Early Morning, Chili, Baseball and Late Niight
Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
46Trip End Sep 29, 2011
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When you drive down I-55 to STL, you come across a sign that has always intrigued me. Not enough to stop today, but enough to look it up on the internet. Long about Mt. Olive, there is a sign that reads, Mother Jones Monument. Turns out Mother Jones was a union leader in Mt. Olive for coal miner's rights during the coal miner's strikes in Illinois in the 1920s and 30s. She was ahead of her time with regard to equal rights for women. Interesting historical footnote.
On to STL and got checked in. At least my luggage and clubs (Oh yea, I brought them!) rode free!!! Flight was about 20 minutes late, but not biggie. Game wasn't until 7:05 tonight.
We landed at almost on time at DAL (Love Field) not DFW (Dallas - Ft.Worth International). If you've ever flown Southwest into Dallas, you know they fly into this rather small (comparatively) airport. Reminds you of the old PIA or BMI airports. Long L-shaped concourse. But easy to navigate. Stopped the Hertz counter and the nice lady by the name of Kathy made sure they had my car ready. Grabbed my bags and headed to the Hertz bus.
Nice lady by the name of Sue welcomed us on the bus with the old Johnny Cash line. "My name is Sue! How do you do?" And then added her own warm, "Welcome to Dallas!" She dropped me at the Hertz Gold pavilion. Ya gotta love seeing your name in lights!!! And they gave me a nice car for the next few days.
Then I was on my way to Grapevine, Texas, interestingly enough, not far from the other airport in town, DFW. Grapevine's name comes from the many wild mustang grapes which apparently grow wild in the area. They have a neat downtown area with sort of an old Texas motif. Very charming.
I wasn't looking for wine though, I was looking for chili. Specifially, chili at a place called Tolbert's. Had seen it on the Travel Channel or Food Network (one or the other). They have supposedly won several awards for their chili. Nice, upscale place and a nice bartender. Spoke to the original owner's daughter (Kathleen). She took my pic, and I took hers. The chili was very good. I decided to try it Texas-style (no beans). It did not disappoint. Very earthy, bold taste, served with taco chips and a serrano pepper on top of each bowl. Good presentation and excellent taste.
I must say, that chili sat on my stomach like a roll of quarters, and stayed with me all day and into the night. Thank goodness for Prilosec OTC.
Headed to the park. Easy drive and parking 1.5 blocks from the ballpark...$10. Part of it has to be the land out here is a lot more plentiful than in East Coast cities. Got a very good seat at the window for $62. It was 11 rows behind the first baseman on the Rangers side of the field.
This is a pretty ballpark. But they didn't sell golf balls. Only about the 2nd or 3rd which didn't. Left field is very interesting. They modeled if after Fenway. Even have the steel beams that most parks have eschewed for fan viewing reasons. It's a short porch in right field, 323 down the line. Rangers were playing the Tigers, coming off a 4-game sweep of Cleveland. They didn't look like it tonight. I knew by the end of the 4th inning we were in for a slugfest...it was 9-5 in favor of the Tigers. Final score was Tigers 13 - Rangers 7. Sorry to say, 11-7 for the home team.
Nice people around me. Nice lady with her two boys next to me. We talked a lot during the game. One of her boys was Kevin's age. Then there was this Hispanic family behind me Grandpa, Mom and Dad and a cute little kid about 4-5 years old. He wanted a baseball in the worst way. When the little boy was gone getting his picture taken with the "Ranger Horse," I gave the ball to Grandpa and told him to tell the the kid he caught it when he was gone. Got the idea from my friend Curtis Simpson who took his 2-3 year old to the Cubs game and faked her out into believing she caught the foul ball. The Grandpa didn't use it that way, just told the little boy I had given it to him. The little boy was very thankful. Then looked at me like he was afraid I was going to ask for it back after the game. He was a cute little dude.
This game lasted the longest of any I've attended...almost four hours. Not exactly what I needed after getting up at 4:30 am, and staring a 3 hour drive toward Houston ahead of me. But I forged ahead. Thank goodness for satellite radio. I got to the Holiday Inn Express in Huntsville, TX about 2:00 am. The lady next to me at the game said there was a big prison there...told her I didn't care to visit it! Plan is to get up early and play golf before it gets to 100 degrees...we'll see how that works out.
Tiring, but good day!