For The Love of Celebrations - Driving to Minneapolis for Roachie, pt.2
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Chicago & Minneapolis

Summer 2010.


The van emptied out with the weekend participants and soon enough we were on our way to some bar as we had an hour to kill. The rest of the boys expected me to know somewhere good to go, but this wasn't my area of Detroit. We ended up wandering into some cookie-cut bar that was understaffed - we were ready to spend money and get drinks, yet we could barely get the waitress's attention.

Soon enough we were on our way back to the bus terminal. As we were walking back, a whip on blingy rims passed us by & I wondered what Monaghan's buddy So thought about it all. I'm thinking this wasn't a regular sight for him in Toronto.

We took some bus besides a Greyhound & Roachie said that we could drink aboard - the only thing was that we needed to drink booze since we couldn't be blatantly drinking beers.

So for the second or third time in my life, I bought actual liquor at a party store in Detroit. Gin & juice it was for me.

To my dismay, the rest of these assholes pulled out Jooses and beers, shrugging off Roachie's liquor suggestions.

I ended up being the only one drinking liquor & I wasn't amused. The one person from a place which doesn't have 40s, drinking liquor when it wasn't required.

The back of the bus had 5 seats across, which Monaghan, Little Roach, Big Roach & I occupied.

So & Clarkson each had to take a seat one row up.

Clarkson was in fine form and offered his row-buddy a Miller Genuine Draft. The row-buddy responded that he actually quit drinking just a couple of weeks ago.

You felt sorry for him having to sit by 6 drunken fools, but you have to admit that's a funny coincidence too.

The music was blaring and the gin was flowing and we were at the food break before we knew it.

We didn't stop until somewhere near the end of Michigan, but just in case we wanted more Michigan, we had to have stayed at the food stop for a good 40 minutes.

I don't know what the hold up was, but it was full-blown nighttime before we left Sawyer, Michigan.

It's hard to break the spirit of a bunch of Joosed out loudmouths though.

Then again, maybe the bus ride & the break were too much, as we were starting to sputter on approach of Chicago. I even caught a few precious minutes of sleep - one day I'll make it the whole way to Chicago without sleeping.

The bus drops you off right downtown & we broke out that son'bitch like water from behind a cracked dam. We left a collection of tall boys cans in our wake, the seat backs a rainbow of MGD gold and Joose reds & greens...along with an empty 2L Orange Juice jug smelling like Bombay Sapphire and Schroeder Paint Company.

We went to a tavern called The Gingerman, as apparently it's in some punk songs.

I can't really complain, it had cheap pints of Franziskaner Weissbier, available pool tables and there weren't that many other patrons clogging up the pathways. I longed for the nostalgic days of John Barleycorns, but then again, we would have stuck out like sore thumbs at that place...with our matching orange t-shirts amongst of the button-ups and peacoats you normally find there.

In fact, I forgot to change out of my hiking boots when we left Detroit, so who knows if they would have even let my totally unrefined self into Barleycorn's.

Hiking boots on the feet for my first ever Bachelor's weekend. I have a hard time keeping my shit together in this thing called life.

Anyway, maybe I would have been in luck if the pints were more expensive because I'm not really sure I needed them - since I spent most of my time fascinated with the tile floor.

We ended up staying at the punk bar for the entire night & not much of note took place. It was pretty funny when Roach was so drunk that he tried to go out of the fire escape door...if only because some hipster doofus made a comment to his fellow hipsters about Roach's intelligence...and then was put into his hipster place by a salty Monaghan.

I opted for the pizza after the bar.

It was large & terrible - call it Chris Therien.

After our food, we were hanging around in front of Wrigley Field. Some guy came up to Monaghan thinking he knew who Monaghan was...

"Hey, aren't you Dave Smith?" "No. But you're Brendan Kelly!"

It ends up that the random guy was the singer of The Lawrence Arms - a pretty famous punk band. Even though I don't listen to them, it was still a particular and confusing happenstance meeting.

Anyway, Brendan Kelly didn't hang around and he was on his way as soon as he found out that Monaghan wasn't Dave Smith. The six of us shrugged it off & took to catching some rest on a long bench in front of Wrigley.

This was until a security guard came over & let us know that sleeping on the Wrigley benches wasn't permitted.

We decided it was best to walk back to the bus drop off point.

The six of us wandered into Chicago's Union Station and scurried back out at the sight of a security guard.

We ended up sleeping on a 7-stair in front of some building - well except for Monaghan, as he thought it was necessary for someone to stay awake and keep an eye on things.

I was the complete opposite - the moment my head hit the steps, I was out.

Almost instantly, 2 hours had passed and it was time to crawl on the bus. I quickly found a seat and woke up somewhere in Wisconsin a couple of hours later.

Clarkson & I were awake the rest of the way & I grew sad as he explained how much he's starting to hate these road trips - I realized that I might only be able to convince him to come on one more, whenever/if I have one of these last weekends before marriage myself. The other thought that crossed my mind was how much fun I was having & how much I missed this; how much I longed for the days where we did this 3 or 4 weekends a year - but as the years pass, not everyone is as focused on ducking responsibility as I am I suppose.

Clarkson's statement didn't make me depressed at the time - if anything it was a sign to enjoy this one even more.

Anyway, it really seemed like forever until we got to Minneapolis, but eventually the farm fields faded away and were replaced by crap American sprawl & then the great Twin Cities.

Once off the bus, we realized how muggy it was outside - thank god for A/C in the bus & in the liquor store. We came out of the store and started up the street. When I asked Monaghan where we were going, he put me in my place by telling me that we were going to the Holiday Inn since "he wasn't sleeping on the streets with us retards again."

Here I was simply inquiring about the afternoon and had my head bitten off. All of the comradery of skipping Geomorph to gamble at the Casino, of drinking 6% Bradors at Riverside prom parties, of those hundreds of nights at Johnny Shots...

None of us were really that angry though...we just needed to relax and to get out of this ridiculous heat.

Only So, Little Roach & Monaghan bought stuff at the liquor store, as the rest of us wanted beer but didn't want to carry it all the way to this Holiday Inn in the 95 degree heat.

In a radical coincidence, a brewery which I wanted to try, but wrote off because of its distance from downtown; was right next to the Holiday Inn! Big Roach, Clarkson & I wandered inside, as I knew there was beer to be purchased from the brewery & taken offsite. It was funny that I knew to order a growler, which confused Roachie & Clarkson, but I only knew what a growler was because of research into Minneapolis places a week ago.

By the way, a growler is that jug of beer you see next to Clarkson in the above picture. The three of us purchased our own personal jugs & life was good in the hotel room.

I wasn't arguing with Monaghan in any way, but the ability to shower, have A/C, have TV, and have the ability to relax...all because of this hotel room & only for $20 each? The Holiday Inn was a great decision as it really lifted the spirits.

"Hey look, the mayor of Minneapolis is here too!" -Monaghan

The A/C & the growlers meant that we didn't leave until as late as possible. We took some trolley car thing down to Target Field and rushed to find somewhere to eat.

I knew of a place from previous research, but a bar with a bean-bag toss distracted the boys & my researched restaurant went by the wayside. It ended up being alright though, as this Darby's place had cheap beers, quick food and a nice view of some old buildings across the way.

We missed a bit of the first inning, but we got over to Target Field soon enough. The growler, then the beers at the bar, along with the Minneapolis heat, meant that I was quite glazed eyes faded by this time.

I also found it amusing that our seats were nearly identical to the seats I had at Target Field a month prior. In the course of drunken realizations, I also thought it was funny how I was at Target Field in Minneapolis for the second time in a month - I wonder what the odds were for that one going into 2010?

You can also note the Grain Belt beer that So has in the picture before last - I thought it was necessary that So drink some local Minnesota beer & simply went to buy one for him.

Like I said, faded.

The game was a snoozefest to the point where I forgot who even won. Checking the box score, Minnesota apparently won by getting 1 run on a sac fly & 1 run on a RBI single - captivating.

Then again, Brian Duensing did throw a complete game; so maybe the forgetfulness had more to do with the beer & the heat, then it did with forgettable baseball.

I do remember being excited to see Oakland prospect Chris Carter though...but the hitless start to his career continued as he went 0/3. We wouldn't see his first career hit during this game.

We went out in Minneapolis, but we didn't go to the bars I wanted to go to and it was whatever.

Monaghan got some retarded whisky drink that was three-quarters whisky and somehow wasn't in that bad of shape....meanwhile I was a sloppy mess taking pictures of police horses in front of this pizza shop with an outdoor roped off washroom line. In addition, I was taking pictures of neon bar signs with Minnesota Wild logos....yeah, you're in Minneapolis dipshit, there's going to be Minnesota Wild stuff...

Monaghan was in bed before me & it was hilarious to annoy him with camera flashes.

I liked his recap the next day, "you bust in like the drunken idiot you are & click, click, click. Fucking snapping away flash pictures of nothing at all."

It wasn't long before it was time to get going to the bus.

Watching the sunrise was some consolation for the early morning; as the light moved up the nearby hideous apartment buildings outside our window - while downtown Minneapolis has some amazing buildings, these apartments looked like they belonged in Lagos or Nairobi.

As for how I was feeling, I was happy that I got to wandering so much the night before. It resulted in sobering up a bit before napping & not feeling like complete dogshit this morning...

Clarkson on the other hand...

Poor guy didn't handle the 3/4 whisky glass with as much ease as M-Money.

Of course the bus was late, but as soon as it showed up, we were inside & sleeping.

Most of us slept until Milwaukee, while the Bachelor slept until we were almost right in Chicago.

We ate some delicious, deep-dish, greasy Chicago pizza & I later wandered into Union Station to use a pay phone.

While in Chicago, Clarkson set off to retrieve his backpack, which he left on the subway on Friday night. It was a giant fiasco where he didn't even know if the subway lost & found would be open, but thankfully he got his backpack back. Unfortunately, his music player, wallet & cash were gone.

Craziness ensued as Clarkson was cutting it close to the bus's departure. He begged his cabbie to speed towards the pickup location, explaining his predicament along the way. It came so close that the 5 of us were on the bus & wondering if Clarkson would make it. He no longer had his passport and didn't have much for money on his person - how was he going to get home otherwise?

We tried to explain the situation to the bus driver & he said that it was Clarkson's problem, not his. We took our seats and the bus started to move, we were all shell shocked and prayed that Clarkson would appear from any of the nearby cabs.

The only thing which saved Clarkson, was the fact that someone had parked too close to the bus and blocked us in. The bus driver wanted to go, but the bus ahead of us had effectively halted our travel. This bought Clarkson the extra 5 minutes necessary to exit the cab, run up the road & into our waiting bus.


The rest of the ride was unremarkable in comparison, but it was funny when we told the pretty girl next to me, that the food stop was at a Hardee's - "Hardee's? Hardee's still exist? They still have those? Why don't we stop somewhere normal?" I didn't have the answers, only amusement with her disdain towards Hardee's.

Anyway, we ended up in Detroit around 10 and through the border around 11.

I was dropped off at the Huron Church McDonald's & switched into Shahlene's car towards the night.

Onto Part 3...


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