There isn’t a much better experience in life than a roadtrip. There can’t be a much better stadium than Lambeau Field. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with the idea of a roadtrip from Minneapolis to Green Bay for a Packers game. My expectations for the trip were through the roof and the great thing is that the experience was actually better than the expectations.
Here is the breakdown of what happened by day:
Saturday, October 13th:
I packed up my trusty grey Honda Civic and picked up my friend Brian at 3pm to start the journey through the middle of nowhere Wisconsin . On our way to the hotel in Oshkosh , WI we went through towns like Thorp, Stanley , and Chippewa Falls . We crossed the Tomorrow River three times, nearly hit a deer that was standing in the middle of the road, and had some unbelievable pizza in Stanley . The best part of the day definitely was the stop in Stanley , WI –(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley,_WI). Brian and I had been following along to the LSU-Kentucky game and when it was still close in the 4th quarter we wanted to watch the end of the game. We thought there was no way that in small town Wisconsin we would be able to find a place, but we decided to test our luck in Stanley . Thankfully we found Deano’s Bar. The interesting points of Deano’s besides the great pizza, cold beer, and appetizing cheese curds were:
- They had one of those “must be born by this date to drink” signs up and the date that was listed was October 12th, 1976.
- The waitress/bartender nearly didn’t serve us because of that sign. Thankfully she spent about a minute to think that anyone born by that date would be 31 and that yes, somebody born in 1983 could legally buy a beer.
- Once we had the beer in hand and the pizza on the way, we were free to change the channel of one of the TVs to CBS to watch the triple overtime thriller between Kentucky and LSU.
- Deano’s offered yellow Deano’s Packer Backer shirts for 2 for$15. Of course we had to buy two.
- At the end of the meal the hand-written check was presented with the caveat that no credit cards were taken at Deano’s. I then promised the Deano’s bartender that I would return from Green Bay with a baby cow to pay off my meal. Deano’s is so old-school that they use the barter system.
- By the end of your meal everyone at Deano’s wished us a good time at Lambeau.
This place was like Cheers if Cheers was located in Wisconsin and all the locals were eligible for AARP. This led Brian to propose the genius idea that we should plan a pub crawl across the state of Wisconsin , so that we could visit all of the small bars in Wisconsin .
After being satiated with pizza and football, it was on to Oskhosh , Wisconsin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oshkosh,_Wisconsin) and the not-quite luxury Park Plaza Hotel. We were forced to go to a bar to try and watch Game 2 of the Indians-Red Sox series when we found out that our hotel for some reason didn’t carry Fox. We walked a few blocks in downtown Oshkosh and stumbled across Screwball’s bar. Somewhere in between noticing there were 10 guys for every girl in the bar and our bartender singing “Drug Ballad” by Eminem when it came on the jukebox, Brian and I agreed that Screwball’s wasn’t the same type of bar as Deano’s. We had a few drinks and after an hour or so we left Screwball’s, which basically meant we were able to see one Kevin Youklis at bat.
Sunday, October 14th:
We were on the road to Green Bay by 8:15 in the morning and reading to start tailgating by 9:30. The bad news was that the grill I bought at Dicks didn’t really work, which meant that the brats and burgers we brought were pretty much useless. The good news is that the people to the right of us invited us over to join them, which turned out to be a much better party. We were offered tortillas, ground beef, rice, chicken, cheese, and other accompaniments at their well-maintained tiki bar. Once we were properly fed (and to be hungry is Wisconsin is as unnatural as being cold in July in Mississippi ) it was on to playing flip cup with our new friends as the group blasted music over their stereo system. Brian and I were then properly prepared for the game.
The Redskins-Packers game was a close game in which the Packers won 17-14 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=271014009) led by a strong defensive effort highlighted by Charles Woodson’s 57 yard fumble recovery. The stadium was unlike any other football stadium I could imagine. Our seats were in the corner of the endzone about 50 rows up and provided a great view of the game. The one thing that I found was interesting was that view of the stadium from the inside was so much smaller than what I expected. I have only seen games in 3 Nfl stadiums (the Metrodome, Ford Field, and the Superdome) and those 3 domes seems so much bigger than Lambeau. The good thing about Lambeau is that there doesn’t seem to be a bad seat in the place. Every seat provides a great view. I definitely (and I don’t think I am in the minority) preferred Lambeau to the alternative. I can’t imagine a better NFL stadium than Lambeau.
After the game we got back in the car and drove back to Minneapolis with smiles on our faces. The fact of the matter is that regardless of who you like or where you life a sports fan has to make the trip to Lambeau Field.