Nine-state tour

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 1, 2003

I’ve never been one to really care much about venturing out of the local area too far.

Going up to Virginia or down to Myrtle Beach… well that’s just fine.

For the most part, however, going beyond the 120-miles needed to reach destinations in a radius of my hometown of Woodland – that I consider the local area – there’s no real appeal to go.

So what about the title of this column for today – &uot;Nine states in less than a week?&uot;

The fact is, it’s true. I’ve been in nine states, three major airports (all twice) and one major league baseball stadium from the period of August 22 through August 25.

I feel as if someone has attached a giant vacuum cleaner and sucked about 98 percent of the life out of me.

This whole escapade got started with a co-worker suggesting I take my 13-year-old son, Josh, to see the New York Yankees play the Baltimore Orioles.

Since Josh is a Yankees fan, and since the Yankees were coming to Baltimore, it seemed doable.

Well, we couldn’t get tickets to the Baltimore game and one scheduled conflicted with another and the idea was put on the sidelines for a couple of weeks.

Then, the ad director of this newspaper, Sidney Joyner, ordered tickets for the Yankees/Orioles game in the Bronx.

Sid’s brother and nephew, Moochie and Edward Joyner, respectively, were also included in the trip and since we were making a &uot;boy’s weekend out&uot; of it, we asked fellow Yankee fan, Don Leggett, to join us.

At 1 p.m. August 22 our mission began as we headed out in Sid’s eight-passenger van to see major league baseball in the house that Babe built.

Josh, 13, and Edward, 12, were both excited about going to Yankee Stadium. Edward, however, made it very clear that he was an Atlanta Braves fan and he didn’t think anyone in the van was going to change that mindset.

As Don put it, it didn’t matter who you pulled for, as long as you were a baseball fan, this was going to be a great trip.

Edward didn’t come home any less a Braves fan, but it was apparent he had tremendous respect for being in a place that told so many baseball legends’ stories.

It turned out the Saturday afternoon game we attended was Ron Guidry Day. Guidry was a superstar pitcher for 14 seasons for the Yankees during the 1970s and into the 1980s.

On August 23, 2003, the Yankees retired his number 49 jersey and permanently immortalized his name and legacy with the ball club by placing a bronze plaque out in left center field.

Guidry now joins the likes of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson, just to name a few, on that famed wall.

But not only did Josh and Edward get to see Ron Guidry, they got to see Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, Whitey Ford and select other hall of fame baseball players that took part in the ceremony.

This fact, plus the fact we were sitting right behind home plate in the upper deck and the ceremony was facing home plate, made this a truly fantastic afternoon of baseball.

This, by far ladies and gentlemen, was the best part of my venture over the short traveling period.

The Yankees trip took us, counting NC, through Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York and brings my state traveled tally at this point to six states.

Returning from New York Sunday night, I was up quickly Monday morning to catch a flight out of Norfolk to Chicago where I caught another flight to Fargo, North Dakota.

From Fargo, I got a rental car and drove over to Minnesota.

Now I’ve added three more states and I’ve only been traveling, at this time, four days.

I spent two days in Fergus Falls, Minnesota before heading back to Fargo and then back through Illinois and on to Norfolk.

In talking to Sidney, who made the exact same trip as I did, he reminded me of his travels prior to our trip to New York that took him through South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Now, he did have more time during his trip south, but for the most part he confirmed 12 states in two weeks.

If you consider the states we could literally see on this trip, you could add Pennsylvania (viewing Philadelphia skyline as we drove down the New Jersey Turnpike), West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan (seen from the flight), I’ve had some relative contact with 13 states in less than a week, oh my!

And I thought driving the 20 minutes from home to the office was bad.