Thursday, September 20, 2001

Everyone we know is safe, including Theo, who worked across the street. We are glad and thankful.

All week I've promised Sandy a resumption message, something to connect our trip with last week's horror. Something about how generous New Yorkers were to us. How we declined to visit the WTC on Friday, Sept. 8, in favor of strolling the East Village. Something about how proud I was of the rescuers. In short, how New York rocked and how I couldn't wait to go back, even now. Especially now.

But my bullet points do not want to fuse into anything meaningful. Just thinking about Tuesday I grow ashen again, which I realize is why I've been putting this post off. I'd rather not think about it in anything but distant abstraction. Besides, there are plenty of "what I think" essays out there; few have achieved the slightest relevancy. At this point it's just noise, a low, murmuring noise. And already I've embarrassed myself in my haste to tell others what I think. Nobody cares. I don't care.

So. Let's get on with the wrap-up of Road Trip '01. Let's get on with the planning of Road Trip '02.

It's going to be great.


Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Luke was asleep when I pulled into a gas station outside of Toledo to fill up (on fuel for the tank and for myself). The clerk was kind enough to show me an area phone book, which i used to look up Max Klinger.

I'm sorry to report there was none listed. There was an M. Klinger, who very well might have been a Max who was hiding his identity for fear of phone calls from the throngs of misguided M*A*S*H fans. I didn't call to find out.


Monday, September 10, 2001

I've just put the last of our photos online. 178 pictures in nine days -- and those are just the ones we found to be worth sharing. We must have taken hundreds more that we either discarded on the spot due to poor lighting or composition or trashed later because we felt they didn't warrant uploading. This is the joy of a digital camera. Our trip, and this site, wouldn't have been nearly as memorable without the elegant Nikon 990 we carried around with us. And it's all thanks to my cousin Caroline, who put an immeasurable amount of trust into Luke and me by loaning it to us.

So, many thanks to you, Caroline. Rest assured your camera is in one piece and will be delivered back to you shortly. Nikon thanks you, too, because I can't imagine surviving long without one of my own.


I, too, left early. A bout of the sniffles and a torrential downpour do not a healthy boy make. Had it been a passing storm, I might have stayed, but as I prepared myself for the journey home in the Wrigley bathroom (the warmest place in the whole stadium, by the way), I overheard a fan say the meteorologists were predicting the storm to continue for at least three more hours. That did not sound like my idea of a good time, especially considering it was just the residual effects of the morning's coffee that was keeping me awake.

When I made it home, I flopped onto my bed for a three-hour nap. After a quick trip to the supermarket, I still felt like I could collapse any minute, so I hit the sack for the night at about 9:45. I slept like a baby until I had to get up for work this morning. Now fully rested, I can finish posting all the things I never had time to over the course of the trip.

(If you're a co-worker or boss of mine, that last sentence should be read as follows: "Now fully rested, I can get back to the job I love so much, postponing work on this site until I get home this evening.")


Sunday, September 09, 2001

Sign you've been on the road for awhile: You wake from a nap and have no idea where you are, whose pillow you've been slobbering on or why there are pictures of your family in your hotel room.


Current Chicago conditions:

I'm a bad fan. I have left a game early.

Sandy is still there, but when sprinkles gave way to buckets in the top of the fourth, I headed home. The Braves were leading 9-4. Elsewhere, the Giants, Astros and Cardinals were all winning, too, so as our road trip was coming to a dark and gloomy end, so were the Cubs' playoff hopes.

It's been a rough ride since Cleveland. Last night I got us lost on the way to Toledo (hard to do on I-90, I know). This morning the Chicago Half Marathon prevented us from reaching Lake Shore Drive, heavy traffic blocked our path up I-94, and every light up Western Avenue seemed to go against us. It was as though the road was saying it had had enough of us after nine days.

But we still have stories to tell. We'll be posting all week, updating our pictures and discussing plans for Road Trip '02.


We're home. We're wiped out. We're running late for the Cubs game.


We're in a Howard Johnson in Toledo, Ohio. Passing this way 15 years ago, Dad got a big kick that there was a Max Klinger listed in the phonebook.

Unfortunately, there's no directory in our room, but I'll try to check somewhere on our way out of town tomorrow morning.

Could it be that we'll be back in Chicago by noon tomorrow? Nine days and 2,400 miles were never meant to pass so swiftly.


Luke's Codes of Baseball Etiquette, one in a series:

Tip your vendor.

At a dollar a dog, Veterans Stadium had the best bargain, and the Nathan's at Yankee Stadium tasted better than any I've ever had. But the best hot dog experience was at Fenway Park.

Fenway Franks are served on hot, fresh buns still attached to one another in the vendors' tray. If you order more than one, your vendor will tear off however many buns are needed, slip a wiener into each one and hand you your order as a single unit faster than you can say "No ketchup, please." It's a sight to behold.

It was a joy, therefore, to see a veteran vendor deftly handle a three-dog order for three guys near us in the bleachers. Fenway Franks are $3.25, so their tab was $9.75. Not only did they not include an extra dollar, but they asked for their quarter back! One should never ask for coin change from a vendor. Does the trade know a greater humiliation?

When these clowns handed their ten to me, I was this close to asking them where their tip was, but they were bigger than me, so I only shook my head instead.

Unfortunately, I must report that of the stadiums we visited, only Jacobs Field supplied chopped onions like Wrigley does. Malt cups were also difficult to come by.


Friday, September 07, 2001

We're still looking for a couple of companions for the Sunday game at Wrigley. It's a we-scratch-each-other's-back kind of thing: we offer* you two tickets to see the first-place** Cubbies, and you promise to get there early to save us good seats in the bleachers. The tickets are being held in the hands of a relative who lives close to the stadium; if you end up coming with us, you'll have to swing by her house sometime between now and the game to pick them up.

If the allure of watching the Cubs from the bleachers (quintessential, like I said) on a beautiful Sunday afternoon isn't enough to whet your appetite, realize that you'll be sitting next to two guys who have just returned home to Chicago with a a couple duffel bags full of experiences they can't wait to talk about. Hmm, maybe that doesn't sound so appealing after all. How 'bout we just promise to put your picture online?

Please write us at [email protected] by end-of-day Friday if you're interested.

*It should be noted that by "offer," we don't mean "for free." While we'd love to be able to treat you to a game, it's just not in our budget. However, if you do come with us, consider yourself near the top of the list of people who'll get free tickets to opening day at Luke's minor league ballpark.

**In the wild card race. Hey, playoffs are playoffs. We'll take what we can get.



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