Sunday, February 13, 2011

The road trip finale

I feel like such a lameass! I was doing so well with my daily posts, trying to finish up a week-long look back on my 2007 trip to New York. Alas, I only made it four days. I don’t have the internet at home so I either use an unsecured wifi network when I can access it from my bedroom or go to a library or other establishment that allows me to go online. Sometimes it’s hard enough just to connect long enough to get a couple websites loaded, but when I factor in uploading photographs on top of that it often just becomes impossible. So, better late than never, the last three days of my trip... GO!

On February 5, 2007, Kandas and I spent the day lounging around and doing our thing. We had rented Hedwig and the Angry Inch because neither of us had seen it and we ended up watching it three times in the week I was with her. We also did some creative rearrangement of her living room, which was a challenge due to what we now affectionately refer to as “Hurricane Becky.” I brought so much stuff with me on my trip that, had I been more selective, I probably would have gotten a few extra gallons of gas out of my drive. I brought my NES and all the games that went with it. I brought books. A giant selection from my wardrobe (except socks!). Blankets and pillows. A thousand pairs of Converse hi tops. It’s incredible to believe I didn’t bring my cat with me.







In the afternoon, Brent drove us to the train station and we hopped on a train for NYC. THE BIG EVENT! Seeing the Red Wings face off against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden! It was a pleasant ride and we arrived at Penn Station, which is actually connected to MSG so we didn’t even have to go outside. I was slightly disappointed about this because, hell, it’s New York City. But it was also cold and I opted to not wear a coat because I didn’t want to drag it around at the hockey game. I stuck to a hoodie under my Brendan Shanahan Red Wings jersey. As a seasoned NHL spectator, I know that it gets cold enough at games to make me shiver but hot enough from me jumping up and yelling/cheering/booing that I can’t wear too many layers.

We met up with Lilly because she was already there waiting to take a train home, then walked around the station. When I think “train station,” I think of a ticket counter and benches to sit on while you wait for your train to arrive. But this place is like an airport mixed with a mall. Kandas and I dicked around at a scary K-Mart for a while (they had a security guard) and had “dinner” at Pizza Hut. I got a lot of glares for my apparel and in true New York form, I got body slammed by some guy who told me I was “wearing the wrong fucking colors.” LOVE IT. I wish I had thought to point out that I was wearing red and white, whereas the Rangers’ are red, white and blue, so my colors weren’t exactly wrong…

The big deal about this game for me is that Brendan Shanahan was, is, has been, will always be my favorite hockey player. He came to Detroit when I was 11 and spent a decade here kicking ass and taking names. I was devastated when he left the Red Wings and I was even more devastated when games never lined up to give me an opportunity to see him. This was the first game (and it turned out to be the only game, as he retired recently) Shanny played against the Red Wings since he left Detroit. I’m no stalker, but this was something I had to be there for.

And oh, what a game it was. 2:18 into the game, Shanny opened up the scoring on Hasek and it marked the only time in history I cheered against the Red Wings. There was a lady who sat behind me wearing a Rangers Shanny jersey and we high fived. It was so great. The only thing that topped it off was the Wings won the game, coming up from behind to score some late goals. Kandas and I talked shit to each other the whole game since she’s a Rangers fan, but despite her complaining that I gave her a headache from all my shouting, I think she had a good time. (Protip: going to a hockey game with me is an experience. My first game caused the person next to me to switch seats, and this was before the game even began.)

The people made the trip what it was, though. Some guy came up to me during intermission, asked me if I was from Michigan, and then pointed to his hand to show me his girlfriend used to live in the Ann Arbor area. When Kandas and I were making our way back to the train, some creepy old guy who looked like the Gorton’s fisherman asked if he could have my email address. But my favorite was the guy we sat across from on the train. He looked like Al Bundy and was drinking a Budweiser not-so-discreetly from a paper bag. He asked me what the special occasion was because there were so many Red Wings fans there. I told him that Detroiters are just loyal to their sports teams like that (there’s no other way to explain Lions fans, after all). Kandas was also very quick to correct him when he assumed we were both Red Wings fans. But he was very nice for someone whose team just got owned.

I’m sad to say I didn’t bring my camera to the game because I was concerned they wouldn’t let me in with it or that it would be confiscated. I took a picture of our view from my phone but I have no idea where said phone is. But it was absolutely one of those events that, though it would be nice to have, pictures are not necessary for me to remember.

On February 6, 2007, we started the day with another chill-out session. All this travel is hard work! And the best way to unwind is by taking more goofy pictures.






Brent and I went out to get… something. I don’t remember. But I was one of the first passengers in his new car. I rode around with him and even got a picture of the Gotti Tans… apparently there was a tv show about it, but it was never something I watched.







Then! Then! Then! Kandas and I went to IKEA! I’d never been, and it remains my only visit. But on my dad’s recommendation, I got a hot dog while we were there. I also bought some incredibly inexpensive photo frames and a few mirrors that I still have hanging on my wall even now. It was a vastly overwhelming experience, and I would never go during a busy season, but I enjoyed the trip and the prices are proportionate to the quality (take that as you will, all I’ll say is I’m not disappointed).





We stopped at a shop nearby whose name escapes me… it sold records and clothes and other assorted stuff. The best I can compare it to is a slightly toned down Noir Leather without the separate room filled with sex toys. My favorite part was the outside of the building was painted in murals.




And let me tell you about the Dairy Barn. This place is insane. It’s a drive-through grocery store! You pull up, tell the clerk what you want, they give it to you through the window and you drive away! Milk? Cigarettes? Potato chips? Beer? Here you go, have fun! It was another cultural gap Kandas made fun of me for, but I hadn’t seen one of these before, nor have I seen one since. I’d hate to work at one of these places but I would probably “shop” there all the time.


On February 7, 2007, Kandas’ place recovered from Hurricane Becky. With my traveling possessions packed back up in my car, we went to a little diner restaurant for breakfast before I dropped her off at work and we bid each other adieu. I stopped for gas and headed back to the West Siiiide!

By the time I got into Pennsylvania, I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was get home but my family convinced me to stop in Pittsburgh to rest at my aunt and uncle’s house. I took a 4-5 hour nap, even though everyone wanted me to spend the night. But I get homesick for my Mitten state, so I resumed my journey around 10pm that night.

I was halfway through Ohio when I was pulled over for driving 72mph when the speed limit was 65. I didn’t give it too much consideration at the time, but I know now how lucky I am that I got off with a warning. Michigan plates are targeted in Ohio and it’s unheard of to escape a traffic stop without a fine. I explained to the cop I was just trying to get home from NYC and he asked me what I was doing out there. I told him about the hockey game as he looked through my car with his flashlight. I was wearing a Red Wings hoodie, had my Red Wings blanket in the back seat, and who knows what other random memorabilia he saw stuffed in my car. He was a nice guy, though, and told me he knew that we Detroiters like to speed but to “wait until you get back into Michigan to do it.”

I got home around 2am and immediately fell out. I had a blast and I’m glad I went, but I was exhausted and glad to be home. I took my IKEA frames and placed them around my bedroom, even framing a Spider-Man puzzle Kandas had given me in one of her many strange care packages she’s sent me from special findings at the dollar store.

I could go ahead and post pictures of the drive home, but they're not too different from the ones I took on the way to New York and, let's face it, I already posted an asston of photos in this post.


  1. Dude! This journey was EPIC! I want a dairy barn here!!!!

  2. @She is Sara That Dairy Barn was AMAZING. Kandas thought it was as hilarious as I thought it was incredible.

  3. This is so weird: I live in Huntington Station and can walk to that Dairy Barn from my house. I can't believe you were so close! We may have even passed on the street.