So after our adventure to
Well, there was.
Yes, that's the proper usage of the past tense of the verb "to be."
Because it closed.
On May 12th, USAHockey announced it was closing the hall in
I've been there.
Which is why today's Eric Broz Rerun or Blogging up The Past is Roadtripping With Mario, Part II The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Which is a long-ass drive from
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was a long-ass time to be in a car. Even longer when you have stops along the way that take you off the suggested AAA TripTik route.
We left heading out west, to
This trip was before internet shopping was perfected. Before you could buy anything, from anywhere, at any time, with a few mouse clicks. And we made it through
We made it through
O'Hare is the busiest airport in the continental
Kara don't ever go anywhere near there. Trust me.
(Kara hates low-flying aircraft that appear to just hover there in the sky)
So we get past that and approach the
And Mario being the stoner he was, we had to stop.
So we stop, piss, grab some snacks and we're back on the road. Driving through an August thunderstorm in
Anyway no flying cows. Just us. And we're driving and we're tired. So we stop and spend the night in
Not Claire Danes, who I'd love to spend a night, or at least an hour in.
That's all I have to say about that.
We got up early the next morning, like when the rooster crows early, figuring we were still about six or seven hours from Eveleth, barring any traffic in Minneapolis ... and our motel was having a big-ass farmer's breakfast that all the townsfolk from
We were told this at check in by the blonde girl. Who had that midwest cuteness that makeup can't match.
So we get up before 7 a.m. and make the kind of "hey we're tourists" entrance that two fat pale white guys from Ohio make while trying to blend in with the farmers in August in Wisconsin between my allergies and his total lack of pigmentation, everyone could tell, to quote Drew Hastings, just by looking at us, we were farmers. "Kitty stay.")
And in talking to one of the locals, she told us that if we went north on Route 53 we'd knock three hours off the trip by not having to go to and through Minneapolis. We would be there by if we left at 8, because there were no real speed limits, and no cops between
So that's exactly we did. Hauled ass out of
And saw two of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life.
First was a bald eagle eating some road kill. From a distance, I thought it was a small bear. It was that big. As the car got closer, it took off. I nearly wrecked the car watching that sucker fly.
Now if you've only ever seen a bald eagle at a zoo, sitting on a branch, with its wings tucked, you might have wondered "Why the hell is that our national bird. It's not that impressive."
When you see one of them take off and fly away, or if you're lucky enough to see one in the wild, as I did when I was in the military, you realize you're looking at a bird with a wingspan of 4-6 feet, razor sharp talons and a beak that can pluck your eye out. In flight. Very impressive.
Eventually, we neared the Wisconsin/Minnesota state line. We knew this because the road signs kept saying "Duluth" and the miles next to Duluth kept decreasing. decreasing. And I know Duluth is in Minnesota.
So as I wonder how much further we have until Duluth, and why we have yet to see as much as a suburb of this impressive city, we drove over the Bong Bridge.
It was one of those bridges that appears out of nowhere. And you can't see what's on the other side. You're going up. And up. And up.
And then, we reached the top.
And it was absolutely fucking beautiful.
With a town built up into the mountains behind it.
That's Duluth, Minnesota. It's beautiful.
That view was so amazing we turned around once we got over the bridge, drove back into
And it was just as nice the second time.
I've got to get back there with Cammi.
So after that, in about 35 minutes, we make our way to Eveleth. And the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. After all, that's why we were in
And we arrived. Excited. Anxious. And, as we pulled onto Hat Trick Lane, we saw a restaurant and immediately looked forward to having dinner after a full day of exploring the history of hockey in
We pull in just after and park. The woman at breakfast was right. Like 4 hours on the road, not counting the 15 minutes to make the bridge crossing twice.
And since it was a Thursday, there were not too many other cars there. Like two. Cool. No crowds. (Turns out there were never crowds. The place averaged about 10,000 a year. It needed 30,000 a year to survive.)
Anyway, we walk up, plunk down our $6 and walk in.
And 45 minutes later we were back where we started.
Back at the beginning.
This is a dream, right?
We obviously missed something, right?
A lot of somethings, right?
So we walk through again, map in hand, making sure we see all that there is to see regarding the history of hockey in
And in 30 minutes realize, nope, that first trip through - we had seen it all.
And it's not quite
Twenty-four hours in a car. For a 75 minute visit. And we saw all there was to see.
At the aptly instantly renamed "U. S. Hockey Hallway of Fame and Attached Garage Turned into a Museum."
So to say we're feeling let down is an understatement.
We felt hoodwinked.
(Oh, sorry. Was turning into an angry black man quoting Malcolm X. My bad. Pale white boy is back).
We figured we could at least salvage the day at Stanley Cup Café.
So we pull out, go back down Hat Trick Lane, and pull into a very empty parking lot at the Stanley Cup Café.
Walk up the steps.
Gaze through the window at the dark, empty restaurant.
And notice the sign on the door that says they open at 4 p.m.
On Friday and Saturday.
And right then, as we stood on the deck, it was Thursday.
So we walked back to the car.
And paused there. In the parking lot.
A thousand miles from home.
And pissed off.
How pissed? We got in the car, said "Fuck it, let's just go home."
And we did.
Driving straight through, 20 hours. Back to my
Arriving around 11 a.m.
Vowing to tell everyone what an amazing time we had and how wonderful it was and how great a trip it was.
And that, boys and girls, is the story of our visit to the U.S. Hockey Hallway of Fame and Attached Garage turned Museum.
Stay tuned for the next Eric Broz Rerun ... Blogging the Past - Roadtripping with Mario for Part III
Where we met Barry Melrose.
And (as I start getting hated on by Kerry in 5,4,3,2,1 ) touched his hair.