September 6th, 2013
It’s official, my first 30 parks are in the books! It felt great to get the park in, I’d been holding off on Target Field for a while, you know, saving it for a ‘quickie’. I’d considered doing this park as a single nighter/two gamer but was able to coordinate it with a trip to Chicago instead – Yeah!
I flew into Minnesota in time for lunch. I’d been through MSP a few times before, but it was always a transfer one way or another. First thing I did after getting my amazingly cheap rental car was hit Matt’s Bar, home of the Juicy Lucy, or Jucy Lucy depending on where you get it. At Matt’s it’s “Jucy”, a hamburger with cheese melted inside of it and covered with grilled onions. It was good and I’m glad I tried it, but it’s just another burger.
I sat at the bar and talked to a couple off and on about travel for a while before hitting the road. I drove around Minneapolis, hitting the Mall of America, the Minnehaha Falls, and just generally checking things out before heading to the park. The Mall of America is just a big mall, with one exception, it has an amusement park in it that actually looked pretty cool. I could see taking the girls back there at some point, but there’s no rush. The downtown around the park is pretty full of things to do. There are a number of bars and more, but I wouldn’t want to hang out after dark, it looks like things might get sketchy.
The park itself is nicer than I expected. It’s in a tight footprint, which I like because it makes the field feel more intimate. Wide open concourses and a good assortment of food. I had the fried Walleye, which is a regional fish. It was OK, but pretty ‘fishy’ for flavor.
I met up with Scott, a Ballpark Chaser I’d met on Twitter. He’s been to all 30 parks too, so it was good to hang out with another Chaser. (I’d met up with Ken and Meg a few weeks before for the NWL All Star Game.) Good guy, it was fun to hang out.
After the game I went straight to the hotel. My flight was scheduled for 6am the next morning and it was already 11pm by the time I got to the hotel for my 3:40am wakeup call. I was glad I’d gotten so much in before the game, I generally don’t do cities so quickly.
The first 30 in the books and now all I ‘have’ to do is hit both NY parks again. Gee, if you insist.
Sleep was short, then it was off to…
September 7th-8th, 2013
I went to Wrigley back in 2001, but had been dying to go back for some time! I was originally going to list a home this weekend, but when that fell through I was able to do what I had originally wanted to do instead!
My friend Jake was cool enough to get me at the airport, and we spent the majority of the morning and afternoon walking the city. We hit Sluggers for lunch, then enjoyed the game from some terrific seats I’d picked up for a song on StubHub. I still love Wrigley and the aura of the area. There was an American Girl clothes/jersey giveaway that day, so I bribed two kids $5.00 a piece for them so I had something to bring back to the girls.
The Cubs lost, which wasn’t a shock this year, and we were on the train back to Jake’s place. We ended up watching the Cougs beat USC (well, I did, Jake hit the hay,) and I was off to bed about 1am Chicago time. It was the end of a great day!
The next morning I was up early to watch the end of my first F1 race. Jake is a big fan and I didn’t want to be rude by sleeping all day. After the race it was back to the city solo. Jake and I walked to the lake the day before, so Sunday morning I went towards the river and surrounding area. They were filming Transformers 4 when I was there. I saw “Optimus Prime” up close (in truck form, obviously).
My Sunday ticket was in the bleachers. It was cool to see a different perspective of the park. I had one goal, to pull just a single piece of ivy. I was able to grab a singly stray; every other part of the ivy was trimmed back just far enough to be out of reach. But I got my piece! (I got some flaking paint from the trim out front too!)
It was the start of football season, and sure enough the Bears were opening the season that day in Chicago too. There was good energy in the city and football was definitely in the air. I had to leave in the 7th to head to the airport, and could see football taking over there too. It was a successful trip though: A Cougar win, a Hawks win over Carolina, a few ballgames… All in all? Yeah, good weekend!
I’ll be interested to see how things change with my new career, but it will all be worth it. If all goes to plan, I’ll be able to update this with both New York parks as part of a family trip in 2014. We shall see!