Monday, November 7, 2011

Men's Retreat: The Way i remember Things, Which means it's the truth - Part 1

Day 1 – The Drive.

Captains Log, Star Date 11411 + 4 and purple

Every year, around this time, a few of us stalwart men gather together from our church and trek up behind the cheddar curtain in Wisconsin.  It’s not just our church either, its several churches that contain groups of men that wish to shoot at clay pigeons, toss beanbags and share deeper conversations concerning how we get back to the camp site from McDonald’s at 3AM. 

This is the recovered footage from that trip. 

Names have not been changed, due to my uncreative mind with less than 7 hours of sleep for the past 2 days.

For the passed few years, the first weekend in November was always reserved on my calendar for a trip to Camp Joy in Whitewater WICamp Joy was founded in 1962.  It has a lovely back story for it’s founding, but I can’t remember it right now.  Besides, I think founding comes from the Greek root “to stumble across”.  So, I am sure that’s how it was founded, maybe by some Greeks, like my wife.  Someone ran into it and shouted “Found it!” 

We decided to car pool to save on gas and because no one ventures into Wisconsin alone, unless you are keenly aware of the highway system in Wisconsin, it’s best to travel in a large group.  A larger group has more of a chance to become indefinitely confused when you cross into County Q on highway CC after taking exit W.  Also, this makes people from Wisconsin believe you are actually a larger animal not worthy to hunt.

Our trip consisted of myself, my friend Jim (The Driver), his son Kyle ( 16 years old, if we got lost we could eat him), My friend Jon ( Who will pick up ANY song at any point when I start singing and vice versa) and my friend Jeff ( the sweetest big guy I know, you can lick him and he tastes like happy, kids!).

We stopped off at the Lockport Speedway for drinks before the long road trip.  Speedway has horrible coffee, but they have a lot of it, so, because Jim was driving all of us, I decided to buy him a cup of coffee.  In my mind, 1 cup of coffee would equal the $135 it took to fill up his van to cart our sorry rears to Camp Joy.  Luckily, for me, while standing in line, my friend Jon says “I’ll pay for your stuff!” and because he is such a good friend, and I can’t say no to someone wanting to spend their money, instead of mine, I said OK.  I realized though, that I now had nothing to offer Jim compensation for the driving deficit i was incurring.  I decided that to make everyone happy, and balance the universe karma, me carrying the drink from the counter to Jim would suffice.  My carrier charge of drinks just happens to be $175.  So Jim actually owed me $40 after the fact, but I am too good of a friend to bring this up.

On the road, deep conversations take place.  These conversations include the word “Dutch oven” and other cooking metaphors.  What seemed like a blink of an eye, we already were at Gurnee Mills with Wisconsin just in sight.  When you cross over into Wisconsin, something magical happens when you’re in the backseat, and from IL.  You get to remove your seat belt.  Wisconsin isn't the nanny state that IL pushes itself to be. Also, Wisconsin allows you to hunt any kind of animal while drinking.  Personal safety seems to be your responsibility.

Crossing the border, or as my illegal alien friends call it, “Crossing the border” we found ourselves pulling into at The Brat Stop Restaurant.

The Brat Stop is one of those places you just HAVE to stop at when entering into Wisconsin.  It’s like the Mars Cheese Castle, or well, the Mars Cheese Castle.

Entering the restaurant I noticed immediately a sign for a band called “Infinity”.  What’s hysterical about this is I know the lead singer to the band.  He’s the maintenance guy at our building where I work, and he sounds exactly like Steve Perry.

I had to point this out to the rest of the guys.  They had to know I KNEW someone cool enough to play at the Brat Stop.  And by general rule of association, I would be cool as well.  Not only do I know him, he also FIXES our toilets.

Oddly enough, no one seemed impressed by this fact.  I decided to see if I could get a poster to take with me.  That way I could show it to the maintenance guy that I took a poster with him on it.  A poster that he most likely paid to have printed and setup at the Brat Stop to advertise his band.  I began to see the error in my logic, only after the hostess at the register said she couldn’t give me a poster to give back to the lead singer toilet fixer of the band.

When ordering food I noticed an appetizer plate called “The Sausage Sampler”.  It contained assorted sausage sticks and crackers.  It fit our group.  I put a motion to the table that we dub our road trip group “The Sausage Sampler.”

Was it risqué?  Sure.  A little homo?  Maybe.  But it made sense at the time, and no one said no. DONE!

Full of Kraut and Brats, with Jim the Driver ordering the Sausage sampler, our group Sausage Sampler piled back into the van.

We continued our trek up to Whitewater.  Everything at this point was a non event, with conversation bordering on the ill advised.

COMING SOON:  Unpacking and being unplugged from everything and how much that reeked.  Seriously, I got the shakes.