Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lambeau Magic

After attending the annual Coil Winding Show in Chicago last week (OK, I know it sounds boring), on Thursday my wife Lyn and I headed to Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the Thursday night game between the beloved Packers and the hated Vikings, ok I guess that's a matter of opinion.  My tickets were courtesy of my good friend Phil Gordon, a trusted confidant from Fort Wayne, Indiana who has season tickets but could not make the game.  Phil is like most guys form Sconnie, a passionate Packer fan and he was happy to share them with the same.  Anyway with the leaves in their peak fall colors the 5 hour drive did not disappoint.  From the time we hit Hudson on the Wisconsin border to Green Bay, the trees were on fire with the bright reds and yellows and orange colors.  Although the game didn't start till 7:30, I knew that getting there a little early would afford us time to take in the sights and sounds of a home game at Lambeau, and sites and sounds there were.  Lambeau Field is the oldest venue in the NFL today.  Celebrating it's 58th year of hosting the Green Bay Packers, it has a interesting history which you can see by clicking on this link:Lambeau Field.  Because the Packers are the only publicly held football team in the NFL, they decided to sell stock to raise money for additional renovations that including adding another 7000 seats.  And why not, the waiting list for season tickets has surpassed the 90,000 mark.  Taking advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity, I bought a share for $250 and am now an official owner with voting rights.  Yes, some people say the stock is worthless yet I ask what is your Adrian Peterson jersey worth these days?  As well, Lambeau is still Lambeau and not some lame name like Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High.  There has been talk about naming rights yet I'm pretty sure that would not be met with a whole bunch of fan and shareholders support.  Anyway, deciding to park about 6 blocks from the stadium would give us an easier way out as previous games we parked very close and it was over an hour to get out.  Lambeau and Green Bay are set up for tailgating.  All along the way to the field were parking lots full of fans, their RV's parked from the night before, tents, charcoal grills and of course beer!  Even the Shell gas station had closed to make way for the fans and at $20 a care probably made more than selling gas for that time period.  There were quite a few Vikings fans mixed in with the crowd as the border battle tends to be quite friendly but intense.  With a forecast of an inch of rain predicted over game time, we crossed the road with our rain gear in a clear plastic bag (as required) and entered the stadium.  The first thing you see is the big poster of Clay Matthews gracing the fact Green Bay holds the most NFL World Champion Titles of any team in the NFL dating all the way back to 1929, and includes 4 Superbowl wins.  Pretty amazing for a city of 100,000. 

Start of the game and of the rain.
Our seats were centered just behind the north end goal posts, 53 rows up.  As predicted, the rain had started and by the time we got to our seats it was coming down pretty hard.  Kudos to my wife Lyn for bundling up as we stayed nice and dry with my fishing gear.  Luckily it was 68 degrees out as it made sitting there quite a bit more pleasant.  With the huge screens setup on each end, it was the best of 2 worlds, you could see the plays then watch it again as the did the replay.  Being in the Packer end zone during the first and third quarter we were able to see the first score, a beautiful pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson who was wide open deep and walked right in.  It was awesome.  Of course those who watched the game also know that the score quickly escalated to 42-0, in favor of the Packers, and if wasn't great, after the first quarter the rain stopped completely.  What a night.  Pulling Aaron Rodgers in the 4th quarter didn't sit too well with the 78,000+ fans attending the game but hey, no reason to risk an injury with that margin.  With a touchdown and field goal in the 4th by the Vikes the score ended up 42 - 10 as most left the stadium with 5 minutes to go.  I did manage to stop at the Packer Pro Shop to pick up some new hats, a nice pair of lounge pants for the ice house, and some decals for the same. If you have never been to Lambeau Field, even if your not a Packer fan, it's truly an experience.  The fans, the true tailgating, the food, the history, its definitely worth a trip to Green Bay.  I even hear that next July they are going to retire Brett Favre's number.  I guess it shows just how nice us Wisconsin guys are!

Tailgating at it's finest!
With ZERO hotels available in Green Bay, we were forced to drive an hour and a half west to Wausau, Wisconsin for the night.  Even at midnight Hwy 29 was like rush hour.  After a good nights sleep we headed back north to see my aunt Pat Schmidt in Antigo.  My mom's only living sibling, she has lived in the area most of her life.  Uncle Harold worked for the US Forest Department but unfortunately died way too young.  As a bonus my cousin Don Schmidt, was working on remodeling the house next door so I got to visit with him for a while.  My brother Steve and I were invited back to his Club Ten Grouse Tournament next weekend but timing isn't good this year.  Deciding to take in the rest of the weekend's fall colors we continued north to Hwy 8, which takes you back to Minnesota, the scenic route.  Unfortunately it rained all the way back limiting our view of the fall colors.  Managing to stop at Louie's Meats in Cumberland, WI we picked up some of their famous Packer bratwurst, brats mixed with cheddar cheese and sauerkraut.  As well they had Viking brats, brats mixed with purple cabbage and Monterey Jack cheese.  I got enough to host the neighbors at the next Packer/Viking game on November 23. 

The rain and cold has put a damper on getting stuff done around the house and time is running out to finishing up my projects on my Salem Ice Cabin.  I got the cable rewire project finished but still have to caulk the floor, replace the curtain rods and rehang the curtains, then put everything back in it's place.  It's sort of a labor of love but it still takes time.  I have a
small whitetail buck that's been really taking his hormones out on my small apple trees, I guess I should know better not to protect them more.  With a hard frost the raspberries are entering the final stages yet they are very plentiful and great tasting this year, it must have been the rain.  No fishing last week but I'm sure there's one more trip somewhere.  Sunday I drove to Mille Lacs to spend some time with Bill and deal with my Lowrance equipment.  While on Lac Seul it was impossible for me to control my trails, storing specific routs and the day's fishing history.  We finally got that figured out, too much to remember. 

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