Location: Chicago, IL
States Visited: Indiana, Michigan, Illinois
I'm extremely short on time right now for reasons I will explain very soon. But despite my current busyness, I was able to fit in one last road trip. This was the culmination of a year's worth of research and a pilgrimage on various levels. I headed back to Ann Arbor, likely my last chance to do so for quite a while (again, I'll explain soon). Of all the driving I've done, this trip is the most familiar. I think I could do the Chicago to A2 jaunt in my sleep at this point. But I wasn't just going up there for the hell of it. I had been fortunate enough to set up an interview with Lloyd Carr. After getting all charged up reading Dave's heartfelt posting, I tried to make the most of the meeting.
We spent an hour in his office, talking about the state of the game and taking a few minutes to reminisce about that glorious 1997 season. The focus of my questions were primarily for my book, so certain curiosities such as, "What do you really think of Urban Meyer?" went unasked (though he briefly dropped the subtlest of hints at that particular topic). I hope to get an excerpt up here soon, time permitting. But I will say this, the man is sharp as a tack. Not only did he remember the name of my high school coach from his days on the recruiting trail while coaching at Illinois (1978-79), when I was unsure of which season Washington had played Minnesota in the Rose Bowl, '60 or '62, he knew it was 1960 immediately. We found ourselves agreeing on so many areas, I had to wonder if it was solely because he was my team's head coach and had therefore informed my sensibilities. I'm sure that must be at least partially the case. In sum, it was a fantastic hour for me, and I think he enjoyed our chat a little bit, too.
Yeah. This'n'll be framed.
After leaving Carr's office on a bit of a high, I poked around campus just a bit before going south to take a look at the progress on Michigan Stadium. The way things look right now, I question how ready they will be for that Utah game in three weeks.
They have begun to put the bricks on, though.
Gate 9 on the north end is "done", though it looks as plain as a prison entrance. I assume there are forthcoming additions to spruce things up a bit.
Near the Indiana/Michigan border on my way home, I stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand across the street from a Panera Bread. Over the course of the season, I rarely had time to hit any side-of-the-road, family-run joints. I picked up some corn, blueberries, and tomatoes. They were about the same price as the local chain grocery store would have charged, but my goodness could you taste the difference. The tomatoes were so ripe they were practically bursting. They hadn't been carted halfway across the earth to arrive on my plate. It was nice to know that at the end of this trip, I'm still able to get a bit of the local flavor, even if I ended up savoring it in my own kitchen.
As I referenced above, I'll have a big update in the next day or two.