I made an unexpected road trip last weekend on a weeks notice and was able to write a few firsts in my personal ledger.
When it looked like Wisconsin was going be in the Big 10 championship game and possibly against Ohio State,Ryan mentioned going out to Indianapolis and asked me to consider going along.
When Penn State was the actual opponent for the Badgers,I thought it actually might be a better time for the two of us to make the trip.
After all,seven hours in the car is a long way to drive home when one of the two people in the car is guaranteed to be on the losing side.
At least in this matchup,we would be rooting for the same team and win or lose would have the same opinion on the way home.
The drive to Indianapolis is a pretty easy one,only two minor deviations or I could almost drive it straight from Hagerstown.
We left in the afternoon and arrived around eleven.
Two stops,one in Washington PA for gas and when I went into the store on the site,the person behind the counter said "I didn't even know there was a baseball team here (Independent Washington Wild Things) when asked and then volunteered "I really hate this job,I need a new one".
That was the highlight of Washington PA.
We did stop in Columbus for some White Castle and that's always a great stop in the Midwest.
The small burgers are almost the name brand for the small "slider" type hamburgers and even though the southern franchise Krystal manages to hang close with White Castle for quality,there is always something about going to the originators.
It didn't take long for us to hit the bed,once we reached the hotel.
We did watch the end of the Pac 12 title game as Washington polished off Colorado to shine their credentials for the playoff before sleeping-there was lots to do on Saturday.
We spent the day around the Indianapolis convention center for the Big 10 Fan Fest and spent lots of time walking around the city and seeing the various sights.
The fan fest was pretty interactive with different things that you could do,but I didn't really see anyone signing anything,so I was glad that I didn't lug a lot of stuff along.
The fan fest was sponsored by the despised Dr.Pepper and there was samples of the stuff everywhere.
Ryan loves Dr.Pepper as much as I hate it and he drank quite a few samples.
Ryan told me that now he understands how much I hate Dr.Pepper when it was the only free drink available and lots of it and I still wasn't touching it!!
Lots of Penn State people doing their chant and since the Nittany Lions had never made the game before,they traveled far better than the Badgers,who had been in the title matchup on several previous occasions.
Mildly annoying,but on the overall-the Penn State supporters (with a few exceptions) weren't as bad as I thought they could be.
We walked around the town,which touts itself as having "the most walkable downtown in the Midwest".
I cannot speak for every Midwest city,but it is pretty easy to get around by foot and I was reminded a bit of Ryan and I's trip to Louisville.
I remember when Ryan and I walked through Louisville and he talked about how Louisville reminded him of Indianapolis.
Now that I have been to both cities,I would agree with those thoughts.
I told Ryan that I only wish one could go back in time and see one of those classic ABA games between Indianapolis and their Pacers against Louisville and the sadly departed Colonels..
On the far side on the convention center and literally one crossing of the street is the home of the AAA Indians,a affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates-Victory Field.
I didn't get a lot of great pictures because the park wasn't open (their team shop hours weren't open on Fall Saturday's-You would have thought someone would have opened it for one day with all the sports fans next door in the Christmas shopping season),but it looked very nice and I marked Victory Field down as a future stop-because it's just so easy to get to!
We ate at a downtown Steak N Shake,which was a treat.
The mostly midwestern chain is always a favorite and it's reasonable price always comes in handy when you are trying to keep costs down.
I didn't get one of their awesome milk shakes,because I still had plenty of walking to do,but I still regret not getting one!
Entering Lucas Oil Stadium,home of the Colts was an interesting experience.
I've been in the Cleveland Browns stadium before and I've been in plenty of arenas,but this was a new experience-I've never been inside a domed stadium before.
I have trouble really getting the point across of just how large these things are with the feeling of sitting in your living room.
I loved it and Ryan did too-he even told me during the game- "I'm really changing my mind on dome football!!"
We sat by one of the twenty yard lines and in the highest section,yet saw everything in the game.
It sometimes was hard to get an exact feeling for running plays on how many yards you would gain on a play,but you were in the ballpark at least and on passing plays,you almost felt like a quarterback because you could see every receiver,who was open etc.
I really liked the stadium along with the experience and would certainly return for a future game.
We drove back to the hotel after a stop at a different Steak N Shake before going to bed.
The next day and the ride down was likely going to be uneventful,but one lucky break made a terrific stop.
I'll be back on a slow day in a few days with some pictures of that stop!
Thanks again to Ryan for having me and I thoroughly enjoyed myself....