Day 5: Cleveland to Milwaukee

King Gambrinus welcomes you to his kingdom!

King Gambrinus welcomes you to his kingdom!

Beer

Beer at the Beer Hall

On this fine day we hit the road towards Milwaukee with a loose plan to check out Pabst and some other breweries.  We were in for a serious surprise.  I should also note that we got turned around and ended up doing a nice scenic drive of Milwaukee’s ghettoest ghetto.  We fit right in though with our surfboards and NJ plates.

We found an address for some kind of Pabst tour so headed over there.  It was closed when we arrived but we seemed to have arrived in a Pabst ghost town.  There were lots of abandoned buildings and Pabst signs all over the place.

A regular sausage fest

A regular sausage fest

Stairs to nowhere!

Stairs to nowhere!

Then we drove past a place called The Brewhouse that appeared to be a hotel of some sort.  It was also dinner time and we had dome some research on the TV Food Maps site for a place to eat dirty food in the vicinity.  Turned out the Old German Beer Hall was just down the road from Pabstland.

This place was obscene, a straight up replication of the Hofbrau House in Germany.  Giant liter mugs of beer, big tables in the back and tons of Hofbrau beer on tap.   Oh

Bask in the glory!

Bask in the glory!

Mmm, beer kettles

Mmm, beer kettles

yeah, and they were playing weirdo German polka folka music.  Some contests this establishment hosts:

  • The Beer Races – 1st person to drink 100 liters of beer gets a trip to Germany.  Current record is 45 days
  • One Month and Overall # of Liters Champions – One month woman was at 25 liters while the overall leading beer swilling scumbag was around 1900 liters which converts to 500 GALLONS.

Our meal consisted of bratwurst made at the sausage factory (insert snickers here) across the street followed up with currywurst and a gigantic pretzel with a dipping sauce of brie, cream cheese, onions and some other goodies.  Needless to say, we wished the hotel windows weren’t sealed shut the next morning.

More gloriouness

More gloriouness

Wisdom from the Captain

Wisdom from the Captain

After consuming our share of deliciousness and reserving a room in The Brewhouse we made our way up to the place and were BLOWN AWAY.  Quick background: Pabst suddenly shuttered their operation in Dec 1996.  When the workers punched the time clock that day, everything was just frozen in time, nothing touched, left as is.  Fast forward to 2011 and some local chap bought the entire 20 acre campus and started a neo-Victorian/steam punk revival of the whole area and called it The Brewery.  The cornerstone of this project is the hotel we stayed in which had literally just opened – you could still smell the paint.  But this hotel was actually the old brewery.  And they kept all kinds of cool shit like the giant copper kettles and a

The King looks upon his subjects

The King looks upon his subjects

Home of the giant dumbass more like it

Home of the giant dumbass more like it

20 foot stained glass window of King Gambrinus, the patron saint of breweries (I’m not making this up).  The kettles were on the 2nd floor but they opened the bottom of the kettles so on the first floor you could see inside them since they had lights inside.  They also had a spiral staircase that disappeared into the ceiling. If Magic Hat was like being in Willy Wonka’s factory, this was like being down the rabbit hole with Alice, WILD.

Then it really got screwy.  The second floor was an open floor plan up to the fifth floor with walkways running along the sides up and down and across the whole thing with the giant copper kettles running the length.  As we were poking around, a lady yells down from the third floor asking us to check something out.

We're related!

We’re related!

Best hotel breakfast ever

Best hotel breakfast ever

Suddenly a handful of dancers show up on the walkway up top and start dancing to an old Pabst commercial playing in the background.  Some kind of Great Gatsby flapper dance while pretending to drink Pabst at certain points during the song.   Tyler and I could only look at each and shake our heads wondering what we had stumbled on.  Later on, when we asked the front desk who these Pabst gypsies were, they claimed to know nothing.  VERY weird and also excellent.

Day 4: Rochester to Cleveland

Anchor Bar

Anchor Bar

McCourt's

Don’t worry, we’re engineers.

Our plan was to go straight to Chicago but Mike offered a ride in his sail boat in the morning which we couldn’t say no to.  It was a great break in the drive and cool to do a quick loop on Lake Ontario.  After the boat ride, we made our way to Niagara Falls.    Since Tyler told me not to bring my passport because the American side of the falls is so much better, I didn’t bring it and we had to go the American side even though EVERYONE says the Canadian side is better

I like water!

I like water!

Ponchos=Worthless

Ponchos = Worthless

To compensate for being stupid (Tyler’s words), we did the Maid of the Mist boat ride per Sarah and Mike’s recommendation.  It was  AWESOME.  The weather since we’ve left Rochester has been amazing and on that day it was in the mid-seventies and sunny.  Which was a positive as we got f’ing soaked.  Tyler got some sick shots from the boat which is god because it’s hard to describe seeing that much water exploding  30 feet from the boat. SO sick.  Oh and yes, it really is better from the Canadian side.

So much agua

So much agua

From Niagara Falls we were off to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo – the folks that invented the buffalo wing, OH YEAH.   This was Mike’s recommendation and it was spot on. I had a bowl of Buffalo Wing soup which was bleu cheese, buffalo sauce and chicken, yum.  Then we had medium and BBQ wings which were quite tasty.  And the whole meal passed our test for quality food –neither of us felt the need to visit the bathroom over and over post face stuffing.  From Buffalo we headed towards Cleveland to crash for the night.  On the way out of town, an intelligent local rolled down his window at a stop light to inform us that the nearest ocean was at least 1000 miles away (while pointing at our surfboards).  Though my internal monologue went something like “No shit detective”, we smiled and thanked him for those words of wisdom.

I should also fill you in on our in car routine at this point.  We’re alternating between BPM on Sirius and The Secret on CD.  BPM is bass thumping house music and The Secret is a book on tape about um, the secret.  When BPM is on, we’re generally pumping our fists awkwardly and screaming obscenities at the corn fields with all the windows down. When The Secret is on, we’re actually listening and having intellectual conversations about the idea this author is proposing.  Basically, if you think it, the universe will drop it in front of you.  It’s a good book but better to read it than listen.  The narrator talks in sultry, ethereal tones and they have this Aladdin gypsy music that plays throughout.   It makes you want to sleep/laugh at the absurdity of it.  Best part of the book thus far is when she tells you that if you tell the universe what you DON’T want, he/she/it just hears what you’re asking for and makes no distinction.  For example (this is how they narrated it):

  • You: I DON’T want the flu
  • Universe Interpretation: I WANT the flu and I want MORRRRE of it!!! 
  • You: I DON’T want to be fat
  • Universe Interpretation: I WANT be fat and I want to be FATTERRRR!!!

It’s pretty spectacular.

Day 3: Hopkinton to Burlington to Rochester

Breaking the fast

Breaking the fast

Hippy Ice Cream Land

Hippy Ice Cream Land

This morning we headed out for Burlington, VT – home of Ben and Jerry’s and….MAGIC HAT!

We had a rockin’ breakfast with homemade bread next to the Green Mountain Coffee visitors center which smelled AMAZING.  Then it was off to B and J for a tour and stomach full of ice cream.  The tour guide was a complete nut job, slightly hunched with a solid ice cream belly and some dried drool on his chin (that parts not true).  However, he was hilariously self-deprecating and full of terrible cow jokes.  The tour was OK, nothing super cool to see but the Triple Caramel sample at the end was worth it.  Tyler then had a jumbo sundae of 7 layer bar ice cream.  Because my body is a temple, I politely declined choosing water and cashews instead.  Next stop, Magic Hat…

Magic Hat!!

Magic Hat!!

On the road again!

On the road again!

which was totally off the wall. Someone described it to Tyler as the Willy Wonka of beer and he could not have been more spot on.  They call it the Artifactory and have all sorts of weird doo dads on the walls and tons of cool gift shop crap.  I normally find this stuff worthless but in this case was rendered totally limp and wanted to buy EVERYTHING.  I settled on some shirts and a bottle opener but considered liquidating my bank account.  We got our 4 free samples which were delicious, especially the Rousing Root, a Vermont only special edition.  The guy said it was limited to VT’ers because each batch used 500 pounds of sweet potatoes that took a long time to cut up.  Apparently these hippies are unfamiliar with the newfangled

Tyler loves Magic Hat skeletons

Tyler loves Magic Hat skeletons

Lake Champlain Ferry

Lake Champlain Ferry

technology that is the Cuisinart but who cares, it was DELICIOUS.   We did the self-guided tour which was better than the guided B and J tour.  We got to see the whole process and take pictures with screwball props and devices.  Couldn’t have asked for more.

From there we boogied to Rochester to crash with the McCourts for the night.  On the way there we took a detour and rode a small ferry across Lake Champlain which was pretty rad.  Rochester was a great stop mainly because Mike and Jan are awesome but also because they plied us with glorious steak, potatoes, salad and beer – a welcome change from pizza and burgers.  Oh, and they had real beds PLUS we got to do a load of laundry.  We both slept really well that night.

Especially after we visited..

Especially after we visited..

Day 2: Boston to Ogunquit and back

Surf Prep

Surf Prep

On Sunday, we got up at 8 and hit the road with Seth to Ogunquit, ME for a surf session.  With a 3 am bed time, I was pretty excited to get in the water and clear my head.  When we got there, it was almost absurd how nice it was – waist to chest high waves peeling towards the river mouth.  Tyler had a  secret location he’d discovered for parking that made our paddle out super easy.  The rides in Ogunquit were really long, some as long as 100 yards.  The downside of riding the wave alllll the way into the beach was having to paddle FOR EVER to get back out to the take off spot.

Bathroom Adventures

Bathroom Adventures

But let me back up to our pre-surf circumstances.  Right after we parked and checked the waves all three of us had that sudden urge – bathroom NOW.  And not the kind that you can easily release into the water.  Yeah, that one.  So we made our way back to the public restroom and found a men’s room with 1 stall, a coed room with 1 stall and a ladies room with 3 stalls.  Seth and I commandeered the men’s and coed much to Tyler’s chagrin.  Though he begged us to hurry, he was met with laughter and other words I won’t put here.  So he rushed to the ladies room as it was empty (at the time).

Fast forward 6 hours to Seth and I walking out of the bathroom, waiting for Tyler.  Not 1 minute later, a car load of British women roll up with children of the female variety.  As they hurried into the LADIES room, Seth and I looked at each other with smirks and promptly lost all control, bent in half laughing like lunatics.    When additional cars showed up and women piled out heading for the loo, we could only laugh harder.  Needless to say, Tyler emerged unscathed but not until he suffered through some full blown panic attacks huddled in the stall worried about the cops showing up.

Super Beef!

Super Beef!

Cinnamon Rainbows

Cinnamon Rainbows

The surf was 3 hours long, totally outrageous and exhausting, perfect.  Post surf we headed to a roast beef sandwich joint in Hampton, NH.  They make a sandwich called the Loaded Super Beef which comes with all sorts of sauces and toppings.  Delectable. We also made a stop in everyone’s favorite surf shop, Cinnamon Rainbows, for some road trip gear and surfboard ogling.

From there we spent the night with Tyler’s friend Jeff in Hopkinton, MA.  It was a much quieter night of dinner and bed which suited us just fine.

Day 1: Manasquan to Boston

SquanHighlanderTyler picked me up at the airport and we headed to Squan for a kickoff surf – excellent.  Steve Swenson came out for the paddle and then we met up with the Doctor – Druss for a delicious meal of real, actual food at Fins in Sea Girt.  From there we headed up to Gillette to grab my stuff and say goodbye to Mommom before hitting the road to Boston.

Highlights of the drive – blue Lamborghini Gallardo, 2 Tesla S’ and a white llama in the backyard of someone’s house on the Merritt Parkway.   It was pretty weird being in the passenger seat on the way up and getting to check out all the sights (cars) during the ride.

Navy DrydockWhen we got to Boston, we met up with Tyler’s buddies Seth and Dave in Beacon Hill for drinks and more importantly a meatball parm (for me).  This made Tyler happy as Sarah has tasked him with keeping me fed during this voyage lest I turn into an angry hunger monster.

BostonThen it was off to bar #2 for additional drinks.  I was the lucky one to be identified by the waitress as “who got the cherry in their drink” after returning from the bathroom – super.

Very unfortunately were the number of rats running to and fro, bizarre.  Best part of the night was riding rental bikes home at the end of the night and the old Navy warship in dry dock. Though 3 am is so far past my bed time that it’s closer to my rising time, it was well worth it.

Greetings

Greetings family and friends,

This will be the official road trip site for Tyler’s journey to San Deeago. Please subscribe for email updates (Home – top right) so we can upload our latest tale here for universal sharing.

surfing 001

Our goals for this trip are to:

  • Find our way around the country without the crutch of technology.  Like Lewis and Clark before us, we’re shunning nav systems and doing it the old fashioned way – with a gigantic atlas
  • Surf the East Coast, Great Lakes, river(s) and the West Coast.
  • Eat extremely unhealthy food from restaurants discovered by all the awesome TV shows about eating unhealthy food.  Thank you TVFoodMaps.com
  • Find breweries for beer sniffing
  • Visit friends and anyone who will let us smell up their couch along the way
  • Not point and laugh

A HUMONGOUS thank you to my WONDERFUL wife Sarah for suggesting this ludicrous trip in the first place!  And to the Head Fred for the work furlough (though I’ll be pretending to work from the car).

Oscar Wilde says “Life is too important to be taken seriously” and you can be sure we’ll apply this mantra during our time on the road