To The End Of The Road Trip

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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 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.

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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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. 

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.  
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 attempt to drink a thousand beers at the Chess & Checkers but fall well short of my goal.

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.

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.

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?

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