Sunday, March 28, 2010

BSC in the USA: Team North

Now that we're done with Team South, it's time to head north with the Schafers and the BSC members that matter. (Seriously, how ridiculous is it that the original members all ended up going north? I'm thinking of crying racism, anti-semitism, and everyone-hates-malloryism.) Just to recap really quickly, in the northern RV we have the following people and destinations: Jack Schafer (San Francisco), Jeff Schafer (rock climbing), Dawn (a ghost town), Kristy (baseball stadiums), Claudia (Art Institute of Chicago), Mary Anne (Maynard, Iowa), and Stacey (Seattle). On with the trip!

First stop for Team North is Cleveland so Kristy can visit the stadium where the Indians play (Official Kristy Stadium Count: 1). Who's impressed that I know which baseball team is from Cleveland? Stacey doesn't, and she's actually there. After a lame joke about Cleveland Indians versus Native American Indians and Stacey's statement that basketball players are way hotter than baseball players, we're treated to a long look inside Stacey's head; she tells us she's only met her BF Ethan once and that "coffee shop" is New Yorkese for "diner". That's funny, I thought I could speak New Yorkese. Actually, I think the language she's speaking is McGillese, a language which frightens me more and more with each passing day. Frankly, I'd rather be watching the baseball game which is exactly what Kristy wants to do. Jack (easier than Mr. Schafer) agrees, against the wishes of almost everyone else, and in they go. Fortunately for Stacey, she learns that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland and thus a side trip (that's not so side) is born.

It's 9:53 and therefore time for a rant. They just learned about the Rock Hall? Seriously? First, it's a pretty famous place. Second, way to open a guide book, guys. Did no one ever think to look up fun stuff to do/see in the places they were planning on visiting before ever leaving Stoneybrook? I mean, I'm all for discovering new things along the way but seriously! As we'll see later, it's like no one put any thought into this trip at all.< /rant>

So. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a fun place to visit. The building itself is all glassy and modern so that's cool, I guess. The hall of fame part isn't all that extensive but worth visiting. Most of the building is really a museum with a lot of rock and roll history and rotating exhibits. When I was there, one of the exhibits was actually about music and baseball. Too bad Kristy missed that. Anyway, I thought I took pictures of the Rock Hall but I can't find any so I guess I didn't. Oh, well.

The next chapter is Claudia's, leading up to her destination in Chicago. She tells us that so far they've stopped in Cleveland and Detroit. First of all, Detroit? Really? Was that a strictly baseball stadium stop? That puts the Official Kristy Stadium count at 2. Plus, Chicago is pretty much directly west of Cleveland. Detroit is west of Cleveland but also quite a bit north. As in, definitely not on the way. How obnoxious of Kristy.

Meanwhile back in the RV, we learn that Dawn eats wormy apples, Kristy washes her hair with soap, and Mary Anne likes to knit. Except we already knew that last part. We also learn that Stacey is a bitch (only we already knew that too). She yells at Claudia for reading her journal even though Claudia was just looking for a sketchbook. By the way, their fight continues all the way to Washington... The other really annoying person in the RV is Jack who makes jokes/mean comments about Mary Anne's father. Okay, I know Mary Anne's father is married to Jack's ex-wife but you don't do that to a thirteen year-old. Seriously.

So, the next stop is Chicago. There is a stadium stop (Official Count: 3, presumably ignoring the fact that Chicago has two baseball teams) though that actually comes after the visit to the Art Institute. Claudia especially wants to see the Impressionists (as does Mary Anne) which, sure, whatever.

I, too, have been to the Art Institute of Chicago but that was a long time ago. Sorry, no great insights there. Um, it was nice. So, yeah, back to the BSCers. Before leaving Chicago, they ate at Pizzeria Uno. Why, I ate there just last week!

Oh, they ate at the original one. Humph. I guess they also went to Water Tower Place while in Chicago. Apparently mall visits on cross country trips are all the rage, who'da thunk it. I'm pretty sure this mall stuff is mostly a set-up for Mary Anne's storyline so I'll just pretend they aren't idiots for going to malls, which, for the most part are generally fairly similar to each other.
After Chicago/Illinois, the next stop is Milwaukee. Why, you ask? Whose destination was in Wisconsin? Not to mention, the stop after that is Minneapolis. You don't remember someone wanting to go there either, do you? Well, it's time to up the Official Stadium Count to 5. No, not 4, 5. I think it's time for my major Kristy rant!

Okay. Everyone on the trip got to pick one place to visit. One. At this point (maybe halfway across the country?) Kristy has visited FIVE places. THREE of them were out of the way! After Chicago, the next destination should've been Mary Anne's grandmother's house in Maynard, Iowa. Now, I don't know if the real Maynard, Iowa (which does exist) is the same as the one in the book. If so, Maynard looks pretty much west of Milwaukee which isn't so bad. Of course, that's assuming the roads go that way, too (I'm almost positive the Interstates don't) but it still seems like a pain. What the hell, Kristy? Why are you so damn special? Okay, I get that she wants to go to the field where the Brewers play, her stepfamily's name being Brewer and all. But honestly, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. And Minneapolis is definitely out of the way. Not to mention, there are still more ballparks to come. Sometimes I just hate you, Kristy. < /rant>

All of this driving way the hell out of the way (and all of these visits to malls which Mary Anne can't stand) mean they'll be late getting to Iowa. When Mary Anne calls her grandmother, Granny Baker (not what Mary Anne calls her but I like it) insists on meeting them in Minnesota. Because Iowa is OUT OF THE WAY and because Midwesterners like to drive. Where do they meet? At Granny Baker's suggestion, they all go to the Mall of America! Just what Mary Anne wants!

While I do think it's pretty silly to visit malls all over the country, I would make an exception (hell, I have made an exception, though it wasn't my idea) for the Mall of America. Why? Because it's like the mall to end all malls. Yes, there's an amusement park inside, yes, there is a roller coaster, and yes, the mall is huge. Because I can't find any pictures of the MoA (can you imagine taking pictures of a mall?) I'll offer you a video instead. Yes, I know this takes place in Canada but if you get the context, you'll know that someone wanted to get married at the Mall of America. So I say it fits.

Back to BSCWorld. At the MoA, Dawn gets the award for Most Obnoxious Person Ever by leading everyone to a health food restaurant for lunch. Okay, maybe it's just that I was taught manners so I expect others to act like decent human beings but couldn't they have at least discussed where to eat lunch? Or maybe, just maybe, considering that was Mary Anne's day, she or her grandmother could've picked a place to eat? Instead, they were stuck eating seitan which is apparently supposed to taste like steak but doesn't. We're told as much and I'd like to know how the vegetarians that are telling people to eat this crap even know what steak tastes like. FYI, seitan is wheat gluten which sounds about as appetizing as the sweatshirt I'm wearing.

The best thing that happens in this chapter is Granny Baker telling off Jack for making fun of Richard. The worst is that Mary Anne the Doormat thinks it's her fault they ended up at the MoA even though her grandmother suggested going there. Look, it's a miracle of modern medicine! See the girl without a spine! Mary Anne's logic (or lack of it) is confusing me so I'll just press on.

So Team North skips Iowa. I will therefore skip Iowa as well; my poor loyal readers will just have to wait for my great Iowa stories. I know it's tough. Since I'm skipping Iowa, I'll just offer a few more notes (and pictures!) from earlier in the trip. First, since Mary Anne basically didn't get her destination, I think she's entitled to another. As we find out from the discussion of where to visit in South Dakota, Mary Anne is a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and would be interested in visiting the LIW site. Okay, first of all, there are quite a few LIW sites out there, so, way to be specific, Lerangis. Second, they weren't all that far from the LIW site in Pepin, Wisconsin. The museum in Pepin, not the actual cabin of which I only have one picture and it contains me so I'm thinking maybe I won't post it:
That's Little House in the Big Woods for any non-fans who may have at least heard of the books. Though, sadly, the Big Woods aren't there any more. But wait, this is a BSC post not a Laura Ingalls Wilder post so I guess I have to move on.

To Minneapolis! Now, I don't remember much of Minneapolis. Walkways between buildings, right? I do remember this unusual sculpture:

(Quick note: some pictures may be backwards. I haven't quite figured out my scanner yet...)

It's part of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Apparently this sculpture has become quite the symbol of Minnesota. If I'm remembering correctly, it doesn't even look out of place in the sculpture garden. By the way, I think the garden is part of or somehow affiliated with the Walker Art Center (it's modern art, FYI). Maybe Claudia would've liked to visit? Or maybe a visit would've resulted in Claudia wearing spoons with glued-on cherries as earrings. Which would've looked completely ridiculous on anyone else.

Next up for the BSC is South Dakota. I'll have to depart from the BSC narrative again for a few minutes in order to talk about how great South Dakota is. Dawn (the current narrator) tells us that, when she thinks of South Dakota, she thinks of nothing. The implication is quite obviously that South Dakota sucks. Which it most certainly does not. Now, I'm generally a city person (not so much in South Dakota) but I think I can appreciate some nature-y stuff now and then and that is something SD has in abundance. The state has the Black Hills, Custer State Park, cool caves, mountains with presidents and Native American chiefs carved into them, and the Badlands!

Plus Wall Drug. Here's a little preview since they do get there:

(Don't worry, I'll use this same exact picture in the next BSC post.)

But that rant's coming. Stay tuned! (Or just tune in. Please?) I'd really hoped to finish Team North in one go but, due to some technical difficulties, that's just not happening. Stopping for now, hopefully back very soon to finish!


  1. Jack Schafer was such a creep in this one. I'm glad Granny Baker told him off.

    Dawn was obnoxious, too. And why was Granny Baker so weird about not wanting them to come to her house? I always felt like there was going to be some big reveal about why she wanted them to meet at the mall.

    Also, I ate at Pizzeria Uno last night. Deep dish style, baby!

  2. I didn't read this book but, dude, I'm vicariously fired up over EVERYONE BEING JERKFACES. Well, at least Dawn and her pop, Stacey (what else is new?) and Kristy. Yeesh, kids, learn some manners.

    Also, just the thought of a Laura Ingalls Wilder travel post totally made my heart flutter!

  3. @Sadako- You and your deep dish. Sigh. I think NY is going to disown you or something.

    @TKOG- Yeah, everyone's pretty horrible in this book. And honestly, it's not very good (even by BSC standards). I think I only like it because it's about a road trip and I absolutely love road trips. I even watched Crossroads. That information is not to be repeated. Ever.

    I'm definitely planning a Laura Ingalls Wilder post or two. She deserves it!

  4. Isn't Dawn, like, nature girl or something? WTF?

    I figured Kristy got all the bonus visits because technically it's HER family's trip and everyone else is just tagging along. Don't know why Karen, D-M and Andrew got screwed, but I hate Karen and if I were David Michael's parent I'd be pissed about his bailing on the rodeo after four seconds (how the fuck can a kid who wants to go to a rodeo not actually know what a rodeo IS?! such a stupid family), so I don't really care.

  5. I wonder if Dawn was thinking of North Dakota. I've driven across both Dakotas (on I-95 and I-90). We got to Bismark at about 2AM local time (we started from Spokane, WA 7AM the day before). We had seen a rest stop near the Montana border, lots of darkness, then Bismark. The next thing I remember was Fargo. I recommend ND at night: you can pretend there's something there.

    As for SD? Much more interesting. We avoided Wall Drug out of principle. Starting about halfway through Minnesota, all we saw were Wall Drug signs. We were so sick of it. When we got back to Seattle and parked...we ended up next to a car with a Wall Drug bumper sticker.

  6. Ugh, I hate Blogger! Just typed out a long comment and the stupid thing wouldn't work! So, short version:

    CA: Dawn sucks. So does the always tactful Kristy.

    BSC AG: Love the "ND at night" line. Understand your avoidance of Wall Drug though you can't beat $.05 coffee.