Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring Training Vacation 2013 Recap: Day 2

Day Two

I think I was the first one to get up in the morning at the Blythe Motel 6.  Coach was still asleep so I changed, then walked about a half mile to the nearest Starbucks.   Got the Venti Pike Place Roast.  Really hit the spot.  I walked down the street over and back and it felt like a trip back to 1988... there was a Pizza Hut there that time forgot.  Do you all remember those old Pizza Hut restaurants from the 70's and 80's?  It was complete with the dining room, arcade machines, and the salad bar.   That brought back some good memories.  I'm saddened that Pizza Hut couldn't keep those kind of restaurants in circulation, with exceptions, but it was a sign of the times.   Once their delivery took off, who really needed to go to the Pizza Hut to eat the pizza on site?   A *few* of them are left, such as this one in Blythe, but I totally realize why the large overhead of full scale restaurants fell out of favor with the Hut.

Anyway, I returned to the Motel 6 and we checked out and packed our gear back in the car.  Next stop: a donut shop in Downtown Blythe.   Again, this reminds me of old Oxnard too...   it's much like Downtown Oxnard: run down, some old shops, the design of the roads, and even the green street signs.  Here's an example of one...

We used to see these all OVER Oxnard, and a bunch of them are still there, and it was neat to see such a nondescript sleepy town bring me such fond memories.  The sign in the picture was *not* in Blythe, but I used it for illustration.

Off we went, to our next stop: Glendale, AZ.   That's where the Dodgers and White Sox train and play their spring training games.  On the way over we heard that Kelly Clarkson song at least three more times.  We made a stop at a Gas Station near Goodyear before finally getting to Glendale.

We stopped at University of Phoenix Stadium, the home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.  What a nice stadium!   It's funny though: the stadium looks like a giant inflatable mattress.   Well, "the mattress" is pretty sweet.  We walked all the way around the stadium, and checked out the team store.   There were a series of glass doors that'd let you go right into the concourse from there.  They weren't even locked, but both store attendants were watching the door like hawks.   Nevertheless we asked anyway if we could check out the concourse and they still said no.   Then we moved on and went outside.   As we walked around, we saw the retractable field just outside the south entrance.  Man it is a sight to see!  The field is on an enormous concrete slab with wheels about 5-6 feet high.  There's also a slot to bring the field in that goes roughly 10 feet high.  It's a unique feature, but a great idea.

Next destination:  Camelback Ranch -- home of the Dodgers and White Sox.   In the past, the term "Ranch" always reminded me of places for cows, beets, or hookers.  Anyone hear of the "Bunny Ranch?"   That's another story!   Anyhow, this Ranch was farming baseball players.  What a place!  Truly first class all the way, with wooded facades and rock like barricades that remind me of fancy resort spas, and log cabins.  Cool architecture like that. 

The seats for the game were pretty good... the whole place was pretty festive... AND, I'm happy to report that they *do* serve official Dodger Dogs at Camelback Ranch.  I wasn't hungry enough to try one, but it's great news for Dodger fans.  One other item of interest: Fresh Lemonade.  It was *extremely* hot that day.   92 at least.   Everyone was hot, and most people during the game were running for cover.  Unfortunately there weren't very many shaded seats at Camelback and our seats were baking for most of the game.   I got pretty dehydrated often and once I saw Coach with a lemonade I followed his steps.  In between I'd take regular trips to the water fountain to suck on that thing like a baby sucking a milk bottle.   The lemonade was outstanding!  Only five bones to boot.  I believe it was a 32 ounce 'ade. 

When the Dodgers took the field, it was great to see all the familiar faces back at it: Kemp, Ethier, Gonzalez, both Ellises, and the rest.  The game wasn't so great.  The Dodgers played an awful game.  Capuano wasn't helping.  Good God what a sieve... thankfully he's not going to make the starting rotation this year.   All he did was give up hit after hit the whole day.  I think officially he allowed five runs but he was good enough to give up a baker's dozen.

During the game, three people, THREE, were hit with foul balls.  The first one was a poor teenage dude who was on the first row.   The ball went and smacked him right in the face.   I thought "geez, did he get all of it?"  Then the turned his head and there was a huuuuuuuuuuuuge gash on the right side (it would be the left side from his point of view).  Poor kid!   The staff waved their arms and got medics... dude was way out of it.  I hope he's all right.

Then some other lady gets hit with a foul ball... she wasn't hurt as badly since it just got her wrist.  Then some fat guy down the line got pegged with a ball but I think he used his man boobs to trap it.  It was kind of funny!  It might have still bounced off of him, actually.

If that wasn't enough, we were leaving the game and an old lady behind us tripped over a pole with the ropes on it and spills out onto the floor.  Geez!   Is no one safe??   She seemed to be ok, but she was woozy.

Despite the accidents, it was a great time at Camelback and I picked up some souvenirs on the way out.   Coach and I went out to the 101 loop, a freeway that went in a circle.  I'm not used to these kind of freeways in California... out here the freeways go up and down, or left and right, or diagonally.  Usually we leave circles for race tracks.  Haha!   But, in other places, such as Phoenix, loops are in the picture.   Traffic was great, and in fact, traffic had *never* been a problem in Phoenix and we even said as much during the drive.  We "never have to worry about traffic...."

......until that day.   A whole host of cars got into some spill on the 101 loop somewhere east of Peoria.  They closed down the ENTIRE 101 FREEWAY East of Route 51.  It was insane!  There was about an hour long delay with all of this as we attempted to reach Thunderbird Suites in Scottsdale.  We never knew what the cause of the delay was, but as you can see in this article linked here:

...what happened was, a lady was on the shoulder and then inexplicably just backed up onto the road.  It got messy... I'm saddened to hear the initiating party died.  Very tough spot.  

Not realizing what happened at the time, we carried on and took surface streets only to find yet *another* accident on the road, with a cars totaled on the opposite side of the road and emergency vehicles at the scene.

From all of this, we managed to get to the Thunderbird Suites.   We were there two years ago for our last Spring Training Trip.   The suite was again very nice.   Next stop was Zipps.

At Zipps, a sports bar in Arizona, similar to Buffalo Wild Wings, but local with a half dozen locations, we watched some college basketball and snacked on appetizers.  I asked for the Hot Golden Wings but the bartender lady warned me 3 times that they were *really* hot.   I was used to spicy foods so I went with it.  I handed it "ok" but they were right.  It was a struggle getting through those wings.  Whew!

I believe the rest of the night was split between the W and the Lodge, two venues that were mildly buzzing that night.  Oh I was buzzing too, I had a healthy amount of alcohol.  I got a little loopy.  The W hotel has a pool bar on a roof, but it looked like some convention was there.  Didn't have the usual vibe, although it was Thursday anyway.   A quick tangent:  why is their pool only a lousy 3 feet deep?  It's pretty hard to swim in just a 3 foot pool, but I digress.  I doubt people are doing any serious swimming at the W.

The Lodge was like a ski lodge, and it had a lot of locals from what we saw.  They also had a bean bag game at the front.  Looked like fun!

That was Day 2.  Day 3 recap forthcoming...

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