Thursday, July 21, 2011
We left Minnesota tired and hungover as usual, driving about 7 hours to get to Chicago. We can tell that we're getting closer to home because when we rolled into Chicago, it took us about 30 minutes to go through 4 miles of traffic. We got to the Cubs game by the third inning and Jimmy’s Yankee shirt was already starting trouble. Some girl in line yelled at him for wearing it and not surprisingly she happened to be from New Jersey. The stadium was pretty much filled to capacity, but the only issue was that the crowd had nearly more Philly fans than Cubs fans… Philly fans will find a way to ruin anything. We got seated in front of some diehard Indians fans on vacation, it was really interesting to see how optimistic fan bases of shitty teams can be. The way they were talking, you’d think they’d won the World Series already. Naturally, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead until the 8th inning and then blew the game, sending the Philly fans into their usual asshole selves for the rest of the evening so we knew we needed to get out of the area fast.
Jimmy had another buddy from his online gaming adventures, so we met up with his friend Danny in Posen, IL which is pretty much like the Newark of the Chicago area. We went to a local Irish pub for a few beers to shoot the shit until they turned the lights on and we had to call it a night. Chicago will need to be explored further on Roadtrip 2.0 this winter because one Tuesday night was hardly enough time.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We got to Chicago and let me tell you, it was AHHH-Mazing. On the way there, we drove through these adorable little farms in Wisconsin that put us in a good mood from the start. The skyline of Chicago was breathtaking as we pulled up to this wonderful city. First, we took a stroll through the Northside to take in some of the sights, most notably the Sears tower - WOW that thing is tall! Then we popped into a museum to get a feel for the local flavor and it didn’t disappoint, the murals they had on display were outstanding!
After the museum, we walked down the quaint paths of Grant Park and spent some time in the botanical gardens which are unlike any gardens I’ve ever seen. Jimmy’s favorite flower was the ‘wild tiger lilac’ but I was more a fan of the ‘hybrid lavender tulips’… We’re going to need a tiebreaker on this one! Tired from our park excursion, we decided to get tickets for a small boat trip on Lake Michigan for an evening dinner to watch the sunset. The violin player they had on board sounded a little flat, but the view was so beautiful you could hardly notice. We finished the night with a few glasses of red wine at a local Asian fusion restaurant and called it a night. Although we were sad to leave Chicago, we had to keep it moving back east, but we will always keep the memories close to our hearts. (Pics coming soon!)
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
After the game we headed down town and hit up one of the newer bars in the area called the Cafeteria. We took an elevator up to the roof and hung out there for a bit. It was at the Cafeteria that Franco introduced us to one of his favorite shots the “Water Moccasin” (Crown Royal, Peach Schanpps, Pineapple). So after a round of drinks we made our way to the bar Franco currently works at - Stella’s Fish Café. It was an awesome bar we went up to the patio on the roof and chilled out until they forced everyone downstairs to one of the many bars downstairs. The “Water Moccasin” shots kept coming and we kept drinking em because Jersey can party with the best of em. We were in rare form but we were still standing. We helped clean up and close up the bar and it was back to Franco’s house for some pizza and cookies. Of course we had a sober driver take us home because safety is always number one. Our sober driver was actually driving stick for the first time and he nailed it. Either I’m a shitty driver or Dennis is a shitty teacher, you decide.
So as the first night came to a close we realized that we had agreed to go white water rafting in Duluth which was a few hours away from Franco’s house. After a night on the town white water rafting is not something you want to be doing with a hangover. Anyway we woke up to Franco blasting “Forever Young” by Jay Z and got ready for white water rafting. White water rafting was pretty cool but the rapids weren’t as tough as we thought it might be. It ended up being a lot of rowing with tiny bits of action mixed in. We might have been some of the shittiest rafters and couldn’t manage to park the boat properly at any of the stops down the river. We also managed to be the last boat to make it to the shore. Some the tour guides were a little goofy and one of em told us we had “Total H2O Dominance” down the river (whatever that means).
After rafting we decided to drive a few more hours to Nick’s lake houses up in Northern Minnesota (Franco’s roommate who would fit in perfectly down the Jersey shore). The party continued as you saw in the video blog with Dennis and the other Minnesotians who were cooking in the backyard. We had some food and drinks and hung out by the fire, it was a pretty chill night. We woke up the next morning and grabbed breakfast at some dinner in the middle of nowhere and we did some antique shopping since it was right next door to the diner. We eventually made it back to the house and just chilled out by the community pool and BBQ’d some burgers and brats. Then we rested up and got ready to continue our cross country casino tour at Mystic Casino.
We left Barb back at the house and the fellas went out for some gambling. Mystic Casino has alcohol throughout the entire place and all they have is black jack for table games. It has to be the most black jack ever in a casino. We played some black jack and got beat up and ended up donating some money. Franco played a few hands of black jack as well but he was smart he stopped after he was up 10 bucks.
After the casino Franco took us to Rick's Cabaret in downtown Minnesota. It was amateur night so some of the local girls danced on stage. They had four contestants and the top 3 would be awarded prize money. We stayed for the amateur contest and left shortly after. All and all in a was good chill night.
We hit the road and head for Chicago probably one of our last stops before we come back to Jersey.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Dennis is exhausted from driving through the night so I take over driving the last 200 miles or so to Yellowstone. This drive really tested my manual driving skills, as I had to go through a few stop signs and change gears more than before.So I guess I’m getting a little better at this driving stuff.While Dennis was sleeping, this shady navigation system decided to play a trick on us and lead us to this dirt road that was suppose to bring us to Yellowstone. So we drove down this dirt road for a good half hour or so and then we decided that that wasn’t the way to Yellowstone so we turned it back around.
We stopped in a local gas station and got correct directions to Yellowstone. So Dennis takes back over driving and we decided to stop at the Mesa Falls. It was two waterfalls - one was the lower falls and the other was the upper falls. The lower falls kinda sucked but the upper falls were real cool. Here are some photos.
Crappy Lower Falls...
Awesome Upper Falls
After the Mesa Falls, we get to the gates of Yellowstone and just like the Grand Canyon it cost 25 bucks for a seven day pass. First stop in Yellowstone we hit up Old Faithful. For those who don’t know Old Faithful is this massive geyser that goes off ever hour or so. So we waited around for an hour for this thing to explode and it was pretty cool I guess (We believe that there’s just some guy that hits a button and makes it go off but whatever that’s our little conspiracy). If you ask me it was kind of like the water show at the Bellagio.
Since we are terrible tourist and don’t plan ahead we found ourselves homeless and you can’t get a camp ground in Yellowstone because they sell out by 9am. Luckily for us we found a camp ground just outside of Yellowstone but it happen to be in bear country. So it was a peaceful night and no bears came out to harass us. We got some rest and decided to explore Yellowstone some more the next day.
Jimmy - Yellowstone Day 2 and Cody, Wyoming
The second day at Yellowstone we went to check out Canyon Village. On our way to Canyon Village we saw Yellowstone Lake, Mud Volcano and Sulfur Cauldron. I wasn’t that thrilled about the Sulfur Cauldron because it smelled so bad over there but the mud volcano was pretty cool.
Canyon Village had these two awesome waterfalls, they are like the Brock Lesnar of Waterfalls. We hiked down 8,000 feet to get a good look at the second waterfall. It was a hell of a walk and had around 400 stairs or so. We got some nice videos and photos of the area for you guys to check out.
Dennis - Yellowstone
Yo, first off I’m never falling asleep again while Jimmy is driving. I wake up and we’re almost at the park, so I start getting excited. I was skeptical since I expected more traffic on the way to Yellowstone but whatever. We get on this gravel road and decide to keep going – bad move. The GPS tells us the closest gas stations are over 30 miles away and is telling us to go all kind of crazy directions. We said screw that and backtracked, but our detour turned out to be worth it because if not, we never would have came across Mesa falls, which is one of my favorite spots of the trip so far.
Old Faithful is a bunch of hot garbage but at least it does something. There were tons of other geyser-like attractions that are supposedly awesome, but basically it’s like watching a tea pot that’s almost done and never whistles. Oh and they stink like rotten trash, which apparently doesn’t bother some people who park their asses right there to sit and take in the aroma.
I named this runoff Dennis' Falls. There's no sign for it but I can draw you a map if you want to visit.
Being from Jersey, the drivers in Yellowstone were awful to me. Everyone drove like a bitch and even Bison were messing with us, walking down the street at 0.2 mph. At least the Bison had the decency to show their faces in public while the little bitch bears hid all day and night, slaughtering not even one stupid tourist.
The waterfalls at Uncle Tom’s Trail were pretty badass. I still like the Upper Mesa Falls better because you can practically go in it you’re so close. The hike was a bitch and half but was good exercise to battle all the Coors Light, beef jerky, and gummi bears that were constituting our diet at the time.
I don’t get it, Yellowstone is pretty much the size of jersey and they had NO camping spots available. There was one campground at Lewis Lake that still had vacancies when we arrived, but it was 72 MILES AWAY and STILL IN THE PARK! Naturally, it was filled up by the time we got there. How do they not have a couple extra acres of campground is beyond me…
Leaving Yellowstone, we drove through middle of nowhere and stopped at Cody, WY to grab some food. It was barely 100 miles from the park, but it takes long to get out and we were beat, especially after the hike. We ate at someplace called the Irma, and our waitress had a pin that said “Ask me about the Rodeo!” So all summer long they have a rodeo every night at 8pm and the waitress tells us “It’s real rodeo, they go for points!” We get excited, thinking we are going to see a real sporting event, so we buy 2 tickets and decide to get a hotel for the night. A few minutes later, Jimmy goes “What do they do at a rodeo?” I had no idea but we were going to find out.
The Rodeo was definitely interesting but not exactly what we expected. It was pretty much a redneck circus, with flashes of real bull riding sprinkled in between. There was a clown in the middle telling god awful jokes. Families everywhere, tons of kids. More than half the show was kid’s events, mostly teenagers. Then they had and ‘under 7’ group of barrel riders, which stung deep because these 7 year olds have jobs and I don’t. Some 12 year old got stepped on by a small bull and was on the ground for awhile, but no blood or anything and he turned out to be ok, I guess he was just a wuss.
7-years old... doing gymnastics... on a horse...
After leaving the rodeo we stopped at a placed named “Silver Dollar Bar” despite our misfortunes at “Club Silver Dollar” in Elko. It was local scene, but we were exhausted from the day. The hiking, bad jokes, and shame from seeing throngs of ‘tweeners with jobs being more cowboy than I’ll ever be had gotten to me. We left after about 30 minute to get a good night sleep for our trek to Minnesota the next day.
Calf Roping and Bull Riding
We decided to rough it from there and head straight to Yellowstone. After a few hours of driving through the dessert we stopped at a town called Elko, NV just to take a break and check out the local scene. The small towns off the map have been the most interesting and this was no exception. The place was called ‘Club Silver Dollar’ and we could hear awful karaoke from outside, so the place seemed right up our alley. Walking in, we stuck out immediately. Partially because it was a local hang out and partially because I was wearing a white button down, gym shorts and flip flops. Two guys said “Hi” to us and proceed to tell us how wasted they were. Then, some ‘thing’ started walking toward us. I did not know if this was a male or a female, but it came over and tried inconspicuously to molest my hand while looking in another direction as if it weren’t happening.
The ‘thing’ says “Oh Hi! Where are you from?” as if we bunked into it. It happened to be female and its name was Book (rhymes with Duke). Despite being so wasted it could barely stand, Book explained to us how we stuck out and asked what we were looking for – girls, drugs, etc. After telling her we were just looking to hang out and take a break, she asked us if we were married, to which we both said no. Then she asked if we were together, and was under the impression that me and Jimmy might be dating. After clearing things up, she introduces us to two of her friends, which I’ll name Big and Bigger. Big was nice and shook our hands, Bigger wouldn’t even turn from her bar stool to look at us. Among the other shady looks we were receiving from other patrons, we decided that we needed to get out of the Silver Dollar before something bad happened. Book asked us to stay longer and have a few drinks, but nothing we were looking for would have come from the situation. We told her we were going to the casino next door and would come back, then booked it for the door. We did go to the casino for 5 minutes (just to look) and then hit the road to Yellowstone.
We drove straight through the night, stopping only to take a 2 hour nap somewhere in Idaho at around 8am. Then Jimmy took over driving and brought it home to Yellowstone... kinda...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Alright, so we left Vegas after getting beat up back-to-back nights. There really isn't much to say about Vegas other then the fact that we got crushed gambling and Dennis might have a wing in Harrah's named after him.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
So we finally made our way to the Grand Canyon after a few pit stops at some of the casinos on the way. Our drive to the Grand Canyon wasn’t all that bad, I think it was only a few hours. On the way to the Grand Canyon we made a stop at some of the local Native American shops along the highway. I was looking for some cool t-shirts but they didn’t have anything that was the least bit interesting. While in route to the Grand Canyon we did manage to see the world’s largest petrified tree and all I can say was that was a waste of time. We did almost stop at some meteor crater but our blog fans took too long to respond to our facebook status so we moved on.
It was awful, windy, cold, rainy, and dark… in the damn desert. The country must really be in a recession because we were one of the few Americans there. Everyone spoke some Nordic language or German or Indian or Spanish. The Americans we did run across are doomed, families with annoying ass little kids, singing fruity songs and acting like little sissies. Maybe it’s a good thing the guard rails aren’t there… I was hoping they would get close to me so I could have nudged some of those little punks over the edge.
Quiet time was 10pm and almost all the jerks in Arizona went to bed. Luckily, we ran into some lady campers from LA who were down to hang out. At first, we weren’t sure if we’d go talk to them. I was a bit nervous and was wondering if we would be intruding on their girl’s night out. But then 5-drink Dennis showed up and walked right over to their tent without hesitation and asked if we could ‘get in’ on their hot game of charades. It was a true learning experience, as we learned that Jimmy is not only awful at driving stick, but also horrible at charades. Thank god I wasn’t on his team or else I probably would have smacked him. All in all, it was a fun night and a horrible morning since we had to sleep on rocks and these stupid, fat ravens get up at the ass crack of dawn and make some chirping noise, but only until everyone wakes up and then they leave. Arizona is the worst, I can’t wait to get the hell out of here… Headed to Vegas cause it makes the most sense geographically and cause it’s a sin to waste a Saturday in this shitty state.
We went to the main part of Ruidoso during the day for some grub and it was very quaint and touristy. People in New Mexico have a poor sense of humor, the shops all seemed kinda like t-shirt shops from down the shore in Jersey, but from about 20 years ago. Italian food in New Mexico was also a bad idea - Chicken Alfredo was like a jar of Ragu poured onto over-processed chicken cubes (the kind you’d get at a supermarket salad bar). We left Ruidoso and the landscape got even better, edging it past Tennessee. It was the best stretch of driving so far, we had to go up and down winding mountains for about 20 miles and into the open road of a desert, haven’t seen anything like it yet.
We made our way to the Hard Rock Casino in Albuquerque, where the poker players were slightly better than in Ruidoso, but not by much. Jimmy said he felt like he was playing against people in the Senior Circuit, as he was the youngest player on his table by about 40 years. So far we are 3 for 3 with Casino trips and neither of us has left without winning at least a couple bucks. There are literally tons of casinos, we passed 3 more within an hour of the Hard Rock. Crashing for the night at the luxurious Super 8 since we roughed it for the past 2 nights.
Up next - 'Zona
Thursday, July 7, 2011
In the town of Ruidoso, we hit up the local Billy the Kid casino/racetrack. Shit was awful – virtual blackjack, virtual craps and virtual roulette all suck in reality. Plus those bastards run the horses at 1pm when it’s like a 100 degrees out, I’m surprised PETA doesn’t picket around the place. We moved on to the innofthemountaingods.com casino which was much more happenin'. They had real table games and a poker room. Both Jimmy and I did our best JoeBurger impersonation and took the New Mexicans’ hard earned dollars without hesitation. Not sure if it was our awesome poker skills or if they just don’t know shit about poker, but I think we just ensured we have enough gas money to make it all the way home after this. After leaving the 'Haunted Cabin of Death' this morning, I came across a pure black cat, so I’m not sure if I want to go back to the casino…
New Mexico is beautiful in terms of landscape, it’s in a tie with Tennessee right now, but there’s still plenty left to travel.
Since we were heading west we decided to meet up with one of the Odessa locals who we met at the Willie Nelson picnic. Odessa is five hours west from Fort Worth and we needed a place to stop since Texas is so damn big. So we made our way to Odessa and we decided to camp it up at some local RV and tent camp ground called the Midessa Oil Field. It was like a hidden camp ground in the middle of the desert but it was good enough to call home for the night. They had a nice pool, bathrooms, showers and even electricity (sorry no internet, it wasn't that fancy).
We had Tara and her friend Catelyn come visit our camp ground and hang out for a few drinks. While they were at our camp ground they taught us the wonders of 'planking' and I still don’t understand it very well but here is a photo of what the kids are doing these days.
Before we hit the road again the next day they brought us out to lunch to get some official Mexican food. They said it was in the shady part of town but it still looked nice to us. The strangest part about the restaurant were the stalls in the men’s room where you can basically rub elbows with the guy next to you.
They also helped guide us towards our next destination which happens to be Roswell, New Mexico. They say there’s all kinds of crazy alien shit out here so we figured its on the way, so why not check it out. Our main goal tonight is to get to the local casino/race track because we need to make some money.
Back in New Jersey, I’m an adequate dancer. I know some moves and can pretty much wing it if I don’t. However, that shit does NOT fly round these parts. I was looking at the dance floor, taking notes, and just itching to get out there. Some 40 year old woman comes up to us and says ‘her friend’ wants to dance, would either of us like to dance with her. I was hesitant Jimmy immediately replies “Oh he’s an EXCELLENT dancer!” She then brings over this beautiful, young Latina looking blonde and we giddily hit the dance floor. It was all downhill from there.
I ask her if she knows the ‘El Paso’ to which she replies “Huh?” So I grab her and attempt to do what I consider dancing. After several attempts, she says “What are you trying to do?” to which I reply “I have NO idea!” I then asked her to two-step and she says ok, but apparently jersey skills don’t translate to the Texas floor. She then says “We can’t do this, we gotta get outta here.” She runs of the dance floor, grabbed a real cowboy from what I can tell and got on the dance floor immediately and started ripping it up.
Despite my dancing failures, it was an amazing day. After telling tales of Jimmy’s stick driving adventures, some 18 year old girls must have been eavesdropping because they went up to JB and said “We heard you can’t drive stick… My car’s stick, I drive stick every day.” Guess everyone isn’t nice around these parts. The performances were great. Drake White.com - if you haven’t heard him and you like country check him out, best performance of the day. Also Craig Campbell is badass. Willie was actually the worst of all the day’s performances, but everyone around there talked about him as if he was a god. (FYI: 78 Year Old Willie Nelson got arrested after the show. I guess he is pretty bad ass.)
In the words of JB “Being a traveling Cowboy is tough. We’re on the road all day, stopping in towns for mere hours before moving on.” I will use his wisdom and witty one liners to create some country music, as we are headed to Odessa, Texas to go camping for the night. (Song till pending).
Monday, July 4, 2011
Dallas was pretty badass, we got here and immediately hit up one of the hottest spots around, the local “Wash and Dry”. It had to be 150 degrees, but Jimmy needed some fresh underoos and I couldn’t let him go alone, not after what happened in New Orleans. We hit up a few places on Main Street and things were kind of dead so we cabbed it over to McKinney Ave to the Idle Rich Pub. It was the best bar we’ve been to so far, despite the fact that ‘Petty Theft’ on the stage and would not play anything other than Tom Petty… The locals seemed to like it. The girl situation picked up a little bit, we went 0 for 5 but put some pretty good swings on the ball. These Dallas girls are scared of our Jersey dart skills (who could blame them?). Dallas is one of the top spots of places I would consider moving to. It seems easy to make it in this town, we had a bouncer telling us how kick ass his job is, and our cabbie said he owns 2 houses and lives the sweet life. Headed over to the Willie Nelson BBQ Picnic now. We were warned to watch out ‘if you mess with wrong person, those cowboys are tough.’ I’m not scared cause I got Jimmy in my corner and these Texas boys don’t know about our Jersey Jitsu. Breaking out the ‘woman’s’ cowboy hat for one more spin to see if it works outside of Nashville.
We didn’t take any photos of Dallas, so here is a photo of me writing this blog…
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
We started off the day with two options: make our way to Alabama and camp or stay another night in Nashville. It was an easy choice so we decided to stay another night in Nashville and hit up the streets of Broadway one more night.
To start our second day out in Nashville we decided to change hotels so we went from staying in the luxury of
the Best Western to the more cost effective Howard Johnson that was just outside of Nashville. On the plus side the Howard Johnson had a nice pool and that’s where Dennis decided to write a song as you saw in our last blog post.
First stop of the day was the Country Music Hall of Fame. I don't know what to say about it but it was nice and if you happen to be in the area you should check it out. We did learn that there is no country music in New Jersey (see picture). Then we roamed the city some more and hung out on some bridge.
After a long day of touring the city we decided to cool off in our pool at the Howard Johnson. We did get a light workout in and swam some Warrior laps in the pool. It was actually a good break from all the driving we have been doing. So we rested up for a few hours and chatted it up with our loyal blog followers then we made our way back out to the streets of Nashville.
(End Jimmy/Begin Dennis)
We went back to our favorite bar from the first night and the night started off promising. Two girls walked in wearing panties that read
“I heart D*ck” The first girl was wearing said panties over her sweat pants, but the second girl had to drop her pants to expose the matching pair... Gotta love these classy Southern Belles. Moving along to the next bar, the action stayed hot as some dude got arrested and thrown out by bicycle cops. I thought it may have been Jimmy for a minute, but luckily he was safe. The night was fun as bounced back and forth to a bunch of different bars, but still couldn't find any line dancing. Upon entering Alabama, we stopped by the side of the road to take a photo and Jimmy took another crack at the wheel, almost ending our lives for the umpteenth time.
We stopped and did a little video in Mississippi, so that video will be uploaded as soon as we get real wifi, but here are some pics from the Nash...
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
When leaving this morning, I backed my car into a ditch outside my sisters place, but we were able to snap the bumper back in and no damaged is noticeable. Jimmy finally got the car into gear and got us into Tennessee, he has 120 miles under his belt. I call him Juggernaut cause he's not too good driving local, so we filled up the tank, I drove the car to the highway and then he gets it gear and nothing stops him (like that guy from X-Men.)