2
Jumbotrons: 2
MLB Baseballs: 2

Scoreboard (Cincinnati picks didn’t count as this was not an official BBT game):
Garrett* 6-0
Eric 4-2
Hayley 4-2
Mitch** 3-3
Taylor 3-3

*Correctly predicted the Tigers beating the Twins 7-6
**Correctly predicted the Dodgers beating the Brewers 3-1

Day 9- Niagara and Detroit

May 23, 2013
Niagara and Detroit

     Last night we slept in Kalle’s basement.  It was perfect for us!  The best part was they don’t have a door on the bathroom yet, and Hayley was the first one who needed to use it.  Haha strict boundaries were set so that no one would approach anywhere near where we might see in the doorway. Haha
     We slept in quite a bit and Kalle was sure to make fun of me when I woke up because I was not staying true to the Jergensen name because I slept in so late! haha She made us some Waffles, bacon, sausage, and gave us some homegrown peaches.  Breakfast was money!  We talked with Kalle and Aaron a bit at breakfast before helping them move their boat to a different garage.  We tossed a baseball a bit then we packed up and headed to the Falls!
cool pano of the "American Falls". not as popular as
the horseshoe falls, but less mist!
     We went to the American side of Niagara because it was cheaper, even though it is well known that the Canada side has the better views.  We only had an hour or two to spend there, so we quickly took some pictures from the high viewpoint.  There was this Asian couple that had either no spacial awareness, or they were simply rude.  Goodness- at first I was up against a railing and turned around to get out, bumping her in the process on accident because I didn’t have enough room to get out.  Usually at this point though, someone will realize they were bumped and turn and look, and then help provide space.  But she didn’t.  she completely ignored me.  haha so I squeezed by.  I then proceeded to try and take a picture for Haylor, but the lady had found her way right into their frame.  Then her husband who was taking the picture found his way into it, too.  He slowly backed up right in front of me and right between Haylor and me, just to get the perfect picture.  He eventually backed up into me completely, bumping into me pretty hard.  Usually you would step out of the way at that point, maybe apologize, or even just recognize that you had collided.  Nothing.  I was so mad.  It wasn’t a big deal, but that was like 2 mins of nonstop getting in our way, mostly things that a reasonable person would have noticed was in someone’s way (backing into someone for example?)   It’s a good thing I didn’t react. Ha so dumb.  Garrett at this point noticed that they were being dumb and stepped by him so he could take a picture right in front of him. Haha- Oh, I forgot, she glared so hard at Hayley at one point when they were in their picture. So ironic.  So frustrating.
The four of us in front of the horseshoe falls
     We made it down onto the ‘Maid of the Mist’, the boat tour that takes you right up close to the falls.  That was neat, although it was so misty that you couldn’t really see the falls when you got close! Haha  But it was most definitely worth going to.  It was very wet and water was dripping off my face.  I only got one picture from my phone before I decided it was too wet.
     We got back on land, dried off on the windy observation deck, and took some pictures right next to the top of falls. We took a ceremonial McDonalds smoothies break and then went across the border.  Once again, I was driving and handled the border patrol with poise and elegance. We drove straight across Canada without stopping from Niagara to Detroit.  It rained for a good portion of the trip, but other than that, it was pretty uneventful!  When we got to Detroit, the border patrol officer GRILLED us.  Haha  He was asking all kinds of questions.  My favorite of his questions was probably, “why would these other people want to stay at your cousin’s house in Buffalo?”  haha- uh, because we went to Niagara Falls, like I just told you and it was free housing.  Sometimes they ask the dumbest questions just to make sure your story is straight.  He asked if we bought anything, and I said, “we drove straight through and didn’t even stop for gas”, and he immediately said, “Wait, I thought you went to Niagara Falls….”  Uh, we did Mr Officer, on the American side.  We told him we were in Detroit for the Tiger’s game, to which he asked to see the tickets.  We told him they were in the trunk and he asked to search the trunk.  He came back laughing at us, saying our seats sucked and we were going to freeze.  Haha I had shorts and a T-shirt on and it was 45 degrees, windy, and rainy.  Great. So I think he lightened up a bit right there at the end, but he was the most strict border patrol cop we saw.
     We parked and went to get warm clothes on (Garrett and I only had the clothes on our backs- no pants, etc, as we had all left most of our stuff in Garrett’s car in Ann Arbor) which entailed Taylor’s extra sweatshirts, ponchos, etc.  We searched and searched for the tickets to the game and they were nowhere to be found!  We were sure the border patrol cop had stolen them!  After a solid 5-10 mins of searching, We looked inside a zipped up back pack and for some reason the cop had decided to put them in there! Haha.  Good thing, because I would have been so mad if our tickets were stolen, but I still don’t know why he stuck them in a random backpack.
Awesome stadium view of Detroit
     We got in the stadium with plenty of time before the game would start, but unfortunately, right after we got there they announced their would be a rain delay before the game could start.  So we hung out upstairs in our seats for over an hour before they finally started at 8:05.  It was 44 degrees at first pitch. Very cold.  We pulled the ponchos over our exposed legs to cut down on the wind and that helped a little.  But man, it was pretty dang cold.  Eventually we made it down stairs, bought some Brats to help warm us up and feed our hungry bellies, then found a nice spot that was relatively warm where we were able to stand and watch the game.  We stood there for a while before moving down by the foul pole when Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder came up back to back with the bases loaded.  Neither hit it out, but we stayed there in those seats for a bit and eventually took the normal left field picture.
it was cold. Garrett and I were in shorts.  we do crazy things.
     The Tigers bullpen is right down the left field line, so when the catcher would come back from warming up the outfielders, Taylor would shout, “Ball, Ball” hoping to get one tossed his way.  The second time, the player barked back at him, mockingly, “Ball, Ball!” and shook his head as he walked away from Taylor.  That catcher was now Public enemy number 1 to me. Haha I spent the next inning heckling him and Josh Willingham (Twins LF).  I loved shouting at Josh, telling him how good his throws were, etc.  Josh hit a few home runs, so you can tell he was getting the love.  The bullpen catcher on the other hand only received words that expressed my dislike for him.  Too bad.  He was probably a good guy.
     We eventually made our way around the whole stadium after stopping in right field for a bit, then Garrett and I tried our luck sneaking down by the dugouts.  Garrett walked down with no problem so I figured it was no big deal and started to stroll behind him when an usher stopped me and told me I needed tickets for that section.  I acted like I wasn’t with Garrett and then continued walking in a different direction until I came to the next stairway, which didn’t have an usher.  I headed down those stairs and took a seat, but the usher had watched me the whole way.  After a little bit, I think he decided to come and get me, and he started to walk towards my stairway and turned down in my direction.  I got up and moved again, switched my 2 layers of sweatshirts so I had a different color on top, and went back to the good seats I had found. Haha  But the funny part about that story is that Garrett also thought the usher was watching him that whole time, and when the usher moved towards my section, Garrett had just stood up to come join me down closer at the exact same time.   Garrett thought he was walking to go cut him off and kick him out, so Garrett sat down and never made it to me! Haha . So in essence, Garrett stood up and started moving, the usher started moving towards me, I got up to move away from him, Garrett sat down, and the usher now had no one to chase and stopped.  Hahahaha  We will never know if he was going after Garrett, me, or something completely unrelated, but either way, I hope he was satisfied because he got both of us worried!
Home plate pic before bouncing. notice the
changed sweatshirt!!
     We eventually all joined back up and took a picture behind home plate with one out to go and headed for the exit the second the final out was made. We had a long journey ahead of us.  Since the game started late, we didn’t get out of the park until around 11:30 or 12:00 and then had to detour to Cincinnati through Ann Arbor to pick up Garrett’s car.  We swung by The Big House for a minute, just long enough to snap a picture outside, and then we headed to Cincinnati, where we got in about 4:00am!

Miles Traveled today: 560
Hours in the car today: 9
Miles traveled total: 3200
Hours in the car total: 57
Narcotic searches: 2
Jumbotrons: 2
MLB Baseballs: 1

Final Scoreboard:
Garrett* 6-0
Eric 4-2
Hayley 4-2
Mitch** 3-3
Taylor 3-3

*Correctly predicted the Tigers beating the Twins 7-6
**Correctly predicted the Dodgers beating the Brewers 3-1

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 8- Toronto.... THAT IS IN CANADA, guys!!

May 22, 2013
Toronto, Canada. What?!

the remaining 3 guys- missing Eric
Early morning by my standards today.  We woke up at 5:45 and got the cars packed, left the Bourgeois’ a note, dropped Eric off at the train station, and were on the highway by 7:00.  That is 7am.  7am Central Time. Aka 4:45am mountain time wake up time.  I stay up that late sometimes… I hate mornings.  Good prep for EFY coming up next week though. Those are full weeks of waking up at 5:45. Grrrr. End rant.
     Yeah, Eric is headed back to Colorado for his sister’s high school graduation.  So he is missing these few games.  We drove both cars down and around Chicago, into Indiana, then up into Michigan, where we dropped of Garrett’s car, filled it with a bunch of Tay and Hay’s stuff at my cousin Rachael’s place near Ann Arbor.  We will leave it there for the next 36 hours and hopefully it won’t be towed when we get back tomorrow night. But it should be good.
    We snagged some McDonalds on the way out, our second McD’s run of today’s trip.  We headed into Canada as a full car. When they saw us at the border- a car with 4 mid-20’s kids and the girl driving- that had to look suspicious.  So we were “randomly” selected to get searched.  After a quick search in America, we headed over the bridge and into Oh Canada! Hayley was driving and was getting questioned on the Canada sid, and was very flustered to say the least. Haha But in her defense. A simple question of, “Where do you live right now?” isn’t so simple when you just graduated, don’t live with your parents, and haven’t bought a new house yet.  We made it through without being arrested though.
Pano from CF
     We cruised across Ontario without incident until we were about 50 km out of Toronto and Taylor misled us and took us on a wrong turn.  In his defense, we all shut our phones off once we crossed the boarder in order to not use data, etc.  so we were running off of screen shots of maps.  We made it back to the freeway and into Toronto, found a parking spot literally under the stadium and hurried in, just in time for the 3rd inning! Haha. After waking up early and driving 9 hours, we made it, but really late.  I really liked the stadium.  Well, relatively speaking…. I had expectations of nothing spectacular at all, so what we saw, even though it was a carpet field with fake foul poles, was neat.  It was all unique and fitting for Canada.  They had the roof shut, as it apparently started to pour rain once we got inside.  I wish we could have been there on a day it was opened.  But we didn’t.  It was very empty, as expected (afternoon game in Canada!?) and we were able to move around freely.  At one point an usher asked if we had tickets for his section and we said our tickets were for upstairs, he shrugged, and let us in!  in the first seats we sat in, we had a drunk man a few rows in front of us.  He was crazy and ricking the no shirt look.  He started to do the wave, so I meandered up there and helped him lead the wave.  I was without voice all day, so I wasn’t much of a help, but I really only did it for the photo op.
Me and my drunk, half- naked buddy
fake foul poles. who knew.

     The stories of the game were A- broken bats and B- Jose Bautista.  There were at least 4 broken bats, which is unusually high.  The second story was Jose Bautista.  He went 4 for 4 plus a walk with 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s.  1 RBI each time he had a hit.  They won 4-3 in 10 innings.  Awesome game, but luckily the Jays had J Bautista.
The Jays celebrating their walk-off
Garrett after the game.
     After the game, we did a little walk around the area by the stadium.  We took pictures by the CN tower, but decided against going up.  Eventually we made it back to the car and drove a little bit around the city, then headed towards Buffalo.  We stopped for a quick dinner as well as Canadian snacks at the grocery store.  We crossed back into America, but this time I was driving.  If I may say so myself, handled the questions with a little more confidence than Hayley had! Haha we got to my cousin Kalle and Aaron’s place around 11:30 and are getting to bed!  Niagara and Detroit tomorrow!
Cool view of the Stadium with the CN tower next door
The group with the tower
Garrett taking a selfy!

The city was ALL glass. very cool.
KILOMETERS Traveled today: 1083 (677 miles)
Hours in the car today: 11
Miles traveled total: 2742
Hours in the car total: 48
Narcotic searches: 2
Jumbotrons: 1
MLB Baseballs: 1

Garrett 5-0
Eric 3-1
Hayley 3-2
Mitch 2*-3
Taylor 2-3

*Correctly predicted the Dodgers beating the Brewers 

Day 7- Chicago, part 3

May 21, 2013
Chicago Act 3

After a delay, these posts are finally getting enough time around internet to get posted!!

     Today again began with a delicious breakfast provided by Sister B, this time Waffles with bacon and eggs.  But before we even had breakfast, we had our second run-in with the alarm system as Eric headed out for his run.  We quickly got it shut off, but not before it tipped off the security company.  That was normal procedure though and we got it taken care of.  While eating breakfast, Sister Bourgeois sat and talked with us.  We just simply talked about her kids, our life plans, etc.  She also gave us suggestions for our day in Chicago.  We got ready and headed down to South Chicago for the day.  We had taken our time getting ready and didn’t make it there until about 12:30.  After a brief stop by US Cellular field to attempt all day parking, we ended up continuing on towards the Museum of Science and Industry.  It was a bit pricy (18 bucks…), but it was a fun museum.  We headed straight towards the Submarine/ WWII exhibit, which was neat.  After that, we hit up the space travel wing, did a little flight simulation, etc.  They have a giant dome in there where they show movies, but it is old school and still running on film.  Since it is so big, they are giant film reels weighing over 200 lbs each.  So I got to see that running, but from the back side- I didn’t actually pay to see the movie, so I couldn’t go in!  Speaking of which, they charged extra to see the movie and to go onto the U-boat (submarine), which we think is stupid, so any chance Garrett got, he asked employees “Is this free? Or is there an extra charge for this, too?” hahaha
hanging out in the bunks of the sub exhibit
Garrett and the U-boat
Me and Garrett doing a sub simulation, trying to
launch the sub out of water... #fail
The eggs hatching
     After the outer space place, we hit up the chicken hatchery, which was cool. We were able to see 3 little baby chicks get out of their shells as well as a couple dozen of the little 2-3 day-old chicks running around in the next incubator over.  We checked out the genetics section and the futuristic stuff (like this awesome music table that operated by reading blocks we put on a table. It was like the ultimate daft punk mix table. Haha Ill try and get the video I took up onto the YouTube.  It was neat-o).  About then we lost Taylor, but tracked him down half way across the museum.  He told Hayley he “got distracted” and accidentally wandered away to the weather exhibit. Haha  The weather place was cool, as we got to play with quick-sand, avalanches, see how tornadoes, tsunami’s, etc. work.  As we made our way towards the electricity/ lightning part, the announcement to head towards the exit came over the speakers.  Dang.  It was only 4:00 and we were anticipating another 1-2 hours there! Apparently they always close that early.  So we headed to a pizzeria to get dinner, a nice Chicago style deep dish, of course.  We headed straight to the ballpark right after dinner.

the boss music table
Dinner- Chicago style pizza!
      When we got in, it quickly became apparent that it would be hard to do our usual ballpark tour around the stadium.  There were no exterior concourses and only ramps to the levels, with walkways into the inner concourses, which were guarded. No one could even access downstairs without a downstairs ticket.  How lame.  So we headed upstairs and hung out behind home plate for a few innings, got pictures with the mascot.  We found our favorite concessions man of the whole tour while we were up there. Let me paint this picture for you: A middle-aged white hot dog vendor with a big black beard comes in.  He sounded so dumb at first, as he came in with a voice that could pass as a Napoleon Dynamite impression, but we soon realized he was very sarcastic and knew exactly what he was saying.  He started with “I have Hot Dogs.” And waited a bit before receiving no response.  We were already giggling because he just had zero enthusiasm.  But then he proceeded, “It’s 5 dollars and 50 cents.  I also have ketchup……  Mustard if you want that……  How about Napkins? I have some napkins if you need.”  Haha I lost it when he said he had napkins.  This guy knew he wasn’t getting anyone to buy a hot dog and was just enjoying being goofy- something I can relate well too.
View of downtown from the ballpark
     There was a way cool view of downtown from the balcony, so I stepped out there to take a picture.   Eventually we decided to take an upstairs tour to make up for the fact that we probably wouldn’t make it downstairs, so went to left field to get a picture. While we were out there, the White Sox pitcher gave up his first hit.  He had carried a no-no into the 7th inning, so we joined in a good standing ovation for his effort.  We tried our luck and headed downstairs to see if there was any chance they weren’t guarding the gates anymore, or possibly to try and sneak in.  We realized that neither of those were gonna happen!  Luckily it was already the bottom of the 7th inning and people were leaving, so I started asking people if they would give us their tickets so we could get into the lower level.  Everyone we asked was okay with that and we went in without incident.
the organist and a reflection of her view
     The stadium organist has the best seat in the house, sitting right behind the lower seats with a private box straight behind home plate.  I stepped in and talked to her about the organ and the live game production, as I am a part of that for most sports at BYU and we got a picture with her.  We took a picture right behind home plate then headed down to left field.  Right after we sat down, it started to sprinkle and immediately half of the stands emptied.  We got our left field picture right by the pole, and then headed to centerfield.
You cannot tell, but it started
pouring soon after this
     It was slowly starting to rain harder and by the time we settled in beyond the right field fence, it started coming down good.  It was the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs, so only 4 outs remained in the game.  If they weren’t so close to the end, I am pretty sure they would have called a rain delay.  But they didn’t; they stuck it out.  We stuck it out, too.  The best play in the rain was a deep fly to left where the player slipped on the track but caught the ball as he was falling! We bounced as soon as the final ball was caught making the game final.  The White Sox beat the Red Sox 3-1.  We headed back to the Bourgeois place for one final night, getting in around 11:30.  We successfully set off the alarm one last time, this time we think it was Hayley, but we aren’t really sure why, because she didn’t open a door.  She just walked up stairs and probably got caught by an indoor motion detector.  Sweet beans.  Early morning tomorrow.  Headed to OH CANADA! Toronto.  Get some. Out.

Miles Traveled today: 120
Hours in the car today: 2.5
Miles traveled total: 2065
Hours in the car total: 37
Narcotic searches: 2
Jumbotrons: 1
MLB Baseballs: 1

Garrett 4-0
Eric 3-1
Mitch 2*-2
Hayley 2-2
Taylor 2-2

*Correctly predicted the Dodgers beating the Brewers 3-1