Last week we departed on the first Gregor Show/Nation Road Trip, and it turned out to be an excellent sports and entertainment trek.. Twenty-four of us flew to Chicago, with four hitching a ride to Green bay, where we spent four days touring Chicago, checking out Wrigley Field, the United Centre, excellent restaurants and bars, too much shopping, awesome tours, great sight-seeing trips and the legendary Lambeau Field.
This trip was a trial run to see if there was a thirst for some sports-themed trips, and the response was overwhelming, so we are planning on having a few every year.
We left Edmonton on Friday November 11th, had a meet and greet with food and bevvies that night, then headed out to a Jazz club. There were no cameras this night, and for some that was probably a good thing. Let’s just say we all had lots of fun, and some more than others…**cough, cough, Brian and Dean, cough, cough**
Saturday was a free day, so Traci and I along with Jeff and Kate went on a tour of Wrigley field. I was surprised at how small it was, but seeing, reading and hearing all of its history just heightened my thirst to watch a live game there. You could smell the history in the park and it was great to see it in person.
During the tour we got to see the Cubs’ dressing room, and it was also very compact. The Cubs have renovated or moved their room three times since Wrigley was built, and this is as good as it gets. The size just adds to the uniqueness of the stadium. The best part is that the visitors room is about half the size as the Cubs room below.
We took a quick tour of the neighbouring streets and stopped in at a store due to the name; Hats, T-Shirts and Other Neat Stuff. (Seriously that was the name). If you ever want a slogan, saying or picture embroidered on a shirt, I recommend going there. They had lots of edgy logos and sayings. They also had a few things that were just odd. I hope these weren’t the ones he was wearing at the movie theatre.
Sunday some of the group went to the Bears/Lions game in the afternoon (originally the game was set for noon, but they moved it to 3:15 so it was tight for those who went), and then at 6:00 we watched the Oilers take on the Hawks at the United Centre.
As we walked up to the stadium we were greeted with statues of two of Chicago’s all-time greats; Bobby Hull and Stan Makita.
I’ve been to almost every NHL rink and those are two of the best statues I’ve seen.
We made our way inside and had a quick pit stop at the bar.
Traci had never been to another NHL rink, and she was amazed at how much nicer and more spacious the "Madhouse on Madison" was. The sound system was pumping and the crowd is easily the loudest in the league. During the anthem it was louder than a playoff game in Edmonton, but keep in mind they have almost 4,500 more seats and a brand new sound system; and they have chilled Jager on tap. The atmosphere was electric.
We sat in a five different sections around the rink, but everyone said the Hawks fans were all friendly and very knowledgeable about the game and even the history of the Oilers. The entire group all agreed that by the end of the game they were sick of the Chelsea Dagger song as well.
On Monday our luxury bus picked us up at noon and took us to Green Bay. Driving through Milwaukee and onto Green Bay the scenery reminded me of Alberta in the fall; endless fields with brown grass. Then almost out of nowhere we came across Green Bay and Lambeau Field.
Green Bay has Lambeau and not much more, but the people are incredibly hospitable, passionate about their Packers and they know how to party. We had passes into Brett Favre’s Restaurant tailgate party, where the beer, vodka and Bloody Marys flowed and everyone celebrated like it was Friday night.
We left Favre’s and ventured through the real tailgaters and they were very gracious hosts.
These guys set up their own bar and handed out drinks to pretty ladies, and thankfully we had a few with us, as you can see by the six Jager shots they gave us.
The lineup to get into Lambeau looked like floor seating at an outdoor concert. We managed to get through and I took a shot of the crowd. That is the tailgating area to the right and it is thousands of fans directly behind me.
We found out earlier that there are no individual seats in Lambeau, instead they have aluminum benches in each row and I was instructed to buy some seat covers. Best $9 bucks I ever spent.
When we started planning this trip I wanted to ensure we’d get great seats. We had gold seats in Chicago and all of our seats were between the 25 and 40 yard lines and in rows 6-24 for Monday Night Football. Being that close to the action made the experience that much better.
I was surprised by how many Vikings jerseys were in Lambeau, and despite their heated rivalry every Packers/Vikings fan interaction I saw was respectful.
I know all of you are diehard hockey fans, but if you are a sports fan I’d urge you to put Lambeau on your "sports bucket list." It was an excellent end to an awesome sporting weekend.
It was great getting to meet and hang out with Darin, Jackie, Jeff, Kate, Peter, Dwayne, Mel, Kerry, Sunny, Jay, Jeff, Shana (Sp?), Gord, Shawn, Dean, Brian, Cordell, Don, Mike, Marcie, Laurie, Randy, Jaime and Leila.
I’m already looking forward to the next trip. Combining a great city with excellent sporting venues seems to be the recipe for success. If you have any suggestions on where to go let me know.