After 19 days and approximately 5,000 miles, we came to the end of the road.* It was a blast scampering across this great republic of ours. We didn't come close to visiting as many locations as we would've liked but we had a great time everywhere we did.
Below is as brief a recap as I could manage, replete with a bunch of my own tweets, because that's what I used to remember the order in which everything happened.
Wednesday June 6
- Spey & Nomad Pick up van from Bandago like bosses.
Thursday June 7
- Leave from HQ at hiney-crack of dawn. It takes tremendous effort to shove all the promotional fatheads and Nick V's monitor (for real, a monitor?) into the van.
We really did it pic.twitter.com/XuWlpV1sED— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 6, 2018
- We pick up CP and the young master Caleb, who are inexplicably waiting for us in the parking lot of a famous Austin head shop.
- Our first stop is Denton, TX for Chipotle, naturally.
- Next stop is Salina, Kansas for dinner, where we meet Dandy Andy.
- We arrive in Lincoln after 15ish hours, and the longest day of the trip as far as van-time goes is complete.
Friday June 8
- Final X - Lincoln press conference. Burroughs dunks on my question :(
- We watch NBA finals in a nice bar with pals including the affable Joe Russell.
Saturday June 9
- We sneak into the Husker wrestling room for Spikeball and roughhousing. Bader nearly head pinches me to death, then breaks CP, who runs out of the gym in a huff.
- After lunch we head to the Railyards to give away free drinks and shoes and watch the weigh-ins on the big screen. Nomad personally shakes everyone’s hands.
- Showtime! I live blog. Every series is over in two. The favorites prevailed.
I let out an explicative. https://t.co/4ZFwPJZkJI— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 10, 2018
Sunday June 10
- Roadtrip back on. Nomad, Nick V and Joe K have been visited by the sandman.
- Bader stops at the house of ultimate bad ass Mike Duroe while the rest of the team enjoys Starbucks.
- We make it to Iowa City in time for spike ball with Marinelli and Meyer.
- Then half the team chills with Gable and tours his basement of awards while the other half enjoys steak dinner and also spaghetti dinner. Nomad climbs a building because he is Nomad. Caleb arrives with Dad, see Nomad, and loses his mind.
Monday June 11
- We hit the road to Madison. Nick V, Joe K and Nomad are napping fiends while Bader and CP are smooth operators operating correctly behind the wheel.
- We jump around with Bono, Reader & McDonough on the 50 yard line of Camp Randall Stadium. A guy in a cart asks us whats up and Bono tells him to get lost.
Pretty incredible playing spikeball on the 50 yardline of Camp Randall. Even better going undefeated while doing it. https://t.co/X1DtYLGBFS— Kyle Bratke (@Kbratke) June 11, 2018
- We enjoy fine dining at the Great Dane then back to the Howard Johnson motel, which has many hallways and microwaves. It is an odd hotel.
Tuesday June 12
- We split up again. Half of us head to Ben Askrens’ compound for disc golf and technique while the other half hang out with Bono and company some more.
- Bono bullies CP and then a Wisconsin camper bludgeons his face. CP requires medical treatment.
- Bono makes it up to us by introducing us to the legend Barry Alvarez.
- I forgot where we ate dinner. Then we went back to that freak show HoJo.
Wednesday June 13
- We make a scheduled stop in Chicago to meet the inventor and CEO of Spikeball.
- The inventor and CEO of Spikeball turns out to be a coward and ducks us.
UPDATE: The CEO of Spikeball has chosen the coward's path and refuses to engage us in competition. No matter, our journey to Columbus resumes unabated! https://t.co/AhpJWoe8JE— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 13, 2018
- We continue on to Ohio, specifically the Columbus part, for a gander at the infamous room.
- More spike ball, which is a great game and one I loathe with the burning passion of a thousand suns. I break my second pair of sunglasses in a fit of pique.
- Jaggers schools everyone in basketball.
- Our Red Roof Inn has no power. Joe is completely broken and goes to a Ramada or some such alternative. Everyone else goes to Panera.
Thursday June 14
- We survived the Red Roof Inn and meet J and Tervel for lunch at Whole Foods. Other options are suggested BUT WHOLE foods is where we went.
School is in session at Whole Foods. pic.twitter.com/t2JTMk4r8u— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 14, 2018
- We check out the future tOSU room and then head on over to State College, PA.
- Our Air BnB is a charming knick-nack repository. Baubles and doodads abound.
- It's the American Ale House for dinner for some beverages and a lovely spaghetti dinner.
- Nick V buys 3 Four Lokos. That’s like 12 Lokos.
We've reached peak Nick V pic.twitter.com/sNO74wyrzQ— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 15, 2018
Friday June 15
- We recline in luxurious leather chairs for the Final X - State College press conference. Kings of the castle, kings of the castle.
- Afterwards, we enjoy fellowship at Pickles.
Somebody wrote Nomad's number on the wall at Pickles pic.twitter.com/JK0vcP9pS6— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 16, 2018
- Willie and Nomad share a couch together like a pair of hand-held cutting utensils.
Saturday June 16
- Showtime, but first, we distribute a pair of shoes to a lucky M2 camper at brunch.
- Chill in the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex until the main event.
- More live blogging! Two women's series go to a decisive third match! Dake and Taylor make their first world teams!
- I drink 8 Lokos, foolishly.
Sunday June 17
- The cowards depart. We drop Nick V off at the bus stop I mean State College airport. He cannot fit his monitor in his luggage. He also leaves that his pillow behind. Bader forgot his pants.
- The real true road warriors soldier on to Lock Haven.
- Ronnie Perry has a nice truck and LHU has a benefactor with a water slide attached to his hilltop mansion.
Mat-Town, USA pic.twitter.com/I2mEc88X1B— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 17, 2018
- We finish the day in Ithaca, which is, in fact, gorges, and eat burgers with Yianni and Gabe Dean.
Monday June 18
- Cornell Day. Dake crushes campers in Spike Ball. I mean he destroys them. RIP those kids.
- More facility touring and then a drive to that captivating land known as the Garden State.
- The Crowne Plaza in Edison,is not half bad, although the nearby McDonald's leaves much to be desired.
Tuesday June 19
- Rutgers Day - but first - we say goodbye to Phoebe, the big black van. She is dropped off in Lyndhurst, NJ, childhood home of Donny Pritzlaff, after a harrowing ride up the turnpike.
- An uber ride later and we pick up our new whip, 'Any Given Hyundai', which you drive off in after you win Final X.
She was supposed to buy shorty Tyco wit ya money, she went online and got Flopro wit ya money. 😂— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) June 20, 2018
- Detour in Essex County to lunch at the Millburn Deli. Hell yes. One sloppy Joe later (a real sloppy joe, not that ground beef nonsense) and I am in heaven.
Ah yeah. Hell yeah. Effin A right. pic.twitter.com/IP1QIkFEyw— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 19, 2018
- Now it’s Rutgers Day. Goody and crew are affable and hospitable.
- Back to the Crowne Plaza where Joe and I are disturbed by a confused visitor who had the wrong hotel room but that get's sorted out and we retire for the evening.
Wednesday June 20
- Philly Day! We drive through the jankiest alley in town to park behind the historic Palestra.
- Watch a P-RTC practice and say so long to Nomad. So long, Nomad!
- Walk around UPenn, Drexel & PhillyBtS: The Philadelphia Wrestling Ecosystem!
- I climb the Rocky steps because I am the greatest athlete alive.
Studs 💪 pic.twitter.com/lnTRJZLJXn— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 21, 2018
- Our day concludes at the Holiday Inn, where I attempt to do laundry and fail miserably.
Thursday June 21
- Princeton Day! Princeton is also hosting a big football camp. I see two Washington & Lee coaches. Go Gennies!
- Joe toured the campus with Matt Kolodzik compared it favorably to Hogwarts, whatever the hell Hogwarts is.
Princeton/ Hogwarts pic.twitter.com/l6luyXrFOU— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 21, 2018
- Held in the basement of Princeton's Jadwin Gym, the NJ-RTC is truly a gathering of the Garden State's finest, as wrestlers from the College of New Jersey, Rider, and much, much more are present.
- Thanks to some suspect route recommendations by Google (thanks, Google), we drive the wackest back roads in all of NJ up to Bethlehem, PA.
Friday June 22
- Literally sitting here in Allentown in our hotel.
- The gang enjoys another very fine deli.
The hallmark of a delicatessen of quality. pic.twitter.com/hzNjYhtvp7— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 22, 2018
- Forrest Molinari and Julia Salata steal the show at the press conference. They have what the kids call 'steez'.
Saturday June 23
- The final Final X! We are in historic Grace Hall, which gets a boisterous but modest crowd in comparison to Lincoln and State College.
Nice view from balcony of Grace Hall👌 pic.twitter.com/kWVh5t1gbu— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 23, 2018
- We award six more world team spots! The USA looks quite formidable. Budapest will be fun.
- Joe K get's dunked on and obliterated by a pre-teen.
I did this to myself. pic.twitter.com/NQRbEHa1IV— Joe Kania (@JoeKania3) June 23, 2018
- I attempt to drink a thousand beers at the Chess & Checkers but fall well short of my goal.
4 down, 9,996 to go. pic.twitter.com/YIJfu1ppVI— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 24, 2018
Sunday June 24
- I give away a monitor and pillow that Nick V took foolishly took with him on the trip without considering the difficulty in flying home with both possessions and the rest of his luggage. Come on man!
- 'Any Given Hyundai' is driven back to Newark and returned. I am ready to return to Austin. Unfortunately, the plane that is to take me there is not.
- One delayed flight in Newark followed by an overnight layover in Atlanta and then a final flight to Austin and the road trip is officially finito, dunzo, terminated.
Home sweet home pic.twitter.com/pY9BJDyDwX— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 26, 2018
A special thanks to all the people that welcomed us into their wrestling rooms, offices, and homes. Your hospitality was very much appreciated. Also, thank you for the free t-shirts. Who doesn't love free t-shirts? No one. We love them. We go absolutely wild for them.
Big thanks to all our friends we visited on the #FloRoadTrip!@LehighWrestling@tcnjathletics@tigerwrestling@PennWrestling@DrexelWrestling@RUWrestling@LockHavenWrstl@BigRedWrestling@pennstateWREST@wrestlingbucks@BadgerWrestling@Hawks_Wrestling@HuskerWrestling pic.twitter.com/c5ZocIosJX— Jaroslav Hasek (@SpeyWrestle) June 25, 2018
And in less than two weeks it will be Fargo time. See you then my wrestling friends!
*Yes that was a Boyz II Men reference. We stopped in Philly didn't we?