Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop and Look Around Once In a While, You Could Miss It

I can’t help it.  Today’s journal is going to have a decidedly Ferris Bueller influence to it.  What can I say?  I’m a fan.  He’s funny and talented, has doting parents, a beautiful girlfriend and a loyal best friend.  And then there’s Chicago.

Ahhh….Chicago.

And there you have it.  I’m a fan of all seasons for different reasons.  Fall brings us apple harvests, perfect surf down at the beach, amazing weather.  Winter brings along the holidays, and a chance to spend time with loved ones to celebrate.  It kicks off the alpine season for climbing in the mountains.  And though summer is filled with sun and adventure, it’s spring that most gets me feeling wonderful.  The weather is amazing again, the flowers are beginning to bloom and baseball dusts off the cobwebs of winter and stretches the muscles in preparation for the long season ahead.  I consider myself one of the boys of summer, for sure, but it all begins in spring.

Which brings me back to Chicago.  It is one of the most beautiful cities in all the world.  A picturesque metropolis nestled against the mighty Lake Michigan.  The crown jewel of the Midwest, and home to my beloved Northsiders…The Chicago Cubs.

But I live in California, so why Ferris Bueller?  Because our latest Micro-Adventure took us deep into the desert to an oasis that offered the best Ferris had to give on his day off in Chicago.  A baseball game.

Spring Training.  Opening Day – Chicago Cubs versus Los Angeles Angels.  Tempe, Arizona.

 

Road Trip

 

First and foremost, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a road trip.  And though we had permission for our adventure, it still felt nice to sneak away from real life for a couple of days and get on the road.  It was bittersweet, too, as my mountains had just gotten a fresh blanket of new snow.  The weekend would have been perfect for an alpine adventure as well.  But I was looking forward to the plans we had made, and a I knew my mountains would be waiting for me when I got home.

 

Budget Rental Ferrari

“The 1961 Ferrari, 250 GT California.  Less than a hundred were made.  My father spent three years restoring this car.  It is his love, it is his passion…”

“It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.”

Okay, clearly this isn’t a 1961 Ferrari, 250 GT California.  Clearly.  However, this post wouldn’t be influenced by Ferris Bueller if it didn’t involve a Ferrari.  I photographed this gem in Blythe.  Nothing makes me more pleased than to get a picture of a beautiful Italian made masterpiece hooked up to the tow-hitch of a Budget rental mover, sitting out in front of a McDonald’s in a run down, desert prison out-post town like Blythe.

 

Bull Riding

“I do have a test today, that wasn’t bullshit.  It’s on European Socialism.  I mean really, what’s the point?  I’m not European.  I don’t plan on being European.  So who gives a crap if they’re Socialists?  They could be Fascist Anarchists, it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.”

I’m not sure why this quote from the movie strikes me as appropriate for this picture.  Maybe it’s the bull reference.  Maybe it’s the lack of car comment.  It could be that I don’t think Fascist Anarchists are going to be sitting around on a Friday night watching cowboys get thrown from live, angry bulls.  It makes me proud to be a Capitalist American.

I’ve never seen bull riding in person before.  I was amazed at how my adrenaline got going once they opened the gates and the bulls emerged kicking.  It’s a little difficult to see in this picture, but that bull is actually coming down on the guy that was once on his back.  Luckily, the cowboy walked away.

Our group had gone to an amazing BBQ dinner, and then we walked over to this restaurant/bar/bull ring for the rodeo.  This place had outdoor fire pits going, a live cover-band inside and of course the rodeo, which was free to watch.  It was definitely a family affair.  We were early to spring training in Arizona this year, so the weather was still pretty chilly.   It had snowed here on Monday.  We had a blast, but it would have been nice to not shiver so much while we sat there in the low fifties temperatures.  The girl in the picture in the sleeveless shirt was all goosebumps.  The sacrifices one makes for fashion…

 

2013-02-23 08.53.58

 

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I got up Saturday morning and had some time before I needed to get ready for the game.  Lucky for me that I was within walking distance to a pretty popular hike.  Though the greater Phoenix area, where Spring Training is located, is a desert, it is a mountainous desert.  Arizona is actually a very gorgeous state.  The hiking is incredible, especially in the spring and especially first thing in the morning.  For the better part of an hour I was alone on this amazing hike.  The mountain cast a pyramid shadow for miles to the east.  It was cold and windy at the top, but I was prepared.

Fear the Beard.

 

Angels Spring Training Dugout

 

Now, it’s no secret I’m a baseball fan.  And by now you’ve learned that I’m a die-hard Cubs fan as well.  Listeners to the show will hear the friendly banter between my wife and I, and know that my wife is a die-hard Angel’s fan.  This was our second year in a row at Spring Training, to catch the Cubs play the Angels at their home park in Tempe.  The fresh smell of spring. Tempe Diablo Stadium

Tempe Diablo Stadium is one of the older spring training facilities, but it is still amazingly beautiful.  And large.  The dimensions of the outfield wall make this field bigger in size than Angel Stadium in Anaheim.  But that is expected.  Arizona is so dry that the ball flies further when hit.  The 420 feet to the center field fence helps keep the ball in play.

The attendance was announced at a little over six thousand fans.  I was happy to see that many of them were fellow Cubs fans, like me.  In fact, Chicago’s spring training facility is in nearby Mesa.  Looking around, you won’t find a bad seat in the house.

 

Angels Workout

You aren’t going to be able to see her, but my wife was standing somewhere amongst the crowd along the right field baseline watching the Angel’s players warm up.  She was lucky enough to score some great autographs as well.

The Pitch

 

“Do you realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?”

Cubs baseball in spring.  Ferris Bueller had it right when he ditched school to catch a Cubs game.  Now, I’m not saying kids should ditch school, but come on…

That’s the Cub’s first baseman (and last year’s rookie sensation) Anthony Rizzo staring down a pitch from the Angel’s veteran Jerome Williams.  The Cubs knocked around Angel’s pitching pretty good.  Before it was all said and done they had hit two home runs and put up eleven runs on the board.

 

Sandra and Jake the Bear

 

Their team was getting beat up pretty good, but Sandra and Jake the Bear still enjoyed a day at the ballpark.

 

Greg and Sandra

 

“I’m taking the day off!”

 

Cubs Victory

 

“How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”

 

 

 

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