Juicy Lucy, Rock Bottom, Target Field and Travel

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Iowa
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Slept in until about 9:30 (Hey, I got to bed about 2:00!).  And the first thing I noticed is that I forgot my toothbrush at my last hotel.  Darn!  Do you know how bad you feel when you can't brush your teeth in the morning?  After showering, packing and checking out (trying not to breathe on the desk clerk) I went immediately to a nearby grocery store and bought a toothbrush.  Then I headed for McDonalds where I didn't buy anything, but headed straight for the bathroom to brush my teeth.  Great feeling.  I'm sure the guys in there were thinking, OK, he's either one of those "obsessive-compulsive" people who needs to brush his teeth six times a day, or he's homeless and has no other place to go to brush my teeth.  Either way, I didn't care...I felt better.  

Then I was on the road to Minneapolis.  I didn't realize how close Minneapolis and St. Paul were to the Wisconsin border.  Very close.  Easy drive.

I headed for a restaurant called "The 5*8 Club" in Minneapolis.  Interesting place which has been featured on "Tripple D" as well as Man vs Food and other shows.  It's the home of the famous "Juicy Lucy."  The Juicy Lucy is two hamburgers pressed together with cheese melted in the middle.  Now that's a burger!  The 5*8 Club was a speakeasy in the 1920s, selling illegal liquor to a thirsty nation deprived of it due to Prohibition.  When they renovated the place in the 1990s, they even found a hidden basement driveway under the restaurant where cars could pull in to unload their illegal booze.  The place was hopping!  I noticed a waitress wearing a tee-shirt which read on the back, "Juicy Lucy: If it's spelled right, it's done right."  And it reminded me that there was a controversey in Minneapolis between The 5*8 Club and a place called Matt's Bar a couple miles down the road as to who had the first and best tasting Juicy Lucy.  Only Matt's Bar spells it "Jucy" Lucy instead of "Juicy" Lucy.  Arter leaving The 5*8 Club, I drove to Matt's Bar just to see it.  Stopped in for a beer.  Couldn't bring myself to eat another "Jucy" Lucy though.  The place makes Green Gables look classy.  I was later told by one of you good folks out there (Thanks Susan) that I should try a "Juicy Lucy" at a place called "The Nook."  Looks like I may have to make a return trip to MSP to try these two places out!

I headed downtown to Targert Field.  I parked right across the street from the ballpark in a parking garage $13 all day...including if you stay for the game...I read the fine print.  Then I headed to a nearby place called Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.  It's a chain, but a place I could have a beer and blog about yesterday's game.  About 5:30 I headed back to my van, put my brief case in the van (Yea, I no longer carry it into the ballpark.)  and bought a ticket.  It was pretty expensive, $62, but I was told it was a good seat.  More on that later.

Target Field is a new ballpark.  Opened for the 2010 season.  A beautiful facility with a great scoreboard.  Couple of things were happening for Twins fans, one good, one bad.  One of their greatest pitchers, Bert Blyleven is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year and there is a huge "Countdown to Cooperstown" sign in left field.  The bad one is that one of the Twins all-time great players, Harmon Killabrew died very recently.  There were lots of tributes to Harmon and they will actually have a ceremony for him at the ballpark on Thursday night.  He was an outstanding player for the Twins and from what I understand from the fans, a genuinely nice guy.  

I went to my seat, Row 26, Seat 1 behind the Mariners dugout.  The seat was fine for seeing the action on the field, but the overhang from the loge deck above me obstructed my view of the giant scoreboard.  The lady was half right when she said it was a good seat...it was a seat.  Never being shy about voicing a concern, I politely asked a nice gentleman in "Customer Relations" if there was a way to change seats.  He walked me over to the ticket booth where an equally nice gentleman, checked on his computer and five minutes later I was heading to my new seat 15 rows behind the Twins dugout...and the giant scoreboard right in front of me...now that was a good seat!

Nice folks around me and a kid with Mom and Dad down the aisle who had to go to the bathroom twice during the game...Mom apologized for making me get up twice...no big deal.  I knew he would be the kid who got the ball at the end of the game.  And he did...he was very happy and Mom and Dad were as well...and I felt good inside.  Speaking of the end of the game, the Twins won 4-2 which makes me 10-5 for the home team and marks the halfway point on my quest to visit all the Major League Ballparks in one season.  And I've got to give the Twins fans some credit.  They had 38K there at the game and I'll bet 35K stayed until the final out.  Very good fans.  Very supportive.  

And although he didn't do too well tonight, I got to see another Central Illionois boy, Jim Thome from Bartonville Limestone High School near Peoria play.  I met him in person before at a golf outing.  Great guy.  Comes back every year to do a golf tournament fund raiser for Limestone H.S.  Class act.  

Then it was out the parking garage, and out of there, on my way to Waterloo, Iowa.   I'll explain why Waterloo in my next blog.  But the 2.5 - 3 hour drive was a bit nerve-wracking as it pounded rain on me about half way there.  Again, I love driving, but not so much at night in the pouring rain.  Strange anecdote.  I was about an hour outside of Waterloo when I needed gas and nature was calling as well.  Saw a sign that said, "Gas and Diesel - 24 Hours next exit."  I exited the highway, and headed the direction the sign said.  And just when I was about to give up trying to find a town, I crossed some railroad tracks and to my right are some huge tanks, maybe four stories high, and in front of them, two gas pumps....one gas, one diesel, and a small sign saying, "24 Hour Gas."  Now, there's no store, no attendant, no nothing...just two self-service pumps.  It was in the middle of no-where.  As I like to say, it was not the end of the earth, but you can see it from there!!!  I decided to try it.  And to my amazement, my trusty SF Bank Visa Card was accepted and I was able to fill up.  However, that did not take care of my other reason for stopping.  Always the resourceful type, I just wandered back behind the large tanks, and did what I needed to do, all the time fearing some local cop would drive by, see me and make the arrest of the century for indecent exposure...then I'm on some watch-list somewhere where I can't ever be near children again!  All sorts of things went through my mind.  Luckily no cars passed by, and soon I was back on the road to Waterloo automotively full and physiologically empty!  

I made a call to the Hampton Inn in Waterloo.  All full.  He suggested a couple others and I called the Comfort Inn.  Nice lady named Sondra answered and told me she'd hold the room for me.  Didn't even want my credit card.  "We'll deal with that when you get here Dave," she said, like I was one of the neighbors or a relative.  Gotta love these Hawkeyes!  She even gave me directions to the Comfort Inn, and even, she and Jill agreed on the route.  And when I got there, she was a genuinely nice lady!  Then off to bed.  

More tomorrow...no game, but more baseball, nonetheless.

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