Ryan and Joel’s Spring Break Road Trip: Day 1

Originally Posted on Is It Sports? This was the first of 7 posts on Ryan and his friend Joel’s Spring Break 2005 road trip across the Great Plains. I went to Panama City with some of my friends from school instead, and we had an interesting trip too. My friend Yami lost his glasses somewhere in Northern Alabama when they blew off his face when he stuck his out of my friends truck while trying (and failing) to throw a muffin into an open sunroof on our car. He then lost his backup contacts while trying to put them on in a windy Dairy Queen parking lot in Montgomery, Alabama. If a Japanese guy yelling and dropping F-bombs in a dairy queen parking lot in the deep south doesn’t say Spring Break, I don’t know what does.

Clearly, Steve and I have had way too much to do to update the site for a while. It was an ugly blend of exams and spring break that led to an even uglier two week span of no updates to the site. Here’s my promise to you. I’m going to crank out update after update for at least three days, so if you don’t see anything up here for a while, um, blame Steve. I don’t know if I have or haven’t mentioned this, but all I do here is write. I don’t know the first thing about the internet. Well anyways, I haven’t talked to Steve-o for a while, but I’m sure he’s got something up his sleeve too.

As for me, I had this crazy idea. My Spring Break road trip was probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever partaken in. Over the course of the next however long I feel like it, I’m going to share a leg of our journey through middle America. I would talk more about the tournament, but anyone who cares enough about it has been watching. (UNC over Oklahoma State, by the way). In addition, on one of the slower days, I might slip in our second mail bag, because we actually got mail this month! Without further ado, here is the first leg of the trip.

Day 1 Lafayette, IN – Victoria, MN
The goal of our trip, which I went on with my buddy Joel, from the outset, was to see as many states as possible, and see my family for a couple of days. Therefore, the first day was a trip back home for me, and Joel’s first trip to the Twin Cities. For those of you who haven’t made the trip, that’s nine hours in my two door Honda Accord through central Wisconsin. Obviously, music was in order, which brought about an important issue. Joel and myself share different opinions regarding rap and hip hop in general. I like it, he doesn’t. So we decided that we would blend each of our playlists and have my MP3 player play them randomly. Low and behold, I went to pick up Joel, and we heard nothing but rap all the way to the Illinois border.

Just for S and G’s we went a different route than I’m used to, and took US highway 52 through Kankakee. I’d heard jokes about what a dump the town was but I had no idea. For those of you who don’t know, Kankakee has been voted the least liveable city in America. Worse than Jersey City! Not a nice town. As if on theatrical cue, when we arrived in “Skank”-akee, it started snowing and Bill Withers started singing “Ain’t No Sunshine”. It was like I had Quentin Tarantino in my trunk cuing the soundtrack. Needless to say, we exceeded the speed limit when getting the hell out of there. (As a fellow Illinoisan, I know a little more info about Kankakee. After it was voted as the worst city in America, David Letterman bought them a gazebo with a giant chain lock and urged their mayor over and over again on the phone to get an arena football team. Their high school was in my conference, and they called themselves the Kays. If you look at dictionary.com, I guess they were either fans of the alphabet or King Arthur’s helpers. – Steve)

When we were sure that we could get out of the car without smelling Kankakee, we pulled off the highway in Mendota, Illinois for McDonalds. Joel and I were enjoying our meal, acknowledging that we were shaving a good week off our lives when the older lady whom we had assumed to be dead or particularly enthralled in her romance novel took a shine to Joel. Apparently, she worked at our current diner of choice and was opinionated about her coworkers and felt the need to share those beliefs with her new friend. She reminded me of the stray dog that you didn’t kick, but didn’t really want around either. She kinda smelled like that dog too.

Again, knowing it was time to get out of there and keep going, we hopped in the Honda and headed to Wisconsin. Just north of Madison, we encountered something we scientists call “snizzle”. Don’t worry, Snoop Dogg is OK. See, drizzle is like light rain and snow is lightly falling frozen water. So what happens when drizzle freezes around snow? Snizzle! Or snow grains if you want to be truly scientific. Whatever. (On a somewhat related tangent imagine a short Indian fellow saying drizzle drop. Hilarious. But I digress). This snizzle north of Madison was the heaviest snizzle I’ve ever seen. Inevitably, this slowed traffic entirely too much, and by the time night fell, turned I-94 into one of the lamest bobsled courses I have ever seen. The best part was, there were tractor trailers slipping through western Wisconsin!

So we finally made it to Minneapolis and St. Paul (“they’re actually like, two built up cities!” as Joel said) and eventually back to my house. We touched base with my family and hustled off to Mystic Lake Casino. This day was bound to have good luck at some point right? Joel is a fan of the slots, I prefer the tables so I made my way to a 5 dollar blackjack table and sunk in 20 dollars. Second hand I hit a blackjack. In retrospect, I should have quit then. I was looking for Joel again five minutes later.

The final tally on the day, -20 dollars at the casino, 1 colorful character, 1 reminder of why its great to live nowhere near Kankakee, and edition of the Ice Capades, I-94 Mac Truck edition. Be back later with day two. – Ryan