Are You Ready for Some Football??

Here we go again. The second road trip in three weeks. There weren't supposed to be multiple fall trips happening, but when a station invited me to a football game, how was I to say no??

Friday

There isn't much to say about the day of travel on a road trip. It becomes a tedious day where you don't really get to see much. Especially if you drive in the dark. And if it rains. It was dark. It rained. The whole time. Ugh.

Adele and I hit the road after a long day at the office. My car was parked nearby, so after a few quick stops in the building, we piled in the Super Cooper and hit the road. We actually got out of Chicago pretty easily. But as soon as those thoughts came out of my brain, the rain started. The entire drive consisted of spurts of light, then heavy, then light rain. When it's really dark and raining, the drive isn't totally fun. Oddly enough, it didn't feel like a five hour drive. So that was something.

We did coin a new term on the journey. "Mobile Charcuterie." Adele had gotten a gift basket from a vendor in the morning, so some of the food got thrown in the back seat. We didn't want to stop driving, so she had a plate and started cutting up cheese and meat (well, tried to cut the meat...it wasn't doable with our plastic cutlery) while we drove. All we were missing was a bottle of wine. Obviously, that was not happening while driving. But a cheese plate on the road...this can never be wrong.

We pulled into the hotel after midnight. Sleep came an hour or so later. It was going to be a long weekend...

Saturday

We did wake up early-ish for our free breakfast. But after some homemade waffles, eggs, sausage and chocolate milk, we went back to the room to rest a bit more. Why not?? We didn't have any firm plans today. We knew we were going to get to Kings Island. We just didn't know when.

After a light morning nap, we made our way into Cincinnati. Our first stop - Cincinnati Chili. The decision had to be made. Did we hit Skyline Chili or Blue Ash Chili?? You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a Skyline Chili location. But Blue Ash Chili was listed in the Road Trip Food book Adele and I both have. It was also down the street from the hotel. So the choice was made…Blue Ash Chili. We could get Skyline another time.

Apparently, Guy Fieri had been to Blue Ash Chili before. The "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" logo was slapped several places on the menu. And on the walls. And on the shirts. But I can't hold that against the restaurant (I actually like DD&D). We made our way through the menu and decided to split a few items for maximum joy.

We dug in immediately to the Three-Way Chili. Spaghetti covered with Chili and Cheese. I like the Cincinnati-style of chili. No beans. Cinnamon. Tons of meat. I want to make Cincinnati chili. But I can't eat this too often. It would be a wildly bad choice. We also went with the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich covered in Chili. Cause the Three-Way wasn't appalling enough. And the sandwich was fabulous. We ate the whole thing. I'm not proud. And I felt gross afterwards. But lord…it was good food.

We knew we couldn't go right away to the park. Pounds of undigested meat products were sitting precariously in our belly. Adele took the keys and we set off for a bit of a journey around the city. We saw downtown Cincinnati and drove over the bridge to Kentucky. We got our bearings (well…she got her bearings. It is creepy how well she knows where she is without seeing the map). We (I...kind of) sang along to the "WKRP in Cincinnati" theme song. And we made our way to the park.

I went to Kings Island once. It was in high school. For band. I think our Freshman year. Which means (and get ready to groan), it has been 22-ish years since I've been to Kings Island. Oy. I have little to no memory of the trip back then. I do remember riding on a bus. And I remember having to turn up the volume on my headphones because the bus was loud. But I also think I got yelled at because the headphones were louder around me than they were in my ears.

Adele had also been to Kings Island in the past. And she wanted to go on The Beast. The Beast is one of the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden roller coasters in the world. Back in the day, she couldn't ride The Beast. Now, she can. And we did. We first road a steel coaster (not an upside down one - that was the rule. Adele doesn't like the upside down ones, and I didn't want my brain to expand in my skull). We met up with one of my station reps and we went to find The Beast.

I don't remember The Beast from the teenage visit. But what a GREAT coaster!! We waited about an hour and then got in the car. At that point, it was way too late to turn around. We were near the front with a group of teenage boys who were either amused by us or wished we weren't around at all. I'd like to think they were amused. We are amusing. The ride up the hill reminded me how much I hate stupid hills. Like a bat out of hell, we hurdled back down to earth and went through the twists and turns of the ride. The end of the ride was INSANE with the speed and the concussion I think everyone received. As everyone got off the ride, the hoots and hollers were loud and enthusiastic. Great ride. The best part was when we saw our ride picture. The boys in front of us posed like body builders. Adele had her head down (chicken!!) and my mouth was open so wide, I was apparently trying to catch flies. Fantastic.

We also wanted to try a bit of Haunt. Especially since Elias got wigged out early when we went to Worlds of Fun a few weeks ago. So we found one of the houses and did a walkthrough. It was fine. Scary only because of the people jumping out at you. It made me think I might be able to survive the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night event in a few weeks. Might be able.

After one final ride (where the phrase "Tiz, Out" was used as the roller coaster stopped), we made our way out to the front of the park. I needed to try the Graeter's Ice Cream (Pumpkin Spice…mmm…) and we needed to get out of the park. It just got crowded and cold and crowded (teenagers!!). And we needed food and wine. It was time. We found a restaurant near the hotel and we moaned over the joy of a glass of wine. Our day had been an adventure and we were worn down. We knew there was another big day happening the next day. And we needed a good night sleep to get ready.

Sunday

Sunday was the real reason we went to Cincinnati. I may have had problems this year with a station and they were nice enough to give us tickets to a Bengal's game. A few days before we left, I got a phone call from the station.

"We have some great news for you!! We got you Field Passes for the game!!"

"Great!! Um…can you explain exactly what Field Passes are??"

Yeah. This experience is probably totally wasted on us.

After a quick bakery stop (cookies for work!!), we made it to Paul Brown Stadium. The Field Passes were very specific. We had to be at the Administration Room no later than noon. We were there at 1130a. I mean, I don't like to be late for anything anyway, but I really don't want to be late for an adventure that would shut the doors on us if we didn't make it in time. Happily, since we got there early, we got to go on the field early.

I didn't know what to expect on the field. I rarely watch football, let alone spend time in a stadium. First expectations…the field seemed much smaller than I figured it would be. The Field Guy told us we were allowed to go anywhere…behind the yellow line. I was very freaked out about not crossing that line. I also made sure to pay attention to my surroundings, since I had Scott's voice in my head ("I expect to see you on TV being hit on the sidelines by a stray football"). There was one close call, but the player (some guy…I think he was a Bengal??) ran into our "area" and nearly hit another couple a few feet from us. They were paying attention, so no damage done.

We had about an hour and a half on the field and during this time we explored everything we could. And we asked questions that we had. Well, I didn't really have any questions. I'm too dumb about football to even have questions. But Adele did. We learned that NFL Players wore boxer briefs. We learned that the guy wearing the "K" smock was in charge of the Kicking Balls. There were only six Kicking Balls for the game (as the Ball Guy said, "If we lose a ball, we only have five left." Ball Guy was quite profound.), so the "K" Guy had to keep track of all of the Kicking Balls.

For the most part, we hung out on the Miami Dolphin's side of the field. Being a Chicago Bear's fan (or enough of a fan), I didn't have a horse in this race. The Dolphin side was much less crowded, so we were able to be closer to the action. A few other people had gathered on our side with us. A guy and his wife were looking for Reggie Bush (apparently he had dated a Kardashian?? *shudder*). I saw a guy with a giant bandage on his head that I couldn't not stare at. We also saw the "Ben-Gals" (*groan*) Cheerleading Team (one did have tape on the short shorts to keep them in place) and possibly the owner of the team. We very possibly photo-bombed him multiple times that afternoon. Soon enough, it was time to go to the suite for the game.

The worst part about a suite is that you never want to sit down with the normies ever again. Then again, I'm not an active football-goer, so I'm rarely (if ever) going to be at a game. The suite was really nice and we cozied up to the food as we walked in. The "host" of the suite also hunted down a bottle of wine for the two of us. That was very appreciated (and enjoyed). We sat for a while in the front row in the suite. Then, we moved back so the real fans could see better (and so we could plug in the iPhones for our trip home). We decided to leave a bit before the desert cart arrived. The sooner we could leave, the quicker we could find Starbucks and get on the road. Adele was driving. I was navigating (not so well). Luckily, we found our Starbucks and we found our way out of the city. It was time to make the drive back.

The drive back...uneventful. We were happy to make it through Indiana far enough to see the wind farms we always seem to see during the darkness. I think the turbines are one step closer to Skynet, but they're still pretty cool.

We made it home without any troubles (or tickets!! Woo Hoo!!), but kind of late on Sunday night. It was definitely a fun weekend. Who knows if there is ever going to be a chance to go on a professional football field again?? Good times.

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