Off-Topic 008: Atlanta Part I

17Aug2004 (Monthenor): Hey y'all. No comics this week, as I try to catch up with all the television work I missed. I'll be typing up my travelogue as I usually do and posting them for this week. If I have copious free time (*shake shake shake* "All signs point to yes"), I'll even put up a little post-GerbilMechs sketch on Friday.

Post-GerbilMechs? Already?

Meditations Upon a Most Singular Trip:

Being the Consumption of Much Alcoholic Beverage, and the Proceeding Car Trip, and the Touristation Which Did Ensue

Friday: The bachelor party wasn't until Saturday, but I headed down early to visit the family on the way. Mom said she had a ticket for something called "Rising Stars" that I could use, and that my sister and little brother would be in it. I was...unprepared. Rising Stars is...try to imagine Hee Haw or Laugh-In, only written by 17-year-olds and performed by 13-year-olds. So, exactly like Mad TV. Zing!

No, really, it was fun. Sister definitely was having too much fun out there...maybe being a freshman in an all-girls college will calm her down.

Saturday: Up waaaay too early, and off to the Cities for a baseball game! I haven't played/watched/desired baseball in years, but seeing it from really really awesome seats was great. It's actually more interesting without old stupid people yammering about stats in between every pitch. And the Twins won, the only game of that series they won in fact.

But that wasn't the most entertaining part for me. The most entertaining part was, about an hour before the game, receiving a series of calls from Morgion and DAP detailing their increasing amount of being-losted-ness. Morgion took off without getting MapQuest directions first, expecting some sort of signage directing people from the highway to the Metrodome. Twas not to be. Tis not to is. There is precisely one sign on 94 West, telling you to exit, and then boom you're in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. I'm not even sure Morgion made that exit. At one point I think they were somewhere east of the entire metro area.

Eventually they stopped at a UPS Store to print out MapQuest directions back, and were doing well until they were stopped by a parade. I am not kidding. It was a pretty weak parade, too.

But they arrived just in time for the first pitch, the game was fun, the drinking and meandering was fun. Did you know they have these places with arcade games and a full bar? Bachelor party yay! Dinner at Cell Block D, games, and was a good night. The night ended in a rooftop pub with my worst beer of the night...should have just stuck with the Killian's. Sweet delicious Killian's.

Sunday: On my own for the day. Brunch (eggs and stuff) was at Joe's Garage. Now that the party was over I had to fill a whole day on my own, with no computer. Checked into the Baymont Inn & Suites, which was good but had shower temperature problems. Mall of America, despite all its grandiose claims, only held 1.5 hours of entertainment for me...less than some bars the night before. Although I did finally find a set of chessmen for cheap, so I guess it wasn't a totally wasted trip. More importantly, I made my first meal of White Castle! OM NOM NOM WHITE CASTLE BURGERS!!

Monday: Finally, the driving adventure began! Justice's mom met me at the hotel and we traveled together to the airport. We got off on the right foot when I told her to look for Short-Term Parking, where I would call and come find her. I ditched my car in long-term parking while she drove up into short-term parking, realized a parking garage wasn't exactly equal to the curb-side pickup I had described, and pulled through towards the exit. Meanwhile, I'm wandering around the terminal and trying to reach her on her car phone...which she had turned off. When she finally turned it back on, we called each other at the same time and got busy signals/voice mail. By this time I had located her by sight, but had no way to get down off the parking ramp to where she was parked.

I got through on the phone at last, after ten minutes of this farce, and we got down to curb-side pickup. This had understandably soured her on driving for a while, so after grabbing KFC for lunch I took over and drove us down to Madison.

Found the hotel without incident, and after sitting around and relaxing we took a short tour of the city. The entire "captial loop" was under messy construction, but no roads were actually closed. Dinner was at a southwestern grill called Tumbleweed, which had a marvelous peppercorn steak special. There was also a distinct and lovely campus village. Many many small shops and eateries ringed what I assumed was the residential portion of off-campus housing...judging from all the my-age people walking around, we were really close to the campus proper.

Tuesday: Off to Indianapolis. Driving through Chicago was almost too easy...our MapQuest route followed the family route to visit relatives for quite a ways. It was nice to say hi to all the old exit ramps and billboards. Lunch was at a Chick-Fil-A, one of many first restaurants on the trip. They were pretty decent nuggets, and very tasty fresh lemonade. Indiana had some heavy construction right at the border, but it didn't slow us down too badly. Our evening tour of Indy looped around most of the south half, where all the big buildings live. There were female pole vaulters praticing at the IUPUI campus sports complex, but as I was driving (and pole vaulting involves relatively little bouncing) we didn't stay long. And what the hell kind of acronym is IUPUI?? Dinner for me was once again from White Castle...I bought a big sack of twenty burgers and made slow, lovely mastication with them for days. Days, baby.

Wednesday: Here I saw the totality of Indiana's plan to secede from the Union. Fortress Indiana had apparently decided to place heavy construction at all major border crossings to discourage travel. It was, again, slow going that still managed to keep going. I don't know how, but Justice's mom knew about a huge outlet mall at exit 76. Now you do too. She only got an ice cream, but I walked away with three books (Wizard of Oz, Dracula, and Oliver Twist) and the PC version of Darkened Skye. Yes, this version is much better. I'm a sucker for the literary classics. And Skittles. When we got to the hotel in Antioch, TN, I got the first of my Southern Culture Shocks: the entire hotel opened to the outside! Like, no hallways! I had seen this in movies and Grand Theft Auto, but seriously. The door wasn't even properly sealed! There was fully half an inch of daylight! What do they do in the winter?? Dinner for me was more White Castle leftovers, this time with cheese singles on top. I don't recommend it.

Join me on Friday when I type even more words about things I did that you don't care about! I talk about eating!