05 February

Midwest Roadtrip: Pre-derby

Reveling in post-epic-run bliss, Kevin and I jetted straight from Florida up to Louisville, Kentucky, to hang out with friends and family, and – of course – “do” the Kentucky Derby. Basically, this post-run bliss involved a whole lot of consumption and laziness.

We road tripped up to Ohio, Indiana, and through Chicago to Racine, WI. First stop, to give a presentation on the outskirts of Dayton, OH, at the Glen Helen/Antioch College Outdoor Education Center, where the manager is my grad school colleague and wonderfully dear friend, Janene Giuseffi. After the presentation, we all went out for dinner, and I had my first try at fried pickles. Some consider the consumption of fried pickles to be a necessary and monumental life experience.



Sometime during our post-dinner walk began this road trip’s trend of picking up my friends. I don’t really know how it started, but I do know that it kept going the whole trip.






After spending the night with the ever-hospitable Janene and Ian, we buzzed up & over to the outskirts of Columbus, OH, to hang out with my other grad school colleague and wonderfully dear friend, Brandon Long… well, really to see his dog, Nelson, who has melted my heart many times over. He even knows how to take a killer selfie. Give it up for Nelson.



From there, we whirlwinded east to Indianapolis, where we met up with my ice friend, Meredith Brooks, with whom I had worked as a Lead Dining Attendant just this past season. I got to see her place, meet her parents, sleep at her grandma’s, discover their beautiful Indianapolis suburb via breakfast in the historic district (Grandma’s treat! She was so cool!), and see where Meredith works as a social worker. One of my favorite stateside activities has been hanging out with Ice friends off-Ice, and getting to know a completely different side of them.

Speaking of various sides… well, here’s Meredith gleefully succumbing to this weird habit I picked up:



Cute morning faces, all in a row, outside of Meredith’s workplace:




I don’t sit still for long on my whirlwind road trips, but we lingered another day in the Indianapolis area. First, to meet up for ice cream with our old family friend, LIZ!! We love Liz. She is like another sister, and I hadn’t seen her in what felt like forever. Perfect timing. We stayed the night in that area, in Carmel, IN, at what felt like a resort (my college friend Ashley’s house). Ashley and Jim, while not even at home, offered up their place for us to stay, and went so far as to give us complete “refrigerator privileges.” They even had cable TV!! What a treat for us. It seriously felt like a resort – and just in time to do more consuming and laziness.

What to do next but launch straight up to Racine, Wisconsin, driving through Chicago, IL, on the way. Racine has been the home of my very good friend and former Duke teammate, Sarah Wright, for the past several years. I was overdue for a visit, and it was really neat to see where she has been living. She and her husband, Scott, live on a horse farm in the country, and care for the boarded horses in exchange for rent. Pretty cool gig!

Sarah is a wonderful hostess and right off the bat, she happily showed us the renown sights and tastes of Racine despite inclement weather.

At the Kewpee Sandwich Shop (“KYOO-pee”), we ate at this famously historic diner chain, full of Kewpie dolls and creepy Easter decorations. Memorable, to say the least.


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En route from Kewpee to Sarah’s ranch home, we stopped on the shore of Lake Michigan for me to – you guessed it – pick her up. Is it getting old yet? It sure wasn’t for us.


Before making it back to her house, we detoured to the kringle shop for some authentic Danish Kringles, which are famous in this area. And, of course, a couple of donuts. A kringle is, essentially, a large , circular pastry with a filling and light icing on top. Usually a fruit filling, though there are many variations, and every type I’ve ever tried is delicious.





Despite the fact that Sarah and I are two very active people, it may surprise you that we spent almost every minute of the weekend indoors, stuffing our faces, and watching TV.
And we loved every minute of it.
You see, I was still in consume-and-be-lazy mode, she was in empty-the-drink-cupboard mode, and I had just effectively gotten her hooked on the show Orange is the New Black, which is more addicting than a tender kringle. We literally spent the whole weekend on the couch eating, drinking, and watching TV. The inclement weather validated our decision, though we did brave it for a brief walk around the farm. Oh, and there was the time we spent hanging out with the horses and helping clean the stalls. (I just love horses!) Oh, and also the night we spent playing a game instead of watching TV. So, I guess we used our brains a little bit.



The joys of growing out a mohawk:




The aftermath of a weekend of gluttony:



So, after a couple of days of warped time and even more warped amounts of gluttony, we zoomed back through Chicago to meet up for breakfast with an old ice friend and her beau, then straight across Indiana and over to Cincinnati, where we picked up our Colorado neighbor (my Nathrop BFF), Kayla, who flew in to join us for the KY Derby festivities and the next round of gluttony.

So far, so typical of a Cakehole road trip. Next up, my very first Kentucky Derby!!


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