After work on Friday, Rob and I jumped in the car and hit the road for Cincinnati, Ohio. Not too far into Indiana we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for a cheesy mystery on tape. (This time we settled on Gone by Lisa Gardner, which lasted all the way to Cincy and half the way back... and was fairly entertaining too.) A little past Indianapolis we stopped at a Wendy's for dinner. And with only one wrong turn to our names, we arrived in Cincinnati around 11pm local time.
The trip was a long overdue visit to my old friend Dave, who's been living there for four years. Dave's visited us in Chicago a couple times, and we've only been here two years. Dave and I have known each other for 15 (?!?!) years now and seen each other through thick and thin. The least I can do is visit every four years!
Dave lives in a great neighborhood called Hyde Park with lots of old homes and non-chain stores. We stayed in on Friday night, but ventured out on Saturday.
For Saturday lunch we hit Zip's Cafe for burgers, onion rings and chili cheese fries. Absolutely delicious. Fully weighed down with food, we wandered into a game and hobby shop next door where we picked up a couple presents for relatives which will remain nameless lest those relatives read this post! We drove up into the hills surrounding the city where we got some gorgeous views of downtown. We drove across the river to Kentucky (Rob had never been there) and enjoyed a beer sampler at Hofbrauhaus. (Really, Rob and Dave enjoyed the sampler while I took a sip of a select few.) We had just enough time on our way back to Dave's house to stop for ice cream at Graeter's. Fantastic, especially since the sun was shining so brightly.
Dinner was with four of Dave's friends, who were a ton of fun. We ate pizza at Dewey's. Our meal included a pizza called the "Bronx Bomber," which I should have avoided on principle. Rookie mistake. Then we headed downtown to meet up with a few more of Dave's friends at the Cadillac Ranch. A little loud for these 31-year-old ears, but we managed to score a table outside. The crowd turned a little crazy after midnight, though. By 1:30am we were happy to head out. Sadly, no one in our crew had ridden the mechanical bull, but many a member of the five bachelorette parties there had partaken in that fun.
We slept in Sunday and then made our way to Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds. Yup, that's it's actual name, if you didn't already know. We were psyched for the game because Ken Griffey Jr. had hit home run number 599 in Saturday's game and the Reds were playing pretty well. Our seats turned out to be in the shade, which made the 85 degree day perfect baseball weather.
Griffey's first two at bats saw a single and a double. His third saw a pop up. His fourth came in the bottom of the 7th with 2 outs, a man on first, and the Reds holding a 5-2 lead. As if I could hate the Braves any more than I already do, they intentionally walked Griffey in what was sure to be his last at bat of the game. Who walks the number 3 hitter to get to the number 4 hitter... especially when you don't need a force out... especially when the number 4 hitter is having a better season??? Lame lame lame.
Still, the game was a great one, with some awesome small ball including a successful squeeze bunt! The Reds' pitcher had a no hitter going through five and should have held it through six, but the scorer credited the Braves with a hit following a botched throw to first base.
After the game, we hit the road. Of course we stopped for Steak 'N Shake shakes a little before we left Indiana.
Four states in just over 48 hours plus fabulous local eats, a baseball game with a home team victory and lots of time catching up with an old friend. Not bad!