Time for a Road Trip. Science, Baseball, and Meet the Parents.
Since I purchased the Rambler in early April I have been itching to take it on a road trip. I’ve been on a few jaunts around the Northland, but mostly less than an hour away. This week I venture forth onto what I think may be an epic adventure of a road trip. It has required planning, coordination, logistics, thought, spontaneity, creativity, and even some wishful thinking. The idea appeared in my head in the cold bleakness of April’s massive snow storms. Baseball was on TV and I was watching 50 inches of snow pile up. So, a plan started to form. I knew I was going to be going to a conference in West Lafayette, Indiana, and it would be June, which meant warm weather baseball. Maybe I could catch a couple of games in Cincinnati and visit my folks after the conference. Then I thought about what a better trip might be… Different ballparks and different cities. So I started looking at the Chicago teams, and it turns out both the Cubs and the White Sox were playing at home the weekend after the conference. I could go to games at both Wrigley Field and New Comiskey Park (US Cellular Field is a dumb name), my first time at either. I was thinking I would hit the games on the way home. If two fields were good then three fields would be great. I looked to see if the Brewers were home on Friday, and jackpot, add Miller Park to the trip. A little more searching and I saw that the Cubs were playing the Reds on Monday. So three parks, four games and one against the Reds, plus a day game and a night game at Wrigley. It was a baseball fans greatest possible weekend. Which made me think whom should I bring along. The obvious choice was my Dad, the man who taught me about baseball and the joys of America’s pastime. I grew up with baseball. Playing on the field, in the street, watching games on TV or in the stands. We spent a lot of summer afternoons watching the Cubs lose game in classic Cubs style on WGN. Jody Davis, Andre Dawson, and Ryan Sandberg taught me how to lose with grace and aplomb. Why I haven’t been there yet is beyond me but this road trip is going to fix that problem. So four games and my Dad. Dad is retired so I figured he was available. I thought I should probably invite the rest of the family, even though they may not be able to attend. Mark, Brian, and Julie would have been in town for Memorial Day weekend, so I wasn’t sure if they could make (especially Mark since he was in Oregon). But Beth and Mom were in (it took them a bit of time to square the time with work). So now it was a family outing. Which then turned into a meet the parent’s experience, because Sara, my lovely girlfriend, will be meeting up with us in Chicago. While she was initially on the invite list, I didn’t think she could make it because she will be in a conference in DC the same week. However it turns out her plane will be stopping Chicago at about the same time we will be pulling though on the way to Milwaukee. So add one more person to the trip. Four games, five people, and one Rambler (it’s a big vehicle).
So now there was a plan. Drive to Cincinnati, drop off the Rio (who gets a vacation with Beth and my folks). Then drive to West Lafayette for the conference. At the conference I’ll be the session chair and present some of our field research. The title “Novel Effects-based Monitoring Approaches to Evaluate Chemicals of Emerging Concern in Great Lakes Areas of Concern” has a lot of buzzy jargon in it, but really represents some pretty cool science. And while I’m presenting it, the work is really a major collaboration between everyone in our research group. After the science portion of the trip is over I drive back to Cincy to pick up the family. Then Friday morning starts the Baseball Odyssey. We pick up Sara at O’Hare and head up the highway to watch the Brew Crew take on the Phillies. I’m hoping that the Brats and Beer do not disappoint. Then after an overnight stop in Racine, we head to the Windy City, to catch a Saturday afternoon Cubs game. Then Sunday it is the White Sox. In between we will likely hit up some Chicago places (although I haven’t really go that part of the plan worked out at all, except I will have to eat some Chicago style pizza at some point). Monday is a night game so during the day I’m adding back in some science because I’m going to go the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. I love both natural history museums and aquariums, so I’m not passing up this opportunity. Then Monday night is the Reds Cubs so that will be a great time, especially since the Cubs are not very good. After the game we head out of town to get Mom and Beth back in time for work on Tuesday. Then I’ll hang around Cincinnati for a bit to show Sara the places where I am from (plus Graeter’s, Skyline, and LaRosa’s). Then back to the Great White North, where hopefully spring will have arrived.
So to recap.
<ON THE ROAD AGAIN>