This past weekend was my second annual “solo” weekend trip back to Minnesota, though it was only solo in the sense that Lauren and Johnny stayed home. Instead, Austin friends Bart, Mike, and Julio all took advantage of low airfare and came to see the city with me!

We landed around 11am Friday and headed down to baggage claim, and the very first person that walked by was none other than Hall of Famer Rod Carew! I immediately recognized him, stuck out my hand for a handshake, and said “Hey Rod!” Perhaps by the way I said it, Mr. Carew believed he knew me, or was supposed to have known me from somewhere. I asked him “Are you here for Johan’s Hall of Fame weekend celebration?” again referring to a legendary baseball star by his first name. At the end of our chat, he said “Alright, nice to see you again.” So I clearly led him to believe we were acquaintances.

After checking in at the hotel, I took the gang to my old Uptown neighborhood for lunch at The Herkimer, who long ago sponsored our local softball team. After, we visited favorite neighborhood joints Blue Door, CC Club, and The Bulldog. The Austin crew was sold on Uptown, I think! Soon we met up with old Valleyfair friends Patrick and Charlie, and we headed downtown to pregame for the Twins at Cowboy Jack’s near Target Field. There, Bart’s local brother-in-law Chad joined our group. That night was the first of our two Twins-Royals games, where we endured two very lengthy rain delays. By the time the second rain delay ended, it was after 11pm and just in the sixth inning. The guys wanted to check out some other fun spots, so we headed to karaoke at The Otter Bar, formerly known as U Otter Stop Inn. At some point the group disbanded, and I wound up at a Goth-horror themed bar called Ground Zero with Patrick and Charlie! Somehow we all got back to the hotel around 3am and called it a night.

Not to be outdone, we woke up Saturday morning and embarked for an even bigger day of shenanigans. Starting out at the Surly brewery, our crew of six was joined by a slew of other friends from my northern past, including DSU alums Feeney, Nick, Chris, Craig, and Craig’s girlfriend; Valleyfair friends Liz and Luke; step-brother-in-law Pete; and local friends Tony, Casey, and Lisa. All told I think there were 17 of us! I wasn’t feeling very well after the previous day’s activities, but powered through. After Surly we visited Inbound Brewery and then The Freehouse. After all that afternoon fun, it was back to Target Field for the second Twins game. I was pretty hammered at this point… as were many others. I doubt I’ve ever been to a MLB game and watched less of it than this game… I mostly wanted to catch up with everyone. I maybe saw five pitches! Even after being the last ones to leave the stadium, our night wasn’t over. We then headed back to Uptown for an epic night of karaoke at the VFW!

Sunday it was up early to head back to the airport and return to Austin. The 48 hours in Minnesota was a rousing success!

A few takeaways from the weekend:

  • My already high expectations for the weekend were far exceeded! Aside from a few notable exceptions of friends who were unable to attend (Walsh, Sarah, Tim, Colin, Travis, Jordan, and others), it was absolutely everything I had hoped for!
  • It brings me lots of joy seeing friends from a variety of places get together and hit it off! The random combinations of people singing karaoke together was lots of fun.
  • It might be fun to converse with a lot of these friends in the future without so much alcohol in my system.
  • I am almost 36. I cannot easily recover from such wild behavior, let alone going all-out like that on consecutive nights with so little restful sleep! I am going to take a much-needed break from alcohol. I’ve been home for over three days now and I’m just now feeling back to normal.
  • I think I’ll also be watching my caloric intake after this. Coupled with my general lack of exercise thanks to surgery recovery, I have gained over 10 pounds since mid-June!
  • These were MLB games #3 and #4 of the 2018 season for me. I’ve seen the Twins 3 times, the Royals twice, the Reds twice, and the Rockies once. The Twins are 3-0 when I attend.
Twins win!
The Friday crew—my Austin chums plus longtime friends Patrick and Charlie.
The crew after the Twins game Friday night.
Gathering at Surly Saturday afternoon with the big crew.
Me with my 2002 Valleyfair supervisors Charlie, Luke, Liz, and Patrick. Great friends!
Much of the gang from Saturday hanging out at The Freehouse.