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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer 2014 Vacation Recap

As you may have been able to tell, my posting on here has been really spotty at best these last few weeks.  I usually post every day, but I know that hasn't happened recently and here's why: I have been on vacation.

We (my wife, son and I) left the house on July 4th and headed out of town.  We stopped in Winston-Salem, at my parents' house to spend the 4th.  After night swimming with my brothers, sister, nieces and nephew, we went to bed, only to get up at the crack of dawn to head to Michigan.  The trip to Michigan served two purposes, my wife grew up in Michigan so she wanted to take my son and I around her old haunts and we also were invited to my very good friend, and fellow blogger, Dustin's wedding.  As a wedding gift to Dustin and his wife, I bought them Tigers tickets, but since the wedding was days away, his wife wasn't able to make it to the game.  Luckily, Dustin's 10-year old brother, Deacon, was visiting from Germany and was able to take her place.  I'm glad Deacon was able to go, since he had never been to a MLB game before.

I had taken a photo of Dustin and Deacon together at his first game with my digital camera, but, unfortunately, later on along our way, my camera disappeared.  I'm so sorry, Dustin and Deacon, I really wanted to print out that picture for you guys.
Our game was the Tigers vs. the Dodgers.  Miguel Cabrera was not in the game that day, but we got to see Max Scherzer pitch against Zack Greinke.  We also got to see several of the facets of Yasiel Puig's game.  He hit a one-out triple, then was thrown out at third on the next pitch, a grounder to third.  Bonehead play, but we weren't surprised.
I couldn't help myself in picking up some cool memorabilia at the Tigers game.  I got this game-used rosin bag from the game where Albert Pujols hit his 498th career home run.  The bag is MLB Authenticated, so I figured $100 was a great price.
After Michigan, we made the trip to Mt. Carmel, Illinois to see one of my best friends, and fellow blogger, Andrew.  We had made plans to meet up, finally, after many years of blogging, trading, tutoring and chatting on Skype.  Andrew's family was so welcoming to us and I felt like we made some great friendships.  I am, however, a terrible influence on people.  Andrew and I got his dad hooked on Instagram, and we also awoke the beast within him by reconnecting him with his collecting roots.
Andrew and I went halves on some juno wax from bbcexchange.com so we could play pack wars.  I'm not going to go into the rules of pack wars, but the main principals in the game were (from left) Andrew's Dad, his brother Caleb, my son Chris and Andrew.  Also, you can see my wife supervising.
We exploded some boxes of 1990 and 1991 topps.  Everyone had a good time and a few decent rookie cards were pulled.
Finally, after watching the All Star Game on Andrew's family's TV, we left Illinois and headed to Memphis, Tennessee for what I thought was going to be a minor league game (and a bobblehead giveaway).  What I missed was that the Memphis Redbirds weren't even playing Wednesday and the bobblehead giveaway wasn't until Friday.  So, I lost my camera (somewhere between Andrew's house and our hotel in Mt. Carmel), and I botched the MiLB schedule.  What I didn't expect was that the time we would spend in Memphis would be amazing anyway.

We were able to walk around the city, and get into the concourse area of AutoZone Park (home of the Redbirds).  You can see Chris above posing for a pic.
We also took a horse and buggy ride around the city, which we wouldn't have done, otherwise.
We ate an amazing dinner at Blues City Cafe, then walked along Beale Street down to the water front.  The weather was amazing, low 70s in the middle of July.  We sat by the river for a while and watched the sun set.  Above, you can see the bridge lighting up and the sunset.  Oh man, it was beautiful.  I was so glad I screwed up the schedule, but even more pissed that my camera was gone.
So, here is my awesome steak that I had.  A 20oz ribeye that cost $25.00.  Around here, something like that would be about $10 more.  It was an amazing meal, probably one of the best that I have ever eaten.

My wife and I decided that Memphis was definitely going to be one of those cities on our list of vacation destinations in the future.  What an awesome place.
Finally, I wanted to show off some pickups from the trip.  We got one IP autograph at the game, Dodgers reliever, Chris Perez.
Also, here are all of the cards I picked up.  The cards on the left are the ones I got for myself, 42 cards (which I will show off another time) and the cards on the right (60 cards) are ones I picked up for other people.  Mostly Instagram folks, with a few in there for Andrew and a few others.

So, that was our trip.  I met two more bloggers in person and both made me feel so welcome.  I was glad I was able to make the trip to be able to spend time with both of them, and meet their respective families.  It really is nice to see folks who welcome people into their lives and are willing to spend time together.  I know Chris and Caleb will be writing letters back and forth to one another.  They were off and running, playing together, not 5 minutes after we got to Andrew's house.

I did 90% of the driving, and we put some miles on my Cobalt.  I'm so glad it made it through the trip.  I hope to be able to do it again soon.  I'm already trying to figure out what vacation 2015 will entail.
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