Baseball Nirvana: Five Friends Journey to Milwaukee and Iowa (Part 2)

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIISeptember 14, 2009

Day 2

After getting a good night's sleep in which I won the snoring contest for the night and Charlie froze despite wearing jeans and a track jacket, we woke up bright and early to head to Dyersville, Iowa, to play on the Field of Dreams. We weren’t quite sure how long the drive from downtown Milwaukee to Dyersville would take.

MapQuest said around three hours, Justin’s friend said around three and a half hours, and the random guy sitting in front of us at the Brewers game said three hours and forty-five minutes.

Well, the drive for us took about four hours. At around the three and a half hour mark we stopped in the Dubuque airport to ask for directions. When I say airport, I mean a landing strip and two people working there.

Thankfully, the one worker there was able to assist us and tell us that we were only 20 minutes away. We were so close we could taste it.

As we made our way into Dyersville, all we could see was corn field after corn field. This wasn’t edible corn though.

Thanks to Charlie’s Midwestern roots, he informed us that all the corn we were seeing was for animal feeding. He knew this because of the black tips on the corn.

Good work, Charlie.

After four hours, two stops, and endless bad 80’s songs on John’s megamix—we finally arrive at the Field of Dreams. It’s more unbelievable than I imagined. All you see are corn fields and in the middle of all this is just a baseball field.

You drive through the long road that leads to the field and you see the famous white house from the movie and of course the legendary cornfield fence.

The light towers aren’t as tall as I thought they were, but they seem perfectly placed in an imperfect setting.

The field wasn’t as big as I thought it would be either. It’s only 281 feet down the lines and 310 feet to center field. The field is perfectly kept. There didn’t seem to be a grass out of place.

After my pathetic pitching performance, in which I couldn’t throw the ball over the plate for some reason, I was the second one to hit.

World of advice—never throw a softball all summer then try to throw a baseball. It messes your arm up.

My dream was to hit one into the corn fields. Instead, I broke one of the wooden bats that we had.

My dream—thwarted.

Once I got done hitting, I went into the field. Unfortunately, I was being chased by a bee the entire time I was in the field.

This bee was all over me like white on rice. No matter where I went on the field, this bee followed me.

For those of you not aware, I have a fear of bees. I have no idea what that phobia is called, but I have it. My parents think it’s funny. Me? Not so much.

I didn’t let the bee ruin my experience. Eventually this possessed bee left me alone. One of the best parts of being there was talking to the other people who made the pilgrimage to the field.

There were people from St. Louis, Iowa, Nebraska, Massachusetts, and even Calgary (not Bret Hart) on the field with us. Everyone has a different story about why they came that day. Just amazing. I recommend that everyone go to this field.

If you build it, people will truly come.

We bought plenty of souvenirs and made our way back to Milwaukee. But before we got back to Milwaukee, we made a pitstop at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Madison and Ian’s Pizza was exactly what we needed after a long day on the field. Ian’s was started by a friend of mine from UMass, who wanted to bring the very popular pizza place Antonio’s to Madison.

The Pizza didn’t disappoint. I got a mac n’ cheese slice and a bbq potato bacon slice. It 100 percent hit the spot.

Sitting outside and eating in-front of Ian’s, we saw more good-looking girls in 20 minutes than we did in two days in Milwaukee. We have a theory as to why there are no good-looking girls in Milwaukee. I’ll get to that later.

If anyone is in Madison, I recommend that you try out Ian’s.

While we didn’t stay in Madison for too long, Tom and I managed to stop in the Wisconsin House of Cheese store and State Street. We both got 100 percent Wisconsin cheddar to bring back home.

Our wheels of cheese looked like shuffleboard disks. Tom went with the milder cheese, while I went with the sharper cheese.

We also sampled cheese curds at the House of Cheese. Very, very good. I could have eaten 100 of those things.

At around seven o′clock we made our way back to Milwaukee. We figured there had to be more going on Tuesday night than on Monday. It couldn’t get any worse.

We went to the Abbey off Water Street and there were actually people there. I would say around 30 people at the Abbey that night, which represented a 25 person increase from what we saw Monday night.

Lucky for us, Tuesday night is Trivia Night at the Abbey. The categories were infomercials, today in history, and 2009 movies. We fully expected to win, but our resident movie expert, John—choked.

This is a man who has probably over 800 DVD’s in his collection. And not just your average run-of-the-mill DVD’s. He has Asian, Turkish, and German DVD’s. This is a man who looks forward to going to the Asian Film Festival every year.

All that and he’s never seen The DaVinci Code. We didn’t know Tom Hanks character’s name in the movie, and we lost.

You should have seen the looks of disappointment on our faces. It was the same look my parents gave me when I told them I was going to Milwaukee.

Rest assured we will never forget the name “Robert Langdon.”

Other than Trivia Night, there were two other fascinating events that occurred at the Abbey.

First, we saw first-hand an entire bar play the air drums to Phil Collins' “In the Air Tonight.” I haven't seen anything like it.

Second, we saw our first good-looking girl over the age of 18. Christine, who tried to cheat off of us in trivia by the way, represented the best Milwaukee had to offer in the two days that we were there.

We have a theory on Milwaukee’s female situation. Most of the pretty girls we saw were 18 years old or younger. This is because once a girl turns 18 and goes off to college, she never comes back to Milwaukee.

If they do come back to Milwaukee, it’s probably not because it’s the best of situations. IE: There is a bun in the oven. Christine was the rare exception.


Day 3

Day three of our trip was reserved for eating and drinking. After another solid night's sleep, in which Tom won the snoring contest, we traveled to the Comet Cafe.

The Comet Cafe was made famous when they appeared on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network. Since Tom and John are vegetarians, this was the perfect place to go. Half of the menu has vegetarian/vegan options and the other half has “normal” food, as I call it.

The Comet Cafe didn’t disappoint. Large portions, good service, and overall just fantastic food. I myself, had a Brew City Hot Brown. If you are not familiar with a hot brown, it’s a mound of comfort-food deliciousness.

Rye bread, turkey, mashed potatoes, and bacon piled high covered with some beer gravy. It was faaaaaaaaaaaantastic. As if the hot brown wasn’t enough, for dessert we had warm, mini glazed donoughts served with a vanilla anglaise for dipping.

On a food coma scale, this meal was a 10 out of 10.

Next up was the Miller Brewery Tour. Originally we wanted to go to the Lakefront Brewery Tour because everyone told us it was better than the Miller Tour.

Unfortunately, the Lakefront Brewery only had tours running at three o’ clock on Wednesday and that wouldn’t have left us enough time to get to the airport and catch our plane.

The Miller Brewery Tour was okay, nothing special. Our tour guide seemed to just be going through the motions couldn’t wait to get us out of there. You do get to sample three beers at the end, so that was good.

After the Miller Brewery Tour, we had one more stop to make — Kopps Frozen Custard. If we didn’t have food coma from the Comet Cafe, this was to surely put us over the top.

Today’s flavors at Kopps: Red Velvet Cake and Macadamian Nut. I went with the red velvet cake. I went with only one scoop, unlike Tom and Justin who went with the two scoop option. 

Again, it was fantastic. Also, highly recommended.

And that concludes our trip. For just three days, I think we did and saw a lot. It was a great trip with great friends. Already I am looking forward to next year’s trip.

Early favorite for next year – Houston/Austin, Texas.