Monday, January 16, 2012

#BIAHRoadTrip The Diary Part IX: Sleep deprivation kicks in, and why we drove from Indianapolis to Milwaukee at 3am

8:15 pm Day 11
A ridiculously nice lakehouse
Oconomowoc, WI
Total Miles: 1525

Road Trip Part-I
Road Trip Part-II
Road Trip Part-III
Road Trip Part-IV
Road Trip Part-V
Road Trip Part-VI
Road Trip Part-VII
Road Trip Part-VIII

We haven't given you a diary in a couple of day, which, frankly, you can blame on Marquette.

Yes, Marquette.

You see, on Friday night we were in Indianapolis for Butler and Cleveland State. That game ended at 9pm. We were out of there by 10pm. Generally speaking, we were set up perfectly for an early night, except for the fact that we had to make a it all the way to Milwaukee for a game tipping at 2pm the next afternoon. That's a five hour drive. So instead of waking up at 7am on Saturday morning and praying that we didn't hit any traffic on the road (and for that matter, hoping that we actually woke up to our alarms, which has been an issue on this trip), we decided to hop in the car immediately after Butler lost and make the drive to the land of cheese.

Seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

Not so much at 2:30 am.

I don't know if any of you have ever made that drive, but the highways are perfectly straight. Literally. There are never any turns. I legitimately considered anchoring the steering wheel in place, throwing on the cruise control and taking a nap, but figured that probably would be a bit unsafe.

The other part about that trip that threw me off were the tolls. For the first time on our trip, we ran into them, but they weren't anything like any toll we've ever seen. As you know, we grew up on the east coast. As such, any toll we would run into was either a) manned by an attendant or b) had one of those big buckets that you throw a handful of coins into.

The ones on this trip?

They worked like a vending machine. You had to feed money into the toll. On the highway.

Look, I don't mean to insult anyone with this, but that's freakin' weird. And its also freakin' annoying. When its six degrees out and one in the morning, I don't want to have to be getting out of my car to feed six quarters into a toll after having to wait 10 minutes because only one lane is open and the other four people in cars in front of me are having the same issue.

No joke, I even watched one guy put on his sweatshirt, jacket, hat, gloves and scarf only to get out of the car and take off his gloves so he could put the coins in the slot.

I expect more out of you, Chicago. I wasn't exactly pleased with my first visit to the Windy City.


One issue that has arisen for us on this trip is our inability to find the proper media entrance.

You'd think, eventually, we would get lucky, stumbling upon the place to pick up press passes. But it hasn't happened yet. At Indiana on Thursday night, we were told by about four different people that we had to go up to the front door to get our press passes. Usually, this isn't the case. But without another option, we made the trek up to the front door in the frozen tundra of Bloomington.

Obviously, this wasn't the case, so we had to make the trek all the way back to our car, drive all the way around the building and go into the south entrance. Once we got there, we had to try and convince a parking attendant that we weren't just looking for a free spot to park and that we, in fact, had a parking pass waiting for us once we figured out where media will call is. He let us park, we made our way to media will call, and we had no parking pass. Whoops.

Butler was even more of a disaster.

We were told to park behind Hinkle Fieldhouse in a lot about 10 minutes away from the gym. After parking we walked up to the front door to try and get our bearings. We asked someone that clearly worked for the university where to get media credentials, and they told us to walk towards a sign that said 'Will Call'.

So we do.

No media credentials.

We come out, and the guy says that's for regular tickets, we need to go to the will call in the West Gym.

So we do.

No media credentials there, either.

The two women handing out tickets for all of the family members of the two teams finally tells us where we need to go -- an entrance that is literally 50 feet away but can only be accessed by walking alllllllll the way around the building.

Did I mention it was about as nice out as a typical January evening in Greenland?

Marquette, however, was the worst.

We end up having to pay $15 to park in a lot because we couldn't talk our way past the women at the front gate. So we pay our $15 and make our way towards the Bradley Center. As soon as we exit the parking garage, we're faced with a decision: go right or go left. We go left, and end up having to walk alllllllll the way around the arena.

If I had Aaron Rodgers arm, I could have broken the windshield of BIAH Mobile HQ from the media entrance.


(Troy speaking): When you're on the road for a long time, your mind starts to wander.

Somewhere between Gary, IN, and Chicago, IL, at roughly 1:30AM, my mind started to drift. At the exact same time, the song "#1 Stunna" by The Big Tymers came on our XM Radio. Now, if you're in your mid-to-late 20's, like I am, you undoubtedly downloaded this song on Napster or had it on a CD mix. This song was played at every single middle school mixer I ever attended.

Was there ever a music video that tipified a time period more than "#1 Stunna"? The concept was simple: Chicks in bikinis, sports cars, money and platinum jewelry. It seemed like every hip-hop music video made after "#1 Stunna" followed the exact same concept. Think about every hip-hop CD cover album made from 2000 to 2006. They all looked the same. Bling'd out title, dollar signs, gothic text, and maybe a Bently or 9mm.

But then I went back even further -- after all, it was 1:30AM, and, like, what else am I going to do? I'm half asleep and in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do except pray that Rob doesn't drive off the road -- and couldn't the same be said about the mid-90's and "Hip Hop Hooray" by Naughty by Nature?

One of the first tapes I ever purchased was a single of "Hip Hop Hooray", and I can remember the music video vividly. Again, a very simple concept: some graffiti, a large crew of people, a junkyard and big Starter jackets. Now think back to every other hip-hip music video that was released following "Hip Hop Hooray" ... exactly the same premise, right? Get your crew, put on a heavy coat and winter cap (or wifebeater and du-rag for those in the south) and march down an alley way.

And then, just like that, I look out the window, glance at some frozen roadkill or something, and my brain already wandering to the next subject.

Such is life on the road.

What? Wuh-What? What?


(Troy again): I'm a huge animal person. I find animals much more interesting than people. Less hastle, less attitude, less everything. But I'll save that tangent for another time.

I bring up my affinity for animals because last spring, BIAH got the oppurtunity to cover the Final Four in Houston. While we had many media responsibilities to fulfill, I was bound and determined to introduce myself to Butler's "Blue II", the most media-savy live mascot in the entire country (or so says his twitter handle.)

Needless to say, I spent the entire weekend patrolling Reliant Stadium from top to bottom in hopes of meeting the Butler bulldog. Not once, not one single time did I even come within 100 yards of him. I was dejected and upset. I had blown my chance.

Which brings me to Friday night. If there was one thing I hoped to accomplish from this road trip, it was to make up for my gaff and get a picture with Blue II when we visited Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Butler-Cleveland State game. I was focused and ready to hunt him down. But once again, he was untrackable. He led the team onto the court before the game, but disappeared like a snow leopard in a winter blizzard. Yes, I watched Planet Earth. All of them. Lots of times.

I spent the game scanning the crowd, tweeting at him, and keeping one eye open, but alas, nothing.

But then, like Tim Tebow in the fourth quarter, I was granted a gift from God. As I left my seat on press row, I turned around to go to the press conference and, lo-and-behold, he was there. Right behind me. It was like one of those movie moments when the bright light shines down and angelic music comes on.

It was a miracle. A sweet, cuddly, furry, slobber-filled miracle.

If our car breaks down in Nebraska, or if we get lost in Utah and never return, this trip will still be considered a success, at least in my opinion.


We got in from a five hour drive at 3:27 am local time to this:

And this:

You have no idea how badly all of that was needed. Thanks, Millards!

(We'll have another post coming about our time in Wisconsin at some point tomorrow.)


Peg said...

I went to undergrad at Butler, and graduate school at Wisconsin, but grew up in Chicago. Suffice it to say that I am familiar with the drive from Indy to Milwaukee. The drive up and down 65 is awful, but it got slightly more interesting a few years ago when they erected the wind turbines. Having driven up 65 at night, you probably noticed the field of windmills. It stretches on for a while and the lights on the windmills blink simultaneously in an amusingly eerie way.

If you're ever lucky enough to drive back, southbound, by day, keep your eyes peeled for a roadside milk tank, topped with a large metal cow, reading "We've got milk and moooooore." It serves as a reminder that you've wandered into Indiana.

Pooji said...

The next time you have to drive through Chicago, ask your fan base for help. I'll add you to my iPass account and you can drive through the "open road tolling" at 90 m.p.h. Almost makes paying tolls fun. And they're half-price if you pay electronically.