2010
Two Guys & a Map
The Riding In Ron's Car Tour

2010 map


August 13 - Indianapolis Indians vs. Syracuse Chiefs, Victory Field
August 14 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs, Busch Stadium
August 15 - Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees, Kauffman Stadium
August 19 - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies, Dodger Stadium
August 21 - Minnesota Twins vs. Anaheim Angels, Target Field

Part One: A Change of Plans

By the end of the 2008 season, we had been to every Major League ballpark. In 2009 two new ones opened in New York. They built them so we went. Then in 2010 the Minnesota Twins moved out of the Metrodome into Target Field, so we knew where we were headed.

When the schedules came out in December we began to plan. Dave has a lot of friends in Minneapolis and there was only one weekend in the entire 2010 season where the Twins and all of them would be in Minneapolis at the same time. We came up with a trip that would start in Indianapolis, go on to Louisville, St. Louis, Kansas City and end up in Minneapolis on August 21.

But our plans changed when Dave’s friend Ron decided to move to the Los Angeles area. Ron drove the moving van and his wife Robin drove the kids to their new home, leaving their other car in Virginia. Shipping a car across country is very expensive but Two Guys offered an alternative. One night Dave slid a piece of paper across the table to DC that said “Two Guys and a Map – Riding In Ron’s Car” along with a possible itinerary scrawled on it. He asked “What would you think about driving cross country as part of a Two Guys trip?” Much to his surprise, the answer was a quick, resounding “Yes!”


Dave’s sister’s reaction was, “Are you crazy?” but she immediately followed it up with, “Well, I guess it is a rite of passage kind of thing.” She had hit the nail on the head - the thought of driving all the way across the U.S. appealed to both of us. Also, Dave had always wanted to visit The Grand Canyon and had come to the conclusion that one does not get to The Grand Canyon unless they are making a trip especially to see it… or driving by on their way cross country.

Ron and Robin gave some thought to our offer and decided to take us up on it. The itinerary was finalized. The dates of some games changed. The game in Louisville was scrapped but we added one in Los Angeles. DC went out and got enough bottled water to float a small ship. Dave prepared enough music for the car to get to Los Angeles and back ten times.


The car quickly became known as "The Ronmobile."

Ron's Car


A drive across country has to start somewhere. At 4:45 AM on Friday August 13 Dave set the trip odometer on the car to 000000 and off we went.



Part Two: The First 1200 Miles

Victory Field

Our goal for the first day was to reach Indianapolis. We drove through Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, then into Indiana and reached our destination in late afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we headed off to see the Indianapolis Indians play the Syracuse Chiefs. The Indians (the Triple A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite their name) play downtown, right next to the new home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium.

Victory Field is a beautiful park. Even though it was in its fifteenth season when we were there, it looked like it had opened the day before we arrived. Victory Field was spotless - the people who work there take great pride in the cleanliness of the place. There was a very friendly atmosphere, from the vendors to the ushers to the people in the seats and on the lawn overlooking the outfield walls.

The Chiefs are the Washington Nationals top farm team so there were several players on the team who we had seen back home. We are Nationals fans so we rooted for the Chiefs. They lost, 5-2.


Victory Field in Indianapolis


The next morning we made the relatively short four hour drive to St. Louis. Two Guys trips are not just about baseball – we try visit friends and family whenever possible. Dave’s parents grew up in St. Louis and he has many relatives living there. We met up with three generations of his cousins – Debbie, Marcy and Shelley; Rebecca and Max; Stephanie, Matt and the four month old first grandchild of Dave’s generation, Harper. Marcy, Rebecca and Max actually live in Minneapolis but were in St. Louis to see Harper for the first time. (We met up with over two dozen friends and relatives on this trip. Scroll down for a guide on who is related to whom.)

After lunch, we headed for Busch Stadium with Max and Debbie’s husband Jon to see the Cardinals play their fiercest rivals, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won 3-2 because the Cardinals players simply forgot how to bunt – they not only failed to move the runner, their attempts to do so were spectacularly inept, popping out on bunts three times in two innings. The hometown crowd left disappointed but we had fun (and discovered that Busch Stadium has perhaps the most efficient crowd dispersal in all of baseball.)

That night Dave’s aunt Wilma joined most of the lunch crowd and we went to The Atomic Cowboy, a restaurant owned by yet another of Dave’s cousins. Chip wasn’t there but a good time was had by all.

Debbie and Jon have a lovely house and they were wonderful hosts. Sunday morning we said goodbye and headed for Kansas City. We made one stop along the way at Nostalgiaville, a schlock paradise in Kingdom City, Missouri. It was full of 1950s and 1960s TV and music tchotchkes. The store itself closed a few years later but they still sell online.


We arrived in Kansas City shortly before game time. Dave is sure that DC agreed to change the trip’s itinerary because that would mean we’d see the Royals play his beloved New York Yankees instead of the Cleveland Indians, as originally planned. DC swears that wasn’t the only reason.

We’d been to Kauffman Stadium before, seeing two games on the 1996 Midwest Tour. Since that time, Kauffman Stadium had undergone a major renovation. We have mixed feelings about the changes. It appears the idea was to give fans something to do besides watch the game – sacrilege to us but a fact of life in baseball today. Frankly, given the teams the Royals had been fielding for the last few years prior to and including 2010, it’s not surprising that they wanted to distract the fans.


Kauffman Stadium, still a nice place to watch a ballgame

Kauffman Stadium


We prefer open stadiums, where you can see outside of the park when you’re in your seats. Kauffman Stadium has a huge scoreboard shaped like a crown in centerfield and prior to the renovation fans could see outside of the stadium on either side of it. The renovation enclosed Kauffman Stadium, although the new additions aren't that tall. Overall, we felt the additions were a net plus. They added bleacher seating, some of which is right in front of the famous outfield fountains, and a Royals Hall of Fame.



Kauffman Stadium

The Royals Hall of Fame gives a good history of the team’s greatest players (Frank White, George Brett, Dennis Leonard, Willie Wilson, etc.) and discusses how a small market team has successfully survived in the last thirty years.Once again we saw a horrible execution of an attempted bunt when a Yankee tapped the ball directly to the pitcher. They could have used a runner in scoring position as, much to DC's chagrin, the Yankees lost 1-0.

It turned out to be a relatively short break for us. The game took just over two hours to play and right afterwards we were back on the road. A few hours later we got to Wichita, Kansas where we spent the night.


You can walk behind the outfield fountains now



Part Three: The Longest Day

Ever since the trip was planned Dave had jokingly referring to August 16 as “The Day That Will Test Our Friendship.” We drove over 700 miles that day, nearly a quarter of the whole trip’s mileage, and it took us almost 14 hours to get to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our plan was to drive from Wichita to Albuquerque with stops only for bathroom breaks and food. The plan didn’t quite come off as originally envisioned as we stopped at a few cultural landmarks along the way - and our friendship survived just fine.

We were both awake really early so we left Wichita at 4:00 AM, driving south to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was there that we got on Route 40, which runs roughly parallel to a portion of the old Route 66.

Route 66 is perhaps the most famous road in American history. It was known as “The Main Street of America,” running from Chicago to L.A. In his novel "The Grapes of Wrath" John Steinbeck gave it another famous nickname, “The Mother Road.” Bobby Troup wrote a popular song called "Route 66" which was recorded by many people, most successfully by Nat King Cole and Asleep At The Wheel. There was even a TV series called Route 66 that aired in the 1960s. Over the years Route 66 was replaced by high speed interstate highways but much of the original 2448 miles of paved road still exists. Over the next three days we would cover about 1230 miles of that, mostly on Route 40 but with several detours to the original roadway.


Postcard

ROUTE 66
(Troup)

Well, if you ever plan to motor west
Just take my way that's the highway that's the best
Get your kicks on Route 66

Well, it winds from Chicago to L.A.
More than 2000 miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66

Well, it goes from St. Louie down to Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty
You'll see Amarillo and Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino

Would you get hip to this kindly tip
And go take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66


Shortly after we left Oklahoma City we saw signs for The Roger Miller Museum in Erick, Oklahoma. Roger Miller, a great songwriter best known for"King of The Road," grew up outside Erick. We decided that was worth a quick look and went into town. Unfortunately, the museum is not open on Mondays, so all we saw was the front door. We also got a good look at what the interstate had done along Route 66 – we didn’t see a living soul in Erick, Oklahoma. This became a familiar sight when we got off Route 40 and ventured along the original Route 66. While Erick was the only place where we saw absolutely no one, there wasn’t much going on in the towns along Route 40.


We had better luck when we got to McLean, Texas. There are at least four Route 66 museums along Route 40 and we were intrigued by the one in McLean since it was also The Devil's Rope Museum, dedicated not only to the old road but to barbed wire as well.


Dowtown McLean

McLean, Texas


(Left) The original Route 66


(Right) Devil's Rope Museum / Route 66 Museum

Devil's Rope Museum


DC was driving through Amarillo, Texas when Dave noticed something in the atlas. We are both big Bruce Springsteen fans. He had released a song called ‘Cadillac Ranch’ in 1980 after seeing an art installation with that name made up of ten Cadillacs buried nose down in the ground. A picture of the Cadillac Ranch had appeared on the sleeve of Springsteen’s album ‘The River’ but we had no idea where it was located. It turns out it is right by the highway outside of Amarillo so we made a brief stop.


Cadillac Ranch

Two Guys Leave Their Mark

Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, TX

Graffiting the Cadillacs is encouraged. Two Guys left their mark.


Route 40 crosses the Texas Panhandle and enters New Mexico, which is very pretty. We were enjoying the scenery when suddenly huge black clouds surrounded us on all sides. It began raining just a few hundred yards to the south of the highway and a few hundred yards to the north of the highway but not on the highway. A couple of hours after that surreal moment we arrived in Albuquerque, where we spent the night.



Part Four: It Is Indeed a Grand Canyon

Waking up by 4:00 AM had become the norm on this trip and Tuesday morning we hit the road early once again, driving from Albuquerque into Arizona. While planning the trip we noticed several National Parks fairly close to our route. The Petrified Forest National Park is right on Route 40, at the approximate half way point between Albuquerque and The Grand Canyon, so we stopped there.

This area was tropical for hundreds of thousands of years. When trees fell, they were buried in layers of sand and volcanic ash. Minerals in the sand and ash changed the wood to a petrified, rock-like state. The park was created at a spot where there is a huge concentration of these fallen, petrified trees. It is very pretty and unusual terrain.


Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona

It looks like stone but it's actually wood

Petrified Forest


We spent a couple of hours driving around and walking the trails. Then it was back on the road for another four hours until we got to the south rim of The Grand Canyon.

We checked into our hotel and went by the Visitor Center. It was still daylight when we finished there so we stopped at one of the overlooks. DC had been to the Grand Canyon once before. Dave had not, so DC watched to see his reaction when he viewed The Grand Canyon for the first time, getting a kick out of the huge grin on Dave’s face. Even though DC was a veteran Canyon visitor, he was still amazed at the vastness and grandeur of it all. “Awesome” is a word that has been somewhat devalued these days but that truly, truly describes The Grand Canyon. Pictures simply can’t do it justice, it really needs to be seen.


Grand Canyon


"Nearly everybody, on taking a first look at The Grand Canyon, comes right out and admits its wonders are absolutely
indescribable, and then proceeds to write anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 words giving the full details." - Irvin S. Cobb


The National Park Service has a very good web site devoted to visiting The Grand Canyon. One thing it said was that the worst time for hiking there is August because of the extreme heat. So we decided to get an early start on Wednesday and were on the Bright Angel Trail by 5:30 AM. It was raining a bit but that didn’t bother us. While we didn’t have enough time to hike all the way to the bottom or even to the half-way plateau, we did get about a third of the way down and really enjoyed our two hours below the rim. We heard at least four or five different languages from other hikers, saw pack mules and even a ram, just a few feet off the trail. It was a combination of a good cardiovascular workout, a geology lesson and beautiful scenery.


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


We started hiking before sunrise.

There aren't just people on the trails. Watch your step.

Sunrise at The Grand Canyon.


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Looking up from below the rim. This is only a short way down.

The ram didn't seem to mind us being there.

It looks like a painting behind DC but it's real!


Part Five: California, Here We Come

After leaving The Grand Canyon, we stopped in Kingman, Arizona to visit another Route 66 museum and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, which included an Arizona artist's portraits of every President and First Lady, a display on copper mining and a room dedicated to Kingman native Andy Devine, the great sidekick of countless westerns.

After that educational experience, we got back on the highway and headed into California.

When we started hiking that morning the temperature at The Grand Canyon had been in the 50s. We were now driving across the Mojave Desert and noticed that the car’s outside thermometer read 118 degrees. “But it’s a dry heat” was a meaningless phrase at that point. Humid or arid, 118 degrees is HOT! Suddenly DC’s investment in many, many bottles of water looked very wise. We survived, the car didn’t overheat and we reached our stopping point for the night, Barstow, California.

California desert

California desert


Ronmobile at home

Thursday morning we drove the last leg with The Ronmobile. Barstow is a lot closer to Santa Clarita than Google Maps had led us to believe so it took us just two hours to get to Ron’s house.

The Ronmobile had served us well. The trip odometer now read 2993 miles. (We considered driving around the block a few dozen times to hit 3000 but decided against it.) It had started in Virginia and carried us through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California; through cities and desert; in rain and heat. Pretty good for a 12 year old car that had almost 109,000 miles on it when the trip began.

We hung out for awhile, having a pleasant visit with Ron, Robin, their kids Sierra and Savannah and their new dog Jasmine. Then it was one last spin in the Ronmobile, but this time we were both passengers. Ron drove us 40 miles from his home in Santa Clarita to our hotel near the airport in downtown Los Angeles.

Ron and Robin are happy to see... their car.


Los Angeles doesn’t have the greatest mass transit system in the world so we rented a car to get ourselves to the Dodgers game that night. Driving in L.A. is no fun – it took us about 90 minutes to travel the 20 miles from the airport area to the stadium.

Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. After the original Yankee Stadium closed, it became the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, older than all but Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. It’s a beautiful ballpark, set into a hillside in Chavez Ravine with mountains and palm trees as a backdrop beyond the outfield walls. Dodger Stadium is a no-frills ballpark – the game’s the thing and we saw a masterful pitching performance in this one. Ted Lilly threw a two hit shutout for the Dodgers, walking only two men while striking out eleven and retiring nineteen in a row after giving up a hit in the first inning. The Dodgers won 2-0, with both runs coming on a second inning homer. They could have scored more, but in keeping with a recurring theme of this trip, they butchered a bunt attempt later in the game.


Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium


He doesn't look like Sandy Koufax either

Sandy Koufax



Part Six: Minneapolis

By this time we had driven coast-to-coast. But we weren’t going to let the fact that we’d gone south from Kansas City instead of north deter us from reaching our goal of seeing games in every Major League ballpark. We still had to get to Minnesota. So we got up at 3:45 AM on Friday, August 20, caught the shuttle for LAX, hopped on a flight to Denver, then changed planes and went on to Minneapolis.

Exhibit pamphlet

We went straight from the airport to The Science Museum of Minnesota where we met up with Dave’s longtime friend Sharon. Another old friend of Dave’s works for the museum and Robert had left us tickets for a special exhibit they were hosting.

The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of several hundred documents discovered in caves around the Dead Sea, east of Jerusalem. They were discovered between the late 1940s and late 1950s and are the oldest known Biblical documents in existence, dating back to the time Jesus lived. They contain copies of text from the Hebrew Bible, other religious texts and documents that outline other rules to live by. It’s rare that the Scrolls go “on the road” so we were very lucky to be in Minnesota while a small portion of them were on display. It was a great, very informative exhibit and we really appreciated being able to see it.

We were pretty beat at this point so we went back to Sharon’s and just hung out with her and her husband Bill for the rest of the evening.

The next morning Dave and Bill headed out for coffee. When Two Guys were in Seattle a couple of years earlier, Dave had refused to enter the original Starbucks because he really hates their coffee. On the other hand, Caribou has really good coffee and he was happy to get a cup at the original Caribou store.

First Caribou

The original Caribou Coffee

Then it was time for baseball. The Twins had played indoors at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome since 1982. It was a terrible place to watch baseball and the Twins had been trying since the mid-1990s to convince the Minnesota legislature to fund a new ballpark. They finally got it approved in 2006 and Target Field opened in April 2010.

We have always said that Two Guys and a Map run like a well oiled machine and that was on display this day – we managed to get all the tickets for this game distributed in a timely manner and all thirteen people were in their seats by game time. This was by far the largest group we’d ever had for a Two Guys game – we had Sharon and Bill; their daughter Maggie; Matt who is a friend of Bill’s; Robert and his wife Sue; Dave’s friends Molly and Jon with their daughter Sara; Dave’s cousin Marcy’s husband Frank and their son Max.

Max had been in St. Louis at the same time we were the previous week and he went to the Cardinals game there with us. Thus he made Two Guys history by becoming the first person other than Danny The Mapholder to attend more than one game on the same Two Guys trip.

Sara was also at her second Two Guys and a Map game - the very first baseball game she ever attended was at The Metrodome during The Life on the Mississippi Tour.

Two Guys Entourage

Robert and Sue

Lunchbox


The Two Guys entourage at Target Field - on the left, Dave, Jon, Sara, Molly, Sharon and Frank. In 2006 all we got of Robert and Sue in the picture was Robert's chin and Sue's torso. We're getting better - maybe next time we'll get all of Robert's face... and more than just Maggie's knees and Bill's hands. We didn't get a good panorama shot of Target Field so the picture on Sara's promotional lunchbox will have to do.


Target Field is very nice, a vast improvement over the old Metrodome (which was one of the worst places either of us has ever seen a baseball game.) The gates at the stadium are all numbered in honor of retired Twins – 3 for Harmon Killebrew, 6 for Tony Oliva, 14 for Kent Hrbeck, 29 for Rod Carew and 34 for Kirby Puckett. Much of the exterior is made of limestone from Minnesota.

The interior is beautiful. It’s an open air park with nice views of the Minneapolis skyline. Even though the plot of land the ballpark is built on is relatively small, the interior feels very roomy. The scoreboard has a large replica of the Twins old logo of two players, one representing Minneapolis, the other St. Paul, who shake hands after a Twins home run (something we did not witness this day.)


Target Field

Target Field

Target Field


Minnesota limestone outer walls

They shake hands if a Twin homers

The Big Glove


When Target Field opened, it became the "greenest" (most environmentally friendly) ballpark in the country. The locals all appeared to be quite proud of the park and loved sitting outside during the games – Molly and Jon had been in attendance during the first rain delay in Minnesota in almost thirty years and even that hadn’t phased them.

Sadly, the Twins put on a pretty miserable show for us. They took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first but were down 4-3 before they hit for a second time and it just got worse. They had a runner thrown out at the plate (although we thought he was safe), Delmon Young lost a fly ball in the sun, two Twins pitchers got hurt and landed on the disabled list after the game and the Angels ended up stomping them 9-3. On the other hand, they didn’t mess up any bunts (mostly because they didn’t attempt any.)


The Two Guys entourage went their separate ways after the game. We went out to dinner in the suburbs with Molly and Jon, dropped Jon off at home so he could relieve the baby sitter, then headed back downtown with Molly to a club called Whiskey Junction to see Molly's brother Terry. Bill joined us there.

Terry fronts a nine piece band called The Belfast Cowboys. Dave was partially responsible for the formation of the band – more than 20 years earlier he had made a tape of Van Morrison songs for Molly. Terry found it, “borrowed” it and came to love it so much that he formed a band to play almost exclusively the music of Van Morrison.

Dave was both a little embarrassed and a little flattered when, after spying us in the audience, Terry told that story from the stage. It was a great show and along with the great Van Morrison material, the few non-Van songs played included "Ophelia" by Bill’s favorite The Band and "Tenth Avenue Freezeout" by Two Guys favorite Bruce Springsteen. Everyone in the audience appeared to be having a great time. To paraphrase Van The Man, we’re sure Terry was in heaven when they smiled.

Belfast Cowboys

"Turn it up, that's enough, so you know it's got soul" - The Belfast Cowboys


Saturday was a full day. Sunday was more laid back. Sharon, Bill and their daughter Becky accompanied us to breakfast with Marcy and Frank. After that we just hung out until it was time to head for the airport.

Then it was on a plane headed for home. We landed a few hours later, exhausted but happy. It had been a great trip – we’d been in sixteen states, saw lots of family and friends, went to five baseball games, added two ballparks to our list, soaked up lots of Americana, seen ancient artifacts, had generally very pleasant weather AND (despite some people’s predictions to the contrary) we were still speaking to each other after spending nearly every minute of ten consecutive days together.

And plans were already underway for Two Guys and a Map 2012. The opening of the Florida Marlins new ballpark in Miami was scheduled for that year…


You Can't Tell The Players Without a Program - a Who's Who for The Riding In Ron's Car Tour

Relatives
Shelley, Debbie, Marcy – sisters and Dave’s first cousins
Jon R. – Debbie’s husband
Frank – Marcy’s husband
Rebecca and Max – Marcy’s kids; Dave’s first cousins, once removed
Stephanie – Shelley’s daughter; Dave’s first cousin, once removed
Matt S. – Stephanie’s husband
Harper – Matt and Stephanie’s son; Dave’s first cousin, twice removed
Wilma – Dave, Shelley, Debbie and Marcy’s aunt

Friends
Sharon met Dave in high school in 1973
Bill - Sharon's husband
Becky and Maggie - Sharon and Bill's daughters
Molly met Dave when he was visiting Sharon and Bill in 1984
Jon W. - Molly's husband
Sara- Molly and Jon's daughter
Robert and Dave met in kindergarten in 1963
Sue - Robert's wife
Terry - Molly’s brother
Matt - former co-worker of Bill’s; coincidentally he grew up in Dave and Robert’s home town
Ron - Dave’s friend from work, owner of The Ronmobile
Robin - Ron's wife
Sierra and Savannah - Ron and Robin's daughters


Our most recent trip was in 2016, The Way Out West Tour. For a complete list of parks we have visited, check out our Two Guys and a Map Ballpark Scorecard.

Return to Two Guys & a Map Home Page

Prelude - The 1979 World Series
1990 - The Windy City Tour
1991 - The Lost In Cleveland Tour
1994 - The Great Lakes Tour
1996 - The Midwest Tour
1998 - The Two Guys & a Mapholder Classic Ballparks Tour
2000 - The Y2K Southern Tour
2002 - The Midlife Crisis Tour
2004 - The Days of Awe Tour
2006 - The Life on the Mississippi Tour
2007 - The Sunshine State Mini Tour
2007 - The Close To Home Tour
2007 - The Midwest Mini Tour



2008 - If It's Tuesday, This Must Be The Giants Tour
2008 - The Big Apple Mini Tour
2008 - The Touch 'em All Tour
2009 - The Empire State Tour
2010 - The Riding In Ron's Car Tour You are here
2012 - The Jazz Fest Tour
2014 - The Contiguous Completion Tour
2016 - The Way Out West Tour

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Two Guys and a Map Ballpark Scorecard
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