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Published: June 22nd 2015
Wow how time flies
Here I am in Kansas City and wondering where the time went. It all seems to blend in.
Anyway I hit Atlanta and the hotel I stayed in was walking distance from the hotel. In fact it is the same hotel Gaynor and I were booked into in 2003 and when we turned up then it was closed for renovation even though we had prepaid for it. So got to stay there this time and I set out to explore the city by foot even though it was 90+ in the shade. Went to the underground town(http://www.underground-atlanta.com/
) for an explore. Not much different to my previous visit but still interesting that years ago they just built over the top of these streets as the city progressed and then discover later they have a time capsule built in. Atlanta is not the only place either, there are many instances of this around the world. Also had time to take in the World of Coca-Cola (https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/
) .I was bit dubious about but as I had plenty of time on my hands I ventured in and found it a quite entertaining way to while away a
couple of hours. I also spent way too much at the gift shop.
Went to the game that night and enjoyed it as it was fireworks Friday and they put on quite a show. The baseball ok as well.
The next night I drove out to Lawrenceville to see the Gwinnett Braves (Triple A affiliate of Atlanta) play the Durham Bulls. Turns out it player jersey give away night, bonus. I also got to catch with Peter Moylan who is an Aussie who had played for Atlanta a few years ago and is making a comeback and by all account is doing well. He was surprised to see me as most of the people in the US who are from OZ and I pop up and say hello. Had good night until I drove back to the hotel. The braves played this night and what I didn’t realise was that they block off all the road around the stadium to clear all the patrons from the carpark. This included blocking off all the roads that I needed to take to back to my hotel I drove around and then waited for nearly an hour before the opened the
roads back up, what a pain.
With Atlanta done I headed for my next MLB stopover which was Tampa, but took a slight detour via Savannah which was a place I was encouraged to call into by a few people so as I had time up my sleeve I headed down for a 2 night stopover. Well what a blast from the past. This place has so much history and character I can’t recommend it highly enough. Plenty of good eateries and bars and it (to me anyway) personified the Deep South. The houses and parks all oozed old South and history and it is a popular venue for making movies because of the backdrops it provides. Even go to go to the park that Forrest Gump mused about the box of chocolates.
Did the tourist thing on a hop on hop off bus, a great way to get all the history of the place. Also stayed in a retro hotel from the sixties called Thunderbird Inn (http://www.thethunderbirdinn.com/
) . One of only 2 left from a chain of hotels from the sixties.
So off to Tampa and find my hotel which was a Days Inn.
Now when you book on Hotwire they give you a star rating and area that the hotel is in and you get told the actual hotel when you pay. So 2* and reasonable rating but this place left a bit to be desired albeit the price was right. Didn’t do any sightseeing in Tampa, just the ball game at Tropicana Field. What I did manage to get though was a mysterious bite of some sort on my neck which happened overnight so I guessing it was in the room/bed. So I ended up with a welt on my neck that blistered up. Not a pleasant experience. So now I reassessed my star rating bottom line to at least 2 ½ .
Got to Miami via the Everglades and stayed in a place called Hialeah. Predominantly Hispanic population to the point that I hardly heard English spoken at all while I was there and generally when I went to a shop or anywhere there first contact with me was to speak to me in Spanish. Anyway managed to find my way around. Florida is full of toll roads and if you want to get anywhere in a reasonable
amount of time you are forced onto these toll roads or Turnpikes as they call them I tried to avoid them where possible because they do not have toll booths and unless you have a Sunpass(e-tag) or a Toll by Plate account you can’t pay. So as far as I can figure out they will bill the Rental Company and they will pass it onto me.
Checked into my hotel and went looking for a doctor as the bite on my neck was quite painful. Ultimately found one who agreed I had been bitten by something but didn’t know what and she prescribed some antibiotics and cream which worked pretty much straight away which was great.
For convenience I pre booked the parking for the game that night and as I was driving in for a 7:05pm start but I hit a bit of traffic. I had given myself 30 mins to get in and it was now 5:05pm as I sat in the car in traffic. I checked my ticket to reconfirm what time the game started and it said 4:10pm. Holy Crap. I checked the ticket again and it was then I realised the game was
tomorrow night but I had booked the parking for tonight’s game. So I went to the game anyway, just bought a ticket at the ground when I got there. So 2 nights, 2 games. The stadium is pretty much brand new with a roof so comfortable temperature to watch the game. The 2nd
night was Colombian appreciation day so got the T Shirt and went to the concert afterwards.
The next day I drove down to Key West (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_West,_Florida
) which is the southernmost point of mainland USA and is at the end of a series of islands connected by bridges, pretty impressive. A lot of history and they have maintained the old feel. The only downside was its when it was time to go home, it was everybody else’s time to go and with a road that is predominantly 2 way travel was quite slow. Anyway got back eventually and got ready for the 2500km drive to Kansas.
This I did via Jacksonville, Nashville and Springfield all chosen because they had baseball teams who were playing the nights I passed through. The only thing of note in all that was that Nashville has probably the nicest stadium yet.
Well laid out with activities, bars and eateries not necessarily related to baseball and a scoreboard in the shape of a guitar.
I also called into to a bar/eatery in Fort Pierce which I visited 14 years ago and was pleased to see it was pretty much as it was then except the girl who delivered the beers between her ample bosoms was no longer there. Pity.
So here I am in Kansas City which is half in Kansas and half in Missouri which is interesting of nothing else. Went to see the Royals play the Boston Redsox in front of a sell-out crowd at Kauffman Stadium where it was 100+ in the shade. Good game won by the Royal and got to see my 1st
ejection of the tour when Ortiz of the Redsox was ejected after a run in with the home plate umpire. Also took a drive up to Omaha to see the College World Series catching games 11 and 12 which is played at TD Ameritrade Park (tdameritrade park
) which was built for and predominantly used for the CWS which is a bit of a waste as it only goes for 2 weeks. The stadium
hold 25,000 plus.
The other thing of note is I have picked up travelling companion in the form of Ian McKenzie who is an umpiring buddy of mine and he will be with me until New York so I will have someone to talk to other than mumbling to myself and waiting for a response. Next stop St Louis and Chicago with a few side trips. Should be fun
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