2014
Two Guys & a Map
Contiguous Completion Tour

2014 logo


August 12 - Boise Hawks vs. Eugene Emeralds, Memorial Stadium
August 13 - Eugene Emeralds vs. Salem-Keizer Volcanos, PK Park
August 17 - San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies, AT&T Park

2014 Shirt

Two Guys trips don't exist without baseball but it's seldom been the ONLY factor in our planning. We usually start by choosing what ballparks we want to visit, then try to include other forms of culture as well as the opportunity to see friends and family. This was especially true as we got closer and closer to seeing every Major League ballpark, a quest we completed in 2008, then again in 2009, 2010 and 2012 as new ones opened up.

Having no new Major League ballparks to visit gave us some flexibility so we took the opposite approach in 2014. The choice of ballparks was dictated by our desire to see friends and family and the fact that DC had set foot in 46 of the 48 contiguous states.

DC’s daughter Aliyah joined the Navy in 2013 and was stationed at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California throughout the entire 2014 baseball season. We decided we’d visit her and get to Monterey via Idaho and Oregon, the two contiguous states he hadn't yet set foot in. That led us to two minor league ballgames and a return visit to one of our favorite ballparks.



Minnesota

There are no direct flights from the Washington DC area to Idaho. Because Dave has many friends and family in Minneapolis, we chose to get to Boise through there. On Monday, August 11 we flew in and headed over to see Molly. We hung with her for a while and got to see her husband Jon and daughter Sara on our way out.

Then it was over to St. Paul where we picked up Sharon. The three of us headed to the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. We couldn’t think of a better way for two friends who met in a record store to start a baseball trip than seeing a band that performs nothing but songs about baseball.

After a fine opening set by longtime St. Paul band The Honeydogs, the headliners took the stage. This group is not the main musical focus of anyone in the band. It’s a side project, which came together based on the members' mutual love of baseball, thus the group is called The Baseball Project. They entertained us with a set of songs about baseball players past and present and other related topics including box scores, no-hitters and fair-weather fans. (DC's favorite was about one year wonder Mark Fydrich, Sharon was partial to the one about box scores. They didn't do Dave's favorite, about the day Jack McDowell gave New York fans the finger - it's called "The Yankee Flipper.")

Sharon's husband Bill couldn't make the show but we spent some time chatting with him before turning in. We had to be up at 5:00 AM the next morning to catch our flight.


Dave and Molly

The Baseball Project

Sharon and Bill

Dave and Molly

The Baseball Project
Left to right: Scott McCaughey, Mike Mills, Steve Wynn
(not visible - Linda Pitmon)

Sharon and Bill




Idaho

The next morning we flew from Minneapolis to Boise via Phoenix, going from Central Time to Pacific Time and then back to Mountain Time in just a few hours. Our body clocks were a bit confused but DC could now add Idaho to his list of states visited.

Boise is a nice town, the state capital of Idaho, with a population of about 205,000. Our first stop was Boise State University, where we got an in-person look at the football stadium’s famous blue turf field. Then we walked through the state capital building. Idaho’s legislature was not in session so there were very few people around but we did end up in a very interesting discussion with Diane Kelly, the Chief of Staff of the Minority Leader. (And when they said minority, they meant it - at the time we visited, Democrats held only 20% of the seats in both the Senate and the House there.) Among other things we learned that Idaho has the only thermally heated state capital building in the United States.


Smurf Turf

Welcome To Boise

Idaho State Capital

They call it "Smurf Turf"

We began the day in "The Land of 10,000 Lakes", we ended it in "The City of Trees"

Idaho's state capital building


We had a nice dinner at a local restaurant called Forks (yes, there were Idaho potatoes involved) and headed off to our first game of the trip. The Boise Hawks are a Chicago Cubs farm team that plays in the short season, single A level Northwest League. Memorial Stadium is a fairly nondescript 4000 seat ballpark built in the 1980s. It has a nice backdrop of foot hills but other than that, there is nothing particularly distinguished about it. The pre-game festivities included a retirement ceremony for the Hawks batboy – after eight years with the team, he was heading out for his freshman year at Arizona State University. He was given gifts and his family recognized just like you see in player retirement ceremonies. It was a nice touch.

The Northern League is pretty much the lowest level of organized baseball and most of the players were 19 and 20 year olds, just getting started as professionals. Lots of fastballs and change-ups, players still learning their positions and lots of enthusiasm. The game between the Hawks and the visiting Eugene Emeralds was incredibly sloppy and highly entertaining, with the home team overcoming pretty terrible fielding and a 6-2 deficit to win 11-6.


Memorial Stadium, Boise

Memorial Stadium, Boise, Idaho




Oregon

Wednesday morning we flew in a two engine, propeller driven plane from Boise to Portland. DC doesn’t consider being in an airport to be a visit to a state so as soon as we left Portland International, his presence in Oregon made him "contiguously complete." He had now been to each of The Lower 48.

We didn’t have a whole lot of time to kill in Portland so we asked the woman who waited on us at the at the car rental counter what she would see if she only had time to do one thing there. Her suggestion was a good one - Multnomah Falls, which has been designated as the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States.

We drove out to the Columbia River Gorge and found the falls, right by the highway. It took us about 45 minutes to make the 620 foot climb up the steep, winding trail that leads to the top. A good workout was rewarded with a great view.

After getting our exercise, we hit the road, driving two hours to Eugene. It was a very nice drive - Oregon is a truly beautiful state. DC describes it as "Vermont on steroids"- bigger mountains, bigger trees, more of them. He lived in Vermont for years and loved it, so that was a huge compliment.



Multnomah Falls - this is the first, but not last, time we'll say "pictures don't do it justice" about things we saw on this tour.

Multnomah Falls


We were there to see the Eugene Emeralds, who'd been the visiting team in Boise the night before. Their home field is PK Park, which was opened in 2010 and is part of the University of Oregon’s athletic facility. It sits between a soccer field and Autzen Stadium, the university’s large football stadium. The University's athletic department receives a lot of money from Nike and they have some really nice facilities to show for it. PK Park is a much nicer ballpark than Memorial Stadium - new scoreboard with video, field in better shape, better seating etc. Not only is it the nicest single A park we’d ever been in, it’s nicer than several higher level parks we’d seen.

The Emeralds played a much better game than they had the night before but one bad play, a wild pitch, allowed the Salem-Keizer Volcanos to win by a score of 2-1.

We spent the night at a very nice hotel in Sutherlin, Oregon and hit the road early the next morning. We had a lot of ground to cover but had scheduled an interesting break in the trip.


PK Park, Eugene

PK Park, Eugene, Oregon





California

We hit the road early on Thursday. About three hours after leaving Sutherlin we arrived in Crescent City, California which is at the northern end of the Redwood Forest National Park. California’s North Coast is the only place in the world these huge trees grow and they are spectacular. They grow to about 370 feet high and approximately 22 feet around.

After a consultation with the Park Rangers at the visitor’s center, we made a quick stop at the beach to see (and especially hear) a large group of seals, then headed into the forest where we spent the next couple of hours walking through the amazing trees. They were huge and we didn't even see any of the Sequoia trees, which are the larger ones that grow there.

Elks graze right by the road in the Redwood Forest National Park

Elks


Redwoods

Redwoods

Redwoods

Pictures don't do them justice.


We had started the trip by visiting good friends. At this point we went back into visiting friends mode. After we emerged from the Redwood Forest, we made the long drive to Sonoma. There we spent the night with Dave’s friends Darlene and Bob, who were hosting us for the third time on a Two Guys trip.

The next morning we headed down past San Francisco to Mountain View, the home of Google. We met in the late 1970s at a University of Maryland student-run record store. One of our favorite co-workers from those days is Ruth, who was now working at Google. We met her for lunch, then spent a couple of hours looking around the Google complex. With us on the east coast and Ruth in California, we seldom get together so it’s a real treat whenever we can.


Darlene and Bob

Google

Record Co-op reunion

Darlene and Bob

Greetings from Sonoma

Record Co-op reunion: DC, Dave and Ruth
Pictures don't do them justice?


Which brought us to the real highlight of the trip, especially for DC. The chance to notch states 47 and 48 was nice but the real lure was the chance to see his daughter at DLI. DC is very, very proud of his girl.

Because of a car show there that weekend, hotel rooms were hard to come by in Monterey so we ended up staying about 40 miles away in Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of The World.” (The air there actually smells quite strongly of garlic.). We met Aliyah about halfway between Monterey and Gilroy for a nice dinner, then called it a night.

The entire next day was spent with Aliyah. She showed us the Presidio of Monterey where she lived and attended class and was our tour guide around Central California, taking us to the amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Point Lobos National Park and other sites. She’s a lovely young woman and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the day.


Cannery Row

Jellyfish

Carmel

Cannery Row in Monterey,
made famous by John Steinbeck

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The California coast near Carmel.
Pictures don't do it justice.


So far on the trip we’d been alternating between friends and baseball. On the last full day of the trip we combined the two. Aliyah picked us up. She was not alone – Dave got to witness the introduction of DC to Aliyah’s boyfriend Mark.

We piled into the car – Aliyah driving with DC climbing into the back seat to get to know Mark better. Dave got a kick out of listening to the interrogation - he’s not sure if Aliyah and Mark were as amused as he was. But it was all very good natured and DC and Mark actually hit it off quite well. (Dave liked him too but his opinion didn’t count nearly as much.)


Aliyah and DC

The Introduction

Aliyah and Mark

Aliyah and DC at AT&T Park

The Introduction

Aliyah and Mark


We drove into San Francisco and went to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. This was our fourth game there (two in 2002 when it was called Pac Bell Park plus one in 2008). We’ll go there anytime – it’s DC’s favorite place to go to a game (Dave is still partial to Wrigley Field but he loves AT&T Park too.) Neither Aliyah nor Mark had ever been there, both came away impressed.

A good baseball park is like a classic cathedral - you can go an infinite number of times and it is still a place of wonder and joy. AT&T is a beautiful brick ballpark right on the San Francisco Bay with a wonderful view of the Bay Bridge and the boats floating around out there. A real gem.

We saw a well-played game, with the Giants putting the Philadelphia Phillies away by a score of 5-2. Dave was pleased when one of his favorite former Nationals, Michael Morse, went 3 for 3 and scored twice.


AT&T

AT&T Park, San Francisco, California


Stinking Rose

Afterwards, in honor of our stay the previous two nights in “The Garlic Capital of The World”, we went to a well-known San Francisco restaurant called The Stinking Rose, where every item on the menu contains garlic. All of us agreed the food was delicious.

And then, it was over. We’d been on the road for a week but it had just flown by. Aliyah and Mark had a long drive back to Monterey so they dropped us off at the airport and hit the road. We hung out for a while, then took a red eye flight home.

Planning for 2016 was already underway.

The Stinking Rose



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.

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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
2012 - The Jazz Fest Tour
2014 - The Contiguous Completion Tour You are here
2016 - The Way Out West Tour

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