Road Trip To Green Bay
I’m the type of person that arrives at the airport 3 hours early. Consequently, I budgeted 7 hours for a 5-hour drive from Minneapolis to Green Bay for the Packers Shareholders meeting. My prudence was rewarded not only with great seats to the meeting, but a beautiful sunrise as I drove across Wisconsin on Highway 29.
Along the highway, I checked in with Alex Tallitsch of the Packers Lounge at Cheesehead TV with whom I would be spending the weekend. We drove separately, but the distance between our cars couldn’t have been more than a mile apart while we drove past endless cornfields and the occasional misplaced bar along the highway.
I pulled in to Green Bay around 9:00 a.m. and minutes later, I met Alex in the parking lot of the Best Western. Since our room was not ready yet — one of the downfalls of being painfully early — we found our way to the continental breakfast and enjoyed a cup of coffee. We were both anxious for the meeting, so we finished our drinks quickly and then walked the two blocks to Lambeau Field.
As we settled into our second-row seats at Lambeau, we took the opportunity to snap a few photos of our favorite journalists as they made their way into the press area.
The Shareholders Meeting was something that every Packer fan should experience once in his or her lifetime. Having said that, I think once is enough. After Ted Thompson walked us through highlights from the previous season, referencing an “average start” and a “much-maligned offensive line,” the meeting was surprisingly formal and procedural; it simply included various members of the board detailing the Packers finances. The highlight of the mostly drab presentation was when Packers board member Larry Weyers concluded his report by emphatically announcing, “The Packers are ready to rumble!”
After the meeting Alex and I found ourselves in the right place at the right time to get the commissioner to sign our Shareholders pamphlets. (For those of you scoring at home, I’m standing behind “Greg Jennings” admiring Goodell’s signature while Alex is to the left of Jennings.)
After some the meeting and a much needed lunch, we met up with the rest of Alex’s Cheesehead TV crew: Corey Behnke, Brian Carriveau, and Aaron Nagler at Curly’s Pub inside the atrium of Lambeau Field. It was nice to finally meet some of the people I “talk to” everyday on Twitter, and after some burgers, a few beers, and some Packers talk, Alex and I returned to the Best Western to finally check in. In need of some rest, we both retreated to our computers for the next few hours.
That evening I met a friend, who grew up in Green Bay, for dinner. We ate some great food at Caffe Espresso, he gave me the nickel tour of the city, and we ended up at a park adjacent to the Fox River in front of the Titletown Brewery for an impromptu beer tent and an 80s cover band. I thought to myself, “It doesn’t get more Wisconsin than this.”
When I returned to our hotel room, Alex told me I was just in time to join him and Kareem Copeland at Anduzzi’s. I happily followed Alex with no idea what “Anduzzi’s” was. I was happily surprised when we arrived at a local bar and joined Kareem and two of his Green Bay Press Gazette colleagues at a table. I am not going to say much about the events that ensued, but I will say that we had a great time listening to yet another 80s cover band (I swear 80s cover bands are ubiquitous in Green Bay), and those folks at the Press Gazette are a good time.
After a hazy Friday morning, and on the recommendation of a friend, Alex and I made the trek to Maricques Bar. According to the menu, Maricques has been around since 1932, and given the number of years they have been serving the locals, it’s no wonder they have perfected the Friday fish fry. The double order of boneless lake perch was outstanding.
Shortly after lunch, we returned to the hotel, which happened to be kitty-corner from the FOX 11 studios. Through luck, charm, and Twitter, Alex had managed to finagle us a tour of the studio from sports anchor Paige Pearson. Paige was a more than gracious as she showed us around the newsroom. She even posed with us for pictures before we left.
What was already shaping up to be a fantastic day would only get better with the Cheesehead TV Tweet-Up at Titletown Brewery that evening. I finally got to put some faces to the names of some wonderful people with whom I had previously only tweeted. Aside from the hosts, Behnke, Carriveau, and Nagler, I had the pleasure of meeting C.D. Angeli, Wally Pingel, Pete Seroogy, Greg Bedard, Rob Demovsky, and a few others. As the night went on and the crowd thinned, the die-hards remained: Aaron, Corey, Alex, and myself. We discussed Packers, bloggers, and life before we managed to find our way out an hour before closing time.
After breakfast the next morning at a greasy-spoon diner, I got in my car and began the 5-hour trek home.
Overall, the trip was memorable. I sat front-and-center at Lambeau field, came face-to-face with Roger Goodell, and got to know some really great people. I would recommend a trip to Green Bay to anyone who loves the Packers, a good fish fry, and 80s cover bands because you will surely find plentiful amounts of all three.