Seattle Sports Hell Goes On A 5-Week, Cross-Country Road Trip

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I also haven’t cared as much about being away from the blog for one of my various vacations. Shit, I haven’t cared as much about being RIGHT HERE and not updating my blog with a new post for days upon days on end.

But, this one’s a little different. For starters, I’m leaving for FIVE weeks. What’s that all about? Is this some sort of mid-life crisis? Am I having a mental breakdown? While we certainly can’t rule that out, it’s actually pretty simple. Here are the nuts & bolts:

  • My company offers to anyone who’s been working there for a decade one 6-week (unpaid) sabbatical
  • I’ve been working there for about 11 years now
  • As I’ve been saving up a ton of money living at home, hoarding my earnings for a down payment on a new house, I can afford going six weeks without pay

Why a road trip, though? Why not a cruise? Or go backpacking around Europe? Or just sit at home and do absolutely nothing?

Believe me, those are all excellent options! If you know me, you know there’s nothing I love doing more than nothing! But, since an opportunity like this (probably) only comes around once a decade or so, I feel like I have to take advantage and do SOMETHING, as against my nature as it is to do so.

This sabbatical had been on my radar for the last year or so, but I hadn’t given it much thought. Then, last August, I had a little mini-road trip to Missoula, MT, to see a Pearl Jam show. I’ve been on a few road trips in my life and I’ve always had a great time. Once I drove all night to San Francisco by myself, just to visit Amoeba Records for the first time. A friend and I took a 3-week west coast road trip (down through Cali to L.A., then over to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, the Arches National Park, Salt Lake City, back up through (and over) to Portland, then home again) back in 2006. Honestly, I thought my road tripping days were behind me. I fully expected gas to be $20 a gallon by now and we’d all get around on rocket packs. But, gas is fairly reasonable, and I’ve got a new Prius that gets me over 56 miles per gallon. With that drive through the mountains to Montana being one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, the idea for this trip was born.

Since, I’d already done the road trip to California multiple times, there was no point in doing that again. My drive to Missoula was the furthest east I’d ever driven myself, so that was the obvious direction to go. And while there are plenty of landmarks and tourist traps I’ve always wanted to see, I needed something else to build this trip around. With August being prime baseball season (and with me having a goal to get an ice cream mini helmet from all 30 teams’ ballparks in my lifetime), I took it as an interesting challenge to see as many different stadia as I could on my trip. It won’t be all 30, obviously, but since the only road games I’ve ever been to have been Yankee Stadium in The Bronx and Minute Maid Park in Houston, this will be a good start (for what it’s worth, I never got a mini ice cream helmet from the Yankees, and I lost my Astros one, so I’m gonna have to do those two all over again at some point).

Here is the list of home teams I’m going to see on my Road Trip (all times local):

  • Minnesota Twins, 8/2 at 7pm
  • Chicago Cubs, 8/4 at 1pm
  • Detroit Tigers, 8/6 at 1pm & 7pm
  • Toronto Blue Jays, 8/8 at 7pm
  • New York Mets, 8/10 at 7pm
  • New York Yankees (maybe), 8/12 at 1pm and/or 7pm
  • Philadelphia Phillies, 8/14 at 7pm
  • Cincinnati Reds, 8/16 at 7pm
  • St. Louis Cardinals, 8/23 at 7pm
  • Kansas City Royals, 8/26 at 7pm
  • Colorado Rockies, 8/29 at 6:40pm

In addition to that, my other sports-related destinations include going to Green Bay for an afternoon, dropping by the Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago for a few hours, stopping by the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, visiting the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, running up the Rocky stairs in Philly, going to the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, and stopping off somewhere that has wifi on Friday, August 30th so I can draft for my fantasy football team.

It’s not all sports all the time though. Here are some other cool stops on my trip:

  • Deadwood
  • Sturgis
  • Mt. Rushmore
  • Wall Drug Store
  • Falls Park in Sioux Falls
  • Mall of America
  • Paisley Park (Prince’s House)
  • CN Tower
  • Scarborough Bluffs
  • Niagara Falls
  • Coney Island
  • Jersey Shore
  • Atlantic City
  • Liberty Bell
  • Gettysburg
  • Andy Warhol Museum
  • American Sign Museum
  • Louisville Sluggers Tour
  • Jim Beam Distillery
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Graceland
  • Gateway Arch
  • Anheuser-Busch Tour
  • Big Texan Steak Ranch
  • Palu Duro Canyon
  • Route 66/Cadillac Ranch
  • Denver Mint
  • Cannon Beach

It’s going to be exhausting, yet exhilarating. I leave on Monday, July 29th (as early in the morning as humanly possible), and I should return (if all goes according to plan) on Labor Day, September 2nd. That’ll give me one full week back home to recharge and do all the nothing I was born to do.

In the meantime, the blog will be going dark. There’s just no way I’m going to have time to keep up with the day-to-day minutiae of Seattle sports. I’ll try to make a list of things I want to write about when I get back, but no promises. Unfortunately, it’s during the entirety of the NFL pre-season, which I love to obsess about! But, I’ll be back for the regular season, so I’ll make sure to get a season preview post done during my week off.

While I’m gone, you can always buy my book! In Kindle and Paperback forms.

You can follow me on Instagram, where I figure to be posting regular updates of my trip.

I’m always on Twitter and I’m sure I’ll have occasional thoughts while I’m gone.

I also ain’t too proud to beg.

Finally, here are some articles I’ve read recently that you might find interesting:

Also, I’m partial to a couple of series on the AV Club. Every two weeks, The Popcorn Champs chronicles the highest-grossing movie of each year from the 60’s through today. Prior to that, the same writer did Age Of Heroes, about each year’s most important superhero movie. Prior to THAT, he did A History Of Violence, about each year’s most important action movies.

Finally, if you don’t like reading, go to Funny Or Die’s YouTube page, and watch everything having to do with “A Very Special Episode” and “Zack Morris Is Trash” and “Under A Rock With Tig Notaro”.

That’s it. See you in September! Not unless I see you first!

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